Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Day A Homeless Man Gave me a Dollar

"did I ever tell you about when a homeless man gave ME money?"

This topic came up at work when I was talking about how I'm crazy all the time and having two little kids made me more crazy for a while. I was thinking about it yesterday and I find it hard to believe I never blogged about it before. Yes, I once appeared so crazy that a homeless man gave me money.

That sentence is funny. But the story is amazing.

Rylan was 4 and Max was 2. We still lived outside of Little Rock at the time. When we went to Little Rock for something, I was known to get a lot done while we were there, because it was a 20+ minute drive to get anywhere. We had been at a playdate and my kids were tired.

Lets just stop at my favorite store, Dollar Tree, I thought.

We've got it in us for one store.

Or so I thought......

Now, Rylan at the time, was kind of coming into his own with talking after some speech therapy. We had gone from not understanding him to full, perfect sentences. Most of the time we were moved to tears at how sweet and awesome those sentences were. Sometimes those full, perfect sentences not what we were expecting to hear, nor wanted to hear: "leave me alone, I don't want to, give that to me NOW"...... That sort of thing. This story kind of throws him under the bus a bit. Please forgive and know I love my son dearly and he is a sweet precious loving little kid that had a bad day.

So, we pull into Dollar Tree on Markham. This is an area of Little Rock, that sometimes has some people asking for money, but I never felt unsafe. If I had an extra few dollars, I would give them some in hopes they would buy some food or personal items in Dollar Tree with it. Sometimes there were people handing out papers with prayers or fliers for their church. No biggee.

So, we go in, and are shopping and I had allowed Rylan to get a dollar toy. He is holding it, walking, and someone wheels in a wheel chair in front of him and he says "GET OUT OF MY WAY". I was shocked. So shocked that I immediately told him to put the toy down. In retrospect, I would have squatted down and told my son that was not okay to say, and that he needed to apologize to that person.  But I was a mom of littles that was just trying to get in and out of a store and I was embarrassed and he's my first son and I wanted precious, loving children that NEVER say the wrong thing!!!!! So I made him put the toy back.

The screaming started. It didn't stop.

"My toy!"  "I want my toy!" "Give me back my toy"

Because the drive home was 25 minutes, minimum from this store, I wasn't leaving the store without my stuff, so I take my basket and screaming child and other child up to the counter and he screams the entire transaction and I am doing everything I can not to cry. I am not a "give in" kind of mom. I stand my ground and don't give in even if they are screaming at me. I might cry about this but I don't give in.

All the sudden a man comes up to me that was standing outside before I'd gone in the store and puts a piece of paper in my hand. I was so beside myself I said thanks and shoved it in my pocket, thinking it was a prayer card or something.

I take my kids to the car, unload, get them in their seats and remember the paper in my pocket. I pull it out and it was a dollar bill.

I think he thought I couldn't afford to give my child that toy. And he gave ME money. His money that he could have used for food or shampoo or whatever.

I wrote this story because homelessness is something that is on my heart everyday, all day. I wish, at the time, I had been in the mindset to find that man, give him his dollar back and ask him if we could take him to lunch.  At the time I was still scared of the homeless.  My life has changed immensely in the years since this day. My eyes and my heart and my wallet have been opened.

I have this man to thank for starting that.

I think that homeless people are seen as the drunk beggars that cause a scene at street corners and outside of liquor stores and bars. The one's that make more money begging than I make at the hospital cleaning up poo and bandaging owies. And then they use that money on the wrong things. I'm not going to say it doesn't suck to give money to someone and they do wrong by you. It is terrible. That is a terrible thing they are doing. They have become the picture of homelessness to a lot of people. Because they are the loudest. They are the ones that make you remember them. They are the bad ones.

Did you know that some nurses steal patient's medications and take them for themselves? I am a nurse. Do you assume I do that because some of my brethren do that? ps-I don't.....just fyi......

I would love everyone that reads this (like all 8 of you) to do something for our homeless neighbors.

If you do nothing else, pray for someone you see. Pray that if they are given money, they use it for food, or to save for a home, or to pay child support. Pray that if they are mentally ill, they find the help that will make them able to hold down a job and make their own money. Pray that if they came from an abusive relationship, that they end up in a safe place. Pray that their children are okay.

If you want to do more, there are so many ways you can.  Research places in your area that offer help to everyone. Find pantries, clothing annexes, donations stations in your area. Keep a bag in your car with gloves in it in the winter. Keep water bottles in the summer. Have a stash of $5 McDonalds gift cards to hand them instead of cash. They can only buy food with that.  If your garden is extra plentiful, and some will go to waste, ask a local church or shelter if they want it. Do you know how long its been since some have had fresh fruit of vegetables?

We give money as we can, but one thing I have given more of, is my time. I joined a church that believes very strongly in outreach. I go 2 hours early on Sundays and help cook breakfast for anyone that needs it. I love it that our church invites and welcomes anyone that WANTS to come up after to church, but in no way expects it.  Find something like that. I have met some AWESOME people this way. Both the people I cook with and the people I serve. My children come with me sometimes and help people carry their plates or drinks and sit and talk with them. There is an elderly man, who I LOVE, that gives my kids his donut from church every time he sees them. Last week, he brought them apple seeds and taught them about planting apple trees. It is precious and wonderful. Rylan recently said "Mr. Bobby is one of my best friends." CAN YOU EVEN WITH THAT?

I have also become active in the food pantry. I stock the shelves on my day off once a month and once a month I help hand out the food. If you ever judge someone that is homeless, look one of them in the eye while they ask you for stuff they can eat straight out of the can because they can't heat food up, can't boil water for noodles or rice, can't keep anything cold. Go in your kitchen right now, imagine popping the top off a can of soup and drinking it straight out of the can and calling that dinner.

I am still learning on daily basis to have an open heart and mind. It is hard when it is obvious that drugs and alcohol are on the scene. Its hard not to judge. Its smart to stay that little bit scared and not get too comfortable, but I am learning to hate the drug, not the person. A lot of my homeless friends have unmedicated psch problems. Imagine trying to get a job in the throes of a bipolar manic episode. I can't.  I can however give them a plate of food, a smile, and tell them I am glad they came that day.

I have gone from being so scared I wouldn't go thank a man for giving me a dollar (and return the dollar) to hugging on my sweet 75 year old homeless friend I mentioned above until I'm pretty sure I make him uncomfortable.  A few weeks ago, as I served breakfast my children gave a table of people a complete tutorial on Pokemon Go while I watched with thankful tears in my eyes on how far we've come.

Please remember, WE are ALL one illness, one death, one divorce, one layoff, one car wreck, or one robbery away from being in their shoes. Love your neighbor a little more today than yesterday. You'll reap the rewards tenfold.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Book Review: The Nightengale

I mentioned recently that I have really committed to reading more in the last year. So far, in 2016, I am up to 18 books. I don't have any idea of how many books I read in 2015, but I can guess, it might have been 5 or so. If that.

My book club, comprised of moms from my MOPS group (which I have graduated from for having kids too old, but still hang out with, whatev) and some friends we've invited to join. We recently read The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Our little group has been on a World War II kick, having previously read The Storyteller and The Book Thief. This is by chance, as we are reading books that are popular on Goodreads lists and other book club lists. But, it is really interesting that we, by chance have read about the same war, a view from a Jewish person, a Nazi, a non-Jewish German, and now, in this book, French women.

It starts with an elderly woman going through a trunk of memories for the first time in over 50 years. This woman becomes the narrator as she digs up memories long buried deep of two sisters, very different in character and beliefs, and how World War II effected them individually and as sisters. One is a married teacher, previously living a charmed life that wants to not make a fuss and believes what her government tells her to do, the other is an independent risk taker that feels the need to make changes, government be damned. There are things to love and despise about both characters, which makes for an interesting book.

I gave this book 5 stars out of 5 stars. As I mentioned in my previous review, I give 3 stars if it is a book that I get lost in. I found myself reading this during my lunch hour at work, while I blowdried my hair and any other little minute I could. I go higher in my book when I enjoy the book from start to finish, and I bump it up to 5 if there is some sort of tying it all together at the end. I don't like a to be continued, or books that make you wonder. I loved this book. It was well written, had great characters and the writer does a nice job of ending it, even if part of the ending made me sad.

I will warn there are really hard parts to read. I assume the events are fictionalized accounts of actual events. Any war is hard. Stories, personal accounts, and memories are hard to hear or read.  World War II was a pisser,so bump up what you think you know will happen by 50%.  I will say, I have a very low tolerance of terrible scenes and I was okay with the amount in this book.  I think that when people in the worst of times you see their true character, and, especially in this book, the war brought out bravery and love and patience, and loyalty out of some characters. It also brought out some real assholes, if I may be so bold.

I highly recommend this book, especially for a book club, as it gave us lots to talk about at our meeting.  I also highly encourage moms of littles to join a book club. I have tried HARD to not lose myself in motherhood, but still, if you asked me to tell you about myself, my first answer is that I have two sons. This is not bad. But that is not all I am and I think it is easy for that to become all we are, all we talk about, all we give our time, money and brain cells to. That was me fora long time, even when I tried to not let that happen.  It has been fun in the past year to see my little group of moms, me included, figure out how to make time to read these books and get together to talk about them. To use parts of our brain that took a break. To talk about romance and history and religion, and politics.

I am not sure if anyone reads this blog anymore. I have enjoyed getting back into writing blogs. I hope my personal reading adventures are not annoying to anyone who does look at this. I currently am listening to a murder mystery, reading a romance novel actual book, and also reading a chapter of a religious mommy book ALL AT ONCE and I feel the need to talk about all my books, so bare with my bookoholicism-actual word.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

1st Day of School

We've had some pretty big weeks lately.  On August 17, Rylan AND Max both started school. Rylan started 2nd grade and Max started Kindergarten.

At the beginning of August, I started prepping the kids for school. I started waking them earlier (Rylan has turned from a 5am-er of yesteryear to a teenager that would sleep till noon if we didn't make too much noise). I started with 7am, just sneaking in and turning on the TV in their room. Fifteen minutes or so later, I would come turn off the TV and ask them to get dressed and meet me in the kitchen for breakfast. Then we would do a little reading, do some ABC writing (Max), math (Rylan), and cleaning. Every day the wake up time got a little earlier. I seemed like a mean old meanie.

When it came time for back to school nights and meeting the teacher, I could sense a little reluctance from Rylan. We did have a blast this summer. He didn't want to go back EVERY day. Why can't school be like 3 days a week, mom? At the same time, Max started getting nervous. He worried that he didn't know enough things for kindergarten (btw, the kid can count to 100, count by 5's and 10's to 100, and write all ABCs in big and small letters, he was born ready).  I was already coming down with a serious case of sorrow over both kids being gone, missing our summer together, wishing I could zoom back to when they were 1 and 3 and do it all again, so I was way afraid we were going to have hard times.

We went to Max's Kdg night, and found out that he got the teacher Rylan had. I don't know if I blogged about this, but we LOVED her. She is southern, mind your manners, don't fall out of line, but come here and get a hug kind of teacher. Strict but loving. And she helped our transition into Fayetteville Public Schools. Just between you and me, we had asked for her and were told they didn't take requests (wink wink wink). Max was so excited. He remembered going with me to Rylan's class and he found his cubby and his desk and he wasn't scared any more.

Rylan's night went much the same. He found out his teacher, it was one he knew from last year, and he was all smiles. He realized how long it had been since he had seen his friends and was excited to find out 4 of his friends were in his class. He was pumped. 

Wednesday morning, we got up at 6:30 (me at like 5, just for freaking out sake).  We made it out the door with lunches, backpacks, and matching shirts by 7:30.

Rob and I walked the kids in. Mr Independent (Rylan) muttered something about how it was embarrassing and he knew where to go. As soon as he heard 2nd graders line up, he said "BYE" and ran off. No last moments, no hug. Fine, Independent Child. Then Max's teacher came to collect the class. He hugged each of us and ran off, no sad goodbye, no fear. We did it. 

And then my eyes exploded. I literally had no warning. One minute I was smiling and waving and thankful that we raised two boys that are healthy and happy and ready for school and the next minute my eyes were waterfalls.  I got myself together and went to work. You know, after I cried in the parking lot for another 10 minutes.   It wasn't that I was sad about anything. I actually think that we are in an amazing stage of life right now. We are just having a lot of change. I have been a mostly stay at home mom, a part time stay at home mom, and now they are gone and I am working almost every day. Even good changes cause a little stress.

I work until 2:30 and am able to get them from school.  A block from school is a church, and the kids chose to be walkers to this church. There is a crossing guard and older kids to keep the younger ones in place. It keeps me out of the carrider line and the kids feel like big deals being "walkers." So far, this arrangement is fabulous. I have already volunteered at the school on my day off and me and the kids are able to play and clean and have lots of time together. Its awesome.

I bought these shirts on tax free weekend in Branson. That sentence gives me palpatations just typing it. Looking at them wearing them on the same day, by choice, makes my heart happy.

We are 2 weeks in today. The new schedule has served us well, so far. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Last Day of Summer

We have partied like rock stars this summer.

During the school year, Max went to pre-k 3 days a week, and those three days Rylan got picked up by a van from Max's pre-k and played at that school until I got off work. When school ended, we went to Colorado. After we returned, I dropped my hours from 3 days a week to 1. We asked our niece to babysit our boys. We have a niece that is 24 (I know what you are thinking. How can that young girl have a grown niece?) and stays home with her son. (I KNOW, how can that Sara be great aunt?  She's so young!) She very nicely to agreed to come stay with our kids 1-2 days a week so I could work.  This worked out so well. She made some money and we spent less than we would have a daycare and I was able to stay home 3-4 weekdays. 

The boys and I came up with a Summer Bucket List. We didn't do it all, but we got seriously close. I am proud of all we did this summer. 
Here is the before:
Gulley Park
Rotary Park
Vandergriff School Park
Bryce Davis Park
Dickson Street Food Trucks and Dickson Street Book Shop
Springdale Aquatic Center
Rogers Aquatic Center
Prairie Grove Aquatic Center
Toys R US/Petco/Barnes and Noble
Chick Fil A playplace
McDonald's Playplace
Lego Club at the Library
Storytime at the Library
Tour a Food Truck
High Rise
Fast Lanes
Garage Saling on Fridays
Ricks Bakery to watch cakes be made
Berry Picking
Einstein bagels for breakfast

Gulley Park
Rotary Park
Vandergriff School Park
Bryce Davis Park
Dickson Street Food Trucks and Dickson Street Book Shop
Springdale Aquatic Center
Rogers Aquatic Center
Prairie Grove Aquatic Center
Toys R US/Petco/Barnes and Noble
Chick Fil A playplace
McDonald's Playplace
Lego Club at the Library
Storytime at the Library
Tour a Food Truck
High Rise
Fast Lanes
Garage Saling on Fridays
Ricks Bakery to watch cakes be made
Berry Picking
Einstein bagels for breakfast
Wilson Park Pool

I think we did awesome. Add in that the kids went to my parents for 4 days, the family did a trip to Branson, I went on a girls trip to Lake Viking, and Rob did his 18th annual Guys Only Camp/Canoepalooza. We summered like we have never summered. We also did chores, the boys started making their beds for the first time in their lives, we volunteered at our church pantry, we participated in the Summer Reading Program, and I feel like did awesome at it. Today is our last day. As much as I'd like to tick off a few more items, I think we are going to go to the gym, chill, clean a little, play and spend time together for one final day.  I've said it before, I am a fun mom, but I am not a good Stay at HOME mom. I dont't really stay at home all that well. I like to find stuff to do, see what's out there. Explore new places.  

Tomorrow I packup my littles (BOTH OF THEM!) and send them to school. They will be at the same school for 3 years. I am beginning a new shift, working 8am-2:30pm four days a week and making it to carline instead of 3 days a week of 8-4:30. I prayyyyyyyyyy that this works. My job lends itself to making my own hours, BUT, if I have a patient, and no one can take my patient, I can't exactly leave my patient. Sometimes crap happens. I have had to call Rob or other family SOS before to get them at 4:30, so trying to leave 2 hours earlier than that is a scary thought. If it works, and I can leave and get my kids in time for school to be out, we will be saving...................$500 a month in daycare and afterschool care money. And I was only part time!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I am sad that the summer is over, but I feel really ready for this next chapter. I have no regrets of staying home and being frugal to make that work. I have no regrets of not completly staying home, always working a little, just to keep my nursing skills up so that I could get the kind of job I have now. It is a good job, but it is a hard job and my years of experience, even extremely part time, helped me get it.  My kids have had some of the best teachers at several different care centers and they have also had a lot of mama time.  I am so happy I get to be there at the end of their day after school

I am sad to say my phone died and a lot of photos did not transfer to my new one. So, here are a FEW photos from this summer. 

 Max owning some sparkly shades at Roger's Aquatic Center

Couple of weirdos at Springdale Aquatic Center

Our beach ball sprinkler before our dog ate it

Berry Picking in the blistering heat. Summer got REAL this year

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I've become a bookaholic

I have done 5 posts in all of 2016 and this is the fourth in a month, WHAT??????

I miss blogging.I really do. In the last year, I have made a very large effort to get back to several things I used to enjoy doing. Some of it was given up with kids and the brain cells and time that raising young humans took. But, I honestly think that that with the invention of the smart phone, I have lost so much time and have nothing to show for it. So, new old loves are coming back to me. Thrift shopping is one. Planning and cooking new foods is another (especially since I have gone on Weight Watchers). Blogging is slowly coming back. But,the biggest, for me, is reading.

I love to read. I absolutely love to get lost in a book and find that occassional book that you just cannot put down.  Since having kids my reading has suffered. Like I said, the smart phone is a brain zap and it would take all my free time most days. I hate that but its true.  I would go in spurts, find a good book, buckle down and read like a banshee and then go 6 months. A few coworkers and I would go to a cheap book event at the library every 4 months, I would drink the proffered wine, get a tad tipsy and then buy 20 books or so with the promise of restarting my book love. And then I'd get busy, see something shiny, start a new game of Words with Friends, and find a new park for me and the kids to go to and my book shelf would get dusty.

 About a year ago, I asked some fellow MOPS moms to start a book club with me. We did pretty good in our first year. It was nice for all of us to find time for ourselves and find something besides kids to talk about. I honestly think you lose that as new (or newish if you are me) moms.  Besides the fellowship that a book club provides, the book club also has helped me discover new subjects and authors I might not have found otherwise. Since September of last year I have read, for the book club,  For the Love, The Book Thief, The Husband's Secret, Me Before You, The Giver, and The Storyteller. I have loved all of these books. There were two (Under the Banner of Heaven and The Dinner that I didn't finish and didn't love).  I am so thankful to have found people to discuss books with.

In December, I learned about the Goodreads app, which is basically Pinterest for readers. You see what other people are reading and can make a list of books you want to read based on their ratings of books. *even more people to discuss books with!* The Goodreads app has yearly reading goals. So, in January, I made a 2016 reading goal. Well, actually Rylan did. I was thinking 20 books would be good. He said 36, for how old I am. PHHHHHHTTTTTT. So, as my 7 year old told me, 36 books became the goal. I started decently strong and read 3 books from January to mid February. And then, as most New Years goals do, I fizzled out and was maybe reading a book a month. In late May, I realized I only had only read 9 books. OOPS. So, I have upped my game majorly.

With that has come a need to have more books everywhere around me.

I moved to Fayetteville 2 years ago, with 2 boxes of the books mentioned above from various library cheap book sales. Since then, I have gleaned books from garage sales and thrift shops and I have discoved Little Free Libraries in my town. Love that sweet part of this town. There is also a used book store that I the kids and I have visited twice this summer. I currently have a shelf in my dining room stuffed full of books, and shelf in my closet stuffed even fuller. I don't think I am lying that there might be an unpacked box in the garage from our move a year ago. A friend recently sent some of her books that she's read for me to read. Those are now crammed wherever I could fit them. I also love our local library. There is also books on CD,as well as the Overdrive app where I can download books and listen on my phone while I walk or drive or clean or whatever.  What I am getting at here, is that I have a lot of books for my new old hobby. I am not hurting for any more books. I LOVE IT. Books make me happy.

So what did I do? I joined a website called Blogging for Books, where they send me free books, in return for a book review. Because I NEEDED MORE BOOKS OBVS.

With my return to blogging, I hope to provide many book reviews. Here is my first.

Freedom's Child by Jax Miller

Freedom is the main character of this book. She is in the Witness Protection Program after being getting off for the murder of her cop husband 20 years before. Her deceased husband's family is the reason she is in Witness Protection and the reason she chose to give her children up for adoption. Freedom finds out that the man that went to jail for her husband's death has been released at the same time her daughter was kidnapped. On the run from her Witness Protection handlers, Freedom sets out to find her daughter, getting wrapped up with a religious cult, hit men, and a local law enforcement crush all at the same time.

I give this book 3 stars.

If you capture my attention and get me hooked to where I have to work hard to put the book down and I try to read it while also blow drying my hair, you get three stars. This book did that. It was a page turner. And I was excited to know what was going to happen to Freedom and her kids. I was hooked till about 65% into the book. It gets a little hairy towards the end. There are about 3 books worth of plotlines going on and Freedom herself isn't the most likeable character.

I chose this book from Blogging for Books to read because it was very different from my usual book. And it was definitely that. I fear that I have a hard time with difficult subject matter (murder, rape, overall meaness) that I have a hard time. One thing that I really appreciated about this book is that the end wraps everything up nicely. You aren't left not knowing what happened to everyone. I am a reader that needs a "where are they now" bit at the end and this book definitely does that.

I have been loving reading more SO MUCH, especially this summer,since I have stepped up my game for my 2016 challenge. Since late May, I have read (or listened to) 8 books. That is more than I read in all of 2015, probably. I needed to post a review for Freedom's Child, to fulfill my commitment for receiving a free book, but I plan to talk more about all my books I am loving. Until next time.....

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer Vacation Part 3

Here I detail Leg 1 of our journey (Friday-Saturday), which was Webfest.
Here I detail Leg 2 of our journey (Saturday-Sunday). When I left off we were standing in a graveyard in Grainfield, KS.

I apologize that it took me so log to get this last segment together. I kind of thought I already did. Oops.

We hopped in the van in the middle of Kansas and started the final stretch, possibly the toughest, to our final destination: Estes Park, CO. I am a proud mid Western Kansaser by birth. Because of the people, the history, my own family, and the fun things that happen once we reach our destination. Traveling across western KS? My proudness waivers. Its a little slice of hell going and going and going. No fields, no trees, lots of windmills, and so much wind. Luckily we had Aunt Tammy riding with us, who helped with our kids, we were caravaning with my other sister Angie, and Max hopped in their car (he basically would like to join their family, its fine) and we gained Anthony, so changing things up always helps.

At this point, traveling was getting old. We could care less about nice meals like we had enjoyed at Char Bar, so we got food at a gas station and stopped only in emergencies for 6 hours. When we began to see mountains, things got so real. The Rocky Mountains are, baseline, beautiful.  When you have just trekked across Kansas, they are the most fan freakin tastic sight you have ever seen. When we started our trek around and up the mountains, the weather decided to throw us a curveball. More like slush ball sleet that steamed when it hit our window that, 5 minutes earlier, had been traveling in 85 degree weather. For some reason, I was driving during this point, and I'd like to say I handled this well, but........going from the neverending straight road to the curving mountain road with steamy slush balls coming at me? I didn't. Its embarrassing.

But it was all worth it. My parents hit a grand slam with their choice of house rental. It was fabulous.

The first night there, we had pizza and hung out with my Uncle Tony and his family that JUST HAPPENED to be in Estes Park at the same time as us. Sidebar: if you have 21 uncles and aunts and 36 first cousins, there is a good chance you'll end up in the same town as one or two of them at any given time. Having finally hit the end of our journey there, my butt fell into bed and slept for 8 solid hours.

We woke up to our beautiful house, that fantastic view and a week of vacation in front of us. We went to downtown Estes Park to shop and visit a traveling art show and have lunch. 

After visiting the town, we started out on our first hike. It was suggested to us as an "easier hike, good for the kids" by my extremely in shape aunt.  You hike up a mountain and come across 1-3 lakes, depending on how how you climb. Oh my Jesus, it was one of the most beautiful places I have been to in all my life. However.....we didn't really count on.....snow. Because it was June. And we live in Arkansas.And when you look at snow capped mountains, you don't really imagine yourself ever going up that high. No lie, Max was wearing shorts. Proud mom moment.

But, it was a fabulous hike, with fabulous views.Pretty much everyone fell at least once. My brother in law saved me from a certain death (still need to get him a thank you gift for that.....). But, we were in great spirits and ready to tackle more hikes. With more clothes, better shoes, and snacks. 

On Tuesday we took professional pics and then took the kids to a fun park as a thank you for smiling for an hour straight.

We hiked, toured a brewery, found more beautiful lakes, hiked, found wildlife, ate like kings(not the wildlife), rode horses, and hiked. It was so fun. And relaxing. And beautiful. Colorado has not been on my radar as a vacation spot, simply because I am somehow trained to think you need a theme park or beach for it to be a vacation. I am so thankful it was put on my radar for me.

This is the view when you get coffee at the little shop downtown. So ewwww.

Serious hiker

This guy can move mountains. 

Hands down, cutest creature, ev. Marmot Love 2016.

Glacier Falls

These Elk were about a block and a half from our house, just chillin and eatin.

I bought a Self Portrait Pole at Dollar Tree (not a selfie stick!!!!) Rob thinks its funny when I use it

Until next time, Colorado.