Friday, May 31, 2013

Want to hear something different?

Well, I ain't got much for ya!

Sorry, we didn't go canoeing in the Winds.... we did something better. Much better. We went to Leidy Lake, and the road wasn't open. Yes, we hiked in!.. We got all the way back in the van except for a mile and one half. We hiked from there, and the view was totally worth it.There was turquoise water, flowers sprouting, and snow surrounding the lake. It was magical. It reminded me of my first visit there. Except, maybe, it was better.

My little family loved it. I hadn't been there since the day I was engaged, and I tell you what, it's still pristine-- untouched. We were probably the first people (yeah, buddy, the 1st!) to see it this year. I could not not go, even though the roads from Togwotee are snowed in fully. We had to finish the drive, all the way, no stopping. We made the hike. We fished, and we sat in the sun... we didn't camp. It's definitely too cold. Snow on the ground...chilly wind... yes... we still saw it, and we still loved it.

We drove a  great distance today, but we saw the Tetons today! And, Leidy! It was a very pleasant surprise since everyone we talked to said it was all the way snowed in. That wasn't the truth! I saw it with my own two eyes. Today.

I did get a little emotional during our visit. It's a place that I just can't forget. It's overwhelming with memories  and lovely times, lovely moments, moments of realization that I was in love. I slept there. I ate there.I drank there. I hiked there. I did many other unspeakable wonderful things there.

I cried for a minute on the walk back. I was overwhielmed by the feeling of God's love and happiness. I was overwhelmed by leaving this place again. I know I will do it again and again. I can't help but know it will be there forever, but I can't help but feel attached. I cry because I love it, but the beauty and the past just over take me.

Do you have something that you love, and it makes you feel sad and glad at the same time? Man, that's a crazy feeling. It's good, bad, lovely, sad, happy, bad.... it's everything! I guess that's love. But, more so it just reminded me of a time that I made the most of, and fell in love. It's just happy.

" La La La, I'm singing, La La La, I'm so happy I was singing La La La"-- Pokey LaFarge and The South City Three

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Looking for Louise

I'm so tired right now. I want to lie down and go to sleep. My eyes are so heavy, and my feet are too. We had a beautiful day today in Dubois, Wyoming. The sun was out and the rain stayed away until we stepped in the van.

Today we went to the Shoshone National Forest. Adam got to hike with us, too! It's really a special event. He's been off of work this week, and we've had a blast. We found a hike that looked beautiful- relatively short, and very, very near us. We decided we would try to hike up to Louise Lake. One thousand feet increase in altitude, moderately strenuous, slow hike. I definitely thought we could do it. Ryan and I are in pretty good shape, so I thought "Let's go for it!"  Well.... let me say this.... It's didn't end as beautifully as I just wrote.

Nope. Not at all. We started out the right way... The Whiskey Mountain trail.... until a split, then we stayed on that trail. Well, we summited the mountain about 6 miles later. JEEZ. One little turn! We should have turned on to Glacier Trail. We didn't. We wanted that lake so badly, that we just kept going, and going, and going.... and no signs for Lake Louise, no signs for anything until we reached the top. I could feel the burn in my legs, my arms, my whole body. Not to mention that yesterday, I went for a run and did a really hard yoga session.  I was beat half way through... that's not good.  We chatted and took lots of breaks-- I was totally winded. Totally grasping for air... wanting to quit. Well, we did quit finally.  Ryan and I took a break right at the ridge, and Adam went up to take some better pictures.

We had ham on tortillas for lunch. Sad. I was running on E. We had fruit and plenty of water, but I burned some serious calories today, and I felt at the end of my rope at the top. I was spent.

Our little love, Ryan fell asleep in my arms at this time- she didn't whine once. She was such a trooper! She walked through snow; She walked through mud; She hiked up and down. She was an absolute delight today. What do you do when you realize that you've taken a wrong turn? I think its so frustrating to have a plan and have it change with no warning. Just at least a tad bit of a warning would have been nice!

Our turn around was so fast. Downhill works completely other muscles in your legs from going  up, but it's hard in its own way. We could see the van down below us a the parking lot, and step by step, we were approaching it. The reward... dinner awaiting us below. The only thing is that the first mile; it was a quiet walk... frustration sitting in that we never reached our Lake. Louise? Where are you?  Adam and I try to always have a good attitude-- even when things don't really work out.

On the way down, we remembered to look at what we had already tread. We looked to the South, and there, those beautiful Winds stand... canyons, snow capped, and majestic. They stood there for us-- in the sunshine for us to use our little disposable camera. (All of our cameras are shot. I'm waiting on one to come in the mail.)  It was unreal. The weather was cool. We had some snow falling from the top in to the desert like area that we were climbing.  We saw old snow around bases of trees, and we hiked through it.

It a wonderful feeling to overcome frustration. Even if it's just after walking for so long. We were frustrated, but we enjoyed our time together, and we never gave up! Really. We just went for a really long walk, and we saw something different than we intended, but hey, that's awesome too!

I think tomorrow is another fishing day. I am whipped.  Boy, howdy, whipped!

Last thing:
We didn't discover that we made a wrong until the end and a nice couple said, "Oh yeah, you should have taken Glacier Trail..." Will we try it again?

Making Memories and Making our way West

In my last post, I mentioned a brief synopsis of our trip. We've seen some amazing Earth, and we've made some memories. It's amazing what traveling will help you appreciate, and how camping can humble your soul. Wyoming is wonderful; it's vast, wide open, ever-changing landscape. Rock juts out of the earth, lunging up into the sky, kissing it with snow or trees. It is just mesmerizing.

We started in Rapid City in the Black Hills. We stopped in Deadwood for drinks and walked the streets where Outlaw Wild Bill Hickok was killed. The town is small, but in a canyon. We heard some good old mountain music, and we had a dance time with Ryan. Then, we drove through Spearfish and hit the Wyoming border. A few more miles later, we passed through Sheridan  and the first set of mountain. The Bighorn Mountains are snow capped right now, and we headed straight up on the scenic road. There are lots of pine trees and appear to have not been damaged by the pine beetle. There are an immense amount of trees. It's millions of trees in a single viewpoint, and it's lovely. Indescribably lovely.

We stopped in Sheridan for food for our camping the next couple of days, and then we meandered up the mountains to an unmarked spot on the map for camping. Sibley Lake remains undisturbed. The water was pristine; snow lined the lake in areas; water ran in and out. The fresh water sound never ending. We did have a hail storm ten minutes after arriving, but we found the camping spot at the top of a butte-- and luckily, someone who and previously camped there left a plastic and wood structure tent. A lean-to if you will. It was just perfect for us... tent campers fearing the storm. It definitely helped us stay dry, and we were thankful for that. Whenever there's something that's left behind from previous campers, it's a blessing. Whether it's wood or a lean-to, it's something to appreciate. A small blessing from above for someone to use.

We slept there, and it was pretty chilly. Ryan slept in our sleeping bag, and we realized that we should have had one for her own. It's still a learning process, but we made it work. At 8000 feet, it dropped to 34 degrees. And, my bag is for 40-50 degrees. I wore my Ugg boots the second night and that helped my feet. I also had layer upon layer of clothing-- I also wore the same clothing for 3 days. It's hard not to, when you want to stay warm and taking clothes does not seem like a way to do that.   In the morning, we used our camping stove to have hot oatmeal, coffee, and hot cocoa. We snuggled, and then headed out of the tent. Ryan loved eating in bed, and it was a sweet memory that I'll never forget.

Once we took down camp, we loaded down the van. I was looking forward to some warmer temperatures, so we also considered the mineral hot springs. Thermopolis sounded pretty nice, but it wasn't what we expected. We drove through the state park, but it's pretty commercialized. I wasn't impressed. However, we did take a break there and walked around.  Between Sibley Lake and Thermopolis, we saw Shell Falls, and it's beautiful. It almost puts Niagara Falls to shame. Water rushes between Huge rock walls, falling down 100s of feet, headed to the Bighorn River. From mountain through canyon to desert like conditions, the water flows.

After Thermopolis, we tried for a camping spot at Boysten Lake, and it's a different landscape all together. It's desert, with crystal ice blue water. Beaches and higher ground line the lake, but it was raining so we kept moving.

Ryan finally fell asleep on the trip, and we just kept heading west. Finally she woke up, and we were around Riverton and WY287 the scenic drive to Grand Teton National Park. We actually camped  this night at 4000 feet and the weather was nice. It was summer compared to what we'd been in already. Bull Lake is in the Wind River Range, and the lake is 9 miles long. Bear Mountain is to the left of the lake, and the Winds link to the lake past that summit. The Wind River Range is beautiful and houses Gannett Peak- the tallest mountain in Wyoming.

Ryan played here with her dolls and enjoyed the camp fire here best. The temperature allowed us to be a bit more free. She almost fell asleep by the fire, and she says she loves being outside. She hasn't flinched at being in the great outdoors. It's a wonderful thing for our family to be together and see the country. We are loaded to the brim in the van, but it's worth it to see the sky and stars.

I hope that I never forget this. I hope I can read it and smile as I age. I hope that it will be something that Ryan will read and love. She'll love that she was two and travelled with her parents all around our beautiful country. I will keep documenting that.

 Keep doing what I love--- keep being outside-- Keep investing in our family. I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hail a lujah!

We've been camping for the last two days, and I was packing for our next move. I'm sorry about my short absence.

We went camping in Wyoming instead of Montana though. And, guess what? It's cold. Ten minutes after we arrived, we were in a hail storm. Yes, A hail storm.

We found Sibley Lake in the Bighorn National Forest. It's really remote. It's at about 8,000 feet altitude too. When we arrived, it was about 6 in the evening. There were some other RVers, but no campers that we saw that night.

The water was beautiful. The trees were plentiful. Every.where. It's been a very long time since I have seen that many evergreen trees at once. My eyes were mesmerized.

We found our spot, and it was close to the lake, but on top of a nice hill. We could hear the water rushing around us, and we explored after we feared the first (yes, first) hail storm. There was a lean-to at our camping spot, and it was made of trees and black plastic. Thank the Lord for the person who left that there. It was a life saver, and it wasn't planned. The tent fit perfectly under it, and some other items as well.  We waited for the storm to clear, as it always does, and we made dinner.

IT WAS COLD! My feet were cold. And, We snuggled Ryan in to each of our sleeping bags. We had to adjust, and Ryan hadn't had a nap. She was a bit inconsolable. So, we called it a night early... after we enjoyed a nice view of our new lake.

We caught fish the next day, and walked about the lake. It was gorgeous. We had 5 trout to cook-- Thanks to the hubs! Thanks, hubs....

I made the butter sauce with red onion, thyme, and garlic. We grilled them over the open fire. We had a foil pack with carrots, onion, and potatoes, and canned corn. It was gourmet! I can't believe we had the fish we caught that day.

We're on our way to Boysen State Park now, and we're in Thermopolis, WY. And, we saw the hot springs. I'm not impressed. So, Until tomorrow....

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Sunshine

I love sunshine. I thank the Lord that I get to stand and walk in it. On our hike today, Ryan was stellar. She was loving the wind and the sunshine. She was singing and laughing. She loves to sing 'Amazing Grace' and it just makes my heart swell when I hear it. She'll ask me what I want to hear, and I usually say, "whatever you feel like," or "whatever makes you happy."

Since we've been hiking together, I have noticed that Ryan getting better at hiking on her own. She's not always thrilled about going hiking, but once we're out there in the wide open she's delightful. Today, I was impressed.

We went to Downtown Rapid City, to Founder's Park and Memorial-Larsen Trail System. It's not far away from us, and it's pretty spectacular for being downtown. There are mountain biking trails, hiking and running trails, and it is always nice to get a view of the city from a new perspective. From the first steps, we were gaining altitude. We started going straight up immediately, and Ryan was not in the back pack. She made it all the way to the top! She was determined to do so. I saw her little legs just moving over rocks...her arms balancing.. her little body stabilizing.  She was going to make it.  She would take breaks, but she just kept persevering. She made it!

Was this a reaction to what she's been seeing me do? Is this routine? Is she's just now doing it because she sees me do it? Either way, she impressed me.

There's always plenty to look at whether it's people or nature. Today, there were lots of boulders and people bouldering. A number of mountain bikers passed us, and Ryan would say, "Look at those boys."

 Ryan finally asked me to put her in the back pack once we were at the top, and we had to find a place to snack. She was loving the break for a while. She sat and had her PB & J. And, we chatted for a while. She's recently learned "why?" And I now hear it about 350 times a day. It's funny.

Once we were ready to go down, Ryan said she wanted to walk again. So, she did. She gave it her all. She wasn't going back in the pack. at. all. And, she made it all the way back down.

I learn so much from that little girl. I learn to keep on going. I learn that if she can do it, I surely can too.  I learn that if I give, I'll get.  All is all, this is special quality time together. She gets to explore and learn.  I have noticed an improvement in her speech. I have seen advances in her knowledge of colors and letters.  We look around and talk about it.  The wildflowers were exceptional today... yellow, purple, and bluebells....

Thank you, Lord, for sunshine. I'm so thankful for it today. We made the most of our sunshine today!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Camping and Water

We're planning for the next section on our road trip which is from Rapid City to West Yellowstone, Montana. And, we've been very concerned about water, lakes, rivers, and ponds. We have a very dear friend that lost a child when she was young. They were camping, and he crawled out of the tent, went to the water, and they had no idea he was gone. Tragic and disturbing.

We went to Randolph Lake last summer for Memorial Day weekend. We packed up the canoe, tent, and Ryan's lifevest. Ryan wasn't a strong walker yet, so we weren't really concerned with her figuring out how to get out the tent. But, this year, now, I'm worried.

Ryan is pretty creative when it comes to figuring our problems. She's a climber. She's interested and curious. We talked about our plans for camping near water this year, and I thought of getting those little luggage locks so that we can lock the tent while we are in it. It's just a deterrent from the possibility of us not knowing she's left the tent. We will be near water in Wyoming-- at our favorite camping spot, our engagement spot, and most special place in the world: Leidy Lake.  I would hate to tarnish that spot with anything tragic.

I feel so sad that these thoughts have to be addressed, but I know other parents think and discuss the "what ifs." Water and Camping go hand in hand to brew some wonderful memories, but we were warned after this terrible story was divulged to us. We rethink our moves in a different way because of the love we have for our beautiful child.

Speaking of Leidy Lake, I am so excited to spend a few days there. Some of my best adult memories are at this spot. It's just pristine, and my husband and I got to know each other there under the stars. It was the summer of 2007. We were from two different places, and we found so many commonalities. We had a fresh slate. Nothing connecting us. Out of chaos, we became dancing stars (Nietchze). We double dazzled. Our lives changed.

Leidy Lake is a place of relaxing, fishing, dancing, hammocking, laughing, and being merry. We spent time together with our friends. We had bonfires; we had parties. We listened to our favorite music and lived a boheme lifestyle. We knew in a way it was a fleeting moment. We wouldn't forever live in Jackson, Wyoming. And, obviously, we didn't.

If there's one thing Adam and I miss from our life in Wyoming, it's Leidy Lake. We have a few special photos from camping there, but mostly, we just lived in the moment.

There's been tears shed about the times we had there. We've missed it, and I'm so glad to see that water and those mountains again. It's a hard thing to live and to love a place, but let me tell you, I lived, loved, and left that place. It will be a happy reunion.

Lady Leidy isn't well known, and I hope that it stays that way. I'm not saying its the most spectacular place, but it's home to Adam and I. It's where we fell in love.


"The waiting place....Waiting on the snow to snow or the rain to pass, or waiting around for friday night... Everyone is just waiting"-- Dr. Seuss

I have been waiting for the rain to pass, and today it did. It's over and gone. And today and tomorrow are supposed to be beautiful. Ryan and I went on a hike today, and we did some rock scrambling. It was cold up high where we were trying to climb, but the view was worth it!

In other news, my camera has died. I could have cried. I really don't have very good luck with cameras or phones, or anything electronic. I'm desperately trying to decide whether to ebay the same one, so I can get it in Wyoming, or just to send home for our second mediocre camera. BUMMER! I'm not happy.  So, I have to wait for that too... either way. Wait for it to ship or wait for a new one to come it.

I could go to a pawn shop? Any one have feeling about pawn shopping???

Today, my brain is scattered. We were off to our hike by 8 and returned by 10. We met Adam for lunch, and that was nice....

What can I write about with focus?

I'm thinking about going thrift shopping today.

I'm thinking about going on another hike this afternoon, but in Rapid City.

I'm thinking how nice it would be to have a picnic outside. Or camp under the stars.

I'm hoping we get to do that for a couple of days next week when we're in between places. Montana, here we come.

I'm thinking that I feel sleepy.

I think I'll read a book this afternoon. I can't have a cup of coffee. I over did it yesterday. I do love a good cup of joe though... every morning.

I'd like to dance too....

Speaking of dance parties and tea parties:

Ryan and I had both of those yesterday when we were stuck in the room. We invited teddy and our crocodile stuffed animals. We listened to bluegrass and danced all about the room. It was really fun. Ryan loves to dance.

We also did something really fun last night with Daddy. We had milkshakes and dessert! And, sometimes it's the really small things that can give so much joy. I had a strawberry rhubarb rustic pie with vanilla ice cream, and Ryan had a strawberry milkshake. Check out my 2 favorite people!

I'm sorry today is scatterbrained. I'll focus and write a second post today.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hotel Camping

My husband asked me yesterday, "what are you going to write about when we're not traveling? Will you still write?"

I said, "I'll write about all the things we do at home too. Our home is in the middle of remodel... I'm sure that's something that I can write about... especially how we interact and how our relationship works when we have a project...  I'm sure there's still plenty to write about even though we're not traveling."

I brainstormed a little bit today about that, and I figured what the hey, I'll tell you about a simple day here in the hotel room. I will tell you about day that we can't really go hike or outside and play. A lot of planning has to go into planning our cooking here. Here are my tools:

1. electric skillet
2. crock pot.
3. microwave that's available in the lobby.
4. mini fridge.
5. cutting board and knife.
6. salt and pepper and a few bottled spices.

That's it in a nutshell.  I have to be pretty creative with what I make. I have high standards for myself when it comes to cooking food. I especially like savory flavors, so I'm not all about mushy, unsatisfying  fill your belly food. I'm a snob. I can't help it.

I wrote what I had been cooking last week.  This week has been a bit different since Adam has been working late, but I still have made a few meals.

One thing I do before or at the grocery is think about 5 or less ingredients. I also look in our dry crate (bread, dried fruit, crackers, olive oil, worcheshire sauce, nuts) to see what's something I can use. Then I decide what is healthy and what are we lacking in most. We always have fruit, and we eat 4-5 pieces a day

Monday: Whole Wheat Pasta Carbonara (bacon, yes!) with Mushrooms, Edamame, and Caramelized Onions.  Yes, I boiled noodles and I fried a pound of bacon in an electric skillet....  Holy bacon! And, I didn't eat much of it, but my husband and daughter LOVE bacon.

Tuesday: I made my own rendition of Apricot Chicken (thighs) in the crock pot. It had raisins, apricots, onions, herbs, and a hint lemon. Adam gave it a ten, and I served it with green beans and rice. A TEN! Ryan also inhaled the chicken--- so moist and flavorful.

Wednesday: It's leftover night. I guess that's a way that we can be thrifty. I'll admit that I'm not a fan of leftovers, but it will allow us to eat out tomorrow night.

The cooking is a process, and I do have to put a little thought into the order in which I should prepare things, so that the food doesn't get cold or I can let something sit out while I'm preparing another part in the same skillet.  I have learned that simple flavors are sometimes the most outstanding. Lemon can really heighten flavors. I use it at home too, but I happen to like lemon.

Another good tip is that if you are going to cook something, make enough for leftovers.... like that pound of bacon... BLTs, baby. Or breakfast. Or in a salad.  I know bacon gets a bad wrap, but it really has some amazing flavors. Also, the italians use pancetta and no one complains about that. I'm up for using it.  Besides, as long as it's in moderation, I think its okay. And, I'm southern, so there ya go!

What do you think about my hotel cooking? Any one interested in recipes? I thought about taking a picture last night, but then I over thought it, and I didn't.  Are you interested in seeing the process? Do you imagine what the room smells like??  Ha! I keep a spray container of Febreze for that reason. And, I clean up immediately after cooking- empty garbage cans.  I do my own housekeeping most days unless I need something particularly.   That comes from my days from being a housekeeper. It's just rude to leave nasty stuff for them.. totally Unacceptable.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


How lovely are siestas!? I think they are wonderful and can really boost morale. I am not the type to eat and sleep, but since Ryan is a mid-day napper, it seems so easy just to roll right on over with her here in the next bed and sleep. Let's just say I've only done this a few times since we've been in South Dakota. The thing is I have to write during her nap time since its peaceful, quiet, and dark.

Imagine this: a hotel room, curtains drawn, tv off, sweet little girl tuckered out in the bed next to you, and computer keys typing. Well, you've just imagined me at this very moment. Click. click. clickity, click, click.   Our daily event is napping, and Ryan has been on a very loose schedule since we've arrived here. She's been really easy overall, but I've noticed the last two days she's needed earlier and longer naps.  It's easy to say, "Oh, it's okay, she'll catch up later." However, when I know it's my fault that she's running on E, it's hard to remember that she still needs discipline. 

Ryan and I were catching up on our chores yesterday. We made a day of it since the weather was terrible- rainy, colder, and super windy. Ryan and I took our first adventure to the laundromat. Sounds fun, huh? Well, there were some interesting humans there, and I had to make sure I kept my surroundings in check. I didn't feel unsafe, but for some reason, I have a really hard time not being polite to everyone. So a few times, I politely had to excuse myself, and "tend to Ryan." Otherwise, Ryan helped me do our laundry. She helped me separate and wash all three of our clothing. She helped me put them into dryers, and she helped me fold them. 

There were several older couples in the shop, and Ryan was keeping them interested. The best thing happened, too. I got that compliment that just makes a mom feel outstanding. One nice little ol' lady said, "My goodness, for as long as you have been here, she is just so well-behaved."  Thank you. Oh, lady. Thank you. I have to say, parenting is not easy. And, I am a firm believer that I am raising an adult. I don't talk to my child like she's a child. I tell her what's going on, and I tell her what I expect. And, sometimes she's right on target. Yesterday, our talk went like this:

"Ryan, girl, we're going to wash clothes today. You know, like we do in the basement at home. But, today we have to do them where other people wash clothes too. So I need you to stay close to me and help me, and please listen to me when I ask you to do something, Okay?" 

Sometimes I don't get a response, but sometimes, when the circumstances are right, Ryan says, "Okay, Mommy." And, yesterday I got it. 

We flew on an airplane a few weeks ago, and same scenario. It was beautiful. Ryan understands that she's required to do something, and I try to acknowledge when she's really unhappy about something. I have to admit, two's are challenging, but that key right there has saved us from a few HUGE meltdowns. Acknowledgement is huge. 

Do other people acknowledge your feelings? Do you acknowledge theirs? I'm guilty of not doing this all the time. Sometimes to the people who are the closest to me, I lack in this. I would like to try to get better at it. When someone feels wronged, it's hard not to become defensive. It's hard to not talk and listen.  Why can I do it so well with Ryan? Shouldn't I do it to everyone? 

I'll be working on that one.

Last thing, we went to Mitzi's Bookstore today. And, it reminded me of 'The Little Shop Around The Corner" from You've Got Mail. It was so darling. I've never been to a real storytime. Even when I was little my mom worked, and that wasn't something we could fit in. I always read, but it wasn't really a routine in my childhood.  The stories today were cute, and Ryan was intrigued by watching the other children. It was fun seeing it through her eyes, and enjoying a simple story together as a group.

I have to say, I love reading to Ryan, and I've become a pretty good storyteller. Do you change voices in the story or become animated? I do. I think it's key. We have a few books that we've added sounds to, like Where the Wild Things Are, and When I Went For a Walk in the Forest. I'm not afraid to be silly. It makes the stories more memorable. 

I sure do love books. And, This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen was particularly cute. 

Monday, May 20, 2013


When you commit to something, do you question it? Do you find yourself wavering, and questioning it? Do you think that's normal?

I wrote about my plans for Sunday on my last post, and we went to Custer State Park again. And, it was raining. Not severe storms like other parts of the nation are seeing, but it was misty and drizzle all day. Plenty of people were out enjoying the free weekend at the park and most of them didn't seem to mind that its raining. I was bummed. 

We arrived and Adam and Ryan were spending the day fishing at this beautiful lake: Sylvan Lake. There are huge rocks that line the lake. It was beautiful. We arrived about 10 minutes til 11am. We packed lunch and prepared for rain- slickers and all. 

I decided that I would go check out the path, and see how I felt. I let Adam know that I was heading out, and I did. There were two people in front of me and they walked for a good 3/4 mile. And then, they turned around. They didn't commit. I kept going, and I met other people heading down. I committed, and I kept going.

Since Ryan wasn't on my back in the hiking pack, I was in full speed. The hike was beautiful- lots of boulders and pine trees. I didn't stop for more than 20 seconds even though I might have gotten winded a few times.  And besides the rain, it was fun. 

I finally started to really make some head way and gain some altitude. It started to get windier, colder, foggier, and all around ugly. I started climbing steps, and step after stone step, I started to see a building form out of the fog. The bricks and mortar morphed tunnels and bends.  At the top, the lookout was open air. And, I couldn't see a thing. There were 2 people still up at the top, and I said "hello."

They were on their way down to the same destination, Sylvan Lake. So, I asked for some company since I was alone and the weather was not ideal.  They were two young men, one from Abeleen and One from NYC, Manhattan. They were friends and very cordial, polite gentlemen.Vince and Calvin and I, though, seemingly took a little detour through the Cathedral Spires and made it back to the lake. I was glad to have the company, and we spoke about many interests including hiking and cooking. Once we got down to the trailhead, I introduced them to Ryan and Adam. I think it was a nice conclusion after being soaking wet the entire trail. 

I'm so glad that I didn't turn back. I had a wonderful walk in the woods, and I saw something that few see... Harney Peak. It's awesome, and if you're ever in South Dakota... you should see it.  So, Commit to it, rain or shine. And, figuratively, too. If you have a decision, whether is big or small, that you're wavering in and out of which might have big rewards.... Do it! Commit to it, and commit to it wholly. 
I'm sure glad that I did, despite the weather. It was worth it. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Saturday in South Dakota

Today is Saturday. It's overcast, slightly. There's a call for rain, but I'm not going to let it rain on my parade.  I've been scheduling the night before the next day's hike so that I can plan the day. Well, I didn't do that very well today. So, "I wung it."

I decided to take a drive out of Rapid City toward the direction on Hwy 16 that I've been going the last couple of hikes. I hiked Boulder Hill, which is pretty strenuous, and another part of the Flume Trail here in the Black Hills.

I passed those two places, and I knew it was Open Weekend at Custer State Park. No fees for fishing, hiking, or entering the park. So, hey, I stopped by good ol' Mount Rushmore in the meantime, too.  I took a couple of back roads, and I decided that we're okay to hike starting at about 11 til about 1. That's long enough for about a 2-3 mile hike. I stopped at the Visitor's Center, and they directed me around the park after I had said that I was going to do the Cathedral Spires Hike. Their faces lit up. I told them I was hiking with baby girl, and they thought that was awesome. That's where we headed.

Who ever thought that South Dakota was so beautiful? I definitely did not. And, shame on me. It's glorious. The Cathedral Spires are a registered natural landmark, and they darn well should be! It was a moderately strenuous hike, but relatively short. The view once we reached the top was just breath-taking. I was in awe.  The formations reached up toward the sky, toward the heavens above. The clouds would move and change directions. I heard climbers atop these crazy rocks, and they would summit and change climbers. My daughter loved it. We had peanut butter sandwiches and fruit. I carried her up the most challenging rock scrambling section, but she walked the entire return.

I, sadly, only had my phone to take pictures... I left my battery back at the hotel, but they are still incredible photos.

I had some thoughts today. I want to be better everyday. I want to be outside everyday. I want to write everyday. I am getting what I want right now. I'm trying to be thankful for that today. 
Tomorrow we will be returning to Custer State Park. Sylvan Lake is where Adam will be fishing, and I'll hopefully hike to the top of Harney Peak solo. More soon! Keep following, I'll be posting daily! Check Facebook!


Friday's Post: I awaited the okay for approval to link to the following blog: She said "Yes."

May 17, 2013

With the suggestion of my sister-in-law, I sought out a MOPS, Mothers of PreSchoolers, group here in Rapid City. I met 7 other lovely women with children, and we chatted, had a breakfast, and did a craft. Ryan needed some appropriate child-age interaction, and this was a wonderful positive way to do so. Ryan was well-behaved, kind and polite. Later, I saw that she made a friend. is a resource that I had never heard of, but I immediately felt included as this was a small, relaxed group. These women had similar interests as I did-- camping, cooking, hiking, and helping others. 

It was a nice change of pace- a needed break from hiking! I'm sore! It feels good though to be on the road to better fitness. With healthy cooking and a healthy, more active lifestyle, I'm destine to feel better! My attitude is already improved. 

Speaking of attitude: 
Long story short, a old room mate of mine from my lifetime in Jackson Hole made an introduction of one of her friends to me. By acquaintance, we became facebook friends, and periodically saw each other during my time in Wyoming.  Her name is Jessica Zelenko. 

Since I have left Jackson, Jessica started a blog called I've been reading her posts for years now, and I am a fan. I think she's real. She's a down to earth, gritty writer. She's made some changes overall on her focus, but I love that she's inspiring to women, and she puts it all out there to read online. She's now making a living as a life coach. She's self made, and I love that. I aspire to do that... be it more to the writing tune. 

The best thing she talks about is how to change a bad attitude. 'Cause, hey, we all have bad attitudes sometimes. I'm guilty. 

Since I have been reading her blog, she's always been in the back of my mind... I notice that she doesn't ever compete with others, but with herself, and I strive for the same. I would only hope to beat my worse self at a game of tennis... or finally beat the return wall instead of the wall beating me. I'm always pushing myself to be more outdoorsy and to be live in the moment.  On a side note, I have to say my time in Jackson Hole was incredible, but I didn't do as much as I should have in the time that I was there. I should have hiked more, skied more, seen more. And, I don't regret what I did, but now, I miss it. I want to live it again. And, here's my opportunity! Except, I get to do it here in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. 

This is the time that I get to really experience the outdoors with a new outlook and new goals. I get to be there in Wyoming again. And, I will hike more, camp more, Wyoming more. I will!  And, I will do it with my whole family. 

It's funny when you don't have a full time job the amount of things you can think about. I get to do that now. I get to focus on me and my family. I get to focus on writing and the things I'm most passionate. It's like a curtain has opened. I have no writing block- no problems getting through words. I'm not stressed. I'm happy.

I'm also writing an article for a magazine, currently. It's focus is "I used to be... and Now I'm..." . I have a pretty good idea of how its going to go. I hope that it will be published. That would be an amazing thing. 

So, here's my new goal: I want to start focusing on a purpose in my writing on this blog. I can include cooking and parenting; however, I want it to be adventure style parenting/travel blog. Does that sound like an oxymoron? Don't be afraid to take your children everywhere. Don't be afraid of germs... they're everywhere anyway. Go outside! Travel! Make the best of where you are, no matter where you are. Turn off your cellphones and computers... yes... even I need to do that sometimes too. And, play with your children, don't just be with them. 

Women are going to be my primary audience because I am one (yes!), and I want to speak to women to inspire them. It's already hard to do some of the things we have to do, and empowering, uplifting, and helping women feel better about themselves and others will have a far-reaching significance. I know that hearing about other womens/people's struggles makes me want things more and try harder. 

Here's to a new focus---a new style of writing too! Wish me luck! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Where we are today

Hello stranger blog,

It's been a crazy couple of months. I've been posting of facebook regularly, but no blogging. Shame on me. But, that's the way is goes.

I'm going to tell you about the changes in our lives and go from this point forward. We're a traveling family of three. We arrived on Mother's Day to the beautiful state of South Dakota, and we're in Rapid City. Three weeks ago, I could not have imagined that my (our) lives would have changed so quickly. But, it did.

My husband and I have been keeping his working out of town scenario for the last 15 months, and I stay home in our big brick house in the city and hold down the fort. Recently, in April, Ryan and I went to visit our hero in Buffalo, New York and we got a small taste of what it is like. Well, not knowing what was to come, my husband was offered a position that we couldn't refuse. However, it included me quitting my job and moving around the country with him. I'm a "stay-at-the-hotel" mom now. It's so different.

Here's the bonus: I get to hike everyday! And, we have since we've been here. We've visited the Badland National Park, and we're going to the Black Hills daily. It's a beautiful place here, and I'd never travelled through or been here at all. There's lots of Indian Reservations, and a huge population on Native Americans here in Rapid City. I like it.

I've been cooking in the hotel room- getting gourmet in an electric skillet. And, I've made some healthy substantial meals for us. I'm thinking I'll start chronicaling this now, and keep myself up to date on my endeavors.

Here's the list now, and here's a few photos to follow. I'll be sure to write more tomorrow during baby girl's nap time, but I made my first post in months and I'm thrilled! Happy Thursday, May 16th!

Here's what we've had: (meatlover's only.)

Monday night: Apple Bourbon Pork Tenderloin, Herbed potatoes, and salad with fresh herbs.
Tuesday: Chicken Sausage with apples and onions, wild rice, and green gazpacho (Jodi, I owe you that recipe.)
Wednesday: chicken cutlets with fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato relish (garlic, parsley, olive oil, s+p), basil pesto, toast, and side salad.
Thursday: Gnocchi & brocolli with thyme and lemon brown butter sauce and salad.