Minutes from Disneyland, Miles of Memories! Country Inns and Suites + A Giveaway

January 6th, 2017 29 Comments

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If I could change one thing about our last visit to Disneyland, it would be transportation to and from where we were staying.

Don’t get me wrong, the shuttle systems get you where you need to go and the buses run smoothly… but for me??

I am always way to excited to wait for someone else to pick us up and get us to the gates. I like to hurry to get to where the fun is.

That’s what’s so great about Country Inn and Suites new Anaheim location!

It’s walking distance to Disneyland’s main entrance! Who could ask for better transportation than your own two feet?!? It’s just a 10 minute walk away!

Ten minutes is nothing when you are trying to get to something as special as a hug from Chewbacca.

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Especially if you are like me and are always in competition with someone in your family for most steps of the day. ūüėČ One day I will beat my Uncle Jim in daily steps… one day! lol

Country Inn and Suites in Anaheim has so much more to offer than a great location.

Here are a few things that my family finds important during our time away from the crowds of Disney:

  1. Complimentary Breakfast. When you’re in a hurry to get to the fun, not having to worry about where you will feed your over-excited gaggle of little ones the most important meal of the day is essential.Breakfast_Room_650x370
  2. An outdoor pool area. After a long day of walking through the park, it feels great to relax by the pool while the kiddos go for a swim.
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  3. Onsite Laundry Services. I don’t know about you all, but when we leave the house, dirt and stains are bound to happen. Especially if the kiddos are wearing something that I want to keep clean, like their new Disneyland T-Shirts. Who has time to look for a laundry mat? Having one on site will save a lot of moms from meltdowns.¬†
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They also offer amenities such as 174 spacious and brand new rooms, a bar, a 24 hour on, and views of Disneyland’s fireworks display. Could you really ask for a better place to stay? I don’t think so!

Now on to the BEST PART!

Are you planning a trip?
Have you booked your hotel yet?
I hope not, because here is your chance to win a free night at any Country Inn and Suites.

To Enter:
1. Visit the website for Country Inn and Suites HERE.
2. Leave a comment below and tell me what is your favorite feature of the new hotel.

Want Additional Entries:
1. Follow me on my social media channels: Facebook * Instagram * Twitter
2. Leave a separate comment below for each social channel and tell us that you are following.

Good luck to all! Have a blast if you’re planning a trip to Disney! Say HI to Mickey Mouse for me!

This giveaway will run through January 31, 2017. There are no substitutions or cash value for prizes. A winner will be chosen from all valid comment entries at that time and contacted via email. The winner will be mailed a voucher.

2016 – A Year in Review

January 2nd, 2017 8 Comments

It’s been quite a year here for our family. A lot of ups and downs. Some good times and bad times. All through the year we have learned, loved, cried, and rejoiced.
Here is a little bit of our year in pictures:

January

January

  1. Most of the month was blisteringly cold, but gave us beautiful views from our porch.
  2. I finally broke down and got myself a pair of waterproof boots, much needed during the melt off.
  3. Zoie was informed that 2016 would be The Year of No McDonalds… she wasn’t happy… it didn’t last…
  4. Ziva’s last picture with four legs, just a few days after this we had to have her back leg removed.
  5. Zoie and Tyler celebrating a friend’s birthday. I hope they will be forever friends.
  6. My sister and Zoie on a coffee date.
  7. Zach and I finally got away for a date night… it wasn’t weird at all…
  8. One of my many morning with the gym all to myself.
  9. We celebrated my Grandpa’s 75the birthday. Happy Birthday Grandpa!

February

February

  1. We got the trailer out early this year and spent a long weekend in Bend OR.
  2. During our time there we spent a lot of time walking around the river and spending our time outside.
  3. We also visited a lot of breweries; our favorite of which was the Deschutes Brewery.
  4. The first week of the month we took Zoie and Ariana and headed to Florida for a cruise.
  5. During our cruise we were able to visit the Atlantis Resort, something I’ve always wanted to see.
  6. It was wonderful getting away from the cold Pacific Northwest and being in the warm sun.
  7. During our meal planning this month we made sure our food was not only delicious, but colorful.
  8. I spent a lot of cold days in the house working on my braid game… the cold makes one very bored.
  9. The sun finally came out at the end of the month and Zoie couldn’t wait to get back out to enjoy it.

March

March

  1. Celebrating my Grandma’s 80th birthday!
  2. Attended Zoie’s first hockey game! Go Chiefs Go!!
  3. Spent all the time we could with Maci.
  4. Attended three WAHSET meets in Moses Lake with Cousin Kailey.
  5. Zoie made a new friend in Winnie, the dressage horse.
  6. Zoie and Mack. She loves animals and they always became quick friends.
  7. Zoie finally grew enough hair for a little french braid, not sure if she was more excited or if I was.
  8. Learning the fundamentals and safety of shooting.
  9. Met the beginning of Spring with a visit to the feed store to say hi to the baby chicks.

April

April

  1. Zoie finally met her cousin Olivia, we spent some time visiting the animals at Grandma’s farm.
  2. Our Godsons, Ethan and Owen, were able to visit for Spring Break.
  3. Helping take care of Mack at the final WAHET meet of the year.
  4. Zoie and I went to work with dad a few days.
  5. Spent lots of time hiking. This was in the Spokane Valley.
  6. Maci reminded me that 90’s fashion was returning.
  7. We had a glow party in our shop for Maci’s 10th birthday.
  8. Made Cotton Candy cupcakes for Zoie’s last day of school.
  9. Zoie, Tyler, and Summer on Zoie’s last day of preschool.

May

May

  1. A going away party for Ari as she prepared to leave for the Navy.
  2. Zoie started up her riding lessons for the year.
  3. I finally got my hair done… for the first time in almost a year.
  4. I had a small addiction to making pineapple mojitos with fresh mind from my garden.
  5. Ari, Zoie, and I ran a 12K race in Spokane, Bloomsday.
  6. Our last pic with Ari the day before we left to drop her at bootcamp.
  7. Ari left for bootcamp. She was on her way to great things.
  8. We decided that a quick trip to Seattle was just what we needed after an emotional month.
  9. Zoie left her mark on the famous gum wall of Seattle.

June

June

  1. I followed through on my threat of making Zoie get out and walk if she didn’t stop whining…
  2. Spent a whole week with the cousins.
  3. Went on LOTS of bike rides.
  4. Happy Fathers Day Daddy!!
  5. The Peter Iredale Wreckage on the Oregon Coast.
  6. Sitting in the field that overlooks Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach Oregon.
  7. Bonfires and driving on the beach.
  8. Real Camping and campfire goodies.
  9. We belong near the sea.

July

July

  1. We chased bubbles at parades.
  2. We spent a lot of time laying around in hammocks.
  3. Fourth of July spent at the river.
  4. Ari and I got matching tattoos.
  5. Zoie was very proud of how many vegetables she was getting out of her garden.
  6. Maci came to visit from Oregon so we spoiled her the entire time.
  7. I drank a lot of margaritas.
  8. We spent every extra hour on the late.
  9. Zoie summoned up the bravery to jump off the boat with daddy.

August

August

  1. We were proud to support my friend, Nay from Coffee and Ink fight her battle against leukemia.
  2. Zoie helped me blow out the candles as I rang in my 36th year.
  3. We got to see Maci one last time before she headed back to Oregon for school to start.
  4. Zoie became obsessed with homemade pizza.
  5. We had an overabundance of tomatoes from our garden.
  6. Zoie won Grand Champion in her Lead Line class at the Klickitat County Fair.
  7. We have a small obsession with hats in our house…
  8. Daddy was feeling a little left out at the rodeo grounds.
  9. Another perfect check up at the dentist… is it weird that Zoie really likes the dentist?

September

September

  1. Blowing out the last of the dandelion seeds at the river.
  2. Zoie and her best friend, Tyler, rode sheep at the Spokane County Fair.
  3. Zach and I got about 5 min alone at the fair to snap a pic.
  4. Zoie had her first emergency room visit and her first broken bone.
  5. She picked out the best color they had for her cast.
  6. Got in lots of walks in the mornings before school started.
  7. Papa is the best golf instructor.
  8. Zach struggled with turning 48 but Zoie helped him blow out his candles in a super way.
  9. Cousin Kailey took us on a beautiful horseback ride in the country.

October

October

  1. We stayed at an Oregon beach house with family for a whole week. It was an amazing time.
  2. We hiked around some beautiful waterfalls in California with two of my favorite people.
  3. Zoie got her cast off in San Luis Obispo, CA.
  4. I decided one day to just chop all my hair off.
  5. We spent a few days doing the disney thing.
  6. We had lunch in San Diego with some boys that I used to babysit… the last 17 years has flown by.
  7. We visited Mexico for an afternoon of shopping.
  8. We spent a couple of nights in Yuma with Zach’s Aunt and Uncle.
  9. Zoie made the CUTEST Supergirl ever for Halloween. And we got to trick or treat in flip flops.

November

November

  1. I got to go golfing with my dad for the first time in 18 years.
  2. We celebrated Zoie’s 5th birthday at the pool at my parents house.
  3. We received the cutest gender reveal from my brother and his girlfriend. It’s a Boy!!
  4. We went on a cruise and didn’t tell anybody… #cabo
  5. Zoie made the cutest little tiger on the ship.
  6. I did something I swore I would never do and took Zoie to Las Vegas. She loved the fountains.
  7. Zoie saw her first Cirque du Soleil Show and LOVED it!
  8. We got to see our besties in Utah.
  9. It was a huge bummer heading home knowing it was freezing there.

December

December

  1. Mmmm Spiked Hot Chocolates for the the WIN!
  2. Ryleigh turned 17!
  3. Santa was in complete shock when Zoie told him that she wanted an accordion for Christmas.
  4. Making Gingerbread Houses.
  5. It’s been snowing here all month long… All. Month. Long. SO MUCH SNOW!!
  6. My parents celebrated Christmas with us a week early.
  7. Zoie and her new drum set on Christmas
  8. Spent Christmas day with my Grandma.
  9. Rang in the New Year at the neighbors bonfire… before I was out cold at 10:30.

See… A VERY BUSY YEAR! It’s been a blast, but it’s time now to put it to bed.

Cheers to 2017!

Cheers to more travel, more love, more time with friends and family!

Cheers to you!

Happy New Year!!

Fall Accessories + A JORD Wood Watch Review and Giveaway

October 2nd, 2016 0 Comments

When it comes to fall, I can honestly say that it is my absolute favorite season.

I love the clothes.
I love the apples.
I love pumpkin spice everything, bonfires, sweatshirts, and boots with jeans.

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Jeans (Similar) | Striped Shirt | Scarf | Boots (Similar) | Bracelets | Necklace | Watch

But the thing I love the most about fall is the accessories.
After a long hot summer, I finally get to pull out my scarves, hats, boots, and this year… I got a gorgeous new watch. Not just any watch, a JORD Wood Watch.¬†

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Friends, this is a cool watch.
It’s beautifully designed with you in mind, each watch being¬†handcrafted of wood made from sustainably harvested trees. It is beautiful, functional, and lightweight. I couldn’t believe how lightweight it was when it arrived. I was very pleasantly surprised.

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The watch I chose, from the Fieldcrest Series is made from Zebrawood and Maple. This is a hardgrain wood that is sustainably-harvested from West Africa. While the face of the watch, made from Maple, comes from the Northeastern part of North America. It matches all of my favorite fall outfits perfectly.
The best part? It has scratch proof glass face! Seriously friends, it doesn’t get better than that.
Especially with kids hanging off you all day… things tend to get scratched.

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 Right now, because I love you, and because JORD is amazing;
I am teaming up with JORD and giving you a chance to win a $75 e-voucher towards the purchase of your watch. Go HERE to enter. When you do, in just one easy step you will automatically receive a $20 e-voucher toward the purchase of the watch of your choice. The contest ends Sunday, October 30, so don’t delay!

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To sum it up, I am in LOVE with this watch.
I’ve already ordered another one.

And don’t forget… Christmas is only 2 months away!
Get this on your gift list or on the list for those you love.
Trust me, they will love them too!

This post was sponsored by JORD 
Luxury Wood Watch
As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

The Day of the Broken Arm

September 14th, 2016 1 Comment

 

It started out as any normal Sunday.

A lazy morning drinking coffee while Zach played Legos on the floor with Zoie.

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A quick trip to the grocery store to grab some goodies for the Seahawks game.

Some selfies to show our team spirit!

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Then the game began! For the first time in months we got a chance to use our theater room. Excited for the first Seahawks game of the season, we grabbed some yummy snacks and settled in for the afternoon. Little did we know… that the afternoon would take a terribly different turn.

About an hour into the game, Zoie of course became bored just sitting and watching football… to be honest, I’m surprised she lasted as long as she did. She was in front of us playing on the bean bag chairs, or what she calls, billy balls.

It was then she got the idea to get her stool (the one she uses to reach the sink in the bathroom) and jump from the stool to the bean bag chair. We didn’t think anything of it. It was barely a foot off the ground… what could go wrong?

Well, something did go wrong. It was the simplest little thing.
She stepped up onto the stool with one foot and as she lifted the second foot to step fully onto the stool, it flipped backwards out from under her and she crashed forward… catching her full weight with her left arm.

It was awful. It all happened so fast. She went down and when she came back up her face was white as a sheet. We knew immediately that something wasn’t right. I jumped up and pulled her into my arms. She was wailing and holding her arm. One look at it and I knew it was broken. There weren’t any protruding bones, but down by her wrist there was a significant bend where there shouldn’t have been.

Within minutes I had ice on her arm and she was strapped into her carseat on the way to the emergency room. The drive there (25 minutes) took longer than our wait once we arrived. Our nurse was wonderful, so kind and so very gentle with Zoie.

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They sent us to get an x-ray right away and the results were instant. There it was… her poor little bone was bent. Right above her wrist.

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We were taken to a room and there we waited for the doctor to confirm. The doctor came and told us that it was most definitely broken. There was nothing that they could do at the time. They put her in a splint and sent us on our way, telling us to go to the Shriners Children’s Hospital Fracture Clinic the following morning.

With a pain med prescription in hand, we went home for the night. Our little trooper did really well. She was in a little pain but the meds seemed to help. She was so strong and brave, never complaining and wanting to share with everyone what had happened.

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On Monday morning we were first in line at the Fracture Clinic. They were wonderful. Explained that her radius had a greenstick fracture which is why it was bent and not fully broken in pieces. This is because she is so young and her bones are still soft; a blessing. The ulna is also displaced and has a small fracture in it. With diagnosis in hand, they were confident that surgery to repair the displacement was not needed (again due to her age) and that simply a cast for several weeks should do the trick.

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She chose a pink sparkly cast. No surprise there.

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So now we are home again and learning to deal with life a little differently.
Some things are harder for Zoie again, like getting dressed and buckling her car seat, things she’s been proudly doing on her own for some time.

It will be an adjustment for sure. But she is the strongest little person that I know. She’s already spent some time in the garage trying to figure out how to bike and scooter with a bent arm that doesn’t reach one handle.

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This isn’t going to slow her down one bit.

Fair Night

September 12th, 2016 0 Comments

What a night!

The fair is in town and Friday night we took it full advantage of all it had to offer.

Zoie has been missing her friend, Tyler. With the busy we’ve all been feeling this summer, we haven’t seen Tyler and his family as much as we’d like. We thought going to the fair was the perfect opportunity to get the kids together for a fun night.

Zoie and Tyler

We started out the evening at the petting zoo where the kids spent some time feeding the goats and sheep.

Feeding Goats

After feeding the animals, the kiddos fueled up with a cheeseburger and got themselves pumped and ready for Mutton Bustin’.

For those of you that don’t know what Mutton Bustin is… well, it’s when kiddos ride sheep. They get set up with a helmet and chest protector then ¬†climb on the back of a sheep and hold on tight for as long as they can. Six seconds is the goal, but as you’ll see, it isn’t easy, but it’s great training for their future rodeo careers.

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Getting Ready

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Zoie and Tyler were ready!

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Zoie’s Turn.

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Tyler’s Turn.

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The kids did awesome! They were so brave and Zoie was the littlest one out there at 33 pounds.

It was a success! They both came out without a scratch and it was so fun watching them be so brave.

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After the Mutton Bustin we grabbed some sweet treats and headed off to the rodeo where the Fair Princesses held the full attention of our future rodeo queen, Zoie, and the bronk riders and cattle wrestlers were the stars of the show.

Of course, we couldn’t leave the fair without playing a game or two and going on a few rides.

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Zoie loves the fast rides and rollercoasters… Tyler, not so much.

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These cool cars were more Tyler’s speed… I feel like I’m looking into their future here. lol

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So Strong!

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Big Winners!

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We can’t wait to go back again next year!
Although, I didn’t get a corn dog so we may have to head back before it ends this weekend.

Visiting Seattle

June 16th, 2016 2 Comments

A couple weeks ago we decided that the three of us needed a little break from life. So we escaped to Seattle for the weekend.

Only a four hour drive from our house… we loaded up the trailer on Thursday afternoon and hit the road.

It was exactly what we needed.

We went up the Space Needle.

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We spent some time at the Seattle Aquarium.

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We rode the Giant Wheel.

The Big Wheel

We walked through Pike Place Market where of course we stopped to see the fish throwers.

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We even let Zoie put her mark on the Famous Seattle Gum Wall.

Gum Wall

All in all we had a wonderful time together. It was exactly what we needed to unwind from the crazy and sad that we were feeling the previous week.
We had a great time showing Zoie all the fun things there are to see in our great state of Washington.

Can’t wait for our next adventure!

Dropping off Our Navy Girl

May 20th, 2016 5 Comments

Now that we’ve survived the last several days after dropping her off… even though there were a few times there when we thought we wouldn’t… I am ready to share everything about Ari’s drop off for boot camp.

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We are beyond proud of our oldest daughter, Ariana, and her choice to join the United States Navy. Though it is something we’ve been speaking to her about for several years, we had thought the possibility was no longer an option for her. Then one day back in December, we got the call. For her, the time was right. She no longer wanted to see herself stuck in a place where she was given very few options to better her future.

She wanted a better life and she took the first steps to doing so. All on her own. The decision was hers and she made it without any persuasion. Within the next week she was all signed up, tested in, and had made her choice of future profession as a future Air Crewman with the United States Navy. A very ambitious choice, but I know this girl, and she is capable of anything.

The last five months have flown by, and last Sunday the time finally came for us to hit the road, head to meet her recruiter, and drop her off at MEPS. Thats the Military Entrance Processing Station. Who knew there was such a place? Not me. We’re learning so much!

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After spending Monday saying her goodbyes and spending her last hours with family, Tuesday morning had finally arrived. Our last day (insert about to cry face here). We met Ariana at the MEPS office to watch her final swearing in. It was a bittersweet event. Very short and to the point. Seriously though… we couldn’t be any more proud!

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Later that morning, we met Ari at the airport. For our final goodbye.

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This has been really hard on our family. I never thought I would feel so… sad… I really miss her. It’s strange not having her around the house. The basement has been really quiet, Zoie asks for her all day long, and at least once an hour we ask each other, “What do you think Ari’s doing right now?”

Like right now… What do you think Ari’s doing right now? As you read this? Our usual guesses are sleeping, eating, or getting yelled at. lol

That drop off was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. Zach and I have been through a lot in the last thirteen years. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs as no ones life is perfect. But there is only one other time in all those years that I have seen my husband cry, and that was the day that his dad passed away. To see him cry after dropping off his baby girl at the airport was… unexplainable.

The love he has for his kids is an amazing thing, to let one of them fly from the nest, to let her go and do something so big and selfless was not something he could have prepared himself for.

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I think the hardest part of letting her go is the lack of communication. We’ve gone from seeing her every day and speaking to her all day long, to nothing. Just nothing. I am constantly wondering what she is doing. How she is doing. How she is feeling. I know she can do this. I know she is more than capable. She can do anything she sets her mind to. She is so strong! She is beyond brave! It’s the not knowing exactly where she is and what she is doing that is so hard. All day long I want to send her encouragement, but we can’t. So we send all of our positive vibes her way. I sure hope she can feel them.

Then we count down the days til graduation…

Do me a favor? Send some positive vibes and encouragement to her for me?

A Message to the Selfish

May 19th, 2016 4 Comments

I want to tell you a few things about me. I tend to have strong morals and opinions on certain things that affect me, my family, and those that I love. I have a big heart and there is room for a lot of love in it. I no longer have room in my heart or my life for haters, narcissists, and selfish bitches.

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I more often than not get myself into trouble and alienate people for speaking my mind or my opinions. The selfish and the narcissists tend to not like the opinions of others. They don’t like that which they cannot control. ¬†In my short time in this life, I’ve found that there are a lot of people don’t like when others think differently than they do. Does that mean that I shouldn’t be allowed to share my thoughts? Hell no! I am who I am and they are my thoughts and feelings. If you don’t share them I am not going to berate you for it… so why do so many feel it is ok to do that to me?

Why should I have to swallow my hurt feelings for the fear that if by telling someone they will ‘unfriend’ me if they don’t agree? I don’t think I should. If wouldn’t expect differently from anyone else. If I hurt someone’s feelings, I would like to know about it. If we have a differing opinion, lets agree to disagree and move on to another subject. I’m not going to be treated badly for not believing the same or for not having the exact thoughts as others.

That doesn’t even include the nasty people that are in your life solely for the benefit of themselves. I don’t need people in my life that are here only to obtain something from me, whether that be things done for them or even things purchased for them. I have a giving heart and am more than happy to do things for people that appreciate it. True friends aren’t here for things, they are here for love and friendship and I welcome you with open arms.

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So this is to all the haters out there. The ones that think it’s okay to make people feel bad for thinking differently than you.¬†F-You!
I am in control of my life, my feelings, and my heart. You want in that, then don’t be an ass hole. I will no longer allow you to dictate my feelings. I will no longer allow you to come into my life and my heart only because it benefits you in some way. I don’t need that kind of drama in my life. If you are here only because you want something from me and plan to cut and run as soon as you get what you need? Stay away, you are not welcome.

It is up to me to decide whether or not to allow people into my life and my heart, and the toxic haters are no longer welcome. I am living my life for me, for my happiness. If it is true friendship or love that you want, please come on over. If you have an agenda, then stay the F away. I don’t need you. You can keep your fake smiles and false promises and stick them where the sun doesn’t shine.

I am done being controlled by the selfish wants and needs of others.

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I am ready to be me and not be ashamed of it. I am ready to keep my heart whole. I am ready to only let in the good. The rest is no longer welcome.

Take Me Hiking ~ Dishman Hills Natural Area

April 27th, 2016 0 Comments

We have had some incredibly warm weather here the last couple weeks.
Like, record breaking warm. It’s insane! And we la-la-LOVE it!

We have been enjoying every ounce of the unusual sunshine and spending as much time as we can in the great outdoors. Normally this takes us to our front yard to play soccer or baseball with Zoie in the evenings, but the other day, we found some time… during the day (which never happens)… to sneak out to the valley and find a place to hike.

There aren’t a lot of days that give us a few free hours before 5pm, let alone more than one of us, and at the same time… So we took advantage like nobody’s business, made the quick drive out to the valley and we were at the Dishman Hills Natural Area¬†around lunch time.

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Bonus? Parking is FREE!! Can’t beat a free outing with your family and getting in a little exercise to boot. So, with our trusty pack to hold our water and sandwiches, we hit the trail.

It was beautiful! Amazing scenery in every direction, rocky hills to navigate, small lakes and streams, and a stunning number of wild flowers to enjoy.

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In total, we hiked about 3 miles, and Zoie did an amazing job, hiking at least 2 of the miles all by herself. Not to shabby for her little legs.

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We hope to get back out there in a week or so to hike the entire route.
Hopefully this weather holds out a bit longer.

Target Practice

April 1st, 2016 1 Comment

“Kids who are taught about guns, don’t feel the need to sneak around and play with them.”

I believe this is absolutely, one hundred percent true!

My dad taught me gun safety when I was very young.
This is also true for my husband with his father.
Guns are not a part of our every day life, but we do have them in our house.

Zach and I both believe that kids cannot be sheltered from guns, whether you agree or not, they are a part of our culture and society. Both good and bad. Why let your kids learn about something so critical from television shows and video games? I feel it is important to teach your kids about gun safety so they are not curious and decide to figure things out on their own. That is where accidents happen.

The other day we got the BB Gun out to go over a few basics with Zoie.
Once we covered (in detail) the safety of carrying and holding a gun, target practice began.

Zoie and Mama

There is nothing better or more fun to shoot at than a can.
But since we just took the recycling in, all I had was a Finding Dory cereal box from Costco. Sorry Dory.

Dory Target

Zoie had a great time trying to line up her sights.
Her aim isn’t too bad either, that dead center shot at Dory was hers.

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Next time we’ll head to the woods and learn to shoot a 22. She’ll love that!

Mama Zoie