Friday, July 27, 2012

The Wednesday Write-Up....On Friday

-Wesley is on round two of swimming lessons. He did well the first time but his teacher suggested enrolling him in another class this summer to learn some more and become more comfortable. She said with that age it's best to keep them in water so they don't back track and lose all they learned. This time he's got a guy teacher that has them in a deeper end of the pool. He sure is trying but he's going to have to learn how to relax before he'll go much further. He's my little trooper.

-Each evening, after the kids go to bed, I plunk myself down on the couch and sculpt. I watch tv during this so I don't die of boredom. My newest show is Mad Men. It's streaming on NetFlix and I'm darn near through Season 4. It's a show I don't particularly like but I'm so invested in it at this point that I must finish it out. I really hope it's not an accurate depiction of the 1960's.  It's quite depressing and I find myself wishing they'd somehow insert some humor into the show. I swear when I'm done with it, my next series is going to be a comedy because I'm in serious need of some humor.

-It's not helping my mood any that my kids have gone nuts. I don't know if there is something in the water or what, but ever since we got back from Colorado they've been at each others throats. I've set mandatory nap time for Greta again since she seems to be the instigator. She's such a bully! Luckily she goes down easily and sleeps for a couple of hours. As much as I'd like to think the nap is for her, in reality the nap is for me....I need a couple of hours break from her. The screaming, crying, hitting and all around bad attitude is for the birds! Who ever said it's the "terrible two's" knew what they were talking about.

-Can you tell this week has been rough? It has. I'm in need of a mental health day more than ever. And by "mental health day" I mean a day out by myself without children. Some people call it shopping therapy, what ever you prefer to call it, I need one. So tomorrow is officially my mental health day....and by golly I'm getting out early.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We got one heck of a load of hay put in the shop this past weekend. I've never purchased 250 bales before. We weren't even sure it would fit in the one side of the shop (the shop is divided up into two sides...Sean's side and Sean's other side which is now my side). So Saturday morning we headed out bright and early to remove everything and place it outside and await the delivery of all that prairie hay. Jessica and her family are super awesome people and keep hooking me up with hay every year. I can't thank them enough for helping me out.

I was sad since the truck wouldn't have a home anymore due to the massive amount of hay. Leaving any vehicle outside opens it up to being hailed on (a common occurrence around these parts). So Rich, Sean and I moved it all around, placing it in every nook and cranny until a perfect truck sized space could be achieved. I wish I could say the same for the mowers, mini bikes & wood chipper. They are outside until we can figure out where to put them. Thankfully there is no rain forecasted for the next two years so we don't have to worry about them being rained on. Ugh.

 Nice pathway to the other side of the shop.

 I'm going to really have to suck it in to get over to the chicken coop door.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


It's been very difficult to get back into running since returning home from vacation. With the birthday party last weekend and the darn heat I just can't seem to find the motivation. I drug myself out this morning bright and early after getting only a few hours of sleep. Our anniversary was yesterday (11th!) and it turns out we have an awesome babysitter right under out noses. Rich hung out on the couch while the kids slept and Sean and I escaped to feed on snow crab and catch a movie. We were able to stay out as late as we wanted on a Saturday night. We couldn't remember the last time we went out on a Saturday night. It was at least 5 years. Boy it was nice. But we got home in the wee hours of the morning and those kids are up bright and early regardless of how much sleep we got. So I figured I'd drag myself up and out the door.

Today's run was a far cry from running in the mountains. I surprised myself and got 11 miles in while on vacation. It took a day or so to acclimate to the altitude in which I speed walked but didn't have any problems with the altitude. The cabin is around 9500 feet I believe. Can't really beat this view while breathing that cool mountain air (it sure beat the 90 degree air at 8:30 this morning).

About half way through the trip I got back to the cabin and was talking with my Dad. The conversation went something like this:

Dad: "Did you have a good run" 

Me: "Yeah. Ran down and walked up the mountains"

Dad: "Good. I was talking to one of the neighbors up here and they were telling me about the bear."

Me: gulp "What bear?!?"

Dad: "There is a resident bear in the neighborhood. But don't worry about him, he'll go out of his way to stay out of your way."

Me: "Oh goody."

Dad: "He's not really what you need to worry about, it's the mountain lion that will get ya."

And that ended any future running in the mountains for that vacation. From that point on I kept it to the hotel treadmill on the way home. My dad thinks I should carry a small handgun with me while running, not just in the mountains but here in the flat lands as well. A friend of my in-laws carries a gun while running down in New Mexico. They have mean tusked pigs that roam wild called Havalina and she's prepared in case she runs into one. We don't have to worry about bears, mountain lions or havalina around here but out in the country, where I run, we do have pit bulls and other dogs that run around in packs. I haven't ran into any mean dogs in the past year of running but it's probably only a matter of time.

So I've been researching holsters for our little Ruger and there are tons of ways to carry a gun but not many that are meant for running / jogging. The forums have people saying the thigh holsters rub, the belly holsters jiggle and the under arm holsters rub your arm raw while exercising. I'll have to keep doing my research but I'm starting to think I might have to haul out the sewing machine and make something out of cotton that straps to my back (that's what I see when I think of a running holster). Hmm....I think I just hijacked my running post and turned it into a gun post.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Summer, how I love to hate you. The severe heat has arrived and we are having a similar summer to last year (which was horrible). Drought conditions are causing everything to die off. There is very little green outside at all. I've been dragging hoses around the yard each morning trying to keep what little grass I have alive. The outside animals are pretty miserable looking. All except the goats. The goats seem to thrive in 108 degree weather for some unknown reason. Dym, the black nubian, likes to stretch out and soak up the rays during the hottest time of the day while the horses look on in amazement from their shade. Goats are a little strange sometimes. There is nothing left to graze so all the animals are enjoying the last round bale of the season.

The garden gets watered once a week and stays looking great due to all the mulch we put down. Hay on the garden has worked wonders again for keeping the moisture in and weeds down. I still do have to get out there once a week and pull weeds, which I've been neglecting due to the heat.  The garden is producing in abundance right now....I'm up my elbows in tomatoes, bell peppers and onions. The corn came due while we were on vacation and now has been half eaten by bugs. Bummer. Some black beetles stripped every last leaf from my tomato plants but they seem to still be alive and new growth is sprouting so I'm hopeful they will survive. I might have to go get some Sevin dust or something if they return. The only problem with that is I have two little tomato thieves that go out to the garden and glutton themselves on cherry tomatoes whenever they want. Greta was out there with me yesterday and discovered several large cantaloup. Gotta love good surprises.

The dogs absolutely detest the heat. I suppose I don't blame them, I can't imagine being outside in a fur coat on a day like this. So they let me know they want indoors by jumping over the small chain link fence (that we put up to keep them from scraping on the bay window) and scraping their claws in the windows. We think Cody tried to climb the fence and got a toe caught which ended in him not putting any weight on his foot or leg for that matter. The vet said he had an crack in his toenail which caused an infection in the bone in his toe. He put him on some steroids and antibiotics (which he's enjoying in a chunk of cheese each morning and evening). Cody has been lounging in the living room the past several days in the air conditioning while getting loved on by the kids. I think he's going to intentionally hurt his paw more often if he gets the royal treatment each time. He's such a good dog.

We are sad that Granny Randi had to leave yesterday. It's much quieter around here. We miss you already Randi, thanks for making that long drive to see us.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Birthday Boy

We have a birthday boy running around the house all excited because today he got to celebrate his fifth birthday. It was done in Angry Bird style. We decorated the house with Angry Birds and pigs all over everything and I spent the last week making his cake. He had a ball with his two best buds, Alex and Abby along with both sets of Grandparents (Randi drove in yesterday from New Mexico). What a special treat to have everyone come help him celebrate turning five.

He received a Spiderman costume in the mail with no idea from whom sent it. He loves it dearly and was hamming it up in it. So thank you to who ever sent it (please let me know if you sent it)!

For the past eight months Wesley has been telling me he wanted an Angry Birds cake. So, by golly, I made him an Angry Bird cake. I researched ways to sculpt with frosting and came across marshmallow fondant. You basically melt marshmallows and then stir in powdered sugar until it's stiff enough to knead like dough. Then you knead in food coloring and flavoring and sculpt with it. It's pretty cool. I spent the past week sculpting birds and pigs whenever I had the opportunity and I'm pretty happy with how it came was a certain little boy.

Happy Birthday Wesley! You've come a long way!

Friday, July 13, 2012

To red shirt or not to red shirt.

I should be blogging about my oldest turning five years old yesterday but I'm going to hold off on that until Sunday when we have his birthday party. Happy Birthday Wesley! In the mean time I'm going to write about something that is constantly on my mind. Never leaving my mind. Perhaps I just have too much time on my hands or maybe it's just because he's my oldest and will always be my guinea pig. Sean and I have to make the decision to go ahead and let Wesley go to kindergarten next month or hold him back a year and let him go to preschool another year. This is referred to as "red shirting". Kids with summer birthdays are usually the youngest in their class, something that can be a detriment to their learning. They are literally going to school with kids that are nearly a whole year older than themselves.

So here we sit with a little boy with a mid July birthday and two years of preschool under his belt. He's bright and somewhat social and eager to learn. But maturity wise? That's what we are questioning. His constant friend and playmate is a hyper active 2.5 year old sister. I think when he's around her all day he tends to act like her. She on the other hand is picking up stuff at an alarming rate (in a good way I suppose). She's learning from example, and he's a great little teacher.

I keep thinking if I have the ability to hold him back why wouldn't I? It might give him an extra edge over the other kids, he'd have a whole extra year to mature and school might not be a struggle. But then again, being the youngest in the class wouldn't necessarily mean he'd struggle. It might give him the challenge he needs to succeed. Sean said school was very easy for him and he skated through it up until college which was a wake up call for him. School was easy for me too, not much of a challenge and I'm a May birthday...probably one of the youngest in my class. There's always the chance that another year of preschool will cause him to be bored in kindergarten.

I've come to the conclusion that there isn't any right answer here. He'll do fine either way and we want him to be soaking up as much as possible in these "sponge years". Right now we are about 95% sure he'll be going to kindergarten next month. He's excited to go. I'm excited for him to go. Yet I keep asking myself if this is the right thing to do for him. Is he ready? I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Colorado 2012 part 3 (last one)

I swear this is the last Colorado post. I just had way too many pictures to share in one pop. So back to Colorado. On the 4th of July we woke up early and headed over to Lake City without my parents, whom wanted to get a little work done on the cabin while the kids weren't around (and enjoy the peace and quiet I'm sure). The summer of my freshman year in college I pulled a little travel trailer up to Lake City and lived there while waitressing and doing housekeeping at one of the lodges. It was great fun and I'll always have fond memories of that little mountain town. I thought it only fitting to show the town to my children and hopefully start some new memories as a family.

It's only about an hour from the cabin and we made it in time for the parade and fly over. They have fighter jets do a fly over right around 10am and it was awesome! The kids cowered with fear as the noise is impressive, but luckily for them it's quick and the jets are gone. The parade was fun and the kids quickly learned that if they waved happily to each and every float then they'd get oodles of candy tossed to them. Quick learners those kids.

After that we drove around looking at the lake and all the new cabins (I think the town has become "discovered" as there were tons of new homes). We found a nice picnic area out in the woods by the lake and had a really nice lunch while enjoying the wilderness. Greta was really excited to have a picnic in the mountains (although she doesn't look all the excited).

For the 4th of July the town puts on quite a spectacle in the middle of town. Loads of games and activities all day long. We meandered back to town and let the kids get an ice cream cone at one of the stores where I used to get ice cream as a kid. Sure brought back a lot of memories.

It was a great trip and we look forward to going back next year. Hopefully next year the extra year in age will make car ride home will go a little smoother. Twelve plus hours in car and a two year old don't mix very well. Oh and I hope we'll skip out on any car issues with the next trip. Although renting a car for vacations might be a nice way of keeping all of those extra miles off of your car and trying out new wheels for an extended test drive. It was hard giving that rental car back.....if you couldn't tell.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Colorado 2012 part 2

We resumed our trip up to my folk's cottage after our little detour for the train ride. The trip is about 12 hours and the kids did wonderfully due to our newest purchase of dual DVD players. It was the best money I've ever spent in my life. I hate plopping my kids down in front of the TV but when the alternative is 12 hours of screaming, crying or hitting each other.....I'll take it. We found a model of DVD player that uses a USB stick, so we loaded nearly every movie we own onto this stick and just plugged it in. It started with Astro Boy and went through about 20 movies finishing with the movie Up. Nonstop. It was awesome.

So off we went through the mountains to our destination. My parents have been building this house for about six years now. My father designed it and hired a builder to build it. There was really no rush since it's a retirement house for them and they aren't retiring for a couple more years. They head out there to work on it whenever they can and right now it's about 90% done in my opinion. Sean and I started having kids in 2007 and have yet to see it since bringing babies out to a work zone hasn't been high on my list of fun times, so this is the first opportunity to see the place. It is finished to a point that I wasn't worried about my 2 year old grabbing a nail gun or falling off an unfinished deck. It's nearly done but still needs quite a bit of finishing work. I knew going out there this summer that we'd be "roughing it" in a sense. For instance, there was a bed to sleep in but no running water. We used jugs of water from a well pump outside to wash, cook and even flush the toilets. We had a refrigerator but no stove so we cooked out on the grill and on the Coleman stove. It really was fun.

The cabin, or cottage as my Father calls it, is absolutely beautiful. It's all done in the Arts and Crafts style and the attention to detail is amazing. My parents should be very proud of what they've built out there, it's quite a home. I'm so excited to have such a fun place to bring the kids out to visit every year. A lot of memories will be made there I'm sure.

We kept busy outside when it wasn't raining. In Colorado it seems like about 2 pm the clouds move in every single day. Maybe it's just when we visit but it's like clock work. So you plan your activities before or after the clouds move in. We went four wheeling around the mountain a couple of times and Sean took Wesley once. I had a blast hanging on to Sean as we explored the back roads.

We took the kids fishing once. I thought we'd get the chance to do more but just ran out of time. Wesley got to cast a few times but had more fun placing stickers on his fishing pole. Mom got a fish on the line but it got loose at the last minute. Too bad, would have been fun for the kids to see a trout.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Colorado 2012 part 1

As kids, Sean and I were both summer Colorado vacationers. There are the winter folk and the summer folk and both of our parents were always summer people. We would haul an RV out and camp at several locations and hike, fish or just go explore towns. It was fun and I have fond memories of it. Now that we have kids we wanted to introduce them to the mountains. It's no coincidence that my parents are nearly finished building a cottage in the mountains. It was time to head out there and see this house and show the kids the magic of the mountains.

For about a month now we've been telling the kids where we were heading. Every night we would tuck them in and say "one more week and we get to go see the mountains!". This would excite them even though I don't think they had any idea what the mountains were. So we headed out last Saturday in our rental car. The compressor in my car couldn't be fixed in a timely manner so we rented a Ford Edge. In fact, I called around until someone could guarantee that an Edge would be waiting for us Saturday morning. I've been drooling over those cars for several years now and thought this would be an excellent way to take an extended test drive of one. I'm not giving it back. It's so cute and fun to drive. If I'm lucky perhaps one might be in my future some day.

Anyways, we got to Canon City, Colorado the first night and got a hotel room. The next morning my parents met us there for a train ride through the Royal Gorge. I, for some reason, had no idea that the Royal Gorge was in Canon City (pronounced canyon city). Who knew. So we boarded the train, found our seats and set off for a two hour scenic route through the bottom of the Royal Gorge. The kids had a great time, really soaked up the experience. If you know my father, you'll find it odd that this is the first time my kids have been on a train. They had an open top car that let you go out and enjoy the beauty of the ride. It was truly spectacular and I would highly recommend it if you happen to be on Highway 50 going through Colorado.

 After that we headed out towards the cottage and happened to call up our friends Dru and Charity who were also out in Colorado. They were literally two miles off the road so we headed up to see them and their folks, Sarah and Doyle, who also just built a cabin. We got the tour of their beautiful new place and let the kids run around and be kids (which was really nice after being cooped up in the car for 10 hours). It was a much needed break and it was so nice seeing everyone even if it was for only a couple of hours.

I'll break this vacation into three posts due to the huge amount of pictures I'd like to share. So tomorrow will be part 2. Thanks for looking!