Monday, August 27, 2018

Shackleford Banks Sunset Cruise

I felt like the weeks leading up to Kyli's send off was filled with all these "last" moments. Truth is, we took a handful of last hurrah trips to enjoy having the kids all together as kids (not independent people/adults). I was really feeling like life was about to change. I still think that but I'm not quite sure we needed all the "last moment" trips :) I might roll my eyes at my sentimentality sometimes.

This boat trip to Shackleford Banks was our very last trip together before we brought Kyli to college. We probably should have stayed home, packed the car, and went to bed early. Instead, we hopped on a catamaran for a sunset float out to a remote island to try to find wild horses. 
It's sort of our signature style of doing things.

It was a fantastic time walking horse trails over sand dunes, collecting shells on the beach, and searching for the elusive wild horses on the deserted island. The down fall was stepping on cactus with bare feet. By the way, if you ever go out to Shackleford Banks in North Carolina, don't leave your shoes on the boat! It's a terribly walk without shoes ;) 

 We did eventually find wild horses. Which was great luck given the 9 mile stretch of land they have to roam! We were feeling pretty lucky.
It was a good time and we floated back to the mainland glad we made the trip. 
We can't help but think of the next stay go early in the wear bring a netted bag to collect shells. Our time is limited in North Carolina though. So, maybe, that is just good advice for other people :)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Good Times Iowa Style

Delivering Kyli to Iowa meant we got to take some time to do Iowa things. We hit up the Iowa State Fair and ate all the garden fresh veggies our bellies could fit. We binged on all things Hawkeye and hung with our family. The boys did not want to leave!

I did not grow up going to the Iowa State Fair. It wasn't a thing for us. In fact, the two times I've attended has been in adulthood with my the kids. Every experience is as new for me as it is for them. We did a lot of walking and a lot of farm animal petting. It sounds lame but it was fun :)

We saw the biggest cow and the biggest pig in Iowa. I took a picture of the big cow, in case you were curious.

My favorite is the Animal Learning Center with all the baby farm animals. The barn is filled with pregnant farm animals and you can even witness a live birth (if you are lucky). It's pretty cool. Definitely a favorite for me. 
At a young age, I can remember sitting in my grandparents' pig shed waiting for the pigs to give birth. It fascinated me and I would literally sit on an overturned bucket for hours waiting for the little piglets to be delivered. 

One grandma thought the boys needed to ride the fair rides. The boys loved that! I was a little unsure about that one. Those rides always look sketchy to me.

Derrick was all about the University of Iowa booth. He needed his picture with the trophies.
I don't understand. Football isn't my thing. But it's important to him and he understands what all the trophies represent :)

Here is our girl with her mascot signed by everyone in the Class of 2022.
I'm so proud of her for working hard and being independent with her school thing.
She is enjoying herself and likes her school.
I feel like it's worth reporting the separation for this momma hasn't been too bad.
I was a little worried how it would go. Technology sure helps and she hasn't met her people yet, so she still calls home every day :)
I'll take what I can get for as long as I can!

Friday, August 10, 2018

College Bound. A Smaller Space. And Lots of Transitions.

Tomorrow, we are going to load up our car with stuff and drive to Iowa. We are delivering our child to college. A 4 year state university. A ginormous student body and campus. Diverse ideas and driven people all pouring into my child. My smart beautiful child.

My friends asked me yesterday, "How are you feeling?" And yesterday, I felt very positive. I'm not sure why and next week I might feel differently. Today, I'm excited for her. I remember so distinctly desiring that independence of moving out on my own and becoming an adult. It really is an exciting time in life. She is smart, level headed, and open minded. She is going to be fine.

And we are going to be fine. I keep forgetting that not only are her parents going to miss her (that's us :) but her brothers will too. So, maybe next week will be a little off for us.

It's a big season of changes and transitions for us. In preparation, we moved to a smaller space. And the first couple of days, I was panicked! Like what the freak was I, who pushed hard for this to happen, thinking?!? Two weeks later, Best. Decision. Ever.

First and foremost, the money we are saving is worth it. Second, the space to take care of is so small. No stress of all the things I should be doing to take care of the house instead of doing important things like hanging with my kids, my husband, or showing up for a friend. This smaller space also has been amazing for us to gather together. I noticed that in our big houses we all tended to go to our separate areas and do our separate thing. So, I like our new togetherness... for now :)

Ultimately, everything is pointing to the direction of military retirement. Only a few months left to go before his ceremony and leave begin. Official retirement begins a couple months after that. No, we don't know where we are going. We really do not. We know there are two choices: Southern California or Austin/San Antonio, Texas area. There are pros and cons for both, we have no real convictions about either (right now), so we are going to be persuaded by a job. I'm going back to school so I can do a career change. Both places have plenty of education options for me to do that. Worst case scenario, we hang in North Carolina past retirement until things fall into place. Which is totally doable now that we have a smaller space! See how all our decisions come full circle? I'm so happy for that!

Today, I'm connecting this picture with this post because it was a moment captured. And today's post feels like it a moment captured. The husband and I went for a walk here while Zac had cross country practice at the same place. We came to this pond and it was one of those moments that left you in awe. The colors and the stillness of the water were my idea of perfection. It always just sets my mind right.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope this weekend is just what you need!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Hiking in William B. Umstead State Park

If you know our family, then you know hiking is our thing. We hiked all over Southern California and truly miss all the trails out West. Some of our favorite trails were along the ocean and in the mountains. Heck, we were happy anywhere we could find a trail to overlook any part of the city.

We love to get out in nature and just cleanse all the crap that we collect in our heads from life. One thing we've missed terribly at this duty station is hiking. Coastal North Carolina is flatter than a pancake. Hiking is non-existent. Not being able to get out in nature makes me feel restless and sometimes grumpy. So, when we go inland, I'm always looking for trails. Raleigh has this cool outdoor retreat in the middle of the city called William B Umstead State Park that has lots of trails. It's beautiful and a perfect fix for a girl desperately needing to hike in a place where the terrain changes elevation.

When we drive to Raleigh for airport pickups (mainly), this is one of our go-to places. We have never truly hiked Amsted Park before now. We are always exploring little foot trails or driving along tree canopied roads.  This trip we allowed a few hours to hike a trail at William B. Umstead State Park.

We automatically scoped out the trail with water. Those trails are our favorite. The boys like to get a little daring and test their balance.

You can see from the trail map there were a few choices. Of course, this is only a small section on the west side of Umstead park. There are lots more options around the entire park.

Even the Marine husband got comfy and relaxed.

We came across lots of bugs and flying creatures because HELLO it's North Carolina. How cool is this lunar moth? Cool story...this moth was hatching from caterpillar to moth right before our eyes. I love that we got to observe nature in action!

Hoping the last few months here bring a few more hikes!