Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Work It Out

Bummer! I haven't been able to hike like I was at the start of this adventure. I forgot the carrier at home, and this is more of a biking community. I can see why since they have 400 miles of bicycle trails around the Metro Des Moines Area. Pretty sweet, but not when you don't have a bike.

However, there's a gym at most every hotel where I can keep fitness a priority. I do have a weakness for ellipticals, but they don't do any different motions (obviously), and it doesn't really change the workout. But, I have a new favorite workout. Youtube! Oh man, my sister in laws introduced me to Tracy Anderson, and I'm impressed. She's amazing. I love her arm workouts, and I already see improvement.

On my post "A short story of weight," I confessed I have jiggly arms. Well, let me tell you, that is quickly, and I mean quickly, changing. There's no requirement for equipment other than your computer or your phone, and her workouts are usually filmed in 8-10 minute segments. The segments are perfect for a mom with a needy child...You can choose one to do and then it's over.

Her rhythm is different, and she's got some interesting moves. I've done her leg segments, and they aren't easy. I'm going to keep doing them for a while, and see what happens.

I would also like to do a 5k again soon, so I'm going to look and see if I can find one to do in the next week and a half.  I'm down to 9 minute miles- which is getting pretty good. I'm worn out, but I can slow it down for 3 miles I think.

I do wish I was hiking in the mountains some days, but this has its own fun. I can hike in Missouri pretty much any weekend, so I'm embracing the change-up for the moment.

I just wanted to give those of you who want something different in your workout something fun to try. And, my arms are changing every day! I love it!

Extended Weekend

Oh My Gosh! I love Italian... culture, food, traditions. I've been to a few Italian festivals, and I love that Americans celebrate with festivals. I'm not so sure what Italians who still live in Italy think, but the festivals are entertaining events.  We had some local brews and enjoyed some music on the lawn right near the Western Gateway Park. Our meal included Toasted Ravoli and a Grinder (pork) Sandwich and Tiramisu.

The music included some big band style songs and oldies like the "Girl from Ipanema." We attempted to swing dance with Ryan, and other people loved watching us. It was a valiant attempt, but it was really just for fun. I took a swing dance lesson a LONG time ago, and I remember a few moves. It was so fun to just play outside in glorious 70 degree weather. The live music was fun to watch, and the bocce ball was just as fascinating.

We had our dessert in the Sculpture park. I wanted to see it lit up. We had Tiramisu, which I happen to like a great deal, while Ryan walked an showed her Daddy the art. We made it to the "Nomade" which it just incredible to see anytime, and people watched. That piece of art is pretty famous, and even teenages made their way to see it and have a photo op. I met a bachelorette, and Ryan and I took a picture with her. I love seeing that.  (P.S. The people in Des Moines are unusually friendly.)

On Sunday, Adam had to work, and we decided to plan a fancy dinner for our hardworking man. Ryan and I made a day of it. I decided that I missed Smoked Salmon, and I got some inspiration from Epicurious. I made my own little recipe which requires little cooking- obviously because I only use the electric skillet.  It turned out simply divine.   Here's the recipe:

Mini Polenta Cakes with Smoked Salmon, Honey Mustard, Sour Cream and Dill:


1 pre-made package of Organic Polenta (I used Melissa's Brand)
1-2 packages of wild Smoked Salmon- not the pinky lox flat kind. Real filets of Smoked Salmon Peppered preferred
1/4 red onion, sliced paper thin
1 container of sweet hot honey mustard/ or plain honey mustard
1 container of sour cream
1 organic baby dill package
good Olive oil
Organic Butter

The key to good fried polenta cakes is enough oil. I used enough to have about a quarter inch at the bottom of the skillet, and I added a hefty tablespoon of butter for flavor.
Cut the Polenta into 1/4 inch patties.
Heat the oil/butter to high. Add polenta patties.
Cook until crispy, far golden brown.

If you prefer cold salmon, there's no need to warm it. Otherwise, I microwaved it for 15-20 seconds max- just to take the chill off.

Once your polenta is cooked, while it is still warm salt it moderately. If you have the peppercorn salmon, there's no need to pepper it too.
Time to assemble:  Top the polenta cake with a slather of honey mustard, slivers of red onion, a piece of smoked salmon, a dollop of sour cream and garnish with a heaping pinch of fresh dill.

It's beautiful! Voila! Enjoy.

L'hotel delivered Sunday night! We shared with some of the guys Adam works with and I got a 10, and a 9.5. That's pretty darn good, if you ask me.  We sided this small plate with a tomato, cucumber, and avocado salad. (just add a teaspoon of olive oil and salt & pepper- and you have your salad.)

Monday, was a rest and housekeeping day. I washed clothes, and we made a trip to the thrift store. I've been trying desperately to find a bicycle to rent with a burley/chariot or a child's seat. Well, that's one thing that Des Moines is lacking. I went to the Disabled Veteran's Thrift Shop, and they had some bikes, but they were lacking. Childs seats too for 10 bucks. I almost got the seat, but I couldn't bring myself to spend a pretty penny on a not so good bike. So, we found a tricycle!!
It's a kiddio brand, made in Germany, traditional trike in primary colors. Ryan loves it! It was going to be her first real biking adventure, so we went to Copper Creek and I walked while she rode her new trike.

We had a great weekend, and we're going back home to St. Louis soon. It's not completely set up for date of departure, but we're close. It'll be nice to see the ol' homestead, and we'll probably work on our house. It'll be a good August.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

High Five, Des Moines

Wow, what a Farmer's Market! This thing is huge, and they have everything organic... beef, chicken, jerky, veggies, honey, take n eat food... It's sweet! Even the flowers were amazing. The flowers were 50 cents a bloom, and they looked picked right out of the garden- native, indigenious flowers... none of those flowers that are forced.

Ryan and I got there right at the stroke of 10am, and it was booming. The radio had a van playing music, and on every other corner there was a musical venue. I have never seen anything like it. And, I thought Soulard was like the best... well, I must say, it's different. It has it's own flair. But, genuine farmer's bringing their stuff every Saturday from all over the state. THIS is a farmer's market.

It's on Court Avenue where we were for the Ragbrai, starting at the bridge and headed all the way west to the court house. To give you an idea, it's 2 football fields at least with each side street swarming too. We had a blast. Steel Drums, Country Music, Jazz, Oldies, and lots of family friendly draw. One of the bands had musical instruments for the kids to play along. Others had hula hoops to hoop. We had organic lemonade from a wheatgrass stand, and we saw some hand dyed tablecloths next door. Ryan made friends with lots of dogs around the way, and I enjoyed people watching.

Organic Root Beer sold by the growler, I think so! Free Cantaloupe for haggling over 4 bucks per cantaloupe. I think so too! One dollar for 2 peaches so sweet we had to enjoy them there, yeah, buddy! And, homegrown cucumber for 75 cents... of course!

I would have bought more, but the cantaloupe took up most of the room in my bag, so we moved on. Besides I somewhat felt like I was cheating on my home Market. Soulard is where we buy essential oils, some of the best chestnuts, organic herbs, and other sundries. The only thing that they don't have which now after seeing I wish they did- organic meat.... It looked good!

Ryan and I went without Daddy, but we're going to the Italian Festival tonight. Yum! I'm going to have to find myself some Tiramisu for sure. Or Affogado. Bike Ride in Grey's Park as a family prior... I have to say, Des Moines has it going on! Active, informed, outside-lovers... I saw a shirt today that claimed it the Greatest City in the World.... I'll be contemplating on that.

High Five, Des Moines!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Something that hasn't stopped

Yeah, I'm still  cooking in a hotel room. Did you all forget? Well, I haven't. I've been planning meals for a while now. And, that also should include camping meals too... that's without regular cooking accoutrements.

But, we have less that what we had in SD, WY, and ND. We only have an electric skillet and microwave. I used the crockpot a lot before, but this trip after we had a week in St. Louis at the beginning of July. I left it at home. That's okay. I will use it when I get home. And, I'll probably take it again when we know our next schedule.

So, Here's a quick list of some of the meals I've made in the hotel. I made those oreo truffles, yes.  I also made:
Celery and Garbanzo Bean salad (with currants and pecans)
Stir fry with brocolli, water chestnuts, scallions, and carrots.
Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Carrot, Zucchini, and Squash Pasta with Garbanzo Beans
Gnocchi with peas, baby bella mushrooms, and shrimp
Italian Chicken with Rattlesnake pasta (Tricolor peppers and a homemade alfredo sauce)
Chicken Salad with Grapes, Cucumber, and Pecans
Tonight, we're having Tacos.
Tomorrow, we're having StirFry with Pork. I might even make them lettuce wraps.

Here's what we did camping:
(this is not my forte)

Oatmeal for breakfast with all kinds of toppings (currants, raisins, pecans.)
Pita with feta, honey, grapes and nuts (breakfast)
Apple, Carmelized onions, and Sharp Cheddar Cheese Quesadillas
Kebabs with veggies and beef (these are the ones that were chewy.)
Pork Tenderloin on the BBQ
Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary Foil Pack
Salads with any fresh veggies we had
Cowboy Grillers from MN (which were chicken breasts wrapped with bacon, filled with Ham n Cheese)

So, I still make most of the meals. We pack out lunches most days. For the Ragbrai Concert event, I made a picnic dinner with the chicken salad I mentioned. I bought a wheel of Farmer's cheese, crackers, and some cut veggies and fresh fruit. It was delicious sitting out on the grass.

I feel somewhat accomplished when I think about what I've prepared in a electric skillet. That's pretty sweet! At least we're eating healthy, whole foods...


I have a large appreciation for art. I love impressionism. I also love modern art. I like not understanding what I'm seeing and getting a feeling from what I'm seeing. It started at a young age. I can remember being in the Dixon Gallery with my Dad fixated on the tiniest paintings that were so detailed. I was probably 5 years old.

As I have grown up, I've visited many museums. And, I like seeing studies of other larger pieces of works. I get to cross reference and try to remember where it is that I saw "the big one." So, today I went to the Des Moines Art Center. It's main focus is modern art. The center had one particular exhibit that I wanted to see, E'Stamped Originial. These are the old standard lithograph/printings of artists mainly from France. Manet, Degas, Delacroix aka Cross, Pisarro, Matisse, as well as some others. The prints were in poster format and they were just incredible. I  particularly enjoy reading the excerpts, but Ryan doesn't really enjoy that so much.

I also saw a Picasso today, and it was a lamp. They had one painting from his black and white exhibit which I saw at the Guggenheim last fall.  The lamp was intriguing because it was a woman's face, bulbous around the girth of the base. It was comical. I laughed when I saw it.   On our honeymoon, we stayed a block from where Picasso's apartment was, and we didn't go see it. I wasn't a huge fan of Picasso- still get a dark feeling from most of his work... but it's growing on me. He had very different periods; some with color and some without. Ultimately, I just don't know how to feel from what I see.  However, he's so widely known. He made so many paintings that it's rare for someone to not recognize his work. That is impressive.

On our honeymoon we stayed in downtown Paris near the Centre de Pompidou. It's also an modern art museum. There is graffiti outside the building, and the center itself is crazy colors with an industrial feel.

I find myself gravitating to see those things where ever I am. And, I seek out free ones. Today was no different. Minneapolis has a sculpture garden and we visited- the Cherry and Spoonbridge. Des Moines has the Western Gateway Park. I posted a picture from there yesterday on facebook.  St. Louis has Laumeier Park and CityGarden. In the winter at Christmas time, CityGarden is one of my must go places.

I was fortunate to have parents that influenced this love of art. It's fun to look at and to contemplate. Why does that look that way. Why is that art? St. Louis Art Museum has a particular piece that is a color wall. It's single, huge canvases painted one color lined against the wall in the ROYGBIV fashion. It's not the art that's impressive- it's what happens to you when you watch it start to move. Oh, wait, you are moving... you are the one walking by it.

I do hope to instill a similar love of art in the other members of my family too. Adam loved the Louvre. We have been to many exhibits at the SLAM (St. Louis Art Museum), and he's been fascinated by most of the ones we've made a priority to see. The japanese screens (ancient art) visited a couple of years ago, and that made a lasting impression. I can usually get him to come along with me.

So, If I make it seem fun... Can I get Ryan to think it's cool too? I'd love to own some famous art work, but for now, I'll just appreciate it when it's available to me. Go to an art museum... see if you like it. I surely do!

Here's an artist I saw today-- She's pretty fantastic.... Phyllida Barlow. She uses fabrics, steel, paint, rocks... Check her out on wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On the Hunt

I stayed up too late last night. We slept in until 9 am, and we didn't find our Farmer's Market this morning. But, instead we did find another sculpture park. I'm fascinated by sculpture. It's so mind boggling how people think up these 3 dimensional structures and actually make them.

We saw the letter person sculpture today. I don't know it's official name yet. We also saw these two horses made from drift wood, and they look so real. They have definition... almost like skeletal structures. I was intrigued. The weather has been perfect here- 81 degrees today with beautiful blue skies.

Speaking of the weather here, we went to an awesome event that I had never heard of until we arrived here. Ragbrai. What ever it means, I have no clue! But, it's a bunch of spandex wearing bicyclists cycling across Iowa.... for days.  Partying every night and riding everyday. And, last night in Des Moines on a bridge, no less, they listened to some seriously 90s bands. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was just an incredible reason to hangout outdoors, listening to some music, and watch some crazy bicyclist walk around drinking in their spandex.  Des Moines looks good in spandex... ha.

Either way, our daughter is a music lover, and we all danced. Can you think of some popular Live and Everclear songs? They are great lyrical songs. I miss that. Kinda sad, alternative, dark, rock n roll. Took me wayy back to 8th grade. Bands like Soundgarden, the Cranberries, Train, yeah... they all were awesome back in the day.  (And still are!) Oh well... I guess I'm getting older.  (not old, that is.)

Also, on a even more outstanding note... Did you see that Full Moon last night? The Full Moon rose right over the stage, and it was so big a bright. It brought a whole new level to being outside with perfect weather. Ryan has a new saying too, and she came up with it all on her own.

"I'm going to take my horse, go up to the moon, put in my pocket, take it home, and show it to my Daddy and Mommy." She's in this stage where she likes making up stories, and this story is my favorite.

I have to say- Des Moines is pretty sweet in the middle of the summer, especially if the weather is moderate like it has been. And free live music that I know... Bonus!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Selection of Photos

Well, I've tried several times to upload photos and video, so I think I am probably going to upload to Facebook. Blogger isn't my friend when it comes to photos, even though  I'd really like to include them here.

I'll do some descriptive photos... memory photos.

Ryan finally goes to bed early while we're camping. Mommy and Daddy get some alone time. We're in the thick of the woods. The campfire is lit and the woods smell of evergreen and pine.  It's not hot or cold. We're talking and sitting on a big boulder. It's summer, and it's just around the time 6 years ago that we would have been doing exactly the same thing. Chatting, telling stories, and getting to know each other under the bright moon. Now, we're in Minnesota when previously we were in Wyoming. But, it took me back to the place where it all started. The summer that it all began. We were two amongst a beautiful backdrop of landscape. And, we explored it.

We still love to do the same things, and we still don't know everything about each other. We never will. But, I love to ask Adam to tell me stories, even though I hear some of them more than once. I hear new ones too, but I sure do love when we talk- and it's not about bills or responsibility. It's true we have a lot of that now, but I try to forget about that often.

Minnesota camping was a really good reminder of that. That being in the moment with the one I love is just incredible. It makes me thankful again for this adventure.


Swimming is something that I love to do. and, refraining from it was a real challenge. Especially the chance to indulge in swimming under a waterfall. It was a little like torture. And, in the middle of summer, the idea of jumping into a cool pool of water is like a slice of heaven.

But, I watched the water fall and remembered that there's always next time.  The sound of the water falling is unlike any other. Gooseberry Falls is loud, and they are walkable/accessible. Unlike Niagara Falls, which you can only watch, these falls you can climb around, through, over, and swim in. It's able to be experienced and enjoyed. I've been to Moose Falls in Yellowstone, and they are pretty similar to Gooseberry, however, it's one spot  and you can only swim... I never jumped off the rock- seemed too scary.

I happen to have a fascination with waterfalls. I have seen quite a few, and I think my top choice is the Bridal Falls in Chile, or the waterfall off the wettest part of the island in Kauai.  They tie. This summer in particular, I've seen many. Artist Point in Yellowstone is breathtaking at dusk. And, there are tons of others in Yellowstone too. But, the accessibility of Gooseberry is unmatched.... We were right there!


I love the city and I love the outdoors. The art, music, food, and culture in cities attracts me. I love St. Louis and the free activities that I have written about before. A different city always opens my eyes something fresh and new.  Minneapolis is so different from St. Louis. The downtown is so different. It's  not like Washington Ave... its 10 times better.
Before we left St. Louis the last time, we spent quite a bit of time downtown St. Louis. For the fourth of July, we went to Fair St. Louis under the arch. Then we have a friend that lives in a loft downtown and we went swimming on the rooftop of a building on Washington. We overlooked the City Museum.  And, it is a taste for what a big city is really like.
I like St. Louis because it's bigger than Memphis. Yet, it still has a small town feel. It's not a metropolis- Minneapolis/St. Paul.  It's funny that I notice this: When we were in Buffalo, The Boston Bombings happened, and I watched a city that I was not apart of watch it happen. And, in Minneapolis, we watched people peacefully protest the Trayvon Martin verdict. Our country is so beautiful that we can speak individually, and mourn together. I just wish that we could get along. We're so opinionated that we can't agree to disagree... it's our nature.
I include this because I observed a protest in Minneapolis. I don't think I've ever been that close to a march-  I saw a union march in Chicago, but this was different- It was seeing something that was happening all over our country. It was moving.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Two Posts in the Making

My husband had a birthday while we were on the road, and I wanted to make it special since we were away from family. He always gets plenty of phone calls and still feels loved, but birthdays are a big thing for our family.

So, we were leaving Worthington to go camping, so I made a decision to celebrate it a bit early- that, and I really don't know what date it is ever anymore. (I love that.) I knew I couldn't make a cake. I knew I already bought his gift... but birthdays just aren't the same without a cake. I decided that I would turn to pinterest. And, it was a good decision.

We made it a family event, and I bought all the ingredients to make those oreo truffle balls. I even bought sprinkles for it. And, Ryan, Adam and I made chocolate oreo truffles. I tempered the chocolate in the  microwave. We made the smashed oreos in a ziplock bag, and mixed the cream cheese with it in one of those ice bags. Great idea! Adam loved rolling the balls, and I had a really hard time covering the balls with the melted chocolate. But, it still worked, and they were a perfect birthday treat!

Ryan and I used dry erase markers to write birthday notes on the mirrors, and we sang Happy Birthday. And, his gift!! Those devil sticks that Cirque du Soliel have.... yeah, Adam can do that. He has an old set, so we upgraded him to the better, bigger set. And, he loves to use them while camping. He was thrilled.

So, we made a birthday out of town special. It was a fabulous day, and my sweet husband turned a year older. Although, he looks young already. For us, age is just a number.

Do you have ideas on what to do for birthdays? especially when you can't do the normal things? I think we made it special.

What do you think about those oreo balls? Any suggestions on how to make them better? I used regular oreos, cream cheese, and semisweet chocolate.  Any better ingredients? Any better mixes?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's go on vacation! And Some!

Oh wait, Weren't we already on vacation? Adam picked up a job in Worthington, Minnesota. We drove there in one evening- just a quick 10 hours. It's a little town closer to Iowa than anything interesting in Minnesota. But, I liked it there. It is a little resort town on Lake Okabena. It's known for the windsurfing Regatta in June. Pretty cool, huh? Pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

From there, we went 40 minutes away to Spirit Lake and Lake Okoboji. We camped here for two glorious nights, and we were right on the lake at Marble Beach State Recreation Area. We set up fort. We cooked and played. We went to town to the park and we went hiking. We hiked at Gull Point State Park on the Interpretive Trail. Ryan loved it. And we passed a small chapel- ideal for a wedding in the woods.

Most people here spent time on the water, but renting a boat for 1 hour didn't seem logical, and 3 hours was over 300 dollars. I couldn't swim- obviously because of my previous post. So, we just played in the sun, and made the most of our time until we knew our next move. On Monday, we got word that we wouldn't be needed in Des Moines, Iowa until the following Monday, July 22. Therefore, we'd go North. There wasn't really any other choice. We could go home, but then, we'd just have to leave again. So, We made Adam, my sweet, hard-working husband, take a real vacation. And, we did!

We grabbed a hotel room on Expedia. And, we had our arrangements for Minneapolis... a metropolis! It was so great- a beautiful, clean, excellent city that is walkable if your right downtown. And, we were. Radisson on 7th Ave. We walked to the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. How Cool is that? Huge sculptures in an urban setting with a garden like feel. I was totally impressed. We saw the Spoonbridge and cherry sculpture- while sitting in white adirondack chair, under a canopy of trees full of hanging chimes. It was a garden of senses...smelling flowers, hearing water fall, listening to the wind move the chimes. We soaked it up. From there, we walked to Rock Bottom Brewery and ate a lovely meal. It was a nice break from camping in Iowa.
And, we had a true minnesotan visit to Hell's Kitchen. They had Walleye Hash. And Mascoutah Porriedge-- with wild rice. I want some right now just talking about it. dried blueberries, butter, heavy cream and wild rice... soo good.  I'm going to order some wild rice when we get home since I missed our real chance to buy some while we were up north.

We made our choice to head to Lake Superior and the North Shore. That part of our country is so different. It's like nothing I've ever seen. So, there's tons of places to camp along the shore, but we got to the parks so late that they were already full. We stocked up on food at Two Harbors, and then tried two parks on Lake Superior. No luck. We got off of the shoreline, and we west a bit to Sullivan Lake. Mosquitos galore, buddy! Holy Cow! It was still cool though. The water is like almost red that it's so brown. We later learned that the color of the water is from bogs. (Bog water, I would assume, is the water that is so nutrient rich that after it makes its way from marshes and watershed areas it remains this color. It was so unique.)We spent one night here, and went to Gooseberry Falls State Park. It was an ideal spot. The location had plenty of entertainment... Gooseberry River that dumps into Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls- an incredible waterfall accessible to climb around on and swim in and all. And, hiking too. We went to the Lake and the water was so crystal clear aqua. The access to the water was full of rocks down to the water, and the shelf  drops off where someone could jump off the cliff to the water. Well, my husband did-- into 40 degree water. He loved it, but he had about 30 seconds to get in and out. He loved it. We spent a good two days here. But, we decided not to camp there a second night. Instead, we went to Indian Lake in the Pequwyan Lake Area.  And, it only got better. The lake had a sand beach, a lovely campground, and a swim area. We spent the afternoon in the sun swimming. Well, my two favorite people did anyway. I walked up and down the beach-- I ran on the beach too.

In the aforesaid paragraph, I gave the basic narrative-- the good parts. Here's the not so good parts.... We had rain- twice. During one, I even got a bit scared. And, unusally for me, I was uneasy by the thunder.  The other rain was moderate, but we had to go to bed early at 8:30 because we had to stay in the tent.
We made skewers of meat at the camp in Iowa, but I bought the wrong kind of meat. It tasted okay, but it was so chewy. It just wasn't a good mouth feel.
We gotten eaten alive by mosquitos... everywhere except Gooseberry Falls.
Ryan faceplanted on the hike to Gooseberry Falls. Busted Lip and all. It was pretty bloody. And, the really sad thing is that she was waving to another little girl who was hiking as well. Bummer.
Adam didn't catch any fish. Double bummer.

We made it back again to Minneapolis, and we checked in early to the Hilton Hotel. It overlooked the city, and our view was of another building that had dune buggy races on the top of it. Cool, huh? I'd probably be scared to death to do that! Wow.
We walked alot that evening, and we ate at Brit's Pub. I had a fantastic burger with tomato bacon jam. Have you ever heard of that concoction? I love it! We walked around the town and when we got back to the room on the 15th floor, the building diagonally from us had that huge LED top with firework images exploding. Ryan was mesmerized. Being at that height in a big city makes the world seem so different. We enjoyed our stay and we felt celebrity status.

Mall of America. Wow. It's somewhat sickening. Disheartening. And, if there is a stark difference between two places- it's camping at Indian Lake where there's so few people compared to the Mall of America where there's so many people looking for materials that have no real value. Stuffed Animals... toys, Legos, etc. What can I say? I bought a shirt! On sale for 10 bucks. And, it's this season! How hip am I?  I bet you thought I was going to say that I had no part of it, right? Well, I had to. Ryan met Dora the Explorer-- She loved the Lego store, and we ate some pretty amazing lunch. I have to say, it's fun to indulge.

So, we're in Des Moines. There's lots of activites this week, and I'm so thrilled. We're going to go hiking too! Bonus! It's not mountains or anything, but it's somewhere new and exciting. Des Moines has a beautiful skyline, and we luckily found a room for pretty cheap. Uh. Oh. And, It was terrible. I am going to be penning and letter to Motel 6. I won't tell you much about it, but never ever stay at the Motel 6 Airport. It's in shambles.
There! the final bad part of the trip! Oh well... we survived... but, we'd just been in luxury.  It reminded me that there's nothing more important than family, and it was okay because we were together. And, it was. We made the most of it---

I'm so glad we went North. Hopefully I'll have pictures and video tomorrow!

One last thing, thank you for the love and prayers you all sent me after my last post. We're recovering, and I learned so much from others. Women are incredibly strong, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  To the women that shared their stories with me, thank you. I can't tell you how much you helped me, and that's something I hope to do for others-- to help and be helped.

Friday, July 12, 2013

I carried you your whole life.

I started miscarrying. I'm not pregnant anymore. I was so excited. And, now it's over. There's so many lovely sweet kind people around me that I've been doing just fine. It's still a loss. And, I'm sad.
I would have been due in February. It could have been a boy or a girl. 

It's not a viable pregnancy anymore, and it's over. But, I'm changed after this. I'm sorry for the loss any woman has had. It's hard. It's sad. I'm working through it myself. 

Ultimately, I know God protects all- the born and unborn. We are safe and well. 

This is why I haven't written lately. I wanted to write about this. It's hard, though. People either talk about it or they don't. I have to. It's part of our life. We were sad-- and we were able to talk about it. 

I'm doing okay, though. Thanks for reading. More on adventure side tomorrow- We're in Minnesota now. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I look at these photos and my heart just swells! It's such a beautiful world, and I'm living in it. We're blessed to be together, and we're blessed to know the love of many friends and family. Here in this little montage of photos, I'm able to document a few sweet moments in my life. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

TN, AR, and TX

It's been quite a while since I've written and I have quite a few memos to make today. The last time I wrote was 10 days ago. And, while that isn't an incredibly long period of time- life has changed.

In Tennessee, I found out I was pregnant. Adam was in Texarkana, and I away from him with my sweet daughter and family. I knew it. I could feel it. It's an amazing change that happens when all of a sudden you feel this life in your body. It's got wonderful good parts, and hard challenging spots too. Either way, a new baby, a new life, a human is growing inside of me. I love it already. The only thing I don't love is my stomach. My stomach constantly hurts or is uncomfortable. I'm hungry but somewhat uninterested in food. It's a crazy thing. This pregnancy is going to be different from my last. And, I'm going to keep it that way. No sickness... no vomiting...just getting better everyday. Dear, God, Please relieve my pain and give my body strength to do this. Amen.

It's hard to be away from the person you love and hold on to such a big important secret. I couldn't. I figured out a cute way to fill Adam in on the phone. I had Ryan tell him that "She's going to be a big sister." It went right over his head, but I tried. So, he was elated. thrilled. so happy. Our plan was to get pregnant this year, so we met that goal in a hurry. We're having another baby!

So, we played with family and friends in Tennessee. Ryan and I went to the zoo with a sweet Christian woman that I went to high school with. She's lovely, and Ryan and her girl played well together. It was a hot summer afternoon good for picnicking and seeing animals. All of us girls laughed and played and made it a memorable afternoon. I pray that we can keep our friendship up whenever we're in each others city. I think it will be wonderful to watch our children grow together and talk about all things related to our life that is good--- we shared the fact that we love being happy and working for the betterment of our families.  I loved it.

We also spent time with my sister--- and Ryan loves her auntie! They grew close and I'm glad we had the time to spend together. It's special and I'll never forget it.

Ryan and I found a ride to Searcy to see my sister in law and her children. We spent a couple of nights there and explored that part of Arkansas. She and I were pregnant together the first go round and her baby was born first.... CKM. They are about  8 weeks apart. She and Ryan had a blast playing and laughing. We sang songs and the baby girl (ZAM) and I spent sometime giggling and watching each other.  Amongst all the family time, I wanted to fully dedicate myself to that, and I did. It's wonderful that we spent so much time with family when we have the opportunity. And, I know Ryan loved playing with someone other than me!

And, we caught a ride with my other sister-in-law to TEXARKANA! And, we got to finally reunite with my husband. And, I missed him! For a family outing we saw Monsters University in 3D, and we enjoyed it. It's a nice thing to miss and be missed!