(Late) Spring Break Trip

So, we’re taking Hill’s spring break to go to the South West. The plan was to fly in to Denver, rent a car, and drive to Las Vegas, from whence we would fly home. Along the way, we’d see Mesa Verde, Petrified Forest, and Grand Canyon. 

And then Denver got a giant spring snow that dumped a lot in the mountains. So much for driving thru them. 

So, went south to Santa Fe and will go the southern route. So far, we’ve stayed with friends, ate a lot of good food, and driven a lot of miles from Denver to Santa Fe. 

Here’s some pics. 

   
   

An Outlandish Evening

with Diana Gabaldon in Denver. Excellent book talk by one of my favorite authors. She’s a fascinating person with fans who are also an interesting and entertaining bunch. Annie, Amy and I were amazed at the rock star atmosphere; Celtic music, wine, men in kilts… what a night!

   
 

Spring Break in the Everglades

A rather unusual destination but a fantastic place to visit. You really do see tons of wildlife right up close but in the wild. Bromeliads, a manchineel tree (tree of death), it’s sap -and fruit can kill you, crocs and alligators together- the only place in the world that happens, unusual birds, mangroves galore and Burmese python, the invader. The only one we didn’t see was the manatee; seems like everyone else saw them, though. I guess we weren’t patient enough.

           

A little weather

So, I’m in the FL keys with the family for spring break. Was all Margaritaville until dinner. Key West was cool, etc. Then WHAM. Drove 40 miles back to the hotel in it.  Not super fun. 

  

Hoping tomorrow is drier!

Making lemonade in December

So, Bryant doesn’t want me to post this, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the girls and I had lice. Ugh! Not fun, but what can you do?! Pay the Ladybugs (lice removal squad) $600+ and move to a downtown hotel for 48 hours, that’s what! It’s a spontaneous stay-cation. When we get home, there will be no living lice or nits, guaranteed! And HSA eligible! Except for the hotel. Anyway, we’ve enjoyed 8th floor Macy’s, visited Santa, explored the skyways, splurged on room service and maximized the hotel pool. Later today we’ll go to Holidazzle Village and then we can go home to our lice free beds.

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Buffalo Gals on the ranch!

For MEA we spent a night at the Buffalo gals ranch in Houston, MN. We took the scenic route down hwy 61 along the Mississippi. Had a great time touring the ranch and stayed overnight in Cody’s Cabin, named for the buffalo who “starred” in Dances with Wolves. Bryant found a bleached skull for his office, to complement the Navajo blankets he got from his grandpa.

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The Madsen or “Jen is a Wimp”

We occasionally ride bikes to school. Hillary rides her own, and I carry Lily in the Madsen or “bucket bike”.

A few reasons I don’t take it more often:

1) It gets heavy up the hills, and it feels like everything is a hill!

2) I have trouble starting the loaded bike from a full stop, such as at a stop light, where there’s not a lot of room to maneuver.

3) It makes me self-conscious to be wobbling around on this bike that everyone notices. We always draw attention from passersby. Once a guy on a lawn mower picked up a pair of sunglasses that fell from the Madsen’s basket and drove after us to return the glasses. This bike captures attention!

The bucket bike is cool, though. It has two benches and 4 sets of seat belts in case one is foolish enough to try to carry 4 kids at once! I could take Hillary and Lily together when they were little, but now I can only take one kid at a time. It has special inserts for groceries, pets and other specific uses. Bryant built another attachment that allows the kids to sit on a bench and hold handle bars. But they always wanted to use it as a “chariot” and were constantly standing up, so he put the bucket back on.

Today an old guy on a bike caught up with me (not surprisingly!) in order to chat about the Madsen. (Bike aficionados and toddlers are especially vocal in their admiration for the Madsen!) He suggested electric assist. “Remember,” he exclaimed, ere he rode out of sight, “There’s no shame in electric assist!”

Apparently in this house, there is. My husband has never revealed the existence of such an ingenious accessory. We’ll be investigating this option!

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