Life & Balance

Life & Balance

Carolyn Serpe is a Kenosha native who’s family owns The Lettering Machine in Downtown Kenosha. She has been manager for the shop since her parents purchased it from the previous owners back in 2002. Carolyn is a Mom to 3 beautiful girls and a wife for 10 years to her handsome husband Chris.

Welcome to her crazy journey in life and read all about how she tries to balance it all.

We LOVE to travel… don’t you?

Traveling is one of our favorite things to do. We want to see the world and all that it has to offer. We want to educate our children while we experience it. How wonderful would it be to jump on a plane right now and fly somewhere else? Take a break from the cold, snow and stress that may encompass our lives and rest for once.

Well, if you travel with young kiddos, you and I both know that relaxing isn’t quite the right description of a trip with them. Rewarding, exciting and memorable are better words. We have had the pleasure of traveling a little bit with our girls. In their young life so far, they have been to the Dells, “up north” to Redgranite area to visit family/stay at a friend’s cabin, as well as some fun camping trips. These trips are filled with the joy of swimming, hiking, exploring, eating and snuggling with loved ones. These are our favorite low key trips. Those that don’t take a ton of planning and provide a quick release from the everyday grind. Do you have somewhere that you can escape to like that?

But our most memorable, so far, was our first trip to Disney World. Boy oh boy! To see the faces on these little girls…our hearts exploded and we felt so proud that we could provide this experience for them. In 2018 we took Clara and Callie to see the Castle. At that time they were 6 and 4 and the magic just radiated from them. Even though our trip was nothing short of amazing, we completely missed the opportunity to work with an experienced travel agent. This was a concept that we knew nothing about. But we learned, and wished we had known.

Companies like Looking Glass Travel and LaMacchia Travel are right in our backyards! Just before COVID hit our continent at the start of 2020, the use of agents was on the rise and already up 18% from 2019. Then, travel, came to a screeching halt. All our dreams of becoming tourists, were put on hold while the world worked hard to stop a pandemic. But our travel agents never stopped. They were busier than ever working to salvage travel plans by re-booking or even re-funding. Watching the world news and guidelines non-stop for their clients.

Personally, I LOVE to plan events and trips. I felt that I didn’t need an agent to help nor did I want them to take the joy away from the planning process. But what I didn’t realize, was how beneficial they truly are. They don’t take the fun away! They help guide and do all the hard work! Searching for, not only some of the same deals that we can get on our own, but they know EXACTLY where to find the best ones, or even the secret ones only they can snag. One of my besties, Katherine Hill, is a local agent with Looking Glass Travel. She states that “the ‘deal’ you get by using a Travel Agent, is not having to worry about your vacation! We plan everything, and make sure your trip is everything you want, while you count down the days till you take off.”

Whether it is another family trip to Disney to introduce Charlie to her favorite character, Minnie Mouse, for the first time, or Chris and I going on a 10 year anniversary trip to Europe, we can not wait to get back in the sky

and out on the road. And you can bet your bottom dollar that we will use an agent from here on out!

What was your most memorable trip? Did you use a Travel Agent/ Agency? Shoot me an email and tell me all about it (cserpe.blogger@gmail.com)

Thanks for reading – Carolyn 🙂

https://www.lookingglasstravel.com/katherine-hill.html

https://www.lamacchiatravel.com/

Carolyn Serpe
The Lettering Machine is located at 720 – 56th Street in Kenosha, WI
262-652-4177
tlmonlineorders@gmail.com
See more on their website theletteringmachine.com
Check out their Facebook Click Here!
(This article first appeared in the 2/25/21 issue of the Smart Reader)
___________________________________________
Do you believe in fate?

February is considered the month of love, so for this post I thought I would share our love story. I’ll try to keep this “mush” free…but I can’t guarantee it!

Our story starts when we were both young, Chris was 8 and I was 6. My Dad, Dave, was the coach of a boys team for Kenosha Small Fry. Now, if you are not familiar with this organization, you should be! Small Fry is an international organization with a franchise right here in Kenosha! It provides an opportunity for shorter boys and girls to excel in the game of basketball competitively, while making life long friends at the same time. My Dad was a player back in the “dinosaur times”, and when I was 6 he was asked to return and coach a team for the organization. He jumped at the chance to make a difference in the community and be a part of the game once again.

The first practice came around and I decided to join my Dad to see what this was all about. That is when I met my future Husband. From the moment I saw him, I was crushing! Because I was only 6, I had no clue that was what I was feeling, but it was brought to my attention quickly by Chris’ sisters Jenni and Sarah. Those two teased me that whole season and he had no clue that I even existed. Girls were still “yucky” at his ripe age of 8! So the only thing I could do was sit on the sidelines and swoon!

After that season, Chris and I never saw each other.

Time passed and we both grew up. I went to St. Marks for grade school, St. Joes for jr. high and Tremper for high school. Chris attended Holy Rosary, Lance and then Tremper. What is odd, is that we NEVER ran into each other. We grew to have many of the same friends, and I still guarantee that we were at some of the same events, but we happened to miss each other every time we could have had an interaction. The only “sign” that I got was my sophomore year. Every February, the student council put together a fundraiser for Valentine’s Day. You had to pay a dollar and you filled out a survey of likes and dislikes. Later, you received

a print out that showed you who in the school you were most and least compatible with. That was the year the #1 most compatible person listed for me was…Chris Serpe. I couldn’t believe it! All the feels came running back! That was the only slip I kept during the 4 years I played that game (I am known as a hoarder, so that is impressive for me).

Our lives grew apart even further the years after that. Chris went off to college in MN and I went to Milwaukee. We lived, grew, made mistakes and had victories. But I truly feel that God, and fate, put us on different paths so we could grow to the point where we could meet once again.

In 2008, our family friend lost her Grandfather, and after the funeral, her and I went for some drinks. We chose a place that, we thought, wouldn’t be busy and we could sit and wallow together. Denny’s Sports Den on Washington Road, seemed like a good cozy place to go. So we arrived in jeans and hoodies and looking like a mess from crying all day. One drink in and…BOOM! A large group of Tremper grads (class of 2000) came barreling in. Amongst those was…him…Chris Serpe. I was shocked and butterflies entered the tummy!

As I was explaining to my friend who this handsome man was, I was tapped on the shoulder. I turned and it was him! “Weren’t you going to say hi to me?” he asked. “You know who I am?” I responded sheepishly. “Of course I do! How could I ever forget you.” From that short, but amazing conversation, we were inseparable. A week later Chris told me he loved me, 3 years later we were married, and this year, 2021, we are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary with 3 little girls and a puppy in tow!

Now, weather or not you believe in fate, this story, to me is God working through fate. He joined us so we could create a wonderful life together at just the right time.

How did you meet “the one”? Did fate play a factor for you?

Thanks for reading – Carolyn 🙂

Denny’s Sports Den
Smallfrybasketball.com

 

Carolyn Serpe
The Lettering Machine is located at 720 – 56th Street in Kenosha, WI
262-652-4177
tlmonlineorders@gmail.com
See more on their website theletteringmachine.com
Check out their Facebook Click Here!
(This article first appeared in the 2/11/21 issue of the Smart Reader)

_______________

How much is too much?

In my first entry with The Reader, I mentioned that I am all over the place. And this is a reason why. How much is too much? This is a question that I ask myself, and get asked, almost on a daily basis. I could sit and list everything that I do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, but I won’t. Like every other person I know, there is always lot on my plate. I TRY not to put things in my schedule, and life, that I don’t enjoy or that are not family related. But how do we fit everything in?

Thankfully I was blessed with great work ethic. My parents and grandparents worked their tails off for everything that they have/had, and accomplished so much. They taught me that there is a difference between being a workaholic and someone that does what they love and takes pride in their work. The definition of a workaholic, is a person who works compulsively. This is NOT to be confused with a hard worker… as long as there is balance.

Now, as we start a new year, it is a great time to re-set our lives. Re- organize. Purge. Re-evaluate. Take a look at our calendars and see what truly needs to be in there. Take a gander at what we want our priorities to be and if we are living a life that reflects those. What do you value the most in your life? Where do you want to spend most of your time? Make your activities revolve around that!

Sometimes this is hard to do on our own. Sometimes we need to call in reinforcements and ask for guidance on how to balance everything out. I have a few friends that help in this field.

As a family of 5, we have a TON of STUFF in our home. Not going to lie, most is from me…mini hoarder…ugh. How much is too much…stuff? My husband and I banter on this topic frequently. He is a minimalist, and finding a happy medium between that and my “mini hoarding” can be difficult. If you follow Earnest Organizing on facebook, you can get tons of ideas on how to reorganize your life. Elizabeth focuses on the physical reorganization of your life. She will come in, take your clutter and put it in its place and teach you how to continue the process. Not only does she work with individuals, but she also offers these services up to businesses.

How much is too much…in your calendar? Recently I took a webinar through the YLINK, that the local company Boldly & Co. presented. It was extremely informational and helpful. Nina Ferraro and Mary Manthei have devised a system that will help dissect, guide and organize your life, business, goals and dreams. They teach you to truly balance your time, so that what used to be “too much” is now just right and manageable

Needless to say…in my mind…as long as you can keep your life organized to the point that it is manageable, and your priorities are in line with your life goals, you are right on track. This is something that I personally am always educating my self on and working on daily. What have you done so far in this new year to reorganize your life so that you don’t have “too much”

Learn more about Earnest Organizing at www.earnestorganizing.com
and Boldly & Co.

Carolyn Serpe
The Lettering Machine is located at 720 – 56th Street in Kenosha, WI
262-652-4177
tlmonlineorders@gmail.com
See more on their website theletteringmachine.com
Check out their Facebook Click Here!

                        _____________________________

Excited to Join the Team!

Happy New Year Kenosha!! I am super excited to be joining this great group of bloggers for the year. Hope you find some entertainment, and maybe comfort, in the randomness that you will find here as I am literally all over the place 🙂

Where do I even begin…

I am Carolyn (Chatmon) Serpe. Mother to Clara (9), Callie (7), Charlie (3) and our puppy, Chase (1). I have a wonderful Husband, Chris, and we have been married for 10 years, this year!

I have always loved Kenosha, but like many of us, didn’t realize it till I went away for a while. After high school, I moved to Milwaukee for 6 years, went to College and worked. Once I re-met Chris (that is a super cute story for another post), I moved back to my roots and fell in love with my hometown.

Here in Kenosha, I work for The Lettering Machine. My parents, Dave & Tina Chatmon, have owned the shop since 2002, and I started full time with them back in 2007. My time with the shop has put me through all types of responsibilities and roles. Right now as manager, I get to be a part of everything. Even though I love being involved, working with my Mom and Dad is by far the best part of my job.

Our shop has grown so much over the past 19 years and continues to grow with each year. It amazes us how the shop can bring people together and help in so many ways. We have met a variety of different people, some of which have become our closest friends. Kenosha is such a place of belonging, family, community and love.

Throughout my blog posts, expect to be thrown all over the place. I am interested in such a plethora of things and I can’t wait to spew thoughts and stories and photos! From sports, to camping, to family time and work, oh yea…don’t forget fitting that friend time in there. My family supports

local and loves local, so some of our favorite places in town will pop up as well.

So sit down with a glass of wine and lets see what 2021 brings us!

– Carolyn Serpe
The Lettering Machine is located at 720 – 56th Street in Kenosha, WI
262-652-4177
tlmonlineorders@gmail.com
See more on their website theletteringmachine.com
Check out their Facebook Click Here!

__________________________________