Black Hills Adventures: The 1880 Train

My dear friend and her two adorable sons visited us this week. I love when friends come visit. The icing on the cake is the visit is an excuse to check out some local tourist attractions. This time we took a ride on the 1880 Train.

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Despite having lived in the Black Hills area most of my life, I had never ridden the train.

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My mom graciously agreed to watch my one-month-old so my friend and I could take my two-year-old, and her two-year-old and four-year-old on a train ride.

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The ride from Hill City to Keystone and back again is beautiful and relaxing. Our kids enjoyed chatting with the friendly conductor and hearing the whistle.

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My friend and I enjoyed watching our littles be little even if it meant cleaning up two bags of jelly beans spilled on the train car floor. They aren’t little long. We were reminded of this when we saw the bored teenager sleeping with his ear buds in on the train bench behind his parents.

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Also on site at the train depot in Hill City is the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, which is definitely worth checking out.

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Trying to Just Be

Sit still.

As parents we say this phrase constantly, but do we ever take the advice ourselves? I’m talking about sitting on the porch or couch without thinking of the next task to be accomplished. No technology. No words. No guilty thoughts of what we should be doing. Just be.

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It’s difficult. With or without children, being a responsible adult is challenging. We are expected to keep a tidy home, be nice to people, be good at our careers, and remember to put on matching shoes day after day. I include that last item because I actually failed at it shortly after returning to work after having my first child.

I have long struggled with allowing myself moments to just be. I prioritize accomplishing tasks over personal well-being. Yesterday while holding my newborn daughter I found myself anxiously awaiting the moment she would fall asleep so I could put her in her crib and go do laundry.

This made me sad. Yes, laundry has to be done at some point, but she won’t be little long. Why can’t I be in the moment without obsessing over meaningless tasks.

Moving forward I am going to be aware of this and soak up those moments. We have the rest of our lives to do laundry and unload the dishwasher, but how often do we allow ourselves to sit on the porch and watch the sun go down? To hold a newborn baby well after she has fallen asleep? To just be.

To All the Moms

Happy Mother’s Day weekend. To me, the idea of this holiday is that, for one day, we are truly united in motherhood. The stay-at-home-mom is not pitted against the career woman. The Type A mom is no better than the one who sent her child to school with peanut butter in his hair. The truth is, we are all our own harshest critic when it comes to mothering our children. Why? Because the stakes are so high. We love them so much.

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So this weekend, make sure you are pampered. If not by your children, spouse, or someone else in your life, pamper yourself. Take a little time this weekend to honor the mothers in your life, and remember those praying to become moms that haven’t yet. They’re already mothers in their hearts.

Motherhood is full of epic challenges and amazing rewards. It is simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating. When we are united in building each other up in this crazy adventure instead of tearing each other down, just think of how unstoppable we can be. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

An Update on My Reading Goal: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

The most recent book I have read off NPR’s list of the 10 best books of 2016 is Born the Run by Bruce Springsteen.

I don’t know much about Bruce Springsteen and have never really been a big fan, but I do love rock musician biographies. I have read many. This one started as most of them do, with the musician’s modest upbringing and hard-knock beginnings playing gigs in dive bars.

But Springsteen’s honest description of his battle with depression, rocky relationship with his father, and love for his three children make the book an interesting and inspiring read. I was most touched by his writing about his mother. He writes about her with the respect and devotion we all hope our children will have for us when they are grown.

Born to Run has all the elements I enjoy in a rock biography, but in the end it’s something more. Even though I don’t really listen to The Boss, the book was well worth reading.

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(Image from amazon.com)

Here is the updated list:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Home going by Yaa Gyasi

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, 1939-1962 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel

 

To the Dad of a Cesarean Baby

To the Dad of a Cesarean Baby:

You are a special guy. In the days to come, you will be needed more than ever before, and you will step up to the plate. After watching your wife experience the pain of labor and major surgery, you will be the first to hold your new baby girl and ensure she feels safe and loved. You will change the first and most disgusting diapers while your wife still can’t get out of her hospital bed. You will help her out of bed to brush her teeth and promise her she looks more beautiful than ever even though she definitely doesn’t feel that way.

You will drive them home safely, taking each corner gently so the incision from surgery won’t hurt. You will do more than your share, hauling laundry down the stairs that she can’t yet take, and lifting your toddler when she can’t. You will be the one getting up those first few nights, bringing your hungry newborn to your wife to feed when her incision hurts too much to get out of bed.

You will assure your wife she is enough when she feels vulnerable and helpless. You will remind her what she did to bring your children into the world is amazing. You will love this little family unconditionally, and know this time of your life is beautiful, raw, and so fleeting.

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I write this five days post-C-section. I am sore and the simplest of movements, while becoming easier each day, are still challenging. My husband is amazing and has taken care of me as well as our newborn and toddler day and night. I appreciate him even more this time around than I did after my first C-section, and have more love for him and our two girls than I ever thought possible. This is for him.

An Update on My Reading Goal: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The most recent book I have read off NPR’s list of the 10 best books of 2016 is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

This story spans centuries telling the stories of decendants of an African family. It is beautifully written and fast-paced. Some of the family members are sold into slavery while others become slave traffickers themselves.

There are hardships and triumphs throughout the book. Gyasi creates interesting characters and keeps the reader hooked with the way their stories are intertwined. Read this one.

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(Image from amazon.com)

Here is the updated list:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, 1939-1962 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel

 

 

Bashful and Blush

My fellow fans of Steel Magnolias will remember how Shelby selected Bashful and Blush as her wedding colors. Pink and Pink? No, Bashful and Blush! I was horrified by those colors. I generally gravitate far, far away from anything pink, but I’m kind of loving some of the blush clothing items out there right now.

Here are a few things I would definitely wear, especially if paired with neutral black or tan.

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1. I would pair these pink pants with black or gray, not more pink like the model is wearing here. (Banana Republic) 2. I’m loving these sandals and feel they would really set off my recent pink pedi. (ModCloth) 3. I have no weddings to attend this summer, but if I did, I would be buying and wearing this skirt. (Eliza J at Herberger’s) 4. This bag is a great size and this shade of pink would be versatile. (Anthropologie) 5. I love cardigans in every color. (J. Crew) 6. This dress looks so comfortable and feminine for summer. (Loft)