Thursday, September 14, 2017

Kellisa Reaches 18

Lisa Marie Kain
May 23, 2017 - Kellisa's 18th birthday! A huge accomplishment and cause for us to be proud as we celebrate her life to this point. I've been agonizing about my post for this day since I was at a loss for a narrative. Lisa came to the rescue and for the first time in this blog's history, Lisa has written a post about this day and our gift of flights to Kellisa for her birthday.

Lisa's words:

On May 16th, we spent an entire day flying around the country to celebrate Kellisa's 18th birthday. 

By now, you may realize that Chris is a bit extreme when it comes to travel. Several months ago, he started talking with Southwest Airlines (his carrier of choice) about the potential to fly as many commercial flights as possible in one day. At that point, he had been working on the plan for a while but realized he needed their help to perfect the route. They were very supportive. A route was selected, and tickets were purchased. I was informed of this plan after the arrangements had been firmed up with Southwest. Chris knows I do not like to travel and gave me limited information about what the day would entail. When I decided to participate, I told him I did not want to know the specifics because I could not handle the truth. If I had any idea, I never would have gone on this trip, but I am so glad I did.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Colusa County Hike

Wetlands Discovery Trail
Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

May 2017

Even though it was a little hot out, we drove south for another hike after visiting Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Our second hike of the day was a short trail in Colusa National Wildlife Refuge which happens to be in Colusa County. 

Before hiking, we drove the auto tour to observe just a few birds (disappointing) and a couple of glimpses of Sutter Buttes, the smallest mountain range in the world.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Glenn County Hike

Wetlands Walk Trail
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

May 2017

CA Counties Hiked in 2017: 4/58

Lisa was in Chicago for a long weekend visiting family, so we decided to drive north a little ways to look for wildlife and hike a few trails. Our first stop was the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. After driving the auto tour to observe many birds, we hiked part of the Wetlands Walk Trail. It was very hot for a May afternoon and the views played tricks on our minds as we could see snow capped mountains not that far off to the north and west. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hiking California Counties- May Update

O'Neill Regional Park- Orange County
May 2017 was all about Kellisa's 18th birthday, from her cross country "day of flight"  to posts summarizing her first 18 years. It's also a chaotic time of the year as school for the girls winds down with talent shows, dances, and other end of year festivities. In the middle of all that, Lisa flew back to Chicago to spend a couple of days with family. 

While Lisa was away, we managed to hike in two new Sacramento Valley counties in Northern California bringing our total to 5 counties hiked in 2017. We ended May with a Memorial Day weekend trip to Southern California to visit family. I was hoping to hike in at least 2, if not 3 counties on the trip, but Laurel wasn't feeling well when we attempted to hike a trail in Orange County and waited in the car with Lisa. We did not attempt any other county hikes and Laurel has been a little down on the idea of hiking lately. Not sure what that means, but it may add a challenge, if not a change to our 2017 goals. Full posts with pictures from the Sacramento Valley coming soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Yesterday and Today

Below are some pictures taken in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of RUSH Hospital in Chicago shortly after Kellisa was born on May 23, 1999. We recreated the pictures to have some fun while celebrating her 18th birthday on May 23, 2017. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Promise Fulfilled (2016)

Our family would relocate from Jacksonville, FL to Sacramento, CA in 2016 for my job. Our plan to move at the end of the kid's school year was changed when Lisa accepted a position that started in mid-January. 

After spending many New Year's Days exploring the Okefenokee Swamp, we spent the first day of 2016 at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

We were driving Lisa's van to California over the long holiday weekend and chose a route that went through Oklahoma so Laurel could claim a new state visited and knock off another state that both girls hiked together.

As a micro-preemie, I promised Kellisa that we would visit all 50 states by her 18th birthday. Later, I would expand the original promise with the addition of both girls hiking at least one trail in each state. In fact, with Kellisa's 18th birthday less than 18 months away, 2016 was mostly filled with our move, getting settled, and hiking in the remaining states. 

After Oklahoma, the girls had 11 states remaining to hike together and by Thanksgiving, after visiting Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, Illinois, Hawaii, and Alaska, that number would be zero!