What I Want from Home

El Dorado Canyon - near Boulder, CO
It has been a year since we have moved to Colorado. A year! It feels like so much longer then that, but at the same time, I can't fathom that 365 days have gone by with us living here. It has me thinking a lot about "Home" and what that means to me, now and for the future.

Our apartment is home for now, and we have settled in here nicely. It feels right here, comfortable and familiar now. It has been a good place for us, so close to Trav's work and Gwen's school. We've met wonderful people here and enjoyed all that this place can offer us. We have decided to stay for another year. Another year to grow and change and settle in.

But for the future... well I've been thinking a lot about that too.

Grand Canyon Campground
I think it has become apparent over the past year that my heart resides in the woods. We have crisscrossed the country multiple times, gone North and South, East and West. We have camped and hiked and picnicked. We have enjoyed so many different brands of beauty and majesty, from soaring mountains to warm sandy beaches, wide open plains and towering red rocks.

Forests are what call to me.

I step into the woods and my soul is soothed. I enjoy heading to beaches, I love hiking up mountains, but forests make me feel at home.

And that is what I really want.
Not now, maybe even not soon, but in the end I want a beautiful little house in (or on the edge of) the woods. 

Coconino National Forest - Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive
South of Flagstaff, AZ

I want this. And I'm putting it out into the universe because I don't know how it will come to pass, but if I've learned anything from this transformative past year (and my very smart best girl), its that recognizing and verbalizing your dreams is step one.

Wherever my family is, that is home. But I want this for me, and I want this for us.

Prompton State Park, Waymart, PA

What is your dream house or location?


First Birth

I recently had the completely amazing honor of attending my first doula birth. I had so many emotions going into it. I was a little nervous, but so so excited. I wondered how the timing would work out. I worried about missing Gwen's first day of school. But in the end Mama started contracting on the weekend, and the timing was just about the best I could have hoped for.

It wouldn't have mattered if it had happened at the worst timing though, the experience was just so amazing.

The mom was a labor rock star, and I was so blessed to be a part of her experience!

I can't believe that this is my job now, that I get to have the honor of being invited to one of the most life changing events a woman can experience. I absolutely can not wait to do it again!

Baby squish!
(Posted with permission.)


Semi-Wordless Wednesday {Yoga on the Rocks}

This past weekend I finally got to do something I've been wanting to do since we moved to Denver and I first heard about it.

I got to do yoga in the Red Rocks Amphitheater!

My soul sister, Marissa, came with me.

The whole thing was such a treat!! I'm heading there to see a movie this week, but I can't wait until I can finally see a concert there too!


A Little Love for Summer

Autumn always has been and always will be my favorite season -- I'm pretty sure you've picked up on that already, if you been reading for any length of time -- but for the first time since I was a kid going over to Babs's house to swim every. single. day, I have discovered a new love for summer.

This summer has just been so full of things that I love; there's been swimming and travel, time with my girl, yoga, and so much grilling and good food eating. In summer's defense, past years have mostly meant, other then a week of fun in Cape Cod and some other random weekend trips, doing my best not to sweat too hard through my work clothes on my way into work in the morning, 8 hours in front of a computer, then sweating my way to the train for the ride home to our mostly not air conditioned house. By the end of this June though, I'd already spent more time in or at the pool then I had in probably the past 3 or more years combined. I already had my August tan going!

Not to mention that the almost nightly thunderstorms in Colorado throughout June were a really, really nice treat! Followed by almost a month on the road!

Next summer will be different of course. I will hopefully have regular yoga classes, and doula clients. We'll be back to a more standard week or two of vacation, and Gwen will probably need to be in a summer camp of some kind. For now though, I'm really enjoying a newfound love of what was previously a rather unappreciated season for me!


Monkey Business {a Smoothie Recipe}

Moody skies that morning...
This is not going to be a pretty recipe. Let me just put that out there. It was made in a hurry, when I was tired and hungry and cranky and... well, lets just say that I'd "had a morning" (who hasn't, right?) and didn't get breakfast until after walking Gwen to school. I was feeling as moody as the skies that morning, and I needed something quick. While I could have have made my normal green smoothie just as easily as this... well, frankly, I didn't want green. I wanted treat. I thought it was a big enough accomplishment that I didn't immediately reach for some of the cake that was residing in my pantry, so this was a reward smoothie! And it really is a treat, though their is no added sugar, so it still is far better then reaching for that cake!

Monkey Business Smoothie

1/2 frozen banana
1/2 green apple, cored and quartered
1 c milk
1 Tbsp whole milk plain greek yogurt (I love Smári, which is super thick, super high in protein, and way lower in sugars then any other brand I've seen)

1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Pop all ingredients into your blender and blend until everything is broken down and combined.
Then blend a little more because the coconut likes to be tricky!

2. Take it outside and drink it with your dog and your flowers... and maybe feel not so cranky anymore.

Enjoy, friends!


Not-So-Wordless Wednesday {First Grader!}

Last Thursday was Gwen's first day back to school. This is our second First Day of School and I met it this year with much more excitement and many less fears then last year. I think the same was true for Gwen (though she was nervous the night before and day of).

She's gotten so big! Last year she was only up to that middle lock. 

Nerves aside, her first day went well. 

I'm so proud of my big First Grader! I can't wait to see all she learns this year. 



Portrait of a 34 year old (with new Harry Potter shirt!)

I feel like this year has been spent going back and forth between so so much looking ahead, planning, anticipating... sprinkled with these wonderful trips and moments when I'm completely present. I'm getting better at being present, but this year has been a huge one with huge things and its hard not to get caught up in the excitement of them all.

During 33:
I moved cross-country, visited 8 new states, got another tattoo, dyed my hair blue, sent my baby off to Kindergarten (then first grade!), became a doula (and attended my first birth!), got certified as a yoga teacher, started my own business, lost 10 lbs, read 6 of the Harry Potter books to Gwen, visited so many National Parks and State Parks, hiked so many miles, been lonely, made amazing friends, and cooked so much good food (and new food).

Hair prep.

I cannot even imagine what all 34 will bring.

More travel, for sure, more food and friends, yoga classes and births. One silly wish? I daydream of a full weekend home all alone! Trav and Gwen off somewhere together, and me, left to my own devises for a full 48 hours (or more!).  I guess we'll just have to wait and see!


Random Post-Trip Reflections

There are a couple things that didn't make it into my trip recap posts that I wanted to share. So in no particular order...

Someone asked about the adjustment back from high altitude to sea level, since the transition the other way is very noticeable. My answer was always that there doesn't really seem to be much of a transition back! Its pretty easy heading East, and back down towards sea level. In fact, I almost imagine that I couldn't have pulled off that 40 hours awake thing going up in altitude the way I did going down (in May when visiting for my Dad's birthday).

However, I think I have a mid-summer addendum: Oh the Humidity!

Holy smokes, the first day when we went from CO to Iowa, we stepped out of our cool, dry, air conditioned car, into a 90* swampy mess. I immediately felt (sorry for those of you who hate this word) moist. I'd completely forgotten how to deal with humidity, and in fact my first (irrational) reaction was, "OMG, I'm never going to be dry again..." and honestly, I don't know that I felt completely dry for the rest of our time on the East Coast! Ha! It did downgrade from moist to just dewy, but it was definitely one part that I didn't expect.

For reference, and to make sure you know I'm not exaggerating, the same day that it was almost 70% humidity in Iowa, it was 17% humidity in the Denver area.

On a completely different note:
While visiting Pennsylvania, I realized that I was missing it more then ever. More specifically my parent's area over and above Philly even. The trees, the gently rolling hills, all the green; it is such a beautiful place, and I just miss it rather horribly.

I'm sure the realization that the first friend I made in Colorado was moving to Arizona didn't help, nor the fact that our favorite Colorado neighbors had recently moved to Virginia. Being in PA specifically to visit with so many people we love definitely gives the area a rosy tint! But driving through there by myself one evening just brought me such a feeling of nostalgia and missing out.

Who knows what the future holds here in Colorado, but I do know that I'm going to need a few weeks back here to feel like this is home again.


Semi-Wordless Wednesday {Yoga and the Rockies! at Coors Field}

Coors Field hosted a giant yoga class this past weekend. 

It was a playful, fun class. And so neat to be on the field!

Included in the class cost was a ticket to the game that night! So I had a night out for myself at the ballgame.

A very fun day!


Colorado, Here We Come {2016 Roadtrip #4 - the last part!}

This is the last post about our epic July roadtrip, I promise! I know I've been writing about this forever, but since the trip covered over 3 weeks, it was the best way I could think to do it without having to skip anything I wanted to document or blast you with a 20-page post! Back to reality after this.  :-) 

Our first day heading back West was a big one, heading from Pennsylvania up into Michigan. Now Michigan is definitely not "on the way" home per se, but I couldn't resist the urge to pop up there since it really didn't add too much time to the whole drive.

The drive was quick enough. Since we'd had a break since our last big drive days, it didn't feel too rough. We were all excited for Michigan too.

We changed things up a little for this stop and did an AirBnB instead of camping. I'd gotten some recommendations from my cousin, who'd gone to college in Ann Arbor, and I wanted to be somewhere close enough that we could look around a bit, and have somewhere safe to leave the pup. It was a bit of a relief honestly. I love camping, but it is exhausting setting up a camp, just to break it all down the next morning, drive somewhere new and repeat the process.

We did dinner out in the city, then swung by the stadium just to see it.

That place is massive!

We headed back to out stay after that to get showered and into bed, since we were all pretty exhausted.

The next day was an easier day, heading back to Iowa, and this time Rock Creek State Park. I had an idea we might check something out before we took off that morning, but it was raining when we left, so we just got on the road. It was a good thing since within a half hour it was absolutely pouring, torrential rain plus lightning and thunder! It stayed that way for about 150 miles until we were all begging Mother Nature to just let up for a bit.

It did then, and we took advantage of the sun that came out to make one quick stop before leaving Michigan. They aren't kidding when they call them Great Lakes, are they?!

Gwen was positively in awe of Lake Michigan (once I explained it wasn't actually an ocean), and I was too!

After that it was through Indiana and Illinois...

And into Iowa...

For another lake-side campsite. They seem to do that well!

We got set up pretty quickly, giving Gwen some time to play at an on-site playground before getting ready for bed. We were up early, though not on the road as quickly as I would have liked.

We finished off Iowa, then on through Nebraska. This time going through Nebraska we knew what to expect, and yep, it was long.

My two little traveling companions were, well, slightly less enthusiastic today. We made a few extra bathroom breaks, that I think were more about boredom then bladder, and we hit some extra traffic thanks to construction and accidents.

Rainbow behind us!

Our last stop was supposed to be at North Sterling State Park, in Northern Colorado... but by the time we got to Colorado and felt the crazy gusty winds, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was set up camp again. North Sterling is prairie grasslands, and I had heard the stargazing there was gorgeous, but that also meant not a lot of cover, and when we saw more thunderstorms sweeping in, it made our decision easy. 

We were all more then ready by the time we pulled into our apartment complex 12-hours after we got in the car, on July 31st, 21 days after we left. It was great to greet Trav, it was wonderful to stretch our legs, and that night it was with much contentment that we settled into our own beds.

The trip was amazing, and being home is just as wonderful.


Pennsylvania Take 2 {2016 Roadtrip #4 - Part 4}

After we left Cape Cod (Boston), Gwen and I headed down towards my Mom and Dad's place. Unfortunately, about the time we were leaving Boston, my parents were losing power. Over 6 hours later when we were close to arriving, they still hadn't gotten it back, so our destination changed slightly.

The Econolodge was not exactly what I had in mind for that night, but it was good enough for the time being. We met my Mom, Brother, and Sister-in-law for dinner, then it was back to the motel for bedtime. I was pretty happy about the mini bottle of Moscato I had in my car from an impromptu trip to World Market with Laura in Boston. It made the room a little homier.

Though our visit didn't start as planned, it improved quickly. We stayed with my parents for four great days, soaking in all the Nonnie and Papa time we could get.

We hit up Crystal Cave on our first day, since none of us had been before and my brother really wanted to hit it up on this trip.

It was fun to explore. We got a crazy thunderstorm on the ride home, but thankfully no loss of power followed!

Ethan and Elise had to head back to DC on Tuesday, but Ethan and I snuck in a yoga lesson before he left.

The rest of the days were pretty low-key hanging out and visiting. It was so surreal being in my childhood home. It is such an absolutely beautiful place. Plus after being away for two weeks, and having just come from Cape Cod, Colorado felt almost like a dream.

It was so great getting to see Gwen be silly with my parents too. She adores them, and the feeling is mutual. I've missed seeing that interaction, and she's missed having it. (Thank goodness we already know when my parents will be in Colorado next, which takes some of the sting out of the goodbyes.)

I did steal away for one night to go see a girlfriend and pick out bridesmaid dresses for her impending nuptials.

It was great for the time with a good friend, but also for the opportunity to take a solo drive down roads I haven't been on in years. It brought back many memories! 

And the sky put on a pretty killer show on the way home for me too!

We were lucky enough the my mom was able to take off Monday - Wednesday, to be with us. Thursday morning she was back to work though, and it was a morning visit with just us and my Papita. We headed out for breakfast together.

After that it was time to start the return journey to Colorado, by first heading back down to Philly. We stopped by my old work to say hi to everyone and headed out to lunch with Tally-le. We took some extra time to walk around the park down there, then grab a treat.

We then headed up to meet neighbor Joe by UPenn, so that Gwenie could see him before we left. We might live 1700 miles apart, but he's still an amazing neighbor!!

We still had some time to kill before heading to Ro and Pat's for one last night, and Gwen was asking to see our old house, so I drove her out to the neighborhood. It was surreal seeing it again, especially knowing we couldn't just walk right in. We waiting for a little bit, and were rewarded with a chance to see our other neighbor Kathy. It was a great little visit!

A few more hours with Ro and Pat, then Friday morning (July 29th if you've lost track!) it was time to be reunited with love bug, Daisy, and head West!