My family and I went skiing this weekend at Keystone, and experienced the Epic SchoolKids program (free skiing in CO for kids K-5). The kids had a blast, and my husband and I even got some alone time on the slopes while the girls took a lesson. We also experienced fun on the mountain, other than skiing and snowboarding. Stay tuned for my full post with pictures, but here are a few photos to get a glimpse of how much fun we had.
My previous years in review (posted here and linked) are upbeat and address my top blog posts. This year has been completely different and unlike any other year. It has been, simply put, the WORST year I have had in my lifetime, and I know a lot of others can attest to this in their lives too. If we could time travel, I’d come back to 2016 and change everything about it, or wipe it from our history altogether.
2016 wasn’t just about politics and the “alt”-election that will bring us into an unknown 2017 and with social issues, possibly launch us back into the 1950s. 2016 was about a lot of lives lost. The theme for 2016 was loss, loss, loss; losses that some of us will never get over. My husband and I personally know so many friends and family who have lost so many loved ones this year (from children, spouses to parents), so it’s not just about political loss. This year, we didn’t just mourn political losses and the crazy Brexit decision, so many good celebrities, musicians, artists, and Americans lost their lives, but I still love what my friend Richard Parker posted on Facebook after we all learned of the passing of 60-year old Carrie Fisher. He said, “We’ve lost a lot of celebrities this year, and we did not like it. But some of us lost people we actually knew – family and friends. And I promise that losing those we once spoke to on the phone or hugged good-bye after a visit hurt a lot more than ‘losing’ the people we never ate breakfast with or whose wedding we attended. Yes, we mourn the loss of those great artists and heroes who inspired us and made their way into our hearts, but let’s not forget those who lost others who were a lot closer than pop stars or politicians for their hearts break far longer than a moment on social media.” Well said, Richard! I do believe, however, that people share their disappointments, fears and heartache through posting about or talking about known public entities lost, because most people find that common ground. And celebrities are symbolic to most, representing our lives and people we know and love in reality.
The biggest loss my family experienced was my biggest celebrity and champion in life, my beautiful momma. She meant the world to me, to my daughters, and so many others. 2016 took my mom. I wrote this Mother’s Day post to her after she was diagnosed with cancer in March, and had surgery in April. Despite chemotherapy and all other attempts, she succumbed to uterine sarcoma on December 4, 2016. New Year’s Day will make four weeks since she left us, but I know in this lifetime, none of the people she left behind will ever get over it. Her absence is being felt all over the world by loved ones. We miss her terribly and gladly bid 2016 good riddance! I wish I could go back in time and change this entire year. If I could, I’d have my mom back, for sure, and healthy.
The only theme for 2016 for our family and so, so many others is echoed in a John Oliver video made after the election about how horrible 2016 has been. If you want to view it, you can google “John Oliver F**! 2016 video.” It is on you tube, and is excellent, but due to explicit language and gestures is not shared here. I did share a shorter video John Oliver made for the same segment, which also represents how we feel about 2016.
The other great video is one on facebook from Friend Dog Studios, 2016: the movie. It’s quite good and who knows if the curse is over? From Brexit, exploding phones, the election and all the havoc in 2016, it captures the year well.
For my faithful readers, I do hope to post more in 2017. This past year has been tough and I didn’t have time to post as much. I wanted to spend as much time with my mom as I could, and of course, most of the time did not feel like posting at all. No matter what you experienced in this shitty year of 2016, may you all have a fresh start in 2017 and experience health, love, and happiness, and here’s hoping (despite my pessimistic, realist outlook), 2017 goes okay for our government and nation as well.
If you enjoyed Fondue Fairytales, Superhero Sundays and fun-due Scarytales, then don’t miss out on Elf Training Camp at the Melting Pot, Littleton, Colorado! Saturdays and Sundays (Dec 3, 4, 10, 11, 17th and 18th) are for fondue fun with the whole family. Enjoy food, drink and elf-themed training, and you can meet Santa’s head elf!
The melting pot is a great experience for kids and you can put those etiquette or cotillion classes into practice. Hold on to your skewer, this is the only place adults and children can indeed double dip, love every minute of it, and no one will complain. Adults pay $45, and children ages 4-12 are $25, with kids 3 and under free – this price includes the fun and food. Reservations are required and space is limited, so call 303-794-5666 to reserve your spot, and dip, dip, dip away! With four courses, each elf in your family, and the parents will leave here full and ready for holiday shopping. The entire four-course meal and fun took about 2.5 hours, so be ready for some food and fun for the kids. It’s so well-organized and paced just perfectly.
Finally, please remember to dress in layers as the activities are in the tents outside, but honestly, it was so warm in there with the heaters, we were all comfortable and toasty. As you can see from the pictures, the kids had a great time, and it was nice to spend some uninterrupted time with them… okay, the elf interrupted a lot with a ton of activities for them but we thought it was good to keep the restless little ones busy and working. All in all, kids and parents were super happy.
Disclaimer: My family and I were compensated in exchange for posts/social media coverage of this event. We were compensated with free fondue for all of us. The views expressed here are my own. NOTE: This post was delayed due to a family/life emergency.
Required disclaimer: I may wear scrubs each day but I am not a medical doctor, and this is my personal experience and opinion. Every one of us is created different and your body may react differently, but this is my story….
My experience with the Mirena IUD didn’t start off bad, nor go poorly, but I always felt more bloated and like I just couldn’t lose the weight despite working out, eating right and staying healthy. Since we were not sure whether our family was complete yet, neither my husband nor I considered more permanent options and since I heard people used the Mirena for a long time, I assumed it was safe. But last year, we changed all that.
After about 5 years of having it, I started experiencing vertigo and other symptoms and tests ruled out tumors or other causes so I wasn’t sure what was causing them. Last year, around Halloween, I was experiencing these symptoms again and was the heaviest I had been since having the kids or getting married. Despite a solid work out routine, I felt unhealthy and had a huge gut. At a mere 61 inches tall, 133 lbs. is a lot to carry around and a very unhealthy BMI. I had tried giving up soda and alcohol and didn’t shred a pound. By January of 2015 I had already replaced the Mirena once, so last year, I went in and had it removed and completely changed my diet at the same time. I reduced sodium and sugar from my diet and eliminated all microwave meals which are super high in sodium. I was told by the doctor to give it one year to see if the Mirena was the culprit for my weight and symptoms.
It’s now a year later and for the past 3 months I have reintroduced Chinese food (without MSG), normal salted foods, and maintained a healthy diet and the weight is not back. But I remain true to my habits- more fruits and vegetables, smoothies, protein, and replacing soy sauce and canned foods with healthier alternatives or home-made options. My gut that was pretty prominent is gone and I feel better. Once 132-133 last year at this time, I am now 115-116. I was wearing size 10 shirts and large size t-shirts but now am back to small shirts and size 4 pants. I was wearing size 8 pants at this time last year. I even squeezed into size 2 earlier this year and was so excited- I have never worn size 2! I still don’t drink soda but I drink wine and beer in moderation and eat a balanced diet and I haven’t felt period pain and experienced spasms and cramping like I did on the Mirena.
Think about it – something that stops your periods completely over time just isn’t natural and naturally your body responds by retaining water and fluids, or other things. For me that fluid retention was very harmful and resulted in unhealthy conditions. Again, will you lose the weight and the gut I did if you break up with our IUD? I am not sure, but I do know that the Mirena IUD was simply not right for me, and now that I am hormone-free, I feel much better and more energetic. I have not done anything with my eating habits to lose weight, nor diet, and I am still keeping the weight off. There are other life stressors for me now, but going natural without hormones or any artificial things inside my body has been the smartest decision I made. I have a friend who tried Essure (two of them) and it didn’t go well either. Some others swear by it. For me, I prefer nothing inside me that is unnatural or unhealthy and do not want any more surgeries or artificial options. If you are lucky to have a husband who can shoulder the permanent birth control option, I urge you to do research, consult your doctor, and make informed choices.
We went rafting as a family for the first time. The last time my husband and I went rafting was when we were still engaged to be married, so this was truly a treat. Wilderness Aware (WA) is a great company, located in Buena Vista, Colorado., and they do more than just white water rafting. WA offers full-day and half-day rafting trips, a dinner float (this one is so cool), multi-day trips, including camping or B&B stays with rafting included. You can also book zipline tours, horseback riding, and bike trips through WA. Their website is great, easy to use, and offer discounts when you book on-line.
WA facilities are great! The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. Once you arrive on-site, you can change there, buy water, and apply sunscreen (they provide this). If you do a full day rafting trip, breakfast is provided on-site too! You meet your guide and get your gear, and then receive a safety demonstration. We had Isaiah as our guide and he really hit it off with our kiddos. He even let my eldest row with him. She loved it!
It was their first time, and the half day lower browns canyon (Class I and II rapids) really made them feel comfortable. They are actually ready for Class III and IV now. But mom and dad may not be, just yet. The dinner float was assembling when we returned to Buena Vista, and it looks so interesting – You float down, and eat at a grill, and then return back. The views are breathtaking on the raft, and Colorado is so scenic, so I can imagine how much more amazing it would be to have a nice dinner and a glass wine along the Arkansas river while admiring the view. We had fun rafting as a family, and I know we will return next summer, if not sooner, to take in some more of the fun. We want to try zip lining as well, and Wilderness Aware is a great company to book trips through. They are organized, and made us all feel special. They sent us information before the trip and kept us well-informed on construction in the area, best route to take, and what to leave behind in the car. All in all, our first rafting trip as a family was a huge success, and we are looking forward to a return trip very soon – thanks Wilderness Aware for an amazing whitewater rafting trip.
Disclaimer:I was compensated with a free family half-day Lower Browns Canyon raft trip in exchange for promotion and this post. The review is honest, and the opinions expressed here in are my own.