All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


Blogger Friends ARE Real Friends

Once or twice a year, I get to meet up with blog friends who have become some of my favorite friends IRL.  Some of them live relatively close (3 hours) and some are a quick flight away (1.5 hours) and some are overseas.  Somehow, though, I see them in person quite a bit.  And  because we talk so much via text, FB, etc, it doesn’t feel that unique anymore when we do meet up.  Sometimes, it feels like we’d just seen each other so recently that a hug seems too formal.  And this year, it has felt so incredibly natural seeing everyone that I’ve forgotten to blog about it when in the past, I would have posted immediately.

It’s wonderful!


I met up with a few of my girls for a half marathon in July.  We talked via text multiple times a day, encouraged each other to train hard, and had good laughs about our kids and husbands leading up to our trip.  I hadn’t met one of the gals in person which seemed so strange to friends here (“you’re meeting her for the first time at the airport and then you’re traveling for a few days together?  Isn’t that weird?”) but it felt 100% normal to me.  Looking back, sure, it could have been a disaster but we’d become such good friends over the prior year that I didn’t even think it could be awkward. She and I spent two nights in Estes, hiking and running together, before we met up with two other friends in Denver.  We then spent two nights in Denver and ran a half marathon together that Saturday morning (in perfect weather!!!!).  It was super, super fun!  If they’d do it again, I’d be up for it again next year!  No matter what happens in regards to running together, I bet I see these friends again next summer!

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Steph and I get together a lot.  She lives a short drive away and our kids get on very well together (not to mention our husbands, who are as different as night and day but have a great time together!), so it’s just ridiculously fun to hang out!  I think the last time we saw each other was in March on my 40th birthday, which was without kids.  Going 6.5 months between visits is not normal for us – we usually meet up every 3 months or so.  My aunt lives in the same area as Steph and so does a friend of ours who moved there from Iowa, but with the passing of his wife and changes going on with him, we didn’t make it down at all in the spring or summer.  Being perfectly honest, it just felt weird to us to head down there and not see our friend who was wanting to adjust to his new life very privately – so – we didn’t make a trip down.  I really missed our trips to see Steph and her family.

Last year, we met in Omaha to visit their insane pumpkin patch and we decided then to make it an annual trip.  I was so excited for the big trip to roll around because it had been forever since we’d all seen each other.  When we did meet at the zoo, it was just like old times – like we’d seen each other just the week before.  It was terrific fun!  We got separated on Sunday at the pumpkin patch which was where we were both heading home from, but I thought enough to get a picture of our kids together.  Steph usually thinks of this, but I was all over it this year!  The best part about our friendship is seeing our kids grow together in their friendships.  Matthew and her daughter are great buds – unbelievable fun is had between them!  Bryson and her son will hopefully notice that the other one exists the next time we go to the pumpkin patch!  😉


Next up… hopefully a trip to St. Louis to see my ex-pat blogger friend and her family!

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THIS Moment in Time – Roadtrip Sleep

131156197902446144Vacations aren’t a time for sleep. As the mother of two young boys, I know this.

We’re at my sister’s north of Chicago right now and last night was a shit show.  Two kids in a queen bed with me, one of them very likely to roll out of bed. I didn’t sleep. But tonight…. all of the kids are sleeping in the living room and I’m banking on a few hours before anyone wakes me up. Good night!



Family Trip!

We took a family trip this past week and it was terrific!  We rented a cabin at Mahoney State Park in Nebraska and it was like being at summer camp.  I can’t wait to go back next summer!

Here is my photo collection from 4 days with limited TV, hot weather, and an abundance of activities with the kids!  They’re in reverse order, but it doesn’t matter  🙂

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Travel, Travel, TRAVEL

(Please do not feel compelled to read all of this or view all photos.  I don’t keep baby books or any albums, so I tend to over-share here and on FB so that things get documented properly!)

We have spent a lot of time traveling lately, both together and apart.

Hottie seems to always be coming or going from somewhere with work, and we’re lucky the trips are shorter in duration than they could be.  He’s on the road, or in the air, at least once a week right now and next week is insane with three trips in 1.5 weeks, all requiring flights far, far away from home.  It doesn’t bother me too much, because he’s usually gone for just two nights a week, but next week and the following week will be tough.  I wish he was going to be traveling a bit closer to home so that the boys and I could drive up and meet him, wherever he may be, for the weekend.

I can’t believe I wrote that – that I’d love to meet him, WITH THE BOYS, for a weekend away.  A year ago at this time, hell – 3 months ago, I would never have said that.  But something has changed lately… our boys have become good travelers.

What the what?

They’ve become such great travelers that we have spent the last THREE weekends traveling.  Three weekends IN.A.ROW of hotels and road trips.  Flights don’t scare me one bit, and the boys handle them great and they’ve never been an issue, but car travel and hotel sleeping has been a nightmare for years now.  The only time hotel sleeping was *good* was when we went to Disn.eyw.orld with Matthew before he turned 2 (and prior to Bryson joining us – I was 7 months pregnant when we went).  We had a condo and he had his own room and he went to bed on time and we sat up and drank wine on the deck (not really – I had Diet  It was awesome.  We thought that it was always going to be that great.  But um… no… that was a one-time thing.

Until now!

Three weeks ago, we decided on a whim to head to City to see a bunch of our friends and some family.  We stayed at “the Wolf Pool” (as the kids call it) and the kids had a super time at the water park, and dinosaur museum, and out about with the people we love.  Bryson slept in his OWN BED both nights until at least 4:30 AM (and once until 6:20 holy SHIT!) and Matthew slept in his own bed both nights well into the next morning.  It was awesome!  We came home from that little trip feeling like we’d conquered something pretty remarkable.

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The following weekend was my family reunion on my mom’s side.  My grandpa, who I loved dearly (I had fabulous relationships with both grandpas and one of my grandmas – I was lucky!), would have been 100 on the 28th of September and right before he died at the age of 89, my aunts promised him that we would all gather for his 100th birthday because turning 100 was always a dream of his.  So… we did it.  I have a HUGE family and of the 22 grandkids, 17 came and the 5 that didn’t were all very far out of state.  All of the immediate siblings were there (my mom and her 5 sisters and 1 brother, and their foreign brother (exchange student) from Kuwait) and the grandkids all brought the great-grands, and our first and only great-great-grand was there as well – 74 people in total.  It was super fun!

My aunts had the party in the town my grandparents lived in which was 2.75 hours from our house and instead of drive up and back that same day, we decided to drive 30 miles from the party to an indoor waterpark hotel (yes, again!) for the night.  After the previous weekend at Great Wo.lf, both boys were feeling brave and rode the BIG adult waterslide on their own!  It was a very big deal (but there are no pictures because, you know, water and nerves).  We could not keep them off of the sides and even after a pretty serious forehead injury for Matthew, he kept wanting to slide.  It’s hard to say no to such bravery… so we shut the pool down that night and opened it the next morning.  There was a pretty fantastic park right next door, and the entire campus was right on a nice lake so it was quite picturesque and enjoyable.  The boys are begging to go back.  The night didn’t go quite as well as it did in KC, but we got 6 hours of sleep without a bed companion, so that’s a win in my book.  Hottie’s parents’ town was on our way home and they messaged us about getting together, so we stopped there for 2 hours on the way home and that was a really nice way to end the weekend!

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And that brings us to this past weekend – the trip to Omaha that we planned with Steph that we booked different weekends for.  HA HA HA!  We had a GREAT time and everything worked out in the end.  Omaha is where I grew up and I really like it there.  There is so much to do, the private education system is STELLAR, and the local restaurant scene is amazing.  If my parents had lived in central Iowa when I moved back from Chicago, I would have moved to Omaha (I didn’t want to live too close to them for good reason), but because they lived in Omaha, I chose the next best thing.  Ha!

We did something that we’ve never done before… we didn’t tell my parents we were coming this time.  We just didn’t want to make it about them because it was about us, our kids, and our friends.  And…. we had a GREAT time!  We spent Saturday at the Children’s Museum and the Old Market farmers’ market and Sunday at the most incredible pumpkin patch.  It’s not really a pumpkin patch – it’s an insane fall festival that they run for 6 weeks straight, 7 days a week.  We had a hotel suite with a separate bedroom and the kids went to bed and we got to stay up and talk.  Matthew slept in his own bed both nights and until 8:00 this morning, and Bryson slept in his crib until 4:00 on Saturday and 6:07 this morning (he wakes up at 6:07 most days of the week –  It was just so… EASY.  It was so easy and fun that there were lots of tears on the way home that we’re not going to a hotel again for a long time.

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It was a great weekend, and a great way to wrap up a trifecta of travel weekends!  We’re ready to be home for a bit now… but just a bit!

I think we may have arrived at easy travel.


That One Time….

… When you planned a weekend trip with your blog friend, but you didn’t confirm the dates and you ended up booking (and going!!!) different weekends?

No, that’s never happened to you?

It’s nice that we’re already laughing about it, and better yet, we’re able to still meet up! Lesson learned (confirm everything!) and funny story added to my mental memoir. 😁


Cross Training

We have a fantastic trail system in our community. Finding a trail to bike or run is never, EVER a problem here. The state has been working hard on expanding our “rails to trails” system and we have a very cool one just 20 minutes from our house. We have said for years that we need to go and check it out.

Yesterday, my good friend, Emily, asked if I wanted to run it with her. I suggested we bike so that Hottie and the boys could come too. We prepped the bikes, got the kids loaded, picked up Emily with her bike, and drove 20 minutes to the trailhead. And it started to storm. Ha! So much for “no precip for 110 minutes.”

We went to dinner, left the bikes on the rack, put the car in the garage, and had Emily stay the night. We stayed up late and watched a hilariously bad movie… Just like old times!

Bryson woke up at 6:20 so we went for a 5.5 mile run while the house slept. Hottie went for a run when we got back because Matthew wasn’t up yet. Once he was home, Matthew was up and the boys were fed, so we headed out once again to the trailhead.

This time, nothing but sunshine!

I volunteered to tow the boys in the Burley for the first time ever. That was easy, until it wasn’t on the way back with an insane head wind… But it was fun! They did great and we were biking for a little over an hour and went 10.4 miles.

It was worth the wait. The trail was beautiful and the bridge was, well, FANTASTIC!!! It was breathtaking, actually!

And I finally got some cross training in!


It’s a Shit Show

Night one of the family trip, and my dad scheduled the big, fancy, 6-course restaurant for the night of arrival. In his defense, it’s the only night it’s open while we’re on property, but in my defense, I told him my 2 and 4 year old couldn’t handle a 2+ hour dinner.

No one cares what I say. So we went.

My boys were all over the dance floor and I was told by the staff they couldn’t go out there anymore. Ok. I get it. Fair enough. Then my dad told me to get Bryson under control once, then twice.

So I left with both boys. I told Hottie to stay so that we don’t hear about the money we wasted by leaving. He knew I was right, that was best. He went back to drink my wine and eat his dinner (my dad said they’d box mine up. Ummm… No thank you.)

The boys and I are in the suite, eating 5 star cookies for dinner. I told them it was a “fuck it dinner,” and they obliged. Ha! 😉 I even had Matthew say, “it’s a fuck it dinner!”

Honestly…. I think we’re the winners.

All tension gone. The fine clothing is hung back up, and we’re being real.

How’s that for getting my kids under control? 😉

Added bonus, this way of traveling and eating is totally keeping my calories in line. 6 course meal starting with pork belly (yuck!) or one cookie?


Winning 😉

I ran an 8 mile trail race today, and about 2.5 miles in, and 10 seconds after my friend told me about her first spill on this particular trail, I tripped on a rock and was airborne. I landed on my left shoulder before slamming my face into the ground. It hurt… It hurt a lot.

But, it was nice and chilly so my face went numb pretty quickly. I laid on the ground a bit to be sure nothing was seriously wrong, but I thought I’d broken my nose. There was blood and pain and the most horrid gasps from passersby. So many people stopped to help and their looks scared me more than anything. As my BIL approached, I asked my friend to go back and prepare Hottie before he saw me. I didn’t want him freaking out at the sight of me on my back covered in blood.

Hottie was concerned and wanted to call for transport but I said no. No, no, no – I’m fine! An awesome older guy (grandpa age) stopped and told me I was prettier with the dirt in my face, checked me for a concussion, and patted my knee as he announced that I was “good to run.” Hottie obliged and we all walked 5 minutes before I took off again.

It felt good to pass a lot of the folks who passed as I was on the ground, and it felt good to up my pace as we progressed. Before we knew it, we had just a couple of miles left. Easy peasy!

As I crossed the finish line, there were quite a few gasps, lots of high fives, and big kuddos from the race director. It was embarrassing, but also empowering. Most people couldn’t believe I finished. I finished with a 10.5 minute pace which was under my goal (when we took out our 7 minute pause for my injury) and that’s a respectable pace for a single track trail race. I was thrilled! I wanted to finish in 1:27 for 8 miles and finished the exact 7.65 miles in 1:25:42 before the 7 minute removal.

Another race in the books, another major injury averted. Win win (even if I didn’t really win)!