Nature Wheeled: Talus Recovery (Week Three)

It has been three weeks since my initial Talus fracture injury, and one week since surgery.

In an attempt to “stay ahead of the pain” I was faithful about taking my strong pain meds, to the point of setting an alarm to wake up in the middle of the morning (meaning I wasn’t sleeping very well either). After my body adjusted more and I relied on lowed level pain meds and ice therapy to dull pain I began to feel better.

During those first few days I had my sweet mother in law to take care of me. I was also able to be patient with myself, prescribing more tv binge watching: Downtown Abbey. By the time my MIL left we had watched 3 seasons!

My tune changed after a post op check in on the state of my stitches. Huge praise, the incision was healthy and infection free. In not so pleasant news, I’d not been wearing my boot due to discomfort so my foot struggled to lie flat. The brisk nurse forced me to get it flat to get it back in the boot correctly before we left. I bit back tears during this process.

While in town we stopped by the grocery store. The rest of the tears flooded out as my fears came back about painful physical therapy and the need to return to the stronger pain meds and forever feel sick. I blubbered by my MIL stayed sweet and asked if there was anything special she could get me from the store. I asked her for my comfort snack, gummy bears!

Waiting in the parking lot, and continuing to cry, I decided to log into my pokemon go account. Well I was surprised when a special like week only available pikachu with Ash hat was hanging out. I didn’t even need to move before it popped up! I was thankful for the silly blessing to help redirect my thoughts towards God’s companionship and positivity versus the unknown scary future.

Then, my MIL returned with several gummy bear packages (they were on sale) she said she figured it was enough to get me through the next few months!

This past week has been about “nesting” really settling into life on the couch. We purchased this pretty cart from Michaels to help me have more things near me (and to keep them organized).

Before MIL left we were able to arrange an outing. Camp Reset‘s movement challenge for the week included a nature photo scavenger hunt. I was dying to show MIL our favorite walk/park downtown.

Since the park was already downtown, I talked hubby into stopping by my very favorite giant pizza slice location. MIL was in shock at how big the slices are! I was thankful to actually eat sitting up, at a table!

Then we trekked to the river walk. I was thankful that hubby approved this one as more “wheel chair” friendly.

We took the “must have” picture at the love sign.

I tested out my arm muscles determined to wheel myself some, and quickly tired out, how do people wheel chair through entire 5ks?!

During this time period a new perspective has been revealed to me regarding those who need mobility devices like wheel chairs. I hadn’t expected to be able to get on the overlook platform and was elated to discover it actually had a wheel chair ramp. (I’d never noticed it before). I locked the wheel chair, and braced myself on the ledge, standing on one leg. I lost myself in the moment: hearing the music from an event, watching the flow of the river, and feeling the breeze on my skin.

After the appointment with the nurse I’d resigned myself to not have a nature trip outing, due to her insistence on elevating higher, more, in order to finally get the swelling of my foot back down. But, I was thankful that hubby had advocated for this knowing how much I’d emotionally need it.

We couldn’t scout down on the actually island, but we rolled the trail at little longer. I snapped a few more pictures, but didn’t stress myself out over finding everything on the scavenger list. I knew the importance was focusing on being present and that the list was to help us to “focus” on the things around us.

Afterward I was able to talk hubby into stopping at an ice cream place I’ve been oogling for like a year! It was nice to finish off my MIL’s time here with a memorable outing.

This isn’t a journey I would have chosen, but I’m determined to learn everything I can from it!

Had Surgery: Talus Recovery (Week Two)

Prepping for surgery:

I broke my left Talus June 30th, it was determined I needed surgery for it on 7th. Before we even left the specialist’ s office hubby called his parents’ and my Italian MamaBama agrees to come down to help.

Pre surgery involved a few outings like church and icecream:

And heading to the library for stacks and stacks of books:

I was very nervous pre surgery, not so much worried about dying, but worried about the hard climb after. The unknown of pain, level of functioning, extent of recovery time. But I was encouraged by several Bible passages: Psalm 18:33, Isaiah 28:16, and Psalm 46. In reading those verses I realized that no matter what, God would be with me through this journey.

That night neither hubby or I slept well. I was anxious about not feeling emotionally connected and I made sure he didn’t sleep either. This led to bickering that wasn’t good for either one of us. Unfortunately, it was just one of those times that I forgot we are on the same team.

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That morning came way too early. It was also a neat showcase of how hubby and I handle things differently. He was stressed wanting to do his plan which led to some more frustrations. I was very thankful for my mother in law’s (mil) peaceful presence.

After dropping dog off at a friend’s we arrived at the center. They sent me ahead in the wheelchair. I brought the stuffed monkey hubby bought me before we were dating. Ironically, I wore it around my neck into the building. The nurse asked me my age, unsure if I could be left alone. Haha. 

After check in I was weighed then got changed into the gown. I answered several medical questions from a nurse who reminded hubby and I of a bubbly curly haired friend of ours. 

She ran through the checklist then said “angelreon” Hubby and I asked her to repeat herself, still didn’t understand. Mil and her say it slower ” any jewelry on?” To which hubby and I laugh and hifive, both being confused. Then we joke about what kind of disease angelreon could even be.

We met with the Dr who answers a few more questions and I’m wheeled away again. I was nervous as I entered the operation room and they introduced me to everyone. They put the mask on me and told me to breathe deeply. I prayed and coughed as I felt the anesthesia in my body.

When I woke up I was in a different recovery area. I felt odd and I was very aware how slowly I was talking. I was aware of feeling weepy relief and being extra chatty processing what was happening around me. There was music playing and I pointed out the irony of the lyrics of American Pie “and this’ll be the day that I die”

Quickly I was reunited with my family and I felt teary again. Hubby said the surgery took the planned 45 minutes, but Dr said it went well. I was disappointed they made me sit up, I was all to ready to sleep.

The nurse focused on having me eat some crackers and drink sprite. I still felt sick so they gave me something else and these cool throw up bags. I felt fine after that. The nurses teased my hubby about how finicky he held the throw up bag. 

All I could do was wait to get home to sleep it all off. Once in bed I couldn’t sleep. It hurt (a low level ache) and I couldn’t get the pillows comfortable. 

The Dr called that night to check on me and said I should be icing my ankle as much as possible and should even make sure to move my ankle/legs often. It meant so much to hear is concern 🙂 Hubby had told me later that day the Dr said I should get all movement back up and down but he wasn’t sure about left to right due to all of the fragments. I don’t know what that will mean about my beginner ballet class.

Post Surgery

The biggest goal has been following a pain medicine routine and trying to sleep. It hasn’t hurt too much, but I’m sure the meds are to thank for that.

Sleep has been difficult to get, waking up every few hours to take pain meds. My sleep has been improving  since I claimed the couch.

Most days I’ve felt pretty nauseated or woozy thanks to the hydrocodone. I’m trying to reduce it so I feel better.

Some hours I’m back to my bubbly self excited about whatever I’m doing. Other moments I’m tired, cranky, frustrated, sick. In those moments I’m very thankful for the companionship of my mother in law who reminds me “slow and steady” and binge watches Downton abbey with me.

Embraced Penguins in December

Last year I received a penguin necklace from my day for my birthday, I attempted to wear it while telling friends, I REALLY don’t like penguins that much…its not like I’m obsessed. I gave it a couple of months, and officially recognized my penguin love in 2015.

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However, I’m picky. I don’t just love any penguins, and actually the Penguins of Madagascar movies frustrate me because they only represent one type of penguin, those found in Antarctica. In my opinion it seems like the cold weather penguins seem to get the most representation in penguin depictions, leading everyone to believe that ALL penguins live in the cold. Well, not MY favorite penguins, they live on the beach!

Then, in December penguin imaged items were everywhere…at first I wanted to fight against the incorrect stigma, but this means that penguin stuff is every where! Plus, it gives me something to look forward to about my birthday being in December. I’ve long resented that my birthday competes with all sorts of Christmas events and parades, and there’s really nothing fun to do outside because of the cold.

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Then, I saw the penguins, and decided to embrace the penguins.

This made it easier for people who love me to send me all of the penguin things for my 28th birthday. Though I didn’t get to see a penguin this year for my birthday I was showered with lots of fun things.

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One of my very favorites is a painting by a penguin. Some of the zoos and aquariums that offer this, do enrichment projects with the penguins where they teach them to lift their feet to check them for diseases, and then apply paint and let them waddle across a canvas. I’m delighted to have this painting that I can put up every December to celebrate the penguins!

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Kissed an Alpaca in Amish Country

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This was another year where I did not have the chance to leave the country, but I was able to visit an Amish community and appreciate their culture. Husband and I drove to his hometown area to watch friends be wedded, so my mother in law, and sister in law decided to visit Amish country.

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Of course, you aren’t allowed to take their pictures, so I made sure to bring my pancake lens. The children all scurried away from me anyways whenever the camera would point in their direction (when I wasn’t paying attention).

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One of the first places we visited was a toy shop. We were some of the only customers. After exploring and making our purchases the shop owner decided to have fun with us. He had made these contraptions meant to play tricks/gags on people. I didn’t play along, I struggle with being made to look silly, but my sister in law was nice enough to try to figure the puzzles out.

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The area was absolutely beautiful. There were houses on hills, around dirt roads. It was a quiet area, and it felt like we were in another country.

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We also made sure to visited a quilt shop. We spoke with the shop owner at length while we browsed the items. The handmade items were gorgeous and made with intricate detail. While browsing I kept thinking about how my best friends would be moving to a different state soon taking their 2 year old (now 3 year old) with them. I was heart broken, so I kept picking out presents for her. I mentioned this to the shop owner, and she shared about how her children were moving to a different house further in the area, and she was also sad that she would not see her grand children as often. Sure, my friend was moving states away, and her family was only moving a few miles away, but due to their limited technology the distance would feel the same. It was neat to share that despite our cultural differences.

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In the area, not owned by the Amish was an Alpaca farm. We toured the pens, learning everything that we could ever think to ask about Alpaca’s. The owner teased us into kissing them, and of course my sister in law and I couldn’t resist the photo opportunity!

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I’d never been up close to an Alpaca before, and I was struck by how laid back their personalities were. There were some young ones, cousins, and if the babies went to the other mothers they’d spit at them, so that was entertaining to watch.

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And of course, we couldn’t leave without getting some yummy handmade fudge!

I hope 2016 also has some fun travels :0)

Celebrated the 71st Anniversary of DDay

Another post in the “Favorite Unblogged 2015 Moments” series.

My in laws tend to visit in June when they can, and we found ourselves near the DDay Memorial on the 71st Anniversary! I was excited about a fun opportunity, despite that husband was leery of the crowds. We visited later in the day and enjoyed the special events taking place. We missed the music and speakers, but there were still tents and many other things to explore.

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I think you’ll be able to tell from the pictures that husband actually ended up having the most fun of all of us on that very hot and sunny day. He enjoyed scoping out all of the different artillery.

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Plus, it was a fun chance to test out my new Tamron 24-70 2.8 lens. Apparently, working has its perks, even if it takes me away from fun things like blogging.

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This is BY FAR my favorite picture of the day, my husby, he’s kind of handsome.

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A friend of ours in the National Guard had the opportunity to travel to Normandy France for the 70th anniversary celebration ta-d0. I enjoy his stories of meeting people who lived there through the experience, and he enjoyed his trip so much that he plans to return for the 75th anniversary. This means I’ve got a couple more years to talk husby into it and save up!

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Said Goodbye to My Childhood Kitty

Its been a little over a week since I had to say goodbye to my childhood kitty, Wildthing. I finally sat down and calculated her age, estimating it to be 18+ awhile ago, and never trying to pin it down. She lived 20 years; I’d had her since the first week of 3rd grade!IMG_5656

For those of you who never met her, she was truly the best kitty that I have ever known. She would come running to me when I was crying (usually from falling down the stairs) and lick the tears off of my face. She was always friendly and talkative, brrrrow! She never really hissed or anything.

She’d been struggling with her health the past few months, but since she was older we always tried to verbally prepare ourselves for her end. When husband first met her while we were dating in college and I told him how old she was he said, “oh wow, she’s gonna die soon” just because she was already ten or so at the time (she showed him!). When friends watched our apartment while we were on our honeymoon, husband warned them that kitty was old and to not feel bad if she passed. (He never wanted anyone to feel surprised or guilty). Wildthing would often sleep very soundly, face down, and honestly we never knew if she was gonna wake up when we’d pet her. She did, and she’d mmmmrow at us in a very unhappy tone.

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We joked about her being old and geriatric, and then suddenly the past few months her health became much worse. We had a scare last year, but then she pulled through. Wildthing struggle with being constipated, but we’d give her baths, and then she’d be back to normal. We tried her on soft food for awhile, when it didn’t seem like she was wanting to eat her hard food. We tried several things to help her hang out, hoping her health would turn around.

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We knew the end was near, so we tried to take advantage of the time, getting in cuddles and pictures with her. One night, her meows seemed more pitiful than normal, then worse the next morning. Husband took her in, and he promised to keep me updated as I went to work. Around lunch time he called me, and it was official, there were some options we could do to help her, but nothing that had a good chance of lasting more than a few weeks. We decided to “make her comfortable” till we could say good bye later that afternoon. I began to tear up as I excused myself from work, I’d known it was coming, but it still hurt to know that we now only had hours together.

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Husband and I were both emotionally upset over the upcoming loss, wondering what would could have done differently, feeling guilty. What I appreciated is that we could work through it together, and reassure each other.

Then, it was time to go to the vet clinic. I’d brought some stamp pads and Project Life cards to take paw prints. We brought my nicer camera, making sure to take snap shots of the moment, knowing we’d want those pictures later. I felt weird, making sure we were doing those things, but I am super grateful to have those pictures now.

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When I entered the building, I heard her distinctive meow, and saw her when they allowed us into the room. Another staffer was petting her, but she still cried. Once we were in the room she didn’t cry out again until the end. My husband pointed this out to me, smiling, saying that she knew that we were there. I’ve never been there when a pet was this far gone, her organs were failing, and I wasn’t ready for how she was. She was lying on a comfy blanket, with a head pad, and her head on a blanket/pillow. She was so still from the drugs they had given her, it broke my heart. It was hard to connect with her, because I felt like she was already gone. I petted her head, and her outstretched paw.

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I’d worn my “soar” bracelet on purpose to embrace the moment. Soaring is always about the good and happy things. For me, this year, my mantra has turned into “keep calm and soar on” just keep going, no matter what is going on.IMG_5699 IMG_5672

The staff were incredibly kind, allowing us to take care of paperwork upfront, and giving us time to be with her. Our vet seemed apprehensive to be there while the procedure was done, probably because other pet owners freak out, but no matter if she meowed or what, I felt that I needed to stay by her side. I couldn’t let her die alone. He explained that she might cry out, but that she wouldn’t be in pain. We said that we understood, and we talked with her, and petted her while the pink liquid went into her arm. He checked her breathing, telling us that she was gone, and gave us a few more minutes. It felt awful that she was gone. I wanted to keep petting her, like if I stopped petting her, it would be real, that she wouldn’t be coming back home with us. Husband asked if I wanted anymore pictures, and I knew solidly that I didn’t. I wanted all of my pictures to be of her alive.

We walked out of the room, and I shut the door, leaving her there. We debated about asking for her ashes, but since we don’t own property there wasn’t any place that we’d be able to mark for her. Plus, I wasn’t sure when we’d be able to spread them at a local park and it would become a to do hanging over our heads.

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Thankfully, it was Friday so we had several days before we had to be back at work. We worked through our grief the following ways: distraction through Christmas party, buying our puppy a treat, snacks, and visiting kitties at the humane society. It was difficult to move past the guilt of not loving on her better, earlier in the year, before I became so busy with my job. I was sad that I couldn’t remember the last time that she’d displayed her amazing personality and her loud purring.

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The hardest night was the first night. Husband was out, and it hit me all of a sudden that she was gone and wasn’t coming back. I cried so hard I was almost hyperventilating. I became fixated with this stuffed cat that my dad gave me when I was in highschool or college. It was a Harley Davidson stuffed cat, and he’d gotten it for me because it reminded him of WildThing. I remembered being grumpy about it at the time, thinking that it didn’t really resemble the cat, just that it was also white and black patterned. As soon as possible I needed to find this stuffed toy, and I was so afraid that I’d gotten rid of it. Thankfully, I found it. It sounds silly, but having something fluffy to cuddle made it easier. I decided that whenever our future children lose pets, I think they should have a stuffed animal to hold to say goodbye.

Husband and I talked off and on, before Wildthing left us, about what kind of kitty we’d want next. When she was gone, I needed kitties to love on me, so I visited the local humane society several times. I hadn’t picked out my own cat before. I’d picked out one cat, and he was gone by the next day when my mom went to pick him up, so she’d actually picked out the most amazing and wonderful Wildthing. I didn’t know what to look for, but I ached for a kitty connection. I needed them to love on me. We discussed getting an adult cat, since they are less likely to get adopted, and they’d be less hyper, but none of them seemed eager to approach me. I left feeling defeated, not even knowing what I was looking for (some unrealistic magical connection).

Today, we returned to the humane society, knowing that there was an adoption sale. Husband met a beautiful and kind kitty, named Pansy. You could tell that she restrained herself when she was play biting. Her coat was a lovely brown and grey tabby. I hesitated, wondering if I was really ready for this. I was afraid of rushing into a decision, afraid of the kitty not loving me, afraid of not loving the kitty. We went home, knowing that the sale was only good for today. I thought about it, prayed about it. I realized that it wasn’t worth being afraid (and likely something that I was overthinking) to pass up on such a sweet affectionate kitty.

So we added a new member of our family! Something that held me back was wondering if it was “too soon” and what people would thing (seriously, I focus WAY too much on that). But it seemed like many people could get another kitty soon after one passed. And I missed kitty noises, and having my own pet running around the house. (Daisy is obsessed with her daddy, and I’m definitely the second).

Meet Saria (to continue our Nintendo naming style).

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Here’s the Nintendo Saria: (at least my Saria’s collar is green to look more alike).saria_playing_for_you_by_zalogero-d37iiij

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Gratefully, pet introductions went well, despite that Daisy is in her face and overwhelming. Saria kind of avoids her, till she gets overwhelmed, then runs and hides in some small (dusty) crevice of the apartment. But I actually think they’ll become good cuddle friends. Saria definitely has that kitten spunk (at 5 months), wanting to explore her new home, not wanting to be held. But, when she explores, she’ll come rub her face on me to check in, then go exploring some more. I couldn’t stop smiling, despite all of my fears, when I nodded that I wanted to keep her at the humane society. I felt joy at having a cuddly friend again. I have missed kitty love.

My favorite moment so far is when we put her on our bed, and she immediately made herself comfortable and began to purr loudly. Its safe to say that this kitty is happy to have a home.

No kitty will ever replace the childhood friendship that I was lucky enough to have with Wildthing for 20 years of my life, but I’m excited to give a new friends a home this holiday :0)

Reviewed My 2014 Travels

Unlike any other year, because of my brief stint in a full time soul-consuming job, I became behind in my life documentation practices (both scrapbooking and blogging). Also posts were delayed due to taking thousands of pictures with the DSLR in each trip that required sorting and editing.

The main thing that sticks out to me about 2014 were all of my amazing opportunities to travel across the United States! I traveled more this past year than I have in many years, even if I never left the country. And in these travels, it wasn’t just about the places I got to see, or the ways in which I was entertained, I was changed by my experiences in these new locales. Plus, I was able to deepen my relationships with others in the process.

So here is the list and review of all of those wonderful memories that I’m finally posting about (in chronological order):

January: Richmond-Lobby Day, Walked Richmond’s Canals

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February: Florida- Fallen in Love with the Emerald Coast, Fed Penguins at the Gulfarium, Piloted a Ship, Been Snowed-In in Florida

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Arizona- Discovered Desert Beauty, Toured Old Town Scottsdale, Visited My Mom in Arizona

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May: Visited New York City, Toured Chinatown and Little Italy, Seen Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway

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Summer: Been Pickpocked at the Fair

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September: Explored Manteo in OBX

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October: Staycationed at Smith Mountain Lake

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November: Nature-walked with Family

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December: Celebrated My 27th Birthday, Pet a Penguin at Busch Garden’s Christmas Town, Christmas Towned at Busch Gardens,

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Upstate NY- Christmas’d in Upstate New York in 2014, Toured the Zippo Case Museum

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Here is to traveling with you in 2015 (in a more timely manner of course)!

Christmas’d In Upstate NY in 2014

This Christmas we were able to travel to visit husband’s family in Upstate.

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Mom and I made cookies again…which I horribly butchered. Seriously, I can’t even make cookies in as nice a shape as my mother in law. PLUS, the recipe set me up for failure with waaaay too much baking soda/powder.

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We were fed lots of yummy meals.

Even the puppies got to help clean the dishes.

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We got to play a fun game with his sister and her hubby. We actually won Forbidden Island and defeated the board the second time around!

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I got to snuggle with his brother’s handsome pit bull named Boo. Larger dogs may droll and smell more, but they are also warmer.

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Christmas Day was so much fun. I was goofy elated, watching the Disney Christmas Frozen Spectacular while breakfast was set up.

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The rest of the trip went by quickly, but was great. Such a good nurturing time with his family. I’m so grateful for the way that they love on me and have adopted me into their crazy family :0).

Visited the Zippo Case Museum

Because I get a little stir crazy during vacations my Italian Mama Bama coordinated with the husband to plan a quick day trip. We went to Bradford, PA to see the Zippo/Case museum. This was a fun trip for my hubby and siblings when they were kids. PLUS, I’m kind of afraid of lighters. (I know so weird, since I’m not afraid of firearms). So we thought it would be fun to get me a nice lighter to get acquainted with :0).

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It is a small museum, but fun to walk through. I had no idea the type of legacy that zippo lighters have. There were many examples of lighters lasting through the wars being inscribed with personal information of soldiers. It was neat to think about what those lighters had witnessed in foxholes overseas.

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Plus, there were all kinds of decorated Zippos with famous musicians and cute Mickey designs.

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A fun family trip.

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Nature-walked with Family

Sometimes I don’t go places, but its still a travel adventure when family gets to visit me! My mom and step father were able to come visit us in November before Thanksgiving.

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The mountains offer beautiful parks and areas to visit, so we took to exploring them. I’m always game for photography adventures!

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We walked around the island that is sometimes submerged when the river’s water rises.

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My stepfather is prone to finding wild animals wherever he goes, which led to a photo-op with a tiny snake.

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A great quick trip. I even got to introduce my mother to the wonders that is Frozen :0)

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