Into the Forest I Go...

This past weekend I got to head out of town with a girlfriend of mine, Elise, and up into the mountains. Its hard to believe, but this was really a first for me... a trip into the woods for a bit of nature time with just a friend and no child in tow!

We headed into Rocky Mountain National Park, another first for me, and it blew us away!

We got there Friday afternoon, got set up in our camping cabin, and headed to just take a spin around the park. Just a little hiking that day, but it was quite snowy, so just a mile or so felt like a lot more!

Saturday was our first real day in the park. We stopped so I could stamp my passport, and grab some other small things, then it was up into the park. We headed up, and up, and up, to 9500ft and the start of the Bear Lake Trail. We hiked about 4.5 miles round trip, over almost 4' of snow, gaining about 750ft!

It was so much fun... hard work, but gorgeous and so worth it!

I need to buy some YakTraxs, but I made do pretty damn well without. I did change my method of descent in a few extra steep/slick place... 😆

We then changed things completely, heading back down to the Meadows near Moraine Park, and took I think a combination of the Cub Lake Trail and something else! Ha! Whatever it was, it was absolutely gorgeous!!

This hike was easier, in that it stayed relatively "flat", and there was no snow! 

We met some friendly locals (don't worry we kept as much distance as possible!), as we hiked another 4-5 miles, bringing our day's total to around 10.

We headed into Estes Park for a little after that, just to check out the town, then it was back to cook some dinner over the fire and happily take off our hiking boots.

In true Colorado form, this lovely surprise swung in to grace us with its presence...

But it passed in about 15 minutes, and we were able to return to our fire and spend the rest of the evening outdoors.

Our last day we headed way further South in the Park, coming into the Wild Basin Ranger Station, and hiking about 5m round trip to Calypso Cascades, gaining 715 ft along the way.

It was such a beautiful end to our trip... the rushing waters, the evergreens, it all made us East Coast gals feel right at home.

After dropping Elise at the airport, it was time to head home and visit with my loves for a little bit before heading to teach.

Even with all these words, its hard to explain how much this trip meant to me, how gorgeous this park is, and how fulling this weekend was. We managed to get in some very diverse hikes, with some very Colorado weather (snow! hail! beautiful sun! insane winds!), and while I can't wait to go back, I'm so pleased with what we did.

Fingers crossed, Elise and I would love to make this an annual event; and I can't wait to take my family to this amazing National Park. 


Beltane Celebration (Happy May Day... a Half Month Late!)

So generally the solstices and equinoxes are the points on the Pagan Wheel of the Year that we celebrate (and Samhain because 💀❤). It take time to notice the others, meditate on them, but frankly, I don't have it in me to do full feasts for them. However, when Beltane happens to be one of your besties favorites, well then a Beltane feast it is!!

(For those wondering: Beltane is the Celtic May Day. It marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.)

We had a delicious spread, and I was pretty proud of my first adventure in making my own loaf recipe! I need to tighten it up a little bit, but then I'll gladly share. A Rose, Cardamom, and Orange Loaf Cake... it was a slightly sweet, floral delight!

I'm so grateful for the beautiful people in my life, and this amazing woman is an extra special blessing. So glad that we got to celebrate the height of spring together.


Gwen's New Phone, and New Freedoms

Gwen is growing up so quickly before my eyes. Its so astounding to me how big and mature she's getting. We made a decision lately that surprised even me... even though I was the one that initiated it. It all started with a book.

(From an Instagram post:) "I recommend Small Animals to every parent trying to navigate this crazy world in which we’re raising our children. Taking a hard look at our culture of fear, and the way we are almost pushed to lose ourselves in our children/parenthood (in a way previous generations definitely were not!), it dissects the question of whether things are actually less safe now. Weaving her own narrative in with discussions with psychologists, researchers, and legal minds, Kim points out the way that society now leans towards rationalizing moralities by using fear vs using real risk to shape choices. This book has literally changed my parenting, giving me the space and the release to allow Gwen some more freedoms I’d been considering already, and emphasize the importance of giving kids room to have independence, make mistakes, be bored (and therefore employ imagination and creativity), and have unstructured time with friends to just be kids."

Now it didn't really start with this book, but it did bring to the forefront things I'd already been considering. One of the big hang ups that we had about not leaving Gwen home alone is that we don't have a home phone, and therefore, there wouldn't be a way for her to communicate with anyone if she had concerns. So... we got her a phone.

Now, let me temper any reactions the way we tempered her excitement (sorry kid). This phone has no SIM/phone number attached to it, and so it works only on the wifi. She can message a very specific set of people that we chose, and only gets to download games that I approve; so this is not an online free for all. But, its a means of communication.

Gwen is a pretty amazing kid, she works hard to earn responsibility, and it was worth giving her a shot. Not for hours and hours, but if I need to run to the store for 15 minutes, or if I want to go for a half hour run in the neighborhood... why should I have to drag her along? So we tried it out, and so far, its gone amazingly! She's abided by all rules, met every expectation; she knows what situations warrant a message to Trav or I, which ones need a call to 911, and which ones should take her to a neighbor's house (and which neighbors to head to). Plus, there have been some unexpected benefits.

 Humor... but also, sweetness on the nights that I'm not home:

This parenting thing is a balance. I want to protect her from every threat, real or perceived (or planted there by watching one too many episodes of Criminal Minds...), but I also want her to have freedoms, to earn responsibilities, to explore life and have room to make mistakes! The world feels very different from when I was a child, but childhood isn't so different in the fundamental ways. While I'd love to freeze her in time, this kids is growing up - like it or not - so I might as well make some small adjustments to what I assumed I'd be doing, to allow her some of the freedom that she deserves.


Oh What A Weekend

This past weekend ended up being quite the doozy. Trav headed out on Thursday to travel to Georgia! He very, very rarely travels on his own, so I was excited he got to take this trip. Not only did he get to meet some of his coworkers and see a different office, but he got to work at a really cool festival. Gwen and I do solo time often, so I wasn't worried about that. I was a little curious how our very full, very busy weekend would play out.

 (New hair on Thursday...)

I got a babysitter Thursday night so that I could go out to hear one of my writing idols read from her new book:

It was absolutely wonderful... touching, funny, overwhelming. Thankfully Gwen had Friday off of school, so we got to sleep in a little. She chilled in the studio office while I taught, and was generally lovely. It was gorgeous out too, so she spent hours in the late afternoon/early evening running around with her pack of wolves group of neighborhood friends!

All was well! Until it wasn't!

(Is it just me or is she about 75% leg?! 
Seriously, could her proportions be any more different then mine!)

We've now learned a valuable lesson about not wearing our cowboy boots to run around in... and definitely not wearing them when planning to jump down off of a fence. It was ruled not broken by urgent care and we were sent home with orders to cancel any plans for the next few days that involved being on her feet, R.I.C.E. instructions, and the info that sprains can hurt as badly as broken bones, so crutches might be necessary if she does have to walk.

So suddenly our weekend became a lot more wide open! (And we now own children's sized crutches, if you ever need to borrow some!) Oi vey.

Saturday we spent laying around and watching movies, lots of elevation and icing. Sunday we ventured out only for a Girl Scout meeting, which she spent a lot of time sitting for.

She's back to school today, and we sent her with some ibuprofen in her system, crutches, and a doctor's note excusing her from gym. She's felt a little better every day, so hopefully she's all mended very soon. Trav gets back from his trip after we're asleep tonight, so we'll see him in the morning... and ::exhales:: we made it through only slightly worse for wear!


Wild Grace

I’ve been trying to find health and beauty rituals that support my body, that work with my highly irrational skin, and that make me feel GOOD. Not just that they do their jobs, but that using them is a pleasure.

I found Wild Grace Apothecary (@wildgraceapothecary) through a friend. She couldn’t stop raving about their products, and specifically about their seasonal Medicine Bundles... boxes sent out for each celebration on the Pagan Wheel of the Year, specifically curated to be seasonally supportive. I was so drawn in, but wasn’t ready to spend the money (honestly)! But I just kept coming back to them again and again. Finally I pulled the trigger, something like 6 months ago, and I haven’t looked back.

[Note: I know sponsored posts are not people’s fav, but I truly love the stuff created by Wild Grace Apothecary, I wasn’t paid for any of this (though I did receive some products to try), and I 100% NEVER recommend a product that I don’t love completely. You will not be disappointed with her stuff, trust me.]

This Irish moss + violet breast oil was one of the items in the Ostara box, and I am so completely in love. Seriously, this stuff smells like springtime and heaven in a bottle, it is nourishing, and I use it daily. It’s meant to support breast tissue and keep it healthy, but I use it on the rest of my chest too, to keep it moisturized. It is a joy to use, physically, but also gives me a little heart/emotional bump too. I love it so much that when Katie (from Wild Grace) and I talked about partnering up, I basically said, send me this, so much of this, all the bottles of this so I never run out! (She did send me a bottle of this, just one though, apparently she thought I was joking about the 100 bottles... 😏)

As I'm writing this, I'm fresh from a shower, and am wearing this liberally. I keep pausing to stick my nose in my shirt to take a deep whiff... no shame here!

I was also lucky enough to be given their Ondine Purifying Face Mask to try. My face is combination, semi-oily but still dehydrated, an acne-prone. I'm also starting to get some fine lines showing up, so add aging in there too. What a joy to deal with (no). This mask has been doing a pretty darn good job of clearing out my pores without making my skin feel tight or dry, clears up oiliness, and doesn't cause more irritated. It comes in a powder, so you mix it as you need it, which means no preservatives - only the freshest ingredients!

In the evening I've been throwing on this Moss + Mallow Repair Cream, often after using the Silke Cleansing Balm.

I cannot even begin to explain how amazing the texture of these are. They come out of the tubs feeling almost whipped, but melt with the warmth of your skin into a the smoothest oil. I wasn't sure about the Moss + Mallow at first. Even with using the oil cleanse method for years, I was worried it would be too much for my skin, but its absolutely not. It goes on feeling so luxurious, and by morning my skin feels glowing and soft.

Last item I'm going to tell you about is the Emerge Room + Body Mist.

The smell of this beauty goes hand in hand with the breast oil, so I often will give myself a little spritz in the morning, and will periodically spray it in the living room throughout the day for a boost.

Please check out Wild Grace Apothecary. You'll find amazing products that you can feel really good about, all while supporting a woman-owned, small-business. Tell her I sent you!

What products that are part of your routine bring you joy?