March 2, 2015

Our Dog Princeton

Today marks the day that we adopted our dog Princeton!  In April 2013 I wrote a post about him and his name you can read it HERE.  He's no longer the baby of the family and we've since moved back to Colorado. It's amazing to me how much has happened to our family in the 2 years that we've had him. To celebrate we all went on a snowy walk today.
This dog sure has filled our lives with a lot of joy!

February 17, 2015

Why I go Fly Fishing

I've really been missing this space. I've got an endless list of things I would like to share but unfortunately not enough focus to do it. My mind is constantly racing and with a new little girl taking up much of my brain capacity (and the memory on my camera) it's challenging to sit down and blog. This post in particular has been brewing in my mind for well over a year and it's time I share with you why I go fly fishing.
This type of fishing forces me to slow down. It's much different from when I was a kid and we stuck a worm on the hook, plopped our line in the water and waited. Fly fishing is very interactive. From the time we drive up to the water I'm engaged in the process. Slipping into waders, squeezing into wadding boots, setting up the rod all while taking in the environment. Is there a hatch happening (are there bugs flying around in the air)?  What's hiding under the rocks on the shore? Can you hear fish feeding? Do you see any ripples in the water? It's important to collect clues so that you can determine what type of fly to use. A fly is used as a lure which provokes the fish to strike, therefore it's important to choose a fly that resembles what the fish are interested in at the time. Should I choose a fly that will float on top of the water or one that will sink below the surface?

I'm far from an expert on fly fishing its an endless learning process and that's another reason why I enjoy it. You really don't need to know all the fly fishing lingo, names of the flies, specialty knots or all the different ways to cast in order to enjoy fly fishing. You just need the desire to learn, a fly fishing rod and a few flies to start. Oh and maybe a net in case you actually catch a fish. There are so many resources out there if you're interested. You can find information online like the "New to Fly" info the Redington site provides. There are tons of books at the library. You can even find classes and organizations that provide lessons.

Fly fishing is incredibly therapeutic. Being outdoors surrounded by the sound of water always refreshes my soul. Often when we go fly fishing we are out at a time we wouldn't be otherwise which means we get to experience things we wouldn't typically experience. I can remember waking up before dawn many times in PA and enjoying the sun and the fog rising above the fields and the water. The light is magical and the sounds of nature coming alive are extraordinary this time of day.
In Colorado we've gone fishing in the evening more and we've seen many beautiful sunsets. Being in the middle of the water also gives you a unique perspective. Fly fishing is a gentle, quiet sport which not only allows you to get closer to the fish but other animals too. We've seen all sorts of wildlife when fishing. I can clearly remember one evening as the sun was setting looking up at the bank and seeing the most striking silhouette of a buck.
If this sport wasn't therapeutic then there wouldn't be groups out there dedicated to giving people a fly fishing experience. One of my favorite organizations is Casting for Recovery. They provide free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer. I love seeing the pictures of these women and the smiles on their face when they catch a fish. I've also heard of amazing groups for veterans.

I find so much beauty and creativity in this sport. I never really thought much about insects before learning to fly fish and quiet honestly I didn't like them at all. Now I find them absolutely fascinating to watch, except for the pesky mosquitoes. It's amazing how flies are made so intricately and creatively to mimic specific insects. I've not learned to tie my own flies yet but I really want to use my husky dogs hair when I do.
Even the equipment is beautiful to me. My reel and rod are nothing fancy but I still love the way they look. I especially love seeing handmade rods; it's unbelievable the work that people put into making their own. My husband has his Grandfather's bamboo rod hanging in our guest room. It doesn't function well any more but it's beautiful to look at.
Of course one of the most exciting parts of fly fishing is actually catching a fish. I can remember my husband telling a story of catching a fish and describing what it was like to pull it out of the water, he said, "its like pulling jewelry out of the water." I didn't know what he meant until I pulled my first fish out of the water and observed it's shimmering scales up close. Each fish you catch is different and incredibly beautiful.
My husband is the one who taught me how to fly fish. He's also probably the main reason why I do it. It started out as a way to spend time together but it quickly became something I really love to do. We both learned when we were living in PA. We had a creek behind our house that was constantly inviting us to enjoy it's bubbling presence. Oh how I miss hearing that sound regularly. It wasn't long before any moving body of water was calling our name and we discovered great fishing very near to our house.
We've since moved back to Colorado where there is incredible fly fishing sometimes it just takes a little more work to get to.
We're still perfecting the art of fly fishing and every time we go out we learn something new. I didn't let pregnancy stop me from fly fishing and I'm happy to say that now that our little girl is here we still go. She's almost three months old and we just took her for the first time. I can tell she loves to be outside! Now is probably the easiest time to take her since I can just carry her and she sleeps through most of it. I'm so looking forward to teaching her one day!
You may be thinking how random of a blogger I am and it's true that I blog about a wide range of topics. I've come to understand that fly fishing is an art form and a type of creativity that engages and slows me down all at the same time. I share my experience with you as I do all my experiences to encourage and inspire. Maybe it's time you try fly fishing if you haven't before. Of course if you have please do tell I'd love to hear your stories.

For me there are so many reasons to fly fish other than having trout for dinner or having the biggest fish tale to tell. I do it because it feeds my soul and it's way for me to spend time enjoying something together with my family.

January 6, 2015

Granola

I've been making my own granola for a couple years now. I go through phases where I make it every week or I go months without it. I'm always happy though when I have a batch made up and I always say to myself it wasn't that hard and it's so worth it.
The best part about making your own granola is you control the ingredients. That means you can make it as healthy as you like or as inexpensive as you like. For me granola is always a better option over a bowl of regular cereal in the morning. It's always more satisfying. I often eat mine with almond milk poured over top but it's really yummy with yogurt too.

I feel like I finally perfected my recipe. The ingredients are usually dictated by what's on sale in the bulk section at the time. Once I found dried orange cranberries on sale and ever since I've added them to my granola, I love the flavor that they contribute. Another thing I've discovered about making granola is not to mess with it, just let it bake. Don't stir it at all. The only thing you need to do is turn it halfway through the baking time.
Granola also makes a great gift especially if you put it in a pretty jar. Here's the recipe that I use which has evolved over the years and will probably continue to. Just remember you can always change things up. Add honey instead of syrup. Use different kinds of nuts and dried fruit, maybe add some coconut. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


December 18, 2014

Introducing my Little Lady

It's hard to believe I'm a mom. Words can't express how incredible it is. It's amazing how quickly nothing else in the world matters. My little lady was born on November 20th we named her Aspen. She was 6 pounds 10.5 ounces and 19 inches long. Her arrival was only 1 day after reaching full term, she was a big surprise in many ways. We chose not to find out the gender so it was exciting when we finally found out the baby was a girl.
The experience of carrying and delivering her was wonderful. We chose to have her at a birthing center where they also provided all the prenatal care and education. The midwives there are so passionate about what they do and they prepared us really well. I can't imagine having a baby any other way. It was a positive, empowering and memorable experience. I would encourage anyone to really look into all the options available when delivering a baby and not just settle for the traditional hospital route.

My days since having this little lady have been very full. It's astounding how fast she's already changing and growing. I'm trying my best to enjoy every moment because I know she won't be this tiny and needy for long.

When my little lady was just two weeks old we took her to cut down her first Christmas tree. Some people were surprised that we would take our new baby on such an adventure so early, others wondered how we were even up to it. Cutting down our own Christmas tree is a tradition we've had while living in Colorado. It involves driving about an hour and a half through the beautiful Rockies to a National Forest station to get a $10 permit. Then we drive at least 45 more minutes to the National Forest and we hike through the woods to find the perfect tree. The distance we hike depends on the weather and snow. This year there wasn't nearly as much snow and the weather was perfect. We probably hiked in about a mile.

This was the best experience we've ever had, it was so much fun to have my daughter with us. I bundled her up tight and carried her in a wrap. She even decided she was hungry in the middle of the hike. It felt so good to be able to feed her right then and there and take care of her in that way. Being able to feed and nourish your child anywhere is one of the greatest feelings. I should have assumed I would breastfeed in the middle of the woods at some point but it still surprised me.
I know one of the reasons we were able to get out and about so early was because of the entire birthing experience. We went home only 4 hours after delivery which I know to some sounds insane. It allows you and your family to rest that much sooner and in the comfort of your own home. No one is constantly interrupting your rest by checking vitals. You get to immediately bond with your baby with no interference.

Since you go home so early the center requires a 2 day check up for the baby to make sure everything is going well, this is something they would typically do in the hospital. So we were forced to get ourselves put together only 2 days after having our baby and go to an appointment. I think that helped give us a boost of confidence. I'm a new parent so I'm constantly learning new things and trying to figure things out. Things as simple as dressing a newborn and knowing that her high pitched scream doesn't mean that she's in pain but just a little cold and uncomfortable. Everyday I learn something new and getting out the door with a new baby takes a lot more time.

I'm so happy you keep stopping by this space and care to read what I share. Just know that if there are times where I'm not around for a while I'm enjoying my little lady.