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Featured Bucket List Adventures

But Doctor, I have THINGS TO DO!

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Oh what a year! This time of year I start to get a bit nostalgic, reminiscing on the nearly 365 days of 2015; what went well, what didn’t go so well, what did I accomplish and what’s still to do!

This reflection can come in many forms but for this purpose I am focusing on my bucket list only. The theme of this year was how the hell did I get here? I pondered this question from my living room couch for the better part of 6 months as I worked through the frustrations of one health challenge (not crisis thank God) after another.

Being the health conscious mom that I am, I dutifully got my flu shot last December but managed to come down with influenza the day after Christmas while we were traveling out of state to visit family. I trudged through the weekend after Christmas feeling like a freight train was dragging me down the tracks only to discover that four days later, by the time we got home and I got to the doctor, I had developed bronchitis. Ok, not good but not the end of the world. Except, everything I do I managed to do it BIG and within four more days my influenza had triggered an acute appendicitis and I found myself being wheeled in for surgery at 7:30 pm on Saturday night Jan. 2, not what I had been hoping for to ring in the new year!

Again, not the end of the world, but really? Should have bought a lottery ticket, I mean who gets an appendicitis from influenza? Well, the sad saga wasn’t over just yet. After surgery I came home to rest and recover when things took yet another turn for the worse, soon I was dealing with an uncontrollable cough that felt like it was ripping my insides out and tearing my fresh appendix stitches apart. On that magic number, four days later, I was back at the doctor in tears when he explained I now had pneumonia. Yup, I was four for four and it was only days into the new year. At this point I started really wondering “how the hell did I get here?”

It took a lot longer to recover than I cared to commit too or admit but eventually by mid-March I was pretty much feeling like myself with enough energy to have a normal day. I started making plans! I had much to do!

Life was great until April 13, when another series of unfortunate events lead to yet another “how the hell did I get here” moment when I broke my foot late one night. I can’t even pretend it was dramatic or exciting or that I was off on some grand adventure when faced with my misfortune. No, I can only confess to the lamest story of the year. I managed to break my foot getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. I realize that makes me sound like I am 100 years old but if you want the truth there it is. I am big on transparency. I tried making up some more exciting tales and posted a few as a joke on Facebook but the cold hard truth is pretty bland.

At the ER I was convinced it was just a bad sprain and tried to argue to the white-haired physician who came back to report to me. He said, “well, it is broken, in fact, I would have to use the words “shattered” to describe it actually.”

I blinked back at him in total disbelief. I said, “You have got to be joking” when at last I could actually form words. How the hell could I shatter my foot getting out of bed to go to the bathroom?

No, he wasn’t joking. Two weeks with my foot in a boot elevated on the couch while I waited for the swelling to go down, then surgery to stabilize with a plate and screws, another two weeks in the boot elevated on the couch while I let the incision heal enough for a cast. Six weeks in cast with zero weight bearing, elevated etc. Then, two weeks back in a boot, nonweight-bearing before I finally got to two weeks in the boot with weight bearing. It felt like an eternity and the entire time I sat here thinking the same thought, “How the hell did I get here?”

I try to learn a lesson about myself with each new adventure, the lesson I learned throughout all of this is that I am a terrible patient. When I was sick, I was so sick I didn’t care about what was or wasn’t going on around me, but when I was recovering from my broken foot I felt fine, I just couldn’t do anything and it was extremely humbling. I have an entire new respect for the value of my feet!

When I first met my orthopedic surgeon in April I asked him about hiking to the top of a Colorado mountain the end of July. I wanted to make sure he knew I had big plans and that I needed him to get on board so he had me all healed up in time for my Empower Your Estrogen Adventure scheduled for the last weekend in July. He looked at me for a second trying to access if I was actually serious. Then he said “no.” In fact, he actually said “no way.”

If nothing else, I guess I am stubborn because I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I tried again and explained the urgency of this. I had this trip all planned and there was no way to delay it. I tried bargaining with him, “what if I was the best patient you have ever had?” I pleaded.

At first he stuck with his no, but after weeks of proving to him I really was a good patient, I eventually proved him wrong and the impossible finally became possible. I still can’t believe I managed to do it, but July 7 I got his ok to take the boot off and try actually walking on my foot. Three weeks later, with his approval, I hiked 7 miles round trip up a mountain to 13,500 elevation for the sweetest hike ever. In full disclosure, yes, it hurt, yes, it was swollen like a football, and yes, I was in total couch potato shape so I was ridiculously slow, but I did it, and to me that was all that mattered.

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This was never on the list of things to do in life bucket list style, but in reflection, it was a pretty monumental adventure all around and I am proud that I recovered 100%, now have total clearance to do whatever I want on my foot I am thrilled I was able to hike that darn mountain in July!

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Getting the Hang of Hanging out in a Tree

Getting the Hang of Hanging out in a Tree

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Last year I had the misfortune to break my foot and I spent a long, depressing and lonely 3 months sitting in my Lazy Boy with my leg elevated in a cast trying to heal. When my young Orthopedic Surgeon first told me I was going to have to keep my leg elevated in order to heal, I remember looking at him in disbelief and asking him, in all sincerity, I must add, “well, what CAN I do?” and his earnest answer delivered with just the slightest hint of a smirk, “well, you can do anything you want as long as your leg is elevated.” Ya, right, junior. The fact is, you can’t do much of anything in that position other than read, watch TV and research grand bucket list adventures on the Internet. Guess which one held my attention the best for the next 12 long weeks?

Yes, you guessed correctly. I researched and researched away. My fingers clicking furiously over the keys of my trusty but old laptop computer, and boy did I find some cool but obscure stuff out there!

I stumbled upon a website called Vertical Voyages and discovered that right here in my great state an outfitter existed that taught you how to climb vertically up into the branches of a mature and stately live old tree. The technique sounded a lot like rock climbing and upon further research I learned the owner was in fact, originally a science teacher and rock-climbing guide who had branched out, pardon the pun, into climbing trees. He now had a successful business teaching people how to do this using a rope technique he had designed and modified. In one of his adventure classes, he could get you up 50-70 feet in a mature tree suspended from one of the tree branches.

I was hooked and totally intrigued. I needed to try this! This had to go on my bucket list!

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After months of waiting and healing and physical therapy and exercise I was ready to take this adventure on.

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The process of climbing was awkward at first, but not really physically demanding. You were outfitted with a seat harness or saddle and secured in carefully in a harness. Then you had to master the art of tree climbing with ropes, a system where you sat in the saddle, lifted one leg up maybe chest high and put it in a looped rope and then stood up on that foot. Then you pushed a special knot up as far as your hands would reach and sat back down in the saddle and repeated the process, basically inching your way up the tree in this fashion. It was awkward at first and you felt like you expended a lot of energy and got nowhere, but after a few minutes the process seemed to smooth out and you realized you actually were making progress.

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My first thoughts were that this was going to take forever to get way up in the tree but part of the experience of having new adventures is practicing the art of patience. After several more minutes of attempting to climb, I paused for a rest and surveyed my progress. I was about 12-15 feet up and had, in fact, actually made pretty good progress, although my view didn’t feel all that impressive yet, it dawned on me I was getting the hang of hanging out in the tree!

Back to work, I dug deep and worked to improve my technique, remembering to breathe along the way and hold my core strong, this helped tremendously and 20 minutes or so later I was a solid 50 feet up in the canopy of this really cool old White Oak tree.

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Others around me were in various stages of progress, some were as far up as their rope would allow them to go. Others had been able to reach over to one of the huge branches and were perched there like a Robin taking in the sights, others still were already on their way down ready to conquer another tree. Me? Well I discovered that for me being up in the canopy of a beautiful old tree had magical qualities to it. I just wanted to hang there and well, kind of speak to the tree. I know, that sounds a bit corny and more than a little bit quirky, but honestly, that’s how I felt. It was like the tree was alive and talking quietly to me. My senses were ultra alert. I could smell the earthiness of the tree. The leaves sashaying in the slight breeze almost sounded like they were playing a soft instrument, mapping out a calming tune that I just couldn’t quite match with my own breath.

I just sat there in my saddle and harness and hung out, it’s that simple. I felt very at home and at peace. I wondered if this is what it felt like to be a bird or a monkey. Suddenly I envied Tarzan and yearned for a tree house where I could sleep and watch the stars twinkling between the leaves singing me to sleep.

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When it was finally time to descend and return back to earth I looked up at the spot where I had been and I realized I liked the view from up above far more than the view from below. Now, everywhere I go I notice huge old mature trees and I see a quiet beauty in them that I never took the time to notice before. This adventure taught me more about myself than many more adrenaline filled things I have done before, but it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

If you ever get the chance to join a Vertical Voyages Tree Canopy Climb you simply must do it. I am blessed that I had a broken foot that forced me to slow life down, and in the process I found a treasure of an adventure that changed me a little bit the day I finally hung out in a tree.

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Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time

Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time
Empower Your Estrogen Adventure

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Calling all Ladies! Beat the winter blues by joining the Empower Your Estrogen girls for a wintertime girlfriend adventure right here in Nebraska!

We are calling this one “A Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time” with a weekend of shooting, yes real guns, and snowshoeing, sledding and more!! We are going to have a rootn’, tootn’ gun shootn’ good time and we want you to join us!

Where:

Ashland, NE at Mahoney State Park where we have rented a adorable cabin complete with a cozy fireplace, and guess what, you don’t even have to pee in the woods on this adventure!

When:

January 29-30-31, 2016
We will meet at the cabin at 6:00 pm Friday January 29 to kick off the event and Check out is 11:00 am Sunday January 31st.

What:
How does this sound? We have a full weekend scheduled to ensure it’s full of fun, laughter, adventure and getting you out of your comfort zone! The list of activities includes: yoga, snowshoeing, sledding, gun shooting, games, and all the Empower Your Estrogen fun you can handle! On Saturday we will participate in an instructor led full day NRA Ladies Handgun class!

Cost:
The cost of the adventure is $275 per person and includes all activities, gun and snowshoe gear rental and instruction, food, beverages, and lodging. (Note: the cabin sleeps 8 but we will be bunking together in some rooms, you can bring a cot if you like) You just need to handle travel expense to get there!

What to bring:

Warm winter clothes for outdoor hikes, snowshoeing and sledding, toiletries and your favorite book to share with others. We will have the snowshoes and sleds for you. Guns, ammo and shooting instruction will be provided at the gun range. Bring your bright smile and a great attitude willing to try new things, make new friends and renew old friendships, we will handle all the rest!

For Fun: Bring the funkiest hat you can find for our funky hat snowshoeing group picture and a cowboy hat for the group gun shooting picture!

Sign up today and reserve your place! Spots are limited so don’t set this aside to think about it. Give yourself the gift of this weekend and come home refreshed and recharged!

Registration is only open from today through December 15 and is on a first come first served bases. We need payment in full at the time of registration, if you live in the Omaha area please give Vicki a check or cash. Because of our upfront costs on this one your registration is not accepted and a spot held for you until payment is received. If for some reason we don’t get enough registrations to fill this event we will cancel and offer a refund on Dec. 15 but we fully expect to fill up and to fill up quickly! Space is really limited so register as soon as you get this!!!!

If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call. Jackie can be reached at 720-260-1660 or Vicki at 402-980-0262.

This is going to be so fun!!!!

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99 Bottles of Beer (or Wine) on the Wall

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What’s almost better than drinking beer? Ask my husband and he’ll tell you it’s making beer! When I watch him brew beer he’s like a kid in a candy store, he gets all his pots and pans, funnels and equipment out and soon the kitchen looks like one gigantic science experiment but it’s cute to watch him work away on something he enjoys so much!

This year I asked him to expand on his skill set and try making wine! Much to my pleasure he is getting almost as big of kick out of trying different wines as he does with his beer. In just a couple months he has done one batch of beer and 4 batches of wine! I am starting to think we might have a new retirement plan going on here!

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Plagued with a profound lack of space in our new no basement home, he got creative and improvised making my nice big pantry style closet in my laundry room the perfect storage spot for the carboys and buckets of wine. It is our new wine cellar of sorts!

Wine needs to stay at a constant temperature of 72 degrees while it is fermenting and I knew I was in trouble when one day I walked in to the laundry room with a basket full of clothes and was greeted with a toasty warm room complete with a heater! The room was exactly 72 degrees and I could see the wine “percolating” or whatever it is that it does in my pantry! While I may not have as much room in my laundry room anymore I do know we will have fun when friends come over to visit and we can share the fruits of our labor!

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I got to help with the bottling phase and was pretty impressed when I realized not only does this stuff taste great but each batch gave us 27-30 freshly minted bottles of wine to share with friends and family or savor in our own backyard by the fire pit this summer! When Dan partnered his wine and beer making efforts with his BBQ smoking skills I knew we were going to have a busy summer of guests! All I know is I am looking forward to sampling some of these wines in the near future and relishing his pork brisket wrapped in bacon!!

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Great Balls of Fire: A Guest Blog

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I am a great believer in the “Plan your Work and Work your Plan” methodology. I have followed these words most of my life, being an engineer, and most importantly during my training for an Ironman. I often see people who plan 75% and wing-it the other 25% of the time. This rarely works out well.
This holds true for those who are embarking on an exercise plan to get into better shape. They know what they want, they know what they need to do, however, they are just not disciplined enough to follow through to maximize their goals and reach their full potential.

Now, I must confess, I have wondered off the path of sticking to a plan and have been met with less than spectacular results. Let me share a story with you.
It was 2009 and I was training to run the St. George Marathon in St. George, UT. It was a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and I was set to qualify with a 3:20. They shipped us 26.2 miles out of town for the start of the race where large bonfires kept us warm in the cold morning air.

As the race was to begin, I lined up with the 3:20 pace runner. The gun went off and we all started to surge forward. Now the marathon is mostly downhill which you would think is a good thing. The problem is this will pound your quads.

Through mile 17, I was keeping up with the pace runner and feeling good about life. My IT Bands were starting to tighten, but not badly. I knew that I would have to stretch them out to continue at this pace.

Then it happened. At mile 18, there was an aid station with drinks, food and a medical tent. Outside the medical tent were several people with plastic gloves on rubbing a Ben-Gay type product on peoples legs. That was the ticket to help my IT Bands. I had never done this before, usually I just stretched a bit and ran through the mild pain. They rubbed the magical crème on my thighs and off I went. I felt great.

However, my running shorts were rubbing on my thighs. Soon, I noticed that not only were my thighs feeling that “hot” sensation, but so was my crotch. That was my “Great Balls of Fire” moment. The Ben-Gay had wicked its way up my thighs to my crotch via my running shorts.

Boy, did that sting. Luckily, I still had an extra shirt on. I stopped at a porta-potty, folded it in 1/3’s and put it inside my running shorts. It alleviated the pain somewhat, but my race was over. Bye, Bye Boston. I finished at a little over 4 hours and was glad to be done. I got my medal and ice cream bar and sat down in the park by the finish line. My pain had subsided, but running the last 8 miles with my crotch on fire was no bueno.
The moral of my story is, make your plan and stick to it.

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Do You Look Like a Hooker Too?

One day as I was wandering the quant little town in the Midwest full of mysterious antique shops, bed and breakfast inns and other little shops I strolled into one called the White Horse Antique shop. As I pulled open the old wooden door I was met with the crisp clean smells of handmade candles mingled with a strange spicy older smell, one of sage, old oak and wool. Interesting combination. The cheerful silver haired proprietor smiled an award-winning grin and greeted me with a welcoming “are you a hooker?”

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“Say what?” I thought, a bit taken aback.

“Well, no.” was my reply.

“Oh you look like you’d be one of my hookers!” she quipped in a friendly way.

Not sure if I should laugh, deny it adamantly, or maybe run for the door, I hesitated for just a second.

“I teach primitive rug hooking and have a group of several hundred women who shop here for their rug hooking supplies. You looked like you might be a hooker!” She explained, as if that made perfect sense.

By now I was more than a little amused and intrigued and took my time wandering the tiny old rooms of the vintage Victorian cottage turned into antique shop and rug hooking supply business. As I entered the back room I had to side step around Samuel, the resident mutt who was sunning himself in the afternoon sunlight taking a nap in front of the register counter. He wagged his tail at me, but other than that didn’t bother to move until he made eye contact with me and could sense I too was a dog lover. Then he jumped to his feet making his 12 years appear more like 1 or 2 with his enthusiasm. I petted him for several minutes as I took in the assortment of silver jewelry, colorful scarf’s, primitive rungs, unique primitive antiques and shelves of beautifully colored wool.

Taken in by the charm of the place instantly, and the warm smile of the owner and teacher, I too, signed up for the next class. I had no idea I wanted to be a hooker until I strolled into her store and was instantly beguiled by the wondrous items covering the walls.

A couple months later I returned for my afternoon class and was delighted when after meeting at the shop to select my rug kit I was escorted back to her private residence half a block away for my actual lesson. Samuel the mutt strolled along with us to the house. The house was as charming as the shop, also full of antiques and beautifully done rugs. We set up class in a small but sun kissed sunroom converted to a dining room and over the next 3 hours I was patiently taught how to work the burlap with my hooking tool and pull the wool through the small openings creating a loop and slowly filling in the blanks of my first rug. At break time we were even treated to an intoxicatingly delicious homemade cherry pie a la mode.

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It was a delightful afternoon and I have discovered while I might not be a natural hooker I do enjoy spending my evenings working on my new craft!

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Look in the mirror; do you look like a hooker too?

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So I ask my friend, what’s next on your list?

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Red Solo Cup on a Wet Dog

Anticipation
We all piled into the Yukon, anxious to head to the lake to join my sister’s family for a weekend of camping, kayaking and dirt biking on this beautiful spring Mother’s Day weekend in Missouri. Loaded with coolers of drinks, sleeping bags, snacks and dirt biking gear, parents Dan and Jackie joined teenager Maggie and Golden Retriever Rowdy, ready for fun in the sun.

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“Oh my, it smells like wet dog in here,” said Dan as he buckled his seat belt and scanned over his shoulder to back the Yukon out of the driveway.

“It sure does!” Agreed Jackie turning to give the hyper excited Golden Retriever a grin.

Are We There Yet? Are We??
The subject of the always welcome attention, Rowdy, glanced from owner to owner, his floppy ears blowing back in the wind from the rolled down window. His actions seemed to say, “Where are we going? Where are we going? Are we there yet? Are we? Are we?” Huh?”

In a mere 20 minutes we reached the campground and found the other half of the crew already riding dirt bikes in the light drizzle of a spring rain. Vicki, Kurt and five of their six kids greeted us with muddy but happy faces.

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Mack, my sisters Yellow Lab, came bounding up to us as we pulled in. Soaked from head to toe but loving every minute of it, Mack wagged his tail like a windshield wiper on high, back and forth sending small spays of water here, there and everywhere.

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Mud, Mud and More Mud
The kids were determined to enjoy this rare opportunity to be turned loose on dirt bikes to play amongst the trees and even though the weather refused to cooperate they rode in the rain anyway, slipping, sliding, mud flying here and there. With the wet Missouri clay dirt soaking in more and more rain soon the dirt bike tires were caked with sticky gooey mud, clogging up everything from gears and chains to brakes and clutches.

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The boys, Ryan, 17 and Tommy, 15, channeled all their youthful energy into a dirt clot fight happily logging clumps of mud back and forth at each other while the girls, Ally and Beth, both 19 took their turn on the dirt bikes. Mom Vicki stood close by monitoring the innocent playfulness.

“Bombs Away”
“Bombs away!” yelled Ryan as he playfully tossed a clod Tommy’s way. Unfortunately, about then, Vicki, unaware of the incoming weaponry, turned her head to check on 10 year old Jay who was trying to drop rocks off the nearby benches into a small bucket far below. With her head turned the wrong direction Vicki had no idea what was about to happen next.

It’s Just a Flesh Wound
“AWWWWWWWW” she cried out as the perfectly launched dirt clod landed smartly on the left side of her head, instantly revealing a silver dollar sized knot covered in crimson colored red.

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“Honey are you ok?” yelled concerned hubby Kurt.

“What was that?” asked a dazed and confused mother Vicki.

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Kurt rushed to her side to examine the damage. The deep red showed dramatically against her medium blonde hair. “You got hit in the head with a dirt clod and I think it had a rock in it. Your head is bleeding! Are you ok?” he asked.

“I guess so” she replied rather unconvincingly. As I watched from my perch on the reclining lawn chair so my broken foot could be elevated I could literally see the stars circling her poor head just like in a Peanuts cartoon. I was pretty sure she wasn’t really as ok as she pretended to be.

As Vicki came and sat down by the camper to evaluate her status, the kids came in to rally around her. Poor Ryan, the guilty party, had certainly not injured Vicki on purpose and had no idea the dirt clod contained a rock, felt extremely remorseful, seemingly sheepish.

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Like most healthy and yet slightly dysfunctional red-blooded American families, soon everyone was teasing each other about the recent mishap.

“Gosh Ryan, way to go, injure Vicki on Mother’s Day!” I chimed in but added a mischievous wink directed at him so he knew I was just teasing!

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He grinned back at me. This kid felt bad but he also has a wicked sense of humor and that’s why I think he’s cool.

Wet Dog: Ummm Help ME!
About this point in the action, Rowdy walked back into the middle of the family mêlée completely soaked with rain, his normally pretty fur coat feathered but this time caked in dark tar like mud with his snout stuck in a red Solo cup. He entered the scene with perfect timing and his ever playful deep brown eyes looking up at us like “Ummm, excuse me, could someone help me with this? I have no idea how this cup got stuck on my snout but I can’t get it off!” The words to the song by Toby Keith suddenly started playing in my ears, “red solo cup, come fill me up, let’s have a party.”

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The entire Vandy bunch, 5 teenagers and two parents, and our little family of three erupted in hysterical laughter.

Families that Play Together Stay Together
Don’t let it be said that you can’t have fun when life doesn’t go according to plan. We had planned a nice sunny weekend of camping perfection, all the way down to picnic lunches on the trails, dirt biking through meadows of green grass and s’mores over a campfire under a starry night sky. What we got was overcast, dreary weekend of steady rain caking the clay dirt all around us until even walking was hazardous to your heath. Of the 4 dirt bikes only one was still working by the time the two day weekend was over and Kurt’s repair shop was dealing with flat tires, bent rims, broken starters, bent handle bars, broken hand brakes and more. Vicki most likely sustained a very slight concussion, Jay had a cut on his foot, Tommy ended up covered in an impressive case of road rash from the nightly game of Ghosts in the Graveyard, Ryan’s thumb was jammed and Jackie’s broken foot fit right in. However, it was the wet dogs, Mack and Rowdy who showed us that no matter what you can always have fun with a plain old red solo cup!

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The weekend was full of good life lessons:
1. Don’t throw a dirt clod at mom on Mother’s Day; it’s not cool if she starts bleeding from a head injury!
2. Hot dogs and burgers taste better over a campfire
3. If you eat all the marshmallows before campfire time you can’t make s’mores!
4. If you are going to go up a muddy hill on a dirt bike you have to make a commitment to it. Go, and go strong or don’t go at all!
5. Garbage bags around casts on broken bones work to keep the wind, rain and dirt off even if they aren’t very stylish.
6. Sometimes you have to go help rescue your sister, just grin and go do it.
7. Girls like to play in the dirt too.
8. Head wounds bleed-a lot!
9. Ball caps can cover camping hair, bandages and Neosporin
10. Learning to put oil on the chain of your dirt bike helps it run better
11. Always bring a spare pair of jeans and clean underwear when you go camping
12. Laugher is always the best medicine.

For ever more the smell of a wet dog will always conjure up memories of this sweet family camping trip, a perfect case study in Murphy’s Law whatever can go wrong will go wrong. The question is are you going to have fun anyway? We certainly did.

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So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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BREAKING NEWS! Join us on the first ever Couples Adventure Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah

BREAKING NEWS! Join us on the first ever Couples Adventure Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah
The guys have been really feeling left out of all the fun so this time we have created an epic adventure and we are inviting our better halves! It’s called Empower Your Marriage Couples Adventure trip to Moab, Utah October 9-12, 2015 and this is a groundbreaking and exciting trip that you and your spouse do not want to miss! (Meet Friday afternoon in Moab, Utah, have adventures Saturday and Sunday and head home Monday October 12)

This adventure is for couples, comrades on the adventure of life but instead of mowing the lawn, running the kids here and there; this weekend it’s all about just the two of you and why you are together in the first place!

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Picture This!
Close your eyes and picture this! It’s midmorning, the sky is bright and sunny with not a cloud in the sky and yet you are about to make a surprise entrance intro a crowd of unsuspecting people in a way worthy of the introduction scene to a Mission Impossible movie! Imagine the feeling of rappelling off a 120-foot sheer rock down into a crowd of unsuspecting onlookers taking the easy way on a hike from the parking lot. As the crowd looks up with amazement suddenly a badass team of comrade’s rappel in, showing the rest of the world it’s a hell of a lot of fun to the take the unconventional route!

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Get out of your comfort zone as a couple
Now, imagine that priceless feeling you only get when you have just really pushed yourself outside the normal limits of life and done something so amazing, exciting, daring and bold that even your mother would be impressed? On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t tell your mom! That’s the kind of feeling the girls who put these weekends together love!

Our goal is to arrange the most adventure packed, wild west weekend that you have ever had and while we do that we are going to see new places, do new things and tap into our inner wild child just because most of us have long lost touch with that part of ourselves. Can you see the look of astonishment on the faces around you as you nonchalantly smile to the amazed strangers and give them that “ya, we just did that kind of satisfied rock rappeller look?”

Spots are Limited
The Empower Your Marriage Adventure spots are very limited and fill up very quickly so if you have made the New Year resolution to kick it up a notch in your relationship this is the opportunity of a lifetime and just what you have been waiting for.

Empower Your Adventure founders Jackie (Bucketlistblogger.com) and sister Vicki (IronGirl) have partnered with the worlds best and hunkiest guides at Front Range Climbing Co to offer this once in life time opportunity. The adventure will begin Friday afternoon October 9 where we will meet in Moab, Utah and continue through Monday October 12. We will backcountry camp in the stunning Moab, Utah desert under the brightest starry nights you can imagine. We are going to Moab for a power packed weekend of badasery big time, full of rappelling off Moab’s spectacular 120 foot arches, rock climbing the stunning bluffs, hiking, camping, bonding, while we recharge our batteries and make new life long friendships! Nightly campfire chats have proven to be one of the many highlights.

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Our Guides are the BEST!
Our guides at Front Range Climbing Co will take care of everything from, providing camp meals, permits, and finding the best adventures possible. We will be with professional guides every step of the way and they will provide all the climbing gear, ropes, and instruction that we need to make sure everyone on this adventure can participate in creating life long memories.

Front Range Climbing Co will customize the trip to our exact needs and offer us adventures that everyone can participate in. You need no special knowledge or prior climbing experience to participate. On our own custom Tough scale this adventure would come in at rating of a 6-7 so you have plenty of time to dust off your old hiking boots and get your spring zig back into your zag!

The Empower Your Marriage Moab, Utah Rock Climbing and Rappelling Adventure 2015 is offered at the staggeringly great deal of $485 if you register and pay in full by May 31. You will need to provide your own basic backcountry gear such as a backpack, sleeping bag, small 2 man tent, hiking boots and comfortable outdoor clothing. That’s it! We make it really easy!

REGISTER TODAY ONLINE!
All you have to do is say “HELL Yeah and click the link below today to register!”

Click Here to REGISTER Today What are you waiting for!!!!!!

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8 Second Rule- Cowboy Up Girls!

8 Second Rule Cowboy Up Girls!

Mom’s Home
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My mother grew up in the Sandhills of the midwest on a small ranch during the 1940’s to the 1950’s. Her parents both came from modest means but of strong European roots. My grandfather, William was from Ireland and grandma, Francis, a transplant from Minnesota originally from Czechoslovakia. A chance meeting at a midwest barn dance brought these two very different people together, love kept them together.

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For my mother life on the ranch as one of five wasn’t always easy, but it was easy to develop a life long love of horses, cowboys and rodeos. Back in the day the local rodeo was the premier rodeo for aspiring professional cowboys aiming to win the big belt buckle and prize money. The late summer annual event would draw cowboys from all over the country rolling up in dusty trucks and trailers to compete at the competition to name the best all around cowboy.

Canasta by Kerosene
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On the ranch the family shared memories, learned to read paperback westerns by kerosene on cold windy winter nights, and became experts at card games like Canasta to pass the time. William and Francis managed to teach these five children the value of family, instill a midwestern work ethic that would serve them well and most importantly, taught them what the meaning of unconditional love was. They did all of this despite hard economic times, rainy farm roads and no running water or electricity.

How do I know all this? Because as a child we would frequently visit the farm and somehow every time we passed the end of the county road and the neighbors family farm headed toward grandma and grandpa’s house something magical happened. It’s hard to describe, but I’m not the only one who felt it. Ask any of the other grandchildren or family friends who all seemed to line up to volunteer to accompany us on a weekend trip to the farm.

Time stood still at the old weathered white farmhouse. Others had telephones, electricity and running water with improvements such as indoor plumbing, while grandma and grandpa didn’t, but I have never been somewhere that felt so spiritual as their simple family farm.

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Picture this, the county road ends with its well-maintained lane, turning into a simple rut filled lane. The fields on either side are a deep green hue as the Alfalfa seasons rolled past through the hot weeks of summer.

The road ends in the neglected yard at the farmhouse. Their house is the last one at the end of a string of more prosperous family businesses but this is where the magic began and my words will not do it justice but I will try.

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The farmyard looked over and down a hill passing the barn and old house, which most recently served as home to the pigs! But beyond the weathered old buildings you could see the creek melting into the river, silver slices against the green fields and cedar trees!

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Screen Door Slapping in the Sun
In the house you entered through a weathered screen door that I can still hear slapping behind us kids a 1000 times a day, into the porch that had settled at a kilterend angle into the thick soil below. The kitchen was somehow the heart and soul of this simple home and as you entered you’d be wrapped in the warm aromas of cherry pie, cinnamon rolls or maybe roast, potatoes and carrots. The ancient cook stove in the corner radiated a glow to the entire room and pulled all who entered this home into the living chamber beyond.

The next room was the dining room but this is where grandpa sat in his old weathered leather rocking chair looking out the window at his land or at the TV in the corner. Old rabbit ears tentatively placed on top, to watch the nightly news or Lawrence Welk, the only two shows that ever seemed to come through the static.

The table was where grandma pulled us together in stitches of love through her meals. We ate together, we read together, we played and we prayed together right at this table, a circle of love for all times.

It’s hard to describe how such simple people, in their weathered farmhouse, could draw their family together like they did at this wooden table. Politics, history, crops and weather were discussed in detail, the world, while far removed from this place, was still very much a part of these lives. We read books by the dozen so even though exposure was limited we learned about the world through the words of many different authors.

This is where my mom grew up believing in family, love, education, faith and possibilities.

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Whenever we’d go to the rodeo with mom she’d tell stories of how as a young girl she wanted desperately to compete as a barrel racer, or as a rodeo queen. She even confessed on many an occasion to me that she’d also wanted to ride the bull and how she’d always had a thing for bull riding wild cowboys!

I lost my mom a few years ago and while I’m still learning to live without her I am figuring out what to do with the lessons she taught me. I believe. I dream. I hold the ones I love dear. I love an adventure. I have a thing for cowboys.

The anniversary of my mom’s passing is coming up again, and every time this happens I am flooded with memories and longing to just hear her voice again. This year my sister and I met up at a country western bar for a healthy dosage of good music and cowboys, but we also rode the mechanical bull in tribute to my mom and all the lessons she and grandma taught me.

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As I faced the bull I closed my eyes for just a moment and imagined my tiny mom secretly longing to face the biggest, nastiest rodeo bull. When it was my turn and I prepared to ride the mechanical bull I could see the bull in my mind and hear him snort as he sized me up. Once on the steel beast, I grabbed the rope and squeezed hard with my legs. Why do I think my mom wanted to ride the bull? I think it has more to do with her adventurous spirit and her willingness to face the uncertainties of life and just try to hang on, giving whatever the challenge her best effort. Mom’s life had it’s ups and downs, but no matter what she never gave up on the values she learned on the farm, she believed in family, love, education, faith and possibilities.

The bull my sister and I rode was far friendlier than the real version but still not easy to ride. In true western spirit we climbed on, held tight, threw our left hand in the air and rode with all our might, trying to make it past the 8-second rule.

Strong women love fearlessly. They dream big and they know how to “cowboy up” when life gets tough!

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Thanks mom for the lessons in life and the love.

Love you.

So my friend I ask you what’s next on your list?

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Empower Your Estrogen Gets Rocky Mountain High and Wet and Wild in 2015

Taking on water

Ladies! Are you ready to get Rocky Mountain high and then mix it up with a little wet and wild?

Got your attention? Good! The girls behind Empower Your Estrogen are planning an epic summer mountain experience that you will not want to miss! Trust us!

We just wanted to get your attention, it won’t be THAT kind of a trip! This isn’t a party girl trip it’s a Rocky Mountain adventure girl trip!

This is your chance to summit a mountain, yodel at the top in your superhero costume with the Bucketlistblogger and Irongirl and then soak in the breathtaking mountain vistas that surround you on Friday July 31, 2015. But that’s not all! On Saturday morning, August 1, we will get wet and wild while we go white water rafting down the spectacular Royal Gorge, Colorado’s own version of the Grand Canyon! After a day of thrilling excitement on the rapids we will spend the afternoon at The Abbey Vineyard in Canyon City for some rest, relaxation and refreshments and retreat to our secret mountain back country camping spot among the Ponderosa Pines for a second fun filled evening of campfire and chocolate! Mountain summits and white water rafting all in one trip! Add a little campfire fun, a Tough Tiara Challenge or two and a stop at The Abby Vineyard and you have an epic adventure!

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We have worked with our favorite guides at Front Range Climbing Co and made all the arrangements for you. We will meet Thursday evening and set up camp in the spectacular Rocky Mountains and enjoy a quiet campfire night. Friday we will rise early and hit the trailhead at the crack of dawn so we can enjoy the challenging alpine hike to one of the most beautiful summits in the state. This will be a mountain hike on a rocky trail only (no ropes and harnesses needed) after the hike we will return to camp for laughter, stories and our famous Tough Tiara Crowning!

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On Saturday we will white water raft down The Royal Gorge on Class IV and V white water rapids past the 1200 foot cliff walls and over Sunshine Falls, Sledgehammer & the Narrows! This will be wet, wild and very exciting! Experience two of the most breathtaking outdoor treats Colorado offers all in one girl power weekend!

You will need basic backcountry camping gear such as a small two-person tent, sleeping bag, good hiking boots and appropriate jackets for the colder Colorado temperatures at the summit. According to our custom rating scale this adventure promises to be a 6 on the Tough Girl Scale. You will need strong legs and big lungs! Our hike will be approximately 7-9 miles round trip!

Not sure if you are in shape to handle a mountain hike? No problem, For an extra $25 Coach Vicki, the Irongirl will create a 4 month long training plan custom designed for this advenutre for you so that you can start walking and hiking now and be ready for the challenge of summiting a mountian! Time to put some zing in your zap!

Our hunky guides with Front Range Climbing Co will take are of all the transportation from Colorado Springs and food, keep us on the trail, show us the best alpine hikes in the state, ensure we are having a great time and hand deliver us to the best white water rafting guides in the state for the thrill of a lifetime on Saturday!

This trip is going to be epic and full of great stories all for the amazing package price of only $299. This trip will be limited to 15 brave and crazy ladies and it’s a steal so don’t miss out! Email Isaac@frontrangeclimbingco.com or call 719-632-5822 today to book your spot!

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