Fall means an onslaught of acronyms: RRG, DLSP, PSL....okay, so really, for most it only means Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but in the Runnells household, fall has always meant trips to the Red River Gorge, KY and Devil's Lake State Park.

Recently, however, we've been acquainting ourselves with another treasure, Peninsula State Park.  In what turned out to be a lucky coincidence, my parents' annual trip to Door County aligned perfectly with my initial Academic Decathlon Coaches' Workshop, held in Green Bay.  So, this weekend we enjoyed our first time camping at Peninsula and HQ experienced her first camping trip ever!  When I departed Thursday, I took some of my parents' supplies, and they brought my husband and my tiny human when they headed up Friday - we convened at the park and spent Friday evening though Sunday afternoon enjoying some perfectly wonderful fall weather.

Adding to the list of firsts this,  HQ came down with a bug early last week and was not her typical …

Al's Run 2018

While I was without either of my run buddies for the five mile course, Saturday was indeed a great day for another Al’s Run. And I was very pleased to be back with Team Zoe after last year's absence due to the arrival of our HQ (well, truthfully, due to figuring out how to keep said new 10-day-old human alive and well - forget attempting to leave our home with her).
Much as I love time with my tiniest run buddy, I thought it best to avoid any extra sparkle potential (it was hot, hot, hot, and sweatin’ is in my Mexican blood), so HQ made her Team Zoe debut on the 3-mile course in her super plush, off-road capable stroller (too bad it isn’t self driving). 
Despite the heat, I had a great run, was pleased with my time, got two banana halves at the finish line, and was able to support an utterly important cause! I also got to spend a good portion of my Saturday with family...even if I did have to do so in enemy territory (booo, Marquette!).

Al's Run 2018 was great!

A Tuesday in 2001

I don’t know that I will ever forget Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. I was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and just settling into life as a college student. It was exhilarating and also a bit lonely; it wasn’t yet home, and part of me longed for the comfort and normalcy of home.

As the day unfolded, I would desperately need that comfort. I walked out of the elevator eager to get to Spanish, but as I passed the common room, I caught a glimpse of the television. I don’t know that what I saw on the screen fully registered. I do know how clearly many of my fellow Ogg  residents wore  trepidation on their faces. I read the ticker line and froze. How could it be? What should I do?  And then I ran though the list of names - the list of loved ones who may have been, for even the faintest of reasons, in NYC. I also rushed off to class. I didn’t know what else to do.

My professor arrived late but largely unaware of what was happening - she noted how hard it was to trave…

And Then She Was One

You think you know yourself and what matters to you.  You think you've made sense of the world.  And then you become a parent, as I did one year ago today, and  you know, you truly know, what life is all about.

I have learned just how much and how deeply a person can love.  I have learned how, in the same instant, a person can feel immense joy and pain, devotion and trepidation.  Every moment - be it the first time she wraps her five tiny fingers around one of yours or the fifth week of sleepless nights - is precious. And raw. Being a parent is terrifying and deeply rewarding.

I sometimes watch HQ sleeping and find myself wiping away tears.  How did I live before I knew this little person?  Her entrance into our lives makes for an entertaining story (one I'll happily share if you're up for a giggle or two); her presence in our lives makes them complete.  She's given us purpose and perspective, and so, so much happiness.

So, today (and tomorrow..and all the days...) I w…

Fun Family Weekend

Sadly, summer is coming to a close.  I was back to work this week, and next week officially marks the start of another school year, my twelfth as a high school English teacher (gosh, I'm getting old!). With that in mind, I did my best to squeeze all the good vibes I could out of Summer 2018...

Friday, Brian and I headed to MadTown with our cousins, Mike and Christina, to party like we were undergrads (you know, the kind who are super responsible and up by 6:30am).  We all joked that kickoff was basically our bedtime - 8pm comes quickly when you're up by 5am - but we hung in there and even managed to Jump Around (well, three of the four of us!). 

Despite talk of sleeping in (like until noon!!), we were up early and off to the gym before we wend about adulting for the day - groceries don't buy themselves....Then, hoping she'd be down for an afternoon of watching us nap, BR and I retrieved our tiny human and did our best to make it till 8pm.  She wasn't interested in …


Evenings in the Runnells household typically go something like this: build block towers, stack cups and chase the kitties, eat all the avocado, splash around during bath time, read a book, and snuggle up in the rocking chair before bed.  Those precious few minutes in that rocking chair are the very best of my day, the quiet time I get to share with my daughter being the bookends of my day.

I have always loved the way newborns froggy up their legs and settle into the snuggle, and when I was pregnant, I'd often tell BR I couldn't wait for our little one "to curl up like a potato," as I was apt to say, "right here," pointing to the spot where my sweet little HQ eventually made herself right at home.

Tonight, before I laid her in her crib that dances among the shadows of the mountains her daddy lovingly painted on her nursery walls, HQ turned to me, looked deep into my eyes, and laid herself so we were chest-to-chest; she rested her head in the crook of my neck…

Livin' That Lake Life...and Lovin' It

After our June trip, I was optimistic that we would be able to sneak in one more trip to Lac du Flambeau before summer came to a close.  This past weekend was that much-hoped-for trip. 

While we were short on bubble water, there was no shortage of lake life goodness on our four-day getaway.  There was swimming and floating, boating and fishing, crossword puzzles, family game time, and tiny human tricks (HQ was especially pleased when she learned that giving kisses also doubles as a way to call her Aunt Becky's puppy over).  There were sunny days and gorgeous nights.

What more could a person ask for?!