New Writing Outlet

I have started writing for a new outlet and on a new blog. The site is Red Tricycle which focuses on family, parenting and provides trick and tips and insight for parents. I generally post these articles on a new site that I am hoping gets some more coverage, Attento – which means attention.

Here is the link to my most recent Red Tricycle article via the Attento site.

Read on…

Year Trip – 25 Days To Go

gorgeWe are getting ready for our year trip and for this trip my husband and I decided to use a new blogging site, which might help get more traffic and exposure. I am still learning how to use it but for now you can check out the new site here: http://www.yeartrip.net

This is the site we will chronicle all of our adventures, mishaps and tips that we feel important to share. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

kg

Finding Meaningful Time – Cannon Beach Yoga Festival 2015

IMG_7679I have been fortunate enough to attend the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival for the last two years. This was my take away from last year and while it is short and sweet, it is still very important and spot on. Our breath is the most important tool that we have and it is what keeps us grounded and keeps us alive. This is something that I continue to try and remember on a daily basis, even though our breath is always with us it is sometimes difficult to use it as a tool and actually stop and take a breath before acting. But when we do, we can be even more present and mindful in whatever it is we are doing. What  I learned this year and what I will continue to explore when I am back in the “real world” is what to do and how to act – after taking that clarifying breath. What is it that lights me up? What is it that I am most passionate about? I have touched on this before and I am still working towards my goals, but what about in my day-to-day life? What about those short moments of time, how do I fill that space meaningfully?  This is the burning question. I am like a lot of other moms (and dads) that spend my day taking care of the others in my life. Which is something I love. I love my family and I love taking care of them, but there is a lot of extra time that they do not need caring for, but sometimes that time is choppy and disconnected, so how do I fill my time? I am sure you can guess: Facebook, organizing and replying to emails, surfing the internet, checking out Pinterest, picking up the house and so on and so forth. Not really meaningful time. Just time being used up. The goal now is to use this extra time that I have in a meaningful way. Yes, there will still be work to get done and emails to respond to, but if I don’t over think it I can usually get that work done pretty quickly and then I can make time for meaningful activities like: Writing (hey here I am – pat on the back!), reading, painting, meditating, calling a friend or relative that needs support or compassion, taking a walk, being in nature, cooking an amazing meal (if your kitchen is available to do that) and the list can go on and on, if I take the time to think about what makes me happy and lights me up, not just falling into my usual habits of looking at a screen.

I am so grateful to have had this weekend away to really help me on my path to find my IMG_7650passion. I learned so many great techniques from my Twists and Hips workshops with Brad Waites and I am looking forward to diving deeper into Sarahjoy Marsh’s new book that I bought over the weekend, Hope, Hunger & Healing. I am always so enlightened after attending a yoga retreat or festival and the real work that my good friend Jen and I always discuss on the last day of these types of events is “How do we keep this energy and spark going at home?” – and as I mention above, my goal is to stop and take a deep breath and really think about what is meaningful and what will bring me joy in the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, I will still find time to browse Facebook & Pinterest, but my hope is that I can make more time for the more fulfilling activities as well.

Thanks for reading, until next time!

KG

What do I want to be when I grow up?

This is a question my daughters ask me from time to time, and my first answer is always – ALIVE! I am just happy to be here and every day is a blessing, but what am I passionate about and what do I want to do when I am here and alive on the planet, well that is a very good question!

Lunch at the edge of nowhere.

Lunch at the edge of nowhere.

What I really, truly want to do is explore and share my experiences with people. I want to write about travel. Technically that is what I am doing, but I don’t do it enough, and I don’t get paid for it – that would be a nice little perk. But I also want to spend time with my family and watch my girls grow and learn and explore as well and really enjoy life while we can. Not just go along with the rat race that ends up being our daily lives – day in and day out, doing the same thing over and over again.

And because of that, Andrew and I are working on our “Year on the Road” plan. Also known as: The Gap Year. The Sabbatical. The “I need to take this trip or I need to move out of the country” trip. (We are still working out names). I believe it is important for everyone to leave the city that they grew up in for a little while, see new things, find some adventures and take some risks. My big trip was traveling through Europe after college graduation (that was a long time ago), this was one of the best and most memorable trips of my entire life – maybe that is because I met my husband, my soul mate, my best friend, and the person I love more than anything, on that trip! And he also loves to travel and explore and can use a little break from reality for a bit.

That’s the selfish part, we have Wanderlust and we want to see the world – or our entire country to start. We have talked about taking big trips like this a few times in our lives, but one thing or another keeps getting in our way, so this time, we are going for it! We also want to connect with our kids and give them an experience of a lifetime, we are not getting any younger and this world is going crazy, everyone is on devices all the time, connected to a screen, we have ADD, we are always trying to multi-tasking – it is craziness! We need to slow down and stop to breathe. We want to see the trees, hear the birds, smell the flowers, get out and SEE OUR WORLD. I know this will be an amazing, educational experience for our kids, we will learn so much while we are out there – more than they learn in the classroom. We will be learning in all aspects of our life on the road. And this will be something that they will always remember – and possibly the theme of their college essays or conversations with their future therapists. Either way, it will be time together as a family.

We understand that this trip is entirely possible and at the same time understand that there will be some challenges. We know that a lot of people think we are crazy (which is part of the reason we want to do it). We know there will be bumps along the road, but this is our goal: Our family of four will take 9-12 months, starting the summer of 2015 (exact dates TBD), living out of our truck camper traveling around the US & Canada, we would love to travel and explore with family and friends all over the country.  We invite anyone to come and travel with us, maybe we will come and camp in your driveway – Danny, Debbie, Houser Cousins. We would love to travel with you on your breaks – Skiing over Spring Break anyone? Let’s plan it. We are going to start mapping out our plan and we would love for Family and Friends to be part of that plan!

This is our goal and we are working towards it. This is my way of becoming a travel journalist. Starting in my 40th year (or 41st – however you look at it) I am going to start writing about it.  Please follow my blog, and keep us accountable. I will do my best to post at least once a week about what type of progress we are making towards our goal of living on the road.

Thank You Friends! I have had a wonderful birthday weekend and I am looking forward to many more amazing days ahead!

Lots of love!

Until Next Time, kg

—- http://untilnexttimekg.com/

The 3-Week Trip

Over the past few months, our family has been talking about our summer trip – which ended up being named “The 3-Week Trip”, Andrew and I had a lot of planning to do, what to bring, where exactly we would be going, what we needed for the camper, etc. Whenever we talked about it we called it “The 3-Week Trip”. After months of talking about it, the time finally came that we got to pull out of our drive way and set out on “The 3-Week Trip”! Our first stop was Bend, Oregon to visit our good friends Tom & Lisa and their dog Ruby. We parked Wolf Creek in the driveway and took the bikes off the front of the truck and got busy in Bend. We rode our bikes everywhere, to dinner, to the park, to the river and all the spots in between. We had a great time paddling and floating down the Deschutes River in the sunshine. It should be noted, this is not a simple ride down the river, you do need to have a little skill and be aware of what is going on around you, at one point on the river you need to exit at the Colorado Ave bridge, if you are not watching the signs you could get into serious trouble and head into the portage. Andrew found this out the hard way, from his paddle board, he skillfully helped a family from disaster and helped them get to safety. We also enjoyed some lovely meals in Bend. While Tom & Lisa were kind enough to make lots of snacks, dinner and breakfast for us, one night we went out and rode to an awesome food truck pavilion called The Lot.This place was great, it had something for everyone, there are about 8-10 food trucks surrounding a covered patio with a bar in the middle! Perfection! We all got what we wanted, didn’t spend too much money, it was lovely.

Walking Ruby

Walking Ruby

Camping in Bend

Camping in Bend

 

 

 

 

 

After 2 nights in Bend we were off to our next stop. We headed to South Lake Tahoe to a place called Camp Richardson, on the California side of the Lake Tahoe. One thing we did realize on this trip is that driving time in the camper is a lot different than driving times provided by Google Maps. We found out that when Google says it will take 7 hours to get somewhere it will really take us about 9-10 hours, as the trip went on we made the adjustments and determined that on our next long road trip driving times will be much shorter and staying times will be longer. When we finally got into Camp Richardson after about 9 hours on the road, we were greeted by a huge thunderstorm (which made getting the paddle board on the roof a little tricky), but we couldn’t let it keep us in, we needed dinner so we set off in our ponchos to the restaurant and had dinner in the historic Beacon Bar & Grill. The next day the sun came out, in the morning we rode our bikes into town to get groceries for dinner and in the afternoon we were able to play on the water. Andrew and the girls rented a jet ski, while I paddled around the lake.  We enjoyed dinner at the campsite that night and the girls made friends with the other kids on their bikes. It was a great sight watching the kids bike around with other girls from Nevada & California, they had fun checking out other kids campers, making plans to meet up and exchanging addresses to be pen pals. One great thing about being away from home for awhile is that the kids learn to break out of their comfort zone and explore new things and meet new people.

Fun on Lake Tahoe

Fun on Lake Tahoe

tahoe bike gang

Lake Tahoe Bike Gang

 

We spent 2 nights at Lake Tahoe and then we were off to the Grand Canyon, another super long drive — seeing a trend yet? After this long trip, we learned no more driving at night. Setting up at night, even in a camper is tricky, but we made it to the North Rim without hitting any wildlife (thank God and super driver Andrew!) and rested up for a great day at the Canyon. In the morning we got up and headed to Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet (2,683 meters), overlooking the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. We hiked one of the rim trails for a couple hours and then had lunch in the camper, overlooking the Canyon. For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip and one of the things I love about having our camper. Being able to have all your stuff right there is so convenient and made lunch a great experience. After lunch we explored the North Rim lodge and listened to some great Ranger Talks. The next day we took a tougher hike down into the canyon. We started at the North Kaibab Trail, headed down past the Supai Tunnel into the Roaring Springs Canyon. We turned around at the bridge that was recently built and headed back up, overall we hiked about 6.5 miles – we were super proud of the girls. It took about 2 hours to get down and only 2 hours and 15 minutes to get back up. They were super hikers! After the long day of hiking we had lunch at the North Rim Lodge and then decided to get on the road so that we could break up our 10 hour drive to the cabin in New Mexico into two days of driving – instead of one long day…see we’re learning! We did a little cheat here and ended up in a hotel in Farmington, NM. We were going to find a place to camp but with the camper packed with the paddle board, bikes, a bbq and much more, we couldn’t really boondock it with all our gear. We enjoyed clean sheets, fresh showers and a free breakfast! And were able to get on the road early and were able to see family in Eagle Nest in the early afternoon.

Beautiful Grand Canyon

Beautiful Grand Canyon

The view from the camper for our lunch stop at Imperial Point

The view from the camper for our lunch stop at Point Imperial

Relaxing at the North Rim  lodge.

Relaxing at the North Rim lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super hikers made it to the bridge!

Super hikers made it to the bridge!

 

 

 

We stayed in Eagle Nest for five days, this was a great time to visit with our family, do some laundry, sleep in real beds and spread out a bit. The first night we headed into Red River with cousins Jon & Monica and watched the two-steppers at the Motherlode Saloon. Andrew and I learned that we are not two-steppers and probably shouldn’t try again until we take some lessons. We spent a lot of time in Red River and Taos. The highlight of this trip was by far our hot air balloon ride with Eske’s Paradise Balloons. We started the morning by taking off in a hot air balloon at sunrise, touching down into the Rio Grande Canyon and then enjoying a champagne breakfast on the river. Absolutely amazing and breathtaking views. I love hot air balloons and in our past trips to New Mexico we have watched the balloon rallies, and always talked about going up in one, but thought the girls were too young. This trip they were old enough and it was AWESOME!

Girls in the balloon basket.

Girls in the balloon basket.

hot air balloon ride

Our balloon almost in the Rio Grande

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a great week at the cabin but had more of the Western US to see, on this trip we ended up going through all of the Western US states (except for Texas). The next stop was Dinosaur National Monument. This ended up to be the favorite spot for both the girls on the trip. The campground near Green River was great, we were close to the river, there was huge hill for the girls to climb and run down, we played in the water, hiked and explored all the amazing fossils, dinosaur bones and Petroglyphs. The Quarry Exhibit Hall was extraordinary, it was fascinating to see all that has been discovered in this part of the country and it was fun to imagine what it must have been like millions of years ago.

Touching real dinosaur bones!

Touching real dinosaur bones!

Playing in Green River

Playing in Green River

As we started on our second half of the trip, we headed North. Our next destination was Henry’s Lake in Idaho, near the western entrance of Yellowstone. On the way there we stopped in Jackson Hole at one of our favorite spots, Snakeriver Brewery – now you know why it takes us so long to get to each spot. In addition to driving slow (or at least the speed limit) we do like to stop for lunch and try to get out stretch our legs and have something other than gas station snacks and fast food. When we got to Henry’s Lake it was super windy and cold. Which we were very sad about, it was a beautiful campground and an awesome lake, but way too chilly to paddle board. Instead of spending the day on the lake we decided to explore Yellowstone, which was great. We had camped there a few years ago but really didn’t see all the park. This trip we saw geysers, boiling mud pots, tons of bison, elk and the girls finished their third Jr. Ranger program of the trip (they also got Jr. Ranger badges in Grand Canyon & Dinosaur). At a few points we got a little too close to the wildlife. A giant bison ended up galloping in front of us while we were exploring the mud pots.This was a bit frightening as it is a

Bison ready to charge across the boardwalk we were on!

Bison ready to charge across the boardwalk we were on!

huge animal and it was moving very fast. Andrew was not pleased that our family was not all together when the bison was moving, but in my defense, I did not want to get in front of it, so I stayed put (but I may have been taking a few too many photos prior to the running of the bison). Another learning moment. From the bison experience we knew it is safest to stay together, so when we were crowded by tons of elk in Mammoth Hot Springs, we stayed together as a family and let the Park Rangers tell us where to go and how to stay out of their way. And we still got some great photos!

Elk wondering in Mammoth Hot Springs

Elk wondering in Mammoth Hot Springs

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

We left Yellowstone late in the day and headed out for a short drive to Bozeman, MT, where we planned to stay a couple nights with my brother Dan. Since he was working that night we planned on eating at Dave’s Sushi, where he is one the sushi chefs. We sat at the bar and had Dan whip up whatever he felt like for us, with a few requests from the girls. The mango cucumber roll was a favorite! The next day we headed out to the Hyalite Reservoir. This little gem is only a few miles outside of Bozeman and college kids and families come to picnic, hike and play on the water. We had super fun day paddling with Uncle Dan and hanging out on the water. We really wish we had more time to hang out in Montana, but our trip was coming to an end and we had a few more stops on the way home. After a home cooked dinner with Dan and his friends, we hit the road again the next morning.

Girls paddling with Uncle Dan.

Girls paddling with Uncle Dan.

The last leg of our road trip ended in our home state of Washington. We drove most the day and ended up at Alta Lake State Park. This one of the many areas that was devastated by the wild fires at the beginning of the summer and had been closed down for awhile. As a result, a lot of the area was burnt down, houses, camp grounds and tons of trees were all gone. It was very sad to see all the devastation that the fire caused, and also amazing to see how much in such close proximity survived. Luckily the fires have been over for awhile and the park was reopened, and we were able to enjoy it with a few less crowds.The weather was the

Fun playing at Alta Lake

Fun playing at Alta Lake

hottest at Alta Lake than it was anywhere else on our trip, the day we spent on the lake it was almost 90 degrees! Which made it great to sit on the beach, paddle, play in the water and slowly prepare for re-entry. Our last stop on the trip was Lake Chelan. We took a family vote and decided that we wanted to see another new town and park, so we took a gamble and checked to see if anyone may have checked out early at the Lake Chelan’s Lakeshore RV Park – we got lucky!

Signs of the fire in Alta Lake State Park

Signs of the fire in Alta Lake State Park

Although you generally need to book it 9 months in advance, when people go home early, we got a spot! We spent our day in Chelan biking to lunch at Campbell’s Resort and then on to Slide Waters water park – this was the girls choice and we figured they had been such super campers over the whole trip, they got to have their choice of activities that day.

The next day we got up and had to head home, we decided to make one more fun stop in the town of Leavenworth. We had a yummy lunch at Icicle Brewing Company, bought fudge, nuts and fancy olive oil to take home and then we made the super short drive (just 2.5 hours) home. Coming home was bittersweet, we had tons of laundry and gear to put away, but it was great to get back to familiar faces, sleeping in our own rooms and falling back into a normal routine.

The girls are back at school now, which is the only way I would be able to get all these thoughts down in one day. And now its on to thinking about the next big trip. I just bought my wall map of the US & Canada so we can plot out where we will go next!

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed our adventures. We certainly have!

Until Next Time!

kg

Fort Worden State Park – Go if you can!

image (15)If you are into camping, biking, hiking, the beach, history and the great outdoors, you should check out Fort Worden State Park. It is just a short drive and ferry trip away from Seattle and worth a visit! This was our destination for our very first camper trip and we had such a great time we went back almost exactly one year later. Fort Worden has tons of trails for biking and hiking, there are houses and cabins for those that don’t want to camp and lots of community rooms and activities, they even have a yoga studio on the grounds.

We have some great friends that live in Port Townsend, so when we are there we get to visit them too, which makes the trip even more fun. This past weekend, we were able to host dinner one night at our camper and the second night we got to go indoors for dinner at their house.

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Saturday was a full day, while my friend and I popped into a yoga class in Port Townsend, Andrew and the girls biked down to the beach. Then we all made a visit to an awesome pumpkin patch in Sequim, we got some great pumpkins, ate some yummy kettle corn and the kids got to get lost in the corn maze. Sunday morning we took our time heading out and took another long bike ride to see all the forts on the hill and then back down to the beach again. Lots of fun, enjoying the rare October sun and the beautiful outdoors, before we had to head back to reality.

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image (14)Everyone always asks if we ever stay home? My answer: Not if we can help it! Too much responsibility all week long, the weekends are for fun and we are on a mission to find it where ever we can!

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Moms’ Weekends Away – Good For The Whole Family!

There is no doubt that moms work hard. They spend the majority of their time making sure everyone in the family is taken care of, yet a lot of moms forget to take care of themselves. That’s why I think it is important for moms to get a weekend away every so often to have some time off and get a break from reality. Recently, I was lucky enough to get a little weekend away with some friends. I love traveling with my family, but every now and then it is nice to do something on your own or with your friends. For this recent trip, a group of girl friends from high school decided we needed to have a reunion in Vegas, after graduating over 20 years ago, it is nice to reconnect in “real life” with friends that you a haven’t heard from in years – other than on Facebook.

Ladies at Dinner in Vegas

Ladies at Dinner in Vegas

The ladies and I stayed in lovely suites at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, and it felt like a little slice of paradise. We sat by the pool in our rented cabana and did a lot of catching up, laughing and people watching! We enjoyed the nightlife (until 3 in the morning, which is pretty late for this mom!) and had a wonderful dinner at Valentino Las Vegas, sister restaurant to multiple James Beard Award-winner Piero Selvaggio’s world-renowned Valentino in Santa Monica

In the morning, I got up early and headed out to check out the fitness center and spa at the Canyon Ranch. For just $20 I was able to enjoy a 90-minute yoga class and all-day access to the amazing Aquavana spa, I was able to relax in the hot pools, steam rooms, herbal steam rooms, igloo and experiential rains. And because I got an all-day pass, I was able to head back in after sitting by the pool all day to recharge and get ready for our night out.

Las Vegas has a special place in my heart; when I turned 21, my mom, sisters, aunts, cousins and grandma all went down to celebrate and started a tradition that has lasted over 17 years with trips to Vegas and Palm Springs. Our family truly values our Girls’ Weekends! I know Vegas might not be everyone’s style; sometimes it might be nice to get away and have some quiet time and really reconnect with yourself.  There are so many resorts and spas to choose from and all will provide you with relaxation, balance, healthy food and activities. This list will give you an idea of the top rated spas all over America, from the folks at Travel & Leisure.

Pool at Miraval

Pool at Miraval

Two spas that have been recommended by friends of mine are Miraval and The Sanctuary, both are in Arizona, so the weather will be wonderful and both will leave you feeling relaxed, recharged and renewed. This type of weekend away will send you home as a new and enhanced woman.  When practicing yoga, meditation and other self-healing treatments and activities, you will learn skills that you can take home to your real life and help you get through the rough patches with ease. I have yet to visit a resort/spa like this but it is on my list, the big 4-0 is coming up pretty soon and I think this might be the perfect birthday gift to myself!

If you are more of an active Mom and want to move and laugh and really challenge yourself, you might be more interested in a weekend of surfing, hiking or learning a new skill. Last summer, some girl friends and I headed south to Oregon for Northwest Women’s Surf Camp – now I am hooked. The ladies and I are going back again this summer to learn some new skills. The camp includes all equipment (surfboard, wetsuit, boots, gloves, hood and helmet), nutritious organic catered lunch, beverages and snacks, morning Beach Yoga session, water-board-beach safety instruction, in-depth surf instruction both on land and two sessions in the water with coaches, a NWWSC T-shirt and our Camp Partners bag of gifts and info! And it’s not just for ladies; they have couples camps, family lessons and more.

Our Group with Northwest Women's Surf Camp

Our Group with Northwest Women’s Surf Camp

Yes, these weekends will take time to plan, a financial investment and some juggling of schedules with your partner, but in the end no matter what type of weekend you choose or even if you just take a day in your own city to recharge and escape, it will be worth it in the end to restore your well-being and keep you balanced throughout your days and beyond.

May is My Month

I know we are almost 10 days into May but I am working hard on making May My Month! I am on a quest to get my house organized before my kids get out of school, so I can spend my summer enjoying the sunny days, not dreading my crazy, chaotic house. I am starting in my home office. I have been clearing out files, finding new homes for items that found their way in here, getting rid of paper that I no longer need and working on a plan to get it streamlined and relaxed and making it a space that I ENJOY spending time in each day. When I have some impressive before and after shots I will post them, for now, that will have to wait. One of the ideas for the office is to build cabinets and built in desks, when I get my ideas together for that and the project comes together, I will make sure to post more photos. I am not quite done with all the work yet, but I am getting there and next week will be the kitchen and laundry area. It is a work in progress which is why I am giving myself a month, at least to get started and stay motivated on the tasks. So, until next time, I will keep you posted on the progress!

Spring Break 2013 – Oregon Coast – Camper Style

dsc_1167Now that we have the camper we have been making a point to use it.  A lot of people say they know people that have campers or RVs but they never get used. Well, we are not going to be those people, yes it does get me a little exhausted getting ready to head out for the trip, but once we are on the road, I never really want to go back to our stable home, I really prefer our mobile home! 

For Spring Break this year we decided that since we have spent the majority of the winter in the snow, it was time to play in water and try some surfing, so we headed down the Oregon Coast. This was going to be our first chance to explore the state beaches and see what they had to offer so we can decide where to go back.dsc_1245

Our first stop was Cape Look Out State Park. It is a just South of Tillamook, Oregon. It is a really big area with lots of hiking trails, plenty of hook ups, and a lovely beach. One of the (small) drawbacks was that you had to cross the main road (where traffic comes to the different camping areas) to get to the beach. Which made me a tiny bit nervous so I wouldn’t let the girls head to the beach alone. But again, it was only about a minute walk to the beach, we had hook ups and were very close to the bathroom.

dsc_0050We did not surf at this beach but we did take a long walk in the misty rain. We had the beach to ourselves and found a number of treasures, including shells, sand dollars, kelp jump ropes and a swing made out rope and driftwood. The lovely thing about the camper is that after this long walk in the rain, we have a nice, warm place to change clothes, eat lunch and regroup, so that when the sun came out we were all ready for more beach time and sand castle building. We also love being able to bring our own food and make our own fresh dinners.

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After two nights it was time to head south for our next destination, Beachside State Park – just South of Newport, Oregon.  One thing I loved during this trip was my morning walk on the beach, just a short outing, a little me time to say hello to the beach and the waves. When I got back from my walk, we started out mornings like we do at home: a little coffee, breakfast and reading the news, etc. Since it was Monday, we knew we might have some work emails to tend to, this Monday, Tax Day, Boston Marathon Day, I was checking the news/Facebook and was excited to hear about the US runners that had finished in record time. But sadly, shortly after hearing that news, the tragic news of two bombs exploding at the finish also came in.  My feelings for this could go on and on – my shock and confusion of why someone would do something like this to such a strong willed, amazing community still gives me chills. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the families.  But this is about our trip, so I will continue. After Andrew and I tried to comprehend the news, we squeezed and hugged our girls a little tighter and we got ready to enjoy our beautiful day with our family. We had lovely weather and took our time heading down the coast, stopping at multiple waysides/rest stops to take in the views.  We arrived in the afternoon at Beachside State Park, a camping spot right on the beach! Our spot was literally next to the beach access walkway, which for some might be a draw back, in the height of the summer I imagine there would be a lot of foot traffic but for us in April it was not a problem. The highlight for me was again the proximity of the beach. We could hear the waves when we went to sleep, we could see the beach from our bed and the girls could happily run to the beach to build castles while we made lunch or got dinner ready.  The first night we had an amazing dinner, fresh caught salmon, veggies and rice. Not too fancy, but delicious. A lot of times I get ideas in my head and it’s hard for me to get them out until I act on it. One of my fantasies for the trip was to find a local fish market where we could get fresh caught fish to bring back to camp and grill. It’s not a lot to ask, but what we found was so great, a little fish market in Newport, right off the docks on the Bayfront, called Local Ocean Seafoods. It was a fresh fish market and restaurant. The first night we picked up salmon and the next day we headed back for lunch for more fresh caught fish.

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Since Beachside had such a great proximity to the beach, this is where we did most our surfing/playing in the water. Once we were all suited up in our wet suits we headed out! The sun was shining and it was warm, we played in the waves and in the surf and wore ourselves out. None of us really stood up on the board and the waves were not very big, but we were playing in the water and we were warm and it was April!

After two nights here we had to say good-bye, for this trip we decided two nights at each spot would be enough. I could have stayed at Beachside longer, but there was more to see and of course, we don’t have unlimited time. The next destination was Nehalem State Park, just outside of Manzanita, OR. This park is also amazing and gigantic. It wasn’t packed in April, but you can imagine the place filling up throughout the summer. There was a playground next to our site and we were just steps away from the beach access, again a little too far for the girls to go alone, but the park wasn’t and they enjoyed playing there, even in the rain! The first night we got there we took a nice long walk on the beach into Manzanita for dinner and a few groceries and then the next day we took the camper to Seaside where we did a little surfing at The Cove. Thanks to our friend and surf coach Lexie, we knew when and where the waves would be best for the family. Another perk of the camper was when we parked for surfing – we had ALL our stuff with us, we could have lunch, change, etc and then just step out the door and surf. I’m telling you, taking your house everywhere you go is really convenient!  Although it was a bit cloudy, we were still able to catch some fun waves and play in the water.

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After a couple nights in Nehalem we pack up and headed north for the trip back to Washington. On our way home, we planned some crazy fun for the girls, gave ourselves a little extra space and clean showers by booking one night at the Great Wolf Lodge. We had a great day and night playing at GWL, we had friends meet us there and that was especially fun and a great change of pace after being just the four of us for the week.  It was also a bit of a culture shock after 6 days of quiet beach time, we jumped into pretend waves and tons of people, but it was still fun. The Howling Tornado got us screaming and the girls loved playing in the arcade. And the next day we were all ready to get home, which was perfect, we had a short drive back to Seattle and had the rest of the day and weekend to clean up and get ready to transition into reality.

dsc_1283Although the camper is going to stay parked for a few weeks now, we are always thinking about our next trip and when we can get back on the road. It’s too bad that work and school thing gets in the way of all our fun plans! Until Next Time! – kg

Work Life Balance – Can We Have It All?

imagesYes, I admit, having it all is a little extreme – but I don’t think wanting to have a balance between your work life and your real life is too much to ask. This conversation comes up in the midst of Yahoo!’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, announcing to the company that employees will no longer be able to work from home. I, like many others, find this news upsetting and honestly very surprising. This 2013, we have an amazing amount of technology in the world that allows us to communicate and do business with people on the other side of the planet, yet, we need to have butts in seats at the office. I have worked in many offices that were also passionate about “face-time” which is one of the main reasons I am now working for myself, from the comfort of my own home. What this sounds like to me, if I was a Yahoo! employee, is that Yahoo! really does not trust their employees anymore. Or maybe one or two bad apples spoiled it for the rest of them. It would seem to me that if employees are getting their work done and being proactive in their jobs, why change a good thing? I have another question for Mrs. Mayer: Now that employees will be full-time in the office, will they now be providing compensations for their employees child care costs or other expenses that will be incurred when they are back in the office full-time? Maybe they will be opening a Yahoo! daycare on site so that everyone can bring their children into the office, like Mayer does.

The problem that upsets me most about this story is the fact that Mayer obviously one-in-four_300understands the importance of the bond between mother and baby, raising children yourself and having quality time with them, yet she doesn’t want to pass on that flexibility the rest of the company? I am only focusing on one area of why people work from home, which is childcare, obviously this is an issue for me. But I am certain there are plenty of other reasons people work from home, caring for elderly parents, saving time and money on the commute and gas prices. Working from home also allows some the ability to focus without distractions. In an office of hundreds of people, you may get pulled into meeting after meeting, and have no time to get that one project done (especially if you have to leave at certain time for other responsibilities), being able to work remotely will allow you the ability to focus and get it done. I also wonder if this new announcement will work the other way too, since no one is going to be able to work from home, does that mean no emails, calls or work will be done after work hours? Once that bell rings 5pm, everyone will punch their time cards, put their smart phones away and not have another thought about work until 8am the next morning. Is that really what they want? Don’t those folks in Silicon Valley work with people overseas and on other time zones… sorry can’t get back to you until the morning, we don’t work from home!

Clearly, my blog post on the issue will not change anything over at Yahoo! but it does validate my position on being a part-time, work from home, mom. Although I have days and weeks that I feel frustrated and doubtful that this was the right choice. Maybe starting my own consulting business and trying to become a writer are lofty goals, but the main reason I chose this path is because I wanted to call my own shots. I want to do the work that I am passionate about and I also want to go on my kids field trips without having to ask permission. Right now I am learning to balance it all out, I may have to get up at 5:30am so I can write, but that also means that I am able to walk my girls to school and pick them up and I will fit in my work in between, before and after, because that is what has to work for me. I think it is sad that a lot of companies today can’t understand that giving employees a bit of freedom and flexibility will help both the company and the employees in the long run. By trusting your employees to do their job, no matter how they get it done, will keep them around longer and become more loyal to a company that is also loyal to them.

Here is some perspective from Dilbert on the subject: 

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