madison’s trip-

feb. 18-20.  2016

dad’s business trips prove to be fun for us sometimes, since we have a companion pass on southwest, meaning I can fly free with him, and we can use points for the kiddos.  So we got to have a bit of fun this weekend.  Marriott upgraded us since Jarom is a platinum member, therefore, we got to have two bedrooms.  Madison loved hanging out in her room, chilling like an adult.  She’d get ready, draw, watch a show, eat her breakfast in there, i loved seeing her so happy.  being the second child isn’t easy, and getting away with just one child at a time is grand.  it’s fun making memories one on one.

while dad was at meetings, madison and i walked around, and found a cute place to eat.  dad drove her to the beach, dad took her swimming, we got pedi’s together, we went to edelweiss chocolates, rodeo drive, ate out…it was quite a fun couple of days.  this sweet girl is such a wonderful person.  we are so grateful to have her in our lives.

edelweiss chocolates was such a cute chocolate store.  nancy, who happily offered to give us a tour and the history of the store, was so very sweet.  lucille ball was inspired here seeing the convection belt of chocolate going by for one of her comedies.  it was really neat to see.

i definitely have my own opinions about rodeo drive.  isn’t it all really a facade?  it’s such a transparent way of life.  i’m not quite sure why slapping a name on something makes it so much more expensive.  i really don’t understand the fashion industry, especially when a lot of time it’s very distasteful, and yet overpriced.  i suppose it’s all in the eye of the beholder, or at least the greatest marketing scheme in duping one to believe it’s a very important way of life.  we went in one of the jewelry stores, and one of the rings was worth over $100,000.  for a stone.  a rock out of the earth.  whoever decided to sell diamonds, even said, it’s all in the marketing-it’s just a stone from the earth.  it’s really how it’s all made to seem important, when really, it’s not.

but it was an interesting world to step into.  we really enjoyed our time together and with this sweet munchkin.

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heading home…

friday.  feb. 5.  2016

if there’s anything we’ve learned from being in mexico, it’s that they love their speed bumps-because they are everywhere-almost too redundantly, and they love to nickel and dime you.  besides having to pay an extra $1,000 for our rental car because of the government requirement for additional collision insurance, there was also too much sand in our car, causing them to fine us again, for $20.  He wanted more, and we told him no way.  he said they didn’t have vacuum’s anymore, that everything had been moved to a new location.  it’s really quite exhausting.  going to ruins is so much fun, except you are accosted along the whole trail.  so besides being constantly asked to buy stuff, pay extra, and flying over speed bumps, we really can’t complain.  it was a lovely, get-away-from-it-all trip.

i think people get into this mindset that life, and the american dream, is the house and mortgage payment, the two or three cars, the furniture, jobs, driving to soccer and doing errands…but to me, that’s not my american dream.  my dream is to see the world, and have our children seeing it with us.  meeting new people, cultures, places, food, experiences…that really delights my soul.  some people cling to the daily routine, i cling to not having a daily routine-it bores me.  and the more we travel, the more i find and see that there are people traveling constantly-on little money-seeing the world.  you don’t have to be rich, you have to be smart in how you do this.  there are so many world travelers who have hacked their way into traveling cheap, and i want to learn more from them.

we got our first housesit on  it’s pretty exciting.  you never know how it’ll go with the people you meet, or with their pets-stepping into their lives for a bit, but seriously, what an adventure.  we skyped with the couple-they live in northern france in a village 3 hours from paris.  they are so lovely-from england, the husband was born in ireland and doesn’t appreciate his english accent, but we just loved listening to them both.   they are quite nice, and fun to chat with-we had quite a few laughs!  they have two dogs, and a fat cat.  we just have to feed the dogs morning/night, and the cat roams and feeds on it’s own.  we can tour and be gone all day if we want.  but i love the idea, to exchange housesitting/petsitting for a free place to stay.  and to see a whole new part of the world.  we have found some very aggressive websites for airfare too.  with a little planning, we have figured out, using our southwest miles to get us to the east coast takes off a ginormous amount in airfare, and it’s free(besides a small tax to pay on ticket).  then we found airfare for $661 per person round trip to paris-direct flight.  which is amazing!  especially for summer travel.  i usually don’t like to travel in the summer, tons of people, lines, it’s hot…but since we decided to housesit, we will go whenever.  i did find before/after summer round trip tickets in the $500 range which is even better, we’ll do another time.  hopefully we love this experience, and the other couple love us, because they have already offered for us to come again at christmas/new years-which would be pretty amazing.  but of course, we’ll take it one trip at a time.

*picture below is of the village we will be staying in-Fougerolles-du-Plessis, France.


tulum beach…

thursday.  feb. 4.  2016

oh, our last day sleeping in, getting stuff done, and heading off to the beach for a few hours-which was surprising because it said rain for today-so we were pleasantly surprised and excited to get one more beach day in!  we had to take daddy to the beach closer to the tulum ruins-even though the waves aren’t as great as paraiso, but the water is clear and beautiful.  we hung out, sunbathed, snacked, slept, played in the water, played soccer, walked the beach looking for snails and shells…it was lovely and relaxing.  jarom also flew the drone and got awesome footage of the tulum ruins and area, along with some beautiful pictures.

then it was time to head back and start getting a few things done in preparation to leave tomorrow.  we are ready to come home-except not to the snow.  the warmth has been healing and comforting.  but we will make the best of the snow.  it will be good to be back home, and in our own beds.

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daddy comes back today!…

wednesday.  feb. 3.  2016

we tried to keep our sanity in our excitement of seeing daddy again today after 2 1/2 weeks of him being back in the states working…which included having to home to colorado for a day, flying to las vegas for a work retreat, flying back to colorado, then flying to new york for a few days for work, then flying back down to mexico to come pick us up and play for another day or two together down here.

we did our routine…school and things to get done in the morning, packed food, and went to the big pools across the highway at the resort, and hung out there for a few hours-it was an awesome afternoon.  then we ran home, picked up alex from the condo, and met jarom along the highway where the shuttles drop people off, and we were there minutes before they dropped him off-it was perfect timing.  we were so excited to have him back!  we headed to the pools for another hour, and then headed to tulum, to eat at the taco place jarom loved-had to get it in one more time before we left.  we also promised ice cream to the girls before leaving tulum, so they got their last couple scoops, and we strolled down the sidewalks to our car, listening to the sounds and people of the evening.  it was lovely.

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a day in…

tuesday.  feb. 2.  2016

we had a day in, a break from running to and fro-plus we were a little pink, so we gave our skin a break today.  we were able to get quite a bit done though, including me catching up on some geneology of my biological family line.  it’s pretty cool seeing how far back your family goes and where you ancestors came from.  i found out, an ancestor almost 10 generations back, rene’ laforce, from guyenne france, and his family, were very well-to-do.  they were as high as you could go except for being a king.  they had three chateaus/castles, and hundreds of acres of land.  they ended up fleeing france, as they were huguenots…

Huguenot (/ˈhjuːɡənɒt/ or /huːɡəˈnoʊ/; French: [yɡno], [yɡəno]) is a member of a French Protestant denomination with origins in the 16th or 17th centuries.
they came to virginia, and were over 200 other huguenots.  2 of the castles/chateaus still stand today, one is a museum.  now i’ve got to head to guyenne, france, to see these castles of my relatives.  pretty cool.
i wanted to share of the cute and amazing pic’s our girls have taken of themselves and their surroundings.  they are really talented photographers.  i’ve loved breaking away from busy life and taking a breather.  it has been so fantastic.
here are some of the awesome pic’s the girls have taken on their own…


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the last monday…

monday.  feb. 1.  2016

we did our usual, wake up, girls got going on school, packed food, and we were heading out the door.  and last minute, alex decided to come, taking a break from school.  it’s always fun having her come!  we first arrived, and there were dark clouds and rain falling in the distance.  alex was a bit worried, but i told her we were staying no matter what.  and we did.  those clouds blew away, the sun came out, and we jumped waves, boogey boarded, looked for sea shells, played with snails, built sandcastles, laid out in the sun, ate our packed lunch, and made memories.  even though we are missing home, and especially our dad, we had such a great day together.  knowing it’s coming to a close is especially helpful in making sure we really enjoy the beach and sun these last few days.  it has been a great, relaxing get-away.  the schedules, appointments, and all the busy-ness of the world is already happening before we’ve even gotten home.  but we are grateful to have been able to break away when we did.


oh, thank goodness for sundays…

sunday.  jan 31.  2016

*i wanted to share this awesome article about when you talk to your daughter about her body:  the cosmic dancer shared this on facebook.  i want to remember this, and my girls to read and remember this.

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: Don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “You’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are — you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say, “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.

~ Sarah Koppelkam

seriously, what an awesome way to teach a girl to love her body, that it’s a wonderful gift, and she can appreciate it.  just beautiful.