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

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

The Regulars and Out of the Ordinaries

Thu Jun 4 09:54:00 CDT 2015 - Thu Jun 4 09:54:00 CDT 2015

Travel Log: August 10 - 13, 2012

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



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


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

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

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


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



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


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



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


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


We LOVE Visits From Friends!

Wed Jun 3 19:28:00 CDT 2015 - Wed Jun 3 19:28:00 CDT 2015

Travel Log: August 7 & 8, 2012

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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




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

What beautiful days with beautiful friends.


Similiar, Yet Different, Home

Wed Jun 3 09:19:00 CDT 2015 - Wed Jun 3 09:19:00 CDT 2015

Travel Log: 6 August 2012

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

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

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

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

No, really.

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

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


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

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

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


When Fiction Comes Alive

Thu Jan 29 07:41:00 CST 2015 - Thu Jan 29 07:41:00 CST 2015

Travel Log: 5 August 2012


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


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


And then there is the story.


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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



Leaving for and Arriving to Boulder

Sat Jan 24 10:02:00 CST 2015 - Sat Jan 24 10:02:00 CST 2015

Travel Log: 4 August 2012

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

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

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

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

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

living room

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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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



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

About Me and This Blog...

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

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

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

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

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


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