Day 30: What Are You Thinking?

IMG 8401 from Morning Meeting 04.18.12
31 Days of Adventure Day 30
What Are You Thinking?

"Find a quiet space (or create one) where you can take 15 minutes alone. Bring a pen a couple of pieces of paper with you (yes, we're doing this analog). Start writing." - daily email prompt

I'm not going to lie it took over a week for me to find a quiet moment & write for 15 minutes. I think that is just the nature of being a Mom. There isn't an over abundance of quiet moments. But when you get one it is pretty stinkin' glorious.

I wrote for 15 minutes. I almost didn't stop. The movement of the pen on paper was therapeutic. I forgot how much journaling helps me digest & comprehend life. I really should do it more often.

An except from this evening:

"What will this new baby teach me? What will it bring into my life? How will it break me down & build me back up? Becoming a mother has probably been the best thing God could have done to me.

It has been hard.

It has fun.

It has been a lot of work.

It has been really rewarding.

It has been extremely challenging.

It has given me lessons on love I didn't even know I needed."

//Dandelion image from Morning Meeting 04.18.12. See the whole collection here.//


Day 29: The First Step

31 Days of Adventure Day 29
The First Step

"For today, take one step toward a project you've been putting off. (You know the one.) Maybe it's cleaning out your closet or organizing your files. What about exploring a new hobby?" - daily email prompt

task item: burn photos off mac.

9 DVDs later all photos are backed up.

now to delete what isn't needed so my mac stops getting mad. 


Day 28: Childhood Skillz

31 Days of Adventure Day 28
Childhood Skillz

"Today, relearn a skill from childhood — when's the last time you did a somersault or a cartwheel? Or finger painted? Or collected rocks and coins?" - daily email prompt

Adventure Day 28 was filled with chances to be a kid again. For the first time since last June my entire family was together. Extended family members and friends joined us for the festivities as well. The crazy level was extremely high. I'm guessing we had over 25 people at my Mom's house on Lake Winneabago.

The occasion? My little sister, Becky & her husband, Andy came home from New York... to announce she's pregnant! Bring on extra crazy next Christmas!!

I'm the oldest of six kids. We have been blended together since I was seven. At this point any steps that were once in someones title have long been dropped. Since I know it is hard to keep track of big families of my friends (I'm looking at you Freund family!) I thought an info graphic may be helpful. Original 8Rs (Rieders & Repovschs) are in red. Kids are on the side of the parent they go with:

Now back to adventuring. There are two plasma cars up at the Lake House. Cadence, Kaysen, Baby & I took one for a spin. I love how having kids gives you a second childhood.


Day 27: Color Outside the Lines

31 Days of Adventure Day 27
Color Outside the Lines

"Today, draw a picture with your inner child and see the world through their lens. Draw from scratch, or find a coloring book and draw outside the lines." - daily email prompt

I didn't draw any pictures. Instead I went & looked at a whole lot of awesome artwork. Ate at a new restaurant. Had a cupcake. And stayed out way past my bedtime. I love Boneyard Arts Festival Adventures!

Thanks to Cary McClughen we tried out this new restaurant Friday night.

Daddy Daughter silliness.

Cary's awesome work.

Collective Narratives, Recollective Histories by Jason Patterson. Amazing show.

More from the Collective Narratives, Recollective Histories.

Mommy Daughter cupcake time at Cream & Flutter.

My papercut "I CU 10" displayed at Cream & Flutter.




Day 26: Reinvent Your Comfort Zone

31 Days of Adventure Day 26
Reinvent Your Comfort Zone

"Our comfort zone is constantly shifting as we grow and stretch our personal limits. We created today's adventure in celebration of stepping outside our comfort zones. Today, choose an old comfort and add a new twist." - daily email prompt 

I feel at home inside a grocery store. I know this is because of the hours & hours of time I spent in Pick 'n Saves during my childhood, teenage years & college breaks. My parents were managers. I worked in the deli. My siblings worked in different departments. My friends worked in the store. My social life revolved around who I know from the store. I even married one of the baggers.

When I found the cafe inside the County Market on campus it instantly became my favorite work location. My comfort zone. And then confrontation occurred on Day 26 of this glorious adventure. The following notice was left on KYT's windshield:   

I posted the photo along with this status update on facebook:
And then after Cadence went down for her nap I made a phone call. To the manager. I pretended I was talking to an old manager at Pick 'n Save, Scott Backus, to calm my nerves. Comfort zone exited.
He told me his overzealous Receiving Clerk had put the note on everyone's cars that morning. He had removed the others himself & didn't know anyone had left with one. Obviously I'm not the target market they are having issues with - students are. 
In the future I am to let the service desk know if I'm going to be in the cafe longer than two hours. However, I don't think this grocery store will stay on my list of comfortable places to work.


Day 25: Choose Your Own Adventure

31 Days of Adventure Day 25
Choose Your Own Adventure

"Every day we face various situations and circumstances that allow us to choose to take action (or take no action). There are the safe and comfortable choices (e.g., having our favorite cereal for breakfast).

There are choices we make out of habit (e.g., driving the same route every day to work). And there are choices we make that feel riskier and have an element of the unknown.

Today, we challenge you to choose adventure. Write your own story today."
- daily email prompt

Outcome of Choice Change #1

1. Yesterday was a full work day for me. I start my work day with a Morning Meeting. I head to Lake of the Woods in Mahomet armed with my camera & create beautiful photos. Instead of going to a spot I had scouted out over the winter I went to a new one. I ended up on the shores of the lake surrounded by flowers & butterflies.

Lesson Learned: Nature will never disappoint.

Blank form to fill out for Choice #2

2. Quarterly Sales & Use Tax Return. Not something I would call fun. Most days I decide to take no action on business nuts & bolts. But today since A. I was prompted to take action by this little 31 day experiment & B. Our quarterly Sales & Use Tax Return is due Friday I sat down for some quality time with the Illinois Department of Revenue. After two hours & multiple cookies to motivate myself to keep going I completed the form. The end result: I owed the State of Illinois ONE DOLLAR!  

BUT I did create myself some color coded, understandable directions for next quarter. I'm sure I'll be thanking myself in July!

Lesson Learned: Completing difficult tasks is more rewarding than completing easy tasks.

Final Location of Choice #3

3. During work day lunches Jarrod & I will take a walk. Yesterday we took a different route than normal which also completed one of my errands for the week. Watch out! Multitasking. After lunch with Jarrod, instead of hiding out in a cafe & checking email, I headed over to Illini Grove Park to sit & breath before a client meeting. 

Lesson Learned: Sunshine is magical.

Open road of Choice #4

4. My final off-beat decision was the choice to take the two lane highway to go pick up Cadence rather than the Interstate. 

Lesson Learned: Always keep your windows down when possible.

Make Art Retreat II Review

From March 15th to March 18th a group of us took in art, made art, talked about art & ate art in south eastern Wisconsin. A fabulous retreat if I say so myself.

The mix of work & play was just what I personally needed.

• We had our first workshop during a Make Art Retreat. It was on square foot gardening & conducted by Leslie who works for A Back Yard Farm in Minnesota. Very informative.
• I took & edited photos
• I started the first pagination for Adventures with Ranger Roy: Yellowstone National Park
• I helped Miss Leslie with her upcoming book the pauses between. Which by-the-way was just fully funded via kickstarter. Yeah!!

• We ate at the Safe House
• Walked around downtown Milwaukee
• Had interrupted sleep
• Enjoyed a Friday Night Fish Fry in Wisconsin
• Played at Calumet County Park
• Chased after Jarrod with a camera while he was running 20 miles (!!)
• Watched the ice melt off Lake Winneabago

We visited a total of four locations during the weekend. Each location is represented below by a photo. You can see all the photos that were taken here on flickr.

Homewood, IL
Evening in Milwaukee
Morning in Milwaukee
Weekend at the Lake House


Day 24: Foreign Film

31 Days of Adventure Day 24
Foreign Film

Image thanks to Wikipedia
"Watch a movie in a different language. Feeling extra adventurous? Leave off the subtitles and try to figure out what's going on. Make up your own story." - daily email prompt

Most of our movies come from the library. For free. Yeah, we love our library. Anyhow, Jarrod came home with Kung Fu Panda last night. We both decided it totally counted as a foreign film. 
Since I had a lot of work to do daddy & daughter made chocolate chip cookies & then watched the movie. Now they are quoting the movie & acting like they know kung fu. Don't tell Cadence but it's nice that Beauty & the Beast have left the building - at least for this week.

Day 23: Dance!

31 Days of Adventure Day 23

"Today's adventure invites you to dance for no reason. Pick your favorite song, crank up the music and get down. Yep, right there in your living room." - daily email prompt

The morning this adventure prompt arrived I told Cadence what we were going to do.

"Cadence, for today's adventure we get to dance! In the living room!"

"Mommy. We have to leave the house for an adventure."

She had a point. 

So on our way to Cadence's last night of swimming lessons we rolled down the windows, rocked out & danced in the truck. Best song from home to swimming? Keep Em Separated by the Offspring. One of my favorites from my high school years. Maybe Cadence will think the same but from her preschool years.

And finally, a video of my little rocker from the parking garage:


Day 22: Be a Kid Again

31 Days of Adventure Day 22
Be a Kid Again

"Play outside for 30 minutes today! Need inspiration? Pretend you're a kid again and remember the outdoors is full of "natural" toys waiting to come to life with a bit of imagination." - daily email prompt

Who needs to pretend when you have Cadence in your life? 

Cadence & I went for a training "run" for her up coming race yesterday. We went around the block twice. Running, walking, collecting sticks, picking flowers & flinging a colorful scarf around. You know everything Daddy does on his runs. 



Day 21: Wish Upon a Star

31 Days of Adventure Day 21
Wish Upon a Star

"For your adventure today, set your alarm for 1:00am. Head outside and check out the constellations.

If you're in the city (or it's too cloudy) and you can't see the night sky, see how many constellations you can name. Grab a constellation book (or consult the Internet) to learn more."
- daily email prompt


It's funny this adventure came when it did. Cadence usually comes home with a pile of fairy & princess books from the library. This week I decided to fight against them. When Cadence & I made our visit I told her we were going on a scavenger hunt - for books about outside. We came home with a book on butterflies, one on rocks & one on water.

One day we learned all about butterflies. Read the book. Watched videos on YouTube. And created butterflies out of construction paper. Another day we did the same thing with the rocks book. Read the book. Watched some videos. And studied Jarrod's rock collection. And you know what? Reading those two books & doing activities got Cadence asking more questions. She wanted to know about bees. I told her the next time we go to the library we'll find a book about bees.

So yesterday we got a bee book AND one on constellations. Jarrod & Cadence had been finding Orion the Hunter all winter, so picking up a book to teach us new constellations to look for was pretty perfect.

Now, if only the rain would stop so we could find them.

Day 20: Get Your Blood Flowing

31 Days of Adventure Day 20
Get Your Blood Flowing

"Try a new sport or outdoor activity today (or one you haven't done in years)." - daily email prompt

Today I pulled out the pregnancy card & decided against trying a new or old activity. Over the years most of my physical activity has been outside - triathlons, kayaking, canoeing, running, in-line skating & more. Currently I'm doing a wee bit of yoga, lifting about once a week & walking. I can still walk up to five miles. Watch out! 

On April 28th, I will be joining Cadence for her first official race. She is signed up for a Youth Run & a parent has to run the 1K (a little over a 1/2 mile) with their child. I was tagged it since Jarrod will be completing his first marathon (!!) shortly before Cadence's start time. Cadence & I should make an entertaining pair.

Since I'm talking about the marathon, it is only fitting to let you know Jarrod is running & fundraising for an amazing organization called Remember Nhu. Remember Nhu's goal is to prevent children from entering the sex trade one village at a time. Read more about Jarrod's marathon motivation here. He has raised a bit over $2,000 of his $4,000 goal. Please send Jarrod an email, at bmf_23(at)hotmail.com, if you are interested in donating. We are collecting checks, made out to Remember Nhu, up until race day (or even a bit after). 


Day 19: Color Your World

31 Days of Adventure Day 19
Color Your World

"Choose your favorite color for the day and head outside to take note of all the places and ways it shows up in your world." - daily email prompt

As we clamored into the truck I gave Cadence her adventure question of the day, "What is your favorite color?"


Then she asked Jarrod when he got in, "Daddy? What is your favorite color?"


And we were off.

All the way from Washington Street to the University of Illinois campus Jarrod & Cadence would yell out what they saw in their favorite colors.

"Pink tree!"

"Red car!"

"Pink stairs!"

"Red light!"

After dropping Jarrod off at work I decided to take Cadence over to the University of Illinois Arboretum to find the colors in nature. Since this was an unplanned stop we were quite a pair: Cadence barefoot & me in my pajamas with black dress shoes. Fun times!


More pink!


And Mommy's favorite nature color: SPRING GREEN!
Until tomorrow.


Day 18: Throw Away the Directions

31 Days of Adventure Day 18
Throw Away the Directions

"Take a drive (or a bike ride) without a map. If you're with someone, take turns choosing which direction to go when you reach an intersection." - daily email prompt

Our family went to Peoria yesterday. Jarrod & an intern had a meeting with their Park District. Cadence & I took in the Peoria Zoo. You always get maps at zoos. I decided to use this opportunity for yesterday's adventure. I looked where the giraffes were - the one animal Cadence wanted to see - and put the map away. 

Then I let her lead. 

You see letting a three-year-old lead is pretty much like throwing away all maps because they go in the most random path known to man. And we had the most random fun time! Maybe I should let her lead more often.

Mommy & Daughter at the Zoo

Loving taking photos like Mommy.
Cadence's photo of the birds

Cadence's photo of the monkeys

Cadence's photo of the snake.
Cadence's photo of the Spider Monkeys
Cadence's photo of an outdoor exhibit before putting her camera away.



Our random path led us high into the air on this walkway.
And around & around on this "balance beam" for about a 1/2 hour.

And finally, to this whale slide for probably just as long.