Sunday, September 29, 2013


Here is another hike we just went on.  Like I have said before, Jeff is the writer and I just like to take pictures.  So, here is our hike in pictures.

I am rocking out some LOVE!

We took the Big Springs Trail

I love Fall leaves!

We are so precious in our meadow!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fat Toys and Snuggle Tummies

The world needs more honesty.  Luckily,  the world is filled with children.  Precious, honest children.

The other day Robyn's brother came over to visit.  He brought 3 of his children and we had fun visiting and playing.

My 4-year-old niece had just made some very important acquisitions.  She had acquired a set of toys based on the various characters from Disney's Tangled.  Of course, if you had just obtained a collection of such value, you would want to show it off, amiright?  She was doing just that, she was showing us all of the toys, one by one.  With each toy, she told us who it was and gave us background information so that we could truly understand the character.

As she went through, she was saying things like, "This is Maximus, he's a horsie."  "This is Rapunzel, she has long hair, like me."  "This is her mom, she's not nice."

She got through all of them, and then she came to this guy:
She held him proudly in the air.  She looked right at me with a giant grin and a sparkle in her eye and said, "He's fat like you, Jeff!"

I've lost 55 pounds so far this year.  I've walked 260 miles.  I've burned 192,500 calories more than I've eaten.  I've worked my tail off.  Some might think the 4-year-old honesty in that moment would be discouraging.  But, if you could see the look in her eyes when she said it you would see how much love that statement contained.  There was no judgment or malice, merely an observation that her uncle whom she loves shares an attribute with her toy that she loves.

Besides, how could anything said by someone this cute be taken negatively?
The good news is that her equally honest siblings have acknowledged my weight loss.  So, it hasn't gone entirely unnoticed in the world of childdom.  Both of her older siblings have told me in recent months that they are very disappointed that my snuggle tummy is shrinking.  Several times in recent weeks they have asked to snuggle with my tummy before it disappears.

This is her older sister making proper use of the snuggle tummy about a year ago, before it started shrinking.
The snuggle tummy has been very important to all of them for a long time.  When their mom was pregnant, I was told, "My mom has a tummy like yours, but it's not for snuggling because there's a baby inside."

So here's what I've learned from talking to my nieces.

1.  I may have lost weight but I haven't completed my journey yet.
2.  Snuggling is really important.
3.  I will always be loved, regardless of what I look like.
4.  Little girls are really cute.

What have you learned from the wisdom and honesty of little children?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day

Labor Day is a fantastic day.  I mean think about it.  Normally, your weekend consists of a Friday Night (usually date night for us) then a Saturday (This is usually our get stuff done around the house day) then a Sunday (A good day to go to church and spend time with family)

Sunday nights are sad because they are followed by Monday.

But on Monday holidays such as Labor Day, there is no sadness Sunday night.  It's as if Monday got replaced with a bonus Saturday.  Bonus Saturday is even better than regular Saturday, because you already did the stuff around the house, so you get to play all day.  (Plus, bonus is just such a fun word to say.)

I told Robyn I wanted to go hiking to celebrate the "contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country."  (I stole that from Wikipedia.  Who knew that's what Labor day was about?  I thought it was about barbecue.)

Robyn told me the desired difficulty of our hike, and I found a suitable one that we had never before experienced in my local hiking guide.  We decided we were hiking to Lake Solitude.  It definitely didn't disappoint.

The trail head starts out at some marsh lands surrounding Silver Lake.  The trail consists of wooden planks going over the marshes.  If you don't look at the pre-built wooden trail or the gobs of labor day hikers, you can pretend that you are Frodo trudging through the marshes on the way to Mount Doom.  It's quite fun.

Eventually, the marshes give way to an actual lake.
Granted, it's still a marshy lake.
The trail wraps around Silver Lake with an offshoot headed to Lake Solitude.  The offshoot trail is a little bit more steep and takes you through some fun scenery.

You hike through some aspen forest

But most of the forest is filled with evergreens

And you get the occasional glimpse of a ski lift.

You may even see a chipmunk or two.

If you're luck you'll see this cute girl.  But I can't guarantee she'll be there when you go.
It's about a mile and half out to Lake Solitude, and it's a 500 foot climb.  So, it's not super hardcore but this would have been a very difficult hike for me a year ago.  I was very proud of myself as we zipped up the mountain passing loads of other hikers.

Eventually we reached Lake Solitude and were greeted by this view.
We hiked around the lake and found a good little spot to have a little picnic.
This was our view during the picnic.
On our way back we saw some berries.  I don't know what kind of berries they were, but if the Hunger Games are ever hosted near Lake Solitude and I am a contestant, I am feeding them to Fox Face.
They look harmless, right?
As we were walking back, we saw some children standing on a rock getting their picture taken.  Robyn explained that she has many childhood pictures of her standing on a rock. Apparently rocks are good for photo ops.

Naturally, I told Robyn to sit on a rock so I could take a picture.

She rolled her eyes at me, but she let me take this shot.
It was a successful hike, and thus a successful labor day.  But, don't go away.  There's one more thing I need to show you.  That evening, we had my brother and his wife over for dinner.  We had a fire in the backyard and roasted hot dogs.  They brought Twinkies.  We had to do something special to celebrate the return of Twinkies from oblivion.  So this happened.
That's right.  We roasted Twinkies over the fire.  I'm not gonna lie.  It was amazing.  They were crispy on the outside and ooey gooey melted goodness on the inside.

Aren't you glad Hostess has returned?

I hope your Labor Day was as good as mine.