Livin’ La Vida LOCAL!!


So, here is our LOCAL moose…she is awesome!  But, as a LOCAL…you do NOT cause a “moose jam” to take a picture.  This picture was taken from my LOCAL driveway!  See the theme here…I’m so damn clever!  🙂

There are tons of perks to being a LOCAL…discounts at shops, restaurants (some, not all), and the general swagger of a LOCAL.  See, We are now LOCALS…Yes…yes we are.  I have the dirty car loaded with ski gear at any time.  I have hauled kids…ok, so they were 20 somethings.. in the back of my car with their snowboards, backcountry packs and our skis  to the Ranch Lot…the RANCH LOT!!  A LOCAL fav…3 or more in your car and its free parking!!  Which is FANTASTIC!!!  Especially since parking in the “village lot” is $30 on the weekends and $20 M-F….INSANE…if you’re a LOCAL!

Another fun thing about being a local is knowing the “in” phrases…for example….Apres Vous lift (see picture)…


Yup..that’s me taking a pic from the lift…

This lift is not “Apres Vous”…it is “AV”….for example…”Dude, I’m heading to AV and cutting over to Teton to hit the Crag”….And, it is not the Gondola…it’s “the Gondi”…but, there are 2 “Gondi’s” now…so it could be “Dude, I’m hitting the bridge Gondi” or “Dude, I’m hittin the Sweet Gondi to Casper”…I believe the majority of long time Locals (which I am not)…only refer to the Bridger as “Gondi”…but, stay tuned…I will have a LOCAL follow up lesson!

So…let’s talk about what is NOT LOCAL…this…a VERY Southern Bulldog tolerating -19 degree weather..


Yes, those are booties AND a coat….well, you walk outside on ICE and SNOW in -19 and see how YOU like it!  That being said…Maggie is a total LOCAL…she LOVES the snow and cold…not freeze your face off cold..but, cold!

So, another thing that isn’t LOCAL??  Running your car into a snow bank…and NO!!!  I did not take pictures…so…here’s the story…and I will defend myself by saying that I am a damn good snow and ice driver…unless I am looking for the perfect sunrise color….Just sayin..

So, I take Chris to the airport on a BEAUTIFUL bluebird Sunday morning…the colors are insanely beautiful…INSANE!!  Like Pixar created them….so, I drop him at the airport at about 7:15….and my plan is to make 8am mass and head back to hit the mountain for some skiing…well…it’s a good thing I’m flexible!!!!!

So I head down Gros Venture road…for us southerners…we tend to say “gross venture”…but, us LOCALS say “Gra…Vant”….that is a drug out “a”…”Graaaaa Vant”, please, no “gross venture”…otherwise…it may get ugly!!  :-0

So…on to my “non local adventure!!”…I’m driving….there are a couple of cars stopped taking pictures of a heard of Elk.  I go around…giggling to myself…no “Elk Jams” either people!!  Man…karma is a bitch sometimes!  Let me also tell you this road is plowed, but, still icy.  The snow banks on either side of the road are at least 4 feet tall.  I’m driving down and realize the colors are being blocked by one of the Buttes…so…I CAREFULLY do a perfect 3 point turn to head back the other way to get the picture.  And, I am silently congratulating myself for really working my 4WD…I can drive in anything now!!

Ok..I’m driving along, pretty slowly…and I look in my side view mirror to check the colors…and BAM!!!  All of the sudden there is snow all over my windshield….what the hell just happened??  Well…I ran directly into the snow bank…BAM…SNOW…Well, crap.  no biggie…I have 4WD…so, I put my baby in 4L…put her in reverse and…….NOTHING!!!  No movement but spinning tires…well crap. big deal….I have AAA!  PERFECT!  NOT!!!!!  I call the 1-800 number and get the rudest person I have ever had….I’m telling her what happened…I tell her where I am…she’s arguing with me because she says she can’t send anyone out of the roads aren’t plowed…honey..I have told you 5 times the roads are plowed…but, still have some ice…”well, if it’s ice and not plowed I can’t send a truck”…that was just the beginning…..then, I have to provide a cross street….this crazy woman has clearly NEVER been to Wyoming….WOMAN…there is no cross street for FIVE FREAKING MILES!!!!!  At this point, I’m about to get out and dig myself out….BUT….just as I am about to lose my temper…..a big white Dodge Ram 2500 pulls up beside me!!  “Miss, looks like you got yourself into a little bind”….I immediately hang up on AAA…thank goodness before I could say some things that I would have to spend an hour in the confessional….

So, 2 of the kindest Wyoming Wilderness Men…that is what I have named them…as…they were full on Wyoming Wilderness Men (WWM)…they back up, hook up my car and BAM!  I’m pulled out in about 30 seconds….albeit, I believe the driver was having a ton of fun sliding all around….I think I actually heard him laughing as he pulled me out…(I would prefer to think he was having fun and not laughing AT me!!)…so, I’m all pulled out of the snow bank…the WWM wouldn’t take anything for their troubles…They said they had pulled 4 people out that week…so, I gave them huge hugs, got in my car and headed home….I had missed 8am mass…no biggie!  The beauty of being catholic…theres always another mass!! (I made the 10)

To top it all off….I NEVER GOT THE DAMN PICTURE!!!!  And, I sure as hell didn’t take any pictures of my car in the snow bank as I didn’t want Chris to have a minor heart attack!

There ya have it….we are LOCALS…(almost) since we are still learning the ways of the Wild West.  Stay tuned for more adventures…just hopefully, not any involving snow banks and stuck cars!!

Enjoy the picture below…and STAY WILD!!



It’s not all Rainbows and Unicorns….


Like how I did that???  The rainbow…and sweet puppy?  Well…I needed a laugh today!  And, I believe everyone needs a good laugh….often!

Ok, so why isn’t it all rainbows and unicorns?  BECAUSE ITS LIFE PEOPLE!!!  LIFE….L. I. F. E.   LIFE!  And, believe it or not…life did not come with an instruction manual…and neither did kids!!  I mean..what the hell??  We’re supposed to figure all this out on our own???  Well…as I tell my kids..I’ll pay for 1 year of therapy, then they better have some darn good health insurance!!  I mean, I can’t screw them up that bad…right?  HA!!  Of course I can!



So…Let’s talk the school transition…It hasn’t been smooth…but it has been eye opening!! (But look at that cool booth…who wouldn’t want to do work there???)  Both of my kids apparently have a problem ready directions before starting anything.  I mean, why would they?  Right?  It’s the logical thing to do..but, they are teenagers…is there a logical thought in their brains right now???  Hell no!!  But, we worked through that…

And then it’s trying to figure out the best times to do school.  And this, my friends, is my fault…I want to be outside doing something every single day…that doesn’t work too well with online school..well, it actually does, but, it doesn’t work well with one kid.  One kid is ok doing work into the evening if we go out and ski early…not so well with the other…but, part of this “experiment” is to get the girls to step out of their comfort zones!  Stay tuned for that…that’s an entire novel for later!

So, does this look like the kids are miserable?  No!!  And, frankly, they aren’t.  But I grossly underestimated how much they would miss their friends.  They miss them terribly.  And, I get it.  They are teens…their entire lives revolve around their friends.  And, this is where the mom guilt comes in…bad..This is my happy place.  This is the place my soul longs to be….but, in reality, it is not where my kids want to be.  And, that’s ok!!  As they both have said, they are having a blast skiing, being outside, learning a couple new things…but, they miss their friends.  I wish I could have their friends out all the time.  I’m working on getting people out…and we have several people coming out which is great….but for them, it’s a lifetime before their friends join us for some fun.


So, even though I am feeling guilty…I still truly believe that when they look back…they are going to be so grateful for this experience…they may be 50 and I may be dead…but, they will look back and appreciate this.  And, we are having fun….lots of fun…and for me, probably not for them, I am so thankful for this time.  Allison will be in college in 3 1/2 years…that is a nanosecond…then Alexia will be gone.  To have this time is such a precious gift.  My job as a mother is to teach them to fly…and they will fly and live their own lives and that is what I want for them…but, for now…I’m going to hold my babies tight…and maybe shove them down the mountain!  🙂

For me, maybe it is all rainbows and unicorns…but that is because I am an inherently positive person.  I am so happy.  And, I plan to continue to spread that joy and happiness (see a previous post about that!!)


Look at this majestic peak.. That is the tip of the Grand..she is so beautiful!

Now, I must wake up the kiddos…it’s a bluebird ski we are skiing then school (see, still trying to find the balance). 🙂

Remember, spread JOY and stay WILD!!


This was the full moon this morning in the back yard…just wow!!

WE MADE IT!! (A little bit ago)


Yes!  We made it.  It was a LONG 3 days…but, my sweet husband is a driving rockstar!  We drove 5 hours the first day in rain (boo), then about 14 hours the next and 10 the last..but, we made it and it is WONDERFUL!!


So, this is home for the next few months.  I couldn’t be more excited.  There is just something in my soul that lights up the minute I see The Grand.

We got in on a Friday and we weren’t moving into our house until Sunday…so Chris and I stayed in the CUTEST “tiny cabin”..


It’s called Fireside Resort…I HIGHLY recommend it!  Such a cute place and easy to get to the ski resort…check it out peeps!

Then it was finally time to pick up the girls…man…I missed them.  But as hard as we drove (and the fact that there was absolutely no room for them in the car!!)…they would have been miserable!  So, instead, they got to hang with their Godparents and see friends.  Check out this pic…makes me laugh!!


How different my girls are!!  One freezing,  the other sweating!

But, Maggie loves the snow.  She is acting like a sweet puppy again and I love it!


I mean, seriously, how cute is she????

Ok, enough for now…please continue to pray for Sweet Melissa’s family!

Stay Wild!


The Joy of Life

Well, as I sit here at the airport waiting to head back to Jackson after Sweet Melissa’s rosary service.  (I can’t stay for the funeral).  I am struck by the strength of courage of the people around me.  Amy Vargas.  My dear dear Amy.  She spoke so wonderfully about her sister.  Such an incredible tribute.  And, I feel this is so awful and tragic.  It does make you take a step back and look at life.

Every seat was taken at the funeral home and the halls were even filled.  You truly never know how many people you impact on a daily basis.  I know Melissa didn’t know the amount of people she influenced in her short time here on earth.  And, I wish she had known how far she reached.

So with that, we move forward.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for Aunt Patti and Uncle Pat.  They are very faithful.  But, this was their child, their baby.  I pray they find peace.  For Amy, her sister and my proclaimed sister…I know it’s going to be hard…but, I know she is one of the strongest people I know.  Her dear husband and those precious children…they will move forward, and slowly each day will get easier.

Now I ask, what small things can we do to make everyday better?  Yes, we all have bad days..I mean, that’s life, right?  But, is it hard to just smile at someone?  Is it hard to step out of our little worlds and look around and actually see and listen to people?  Really listen.  To take a minute and be grateful for what we have.  And I mean really have.  Not the house, cars, vacations, bank account balance…no…be grateful for the love in your life.  The beauty.  The GOOD!!

I have decided that I am going to strive to be more mindful. Mindful of the energy I send into the world.  I want to smile.  I want to compliment.  I want to be positive.  I want to encourage and support.  I want to spread as much joy as possible.  So, I challenge you.  Can you spread joy?  Can you stop and be grateful, truly grateful?  Try it.  Let me know how it goes.

And, for Sweet Melissa, thank you.  Thank you for saving so many women in your family.  Thank you for being you.  We will miss you.  But, we will carry your joy forever.  Rest sweet girl.  We love you.

Spread joy…



Not a happy post…

Well, for those of you who know me, I love happy posts.  But, I have been very conflicted about this post.  We have arrived in Jackson and it is all I have dreamed of.  However, during this journey, Chris’s cousin, Melissa, has been fighting Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.  She has been fighting for 2 and 1/2 years…but, unfortunately lost that fight this morning.  She passed at 8:30 central time with her husband by her side.  With all this going on, I did not feel right posting all our “fun adventures” when there are 2 young sweet kids without a mother now.  There are parents without a daughter.  There is a sister without her older sister.

In this amazing world, I don’t understand this.  Cancer sucks.  I lost my mother to cancer, my grandmother and my father.  Amy’s husband, Ken, said this wonderfully, “Melissa has saved so many lives because she was the one that prompted every women in her family to be tested for the BRCA gene”…but, we went on…(shocker, right??)…she did this at the expense of her life.  We are grateful…but, frankly, I am angry.  Why does this disease keep taking our loved ones??  Why does it continue to mutate beyond research.  Why, why, why??????? Yet, my sweet Amy (Melissa’s true sister)…who is as close to me as the sister I never had, told me Melissa never asked “why”.  God bless her.  And that is ok…because I will ask why for a long time.  My mom has been gone for 20 years now.  She was only 52.  Melissa even younger.  With YOUNG kids…so, WHY??

With all of this, I will wait a bit to post.  I will make sure our precious family is ok with the “happy go lucky” posts.  Because Family will come first.  Always.  They need time to grieve and I want to help them in anyway I can.  If that is not throwing our adventure in their faces..then that is what I will do.  Family First.  Period.

Thank you all.  Please stay tuned.  I do promise good pics, funny stuff and an occasional “what have I done” post in the future.

For now, please pray for Melissa Bernard and her family.  I pray God holds her close and gives peace to her husband, children, parents, sister, friends….

And, Thank you all in advance for all your prayers and support.


The Road Trippin’ Rileys