Yellowstone and The Timed Showers of The Grand Tetons

Someone once told me I was going to live my dreams.  I had come up to the front of my small church to be prayed over during a time of waiting in my life and one of our elders said, “Your going to live your dreams!”  I believed him, he was prophetic and I could tell by the look on his face he’d just heard that straight from the source.  He then asked me with excitement, “SO, WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS?!”

My dreams.

Inspiring posts and speakers always ask the question, if you could do anything, and not fail, what would you do?

And there are your dreams, waiting on the other side of fear of failure.

My dreams have always been to have a big family.  To be married to the guy who had all the checks next to the list I made when I was 13 and very boy crazy.  When I met Davin, I knew.  I think that list was more to keep me AWAY from all the other boys until we met, rather than Davin fill it out.  He’s always been better than the list.  I dreamt of knowing the Lord my whole life, raising our kids to know and love him too.   To be a safe place to land for others over a lifetime, an encouraging friend, and to have a home open to our kids friends who need to know what real love looks like, and hopefully introduce them to Him.  To show others that a real life lived fully comes from fully being known by God himself, the creator of the Universe.  I also dreamt of writing, because I can’t physically be everywhere for everyone, but if I can write it to you, be your friend in the night when you feel alone and wonder who God really is – if I can be there, and encourage you through the hard times, to say it and mean it and you know that I’ve lived it too and we’re not alone.  To spur you on like so many others have spurred me on in knowing Him.  Well, then I’ll have lived out some of my dreams.

We went to Colorado, Yellowstone, and The Grand Tetons over the summer.  I am a little surprised to say that my highlight of the year was spending 14 days in a car and tiny trailer with our family of six.

IMG_3530
Exhibit A: A very, “real life” photo.  Eli, ever desiring to be in charge is taking our photo, Dani is being silly, Evelyn is trying to squiggle herself to dirt and rocks-freedom, Ellie has her sweatshirt in her mouth and I’m smiling at strangers who are admiring our, “adorable” family.  Davin is really the only one who’s appropriately posing for this photo and it makes sense because he planned, organized and executed or trip – this photo sums up so much of our life as a family.

This is one of my favorite pictures because it instantly takes me back to the last night of our trip.  We ate at this fancy Grand Tetons restaurant that smelled like my grandparents house (and had the same type of music).  My grandparents loved taking their trailer all over the US, so it felt special to end the night here, in this beautiful restaurant overlooking the Grand Tetons with our family.   This was our first ever trailer trip and my Gramma D gave me my Grandpa’s old travel journal to fill out, and it felt like my Grandpa D was with us in spirit.  Love you Grandpa D!

IMG_3526

On this trip I realized a few things about myself.  We have four little kids.  I know this, and people TELL me all the time how full my hands are, but it became very different traveling and touring part of America with them.

I honestly didn’t know how much the dangers of Yellowstone were stressing me out until we left, and drove into the Tetons.  It felt like a rocket was just lifted off my shoulders as we passed the park line.  Yellowstone is beautiful, incredibly diverse in it’s geographical landscape and SUPER dangerous for little kids.  In my mind we were always just a few beautiful steps from death.  Many of the sights are boiling hot and will kill any living thing that should fall into them… hence my apprehension.

On our last day at Yellowstone or as I like to call it, “Day Five of Yellowstone Strong”, (remember I said, Davin planned this trip?), I had a meltdown.   Friends, this was no leisurely trip like I would have planned.  We were going hard ALL day long to see all the things.

We’d been up and at it most days at sunrise and didn’t get home to prepare dinner in a trailer until the sun was setting.  Now, I LIKE the outdoors, but I don’t thrive in an outdoor all day environment with four children.  I just don’t want to squint for 12 hours and feel like I and my kids are covered in dirt.  Almost none of the bathrooms have hand soap.  HAND SOAP.  It’s BYOS in Yellowstone.  So, on day five of our kids going all day not properly washing their hands, squinting at the sun and taking our little family just steps from death I was done.  I was over it.  I saw a lady in her 90’s and envied her and her quiet husband because if they had kids, their hands were probably washed in some clean house right now and no one was almost dying of accidental E. Coli on their watch.  They’d done it – parented and made memories successfully AND now they had quiet time to read ALL the plaques, and stare at all the sights and no one was talking at them, pulling at their leg, they weren’t carrying anyone or keeping someone from almost falling in a geyser, mud-pot, waterfall, volcano, hot spring, or getting trampled by a buffalo or breaking up a squabble.

So there we were in the parking lot, and I said to Davin, “just take them to bathroom,  I need some time.”  I stayed in the car and pouted/moped, where it was stupid hot and just stared out the window questioning my life.  I stared out of my hot, dusty, grimy filthy dusty, dusty young body and envied the elderly.

Davin returned smiling, “they have hand soap.”  Inspired by the fact that my children’s hands were now finally clean, I lunged from the car and jogged to the bathroom to regain some sense of hand cleanliness control over my life.  I washed my hands in warm water for like five minutes.  Luxury city all up in there!  Upon returning I found the kids running, laughing and squealing as Davin timed each of them on an obstacle course game he’d created.  They were still dusty but at least their hands were clean for now.

The elderly woman approached me.

“I envy you” she said.

I had the tenacity to actually say, “WHY?” (I’m laughing now, but I still blame Yellowstone Strong and I told you, it was pity party city).

“Look at them, so much zest for life, this is the life, these are the moments.  We came here when my kids were little, we have four.  Those were the best of times.”

I was so tired and exhausted and covered in dirt and honestly just wanted to run away, I wanted to be alone, in quiet for at least a half an hour… but convicted, I felt her truth pull at me.

These were the best of times, and I knew she was right.  These were my dreams and I was living them

I could see it that way now or see it through the lens of later.  I wanted to tell her, but your car… right now… is SILENT.  You hear that breeze?  You can enjoy it!  Did anyone just ask you for something just then?  Nope.  I’m thinking my, “best of times” meter may be maxed out.  Someone may have jammed too many quarters and a loaf of bread in here and it’s just a little to FULL.

But it wasn’t like that.  That’s just how it felt in the moment, based on my expectation of what the best of times should look like.  And I was just really exhausted, but that didn’t change the truth.  I wasn’t there to read the plaques. Davin and I were there to make mostly happy memories with our kids.  (I say mostly because of the Timed Showers of the Tetons – see below) We were there to show our kids the beauty of God’s diverse creation.  To spend time with them.  And, yes, the best of times were currently covered in dirt and rocks, dust, sweat, occasional arguments, tiffs, impromptu games, long hours in the car, giggles, smiles and deep nights of rest under the thick darkness, but they were there for me to categorize on my own plaque under, “The best of times” or “the worst of times.”  Honestly, the way I was feeling it could have gone the other way and certainly did for the half hour or so of my wandering thoughts as we drove to the parking lot and I sat in the car pondering my dusty, grimy life.

However, she was right.  These were the best of times.  And I was living my dreams.

I had a choice to make.

I thought to myself, I’ll probably come back here one day, when my kids are hopefully grown with clean hands in their own houses and I don’t want to watch another family and wish I’d enjoyed it the first time, I need to know that I enjoyed it THIS time.  This is it.

These are the best of times.  I am living my dreams.

I hope I carry this truth into this next year.  It seems that God often brings elderly woman into my life to teach me these great lessons on perspective.

Nostalgia is easy, but enjoying it fully the first time can be really, really hard.

And, for the record, it’s okay to have an occasional pity-party meltdown and pout in the car.  After that pep talk, I looked at my family.  I watched the elderly woman walk away and push her husband on his wheelchair down to another lookout point.  I stared at Ellie, smiling and laughing full of life and energy.  I watched Evelyn pick up rocks and taste them.  I picked her up and as I saw Eli round the corner of the tree, with Dani cheering him on and I realized I could join them.  I didn’t have to sit there and pout and slowly move from frustrated, to sad to okay to sorta-smiling to happy again.  I could just skip all that like my kids do.  I could get over it.

So I swallowed my non-pride and joined in.  I set Evelyn down to taste the rocks and I ran down the hill, around the tree, back up the hill, around the bush and to the plaque that I never got to read.  17 seconds.  Then we drove to Old Faithful (even though we had already seen it) because it has the best ice cream in all of Yellowstone and we weren’t vegan for Evelyn just yet.

IMG_3150
The great indoors. My new favorite place.  I literally took the picture because I was so happy to be INSIDE a building.

Apparently soap, the indoors, ice cream and the elderly can settle me down enough to feel alright about life again and remember who’s dreams I’m living.

 

For those of you who want to walk down another type of memory I give you:

The Timed Showers of the Tetons.  An autobiography of motherhood.

Why are showers in camp sights timed?  Who invented this non-lack-of-water?  What does that even mean?

We were blessed enough to snag a sweet camp site at Signal Mountain Campground.  IT WAS GORGEOUS.  However there were no water hook ups but at least we had power in one of the most beautiful camp sites on earth.  Cue the camp site showers.

Rocks and dirt call to my children in quiet whispers and loud shouts, they are incredibly creative and imaginative, so they will literally play in rocks and dirt for hours.  This is great and all, but it makes for messy children.

As night approached and we were all full from our breakfast for dinner, we decided to haul our dust covered kids, all the shower stuff, towels and our clean pj’s up the hill.  I had bags on bags people.

And here is where being married to Davin brings excitement to my life.

Davin ran on ahead to get our shower coins.  He returned with one coin.

ONE coin.

One coin is five dollars and lasts seven minutes.

He came back proud and thought this was just enough time to shower everyone, and a good use of our funds.

I did not see it the same way however, the coin distributer was far and now here we were… the six of us.

I graciously replied, “Seven minuets!  That’s not enough time, what if someone needs more time?!  I’m going last, what if the time runs out?  Are you crazy!”  I think by now I was yelling, but unawares.

Evelyn at this point had her lips in a straw positing and was trying to drink the leftover shower water from the previous patrons off the floor.

I grabbed her.

Davin, ever upbeat replied, “It will be like a fun video game – a challenge babe!”

One of my other children had already stripped bare and was now dipping both butt cheeks into leftover patron’s water with impeccable balance and just enough silence for me to notice only after it was too late.

I was now internally adding up the different illnesses at least two of my children may have been exposed to.  I fully recognize most of this materializes from spending 19 days in the PICU with our baby last November and watching her get close to death, but at the time, none of that added up.

The clean towels I had worked so hard to protect on our walk had been knocked into large puddle near the door.

Davin put THE coin in and the shower turned on.  I started yelling out orders, “Get in the water, get in the water!!  QUICK!”

My kids yelled back, “It’s too cold!  It’s too hot, I’m scared!”

“We don’t have time to be scared, get in that water!”

By the end of it, all kids were showered yet shaken, and I had exactly one minuet and thirty seconds left over for a rinse.  As I washed the shampoo out of my hair and bubbles filled my flip flops a buzzer louder than a fire engine started going off.

Panic ensued.

One started screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”, another began sobbing, Evelyn was still trying to get into the water with her clean pajamas caring less about the sound and the last was attempting to claw to safety at me IN the shower.  It took Davin and I almost all thirty seconds to convince our kids that it was just the shower buzzer and everything was going to be okay.

All in all, we left in glory.  All showered, all mostly still clean.  And as our wet flip flops kicked up all the dust back onto our only momentarily clean feet, I looked around to see if anyone was staring at us, because we’d all just been screaming in the bathroom like it was the end of the world.

Cheers Grand Tetons, Cheers to your seven minuet showers.

The end.

Cupdate… as in update on the Cups

So you can always wear white… or light colors, or any colors, or workout pants, or a dance leotard…

IMG_2333

Hey girlfriends, because if you’re a boy, you have no needs to reads the rest.  See you next time guys!

Cups:  Still love the Diva.  Purchased the #2, post childbirth and do feel it suits me better on the heavy days.  My go-to on the rest is the Lunette.  Love this one.  Has become by far, my favorite.  The Lunette wins.  Amazon has it Here.  Easy and quick in it’s application.  Easy to rinse.  And most importantly, I can’t tell it’s there.  This is why it wins.  Some of my besties have also chimed in after jumping on the cup wagon and found the Pixie is also a gem and cheaper as well.  So far on the cup conversion rate, of the friends who’ve tried, they’ve become believers and stuck with it – saving money and making the planet more beautiful along with it:-)

Wash:  I love soap and all things clean, so of course I purchased cup wash.  I only bought this one and have barely gone through it, hence no need to try another at this point.  I love that literally the tiniest drop is needed and it smells like eucalyptus.  Be sure to always fully dry your cup to avoid infection (so says the gals on Amazon reviews;-)

AND NOW… Big NEWS – I tried period underwear and you should too!  I think facebook must have decided I was into a more natural approach to menstruation because Thinx was pretty much the only advertisement all the time.  Although it looked like a decent product, I started researching and found some others as well and gave a few a try.  Here are my findings and why I’ll keep a few pairs in my life.

In all the pairs I’ve tried, the inside is black, so any color will do and they look kinda adorable actually.

Thinx review:  The website is different in it’s approach, it appears to not just be selling a product, but so much more.  They blog on many different topics and share opinions that I may or may not agree with.  So I feel it’s tricky to endorse them fully because I never fully agree with anyone when it comes to opinions!  So I kinda don’t like it when products do that but anyway.  That being said, I’ll review JUST the product, not the brand.  I emailed them for a pair to test out and they asked me for a media kit.  Since I lack the time to make one, I just bought one pair with a coupon.

The underwear is legit, the thinnest by a small margin of the three I’ve tried.  I purchased one black pair of the cheeky in medium.  I don’t recommend the cheeky as they tended to wander a bit more than I’d like… cheeky = wedgie.  That being said, they do what they say they’ll do and it’s impressive.  I felt safe wearing them and never worried that if I got in a pinch and couldn’t dump and rinse my cup in time that there would be an embarrassing situation.

Vv SkiVvys review: I emailed the company and they sent me a pair to try out.  The founders are adorable.  I sampled  the Rochelle Sporty in tan.  These are basically waterproof.  I feel like even if I peed my pants, no one would know.  They ran a bit warmer than the other two I tested and it may be because they provide the most protection as far as leaks go.  I see a lot of ads at my gym for undergarment leak protection.  I feel like this would be a much preferred alternative to undergarment leak protection.  Appear bulletproof as far as any type of leaks go.

Dear Kate Review: They provide so many options – coverage: full or mini.  Type: thong, hipster or brief.  Workout pants…  Bright colors for days!  I purchased a few Ada thongs  and they fit great!  I also like the Ada hipster mini, one of my other faves.  Mini means less leak coverage and less thicker material on the garment itself.  Since I was only looking for occasional leak protection, not to replace a cup, the mini hipster and thong have proven to be my go-to’s.  The full ada hipster also works great, provides a ton of coverage and I would never worry that a leak would happen and I could probably ditch the cup and just wear a pair.  I like Dear Kate because of the colors and so many options – apparently I’m an options girl.  They also have great customer service.  I ordered a thong and didn’t love it and they took care of me right away with a replacement.

Now, if I love the cup, why the period underwear?

  1. Never ruin another cute pair of undies.  Ever.
  2. Never fear… is my cup leaking?  Did I get it in right?  Case and point.  When my car broke down in front of a Costco (busiest intersection ever around here) and I was stuck waiting for a tow, with two kids, I didn’t have time to go dump and rinse.  It was my heaviest day and fortunately for me I was test running a pair of Dear Kates and even though my cup started leaking… it was FINE.  NO worries at all.  It was like insurance.  I was SO HAPPY about it.
  3. Even though I chart my period, my body is not a clock and it loves to surprise me at times.  If I feel like it’s up to something sneaky, a day or two before it’s arrival, I can toss on a pair and not worry for even a second.  Oh haaay period… I was ready.
  4. Am I the only one with 7th grade pad trauma?  I was ALWAYS afraid someone would see a leak or hear my diaper pad.  All I remember about math class was worrying that if I stood up there would be blood on my pants.  THE WORST.  Please tell me I am not alone in this memory?  I hate pads, but I digress.  This has changed me from period fears to no fears.  I just never have to worry.
  5. Light days.  You know when your period is over… but it’s not quite over?  I can just toss on a pair and go on with my day be like, “you can be over whenever because I have no cares whatsoever.”

So in the end – period underwear removed one more layer of stress from my life.

IMG_2321
Please appreciate my lack of ironed clothing.  These shorts say, “I’m a mom, I was on the ground with my kids, I’m gonna live my life.”
IMG_2312.JPG
100% have yet to master that adorable kissing child photo.  Attempt #152…fail.  #whataremylipsevendoing #Eveswillhavenoneofit #illkeeptrying

I have four little kids and I can’t always run to the bathroom right when I want to and towards the end of of a cycle I can just toss on a pair and be done with it.  I never have to see a pad again if I don’t want to and washing them is a breeze.

So besides yourself, who would benefit from these?  Your pre-teen daughter, niece, friend.  ANY woman who’s about to deliver a baby.  No matching diapers!  These would be a great gift for any of the above:-)

Let me know what you think ladies!

As always, thanks for reading 🙂