You’re not inadequate, you’re the perfect fit.

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family walk time

I got a phone call from a friend I haven’t spoken to since – 2008? Now that I count it up, almost a decade ago! Wow. Thank goodness for social media to help keep tabs on those friends!!

We talked of many things, but something that stayed on my mind was the feelings we shared in our ability to be good mothers.

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run baby run

After pondering on the matter for some time, the thought came into my mind that my children chose me.

They chose me.

Of all the brilliant, kind, talented mothers in the world, these kids chose me.

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run dance run

I don’t have any evidence to prove to you that this is true, it was just something that came to me and brought me peace.

I want to remember that feeling any time the temptation to feel inadequate creeps into my life.

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our deep thinker

They knew you before they came to this earth and thought, “yeah, you’re going to be the perfect fit!”

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He loves to bring me flowers

Keep trying your best. Keep giving them your time, your love, your hugs and kisses.

Keep praying that they will continue to grow up to become the incredible humans you pray they will be.

Keep taking the time to do the things they want to do – even if you can’t finish all the things you want to do.

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They need you. They want you. They are your greatest treasure.

There are still long days ahead. They will need your guidance, your patience, your understanding and most importantly…

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everyone gets a turn on daddy’s back

They need to know that you love them.

Each child will understand, feel and show love in different ways.

Just like you understand, feel and show love in different ways.

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Take the time to learn how they communicate.

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In time you will see that not only were you not inadequate, you were exactly who they needed you to be.

“Life must be understood backward. But… it must be lived forward.” -Søren Kierkegaard

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hold on as long as you will

In writing this open letter to myself I want other parents to know that you are doing better than you think you are.

XOXO

Me

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Our oldest turns Four years.

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This boy makes me laugh – No, I didn’t make him sit like this.

Today at church I briefly stood before my congregation and bore my testimony of God’s love, how sometimes in His love  (and infinite wisdom) He asks us to do hard things…because He knows that it will make us strong.

Motherhood has been a struggle for me lately. Particularly with my first born. He is determined to help me be strong. Really strong.

After my testimony, I returned to my seat.  Wiley was so happy to see me and said, very enthusiastically, “Mom, you did a great job!” followed by a sweet little boy kiss.

Floating – his kiss and exclamation had me floating the rest of the day! (much like the hot air balloon we saw fly over our home.)

God sent me a strong willed, funny, intelligent, happy, passionate, particular and loving boy we call, ‘Wiley.’

Wiley turned 4 years old last week.

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Lord knows time is flying and somedays it doesn’t fly fast enough to bedtime…

I am well and healthy today, but the entire month of April I was sick.  So, as Wiley’s birthday neared, I knew he wouldn’t care if he had a party, but I wanted his day to feel really special. I wanted him to know I thought he was special.

He started his day with cartoons. I had blown up several orange balloons to litter the floor and got him four floating balloons and two dinosaur puzzles.

[go Dollar General!!!]

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Happy Birthday!

I had to coax him away from the TV for a morning outing – just with mom.

I took him to the grocery store and let him pick out anything he wanted! Cause, I’m money bags like that.

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The birthday boy wanted fresh strawberries, raspberries, whipped cream and donuts.

He also wanted a “grown-up sippy cup” (those plastic drinking glasses with straws/screw on lids) colored orange. The boy likes orange.

I’m pretty sure most of his t-shirts are orange.

Kind of fits his personality.

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Dad and Wiley had about 30 minutes of just ‘them time’ before I came out.

After our breakfast outing, he wanted to put his dinosaur puzzles together with me. He and his little brother had hours of fun playing with the balloons. I read some books…and I let him play on the iPad, because that was just what he wanted!

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I love his face as he bites into that marshmallow.

Daddy took Wiley and Tyler to the “big slide park” for about two hours later in the day.

(I love, LOVE, when Dan takes them to the park – no bedtime troubles – and quiet time for mom.)

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The grand finale to the birthday boy’s day was after the two babies went to bed.

Daddy made a fire in the fire ring and they roasted marshmallows!

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It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten marshmallows, they aren’t my favorite.

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We didn’t have cake, I pointed them out in the store, but he wanted donuts for breakfast and marshmallows for dessert; who am I to argue with the birthday King?!

Wiley stayed up late. I wish I could say it was way past his usual bedtime, but he typically refuses sleep until around 10pm every night, so it was business as usual.

Wiley finally passed out on the bed next to mommy and his sleeping baby sister.

Fighting sleep till the bitter end.

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“So Take The Photographs and Still Frames In Your Mind”

 

 

The Green Day song, “Time of Your Life/Good Riddance” came out while I was in high school…it’s amazing how much the brain can retain after all these years.

Anyway, that song came to my mind when I looked through these photos of my son taken at my parent’s house.

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I love capturing happy memories. It helps us remember all the good in life.

Look at the cute duck roaming around.
Look at the cute duck roaming around the yard with six dogs.

My older brother Keegan was visiting mom and dad’s the same weekend.

Keegan is really good with Wiley and when they go outside on adventures, that means Wiley has the best. day. ever. and I get some extra duty laundry to do.

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I always think a little mud and what not on an outfit is worth the joy that came from putting it there.

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The other half of the day’s fun comes when it’s time to wash the greater part of the mud from the shoes and hands.

Awe, quality time with his uncles.
Awe, quality time with two of his uncles.

I can’t keep up with cleaning his finger nails of dirt…he digs in every day.

DSC_0814There is no greater play ground than mother nature – the earth, wildlife…

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not only a play ground, but a classroom!!

Uncle Keeg is getting some practice in what being a dad is like.
Uncle Keeg is getting some practice in what being a dad is like. And that dirty butt? Nothing a little Oxyclean can’t take out.

Two nights ago, Wiley woke up earlier than usual and Dan brought him into our bed.

After a while, Wiley would push the lambs away saying, "shoo, shoo!"
After a while, Wiley would push the lambs away saying, “shoo, shoo!”

I was having trouble getting Wiley to settle down to sleep again.

Hey Guy!
Hey Guy! Those blue eyes! and muddy face. So kissable!

He got quiet and for a minute I thought It was okay for me to go back to sleep.

Those pesky lambs wouldn't leave him alone.
Those pesky lambs wouldn’t leave him alone.

After several quiet minutes, in a very awake voice, Wiley says, “mooooooo” [pause] “cow.”

FInally got him cleaned up - boy did he cry when I brought him in the house.
FInally got him cleaned up – boy did he cry when I brought him in the house.

You can read kids books with pictures, but it makes such a bigger impression to have them actually see and interact with life!!

 

I Had A Cookie Problem, But I’m Better Now

Just wanted to begin by saying for the last week or more, I have NOT been able to upload any photos to my blog – super frustrating, right?

two days ago the only photo I could upload was this camel

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I thought, “progress” and for two more days – nothing.

Apparently, I had a ‘cookie’ problem.

"whoooo me?" yeah, I'm talking about you slick.
“whoooo me?”
yeah, I’m talking about you slick.

Now, I’m going to show you some photos from the St Louis Zoo.

Dan had a job to do in St Louis and I’m a stay at home mom of one small child, so obviously when my husband’s job requires a three hour drive for a one hour job, we are going to make a day trip out of it.

What a peaceful spot
What a peaceful spot

A free trip to St Louis and all I had to do was wait around a hotel, riding elevators and climbing stairs over and over again. Thank goodness the hotel had waterfalls.

The Zoo was awesome (if that's what you're into...)
The Zoo was awesome (if that’s what you’re into…)

The weather was sunny and in the lower 70’s (F).

I couldn’t have asked for better temperatures during our around the world tour.

Here is Danny wondering why I have to take a photo of everything.... just be glad I don't post all the photos I take.
Here is Danny wondering why I have to take a photo of everything….
just be glad I don’t post all the photos I take.

A four hour tour.

Mister, Mister, let me outta here!!!
Mister, Mister, let me outta here!!!

We all loved the Lemurs, they where hopping all over their habitat and one seemed to want to hang out with us.

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Or it could be because I married Dr Doolittle….

Snake House (I can't remember the scientific name for it).
Snake House (I can’t remember the scientific name for it). Oh, duh, Reptiles.

Dan loves animals and if I didn’t say ‘no’ to every animal he wanted to bring home, I’d be living in my own zoo.

Tame monkeys, observing the wild monkeys.
Tame monkeys, observing the wild monkeys.

Until I met Dan, I didn’t know there were websites dedicated to turtles and turtle breeders.

The only animal that Wiley was scared of were the Hippos
The only animals that Wiley was scared of were the Hippos

The cool thing about the type of people who scour the internet looking at websites dedicated to turtles is they are the type of people to read up about all sorts of things, not just turtles.

Surfs Up!
Surfs Up!

Danny knows a lot about a lot of things.

I felt like I had my own private “tour with the Keeper”, every exhibit Dan would impart some interesting fact about the animals.

"hey Dan, take some photos with me and the baby."
“hey Dan, take some photos with me and the baby.”

Can you tell the difference between African and Asian elephants?

someday, maybe there will be a photo with me and my son looking at the camera in the same photo.
someday, maybe there will be a photo with me and my son looking at the camera in the same photo.

It’s the ears – African elephants have bigger ears?

Dan told me that.

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I had too many favorite exhibits, I honestly can’t wait to go back.

Did I mention the St Louis Zoo is free?

Because it is.

PuraVida Has Me Rethinking My Life Plans

I am beginning to think our trip to Costa Rica was life changing.

Here is why:

Baby is having a great time. He loves being confined to highchairs.
Baby is having a great time. He loves being confined to highchairs.

Open air eating – everywhere.

What a view, huh?
What a view, huh?

Mountain, lush jungle and an ocean.

say hello to my little friend. Crabs, all types, were abundant.
say hello to my little friend. Crabs, all types, were abundant.

A slower paced life, a simpler life.

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I washed all my clothes and utensils by hand. I used fewer clothes and fewer utensils. Not a whole lot of nic nacks laying about.

P1000165The calming sounds and sights of nature.

Helllo there!
I’m ‘holding on’ to Danny’s glasses while he swims

Walking to each destination, just a short distance away. I love to walk.

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Swimming in the ocean, our favorite family activity!

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And the ocean is warm.

P1000200I lost count of all the fresh water streams, rivers, estuaries that we walked over.

P1000204When it rains, the temperature is still warm. No shivering as you walk to your next destination.

Raul is the parking lot attendant who always kept a good eye on our vehicle. Good man.
Raul is the parking lot attendant who always kept a good eye on our vehicle. Good man.

Friendly people. My husband mentioned, at least once a day, how friendly Ticos are.

Pura Vida. Costa Rica
Pura Vida. Costa Rica

We either need to visit Costa Rica more often…or move to Hawai’i.

 

Costa Rica’s Rainy Season Is Beautiful

We found a hotel that I deemed safe for our son to play, but the room wouldn’t be ready until 3 o’clock. Hotel Costa Verde had lockers and several bathrooms (with showers) for guest to use while waiting for a room. We put our luggage in a locker and got dressed for the beach.
P1000089Playa Espadilla sits right in front of the National Park Manuel Antonio.

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Danny had some poison ivy lingering on his arms and legs, so he went into the ocean for his treatment. Danny believes the ocean can heal or help any type of health problem and I don’t disagree with that. The salt water is healthy for lots of reasons and I’m just glad that water isn’t as cold down here as it is in California.

This guy ran all the beach rentals and wanted to show baby how to build a sand castle.
This guy ran all the beach rentals and wanted to show baby how to build a sand castle.

Danny and I took turns watching the baby. 15 minutes back and forth is how it went…for a while.

It is a work out keeping up with baby. Curious George ain't got noth'n on or son.
It is a work out keeping up with baby. He is Mr Curious.

Although it was a cloudy day, I was slathering sun block on myself and the baby. I asked Dan if he wanted some, he declined because it was a cloudy day….I grew up in southern California and I knew better what could happen on a cloudy day at the beach.

P1000085Guess Who Got Sun Burned?

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After I was beached out, we found a place to eat up the hill from our hotel.

just in case you miss the food in the US, you're in luck....
just in case you miss the food in the US, you’re in luck….

El Wagon was our go – to restaurant in Manuel Antonio, because it was a short walk and they make incredible fish wrap (mahi-mahi) and delicious nachos.

Every time we sat down in the out door dining area, I kept thinking up our dream home and how I wanted an open eating area with mosaic floors.

(since a sixth grade visit to the J Paul Getty Museum I have been in love with mosaics).

I loved the Costa Rican thunder storms that passed through.

Danny and I agreed that the Rainy Season was a great time to visit Costa Rica. The rain didn’t hamper our trip in any way. The foliage was a vibrate green and the clash in temperature created a mist, that rain forest mist, that US Zoos fail to really capture.

someday.
This is what my ideal kitchen area looks like.

I’ve been to the San Diego Zoo many times….and Costa Rica’s Rain Forest wins hands down.

see the mosaic floors?
see the mosaic floors? Love.

The other upside to rain? Baby boy loved getting wet. He might be screaming because we wont let him run into traffic, but when we pick him up and walk in the rain, the boy is happy.

P1000107When he is happy, we be happy.

Finally, nap time.
Finally, nap time.

Our room was finally ready and I was ready…for a nap.

P1000114The view was beautiful. I love a moody sky and the sun was out by morning.

Enjoying the small things.
Enjoying the small things

While I rested on the bed, with our air conditioner on, our son found the broom and dust pan and started another party of his own.

He wore himself out.

Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniver…

Back to where it happened, the Sealing for Time and Eternity.
Back to where it happened, the Sealing for Time and Eternity.

Remember that movie “So I Married An Axe Murderer”? (“stay for a night cap!!!”). I remember that movie…. Mike Meyers, before he was Shreck, was writing beatnik poetry about girls he used to date, “she stole my heart and my cat,” reading The World News and dusting off his wall with the Scottish Hall of Fame.  Yesterday, the two year anniversary of my wedding day, while cleaning the house I kept singing in my head over and over (to the William Tell Overture?), “Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Haaaaappy Anniversary….Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy Anniversary, Happy Happy – SHUT IT!” Which of course, is from the movie “So I Married An Axe Murderer.”   Cool Story.

Life is good
Life is good

I did not marry an axe murderer, thank goodness.

not an axe murderer, but an avid fisherman and hunter.
not an axe murderer, but an avid fisherman and hunter.

Last year my husband was backpacking the day/week of our first wedding anniversary, this year I was visiting with my sister. We are headed to Costa Rica in two and a half weeks, so I think that will be celebration enough….for the last two years and the next two years….because in three years, we’re going to Disney World – I hope. For some reason I’ve never been to Florida (EVER!!!), my dad was born in Orlando and I have had this tickle – intense tickle – to go to Florida for some time now. Not in the summer, but a winter stay in Florida sounds lovely.

Out on an uncle's lake, showing our son how to make a good catch.
Out on an uncle’s lake, showing our son how to make a good catch.

I have a short list of places I NEED to visit in the next five years….we don’t seem to have a million dollars in our checking account, so we shall see how that works out.

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Fishing is also a good time to talk about life….

United Kingdom, how I love you and want to see you again (and again)

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Australia/New Zealand you are on the tippy top of my list of places to go.

Hey there good look'n...look at the camera...
Hey there good look’n…look at the camera…

Hawaii why do you feel so out of reach? You are part of the same United States that I live in. I must come see you.

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Germany, my dad has told me so many good things about you. I love German products, is there anything that you make that is not good? I don’t think so.

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Oh Canada, our neighbor to the North, I want to see Vancouver and Toronto (and the beauty in between). Someday, Someday we shall meet. When, I ask?

Woman with cameras should not come fishing....
Women with cameras should not come fishing….

I can’t pick just one Island in the South Pacific, but since my husband was assigned a school assignment on Samoa, I have wanted to spend some time in Polynesia.

he tossed this guy back
he tossed this guy back

What are the odds of me being able to see all these wonderful places?

This is my short list of places to visit soon. Which means I need to live a long time, so my husband and I can visit all the places on my long list.

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Happy Happy Anniversary Daniel, the best gift we ever received is our funny little boy. Thank you for your love, your time, your patience and for letting me tote my camera everywhere with us.

Katie

Exploring Missouri’s Hidden Gems

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Round Springs is about 1.5 hours from our home. A bit long, but scenic.

Some friends invited us to join them on the Current River for a river clean up last Saturday. “The Stream Team” is a group of conservationists, volunteers and State Park employees that gather several times a year to keep the rivers clean.

It’s unfortunate that individual river riders don’t keep their beer cans, coke cans. drugs, folding camp chairs and the usual hats and socks (plastic diapers – eww!) out of the river after a visit. Thus it is and there are some people “THE STREAM TEAM” who care so much they clean up after those lazy, selfish ‘litter bugs.’

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After our drive up to Round Springs, we got out of the truck to explore and stretch our legs. I took the lens cap off my camera and it was so humid – it took several minutes for the camera lens to stop fogging up.

For those who are scared of being in the wilderness without toilets (!) or Rangers near by, rest assured, you are not completely alone out here.
For those who are scared of being in the wilderness without toilets (!) or Rangers near by, rest assured, you are not completely alone out here.

The Spring is found by following a trail into the forest. It was SO HOT and the water bubbling up from the fresh water spring was SO COLD, there was an eeire or mystical, depends on your imagination, mist that enveloped the area.

"Swamp Thing, you make my heart sing....you make every thing...Groovy."
“Swamp Thing, you make my heart sing….you make every thing…Groovy.”

I was overly excited about this area I took way too many photos.

I snapped a photo of our friends across the spring, you can't see Juliet very well...she is wearing green, but you can see Jason.
I snapped a photo of our friends across the spring, you can’t see Juliet very well…she is wearing green, but you can see Jason.

The summer rains have caused the spring to be full of more plant life than usual, it is typically a clear blue pool. I put my feet in the water to cool off a bit, I was turning into a sweaty mess.

The path that ends at the bottom of the photo is where I dipped my feet into the cool water. And I am taking the photo from where I snapped the photo of Jason and Juliet.
The path that ends at the bottom of the photo is where I dipped my feet into the cool water. And I am taking the photo from where Jason and Juliet were standing.

There are several stops along the trail where you can catch some perfect landscape art. I am a fan of art museums, but mother nature beats art museums – hands down.

A close up photo taken from the other side of the pool.
A close up photo taken from the other side of the pool.

We came to help with the river clean up, but we did a whole lot of “site-seeing”

Aside from the annoyed feelings aimed at lazy river goers, helping with a river clean up is what some professionals do on their weekends off, because of the beautiful and relaxing reward of communing with the outdoors.

This little guy wouldn't hold still for my close-up, it kept fluttering around. This is the best one I could get.
This little guy wouldn’t hold still for my close-up, it kept fluttering around. This is the best one I could get.

The back roads of Missouri are full of bends and hills, which can make some people, including myself, a bit car sick. The reward for surviving the drive is the hike you take when you get out of the car.

Danny's Kryptonite is green, just like Superman's Kryptonite is green....coincidence? I think not.
Danny’s Kryptonite is green, just like Superman’s Kryptonite is green….coincidence? I think not. (photo of poison ivy, Dan’s only enemy in nature).

Danny and I, with our children, are excited about joining the conservation of Missouri’s State Parks with the other Missouri dwellers.

Just be kind to the outdoors, keep them beautiful by keeping the trash out….just like you would treat your own body – keep the trash out.

Coyotes, Hammocks, Tiny Bats, Oh My!

Several times during the night, a pack of Coyotes howled/screamed at us from directly across the Current River to our site. That was unnerving. I had a lot on my mind, the baby cried throughout the night and come sun up, I hadn’t slept much at all.

Mr Outdoors makes his own breakfast.
Mr Outdoors makes his own breakfast. He condescended to use my Flash Boil instead of his Optimus  mini stove, mainly because it was on the breakfast table. Although I love my Flash Boil, I will admit the Optimus stove boils water much faster.

Thankfully I could leave my sleeping baby with my husband and found Spencer had already built a morning fire, I was free to feed myself without juggling an infant. I pre-cut most of the food that wasn’t boxed, like the oatmeal, before we left the house. Apples and peanut butter make a great campout morning snack, along with raisons and sun flower seeds.

While I sat eating my breakfast, I looked at my mother dressed in full Himalayan winter gear sitting next to the fire and she reminded me that she was raised in the south where it rarely gets cold…and when it does, you stay in side with the heater on. Not everyone is cut out for the Polar Bear Club.

DSC_1181As the morning wore on, the temperature rose. We all started pealing our coats off.

After breakfast, we lounged around in hammocks for a while – one of the luxuries of camping – no where to be? No problem.

Most of our group owns Grand Trunk hammocks, but Spencer brought his ENO hammock; which, Spencer being my go-to baby helper, the baby spent quite a bit of time in that ENO.

Baby and Daddy, just hang'n out.
Baby and Daddy, just hang’n out.
Even Mom braved the sunshine by removing her parka.
Here she is folks, in all her glory! My Mother.

Later in the morning, whiled I watched the baby and ate more food, the men folk went exploring.

They came back an hour later, having found some caves. Mom and I werent too interested in going inside of them – we are both claustrophobic – we were interested in a hike.

The temperature continued to rise and we were starting to sweat. How about that? from 30° (F) to the upper 70’s (F) in a matter of hours. Nice. Good thing I packed shorts and sunblock, in addition to heavy fleece.

Dan manned up and strapped the Baby Kat'an on his chest. It got so hot, we stripped the baby to a diaper. The more naked the better according to baby.
Dan Manned Up and strapped the Baby Ka’tan on his chest. It got so hot, we stripped the baby to a diaper. The baby loves being naked, but who doesn’t?

The first cave our group encountered together had a sign posted warning that bats lived in there and explorers had to have “four flashlights per person” just in case something happened in the cave and other proper equipment… yada yada and my mother was saying, “that is probably dangerous..you could get hurt in there.” To which my nineteen year old brother said, “that’s why we’re doing it.”

Mom says, "you could fall and break your neck and it would be very difficult to get you to the hospital from here...and with no rope, this could be bad."
Mom says, “you could fall and break your neck and it would be very difficult to get you to the hospital from here…and with no rope, this could end bad.”

According to Dan, there were twenty or so tiny bats in there and some cave dwelling creatures living in there…troglodytes. Mom and I were ready to move on.

They all went in
They all went in

After the first cave, we went to a second cave they had found earlier. The second one was bigger and colder and more wet.

DSC_1207My mom kept saying things like, “I hope none of you are claustrophobic, because if you get too far in there, in a tight spot, you might start to panic..” “the sign says four flashlights per person, you only have one per person..” “What if it caves in and you get suffocated?” Nineteen year old replied again, “we have one flash light each, we’ll share the four between us.”

The boys were humored about listening to “The Worst Case Scenario” as imagined by mother.

It's all good.
It’s all good.

She was serious.

Let's keep walking. Let's walk along the river.
Let’s keep walking. Let’s walk along the river.

Oh, the river…that was our next adventure.