Category Archive:Vacation

Grand Junction, CO

Your #1 Fan post on February 20th, 2017
Posted in Family, Grand Junction, Novalie, Vacation

When we found out I had breast cancer and would need to get a double mastectomy, our summer plans changed. We had planned a trip to Florida and to Richland, but had to cancel both of those. By the time my birthday came around, I was feeling pretty good, but I had started what would be 6 months of the reconstruction process. I had tissue expanders in (awful things) that my surgeon slowly filled with saline. Every week, I had a little more put in so everything could stretch properly over time. That meant every week, I went through 2-3 days of being sore and in pain. Good times. I couldn’t travel far because of the seat belt positioning and I was just uncomfortable all the time. I had a positive attitude and just went about my life, so those who saw me just didn’t have a clue anything was different with me. I knew my birthday was approaching and I was turning 40! I don’t care all that much about my birthday because I do not like any attention on myself, but this birthday felt significant with where I was in life. I was itching to get away for a couple days. I looked at the map and picked a state Novalie had never been in which was Colorado. Grand Junction was only 4 hours away, so I was certain I could handle that long in the car.

It was a good decision. It was a good getaway. My birthday was fabulous.

I picked a Super 8 which was cheap and decent.

Novalie at the hotel with her BOW! I told her she wouldn’t be shooting her bow, but it had to come. Just like she used to travel with a suitcase full of stuffed animals plus 20 more in the backseat with her. Her bow has replaced her stuffed animals.

We slept in on my birthday and then I had this little Café picked out in old historic downtown Grand Junction for my birthday breakfast. I love breakfast most of all. This Café was so good.

My french toast platter. Perfection.

Novalie got an omelet with those ginormous pancakes! It is the first time she has ever ordered an omelet for breakfast. She is practically a grown up.

Kevin got roasted red peppers, avocados and eggs in a hollandaise sauce. It came with asparagus, but he asked for it without it. The waitress was all like….whoa, what? No asparagus? I guess it is a Colorado thing.

I want to go back just to eat breakfast here, it was that good!

After breakfast, we wondered up and down their historic downtown main street.

I am 40.

We found a quaint used book store where we each got a book. I love books.

Some fun pictures of the cool things they had on main street.

T-Rex, her favorite.

We went into a old time candy/soda shop and eat picked out a soda in a glass bottle. Kevin and Novalie got different brands of root beer and claimed they tasted quite different. I stuck with my classic favorite, Dr. Pepper.

After our main street stroll, we toured the Colorado National Monument. It was rugged and the formations were beautiful.

At 40, my favorite thing in the whole world and the thing I am the best at and most proud of is being this girl’s mom. The sunshine is shining on us, but she is the sunshine to my soul every single day.

Kevin is flying his helicopter in this picture. I snapped this right before his helicopter was in the direct sunlight and Kevin lost sight of it for just a moment long enough to lose it. Sad. Also, I did NOT like how you could walk right up to the edge of the cliff. One wrong step and you were a goner. I was a nervous crazy person about it and didn’t enjoy this stop at all. I much prefer the fenced off areas.

Family selfie. My little family. My everything. No where I would rather be on my birthday.

The sunshine felt glorious. I took a lot of selfies because this trip was about me. I felt good. I felt strong. I felt like I was pretty much kicking butt at life. I was still me even though I had a double mastectomy. It does not define me.

I LOVE being 40!  I GET to be 40!

It was dinner time by the time we got through the whole Monument, so we stopped at Old Chicago. My pizza was so so good! The atmosphere was loud and there were some kids that were running around which drives me NUTS in a restaurant. I wish we would have just gotten our food to go when we saw it wasn’t going to stop any time soon. However, my pizza was so good, it might have just be worth the misbehaved parents…that’s right, teach your kids to sit at a restaurant.

I never go for this type of cake. The chocolate just looked so shiny and fudgy. It was okay, but I won’t be fooled by shiny objects next time and stick to my white cake with buttercream frosting.

I enjoyed that cake while watching some Olympics. I was probably crying. I always cry when they play our anthem and I know how those athletes dreams just came true. I cry every single time.

That is a wrap on my 40th birthday! It was perfect.

The next morning, we packed up the car and drove through the Grand Mesa National Forest before heading for home. It has over 300 lakes throughout. We would drive a little ways and ooh and ahh at another lake. It was a beautiful drive.

Grand Mesa National Forest. It was peaceful.

We came across this little general store and some cabins where you can stay. It was adorable. We want to go back and stay there.

One of the many lakes.

We end on another selfie of me in front of a gorgeous lake.

I wasn’t sure if my little vision for this get away would come true. But, it did. It was relaxing. It was healing. It was fantastic.

~Happy Grand Junction, Colorado!~

Summer Trip to Richland

Your #1 Fan post on November 4th, 2015
Posted in Novalie, Olive, Richland, Summer 2015, Vacation

We went to Richland for the 4th of July to visit Kevin’s family.  It was a very fun trip for our little family and something we needed.  The car ride was fun and went by fast filled with good conversations and excellent dog and kid travelers.


Our cute, fantastic travelers!


Olive spent a lot of time snuggled up on my lap especially after Kevin went over the grooves on the side of the road that make the big sound.  Scared her half to death!


We thought we would stop at this pretty spot, however, Olive and Novalie were not pleased with this stop.  Olive wouldn’t go to the bathroom and Novalie was freaking out about spiders, snakes and bugs and having an allergic reaction, so Kevin and I laughed it off and made her more mad by stopping to take some selfies.  How dare us.  It was the only cranky part of the car trip, so that is still a win.


Funny looking old people who are awesome parents.


Happy 4th of July!

Novalie’s tie dyed shirt she made, it turned out so good!


Legos, one of her favorite things to do at Grandma’s house.


Janell and Mike came over for the 4th for lunch and to hang out a bit.  Novalie is opening her birthday present from them.


Strong, beautiful, talented, lovely ladies.  Janell, Grandma Jolley and Novalie Janell.  Love.



Sparklers!  Novalie is in her jammies because she had just taken a shower after swimming.


We bought a few fireworks to light and there were fireworks all around us to enjoy.


Novalie did lots of swimming in Uncle Keith’s neighborhood pool.




Every time we would go swimming, this is what Olive would do until our return.  She is just a tad bit attached to me.


At the Columbia River


Novalie searching for special rocks.  20150705_204231

She still collects rocks every time we go to the river.  I love that about her.


On the way home from Kevin taking her swimming, she spotted these dolphins in downtown Richland and had to stop and take a picture.  She loved them.


We had to make a super quick trip to Pullman and drove through our old little country town.  I miss that place.  A whole bunch.  They finally got a new play structure which they had been planning years ago when we were there.  The old little horsey’s were still there, so we had to get a picture.  We spent a lot of time at that little park next to the little country library.


Olive at the park in Albion.  Novalie said, “I always wanted to bring a dog here!”


Novalie and her Grandpa in their WSU hats.  This has to be one of my favorite photos!

It was a great trip.  We love visiting Richland!

Visit to Richland

On our way to Richland, we were commenting on how we missed going to Richland for the weekend every couple of months.  Now, it seems so hard to get there with not many days off work and the long drive.  When Pioneer Day (a holiday here) fell on a Thursday, I asked Kevin if he could get Friday off and we could go to Richland.  It all worked out and he actually got Monday off too.


Oh my goodness, the car trip was sooooooo loooooong.  We are slow travelers as is, but add a puppy to the car and it seemed like our time in the car doubled.  However, Novalie and Olive were such good car travelers.  Perfect actually.


We made it down to the Columbia River only once because it was the boat race weekend and there was an art show fair going on.  Too many people for Olive to go on a walk.  She would have gone crazy.





Many trips to the park.


Action shots from swimming in Uncle Keith’s neighborhood pool.



Loving life as always.  🙂


Traditional Lego building in Grandma and Grandpa’s front room.


This picture made me laugh.  I am sure I am going to see this much more often.


Novalie and Myra.  Cousin love.


Novalie with her twin cousins, Will and Myra.  I love how Myra is looking at Novalie.  Will has the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen.

Besides still (still) being exhausted from the puppy, it was so nice to get away and spend time with Kevin’s parents and family.  Novalie was bummed that she didn’t get to spend any time with Aunt Janell, but she has a sweet new boyfriend, so Novalie had to learn seasons change.  I need to do a better job of taking pictures of Novalie with family.  We had a family party for Shelby who was going off to college and it was great to see everyone.

It was another great trip to Richland!

Relaxing Weekend

I got a message from Kevin on Friday saying, “Let’s go to a hot springs this weekend.”  And so it came to past.

I started calling around to the few housing accommodations to book a room for Saturday night and I got laughed at by a few people.  Geesh, haven’t you ever heard of a last minute get-away.  Anywho, I was able to get the last room at a small motel right across the street from Lava Hot Springs.  I went there as a child with my grandparents.  I remember going once by myself with my grandparents.  My grandpa and I would soak while my grandma stayed in the trailer.  I didn’t remember much about it, but a few things were very familiar.

First though, Novalie and I had tickets for Disney on Ice on Friday afternoon.  We went to the Rockin’ Ever After show and it was awesome!  So, so much better and more fun than the Disney on Ice show we went to 2 years ago.

DisneyEnjoying her snowcone that cost me an arm and a leg.  😉



The show got out a little after Kevin got off work, so he came to find us.  Which I was glad for because I don’t drive in after event crowds or get out of crowded after event parking lots.  I turn into a damsel in distress and he is my rescuer.


We were going to eat at In-n-Out, but Friday night there was a nightmare (busy nightmare), so Novalie’s second choice was IHOP.  Where she enjoyed cup after cup of hot chocolate.

We got home late, slept in the next morning, loaded our car and headed to our adventure at the hot springs.

headstandNot before Novalie got out some energy and showed us her new trick.  She has been working on holding this head stand and she got it down.

sunshineFeeling the glorious sunshine on our faces.  A little piece of heaven on earth.



24 hour trip requires 50+ stuffed animals.  Check.

(“Don’t worry mom, I have more in my suitcase!”) (good, cause I WAS worried)

frozenA little road trip entertainment.  If you have kids and go on road trips, you need window markers.  Fun and creative entertainment for hours.

motelOur motel.  It was barely standing and Novalie wouldn’t go anywhere near the shower.  We had a group of drunks above us and duct tape covering up holes between our wall and our neighbors wall.  They had a fireplace and in Novalie’s eyes that made it fancy.  It was an experience.

lavasWe went to the hot springs first thing.  There are four different pools getting hotter as you go to each one.  We started going down the steps to the 3rd hottest and quickly got out.  Ouch.  We went to the first pool which we quickly got used to and then skipped the 2nd (it was really small and super crowded) and got back in the 3rd again, this time being able to stand it.  Kevin and I enjoyed distinguishing the different types of people there.  Funny story, when we went back at night, Kevin thought we were following him to go to a different area of the 3rd pool by the steps.  He found himself in the middle of a singles group with them all staring at him.  We didn’t follow him.  Lack of communication.  Led him to a funny spot with lots of blank stares.  Which leads me to this picture:

lavaOh my goodness, we laughed hard at this picture.  It needs a caption that says, “Watch out for the creepy middle aged guy roaming around.”  His face and body language say exactly that.  (he is proud of this picture and thinks it should be shared with all)


lava3In between soaks at the hot pools and dinner, we went to the indoor pool where Novalie climbed and dived over and over.  Kevin and I watched her pool side as we read books and people watched.  Adding to our relaxation.

lava6For dinner we went to a haunted pizza parlor.  We thought this quarter machine was the creepiest thing, but it fit the motel/pizzeria to a tee.  However haunted it was, the pizza was delicious.

lava5Our motel in the background.  (Happy that we survived the night)

The next morning (was daylight savings, so we lost an hour), we had just enough time to pack up and check out of the motel and walk up and down their cute little main street.  We ate breakfast at a horribly slow, over priced, not so good café.


I have a picture exactly like this one when Novalie was three at a different river.  I love it.

lava7We had a good laugh at the Color TV sign.  That tells you how old the motels are there.  Novalie said, “this motel is from the 80’s if they have color TV.”  The 80’s to her are ancient.  I also appreciated the private bath advertisement because many places I called said, “we have one room available that has a shared bathroom across the hall.”  Umm, no thanks.


Novalie loves adventures and this definitely was one.  It was out of Kevin and my comfort zone for sure, but we are glad we went.  I do have to admit that when we saw the duct taped holes in the wall we talked about making a break for Pocatello with their plush hotels.  We decided we weren’t that much of wimps and so we stayed and lived the experience.  I can honestly say we would go back and do it all again.

Winter Recess

Your #1 Fan post on January 8th, 2014
Posted in Books, Friends, Fun Activities, Novalie, Traditions, Vacation

After Christmas was over, we spent the rest of Novalie’s winter recess (as they call it) from school relaxing, playing Clue and Name 5(A LOT), Novalie played with friends, swimming, reading books, sleeping in, going to the movies, having living room sleepovers, spending a day with cousins, traditional trip to Chuck E. Cheese and eating much too much.


We have a tradition to go to Chuck E. Cheese on December 26th.  It started back when we would go to Richland for Christmas each year and they had a Chuck E. Cheese, so it was a special treat once a year to go there.  Our current town has one, so the tradition lives on.  7th year going.


Novalie is not allowed to have sleepovers with friends, so one of her favorite things is to have a sleepover in the living room with me.  We have been doing them for years.


Pretending to be polar bears.  Seemed like a good idea.


Until it wasn’t a good idea anymore.  Novalie’s nose met her BFF’s forehead.

IMG_20131227_124637 IMG_20140101_163211 IMG_20131227_170618

Playing Clue and Name 5, our current 2 favorite games.


Swimming to burn off some of their energy.


While they swam, I replenished my energy by reading this whole book.  It was very interesting.


Starting off the New Year right.  Walter Mitty, we are your fans.

It came and went much too fast, but it was a fun winter recess.