The Path

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Sometimes the path is rough. It’s not laid out like you may have planned.

Improvisation may be necessary.

That broken log? That’s just a way made by those who have gone before you. Be grateful.

See those rocks? They may look like stumbling blocks, but they may also be in just the right place to get you where you need to go.

Those pilings to the side? Perhaps the road not taken; for reasons we may never know.

The water may be cold, but how will you know if you don’t even try?

Can you make it to the other side? Can you take a chance? Even if the entire plan is not laid out for you to see?

Just try…

You are more capable than you believe.

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I Don’t Think This Counts

Last night we stayed in Montana in a little tiny place that, as I mentioned, was a little sketchy. I walked into this “establishment”:

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…and took one look into a washing machine and promptly walked back out. Nuh Uh. Not happening. Laundry waited until the next stop where the machines were:

a. clean

b. not outside

c. in proper working order.

Yes, you read that right. There were some indoor and outdoor washing machines. Time to move on out!

I love to travel. I love camping. I can rough it when needed. Bugs, nasty laundromats, etc I cannot do. Call me spoiled, but I like my clothes to come out cleaner than when they went in. I like showers without critter visitors.  I would like to also clarify that moving shouldn’t be classified as, or coupled with a vacation. It isn’t a vacation when I’m in a laundry room doing load after load of clothes in Cody, Wyoming is it? I didn’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, Cody is nice! Cute little western town and even home of the “Rodeo Capital of the World”.

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But I am now sitting at a leaning table (yes, it’s really leaning) typing this waiting for the laundry to finish so I can switch loads and enjoy all the wonderment of folding. (Man, I miss being on vacation as a kid when my mom took care of all this stuff!) While I’m on the topic of laundry, why is it that when you take the clean clothes out of a dryer, one sock or something has to fall on a dirty floor in transit to the dryer? The clean clothes never escape the hidden dirty floor magnet!

What DOES count as a vacation is Yellowstone and It did not disappoint! (Military peeps get into national parks free, by the way!) Here are the minions estimating the height of the trees earlier today. They came up with a million inches. (Inches is the only measurement they currently know. Time to work on that!)

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We also walked right up, waited about 3 minutes and watched Old Faithful strut her stuff!

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The scenery here is breathtaking. These pictures don’t do it justice.

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All in all, I’ll count it as a good day. We saw some great sights and we’ll shortly all have clean clothes! And tomorrow? Tomorrow I run.

I can’t wait!

Snapshot Story

Snapshot Story
Arrival in Hawaii, 2009

In this daily post prompt, we are asked to grab a photo album and write a story about the first picture we see of ourselves. In my photo album on my computer, this is the first photo I saw.

Taken on the balcony of the Hale Koa hotel in Honolulu, we were so excited to be stationed in Hawaii! We couldn’t wait to explore paradise. With our then-5 month old baby boy, I had no idea what three years on an island in the pacific would mean for my family, my marriage, or for me.

I remember thinking at the time, “Hmm, I’ve lost a bit of weight, I’m on the right diet.” Now when I look at this picture, I see a bad hair ‘do (Christmas Tree cut, anyone?!), a tired mom, anticipation of opportunities, and more.

What I want to do is take this girl by the shoulders and shake her. I want her to discover how good it feels to eat healthfully and MOVE! I want her to not shy away from the camera. I want to tell her to stop wearing black in 80 degree heat!

I want her to start writing and never stop.

I want to tell her it’s okay to say goodbye.

I want to tell her to be open to new things, to be open to new people.

To try new things, even if failure is a possibility. Don’t always take the safe road.

That when she feels scared, it’s okay to sit in the fear, feel it for what it is, but then never to let it immobilize her.

There are many things I want to tell her. But she’ll soon discover it all for herself.

“All great achievements require time.” -Maya Angelou

Make My Tummy Go Gooey! (Aka the post with 1000 pictures)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fear of heights. I remember climbing along rooftops with my father as he was building houses when I was really young, but since about 4 or 5 years old, heights and I do not get along. As a kid, we went to carnivals when they came to town and have been on roller coasters at Disneyland and never had a problem as long as we didn’t go on anything that went upside down. Upon having minions, however, I get the gooey-tummy syndrome whenever they get up on something too high. In our house, the kiddos love to climb on some crazy playground structure, find me, then holler, “Hey mom! Is your tummy gooey when I do this?!” Meanwhile they are balancing on one leg, faking they are falling, or otherwise tempting fate and trying to plummet to their demise! My shudder and having to look away makes everyone just roll with laughter.

Before the tummy gooey fun, we had a preschool field trip to the sea lab at Fort Casey:

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“Pirate” Keith showing the kids the random sea creatures….this was a sea cucumber that “spits out of it’s bum”. When he described this, the kids roared with laughter. Gotta love anything toilet humor related.
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Hannah touches a sea star. She was a little more hesitant the bigger the creatures got!
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I can’t remember what this thing was called, but the longer he held it, the 50+ legs kept clinging tighter and tighter to his hand! Yikes!
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The sea urchin wasn’t quite as pokey as she thought it would be!
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Jake was not touching ANY of it! Ha! I don’t blame him! This particular creature was a spiny crab…and let’s face it, crabs are just spiders of the sea. Just say no to spiders; sea or otherwise!

After the preschool adventure, the kids decide they want to return to the beach and do some more exploring. So after a quick lunch at home – we head back to Ft. Casey!

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By the big gun. Hannah kept wondering if it was going to shoot bullets.
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Running all over the fort
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Here’s where the gooey tummy starts….It’s about an 8 foot drop. To my stomach, it might as well have been a 50 ft. drop! I must have said, “Back up from the ledge” in a strained voice about 100 times!
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Ooh look Mom! A place where I can plummet to my death! Shall I jump?
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Follow Jake the leader. He’s never been here before, but he’s showing us the ropes!
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This place is just cool. Had to take some randoms
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Please mom! Let me fall down and break my face!
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OOH! Let’s explore these dark and cavernous spaces! I bet they have spiders to creep mom out! Yay!


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Is it just me or is it a mom thing? All I can picture is him falling off the side of those dang stairs?!
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I really don’t need to ever buy these kids toys. They were so content for HOURS out here just climbing and exploring.
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King of the world!
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Squeamy tummy continues….at least this time she’s holding a hand rail!
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Yeah, you can get down now. Really. Now.

I don’t want to pass my fears on to my kiddos. I don’t tell them what I’m really thinking and feeling (My hands get clammy, I start to sweat, feel the need to pee, all combined with a deep gut-churning nausea.) What I do say is, “Watch your step!” “Ooh, that is cool!” and “Where to next?!” praying that they are ready to climb down.

Eventually we made our way to the beach. Ahhh, sea level. That’s my kind of “height”!

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The BEACH!

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I’m sure it’s true for many people, but it’s astonishing to me the effect the ocean has on my kids. The minute we get near the ocean, they just get calm. They mellow. They don’t fight. We all just relax….
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Checking out the seagulls….taking it all in.
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Drawing in the sand.
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There’s always room for everyone at the beach!
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This was one of my favorite pictures of the day. She’s mellow, exploring, and completely enamored by the rocks and waves.
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Back up the hill to the lighthouse!

The lighthouse….here’s where my worst fears come alive!

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There it is! But we must climb rocks first!
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Every. Single. Rock.
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The lighthouse! Oooh! Stairs. I bet these will make her tummy flip flop!
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The last portion is more of a ladder and less of a staircase. Wearing flip-flops, she fell right after I snapped this shot. I dropped everything and caught her. I thought I was going to die.

(While reviewing all these pictures, they just don’t do the reality justice. Not only did the ocean seem more vibrant, the sky bluer, the water sparkled, etc. than the photos show, the heights were definitely higher.)

Basically I think that when we give birth, they must install some kind of protective-freak-out-device that OVER-reacts when any possibility of danger arises. Even the slightest chance that someone may stub a toe and a little warning bell goes off. Ladders in lighthouses make me feel like a national emergency alert system is going off in my body!

Despite the heights and my physical reactions of their impending doom, the day was simply magnificent. The weather was perfect, they were great, and we were all up for an adventure. I consider myself lucky that as antsy as the hubs and I are, these two crazies love exploring the world with us!

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Just Imagine

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There are some days when I just don’t feel like working out.

When the warmth of my comforter feels much more inviting than wrestling a sports bra, slipping on workout clothes, consuming fuel and heading out into what still feels like the middle of the night.

But imagine what I miss when I don’t get up. Just imagine missing out on this sunrise, and the way the colors change right before my eyes.

Imagine missing out on some time alone, so I can be a better mom, wife, and friend.

Missing out on the chance to work this body that has given me so much. Working out is a privilege, an honor, and a way to tell it thank you. Thank you.

Just imagine missing out on the endorphins that keep seasonal depression at bay. My body needs this. Even if sometimes my mind has to be convinced.

Imagine missing out on the gift of meeting new people, growing and learning, even if it’s against my natural hermit tendency.

Just imagine…

I can’t imagine missing this.

So I won’t.

And….The Honeymoon Is Over

Well, not really. It’s just back to work and regular life. We’ve had the best time over the last few days just spending time as a family and reconnecting and getting out and about!

The 4th of July was great – celebrated by going to a parade (complete with puking Jacob as he gagged on a candy he didn’t like), a carnival, and of course fireworks.

Photo: Love!

Can’t stop staring at Daddy!

Photo: Can't get enough rides!!

Big Fun!

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Just being silly!

Photo: Ready for the parade!

We went to our local track (which is by the playground – genius!) so I could run while the minions worked on riding bikes without training wheels with Dad. Jacob rode his bike as if he’d always been riding! He picked it up quick! Hannah will probably need to grow just a bit more to handle balancing, but she’s anxious to learn so I have a feeling it won’t be too long!

We also ventured up to Lake Padden to run/play with the kids. The trail at the lake is beyond beautiful. Perfect sunny day for a trail run. The kids got to play and swim, I ran and then we all headed to a college baseball game, not that much baseball was watched. There was a bouncy house (which the kids headed straight for, of course) and face painting.

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My scary minions! This was Hannah’s idea. Other girls were getting all sorts of animals, fairy wings or butterflies. Not Hannah. She went skeleton all the way. Jacob originally wanted to be painted like a dog, but quickly abandoned that for the skeleton look as well. I find it fascinating to contemplate how these two little ones will be as they grow older.

And today we took the kids on their first ferry boat ride:

Photo: Fascinated by the water. As usual.

These kids are nothing if not fascinated by water!

It’s been loads of fun having Daddy home and celebrating. While I like to think the “honeymoon” is never really over – it’s definitely time to get back to a routine!

I’m exhausted!