Extending Our Happily Ever After

"We do! Now let's live healthy and fit!"


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Two amazing days in the Badlands of South Dakota!

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We left the city of Sioux Falls with me feeling very sick. All of us have been very run down on this trip. Possibly from the months of downsizing and the stress that brings on… With Christopher finishing off his senior year and going to awards nights and different events throughout, to my finishing off my ten year career with UPS-SCS. It was bound to leave us all a bit worn out.
We wanted to set up camp at the Missouri river for a couple of days, but those spots were full up… So we stopped there for gas and drove right on through…

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Ended up driving longer than either of us wanted to, but we were headed for the Badlands anyway, so we just got there a bit sooner. We were lucky enough to secure a spot to camp just outside the park in the small town of Interior, SD. Budget Inn campground.

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The views aren’t too bad and they have showers and laundry and water and electric for us for just $29/night.
The first night, we set up and then took a drive through the park and it truly is stunning!

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Then back to the campground for dinner cooked by us in our kitchen.

The next morning, we all took our showers, had a light breakfast, then headed out to enjoy the day. Our first stop… Wall Drug. In Wall, SD. You see billboards for wall all the way through SD on the Interstate and you just have to stop. It is on the other side of the Badlands loop, and it is a huge tourist destination. Coffee is only .05, free ice water, homemade donuts, too!… Stores galore and tons of gift shops and photos of the old west! You could stay for hours!

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We stopped for a piece of pie and the guys had some of that coffee (they have had worse, that you have to pay much more for) and I had my free water). Then it was back on the road to check out the park more.  

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Fun to see a goat! Very sure footed creatures out on this terrain!

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Bunnies, too!

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We just had such an awesome time, even found a great place to picnic lunch!

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We are ready to hit the road again. We obviously are not planning anything out… So we spent about an hour the morning of the 2nd trying to secure a spot to hook up for the third and fourth… Just wasn’t thinking of the holiday weekend.
Finally found a spot, but it is outside of Custer State Park, so we will have to drive in… We are ok with that. No bathrooms or showers, but full hookup, so big time relief in that one! We pass through Rapid City, so we are stopping for supplies and drinking water… Should be good! We haven’t been getting wi-fi, so daily posts aren’t happening, but stick around for location posts.
Thanks for reading of our travels… We are having the time of our lives, even though we are doing so without voices our coughing through it all. 😉

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Sioux Falls… Park is a must see!

We left Dow City, Iowa. We truly enjoyed our time there. We know we want to return to that gem of a place in the heartland of America!

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Christopher was not driving today, as he is just wiped out. I feel ok so far. Ivan is still coughing up a storm. Oh, to be sick on the road. What fun!
We knew we were in South Dakota at the first sighting of a teepee.

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I noticed on our travels cross country that Sioux Falls was on our path. I googled it to see if there was anything to do there and Falls Park stood out. We are so glad we stopped! Such a beautiful park! I wish I could see this beauty every day of my life!

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After our stroll through the park to get all of these amazing photos… We went for dinner at the Pizza Ranch, which came highly recommended by our camp hosts. A buffet that costs 10.98/pp including drink and desert. Pizza, fried chicken, salad, macaroni and cheese… What more could one ask for? It was great. Chicken was delicious, so was the Pizza.
We drove back to the park to catch the trolley for $1/each.

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It took us around the city and showed us the sites. Lots of lovely building built with the quartzite that this area is known for and they are all so beautiful. Also, there are so many sculptures throughout downtown to look at, as well. It was raining… It gives us a reason to come back to visit again.

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These were just two in Falls Park.

A lovely visit here! We will remember this as a wonderful day!


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We will return to Iowa!

What a relaxing trip! Visiting with friends that seemed more like family! Christopher and I, unfortunately woke up feeling under the weather and this was the perfect stop at the perfect time. Veronica just cooked up a storm, letting Christopher take a nap on her couch and I ended up taking a few hour snooze on the other one myself. We woke up to lunch and then we visited and her children and grandchildren stopped by for an amazing dinner.
Her grandson, Tyson, took a shine to Christopher and just played with him all afternoon!

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After dinner, Marty took us to his workshop to show us his hit and miss engine he built and the firehouse he volunteers at and their Main Street. Such a step into the past for us.

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See how desolate hwy 30 was on a Monday night? I was able to stand right in the middle of the road for minutes for photos without getting hit.
I am so not used to that.

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Just a good ol’ town!

We will miss our time spent here.  It was peaceful, relaxing and spent with loving friends.

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We will definitely return!

As Tyson put it… “travel safe, Chrissy!” “Bye, Chrissy… Catch more pirates (they were playing pirates)” As he hopped in his Daddy’s car and drove off.


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Iowan hospitality!

We are at the Nelson Park in Dow City, Iowa currently.

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Friends of ours that we have known via an online word game called Acrophobia for about 16 years now live near here. Ivan and I met playing that same word game. We pulled into their very small town of about 1,200 population yesterday (Dunlap, Iowa) and it was like stepping into the past. Stores shut down, due to it being Sunday. The nearest Wal-Mart is 18 miles away in Dennisen, Iowa.
Our friends, Veronica and Marty, invited us into their home after our travels… By the way… What a beautiful state Iowa is! The rolling hills are lovely! The wind turbines are mesmerizing, as well. And huge!

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Veronica made us a lovely fried chicken meal with mashed potatoes and gravy and sweet, locally grown corn. Delicious!

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I feel like she is part of my family, I have known her so long! We were offered to do our laundry, which was much appreciated! We talked till our eyes couldn’t stay open.
This morning, back at our campsite, we decided to take a quick morning walk to check out our surroundings. Found the prairie trail…

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We are going back to Veronica and Marty’s today to hang out and relax. She is inviting her children over to dinner tonight for a great meal and we will head to Sioux Falls, SD tomorrow.
Christopher and I woke up with sore throats this morning, but hope to stay on top of that. Ivan is still sick, so we are sure he is the one who graciously shared his sickness with us. Need to get meds on way up to SD tomorrow.
Having a great time here in the heartland of America!


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We have hit the road!

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On the highway, a blue Prius and a ’98 Damon Intruder… Pennsylvania to California, with stops along the way to visit, laugh, enjoy the sites and just relax!
We are starting out our fifth full day on the road and we have already been too busy to post anything or put our feet up and this is our first morning we can actually breathe just a little.
Day one was spent driving 378 mi to Brunswick, Oh. Beautiful, sunny day driving. We stayed at a campground called Willow Lake ($40/night full hu, .50 showers). I had friends I wanted to see that I worked with at UPS-SCS. We met at Applebees and had a great time catching up!

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(Pic of Willow Creek)

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Day Two, off to Valparaiso, Indiana. Today was cloudy and the weather was turning to rain. 306 miles and we thought we’d save money and drycamp at the Wal-Mart near where my cousin’s were staying. When we pulled up, my cousin, Herman was there waiting for us. He drove up from Florida with his wife, Mickey. They were headed up to Michigan to visit family and wanted to see us and the new rig! We got settled a bit then they took us to dinner at Broadway Cafe, nice place with great food. Next day, we met up again and they took us to the Indiana Dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan… We got to go to the beach! Very cool!

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Afterwards, Ivan, who has been fighting a cold all week, went back to the rig, and the four of us went to the University of Valparaiso (Valpo) where Herman’s father graduated in ’37 (My mother’s uncle) to see the gorgeous chapel and the Bull Pen, which he helped build in 1936… Google it. Pretty cool.

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We were able to meet my other cousin, Nancy, and her husband, Richard, for dinner. We enjoyed catching up with the family!

Day Three was spent leaving my cousin’s, and the rain in Valparaiso, In and heading west to Iowa. The sun was out all day for us. We drove to F.W. Kent County Park, which was 271.5 miles. $20 for electrical hookup. Free showers. Beautiful lake with trails to walk. Relaxed after a nice walk, Chris had a great run, Ivan still getting over his cold and then I made a nice salad for dinner. Threw some black beans and corn in it with some tomatoes and avocados. It was delicious! Dessert was sliced strawberries. Trying to get healthier on this journey of ours. Chris and I have made it a point to go out at least once a day. As soon as Ivan is feeling better, we are dragging him along.
This park has beautiful walking trails…

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And dinner

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After dinner entertainment… Game of Cribbage.

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This morning, we hear a light rain. We want to walk the lake, hit the showers and then head out for Dunlap, Ia to visit with a friend… 228 miles. Shouldn’t be too bad of a drive.

Toodles!


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Stress is in this house…

Well, hard to keep a blog going when you are finalizing three lives in a state that you’ve called your home for over eleven years.
I moved to the East Coast over eighteen years ago when I discovered I was pregnant. My son’s father lived out here. Leaving my family in Southern California was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.
Now, my son graduates in a couple of weeks and my parents need me back home. So, we have been preparing for the past two years mentally, but only physically in the last seven months or so. It is exhausting!
To wrap things up is hard enough. To do it when your only child is graduating high school is insane.
Our stress levels are through the roof and we are all dealing with it in our own different ways. Arguments happen when they haven’t before, from all of us being on edge. Tears seem to be at the ready for me from time to time when I last expect them. Diets have been thrown out the window, when comfort eating seems to calm the soul. Headaches come a bit easier, so keep the Tylenol ready.
I am giving things away and selling things I have had forever for $1.
My child is young and even though he chose his own future, he is torn up with thoughts of leaving his childhood friends behind. There is nothing my husband or I can say that will ease this natural transition in life that all kids go through when they go from high school to college. He will understand in a year, he just doesn’t understand it now.
I have six work days left. I have left friends in other states before. I have many friends that I have kept in contact with, yet I know that it takes two… So, I know that I will lose friends with this move. It is part of life. It is the friends that keep in touch that were meant to be in your life. For that, I am grateful for my moves… It has given me that bit of eye-opening… True friendship is a wonderful thing!
I am excited about our journey across this beautiful country and can’t wait to reunite with my mother, father and brother.
If we can just get through these next few weeks!


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Update – it’s been a while… a long while. Lots to say!

There is so very much going on on my end.

As for my weight. Since my last post (where I was about 40 lbs up from my gain of my main loss with the 17 Day Diet). I’ve lost over 20 lbs. I’m now sitting at 245. I’ve mostly gotten to this point from juicing.

Over a year ago, I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead with Joe Cross on Netflix and remember thinking, good for Joe Cross, that’s something I could never do, nor would I want to do it. Well, times changed. I still love the 17 Day Diet and it taught me a LOT about food. However, I just wasn’t able to focus. Neither was Ivan. If he wanted to eat, then so did I. The weight just kept creeping up and there was NO WAY I was going to gain all this weight back! So, looking at that documentary again, I was in a different mental state. I was more prepared for the juicing this time and so after watching the documentary, I left the house and went to WalMart and bought a juicer. I jumped in with both feet and now, it’s my 17th day and I’m down 19 lbs (I had lost some weight before this).

As for my goals with weight and the juicing… I’ve been keeping a record of it. I started at 263.8, I’m today at 245. I was 225.5 at my lowest from the 17 Day Diet and my first goal is to get under THAT number. Second goal is to get under 200 lbs. I’d like to get there by August and have a huge feeling that I may get there a LOT sooner than that. The doctor suggests I get to 165, but I was thinking 180 as my official goal weight, but when I get under 200, then I’ll re-access my weight and then from there, I’ll just eat healthy (not all day juice) and hike, walk, etc… and check that out and see what happens with that goal. I love the juicing, though, so I doubt that I’ll stray too far from that. I feel better, I think the nutrients are amazing and my skin feels so good, I have great energy, plus, the juices are quite filling, so after drinking them, I don’t quite feel the need to eat everything else under the sun.

Now, other news is that my son (brainiac that he is) has been accepted to six, YES SIX!!! colleges!!! USciences (with Scholarship), LeMoyne (with Scholarship), Lycoming (with Scholarship), University of Pittsburgh, UC San Diego and University of Washington (with Scholarship). We are still waiting on answers from UC Berkeley, USC and Carnegie Mellon. No declines as of yet. (but those last three are the BIG HITTERS)… it’s been crazy around here and he’s so far picking Pitt. Senior Night picture came in, too and I thought it turned out great, so I ordered it.

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Other news… My husband, Ivan, finished his CDL training and got his certificate a couple of weeks ago and is looking for a job currently. We feel that he’ll be working within a few weeks.

Even MORE news… and this news is getting us closer to our HUGE move Westward to California this fall… we BOUGHT our new Class A 1998 Damon Intruder 352 this past Thursday. WOOHOO! Things are getting pretty REAL around here!

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This is us IN IT!

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As for my businesses… I’m still doing Azuli Skye jewelry. I love it and I’ve booked my flight and room for this year’s conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am now in leadership and have a wonderful team of three amazing ladies. Hope to see them grow and have teams of their own and that I get even more on my team! I just really enjoy being with this amazing jewelry company. It’s just a growing company and to be in on the ground floor is so brilliant. (pic shows me wearing our gorgeous jewelry). This is also showing me growing out my hair, which is also what I’m doing this year, so the longer hair is a new thing, too.

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Another new venture that just started for me is selling Younique, which is the company that sells the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. I only wanted to buy it, but it works so fantastically well, that everyone wanted some, so I saw it as a way of helping me (along with my jewelry business) help out my family when I get out to California, which is truly what I’ve been wanting to do. So, I am now selling mascara. Who knew? This is a pic of me with my new “makeup face”. I’m actually even doing well with that, too and in under 2 months, I’ve already promoted to the next level, already.

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So, yep, that’s me all caught up with my blog…

My son graduates in June. GULP! Sooooo soon! He starts college in August or September (depending on where he’s going) and we’ll start our trip to California then. So, we’ll be out in California by the end of the year and I’m SO very excited about it! WE are!

Updated! Hope my next update comes sooner! 😉 Prod me on facebook or here.