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A Detour for a Dear Friend…

Please excuse today’s blog entry as it’s not my normal post with pretty pictures and happy travel reviews but it’s today’s truth. This post would’ve remained in my personal journal before this trip. But, since you are along with me on this ride and have asked for the truth, here you go….

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Today I am feeling trapped by this RV. Suffocated by our cross country campground tour. My best friend Mary’s Mom died and I’m feeling overwhelmed not being there. In upstate New York, I am much closer in distance to their home in Maryland than normal, but yet I am hours away from an airport and honestly just can’t figure out how to get there before her Mom’s service, which is 24 hours from now.

Who cares about touring Lake Placid at a time like this? Who cares about any of it? My friend’s Mom passed away and I need to be there. I need to get there to hug her and cry with her and tell her it’s so not fair in person. She tells me that it’s ok and that she understands if I can’t make it. She’s giving me an “out” as she usually does, but something in me isn’t buying it.

Our family has missed numerous celebrations to do this trip. Celebrations we would’ve really liked to have been at. We’ve missed Bar Mitzvahs, Graduations, parties and weddings. All the fun celebrations that a normal summertime brings. I even turned down a keynote speaking opportunity for a blog conference that I really wanted to do. Just stay focused. We committed to this trip and everyone understands. But, today I just want to be back in my normal existence where I could’ve just jumped on a plane from Phoenix to Baltimore without thinking twice. Instead my head has been spinning trying to figure out how to get to Mary from here. So close yet so far. After researching my options for hours last night, I decided to sleep on it and knew that God would lead me in the morning.

When I woke up today, I decided that I wasn’t going to leave my family to drive to Lake Placid without me. I decided that it all felt too much to figure out so I called Mary in tears to tell her that I just couldn’t make it. I knew deep in my soul that I should be there and that I want to be there, but I didn’t know how to make it happen. I’m not in my element. I am in the middle of a campground, in an RV, in the pouring rain, in the middle of our epic trip. I just can’t make it. She’ll understand.

With tears streaming down my face, I made the phone call to tell her I wouldn’t be there. She picked up the phone without a hello and sobbing said, I am not ok Amy. I am just not ok. I keep telling everyone I’m ok, but I’m just not. Then, there was nothing but tears between us. God had spoken and I would find my way to her. My family would understand and would be capable to continue on a few hours and set up home in Lake Placid without me. They would have to.

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My dear family dropping me off at the Albany train station! On to Lake Placid they go without me.

Mary and I have been pals since we met in 4th grade. Her family moved to Maryland our junior year of high school and we vowed to remain the best of friends. We have lived on different coasts for 20 plus years now but have remained close despite the distance. We have seen each other through first crushes, first and second marriages, first babies and now a first death of a parent. I will be there. I will see you through this as well my friend.

I walked back into the RV and said to my husband. I have to go. Please help me make it happen and just book the closest train station to get me there. And he did. The stress of getting on an airplane just made the relaxation of my friend Amtrak more appealing for my travel today down to Baltimore. The price was the exact same for a one way ticket as the flight on Southwest and I could’ve been there in an hour and a half instead of 6 hours, but I needed this time to decompress. I also thought that dropping me off at the Albany train station would be easier with the big rig than an airport! Plus, I didn’t bring a suitcase or any travel sized toiletries along in the RV so it felt nice to just throw stuff in a bag without thinking about how many ounces it was or how sharp it may be. Another Amtrak plus.

Then I realized I didn’t even bring along an outfit for such an occasion. When I skimmed my closet, I came to a dress I picked up in an Omaha boutique. I had pictured wearing it out one night on a dinner date with my husband, most likely when we returned to Arizona. It’s the only piece of clothing I’ve bought along the journey so far. Who knew it’s what I would now be wearing to my best friend’s Mom’s funeral.

Today I took a detour from our family’s planned trip to tend to a friend. To say goodbye to a sweet, loving woman who’s house I grew up in and to help bring comfort to her daughter. I think my kids can learn from this just as they have been learning about our countries history and landmarks along the way. Close friendships and loving relationships are life’s most precious gifts. May we always remember to take the time to invest in those who have brought joy, love and happiness to our lives. I’m on my way friend.

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The hustle and bustle of a Friday night layover in Penn Station in NYC!

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Family fun in our National Parks!

Our National Parks annual pass is getting a workout on this trip! For a family who’s only National Park before this trip was Grand Canyon, we certainly are making up for lost time now. We purchased our America the Beautiful annual pass at our inaugural stop at Glen Canyon Dam, near Lake Powell. The $80 we spent for this is the best money we’ve spent on this trip for sure! The pass allows our family access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites. The pass covers entrance and standard fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle, including our big RV. Children age 15 and under are admitted free.

U.S. Military members can receive an annual pass for free. Seniors that are US citizens, age 62 and older, can purchase a lifetime pass for only $10.

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We’ve already used our pass for entrance into Lake Powell, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Little Bighorn Battlefield, the Badlands and Mammoth Cave!

Another awesome program for families hitting the National Parks is their National Junior Ranger Program. This has been an awesome way for our kids to get involved by participating in the activity based program in each park.

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At the Park’s Visitor Center you pick up the Junior Ranger program workbook. Junior Rangers are typically between the ages of 5-13 and your age will determine how many activities you need to complete in order to earn your Park badge. I wondered if our kids would be too old for this program, but it has proved to be challenging and fun for them actually. It gives them something to look forward to with each park visit. All kids love a collection, so why not start one where they learn along the way and earn something free to take home at the end.

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Kids usually have to attend a park ranger event, take a hike and answer many questions on wildlife and aspects pertaining to each particular place. The great thing about my kids doing it at this age, is that they can do the book by themselves or at least work together, which is really nice!  I think these programs would be pretty tough to do with a 5-7 year old. At the end of each experience, the kids share their answers with a park ranger and are sworn in as Junior Rangers before receiving a badge or patch from that park. So far, they have ten under their belt!

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Getting sworn in by cool Ranger Marc Ankenbauer in West Glacier National Park. Check out his amazing endeavor on www.glacierexplorer.com!

It has been a fun way for the kids to learn things that they never would’ve known before. They now point out sagebrush bushes while hiking and know what the symbols on the National Park Service logo mean. Two months ago none of us could’ve told you that!

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The truth and nothing but the truth!

We have been on the road for almost 2 months now. Eight weeks and three days to be exact. Some days it seems like we’ve been doing this forever and other days I walk out of this motorhome door bewildered. We’ve spent our time in nine states so far- Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and a corner of Minnesota.

I have had friends write me and say, yeah, but I want to know the truth. I want to know what’s really going on behind this blog of yours. The truth? I’ve been giving it to you. If you know me, you know I am not one to sugarcoat things. I am absolutely ok with being vulnerable.

On the other hand I am a pretty positive and flexible person (as much as a Type A first born woman can be) who can acclimate to most surroundings and happenings that come my way. I think this comes from the sporadic lifestyle I lived for years moving around for modeling. Then, I marry an NHL guy and life continued to be on the move forcing me into embracing changes I really didn’t want to make. I’m pretty good at regulating my positivity and happiness and quickly getting myself out of any funk I may find myself in. With that being said…

The truth is….

This is my master bedroom by day. There is nothing Pinterest worthy about it whatsoever. It also sometimes serves as my laundry room and storage unit for the kids beds and bedding. I just try to look past it all because it could make me nuts if I didn’t.

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We have been having as much fun as you have seen on here. I keep us moving. I keep us adventurous and exploring. We had a lot of downtime in Coeur d’Alene, ID because two of the boys were in a hockey camp taking up most of our family time there. I actually enjoyed the downtime as we have been on the go ever since we pulled out of our driveway on June 2. I’m not sure what this camping lifestyle is doing to me. Hmmm..

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I have only threatened to drive this rig back to Paradise Valley one time in the 4000 miles we’ve traveled. Not bad out of 8 weeks on the road in a small amount of living space with four children and a husband. Thank goodness there are no pets in this equation. We are good with the 6 breathing beings we have here. In my head I do sometimes question our sanity and if we can actually keep this up. I don’t really voice it though because I feel it’s like using the word divorce during your worst marital spat. You just can’t do it. Once you put the negative out there, it’s hard to take it back.

I have had times of missing my normal California summertime routine. Tradition is a hard thing to break. We have been spending our summers in Orange County for the past 11 years. We love everything about our place there and I miss seeing our friends and the white sand beaches.

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Just a little shout out to our neighborhood beach in Dana Point, California.

Speaking of the white sand, I am not really a lake girl. We have been around a lot of lakes lately and they honestly make me miss California. Sorry lake folk. They are pretty to look at, but boy that lake “sand” can be downright gross. I left the downtown Coeur d’Alene beach with a dirty film all over me. Ick.

This lifestyle is definitely not for the weak or weary. Breaking down and setting up “home” takes a lot of work. There are a lot of things to remember and do each time we set up shop. Keith has to unhook and hook back up the car at every stop, as well as our electric, sewer and water. There are so many things to unpack and pack back up each time. I think this is the toughest part. There’s some days I simply don’t feel like doing all of it but you have no choice, so you just get ‘er done.

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Our living quarters by day….

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and tight quarters by night…This is a morning shot so not sure what happened to everyone’s sheets in the night, but we do have them!

Remember our kids are going on 13 and 11 so they are pretty independent making this a huge reason why we are doing this trip now. I see families at the campgrounds with toddlers and I feel so thankful that I am just dealing with tweens and their moods and messiness. They are actually pretty helpful overall. We had one family lunch pow wow when we were in West Glacier. This is a lot of together time so of course we are going to get on one another’s nerves at times. Everyone was getting snippy with each other that day, so we went around the lunch table airing our grievances with one another and then came back around to say what we were enjoying about each other. We were laughing and there were even tears. But, it was real and it helped diffuse all of us.

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But, the truth is what you see here on the blog. It just all comes with a lot of planning, flexibility and adaptability behind the scenes. Eight weeks down. Twenty some to go. Gulp. Will we make it all the way around the US like we have planned? I think so. I hope so. God willing. But, only time will tell.

 Our Route for the next month 

Aug. 1-Aug. 3

St. Louis, MO

Aug. 4-7

Louisville, KY

Aug. 8-10

Indianapolis, IN

August 10-13

Cincinnati, OH

August 14-17

Mackinaw Island, MI

August 19-20

Niagara Falls, NY

August 21-22

Lake Placid, NY

 

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What’s your camping comfort zone?

I am not comfortable in a tent. Or at least I don’t think I am. I’m not sure if I’ve really ever overnighted in one though. Possibly as a child a couple of times in Indiana, but the memories have all faded, if they were ever really a reality. As an adult, tent camping honestly just doesn’t look that fun to me. In Ally B (our motorhome) I have all the amenities of home packed into this small space we now call home. I’m pretty sure I could not do this happily otherwise.

I’m learning about this camping lifestyle as I go. Remember our family had not camped together a day in our existence before this trip. I am a lover of travel in general and on my carry on luggage for flights I used to have a luggage tag that said “I love not camping.” True story. Now I’m traveling from campground to campground across the US for 7 months. Go figure. Although I would say we’re not exactly “camping” in the way that I always envisioned camping to be. In a tent. Sleeping on the ground. Using public restrooms or going in the woods. I still walk by the tent set ups and I’m baffled. It’s just not in me. For today anyway, it’s not in my camping comfort zone.

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Especially as the rain pours here in West Glacier, Montana. I am very happy to have my comfy couches and heat blowing, as I make myself a cup of coffee in our Nespresso machine on the counter. I’m definitely spoiled out here in the wilderness. No denying that. I absolutely commend those who know how to pitch a tent for sure. I seriously want to clap for those people when I walk by. It’s kind of how I feel about Moms with quadruplets. You are better than me Sister! There’s always people in life that help you remember just how good you have it. Those tent campers definitely keep things in perspective for me. My hat’s off to you. If you need a warm retreat, I’m your girl. Look me up.

The one thing we all have in common out here though is our love of being surrounded by nature and the ease of walking out all of our front doors into the same beautiful space. Our environments can be changed whenever we’re called to move on. Overall, campers are really easy going, friendly, social people. We have met so many fun people along the road already. Some will most likely even be lifelong friends. We ran into the same family at our first three campgrounds of the trip and had a lot of fun connecting with them. They’ve now booked a spot for a few days to meet back up with us in Coeur d’Alene, ID next week. No matter how we find ourselves camping, we’re all out here doing life together. Pretty cool stuff if you ask this girl but I’m going to stick to my house on wheels for now.

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Hiking is good for the heart and soul of your family

Did you know that June is designated as Great Outdoors Month each year through a Presidential Proclamation? How perfect is this as we enjoyed Utah’s beauty last week and are now experiencing the wonders of Wyoming.

President Obama’s past proclamation stated, “Great Outdoors Month is a time for all Americans to share in the natural splendor of which we are all proud inheritors. Whether camping, fishing, rock climbing, or playing in a neighborhood park, nature offers each of us the opportunity to get active, explore, and strengthen our bonds with family and friends. This month, let us celebrate our natural heritage by experiencing it together.”

On this trip, we are doing a lot of hiking as a family. Hiking is a challenge for our bodies and a sanctuary for our spirits. A beautiful hike through one of America’s National Parks absolutely cleanses your soul. We all can be consumed with electronic media and gadgets that sometimes we can forget to just put them aside and take the time to get out and explore. Being in a National Park reminds you what a beautiful country we live in!

What you can gain from a Family Hike…

1. Perseverance

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Hiking around the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

I am a climb to the top of the mountain kind of girl. In all areas of my life, I like having a specific goal to accomplish, so hiking is the perfect activity for me. What goes up, must come down. You have no choice in this. I love seeing my kids persevere through times when they are weary and think they can’t go on. Hiking is a perfect way to show them they can push through and make it to the top or the end of the trail, if they are determined enough!

2. Endurance

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At the top of Weeping Rock in Zion National Park

It’s always motivating to keep going when you are hot, tired or feeling weak when you see little kids and much older adults pushing through on the same hike. If they can do it, you most certainly can! I love the friendliness of fellow hikers greeting and motivating one another while enduring the same trail.

3. An appreciation for our country

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Picnicking on the lawn outside Zion’s Lodge.

There is nothing like being in nature. I wouldn’t consider myself “outdoorsy” necessarily but  since moving to Arizona I have grown to love hiking. I have seen majestic views, interesting landscapes and wildlife that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I didn’t realize how many international tourists come to our country just to see the beauty of our National Parks, that just doesn’t exist anywhere else!

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4. Affordable entertainment

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Hiking The Narrows in Zion National Park

After we hiked The Narrows in Zion, our daughter said that must’ve been really expensive! She couldn’t believe that doing such an amazing thing as a family was actually free! (Or just the cost of our National Park Annual Pass of $80). We pack our lunches when we hike too, so we can stop at our convenience and enjoy a little picnic along the way. Entertaining kids during the summertime can be very costly for large families, so spending quality time in our Nation’s parks is a really inexpensive way to have fun quality time together.

5. Physical Strength 

Staying healthy and physically fit should be a priority for every family. No matter where you are there are always a variety of trails and hikes to choose from depending on what your family is up for. It’s important to keep active as a family and hiking together is a perfect way to stay physically fit. Some days you may feel like doing a leisurely path while other days you may be up for a more strenuous climb. Whatever your abilities, there is a trail for you!

6. Knowledge

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A lot of trails have signs telling about the plants and landscape surrounding you. National Parks also have visitors centers and museums that you can further learn the history of the area as well. The NPS Junior Ranger program is an excellent way to motivate kids to learn through a workbook that needs to be completed and signed off by a Park Ranger in order to get each park badge. It’s a fun and free thing for the kids to collect!

7. Quality Time Together

We have enjoyed many laughs and conversations together along the trails. Getting out in nature helps you forget about any stress and opens up opportunity for casual connecting with your loved ones! Take time this month to get outside and celebrate Great Outdoors Month with your family!

 

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Don’t Worry About a Thing…here at Lake Powell

“Don’t worry about a thing ‘cause every little thing is going to be alright….”  A young guy sporting only his swim trunks and a guitar belted out the popular Bob Marley song on the banks of Lake Powell and his words were a complete blessing to me. His singing, along with the majestic scenery, in front of me brought a peace over me and I instantly dubbed this tune our family theme song for this trip!

Yesterday we took off on our big journey across the US. Our first stop is two nights at Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. Overall we had a perfect first day, with a few minor inconveniences. How breathtaking is this spot?

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When I heard those lyrics that he was singing at sunset tonight it set the tone of the trip for me. He was exactly right, little things are going to happen throughout this entire trip, but brush those off and focus on the big picture.

Lake Powell scenery

We left our home a couple hours later than we had hoped to yesterday morning. This put us further in to the heat of the day which meant pulling over on the side of the hilly northern Arizona freeways to calm our RV (otherwise known as Ally B) down so she didn’t totally overheat. Ally B is pulling quite the load as you can see, so no one complained about giving her little breaks to regroup her composure, even though we had to do it quite a bit.

Our load

Our trusty built in GPS didn’t turn out to be so trusty after all, taking us 40 miles off track when we encountered a detour just outside of Page and leading us to a residential area instead of our RV Park. Thank goodness we easily recovered both times with our cell phones and Mapquest.

The kids were so excited to get the bikes off the back of the car and get to exploring the campground while we set up shop for our first time ever. They were gone a matter of 15 minutes before one of them had popped a tire. We headed down to check out the lake and daughter’s bike tire pops. Then, one of the last bikes standing had a pedal fall off. Three down, one to go. We even took these things in to the bike shop at home to have them serviced and all ready to go!

We then realized that our dinghy was dead as well. Good thing we didn’t need our car really anyway last night as we didn’t plan to go anywhere. We called our Roadside Assistance and they were out in 20 minutes to get the Buick running again.

We will learn from these little mishaps which will test us along the way. We will learn to roll with the punches and not get upset about the little things because every little thing is going to be alright!! And how can it not be???

Wahweap CampgroundKeith grilling

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In the Spirit of Excelsior!

I am a big believer in personal excellence. I preach it to my kids every day. It means doing our daily best and striving to be our best person at all times. Taking time to work hard and strive to reach the heights that we were all created to reach. It doesn’t necessarily mean straight A’s in school or tallied wins on our sports teams. It is much deeper than that.

I wasn’t very familiar with the latin term excelsior until Friday night. Excelsior is a Latin adjective meaning “higher” or “loftier”, with a poetic meaning of “ever upward”. The speaker at Keith’s High School Hall of Fame induction ceremony used the word over and over until it felt familiar. Excelsior embodies the motto of Keith’s alma mater at Mount St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. After listening to the President’s inspiring words, I only wish I would’ve been a part of that community!

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How great that our kids and all of Keith’s nieces and nephews could be there to share these honors!

We spent last week in Keith’s hometown, with all of his family, to attend two different Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for him. The first one being the Rhode Island Interscholastic Hall of Fame followed a couple days later by his high school Hall of Fame presentation. Keith’s high school principal and athletic director both came up to me to reminisce how Keith was always so kind and courteous and that they were always impressed with his character at 17 years old.

Absolutely my husband has admirable hockey accolades, but the thing that has always impressed me from the day I met him is his gentle, humble character. I watched Keith always greet and hold conversations with the cleaning crew and behind the scenes staff at the United Center after his games with the Blackhawks. The guys who parked his car at the arenas and cleaned up his locker stall were his friends. He would even give rides to the homeless guy waiting for him after practice.

Yes, Keith played in more than 1,000 games in his 17 year NHL career. Before that he was a standout defenseman at his high school and the University of Maine, as well as an Olympian. But, how awesome that when people spoke of him this week, they spoke of who he was as a person and how that impressed them more. I know it made me proud and made me want to continue to do my best to instill the spirit of excelsior in our children. This is what will truly sustain them in life and set them apart like their father.

Commit to excellence and you will bring excellence to the world around you. Congratulations to Keith and all who were inducted into these Hall of Fames alongside him!

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All of the Carney crew together to celebrate Keith’s induction into the RIIL Hall of Fame!

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One way to intentionally get outdoors!

I’m a sucker for any National Awareness Day or cause. As a big believer in intentionality, these Days simply bring attention to something to be mindful of. I like the thought of people everywhere banding together to do something positive across the nation. Last month we celebrated Earth Day, Giving Day and Donate Life Day.

May is Bike Month

 

May is National Bike Month and today specifically National Ride Your Bike to School Day! I excitedly mentioned to the kids that today was going to be National Ride Your Bike to School Day. I pictured us up early, having a healthy breakfast and then riding the boys a couple of miles to the middle school on a beautiful Arizona morning.

Instead, the boys looked at me blankly with a “Really? Do we have to?” OK maybe it sounded cuter than the reality would be. They do have trouble getting up at 6:15 to get everything done and head out the door to the bus stop at 7ish. I do make them wear helmets when they ride, so I guess that wouldn’t be good for the hairdo either. Our school district isn’t actually honoring the day, so I guess I’ll let them off the hook.

Daughter Morgan on the other hand was really into the idea, most likely because she walks across the street every day anyway. Riding her bike would be an easy novelty, so looks like she’ll represent.

Bike and Roll Chicago

We actually just rented bikes in downtown Chicago right after Easter. The kids were so excited to ride along the waterfront paths of Lake Michigan, but bummed that they couldn’t actually pedal down Michigan Avenue!

Millineum Park bike rentals

Bike and Roll rentals is located at the northern tip of Millennium Park. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to ride through the Park, so you are limited to head east to the lake paths. This really is easy and way less stressful than having to navigate city traffic for sure. Just being on a bike brings a sense of freedom to children no matter where you are!

Riding Along Lake Michigan

Riding Bikes in Chicago

In honor of National Bike Month, maybe we can be more intentional in dusting the cobwebs off the spokes, pumping up the tires and heading out when it really is a good time for us! I know we’re going to get a lot of bike time when we head off on this camping adventure for sure.

Are any of you celebrating National Bike to School Day today?

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Just Me on A Monday

I’m wide awake. Ugh. It’s 4 a.m. Arizona time on a Monday. The problem is I have just spent the past week on the east coast so my west coast self is obviously feeling the three hour time difference. Time to steep one of those tea bags that I snagged from the hotel I guess and get writing.

This weekend I found my people. Strong, confident, intelligent, beautiful fellow writer Moms. I found them in Atlanta at a blogger convention of all places. I wasn’t really sure why I was led to book this Mom 2.0 Summit conference across the country but I’m so glad I did. I mean I only just started this blog a few months ago. Who am I to be there?

Most of the amazing women I was surrounded by are blogging veterans and have been storytelling online for many years while I have a handful of posts to my name thus far. I definitely don’t have the accolades or the followers that my new girlfriends there do yet, but I know I was exactly where I was supposed to be this weekend. I am now even in the tweeting world. Whoa.

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With a few of my new blogging and brand rep friends
at Mom 2.0 Summit!

I am still feeling the blisters on the bottoms of my feet and the scratchiness in my throat from the hours of dancing and singing completely sober at the Whirlpool sponsored after party of the Iris Awards at the Buckhead Theater Saturday night. It was a beautiful room full of dressed up Mamas (and a few blogger Dads) just letting loose, being themselves and enjoying life. The weekend felt magical and I’m still coming down from the inspiration from it all!

Starting this blog has been a long time coming. I’ve talked with a big blogger friend turned editor of OC Family Magazine Suzanne Broughton for years about getting started. But, the timing has never been right to jump in and honestly I was too overwhelmed with where to begin. Heading off on this family journey around the US absolutely called for a blog. And as much as I’m excited to journal our road trip, I’m more excited to just let you into Me and all of my complexities and simplicities through my new online space.

I have always been a writer per say. I communicated with my mother growing up by writing her notes if there was something conflictive I had to say. The written word has always just been my comfort. Back in the day, I wrote for a few newspapers and magazines in Indiana and did editing as well. I didn’t end up achieving the journalism degree I had set out for though, as I landed myself in the world of modeling.

Following through with going to this convention was really out of my comfort zone. As much as I wanted to do it, I was fighting my feelings of inadequacy and the unknown. It’s not easy for me to put myself out there like that as I didn’t know one person to cling to. But, I’ve also lived enough to know that courage can take you a lot of places that fear cannot. So off I went.

Through the powers of social media, I connected myself with an awesome group of girls on my same flight from Raleigh, NC to Atlanta. They have all been friends for awhile but took me under their wing right away. I couldn’t be more grateful. I soon felt confident that divine intervention had placed me once again exactly where I was meant to be. I had found my people and I couldn’t be happier.

I haven’t written on here in awhile, because honestly there just hasn’t been a lot of trip stuff to tell you about. Things are starting to feel stressful the closer we get to departure day, I do know that. But, after going to Mom 2.0 Summit I decided this blog is going to be exactly what it’s domain states.. Amy Carney and all of my complexities and simplicities. I get to ride my bike to next year’s Mom 2.0. How exciting is that!

Happy Monday friends! Make it a great week!

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Arizona Gives Day!

Tomorrow, April 9, is Arizona Gives Day! It’s a good reminder for us to look at what exactly are we giving to those around us. It’s a day to go online and connect with causes you care about and make a tax-deductible donation. The donation stays local and helps nonprofits provide much needed services and support for people in the state of Arizona.

Serving others is at the heart of our family through the giving of our time, talents and treasures. Maybe we help the less fortunate or maybe we just help a neighbor or friend.  It is extremely important that our children experience the regular gift of helping out and serving those around us on a regular basis without receiving anything in return.

IMG_4093St. Vincent dePaul is a recipient of all of our 3 T’s! We have volunteered as a family at St. Vincent dePaul’s family dining room for a couple of years now. Every third Wednesday of each month, we put everything aside to drive downtown to work a few hours together. It is a special place for all involved and it’s one of the few places that let children as young as nine get in on the action!

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Our kids have worked the bathroom, served on the salad bar line and have waited tables taking orders and delivering the meals to the families there. But, their favorite thing to do is work in the amazing Dream Center for the kids. Here they assist with art projects, help with homework and play games with the children. It is such a special place and we are proud to be a part of it!

I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that serving others is about acquiring hours for a local school group that they are a part of. I want it to be a part of who they are and what our family just does.

Evaluate where your family is putting their time, talents and treasures! To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked. Luke 12:48

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