Tuesday, January 24, 2012


A new class starts for me next week. A research class. As in, I need to really narrow down my thesis.

And I'm anxious. The thing is, I am NOT an anxious person. The only time I suffer from any form of anxiety is when it comes to the health of my kids. Other than that, I tend to handle stress pretty well. Pretty sure that is the only reason why I am able to be a mom, work full-time, and go back to school. So being anxious is new to me. And I don't do well with anxious. Did I mention I need to have a real dissertation topic soon?

With that being said, I know there is one sure-fire way to make sure my level of anxiety doesn't skyrocket.


A lot.

No matter how busy my schedule gets, the best lesson I have learned since becoming a doctoral student is this: Giving up my runs is NOT an option. Unless you want a crazy woman for a wife, mother, and teacher.

I know exercise is often the first thing to go when life gets busy. But for me, it's just not an option. Some people watch t.v. Some people drink a glass of wine.

Me? I run.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bullying...Even in Kindergarten

Unfortunately, last week brought about a first for the Dunigan Family. And not a happy first.

When Griffin got off the bus on Thursday, he began telling me that there were two twin boys (older) bullying him on the bus. They were teasing him for being a baby kindergarten student, and they were pulling on the hood of his jacket. Griffin and I talked about asking them to stop and finding a new seat on the bus. He didn't seem overly upset, and I thought all would be okay.

The next day, the two boys threw snowballs at Griffin when he exited the bus and started walking to our house. I witnessed the whole thing because I watch from our front door each day as Griffin gets off. Even when Griffin yelled at them to stop, the one shoved snow down Griffin's jacket, so I eventually had to step in and reprimand the boys. The boys froze and stopped. I talked with Griffin about how he could handle stuff like this in the future. I suggested making sure he didn't sit near the boys. I reminded him that when someone does something he doesn't like, he should say so. I also told him that if anything else happened he NEEDED to tell the bus driver.

Yesterday, Griffin exited the bus and was visibly nervous. He kept his head down and walked as quickly as possible to get to our house. It was then that I knew I needed to contact the school. In hindsight, I probably should have contacted them on Friday, but I have never dealt with this as a parent.

Fortunately, I am very pleased at how the school handled the situation. They got back to me quickly, talked with Griffin and the boys, and consequences were given. My goal was not to get these two boys in trouble. Instead, I wanted to make sure my son wasn't afraid to ride the bus. And when he walked to our house yesterday after getting off the bus, he was grinning from ear to ear and walked by the two boys without a care in the world. When I asked him why he was so happy, he replied, "Because I feel safe again on the bus."

It breaks my heart that he had to experience this at such a young age. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how early bullying starts. But, for now, all is okay.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Lion King

So excited during intermission...

Mean Scar Face!!!

What I know is this...I don't ever want to forget last night. Ever.

I am so thankful that Griffin and I were fortunate enough to attend the traveling Broadway production of the Lion King last night. I could only snap a few pictures with my camera, so I hope the memories of the entire night stay etched in my mind forever.

It was such a privilege for me as a mom to watch Griffin be so excited and entertained. This was his first experience at a theater, and it was a joy to watch his reactions. I seriously would still have been satisfied if I had been forced to face the back of the theater the entire time. My glee was not from the show; it was wrapped up in the reactions of my precious son.

Up until the show started, he was a little unsure of how it would all work. I had explained on the way that it would not be a movie screen, but there would be real live people. He then replied with a HUGE GRIN on his face, "So I am going to see a real lion?" Melt my heart. I ended up buying a kid's program we arrived, so I was able to walk him through the characters and their puppets. His excitement just continued to grow.

From the moment the show started, Griffin had a smile on his face. He was on the edge of his seat the whole time. If he wasn't sitting, he was standing. If he wasn't standing, he was dancing and singing. His eyes said it all.

One of my favorite parts of this production is the use of native African tongue. While I was entertained, Griffin turned to me and whispered, "Mom, I don't understand the monkey's English." Insert smile here.

Still not sure of how the whole people/puppet/animal thing worked, Griffin turned to me after Mufasa's death and asked, "Did he die in real life?" Ahhh, the innocence of a child.

The first time the theater got dark and the audience applauded a big vocal number, Griffin turned to me with a frown and inquired, "It's done?" I explained that it wasn't done. After this happened a few times he leaned over and whispered into my ear, "How about every time it goes dark, I will look at you. Just shake your head if it's not over yet."

During intermission, Griffin began complaining that his throat was dry, so we decided to experience the concession stands and purchased a Sprite. The people around us were very entertained by Griffin's description that his nose felt tingly (from the carbonation) after a few sips.

On the way home, I interviewed Griffin to find out his favorite parts...
  • Favorite Character...Scar
  • Favorite Part...When Rafiki hits Simba over the head with a stick :)
  • Favorite Souvenir...Key Chain
Blessed to be living THIS life :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just Write

So many books. So little time. I mean really. My Wish List on Amazon is over 20 books long, and that doesn't even count the ones I have listed on my desk at school...the ones I plan to borrow from the library.

The library is a great idea. It is. But, for some reason, I have a hard time using it. Do you know that I don't even own a library card for our public library? I only check out books from my school's library. Otherwise I buy them. I LOVE owning books. I know that makes me super priveleged. And perhaps snotty. But sometimes I hate giving books back to my library at school. Especially if it is a really good book. I get knots in my stomach when I turn it back in. Weird. I know. But books are powerful things. Books open your mind to a whole new world...even if it is non-fiction. And giving the book back...it just makes me feel like my world got small again.

Linking up to Just Write today for the first time...visit here for details. I had something completely else in mind when I decided to write an entry. Love how this process works!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I couldn't have said it better myself...

"Sometimes my heart aches at how my life turned out...but in a good way. That doesn't mean there haven't been hardships; there have been. But I'm here. And here is good."
~Brooke---One Tree Hill

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In the last 24 hours...

  • I read an entire book (paper copy) and half of another one...ON MY NEW KINDLE TOUCH!!!
  • I actually spent time with my husband who happens to now work super late every day due to it being tax season!
  • I was able to replace Griffin's winter jacket (broken zipper) with a brand-new one I bought for only $5.98!
  • I went shopping with Griffin to buy a present for his first school birthday party!
  • I completed my first post-surgery run!
  • I took the boys bowling!
  • I planned out and scheduled Grayson's bowling birthday party!
I have had a WONDERFUL last 24 hours...And now both boys are napping, so I am going to join them!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

First Post-Surgery Run

The sweaty, happy glow of my first post-surgery run...pain free at that!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Griffin Updates

Griffin started allergy shots in November. We go once a week, and so far so good. He has yet to complain that it hurts, and he is easily occupied during the 30 minute wait period afterward. I can't say I notice a huge improvement in the allergy department because he still gets itchy, watery eyes quite frequently, and he still has bags under his eyes each and every day. However, his breathing is under control. Since finishing his antibiotics in November, his peak flow tests have been hitting high numbers. Even after visiting houses with dogs, he seemed okay breathing wise. Still got itchy, watery eyes, but hey, it's an improvement.

While at the doctor's office recently for shots, Griffin had two funny quotes that just left me laughing. At first he said, "Mom, I recognized my nurses face, but I didn't recognize her hair." This cracked me up. It was his favorite nurse, but she wore her hair straight that day rather than curly. I found it humorous that he noticed, but I was also amused at how he verbalized his observation. At the end of the 30 minute wait period, the nurse checks to make sure you aren't reacting at the injection site. Griffin receives two shots in one arm and one in the other. When she took off his bandaids, Griffin turned to me and exclaimed, "Isn't it magical that she can take both my bandaids off at the SAME time?"

In other news, Griffin was invited to his first "school" birthday party the other day. The boy is not in his same kindergarten class, but they both attend the before school program Adventures Plus together. These two kids must be two peas in a pod because the birthday invitation was creatively written and decorated in a Star Wars theme. (Not going to lie, I might steal the invitation when it comes time to sending out ones for Griffin's party!) Griffin is super excited and can't wait to go shopping to buy his friend a birthday present.

Next week, Griffin and I will be going to see the Broadway production of The Lion King. I am SO SO very excited to share this with him. I can't wait to see his face light up when the show starts. I also can't wait to see his reaction when the characters dance in the aisles. His seat is actually on the end, so he will have a perfect view!

My little man is growing up, and there are days when this is hard for me. I still can't believe he is a school-age kid in the beginning stages of reading. But, thankfully, my five year-old still needs me to tuck him into bed at night, he still likes to hold my hand, and he still likes to cuddle up next to me and read. I can handle the growing up part if he continues to do that :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Frosty Frolic 2012

Due to my veins, the Frosty Frolic was out for me. I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed I was that I could not run this race. My friend, Mel, was able to run with both of her kids this year. I was ecstatic for her and her family, but I was also very jealous.

The good news, though, was that Griffin was able to participate in the Kid's Fun Run. In previous years, the temperature has been below zero. My boys are TOO young to run in below zero weather. However, because of the amazing January weather this year, Griffin was able to run. I think the pictures show you exactly how happy he was. Furthermore, the race shirts could not have been more perfect for his introduction to this annual race. A picture of Yoda was placed in the center of the shirt with the words, "May the Course be with You!"

A few precious children to love...


It's going to pop...!!!


Such concentration...

Ah, Shucks!!!

Who remembers playing this game as a kid? I do. And to be honest, I am still really bad at it. I am just not a visual learner, which is why I despise puzzles. My brain just doesn't function that way, I guess. Nevertheless, both boys were very excited to receive this game as a Christmas Gift from the Madison Dunigans.


Milk, Cookies, and a Handwritten Note

Can barely contain himself...

Excitement is in the air...

Griffin's Presents from Santa:
  • Darth Vader Key Chain---this is what he specifically asked Santa for
  • Walking War Machine
  • Leap Frog DVD
Grayson's Presents from Santa
  • Kid's Trampoline
  • Transformers PlayDoh
  • Leap Frog DVD

WI Christmas Celebrations

Thanking Goofy Uncle Christopher

Anything Star Wars makes this little man happy!

Clone Trooper vs. Thor

Trying to divide out the nuts one by one...

Almost there...


Is it so? Does a child of mine actually look like me?

Family Love

Resting with Great-Grandpa Lloyd

Star Wars Cooking Buddies

Crazy eyes for the presents he loves...I swear he would get this crazed look after opening every present...

I am THOR!

MN Christmas Celebrations

In addition to regular presents, Griffin was adamant that we wrap up a few of his old toys to give to Baby Jackson...he was so proud that he wrapped them himself!

SUCH a fun age to watch open presents!!!

JUST love this family!

Who needs presents when there is wrapping paper to play with?

Griffin loved all of his gifts...hence the crazed smile after each one he opened...

Celebrating Christmas just the four of us before heading to WI.

Is that a Star Wars toy? You might notice a theme...

Yep, there is that crazy look again...

Lego Box. Enough said.

Nothing like going old school with games...oh the childhood memories...