Where I Give 15 Fs About 2016

This morning I woke up the same way that I wake up every morning. The cat is licking my face as my alarm goes off. I wonder if she really thinks I’ll forget to Feed her. Have I ever Forgotten to Feed her? I Feed her and I make sure the coffee is ready and then I work-out. After my work-out I drink copious amounts of coffee as I watch the morning news. I catch up on Facebook and Instagram and email, and then I wait for the Family to wake.

Just hours into the New Year, 2016 Feels the same. The cat, the coffee, the news, the work-out and the being First up for like always a million mornings later. I like the comfort in the routine and Familiar. I am not beyond Feeling like a toddler in my need for the predictable. Yet I don’t want to get comfortable in other ways. I want to step out of my comfort(and honestly, control) zone to be better and experience new. Just don’t mess with the First hours of my morning.

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2015 brought some big changes in many areas – Friends, Family, Fitness, Finances…and honestly had me using the big F word more than usual. And if you know me and my love for the big F word – well, wow that’s kind of a big deal to use it even more.

 

I’m not making resolutions here, because eFF that – so instead I’m using 15 F words that will define my life living Forward in 2016.

 

Focus – Like how I started writing this blog post on New Year’s Day..and here it is Five days later and I’m Finally Finishing it. Yeah, I need to work on this one. This Focus of putting First things First and prioritizing and letting go of the crap that’s not important. But I won’t be able to really Focus until I Finish Breaking Bad. Check back with me in a Few days after I binge watch the Final two seasons. Just tell me that cute Jesse is okay.

Family – Numero uno. But I can’t do this until I get clear Focus, right. That’s why I have it listed as number two. Family First and always. I love my people and they need to know it more. I mean sure I clean the house and cook their meals and make sure they have Folders and clean clothes. And I give hugs and kisses and encouragement and love. But I need to be more present for them when we are together. Whether it’s the now old cliche of putting my phone down, or maybe even watching the Minions for the 153rd time.

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Fun – Which brings me to Fun. I’m the heavy in our Family. The enforcer of the chores and the discipline. I run a tight ship and have high expectations of everyone. This will not change. But I do promise to have more Fun this year and always. We can all wear dirty clothing for a day if it means a few hours of sledding. More yes and less no.

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Fitness – I qualified for the Boston Marathon and am running it in April. I’m currently in a boot – so no running which totally sucks, but I’m coming back even stronger than before…trust me. My Fitness goals in 2016 are to get back into running shape with overall health and Future in mind…strong core, strong body, good choices. And by the end of 2016 I want to be in even better overall health and in stronger shape than I am in now. My goal is to write more about my Fitness journey in 2016 too. Hold me to that one, okay?

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F(ph)otography – My camera has taken a bit of a hiatus in recent years. I’m giving myself the time to explore and get to know my Friend Canon again in 2016. I need to stop worrying about perfect and just shoot.

Food – I have always watched what I eat, but I’m bringing my Family more into this in 2016. In 2015 I started “new recipe” Wednesday with the family – I cooked something completely new each Wednesday, and it was a huge success(maybe I should’ve blogged about it), so 2016 is continuing that as well as Focusing on cutting out more sugar and meat and processed items from everything we eat.

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Future – No looking back this year. The best is yet to come. Let’s celebrate and make an impact where we can – in tomorrow…not yesterday.

Friends – This is a BIG one For me in 2016. The older I get the more I know how important true Friends are. Yet how difficult it is to Find Friends at this age. We aren’t having babies anymore, we aren’t in college anymore, and I don’t have a workplace that I go to where I’m heading out to lunches with adults. But it’s Finding those true and easy Friends – through school or activities or book clubs or Facebook…AND making the time to have coffee or wine or even a phone conversation. Let’s all make the time For Friends this year. Friends Feed our soul differently than work or Family. Let’s celebrate and make time for that.

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Finances – Our BIG commitment for 2016. We made some huge Financial decisions in 2014 and 2015 – and now it’s time to continue moving Forward to ensure our Future retirement(EEK) as well as the kids’ Future is Funded. We will hold monthly Family Finance meetings and Focus on what’s important with our Finances. Full transparency as we move Forward is key.

(non)Fiction – I WILL write in 2016. It might not be here always, but I will write. I want to write a children’s book that I’ve had in draft for almost three years, and I will pitch some articles this year. I have Found that the less I write, the more scattered and unhappy my brain gets…so I need to do this. And I will.

Facebook – And all social media. I Find it can be such a time suck because I love to see you all – your Families, your pictures, your lives..and I love to support you all…but I need more balance here. I have already stepped away quite a bit and will continue to Focus my social media time better in 2016.

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Fly – We WILL take a Family vacation in 2016. We WILL continue to show our kids the world in 2016. We WILL Focus on our Finances better so this is our yearly goal as a Family – to invest in our Fun, our Future, and our global views moving Forward.

(give)Forward – I have applied for a local volunteer position and intend to dedicate more of my time in 2016 to giving Forward to others(more locally) in 2016. “No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank.

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(my aging)Face – Hey, guess what? I’m 47..and will be 48 in 2016. This happens. Yet, I like my Face in the here and now. I do. I like the lines that have come with time and experience. Even the lines on my arms and tummy – YES that happens too dear young people. But I love it. My Face scared me when I was 41-43 because I saw the changes from 37-39..but now, I think it’s kind of awesome. I don’t need to get carded. I can be somebody’s mom, and I can be old enough to be somebody’s mom in college, and I can be old enough to be your mom, or your grandma…and I’m totally zen with all of that. I take care of my body – good Food and Fitness..and well For my Face…not all the thousand dollar lotions in the world can stop time nor do I want to pay for treatments or surgeries or any of that Fake stuff. I own this Face and I love it – wrinkles, age spots, and randoms hairs and all. Also, wearing reading glasses on a date is incredibly sexy.

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F*ucks – And as with my Face..I just can’t give any F*ucks anymore with any bullshit. “I want real. I want true. If you don’t like me that’s on you.” – Tracy Morrison, 2016.

 

Happy 2016, my Friends. The best is yet to come.

“There is no passion to be Found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” – Nelson Mandela

 

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Give Your Kids A Cool Summer Adventure! #BrainChase

This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase.

 

We are deep in our summer planning right now. Camp sign-ups start in February, Sport Sign-ups now, we are talking seriously about our road-trip, and family has started calling to find out when it’s a good time to visit. Yet with our new home I also just kind of feel like canceling everything and enjoying a new adventure in our backyard. There’s something so simple and beautiful about kids just outside from dawn until dusk, riding bikes, running between houses, and meeting new friends. I love when my kids have their own adventures during the freedom of summer.

 

Yet no matter how free we make our summer, or how scheduled we make our camp, family, and travel commitments – we always make time to read and keep up on some school work during the summer. Typically we head to the bookstore and buy some fun workbooks, but as our kids have gotten older they typically enjoy learning online with cool games and apps. Studies show that by the end of summer, students perform on average one to two months behind where they left off in the spring – so it just makes sense to keep up on some sort of school work to prevent that summer brain drain.

 

So I think we’ve found the coolest thing to get us sharp, have fun, go on an adventure, and do something as a family this summer. Basically we are throwing those workbooks in the recycling and seeing the world from our own dining room table.

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We are going on a Brain Chase. Brain Chase is a 5-week online summer learning challenge disguised as a HUGE global treasure hunt for 2nd through 8th graders. Each summer, a golden mechanical treasure will be buried somewhere on earth – and it will contain the key to a safety deposit box holding a $10,000 college scholarship fund. Participants who complete an hour of online summer learning activities each day will unlock secret animated webisodes that hold the clues to the treasure’s whereabouts. Pinpoint the treasure’s location first, and you’ll be the one on a plane to dig it up!!

 

Ummm… BURIED TREASURE! A $10,000 SCHOLARSHIP! THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME TO FLY SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD TO DIG IT UP! A FAMILY ADVENTURE TO REMEMBER FOREVER!

 

YES PLEASE!

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Brain Chase starts on June 22, 2015 and continues with 5 weeks of structured challenges on reading and math websites, weekly writing exercises, and exclusive access to an original animated adventure series loaded with hidden puzzles and clues. You and your children participate in a massive global treasure hunt for the big prize of a lifetime!

 

Each week the adventurers have 4 tasks to complete – a reading task, a writing entry, math points, and a bonus challenge(typically 4-5 hours of total weekly work). When they are done, they unlock the next webisode which contains hidden pictures, numbers, and riddles to help them guess the treasure’s location! The webisodes are so cool as they travel around the world exposing your kids to even more cool adventures!  And don’t worry if you are going on your own adventure or to camp during this time – as Brain Chase allows you to make-up your work at anytime during the 5 weeks!

 

Brain Chase is fun with action-packed animations, mysterious packages in the mail, and the hunt for buried treasure that turn learning into an adventure. It’s FLEXIBLE. You’ll do the challenge when you want, where you want, and at your own pace. And it’s CUSTOMIZED. You get to work at your own level.

 

Then every 24 hours, your adventurer can log in to enter their guess of the treasure’s location. The first adventurer to guess the location travels with their family to dig up the buried treasure.

 

The Sunstone of Cortes is just waiting for you!

 

I think my kids have already watched that video about one hundred times.

 

And if you need more inspiration, just watch the winners from Summer 2014!!

 

All you need to do now is sign-up and let the countdown begin to your own summer adventure. If you register before April 15th, your cost is only $149(additional discounts for siblings), and get an ADDITIONAL 15% off with code SELLABITMUM15.

 

And let your summer adventures begin!

 

Sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase. All words and opinions are my own.

 

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Home From Haiti

Transition home from Haiti has been 36 hours of extremes, loneliness, and sadness. Of all confusing and seemingly glutenous things to do less than a day upon returning, Jed and I attended a David Gray concert in Minneapolis. I’ve waited to see David Gray in concert for nearly 15 years since I first bought his White Ladder CD in 1999 and his music became my comfort in the time of many transitions – from divorce, to new love, to moving across an ocean, and to times of extreme loneliness that I had never encountered before. I would belt out his ballads of love and change from Babylon, and Please Forgive Me, Sail Away, This Year’s Love, and Silver Lining for the minutes in my car and the hours in my apartment. Alone.

 

I had become so dependent on him writing the lyrics to my life that when I came upon my car on rainy morning in Amsterdam in 2001 and found the windows smashed in and my CD cases mostly in tiny pieces on the street and my driver’s seat, my first thought went to White Ladder as I started searching my car to figure out what was missing. And in a strange twist of fate(or that the Dutch hate David Gray?) every single one of my CDs was either taken or broken except for David Gray.

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And more hope than I’ve ever had settled into my heart that day and I didn’t feel alone anymore because his words still comforted me as they always did and made me want to raise my face to the sun and feel the warmth of each new day.

 

And so we sat last night at the concert. Paying two months salary of an average Haitian for what would be two hours of entertainment for a typical middle class American. This night I looked forward to for months overshadowed by guilt and excess. And the first half of the concert was hard. And I almost found myself dozing during some of David’s most melancholy choruses. But it was during this moments of drifting off that snapshots of Haiti would go through my mind like I was watching a slideshow with David Gray providing the soundtrack to the show. Snap – the ripped red skirt of the little girl I saw on the fist day as she ran with a naked baby in her arms. Snap – the sound and shine of the metal plates at the clinic where we fed the children lunch. Clang Clang Clang. Snap – the little boy urinating into a water bottle that his mother held in the large hospital room shared by 100 patients or more. Snap – the old woman giving the children almonds on the streets of Cite Soliel as they helped their parents collect water. Snap – the sickly and thin goats eating garbage along the road. Snap –  the old man living in a house no bigger than our bathroom at home. Snap – the girls cheering for the boys playing soccer. Snap – the gecko in our cold water shower. Snap – the smiles of all of the children. Snap – the boy in the orphanage who told me he could never let go of me.

 

So many pictures and people that will forever be a part of my heart. I watched this slideshow play out between opening my eyes to watch the joy of the crowd at a concert in Minneapolis and closing them to let each person I touched in Haiti know that I would never forget them. And that I would be back. And then I looked down at my hands in the darkened theater and saw my wrist glowing. The only light in the theater besides the stage. The bracelet the neighborhood boys made for me was made of glow-in-the-dark thread completely unbeknownst to me. There it was, a loud “HAITI” shouting to be seen and heard right in front of me the whole time. Parallel stories playing out not by coincidence. And I whispered to Jed “Do you see it? Do you see IT?” As he grabbed my wrist to touch the light.

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And then I knew that we can’t feel guilt for some of the normal we have. But we can all do better to do more and pull our inspiration and comfort from wherever we find it. And if that means I rely on a little musical miracle of grace from David Gray to open my heart even wider to the world, then I’ll spend those hours at his concert in grateful reflection of how much work is yet to be done.

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This land belongs to the gulls
And the gulls to their cry
And their cry to the wind

And the wind belongs to no-one
The wind belongs to no-one

I gave my breath to the song
To the song, wasn’t mine
Neither of ship nor of sea
Neither of glass nor of wine

Leaving this ghost of a road
I’m climbing hand over hand
Toward that pinprick of light

Toward the seed that God sowed

-Gulls, by David Gray

 

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Building Sandcastles

My tears surprise me almost as much as my view of the turquoise blue waters of the Pacific Ocean that continue on forever beyond the islands that dot the bay.

I try to keep my sobs buried inside, but as my hands dig deeper into the sand, my cries grow as my sandcastle turrets are formed.

I wipe my eyes with the back of my arms as my hands become caked with shells and wet sand. Salt coats my face from the tears, the water, and the wind at the beach. If someone comes upon me – my tears can easily be blamed on the beach conditions and not on mine.

Who cries on a beach in Costa Rica – a beach filled with sunshine, crushed shells, bronzed and happy vacationers, a melting pina colada resting in the sand near my hip, and an ocean that beckons happiness with waves that lap at my toes like a a playful tickle almost demanding complete bliss to anyone who comes near.

I do.

I spend hours on my creation. My crude castle is built with the only tools I have – my hands, some shells, my heart and soul, and the memories of the sandcastle that we built together last year on a beach about 80 kilometers south of where I now sit.

I dig deep to bring up the wet sand and I create large wells and moats around the buildings. My plan of one or two simple and quick buildings turns to eight and soon a small city. Some are taller than others, but all have the finishing touch that she taught me to add – rows of shells top the building like the frosting on a cake to declare the completion. I pick her favorite colored shells – in hues of yellow and orange as I play the child that I miss so much.

As I cry remembering her last lisped filled words before I flew to Costa Rica this time without her.

“Mommy, all I want you to do is build a sandcastle for me and send me a picture.”

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The sand takes the imprint of my foot – my present, but leaves a deeper one of what I’ve left behind. Just months ago the waves crashed on 50 toes as five bodies browned in the hot sun. Three children’s gleeful voices rang loud at the sight of howling monkeys and horses on the beach. We ate outside as a family in the early dark nights listening to the waves and animals in the damp Costa Rican air together.

But now I’m alone.

Vacationing in a new place as a family is like sharing the very best secrets together. Memories and places and times and experiences that can be told to others but can never really be understood. We can share in great detail about our day riding horses through the jungles and galloping on the beach. But unless you were there, you will never know or remember the joy on our faces, the small moments of conversation and discoveries, the smell of the salt air mixed with the wet horse hair, or how the local lunch tasted of newness and goodness like no other lunch will ever taste. Like this is a secret society of discovery or a club that only allows you in half way without whispering the password of our family.

And now I feel like I am betraying our family trust by heading to our secret club without my people. Can I enjoy the beach and beauty of this country fully without whispering to them about my experiences. Am I cheating on our memories.

This is how it is within a family. Shared secrets and dances and lives all intertwined together with a lock to keep others out of our most sacred moments together.

And family travel builds this club house even stronger like the largest scavenger hunt where we all learn and win. Discovering new together is a bond that holds like no other. And why Costa Rica will always be “ours” and never just mine or theirs no matter how many times we go together or alone. And I know that many other places will be the same. From the corners of the Earth to the coffee shop we all share down the street.

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So I don’t stop my tears as I step back and admire my love work in the sand. But I do smile as I kneel down to take the picture she requested. Making sure I include the ocean beyond the yellow colored shells that I so carefully picked out just for her.

And I close my eyes and easily bring back the memories of building sandcastles together where I can almost feel her small hands touching mine in the sand, and I know there are many more for us to build together.

Memories and sandcastles.

 

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Renting A House In Nosara Costa Rica

We’ve always done an all-inclusive vacation when we’ve traveled to the beach. It’s just made things easier as a family as we have small children. An all-inclusive resort gives you food ALL DAY LONG, a clean room everyday, no need to carry money, daily activities, no need for a car, and pretty much you can check you brain at the airport and just enjoy a stress-free week of fun and sun and no worries. Which is why we’ve always done all-inclusive vacations. Who wants to think about allthethings on vacation??? Also, who wants to COOK? Or do laundry? Or clean? Or grocery shop? Or find SNACKS??

 

Well we decided to rent a house instead during our vacation to Costa Rica – and I’ll admit I was a little leery about our choice. Because cooking. And laundry. And mama wasn’t about to lose beach time to head back to the house to strap on an apron to fry-up anything in a pan!

 

We found our rental house through VRBO.com – we had great luck with ‘Vacation Rentals By Owner” before for a trip to New York City and South Padre Island – so I did a search and found what I knew would be the perfect place for us.

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We rented a ‘multi-unit’ house in Playa Guiones called Villa Belitza. It is amazing. It sleeps 12(in my opinion 10 privately and comfortably) and has three separate units for more privacy and peace if some like to go to bed a bit earlier(or if you have little kids). My parents joined us, so the set-up was perfect. The house has an amazing and private pool in the back set right into the jungle and we spent our afternoons lounging here. There is tons of seating outside and we took every meal outdoors. There’s a grill and bar area and the grounds are immaculate. The house amenities give you all the comforts of home – well appointed kitchens, comfortable king-sized beds, modern bathrooms and everything is so clean and new! The owner and the caretaker were very responsive to all emails and inquiries and so easy to work with too.

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The best part is that the house is ‘beach-front’ with a private path through the jungle to the waves, which is nearly impossible to find in the Nosara area. One things we loved the most about the Nosara area is that there are no high-rises, major developments, and there is no building allowed within 200 meters of the beach. When you are on the beach you look back and see just sand and jungle. It’s so quiet and peaceful here with just a few families, surfers and yoga-lovers. It doesn’t have the crazy pace of some of the more popular spots in Costa Rica. It’s still so natural and laid back.

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But the best part – as the one who cooks and does the majority of the cleaning typically – the house rental includes twice weekly cleaning and bed changing AND you can hire a cook for about $10 a meal – who will also do your grocery shopping. UM YES! Maria was fabulous and I wish we could’ve had her cook every night. It was such a treat to not have to worry about cooking and she made us a feast of local favorites each night she joined us. It felt like such a splurge – but it wasn’t – and it was so worth it.

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The house we rented in the Nosara area was also made more affordable because we rented it during a ‘shoulder season.’ Peak season in the area – which is the dry season – starts the last week of November and goes until April. So we rented in what is still considered ‘value season’ which is the end of the wet season. Therefore our rental cost was less than HALF what you would pay in peak season. Our risk of paying less for maybe some rain really paid off as we had very little rain while we were there.

 

I’m not sure I would do an all-inclusive resort again after renting a house. Even after renting a car, buying groceries and having to do a bit of cooking ourselves, we spent much less in two weeks than we have for a one week vacation to Mexico to an all-inclusive, and MUCH less than we would’ve spent at Disney for just 5-7 days…and we did so much more! And because we had to shop and explore more – we experienced so much more culture and visited more local places. I’m not sure I could just hang at a resort for seven days again.

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If you head to Nosara, Costa Rica – check out a house rental(especially Villa Belitza) – but give us first dibs as we are for sure heading back!

 

Do you prefer all-inclusive resorts or do you love to rent a house and explore on your own?

 

I promise I only have ONE more post about our trip to Costa Rica…and then I will retire as a travel blogger and go back to talking about boring stuff like motherhood and shopping. And my cat. …In the meantime you can read more about our trip to Costa Rica by clicking on the links below…

The animals of Costa Rica and ENTER TO WIN a year subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine!

 

Just The Beginning

 

Me learning to surf

 

Kids Learning To Surf

 

Why we chose Costa Rica

 

Nosara Canopy Zip Line Tour

 

Days 1/2

Days 3/4

Transitioning Home

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Costa Rica Vacation – Playa Guiones – Transitioning Home

It’s 17 degrees here today in Minnesota. As one who loves the cold and snow I admit I’m cursing it today. And yesterday. And probably tomorrow. I’m not sure who I am.

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I think Playa Guiones causes permanent brain damage. For the better. The sun, surf and sand seep into your mind and cause you to look at life a little differently and at a slower place, and to enjoy a walk through a jungle and to notice all of the shells on the sand. This big city girl actually enjoyed the slower pace and I’m missing it. 17 degrees here makes you walk quickly to your car and yell to your children to hurry up while you fumble for the car keys in your hands that our now covered in wool as your nails break in the dry frigid air. 17 degrees makes you search for coats and boots and mittens, and it hurts your face when the wind blows your hood off.

 

I can’t believe how quickly I forgot who I was.

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As one who hates to be hot and sweaty – I’ve never loved heat more than I did for the two weeks we spent in Costa Rica. And maybe it’s because we didn’t have anywhere to really be except to enjoy the area, the beach and our family. We weren’t late for anything and had very few plans. We spent our early mornings having coffee by the pool as the sun rose over the mountains. By eight we walked to the beach and spent our mornings jumping waves, surfing, taking walks, collecting shells, making sandcastles and reading books. We came back to the house for a light lunch and then swam in the pool, read more books and soaked in the sun for the afternoon. Maybe we took a walk into town for ice cream and groceries. Dinners were early at the 5:30pm sunset and also taken outside by the pool. We all were happy, spent, and ready for bed by eight each evening.

 

The days felt full. But not too full. And I’m already feeling more stress in two days than I felt for two weeks – homework, work, bills, laundry, school, activities, deadlines, meals, the holidays coming up. The Black Friday ads have arrived and instead of taking time circling items I need to buy I find myself recycling everything and wondering how long it would take just to sell it all and have our family leave here forever for a more simple life.

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It was so nice to just really relax as a family for the first time in nearly five years. I need to remember that feeling. And channel it when I’m feeling stressed.

 

I hope you don’t mind that I will continue for another week with posts about Costa Rica. I have many more pictures of our trip to Nosara and more stories to tell. These will include a review of the house we stayed in as you must hear more about it. It was perfect and I cannot recommend it enough. And I’ll talk about our top things to do in the Playa Guiones area as well as why we chose to take our kids out of school for this trip.

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And then I’ll get back to normal life again. I’ll lose my tan and my blood will get used to the cold again and the kids will get busier with activities. We have holiday shopping to do and I’ll do another 1000 loads of laundry and dishes and my work deadlines will hopefully be met.

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But for this week – this week of transition back from vacation….well my heart is still on that beach and my head is having a hard time shaking the sand out.

 

We just returned for a two week vacation to Playa Guiones, Costa Rica….please click below to read more of our travel adventures…

 

Just The Beginning

Me learning to surf

Kids Learning To Surf

 

Why we chose Costa Rica

 

 Nosara Canopy Zip Line Tour

 

Days 1/2

Days 3/4

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Just The Beginning – Costa Rica

I tried my best not to think it, feel it, say it this morning as I took my sunrise run in Costa Rica. My last sunrise run in Costa Rica.

 

“This will be my last run before we have to leave Costa Rica.

 

It was a sad thought.

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Instead I should remember the past 14 sunrise runs in Costa Rica. How the sun rises slowly over the lush mountains – how it turns the gray sky to a light white, then brilliant pink before changing the night sky from gray to blue. How the moon still rises over the Pacific this early in the morning and how I watch it fall into the sea as I run to the north. How the monkeys wake at five in the morning as I start my run along our muddy road. How they seem to call to me as I travel towards the beach, and I now expect to hear them. How the driftwood on the beach piled up from the high-tide the night before and new shells have arrived. How I looked for baby turtle trails from perhaps a midnight hatch. How a few others joined me at the beach each morning. Some with coffee and their dogs. Some with surfboards to catch the first waves of the day. How we all greeted each other and became friends and how we all became as expected as the sunrise.

 

So I tried to run with more care this morning. I noticed even more shells and smiled longer at each person I passed. I stopped to throw a stick into the waves for the one brown dog that always ran right across my path each morning. I talked with his owner and wished her a good day. The sun came out without a cloud surrounding it and as the humidity built, a fog formed over the waves and the shore was masked from my view as I ran now south into the sunlight. My face was warmed from the new day starting and instead of sadness I felt content with the now. With my run. With the beauty of our trip to Costa Rica.

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And I wasn’t sad because this will not be my last run ever on Playa Guiones. No, these were just my first 14.

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Canopy Tour In Nosara Costa Rica

I used to love fast and scary rides. When I was a kid you could not pry me away from the the biggest roller coasters at amusement parks. As a young adult I sky-dived over the beaches in California and believed in big adventures. As I’ve gotten older(and became a mother) I’ve become more cautious and maybe my equilibrium has changed as now I find my feet more firmly planted on the ground. Seriously, I sound like a major boring yawn.  Okay, I’m not that bad. But maybe I close my eyes on rides now.

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But one adventure I’ve never taken is a zip-line tour. And not just a simple and small zip line in The States. I mean a full jungle canopy tour in Costa Rica. No matter that my now, somewhat responsible and cautious motherly nature, I needed to take this adventure. Maybe my kids made me. And even my dad(at 69 years old) came along for the ride.

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We took a three hour morning canopy zip-line tour with Miss Sky Canopy Tours in Nosara, Costa Rica. It is the LONGEST canopy tour in the world. We traversed almost four miles of lines and went over 20 miles per hour! There were 12 lines in all and we made an amazing stop and hike to swim at a waterfall. After the first line(because OMG what was I doing. And YES I closed my eyes), it was incredible. The feeling of flying was unsurpassed and you would not believe the views of the canyons, the rivers, the jungle and the wildlife. What made Miss Sky so cool is that you don’t travel between platforms – you actually go from mountaintop to mountaintop. The engineer in me kept asking them question after question on how something this magnificent was even planned and made.

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Esther and Eloise loved it(Astrid was too young as you have to be five years old)! It was not cheap – but if you are going to splurge on ONE big and fun thing on your visit to Costa Rica – you MUST take a canopy tour. I would highly recommend this family fun activity to really get into the jungle and explore more of Costa Rica. It was super safe – and they have a double line system and the kids were always with an adult. The guides at Miss Sky were fabulous and fun and during our hikes and tour as they also taught us all about the different flora and fauna in the area. My kids can now name many trees and plants local to the area. It was so educational and I think the girls want to do this everyday. Maybe they need to work here when they are older.

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Have you ever been on a zip-line? If you come to Costa Rica this is a must-do activity!

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Here’s an amazing video of our canopy tour!

 

We are on a two week vacation to Nosara, Costa Rica…for more posts about a family vacation to Costa Rica, click below….

Learning To Surf

Why we chose Costa Rica

 

Days 1/2

Days 3/4

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Costa Rica Days 3/4

I had to trust Jed’s instinct when he left the three of us in the care of a young man who didn’t speak any English and was carrying one of the largest knives I’ve ever seen. But the young man had an infectious smile and was gentle and kind as he got Esther and Eloise up on the horses for a morning ride along the beach and through the jungles. I don’t speak Spanish, but know some basics and my eight years of French helps me figure a few words out. Except for some words like butter. In French it is ‘beurre’ and in Italian it is ‘burro’ but in Spanish it is ‘mantequilla.’  But I didn’t need to know the word for butter to go horseback riding.

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We understood when he told us not to swim near the mouth of the Rio Nosara because of the crocodiles and to duck under the trees of the jungle. And he didn’t need any language to show we were in good care with him when Esther’s horse started trotting and she lost control and he quickly turned to stop her horse. He held unto her rope for a time as we walked and asked her if she was okay.

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And Eloise, who doesn’t know Spanish at all knew exactly what Jorge, our guide, meant when we got to the beach near our home and he asked “Un poco mas?” And “Galope” And Eloise just smiled and nodded and off she went with her horse down the beach. She became just a dot to us quickly and my first instinct was to run after her, but this freedom and speed on her horse was her own in that moment of Pura Vida and I knew she’d eventually come back. Jorge smiled and said ‘valiente.’

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But now Eloise wants to rent this horse for the whole two weeks.

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We’ve spent the remainder of the days at the beach. We’ve had no rain the afternoons for two days which has been heavenly as our pool and beach time has not been limited and we’ve enjoyed the sunsets. The tides are incredible here and each time we traverse our ‘path’ to the sand, the beach looks different. The big girls spend hours in the waves and I admit my heart races as I worry about the rip currents and I experience the typical motherhood feelings and needing to stay close and to give space. Or caring for their well-being while letting them take chances. Astrid makes sandcastles, looks for shells and hides under her tent and colors. Her activities are not a worry for me.

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I’ve finished two books and am already tan. I’m studying my Spanish dictionary and hope I can have better conversations with the cook.

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Jed dreams of moving here of course. We all do a little bit. But Eloise says it would be boring just swimming every single day. Unless of course she had a horse.

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But so far Costa Rica is the perfect family vacation. Safe, easy, fun, diverse and an adventure. If you’ve ever doubted coming here with your family – don’t. Just come and really Pura Vida.

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Costa Rica Days 1/2

Yesterday was a long day. It’s amazing when you are traveling though that a long day doesn’t feel like a very long day when you’re excited to be on vacation. I felt energized by 7pm instead of dragging and feeling like I was dying because of a 2am wake-up and twelve hours of traveling while herding children through planes trains and automobiles to get to Costa Rica.

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Even though we had a very early 5am flight from Minneapolis, we had a great flight schedule. An easy three hours to Houston, a 45 minute layover and another three hours to Liberia, Costa Rica. Both flights were easy and the time passed quickly with books and coloring and maybe one movie. The kids were great even though we really didn’t eat all day.

 

We decided to rent a car in Costa Rica. We are staying in the Nosara area which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the airport. We considered just getting a hired shuttle but we are now glad to have a car even though it’s a bit of a hassle to rent in Costa Rica. They have required liability insurance which makes it expensive – but I think our flexibility is well worth it even though Jed feels like he just signed his life away. Jed enjoyed driving our 12 passenger van even when the pavement turned to dirt, mud and potholes for the last half of our trip. Driving through the jungle was amazing as we approached the beaches.

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We have rented a large house right on the beach. It has three homes that all attach with a common pool in the center and a short path to the beach. We’ve rented all three homes for privacy and the girls pretty much haven’t left the pool. We have birds, huge butterflies and monkeys in the trees all around the house. It’s beautiful and the house is just perfect for us. We’ve hired a cook for our evening meals and we were welcomed last night with an amazing meal after our long journey. Having a cook feels like a luxury and worth the very inexpensive price to hire one here.

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It’s sunny in the mornings and rains in the afternoons. I ran at 5:30am shortly after sunrise and was surprised by the number of surfers already catching waves at Playa Guiones. We hit the beach to swim, body surf and collect shells by 8am so we could soak-up as much sun until the afternoon rains started. The beach is gorgeous and we had an amazing time. The ‘path’ to the beach is still a bit under water as the rainy season comes to an end – so it was more of a jungle trek which we all enjoyed. Tomorrow I will take some beach pictures.

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We spent the afternoon heading into the town proper of Nosara for grocery shopping and to scope-out the area. The kids enjoyed seeing some familiar foods(Lucky Charms) and seeing some new selections that are more local and special to Costa Rica. After our shopping excursion we swam in the pool(even during the warm rain) and played cards, napped and read. It was truly a perfect and relaxing day.

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Which is our plan. We will do some adventuring – zip-lining, horseback riding and surf school…but mainly we just want to hang-out and enjoy some family time and relax and enjoy a new culture. So far we are just completely enjoying Costa Rica.

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Pura Vida.

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National Geographic Kids Insider – The Great Nature Project #NGKInsider

We want to show our kids the world. I think that’s the simplest yet the most complicated gift I can give them. The stories we tell in the dim light before bedtime, during the long car rides, and shared over dinner are typically the stories of our adventures. My husband and his motorcycle trip to Alaska. My time visiting Venice during flooding. The first international trip we took together – to Paris and the embarrassing picture I took of Jed sleeping off jet-lag on the small bed, and how he still hasn’t forgiven me for sharing that picture with my mom, my aunts and my grandmother. But our favorite story of travel that we share with our children is the one of us traveling through Egypt for nearly three weeks when I was seven months pregnant with our first child and how we were determined that pregnancy, children and a mortgage would never keep us at home. Many of the best parts of our relationship were built on our wanderlust, our love for living in new cultures, and for discovering the world together.

 

But came daughter one, then the bigger house, then daughter two, then me quitting my job to stay home, then daughter three, then kids in school full-time, then the minivan..and 11 years later our stories of our travels get shorter as our memories fade, and our looks become sad instead of excited knowing that is no longer our life.

 

And while I don’t wish away one minute(okay, maybe a few minutes) of the past 11 years, I want our family to make memories that include the world and cultures beyond and we need to make that a priority.

 

We need to make this a priority for our family – and for us as a couple. I want my kids to have a better global vision and adventure in their blood.

 

So we are taking our first big(We’ve been to Mexico all together a few times – but I don’t really count that) international trip together as a family and are heading to Costa Rica for a few weeks. We are renting a home and plan to immerse ourselves in the beauty, culture and community during our trip.

 

Besides now making travel an importance in our family, we read, watch, advocate and discuss the world at large -sometimes it’s for causes that are dear to us and sometimes it’s through periodicals and books that bring adventure and education directly to our living rooms. One way we do this is by subscribing to National Geographic Kids Magazine. We’ve been subscribing for a few years and we had to add two more subscriptions so each of our girls could get their own. It’s full of amazing information, photographs and activities for kids of all ages.

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So I am thrilled, humbled and grateful to be one of the 33 National Geographic Kids Insiders for the next six months. As an NGK Insider I will get a behind-the-scenes look at National Geographic Kids, including interviews with authors, explorers and editors, review copies of books, exclusive event invitations. I love being a parent that is committed to the same mission they have — to raise a generation of kids who are inspired to care about our planet.

 

So look for posts and updates from me as I share exciting news from National Geographic Kids and as we hopefully start exploring the world together again now as a family.

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For September, I want to introduce you to The Great Nature Project – which is a worldwide celebration of the planet and its wonder. Through September 29th people of all ages are invited to help National Geographic take a global snapshot by taking pictures of plants and animals in their world, and then share those pictures on social media using the hashtag #GreatNature. At the same time, National Geographic Kids is attempting to break a Guinness World Records Title for the largest online photo album of animals. Any photo of an animal that is shared with #GreatNature and #animal will count toward the record! Learn more about this initiative that is striving to get people outdoors at The Great Nature Project.

 

So get outside with your kids on a nature walk and share your picture today!

 

Disclosure: I am not compensated as a National Geographic Kids Insider but believe in their non-profit mission to bring education to everyone about our planet. All words and opinions are my own.

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New Direction

Eloise is mad at me. I was talking about her last night, in front of her, and I was actually telling a story about something she did that I was PROUD of…but it didn’t matter. Eloise doesn’t like to be the center of attention – good or bad, and she’s sick of reminding me that I should never talk about her.

 

Kids don’t understand how difficult that is to do.

 

So, I’ve decided to blog about her. Ha! Kidding. She’s told me that I cannot blog about her either. Which I know until she’s in her mid-20s or so, she won’t understand my need to blog about the little stories in our lives. Because it’s not just about her, what she does, what they do, what I do, touches all of us. It’s all of our stories melded together that create a family.

 

So I currently call ownership.

But to try to give Eloise some privacy, instead I’d like to talk about her while talking about Ohio. Specifically drivers from Ohio.

 

Before I get started though, I’d like you to take a little driving quiz:

Question: The left lane of a freeway is for…

A. Driving at any speed you would like – especially below the speed limit! And you can drive in this lane even if you are not actively passing anyone on the right, and it’s especially fun to drive in the left lane when you have a line of 20 cars behind you because they can’t get around you because you’ve decided to drive the exact speed of the car on your right. Bonus points for slowing down below the speed limit so people actually have to pass you on the right, but then right when they almost have enough room to sneak around in front of you, you then speed up so they cannot pass.

B. Actively passing vehicles in the right line. Slower traffic is to keep right.

 

I love you Ohio, but OMG really, THE ANSWER IS NOT ‘A!” Why are you all in the left lane? So, for the three and half hours that I drove through Ohio on Sunday, I ‘may’ have just used every swear word that I know about 5000 times. Basically I just said “What the F%$#” the whole time through Ohio. At one point I even had to play Carol King to try to relax my mind.

 

IT DID NOT WORK!

So, for three and half hours Eloise told me to watch my language. I told her that from now on, Ohio gives me a free pass to swear and even she can swear and I won’t get mad because OMFG OHIO DRIVERS!!!!

 

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If you want to read more about Eloise(but don’t tell her that I sent you..because shhh, I don’t talk about her), I’d love for you to read my piece on Mamalode this week. I wrote about our goodbyes as she left for camp, and maybe to let you all know – those of you in those toddler and preschool trenches which kids who are separating from you for the first time and IT’S HARD and you truly believe you’ll have to attend the prom with them…well, it does get better.

 

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Me Myself And I #girlsaretrippin

We just drove 800 miles. It’s amazing how much easier the driving gets each day. I feel like I could pack my kids up and make it to California within a day or two. And in case you’re wondering, my kids have never complained during the almost 4000 miles that we’ve now been in the car. In fact, sometimes after a silent three hours or so I actually call back to them to make sure they are there. Did I forget someone at the last rest stop? Did they choke on an almond from the snack bag? True story – a certain panic can set-up when you haven’t heard another voice in so long.

 

Okay, there was a complaint/whine registered yesterday when Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody came on the radio and I turned it up ALLTHEWAY and started screaming along. My kids didn’t like that so much. “Mom, that is awful music!” “Mom, you’re embarrassing us!” “Mom, that’s too loud!” “Mom, I cannot focus on reading when you act like this!” Stick in the muds much?

 

Anyway, they mainly read in the car. Eloise and Esther read nonstop and Astrid reads, plays some games on the iPad and watches a movie here and there. I honestly don’t know what they do as I’m driving and they seem quiet, alive and happy.

But on Sunday during a particularly long pull through Pennsylvania, Eloise started asking trivia questions to all of us – from history, facts about the presidents, music and movies, and facts about The States – she asked them all and we had a fun game. So, when Eloise’s questions stopped, Astrid decided to make-up her own trivia game for us. Astrid’s game was called “Panda Trivia” and all questions were about Pandas and the answer to ALL of the questions was “Bamboo.” So, if she were to ask “What food does a panda eat?” You would answer “bamboo!” And if she were to ask “What is the panda’s favorite color?” You would answer “bamboo!”  So, Astrid asked hundreds of questions about pandas – from allergies to favorite swimming places, to articles of clothing and vacationing spots..and if you are following along, you just always answer with “bamboo!” And then Astrid would say “You are correct!”

 

Although adorable, this game got old after about 20 minutes and soon Eloise and Esther dropped out of the game and returned to their books. I made it about 10 more minutes and sadly, I also had to drop-out of the game..because “BAMBOO!” And a building annoyance called parenting a preschooler and their games just don’t stay exciting for very long. Also, a Carol King song came on the radio and I was in the mood for a soulful singalong.

 

At first Astrid sadly said “But who will play with me now?” But then after a few moments, she just continued asking the questions, responding with “Bamboo!” to her own questions and then praising herself for getting the question right with a “Yes! That is correct!” She did this for almost another hour. Then she said “I think I’m done with that game now, and I’m the big winner. Who knew that I knew so much about pandas, but I seem to know everything!” Then she quietly went back to looking at books for two more hours.

 

I don’t entertain my kids. Sure, I’ll play a card game and make a hopscotch course on the sidewalk, and get out the art supplies for a project..but I encourage my kids to make their own games and learn to entertain themselves.

And after driving nearly 4000 miles in dozen of hours in almost complete peace and quiet with not-a-one “Are we there yet?” or “I’m bored?” or “How much longer?” or a fight for “My turn for the iPad!” – I guess my kids have developed the life-skill of MAKE YOUR OWN FUN! – because I’m able to listen to the radio with the music that I LIKE in the car, and nobody complains – unless it’s a Queen song of course.

 

I win.

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I’m Structured And I Know It #girlsaretrippin

(Say that to the tune ‘I’m Sexy And I Know It’)…

 

I will admit right now that I’m very structured when it comes to parenting. Don’t mess with my kids bedtimes, mealtimes and nap times, and don’t call me after 7pm, or forget that we have dance on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and you will always find us at The Nook restaurant at 4:45pm on Sunday nights.

 

Some may call it crazy-anal – but I call it smart.

And in being completely structured for almost 11 years, and getting my kids to bed before they are too tired, and fed before they are too hungry – well I can honestly say we’ve never had to deal with a tantrum and we’ve never had a kid fight bedtime, and we’ve never had to walk out of a restaurant or store, nor even had a child get out of a chair at a restaurant.

 

Kids like structure, consistency, and something they can count on.

 

And while there were times it pained me to be structured, and sure things could slide a bit here and there for vacations, visits and friends – it’s worked. For us.

 

But can I just say that I’m glad my kids are getting a bit older and I’m glad we waited until now to do a colossal road trip, because structure had to be thrown out the window – but my kids are just fine. Eating later and earlier, flexible bedtimes and wake-ups, and taking each day as it comes. It’s working, and my kids are being awesome. I just hope they know that bedtime goes back to 8pm when we get home, and dinner will arrive promptly on the table at 5pm.

I would also recommended traveling with a 10 year old. Since I’m the lone adult in the minivan, without someone sitting shotgun to help with allthethings, Eloise has really taken care of things in the back of the van – she’s the snack person, art person, movie person, electronics person, clean-up crew, and all around cruise director..and she loves it and has asked when she can officially just take her sisters across country by herself. (Dear Children, No, when you are 16, 14, and 9 you are NOT going on a one month road trip ALONE!). Eloise will be paid dearly for her services when we return home from this trip.

 

So what I’m trying to say, is that besides starting my period at mile 1450, this road trip has been a breeze…and I thank my children for that. I think they know that mommy needs a little sanity on the road, and they give that to me. So thank you kids. I love you for being amazing.

We are setting out today for another 600 miles pull – putting us somewhere in Western Pennsylvania to sleep tonight.  Now I just need to stalk some bloggers in the area so I can pitch a tent in their front yard.

 

Are you more of a structured parent, or are you pretty laid-back?

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Midwestern Girl

I poured Astrid’s milk into a coffee cup at lunch today. As she picked it up by the handle she said “This is how the France people drink their milk.” Which makes her not qualified to ever travel to France. I apologize to all the France people.

 

I’m not sure why she even thought that ‘The French’ drink their milk from coffee cups – but maybe she was just feeling fancy and decided that milk in a coffee cup is quite fancy and all France people must be fancy all the time.

The girl needs to get out more.

 

We all do.

 

I think my in-laws are trying to lose me. Like truly lose me somewhere in New England. They don’t think I’ve caught on to their master plan, but I have. You see, whenever we leave their house, they take me a new way. And did you know that there’s not one straight road in New England. Not one. They all curve all over each other and the street signs are mostly hidden behind trees and the street names are so long that I could never remember them anyway.

 

The roads look kind of like this once you get east of Pennsylvania…

And my in-laws have now taken me on ALLOFTHEM and I seriously am so turned around and confused by all of the curvy roads that I can never leave their house again for the rest of my life because I’m sure I will be lost. I will be lost in New England with only a Dunkin’ Donuts to give me nourishment and for the next 60 years I will just travel from DD to DD and never escape New England.

 
These are the things I think about. Mainly because it has dawned on me that I’m such a Midwesterner and now that fact has made me completely depressed. Even though I’ve lived overseas and all over the US, and have traveled extensively, I’ve still spent most of my life in the Midwest, and this is what our roads look like…

You can never get lost in Indiana…because you are always going North, South, East or West and you take just right or left turns on 3rd street – which comes after 2nd street, and onto F avenue – which comes right after E avenue, and every 12 even blocks equals exactly a mile. Maybe this is why many people leave the Midwest – because you just drive straight for 400 miles and BOOM, you are in Pennsylvania – where the crazy roads start..and then you lose your way and you are never heard from again.

 

Tomorrow I”m driving to Boston, which has also been described as GOODLUCKWITHTHAT.

So if you don’t hear from me ever again, you know I’m lost in New England, probably crying at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

 

Damn, why didn’t I buy that GPS.

 

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Why I’m Not A Travel Blogger

I just returned home from a one month road trip with my three children. Let’s be clear that it was just me, my three kids, and a minivan – no one to share the driving or to throw snacks strategically to the savages in the back. And we covered over 4000 miles together.

 

I thought I prepared for everything that the road could throw at us. I even went to AAA for ‘TripTiks’ just like my father taught me to, and I signed up for roadside assistance, because I’ve decided that trying to change a tire on the side of an interstate after traveling alone with three children would not be safe.

 

I bought enough snacks to last us three years in case we found ourselves lost in the woods, and I spent hundreds of dollars on apps and movies to make sure my kids would never tell me they were bored or ask if we were there yet.

 

But there are some things that you just cannot prepare for….

 

Because somewhere between Danbury and Hartford, Connecticut – I started my period. It was awesome because it was pouring rain, the kind of rain where you are sure dogs are hitting your car and your wipers cannot work fast enough to wipe off the damn rain, and 4200 semis are passing you at the same time, and you are trying to read your goddamn map because you are sure you’ve missed your exit, and then you try to drink your coffee and spill it down your dress and then you say “FUCK!” and your 10 year old smart-ass child(whom you do love) says “Mother, watch your language! You know there’s a three year old in the car!” And you yell back “Unless you want to get your skinny ass up here and navigate or drive this beast to get your sisters to our destination safely, then I suggest you shut your mouth and just ignore your mother until the rain stops!” And then right at that moment you think ‘Man, my belly all of a sudden feels strange’ and you think ‘Diarrhea?’ but then you sneeze and a massive clot shoots out of your vagina and onto your white Spanx and you’re like “Oh, it’s just my period – 15 days early. OF COURSE!” And now you reading this are like “You wear Spanx when you drive?” and I’m like “I wear Spanx when I sleep.”

So then you yell “FUCK!” again as you make eye contact in the mirror with your 10 year old and give her the  “DON’T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT OPENING YOUR MOUTH!” look and you wonder if you can grab your purse and find that old tampon from last month that must be still in there, yes dusty and full of goldfish cracker crumbs, but still in there, and if you find it, how will you move your Spanx to the side to insert the tampon while you are driving in a torrential rainstorm, in a state you’ve never driven in, being passed by thousands of trucks, holding your damn phone as your only navigational system(even though the damn thing doesn’t even talk, so it’s of no use), and drink your coffee.

 

See, this is shit you don’t think about when you are planning to take a road-trip ALONE with three children!!! WHO IS IN CHARGE OF EMERGENCY TAMPON INSERTION WHEN DRIVING!? These are the things that travel bloggers don’t talk about. Because if I didn’t insert the tampon immediately, well the front seat of our van would look like an accident roadkill scene that no child should ever see. Do you know what it’s like to have your period in your mid-40s? Well, let me tell you, it’s no Tampax commercial with a young virginal woman running in fields with flowers in her hair while wearing white short-shorts who stops to kiss her boyfriend(Adam Levine in my dream) on the cliff above the Pacific Ocean, and then smiles and cartwheels away with no blood stains on her white shorts. She’s a happy woman-child because her PERIOD STARTED TODAY – OHYAY!

 

No, my periods are more like the volcanic eruptions of Mount Vesuvius with some crazy lady who is bloated like Honey Boo Boo’s mother yet wielding a knife like Lorena Bobbit, and all men in the village have to stay inside their homes for at least 7-10 days until I feel better. This is also why I now believe you should have children when you’re younger, so you are only about 30 when you are explaining your beautiful monthly visit from Aunt Flo to your tween daughters and you can still do it with a smile on your face as you explain what a wonder the human body is and why you have your incredibly beautiful and miraculous period each month. Instead, at nearly 45 my talk is more like “You will fucking hate life and everyone in it for 7-10 days and the best part is when you are 16 and you decide to wear white shorts out on your date with that guy you like and then during your date you start your period and you will be mortified because of the blood on your shorts, and the hot guy will see it, and then you have to drop out of school. The End.”

 

This makes me not qualified to have tween daughters. Which is why my 10 year old still doesn’t know about periods.

 

So just then I spot an exit sign and on the services listed there is a DUNKIN’ DONUTS and I’m like OMG I hate DUNKIN’ DONUTS and seriously have never understood this East Coast hype of HORRIBLE coffee, but hell – right now – this looks like the best thing ever invented of ALLTHETHINGS! So we pull off at the exit and into the DD parking lot. I can’t tell my daughters that we are stopping because mommy started her period and needs to take care of things STAT, because my daughters don’t know about these kinds of things, so instead I yell LET’S GET DONUTS!  And now, the code word for periods is DONUTS. Every month I will just yell TIME TO MAKE THE DONUTS  and you know I’m just really bleeding to death in the bathroom. So, I cross my legs as I usher the kids inside for DONUTS and give Eloise $20 and tell her to buy anything they want – in fact buy ALLTHEDONUTS while I excuse myself to go to the bathroom(DONUTS!).

 

So they had sugar and sprinkles and frosting, and after I cleaned myself up and inserted my tampon while standing still and not driving 65 mph, I filled my mug with bad coffee and we were on our way to our destination.

 

And I wondered if tampon insertion would ever show-up as an option when you sign-up for roadside assistance with Triple A.

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How I Met My Husband #VlogMom

I love hearing how people met – whether through a mutual friend, at church, at a bar, on a run, the toilet paper aisle at Target…or even on an airplane.

 

Jed and I have a pretty unique story.  He was living in Connecticut and I was living in Minnesota – and we happened to sit next to each other on a 20 hour plane ride from Minneapolis to Bangkok. You can pretty much cover your whole life story in 20 hours.

 

We were both going through major break-ups and probably had no intention at the time to hook-up. But such is life.  However, we do not agree on what actually happened on that flight.

 

He’s convinced that I threw myself at him, begging him for a date and using his whole body as my pillow so I could see the movie better. Whatever.

 

I’m convinced that he whined the whole flight about how this girl broke his heart – blah, blah, blah – and how nobody would ever compare to this 5’11” blond bombshell that he missed so much. (Insert eye-rolling here).

 

You decide…

We met in May of 1998 and started emailing shortly after our trip, but didn’t see one another again until that August. A year later he moved to Minnesota. A year after that I left him in Minnesota and moved to Amsterdam by myself(bitch!). Two years later we were married in Scotland.

 

And the rest is history….

 

This week’s prompt comes from Alissa from Clever Compass: How did you meet your spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend?

 

Watch and find out what the other #vlogmoms have to say!

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