Road Trippin’

We just got back from a 15 day road trip with a 3 and 5 year old that covered 4000 miles, 4 National parks and 7 states! We crossed the continental divide 10 times and stayed at 10 different places.  Here is what I learned:


  • Ben and Katie at Double Arch.

    Ben and Katie at Double Arch.

    Only bring one suitcase of clothes!  We brought three and the packing and re-packing of all the superfluous clothes was a headache every time we moved to a new location.  

  • The 40 oz. Hydroflask with a straw top was the best investment in this trip.  Picture freezing cold water the whole day in the 100 degree heat! (thank you REI dividends)
  • Be careful what toys you bring – because all toys become projectile items once you hit around 6 hours in the car.  
  • The kid’s kindle fires with headphones are miraculous!
  • Sleeping in hotels with kids is awful!  Plain and simple….
  • GO to the Grand Tetons!  They are majestic and beautiful – don’t go to Yellowstone without getting yourself down to the Tetons!
  • Jackson, WY is an amazing city – we could have stayed there forever!
  • There are literally no cities in Eastern Wyoming.  We entered in from Colorado and it tooks us nearly 3 hours to find somewhere to stop for lunch.  
  • But you can go 90+ in Wyoming.  Thank God for fast speed limits!
  • Take the back highways in Montana you won’t regret it!
  • Cody, WY has one heck of a firework display for the fourth and a cute parade!
  • Burger King is by far the worst fast food restaurant in the world – avoid at all costs!  
  • Thank God for Subway!
  • And once you get East of Washington always ask for your salad dressing on the s
    The family at Jackson Lake Lodge overlooking the Grand Tetons!

    The family at Jackson Lake Lodge overlooking the Grand Tetons!


  • Indoor hotel pools are disgusting cesspools of bacteria…
  • Always stay in a hotel that offers breakfast – it will save you so much pain when the hangries strike.
  • When camping at 8000 feet elevation – make sure to bring extra blankets.  Brrrrrrr!
  • There are a lot of cool dinosaur bones in Utah and the Natural history Museum in Salt Lake is really awesome.
  • And finally – Spotify rules as it allows hours of music enjoyment without all the pre-planning!  So when the mood strikes for Gordon Lightfoot – you have it!


You know we might even do this again sometime! But it may be awhile.


Mommy and Benjamin Adventures

For the past 5 days I have been in Orlando with my oldest son for an epic mommy and Benjamin adventure.  Maybe it’s that he is starting kindergarten in the fall or the fact that I am exhausted after a week at Disney World and pregnant with my third, but the tears keep flowing on this long-distance flight tonight.  Ben is peacefully sleeping in the seat next to me and I can’t stop staring at his face.  He is my buddy, I learned what it means to be a mommy with him.  He teaches me about my humanity, my sin, my impatience, my failures every day, but he also teaches me that I can love more than I knew, that I can choose to be kind and generous with my affection and time, and that I am worthy to be loved.

This week I watched him be scared at all the new, the rides, the crazy dressed up characters, the flight, the crowds of people – yet at every turn he found strength and bravery to take a chance and actually fight Darth Vader, ride the roller coaster, watch the fireworks he was so afraid of, etc. I am so proud of my buddy that he is willing to try new things and explore the world.

I used to be like that, I am the girl who spent a semester in China, who has traveled the world a few times, met rock stars and dignitaries, has several degrees and has worked in several industries.  Yet lately with the daily battle of raising kids, running a house, paying bills, endless remodel projects, working, trying to connect with my husband, supporting his career – I have traded bravery in for a few more minutes of sleep or one more episode on HGTV, anything to relax and take a minute to myself.  But the truth is I have more anxiety than ever before in my life.  What if Zach and I lose our jobs and can’t afford our mortgage or bills?  What if the kids get really sick, what if Zach or I get sick or die suddenly?  What if I am really a terrible mom after all and this third kid will actually break me?

This week I learned from my 5 year old that being brave means continuing to put yourself out there, it often comes with tears and reassurance from a loved one, but it is showing up and being willing to try the next new thing.  So my prayer is that I would be brave to continue to open myself up to where God leads next, to show up to see what new thing I should try and to not hide in my anxiety and miss things like dueling with Darth Vader.  Thank you Ben for teaching your mama something new again.  

Grandpa Bob

Today I am missing my Grandpa Bob.  He was the coolest.  He was curious, kind, generous, goofy, could not spell, loved his family well, and was very impatient.  He loved butterscotch candies and cheeseburgers.  And I often found him snacking on Saltines with mayonnaise spread on top.  

Today Benjamin was asking about him.  You see we were talking about my grandma Ginny and how we missed her – it has been a year since she passed away.  And Ben was saying how he missed going to visit her with my mom. I am so thankful he got to have a relationship with my grandma.  But he never knew Grandpa Bob, because Grandpa passed away just weeks before Ben was born.  And Ben started to cry, I mean really sob because he didn’t get to know Grandpa Bob.  Which makes me cry.  Because those two would have loved each other.  There is so much in Ben that reminds me of my Grandpa.

Ben loves hanging out with people – always up for a get together or dinner party – just like Grandpa.  Ben is curious and wants to learn about big animals, or things in space or how exactly some machine works.  Grandpa was so curious.  I think the internet was the best thing that ever happened to Grandpa in his retirement – because he could just learn all day long.  He was a lifelong learner and the only person I know besides my professor who read my entire 150 page thesis when I was in Grad School.  After he read my paper he had a stack of questions for me.  He was so proud of me.  

My Grandpa was also so generous – he never made a lot of money, but he lived simply and saved wisely.  Every time I visited him in college (which I did often since we were both in California at the time) he would fill my car up with gas, wash my car, and stick a $20 bill in the viser for later.  And every trip he would make sure to take me to McDonald’s for breakfast to check in on my life.  So generous with his time as well.

So Ben I wish you could have met Grandpa Bob.  Your life is more interesting because of his legacy.  Thankfully my mom has a lot of Grandpa Bob in her, and I think so do I.  So hopefully Ben will get to know him through us.  Miss you Grandpa!

Me (In Tears)

I cry a lot.  I cry at commercials, at every cheesy tv show and movie, when I read books and blogs, even magazines.  I also cry every time I am in a conversation that I am passionate about.  This means every time my husband and I have real conversations about how we are feeling, or our hurts, or frustrations – I cry.  I cry at work – almost every time my boss asks me how I am doing or when I try to express how passionate about my job I am – but how hard it is to sacrifice family time to do my job.  And the thing is I hate that I cry.  It makes me feel weak, like a young girl, unable to control her emotions.  Or I think it makes me sound needy – like I am going to cry to get what I want.  I don’t like the perception of me when I cry.  

A good friend recently told me – she loved when I cried because it showed my love and passion for people and things.  So I am trying to own it.  But do you know how hard it is to talk and feel confident and own it – when you can’t get through a sentence because you are crying so much?

So I am challenging myself to feel confident even when I cry!  To know that God gave me my particular mix of emotions so I can do empathy well.  So that I can be in relationship with people in good and hard times.  My emotions mean I have a tender heart and can see the Holy Spirit moving in others and myself.  And that my tears are something to be proud of, not annoyed by.  

I want to show my daughter that women can be tough, confident, they can speak up for themselves and for others and that my tears don’t negate my worth – they add to it!

(for a prime example of just how teary I am – take a look at Kristen Bell in this clip – it about sums it up.  Btw and in full disclosure I cried watching this clip…

Christmas Morning 2013

_DSC0349[1] Christmas 2013

May I never forget the joy of Christmas with these two littles.  In the midst of sleepless nights due to teething, nightmares, and the stress of keeping up with life’s commitments (aka the laundry and dishes, not to mention bills) something magical happened this past Christmas morning.  Here I was in a cute little cottage of a house with a huge backyard with two smiling kiddos and a husband who still loves me after a decade…  There are have been several moments lately when the reality of all the blessings in my life come and smack me in the face.  Christmas morning was one of these times.  I sometimes don’t know what to do with the abundance of grace and blessings in my life, so I squander it by stressing on this big bill or that stack of dishes, or some fight with Zach about who’s turn it is to get up in the middle of night.  I make those the things of life instead of what is real.  And this is what is real – I have an amazing family,  I get to raise two wonderful babies, I have a husband who helps me to take myself less seriously and loosens me up a bit, AND I serve a God who is victorious and lavishes his grace on me.  Yes may I never forget the joy of Christmas with these two littles.  Because this I think is what truly matters, this is what I should dwell on – this is God’s lavish unending grace.