Adventures

Disneyland

It has been almost a month since we boarded a plane for a few fun-filled days at Disneyland with my husband’s family. I was excited, and determined to have fun despite the inevitable monkey wrenches that traveling with two small kids can throw at a person. It was a success!

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This was my first time at Disneyland and I absolutely loved seeing my daughters’ reactions to all of the magic.

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Halloween is a great time to visit the park. My five-year-old braved the Haunted Mansion with her dad while I hung out with our two-year-old.

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We met Woody, Bo Peep, Mickey, Minnie, Moana, Milan, Cinderella, Elsa, Anna, Captain Hook, Goofy, Snow White, and Ariel.

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We spent time two days at Disneyland and one day at Disney California Adventure Park. We stayed at Disneyland’s Paradise Pier and loved it there.

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We kept our expectations fairly light, started each day early, and left the park by mid-afternoon to return to the resort for naps or pool time.

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I probably got just as excited as my daughters did to meet some of the characters. I have no shame.

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My two-year-old could’ve spent hours on the park carousel.

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Overall, it was an awesome trip. My legs were tired from the walking, but overall, I felt rested and rejuvenated after some amazing time with family.

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Until next time, Disneyland. We love you.

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Adventures

The Roller Coaster: When Everyone Else Chickens Out

Our sixth wedding anniversary fell during our Disneyland vacation. That meant we spent the big day at Disney California Adventure Park with my husband’s family. I awoke that morning excited for the anniversary dinner he and I would get to have that evening while my mother-in-law babysat the girls. I was looking forward to a leisurely meal, a bottle of wine, candlelight, and no cutting up food for anyone but myself.

What I was not expecting was to ride a huge roller coaster for the first time in my life. This is not me. I don’t like heights. I don’t usually choose to partake in something that is making others expel blood-curdling screams.

We could see the roller coaster from our hotel room window, and my husband was excited about it from the moment he saw it. His plan was to convince our nine-year-old nephew to go along. As we stood in front of the roller coaster that morning, every other family member tall enough to ride it backed out of going along.

But guess what? Marriage is all about being there for the other person. It is about maybe surprising them now and then, just when they think they have you pegged.

“I’ll go with you,” I said to my husband, almost in an out-of-body-experience sort of way. Did some adventurous, spontaneous gal just climb into my body and say that? Once I saw the surprise and delight in his eyes I knew there was no way I could stay on safe ground.

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We got in line and because it was early, didn’t have to wait long. I was sweating as I put my sunglasses in the little pouch in front of my seat and tugged on my harness at least a dozen times. Then we were off on a wild ride. I screamed and giggled so hard that I cried. I had a death grip on my harness like I was sure it was going to come loose. Even if it did, my grip wasn’t going to control gravity as I fell to my death.

But I didn’t fall to my death. I actually had a really good time and so did my husband, which made it all worth while. Riding roller coasters isn’t necessarily going to be my new thing, but this ride was a memorable way to kick off our next year of marriage. Later, we celebrated with the aforementioned romantic dinner.

There will be many times throughout our marriage that we face exciting or frightening times. There will continue to be times in which one of us must venture outside our comfort zone for the love of the other. On that particular day, the roller coaster served as a good reminder of that because, in the end, roller coasters and marriage are both about being there when everyone else chickens out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures

This Probably Won’t Inspire You

I haven’t blogged much lately. Sure, life can be busy. Mine is. Yours is, too. The reason I haven’t blogged lately, though, isn’t because of work demands or the craziness of parenting two small children. It is because every time I sit down to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) I feel like what I have to say isn’t enough. It might not be moving enough. It might not inspire those reading it.

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Then I realized I need to stop expecting so much and just share what I’m thinking. I blog because I love it. I love reading other blogs, I love sharing my thoughts, and I love connecting with other people through writing. Sometimes it’s about something deep like the loss of a loved one. Sometimes it’s about something mundane like a cute pair of floral pants from Loft. Either way, it’s a connection and it matters.

So I’m back on the blog in a regular way. Sometimes I might have something poignant to say. Sometimes I might just want to share my latest favorite Yankee Candle fragrance. (Spoiler alert: It’s Golden Chestnut.)

Either way, I’m thankful you’re reading, commenting, and sharing as we continue on this journey called life. Thanks for being here. Thanks for letting me be me whether I inspire you or not.

Adventures

Five!

My oldest turned five last week and we celebrated this past weekend with a ballerina-themed party at Storybook Island in Rapid City.

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Ages three and four were so much fun with this girl. These milestones are flying by at warp-speed, and I try to remind myself to slow down and soak in everything.

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The park has been our go-to place for all five of her birthday parties because it’s just a great venue for summer parties. My mom made the ballerina-themed cake in light blue, my daughter’s favorite color.

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I cannot believe she will start kindergarten in a few short weeks. She is kind, inquisitive, and social. She values her friendships and has a caring heart. She’s the best big sister, too. We love you, sweet girl, and we can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for you.

 

Adventures

All 50 by 40: Alaska

Alaska is vast and stunning. Of course this was kind of a major one in my quest to see all 50 states. It did not disappoint.

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Traveling with young children means a different pace, so we definitely didn’t do the level of exploring we might have if we were solo. Still, we enjoyed ourselves more with the girls along and it was fun discovering a new and beautiful place with them.

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We had plans to take a small plane around the summit of Denali, but due to smoke from wildfires were unable to do that. The glacier cruise out of Whittier was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. The views were fantastic and the water was the bluest I have ever seen.

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It reached record-high temperatures while we were there, hence my sleeveless shirt while cruising around glaciers.

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We got up-close views of wildlife.

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Of course I had to take in the food scene, which meant eating a lot of delicious seafood (halibut, salmon, and crab), as well as reindeer sausage.

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Anchorage has no shortage of delicious bakeries. Macarons at Sweet Caribou were a fun treat to take to the park.

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The cardamom buns at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop were amazing.

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We explored the adorable town of Talkeetna.

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Here we shopped for a few souvenirs and I had the best blueberry ice cream ever.

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The girls were interested in stopping at every playground they spotted from the rental car window.

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They also couldn’t get enough of the hotel pool. Again, traveling with kids means taking time for the things that we as adults maybe don’t find as exciting. The reward is that the kids have a blast and we do a little more relaxing than we might have otherwise. (Like sitting in the grass eating a vanilla blackberry macaron.)

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My husband did some halibut fishing while we were in Alaska and we shipped some delicious fish home to enjoy in the months to come. Alaska is a special place with so much to see and do. We definitely plan to return.

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I only have two states left and I would love to hear your suggestions for places to go and things to see in Michigan and West Virginia. I’m looking at plans to cross at least one more off next year. Which will I choose?

The Updated List

Michigan (I have been to airports)

West Virginia

Adventures

Parenthood: Equal Parts Unconditional Love and Wiping Things Up

Last night I was watching my daughters play and found myself so overcome by unconditional love for them that my eyes filled with happy tears. I miss them when I am at the office, especially at the end of an especially long work week. It felt so good to be home with them, listening to their laughter and the silly songs they learn at daycare.

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Photo by Tayhart Photography

An hour later, I was grumbling under my breath as I cleaned up spilled milk from the kitchen floor for the second time that evening as my daughters argued over a toy in the other room. Sometimes the whining (my two-year-old) and the bossiness (my four-year-old) are a lot to handle. Sometimes them constantly needing me is exhausting. Sometimes the thought of being away from them for another full day of work hurts my heart.

That’s parenthood. There is deep, deep love. There is frustration. There is more deep, deep love. More frustration. Rinse and repeat.

Sometimes I need a break from them. And when I have one, I immediately miss them. There are so many emotions.

Parenthood is stepping on a Lego on your way to their room to make sure they are breathing in the middle of the night. It’s painful at times, but so rewarding and meaningful that the annoying parts outweigh the agony.

Parenthood is letting your two-year-old drink from a regular cup at a restaurant even though you’re nauseous through the entire meal because you know it’s going to end in disaster.

Parenthood is being so proud of your little one for being excited and ready to start kindergarten, but also digging in your claws to hold onto each last bit of their last summer before it starts.

Parenthood is watching your child make decisions, move through phase after phase, and achieve milestones knowing that although they’re not a baby anymore, they’ll always be your baby.

On the hard days when I have to dig deep to find enough energy for all life’s demands, I hope I can cut myself some slack. So let’s look at parenthood not so much as an emotional rollercoaster, but more as a leisurely train ride through a beautiful mountain range. Don’t worry, there’s wine on this train. All aboard.

 

Adventures

A 1980s Summer (Featured in Black Hills Parent Magazine)

I had the opportunity to write for the summer issue of Black Hills Parent magazine and it’s all about giving today’s kids a 1980s-style summer. You can read it at this link or pick up a free copy at area businesses. As an added bonus, it features summer photos of my little brother and me at Storybook Island circa 1989, and because I’m the bossy big sis, I didn’t ask his permission. Sorry, Kyle.

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