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The Joys of my Life





Updated: 2018-03-06T11:10:44.130-06:00

 



Mitchell's football party

2009-11-14T13:30:59.229-06:00

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Mitchell-my full-back and corner back! He has definitely found his sport. He has always been one that gives it his all, never gives up, and never complains. He is a coaches dream..does exactly what he is told. As a mom of a 3rd grade tackle football player, I have to say that it was very hard to see my sweet, mild-mannered boy come home covered in bruises. I mean WELTS! I would force him to put some ice on a few of them just in case we had to go see a doctor or something. I didn't want to be written up as an abuser.

He would never complain, jump in the car when I said it was time to go to practice (which was 3 days a week).

I can't say enough about his coaches. His head coach played football for West Point and has a philosophy of fun, learning the game of football, and if we happen to win a few games that's just a bonus. He teaches the kids that, like in life, in football you will be knocked down. He teaches them to get back up and persevere. And persevere he does. He gives it his all every day.

One week we had some players down with illnesses and Mitch had to play the entire game--every play without a break. It was a very hot day in Denver, and he played his heart out.

WE ARE SO PROUD OF HIM!!






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Here he is thanking his coaches and parents.





We love his team and their parents. We look forward to many more years together, watching our boys grow as a team, in their friendships and ours. Thanks for making our first year GREAT!



A Day in Denver

2009-11-07T12:04:14.117-06:00

I took a field trip with Mitchell's class to Denver. We walked down 16th St. Mall, visiting historic landmarks and beautiful buildings.
We started at Union Station where we checked out the Amtrak trains. Sorry, not a lot of pics--my camera died after 2 pictures.
Next we went to the Oxford Hotel:
This is the 'Oxford Hotel'. One of the oldest hotels in Denver. It is beautiful inside, very expensive to stay there, and supposedly haunted.
From here we walked to the old Clock Tower, the City Bell, then out to lunch at 'Rock Bottom'. It was almost 80 degrees, so we ate outside and got a little sun.

One of the parents worked at this building, which is the tallest building in Denver, and gave us a tour.
Here is Cole and Mitch on top of the tallest building in Denver. I couldn't get any closer than this. :)
It was a great day, full of history and VERY active boys. I think the girls groups saw us coming and took off as fast as possible. Us Moms were very concerned that one of the boys were going to get hit by a bus. Whew...to have their energy...
Our last stop was to the 'Brown Palace'. A very historic, gorgeous hotel. When we arrived it was high tea time, where there were patrons and their very fancy dressed little girls having tea and cakes. Needless to say, our stay was limited---6, 8yr. old boys, just didn't get it. So, we took them to City Park and let them play tag, wrestle, and pretend to shoot each other among the numerous homeless that called the park 'home'.



November Moon

2009-11-07T11:40:12.519-06:00

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So bright and beautiful, it lights up the night
Animals that lay low during day
Come alive under this glowing night light



Fall in Colorado

2009-11-04T16:15:37.139-06:00

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Our hike at Kenosha Pass.

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Ashley did not want her picture taken.


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Beautiful Aspens.

Taking a rest and overlooking South Park.

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South Park--can you believe how flat it is?





















Fear

2009-11-03T16:53:55.791-06:00

Yes, it's been months--over half a year, actually. I can't believe how they have flown by. A lot has happened, it'll take me half a year to post about it.



Fear--I'm consumed by it lately. Just typing the word brings up so much emotion that I don't know how I'll get through this post. I'm hoping this will help release some of it...and maybe get my family to snap me out of it! C'mon girls...I need you.



I'm afraid. Afraid I'm not going to learn to love it here.

Afraid that I won't be 'in tune' to my kids when they need me most.

Afraid for our financial future.

Afraid of not being able to afford health care.

Afraid that my family won't know how much I miss and love them because I don't call them often.

Afraid to move forward because I'm consumed by the past.

But what I'm most afraid of? Not really LIVING due to all this fear! I'm missing out on so much and I'm just starting to see it. I get so mad at myself because I have SO much to be thankful for...why can't I keep that first and foremost in my mind? Is it because it's easier? Easier to keep living this way rather than change? I hate it!

I'm on a mission of change. From here on I'm determined to focus on the title of my blog...the Joys of my life. There's a lot of them...and I'm recommitted to finding them.



A weeks worth...

2009-03-31T10:36:36.610-05:00

I'm putting a hold on any more house news. It seems to be changing every day, so I'm not going to post about it until it's all settled. Just patiently waiting until things fall into place, that will tell me where we are supposed to be. I've decided to stop obsessing about our next house, and picturing us in each house we see. I do love to daydream about where I'd put our furniture, which bedrooms would belong to each kid, but I find now that I can't get to sleep 'cause I lay in bed THINKING!! So, I'm letting it go. What will be, will be.We joined our church last Sunday, with a reception afterwards. What a great group of people. Our pastor just has a way of speaking to my heart. Maybe it's because he's close to my age and speaks like he's talking to a group of friends, but it's great, and I've never felt this way before about a church. It's exciting.Last Sunday was a beautiful spring day, and we headed to the high school for a 2 hr. lacrosse scrimmage. Tanner scored 3 points, so he was excited. He's really getting the hang of the game. We just need to work on his stamina....mine, too. :) I can't imaging running ONCE down that field, let alone 2 hrs. worth of running back and forth.During the scrimmage, the girls finished up their last performance of 'Beauty and the Beast'. I'll be getting a CD of pictures, and will post a few then.Afterward, we grabbed the boys and headed back to church for pizza and cards. We taught the kids how to play 'Spades'...and ourselves, too. It was so much fun. I knew Mitch would enjoy it, as he loves playing any and every game. It is now his fav.We wrapped up the night and prayed for rain/snow overnight. We didn't get a flake or a drop! We need it soooo bad. We are in extreme fire danger right now.----------------------------------------Well, that was all LAST weekend. Our week flew by with school and work. On Thursday morning it finally started to snow! School was called off, and we were officially in spring break. The kids were, obviously, ecstatic! It was great to have a snow day. Even Chuck got to stay home. Yay! We ended up with over 18 inches of snow that day. Three days later it was melted, but it was a fun 3 days!So, my plan was to take the kids somewhere different every day. We were going to head to Colorado Springs to check out some 'touristy' things there, but the weather isn't cooperating. I don't want to do outdoor things while there's snow on the ground. I can hear the girls now....brrrr....yes, they're such wimps. Honestly, I don't like the cold air either. My other 'cool' idea was to head to Glenwood Springs and soak (me)/play (boys) in the hot springs. But, you guessed it, Vail pass was closed yesterday, and the weather hasn't been the best for traveling in the mountains--with a mini-van, that is. We'll try it at the end of the week. Allison is back to work and has been need the van every day in the evening. She's off Thurs. and Friday, so we're going to pack everything into those two days.Today, we're heading to Denver to Plato's Closet to sell some of the girls' clothes. They have so many that they don't wear. I'll let you know how much we get for them. I have a feeling it won't last long in their pockets, though.So...over this past weekend Ashley was asked to prom. She's only 15 (freshman) so Chuck and I were quite leery about letting her go. We haven't given her the final o.k. We're still talking about the 'rules'...like no driving alone in a car together, must be in a group, Allison's the chaperon...stuff like that. :) We'll see how this pans out. Alli is going to prom here and back in MN. She's paying for her own trip to MN..hence the new job. Hopefully she doesn't purchase a one way ticket and never comes back!...maybe I shouldn't have said that.....Alli has been working on a quilt for Phil's (her boyfriend) graduation. It will be beautiful when it's done. I can't post pics 'cause Phil reads this...sorry Phi[...]



Saturday lacrosse, soccer and further house hunting...

2009-03-21T23:03:23.310-05:00

It's me again! Yes, I'm going to try to be better at this now. Today, we were out of the house by 8:00 a.m. ON A SATURDAY!!! Not my favorite thing to do, but it was for a good reason...Tanner's lacrosse game. We headed down the hill towards Denver and ended up at this beautiful lacrosse field at the edge of the foothills. The weather was GORGEOUS...in the 60's. I could have stayed there all day. Sad to say, Tanner's team lost, but they played a tough game.

After his game, we headed back up the hill for Mitchell's soccer game--after a quick bite at McD's. Up here it's about 10 degrees cooler than in Denver, but it was still nice enough not to need a coat. After being in the sun for 6+ hours, I was ready to head home and veg. Chuck was not having it--he likes to pack in as much as he can on the weekends. Usually I like to do whatever he suggests, especially if the weather's nice. :)

In my last post I mentioned that we found a house. We really like this house, but there was one house out there that we hadn't looked at yet. We've seen this house online for over a year, but the pictures just didn't look that great. Anyway, we thought we should go look at it, since it is in our price range, and we didn't want to regret not looking at it. So, right after the game we went to check it out. Boy, are we glad we did!! It was awesome! It was clean, updated (mostly), a great size (five bedrooms) and on a perfect lot. It is actually cheaper than the other house, too. So, we ran home, grabbed the kids, and brought them back to show them. They all loved it, and picked this one over the original one. The boys loved the tarred driveway (the other was granite chips), it already had a basketball hoop, and the road to the house is quiet and paved (the other was gravel) so that was a plus for Chuck--and my floor. So, we have to re-think things a little. I'll keep you updated. I lay in bed at night just visualizing these houses..and us in them. Now, I'll have to think about 2! I'll never get sleep now....

So, tomorrow we join our church! The girls are finishing up the last weekend of the musical, and tomorrow is their last performance. It should be another busy day. After church they are having a reception for the new members, then it's off to the musical, then there's a BBQ at the pastor's house. It's all fun stuff, and should be a great day!

Last night we had Tanner's lacrosse team party. They had the party at a boy's dreamland...a place that has every game console you can think of--Wii, Rockband, Playstation, etc. You pay a fee and the kids can play til their hearts content. They have large screen t.v.s, balconies where the kids sit and the t.v. screen is on the wall in front of them, so it looks like they are in the game. It was very cool. Of course, no one wanted to leave when the time was up. Maybe that's why they were a little sluggish this morning for their game....hmmmm...
The parents were very nice. It'll be fun getting to know them.

The girls just got home, changed their clothes, and are off to the cast party. We've hardly seen them these last two weeks, but it's so fun to see them having fun.

For us, it's jammy time....



WooHoo...I'm back!! What a winter....

2009-03-20T16:50:38.636-05:00

Yes, it's truly me! I need to get back to this blogging stuff. There is always so much to post, but I don't seem to have enough time.
It has been a crazy winter for us here in the mountains. First off, we've hardly had ANY snow! C'mon, it's our first winter here...we wanted some SNOW. The ski resorts have gotten plenty, but here in the foothills and Denver, absolutely nothing (except for an inch or two here and there). It looks as if MN has gotten all the snow that CO usually gets. I guess it was a good winter to be out of that state, though, with the sub-zero temps. Can't handle wind chills...
So, onto us. We are in the midst of spring sports. Tanner-lacrosse, and Mitch-soccer. Tanner is adjusting well to being the new kid on the team, even though he gets a lot of slack. My heart breaks when he tells us some of the mean things that are said to him. He just shrugs it off--unlike I would at that age--and knows that it's their way of testing him. He's such a strong kid.
Mitch is lovin' life. Things are going great with him. He has a best friend, and those two are a powerhouse together. He can't get enough of sports...and chasing girls on the playground. :)
The girls are in their final weekend of performances of 'Beauty and the Beast'. Allison plays the oven-mitt...and is hilarious in the fight scene. She runs around the stage bobbing forward, hitting anyone that gets in her way. She has no arms, and you're only able to see her face. So funny! Ashley plays a plate and takes up quite a bit of stage space. She was so worried about tripping and falling, but so far has done a great job. They have after-parties every night, so she's having a blast.
We have four more days of school until spring break, and I'm so anxious to explore this state of CO with the kids. We can pretty much go anywhere in a day, so I'm checking out quite a few things for us to do. Skiing isn't going to be one of those, unfortunately. I don't think I dare to go alone--without Chuck--and, to be honest, the Natalie Richardson accident scared me to pieces. :( So, we will be checking out some cool zoos and other nature things. :)
Well, we have some good news, too, to report. We found another house. Yes, we are moving YET AGAIN!! I won't say that this will be the last time..as I've said that quite a few times before, but we will be unpacking our boxes...FINALLY! We knew that this house was temporary, as it is way too small for our brood, and found one that is just the perfect size for us. Not too small, not too big. It needs updating, but is livable for a while. :) The lot is what we are most excited about. It is gorgeous and level (something very hard to find here), and reminds us of a very nice campground. The evergreens are beautiful, and I can't wait to see the snow falling amongst them next winter. We will be getting the details this weekend on when we can move in, then I'll be packing my boxes like a crazy woman! I'm also excited because now we will have room for visitors!! Any takers?? Mom and Dad...unfortunately we won't be in before you come. :(
We are joining a GREAT church this weekend. We finally feel like we've found an awesome church family. They are so loving and helpful to us, being the newbies. There are so many great people at this church, and we're really excited to be a part of it. So...YAY!
This weekend will be filled with 'Beauty and the Beast', lacrosse party/game, and soccer! So, after a slow winter, we are filling up our weekends. I have to say, I'm so ready for spring break, though. Four more days.....



Finally....an update!

2008-11-21T14:11:13.382-06:00

I know, it's been forever since I've updated this. Here's what we've been up to: My handsome Tanner getting ready for his band concert. Our pizza and movie night with our neighbor girls. It was so much fun! I forgot how much three little girls can giggle. They all get along so well together. If you couldn't tell, we watched a 3D movie....'Journey to the Center of the Earth'. Mitchell spent a day doing crafts. This is one of his creations. He was so proud....:) Last weekend the boys decided to build a tree house. Chuck was going to let them do it all by themselves....but it didn't take long for him to join in. The start.....Then Dad joins in, and the tree house doubles in size...Ashley couldn't resist joining in, too..My big boy using a power tool for the first time. He's screwing on the floor here...Tanner waiting patiently to add the slide.The end product...minus the walls, that's for another weekend! Chuck sprayed silicone on the slide so that it was VERY slippery. We all had fun going down. In other news.... --Ashley attended a Christian Rock concert at a church in Denver, and had a lot of fun. --Allison tried out for the band at school and got picked as first chair in the best band at school. I'm so proud of her! Yippee...Allison! You ROCK! --Allison really wants to graduate early and has been searching colleges she may want to go to. Chuck says absolutely not, she's not graduating early...but Alli points out that she will be 18 next summer and doesn't need to ask for permission anymore. Yeah.......teenagers...... --Tanner's been writing his Christmas list and it includes various forms of guns and ammunition. Air soft guns...paintball guns...ammo for both..............I don't think so. Where does he get this stuff?? --Mitchell wants to do the science fair. Am I the only parent stressing over this possibility?? It is a huge deal here, with judging and whatnot. He can do it every year, but, of course he wants to do it right away. I'd love to just observe this year then jump in next year. I have a feeling some of these science projects will be over the top. Help! --I've been fighting two different bugs this week. A stomach thing, and probably a sinus infection. I haven't missed work, and on top of it all, I had two meetings and a Father's class to teach this week in the evenings. I'm spent.....so glad it's the weekend.... --Planning our Thanksgiving Feast! It's fun to cook all our favorites and just relax---that is, after the turkey has cooked. Looking forward to taking in some good movies...like 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas'. --Looking for ideas for Christmas gifts. We're doing a French theme for my side of the family, and a Green theme for Chuck's side. I can think of a ton of 'green' things, but the French one is a little tougher. Ideas, anyone?? --Last weekend we got the home movies out, and stayed up LATE reminiscing. I had a lump in my throat the whole time. My dreams that night were filled with memories, my sisters, my BABIES, our homes throughout the years, and how things were just simpler then. I want those years back soooooo bad! Hope everyone has a nice, relaxing, fantastic weekend. All you northerners.....stay warm! [...]



Thank God it's Friday!!!

2008-11-07T10:30:03.176-06:00

Oh...how I love Fridays! I think I say that every week. :) We've had a busy week of late nights, working on homework, Tanner's band concert (which we had to drive down the mountain to shop for clothes) last night, then coming home to TONS of homework for him. It never fails...he waits until the night before to get his reports done. After repeated times of being frustrated and disappointed, last night I just shook my head and said, "Let's get it done." He pays the consequence the next morning....and I guess I do, too. Some day he'll learn......right?......please.....

So, tonight we are getting cozy by a fire and watching 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'. We are watching the neighbor girls tonight, and plan on having a great movie night with popcorn and pizza. Tomorrow I'm taking the neighbor girls, and mine if they want to go, to a Christmas Festival/Craft Fair at one of the local high schools. Part of the proceeds benefit the program where I work.

My family and I are trying to come up with a Christmas theme this year. We've brainstormed and came up with a 'Green' theme....or a 'Cozy' theme....or a 'White' theme. If anyone else has any great ideas, let me know. This should be really fun.

It's been cold and windy the last couple days. It still seems so strange to see all the skiers in the area. We don't have to drive very far to the nearest ski resort--like 20 minutes--but we don't have snow here yet, so it feels strange knowing it's not too far away. We have the best views of snow capped mountains. I'll have to snap a picture for you all. Even though it's beautiful and brisk outside, I can't get my butt outside to walk. Lorrie, you'll appreciate this, but Danielle, I expect to get a lashing from you...but MY EARS!!! I can't get over the frigid ear pain. If it gets below 50 degrees, my ears hurt like he**. Yes, I know, ear muffs will do the trick, but how embarrassing.....it's 50 degrees and everyone here is wearing shorts...and I'm wearing ear muffs. I'm a Minnesotan.....toughen up, girl!!

All in all...things are good. We still have our ups and downs with the move, and all the adjustments. We've found a great church, and a pastor we LOVE. He is only 40, and we have so much fun with him. He's very youth oriented, and has embraced the kids. I'm anxious for the girls to sign up for everything they offer, but the girls are slow to warm up. Ashley would do everything, but she doesn't want to do it alone. Allison always has so much homework, and really hasn't wanted to do much in the evening. I'm encouraging them to try ONE thing, then it'll be easier to jump in the second time.

So, life goes on. Most days I'm dazzled at the beauty surrounding me and really do feel happy. I'm thankful for all that we have, and that we're together. Of course, I miss my family and friends. I try so hard not to be sad sitting at a school function and not knowing a soul. It'll come, I'm told....but I want friends NOW!! :)

I'm off to clean my house! Have a great weekend everyone!



What a beautiful day to vote!

2008-11-04T15:33:29.634-06:00

I love voting day! I love the feeling in the air....everyone is so proud, excited to be casting their votes. No matter who you vote for, it's just a great day...a great opportunity to get your voice out. I do feel proud to be an American today.
I do, however, feel for our next president. He will have a great burden on his shoulders. May God be with you....



HAPPY VOTING DAY EVERYONE!!!!!



A couple weeks in pictures.

2008-11-03T14:30:06.386-06:00

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted. We have been busy. We had a great Halloween, all the kids dressed up and had really fun plans this year. Allison's costume was homemade--by her, except for the shoes. Here is her ingenious costume:

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Isn't she cute?
Here's Tanner:
He was a beat up lacrosse player. We tried to get him to go as an 80's rocker with a mullet, but you know my son....very conservative. :)



Here's Mitchell:
He's a ninja!
Ashley was dressed up as a fairy, but I didn't get a picture of her, unfortunately. They all had plans with their friends, and Chuck and I felt so good that they all had something fun to do that night. Mitch had a big parade and party at his school, then went downtown with a friend to trick-or-treat. After getting home and running around the neighborhood, Chuck and I tried to take him out to eat....just us three as the others were gone, but he just wanted to stay home and watch movies. He said his legs were tired. :) Who passes up a chance to eat out??? So, we ordered pizza and settled in with his candy. We didn't have one trick-or-treater, so I had a whole bowl of candy to myself. I'm going to have to hike for hours to wear off this weekend.
On Saturday we took the boys out to eat for lunch then went to the park to throw around a ball. It has been beautiful weather here, warm enough for shorts!
That night Ashley and I went to our church for a concert. It was 80's night, and our pastor (who is the same age as me) came walking in with an acid-washed jean jacket that was covered with pins. (Remember those???) We cracked up laughing when we saw a pin with his and his wife's picture from when they were dating. MULLET CITY!! He'll never live that down. Ashley was so embarrassed when I put ear plugs in my ears when the band started. I don't think she'll be asking me to go with her again. :)
A friend of mine gave us her sons' outgrown snowboards this past weekend, and the boys are so excited that they've been wearing them around the house....yes, the boards and everything. If I trip over one more board I'm going to scream!! They are waiting, not so patiently, for the snow to fly so they can try them out. I can't wait to see them. We're pricing out helmets and gloves. Amazing, the cost of snow equipment. I'm in the market for some cross-country skis. I'm leaning more towards that form of skiing this year. We are surrounded by hundreds of miles of trails, and you are able to ski on all of them. Can't wait!



What season is this???

2008-10-24T18:42:00.721-05:00

We woke up one morning this past week with 4 inches of snow. It was beautiful, and brought up feelings of Christmas and sleigh rides. One thing I didn't like, or expect, was that I couldn't drive up the driveway. I didn't even make it up a fourth of the way. Yes, our driveway is that steep, and my front-wheeled drive van is hopeless with snowy, slippery, steep hills. This may be a long winter. I would of parked on the street, but we're not allowed. So, I left the van at the bottom of the hill. A little bit later I receive a call from Ashley whose class was taking a field trip. She says, "Mom, is that our van stuck at the bottom of the hill???" I told her "Yes." and her and her friends burst out laughing. That summed up my day, and my attempts to make it up the hill.
Three days later the snow was melted and gone. That's typical here, so they tell me. My emotions are askew....wanting to start a fire in the fireplace, cooking pot roasts and stew...to spring cleaning and taking hikes outside in the 70 degree weather. The sun is so strong here, melting everything and warming things up. I think I'm gonna like it here.....
In other news, we're on fall break right now. Chuck took the girls with him back to Minnesota to get the rest of the stuff out of our house. So, the boys and I are having a party of our own. We went and saw "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" yesterday. It was really cute. Any dog lover will like this movie. Tonight we're watching 'The Hulk'. We bought a mini cart full of goodies for tonight. On special nights like tonight I let the boys get whatever they like. It's kind of a treat for me, too. :) Our favorites: Garden Salsa Sun Chips, Sour Cream and Cheddar chips, little containers of our favorite ice cream, Garlic Bread Pizza (yum), pop (non-caffeine for the boys), and CHOCOLATE!! I have to make up for the fact that they didn't get to go home to see their friends, like their sisters. I can't even bring it up as it 'causes great sadness--in both me and them. I'll be counting down the days until the holiday season, when we'll be home next. I take solace in the fact that the girls are on cloud nine. Chuck said that they sang all the way home. They were just giddy. Today they went to school with their friends, and have bonfires and parties this weekend. This is just what they need right now. Allison just recently broke up with Jack, her latest boyfriend, so she needed some best-friend time.
Otherwise, we're trying to come up with Halloween costumes. This may be one of the kids' favorite holidays (can you call it that?), but me....I hate trying to come up with costumes, and I hate buying ones from the store. Tanner wants to go as 'Edward Scissorhands'. I'll have to research that. He's invited to a halloween party and trick-or-treating with friends. He's very excited. Mitch, who knows? He wants to be something scary, but I've never allowed the kids to dress up as something too scary, so I keep saying no to everything that he suggests. I'm no fun! ;)
Does anyone have any unique ideas out there for costumes? What are you dressing up as?



My week--Thursday

2008-10-10T17:30:53.719-05:00

Morning went the same as the others--driving Tanner up the hill to the bus. I know, I'm spoiling him. I would just rather have him leave home in a good mood rather than the opposite. His morning mood lasts throughout the day, unfortunately. He just can't shake crabby moods very well.


I didn't get many pictures today, and my computer doesn't want to acknowledge my memory card this morning. :(

I put in quite a few hours at work today. After class we switched the toys in the room for next week. I swear, I keep that preschool room cleaner than my own house!

After work I picked Mitch up for his doctor's appt. He passed his appt. with flying colors....shocker, huh? No shots for him today...just the flumist. He skipped his way out of the office, anxiously waiting to rub it into his brother and sister. :) Ashley is well today, and the doctor said that her reaction was from the meningitis shot. I remember when she was a baby, she would react so much to her vaccinations. One night I remember frantically calling the ER because her fever spiked to 104 degrees. I'm shocked that she still seems to react to them. Scary stuff! I hate putting those vaccines into their bodies. The doc said that just imagine her sickness and times it by 150, that is what it would be like if she GOT meningitis. I just couldn't imagine.....

Mitch had soccer after school today. That boy is amazing on the field. Tanner loves to stay and help, so he did. I had to run the van home for Allison 'cause she had to work, so I called Chuck to see if he would pick them up from soccer. As soon as Allison left for work, I get a call from Chuck--he locked his keys in his car! So, I had to walk over to the school to pick up the boys. It's getting cold here, but I was sweatin' my butt off (I wish) by the time I reached his school. I arrived just in time to see him kick the ball straight into the face of one of his teammates! Poor boy..... That finished the little boys' soccer practice and Mitch was so concerned. He kept apologizing over and over. :(

After making chicken and gravy for the kids for supper, it was Tanner's turn to do the dishes.
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After getting the kids settled, Chuck had the great idea to go out for Happy Hour. He scooped me away in his company vehicle--since his sat at work with the keys stuck inside.

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We went to a wine bar downtown that had the coolest atmosphere. We shared fish tacos (which reminded me of my friend Leanne, who was obsessed with them in Mexico) and french onion soup. It was nice to just catch up with each other.

We came home, slipped into our jammies and watched 'Kath & Kim', 'The Office', and 'Grey's Anatomy'. Great t.v. night. :)







Wednesday...

2008-10-08T21:04:48.167-05:00

Today started out normally. Ruby wasn't up during the night last night, so that rice must have bound her up....YAY!!!!!! So I wasn't up with the dog, BUT...did I ever mention that my dear hubby has sleep apnea and has to wear a mask at night? Well, he does, and some nights his mask, or his mouth, make the most annoying noises. Last night was one of those nights. I feel bad 'cause he can't help it, but MAN!!! I kept poking him in the back to try and fix it. Of course he thinks I'm CONSTANTLY poking him all night...even though I did it, like, twice. sigh. Tanner and Ashley woke up with tremendously sore arms. They could barely brush their teeth. :( Tanner thought he should stay home......good try, son) and doesn't know how he's going to play lacrosse tonight.Today is 'crazy hair day' at Mitch's school. It's the elementary's equivalent to 'Homecoming' week. Here is a picture of Mitch's CRAZY hair.....Did I mention he HATES doing anything different to his hair? So much like Tanner that way.....come to think of it, they're both like their Dad that way. :) No crazy hair for him...I was off to work early today. We had a busy class...but fun all the same. While cleaning up the room I receive a phone call from Ashley. "I'm so sick, Mom. Can you come get me?" She sounds terrible...probably a reaction to all those shots yesterday. She aches all over, possibly from the flu-mist?? I take off to get her. I finally get her home, fix her soup, and within minutes she's out...Poor girl.....All I'm thinking about is Tanner. I wonder if he's feeling bad at all..... Well, the answer to that was a resounding NO! When he got home from school he said his arms were still a little sore, but he was pumped for lacrosse. So, after a snack I dropped him off at lacrosse practice and ran to the grocery store. My hubby was home when I pulled in.......My love....I have to tell you my insane Mom moment today. After school was out, I was waiting for Allison to come home. I waited 20 minutes....no Alli....so I called her to see where she was...no answer. I thought, "O.k. she'll call any minute, like usual." A half hour went by....no Alli, no call....so I called again, no answer. Forty-five minutes went be with nothing...and I'm starting to freak out a bit, thinking of running up to the high school to see if she was just 'hanging out'. I'm calling every 5 minutes at this point. AN HOUR comes and goes with no call or sign of her....I call Chuck to see what he thinks I should do. During this whole time I'm leaving increasingly angry messages. My last one to her was, "Alli...BE PREPARED TO GET IN TROUBLE WHEN YOU GET HOME!!!!...click" As I'm talking to Chuck Ashley pipes in from the couch, "Hey, Mom, maybe she's still on her field trip." ........that's totally where she was the entire time. They had gone into the city for French to see Les Miserables. Needless to say, I left a very sheepish and apologetic message to Alli after all this. She calls me back when they're done, I pick up the phone and all I hear is..."Mom, you're a dork." I'm glad she has a sense of humor.Within 5 minutes of getting home she has her jammies on. (A girl after my own heart) Here she is eating her latest favorite snack.....caramel rice cakes.After a spaghetti dinner with pesto bread, Mitch and I sat down to do his homework. After picking Tanner up from lacrosse practice.....feeding him a plate of spaghetti......and helping with HIS homework.....I snuck downstairs to take a picture of the girls doing their favorite thing....Watching a movie with their favorite actor...Will Farrell---can you guess the movie?? ....answer at the bottom of page.... It is now 8:00p.m. Time to do the bedtime routine. [...]



A week in the life of ME....

2008-10-08T15:04:54.554-05:00

O.k. my sis Danielle is doing this this week, and I have so much fun reading hers that I think I'll try it, too. Please forgive me if it bores you to tears. I'm starting on Tuesday of this week. I have no pictures prior to 7:00 a.m.--I won't do that to you. I crawl myself out of bed, reluctantly, at 6:30 a.m. in order to get Tanner ready. I don't think you want to see that mess, so I'm sparing you. One morning I'll try to get a picture, but, like me, he is NOT a morning person. I'm afraid it'll just ruin his day, but I'll try to be sneaky.Tues:Tanner needs to be out the door at 7:00a.m. in order to catch the bus to his school. The bus meets at the high school, so Tanner has to walk up the hill to catch it. On this particular day, he thought it was too cold to walk, so I slipped my flip-flops on and drove him the 1 block to school. Yes, I know. I get back home to find that Ashley is mad at me because it's not 'fair' that I drive him and not her, so into the car I go. I finally get home to hop in the shower to get ready for work when Allison pouts that she wants a ride, too. See where I'm going with this?Finally, after my shower, I wake up sleeping Mitchell. Yes, he gets to sleep until 8:00a.m. How unfair is THAT??!!Every morning Mitch needs some cuddle time on the couch....watching the weather report. After getting him fed, and in his room changing, I head back to the kitchen to mix up a gourmet breakfast for our dog Ruby. She has been sick off and on since we moved here--giardia from the creek....or elk droppings.....or both--and was getting better until I changed her food. Stupid...stupid me!! So these last few days have been terrible for her and us (mainly me... as I seem to be the only one that hears her during the night to go out). Poor Ruby! So, this morning she is having rice mixed with pumpkin. Everyone swears by it here, and has been working great.Here's her pumpkin and giardia medicine....yum yum.She doesn't mind it at all!After that, I threw a chicken in the crock pot for supper..........and packed Mitchell's snacks in his backpack."Mom, can you help me with my hair??""Of course, my handsome man!" Off to the bus stop! I work late today, so I get to walk with him, and wait for the bus to come. He loves that. "Bye, my sweet...have a great day!"Here's my daily water bottle on my way to work. It's sooooo dry here, I can't get enough water. Here is some of the scenery I'm treated to on my way. It's a 15min. drive, but I love it. I crank the tunes and sing, and look at all the fall leaves changing on the mountains. Please don't ask how I got these pictures...Here is the building where I work.Something I learned today....Did you know that when the weather turns cold in higher altitudes, it makes the air pressure in your car tires decrease? I suppose it's simple science, but my car didn't know that....and neither did I before today. The light turned off as soon as the air warmed up. Interesting......I left work a little early to take Tanner and Ashley to their doctor appointments. They needed check-ups and SHOTS. Here's Tanner being tough..........while Ashley was getting hers done. Don't you love seeing me in the mirror? :) They had a total of 4 shots each...along with the flu-mist. Yuk!We came home to find that poor Ruby couldn't hold it while we were gone. So, hence the drying kennel. Not a fun thing to return home to....especially when you have chicken cooking in the crock pot that smells delicious....and, well, you know....After cleaning up, I monitor computer time,and enforce trumpet practice and homework. After supper it's shower time and bedtime snack time.At this point, I'm trying to watch the debate, but[...]



What we've been up to.....

2008-10-05T15:42:58.594-05:00

Yes, it's been a while. Once your life gets into a routine, time flies by....but here is some updates on our family.Work for me is going great. I'm bonding more with the kids every day, and can actually be my goofy self and not worry so much about doing things 'right'...(though that is important, too). I love that these teachers/parents aren't so strict about fitting everything in. If we want to just get out the instruments and dance and march our morning away...we do just that! It's great, and most days I laugh so much (mostly at myself) that I carry that into the rest of the day.A couple weeks ago we had our first fire in our basement fireplace. Yes, it was cold enough outside for it. It hasn't been since, though, but there are a few changes we will have to make before we have ANOTHER fire downstairs. We realized that the fireplace opening is too large and the smoke from the fire flows into the room before it's able to make it to the updraft thingy. The majority of it goes up, but quite a bit enters the room. We've had the smoke smell in our house for weeks now. Last weekend we went to Golden, where they were having a festival. It was a beautiful day...one of those you just want to bottle up and save until mid-January.While there we enjoyed a BBQ--ribs, chicken, potato salad, beans, and homemade pie. We toured some old buildings, including a one-room schoolhouse. We were amazed that it was used as a schoolhouse until the mid-'50's. Grandpa Merril attended school in a one-room classroom like this, and we were just imagining him sitting in the corner wearing a 'DUNCE' hat. :) Some girls were in there playing school. It was so cute..I wanted to stay and play, too.Tanner was able to make a hook with a blacksmith that day, too. It took a long time, and really made us appreciate how hard those blacksmiths worked...and how talented they were. Tanner pumping the fire.Showing Tanner how it's done.Giving it a try.... So hard to twist that metal. See how red his face is? Here are some more pictures of the day: We really had a great day. Golden is a beautiful city, one you must visit if in Colorado. We walked along the river watching a father and son kayaking, and further down watching a group of college boys bath themselves in the FRIGID river. I shiver just thinking about it now. We also attended a Farmer's Market and taste-tested a lot of yummy food.On another note....We have found a church!! I'm so excited about this. We've felt comfortable since we stepped into the building. It is smaller than any other church we've attended, and at first we thought we would rather attend a larger church..mainly for the youth involvement. But, right away I felt at home. The pastor is a younger pastor and today was the first time we've heard him preach. All I can say is, "WOW". He just knew how to connect with us. So, yeah, that's exciting news to us.The girls celebrated their Homecoming this past week. They've had a lot of fun....from a bonfire in the school parking lot, a carnival, the game, and last night had the dance. Here are a few pictures of my beautiful daughters. One last thing. This is what I purchased at a garage sale this past Saturday: This dresser doesn't fit in our bedroom, so we put it in our dining room where we'll use it as a hutch for now. It matches all our furniture. Did I mention that they have great garage sales up here in the mountains??!![...]



Mitchell's awesome weekend

2008-09-19T16:35:16.375-05:00

What a popular boy he is this weekend! Today he's invited to a friends football-themed birthday party. They are all wearing their favorite jerseys (Mitch's of course is his Vikings jersey), playing a football game, then heading to the highschool football game tonight to cheer on the Cougars. Afterward, they are heading back home to have a sleepover! He's so excited...to say the least. We went shopping this morning, and the entire time he wanted to get home so that we weren't late for the party! :)
Then there's tomorrow!!! After we pick him up from one party he heads to another! At this party they (get this) get to go to a local gold mine and pan for gold! Isn't that cool? He keeps asking if he can keep the gold if he finds any. I sure hope so! :)

Good luck Mitch!



A little out of sorts...

2008-09-17T14:09:51.683-05:00

That's how I'm feeling. Don't get me wrong, the new job is great. I've met a lot of Mom's this past week, along with their beautiful children. What fun my work day is.....
What's gotten me out of sorts? Maybe it's my health...I'm trying to kick something that kept me on the couch with aches from Friday last week until Monday. Tuesday was the first day I felt a little normal. Today, though, I'm in a funk....lack of sleep, terrible dreams last night, dehydration...it could be any one of those. But the real reason, I think, is how I'm feeling as a Mommy. A couple things that have been brought to my attention yesterday and today make me feel as if I'm failing, in a way. One of my beautiful daughter's is getting a 'D' in a class. Her other grades aren't great, either. She has NEVER had worse than a B- in all the years she's been in school. My first reaction was horror! I tried not to yell....that doesn't solve anything. My reaction went from anger ("How could you let it get this BAD??"), to faked indifference ("Well, this means you can't attend the next field trip. That's too bad.") to worry ("Is everything o.k.? Is there something you're not telling me?"). I don't think Chuck got a word in...poor guy. So, I went to bed feeling terrible, and angry at myself. I don't want her to feel bad about herself...there's no need to, she's an awesome and SMART person. Today I'm in 'fix it' mode. I'll be sending some emails out to see what we can do for her. Any other suggestions?

When I got home from work today I had a number of different emails from a few teachers. I was informed that my son has two MAJOR assignments that he hasn't turned in yet. Of course I had no idea. His teacher said that normally the highest grade he can receive for late work is a 'C', but she's going to give him a 'teaching moment', accepting the work for full credit IF he agrees to not have any more late assignments for the rest of the year. So, the pressure is on!

Why is it that us parents take it personally when their kids get a bad grade, or assignments are late? I know that I'm not the only one! I guess it's because it's been my JOB to teach them responsibility. I know I can be hard on myself...this is THEIR lives...THEIR grades...not mine. But man, I feel as if I am being graded......and failing miserably.



A week of New Beginnings.....and old sicknesses

2008-09-12T09:57:13.296-05:00

My first week on my new job! What a week it has been. We've been hard at work cleaning the classroom, cleaning the toys, and brainstorming on how to decorate this newly constructed room. The walls are bare--no color to them yet, unless you count the light tan that was freshly painted over the summer. My brain has been busy trying to recollect the ECFE rooms my kids attended. They were always so full of color, with a million activities filling up every inch of space. I want to turn this space into something like that, but the program here has hardly any funding to work with. I want to dig out my paintbrushes and paint a huge tree on one very bare wall. I have yet to summon up the courage to act on it. I guess I'm afraid that if I suggest it I'll actually have to DO it. :)
I really love the women of this program. It should be a very fun work atmosphere. They are all so kind and excited about their jobs and the kids. We've planned some holiday activities that will really help the community, and I'm anxious to get my kids involved.

As far as the rest of the family.....sickness has, once again, hit our house. From diarrhea, sore throats to ear infections. Ashley is finally going to the doc today. This has hung on too long. She woke up this morning not being able to taste anything or hear anything on her left side. So, the hunt for a new doctor is in the works.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I've been dying to decorate for Halloween and Fall, but my darling hubby says that it's too early for that! He still wants summer and all the beautiful weather. Fall is my favorite time......cooler weather (even though I hate dragging out warmer shoes. I'm such a sandal person), apple crisp, crock pot beef stew, fires in the fireplace, football Sundays (goooo Vikings), pumpkin pie spiced candles.......I could go on....and on......



Very busy lady...

2008-09-05T14:44:59.111-05:00

I have been very busy this last week...but an exciting busy, to say the least.First off....after 17 yrs. of being a stay-at-home Mom, I now am part of the working class! Yes, I got a job offer this week...and I snatched it up as fast as I could. This is my dream job, I tell ya! I've been so excited, and didn't think I had a chance, but after a quick description of myself and all of my volunteer work through the years she offered me an interview. My interview was 45 minutes long, went extremely well (I loved these women), and they offered me the job that afternoon. So...what will I be doing? I'm officially an ECFE teacher's aide. I only work a couple hours in the morning to start off, get to work with my favorite ages (babies and toddlers!!!), and I have the same vacation days as the kids. I went to an all-day training yesterday (which was exhausting--I haven't used my brain for that many consecutive hours in a long time) and everyone there said how excited they were that they found me! Yay ME!!! O.k....I'm done bragging on myself. :)Today, Mitchell had his field day at school, and I was in charge of the refreshment table. It is 55 degrees out today and very misty....FREEZING to say the least. Not ready for this weather yet! I met some great women today, and had a blast. But now I'm home and trying to warm up my feet.I've been knitting a ton. I'll spoil the surprise for some...but I've been making the CUTEST winter hats. I'll post a few pics and I want you to give me feedback. If you'd like to claim one as your own...let me know! My favorite......toddler size 2--they stretch--made of soft wool.Blue and oatmeal....toddler size 2Cream with blue polka dots....size 12 monthsOatmeal...size 2 to 3Large blue, cream and green stripes--size 10 to 12 (kids)Cream colored--size 3 to 6 months More colors are to come. I've been trying to use up my scrap yarn, but if any of you want a certain color, I can whip one out in a couple hours. They are so chunky and warm. I'm thinking of making myself one, too. :)[...]



Happy Labor Day!!!

2008-08-29T11:22:12.866-05:00

We have been in school for 2 weeks already, so it feels very weird to be celebrating Labor Day this weekend. The kids are so looking forward to sleeping in on Monday....and, I have to admit, so am I. I AM NOT a morning person. I don't function without my coffee. I sip it VERY slowly because I don't want it to empty too quickly. I've tried making another pot, but my nerves just get wired and I'm shaking like a drug addict going through withdrawl. One, large cup is good for me. What is my ideal time to wake up, you ask? Between 8:00 and 8:30a.m. I just can't sleep past 8:30...though I try my darndest. I enjoy getting up before the kids, however, making coffee for Chuck and I, fixing a big breakfast, watching a non-cartoon for an hour or so. Ahhhhh....Saturday mornings are the best.Friday nights are also a family favorite. The end of the week, Dad's home early from work, we either eat out this night or order pizza, maybe a movie night. One of the things the boys like to do is sleep on the couch downstairs. Our bedroom is downstairs and I think they just like to be closer to us. Tanner, of course, doesn't admit that, but he says he sleeps better down there. ;)Not sure what's in store for tonight. Chuck and I still haven't done anything for our 19th Anniversary, and we've been talking about going to a beautiful wine bar by the lake. We'll see. I'll post pics if we decide to go.Tomorrow we have the first high school football game. Allison is in the marching band and performs at the game tomorrow. It still seems strange to cheer for the 'Cougars' rather than the 'Cardinals' from back home. But soon we will be singing along when they play the school song, and wearing blue and gold rather than red, black and white. :(Also, this weekend in Denver is 'The Taste of Colorado'. I would LOVE to attend this festival. There's nothing like a festival of food. That's all I want to do at fairs and carnivals anyway...just eat the food. I never seem to get full at these things. Our family has stopped eating out during the week altogether, so during the weekend it's definitely a treat to have someone else make the meal for us. We have saved quite a bit of money eating at home....duh....But it has been a tough change. The kids, mostly. They beg to just go through a drive-thru....any drive-thru, but we've been pretty strict about it. I've been trying to vary our meals every night, but I think all of my meals contain pasta! I must have been craving it when I made the menu for the week. :) Next week will have to be pasta-free....o.k. maybe one night of pasta. :) It's my favorite....As far as how school's going? I think it's going pretty well for the kids so far. Ashley's the only one that I hear who HATES it. She hates school altogether...wherever it may be. She's slowly meeting new people, and learning their personalities. Her favorite class is Theater Arts. She came home yesterday saying that class that day was amazing! The students get up in front of class and perform, and she LOVES it. Can't get enough of it. I'm so excited that she's found something that she can really get into.Alli is enjoying her time in school, and with her new friends. She's really liking the band kids...she calls them band geeks, and yes, she's one of them and proud of it. She seems so happy all the time (except when she has to work) and I'm so glad. Do you remember how hard of a time she gave us when we decided to move here? Who knew it would change so quickly?Tan[...]



Adam and Maja's wedding

2008-08-26T11:40:44.999-05:00

I'm finally getting pictures on here of my brother's beautiful wedding. I took off to Spokane on Friday evening, and returned home on Monday night. It was a great, hot and very fun weekend. I stayed with Adam and Maja to 'help' with Luci. I don't know how much I helped them....but it sure helped ME---I got to kiss her all day long. She is a complete doll, even though she was a little scared of me at first.Meeting Maja's family was really special, too. What a great, warm and welcoming family they are. Their house is in the midst of a huge remodel, but they welcomed us with open arms. Here is the weekend in pictures: On our first morning together. See the smile??!! Her bashful look... Swimming before the rehearsal.At the rehearsal....(is it hot enough?)Wedding morning.....cheerios and the Vikings game (pre-recorded).Luci unpacking everything Mommy just packed. She was very happy while doing this.Having her jacuzzi bath before the big day!At the church, helping Mommy get ready. Here's Maja sneaking up on Adam.... Lorrie, Alaina and JonnieFlower girls and ring bearers. (Alaina and Luci, Aidan and Jonnie)Grandma Jeanne and Miss Luci BelleThe LeBon sisters (minus one) dressed in black. Danielle, Lorrie, me, and Sharyn. We really missed Julie. :(Grandpa David (Maja's Dad) and LuciI love this picture of us and Adam.Beautiful Alaina looking at the breathtaking stained glass.The Wedding Party....A little breather before the ceremony.Dad and his son.... After the ceremony...ready for the air-conditioner!!The beautiful...and DELICIOUS....wedding cake. Maja loves her cake, and she did an excellent job in picking this one. Each layer was a different flavor. I'm craving some RIGHT NOW!!At the reception. We're finally cooling off.Sharyn and Adam...Lorrie and Adam.....Danielle and Adam....Me and my Mommy and Daddy...Cutting the cake.... DANCING TIME!!!!!! Peter, Maja's brother, sang to Adam and Maja for their first dance. So amazing. My girls are obsessed with this song now. :)Warming up to Auntie Lorrie... Grandma and Jonnie dancing. Jonnie LOVES to dance, just like his Mom and Aunties.Dad and Mom...Twinkle toes getting his groove on...Maja serenading her Twinkle-Toes Junior... Sorry, Maja, couldn't resist posting the scary, sexy bride picture.... Lorrie's got the touch....... So, there's the pictures! Actually, it's about half of what I took. Thank you, Adam and Maja, for a great weekend. I was very honored to have been there and to celebrate with you. I'm so happy to have a new sis-in-law--especially one as great for Adam as you are. I love you both!![...]



New Student registrations, MealPay, Payschools....

2008-08-12T12:31:18.400-05:00

We are in the throws of registrations. Man, I didn't realize there was so much information! My brain is swimming...I can't imagine what the kids are going through.The girls and I met with their school counselor last week and got their schedules and a tour of the school. A little confusing, to say the least. I hope they give out maps for them.One major surprise I received that day.......school fees! We've never had to pay more than $25.00 for a registration fee at our previous school...here you have to pay for your textbooks, materials, some tests, uniforms for phy ed. and numerous other add-ons. I was completely shocked when they told me the total for the 2 girls----over $300.00! I was speechless. I had another heart palpitation when I registered Tanner and was informed of HIS fees......over $300.00 for HIM ALONE!! How can people afford to send their kids to PUBLIC school??? Don't our taxes go towards books and materials? I haven't even checked to see if they're charging my 2nd grader to attend school yet. All that doesn't include lunches, or year books, or activity passes.......sigh.........I just don't get it.On to other news......Allison joined the marching band and has made a couple friends already. I'm happy for her, and anxious for Ashley to start school and meet people. It makes a new move so much better. I want their evenings filled with parties (with nice kids :) ), football games, bonfires, movies. After a quiet summer, I'm ready to start taxiing them around again. I love hearing the stories they come home with as they meet and get to know new people.Both girls start this Friday. Say a little prayer for them.For me, the start of the school year will bring a fresh start for me as well. My plan is to find a J.O.B.!!! This process is completely foreign to me...I don't know the first thing about writing a resume. AHHHH the anxiety!!! Chuck tries to give me pointers and advice and I just get annoyed. I know it's because I'm scared and nervous, and I don't have a lot of confidence in this area, and I don't mean to take it out on him. I know this will be really good for me, I'll probably love getting out in the world again, needless to say, help ease the stress on Chuck, too. It's just that dang comfort zone again. I have to face the fact that my kids are older and I have to start thinking about ME again. Something I haven't done in 17 yrs. Scary stuff. Who am I? What do I like to do? All questions I haven't asked in years.On a different note:This weekend I take off to Spokane for the wedding of my baby brother. I'm so excited for the both of them. And, also, very excited to be getting such a WONDERFUL sister-in-law. Maja, you are amazing....and the perfect woman for Adam. I can't wait to celebrate with you this weekend. You better have some good dancin' shoes. Us LeBon's are dancin' fools! :)I'll post more later--with tons of pictures, I'm sure! I apologize for such a random post. I think I may have had too much coffee this morning. :)[...]



One night in Vail

2008-08-06T10:43:59.108-05:00

Chuck's sister Lynn and hubby Gary came to visit us last weekend. It was so fun...and a little odd...to have someone from back home here in our little house in the mountains. They had rented a condo in Vail--which is about an hour and a half away from us. They came to see our town, have lunch, see the house, then head to Vail. We were meeting up with them on Saturday morning to do a little sight-seeing, and maybe a hike or two.Once in Vail the boys wanted to swim. We have hardly swam this summer, and they were missing it TONS. So, we went swimming---until it rained.After that, we got dressed and headed into Vail. Our goal was to take the gondola up the mountain (something I wasn't too excited about, being afraid of heights and all) and have dinner. Well, due to the rain and lightening strikes they shut down the gondola. I did a small cheer inside. :) So, we settled for a restaurant that wasn't at 10,000 feet. Afterward, we headed back to the condo and found a fire pit by the creek. Yes, another creek. I think Chuck and I will be buried by a creek. ;) We found some wood and made a great fire. There are no bugs here, so we ate salsa and chips and had some drinks by the fire. The food did attract a furry visitor, though. When it got dark and we were talking, a big raccoon came crawling out of the bushes and brushed up against Chuck's legs. The raccoon was as startled as we were, I think, and all I could do was thank God it wasn't a skunk. :)The creek was excruciatingly cold. Check out this picture....you couldn't stay in the water longer than 30 seconds. This is the best picture!Lynn and Mitch were the toughest--or had the toughest feet--and stayed in the longest. Tanner's shocked face. "Hurry up and take the picture, Mom!!" Uncle Gary--the boyscout--making the fire. It was a late night, and soooo much fun!THE NEXT DAY.....We decided to drive another hour west to Glenwood Springs to hike. We wanted to see 'Hanging Lake'. The brochures all said that it was an easy hike, so we knew the kids (and choice adults--myself included) could do it. We packed enough energy bars and water to feed an army...then headed out. An easy trail so far....I hope it's a little more rugged than this! The cement trail led us to this....beautiful. Mitchie....don't drink that water! My guys with their 'camel backs' on. "Mom, this trail is tough...let's rest..." The trail followed this stream.....completely uphill.Another rest. He is sitting on a rock ON the trail.Breathtaking scenery.But...some of us were NOT happy. :) Even Lynnie needed a rest.Oh my.....we're almost there!After hiking for over an hour, we came to this. This is a lake at the top of a mountain--hence the name 'hanging lake'. I guess the earth at one point was level here, then a large portion of it sank, forming the lake. It was crystal clear.If you look really close you can see the rainbow trout swimming below the water.Just beautiful...The Johnson hiking crew. Poor Allison had to work this day, so she wasn't able to come. :(Here's Tanner at the top of the waterfall.On our way back down...but still at the top. Oh this picture makes me nervous. I'm clinging to the mountain.O.k. maybe I'll get a little closer for this shot.Fine....I'll get in the picture. Notice the death grips I have on the boys? VERY VERY HIGH!!!The trek down did not take us very long. Mitch practically RAN the whole way down. Where do they get their energy?? [...]