Monday, August 31, 2015

Arches National Park and Moab.

Alright ya'll, so one of the down falls of living so rural and mobile is the not so reliable Internet and electric connectivity. Unfortunately, I had written a long post about Moab, Arches and the fatal accident we witnessed but it didn't save and our power went out. At this point, I just don't feel like rewriting it all so I'm going to leave you with some awesome images and basically just let you know that we truly enjoyed our trip west. Going to Moab was a huge bucket list item and we feel so fortunate to have seen this amazing place. We can't put into words just how awesome it was and feel you have to see it in person to grasp the amazingness that it actually is. Arches was one of the most spectacular trips we've been on and we were only there for two days.  Most of the time we just stood there and took it all in. We hiked, we climbed and we swam. The kids had a blast, we had a blast and we all said it's a place we will return to. A piece of us was left there when it came time to leave.. definitely a top 3. 

Monday, August 24, 2015


As many of you know, our son, Montana was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 2.5. He went from being a little boy who loved water and swimming, to be a child fighting for his life the very next day. Each year, parents of approximately 15,700 kids will hear the words "your child has CANCER!" Every day 43 kids are diagnosed with cancer and 12% will not survive. There needs more funding and there needs to be a cure.

While Montana fought for his life, we knew as a family, we were in good hands. At St. Jude Children's Research Hospital we never saw a bill. Sure, we saw bills from other hospitals he received treatment from, but never from St. Jude. It's hard to put into words just how wonderful of a place St. Jude truly is. People ask us quite often if we actually "see" the donations and the answer is a definite YES. They cover air fare, hotel stays, gas money, treatments and the list goes on.  They are always researching for new treatments and cures.  St. Jude does their best to allow the parents to focus on nothing else but their child and for that, we are forever grateful. 

This year, on December 5th, we will all be participating in the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Marathon Weekend to help raise funds for this amazing hospital. Chris and I have taken on the half marathon while the kids will be doing the 5k. In doing so, we have created TEAM MONTANA to help us reach our goal of $2500 to help give back. In all honesty, it's not much considering it costs almost 2 million dollars to run St. Jude for one day but we do know that every little bit helps. 

If you would like to help support our cause and to help the children battling every day, please take a look at our TEAM MONTANA apparel. The front says, TEAM MONTANA - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, while the back says, "Believe there is hope for a cure" with BE THE HOPE in yellow. At the bottom of the back it has Montana's diagnosed date and his cured date and it also has our good friend Sarah Parker, who lost her life to a brain tumor at the age of 3. Until there is a cure, we will fight! 

There is a two week time frame to get your orders in and it finishes on the 9th of September. The shirts will then begin shipping on the 14th. 

If you would like to give but do not want a product, you can follow this link to the ST. JUDE MARATHON page we have set up in Montana's honor. Everything raised goes straight to helping children fight for their life. 

Much love to you all - The Oatman's

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How his death taught us to truly live.

There are certain times in life when something happens and you never forget what you were doing, what you wearing or the moments that soon followed. On this day, 6 years ago, the phone rang at roughly 7pm while I had just sat down to eat a sandwich. I was 9 months pregnant and due any day with our daughter Myla. That was it. The moment that phone rang changed everything about my future and nothing would ever be the same.

The odd thing about life is that we eventually become accustomed to the way things are even though we never want it to be that way. I still miss my brother the same way as I did when I first heard my sister tell me that Paul had been killed. I may not scream the way I did then, but I still have tears in my eyes when I long to hear his voice or joke around like old times sake. The crying doesn't happen daily but it does still happen. I absolutely hate that time has gone on, that the kids have grown and that so many new memories have occurred without him in them. To others, time has gone on which relates to "getting over it". That is so not the case. We just become better at hiding the loss and the tears. It's hard to explain to others the way we feel unless there are others who have walked the walk. While we laugh, smile, travel and create new memories, Paul is always right there along with us. His loss and his memory sits in our hearts for as long as time goes on.

It hasn't been an easy 6 years. People change, the family changed and I'm sure I have changed. I don't view life the same way. Way too much has happened to us to continue to allow the days to just pass by.  After that moment, when we lost Paul, we knew just how short life can become. Chris and I have since tried to live each day as though it's our last because in all honesty, it surely can be that. I speak of him often, I carry on his legacy and we live our lives in a way that would be fun, spontaneous and adventurous. If and when something were to happen to any of us, I want to know that we lived our lives in a way that we wouldn't regret the choices made. This life is a gift. It's so easy to get caught up in the mundane, to fall into the flow of what we "should" do as opposed to what we "want" to do and to just get stuck in the same circle that goes round and round. Paul was a man filled with humor and pranks. He left smiles on people faces and could let laughter fill a room. He was generous and kind and true. If you needed help with something, he'd find a way to make it happen. He loved life and everything that went with it. He truly embodied the all American guy. From being in the military, to going off roading and camping, he took life by the horns and made it his. If Paul's death has taught us anything, it's to live in the now... To help others, to give, and to be kind. He showed us to appreciate all that we have because at any moment, it can be taken away. His death has taught us to be alive.

6 years ago, my brother taught us to look at the world in a different way. You get one life, live it now and live it well. Paul will not be forgotten for I will never stop speaking his name. Life is not fair and there is just no other explanation. The only reason I feel I can live the way I have is because Jesus saves. With that knowledge, I have hope for one of the greatest reunions ever. He will be seen again.

Miss you forever and always!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gigi and Papa came for a visit.

Chris' parents came to visit us for most of the month of July and into August. We traveled tons, visited neat little towns and took them rafting. The kids enjoyed having them around and playing at their campground playground. It was a nice change of pace for the kiddos other than staying on property here. On some mornings they would cook us breakfast and the kids would gobble down bacon with pancakes. You just can't beat bacon. Their campground even had Saturday ice cream nights for $1. These weren't little bowls of ice cream either and if you are an Oatman child then that means you can never have enough ice cream. 

Over those three weeks, we showed them our town, took them to shops, the park and our favorite hang outs. It's always nice to show visitors how we've been living and introduce them to our fun. This town isn't huge but it still offers alot. I mean it only has one stop light but it's one of the top destinations as far as rafting and whitewater, so needless to say, the summer can get rather busy here. 

Gigi and Papa also celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary while they were here. Years ago they ate at a restaurant called Snake River Saloon in Keystone that they fell in love with. The food was so amazing that they wanted to go back while on this visit and promised to take us with .. so kind of them. :) It was a great steak house which did not disappoint.  We hadn't eaten steak in quite some time and this place definitely filled that void. We camped, we ate, we toured the towns and did some shopping. We even managed to swim at at pool in Breck. Life was good. 

Their time here flew by after planning all the activities. There is always something else to show visitors even though they had been to Colorado on many occasions. From feeding chipmunks at St. Elmo, walking around Aspen and rafting on the Arkansas river, we feel we gave them the overall tour of our life while we live in lovely Buena Vista. Their time here was sweet and the memories created, priceless.  We'll be seeing them again though this next month as we make our way back south. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

St. Elmo, Colorado and the 4th of July.

It's August and our summer here in Buena Vista is left with only 28ish days. It's so hard to believe that we arrived here on May 1st and that the entire summer has flown by. The schools are beginning to hit full swing and that means the rafting season is coming to a close. I have to admit that we are truly going to miss the river life and our way of living here in Colorado, however, we know we'll be back since we've committed to another summer in lovely BV. 

July was an extremely busy month. We traveled tons, experienced lots of cool things and had several visitors. At the beginning of the month, we celebrated little miss Kenna Beans 7th birthday. We celebrated her special day by going ATVing and heading up to St. Elmo to feed the chipmunks. St. Elmo is an old ghost town that sits rather empty except for the 3-5 people who help keep the town clean and run the little general store. It's a town now known for their adorable population of chipmunks that you can feed and for the off-roading that sits around the town. Truthfully, it's one our kids favorite places to go. For 50 cents and tons of giggles, it's worth the trip to see their faces light up as the chipmunks run across their hands and feet. 

Our 4th of July was spent in town while Chris worked at the outpost. I took the kids to see the parade that ran down Main Street. Supposedly, it's one of the best parades in Colorado for the holiday. The kids walked away with more candy than they did on Halloween. They had popsicles thrown to them, small trinkets, tons of candy and even some apparel. They were thrilled to see a parade that lasted an hour and where they could walk away with tons of loot. That evening we watched fireworks from the camper that were shot up by the mountains. All in all, it turned out to be a nice way to celebrate our country's Independence. 

Soon after, the grandparents arrived for three weeks, which involved tons of sight seeing and creating more wonderful memories. Right after they left, we headed for Moab, UT. Those two events alone will take tons of blogging. Hope ya'll are enjoying the end to your summer.