Where the Buffalo Roam

We are a week into the new school year and all is well!

We ended Summer break with a lot of adventure in 3 of our country’s most beautiful states – Oregon, Montana and Wyoming.

A quick stop in Portland was all about family, and we spent a terrific evening with my cousin Kurt and his crew.  Our kids hardly remember each others’ names – it’s been a long 2 years with both families fighting cancer – but they had such fun together!  The next morning, Dan – another of my Most Awesome Cousins – and his girlfriend gamely stood in line with us at Voodoo Doughnuts before we caught a flight to MT.

In Yellowstone, we were amazed by the bison, geysers and huge buck that hung out at our campsite.  But biking along Montana’s Gravelly Range, with only a herd of antelope racing by, was the highlight for me.

The time I spent riding alone next to each of our children (both during this trip and in Colorado 2 years ago) ranks as my proudest and most enjoyable as a mom.

Sara rode 15 miles one day, telling me stories the whole way.  I wish I could bottle the contentment I saw on her face, to save for her for the years ahead.  When she came to my tent later and asked if we could do yoga together – she had to be exhausted – my heart nearly burst!

Sam would tell you that it was too much biking for him, but he sang Ease on Down the Road at the top of his lungs while he pedaled!  His killer smile was on full display when he saw snow, peed outside, rode through a herd of sheep and watched our guide Wes do cool tricks on his bike.

He also hunted for a special place in camp each evening to set up his plastic toy animals.  There was “Pine Tree Peak,” “Matt’s and My Mini Man-Made Mountain” (after our guide Matt) and, at the base of Black Butte Mountain, just “The Rock.”

Joey and I got in a little riding time alone and still love each other after a week of not bathing and sharing a tiny tent.

Nature does the heart and mind good.  And makes the body stinky.

Back Home
I’m getting ready to coach Sara and 15 other girls on a Girls on the Run team this Fall, and I just started a new Zumba® Kids class at the YMCA.  Tomorrow I start teaching my first weekly adults’ class since treatment.

Joey is rehearsing for Capitol City Opera’s production of La Bohème – when he’s not at the job that pays for our awesome vacations!  He’ll sing in the chorus and play the toymaker, Parpignol, in shows September 6-8.  Other than filling in on a couple of barbershop shows (and reading Family Book every night!), it’ll be his first time on stage since Sam was born.

We are very proud of him and thoroughly enjoying speaking in Italian accents around the house!

Medical Update
My right implant continues to head south, but not enough yet to make me want more surgery, so I canceled my August appt with Dr. Woods.  Don’t care about the other cosmetic stuff right now, either.

In physical therapy, I graduated to strength training for my left shoulder, where the muscles have atrophied.  The therapists think it’s too soon to focus on my pecs, which are still so tight from radiation.

A new development is pain in my left hand that goes from my thumb and forefinger into my wrist.  I haven’t had it looked at, yet, so no idea if it’s treatment-related or not.  I actually thought it might be from braking while going downhill on the bike for so many miles, trying to stay next to cautious Sara :)

But none of this is affecting me much.  My next check-up at Emory is in October.

Thank you for checking in!

Nicole

Comments

  1. W.O.W! Sounds like a ton of fun!

  2. "Cousin" Penny Chase says:

    Nicole, you are an inspiration!. The vacation narration and all of your smiles brought tears to my eyes!
    Cindy, what planet is she from? Could it be Krypton?
    The comments from other family members say it all. LOVE oozes everywhere!
    You are so kind to spead it around and remind us all of possible Joy Thank you….!

  3. What a family memory! Those kids are growing fast. Enjoy every minute. I am so happy that you continue your updates. Great pictures as well!

    Chip and Family

  4. Melodie Parrish says:

    Wow! sounds like u guys had a great time.It sounds like you all saw some cool things.
    Great pictures.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Love to all

  5. Claudia Johnson says:

    Truly amazing – all of it! Love to all, Claudia

  6. Greg & Ann in Portland says:

    What an amazing vacation….will you take me next time? Please, Please? Thanks for the Portland shout-out – we really enjoyed having you over, albeit for just a short time. Your kids are amazing little people – I know you know to enjoy them every day. The time really flies, and sooner than you think, they will be young adults casting their pebbles into the pool of life and seeing where the ripples take them. Sounds pretty deep, huh? I know you and Joey will have them mega-prepared. You guys are doing a great job. Lots of love from the left coast!

  7. GREAT ADVENTURES – MORE IMPORTANTLY – MEMORIES OF A LIFETIME! LOVE ALL OF YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK. a SUPER PROUD MOM / GRANDMOMMY / & MOM-IN-LAW :O)

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