Home for the Holidays

As the saying (or is it a song?) goes, "There's no place like home for the holidays." Honestly, we've never been much for that approach.  My time away from work always coincides with a holiday, and that meant that Brian and I missed many a Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter during our tenure as a dynamic duo.  But as another saying goes, "Having a baby changes everything!" And while we've done our best to already instill a love for travel and adventure in our tiny human, this holiday season, we decided to stay close to home.

Our holiday staycation, as many would call it, began when HQ joined me for our pre-winter break assembly.  Over the 10 days away from work - for both Brian and me - we visited with friends, celebrated with all four sides of the family, tackled a few projects on our lot - the prop - and enjoyed uninterrupted time with our tiny human.  

We have so very much to celebrate and so many wonderful people in our lives to be thankful for.  A…


Those who know me best know how very important I find connections - between experiences, among people, to my past.  And today, we made a big and deep connection, a commitment to a place, our own little slice of the earth.  We officially closed on our 'prop,' a tree-lined lot nestled in a cul du sac in Delafield.  
While we've been pulled in various directions, namely west toward the mountains, and Colorado in particular, a certain tiny human made staying close to home, our roots, ever more important.  We'll surely always be drawn westward, but nothing compares to the love we see between our parents and our child; nothing tops that lovely little connection between the people who made us who we are and the tiny person we made. So we will dive into land ownership and home-building headfirst. We will choose flooring, fixtures, paint colors; we will price out dimmer switches and appliances; and one day soon-ish, as we settle in for our first night in our new home, we'l…

December 2nd

As my good friend Taylor Swift says, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.” She says a lot of profound things...
...but here is something that actually IS true: with age comes wisdom, and as 22 is indeed well back there in the rear view mirror, I feel wiser and more grateful than ever as I wrap up another year and another birthday celebration. 
When I actually turned 22 I was staring down graduation, plans for a second degree at a new university, and married life (people were going to start calling me Mrs.?!). I was facing many realities, not the least of which was that I would be living on my own (well, with my partner) and not in Africa, where I had grand visions of building schools in countries in need and volunteering at animal sanctuaries on weekends. Even still, at 22, birthday planning meant deciding if we should go to Wando’s before or after a stop at the KK. It meant deciding if leaving my coat at home - who wants bar smells and stuff on your attire?’ -  was worth the…

Lucky in Ol' Kentucky

With the extended break from work and amazing friends who opened their home up to us, we were finally able to get back to Kentucky over the Thanksgiving holiday. I hadn’t been back in four years - that’s a lot of missed fall climbing - and our tiny human had yet to be introduced to the RRG or Miguel’s was time!

​You can cut a lot of time off a drive if you never I learned the first time Brian and I traveled to the Red one Memorial Day weekend a million years ago.  He factored one stop for gas and a bathroom break - provided you were in and out before the tank was full - and that how we made all our trips, (our record may be a trip to Kentucky every weekend in October one year). So while Brian wasn't about to break any travel records for this 500ish mile journey, we were rather successful in keeping our stops to a minimum, even with a tiny human on board. 

One long lunch break, one stop for gas and a diaper change, and we had arrived.  And we got right …

Triply Blessed: The British Edition

Family has always been especially important to me, and when Brian and I decided to grow our own, I was reminded of how very strong the blessing of unconditional love is.  I have been oh-so lucky to be surrounded by that all my life, from not two families, but three (and then I became a Runnells and it was five).

Thanks to a lovely friendship and a bond that grew just as strong as any family bond can, I grew up with a 'third side' to my family, the Jarvis side.  Some of my most precious memories include singing along to Stevie Wonder with Maureen and my brother, babysitting my cousins, celebrating (Let's parttty, Rachael!) and traveling with them (anyone want another table cloth to cover up with at a Disney dinner?!), and now raising tiny humans along side them.

Last Saturday, the Unti (Runnells) girls spent the afternoon with much of the Jarvis crew, and it was such a joy, as always!  HQ and Winston entertained us and each other; we reminisced; and I soaked in the sweet, p…

Date Night

Late nights are a rarity in the Runnells household.  It would be easy to blame that on HQ, but it has much more to do with the hours teachers keep.  News that Tedeschi Trucks Band would be playing in Madison was enough to make me more than happy to delay bedtime.  
This past Monday, Brian and I made the trek west on I-94 to our old stomping grounds, the place where we babies became near-adults and, you know, got engaged...
The poor weather (at least it wasn't snowing?!) meant that we weren't about to venture all over campus and the surrounding area - those days are long gone - so we kept near to the venue, the Overture Center, when we arrived.  We enjoyed wine and great dinner at Cento, and then made our way across the street - literally - to enjoy another evening with Tedeschi Trucks Band.  

The thing about being Brian's partner is that you're surely in for something new - and usually exhausting - with each "So...I was thinking." The first time I heard that…

We All Need A Hero

They come in many shapes and forms, and as children, especially, we lean on them to inspire us, to shake the dust off.  Many of them wear costumes or capes; some are part of an athletic acronym, the NFL, NBA, the MLB.  You catch my drift - we all need our heroes.  I wasn't much for TV, and I like sports as much as the next person, but I wasn't emulating any WWE (I think it was the WWF back in my day?!) personality in my youth.

Of the many people who have helped me become the person I am today, the person who tops my heroes list is most certainly my dad.  And just this week, my dad exemplified why he's my hero once more; he was named Deputy Chief of the Mukwonago Fire Department after nearly 27 years of service. 

My dad's passion for helping others, his drive to do his best and be his best,  is what I channel as I walk into my classroom each day.  When I enrolled in graduate school and had to balanced that work with my professional responsibilities, I developed a new an…