Day 25 – Thankful for Living in the Bluffs

Early this morning the boys and I packed up and headed home from Spook O Ree.  As we headed home we caught a wonderful sunrise as the sun slowly, and then suddenly, appeared over the bluffs.

While watching all four of their soccer games we had the bluffs all around us.  While watching my focus would occassionally drift to the top of the bluffs and I was reminded of the trails Becky and I have run up there.  

As we drove home we drove towards an awesome sunset as the sun dropped behind the bluffs of Minnesota and turned the sky and its whisky clouds a brilliant orange.

I am so thankful for having this dazzling beauty all around me all of the time, this place is amazing!


Day 24 – Thankful for Spook O Ree

It’s that time of the year again!  Load up our camping gear and head out with the boys to Spook O Ree, our annual Halloween scouting night.  This year has been a little different as Dominic is now one of the Boy Scouts who scares the Cub Scouts and I on the haunted hayride.  He also camps with them so Gavin and I are on our own.

So far so fun!  Lots of fun, screams, and good times!  

Back to the chaos and haunted houses!


Day 23 – Thankful for Honest People

Four years ago today Jeremy and I went for a pretty sweet trail run in the Hixon Forest trails.  The weather was awesome and we had a great time shooting the bull while enjoying some beautiful fall scenery in the bluffs.  At the end of the run we got back to the car and I realized that somewhere on the 5+ miles of trails the knot that held my car key to my shorts had come undone and I had lost my key!

After several moments of panic I noticed something pretty amazing on my car…

How awesome is that???  In a world when the news is filled with stories of lies, crimes, threats and violence (& that’s just the Presidential candidates!) it is very refreshing to know that there are lots of honest people who do the right thing.


Day 22 – Thankful for Apologizing to My Parents

On Sunday we were parking the pontoon in our driveway.  Becky was trying to help me out with where I needed to go with it, but we were communicating in completely different ways and not understanding each other.  I wanted her to be doing one thing and she thought she should be doing it a different way.  As I was finishing up I couldn’t help but laugh as a memory popped back into my head.

I’m still not quite sure what we had on the trailer, but I remember my dad asking me to get out and help direct him in backing up.  What I do remember was that he had a seemingly irrational wave anger suddenly come over him and I couldn’t figure out what he was so frustrated about.  Now, decades later, I understand. 🙂

Ever since the boys arrived it’s been funny to see just how many times something happens  that causes me to suddenly understand what it was that was so frustrating for them in that specific moment.  Most of the time it’s pretty harmless.  Hit in the crotch by the boys, apologize to my dad.  Boys break something in the house, apologize to my mom.  Seems like the boys are ungrateful little bastards (which I type with a smile and in a loving way), apologize to both of them.  It’s crazy to think that funny used to be knocking my dad’s hat off into the lake and mean used to be throwing me in after it.  Now, I see that I may have had it backwards! 😉

While I wouldn’t even know where to start on all of the times I’ve told them that they were right, every time it makes me smile huge and I have fun sharing the story with them.  Being able to consider them such great friends and being able to have complete humility is a fantastic thing.  The fact that they are still around is also a great thing that I am very appreciative of.  I can’t, or don’t want to, imagine a day when I am not able to hop on the phone and share how the boys made their first crack about putting me in a nursing home and then apologize for doing the same!  (Nick, you did sign the papers for Dad, right?)  Every day I can share with them is a blessing and I am very grateful.


Day 21 – Thankful for Chillin’ with Billy Pilgrim

Way back in the day, like decades ago in the high school days, my friends and I went to a concert together.  It was one of our first overnight road trips, head to a concert in Stevens Point, stay over at James’ grandparents’ house, and then head back.  While the main act is pretty embarrassing to mention, please keep in mind that it was in Stevens Point…  Anything was better than nothing.

When we got to the show we found our metal folding chairs in the middle of the gymnasium (yup, that’s how tiny it was) and waited for the concert to start.  The warm up was a band we hadn’t heard of before, Billy Pilgrim.  It was two dudes with acoustic guitars and microphones.  That was it.  No supporting cast, no anything, just them.  Prepared to be completely underwhelmed we were absolutely shocked when they started playing.  My mind was blown, they were AWESOME!  The songs were great, the lyrics fantastic and the way they were just enjoying the hell out of jamming out was very memorable.  Needless to say, they completely destroyed the headliner.

It took a while, but eventually I was able to track down their albums.  Ever since they have been either in a CD binder in the car or downloaded on my phone.  So many of their songs have resonated with me at various times in my life and it seems like I pick up something new every once in a while or see things in a different light.  There’s just something relaxing and soothing about listening to their music.  It’s like snuggling up under a warm blanket on a cold rainy day.

And that’s why they popped into my brain today.  Between running around seemingly non-stop for the past couple of weeks with another busy couple of weeks ahead of us my nerves have been feeling a little frazzled.  Soccer, cub scouts, work, and everything in between I caught myself having to take a few more deep breaths tonight than I’d like.  Driving home from scouts I heard a lyric in my head that made me smile, hit the brakes, whip a U turn and head to the store to pick up a little something…

From their song Halfway Home (great song to chill to by the way!) :  “Son just sit a while, and let the whiskey dull the edge”


And that was all I need to hear in my head.  I poured myself a little, turned on that song, sat on the couch and started typing this blog.  It was the music my soul needed to hear today to help me chill.

I’m so thankful that we happened to stumble onto this band way back in the day!


Interesting side note #1, I’m pretty sure this was the same road trip when Chris rolled down the window (literally) and joked about throwing his Hootie and the Blowfish CD out.  One second he’s laughing and joking, the next it flies out the window and his jaw drops.  “I didn’t mean to do that,”was his response as the rest of us laughed.

Interesting side note #2, Billy Pilgrim is no longer around.  Kristian Bush is no a part of a pretty famous country band, Sugarland!

Day 20 – Thankful for Seeing My Boys Through a Different Lens

Parent teacher conferences tonight went really well.  Almost all positives, only a couple of things for the boys to work on.  All in all, I couldn’t be more proud of them.  They’re a couple of great kids with good heads on their shoulders most of the time.  Of course, I’m very thankful for that.


But that’s not what I’m writing about today.  The thing I’m thankful for today is being able to look at them through a different lens.  In my head I have these expectations and perceptions of who they both are and how they both react to things.  Spending as much time with them as we do I can’t help it, I totally have paradigms of each of them and just expect that those thoughts are always correct.  Going to conferences reminds me that there is way more to the boys than I think.

Between seeing them interact with their teachers and other faculty I got to see different sides of their personalities.  Somethings were spot on with my ideas, but others were just a little different.  Watching Dominic’s confidence when talking with adults made me smile, I sometimes get worried that he’s a little too shy.  While I get anxious about Gavin’s ability to sit still and focus we see him calm down and focus on one thing at a time.  Hearing the stories, examples, and progress from the teachers helped me see other sides as well.  There were different strengths that I sometimes don’t recognize or pay enough attention to.  Dominic’s ability to work with anyone.  Gavin’s competitiveness and ability for great self-reflection.  There were so many nuggets from the night that I am having a tough time remembering them all.

It was a great reminder for me to watch the lens I’m wearing when I look at the world and try to see it for what it is, not what my brain is twisting it to be because of my previous experiences, preset paradigms, and false pretexts.  I still remember someone telling me long ago to envision the lint screen in a dryer.  Before interacting with others I need to remember to clean it out and start fresh.  That’s what the parent teacher conferences helped me do tonight, clean out the filter and see the people my boys are growing up to be.  I’m very thankful for the opportunity to see them clearly from a different angle.


Day 19 – Thankful for One Last Beautiful Day of Serenity NOW!!!

Day 19 – Thankful for One Last Beautiful Day of Serenity NOW!!!

Soccer was cancelled today due to rain soaked fields in Madison.  Not gonna lie, I wasn’t super disappointed 😉   After plowing through some early morning work, heading to church, and then grabbing coffee we headed out to our pontoon (Serenity NOW!!!) to take it for one last spin on the river before pulling it out for the year.

The weather was AWESOME!!!  Sun was out, little to no wind, just warm enough, it was perfect!  We even stopped at a flooded out island so LuLu could swim and Sky and the boys could explore and play.


It is always kind of a sad day when we have to take the boat out, but it was great to get one last good day out of it this year.  Maybe we didn’t get out quite as much as we would have liked over the past month or two, but it was a great boating season and we’ll be excited to put it back in next May.  Nothing like ending the season on such a high note.