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

I’ve lost my mind

Holy crap!  Ummm….so, it’s official, I’ve lost my mind…like completely.  Ok, maybe not my mind…but, definitely my wallet.  Ok…really Chris’s wallet, but, HA!  I have been a shopping fool!  Turns out, us Southern Gals need some serious winterization.

See, the cold we have in Atlanta, that lasts for about 2 weeks doesn’t even compare to the winter we will be living in.  And, I AM SO DAMN EXCITED!!!!  My oldest is just excited about the fashion…(hint…that girl needs a job to keep up with her changing tastes!!) I really should stop looking at the mountain cams on the Jackson Hole resort website.  Maybe, then I could curb my enthusiasm…ha…that was a joke too!  My excitement cannot be contained!!  I’ve been trying to talk Chris into us flying out sometime December to “drop our skis and stuff” at our rental house!!  And, of course, say HI to the mountain!!  So far…the job…has other plans.  BOO.

Well…I must go online shop some more…because frankly, we all need an entire new wardrobe to get us through!  Any cold weather suggestions are welcome…because, clearly, I need to keep my UPS peeps in business!!!

Until next time….I’m #jhdreaming!!

Trippin’ Riley’s….

Well, at this point most people are starting to believe that I am “trippin'”!  And, here’s why…

I am taking our girls out of school and we are moving to Jackson Hole, WY for 6 months.  (yes, I just heard the screeching of tires…or mind wheels)…so here’s the short story. (aren’t you lucky!!)…

As you all know if you have read my blog at all…I LOVE JACKSON HOLE….And, we love to ski, hike, snow mobile etc.  And, frankly, our girls are growing up too fast.  Our oldest is now a freshman….she’ll be gone in 4 years…Off to live her life…which she should.  And our youngest only has 6 years left.  So, I really wanted to take them out of their bubble and show them different things.  I want them to learn to come out of their comfort zone. I want them to know they can do absolutely anything they want to do if they work hard and put their mind to it.  I want to have FUN with them!!

Ok..all of that sounds great, right?  And it is all true.  But, let’s be real…like super real…It’s my selfishness and love of  Jackson that is taking us there!  I mean…what other mother in her right mind would uproot her kids,  take them away from friends they have had since preschool and put them in a brand new situation???  ME!  They will be doing virtual school, which makes it sound like total isolation..however, I’m doing that out of selfishness as well…see, regular school out there would just inhibit my plans for fun and adventure!  But, my little one will be playing club volleyball…(she will meet kids her own age), my oldest…well, she hasn’t decided if she wants to get a job or just do a ski club.  But, they will both have to make an effort.  And, that, my friends, is a life skill.  Effort…life skill….As one of our favorite quotes says (thank you Steamboat, CO)…


Thus, we are totally going outside their comfort zone.  I hope and pray they come back with incredible memories!  And, maybe a phenomenal college essay!!!

So, my next few posts will be about the process of moving a family for 6 months…Please, stay tuned…and, wish me luck, prayers and strength!!


The tides of change….



Like the cloud coming over the Grand…these are the tides of change…yes..cheesy…it’s like the old Days of our Lives opening…”like the sands through the hour glass…”…Geeezzzz…how in the world do I know that???

Well, so much going on since the last time I wrote!  As always, Jackson is incredible!  But, it seems the universe had much different plans for me/us this year!

During our drive out here…our house in Atlanta has SOLD!!  YAY!!  Here’s to downsizing and more travel!  Ummmm….dang…I need to pack and get the renovations going on the new house!  Oh crap…there is a lot to do…and very very hard to do from here.  Then, no biggie….close date is end of July…I can do that and manage some stuff from here, right?  WRONG!!  Our close date is now moved up to mid July…and the girls and I are headed home 2 weeks early.   I was devastated at first…but, then, my wonderful husband (as usual) reminded me to look at the big picture!  Big picture:  Less house, more travel, retire earlier, spend a bunch of time together!  Gotta love that man…and I do!

So, the other thing the universe threw at me….a pretty disturbing health scare…girls and I were biking, hiking and generally hanging out outside….no big deal, right?  Well, one day after a long bike ride, one wrist was hurting.  It was weird.  Got worse.  So, off to urgent care.  This was diagnosed as some tendonitis thing I had in the other wrist 12 YEARS AGO!!  But, no biggie…until….

By the afternoon, I hurt all over, I had cankles, and I don’t even have a word for what my arms and wrists looked like.  Just swollen and hurt like hell.  So, I go to bed..wake up about midnight and can barely move.  Elbows, hips, ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, toes and neck…AWFUL!!  No fever. (weird)…It takes me a bit to get out of bed.  (if there were a camera, looking back, I bet it was hysterical!). Finally make it to the bathroom..another interesting thing!  I somehow get sweatpants on and a sweatshirt…and decide to drive myself to the ER… myself…Allison can’t drive…and I wasn’t waking the girls up…they would have flipped.  Luckily, it’s a pretty straight shot to the ER.  And, being a town of just over 9000 people,  ER was not busy!!!

Long story short…they were stumped…completely fever, severe pain…yes, I almost punched the nurse when she tried to get my sweatshirt off…and I looked like the pillsbury doughboy…Gave me some fluids, some Tylenol and sent me on my way to follow up on Monday…ok…whatever..Sunday sucked.  As did Monday….until I was smart and called Dr. Jeff..I will not reveal his last name and I would very much like to keep him to myself!  He is the best ER doc in Atlanta…the kindest, smartest, caring person I have met.  And I am not just saying that because he has healed me on several occasions!  I explain everything and by golly, he fixed me!  yay!  After 2 days of medication..I could move again!!  woohoo!!

Now, that is good since Allison had a friend come in and so did I!  And, we packed as much in to a week as possible..well, until the rain stopped…

And, we left my favorite town today.    I am sad, but, I can’t complain.  We are blessed enough to spend 6 months out here starting January 2019….so, you will be inundated with blog posts often as it will be totally different!

Next post will be a lot pics!  Esp. now that I can move my wrists and actually type!

Happy Trails!



Day 5–HOME!!!!!


Check it out!!  Day 5 and my children are still smiling..ok..well, one…the other one…well, not so much!  But, that’s OK!!  We had a 5 hour drive to get “home”!  But, lord…it seemed like the longest day.  Ya know how you are just so anxious to get there…so it just seems each mile took forever!  And, it could be that I actually had to drive 55….where everywhere between South Dakota and Wyoming was 80–80mph!!  YES!!  I guess you can do that when there isn’t hardly anyone on the road!!


So, we hit the Bridger -Teton National Forest…trucking down the Togowatee Pass…and low and behold…it’s snowing….yup, June 1st…it’s snowing!  I WAS IN HEAVEN!!!!  The temp on the car read 37.  Yup…my heart sang a little tune, as my Allison moaned.  ( I then inwardly laughed…but, thought to keep it to myself!)


We then start heading down…the temp starts to go up, but, not above 44…at least not until  we were in town!  And, then only to 51


And, then..FINALLY….


So, at this point…the girls were over the pictures…so, I just got the sign.  And, that’s OK!  We are home!

The adventures will continue for the month…then, stay tuned, these Road Trippin Riley’s will be spending 6months here in the amazing town of Jackson Hole…January-June of 2019…Not sure if we will be called Road Trippin Riley’s–since we are staying put for 6 months…or just “hey, you have lost your minds Riley’s”!!  Either way…the adventures continue!

Stay tuned—



Day 4–We made it to Wyoming!!


Woohoo!! We made it!

As my brother likes to say “Wy-freaking-oming”!!  And, yes!  It is Freaking Beautiful!  Today wasn’t as busy as day 3…but, still very fun.  Except, I must admit…my girls were not as excited about Devil’s Tower as I was!  And, I get it…almost 15 and 12…BUT…I just hope that one day they appreciate this…I think they will…but, just not now!  Which is ok…because…I STILL had a blast!!


Seriously super cool!


Awe look! They smiled!

This was absolutely fascinating to me!  But, the girls were way more interested climbing the boulders….kind of funny!  But, still super cute.


Frankly, their favorite part was watching the prairie dogs!!  SOOOO CUTE!!  I haven’t uploaded the pictures from my good camera, but, Allison took some really cool shots.  I hope to get some up soon.

They were all very talkative!  I swear…I need a farm…I just want tons of animals!

Well…this was all we did!  Then we stayed in Casper…since it was the biggest town between Devils Tower and Jackson.

We are almost there!

Happy Trails!

Day 3–no wifi!!!


Day 3!  And the bikes are still with us!

As you can see from this picture..Allison is just about over my pictures!  And, apparently so is Maggie!  BUT–what does the annoying mother do???  Why, take MORE of course!!


Day 3 was a very very busy day…and FUN!  Today was the day (actually yesterday since we had no wifi–more about that later!)…that we finally started checking things out!  Our first 2 days were very long driving days.  But, I have to say, South Dakota is BEAUTIFUL!!  We stayed in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday night..and started Wednesday early and hit some truly interesting things…

First….there is a legit CORN PALACE in South Dakota…and it was really cool…the murals are CORN cobs!




Well, that was pretty cool…who would have thought??  And, there were SEVERAL tour buses!  Ya just never know!

Next, some beautiful Grasslands and the VERY FAMOUS Wall Drug, in Wall, South Dakota…



They needed some prayer time!!

Well..I forgot to get gas…so down the road I found a tiny place..population 66…and I found this!  My brother would LOVE THIS!!


Then…drum roll please!!!  Mount Rushmore!!!!!!  Finally!!!


It was absolutely incredible to me.  The sheer talent it took to carve this.  One of the rock carvers was in the gift shop..he worked on Mount Rushmore from 1938-1940…I was so blown away..I bought the book…not to mention he was such a sweet old man..and his wife was hysterical!  It was one of those things that gave me goose bumps!

I know you all are getting sick of this now…but, I have a few more pictures!  We stayed off the Needles Highway at Sylvan Lake.  We stayed in a little cabin by the lake and it was spectacular.  NO WIFI!!  And, guess what???  The kids SURVIVED!!  Crazy, right??  We walked around the lake after dinner, played a couple of and went to sleep…it was magical.  (ok, ok…there was A LOT of complaining..BUT..they did it!!). Check out this pictures…


First tunnel on Needles Highway




So, this morning, I took a walk around the lake…I love being outside so much and I saw some beautiful animals, my favorite marmot, and geese with their babies…I must say…the geese hissed at me…I tried to give them a wide angle, but there wasn’t a lot of room.


Got to walk through this…super cool!


They sure didn’t give me a lot of room to get around them!



The no wifi cabin!!!


I have to say…I wish I had more time on the Needles Highway.  I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to.  So, I told Chris, we will do that when we start RVing around the country!  I highly recommend Custer State Park!  Incredible!

I am off to bed…finally…today was busy as well.  And, tomorrow we will pull into Jackson and see my favorite mountains!  I hope to update again soon…Until then…

Happy Trails!