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Seven Magic Mountains was just what I needed...

I had pinned this art installation well over a year ago with no idea I would ever end up living in the U.S. We had planned to visit it before going to the Grand Canyon but we took so much time faffing getting food for our trip and discovering the RV that we had to leave it and I thought I would miss out as it is only up until May 2018.

When we got the news about Dexter  I insisted we had to go, I knew the colours and size at such a random location would life their spirits and I 100% knew it would mine!

It did!!. We all voted on our favourite colours and the kids ran around and burnt off some nervous, sad energy. I just felt happy.. there are so many things you see on Pinterest that are just a dream to think about visiting and this was one of mine.

A set of fluro rocks.. who gives? Well I did and on a day in which my heart was filled with so much sorrow this was the perfect, simple yet stunning display that serviced my need for pretty pictures to take me away from reality.

If you are Las Vegas way it is well worth a visit as not far from the city and just 'fun'.. you can find the full website here 

I lost my dog.. I didn't cope well..

I felt the need to write this post as whilst lots of people talk about losing a pet and how awful it is most are lucky enough not to have to loose them before their natural life ends..

I posted about our trip to the Grand Canyon last week.. well it was amazing but that was dramatically changed the minute we came back into cell phone range. I had a phone call from our vet to tell me that overnight we had lost Dexter.

We were sitting in a Petrol Station, Marcus was in paying and the kids were above my head pretending to spit on me from their bed.. He started talking and I told the kids to 'shut the fuck up' I don't swear at my kids but I couldn't hear and I knew from his voice the call was serious. By the time Marcus returned I had just hung up and was staring into space with my eyes all welled up. 'Whats wrong?' he said.. 'is it Dexter?', I nodded 'Is he sick?', I shook my head and burst into tears.. (and now they are flowing again).

'He's gone' I said and Marcus started to cry too.. the kids were shouting 'Whats wrong? whats happened?' for a second I thought I should lie but we never have and it appears I couldn't start and I looked up and said 'Dexter has gone, he is dead'.

He had died from a non bacterial and non viral form of meningitis..

We sat there in our RV all 4 of us crying really ugly uncontrollable tears. Harrington asking if when you are dead you can be made better again, Kitty spouting out classic lines of 'he will be ok' 'at least he is with Obi & Tyler' ' he is not in pain so that's ok'..

After well over half an hour we discussed how he would have loved to have been there with us and would want us to continue on and enjoy our holiday.. so we did..

The thing is, we couldn't truly.. every morning and night we cried as we were not distracted by the daily activities. Harrington cried when he saw a dog. Kitty couldn't eat for the pain in her tummy and she got so tired..

Why was this so hard on us when we had already lost dogs before? Because those dogs were 14 years old, they had become slow and grey, we had readied ourselves for their departing day and quite frankly their quality of life was obvious that a younger happier soul over Rainbow Bridge was welcome.

I haven't lost that many relatives or friends in recent years but I feel awful to say this feels like the worst grief I have experienced out of them all.. can it really compare to the loss of a human?

My relationships with my dogs have in some cases been better than with people, hey how could it not when they don't nag or ever tell you that you are wrong.. they just want to be fed walked and loved!

They say dogs just make you feel better about yourself and dogs seem to feel the same way about us.

I read an article that said 'Dogs communicate with us as no other animal does. They are skilled at comprehending spoken words and using their own vocalisations to communicate with us in return'

Have you ever heard a dog family member call one of the other siblings or kids the dogs name? It turns out that it happens often. The dog’s name is being pulled out of the same place as other family names showing how equally they rank in our thought process.

In loosing Dex I lost a few things. My constant companion, my youngest child who I trained to be the gorgeous guy he was and my source of unconditional love. He was so much part of my daily routine he has calendar slots on my weekly calendar which is not something most of my friends and family even have.

My friend Charlie on Instagram said 'I was once told during a time of grief that some souls are only meant to visit for a brief time, they come teach us to love selflessly to teach us to live life to the full now!!'

I could not agree more.. 

He was only in our lives for just under 3 years but he taught us so much, he showed us what undeniable devotion looks like and he had the best life. My favourite thing I shared with him was our walks.. he loved to be out and was grateful for 10 mins or 3 hrs.

He was Eckhart Tolle in a dog.. He believed in The Power of Now

Do I have the answer to fix it? No just the reason and rationale for why it hurts so much.
Do you get another dog? Totally up to you.. your heart will tell you..

Tips on visiting The Grand Canyon

The 7 Wonders of the World has been re worked a few times and whilst I have no idea if I will ever see them all I know that whilst we live in the U.S.A we plan to visit as many of the places that would come in the top 10 if they were all American and nature related.. 

We will visit Disney World and some of the more famous but man made ones but for our most recent road trip it was all about what Mother Nature has provided.

It was a real mixed bag this road trip and for so many reasons.. I'll split up the posts and add our school kid errors that we learnt along the way so that you hopefully learn a little if your planning the same and if not you can just see the pretty pictures and potter off back to your day :).

We were lucky enough to see the GC in the snow which is pretty rare but our first rookie error was arriving at campsite too late after sunset.. we couldn't see enough and got caught driving down a driveway that narrowed to much and had used wedged on a snowdrift... oops!!.

We dug ourselves out the next day and I reversed that big baby back where we had come from. The kids pelted snowballs, we discovered Deer and headed off to see what was what.

The GC is huge and you can drive to all the lookout spots or get a shuttle bus. Trekking wise there is not much chance of much in the snow but the Rim Trail runs around the top, goes for ages and is easy flat path.

For anything decent you are looking at a few hours plus so I would advise going in Spring or Autumn and packing snacks and water if taking kids. Adults solo? take a tent as there is an amazing spot Indian Garden but the return hike is a REALLY full day..

If you were not hiking then one full day there driving to each spot is enough to see it all. Stay 2 nights so you can start earlyish and see the sunset before moving on the next day.

The kids were bored of the views by the end of the day but Marcus and I certainly could have sat for hours at some of the spots.. We even witnessed a proposal at the spot where I was sitting on the ledge, they cleared us all out so they were all alone but I had to spy from up the path and it was as magical as expected.. can you imagine the pictures?!.

There is not much you can do wrong in The Grand Canyon except try and do it too fast as it is a really decent drive in and out with not much to do to break it up so cracking it in 24hrs or under will feel like a bloody long drive with not enough awesomeness in between to make the driving boredom worth it..

Have you been to The Grand Canyon? 
Any tips on amazing places in the U.S we MUST visit?

Life Lately

Anthropologie : Its like I can't seem to buy from many other places.. I TRY!! but all the best things I find to suit my style, both fashion and at home, are there and the quality and curation of their collections is just magical. As for the styling in store?!

Harrington : My little boy turned 8. I wrote the other day about how them ageing makes me feel old but seriously where do the years go? He has been having a tough run of late at a very strict school with a class of very strong personalities that are quite chatty and have older siblings that are a lot more 'wordly' than his big sister but his birthday was all about him. We went road tripping and I made the most ridiculous Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake.. decadent is the only word I can use to describe it.

Christmas : Ours was quiet and focused on relaxation, fresh air and just being together. We have had the biggest year as a family as we have possibly had since 3 became 4 so we just needed to chill. We played games, watched movies, went hiking and cooked good food. It was awesome.

Dexter : Our little guy has been lucky to have found a fab mate in Rudy and we keep swapping extended sleepovers when each family is travelling.. his family do amazing things like get invited to The White House by The Obamas.. we just go visit Dad when he goes away for work.. its our excuse to see more of the U.S!.

Clean Eating : I have always loved the idea of shopping totally organic but as we have only one worker bee in the family these days I figured I could chuck that dream aside for a while but I California Organic food is so much cheaper.. apparently people just stopped buying non organic as it wasn't labeled whether is was GMO free, so things got cheaper and the other week I switched all our pantry and fridge to organic!!

Kids : Moving countries has bonded them further. They were always similar in interests but having no support network here means as a family unit we have become closer and with the two of them playing the same sport 4 times a week together we are just together as a trio during the day.. a lot. They still fight but they are really understanding each other more and being far more kind and considerate rather than argumentative as they have been in the past.

Lemonade Lusts : I couldn't just do nothing after Down that Little Lane and I still love social media, I still adore helping small business and I still have a real drive to find stunning investment pieces or unique items at fabulous prices. I have started a blog to support that and share across Instagram, FB and Pinterest.

San Francisco Landscapes : Ok so I do find the chilly days here a bit too chilly as I am such an Aussie these days, in that I just don't do cold, but oh wow the landscape is stunning. I have climbed so many hills and walked to so many points and each and everyone rewards me with visuals I just want to frame. I am merrily snapping away so when I come back to Aus I can have a U.S.A wall to remind me of all the beauty when all I moan about was how cold it was!

What have you been up to lately? 

The Art of Ageing.. or not?

How old are you? I am 40 an really starting to feel my age..

No, its not aches and pains (although I, like most Mums have a few). Its the way I feel inside AND the visual changes.

Those moments when I am having conversations with my kids and they ask things  that I remember asking my Mum, the conversations that you know the answers are important as they show your kids what type of person you are and also what type of person you want them to be. These are no difficult, life changing questions but it is more that I have reached the age where my kids are old enough to be influenced for life by everything I say or do.. It makes me feel old.. you know.. mature type old.

I decided to go grey last year, that in itself is not making me feel old but it is making me own my age. Anyone that sees me will assume I am 40+ so its like I have chosen not to hide that fact. Being grey up top has almost spurred me to make the rest of me look even better and I am focusing on myself from the inside out.

I nearly collapsed in a Tone & Flow Yoga Class the other day..  when we all hit Warrior and the room turned into a bat cave with droopy triceps everywhere I almost lost the pose giggling.. gone are my days of 'how did you get those arms?' from lovely people offering me a compliment unless I maintain constant tension in my arms..

I should have paid attention when I was at the Chiro doing a shoulder rotation test and Harrington flicked the undercarriage of my bicep and giggled at the wobble.. Yep I truly am ageing visually but it is something that we all need to accept and enjoy.

When I decided to go grey I was inspired by Annika and I am still inspired by her but I have found another lady to admire possibly even more Yazmeenah Rossi.

Seeing her made me want to go back to modelling and just empower myself and my ageing process by owning it and showing it off. Marcus on the other hand said he thought I had enough on my plate..

Hmm defensive me thought 'don't tell me I can't handle something' AND 'but I need to be of value to the family?'.. (monetary value that is).. the fact is being at home IS of value and I just need to settle my vision on what value actually is and that it is not always tangible but that is another blog post!!..

How are you going with the ageing process? 
Going graceful or down in flames kicking and screaming? 

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