Adventures with Autism – Advent Wreath

At CWOC [Catholic Women of the Chapel] this past Thursday we had a mini retreat to help prepare our hearts for advent.

After eucharistic adoration we enjoyed lunch and making advent wreaths. I am very thankful for having had this opportunity to prepare my heart for what can be a rather stressful season, especially with a deployed spouse.

Also, I’m glad the activity was to make an advent wreath because mine was broken during the move.

This season I am trying my best to make things magical for the kids and introduce them more to advent practices.

I brought out the advent wreath last night [December 1st – the eve of advent this year] and for the first time ever I purposely decorated our table.

This morning our Elf on the Shelf, Sparkles [if you don’t care for elf on the shelf keep it to yourself please, this isn’t a time for that, our family likes the elf and magic of it] brought the advent candles and a little print out about each candle [the advent adventures bags are new and I’ll post more about those later]. The girls read the paper and put the candles in the holder and we lit the first candle during breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After breakfast I took some time at the table to dive into the advent study that we were gifted during the retreat, bearing light, from Blessed is She.

Then I blew out the candle and started working on another little advent wreath project. We wanted to have something in place to show what week we were on without having a lit candle. I took some acrylic circles I had from Craft Chameleon [I’ll do another DIY post later] and painted one side the corresponding color of the candles and on the other side I planned on putting a word decal that symbolizes each week of advent: hope – faith – joy – peace. While I was in the office making the decals Ceci suddenly screamed “TEDY NO” and came running to me. In her hands was a broken purple candle. I had a feeling this was going to happen but had hoped it wouldn’t happen so soon.

I comforted her and redirected her to the project of the little circles and she placed the candles back in the advent adventures baggie. She helped me finish the project and we went about the rest of our morning.

Having a child on the autism spectrum has taught me more than I could’ve imagined. I’ve recently realized just how much it has taught me to have compassion and patience. I’ve seen too many social media posts recently that get so negative into other peoples lives; snap judgements after brief public interactions.  I know I’ve fallen into this trap before but truly I try to take pause and live by the rule of throwing kindness around like confetti; even when it hurts you to do so because you feel so wronged or annoyed.  We truly don’t know all of what is going on in a persons life and I would rather give people some grace, especially this time of year, when life is stressful enough.  Reacting negatively only breeds negativity, taking pause and regrouping and showing grace helps spread kindness and in my case with the broken advent candles it helps to teach kindness.  Don’t get me wrong, it hurt to see my Ceci so upset and to know that her brother was the one who caused her to be upset but I know the candle broke out of his curiosity for the world and his sensory seeking tendencies.  My advent challenge to you is to take the magic of this holiday season and spread hope – faith – joy – peace everywhere you go.  God Bless.

Advertisements

White Buses

20180904_125531

Army spouses have a love/hate relationship with white buses.  White buses are a symbol of hard days, challenging days, tough times – not just for the people on the bus but also for the people who wave at them.

20180904_125724

The buses are white…I’ve often wondered why white?  Why that color?  White is supposed to symbolically be a positive color; a color of light, goodness, purity…I see it as a white flag.  A symbol of surrender.  Surrendering to a higher being, a way to let go and let God.  The white buses mean it’s time for me to pray to Saint Michael the Archangel to protect those in harms way.

There is no guarantee the people on those white buses will come home.  The grim reaper wears a green suit and you pray the nightmares never become your reality.  I know too many people who have been visited by the reapers in green.  I wear blue and run for them.  I also run for me.  For my family.  For my fighting.

20180904_180428The days between the waves of goodbye and welcome home are challenging.  Even though this is nothing new to me, it does not mean the waves get any easier.  I know his days between those waves are challenging as well.  The challenges help me though.  It’s why I run.  It helps with my training because the run is a release from the pain.  A pain that you see in your children’s eyes whenever they think of their daddy – even if they think happy thoughts the pain of not having him physically present is still there.  I run to ease that pain because no mother wants their child to ever feel pain but pain is a part of our lives and running is a positive way to cope.

I run to cover all the miles that separate us.  I think that maybe covering that distance makes me feel like he’s not a world away; not on the other side of the world.

I run because it helps me cope.  We all have so much going on in our lives.  We never really know the full extent of what a person is going through.  My plea to you is to show kindness and compassion to others.

20180904_180206The skirt I wore as I kissed my husband goodbye has the mantra “just keep moving” on it.  Just keep moving…it’s why I skirt.  It’s why I run.  A support network back home is a military spouses greatest tool.  I am so glad that my Skirt Sports Sisterhood is not just a clothing company.  It’s not just a community who supports me; there are other women within this community who have husbands, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, grandfathers whom have boarded these white buses before.  They help me to keep moving and I am forever grateful for that.

Girls Camping Weekend

When my mom was in her third trimester of pregnancy with me she went on a camping trip to Lake George, NY.  When I was 36 weeks pregnant with Ceci, we went on a camping trip to Jekyll Island, GA.  415227_547648002450_1965406525_o

When I was younger I went camping with my mom in Sackets Harbor, NY.  When Ceci was an infant we went camping again at Jekyll Island, GA.  No, I’m not pregnant BUUUUT…finally, all 3 of us have been on a camping trip together.

This trip was planned at the very last minute.  After our insane weekend in the OBX and with some stressful stuff coming up I just had to get away again.   Honestly, I didn’t want it to be another big family trip so I decided that it would be a girls weekend only.  I went online to the North Carolina State Parks website and did a little research on a few parks that we hadn’t been to yet.  There were just three open camping sites at Carolina Beach State Park so I booked a site and informed Troy that he would be having a boys weekend with the boys.

In July we found out about the North Carolina State Parks Passport Program and have a goal to visit all 40 of North Carolina’s State Parks in a year.  To help us reach that goal we planned our trip to include an adventure to Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.  As I was planning our route to the campsite I noticed that there was a National Park along the way and since Ceci wants to earn as many Junior Ranger badges as she can I added Moores Creek National Battlefield to our weekend itinerary.

On Friday night, I packed up Troy’s tiny Ford Fiesta so that we could be ready to go first thing in the morning.  I had a 5K to be at before our adventure could begin so it was an early wake up for everyone.  After the 5K we gassed up and headed out.

Moores Creek National Battlefield

Our first stop was to Moores Creek National Battlefield where the girls worked on their Junior Ranger Badge.  Let me tell you, they really make the kiddos work to earn those badges.  We were at the park for just over 2 hours; hiking around the battlefield, and thoroughly exploring the visitors center.  The park staff did a great job explaining different aspects of the battle to the girls and really quizzing them on their answers in their booklets.  They showed the girls different weapons used during the battle and we all ended up learning more than I had imagined we would about this small but significant battle of the American Revolution.

Since campsite check in wasn’t until 3PM (or so I thought), we decided to also stop at Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington when we saw the sign for it.  We didn’t go onto the ship but we walked around and read up about this WWII battleship.

We got to Carolina Beach State Park around 3 and went to check in only to realize that check in actually wasn’t until 4PM (oops).  We headed to the park visitor center and got our 19th stamp in our passport.  While we waited the girls played in the activity center and a ranger brought out one of the office pet snakes.  Ceci quickly touched one of the snakes when he offered her to touch it but mostly looked on from a distance.

Once our campsite was ready to check into we (well really I) quickly set up camp and then we headed to the beach.

The waves were really intense at the beach so I took the girls in one at a time.  I wasn’t very comfortable with how strong the water was so we didn’t stay more than an hour or so before heading back to our campsite.

We got cleaned up by taking cold camp showers, I braided my hair and we all put on our pajamas.  It took a while to get the campfire going because originally we were going to take Sophia’s camping backpack but at the last minute had decided to take her duffel bag instead and I completely forgot to empty out some of the camp gear that was in her bag like, the fire starter, oops.  It took a bit of time but we got the fire going and since life is short we decided to eat dessert first and made up some s’mores as our dinner was cooking.

For dinner we had camp foil packs of sausage & potatoes.  Here’s a little tip: prep the food ahead of time, it makes things much easier when you’re out at the site.  Dinner was delicious and shortly after we were done it was time to settle in for the night.  We roughed it, since we had such limited space in Troy’s car we only brought the bare essentials so it took a little time to get comfy.  Ceci literally hummed herself to sleep.  I slept terribly but also well at the same time; the Eastern Screech Owl was very active that night.  At one point I felt like we needed to take our towels and bathing suits off the line so I got up and took them down; it’s a good thing I did too because a thunderstorm rolled in.  The storm wasn’t too bad; Ceci slept but Sophia woke up.  She settled back down after I reassured her it would be ok and told her to just listen to the crickets playing her a lullaby.

In the morning we got up, and I made breakfast on our new camp stove.  It’s a good thing we had that since everything was so wet from the storm it would’ve been tough to get another fire going with only two matches left and wet wood.  The girls and my mom had eggs and I had cinnamon raisin bread and coffee.  Tip: I reuse jars all the time, for the eggs I had cracked them ahead of time into a plastic sauce jar that I had cleaned out to reuse.  Side note: Thanks Skirt Sports Ambassador Retreat Sponsor, Noosa Yoghurt for outfitting my pajamas for this adventure.

After breakfast we went for a hike; there was a little connector trail off of our campsite and onto a main trail which also led to the Kids TRACK Trail.  During our hike we imagined where the fairies lived, and which part of the trail held magic.  I love their imaginations as we hike.  It’s not all glitter though because the mosquitoes were out in full force since it had stormed the night before so there was some complaining as the bug spray wore off and the bugs began to bite.   When we got back to our campsite we cleaned up and got ready to go to the beach for the day.  We checked out of our campsite and headed down to Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.

At the visitors center we got stamp 20 in our passport and talked to the park ranger about the turtle talk that would be later in the day.  The surf was still a bit rough and there was a jelly fish warning at the beach but we still had fun.  DCIM104GOPROI took the girls one at a time on the boogie board.  Ceci caught waves like crazy, Sophia hDCIM104GOPROad a blast too.  I attempted to catch a couple waves but didn’t have as much luck as the girls.  We swam, walked along the beach at the park, took pictures, and made memories.  Thankfully the only jellyfish we saw were near the rocks, where we weren’t swimming.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the beach after I spoke with a group of college kids.  I saw the lifeguard tell them to stop feeding the sea gulls, and it got so bad that he left to get one of the park rangers,  I will admit that I was that nagging old lady mom who wouldn’t stop talking to them about why you shouldn’t feed the seagulls until they finally stopped.  The older couple behind us thanked me because he had also asked them to stop before the lifeguard had and told me a story about how one time when they were having lunch on the beach a gull swooped down and stole his wife’s sub out of her hands!  People, PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE, it’s really not funny or cute to watch gulls eat cheese puffs.

After a few hours on the beach we cleaned up and went back to the visitors center for the turtle talk.  Before the talk began the lady working at the visitors center gave the girls North Carolina State Parks Junior Ranger booklets.  I had no clue that the state parks had this program as well.  The turtle talk was fabulous and even though we already knew a lot about turtles we learned things we hadn’t known before.  After the talk the Ranger told the girls what they needed to do to complete their booklets to earn their badges.  We headed out on the trail and they got to work.  After the girls finished their activities we went back to the visitors center and the Ranger reviewed their booklets.  The girls took the North Carolina State Parks Junior Ranger Pledge and earned their first badge!

It was an amazing weekend!  We learned so much and had fun too.  I hope that this is a tradition I can continue with the girls for years to come.  I feel like having just a girls weekend is something important.  I hope that it helps the girls to see that they can and are pretty badass.  My girls are part of my “why” – they’re why I do what I do, why I adventure and go outside of my comfort zone to show them that girls can do great things!  Skirt Sports was a big part of my weekend, their apparel is for more than just running, it’s truly “built for adventure” – yes I did start out my weekend with a 5K run but that shatter print hover skirt not only helped me to shatter my 5K course PR but it also went hiking and exploring and to the beach.  Have skirt, will travel…the lioness skirt took me on a magical hike through a trail where fairies must live and then it went to the beach and learned all about turtles.  I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador but these opinions are my own.  I share my discount with you; code: 207DeLi because I truly believe in the mission of this company and in the products.  It’s not just about feeling “pretty” but feeling pretty can make a deep difference in your life.  It helps me to be comfortable outside of my comfort zone.

20180819_105250

The quote on the tie-dye shirts I made for the first day of our weekend read: “Wherever you go, you meet part of your story.”  It’s a quote by Eudora Welty that I had first heard during a presentation at the Wright Brothers National Monument; it really stuck with me and became the theme for our weekend.  This Girls Weekend was part of our story, and maybe one day when my girls are grown and pregnant they’ll get a crazy itch to go camping, and I pray I’ll share continued adventures like this with them.

 

Adventures with Autism – Surfing

On Thursday, August 9, 2018 we drove from our place in the Fort Bragg area and set out on an extreme weekend adventure to the Outer Banks [aka: OBX – and it’ll be called that from here out]!  Over the next four days I had a goal of visiting at least one National Park and five North Carolina State Parks.  I had our route mapped out so that we would hit two State Parks on the way there, visit a National Park and another State Park while there and then take a different route home and hit up two other State Parks.

DAY 1 – Thursday, August 9th

We headed out a little bit later than I had originally anticipated but all in all things started out okay.  Our first stop was to Goose Creek State Parkimg_20180809_132923 I will blog more about our park adventures another day but I will let you know that when we were close to the turn around point of our hike Ceci and I saw a snake off to the side of the trail and Ceci freaked out and took off running and I ran quickly after her as well.  Sure it was a non-venomous snake but when you’re thinking you’ll see one in the wetlands and you’re back out of the wetlands and onto the main trail you freak out a bit.  I’m sure if I had a heart rate monitor on it would’ve gone through the roof.  Actually, maybe I should wear a heart rate monitor more just to see how my heart rate may spike due to various events.  Many events over the next few days of our adventure I’m sure would make my heart rate burst.  After double timing it back to the van we loaded up and headed to the next place on our map, Pettigrew State Parkimg_20180809_153953At Pettigrew we got to chit-chat for a bit with the Park Ranger and he told us that snakes were out because they had gotten rain and there were a ton of mosquitoes out as well.  As we were taking off towards the kids TRACK trail another ranger told us there was a spot to swim in the lake and not to worry because their lake doesn’t have any alligators…uuuuummmm…all I heard was the word alligator and was still thinking about snakes.  Luckily our hike was rather uneventful in terms of seeing wildlife.  We saw tons of mosquitoes and dragonflies, some spiders but nothing to make our heart rates break the monitor.  We didn’t stay to swim because we had to keep on trekking and get to our hotel in the OBX.

At first the hotel seemed super cute.  img_20180809_181457It had recently been remodeled and did have some adorable decor but the AC unit in our room was loud AF and then BAM, when all of the adults were busy, the window broke.  We still don’t know exactly how it broke but something about Mikey falling off the bed and kicking the window was the story the kids were sticking to.  img_20180809_184054Which when Sophia is also saying that’s what happens I tend to believe them, I don’t know maybe one day down the road we will hear something different but luckily Mikey didn’t have any cuts on him and no one was hurt but now we had a broken window.  They had us move rooms for the night until the window was fixed.  We decided to get out of the hotel room for a bit and went to the Bodie Island Lighthouse which was beautiful.  img_20180809_194256Then we had the most ridiculously overpriced dinner where of course ONLY my meal got completely messed up and she tried to serve me something that I am allergic to.  Side note y’all…this is on on going issue with me.  For the last 10 years I can recall way too many incidents where ONLY my food was messed up when we went out to dinner.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a 5 star restaurant or Crackdonalds…it’s usually JUST ME!

When we got back to our hotel room Tedy was absolutely WILD that night and was WIDE AWAKE!  He tends to be this way when staying some place new for the first time.  Yet I could not hang with him and ended up finally passing out for a bit.  20180810_080441Then I woke up, reached for my phone to see what time it was and didn’t see my phone right away.  Then I saw it, by Tedy, in the other bed so I grabbed it.  I tried unlock it and nothing happened.  Then I turned a light on and saw that he had somehow managed to bite the phone and destroy it.  The screen was completely damaged, and I knew in my gut that what had happened to the phone wouldn’t be covered under our phone insurance policy.  I woke Troy up.  I was so pissed.  There were many curse laced tears.  I was so exhausted and a mixed bag of emotions.

DAY 2 – Friday, August 10th

So here I am without a phone but luckily we had brought Sophia’s phone so I had a back up.  Yet then I managed to lock myself out of all of my accounts; Facebook, Instagram, gmail, everything.  I have Sophia’s phone set so secure, I couldn’t do a thing!  I ended up messaging my friend who was watching the dogs through Troy’s Facebook Messenger app on his phone.  I’m glad she accepted the request and am super thankful that her taking care of the pups was one thing I didn’t have to worry about that weekend.

On Friday we made our way out to Jockey’s Ridge State Park to check another park off our quest.  I’m not going to go into too much detail about the hike on this post because like I said, I’m saving it for a separate State Parks Adventures post buuuut…I will say that I think it was hands down one of the most difficult hikes we have done to date.  20180810_101805The trail was ALL SAND and it was HOT and we almost ran out of water and we almost had to have the rangers called out to come get my mom off the trail.  Even though the hike was only 1.5 miles the Garmin data does not do how difficult that hike was any justice at all.  Yet I also really enjoyed the hike.  Looking back, the times I was most at peace during this trip was when I was outside in nature, even though it could get spurts of heart rate monitor bursting crazy difficult.

After our park trip we had to move our stuff out of the room we had been moved to but our old room wasn’t ready to move back into.  *insert eye roll here* So we headed out to the beach for a couple of hours.  It was so relaxing to be at the beach.  My soul longs for the ocean.

When we got back to our hotel room to clean up for dinner not only did I not get a warm shower, the water ran out completely!  My hair was lathered in conditioner [first world problems yea yea, I know, I know but when you’re paying a pretty decent amount of money for where you’re staying, you expect a bit better and honestly at this point I would’ve rather been camping] so I combed it out and put my hair in braids.

Friday evening we went to the Surfing for Autism meet and greet dinner.  Dinner was a decent catered BBQ meal with some yummy key lime pie desserts.  We were THAT family and wore the matching bright green t-shirts that I had made for the event.  I’m glad we all had the same shirt on because when my mom took the girls to go to the sibling fishing event on the pier it made them easier to find when we were done with the surf board portion for Tedy.  Plus we received compliments on the shirts and when you do what I do as a side business it’s nice to get recognized for a design you worked hard on.  The girls had fun fishing and I totally missed out that they each caught a fish but Nana got a few pictures so we could see.

We walked back to our hotel and BAM Mikey fell and got a nice goose egg on his forehead!  20180810_195239We double timed it the rest of the way back to the hotel and moved back into our room.  This move wasn’t as bad because at least our stuff was all in Nana & Sophia’s room, which was a connected room.  Yet I was absolutely paranoid that something else horrible was going to happen and break.  Oh an the AC that they “claimed” to have fixed was still loud AF!  So loud that all night we went back and forth between being ridiculously hot because we turned it off to being awake because it was so damn loud!  I don’t wear my Garmin while I sleep because I hate seeing the sleep data and how terrible of a sleeper I already am and during this weekend my sleep was even worse.

DAY 3 – Saturday, August 11th

This was the big day, the day of the main event, the whole reason why we went to the OBX for the weekend, Surfing for Autism.  Tedy got to go surfing!  Tedy is not a patient boy when he’s around the water.  We got to the beach in plenty of time and let the kids swim for about an hour before we had to get out and sign him in for his surfing heat.  Tedy was not happy about having to get out of the water and I was a bit nervous while we waited for his heat to begin that he would have difficulty transitioning into the event.  When it was Tedy’s turn, he screamed and fussed a bit but once his assistant came over and once he met his surfer, he didn’t stop to help carry the board and get introduced to the board he darted off into the water and Troy darted off after him and then the volunteers followed.  Tedy quickly got going and next thing you know, he was riding the waves.  For an hour Tedy was “talkative” [in his own language because he is technically on the non-verbal end of the spectrum and has extremely limited functional language skills] and all smiles.  Even when he would wipe out Tedy would look for his board, grab on and happily head back out to await the next wave.  Troy stayed in the water with Tedy to assist the volunteers.  The rest of us stayed on the beach and watched him surf wave after wave after wave.  I went in once to get some pictures and videos but Audie wasn’t happy that mama left him so I didn’t stay in too long.  For me, every horrible moment was worth it to see that beaming smile on Tedy’s face as he surfed!  After Tedy was done surfing we had bagged lunch, which was provided by the event, and swam for a little bit longer.

DCIM104GOPRO

I can’t speak highly enough of how amazingly awesome – totally rad dude – the Surfing for Autism event was.  Every single volunteer we encountered was FABULOUS – all of the surfers, other families, it was so great!

After the main event as we started to head back to the hotel I thought about the GoPro camera and Troy couldn’t find it.  I walked all over and asked so many people about the camera and we couldn’t find it at all.  My mom had already went back to the hotel but Troy and I didn’t have a phone on us so we couldn’t call her to see if she had it.  I cried the entire walk back, I had over 600 pictures on that camera and was sure that it was lost.  Thankfully the camera had been in my Mom’s bag the whole time, so we got cleaned up for our next adventure, Cape Hatteras National Seashore & the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Of course again I didn’t get a hot shower but at least the water didn’t completely run out on me this time.  I took a quick shower and gave up on my hair ever getting clean for the weekend so I put it back into braids.  The drive down the National Seashore and to the Lighthouse was beautiful.  We only had about half an hour at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse until they closed but it was juuuust enough time for the girls to get their Junior Ranger booklets from the National Parks Ranger.  They were able to talk with the Ranger about rip currents [which we had experienced that afternoon, when swimming after lunch, and Sophia probably doesn’t realize that I made her swim out of one at one point] visit the museum and start on their booklets.  We also picked up a National Parks Junior Passport guide so that we can collect stamps of all the National Parks we visit.  Ceci wants to go to all 400 of them and collect all of the Junior Ranger badges!  I told her we would do our best to visit as many as possible.  The girls didn’t earn their Junior Ranger badges that evening but were given instructions on how to complete their tasks and told that they could finish everything at the Bodie Island Lighthouse [which was significantly closer to our hotel since we were staying in Nags Head].

We hung out at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for a bit after the park buildings closed so that the girls could work on their booklets but once the thunder started to roll in we took off back to the hotel.  On our way back we stopped at Nags Head Pizza and ordered dinner.

DAY 4 – Sunday, August 12th

What had initially been planned as a more relaxing drive home day of course turned into a grand adventure and more was added to our itinerary at the last moment.  Since the girls hadn’t finished their Junior Ranger Badge for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 20180812_075802after a feast of some Duck Donuts [because Sunday is Donut Day] we went back to Bodie Island Lighthouse as soon as they opened up at 9 AM.  The girls quickly found a National Park Ranger and presented their booklets to him.  He quizzed them on how to get out of a rip tide [y’all, I love this, as a former Aquatics Director, I absolutely LOVE how much attention every single parks staff both National and State gave to educating people about rip currents – it’s a big issue in the OBX and sadly kids have died but you can tell the Rangers are truly working hard to drive home how to get out of a rip tide safely] and he thoroughly reviewed their activities, engaging with them the whole time.  They really make them work for those Junior Ranger badges.  The girls were sworn in as Cape Hatteras National Seashore Junior Rangers and we took off to our next stop; Wright Brothers National Monument.

We arrived at the Wright Brothers National Monument just before 10 AM and the girls immediately found a National Park Ranger so that they could get their activity booklet and begin working on their next badge.  We got there in the nick of time for a Ranger presentation to begin.  I’ll go into more detail another day but y’all it was absolutely fascinating and if you’re ever in OBX I highly recommend visiting and staying to listen to a Ranger presentation.  A couple hours later the girls earned their second badge [like I said, they really make them work for these badges] and the Ranger here added a little bit to their pledge about honoring their mother – haha.

Just after noon we took off again and grabbed some lunch at Wendy’s.  Of course we didn’t get our entire meal but this time it was shockingly NOT my food that was messed up but my Mom didn’t get her drink.  As we drove to our next destination, Dismal Swamp State Park, the clouds rolled in and it stormed for the last chunk of the drive.  Luckily the clouds cleared up shortly after arriving at Dismal Swamp so we were able to get in our Kids Track Trail there.  20180812_1420020

Our final stop was Merchants Mill Pond State Park.  Again, I’ll highlight these in another post some day but wanted to say how cool it was that the land for this State Park was donated by a real estate developer because he really enjoyed canoeing there and was afraid it would be bought and used for development where people wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beauty of that area so he bought the land and in turn donated it to the State of North Carolina for it to be turned into a Park for ALL to enjoy.  20180812_155227

We had Cracker Barrel for dinner and no one’s meal was messed up.  Thanks Cracker Barrel.  We made it home really late and the dogs were happy to see us but we are so thankful they were well cared for over the weekend.

The trip was absolutely insane, chock full of madness and fun.  Yet again, all of the bad crap that happened was completely worth it to see the sparkle in my kiddos eyes and hear that they had the “best day ever” every day.  5 State Parks & 3 National Parks & ALL the JUMP pics 🙂 4 days

 

 

 

Unicorn

img_20180723_131648

A unicorn by the simplest definition is a mythical creature typically represented as a horse or goat with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead. In the fashion world a unicorn is what you call a print that you would love to have but is so difficult to get because it is nearly impossible to capture a unicorn in mythology/real life. Today is the final day of 31 Days of Skirt Sports and the theme is UNICORN!

I have a six-year-old little girl, unicorns are talked about almost daily in our house. They’re all that’s glittery and rainbows. The wisdom of my six-year-old, Cecilia, is that unicorns truly do exist. She once told me that most white horses are unicorns but not everyone can see them because not everyone believes in magic. Some days I’m fairly certain this rainbow baby of mine is part fairy. Her imagination is so vivid that it makes me ponder deeper thoughts.

Do you believe in magic? Do you believe in the mythical world that is intertwined with ours? I do. This isn’t just God, this is something else but I do think the Divine is at work with it. I do think that we live in a bright, beautiful world but that there is much darkness at play in it and our eyes can be easily clouded to the wonders around us.

What’s the unicorn in your life? As in, what do you chase? What rainbow do you follow until you reach the end and see the gorgeous mythical being there? It has to be something difficult because unicorns are seemingly impossible to catch.

For me it is my continuous pursuits with athletics. I am chasing all of the glitter and rainbows and excitement – I am chasing the beauty in the difficult. I am chasing that next accomplishment, the next finish line to celebrate with all of the amazing people placed in my life. Your unicorn doesn’t have to be a PR or the unicorn medal (aka Boston Marathon) it can be as simple as getting up on a day when you’re plum exhausted and don’t want to go for a run. It can be as simple as getting out there and trying a workout you haven’t before. It can volunteering for an event. It can be putting yourself out there and applying to be an ambassador for a company or a race. Dream – chase your unicorns. Enjoy the pursuit. Remember it’s not going to be easy but it’ll be worth it. Believe in the magic within.

liz jump

The Sisterhood

Today is day 30 of the 31 Days of Skirt Sports and the theme is Skirt Sister Love. This post has been in the making for a while and is true Rambling Mom fashion and goes a bit all over the place so hang in with me and hopefully you’ll get something from it. It’s just so tough to capture what the Skirt Sports Sisterhood has meant to me because it’s such an overwhelming power of awesomeness.

The Sisterhood…

I’ve often been asked How did you (in a not so nice tone) get to be an ambassador?! It stings a bit when the question is asked in this way because Skirt Sports has encouraged me so much over the last few years and I wonder now well, why not me?! Sure I’m not the fastest but is that what really matters?

Back in June I had the fabulous opportunity of meeting other Skirt Sports Ambassadors at the annual ambassador retreat in [Boulder] Colorado.

Here’s what I love about this company, they promote #REALwomenmove but what does that mean? It means that when you go to www.skirtsports.com you’ll see REAL women across the page “modeling” their gear. It means that at the retreat I met all types of women. All ages, shapes, sizes, races, paces, etc..

I met:

Mom’s, Grandma’s, doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, professional athletes, recovering addicts, ultra runners, 5kers, yoga instructors, women who lift…

I met women from all over the country. Women from every religious and political background…

REAL WOMEN!

All united by one thing, our love of a clothing company.

It’s truly so much more than clothes. It’s a community who continually support each other [mostly virtually] but also in real life. A sisterhood. I know I have places to stay and people to meet up with no matter where the Army takes us.

At the retreat I won an award for the core value of “relationships” I was honored to have received it. You see, I actually suffer from social anxiety. Yes, out going Liz DeLise on the inside says a million Hail Marys a day to help me get through my anxiety. I hate being dropped off even at a restaurant without someone going in with me. Going to an event where I may not know anyone makes me feel like throwing up. I say the Hail Mary’s over and over (in my head) and then force myself to talk. I force myself to meet people because it’s what I’ve had to do all my life as an Army Brat and now Army Wife. I know I feel shitty when no one says hi to me so I don’t want to be the one to make another person feel that way.

Meeting people is a gift I’m blessed with truly because it makes me so anxious yet I’m fairly good at it. At the Skirt Sports Ambassador Retreat I got to meet people. I got to hear other women’s stories that started off: “I read you post…I have a grandson with autism…I work with children on the spectrum…” In a world where women are so often nasty to each other it is so nice to be in a community where women fix each other’s crowns instead.

To my sisterhood… I LOVE Y’ALL & THANK YOU!!!

Pick a Peck of Peaches…

This past Saturday we had our first peach picking experience at Millstone Creek Orchard. It was a super cute orchard that has various fruits and vegetables and picking seasons throughout the spring/summer/fall. We met up with my friend Carly and her family and enjoyed an afternoon on the orchard. Ticket prices were just $3 ($5 if you paid on site but we bought tickets online ahead of time. Kids 2& under are free) and included a play area for the kids, a hay ride up to the peach orchard & equipment to pick peaches.

Our family ended up picking just over peck of peaches. A peck is about 11lbs. The price of peaches varies but we paid about $16. Not too shabby!

Ok so now what the heck do we do with all of these peaches?!?! Have I mentioned I don’t have a working oven right now?! I do however have an instapot and one easy peasy thing to make in an instapot is a dumpcake or cobbler (whatever you want to call it). I showed the how to for this recipe on my Instagram stories and it was Monday comical because I realized I no longer had the correct baking dish to make this daggum cake so I went out to get one and since I live in the middle of forking nowhere North Carolina it took 3rd times a charm luck to find it!

Don’t make the same mistake I did haha gather ALL your supplies before you start.

You’ll need:

  • 6 qt instapot (+the little trivet/steamer thingie that comes with the pot)
  • 1.5 qt Corning Ware round
  • Box of white cake mix
  • Stick of butter (melted)
  • Peaches (enough to mostly fill the baking dish which is about 6-8ish) peeled & sliced

It’s a pretty easy peasy dish to make.

  1. Make sure you’ve washed your peaches well (especially if fresh picked) then peel them and slice them into chunks
  2. Place your peaches into the baking dish
  3. In a bowl combine the white cake mix & butter. You want to cut the butter into the cake mix like you were making biscuits or scones. Your cake mix & butter should be chunky
  4. Dump cake mix on top of the peaches
  5. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of your instapot
  6. Put your baking dish onto the instapot trivet and slowly lower it into the instapot
  7. Cover the dish with some aluminum foil (be careful the foil needs to be over the dish but not interfere with the sealing of the instapot. The purpose of the foil is to keep the cake from getting dripped on by the steam when cooking)
  8. Seal the instapot and set to manual cook for 10 minutes
  9. When cooking time is done let instapot naturally release for 10 minuets
  10. Carefully remove lid from instapot and carefully lift up the trivet with baking dish on it
  11. ENJOY!!! best served with some vanilla ice cream