An emotional day

So many thoughts were running through my head leading up to the Fargo Mini Marathon. But the biggest? Would I be able to finish?


I didn’t last year and to be honest, it sucked. You can read about that experience HERE.

Since last year, I have been carrying around my bib number in the visor of my car as a reminder that I didn’t finish that race. It is the one and only time I have not been able to finish a race and had to step off the course. I know I shouldn’t have let it bother me, but it did. And it has for a solid year.

So this year, was my redemption year. I have been planning for this race all year. Not hardcore training for it per se, but just mentally gearing up for it. I had to run this race. I had to finish this race. I had to redeem myself. Stupid thinking? Perhaps. But it is what it is. It’s how I felt.

Let’s back up two weeks…to Sunday, October 9 and the Twin Cities Medtronics 10-mile race. As you all know, I have asthma and my asthma had been acting up prior to that race. I was put on prednisone a couple days prior to the race. I was NOT told I couldn’t run. So, I did. And I did okay. I ran the race, slower than normal, but I did it and finished and I was happy. My lungs were happy. But not for long. They got angry and I was having some major issues with my asthma.

So, long story short….I went into the doctor, got put on a second round of prednisone and the good ol’ Z-Pak because bronchitis had settled in and I was miserable. Running was out of the question. And I was not happy. I was angry. Furious really. And again, yes, I know it’s stupid. But it’s how I felt.

The Fargo Mini Marathon – the 13.1 mile race that I wanted to finish, that I needed to finish, seemed out of the question. I honestly didn’t really know what I was going to do up until the night before the race. I know I wanted to run, I know I needed to run. But…I also needed to breathe. Every day.

The doctor may have said that I should probably think about not running the race. Or maybe she actually said, “You shouldn’t run the race.” Maybe. Not sure. Maybe I really wasn’t listening. Maybe because I am a stubborn half-German, half-French who likes to not listen and do things MY way. Whatever. I know my heart was telling me to run but my stupid brain was messing with me. What happens if you can’t? What happens if you have a major asthma attack on the course? What happens if you have to step off the course AGAIN? Can you mentally handle that? What happens if you die? Yes, that thought ran through my mind. And I have to admit, three to four days prior to the race, I actually started having panic attacks. STUPID! It’s just a race. It’s not that big of deal.

But to me it was. It truly was something I HAD TO DO. I wish I could explain it better. But I can’t. I just needed this. I couldn’t let my asthma get the better of me. I couldn’t let it win. I had to beat it.

I was very happy to hear that there were going to be pacers for the half-marathon. I needed to run with a pacer. I had determined that early on.


PICTURE: This is the list of pacers from the Fargo Mini-Marathon website.

I knew if things were “normal” I would have picked the 2:20 or even the 2:15 pace group. But, because I didn’t want to push it or because I knew I needed to be smart about things, I opted to go with the 2:30 pacer. I knew that my lungs needed me to run slow and not put anymore strain on them then I was already going to do. So, the 2:30 group was it – Alyssa Oinonen was going to be my gal.

And, I couldn’t have made a better decision…Alyssa ROCKED IT! She was exactly who I needed. She was the perfect pacer. And there is no way I could have done this race without her.


PICTURE: The awesome pacer, Alyssa, and I right after we crossed the finish line.

Thank you to the organizers of the Fargo Mini Marathon for having the pacers there and a HUGE THANK YOU to Alyssa. You have no idea what you did for me and you have no idea how important of a role you had, but you filled it completely. YOU ROCK!

As the race started, I told Alyssa who I was and that I had asthma and wasn’t sure I was going to finish the race. I told her I wouldn’t be talking much because I had to conserve my energy, my breathing for running. I told her the facemask I was wearing was so I could breathe in warm air and not the cold, crisp air that greeted us that morning. Cold air and my lungs don’t play nice together.

And as we started the race, my body, my heart AND my lungs were telling me to run faster. I felt good. I felt great. I wanted to push it. BUT…my mind was telling me different. My mind was telling me to trust the pacer and even though it felt SO SLOW, it was what I needed. I needed a steady, nice, slower pace. Trust the pacer.

As we approached mile five, there were a few others who I realized were running with the 2:30 pace group as well. We didn’t do a lot of talking, but yet we did. It was the perfect amount. The pacer, Alyssa, talked the most. She let us know she was there for us and if we needed anything, to let her know. She told us when the water stops were coming. She told us about the port-a-potties coming up. She encouraged us to keep going. She let us know if there was a hill (slight incline) coming up and that we could do it. She was funny. She was inspiring. She was perfect.

Mile five came and went and I told the group that it was at mile five last year that I stepped off the course. They were so supportive and told me I was doing great. We hit mile six and I got emotional, although the group didn’t catch on how emotional. I realized then I was going to do it. That the race was going well and I was going to finish. Our group eventually got smaller and for much of the rest of the race, it was just Alyssa, myself and a couple, Leah Kramer and Ryan Thorson. They had lived in Fargo when they signed up for the mini marathon but had recently moved to Hopkins. I found out we had a few things in common. They both like craft beer, although I think they prefer IPA’s, where I am more of a stout kind of gal. We knew about many of the same breweries, both in Fargo and in the Twin Cities. They just seemed really cool and I am happy to have met them and able to run part of the race with them.

The coolest part, though? We are all biggest losers! Both Leah and Ryan had lost some weight. Okay, they lost quite a bit of weight. Leah has lost 60 pounds and Ryan has lost 80 pounds. Between the three of us, we had a combined weight loss of 200 pounds! Alyssa said that gave her the chills and she got a little emotional. Her group that she was pacing had lost 200 pounds and were now runners. It was kind of emotional and I think it helped each of us realized that we were going to finish this race come hell or high water. We kind of inspired each other. It seriously was so cool. And another really cool thing? This was Leah and Ryan’s FIRST HALF-MARATHON! And they were rocking it!


PICTURE: Ryan, Leah and I. I had to get a picture with them after the race. So happy to have met them.

Toward the end of the race, I was starting to get really tired. I wanted to be done. My lungs felt good, but my body was tired. My feet were tired. I hadn’t ran in two weeks, so my body was truly tired. I was “out of shape” so to speak. But, Alyssa kept me going. She told me to stick with her and she would get me to my goal of 2:30. She ended up carrying my water bottle for me after she filled it up at the last water stop. She kept telling me I could do it. She kept encouraging me and telling me how well I was doing. She had the personality, the spunk, the attitude, the everything I needed at that point to finish the race. The last mile was tough. There were a couple of hills. But Alyssa got me through it. Honestly, I would not have made my goal without her. I would have given up. But she was there encouraing me the ENTIRE way.

We crossed the finished line. I hugged her. We took pictures. And then she was off….to run the 5K as part of the Red River Double. AMAZING! She had just finished a half-marathon and then she jumped in line and ran a 5K…in under 21 minutes. WHAT? Yep, I’m telling you…she was/is amazing!

Thanks again, Alyssa, you were exactly what I needed to run AND finish this race.


PICTURE: I made the shirt I was wearing. It says it all…#asthamcantstopme!

After the race, after Alyssa and I took some pictures, I was able to be with my hubby, Al, and as he gave me a big hug I crumbled. I completely, utterly lost it. I sobbed into his shoulder and he just held me tightly, congratulated me and told me I did it. I finished it. I ran 13.1 miles and I didn’t die. I could still breathe. And I was going to be okay. Even though it was only a minute or so, it felt like I sobbed for 10 minutes. I finally stopped and pulled myself together. I have been emotional before after a race, but this one takes the cake. As I wiped the tears away, a friend of mine, Krista, and her husband, Adam, approached us. Krista knew how I felt about this race and that I was unsure if I was going to be able to finish or not and she grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug. She is THE BEST!


PICTURE: Of course, Krista and I had to get our picture taken together, too!

Krista also ran the half-marathon and totally, utterly, completely crushed her goal! She was hesitant to tell me her goal, but admitted that she wanted to do it in 2:10. But I could tell she really didn’t think she could do it in that time. Well, she blew that time out of the water. She completed the half-marathon in 2:06 – yes, TWO HOURS and SIX minutes. WHAT? Yep. Nailed it. So proud of you, Krista! You are friggin’ amazing. Way to go.

Her husband, Adam, and my husband, Al, both ran the 10K. Well, Al actually ran the 5K and then the 10K. It’s a great story, but I won’t share about it here….YET! Al is going to write about it and when he does, I will share it with you all. But it’s great. LOVE my hubby!


PICTURE: Post-race pictures with our medals.


PICTURE: This was actually taken pre-race with SnapChat…loved the filter on this one!


PICTURE: Of course, we ran into Arne Robinson. If you don’t know Arne, take the time to check him out. He is one of the most inspiring runners you will ever meet. He is determined and has the biggest heart of gold. Arne is the vision of a true athlete. An inpiring athlete. You can find out all about Arne by checking out his Facebook site, Running with Arne Robertson. Just click HERE.

After the race, we went stopped and grabbed some coffee and then went back to my son’s apartment and took advantage of the hot tub. It felt SO GOOD. And then, we got ready, went out for a couple of beers with my son, Brandon, and then headed over to our friend’s house for ribs and a few more beers. Thanks to Gary and DeAnn for the BEST supper of ribs, potatoes, corn bread and salad. They really spoiled us. And the ribs…..OH. MY. GOODNESS! They were exactly what I wanted. So friggin’ tasty. Best ever.

Here’s a few more pics from the day:






PICTURE: My splits according to my Garmin Forerunner 220. Several negative splits, which was pretty cool. It was a great race! 


PICTURE: My overall time, distane and pace. I am very pleased with the results from this race. And, I am beyond thrilled that I FINISHED IT!!!!!


What does asthma feel like?

So today has not been a good day for my asthma. And as I was sitting on my couch doing nothing, I decided to start looking up pictures or graphics that could help people understand my asthma just a little bit better.

Not that people don’t get it. But some people just don’t get it.

Honestly, sometimes, I don’t get it. I mean I get what asthma is and I know that my smoking for several years didn’t help. In fact, I am convinced that it is what caused it. But whatever, what’s done is done. Nothing I can do about it now. I just know that I hate it and it sucks. And today is one of those days it sucks and I am down in the dumps about it and need to just get it off my chest. No pun intended!

Diverse Hands Holding The Word Asthma

First off, I never know when my asthma is going to act up. I never know if just my inhaler is going to help. I never know if I my nebulizer will be enough. And I never know if the prednisone I hate taking will do the trick either. Sometimes, all of it works. Sometimes, none of it works. Every asthma episode is different. Every. Single. Time. Sometimes, yes, running triggers it. Most of the time, however, IT DOES NOT! Sometimes, humid weather causes a flare up. Most of the time, colder, damp air causes it to rear its ugly head. Weather, I know for me, plays a HUGE role in my the number of attacks I get and the severity. (More on that later.)

Here’s how I would like to describe my current situation…in pictures:



Yes, it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. Yes, my chest feels tight and like it’s on fire. And yes, my lungs are ANGRY. (A friend of mine described her lungs that way to me today and it was so absolutely fitting! Thanks, Tracie!)

If you noticed, I actually didn’t say I couldn’t breathe or that I was wheezing. Yes, there are plenty of times I can’t breathe or I can’t take a deep breath to save my soul, but not today. And yes, sometimes, I am extremely wheezy. Listen HERE if you want to know what it sounds like. But again, not today. I am actually breathing fine. Well, as long as I keep my lips tightly pursed shut and only take deep breaths through my nose. Seriously, as long as I don’t try to mouth breathe, which means no talking (oh, joy!), and only take long,  controlled and purposeful breaths through my nostrils, I am fine. No wheezing.

As I was doing some research, I came across the following and thought it was great. And, something everyone without asthma should try and do because then you would get an idea of what it’s like for those who have asthma. Not kidding.  Try it.


I know people wish they could change things for me, take my asthma away or wish there was some magical potion to make it all go away. But, unfortunately, there is not. I know what I have to do. There is nothing anyone can do. BUT……I so appreciate those who would do something and change it if they could. That’s what helps. And it helps just to be understood and not misunderstood. If that makes any sense.

So, over the course of the last couple of years, I have noticed ONE common denominator with my asthma…weather.


Yes, weather plays a major role in MY asthma. It may not for some people, but for me, it definitely wreaks havoc with my lungs and my breathing.


Here’s some things I found out from the Everyday Health website:

Certain weather conditions, from extreme heat to extreme cold and everything in between, can prompt an asthma attack. And change in weather patterns can also trigger an attack. Here’s an excerpt from the website.

“In people with asthma, the airways become hyper-reactive to allergens such as pollen and irritants such as perfumes,” says Stanley Fineman, MD, MBA, an allergist with the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic. He says that humidity, temperature changes and other weather conditions can also can also irritate the airways. 

“Temperature changes in the airways can cause inflammation in the airways as well,” said the doctor. “For most people, this is not a problem. The nose controls humidity without difficulty. But for people with allergies and asthma, who may breathe air through the mouth more often, irritants, pollutants and pollen are more of a factor.”

He said that because people with asthma already have inflamed airways, the more severe the asthma, the more likely the weather is to affect them. 

AHA! Makes total sense!

Some common weather triggers include cold air, wind and rain and believe it or not, lightning and thunderstorms and air pressure fluctuations. Barometric pressure triggers sinus episodes and sinusitis is a common trigger for asthma symptoms.

Well, now you AND I both know. Apparently it wasn’t just in my head. I actually knew what I was talking about when I told people that the change in weather always affects me. Sometimes, I’m smarter than you think. Sometimes. Lol!

Lastly, what exactly happens to my lungs and why can’t I breathe? I found a couple of really good pictures to show what happens. Take a peek:

Illustration showing the inflamation of the bronchus causing asthma

An image of an asthma-inflamed bronchial tube on a white background


So there you go, now you know. Even if you didn’t want to know.

Currently, I take a daily inhaler, use essential oils, carry and use my quick-acting inhaler whenever I need it, suck on the nebulizer from time to time and when all else fails, I resort to prednisone. Sometimes, it is THE ONLY thing that works. And sometimes, that doesn’t even help.

I will just keep doing what I am doing and try to get through these rough patches as best as I can. I do know one thing for certain and that is I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, not even my worst enemy!

the drugs


And lastly,



Birthdays are fun!

I love birthdays. And not just my own. I love everyone’s birthday. Always have.

Growing up, my parents always made a big deal over our birthdays. Or at least that is what I remember anyway. They always made me feel so special on my birthday – more special on that day than any other day. I’ve always loved my birthday. And no, not because of the presents. It was because of the acknowledgement and the fact that I had one day that was all about me. Or at least that’s what my parents made me feel. I got to pick my favorite breakfast, I got to be pick what we did and I got to pick what we ate for supper. Which, by the way, is probably not what you would expect. My favorite meal my mom made was goulash. Or what we called goulash – hamburger, macaroni noodles, canned tomatoes and corn. I LOVED this hot dish. It was my favorite and what I always picked to eat. Plain, simple and oh-so-scrumptious.

My parents always – ALWAYS – made me feel special on my birthday and that is something I will always treasure. And I would like to say that hopefully my son feels the same way. I have always tried to make him feel special on his birthday. Even now, at the age of 23, my son’s birthday is important and very special to me and I want him to feel even more special and loved on that day than any other day of the year. Truly, his birthday is more important to me than it is to him. I am hoping deep down he secretly loves how much of a big deal I make.

Anyway, this past Friday – September 30 – was my 44th birthday and I’m telling you, that day – along with the entire weekend – was pretty damn special. And I loved every moment of it. Even my brother’s voice mail with the Happy Birthday song about living in a zoo, looking like a monkey and smelling like one, too. It was perfect.

I am going to share my TOP 15 from this weekend with you with pictures – TONS of pictures. Hope you enjoy!

1. I woke up to this:


And this:


2. And then I got to work out, outside, with this awesome group of ladies:


3. When I got to work, I got the best present from my co-worker – a pan of ooey, gooey chocolate, caramel, oatmeal bars. I took a pic, but somehow deleted it. But trust me, they were AMAZING!

4. On my lunch break, I got to bring my dad, who has Alzheimer’s, to a doc appointment. On the way there, I told my dad, “Today is a special day, it’s Friday, September 30.” And then I asked him why the day was special and he didn’t know. I then said, “It’s the day I was born. It’s my birthday.” He replied unenthusiastically and with just one word, “Oh.” As much as I would like to say it didn’t bother me because of his Alzheimer’s, I would be lying. It made me sad. But, I know it is the god-awful disease and not really my dad.

5. After work, I got to take a little time for myself courtesy of my hubby at one of my favorite places ever – Bombshells Salon & Spa! My massage and manicure were ah-maz-zing! It was just what I needed!

6. Next up, Al and I went to visit my mom. Oh, she was in such a good mood and so lucid. After we had been there a bit, she all of a sudden said, “Aren’t you guys going out to eat?” I told her we were and asked her why. She said, “Well today is a special day isn’t it?” SHE REMEMBERED! I totally had to hold back the tears, but I have to say, it truly made my day. She had the sweetest smile on her face when she said it. It was like she was my mom again. And then, she and Al proceeded to sing Happy Birthday to me. I so wished I would have video taped it. It was perfect. I loved it. I gave her the biggest hug when we left. That was probably my favorite birthday present…my mom singing Happy Birthday to me. Still makes me tear up.

7. Supper and a beer at D. Michael B’s.


8. Al and I walked around the mall afterward for quite awhile, but believe it or not, we didn’t buy a thing!

9. We decided to stop for a nightcap at 6th Avenue Wine and Ale before heading home and I got to have my favorite beer of all-time…Buffalo Sweat.


10. The next morning, I decided to get up and go for a run…a 4.4 mile run in honor of my 44th birthday. It was a pretty good run. Felt good.


11. After I got home, I had to hurry up and get ready as Al and I were heading to Sauk Centre for the American Legion Beer Run. This was our first time running this race and it was pretty dang cool. Relaxed and loads of fun. They had a one-mile route set up that participants – runners and walkers – went around three times. You could stop for a beer or root beer after each mile and use up one each of your three drink tickets or you could save all three tickets and use them after you completed all three miles. Al and I weren’t sure what we were going to do, but ended up stopping after each mile and drinking (chugging!) our beers. It was SO MUCH FUN! We will definitely plan on doing this race again next year. It was way hotter than expected out so the beers tasted pretty dang good after each mile!


12. After the beer run, we decided to head to St. Cloud. We stopped at the Snap Fitness in Sauk Centre to clean up. (We are now Snap Fitness members as I will be starting to teach group fitness there on Monday, October 10!). We had LOADS of fun in St. Cloud. We went to Granite City Brewery because I had a coupon for my birthday and I received a free appetizer and it turned out, a free dessert, as well! After Granite City, we walked around Bed, Bath and Beyond. Then, we decided to head to Beaver Island Brewery for a night-cap. After that, we went to Barnes and Noble for a coffee and a little browse time. When Al and I first started hanging out together, we would go to St. Cloud and hang out at Barnes and Nobles for hours. I wanted to do that for my birthday and old-times sake. I think we ended up spending at least two hours at the bookstore. It was SO MUCH FUN! Our last stop before heading home….of course, Cold Stone Creamery for my free birthday ice cream! I had another birthday coupon to use!





13. After we got home, we stayed up WAY TOO LATE and got caught up on a new show we started watching, The Night Shift. And when I say too late, I am talking 3 a.m. too late. Seriously, WTH? I haven’t stayed up that late in a forever long time. I guess that will teach me to drink coffee at 10 o-clock at night. Yes, that was stupid. But, it was still fun!

14. Today, Sunday, I got up – a little later than normal (about 9 a.m.) – and went for a run. I ran part of my run – about two miles worth – with my friend, Natalie. I finished the rest of my eight-miler by myself. It was not a fantastic run – it was hotter than I expected and I was just a wee bit tired. But, alas, I got in my eight miles! And when I got home, I immediately went down to our basement where it’s nice and cool and did one of my favorite things – put my legs up the wall (my very sweaty legs, that is!) After my run, Al and I headed to Perkins for a late lunch, early supper. I had another coupon for a free meal for my birthday. Yes, I am all about getting the free stuff for my birthday! Call me old, or call me smart, either one or both works just fine!



15. After we got done with our meal, I got to try and pretend that I am photographer. I am SO NOT a photographer. I love taking pictures, don’t get me wrong. And I love taking pictures of things – food, flowers, foliage, whatever. I normally don’t, however, like taking photos of people. But, my favorite friends asked me to take some family pics for them, so I obliged. Again, I am so not a “real” photographer, but the pics ended up okay. Here’s one of my favorites. (I may actually be okay at taking pics, but I suck at editing!)


So, there you have it. My birthday weekend. Thanks to everyone who made it the best birthday ever!



Time for me to fly

“Time for me to fly
And that’s just how it’s got to be
I know it hurts to say goodbye
But it’s time for me to fly”

time for me to fly


As I pulled into the parking lot of Vital Fit Club today, this was the song playing on the radio. I had to Soundhound it and then screenshot my phone because it was just too perfect.

OK, I realize this song is about a relationship and really not exactly fitting, but part of the chorus (posted above) fits for today.

I taught my last group fitness class at Vital Fit Club today. And ironically, two years ago to the day is when I started working at the club.

We never know where life is going to take us, but sometimes, as much as it can hurt, it’s time for us to fly.

I will miss Vital, especially the members. I formed some wonderful friendships the last two years and I couldn’t ask for anymore than that.

last class

Pic: Thanks to everyone who attended my last class – you made my day. And thanks, Wayne, for the treats! (Again.) 

I know Jon, Heather, Kayla and the rest of the crew really don’t need me. They can move forward, move on without me. They were fine before I got there and they are gonna be just fine now that I am gone. (That’s what I have to keep telling myself to make it easier!)

I learned a lot the last two years and for that I am thankful. I won’t forget my time at Vital. I won’t forget the people. There are many that I am going to miss tremendously. The members made every day more enjoyable. They are an incredible group of people.

Technically, I guess, I am not officially done because I still have personal training clients I am working with. But that will soon come to an end. And as much as I will miss all of those who attended my morning classes and my noon classes, and let me tell you, I am going to miss them. But, when working one-on-one with people, you form a different bond. I am so incredibly proud of all of my clients I worked with.

And, I am still looking forward to my early mornings with my summer bootcamp crew. We’re not done yet either.

As to what the future will hold, I know I am not done teaching. I’m guessing I will again. It may be time to fly, but sometimes you have to soar to new heights!


Pic: BREATHE! Anyone who attended my classes knows this is definitely my mantra. 


Pic: Love this quote and it fits so perfectly! 

present from vital

Thank you, Kayla, for making this gift! And thank you to EVERYONE who signed it. I will treasure it always.

My marriage

“The simple pleasures are the best! You guys clearly get that!”

This was a comment left on a post I made on Facebook this morning. (Thanks, Mr. Carney!) And, it couldn’t be any more true. Al and I get it. I feel the need to share about our relationship to help people better understand us. Not sure why I feel this need, but I do.

Let’s begin.

Al and I started dating in March of 2004. We had both had some not-so-hot relationships. I had been married twice. Yes, twice. Al was engaged twice. Yes, twice. We took it slow. Plus, a big factor in our relationship at that time was that he was my boss. Yep, he was the editor of the paper and I was one of the reporters. Here’s a fun fact…Al had actually attended my second wedding. And no, he WAS NOT the reason my marriage failed. Al had absolutely nothing to do with my divorce. He was, however, my sounding board while I was going through my divorce. I can’t tell you how many times I went to him – talking, crying, complaining, crying, asking for advice, crying, etc. He was always there to listen to me. And, vice versa. He was also going through a rocky relationship at the time (not with anyone he was engaged to) and I was there to listen to him and offer him advice. We became the best of friends.

When I made the decision to get divorced, Al helped me find an apartment and also helped me move in when I found a place. I moved in January 1 of 2004. And it so happened the place I moved into was two apartment buildings down from him. He lived in building one and I lived in building three. On the weekends I didn’t have my son, Al and I would spend a lot of time together. We would go to St. Cloud and sit for hours at a time at Barnes and Noble. We would go out to eat. We would go to Brainerd with some friends of ours. We shared everything. He knows my WHOLE story and I know his. We got close. We talked about dating but once again, he was my boss. We didn’t know how that work.

Well, eventually, we couldn’t stop the inevitable. We started dating. I honestly believe that both of us knew this was going to happen, even though we tried not to let it. But, when two people are meant to be, there are truly meant to be. And I mean that in all sincerity. I know it is cliché, but I know deep in my soul that Al and I meant for each other. Yes, I know it is another cliché, but we are truly soulmates. 100 percent.

lobsgter claw

We love food and sometimes, you just have to play with your food!

being goofy

Sometimes, we love to be goofy and yes, occasionally, we even dress alike! 

There were people who thought it was wrong for us to be together. There were people who thought we wouldn’t last. There were people who were shocked that we were a couple. And then there were people, like us, who knew we were perfect for one another. That we were meant to be.

I am so happy for those people.

Let me tell you about our relationship. It’s quite unique and very rare in this day and age.

But first I have to tell you something else. I am happy for my first two marriages. I learned from both of them. I am thankful to Rod, my first husband and my son’s dad. Without him, I wouldn’t have Brandon. He is a great guy and he still holds a very special place in my heart. We were just not meant for each other. And I think we both knew that and accepted it. He is still a very big part of my life and I am grateful for that. I love the relationship he has with Brandon and I couldn’t have asked for a better dad for my son. They have such a bond. Truly, I have to admit that sometimes, I am jealous about it. Their relationship is awesome and I thank Rod for putting in the effort to make it what it is. Not all dads do that and I am blessed that Brandon’s dad did. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great relationship with my son. I love it. He just has a deeper, unique bond with Rod. He’s one lucky kid.

As for the second marriage, I am also grateful for it. It taught be who I didn’t want to be. I no longer speak to my second husband. We have no reason to. And that is completely fine with me. Again, he was a great guy. We just were definitely not meant to be. I learned so much from that relationship – mostly about myself. And I am thankful it happened. I have no regrets.

Now, let me get back to my relationship with Al, the love of my life.

picnic at inspiration peak

Having picnics is one of our FAVORITE things to do. 

shoveling snow

We even make shoveling snow fun!

monkey love cookie

This describes us to a tee! Monkey Love – that’s what we share. 

Here are some things you may not know:

  1. We DO NOT fight. Ever. Yes, we might disagree on something, but we don’t raise our voices, we don’t get mad. In the 12 and a half years we have been together, I think we have had two fights. Maybe. We truly are on the same page. We know what comprise is. We know what COMMUNICATING is. We have nothing to argue about. And I mean that. We just don’t fight.
  2. We not only are madly in love with each other – yes, still to this day – but we actually truly like each other and I feel that is so important. We care about each other. We put each other first. We put each other up on a pedestal. Always. Every. Single. Day.
  3. We actually like hanging out. Wait, let me rephrase that. WE LOVE HANGING OUT – together, just the two of us. We thoroughly enjoy spending time together. Yes, even though we now are working together again, we still LOVE spending time together after work and on weekends. To be 100 percent completely honest, that is our favorite thing to do. Just be with each other. Not that we don’t like hanging out with other people, we do. And we always have fun. But it’s just we would much rather have it be just us. I know, it’s weird. Again, we do enjoy time spent with family and friends. We have fun. And we will make time for family and friends, but not all the time. I know sometimes my friends get annoyed with me because I will only do stuff if I know Al isn’t going to be home. But, I miss him when we are apart. And, vice versa. People may find this disturbing or silly or gross or whatever it is they feel, but it is so hard to explain to people. Most relationships are not like ours. Husbands love being away from their wives. Wives love time away from their husbands. We don’t. Are we weird? Maybe. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
  4. We live for our Saturday night date nights. It is our favorite thing to do. It never gets old. It never gets boring. NEVER.
  5. We talk about everything. We share everything. We get each other. Sometimes, we know exactly what the other person is thinking. Sometimes, we read each other’s minds. For instance, the other day, I was scrolling through pictures and saw a picture of some lasagna roll-ups we had awhile back and thought about telling Al he should make those for supper some night. I never told him. I didn’t say a word to him. When I came home from work, guess what Al had made for supper? Yep, you guessed it. Lasagna roll-ups. I have to admit, it kind of weirded us out, but yet, stuff like that happens. All. The. Time.

There is so much more I could share, but by now, you are all probably gagging at our relationship. I know there are some who are.

My wish for every woman out there? To find your one true love. You may have to go through several “frogs” before you find your “prince” but it can happen. It does happen. It happened to me. I honestly don’t know what I would do without Al. He understands me. I understand him.

We are a team. We work together. We make time for each other. We communicate with one another. We compromise. We utterly love each other from the deepest depths of our souls. We are us – in all our sugary, lovey-dovey, sickeningly sweet marriage glory…take it or leave it!


Yep, this is a mud bath!

elevator shot

Having fun in the elevator. Yes, I “make” him take LOTS of photos. LOTS! 


This is a book I received one Valentine’s Day. Inside, Al had to fill in all the pages. It was one of the most thoughtful presents I have ever received. I have received some of THE MOST thoughtful presents from him. And most often, it’s not anything expensive. But every time, it comes from the heart and are meaningful. I love every single present I have received – from the fruit to the flowers to the chocolates and the coffee and everything in between. 

book date night

This is a page out of the book. LOVE IT!


We take LOTS of walks and sometimes, they are late at night after we’ve had a glass or two of wine. I have LOTS of shadow pics under street lights around our neighborhood. 

us 2

This is from our five-year wedding anniversary and will always be my FAVORITE picture of us. 

winter walking

Even in the freezing cold winter we go for walks around the neighborhood late at night. And we ALWAYS have fun.