News

Hi folks! I wanted to let everyone know that I’m going to continue this blog adventure at a new site called Cynema Travels. It’s been a great ride here on the Daily Cynema, but I’ve found that as the kids get older and our lives get busier, it’s much harder to blog about everyday life. Cynema Travels will be much more focused on travel, hikes, and gear (with the same shenanigan-style storytelling that you all have become accustomed to). I’m excited about the new blog direction and I really hope that you’ll come on over to the new site to join in the fun!

Messy Artist

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This picture is proof that a second child changes you. With Parker, I remember being so dang clinical about everything. Art was done in a sterile environment. I would drape furniture and rugs with plastic before any potential mess could be made and a speck of paint on a location other than the paper would set my eye to twitching. So ridiculous, right? Ah well, you live and learn. With Lexi, I set her at a table with her paints and brushes, drape a smock over her, and let her go to town. While she’s painting quietly in her room, I have a chance to fold that 6th load of laundry, answer some emails, and look up recipes (because for some crazy reason, my family expects to be fed daily).

When I walked back into her room and saw that she turned herself into a living canvas, I laughed. She was so obviously enjoying herself, the paint was non-toxic, and I had just enjoyed an hour to myself. So, instead of hauling her off into the bath tub, I grabbed my camera to memorialize her art….and my growth as a parent.

Pumpkin Patch

One of the coolest things about living in the country is that the pumpkin patches here are –wait for it– actual pumpkin patches. In my former urban life, the common practice was for churches and other organizations to bring in pumpkins by the truck load. Here, pumpkins stay on the farms that grew them. It changes the feel of the pumpkin picking process entirely.

We went on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, but we were only one of four families looking for pumpkins. This reduced the sense of urgency and speed with which the process occurred. No lie, there used to be so many people fighting for pumpkins at our Florida pumpkin patch that it felt like an Easter Egg Hunt! Not so in our sleepy mountains. Here, leisure is king.

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Parker spent some time building a pumpkin snowman and Lexi spent her time trying to find the perfect baby pumpkin. Girlfriend is all about the babies.

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Once their pumpkins were picked, they had little patience for photographs (I maaaaay have a tendency to over-document things). patch05

On the way back to the car, we passed this super cool old truck. Alas, this is the only pic I snapped before losing the little humans’ attention entirely. I made a mental note to go back and do an actual shoot in front of that truck — it’s pretty glorious.
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Now, all that remains is the carving of the pumpkins. The good news is that with our cool fall temps, the pumpkins won’t rot before Halloween. Excellent.

 

A Life Worth Living

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When I was in 5th grade, I distinctly remember walking into a library and having the realization that all of the world’s knowledge was at my fingertips. I could learn languages, facts about countries, stories about survivors… I only had to have the time and the motivation to do so. I began to read voraciously and never stopped.

To this day, I don’t understand two things: wasting time and being bored. Learning is a gift, not a chore–and there is so much knowledge to be had! People think I’m nuts because I wake up at 4am. How could I not? There are already too few hours in my life on this earth and frankly, I don’t want to squander a single one. I have this sense of urgency as if there won’t be enough time to see, to feel, to know. 

When I see people who just move through this world without purpose; neither happy nor sad…just there…it blows my mind. It’s like being a survivor of the apocalypse. I want to yell, “WAKE UP! Life is beautiful even when it’s tragic.” And so I find myself moving through this world seeking others who aren’t just alive, but who are truly living. When I find them, I exhale. I’m not alone after all.

Fall Foods

This week feels like the first real week of fall. Last night was the first night that our heater kicked on and my drive to work this morning was punctuated by the first hint of gold, burnt orange, and blazing red leaves. I don’t know what it is about fall, but something about this particular season makes me want to hang out in the kitchen; cooking and baking for hours on end. In this spirit of overcooking, I thought I would re-share some of our family favorite recipes that are perfect for these brisk days. Oh and don’t worry, even if you’re still dying of heatstroke down in Florida, just crank up the AC and pretend with us, won’t you?

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

Chicken/Veggie Pot Pies

Meatball Subs

Pasta Fagioli

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Chicken Piccata

Euvarlakia (Greep Meatball Soup)

Tomato Bisque Soup

I hope that this gives you some cooking inspiration! I know that I’m happy to finally have the urge to cook homemade meals because let’s be honest, there a limit to the number of days in a row that I feed my kids cheese quesadillas. Oi.

Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

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Exactly one year ago, I was staring at this gorgeous mountain range in person. I think I never got around to editing this final batch of pictures because the Tetons held a sacred, secret memory for me. I don’t mean that in a secret squirrel kind of way; just that they were so damn serene and I was so at peace while I was there that it felt strangely intimate to share the pictures with the world. With that said, this wouldn’t be much of a travel blog if I didn’t show you where I traveled, am I right?

(Oh, in case you missed the first couple of posts about this trip out west, you can find them here and here). After our first glimpse of the Tetons (and driving around in glee and taking 100 pictures), we drove all the way through the park to find our campgrounds. We had decided to stay at the Headwaters Lodge and Campgrounds because they had these *new* nifty little camper cabins.

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We had tents with us, but I felt uncomfortable leaving our tent set up when we were going to be gone for the entire day that we were there. The camper cabins were perfect!   They had bunk beds with a thin mattress pad, a fire pit, a picnic table, a parking spot, and – most importantly – a locking door. Bonus! As an aside, there was very little cell service in the Tetons and none at all at our cabin, but we were there for a break from the world and a break is what we got. It was actually very nice.

Once we had unpacked the car, we decided to head over to Old Faithful because Headwaters is actually halfway between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. We actually drove past the Continental Divide to get there, which was very cool.

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When we first arrived, there were very few people at the viewing area. That’s because we had just missed the last eruption (I think they happen every 90 minutes or so). So we waited…and waited…and waited…and hordes of people arrived.
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The irony in the waiting process is that Old Faithful with start to bubble and spit for a good 30 minutes before it actually erupts. What that means is that while waiting, you have to endure 30 minutes of people gasping and jumping up with their cameras. It’s safe to say that we were in full-blown ridiculous mode during the waiting game, which is the only way that I can explain the below picture. I thought it would be funny if it looked like I was drinking from the water fountain. I don’t think I succeeded and yet I still have to share it with you because it’s apparently the only freaking picture I have of the eruption?! Hysterically, you only have like 30 or 60 seconds to snap pics before having to wait another 90 minutes for another shot.

oldfaithful2Once our hysterics (theatrics?) were done, we drove around Yellowstone to explore before heading back to our campsite to settle in for the night.

The next morning – bright and early – we drove down to Jenny Lake to catch the ferry that would deliver us to the mountain range side of the park. There was a foot path that allowed you to walk along the outside of Jenny Lake, but it was under construction while we were there, so we opted for the ferry.

We decided that we were game for about an 8-10 mile hike, which meant 4-5 miles into the range before turning around and heading back. It was breathtaking. Truly, words cannot explain the exquisite beauty that we witnessed so I’ll just show you instead (and you’ll see why I wanted to keep it to myself).

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teton06I mean, come on. Between you and me, I could camp there for months and never get sick of the views. I would say that I could stay there forever, but it snows up to 20′ in the winter so let’s just say that in August, it’s divine.

We didn’t see any bears (although we did see evidence of them everywhere), but we did see two moose (meese?) during our hike.

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Can you see him in the river? This bull moose was easily twice as tall as my Subaru. It’s funny how I spotted him – we were walking along the hiking path when I heard a big splash to my left, I looked over just in time to see an enormous, shiny rump step into the water. This picture was actually taken as I (keeping a very large distance between us) walked back along the path to get a good look at him.

He was gorgeous and it was a pretty intense reminder that we were on his turf so we made plenty of noise on our way back so that we didn’t catch any creature unaware.

The last part of this pictorial road trip journey will be sharing the drive back through several more National Parks. I promise that it won’t take me a full year to get around to it….in fact, I think I’ll go ahead and write it now.

 

 

Commuting

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During the study abroad trip to London, Paris, and Munich, I didn’t set foot in a car. We used public transport a fair bit, but more often than not, if we needed to get somewhere, we walked there. Some days, we walked upwards of 10 miles and it felt so dang good to use our own motive power for movement.

When I landed back in our small town, I was determined to use my car as infrequently as possible. It felt so ridiculous to me to hop in the car for super short trips. Luckily, our house is in the downtown area so it’s completely feasible to use my own two feet for any number of things. In the past month, I’ve walked to restaurants, breweries, the park, the pool, the pharmacy… you name it and I’ve walked there.

This fall, I’ve decided to step up my game and start commuting to work on my bike. Sounds crazy, right? Don’t worry, I’ve completely thought it through and on days of torrential rain or snow, I can carpool with the Irishman since we work on the same campus. I can also walk to pick up the kids from school and we can all ride home with the Irishman with my bike packed up on the bike rack.

Would it be easier to just drive? Yes. With that said, it feels so good to start my day with a ride and it feels doubly good to know that I’m going somewhere and not just riding in circles for fun. I think the key to fitness is to live as active a lifestyle as possible. I mean, the idea of the gym seems more and more foreign to me. Why would I run on a treadmill when I can run to or from somewhere that I need to go? Why would I save biking – one of my most favorite things to do – only for days when it’s convenient? I’ll let you know how it goes, but I’m super excited about this experiment.