Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mount Princeton Hot Springs


One of the things Colorado is known for is their hot springs. About 2 hours away from us is Mt. Princeton Hot Springs located in Nathrop, CO. If you are looking for a Hot Spring look no further than this place. 



Instead of fighting the crowds on Black Friday, we decided to head over the Nathrop and check out the hot springs. Mt. Princeton is about 2.5 hrs away from Colorado Springs. It is such a beautiful drive, you don't even realize how far you're driving.




The hot springs pools located right in midst of the cool rushing waters of Chalk Creek. Each pool is fed by its own natural geothermal hot spring that is bubbling up into the actual creek bed and into majestic circles of stones that create natural pools of warmth and rejuvenation.





The great thing about Mt. Princeton is that they have there very own an Adult only section (16+). Obviously I'm not a child hater, but if you're looking for a relaxing get away, the last thing anyone would want is a child screaming because they don't want to leave.



It was such a relaxing day. I didn't take as many pics as I would've liked since we were enjoying ourselves, but trust me if you're looking for a relaxing getaway, this the place for you!

--
Additional Info:
GPS: 15870 Co Rd 162, Nathrop, CO 81236
Cost: Click Here
Parking: Free
Hours: M- Th 9AM – 10PM | F-Su 9 AM – 11 PM
**Remember to bring your own towels and robes, robes/towels are available for rent

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bishop's Castle, Colorado



About and hour and a half away from us is the city of Rye. On the outskirts of the town on Hwy 165 is Bishop's Castle.

Bishop's Castle is an "elaborate and intricate" one-man project named after it's creator Jim Bishop. In 1969, Bishop bought the land for $450, when he was 15 years old.
Bishop's Castle is literally in the middle of nowhere, we actually passed it and mentioned how cool it was-then we realized that was the place we wanted to be! You park on the outside of the road. I'd suggest parking on the right hand side since there is more room.




There are multiple ways to get into the castle. We chose to go inside the castle, but if you walk around the front, there is a staircase that'll lead you to the second floor.


On the second floor you are met with beautiful stain glass window.




From the second floor you are able to go up to the different towers. If you are afraid of heights DO NOT go up the towers. i thought that it was a good idea to go up, I was wrong.






People come from all over the world to see this castle. While I was waiting for Drew to go up a tower I met some firefighters from Iowa! IDK if I would travel that far to come see this place.



 Every year since 1969, Bishop has single-handedly gathered and set over 1000 tons of rock to create this stone and iron fortress in the middle of nowhere. Bishop calls it "a monument to hardworking people" and "America's biggest, one-man, physical project." "I always wanted a castle. Every man wants a castle," Bishop continues, his voice a broken record, answering the same questions he's obviously been asked thousands of times before.




It really is an impressive site to visit. If you are ever in the area, make sure to stop off and see it! I've heard that some times Jim Bishop himself is on the property and that he's a "crazy old man" who spurs off things you shouldn't say around kids, but we didn't cross paths and there were lots of little ones around, so don't let that stop you from getting out and exploring!

--
Additional Info:
GPS: 12705 CO-165, Rye, CO 81069
Hours: Dawn-Dusk
Fee: Free, Donations Asked
Pet Friendly/ Not stroller friendly

Friday, February 10, 2017

Update: Where's the Stork?



It's been a while since I've been able to update. I could give you a ton of excuses, like we haven't traveled, or that I've been busy with work, you know the normal things that happens when you're not in Europe anymore and 20 Euro round trip tickets aren't an option, and that would be the truth. But then again, that wouldn't be a story and I wouldn't be writing about what been going on in our lives.

So I'm not going to say we haven't been travelling, we have--just not as frequently as we used to. I have posts from this past summer travels that I haven't caught up on yet. Whoops!

What's been going on in our lives? Well, the big news, we're trying to have a baby. Well I guess for family and friends it's not news. I'll back up a bit, (feel free to skip over this part) for almost 4 years, we've been unsuccessfully trying to have a baby. While we were in Germany, at the ripe old age of 24 and 25, we decided that we were ready to have a baby. Fast forward 6 months, nothing was happening we decided to get our yearly physical. It was around this time that we found out Drew had cancerous nodules on his thyroid. Our doctors told us this could be the reason we were so unsuccessful. Fast forward 6 months, the nodules and 95% of his thyroid were taken out, and there were no cancerous cell are found, Drew got put on thyroid medication and his doctor told us we should be good to go.



By this time, we have officially been a trying for a year and nothing had happened, so I decide to get checked out...2 months later after fighting with Tricare (sometimes I really hate this insurance), luckily I had a great PCM who trusted and listened to my concerns, we FINALLY got the go ahead to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Only problem, he was the ONLY Reproductive Endocrinologist in our area, and yet he was still over an hour away from where we lived! We did the normal blood tests, and cervix exam, we found out that my tubes are open, but I don't ovulate on my own! :(

So the daily shots started. It wasn't a cake walk. To be honest that was one of the hardest times Drew and I have been through. Every night before bed it was Drew's job to give me my shots, because if he didn't do it, there was no way I would do it. Except for those few times where he was away training and I had to do it myself, (that really sucked). I'd complain about it, and all Drew would reply with was "Hail baby" (Married with Children reference) and that seems to be our mantra when I hate doing things. I don't even remember how many night I spent crying because I hated needles and I hated having to get shots every night and I hated the fact that while all my friends were getting pregnant and I felt like no one understood. It didn't help that we were left with the endless questions of "When will you be having a baby?" or "That happened to my friend, then they jut relaxed and it just happened."


When all was said and done, we went through 4 rounds of injections and Timed Intercourse (it's exactly what it sounds like, I see a doctor and he tells us exactly when to do it), then when that didn't work and we had saved up some money, we decided to try an IUI (Intrauterine insemination it's a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman's uterus to shorten the distance the sperm has to travel) before heading back to the States. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

I'll fast forward again (I'm trying to keep this as short as possible): One deployment, multiple training exercises, TDY, and a transatlantic PCS ("Military Move", for all those who are unfamiliar with Military terms). We've come full circle. We are back to seeing another RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist). Two months of retesting and we have a final prognosis that we can understand: Dual factor infertility.



Which in  the world of infertility is apparently normal. Who knew? We got a more in depth diagnosis, I guess it helps when there isn't a language barrier. The reason I don't ovulate is because I have PCOS, (Polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a condition in which a woman's levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance.) and come to find out, I have a low ovarian reserve, which means at my ripe old age of 28, I have as much eggs as someone who is 40. Go figure. For the hubby, although his sperm count is off the charts, and his motility is great. My RE is worried about the shape of the sperm. Which, who actually thinks about the shape? Apparently that matters just as much! -_-

We are only given a 5% chance of conceiving while on medication, the nightly injections, and only a 1% chance of conceiving naturally on our own. As opposed to a couple without infertility struggles who have a 20% chance of conceiving naturally. But since our insurance will only cover TI, for the next few months, we're going to take advantage of not having to pay medical bills.

My doctor has given us a 40-70% success rate if we go through IVF, most people are familiar with this term, IVF is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish, and then transferring the embryo to the uterus. Ultimately we know that we will have to do IVF. And my point in writing this is just to explain and for those who want to hear our story, for a long time I felt ashamed that we were struggling with infertility. I distanced myself from my friends, I'd make up excesses not to hang out and just wallow in the fact that I must have done something wrong in a past life and now I was being punished for it. Then one day I realized that it wasn't anyone's fault, that we weren't bad people, and that infertility isn't something that I should be ashamed of. After all, 1 in 8 people struggles from infertility, so we know we aren't alone.



Unfortunately our travels will slow down, they won't stop. We've been bitten by the travel bug and want to some how make it to all 50 states together. But right now our new adventure is focusing on the path of starting a family, and who knows what other adventures we may come across along the way!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota


Down the road from Mount Rushmore, is the Crazy Horse Memorial. We first learned about this monster project when we watched Youtube's version of "How the States got their Shapes". You really do learn something new every day.



The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is far from completion. The last known work was done in 2010. If completed, it may become the world's largest sculpture, as well as the first non-religious statue.

It will depict Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The memorial was commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, to be sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski. It is operated by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a private non-profit organization.



Crazy Horse was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the U.S. Federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people.

 


The memorial is a non-profit undertaking, and receives no federal or state funding. The Memorial Foundation charges fees for its visitor centers and earns revenue from its gift shops.


Your entrance fee lets you explore the museums and gift shop areas, if you are interested in heading to the base of the mountain, it is $4 extra per person. I did see signs advertising tour that will take you to the top of, but seeing as how it was the middle of winter it probably wasn't the best idea.


Overall, it was a good stop off, since we were in the area. Everything from admission prices to purchases from the gift shop goes to continuation of the project. I'd love to see it completed, but it seems like it won't be completed for another 3 generations! Maybe I'll be able to take my grandchildren there to see it completed!

--
Additional Info:
GPS:12151 Ave of the Chiefs, Crazy Horse, SD 57730
Costs: $28.00 Per car – more than 2 people
$22.00 = 2 people in car
$11.00 = Per person
$5.00 = Per person on motorcycle,
$5.00 = Per bicycle
Free = Children 6 and Under