Saturday, December 27, 2008

what's your favorite READ?

On my recent visit home for the Holidays, I took notice that there were many, many readers in my family. Books were in abundance and it was common to find many family members curled up the couch with their nose in a book. Now, it didn't mean that people were not also involved in the happenings of the household. It is true that you can be involved in a conversation, play with kids, and be enjoying a book.
One must remember that while visiting "home" at my mom's house, there are typically 3 to 4 families staying in the house with 2 to 3 kids within each family........a lot of activity. Quiet reading time is not going to happen too easily.
I began to investigate WHAT people were reading and found it was quite interesting.
I thought it might be fun to share some favorites or recommended.........

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Marley, A dog like no other
Diary of a Whimpy kid
the Music of Dolphins

A dog named Christmas
Tale of Desparaux

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Anythink Dora

Are You My Mother?
Green Eggs and Ham

Old Man of the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Kim-Three Cups of Tea
Kathy- Davinci Code
My Sister's Keeper

Mike Mac
How to Win friends and influence people
The Firm

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon

Pillars of the Earth
World Without End by Ken Follett

One Thousand White Women

Twilight Series

Eat, Pray, Love

Mary Jo-
Twilight Series

Well, there you have it.....a sampling of many different readers in the McMonagle household.
So many different ages, many different interests and perspectives but always a shared common
What a great holiday time we had together.

Lexi and Taylor

Trev playing in the abundant snow in Wisconsin

Lexi and Cathy and Tom (Godparents)

Trevor, Kevin and Adam adventuring outdoors

Sara, Lexi, and Taylor


Sunday, December 21, 2008

family time

Holiday time is often time to be with family.......and i love it and my kids LOVE it.
My sister Amy moved to Belgium with her family about 2 years ago and are back for the holidays.
What a wonderful time to reconnect. Really, the kids are at such a great age where they love to hang out and play and the adults can catch up and talk. McKenzie is the "baby" of the cousins and she is growing up fast at 4 years old. Our family is getting older for sure, life goes through stages and phases. Another reminder that life is all about change, every phase is wonderful in its own way, each having its own joys and challenges.

THe kids and I leave tomorrow morning to DePere to spend the week with Grandma Rosie and cousins and Aunts and Uncles.
A favorite time of year for all of us.
A time to be thankful for family. To know how blessed we are and to embrace everything about it.

I look forward to taking many more pics of my family and doing a post holiday Post.

Love to everyone during this special time of year.

My sister Amy

Three Peas in a Pod
Sara, Lexi, Taylor

Emily and McKenzie

The Girls

Best Buds- Trev and Kevin

Adam and Dylan

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A time to SHINE

This past week Lexi and Trev both had big performances and did they ever SHINE.

Trevor decided to play the Tuba in the 5th grade band this year. Trevor takes the Tuba very seriously and practices very hard.
He had a great band performance. Trevor had a tuba solo with one other student and sounded great.
Lexi has been dancing with You Can Danz and had her first dance show. Lexi has a lot of girlfriends in the same dance class and has a lot of fun. We enjoyed watching her perform two dances at the holiday show. All the girls did great and looked like they were having a great time.

Enjoy the photos. I am so proud of Trevor and Lexi for wanting to learn new things and having fun doing it!!

Trevor and his friend Zach, the other Tuba player

Lexi and her cousin McKenzie

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

standing up for what you believe in

Today i had all kinds of goals. I was going to get the christmas decorations out, I was going to organize Lexi's new room, start my weight lifting routine (that coach john and i just talked about and put together), and i was was really excited to hear a speaker talk about the importance of character and values in our youth today. WELL........that all went out the window when a migraine snuck up on me at work and I had no meds left (not good). So, as soon as school was out, I got home as fast as I could, got in the door, gave myself my shot and fell into my bed.........was awoke by Trevor's text 2 hours later and felt some relief. After grumbling that my evening was shot and trying to just figure out what i could do........i remembered the amount of snow in my driveway.........i managed to bundle up and head outdoors. I tell ya, that was the best thing i did ALL day. That fresh air and little bit of physical labor woke me, made me smile and got me going. My migraine was about 75% gone, just enough diminished to get myself in the car and on my way to the inspirational speaker.
I am so GLAD I did.

The speaker was from Youth Frontiers and talked about Character and the importance of teaching our youth today. He talked about the challenges of our society today and how we are responsible for modeling and educating our youth, morally and ethically. Respect, compassion, honesty, graditude, humility. These are concepts I want my kids to not only understand but to live by everyday. And yes, I want to be the parent modeling and using teachable moments everyday. I want to be the parent that takes time to really BE with my kids. I want to teach them that WAITING for things is important. That even though they often don't see it, they have enough. That losing is just as important as winning. That Effort is everything. That nobody is perfect but everybody is precious. That while technology is a gift it can have barriers and must be used appropriately and with rules.
This is not an easy job, this often means I am the one to say, "no", "not today", "its bedtime", "not during dinnertime" but I understand that and hearing this speaker tonight reinforced why this job needs to be consistent. I know the payoffs will be great!!

So, this is our family blog. Trevor and Lexi love reading it and looking at the pictures. My hope is that they will be contributing some writing soon. But, last post had them a little concerned. My commenter Dana, thinks she knows who I am. Dana does not know me. This upset my kids. Trevor was just concerned for me, wondering if I was ok that she made those comments. I assured him I was ok. My Lexi, she wanted to meet Dana and let her know that she is a bully. That it is not nice to say those things about people you don't know. That is what bullies do. She says, "we learned that in school." She continued to say, "Mom, if she met you......she would never say those things about you."

moral courage: To paraphrase Edmund Burke, the only way for evil people to succeed is for the vast majority of good people to do nothing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A time to be Thankful

The other day I sat in my office at school with four crabby fourth grade girls. They indeed had life issues to be crabby about- no doubt. But, we quickly learned that by whining about life, we became sadder and crabbier. I went to my whiteboard(there is no such thing as blackboards anymore........and now if you are lucky Smartboards are replacing whiteboards) and put on top in bold letters, Things to be Grateful For:

At first, it took a while to get the conversation going.......but in no time, we had that board filled, we were telling stories and laughing and smiling.......feeling so much better. Yes, indeed......remembering WHAT we were GRATEFUL for helped shift our way of thinking into the positive frame of mind.
I am a firm believer in thinking sad thoughts equals feeling sad.
Thinking positive thoughts shift our thinking into positive thinking and therefore feeling more positive.
Pretty simple.

SO..........Here is my list of what I am Grateful for.........This list makes me HAPPY!

-My beautiful Kids, because they are kids and they do the funniest things, they are full of hugs and unconditional love.
-My Mom
-memories of my Dad: his smile, hugs, times together
-My 5 sisters
-My 6 brothers
- My extended family
-My wonderful support system of friends and family
-My best friends
-My incredible training opportunities through Gear West and SCS
-My awesome staff at Red Pine Elementary
-My Health
-My willingness to learn, to grow
-My faith
-My desire to be the best person I can be
-watching my kids shine as they learn and grow into wonderful people
-knowing my kids have a wonderful Dad who loves them and will always care for them
-for the people that have come into my life, sharing wonderful time together
-sunny days
-snowy days
-learning the new joys of photography
-the challenge each race and season brings
-long bike rides with friends
-trail runs
-adventurous mountain bike rides
-early morning lake swims
-runs with my sister, always followed by coffee for hours
-making chocolate chip cookies with the kids (after eating most of the dough)
-loving chocolate
tching the sun rise and sun set (if an ocean is near by.......perfect)

My last thought. Lets all do one nice thing for some one else TODAY. Lets give one gift of being kind today.
One random act of kindness. Lets share our blessings with others. WE feel good, lets share that with others today.
Even if its simply sharing a smile.

Lexi and Mom


My Big Family

My Friends

My Little Family

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tri Night Rocks!

Just a quick post to say what a great night was had at Tri Night and to show some pics of the night.
I am blessed to have such a great connection with so many wonderful people.

I think, for me, it also reminds me of why I train and race.
Each season is a bit different, different challenges and different celebrations.
But in the end, the people, the connections, the opportunities to challenge yourself is what it is all about.
I loved listening to Hunter Kemper, his stories, his passions and now his quest to make a difference.
It was so inspiring to listen and learn about AT and how we all can make a difference.

ANd of course.........the OFF SEASON!!!

The also inspiring Cathy Yndestad, accepting one of her awards that evening.
Triathlete of the Year and Performance of the Year.
These awards could not go to a more deserving and harder working individual with the biggest heart I know.
Love ya CY!

Jen and Julie with Hunter. Thanks to Paul at Competitive Image for this photo.

Coach John with Hunter.
I am getting really fired up for another great season with Coach John.
The thing I love most about working with John is that he just "gets it". He understands the need for balance with family, work and training/racing. Ironman Wisconsin HERE I COME!!


Thanks to Kerry for the wonderful photos.

Jen, Julie, Cathy and Julie

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Treading water.......but I can see the shore!

I know that I can tread for a really long time. Treading water is my specialty. As of late, I have perfected the skill of treading.
You know, the feeling of just staying afloat. Keeping your head above, doing all you can....just enough to get by.......but not really enough to thrive. The challenge arises when outside factors once again start to have an impact on your ability to tread. You are going along, treading and staying afloat when out of nowhere comes rough waters, huge waves. All of a sudden you have to work a lot harder to stay afloat. All it takes sometimes is one big wave, one big storm. Sometimes its just the constant rolling waves over and over........never giving you a break. Seems like the same thing over and over. You can be a great treader but if those waves get out of hand or if you get a cramp.........its going to be tough to stay afloat.
Well, good thing there is always support around. Friends and family are allowed to throw in floaties at any time and are always welcome. In fact the more floaties you have, the better chances you will have at reaching that shoreline. And after all that is the goal, nobody really wants to tread forever.

I am glad to say that it feels good to be swimming towards the shore. I see it and I know its in my reach. I have gotten so many floaties that have allowed me start swimming. ON MY WAY TO THRIVING

I want to tell you about my biggest supporter. Rosie. My mom.
Rosie is the best, always has been the best and I see no reason for that to change any time soon.
Rosie raised 12 kids with her beloved husband Bob. Bob is sadly missed as he passed away in 1999.
Rosie continues to support everyone of her 12 kids, no questions asks. She shows unconditional love in every way, she laughs, she lives, she enjoys life. She is my inspiration.

I had the opportunity to go home and be with my family this past weekend. I traveled to Green Bay with my sister and her husband (thanks MJ and Mike) to the wedding of my niece Beth and Adam. It was a beautiful wedding in many ways.
Beth is my oldest sister Teresa's daughter. Here a few pictures from the wedding.

Beth, always smiling and laughing

Teresa and son Reed

NO, this is not a wedding ring.
THIS is the 1996 Packer Superbowl Ring!! NO Kidding. And it is on MY hand. It was the second highlight of the night. There were probably 10 of us trying it on! Sweet. Oh, I miss Brett!

Trev always exploring

Crazy Girl Cousins

Trevor pretending to be a model, "posing". Really just being goofy.

And ya have to love Lexi's attitude toward LIFE.

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