Brother Mitch is HOME!

Brother Mitch is HOME!

Unless you never read a thing that I post on Facebook and Twitter, by now you know that my brother Mitch is back in Iowa after being deployed with the U.S. Navy. I went ten months without seeing my baby brother. And I was not alone. His friends and our family, as well as his girlfriend, endured the same length of time without seeing Mitch in person.

baby4A lot can happen in ten months:

  1. My sister Sarah became pregnant with baby number four.
  2. Our dad retired from his sales and marketing job of 19 years.
  3. I crossed off a bucket list item when I appeared on the Today Show on Caucus Day.
  4. Nephew Gabriel and Niece Lucy completed another year of school.
  5. Gabriel, Lucy, and and Niece Amelia all grew a ton. I feel like they grow too much when I haven’t seen them in a couple of weeks. I can’t imagine how different they are after ten months!
  6. Numerous terror attacks took place across the globe.
  7. Iranians fired missiles at my brother’s carrier.
  8. My brother’s carrier was featured on CNN for setting a record number of bombs launched against ISIS.
  9. Mitch’s deployment was extended by one month.
  10. As if I wasn’t emotional enough in my normal state, I now get teary eyed around anything patriotic, having to do with the armed forces, etc.

Mitch Navy ProfileMitch shared some amazing photos and videos with us during this past week. The views were breath taking, and the sleeping quarters were insanely small. They provided a unique glimpse into my brother’s new life as a sailor.

Hannah MitchWe only have a few more days with brother Mitch before he goes back to base. This time he is taking a piece of home with him though – girlfriend Hannah. So, while this big sister is fighting back tears, I will be so excited for the new adventure ahead for the two of them together.

troopsThank you SO MUCH to everyone who has offered words of encouragement, given hugs, and simply let me babble (happy babble, interchanged with the-world-is-going-to-end babble) on and on and on and on. We know there will be another deployment, and I will always need my tribe to talk me off the ledge and then hand me a glass of wine.


Fridays with G and L: The Chapter Ends

I felt like a bad aunt.  I had talked to G and L about the possibility of a new job since November.  And my gut told me after the first interview that I had a very good chance of landing this new job.  It was a great opportunity for me.  However, it would mean no more Fridays with G and L.  I’d just have to make a little more effort to carve out time for G and L after the first of the year.

It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about MY day with G, and then both G and L, over the course of the year and couple of months between October 2010 and December 2011.  When each of those kiddos was born, I vowed to be an aunt whom they would know well and be able to come to for anything.  I am very fortunate to live only 30 miles away from them, so it’s not like I was never going to see them again.  But yet it would be different.

Then I thought of all of the milestones yet to come, and how I needed to brace myself for those.  I could continue be a strong presence in their lives without my own day.  While I felt selfish at the moment, the tables will turn soon enough when they are older and making decisions in their own lives.

I thought about all of the families who are living hundreds or thousands miles apart.  And I thought about those who I am close to whom I don’t see all of the time.  It’s about the effort and quality time.

And it was time to start a new chapter, as painful as it might be.  I needed to find my career path again, as I felt I had been floating around since I left Victory Enterprises in early 2010.

My sister and brother-in-law have endlessly thanked me for babysitting their kids.  I always tell them I enjoy it, and even that is an understatement.  I learned so much from my Fridays with G and L.  They inspired me to start blogging about them.  They reminded me how trivial my problems were when I saw their faces light up.  While I didn’t cry as much as I thought I would when I drove home that night, I dreaded bringing this chapter of my blog to a close.  So I procrastinated with these final posts.  I didn’t want to type and cry at the same time.

Then I realized I had all of this new material for a new chapter: “Mel, G, and L”.  A NEW CHAPTER.  When one door closes, another opens.

July Recap

Three big events consumed most of July 2012.

1. Can’t stay away:


Eight months after leaving a full time team member position at Target Optical, I was offered a position to return as the Optical Team Lead in the Davenport store. Sometimes one needs to leave something to know how much she loved it. So was the case with Target Optical. I gave my notice at Rainbow International of the Quad Cities upon returning from…….

2. Bestie Jen’s wedding in Kansas City: well worth the wait.


Jen and I have been friends since the fall of 1997. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday we were chatting it up at random places on the Simpson campus. Then when you consider all the things we have done since then, 1997 seems like a totally different lifetime ago. This was going to be a tough one because I was so happy for her. After all of the ups and downs, she found a guy worthy of her. It was worth the wait. We had a blast that day, especially on the dance floor. Surprise, I know. 😉


3. The Bix

After thinking through all of the career move stuff and being busy and having so much fun with Jen’s wedding, it was a welcome energy release to run the Bix at 6 a couple of times in preparation for The Bix at the end of July. I finished in about 90 minutes, which was about the same time I had finished in two years ago. Maybe I need to train more seriously next year? It’s fun regardless of where I finish – as long as I am not the last one to cross that finish line.


Fridays with G and L: Final Friday

December 30, 2011

My final Friday with G and L; also the final Friday of 2011.

It was a bittersweet day, but of course G and L kept my mind off the finality of everything.

We started the day by creating blanket tents.  G and L’s dad hung out with us for a little bit before he went off to work.


Kentucky Fried Chicken was our Final Friday lunch spot.  Lucy loved it, but G was being a little crabby.


G’s mood improved when we went to get a cupcake.


Then we had to jump on the bed.

And we needed to add an ornament to the tree.


One must not forget that ribbon is an awesome toy.




Once back in Bennett, G and L showed me how to properly play with their race track.




And that’s a wrap!  What a fabulous year and two months spending nearly every Friday with G and then with L also after her arrival!  This series all began with my first “G” post on 10-10-10.  Time flies with my nephew and niece.  Love them to pieces.

UBWP: Day 8

Jen’s Wedding Day:  Sunday, July 15, 2012

Today’s Date:  Saturday, July 7, 2012

Days To Go:  8

How is it only eight days until Jen’s wedding?  Sure, these past few weeks have been crazy, but it still snuck up on me.  I had my dress and shoes in hand about three weeks before the wedding date.  And the dress hung in the plastic bag for a good three days before I mustered up the courage to try it on.

I tried it on, and it fit!  Well, mostly.  Needed to take in the top.  Story of my life.  Not mad, just a predictable fact.

I also tried on my bridesmaid dress from sister Sarah’s wedding.  Still fits!  Woot!  So what if I never followed through with this UBWP thing?  (In my defense, I have run/walked the one and only Bix at 6 that has been held so far this year – 7 miles!!!)  The dress still fits!

And one must not forget the shoes!

I finally took my dress to be altered at the beginning of this week.  Delorus Bockwoldt near Durant is amazing.  She’s an older lady who took care of all of the dresses for my sister’s wedding.  I called up Delores, trecked on three miles of gravel with Smurfette, and the dress was pinned and ready to go.  One day later, I received the phone call that it was ready for pick up.

One week from today at this time, I will be at rehearsal in Loose Park in downtown Kansas City.  Unreal that my bestie from college is getting married.  So happy for her!

Fridays with G and L: 11-11-11

G and L treated 11-11-11 just like any other day.  They were their usual creative selves, always surprising Aunt Mel with new skills.

G had fun with Scotch Tape.

Notice the vacuum cleaner hose a.k.a. the fire hose. Perhaps G is taping off the disaster scene.
Very focused.

L decided she would like to fill in as Secretary of the Scott County Republicans.

My assistant secretary!

And not to be outdone, Lucy had plenty of random smiles for the camera on this particular day.

Going for the iPhone - just like her brother. 🙂

11-11-11 was yet another great day with G and L.

March Recap

Since April is mostly gone, I suppose it would be past time to recap March.

1.  I joined BNI: power networking at its best.

2.  Enjoyed a First Friday at the Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire. With the exception of real Kentucky bourbon at the NFRW convention a few months ago, their Cody Road is the smoothest ever.

3.  The Governor & Lieutenant Governor came to town.

4.  St. Patty’s Day in Downtown Davenport.  Stay tuned for the blog post.

5.  Return of spiders.  They are still friendly.  My only issue is deciding whether to rename them or not.  Are they the same ones as last year?  Can’t really tell.

6.  Met up with my red headed cousin Lena at my Grandpa Fosaaen’s old house in Ossian.

Cousin Lena is now my favorite. 🙂

7.  Began work on an office/bedroom in my Dad and stepmom’s farm house near Decorah.

8.  Weekly Mad Men viewings with Beth.  We watch on Mondays and with wine.  Simply fabulous.

9.  Final day of March was spent in my hometown of Fredericksburg.  Enjoyed a great SendOutCards training, as well as a stop at Englebrecht Family Winery.

Fridays with G and L: The Chicken and the Egg

Flashback to Halloween 2011: The Friday before Halloween weekend was fun, but that Sunday was even better.  That afternoon I went trick-or-treating with G and L in Durant.

G had been so proud of his chicken costume the minute his mom brought it home.  He even mowed the lawn with his costume on!

However, when the time came to go onto the proverbial stage, G was having a near meltdown.  When he arrived with his mom, dad, and Lucy at my parents’ house in Durant, he did not want to become a chicken.  So Aunt Mel did what she did best back during her preschool teaching days back in Pearland: She acted so excited and assumed G would be too.  See, enthusiasm is contagious, especially with G.  Mix in the fact that I’m not his parent, and I have hit a home run.

Within a few minutes, G was a chicken.

As we stopped at the first few houses, one thing slowed us down.  G wanted to eat his candy right away.  Had we been blessed with the entire day to trick-or-treat, this would have been fine.  However, we had about an hour and a half.  So little by little we all coached G on letting the candy wait for him unopened in his plastic pumpkin.

G was scared of only one house:

What freaked him out is still a mystery to me.  Maybe it was the dim lighting?

Lucy played the egg role very well, only being mistaken for an angel one time.

Lu Lu a.k.a. the cutest egg ever

Before I knew it, we were on our way back to Nana and Papa’s house for my mom’s birthday dinner.  Double nickel!

Perhaps my favorite site of the trick or treating outing was the chicken crossing the road.

A little blurry – guess the chicken likes to hurry across the road. 🙂

Then again, the family photo was cute too.

Cutest family ever!

When I Win the Mega Millions

It’s so much fun to dream.  And as I traveled my territory for work and strategically purchased Mega Million tickets at various small town gas stations a couple of weeks ago (total expenditures being $7), I could not help but to strategize what I would do with the money.

First, I would pay off everything: student loans, you name it.  I would pay a year ahead on my phone bill and rent just to be ahead and not have to think about writing checks here and there all of the time.

Second, I would give money to my closest friends and family members.  I would give a big enough amount to each person that would pay off their houses, vehicles, weddings, etc. and then give them a little cushion.

Third, I would donate money to charity.  Having all of that money would be overwhelming, and giving a bunch away might actually lift a little weight from one’s shoulders.

Then, I would move on to my few splurge items.  First, a brand new Chevy Camaro.  Second, a beach house.  Third, a coffee shop and/or winery purchase.

After that I would travel around and hang out and do stuff.  For instance, I would be able to go visit all of my friends scattered across the country.  And I would have time to help with everyone’s projects.  When I grew tired of them, I could just hire someone to finish the job while I would have a cocktail with my friend or family member.

And, while not nearly as glamorous as so many other things I could be doing, perhaps the best thing would be having the time and freedom to lie by the beach and read for hours on end.

There’s always next time, right?  🙂

Just Be

I nearly always have to do list items running through my head.  True, I am a busy person.  Lots of people are busy.  And I am pretty sure a lot of those busy people have a switch to turn off the to do list once in a while.  I struggle with finding the switch and then leaving it off.

During our Scott County Republicans Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament on Saturday night, I worked on data entry.  I was not playing cards, but yet I could have put the netbook and phone away to instead enjoy the company of those around me.  I participated in conversation here and there and did eventually shut down the netbook.  But that was at least an hour or so into the event.

Then on Sunday night, I was at it again.  I used the birthday get-together at my mom and stepdad’s house as an opportunity to upload some You Tube videos.  True, I just checked on the computer a handful of times.  But I was still thinking about checking the uploads while I was hanging out with the fam.

It seems that I am always thinking about items to do.

I suppose it is a good thing that I have a tough time just watching TV without doing something else.  And my to dos keep me organized.

But I don’t want to miss out on the really good moments because I am too distracted to enjoy the current moment with 100% of my being.  While my lists of to dos are part of me, I need to just be sometimes.  Just be what?  Just be still.  Just be relaxed.  Just be happy.  Just be excited when the Donald fires the right person.  Or simply just be.