a zero waste practice vacation.

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At the end of February, we attempted to have a little 4 day getaway to Southern Utah, before Jonathan’s busy work season kicked in. Alas, we made it a whole 24 hours before making the 5.5 hour drive home, due to a toddler who simply WAS NOT HAVING the hotel stay (one night was enough for us, and our poor neighbors).

I was excited about the trip not only because I was looking forward to the uninterrupted family time, but also because I was really excited to implement all my new zero waste planning and knowledge into the trip. While I’m minimizing our waste really drastically in the home, being out and about is where I still struggle. So I had done a LOT of planning ahead to get ready for this trip. Leaving the house for any length of time with a toddler takes preparation, so a 12 hour round-trip drive, plus four nights in a hotel can require some effort. And you guys, I was prepared. I packed a zero waste kit for the trip that included reusable everything: containers, bamboo utensils wrapped in cloth napkins, coffee mug and water bottles, a paring knife and cutting board for fruit and a tiny bottle of Castile soap to wash things between uses, plus a few dish towels.

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Our plan was to eliminate going out to eat the majority of the time, by packing our own, and hitting the local grocery store for provisions for the remainder of the trip. I brought a cooler down and we packed plenty of bulk-bin-purchased snacks and our lunch for the drive. We stopped at a cute little park to eat and let Hannah run off some pent up energy before resuming the journey. I prepacked bagel sandwiches and fruit and we ate and played.

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I even brought a reusable grocery bag to haul home anything recyclable and a coffee can for anything we could compost! For the drive, I borrowed plenty of books from the library for Hannah to browse (she LOVES books) and brought the iPad for Curious George fixes. I borrowed a few audio books from the library for J and I to listen to, and I crocheted.

St. George is beautiful and a bit warmer than home, so the trip plans were to scope out parks, Zion National Park, go swimming, and just enjoy the sun. After a horrible night with a sad little munchkin, we decided to spend the second day at Zion National Park, driving around and hiking an easy trail, then head for home. 😦 It was a bummer, but I was glad to see a part of my state I’d not seen before, and I learned a few things for our next adventure – like that camping is really our best option for now. 😉

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welcoming spring. daily routines.

ONC viewEven after what’s been a really mild Utah winter, I’m anxious for springtime. I love summer and fall, but I still think spring is my favorite because the winters just drag on for me. By February I’ve had *just* about all I can take, and then suddenly and mercifully there are signs of spring and I snap out of my funk. I love the chilly-but-sunny days, the beginnings of gardening, and feeling like I can once again be a part of nature. Hannah and I have been enjoying daily walks. She loves to look at animals, and our neighborhood is smack in the middle of farm country, so there are nearby horses, chickens and cows to visit. We also just got a family membership to our local nature center (ONC), which is definitely going to be a weekly adventure. We went last week and Hannah LOVED it! And so did I. Even though things are only *just* greening up here and there, it was still beautiful and peaceful. Insta ONCAs Hannah gets older it will be so fun to take her to the nature center for the kids camps and crafty events, but for now we just enjoyed wandering the trails and seeing the birds and deer.

ONC pathAround the house, I’m switching up the baby-proof surfaces with some spring-time touches. I finally got the mantel stained, and put out some random spring-y objects I could find around the house. Plants, flowers, butterflies and birds are kind of a theme around the place right now. I’ve also been able to have the windows open for part of the day. Fresh air and natural light makes such a difference to my mood.

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I got a couple new pillow covers at IKEA – I love the biology textbook-style birds and bugs. (I’ve had the green pillow for years).Spring pillowsAnd the IKEA Varde shelf got a little switchup from the pink-and-red Valentine’s Day decor to some green {and my eating’s been greening up with more vegan recipes in the mix}.

Spring ShelfMy stack of reading reflects the season quite a bit, too. Some gardening magazines of course, and two new books I really recommend. Mindfulness and the Natural World is just one woman’s philosophical view of nature from a “you aren’t in nature, you are nature” kind of standpoint and I am really enjoying it. And mindfulness is the other theme right now, because I’m also enjoying implementing a daily yoga practice (only about 15 minutes during Hannah’s nap time, but it’s really helping me feel better); I really like the book OM Yoga: A Guide to Daily Practice. There is a short practice for each day of the week, and they are challenging enough for me that I am getting something out of just the short stints. Getting back into yoga has been so long overdue! I used to think to do yoga I had to go to a studio for a class or at least follow a video in its entirety. Silly right? The idea that it’s something you can do anywhere at any time, for any length of time is so freeing!

Spring readingIt’s not much, but adding a few routines to my day (a walk, some yoga, and a bit of inspiring reading) has been good for my soul and my sanity and I’m feeling like myself again! Seed-starting is on my to-do list this next week, and I am vowing to get some time outside in the garden just to start cleaning it up and prepping the beds with compost. What’s everyone else got planned for spring?

eatin snow.

I can cross it off my list of 30 things to do before I’m 30

I tried snowboarding for the first time last night! Go me!

We borrowed gear from several people. We went with these lovely people {Brandon and Siara- it was Siara’s first time, too!}:

And this guy {Shane}:

{Brandon and Shane are pros… Shane was on skiis but still helping me out, while he was going BACKWARDS, and guiding me, AND catching me from face-planting. Geez.}

Here’s me and JB on the lift {do I look scared? Yesss. Hahaha…. I was freakin out}:

JB is good, too, even though he’s only been a couple times. He’s naturally good at stuff like that. And maybe his P90X is paying off and he’s getting even more buff. Hee. He’s a doll for arranging the snowboarding trip so I could cross it off my list. (: I want to go again! Soon!

This is where I was most of the time. On my bum. It has bruises on it today.

Snowboarding is so hard! I knew it would be. I was pushing myself up constantly so my wrists are killing me today! My bum hurts and my knees are a bit sore. I always take like 24 hours to really feel pain for some reason, though, so I will be in for it tonight I’m sure. I have a 4-day weekend to recover though! (: It was great motivation to work out harder, the muscle groups I forget exist. I’m going to hit the lunges and squats harder, plus the tricep dips so I can push myself up easier when I fall. I spend so much time at the gym trying to burn calories, I think I forget to get in shape!

I was getting the hang of it, kind of, by the end of the night {but no photographic proof, of course. Dang it!}.

I am excited to have something to look forward to during the Utah winters, because I normally DREAD them. I want to get better so I can not HATE the snow!

end of fall hike

I spent my Veteran’s Day off, coincidentally, with some of my favorite veterans, hiking the Sunset Trail in Farmington Canyon. Tomorrow the forecast calls for snow, so this is also probably the last hiking-worthy day for a lot of months. SAD.

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Here is Steve, Teresa, Ed and I {plus Jolie and Soro} up toward the top of the trail.

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My favorite thing was this suuuuuper old car just sitting off the side of the trail. I have no idea how someone got it there! Freaked me right out.

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Steve’s chunky dog, Jolie, is the best hiker ever. Soro was keeping up on his short legs. I always liken dogs to celebrities. I think Jolie looks like Christina Ricci.

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