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After more than a year off running, two different podiatrists, and poring over countless articles about plantar fasciitis, I’m back to running just about every morning (plus some strength work from my girl Laura Waller). I’m a slow runner – always have been, always will be – but that daily run is essential to my mental health. I’m so, so grateful every morning when I lace up those shoes and head out into the chilly dawn.

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Right after Nicholas came home, I was stupid and did high impact aerobics, mostly barefoot, in our basement. A few weeks in, I started to feel a soreness in my heel, especially when I woke up in the mornings. Mistake number 2: I didn’t stop. I kept pushing until I could barely stand up when I got out of bed in the mornings. Needless to say, wedding days only aggravated the problem that I had caused by my own foolishness.

In addition to following the advice of doctor’s, I’ve researched every article and YouTube video I could find related to plantar fasciitis and so I know there are a LOT of theories out there. As far as I can tell, I attribute my improvement to four things:

  1. Rolling a frozen ice bottle under my foot when I’m sorest.
  2. Regular GENTLE calf stretching.
  3. Rest from exercise.
  4. MERRELL BRAND SHOES!!! (All the time; it is true that people with pf should never, ever go barefoot!!) When we left for vacation last winter, I (couldn’t believe I was doing this but) spent $90 on this pair of sandals. At the end of the week in those flip-flops, I felt NO PAIN. None. I put on my sneakers and doctor-recommended orthotics for the plane trip home and was sore again by the time we took off – just a few short hours after putting them on. I couldn’t believe that a pair of sandals had helped me that much, but nevertheless, I took the plunge and bought these Merrell heels for shooting weddings this season. Believe it or not – I feel no additional heel pain on wedding days. My feet are still tired and sore, but my plantar fasciitis isn’t aggravated. Even though I’m back to running, I’m not over the plantar fasciitis. I’ll be wearing Merrells for a long time… but I’m hopeful that if I keep doing #1, 2, and 4, I can continue exercising – for the sake of my body, my emotions, and my family, who get a much more pleasant wife and less grumpy momma when I start the day with a sweat!:-)

(p.s. I should add that I have no affiliation with Merrell whatsoever!)


Susie and I are prepared with our umbrella hats, charged camera gear, and a backup toothbrush in case we can’t get through flooded roads tomorrow night! But, for those of you who will be relaxing at home in your pj’s through #hurricanjoaquin… have I got the breakfast for you!!! These pumpkin pancakes are definitely the hotcake version of pumpkin pie – or if you’re a #psl girl – of a Starbucks latte!! Jack made these for us this morning, which means that the recipe was followed to a “t” and I have no modifications for you at all. I would definitely say the cooking takes a little tiny bit of finesse, because they’re so thick that they’re in danger of staying doughy in the middle. But ours were great and I’m sure yours will be too.

These are perfect to set the tone for a family-stay-in-bed-and-watch-movies day OR to fill you up for a long autumn work day OR to re-fuel after a chilly, drizzly long run. Either way – ENJOY!!!



Recipe is from All Recipes and has 1800+ reviews, close to 5 stars! – a winner


  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Last week I, (Susie) had the opportunity to go visit my sister & her husband who just moved to Milwaukee. My mom was going to be there, too, so it was a perfect time for Jasmine and I to fly out there for a few days. Jasmine was a great little traveler and it was so fun to have her around my family at this wonderful stage in her life.:)

I wasn’t sure what the weather would be like and it is Wisconsin, so I came prepared! Thankfully, it wasn’t quite this cold…but she looked so cute we had to dress her up in it anyway. And her nose wrinkle – so cute!
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Anita lives north of Milwaukee and so we met halfway on Tuesday. It was so good to see her, Akram and my adorable niece Norah! We met at a petting farm and had a great time introducing Norah and Jasmine to all the animals and fun things to do there. Some photos by Carolita.
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Feeding the sheep.
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Swinging on the swings.
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Sitting on the tires.
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“Wait, you want us to touch?”

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And then there were llamas.
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We weren’t sure about the llamas.
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Back at Carolita’s apartment the next day, I had fun taking more photos of Jasmine with her wonderful window light!
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This is how Jasmine rolled during a lot of our visit! The weather was lovely and we went on walks and walked quite a few places.
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The Art Museum.
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We also made a stop by the Milwakee Public Market. It was pretty cool.
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Carolita had a dentist appointment which gave Jasmine and I time to explore the riverwalk.
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The last morning we walked down to the beach. It was a bit chiller that morning, and we stopped for coffee/breakfast on the way.
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And because you can’t have too many cute pictures of babies…here’s the last few photos of Jasmine enjoying Milwaukee!
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Marland Miller - September 29, 2015 - 2:11 pm

Looks like a fun time of catching up with family, and some great photos!

Anita Yoder Matta - September 29, 2015 - 2:15 pm

Jasmine: A farm! Yay!
Norah: A farm? That’s suspicious.
Jasmine: Tire swings! Yay!
Norah: A swing shaped like a cow? I suspect foul play.
Jasmine: Baby ducks! Yay!
Norah: Don’t you realize their plot is to be cuter than us?
Jasmine: Kisses! Yay!
Norah: I remain suspicious until proven otherwise.

Kathleen Brettman Crimm - September 29, 2015 - 4:00 pm

I hope y’all saw the painting of the old man gathering sticks/kindling w/ his grandaughter @ the Art Museum. Have never forgotten it. Very enjoyable set of photos!

Becky Hadeed - September 29, 2015 - 4:16 pm

I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuve these!!!!!!!!!!!1 :-)

Christa Sutherland - September 30, 2015 - 1:42 pm

So precious and after looking at the pictures, I’m even more convinced we’re related!!