Why Tornadoes Will Always be Scary, And Dads Will Always Be Cool

So I haven’t posted in about a week. I know – you’ve been in SERIOUS withdrawal, but I felt like I had nothing to write about, so why write? My best masterpieces are when I can write from the heart. Or, should we say, mouth, as in, yell voice?

Anyways, I’ve been meaning to post these photos for a while now, and I figured #TBT was the perfect time – especially since I am watching Sharknado and it’s bringing up lots of fun childhood memories –

3 Things You Never Knew About Stephanie Barnhart

No, I’m not talking about the wild bartending days behind the counters of HiTops, top secret lives of NFL players, and ummmm well, strippers? Yeah. You all know about that.

1. I Grew Up In A Single Dad Home. ย I grew up with my dad before single dads were cool. That’s why you always hear me talk about growing up on the farm – because I would go to stay with my grandparents during summers and holidays because my dad would be at work. I was an only child, so I spent a lot of time at after school daycare, and eating boxed macaroni and cheese. We didn’t have a lot of money, so the things I did have were extremely cherished. Like my first cassette tape – Def Leopard Hysteria. (Which is arguably still one of the best albums of all time).

So if you’re a dad and you actually LIKE spending time with your kid, or you work everyday to make sure they turn out okay or can have that new Barbie doll – we notice. And, we don’t turn out so bad. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, dad.

on the farm with my dad after he was in the tornado - you can still see his stiches

on the farm with my dad after he was in the tornado – you can still see his stiches


2. I Am Still Deathly Terrified of Tornadoes. I have literally backed down a man with a gun cocked and pointed at my chest, but as soon as I see the tornado warning signs on tv, I get heart palpitations. As you can see above, my father was almost killed in a tornado that destroyed our home back in 1985 when I was around 4 years old. I still remember it clear as day. My father walked into my grandparents farmhouse with stitches from ear-to-ear. If I had been there, I doubt I would be sitting here today writing about it in a blog. I still think that tornado has been out to get me since. As a kid, if I was home alone, I would freak and grab our pets and every single blanket and pillow and head to the basement. My stepmom LOVED me when she saw how I had dirtied every single piece of linen in our house. Even at 30 years old I have reoccurring nightmares of looking out a window and seeing a tornado coming directly for me. It’s fucking awful.


The point of this is I was only 4 years old and I remember EVERYTHING about it. So if you wonder if your child will remember you yelling, hitting or hugging and loving them too much at that young of an age – they will. I even remember seeing my stuffed animals strew among the left-standing trees. Every. Little. Detail.


3. I Lived In Colorado Most Of My Childhood. You all laugh at me being a fancy uptown city girl anymore, but I still hold on to my roots. We moved to Colorado about 5 years after the tornado, and ย there is still nothing I love more than escaping into the country, maybe taking a hike up a mountain to find a hidden waterfall (or knowing that tornadoes can’t form inside mountain valleys! There’s not enough room!) Seriously – laugh, but when the zombie apocalypse happens, don’t come knocking on my door because I know how to hunt and provide. You just keep getting your little manicures everyday, hunny!

hanging lake

Seriously, Hanging Lake is one of the most beautiful places in the world – if you can get there. It’s a 2 mile hike STRAIGHT UP A MOUNTAIN. There are no sissy handrails here, you better learn how to climb some rocks. And this was before Google maps, cell phones and safety nets. If you got lost up there, no one was going to come find you. That’ll put some hair on your chest.

Colorado has some of the most bad ass places in the world – like this ENORMOUS hot springs pool – that’s right – it’s NATURALLY HEATED, and it’s open all year round. That means you can do cannon balls in February in the mountains – IF you’re not snowed in like The Shining. Literally, there is at least a 30 minute drive between towns in Colorado. That doesn’t mean 30 minutes to the suburbs, that means 30 minutes of I-hope-you-remembered-to-get-gas we’re in the middle of nowhere Goodfellas and Breaking Bad style.

hot springs pool


hot springs 2

But it’s all worth it. Here is NYC you get to walk out and see people shooting up heroin or peeing in your subway car. In Colorado, you get to hike a mountain and see wild Buffalo in the middle of the highway, Mountain Lions and Big Horn Sheep. Did I mention I almost got eaten by a Mountain Lion once?

Growing up on the streets of NY isn’t easy, but neither is growing up in the nomads of Colorado – one wrong step and you’re on top of a rattle snake, or have a Mountain Lion crouching behind you ready to pounce. Drug deals, wild life – toMAYto, toMAHto.


The point is – How Have You Lived Your Life? Behind a Rock on Up on a Cliff…

Have you ever ziplined in the moutains of Puerto Rico? Or maybe just rode a crowded NYC subway for the first time in your life? Life is too short to hold back. Live a little, there’s a lot to see.

bucket list

hanging 4


Tornado images courtesy of: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/

By | 2017-11-18T10:57:00+00:00 February 19th, 2014|Motherhood, Travel|12 Comments

About the Author:

Stephanie Barnhart is an award-winning blogger, columnist, and outdoor enthusiast writer featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and other media outlets. She is also the NYC Editor for MommyNearest.com.


  1. Shay Bee February 20, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Definitely an NYC girl here (I love my mani and pedi’s) but the heated springs pool sounds amazing. Thats one of the things I do not like about the city… lack of natural elements. Even our public pools im scared to get in. I guess thats why vacation exists. Tornados are scary for me to think about I’d probably pass out if I saw one in real life. Crazy how nature is amazing and destructive all in the same time. I loved the story and appreciate you sharing… daddys girls ROCK

    • Stephanie Barnhart February 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      LOL Shay – i love my manis too ๐Ÿ™‚ shhhhh! and dying at pass out if i saw a tornado! I don’t know what I would really do in that moment! I’d like to think i would man up and get everyone to shelter but i might pee my pants as well.

  2. Destiny Paquette February 20, 2014 at 10:06 am

    This is awesome. I love these types of posts and getting to know you even more. My big question is where did Pittsburgh come into play? These photos are amazing.

    • Stephanie Barnhart February 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      That’s a good question! We moved back when i was in middle school. I actually grew up an hour north of Pittsburgh and didn’t “officially” live there until college!

  3. Jenny February 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    What great photos! I need to explore more of the west – I’ve never been to Colorado and now I want to go swim in those hot springs. I loved this post – more, more, more!

    • Stephanie Barnhart February 21, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks Jenny! I have TONS of photos i can totally do a follow up haha

  4. Anna March 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Such a sweet post! Dads are just the best! ๐Ÿ™‚ #tbtlinkup

  5. Kristin March 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I spent my summer vacations with my grandparents in Idaho, I loved that part of the country and I am so sad they have now passed and their land was sold for hospital bills.

  6. Heather Tomoyasu March 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    OMG you are one fascinating mama! I wanna hear more about this shotgun to your chest experience!! #TBTlinkup

  7. Elizabeth De Castro March 6, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Wow momma! I too love the country. Although, I may be more from “cajun land” not so much country I still enjoy the city. Sometimes I wish I could have both worlds in one. #TBTlinkup

  8. SavvyMomNYC - Ker March 8, 2014 at 4:34 am

    I have only lived in NY – NYC, college in Binghamton and a few years in Long Island. What a journey – great to learn more about you!

  9. Stephanie Griffith March 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I love this post. I feel like you would get me. I grew up in the Guadalupe Mountains in Texas. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, mountain lions, bobcats, coyote packs, wild dogs, that was just your average Tuesday, and I LOVED it. I taught me to respect nature, and it’s probably why I breed exotic animals now. Snake? Tarantula? That’s not scary. At all. That’s just an animal living it’s life, hoping you don’t bother it. I’ve stood inches from rattlesnakes and lived to tell about it (obviously!). I mean, when you grow up somewhere that you sometimes find them IN YOUR HOUSE, you really just get a “meh” attitude about it. “Damnit! There’s another snake in the sun room!”

    I’m far more scared of natural disasters like tornadoes. As a kid, I’d read the section on them in the encyclopedia over and over. We don’t get bad ones here, just occasionally one will touch down and tear up a barn or kill a few cows. But it’s still scary.as.fuck. Oh and did I mention I live in Tornado Bait, AKA a trailer? Yeah. Fun. Not.

    Thanks for sharing this at the Throwback Thursday Link Up. This made my morning ๐Ÿ™‚

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