The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
camping / adventures,
finding ways to love /
serve / sacrifice for others.

It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.


Closing Out on a High Note

June 12, 2015 - 8:46 AM

Travel Log: August 31 - Sept 1, 2012


Our time in Boulder was over and I said goodbye by enjoying my final cup of coffee on the most picturesque alcove porch ever made. (Oh, yes, some day, I will design a space like this into our home. Oh, yes.) We had to be out of our beautiful / surreal rental home at 6am on the 31st. We orginally planned to drive home to IC that day but changed plans last minute to stay a night up in Estes because Josh planned a big adventure for himself - to ride his bike up Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center for the first time ever - 25 miles from EP to the AVC with 6,000+ feet of elevation gain.

Now, writing this story three years later, considering how many dozens of times he has done it since (Goodness, even I've done it multiple times since!), it seems crazy to think about Josh riding this for THE first time. The day before, his dad told him he thought it was too dangerous and Josh was putting his life in too much risk. It is true, road cycling can be dangerous, the number of fatalities in this last month alone by cyclists from cars is heartbreaking and scary. However, Josh and I knew that it was a beautiful day with no rainstorms or intense wind predicted, the kids and I would be driving up to the Alpine Visitor Center, too, in case altitude became an issue, and really, barring the freak car run-in, the risks were nil and there was no need for worry. I knew Josh would be completely safe and he was excited for the challenge of his first high altitude bike ride.


The three and I did drive up to the Alpine Visitor Center to make certain Josh didn't need us. He didn't. He was having an amazing ride. Look at his smiling face! He even rode back down. No worries! While at the AVC, M&M happily completed the RMNP Junior Ranger booklet and recieved another badge for their collection. We also did one of the typical touristy Estes things and went mini-golfing, rode cars, and such. They had a blast (doing something we consider cheesy, ha!) and it made time go by until we could get into our hotel room, swim a bit, wait for Josh, have dinner with our EP friends, then go to bed early in preparation for our long drive home the next day. 




Maybe it was summer's charm, maybe it was the surroundings, maybe it was the similarities, but our time in Boulder was more calm and relaxed than our trip to San Francisco and when we left CO we were all sad to say goodbye. In Boulder, Josh had experienced great business opportunities, met people while using a co-working space, went on hiking meet-ups with like-minded professionals, and got to know clients better. The three and I loved how much everything felt like home but was fresh and exciting. It was also wonderful to know that we had good friends nearby in Estes and we were closer for family and friends to come visit us. Not to mention, it was absolutely beautiful, everywhere we went it was absolutely beautiful. So, so beautiful.

It was wonderful to go back home to IC, see our old friends, live in our old house, experience our old city, but we all agreed that we wanted to go back to CO as soon as possible. It was after our time in Boulder that a second part to our traveling lifestyle was starting to take shape. When we traveled to CA, I was so convinced we'd never return to IA that I had told our friends that we may just up and buy a house along the way. Here we were a year later and that idea of buying a home, a second home, was still out there. Boulder seemed like a good location for our family, our business, and as an investment property, etc. Our Estes friends, however, thought we should buy a home there. "But you live IN the mountains!" I exclaimed. "It's colder and snowier and winter-i-er in the mountains! And! I am not a fan of cold!" To which our friend Amos would reply, "No, it's not! Winters are WAY better here than Iowa. In January, I am climbing in a t-shirt. You just need to come out during the winter and see."

Soon enough, we were trying to find a time when we could go back and experience winter in the mountains. Thanksgiving seemed like a perfect time and because we love having our family with us on our adventures, we decided to try and convince my family to come out to CO with us. My dad ride in a plane?! Oh, yes, it was going to happen and it would be amazing!


Climbing a Classic

June 11, 2015 - 9:27 AM

Travel Log: August 29, 2012


If you aren't from Colorado, when you think of Boulder you think of Pearl Street and the Flatirons. The Flatirons make up the east slope of the Green Mountains and are located just west and a smidge south of the city. The conglomeratic sandstone was lifted and tilted to form the iconic shapes that some say looks like a turn-of-the-century flatiron. While all of the flatirons have names today, the first five, from north to south, are simply called First Flatiron, Second..., and so forth.

Today, we climbed the Third Flatiron.

Our friend Amos, hosted Josh and I to simul climb this route while his wife Molly spent the morning with our kids. We did the Standard East Route, which is considered a great beginner trad route, ranked between 5.0 and 5.4. The route is so "easy" that someone has solo climbed (meaning climbed without ropes) the entire 1,200 foot face in an impressive 5 minutes and 59 seconds. There is about a mile hike to the a good starting point for the route and the route itself is normally done in 8 pitches. Amos thought it could be climbed with a longer rope and in 4 pitches, so we went for it!





As you can tell it was an absolutely gorgeous day to be out and climbing. Amos did a wonderful job lead climbing and because of how "easy" the route is, he had no trouble belaying both Josh and I coming up at the same time. It truly felt like scrambling up a steep incline, but I was thankful for the rope's protection, I'm cautious like that, :)!





Standing on the top of the flatiron was beautiful. If it wasn't for the fact that I could see the First and Second Flatirons behind me, knowing I was on top of a similar point, I wouldn't have been able to fully grasp the depth of the experience.

It was when we were restacking the rope in order to begin the 3 rappels down the backside of the flatiron when my bad ankle starting hurting terribly. I commented to Amos, "Man! Either I tweaked my ankle something fierce climbing up or it's going to rain!" But, look at those above pictures. With a 360 view of happy little clouds, it certainly didn't look like rain, so I must've hurt it climbing. 

Halfway down the first rappel, clouds rolled in speedily and covered the sky, and then the rains came pouring down. The beauty of a healed broken bone to detect pressure changes in weather! Once we were done rappeling, of course, and hiking down the boulder fields the rainstorm had moved on, though clouds remained. 




(View from the trail. The Third Flatiron is the point on the left.)

I feel incredibly fortunate to have a husband and friends who like adventurous sports, rock climbing, alpine skiing, mountain biking, etc, and they do so with the utmost skill and concern for safety. We wouldn't do these adventures, individually or as a family, if the risks were too extreme. You will never see us base jumping (or even sky diving) because the possibility of failure is too great from our perspective. I am thankful that while doing these adventurous sports, my husband and friends teach me how to be safer, look for warning signs, always double check, and make wise decisions when problems arise.

However, like last year I was in a situation where I made a dumb move while belaying someone. Thankfully, everyone was safe. It was a rookie mistake and I know I am smarter than that. Because of it though, I have strongly learned my lesson and am a safer belayer because of it. Or, I can look back at other moments, like Josh's close call on Porcupine Rim, and so forth, where once again, I am so thankful it was a redeemable reminder to be paying attention, to not take situations for granted and become complacent. This is also a lesson we have also learned from friends' experiences (like this story I just read that involved a friend of Josh's) and it is a lesson we have learned countless times since (Wait till I get to the story where we truly deserved a sarcastic "Parents of the Year" award.) and one we continue to learn to this day (Did you hear about me sliding to my death on Flattop a couple months ago?).

Hmmm... maybe I should learn how to knit again, :)!


*This photo was all over online and I am unsure who took it, but it wasn't me. Photo credit: Google Search: "bird's eye view flatirons" to find original photographer.

We LOVE Visits From Family!

June 10, 2015 - 7:17 PM

Travel Log: August 23 - 28, 2012

Goodness, do we love visits from family and friends! This time it was Josh's dad, Mark, who flew in from Minnesota for a long weekend. It was within moments of arriving in our rental home he commented about the same surreal, yet intimate, similarities with the owner and his late wife. It was also within moments we had him hiking up our favorite rocks and tackling altitude like a champ!


We took Grandpa on our favorite hikes near our house, walked around Pearl Street and went out to sushi, went fishing in the Boulder Creek, had burgers at a dive in the hippy mountain town of Nederland, drove up to Trail Ridge Road in Estes so he could see herds of elk and flocks of sheep, go out to Thai food with him and our Estes friends, had him babysit the kids by spending the day at the skatepark and having pizza in his hotel so Josh and I could go out to on a date. It was heaven. 


It just so happened that during Mark's visit that Stage 6 of the week long USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2012 was riding through Boulder twice. The stage started south in Golden, came to Boulder and looped through downtown, scooped a mountain loop to Nederland then Lyons, then finished back in Boulder at the top of an intense hill climb on Flagstaff Mountain. Flagstaff Mountain is located just north of the Flatirons and the road, Flagstaff Road, is a narrow two lane road with intense switchback. The finish was partway up the mountain at the Sunrise Amphitheater, 3.5 miles with 2000+ feet of climbing, having an average 11% grade. (And this is after they rode 100 miles and climbing thousands upon thousands of feet already, oy!)

I'll admit, when we first waited to watch the riders come through the straight, flat downtown streets, it was fairly ho-hum. It was exciting for the 10 seconds that the riders zipped past and exciting when their support cars brought up the rear, handing out swag, but then it was over. Leaving you to think, "That was it?"

Then we walked over to Flagstaff Road.

If you look at a map of Boulder, you will notice there is green space around most edges of the city, making it so that no other city touches Boulder. From reservoirs to parks to wildlife habitats to greenways, this area is part of the Open Space and Mountain Parks Department (OSMP) and has been created and maintained as a nature buffer of protected lands around the city that prevents development from taking over these open spaces. (It is also the reason why land is so expensive in the city of Boulder.)

The City of Boulder wanted to make certain that the Boulder Mountain Park, part of the OSMP where Flagstaff Mountain is located, was not damaged during the Pro Challenge. Wristbands were issued at the ride festivities in downtown to control the number of people who were allowed into the area. They shut down Flagstaff Road to all car traffic and shut down all the nature trails to foot traffic. There was no choice for those wanting to see the finish but to go through a checkpoint and then walk/ride up Flagstaff Road. From base of the road, you could tell a party was starting...




Mark and the kids had walked from home to downtown then to the base of Flagstaff Road and started climbing up the road when they found a nice shady spot and called 4 miles of intense heat good enough for them. Josh and I continued up the road since he knew that hill climbs were the most exciting part of a bike race for spectators and he wanted to get up to one of the more challenging inclines by the switchbacks. Once we got there, the party was in full force...




And it wasn't just the outfits. Once we got to the switchbacks, we saw that someone had pulled up an enormous sound system with generator (on their bikes!) and started this huge dance party in the middle of the street. 

When the first cars and motorcycles started driving up the road, signifying that the riders were coming soon, they were barely able to squeeze between the spectators, and the crazy crowd banged on car hoods and high-fived the motorcycle riders. Thankfully, the crowds parted a little more for the riders. Part of the reason why hill climbs are exciting for spectators is that the riders are no longer in a pack / peloton. Hills are every man for himself, riders and teammates get separated, breakaways from unknowns are made, strong hill climbers take over the sprinters, and everyone is struggling to make it up this intense climb. 

When we finally stopped to watch the riders we had some extra space, so another fun thing to do on hill cimbs is to race the cyclists up the climb. It's goofy, but come on, when else do you get to race Jens Voigt up a mountain?!



Our time with Grandpa was a full of fun and surprises, but it was especially memorable for the kids. Their time with old friends at the beginning of our stay was great, and their new neighbor friends were great, but having family who love them just as they are, makes all the difference. It warms my heart to know that even though distance separates them and they do not get to spend large amounts of time with their grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins, the significance of them in their lives is crucial to their well-being and stability. The connection is surreal, yet intimate, and much better than fiction


PS! I hear the videos work, hooray! I also fixed my comments, hooray! :)!

Troopers. Three Little Troopers.

June 7, 2015 - 7:58 AM

Travel Log: August 21, 2012

In rare form for a Tuesday, Josh had the day off, so we decided to go on a family adventure. One of Josh's favorite road bike rides (this was before the 2013 floods) was going up Lefthand Canyon Drive from Boulder to Ward. From there we had planned to go to Brainard Lake Recreation Area for hiking and fishing. Driving up the canyon, we saw our first bear in the wild. It was exciting, but truth be told, it was so close to the car it scared our little girl to the point of tears and screams even while he was walking away.


Once we arrived at the entrance, we were happy to learn that our National Parks Pass worked for entrance into the Brainard Lake Recreation Area because it is an access to the Roosevelt National Forest. (Score!) And, what a beautiful area it was... 


Off in the distance you can see countless beautiful, rocky mountain peaks, ranging between 12,500 and 13,223 feet, marking the Continental Divide, and making up a portion of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Our attempted destination of the day would be the 13,223 ft peak of Mt. Audubon (on the right) because it had the clearest marked trail to the summit, 7.9 miles RT.

The trail starts at 10,508 ft. After about a mile and a half of walking up through beautiful tall spruce, we made it above tree line. Once above tree-line, we could look back with views down into the valley and see the breathtaking, haze covered "hills". It was here, while the ground was still green, that we sat down and had the most picturesque picnic lunch on top of the world.



Looking forward, toward the rocky peaks and our attempted destination, we could see snow. We knew there were small glaciers in the area, lying between the peaks, and we wondered if this snowy area was one of those glaciers. Actually, we honestly thought that the one closest to us was a glacier and told the kids it was, too. A day later someone made certain I knew we were definitely wrong and it was only a snow field. Tomato, tomato, it was exciting thinking it was a glacier at the time and I'm happy for our mistake, :)!

Since we do have non-hiking fans in our midst, we could tell spirits were starting to fall as exhaustion from the extreme hike was setting in. Since we do have non-hiking fans in our midst, the idea that there was snow to see in August, all of us thinking it was a glacier, we were able to convince everyone to make the patch of snow our end goal. Once we touched the snow, we could turn around. This worked well for all of us, because even though it seemed like the snow was only a 5 minute walk away from where we were, it ended up being a looooonnnnnggggg way away. We had blaze our own trail to reach the snow but it was worth it. We wouldn't touch the summit of Mt. Audubon, but we "ended" our hike on a high note for everyone. Haters included. All thanks to being wrong, :)!



It took us a while to find the actual trail to get back down the mountain, making our hike longer than expected had we reached the summit, but the excitement of playing on snow that we (still wrongly) thought was a glacier, kept everyone chatting excitedly the 4 miles back to the car.  

The other exciting subject for the hike back was the fact that we were going fishing next. There are countless lakes in this area and although the majority of them are a hike to get to, we were able to find one with easy access from the car, as we could tell there would be no more hiking today, :)!




They didn't catch any fish, but we stopped by the grocery store and caught some on the way home. I couldn't be more thankful for an absolutely amazing day with my family.


A Do Run Run Run, A Do Run Run

June 5, 2015 - 9:36 AM

Travel Log: August 19, 2012

While the three and I filled our lazy summer days with hiking and downtown adventures, I still had to carve out time for keeping up with the running plan for my (first ever) upcoming half marathon


Again, I am not a runner. To this day, I am a person who "runs", but not well, and not with skill, and definitely not fast. I have no natural ability for running like my husband and middle child. If you watch them run, they look like gazelles, barely touching the ground, as they effortlessly move past you at speeds of under 8 minute miles. (And that's at high altitude! Oy!) For me, running is a physically hard challenge and has never come easy. I think I summed up running and me best when I said years ago, " my mind, running is by far the most painful experience/exercise known to my body and henceforth, s-u-c-k-s." No joke. Well, actually, it is a funny joke between dear, old friends and me, :)!

If my fading memory can recall 15ish years ago... It was a foggy, early morning when a group of girlfriends wanted to go for a run around the college's cross country track and for some crazy reason that I can't remember, I opted to join them. I don't think I ran longer than a handfull of minutes, but I do think I complained a lot, and I also think I may have said something to the effect of running being straight from hell. Well, maybe not those strong of words, but I definitely gave the strong impression that running and I were not friends. To this day it makes my friends and I laugh about the fact that I "run" now. No really. I just received an email from one of those sweet girls the other day and she mentioned it and I totally laughed out loud becuase she is so right. Hahahahaha, :)! Silly Dana.

Another joke about me and "running" is what I listen to while I run. Back when I started, I listened to Josh's iPod. Because our music library was so small back then, I primarily listened to various NPR station podcasts, like This American Life or Radio Lab. Then somehow I happened upon the Insight for Living podcast. Timed with me spiraling in despair, the Insight for Living podcasts addressed some of the issues I had been struggling through - forgiving, loneliness, taking responsibility for hurts, leaving a church, parenting struggles, finding truth, loving people, marriage, depression, etc. During every run, something said would cut so deep I would be in tears while running along the road. After every run, I had learned something, it changed me for the better, and, truly, I had grown as a human, a wife, a parent, a friend.

If anything, this podcast keeps me running to this day. It still cuts deep, it still makes me cry, and I'd like to hope it still makes me a better human. People have tried to get me to listen to other podcasts or books on tape, some so strongly and often, my simple response of, "I just like this one," doesn't do it for them. While I'd like to believe they are simply trying to give new suggestions thinking I may be bored with it, I struggle with feeling like they are criticizing my choice. But even listening to it the other day on my run, it inspired a desire in me to pursue more art in my life and to get back into writing this memoir. Once again, I am thankful for this simple podcast.  

But back to running! :)!

I couldn't run if it wasn't for Josh and the three's HUGE encouragement. The time required each week for the weekday short runs and weekend long runs, adds up. Back then, if they didn't join me on runs or Josh didn't carve out his schedule to watch the kids while I ran alone, none of this could have ever happened. Though the majority of my training was done in IA at 700 ft elevation, the half marathon I had signed up for was at 5300 ft elevation. Yes, I ran much slower at elevation and yes, I did vomit once or twice along my training runs, possibly due to the elevation. Thankfully, overall, I feel like I benefited from having 2 weeks of training time at elevation before the race.


My sweet friend Molly came down from Estes to run with me and complete her second half marathon of the summer. The day of the race was beautiful and we chatted it up the whole course, with her husband and my family cheering us on at different points. When I finally reached the end, it was so fitting that my sweet girl ran out and grabbed my hand to cross the finish line with me. They were such a huge part of this accomplishment. My run wasn't speedy and it wasn't in perfect form, but I have to admit, I was in awe of what an infamous running-hater like me had just done.



While because of this, that, and the other, I did take a break from "running" for a time after my first half marathon, Molly and I were schemeing. Since she had run a very fun Estes Park Half Marathon, she wanted to try the Estes Park Marathon for the next year and I, for some crazy reason, wanted to join her. I found this in my Photos, dated a few days after the half marathon. Obviously, I had solidified that decision fairly quick, :)!



The Regulars and Out of the Ordinaries

June 4, 2015 - 9:54 AM

Travel Log: August 10 - 13, 2012

Because of the fact that our employees live anywhere in the country, we can live anywhere in the country. This is what makes our lifestyle of travel work. However, there is something to be said for face-to-face interactions with co-workers, so whenever it is possible, we fly in all our employees and everyone gets together for an extended weekend. Our trip to Boulder was aligned with this in mind and over our first week/weekend there, they had one of those gatherings in Breckenridge. Josh took the car with him to help transport people, leaving the kids and I to our feet and public transportation.



An out-of-the-ordinary thing the kids and I did our first week in Boulder was that the boys got to participate in an Apple Camp. Apple Camp is a 3-day camp organized by the Apple Store, with the fourth day being presentation day with family and friends in attendance. Designed for kids aged 8 - 12, there are two camps to choose from, a book camp or a film camp and our boys participated in the film camp. They learned how to storyboard a film, film it, then, of course, they put together a completed film using iMovie, being taught all the tricks during the camp.


The Apple Store was on the far other side of town from us, so in order to get to our classes we had to travel by bus. Back when I had broken my foot, my right foot, I couldn't drive, so for months the kids and I took the bus everywhere, swim lessons, the mall, grocery store, doctor's appointments, etc. (All while on crutches with a 4, 6, and 8 year old, oh my!) When we visited Prague, we took buses and subways everywhere. When we lived in downtown San Francisco, we took buses and cable cars everywhere. Needless to say, our three are public transportation champs.

The boys made a trailer for a film about being skateboarding bros and it was perfectly them.

A regular things the kids and I did was visit the skatepark OFTEN since it had become their favorite sport. And not just the Boulder skatepark, every city around us, Lafayette, Louisville, Lyons, Estes, etc, had a skatepark - each one unique. Once Josh returned the kids and I visited the outlying cities' skateparks, but while he was gone we'd simply hop the bus and make it work. The boys' skills grew with each visit and Miriam had a blast on her scooter. 


A regular thing we did was walk to Saturday's downtown farmer's market, something we loved doing in IC. Boulder's Farmer's Market had a system where you could buy Market Bucks. If you were like me and rarely carried cash, you could "buy" money coupons with your card and then once you bought something from a vendor they would give you cash in return. It cut out the middle man of ATM fees as this was before Square made its way onto the market vendor scene.  



An out-of-the-ordinary thing that happened because of the Farmer's Market was Max watched a balloon artist and was mesmerized. Not only by his skill but by how much money the guy was making. Thankfully, the downtown toy store sold an intro to balloon animals kit and Max bought one and got to work. He used the book until he mastered them all, then went to YouTube and learned more. Our house was covered in balloon animals.


An out-of-the-ordinary thing that happened because Max got a balloon kit was Zeke got a trick kite. We never thought kite flying could be so exciting for an 11 year old who thrives on action. Since we had this awesome kite to fly, we went to a big open space north of our home. Since we went to this big open space north of our home and since this was Boulder, we had another out-of-the-ordinary thing happen by seeing a Hula Hoop Meet-Up taking place at the park that all the kids participated in.



Finally, a regular thing we did was Sunday church and breakfast. During our time in Boulder, we checked out a new church each Sunday. They were all incredibly different from each other, but we always find it fun to see what is going on in different churches. One church served real wine for communion, to the children even, whoa! It was also a nice way to meet people in the community. Since it is normally Josh's regular thing to take the three out to breakfast on the weekend, this time I took them out and we ventured to Lucile's Creole Cafe for brunch that first Sunday. We all loved their creole seasoning so much we bought a jar of it. But, boy was it hot.


Being without Josh is always hard for the kids and I because we miss his presence dearly and here we were without him while in a new city, without any friends nearby, and without a car to use. However, because of planning ahead we were close to downtown, the creek, the library, and various parks for playing and skateboarding. Because of previous travels, we were comfortable with bus routes and walking on foot. And, because the kids and I gel well with each other, we had survived over a week in our new home and truly it was that - home.


We LOVE Visits From Friends!

June 3, 2015 - 7:28 PM

Travel Log: August 7 & 8, 2012

Another thing that always makes a new place feel like home is friends and family. This time, it was friends from Iowa visiting Estes Park and, in turns, they visited us down in Boulder and we visited them up in Estes. From going to The Spot Bouldering Gym in Boulder to hiking up Mt. Chapin in Rocky Mountain National Park, we spent two days living summer to its fullest! (After the work day was done, that is.)

The first day we visited The Spot. Though it is large, I'd call it a hole-in-the-wall climbing gym, but in a wonderful, good way. It is an amazing place for those who love bouldering, though it does offer some sport climbing routes and a slackline. Our three and their two friends had a blast bouldering as it is quick and easy to move around routes by yourself and you don't always need to have a spotter thanks to all the thick pads (and them never getting up too high). 




The next day, our group of friends decided to hike up Mt. Chapin. Mt. Chapin is located in Rocky Mountain Naitonal Park, which you can access through Estes Park. Once you get into RMNP, you need to take Old Fall River Road to get to the Mt. Chapin trailhead. 

Old Fall River Road was simply Fall River Road when the road was first started in 1913 and was the only connection between Estes Park and Grand Lake, the city located opposite Estes on the other side of the Continental Divide. The dirt paved road was narrow, notoriously steep with sharp hairpin turns, but was used primarily until 1932 when the beginning section from Estes to the top was replaced by the current, nicely paved, more gradual, Trail Ridge Road.

Even though they paved the western side of Fall River into Trail Ridge Road, thankfully they left the first nine dirt miles of those wonderful yet incredibly steep, twisting hairpins (some of which legitimately require 3 point turns for larger vehicles) to use today as the one-way Old Fall River Road. The dirt road ends at the top of RMNP at the Alpine Visitor Center but offers a slower pace up the mountains due to the lack of traffic and the ability to stop often, enjoying the beautiful views along the river. (Though, it was temporaily closed due to the 2013 floods, it is set to open this Fourth of July, 2015. Wahoo!)

Again, this is how you get to the Mt. Chapin trailhead.

The trail itself starts around 11,025 ft and tops out up at Mt. Chapin's 12,454 ft summit and is only 3.6 miles round trip, making it a great trail for kids. It's also great for kids because it starts near tree-line, so a lot of the trail is not buried in the tress and is visible, with an end/goal/summit in sight. Like I've always said, we do have some kids who do not enjoy hiking as much as others; however, having friends on the trail made it much more enjoyable! It was fun to watch the boys pair up and keep each other company, talking about this that and the other, while making the journey. It was also fun to have little Miss M (wearing a dress, of course) to go between hiking to getting a piggy-back ride. 

For an evening hike, the reward at the end was breathtaking.




We made it down and to the cars right at dusk. By the time we made the 24 mile drive back down to Estes, via Trail Ridge Road, of course, it was pitch black out. We grabbed a quick bite to eat before making the 45 minute drive back down to our home in Boulder. 

What beautiful days with beautiful friends.


Similiar, Yet Different, Home

June 3, 2015 - 9:19 AM

Travel Log: 6 August 2012

(Psssttt... if someone actually reads this blog, can you let me know if the video links work? Thanks!)

I'll admit it, traveling during the summer is considerably less complicated than during the school year. However, when you "can" work where ever you live, you "have" to work where ever you live. For Josh, this meant that during our time in Boulder he would be having to daily work 9-5, as well as, have his normal travels away from home for meet-ups and conferences. For me, our administrative assistant was still on maternity leave and I had to continue to take care of bookkeeping needs.

Thankfully, my work did not stop us from having amazing summer dayz.

As I mentioned, we chose our rental home because of its close vicinity (ie walking distance) to the downtown area, to a creek, and to the library - all things to remind us of home, bringing stability to an our otherwise unstable lifestyle. The city of Boulder itself has a feel quite similar to our home city. We often joked Boulder was a super-charged version of IC. As if you took IC, shot it full of Red Bull, and added 10 times as many people (when you count tourists). And, not to mention, Boulder's Pearl Street Mall is IC's Pedestrian Mall's crazy, big sister.

No, really.

Both the Pearl Street Mall and Pedestrian Mall were started during the later 70's, seeking to revitalize the urban centers of each city. The same firm that assisted in the design of the Pearl Street Mall, assisted the design of the Pedestrian Mall, Sasaki Associates. But like I said, Boulder is IC super-charged. Yes, they both have brick lined streets, sculptures, one-of-a-kind shops, delicious eateries, water features, street performers, flower beds and trees, but Pearl Street's size and energy is towering compared to IC. Not saying it is better, they are the same yet different. Similarly unique? Tantamount to each other? Akinly disparate? You choose. Either way, the three-quarter mile walk from our new home to Pearl Street was one we would happily make almost once a day for the entire month. 

In IC, we also had the beautiful, peaceful Hickory Hill Park just a couple blocks away. 185 acres, complete from open spaces to woods, trails, and, the kids' favorite, the meandering Ralston Creek. We knew there was a creek within walking distance of our new home in Boulder, yet once again, we did not fully grasp the size and energy of this creek compared to our old one.


Boulder Creek stretches west to east across, roughly, the middle of the city of Boulder. Additionally marked by a well paved 5.5 mile bike path, it is lined with lush trees, playgrounds and picnic tables as to be expected, and, what we did not know, was that it is also well known for its tubing and ropeswinging. Our first day's adventure, just the kids and I, was to find the creek and play in it on a muggy, summer day. Even for a Monday, mostly due to the intense heat, the park and creek were hopping with large groups of people and birthday parties and family reunions and squatters and hula hoopers and tubers, lots and lots of tubers. Once again, a super-charged version of home.

A group of people we met were kind enough to let the boys try their tubes, :)!

After a wonderfully full day of playing in the creek, the kids and I walked to home, stopping along the way at the local market, Lolita's, for candy and drinks. (Here, was the one similarity between the cities where IC towers in size and energy with its John's Grocery and its fabulous beer selection being unmatched by Boulder's counterpart, :)!)


When Fiction Comes Alive

January 29, 2015 - 7:41 AM

Travel Log: 5 August 2012


Have you ever read the trilogy Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary CorrespondenceThey are, by far, three of my most treasured books. I fell in love with them ages ago in a bookstore in Soho, but it wasn't until years later that they came into my possession when we inherited the books from Josh's mom's collection.


Written in a style called "epistolary novel." (A new word I just learned, but one that brings me great joy knowing it exists, as some of my favorite books are in this style.) It means that the story is told through a series of documents, usually letters, and, in the instance of Griffin and Sabine, postcards, too. Part of the beauty of Griffin and Sabine is not only the rich illustrations that correspond with the postcards and letters, but also the simple pleasure that the letters are seperate pieces of paper and can be removed from envelopes in the books. 


And then there is the story.


So beautifully crafted, so romantic yet surreal, in both illustrations and in prose wound together, the story unfolds of a man and woman who have never met, yet their lives are connected through their art as they can see into each other's lives, sense a strong connection with one another, yet unsure if the other one exists or is a figment of their imagination. With each new book, the story becomes more developed.


Part of me, also, longs to tie the word / concept of serendipity to the trilogy. When I think of serendipity, my internal definition means, "A circumstance that brings two or more objects together in an unplanned yet perfect way, as if they were always intended to make one another complete." The true definition brings such phrases as "fortunate happenstance" and "pleasant surprise."


All of this to say, Josh and I experienced a real life, serendipitous, Griffin and Sabine, extraordinary circumstance, in our AirBnB home. From our first moments of entering the home and being blown away by the artwork and creativity, unbeknownst to each other, both of us had this surreal feeling, that in the depths of our minds and hearts, we were experiencing something oddly familiar through the mere objects in the home.


The funny thing about spending time in an AirBnB is that you are "getting-to-know" the person you're renting from without "knowing" them because you are living as they live and with their things. We knew the owner of the home was spending the month of August in a cottage on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. Her son, who lived in the same city, stopped by our first day there to welcome us and see if we needed anything. It was in speaking with him we were given our first snip-its of information about who his mother is: an art advocate who dabbles in art herself, a world traveler having lived and traveled for sometimes long periods of time in Alaska, Costa Rica, South America, Africa, and Asia, and a strong and driven person who once traveled from east coast to west coast with a pet donkey in her convertible.


Putting together who she was from what her son said and what we were feeling while living in her home, after a few days, I turned to Josh and said something to the effect of, "Is it just me, or does she not remind you of your mother? Like, the similarities are eerie and uncanny, yet pleasantly wonderful?" 

His response? "I was thinking the same thing. And her name is Wendy, too."


Throughout our month in Wendy's home, this feeling of warmth and depth mixed with surreal, dream-like familiarity, and an intimate connection with a woman we have never met in person, felt like we were Sabine and she, Griffin. We could see clearly into her world as if we always belonged.


Throughout our month in Wendy's home, it was always the little things that reminded us of Josh's mom - the wooden snake hanging from the staircase, the collection of curios, the mix of found objects. I began taking a photo every day we were there of a new discovery in the house.


Throughout our month in Wendy's home, I would often remark to our Three comments like, "When dad was growing up his house was an art museum just like this... Grandma Wendy was such a creative woman she collected such beautiful pieces like this... Grandma Wendy's sense of humor about art was very similar to this... Grandma Wendy..."  


Later on during our month in Boulder, Josh's dad came out to visit us and he, too, felt the same surreal, yet intimate connection. We still have yet to meet this wonderful woman face-to-face, we've only connected via email, but in my final email to her I told her our feelings of strong connection to her to which she wrote a beautiful email in response, along with, "What a glorious note. I am amazed and touched by your story of Josh's Mom, and so happy that the house and the spirit of me in it reminded you of her."


And then, in her closing words, she happened to mention the name of her grand daughter who was just waking up and she needed to tend to.



Leaving for and Arriving to Boulder

January 24, 2015 - 10:02 AM

Travel Log: 4 August 2012

We enjoyed a month in IA before leaving for our month in Boulder, CO. During that time we enjoyed a skateboard competition, state swim meet, first ever week-long day camps and first ever week-long overnight camps, and a day of RAGBRAI. All the while, I was packing up for a month away, both physically and mentally.

The packing physically was, and is, second nature. I know how to mazimize the space in our Volvo and in our Yakima box, I know how to choose just the right amount of clothes for the kids and I, I know how to help the kids pick out the right amount toys to bring along, I know how to pack gear for climbing and biking, and I know how to pack electronic devices from laptops to routers. (And, if it does take place during the school year, I know how to pack for that, as well.)

Packing mentally was, and continues to be, an evolution of emotions for the three and me. Though they seem to be sporadic, our emotions do follow a process that can be charted of highs to lows to highs to lows to stabilization. The highs of the excitement of anticipation of going to a new location, the lows of realizing we will miss family and friends, the highs of the excitement of travel and arriving at our destination, the lows of realizing we will miss family and friends not being with us, to the stabilization that comes with settling into our new home, making new friends, and getting back into a normal swing. 

During this adventure, unlike our previous travels to CA and UT where we stayed in vacation rentals that are generally decorated sparcely, we would be staying in someone's actual home. In addition, unlike our CA downtown adventure where we didn't have neighbors and our CA suburb adventure where you couldn't even walk on the streets, this Boulder home is in an actual neighborhood, very similar to our own home in IA, and is within walking distance to things like the ped mall, creek, and library. This part was crucial for us in helping make the stabilization process go more smoothly than it did in CA. However, unlike our own home, we would be staying in an art museum-esque, cottage-like in design but spacious in build, home. And the owner's caution of fragile things was remarkably understated. Oh my.

When we arrived to the house at 7:30pm, after a full 12 hours of driving, I went in hoping that I wouldn't have my normal freak out but once I walked in, I knew it was inevitable. The AirBnB photos captured the adorable qualities of the house but paled to capture the depth. It wasn't simply original oil paintings on the wall, kind of art museum-esque house. It was everything, everywhere. It was bronze sculptures and handmade Inuit dolls, African masks and embroidered doilies from South America, antique dining tables and chairs, and the priceless pieces covered every table, counter, corner, bed, floor, wall, shelf, ceiling, and ledge.

living room

The home is long and narrow, with a spiral staircase reaching from the second floor master bedroom suite to the basement bedroom. Half of the main floor, the living room, is valuted and open to the second floor's loft area office. While the original construction of the home was early 20th century, the interior of the home had been remodeled in the previous two years with a perfect balance of refinishing original touches to adding flawless compliments, from the covered balcony / porch off the mater bedroom to the new claw foot tub in the master bathroom, then donned in priceless pieces.


The alcove / balcony / porch from the second floor master bedroom where I spent every morning.


The view out to the alcove / blacony / porch with my laundry hanging out to dry.


The master bathroom was everyone's favorite and this is one of my favorite photos ever.

The exterior of the home belongs in a Hans Christian Anderson story. The cream stucco finish with dark wood trim highlighting the high pitched gables was reminiscent of our time in Austria. And the yard. Oh, the yard. Long and narrow to match the house, surrounded by a dark stained picket fence, the landscaping of flowers and ground cover was expertly chosen and maincured - perfect for fairies to play. There is an arbor with grape vines and seating, a large patio with dining seating (that we truly used for almost every meal), an antique bench and minature Buddhist pagoda for more fairy play, and a perfectly placed rope swing on a sturdy little tree.


A rainy day bringing out the vibrant greens of the front yard.


Having the adorable New Zealand neighborboy over for drawing on the back patio.

However, our first night in Boulder, even with the overwhelming beauty of the home, the sweet touches the owner left for us like breakfast and snacks (something lovingly common to AirBnBs and not so much to VRBOs), and the deeply felt thankfulness for safe travels, reality set in as our little one got hit by one of their massive migraines that bring both pain and vomit, and was brought on by excitement, altitude, and inadequate water intake. (Hence, why now we overly stress water intake, water intake, water intake, days before and while traveling when going to higher elevations.) That first night there, we were also thankful for how clean the home was in order to make the bathroom floor a bedroom.



Grandpa's Cabin in the Summertime/Heat

January 8, 2015 - 2:39 PM

Travel Log: 2 July 2012

We made the journey across northern Minnesota from Grand Marais to north of Walker in order to spend 4 nights at Grandpa's cabin with Grandpa and the Quickert 5.9. (5.9 as Maren was 8 months pregnant with lil' Justus! :)!) Unlike winter, Grandpa's cabin in the summertime is as typical lake life as is expected in Minnesota. We call it a cabin because it was once a tiny 2 bedroom, outdated cabin/shack until Mark bought it, doubled its size, and remodeled everything, beautiful kitchen with all the amentities, air conditioning in the summer and wood burning stove plus heaters for the winter, inside and out finished in pine siding. (Well, all remodeled except the guest bathroom, hopefully that'll be this summer, :)!)

gpas cabin

The surroundings are beautiful, too, a large flat grassy yard, perfect for badminton or croquet, with a long shallow shoreline perfect for little ones, a speed boat for tubing and fishing, a pontoon for all to fish from, and a massive screen porch for mosquito protection but also with a western view to watch breathtaking sunsets. It is a gorgeous lake house more than a typical cabin, :)!

Unlike the North Shore, the rest of Minnesota was experiencing a painful heat wave of high 90's and massive humidity. Within moments of arriving to the cabin, the kids were in their trunks and in the water with their cousins, and bouncing around from fishing to swimming to trying to do both at once.




From the photos above, it looks like a normal day on Grandpa's lake, peaceful and calm. But around 8pm, the weather turned, massive clouds began forming across the lake on its west edge, the winds picked up, and the rains came. In a heartbeat, we were being pounded by a massive thunderstorm with tornado-force winds. (Later, we learned tornados did actually touch down in surrounding areas.) The 11 of us all huddled in the safest spot in the cabin and discussed if the tiny crawl space would fit our group. The power went out as the storm raged and the screened in porch was taking a beating. The lawn looked like a lake itself from the torrential rains.

Around 10:30pm, the power had not come back on, but the storms had calmed enough that we felt like we could send the kids to bed safely. Unlike city life, the water at the cabin is powered by electricity. We had no electricity and no running water from faucets or water in the toilets. And even though it was night, the lessening of the storm brought back the heat with a vengeance. We all went to bed hoping that when we woke the power would be restored.

Travel Log: 3 July 2012



Unfortunately, the dawn did not bring the power. Thankfully, we had cereal for breakfast, some bottled water on hand for drinking, the next door neighbor had an outhouse we could use, a lake to try and cool off in, and a grill for lunch and dinner. Grandpa Mark found a generator for sale but it would take him over 6 hours to get it and return. During that time the rest of us closed all the curtains and tried to make the house as cool as possible. Even with all the lake playing, we were running out of water and our over-heated spirits were waning. We opted to make the (car air conditioned!) drive into town in order to go to the ice cream shop (and buy more drinking water) for some relief. Just look at these sweaty cuties and their melted ice cream!


We arrived home hoping the power would be restored, but it wasn't. Mark was back with the generator but it only produced enough energy to power the refrigerator and a small fan. We focused the fan on the beautiful pregnant woman and prayed the power would return - but to no avail.   

Travel Log: 4 July 2012

After going 40 hours with no electricity, no running water, and intense heat - we called it. 

Being hard core campers, Maren and I were bummed. If we had known we were going camping without such amenities, we would have packed differently and been better prepared. But after 40 hours of trying our best to stay positive and make do - we called it. It was heart breaking for everyone, as we cherished our rare times together, but it was done, we couldn't stay as long as we had planned.

Within four hours on the road south to home, we got the call that the power was finally restored at the cabin. If only we had hung in there a little longer! But as it was, we had made it to our favorite Thai place in the Twin Cities area and had just settled in to enjoy our Fourth of July in typical A Christmas Story style and decided not to make the drive back up. We still had another 6 hours to home, but spending those 6 hours in an air-conditioned car was heaven on earth.


Classic Lodge Life

January 7, 2015 - 12:11 PM

Travel Log: 1 July 2012


We weren't quite ready to give up the North Shore, but we couldn't stay in our current cabin any longer since they were booked, so we made quick reservations to stay a night at a familiar lodge located just south of Grand Marais. The Cascade Lodge has a history dating back to the 1920's but was primarily built as it stands today during the 40's and 50's. It was designed in what you would imagine as classic lodge style - a large rustic lodge with hotel rooms, having a massive great hall with seating (originally used for dining but now a separate building serves that purpose), piano, and board games, and a basement filled with arcade games and ping pong. It's funny to me that the whole set up reminds me of the show Newhart for some reason, :)!

They also offer a variety of sizes of log cabins for rent, which is where we opted to stay for this visit and where, 7 years earlier, Josh and I had stayed for a beautiful winter anniversary trip of snowshoeing. We jokingly wanted the exact same cabin we had before so we could see if they had fixed the wood burning stove. Someone, not naming any names, may have almost burned down our cabin the last time, charring the door's handle, ha!

Normally, when we travel to the North Shore, Josh is completely unplugged from work, it is a true vacation. However, for me, this day, the first of the month, I actually had work to do. Our administrative assistant was on maternity leave and I had to complete invoices. I set up a mobile office in the great hall of the lodge with my laptop and printer, while Josh and the kids enjoyed all the amenities of the area - hiking along the Cascade Waterfall in nearby Cascade State Park, playing in the lodge basement, and jumping into Lake Superior. Thankfully, they came back for me at the end of the day so that I could see the waterfall and witness their bravery firsthand...

We drove back up to town to have dinner at the infamous and delicious Sven and Ole's Pizza Joint and then drove to the lookout at the start of the Gunflint Trail in order to watch the sun set and listen to the bird calls, bidding us a final farewell to one of the most beautiful places on earth.



Visiting the Least Visited National Park

January 7, 2015 - 10:27 AM

Travel Log: 30 June 2012

The least visited National Park (in the lower 48 states) is Isle Royale National Park. Isle Royale is the largest island located in Lake Superior with its widest measurements at 45 miles long and up to 9 miles tall. There are no roads on the island, no permanent residents, but it does offer 170 miles of hiking trails making it popular for week long backpackers where the goal is to either travel from one tip of the island to the other or to circumnavigate the entire island. (Something I'd love to do!) And, even though it is a 1.5ish hour ferry ride from Minnesota and a 3.5ish hour ferry ride from Michigan, the island is technically considered part of Michigan. Silly Michigan snagging the island for copper first!


We made online reservations for the ferry departing from Grand Portage, Minnesota. We woke up very early to make the drive from Grand Marais to Grand Portage, packed up a daypack of food and water, and packed up fishing gear for the boys (since they could fish without having Michigan fishing licenses), and headed out. In rare form, the 1.5 hour ferry ride was calm on our way to the island.


Once on the island, we learned about the Junior Ranger Program that the National Parks Service offers. For as many national parks as we have been to, I couldn't believe we had never heard of this before. Each park offers a different set of hoops that a person has to jump through to receive the junior ranger badge displaying the park visited's name. Sometimes it is filling out an entire booklet, sometimes answering a quiz from a park ranger, and sometimes you can just look cute. Whatever the hoop, our kids did this here for the first time and have loved doing at other national parks and monuments since.


We hiked into the interior of the island to find little inner lakes for the boys to fish in and we hoped to spy an elusive moose. A hundred years prior, moose swam over from Canada and settled happily on Isle Royale. Years later a pair of wolves made the crossing on the frozen lake. Interestingly enough, since the 1950's the balance of predator and prey, moose vs. wolf, has been studied and recorded by scientists. In the mid-ninties, when Josh was there for a hiking trip across the island, the island was teeming with moose. When reminded of it, he always proclaims, "There were SO many moose! They were everywhere!" Because the animals are studied so closely, we learned that the population of wolves was down back then due to a person (illegally) bringing their dog to the island that had a virus that infected the wolves. However, upon our visit this time, the population of moose and wolves were way down due to a current disease affecting the moose and without moose to eat the wolf population was down. How amazing to have such a contained ecosystem to study at your disposal! 



The ride back to Grand Portage was cold and bumpy. Everyone welcomed the, now, 2.5 hour ride as a way to rest from the day's hiking. This proved to be a blessing also because we decided to stop at the Grand Portage National Monument on our way back to Grand Marais.

The Grand Portage National Monument tells the history of the fur trading industry of the late 1700's. They have a newly constructed welcome center that tells the history and has artifacts, but the truly wonderful part of the monument is the Historic Depot. Although the buildings are replicas built in the 1930's, they have taken great measures to recreate the trading company accurately with a great hall, kitchen, canoe warehouse, gatehouse, and on the outskirts an Ojibwe village, voyageur's encampment, and a historic garden. During the summer months, the Historic Depot literally comes alive as an interpretive exhibit. They have an incredibly knowledgable stafff that dress and work as those of the time period. There was a man working in the kitchen, making authentic recipes with authentic tools and sharing the results with visitors. There was a man in the canoe warehouse who was building an authentic canoe of the period, using the same tools, and, admittedly, on his 4th summer working on the same project. There was a woman tending to the Three Sisters garden and another woman tanning a hide to make new shoes for herself. (It is not unlike Living History Farms in Iowa, but this is free and, no offense, the high level of skill and detail by the Grand Portage staff doesn't compare, :)!)


Herring, filleted, held on a board by wooden nails, and placed inside a fire to cook, and samples are served.

After acquiring another national parks' junior ranger badge, we headed back to our cabin on the shore for a quick dinner and then back outside for a visit to the lake once again. We have yet to tire of the lake.





Canada and My Over Active Imagination

January 5, 2015 - 7:24 PM

Travel Log: 29 June 2012


I was not exaggerating. 8AM. This was where we were. The Three throwing rocks, building dams, trying to spear minnows, making foot spas, etc, and I was reading. Josh; however, was off on a biking adventure. His plan was to ride his bike from Grand Marais, MN to Thunder Bay, Canada (over 80ish miles away). We were then planning to meet him there for a late lunch. We stayed right in this spot until it was time for us to leave, 4 hours later. No joke. 4 hours. One spot.

foot bath

We really didn't want to leave, but we drug ourselves away at the last minute and drove to Thunder Bay in order to meet Josh at Prince Arthur's Landing at Marina Park. Prince Arthur's Landing ended up being more wonderful than we planned offering a splash pad area, sweet skateboard park, beautiful public art throughout, and a marina teemng with ocean-sized sailboats for "ooh's" and "aah's."


It was while admiring the sailboats that a random woman approached us. 

We had set up our camera for a goofy self portrait when a woman asked if she could also take our photo but with her camera. She said she was trying to get back into the photography business, was going to be taking some family photos in the near future, and wanted to take our portrait with the current lighting for her research. It sounds like a legit situation, but I couldn't help but feel weird about the personal questions she was asking us and how she seemed like she was tailing us around the marina and how to seemed she like she followed us to our car and... it was very un-nerving. 

And then, my over-active imagination kicked in... 

What if she was taking our license plate and planning to have us arrested for something we said or did while she was tailing us and she isn't a photographer but works for the Canadian Mounties and actually followed us to lunch and is going to be waiting for us when we leave the pub to arrest us or she is going to follow us back to the US and, and, and... holy moly! I am ridiculous!

I'd like to think this is the only time I've let my imagination get the best of me, but it isn't. Goodness, it just happened last weekend...

It was Saturday night, 11:30pm, freezing cold and windy out, we had literally just arrived home, walked into our house, and were hanging out in our basement with the kids when a ring came from our front doorbell. I went to the door and turned on the light to see a young woman, maybe 25-28 years old, with a carry-on luggage bag saying through tears, "I'm lost." 

I immediately responded, "Oh, sweetie, you're safe now!" As I pulled her into our house, I hugged her tightly, as she hugged me just as tightly in return.

We welcomed her into our home, feed her tea, helped find a hotel for her to stay in, and drove her to the hotel. She was incredibly thankful and appreciative for all we did and seemed hopeful for being on the right path for the night. 

As soon as Josh left to take her to the hotel, my over-active imagination went into over-drive. 

Wait, did she say she was walking around for an hour and a half? She didn't feel as cold as someone should for such a night when I hugged her. Wait, we had our various electronic devices sitting around the house, right in front of her. What if she was scoping our house to rob it later? Wait, her footprints started from the right? Maybe she was dropped off by someone to the front door in order to confirm that the house was empty and her counterpart was actually going to the back and we happened to slip in the house between the timing. Wait, did the map of where she showed me where she was going to look like she was starting from exactly in front of our house? She was probably scoping out our house all night!...

Even though I got my imagination under control that night, a few days later...

Oh no! We all left the house at the same time to go see a movie, maybe she's come back and they have been waiting for us to leave this whole time... THEY'RE ROBBING US RIGHT NOW!!!!! ... Holy moly! Make it stop! I am ridiculous! Oy!

It's always at such times that I go back to one of the first verses I had the kids memorize, "Fear of man proves to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." While that doesn't mean to me just because I trust in the Lord bad things will never happen, it does remind me that overall, no matter what, I shouldn't be fearful of what man can do to me here on this earth.


Thankfully, last Saturday, just like back in ole Canada, the truth overcame my over-active imagination and soon enough, we were back to our spot on the shore, throwing rocks, buildings dams, making foot baths, etc, and I was reading until the sun gave out. We stayed right in this spot until it was time for us to go inside for a late night dinner, 4 hours later. No joke. 4 hours. The same one spot.


Of Rocks and Reading

November 2, 2014 - 7:48 AM

Travel Log: 28 June 2012

My parents like to tell the story of how on the day I was born one of them was holding me looking over their shoulder and, with my eyes wide open, I was immediately trying to climb over their shoulder, to get moving, to see the world, to not be contained, and not be forced to sit still.

I've said it before, but to this day I am still that way.

Except on the North Shore.*

In 2004, at 4 & 2, our boys had bounds and bounds and bounds and bounds and bounds of energy requiring bounds and bounds and bounds of energy by me chasing them around. But when we went to the North Shore / Lake Superior that very first time with them, for what also felt like the first time in my entire parenting life, the boys were completely entertained for (and I mean) literally 8 hours straight. I hinted earlier that they threw rocks, but honest to goodness, (and I mean) literally 8 hours straight the boys threw rocks into the lake. They collected rocks of all shapes and colors. They threw more rocks into the lake. They never ran out of rocks. They never got bored. They only needed me to remind them to stand next to their brother when throwing rocks, not behind him, and then they kept right on throwing rocks. They never stopped. 

And I had nothing to do.

For the first time in forever.

So I actually read a book.

Silently, in my head, read a book.

Not a Newbery or Caldecott Medal winning book (no offense!). A real life book for me. I had nothing else to do but sit still and read a book while the boys were in heaven. It was painful that first time, a weird yet wonderful moment. It happened in 2009, 2011, and 2012...

rocky shore



After years of visits to the North Shore, now with 3 kids, ages 11,10, & 7, the same phenomena holds true (even at ages 14,12, & 9!). For hours on end the Three throw rocks, find rocks, build something with rocks, and throw rocks some more... all the while, I actually sit still. And read. All day long. It is a magical place indeed.


*Or when I broke my foot. But I never plan on doing that again. Oy! :)!



Welcome! I am glad you're here! If you are new and would like to get caught up on what's going on, check out these quick links to get you started:

About Me and This Blog...

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
   Ladies Trip to Napa Valley
   My Parents Rode in a Plane!

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
   Life in Boulder

Begin Our Adventures of Winter/Spring 2012 to UT
   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
   Vacation in Moab
   Living in Moab / Denver

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2011 to CA
   The Drive to CA Begins
   Living in the SF
   Living in the Suburbs
   Coming Home to IC

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2010 to Eastern Europe
   Life at Czech English Camp
   Travels in Germany & Austria
   Travels in Czech & Poland


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