Finding Beauty

I wish I could be more like her in so many ways. But years of bad habits and negative thoughts have made it harder. But everyday, I try.

The person I am talking about is Emma. Last Friday as we drove to see Born in China on a gray and cold day, she still could look around and find beauty. She pointed out how cute the baby trees were. She mentioned the big storm drains and the little drains. She didn’t mention them for the aesthetic look but for the beauty in what drains do for us. We have talked many times about the purpose of drains while going on puddle jumps around the neighborhood. Today as she looked out the window at the snow, she mentioned how the melting snow will help water the grass, trees and plants. So, my goal is to find beauty in things for more reasons than for the looks of them.

I’m sad that Emma’s first trail running race was canceled for tomorrow, but it looks like the weather will improve the end of next week into the weekend. I know we will take advantage of it. And if I look at the situation through Emma’s eyes, we are getting much needed moisture after a fairly dry winter.

I am due for a post about the 40 Days Challenge. IMG_9560I did not complete 40 bags in  40 days. I did get up to 30 and still need to keep going. Circumstances may have us changing the now current playroom into an office, so Emma’s playroom will be moved into the basement. That will call for me to purge additional toys and really work on the basement purging. I did finally call Amvets to pick up six boxes of donations today clearing them out of the basement. I hope to clear out another four bins when our neighborhood garage sale happens in early June. Just like the turtle said, “Slow and steady wins the race!”

I am tickled by all the feedback my first Washington Post article has garnered. High school classmates, old friends and writing colleagues have been kind enough to comment, share and send their congrats! Thank you!

A fun article I wrote for Colorado Parent on National Clean Up Your Room Day just came out in the May issue. I wrapped up two posts for the Denver launch of mommynearest.com and am working on a third right now. I am beginning to work on one of my articles in a series of eight to nine articles about a triathlete named Marcus Cook as he leads up to Ironman Kona 2018. I pitched another article to the Post and am following up on past pitches.

Here’s to sunny skies, getting outside and enjoying time with family!

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Adventure On,

Courtney

2017- The Year Of Adventure

I found this post I began writing way back in February fitting to get up this week considering it is National Park Week. Enjoy free admission to any National Park through this Sunday April 23rd. Saturday also happens to be Earth Day- what a perfect combination.

So, let’s make the rest of 2017 all about adventure. No one said that changes can only come on January 1st. Change can be positive no matter when you start. The biggest obstacle is often just getting started.

I hate long car rides even if I don’t have to drive. Pre-Emma, I had this awesome ability to fall asleep almost instantly in the car. It was an awesome ability that made many jealous including my hubby AJ.

Now that we are older, have more expenses (especially Emma) and need more gear, hopping on planes is less of an option for us. That makes driving a reality that I will have to embrace if we want to go on more adventures. We already survived a seven hour car ride to Utah in March to visit my AJ’s family. We’ve booked some trips that will require longer periods of driving including a Memorial Weekend trip to Glenwood Springs and the Sand Dunes this summer in July.

Many people are amazed at on how many places we go with Emma. We started her off early heading up to the mountains when she was just a month old. She was in the BOB rolling along on runs almost right away. She was in the Chariot being pulled behind skis at before six months and took her first plane ride at five months. Between all that and classes too, she is used to going here and there and has learned that most often it means we are going some place fun!

If you always wanted to be more adventurous, why not start now? These tips below can help bring out the adventurer in your child (and maybe you too).

Get the lay of the land- when trying something, or some place new, give time to take it all in. Stand back and let your kiddo explore the space. It’s a good time for you to make yourself more aware of your surroundings too.

Put yourselves in their shoes- Remember that this will be new to them and think about even as an adult how you feel trying new things. Share experiences with them about how you felt trying something new for the first time.

Baby Steps– It’s more than likely it will take some easing into rather than jumping in full bore. With this in mind, baby steps are the way to introduce new things. Free trial classes are perfect for this.

Motivate but don’t over due it– I am so guilty of this. I can’t help giving Emma compliments but too much means she’s always looking for more. Case in point, this weekend we took her to the Teller Farms trail to ride her pedal bike. She would take off riding but eventually stop, drop her bike and run back to us asking if she did a good job.

Allow them to pick their own interests– Create experiences that make them eager to go out again the next time. If you want to be more adventurous, search for interests you can share together.

Try new things/explore new places together- Believe it or not, I have never seen the Grand Canyon. I look forward to exploring this symbol of Americana with my little sunshine this summer along with my mom who hasn’t been there either.

Help them dust themselves off- If they are having trouble mastering something, be their cheerleader to try, try again. This is when the positive messages come in handy! Don’t be afraid of failure yourselves. Failure is sometimes the best way to learn.

Have fun- Remember the most important thing is to have fun.

 

 

 

Here is a slide show of some of the adventures my family has been on in 2017.

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Additional Free U.S. National Park Visit Days:

August 25- Birthday of the National Park Service

September 30- National Public Lands Day

November 11-12 Veterans Day Weekend

Adventure On,

Courtney

Inspiration Under My Roof

Inspiration- it comes in all sizes………

While we were in Utah, I had the chance to catch up with a friend named Heather. As our kids played, I was able to learn more about this incredible organization based in Park City that she is part of called Get Out and Play.  It is a program that gives kids grades 1-5 (expanding soon to middle school) the opportunity to try out and participate in more of the non-traditional type sports from mountain biking and rock climbing to cross country and freestyle type skiing affordably. The impact the program has continues as it expands into more schools.

Recently, I wrote an article for mtbproject.com on the Little Bellas mountain bike program. I was pretty stoked about the feedback, the comments and even the shares it got from companies all recognizing the importance that programs like this have on not just girls but kids in general to lead healthy lifestyles and to achieve their dreams.

The U.S. Women’s Hockey announced they were boycotting the International Hockey Federation World Championship for equal pay and benefits. They were able to come to an agreement with USA Hockey and are currently playing in the championship.

This past week, Emma’s climbing hero Margo Hayes sent her a signed photo that she cherishes. IMG_9133You don’t have to look far for inspiration. For me, I find it under my roof in the 3.5 year old that still wants me to snuggle her while watching Moana but has taught me so much in her short time on this planet.

Yes, quite often Emma scares me. Whether it is her just doing a flip out of nowhere into the pool or the fact that she will go up and talk to anyone. But more than that, she inspires me. She is made of nothing but pure love. She doesn’t judge people. She will talk to and try to make a friend out of anyone she sees. Just today, Emma said she wants to do a block party for her birthday so that everyone can be invited including Mr. Richard- the nice older man who lives on our street.

Even more than that, she never gives up. She is the most tenacious person I have ever met. If she doesn’t get something the first time, she will try again and again till she does.  I often here her psyching herself up saying things like she is Wonder Woman and can do anything or copying the voice of Grandpa from Sing as he asks Mina, “Don’t you want this?” This video (sorry that it is sideways) is an example of her daily outlook in life . Make sure to have your volume up to hear what she says!

 

She’s out there living the life she wants. She’s being the change she wants to see in the world. She wants people to be kinder. She wants people to smile more. She doesn’t doubt herself and she passes her belief onto me. She believes I will keep her safe, teach her and always love her. Beyond that, she believes that I too can do anything I dream of. I’m not sure I would have ever found the courage to pitch higher caliber outlets and to keep at if it wasn’t for her. In her everyday display, she encourages me to be a better me. How lucky am I to have this kind of inspiration under my roof!

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Here is a card Emma made to encourage me!

Adventure On,

Courtney

 

 

Spring Break in the Beehive State

OK, I had no idea that one of Utah’s nicknames was the Beehive State. The state’s official emblem is the beehive representing hard work.

We decided somewhat last minute to jump in the car and spend Emma’s Spring Break in Utah. AJ’s sister Kathy lives just outside of SLC in Draper. His parents happened to be out to visit as well, making it a great opportunity to see family.

Many posts ago, I mentioned my distaste for long car rides but how they will be more of a necessity if we want to explore. While Emma has endured four plus hours of flying, our longest car ride has been three hours with her. I found myself trying to find things to keep her occupied packing up the crayons and coloring books and downloading Moana and Sing. Anything to make the trip easier for all of us…….

The trip out really well. We had decent weather for most of the way encountering rain only when we hit Little America off I-80. We stopped there for dinner telling Emma about the many times we have stopped at Little America traveling back and forth from Utah over the years. It’s fun to make new memories with Emma stopping at our old “haunts.”‘

The rain lasted all the way through to Kathy’s house. Emma was a dream in the car. She played games, colored and watched Sing in the car. She spent time playing with the balloon she got from a birthday party we went to before we left. We saw animals on the way including buffalo and antelope. She loved spotting trains and seeing the wind turbines turning. I couldn’t have asked for a better travel companion. We pulled up to Kathy’s house 6.5 hours later around 7:30 P.M.

Emma’s was so excited to see her cousins and vice versa. Add in the new puppy Vader, and she wasn’t in bed till after 10. ‘Just a couple more minutes,” became the theme for most of the trip.

We spent the week catching up with old friends and making memories with the cousins. We bounced on the trampoline, went climbing, visited the aquarium and the Curiosity Museum.

It’s so great to see the interaction with Emma and her cousins. As she gets older, the bonds they are creating are irreplaceable. Because of the difference in ages (and the fact we see them 1-2 x a year), this is really the first time she really connected with them. It has us really looking forward to our trip to North Carolina this June.

The ride home wasn’t as smooth as the ride out. It rained/sleeted the whole way basically. We were all feeling the later nights and the disrupted sleep from all sharing a bed. Still all in all we are lucky Emma is an easy traveler.

We just booked a weekend camping trip to Glenwood Springs for Memorial Day. Despite the recent snow, our mind is on summer and all the fun we have planned.

My latest article for mtbproject.com is live now about the Little Bellas mountain bike program. I really enjoyed learning more about this great program, and I really hope the program is around when Emma turns seven.

Adventure On,

Courtney

Burned Out

I’m putting it out there…. I’m burned out. I am tired of going through the stuff in my house. I don’t want to look through another bin. I don’t want to post anymore items for sale. I still have another clear out of the playroom, the basement and the garage to go.

Life has been spent lately outside enjoying the sunshine and writing. We’ve been riding to school and crossing off things on our spring bucket list! IMG_8976

I have two new writing assignments on my docket right now. Here is one of my latest articles on ironman.com about Josette Harris– a Coloradoan who won a spot to Kona through the Boulder to Kona program.

We are off to Salt Lake to spend Spring Break with AJ’s sister and family. We are planning to get in some skiing and other adventure while we are there. Emma is looking forward to spending time with her cousins. I’m looking forward to a change of scenery!

Maybe when we get back, I will find the energy and gusto I need to get back to it. Although, it is almost what I refer to as the “most wonderful time of year”- playoff hockey time.IMG_8973

When I do go back into the trenches, I think in regards to the playroom this article on Toy Minimalism is a good place to start. If you have been following your own purging journey, here is a great link to the best places to donate.

Adventure On,

Courtney

 

 

 

 

Spring Fever

This weather has me feeling the spring fever! It’s been incredible in Colorado. We have been enjoying a lot of time outside! It doesn’t take long for Emma to want to head outside after she wakes up even if it is still chilly.

 

After being able to tackle all our winter to do’s from building a snowman and staying in a yurt to going skiing and celebrating Christmas, we created a spring bucket list.

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It includes things like building a garden and splashing in puddles. We’ve even been able to get a jump start on some of the fun starting our garden and doing some spring crafts!

One of the bucket list items for Emma is to try some new and fun recipes. My interest in food and trying new recipes always peaks at the changing of the seasons.

I found a recipe to make “Breakfast Sushi.” We tend to get into a routine with our breakfast meals, so I thought about trying something new! It was quite tasty!

Breakfast Sushi

Ingredients:

  • Vanilla yogurt (we used Diary free Silk)

  • Banana

  • Fruity Pebbles cereal

  • Berries (We used blackberries)

Directions: Peal the banana. Spread yogurt on all sides of the banana. Roll the yogurt covered banana in Fruity Pebbles cereal. Cut the banana in small bites. Place a berry on each bite. Enjoy!

On the writing front, I am staying busy! This month, I have already sent in three assignments. I have three more due next week and one due mid April. That’s the way of the writing game (at least for me). One day I have no assignments, and the next day I have three or four. I’m really enjoying what I’m writing about from a piece on the Little Bellas mountain bike program to National Clean Up Your Room Day. Did you know that there is a National Association of Professional Organizers? Neither did I…….

I’m still plugging along with the 40 Bags Challenge. I am at over the half way mark. With all my writing assignments and this incredible weather, it’s been hard to concentrate on it. I placed some items for sale on Offer Up this week. It’s super easy to use. I haven’t had any luck with selling anything yet, though! This week, the plan is to get back into the basement and finish what I started!

Adventure On,

Courtney

 

 

 

 

Back on the Sticks

In my Bucket List for 40 blog post, I mentioned taking up something I used to do in the past but haven’t done in awhile. This weekend I made good on that, and I went skiing again for the first time in seven years.

I don’t love skiing. But, I don’t hate it either. Truth be told, I am a bit of a chicken shit when it all comes down to it. I know speed is my friend on the hill, but it scares me. But, skiing is something we can enjoy as a family. So, I got back on two sticks on Saturday up at Winter Park with the intention of skiing quite a bit next year and taking a lesson or two.

We had a great weekend in Granby/WP with friends. We stayed up at a friend’s parent’s home in Granby arriving Friday night. The hillside was lit up by the light of the full moon as the kids played and the adults talked.IMG_1931

The next morning we woke up to a sunny almost blue bird sky. It was already comfortable out as we got on the bus from the shuttle parking lot to the resort. After getting our lift tickets and rentals, we headed up to a great area with green and blue runs with our friends.IMG_1927

Sitting in the lift line, Emma was cool as a cucumber. I was nervous, but I didn’t want to show it especially around Emma. She has been my rock on many occasions, this being one of them. She always tackles new experiences with zest and confidence. Oh, the lessons she has taught me since becoming her mother!

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We took a short green run to warm up the legs. Amazingly, it was like riding a bike. I just made a few turns, and we were at the bottom.

After a long lift line, we decided to try a different route than our friends. This ended up kind of being a mistake as we got separated and lost from our group. We ended up having to take a few longer green runs eventually meeting back up with them as they were finishing.

I was feeling tired and sore after falling and getting back up just to have a snowboarder clip my skis and fall a second time.IMG_1926 My knee was hurting, so I chose to enjoy the sun and a beer on the patio at Snoasis while the others did hot laps. I had a perfect viewing spot, and it was easy to spot AJ and Emma coming down. I imagined what they were talking about (more likely singing about for Emma), and enjoyed some quiet time.

After a few laps, I caught Emma and AJ as they passed by the lodge. The ladies and kiddos decided to head back down the mountain to have some waffles and start Après-ski time a bit early while the boys did a few more runs!

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The boys met us around 4:30. After they had a quick beer, we headed for the bus to take us back to the car.

Smiling and sore, we enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner thanks to Cary’s parents and celebrated our friend Lance’s birthday! Sunday we lazed around after a big yummy breakfast and headed home! What a great weekend with friends!

Adventure On,
Courtney