And here are a few more that make me happy…

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In rural Nebraska.

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On a back road in Custer State Park.

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Jacob and his favorite hill.

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A lake in the Tetons…

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Photography

I’ve recently found myself picking up my camera more often. It’s easy to take and edit a ton of pictures on my phone, so I feel like I’ve been neglecting my Nikon a bit. In all honesty, my Nikon can do some pretty amazing things, and I’ve been stretching my photog muscles some, trying to get back in a groove. A few years back I did a 365 day photography blog, which was really the last time I was intentional about going out and trying new things…

Here are a few from the past few months that make me happy…

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We got up early to catch the sunrise on the Bells in October. It was bitingly cold, but worth the shot!
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Any time my “Grumpy Bird” Simon is joyous with laughter, it makes me happy!
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Water, movement, texture, reflections. @ The Grottos Trail in Aspen.
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So many textures! @ The Grottos Trail in Aspen.
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Movement and color! @ The Grottos Trail in Aspen.
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Reflections, evergreen, ice, upside down world! @ The Grottos Trail in Aspen.

Wisconsin, Chapter 4: McKenzie to Leinie’s, Rewey, and Governor Dodge

After a weekend without internet service, here are some moments that made me blissfully happy…

1. Spending quality time with Colleen, especially the morning we left McKenzie – down by the lake on a foggy morning, listening to the loons and watching one land in the lake right in front of us to reunite with his family. And then the eagle flew over.

2. Smudging and praying for myself, my friends, thanking the creator for allowing me to be in this world at this place and time.

3. The hospitality and friendship that Susan and Doyle showed us at the Jumpin’ Jupiter General Store in Dodgeville, WI. Those are some seriously good people, and I’m grateful they exist in the world!!!

4. Watching my kids explore waterfalls and boulder fields…

5. Stopping in at Ali’s and finding her making her own waterski chair! 🙂

6. Sharing a picnic with Pat and Amy and the kids at Governor Dodge.

7. Driving with Colleen and listening to Raye Zaragoza.

8. Dave and Dawn’s hospitality.

9. Apple Pie.

10. Shopping at Cave of the Mounds.

11. Looking through old pictures that Dawn set aside for me.

12. The gentle (and not so gentle) reminders that I live an incredibly blessed, fortunate, and happy life with my friends and family in Colorado and beyond.

Lower McKenzie, Thursday edition…

1. Waking up to the loons…

2. Waking up to the teenagers, alive after an adventure.

3. Making cards.

4. The Whistle Punk with family. ❤

5. Quiet time by the lake. Throwing logs for the dogs.

Wisconsin, Chapter 3: Chetek to Lower McKenzie

Man, oh man. Have you ever been in a tent in a severe thunderstorm in the middle of the night??? It’s one of the most exhilarating, exciting, and terrifying things ever!

1. Lightning, thunder, rain. WOW.

2. As we were leaving Ali’s place, I asked Jack if he needed to pee. Without putting his book down (he was reading a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book we’d just bought at Goodwill), and without lifting his eyes from the page, he peed on the nearest tree.

3. Gotta admit, taking a shower was pretty nice…

4. Every kiddo getting the chance to drive Dave’s boat on our failed fishing expedition.

5. Co-parenting with Colleen. We make an awesome team!

6. Family time with Dave and Colleen.

 

Chetek, Tuesday edition 

1. Puppy play time in the lake. Both Toby and Indy are in puppy heaven!!

2. Cuddles with my boat buddy, Simon. 

3. Watching and listening to Jack laugh his head of as he tuned around the lake!!

4. The lake pub tour, good beer with good friends, and Ali winning the jackpot! 

5. Pizza for dinner.  

Bonus: the quiet times. 

Oh yeah, and WI midday snack time!! And watching Colleen learn to waterski!! It was a great day all around!! 

Chetek, Monday edition 

1. I slept so incredibly well!!!

2. Cheese curds from Gilligan’s. YUM. 

3. Being out on the lake and seeing so many birds!!!

4. Colleen, giving the paddle board a try! 

5. Being with my kids and friends in such a beautiful setting. 

Wisconsin, Chapter 2: Chetek

I love that my Facebook memories are a collection of Wisconsin and Minnesota pics from the last five years. At various times today in the past, I’ve been at Temperance, Lower McKenzie, Chetek, and Birchwood. Today, we’re leaving Birchwood for Chetek…

1. Playing Farkel with the fam. 

2. Beaver jokes with Colleen and Ali. 

3. Drinking wine around the fire during a light rain. 

4. The sunset, the dock, the lake. 

5. Hot tubbing with Colleen. 

Wisconsin Days…

Yesterday was a long ass day, but not in a bad way. I got up at 4:30 am and hung out with Lynne and Jeremy (who hadn’t gone to bed yet), and the day unfolded to include boating, swimming, a brief first aid incident, and dinner with family. It’s wet, muggy, muddy, foggy, and raining. And everything smells green and brown.

1. Morning walk on the dock. The fog, the morning darkness, the frogs croaking on the lake. This exists even when I’m not here.

2. The deer that I startled as I took a stroll up the road. We shared a moment of understanding of the two of us in this world, and he reminded me to take a deep breath and think about what’s really important to me in this universe. Thank you, deer.

3. Clearing the air. Knowing where I stand and what I believe.

4. Boating. John Denver. Eagles. Swimming with my cousins.

5. The rope swing (also, watching Jack jump off Jeremy’s truck and swing so so high).

 

Arriving in Wisconsin

Driving east, through Nebraska, then Iowa, then Minnesota and Wisconsin was a little like driving back into my childhood. I was listening to a country station playing hits from the 90s, and they all reminded me of my teenage years spent with Mike, Steve, and Jackie. I pined a little bit for that time, but am so incredibly grateful for the life I live today.

1. My kids and dogs are so unbelievably good in the car!

2. The clouds, the hills, the green.

3. The Amish sign.

4. My first hug with Lynne! LOVE HER!

5. First cousins’ weekend shenanigans.