Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas Eve:

In typical tradition we went to my moms for dinner; she made yummy prime rib!

For our Christmas gifts this year from mom and Dan, we were each given money so we could carry on the spirit of giving this holiday. So we all gathered around the speaker phone with Nate to share our stories. Ryan donated to hospis, Lisa gave food and gifts to a family, Aaron bought a bunch of toys and donated them to Toys for Tots, Kara found a family in need, Nate and Kristen went to the grocery store and found someone with a cart full of good food and bought their groceries. With Brian and I's money I pooled it all together and bought myself some new North Face boots that I have been drooling over....

Well that's what I told everyone,but really Brian and I pooled our money and provided Christmas for a family from my school, the mom was just diagnosed with cancer and her one wish was to have a nice Christmas dinner with her family, so we bought dinner and all the fixin's, some extra food for the holiday break, and each of the 5 family members some gifts to open on Christmas morning. One of the kids needed a winter coat, so Brian asked around work and found a nice Carhart coat and pants, brand new in his size, and his work donated it to him. We took the pants to Murdocks and they were so helpful they gave us a gift card for them and we were able to buy hats and gloves for everyone in the family. We were both truly amazed at how far we could stretch the money. It was a good experience for all of us. And of course mom cried through each of our stories.

The funniest part of the evening was when mom had the kids draw numbers to open presents. Maddox started jumping around frantic..."I want number one! Which one is number one!" He was so worried about picking "number one" that he couldn't even pick one, so he got what was left, and guess what...it was number one. Though when he opened it he fell apart, "This isn't number one.." but it really was, we were all laughing so hard at his display... I told him to look at it and read it..."I can't read" he exclaimed in the saddest most defeated wail "It's not number one." We all tried to convince him that it was number one but he was having none of it because it looked like a scribble. When my mom was writing the numbers on the paper the pen wouldn't work so she scribbled up and down to make it work and that was number one. Finally I took the paper went and wrote a "real" number one on a different piece of paper and gave it to him. He looked at it and immediately stopped his pouting and was just like "oh, this is number one." It was quite a hysterical display I only wish we had caught it on tape. Now I am not so proud of his fit about having to be first, but it shows just how competitive this boy is, and him not seeing that the scirbble was actually a one shows just how literal he is.

We also decorated cookies, and this year Roxy showed up Brian in the cookie decorating. Usually Brian decorates inappropriately like putting Adam and Eve leave son ginger bread men, or bloody decapitated cookies. This year Roxy had a massacre on hers... you'll see when you get to the pictures.

It was a nice low key evening with everyone.

Christmas Day:

Once again we (Brian and I) were up before the kids. Finally at 6:30 Brian went and turned on the tree lights, then the phone rang-- Brian said it was a wrong number, but I think it was really him calling to try and wake the kids ;)... Madison woke up shortly after and finally at 7:00 we let her go and wake up her brother. Both kids enjoyed all of their presents. Maddox got a new baseball tee, and was disappointed when he couldn't play inside and we didn't want to get our snow clothes on to play outside. Madison loved her clothes and new soccer gear. After we opened our gifts here we got to hand out for a while and just enjoy the morning as a family.

Around 10:00 we went to Brian's parents for the traditional Christmas morning breakfast and gift opening. By this time Maddox was pretty sure where ever we went he was getting presents. It was a difficult thing to explain, and reexplain through out the day, that Christmas is about being with your family and celebrating Jesus' birth, not about getting presents...but he is only 3.

We headed back home and took naps or watched our new movies. Around 4 we headed up to my dad for Christmas dinner. It was a nice quiet evening with good food, dad made prime rib too!

By the end of the day we were all exhausted and ready to fall into our beds. Reflecting on the day it was very relaxing, I didn't feel the anxiety that typically accompanies Christmas, not sure what the difference was but it was nice.

Enjoy the pictures....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Adam



I am glad that I finished reading this one. I actually only had nightmares after the first night reading it. The book starts off with the story of two children being kidnapped. Then goes into the serial killers next victim. This was by far the scariest part for me. My nightmares centered around child abduction.

This story follows Daniel, an FBI agent/behavioral psychologist, who despite 16 victim's and 16 months of pursuing the killer, is at a stand still. When finally they find their first live victim and they thing they have their first major lead. Their victory is short lived when the serial killer, known only as Eve, stops them dead in their tracks with a bullet to Daniel's head and reclaims his victim.

After his partner refuses to give up resuscitation efforts, he is brought back to life. Now Daniel's efforts are renewed and refueled to find the killer. This fire only intensifies when Eve claims his next victim, Daniel's wife. When the truth of what motivates Eve is revealed it may be too late for Daniel.

This book alternates between the story of the abducted children and the story of the killer, ultimately intertwining the two. From the reviews of others it got increasingly scary, I found it increasingly suspenseful. A tale exploring the extent of the power of evil and darkness in our world, and the power of choice, the ease of deception....demon possession. Ted Dekker, once again, did not disappoint!

Learned: Guard your hear, keep it soft to hear God's voice, to be able to listen to your conscience. Most evil does not appear in a moment, but over many moments each of which callus your heart to the point where you don't feel the "wrong" any more. But you always have a choice.

Note: This is my firs library book... I have this phobia of reading library books. The thought that many strangers hands and germs are all over the pages creep me out, but I decided I needed to get over it, and it really wasn't too bad. Think I'll go and get another book today.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who Said What?

Conversation 1:

"I want to go to school"
No, you can't go to school"
Crying by person 1..."But I WANT to go, I miss school!"
"I am sorry, you still have a fever, you can't go to school."

Conversation 2:

"Can I watch what I want tonight?"
"No, I am watching football tonight."
"But I never get to watch what I want..."
"Sorry, but the Colts are on, and I am watching football."

So who said what in each conversation? Make a guess before you scroll down.















Conversation 1: Between Maddox and I. Maddox wanted to go to school so bad. He had stayed home sick on Monday, and by Wednesday he was still not better, so much to his disappointment I made him stay home. The whole time I was having this argument with him I couldn't help but wonder when the roles in this would be reversed?

Conversation 2: Again Maddox and I... I was struck by the oddity of this conversation; how typically the dad is the one laying claim to the TV during sports, yet here I banning anyone from the living room that just might distract me from my Colts.

Learned? To cherish the moments when my children beg to go to school, and how fortunate my husband and son are that I love football.

Book Nightmares



I just started reading Adam by Ted Dekker. The first night after reading it I was disturbed by nightmares the whole night. So I went to Shelfari to read the review of others that have read it and they all had one thing in common... Thriller, Scary, but they loved it.

Now I am one that does not do well with scary movies... (I hid my eye through a lot of Signs, and had to wake Brian by running into bed with all of the lights on after watching The Mummy - it was the bugs... AND had to turn every light on to go to the bathroom at night for 2 years - not exaggerating- after watching The Grudge)... So I am not sure that I can handle the scary-ness of this book.

BUT...there were so many comments saying how they loved the book and thought it was one of Dekker's best... So I will do my best to read it and not freak myself out. Maybe I will just avoid reading it before bed.

Learned? Sometimes even our favorite authors books need to be researched...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

FINALLY!



Yes, this was me yesterday. (No, not an actual picture of me). But I got to go run! I escaped the sick ward that was my home for just a few moments to run. I have not run since a few days after the Moab Other-Half Marathon, because I have been nursing an injured knee. (It has been over 6 weeks!)

Well yesterday the sun was shining, the snow was sparkling, and the roads were clear enough that I thought I would give it another go and see how it felt before resigning myself to the orthopedic surgeon.

I decided that no matter how good I felt I would only go one mile, so I didn't over do it. I also decided to take Ranger with me since it was cold and a short distance, maybe I could tire him out so he will quit escaping, maybe -just maybe- I will keep running with him while I gradually increase my distance and he can go on runs with me...maybe....

At the half way point I turned around with an acute awareness of my knee, but not really a sensation of pain. When I got home it felt a little stiff but that could have been from my first time running in a while. The good thing is that I could feel exactly where it hurt since there was no swelling or pain that extended beyond an injury site. I really think that it is my ITband, so I did a few stretches that are supposed to help that area. I will keep stretching and running short distances in hopes that I can work back up to my long distances again. If it is not the ITband, I am afraid that I might have a tear in my medial meniscus which of course would require surgery. BUT I refuse to see the glass half empty on this one.

I was amazed that not only did I feel good physically, but also emotionally! My soul felt happy. I knew that not being able to run was a contributing factor to the storm cloud that has been hanging around me, but didn't realize the extent.

It feels so good to run again, I am almost happier at being able to run a mile than I was at finishing my half marathon! Though when I say that it is hard not to get a bit discouraged at knowing I was running 13 miles once a week (and 3-5 miles between) and now only running one... Alas I will focus on my progress rather than my regress... I AM RUNNING!

Learned? I need a physical outlet, running is my meditation, my time to recenter myself, to let things go, to prepare, to just be...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shelter Me


Having two sick kids and being confined to the house for the entire weekend means lots of reading time. This weekend I finished Shelter Me by Juliette Fay. At first I had a hard time getting into it, be it because I had just come off of a series I loved or it was a sad concept, but I stuck with it and ended up really enjoying it.

The story follows Janie and how she manages two children and life after the passing of her husband. Janie's wit and sarcasm, though sometimes and understandably bitter, seems to provide her with enough shelter from the pain that she can manage most days, and it makes a tragic story enjoyable instead of heart wrenching (though there are moments my heart ached for her and her children). In the midst of her sorrow Janie receives one final gift from her late husband, opening the door to a contractor he hired to build her a porch. Since it was already designed and paid for she reluctantly agrees. Little by little people seem to penetrated the shelter Janie has built and each. through their own ways, helps Janie realize that though she will always miss her husband, that doesn't mean she must forgo happiness.

Learned? Bad things happen, all the time, to every person, but that doesn't mean we should give up on life and the hope of happiness.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Snow Day 2009

Today we were blessed with over 6 inches of snow, and school was canceled! Of course I didn't get to sleep in because the district didn't cancel school till after 5:30, and I get up and start getting ready at about 5. So after I was fully awake I received a call from Santa Clause, wondering if I was a good girl (my AP Mick), and of course I have been, so he gave me the day off!

Maddox was also up early because he doesn't know how to sleep in past 6, and it took every trick in the book to keep him in doors till at least it was light outside. As soon as I could see the first morning light, I decided to give in thinking it would just be easier to bundle him up and go outside and he could see for himself how cold and windy it was and would want to come inside....after shoveling our driveway as well as two other neighbors, he finally got cold and decided to go in. (my ploy backfired again.)

Then we gathered up our winter gear and headed down the road to our friends the Turner's. The kids all enjoyed the snow outside while Summer and I enjoyed hot coffee a crackling fire and Pride and Prejudice! The perfect snow day activity!

I was so busy enjoying the day off that I did not click any pictures. But the snow is drifted up against the back doors, and piled at least a foot high on the grill. In our drive way the snow also drifted into a huge pile at least 2 feet high. The main roads are snowy/slushy, and our little street if is still snow packed.

Brian was the only one that had to go to work today; I was worried because he has a 45 minute trek on the interstate to get to and from work. Thankfully he is home safe!

Now the living room is filled with the glow of the Christmas Tree lights, the smell of dinner is wafting from the kitchen, my family is warm and safe and ready to snuggle in for the night....

Good night to a perfect snow day....

Learned: Today was priceless...(though picture-less).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Three


The author Ted Dekker has become a favorite of mine integrating action, suspense, and the truth's of God. This book did not disappoint. I typically don't like not knowing what happens in particularly suspenseful books, so I will flip to the end to see that it does turn out ok. This helps me get through parts of books where I want to peek and read through the slits between my fingers. My mom is the same way and she said DON'T DO IT, so I listened and boy am I thankful that I did. It was an amazing story and possibly would have been ruined if I had read the ending to alleviate a racing heart throughout out the book.

In this book Dekker explores the nature (or natures) of man through the life Kevin Parsons. Kevin has lived a very sheltered and mysterious life and has finally broke out making a go of it as a seminary student. His life is forever changed when he receives a call from a stranger with a riddle that he is supposed to solve and a sin he is supposed to confess to the world or his car will be blown up; only Kevin doesn't have any idea what the sin is he is supposed to confess.

With the help of an FBI agent and a childhood friend Kevin takes on this psychopath. With each riddle that goes unsolved and each sin that remains unconfessed the stakes get higher and my heart races faster. It is a race against riddles, riddles that require Kevin to plunge into his dark past from which he has only recently escaped.

Learned: Sin thrives in darkness, it is killed by light. Most of us keep our sins hidden from the world in the darkest part of our being, thinking that this will solve the problem when in reality it is only by bringing it out, confessing it, that is will loose it power over us and die.

The Time Traveler's Wife


I found this book to be an original love story that was captivating, mysterious, and emotional -- The perfect chick "flick" book. The tale is intricate and delicately woven giving you just enough to know enough, but keeps you questioning, wondering. In the end it comes together beautifully

I have two very different opinions about this book depending upon whether I am thinking of it from the perspective of reading it, or the perspective of finishing it. From both perspectives I really enjoyed it.

From the perspective while reading it I was fascinated at the strength of their love that it knew no time constraints, that both of them had the self discipline to stay committed through very trying times. How this very unique couple handled the obstacles of an ordinary life. I think of it as an epic love story that warms my heart.

From the perspective of after and having time to think about it, I see it as a tragedy. How awful it would be to the man constantly ripped from your present, from the woman you love, never knowing where you would end up, and once you got there being completely helpless and alone, possibly in danger. If it could be worse than that consider the woman's life. Meeting the man you would marry when you were 6 spending your entire life waiting for his arrival in your world, knowing some day you would meet him in his present rather than in his past, but that there was no guarantee that you would have him forever or even for the next minute. That at any moment he could be ripped from your grasp and sent to who knows when and that you are completely helpless. A tragedy spending your whole life waiting, missing out on a "normal" life, just waiting for the moments when he would appear, even after his death.


I had wanted to read it before I saw the movie in theaters, but life got pretty crazy and I never even picked up the book. I am glad I waited because now two of my friends are going to read it and we are planning a girl night to watch the movie! It will be interesting to see how this story gets told on the big screen.

Learned? Love knows no boundaries. (cliche I know...)

5 Days Off, 4 Seasons of Weeds, 3 Books Finishded, 2 Family Meals, and 1 Tired Lady

I have been so incredibly busy as well as stressed lately. Sometime I will take the time to properly "vent" about all that but instead I thought I would share how excited I am for 5 whole days off and what I plan to do with that luxury!

Wednesday was a great day! It was the first time in my teaching career that we had the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off. When I was signing Maddox up for school this holiday week I just assumed that we would be working that day, so he got signed up for school. It turned out to be great as I got to spend the entire day with just Madison. We got up and made two loaves of pumpkin bread (which is already gone). Then we went shopping, out to lunch, and to New Moon. (I had gone the night before with some of my soccer mom friends and my mom...a great girls night).

My original plan for Thursday was to run the Turkey Trot with Madison in the morning, but I still can't run. Instead the kids and I just relaxed and read books and watched movies. Finally about noon we got our selves together and made final preparations for Thanksgiving at Brian's sister's. It was a nice meal and for once I didn't over eat... I felt full not not uncomfortable. Madison made plans to stay the night at Amy and Cecil's and get up for the mad morning shopping with Amy, Carrie, and Tiss.

On this break I finished 3 books,The Time Travelers Wife and Three then on Friday I got up and finished my third book, Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight Saga for my third time. No, I am not obsessed, I just like to finish the whole story. I just couldn't leave it hanging like the movie had. It was just me and the boy today, Madison was shopping and Brian was working. Maddox was a very good boy letting me read all day and playing with his toys and snuggling me. I needed a day like that.

Saturday we headed to my mom's for our second family Thanksgiving get-together. My brother and his family were in town as well as Dan's daughter from Salt Lake. I got to see all of my nieces, they are growing up way too fast. Maddox and Roxy played really well together, which made for a great evening.

Sunday was a take it easy day and we just all hung out and relaxed. I tried to prep myself for returning to work but no matter what I was not ready.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Getleman in the Making

My aunt Penny is sick, she needs a liver transplant. Last week my mom and here were flight for lifed over to Denver to get her stabilized and start tests to get the transplant. Finally they were able to come home on Friday night. My mom moved Penny into her house to keep a better eye on her and maker sure she is getting her meds on time.

All that to say this:
Tonight we went to their house for dinner. Penny needed help getting up and walking down the hall so my mom was holding her arm, and Maddox walked over and held her hand along the way too. Then Penny needed to have some oxygen so Maddox helped turn on her oxygen. My mom rubbed Penny's back to help her calm down, and Maddox crawled up on the bed to rub her back too. Then he thought she would like to be read a story so he picked one out and read that to her (with a bit of help from me).

I was, and am so touched by how great his caring and compassion is for those in need, and he is only 3!

Learned: I think we can all learn something from the sweet innocence of children.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Current Addictions

I haven't been able to run since Moab, I went once last week and immediately had knee pain. I knew I loved to run but now that I can't I long for it even more. Every sunny afternoon, every runner I pass in my car, every time I hear a song that I love to run to, or doing laundry and folding my running clothes, I realize that I am in withdrawal. So to fill the void I have a few new addictions to confess: addictions...

First I am loving Weeds a Showtime series about a suburban mom/widow, who also deals pot... I am finding it completely hilarious and captivating though it can be raunchy and ridiculous.

While waiting for the next instalment of Weeds you can find me curled up with my second addiction.... I finally found another book that I could get into and love. I am currently reading The Time Travelers Wife. I wanted to read this when I saw the movie was coming out, but never got around to it.

I am hoping that by the time I have exhausted Weeds and my book I will be able to run again.

Learned: My acupuncturist said that there is happiness outside of running, though I am finding enjoyment from my current time fillers, I still long to run.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Acupuncture

Today I had my second session of acupuncture in hopes of finding some relief from my migraines. So far so good.

After the first session last week, I felt great- energized, clear minded, and focused. After today's session I feel tired, mello, and all I want to do is curl up with my blanket and pillow.

Part of the acupuncture treatment process is keeping records of various things about my phisiology: temperature every morning, daily stress levels, food cravings, or other headaches, and sleeping patterns. All of this documentation reqirements makes me hypersensative to everything going on with me. I am noticing every little ache and pain, twinge or strange feeling, it is kind of disconcerting realizing that I am falling apart.

Let's just hope that I can get my energy balanced in this process of finding relief from migraines.

Learned: Going too hard in life really does depleat your energy, literally!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It Wasn't Pretty (or Pain Free) but I FINISHED!!!

A recap of my first half marathon: The Other Half, in Moab, UT, October 19, 2009.

Starting with the creation of the perfect playlist. I spent a significant portion of my Saturday finding and purchasing motivational, run inspiring music. I was just two songs away from having the perfect playlist created, and with one wrong mouse click, it was reordered alphabetically and all my work was gone! So the second time around I just quickly made a new one- which was not nearly as good as the first, but it would do.

I picked up Jan and Anne and we headed out of town about quarter to 5. We decided to take the scenic highway into town so we could get a preview of the race course and time how long it took to get to the gravel parking lot where we would catch the shuttle to the starting line. We arrived in Moab about 6:30, picked up our race bags, then headed to Pasta Jay's. There was a HUGE wait, but some of Jan's friends had a table so we just joined them. After dinner we took a short stroll down main street, followed by bed not much after 9.

We were all up before 6, dressed and headed to the race by 6:15. On the way there I got SO nervous, butterflies in my stomach and I was even shaking. It was so calm and beautiful in the dark, with the most beautiful silhouette of some of the monoliths in the canyon. The buses began taking us to the starting line at 7, and I sat by a lady from Boise who was here running her 3rd half marathon which helped to take my mind off of my nerves.

Once we were at the starting line there was at least an hour and a half before the race started and it was pretty chilly! They had quite a few fire barrels with fires going that we all clustered around till race time. Then we threw our sweats into our race bags and into the trailer that would meet us at the finish line. By now my nerves were gone and I was just ready to run.

When the gun went off, I started my music and my watch and away we went! The scenery was BEAUTIFUL. I had a good strong beginning pace and at the first mile I looked at my watch to see what my time was and it wasn't going- I must have pushed start button twice - so that bummed me out that I wouldn't have an accurate time.

At about mile 4 I noticed the first tinge of pain in my knee (this usually happens at mile 8), but I kept pushing through it. At mile 6 I was super excited because that was the same distance of the BOULDERboulder, and I was almost 1/2 way done. Mile 7 SUCKED! It was all up hill with several (3) really steep hills. This is when the pain kicked in even more, and to add to it I had a toenail that was digging into one of my other toes. So at the top of last hill of mile 7, I stopped to stretch and fix my toe nail situation. When I started running again the pain was even worse, but I just kept going, I just HAD to finish. There was another hill in mile 9 and this made my knee feel even worse, my leg actually went numb from the knee down and I thought it was going to give out on me, so I moved to the side, walked the rest of the way to the top, almost cried, stretched at the top and contemplated calling it quits. Needless to say I kept pushing, I just said to my self over and over "you are going to finish, you are going to finish!" When I hit mile 10 Eminem "loose your self" came on, and as strange as this may seem, this song was highly motivational for me, to the point that I almost lost it and started balling- so much so that I couldn't catch my breath and had to breath really deep through my nose and out through my mouth. (When I breathed out it sounded like a whimper.) But that song got me through and at the end of mile 12 you crest the last hill and in the valley of the red canyon you see the beautiful green pastures of Sorel River Ranch, I knew I was going to make it! My last mile I dedicate to my mom, she was supposed to run it with us, but got injured and couldn't run- at all! So I started the last mile and said "this is for my mom!" but that made me start to bawl again and have trouble breathing again, so I quit saying it (but it was still for her). As I turned off the highway and onto the ranch's road my calf on my hurt knee side cramped up causing my toes to curl. It wasn't like a normal painful cramp, but I just couldn't relax it and get my toes straight. Then I saw Anne, and she ran to the final chute with me encouraging me along. The final 100 meters was lined with cheers and I got one last burst of energy and sprinted to the end with the biggest smile on my face.

Normally I get really emotional after I cross the finish line, but this time I was just so happy to have finished that all I could do was smile (and limp). Plus I had already been emotional during the run!

I dedicated each mile (2 miles) to someone (or something)to help me get through. During that mile I thought of this person (or thing) and how they have influenced me positively, contributed to my success, and what makes them so important to me.

Mile 1 and 2: ME, I was just so thankful to be able to run and be in such a beautiful place, that I took these first two miles to soak it all in.

Mile 3: God, I was thankful that I had been given the ability and opportunity to run and enjoy such a beautiful place in his creation.

Mile 4: All my friends and family that had wished me luck including: Heather, Jolene, Rachel, Cecil and Amy, MGMS co workers, and my FB friends.

Mile 5: God: this was the point in the run where you come around a corner and see Fisher Towers framed by the walls of the canyon, I couldn't help but thank Him for that!

Mile 6: Maddox, my handsome, rowdy, caring son.

Mile 7: Serpents Trail. I just thought of all the summer runs on Serpents trail and knew that this hill was nothing compared to that!

Mile 8: Madison, my beautiful, compassionate, motivated daughter.

Mile 9: My running friends Anne and Jan, who I trained and ran with all summer and who are continually encouraging and inspiring!

Mile 10: Eminem (not really, but this is when his song came on and it pushed me through this mile).

Mile 11: Brian, my patient, thoughtful, hard working, and HOTT husband.

Mile 12: ME! I was almost finished, and I just thought about my hard work and persistence. Knowing that my mind was stronger than my body.

Mile 13 (plus some): My mom, she was so upset and disappointed to not be running in this race with us, I just had to finish it for her since she wasn't there.

Race Facts:

I finished in 2 hours and 19 minutes, my average pace was 10:20 (I am embarrassed to write that, I never run that slow).

Weather: Perfect! Probably about the mid 60's for the majority of the race.

Start time: 8:30

Finish time: 2 hours 19 minutes after start time

Shoes: Adidas AdiStar Rides (pink version)

Clothes: Adidas black capris, Adidas bright orange short sleeve performance top, and a Nike iridescent plum long sleeved performance top. Fox river socks, Brian's Arnett sunglasses.

Learned? My mind is stronger than my body, training too fast and too hard with not enough rest is NOT good, Moab is beautiful this time of year, and I MUST run another half (though I don't even want to run, or think about running, for a few days -- maybe a week.

Caster Day 2009

Friday night we (Brian, Me, Madison, and Maddox) celebrated Caster day for 2009. This is the annual household celebration of the day Brian adopted Madison, a very special day. 7 years ago the three of us sat across from Judge Botteger (sp) and he looked at our 3 year old daughter and asked her who was her dad, she with total confidence pointed to Brian. The judge said that was all he needed to hear, and pounded his gavel declaring us officially forever a family.

So Friday we went to Texas Road House (Madison's pick) and a movie- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs- (again Madison's choice). It was a great family evening.

Learned? Families are made in many, many, ways

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There's More to Running Than I Thought

I have to say I really like my massage therapist, each time I have gone I have felt like I was truly cared for. For example she didn't just work on my legs, but offered multiple exercises, stretches, natural pain relieving gels, and a book about proper running to prevent injury. I felt like it was really important to her that I be able to run my big race. She even called the next day to see how I was knowing that the work she did would leave me a bit tender.

All of this to say that I went and got the book she suggested: Chi Running. As I skimmed through the Table of Contents I was amazed at all there is to know about running. Here I thought all you did was go out there and just well, run. But there is so much more to it!

The whole "go out there and wing it philosophy" has worked for me for several years, but when I decided to up my mileage I started noticing problems. So tonight I will indulge my running graving and read a chapter then apply it to my run tomorrow.

Learned? My eyes have been opened to a whole new wide world of running!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hope on the Horizon

I went for a run this morning, just a short 3 mile one, but let me tell you it felt great! There was no pain! Afterwards I iced and took anti-inflamitories, then tonight I had another session of massage therapy then iced again. I am hoping to get two more short runs in followed by more icing.

With my spirits perked, I ventured out to buy a new running top for the race. There is limited selection around town but I found a bright plum colored long sleeve Nike shirt. Then when I got home I hit the jackpot at an outlet store and got three other tops for less than $100 total! All of them are solid colors, I was really hoping for some cool prints but with a limited time these will do!

So with the wind back in my newly adorned sails, I am sailing towards hope on the horizon!

Learned? As painful as resting is/was for my whole being, I guess it was what's best.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Injured

A few weeks (maybe a few months ago) I signed up for my first half marathon. I have been super excited and running farther than I ever imagined I would and still enjoy it. I have run 4 long runs 11-12 miles each. Then after a short 4 mile run it hit... my legs hurt. Both lower legs deep against the bone on the inside. I could hardly walk with out pain.

Diagnosis: shin splints.

Treatment: anti-inflammatory, ice, massage therapy, sensible shoes, and worst of all REST. So for the last week and a half I have not run, not one measly little mile or jaunt around the block.

It is the worst form of torture! My self image is all in my head, so when I don't run for even a few days I automatically start seeing my self as fatter (even though I know it is impossible to gain that much weight in in two days). Then you throw in not being able to wear my cute heals and outfits to work, and instead try to find clothes that don't look completely dorky with my tennies, and my self esteem plummets even more. Next you add the lack of something physical as an outlet for stress, as well as the frustration of not knowing if I will even get to run in my first half marathon!

You can imagine my current mental, emotional, and physical state of being right now.

But... In this week and a half I can now walk with little to no pain, and I am hopeful that with one more week of rest, ice, sensible shoes, ice, and one more session of massage therapy, I will be up and running (literally) in time for the race.

With this set back, I may need to adjust my 1/2 marathon goal from finishing with a pace less than 10 minute miles, to just finishing. And be ok if I need to walk some of it.

Here is a little Pic to keep me motivated:


Learned? Being injured hurts in more places than the location of the injury.

The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing

This was a particularly interesting read for me; not because the content, story line, or writing was so amazing, but because it was just the opposite and yet I read it quickly and found my self staying up later than I should to read. (that was a really long sentence...) It followed a girl and her relationships through out her life. The writing is so simple that it reminded me of reading one of my student's first attempts at dialogue: He said ..... she said.... I said... Then there were the sparce attempts at dry humor, and the predictable choices that she makes. In the end she finds "the guy" and decides to try the art of female manipulation rather than be true to herself, does she ruin it for herself, is it even salvageable, or do the evil feminine tricks give her the advantage. Guess you'll have to experience the bizarre writing of Melissa Bank to find out.


Learned? Sometimes a read can be ?enjoyable? and you can't find any reason for it to be true.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All the Thoughts In My Head

My Uncle Rocky (not really my uncle but a good friend of the family) passed away today. Rocky has known me since I was born. From the earliest moments of my life Rocky has been a part of it. He would watch me while my dad worked, we were two peas in a pod. He adored me, and I him.

Later he was stationed over seas and we only saw each other after years had passed. He moved back to the states several years ago, and as a birthday surprise two years ago he surprised me and joined the party!

Just a year ago he was diagnosed with cancer, all seemed well and treatable, then it took a turn for the worse, three weeks ago he was told to get his affairs in order and that he only had, at most, 6 months. That was just 3 weeks ago.... today he is gone.

I kept thinking I needed to get over there to see him again, say last good buys, I knew the end was near, I just thought I had more time.

I just thought I had more time.

Learned? The reality of the quote "Don't put off till tomorrow what can be done today" has really hit me hard.

People of the Book


Is it possible that a book could show people that what unites them is more than what divides them? Geraldine Brooks weaves an intriguing tale of an ancient Jewish manuscript and its survival through centuries of antisemitism, the rise and fall of the Nazi regime, the bombings of Sarajevo, and even a modern day heist and all the people who played a part of its history. The secrets the book holds choose to reveal them selves to the books restorer a native Australian, who discovers who she really is while restoring one of the largest profile books of her career.

I really enjoyed the historical journey this tale led me on. Geraldine balanced true historical facts and fictional characters in a believable captivating way. I just had trouble stayingwith it, it wasn't a book that I longed for or would choose to read over a TV show, so I give it a rating of 2.5.


Learned: I knew I loved books for a reason, they often tell a tale that is much more interesting than the words they contain.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Team Dinner

Last night we hosted Madison's soccer team's first team dinner. I had something a little special up my sleeve for them besides plain old spaghetti and meat balls...

When the girls all sat down for their dinner I gave them each a menu. For their appetizer they could choose from penalty kick, goal kick, drop kick, header, and corner kick. For their main course they chose from different soccer positions; keeper, stopper, defender, midfielder, forward, and coach. Then for dessert we served some fancy foot work moves such as the rainbow, zig zag, left right left over, and chest trap. When they looked at the menu they were a bit confused saying "none of this is food!"

Each of the items they ordered corresponded to the specific cups, plates, and utensils they would have to eat and drink with. Some of the items they drank from were juice pitchers, tea pots, sippy cups, and beakers. Their dinner was served on or in pot lids, platters, corn on the cob holders, tiny bowls, huge bowls and ice cream cone dishes. Then they had to use items such as ladles, slotted spoons, ice cream scoops, chop sticks, and other miscellaneous items.

It was quite amusing to seem them feasting on a messy meal with these silly items. They all loved it and had a great time.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Silly Things He Says

This morning I was given my own comedy show from Maddox...

First he wakes up early and crawls in bed with me about 10 minutes before my alarm was to go off. When I got up I told him to snuggle in with my pillows. About 5 minutes later he walks in all pout "Mom! I don't like to snuggle pillows, I like to snuggle mom and dad!"

Then as I was getting dressed he comes up to me with googly eyes, like a kid in a candy store, and tries to grab by b@@bs, after being denied he says, "Awe, come on I'll let you touch mine if I can touch yours!" ALREADY at 3 he has that line down!!!

There were three things this morning that he said and did that cracked me up, but in typical fashion I can't remember the third.... I'll post it when I remember.

AHHH! I remembered!!! Maddox loves reading before bed each night, and right now he is liking this book by a local author, Wendy Sylvano, titled "Just One More!" It is about a bus in South America where there are just too many poeple on it, and they keep coming abord with all sorts of belongings. The driver keeps hollering "Just One More!" and they keep packing on the bus. So Maddox was throwing away something in the morning, and I told him the bathroom trash was too full. He looked at me and hollered "Just One More!" then laughed and said just like my book mom!

Learned: Boys are boys, and they will be boys, there is just no changing that fact!

Updating Technology

I am pleased to report that I have finally joined the wireless age. I am posting this from the comfort of my couch, with no cords attached. Last week we got a new laptop, but I haven't done much with it because I didn't have wireless set up. After HOURS of messing with the dang router, and the stupid settings, I finally got it up and running andhopefully sucure. I did it all by my self, with no help from the companies technology support (I did call, but am still awaiting a return call).

Now, I know that this may not seem like a very big accomplishment for most of you, but for me technology in general gives me anxiety.

I am super excited to blog,facebook, watch hulu, netflix, and do work (ha, ha) all from the comfort of my bed,couch, or anywhere else in my house!!

Learned: When in doubt, just start clicking buttons!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reporting In

I have been so incredibly busy since I went back to work. I haven't really had time to think of anything incredibly poetic to report, nor do I currently have anything earth shattering to share, but I thought I better post something before months have passed me by. So this may be a bit random...

I keep forgetting to write it here, since I posted it months ago on my Facebook account, but I finally got my nose pierced. My friend Allsion and I were hanging out down town in early June (it think it was early June, but may have been mid or late) and I commented on how cute her nose ring was (for the millionth time) and that I secretly wanted to get it done. She whisked me away (drug) me to the parlor just a few blocks away and the deed was done. I don't know what was holding me back all this time; maybe that I was almost 30, or thought that I couldn't do it and still be respected as a teacher, but all those fears were silly and in the end I am glad I did it.

Maddox is still loving school, he still requests to go "all of the days" instead of just 3 weeks, but his favorite part isn't the nap any more - though he still likes them. He is starting to tell us about friends and playing with friends, as well as tidbits of what he is learning. The only down side is that he plays so hard and doesn't get as good of a nap as he is used to so by the time I pick him up and get home he is exhausted and fussy... I am sure we will all adjust soon.

Madison started her last year of elementary school. She has the same teacher as she did in 4th grade, she loops up with the class. I was a bit concerned because last year was her least favorite year in school. Her classmates are pretty rowdy and it makes learning difficult. So far she has said that it is much better. She also keeps saying "just one more year then I am with you". I have mixed feelings about her going to middle school, I just can't believe that she is that old. My team teachers daughter started MS this year so I get to see the dynamics of her having her daughter at the school, but I have a year to prepare for this big step.


Brian go to take a short trip to Oklahoma for work the beginning of this week to get certified in something (ball valves I think). It was partial fun (golf and nice dinner) and part work (tour of factory and certification). It was interesting seeing the other side of the coin, usually I am the one that goes on work trips and he is home with the kids and juggling it all alone.

I just registered for my first half marathon, the Moab Other Half. My mom, Anne, and Jan are all signed up to do it together. We run along the river following the scenic highway through the beautiful red walls of the canyon. I have picked up my running this week (I have not had much energy or time to go since school started), I have committed to get up at 4:30 two days, and possibly three, to do hill repeats one day and another run on Fridays with my running partner Anne. I have no doubt that I will be able to do it, it is just a matter of getting in enough long runs to be ready.

Soccer is in full swing now; we have our first games this weekend in Denver. Thus begins our multiple trips over the mountains. But it is all worth it to see Madison excelling at something she enjoys so much.

That about sums up my life currently...not to exciting, but packed to the brim.

Learned? I don't need to have something amazing to share, I just need to keep a record of what's going on, if I want to remember life accurately.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Day of School

Today marked the end of a very enjoyable summer with my kiddos, it went by so quickly because we were so busy the whole time!

Today also marked Maddox's first day of preschool. We had registered about a month ago, visited during hours so he could meet kids and teachers, and talked about it all the time. He was so excited to start school!

Last night he took a bath and when he got out of the tub he asked if he could shave, so he shaved with his Cars shaving foam and razor. Next we scrubbed our pearly whites and headed to bed. We read Spot Goes To School, a great lift the flap story about a dogs first day of school. We talked about how excited spot was to go to school and all the fun things he got to do, and what Maddox was looking forward to doing on his first day. It was so sweet!

So this morning he hopped out of bed and was ready to go to school, complete with his miniature backpack for his lunch. These pictures are blury because I could hardly get him to hold still for his excitement was bubbling out of every pore and fiber of his body!



When we arrived (it was early) he was the only kid there so he got his pick of toys and full attention from the teacher. They had his little cubby with his name on it all ready for him too! He felt so special as evident by his huge smile! He gave his sister and I both a hug and literally pushed us out the door!

He obviously was ready for this, I on the other hand wasn't and about fell apart in the store last night while buying him a lunch box, and cried myself to school. Most of the day I found myself wondering if he was ok, and checking my phone for calls from the school... none came and after my meetings were finished, I hurried over to pick him up.

I found him immersed in play outside with the other kids, I even got to talk to the other teachers about how he did. They said that he was wonderful, and they would have never known that today was his first day EVER in preschool. He lined up when told, laid down and took a nap at nap time, and followed directions. Finally I interrupted his play and he was at least happy to see me and left with out a fuss.

In typical fashion I asked him lots of questions and found out that his favorite part of the day was when he took a nap, he had fun playing with all the friends (but he doesn't know any of their names). He asked me when he got to go back to school, and I said on Friday, and he fussed saying "I want to go to school EVERYDAY!"

I have to say that I am so happy that this is the outcome, I was a bit concerned after the horrible swimming lessons situation, but take comfort that he can play with other kids, be polite and follow directions, and make it multiple hours with out his momma or grandmas.

Learned: I knew Maddox was ready to go to school, I just never imagined that it would be so easy to get him to go... and enjoy it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Shell Seekers


I am still in the midst of reading Malcom Gladwell's OUTLIERS, but I took a break to read a highly recommended book (thanks Anne and Ellie)by Rosamund Pilcher titled The Shell Seekers. This was a heartwarming book about family, love, life... the relationships and the pieces that make up who we are.

Penelope Keeling, the daughter of a famous artist, has lived a full life, and her life becomes richer and warmer as you read about those whose lives she has been a part of. Now that she is facing her final years, her three children all have different ideas of what she should do with her estate and her prized possession, a painting of her father's, The Shell Seekers. In the end she follows her heart, stays true to who she is, and makes you wish that you were fortunate enough to have someone like Penelope be a part of your life.

It was an enjoyable book and I give it a rating of 3.5.

Learned: Seeing how Nancy and Noel behave so selfishly and as if the world owes them, makes me embarrassed for them. Seeing how they are left with their final encounter with their mother makes me sad for them; a lesson well learned.

Tournament Champions and a New Baby

This last weekend we headed over the hill for Madison's team's first tournament. Her uncle Nate and Auntie Kristen were excited to come see the games but baby Tessa decided to join us on Thursday morning at 12:51! So we were fortunate enough to be able to meet the darling just days after her arrival.

Madison is playing on the U11 Premier soccer team for our local soccer club. They have been practicing all summer, and this weekend was their debate. I was excited to see how they stacked up against the Denver competition in the Denver Cup Tournament.

Their first game was Friday morning against Colorado Storm 3 (their C team) and won 4-1. Their second game was later that day against Colorado Storm (the A team) and tied it 0-0. The third game was Saturday against Real Colorado and tied again 1-1. The fourth game was Sunday against Pride United and they won 2-0. This put us in the championship game Sunday playing Real Colorado again. This time they dominated and won 4-0. They played great as a team and have shown steady improvement through all the games.


We went and saw the new baby on Saturday after the game and Madison and Maddox got to hold her. Maddox was super sweet to her and gave her lots of kisses! She was born in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and had such a speedy arrival that she is quite bruised and swollen, but looks just like her older sister. Everyone is doing very well. I am bummed that I don't share my birthday with her, it would have been a special bond... oh well!




Learned: Going to a soccer tournament as a single mom is a lot of work. Neither of my kids were bad, they were both actually wonderful, it is just hard to juggle it all from a hotel room.

30th Birthday Trip

For the weekend of my 30th birthday we headed south! Our good friends Vycci and Danny came from Denver Thursday night and then we all headed to Ridgeway for a long weekend.

When we got into town on Friday we found the lodge where we would be staying, then went for a day trip into Telluride... one of my favorite places on Earth! We wandered around down town enjoyed the goodies at the local farmers market, had yummy BBQ, strolled the shops and gawked at the outrageous prices. Then we headed up the gondola to Mountain Village, more shopping, and an ice cream treat! It was a beautiful day spent in a beautiful town with great friends.

When we got back to Ridgeway we checked into the lodge, which looked amazing on the website, but less than impressive in person. The common areas were nice, the staff was nice, our room was the disappointment. I think Vycci and Danny got the only good room there. Needless to say we spent most of our time at the lodge on their balcony and in their hot tub.

Saturday, we headed into Ouray for a hike/sightseeing. We visited Box Canyon Falls, it was very pretty and loud! Then we wound our way up to Yankee Boy Basin. I had been there years ago and completely forgot how amazing and majestically beautiful it was. We strolled around and just took it all in. Then we headed back to town, enjoyed a nice lunch on the patio, and various shops and antique stores.

Sunday, we all went to breakfast, then the Sandovals headed home to Denver and I headed for my birthday treat- a massage!!!! Then we headed home as well.

Looking back at the trip I really did enjoy myself spending a special day with such great friends and an amazing husband in a beautiful place. In the midst of it I was a bit disappointed, my expectations were much higher then the actual.



Learned: actually I am wondering...Is it worth lowering expectations just to avoid disappointment?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Swim Lesson Fun or Flop?

I signed Maddox up for swimming lessons last minute. Madison is away at Camp Redcloud for the week, and I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do...

So I talked it up, he was super excited to play with new friends and a teacher; then we get there and there are three teachers assigned to the class, and the one that seems to be in charge has a MAJOR attitude problem. She even goes so far to snidely say under her breath in response to a parent asking if they were AquaTot 2 "yeah, that's why I just yelled it out..."

Then one of the teachers takes two of the kids and goes and gets in the pool, the rest of us are left standing there with the attitude chick and a young guy trying to make sense of who should be where. Maddox is starting to get nervous and asks "when is the teacher going to call my name?" Then they (the teachers)head to the pool with out so much as any introduction or greeting with the kids, climb in and expect preschool aged kids to just follow them in. I am standing at the edge of the pool with Maddox being very apprehensive -- who can blame him, you can't expect a 3 year old to just jump into a pool and begin following directions when no one is even acting excited about being there or talking up how much fun it will be--

Finally I butt in and say "Excuse me would you please engage the kids and try to at least get him in the water with you?" The attitude chick comes over and with a tone that would make any 3 year old feel like they are in trouble, tells Maddox to get in the water. He gets in, but gets out to find me, (repeat a few times)...all while attitude chick keeps talking like Maddox is in trouble.

Once in the water there is no excitement or hype about doing any of the activities. Just "lets get on the mat." "put you mouth in the water and blow bubbles" "Maddox, get on the mat." So Maddox is completely disinterested and wanting to do his own thing.

Then they take them to the deep pool, after Maddox has said multiple times that he is worried about not being able to touch, and he won't get in (shocker), and spends the rest of the time sitting on the edge of the pool.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not an expert swimmer, but I do know a thing or two about working with kids, being I am a mom and a teacher with a masters degree, so when I think of swimming lessons for young kids I think of energetic instructors that are excited to be there, get down on the ground and meet the kids, and talk up what they are going to be doing, in order to get the kids excited and build rapport with them; you are asking 3 year olds to trust you in the water.

After lessons attitude chick come up and with the same attitude asks if there is anything that might work to help him enjoy it more... So I say "Yeah, you could have acted happy and excited when you met the kids and actually introduced yourself to them. You could engage them with fun activities." (probably not that snotty sounding but I get my point across). Then she has the NERVE to tell me that she did engage him she kept asking him to get in the water, to which I point out that she was not making it inviting, but rather making it sound like he was in trouble and she says some sort of dismissal such as ok or alright and walks off.

Allie went and talked to the director while I was dealing with Maddox, and she came out and observed for a while then she came and talked to me. She was super nice and helpful; and we are going to give it another go tomorrow with a different teacher, though I am doubtful because the attitude of lessons has already been set for Maddox. I am just sad because he was so excited to do lessons and now it is a struggle.

Learned? It is perplexing that we leave the job of "Life Guarding" in the hands of teens. (Another sign that I am getting old).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In Exactly ONE Week...

I will Turn 30!
30 Thoughts at 30:
1. That sounds really old
2. I don't feel REALLY old, still feel 24
3. Most of my friends are 30 or older, so they don't have much sympathy for me.
4. I am way healthier/more active at 30 than I was at 24.
5. I just found out there is a 1/2 marathon in the town we are going to for my b-day ON my b-day... Wish I would have known sooner...
6. I have accomplished a lot more than I ever imagined I would by 30.
7. Would like to run 2 - 1/2 marathons in my 30th year.
8. If I am 30 that means Madison is will turn 11, only 5 years till driving!
9. I wish I would have known 1/2 of what I know now, back then.
10. I am the same age as my mom! (My mom will forever be 30 in my mind)
11. Need to SERIOUSLY plan for retirement, given all I want to do.
12. Conflicted between having a HUGE shindig to celebrate, or making the passage quietly.
13. I still want the same things as before, but I think I know HOW to get them now.
14. I know 30 is just a # but it's hard when all the famous athletes, actors,and musicians have a smaller # than me now.
15. I am still younger than most of the parents of my students.
16. Much more appreciative for family now.
17. I have ALMOST lived longer on my own than with my parents.
18. 1/3 of my life has been shared with an amazing man.
19. Feeling that there are just some things I mustn't do now.
20. I know who I am, rather than trying to find myself. (might I say this again at 40?)
21. I wont shop at Hollister: the music's too loud, the scent is overwhelming, and it's too dark to see what I am buying.
22. I will go to the pool and actually swim, but only if it's hot enough.
23. Wish there were a way to impart wisdom that only comes from experience to inexperienced youth.
24. Family time is way more important and valuable to me than social time.
25. I refuse to become unfashionable, but finding the balance between teen and old lady is tricky.
26. I have made some amazing friendships, some that have lasted 20 years (Jolene) and others that are just new (Anne), but all are so valuable to me.
27. I wish I would have had this competitive drive when I was in school.
28. Still learning, still wanting to learn, still imparting learning.
29. I know it will just be another day; I will not actually feel, look, speak, act,or think with any greater insight just because my numbers are 3 and 0.
30. Success and happiness are no longer what I desire most for myself, but what I desire above all else for my children.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cabin Trip: Ideal vs. Reality

Allison and I have been trying to plan a week long trip with just us and the kids. We finally found one week that worked for both of us (only because a soccer tournament was canceled) and began making preparations. Finally last Wednesday we loaded up the truck and headed to the mountains. The bed of the truck was filled to the brim with our supplies; we were really living the out the boy scout motto of always be prepared!

Ideally I imagined a week long trip spending time enjoying the woods; watching our children play in the creeks, collecting bugs, fishing, hiking, roasting marshmallows, playing games, knitting, and going on evening drives to look for wildlife... all while feeling a profound sense of peace, serenity, and relaxation.

The reality of the situation was that all of that did happen: We played in the inlet at Atkinson where I caught 3 fish! We went on several short hikes. We spent a whole day playing in another creek. The kids took an afternoon swim in the lake and came out so smelly. They spent a morning collecting bugs, and much to my demise the only thing they captured was a grasshopper! Allison and I played several games of Hand and Foot and Nertz. We went on several evening drives and saw SO much wildlife- countless deer, 3 foxes (one tried to watch a movie with us through the sliding glass door late one night), 3 porcupines, and many chipmunks (one even snuck into the cabin and we had to chase it out). I got more than half way finished knitting the top portion of the dress I am making. We never did roast marshmallows it was just too hot.

The only other thing missing was the profound feeling of peace, serenity, and relaxation; this was replaced with, frustration as the children (actually our boys) could NOT get along and argued, fought, didn't listen, wouldn't share. Even though we did all we were wanting, with out the feeling of relaxation it just wasn't worth it...

So after only 4 days on the mountains we decided to head home.

Learned? Fighting boys is a buzz kill for an ideal trip to the woods...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Literal Maddox

It is funny to see how literal Maddox is:

Maddox wanted chocolate milk, so I made him some and told him to shake it up. He was just barely shaking it so I told him to shake it up again, he made no changes in how vigorous he was shaking but just shook it higher above his head; I guess he was shaking it "up"!

The other day Maddox asked Brian something and he said no, then Maddox turned around and asked me and I repeated the answer, so Brian said, "Mom's got my back". To this Maddox stopped what he was doing came over to me turned me around so he could see my back and said "let me see".

Then yesterday....
Maddox: Mom where's dad?
Me: At work
Maddox: Where's dad work?
Me: In Parachute.
Maddox: Does dad work in the sky or on the ground?
Me: Stunned silence while I process his question.... then it dawns on me he is thinking of parachutes, the ones used to float safely to the ground after exiting an airplane while still in flight... The rest of our conversation is spent trying to explain the names of towns.

Learned: I forget how literal young children are, and continually amused by my son.

Weddings, Dwellings, and Mountains - DURANGO!

We headed to Durango Last week for a long weekend and Brian's cousin's wedding; and had a wonderful time with the WHOLE family.

We left after my Serpents Trail run Thursday and slowly made our way across the beautiful mountains; I always love the drive once we are out of Montrose BUT I get car sick so easy! We stopped in Silverton and enjoyed an ice cream cone as we strolled through town. Maddox said that "this town is old!" how right he was! I really could see Brian and I living here when we retire... we love the mountains and the snow and the small town!

Once we got into Durango we meandered through historic down town and made our way to the train museum. Maddox was fascinated with all the trains, life size and model, and wanted to bring grandma and papa back there when they got to town. When we drove into town there were signs up for the gem and mineral show, and Brian wondered if Josh would be there.... and guess who we ran into at the museum...yep Josh!! It was fun to see and visit with him for a minute! When done there we headed to the hotel and went for a swim.

Friday the whole family, Brian, the kids, Carrie, Rob, Myla, Amy, Cecil, Dillon, and I, headed to Mesa Verde. I had been when I was maybe a little older than Madison, and remember being fascinated... It was amazing! Our first stop was to Spruce Tree house and we climbed into the Kiva. Then we all went to Cliff Palace; this place was huge. I was really looking forward to learning more about it, but our tour got interrupted when a lady stumbled forward into our guide and passed out, he had to take care of her, and the rest of us were on our own. (I am frustrated because they specifically tell you not to bring any food or drink besides water, and the girl with her cracked open a soda!!! that tels you what kind of people they were). At Cliff Palace we got to see some art work that was inside one of the rooms, it was pretty amazing that the ruins and art work were preserved for SO many years!

Our next stop was to Balcony House, a much more treacherous trip, so Amy and Cecil took the younger kids back to the hotel while the rest of us continued... This tour was great, our guide was funny and very knowledgeable. He made Madison the Junior Ranger of the trip, complete with badge; she led the way along the paths, up the ladders, through the tunnels, doing a mighty fine job! To get into the Balcony House you have to climb a very tall ladder, but once you are up you are actually IN the run. To get out, you have to go through several tunnels, up another tall ladder, and traverse a cliff wall. Heights don't bother me but I was a little worried about the tunnels. The first was pretty big and tall enough to walk through, the second was a different story; you have to crawl through on your hands and knees but it is short and you can see the other side. So I waited till Rob got all the way through (so I could see the light on the other side)but watching him panicked me a bit; all the guys are big, broad shouldered men, so it was a tight squeeze. But I sucked it up and made it through with no problems! This is the one that I have the most vivid childhood memories of, probably because it is the most work to get in and out of. When we got home (to the hotel) the pool was calling out to us... of course we answered with a few cannon balls!

Saturday was the day of the wedding and Carrie's birthday; her one request was that we all go get an old time photo done. This turned out to be so fun! Maddox loved dressing up as a cowboy and even tolerated the pictures. By the time we wandered around town, and ate it was time for naps followed by dinner and heading to Bayfield for the wedding. It was a beautiful, short wedding with a long reception. The kids had fun on the bump and jump, and I just took in the beauty of the scenery.

Sunday we headed out and made a quick stop at Durango Mountain to do the Alpine slide. I love these! We all had a great time, especially Madison and Maddox! It was a good thing that we only got a single ride because it was starting to rain and they closed it down right after we we went. Then it was time to say good by to our Durango adventures and head home to the real world of laundry, cleaning, and work.



Learned? Glad we had the excuse of a wedding; a family vacation was long overdue!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July Weekend Re-cap

Fishing on the mesa,

Tabeguache trail run,

Going away BBQ for my brother Alix (left for the army yesterday),

Fireworks with the family,

Weeded flowerbeds,

Removed 3 bushes,

Removed the deck railing,

Transplanted iris and one plant (hope they survive, but they had to be moved their home is getting tilled and turned into grass),

Two boulders moved,

Truck loaded for the dump,

and a Dinner visit with the Sandoval's as they passed through town...

A lovely weekend!!



Learned: When you do a lot of yard work it feels like you did SO much but when you recount it it seems rather minuscule!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Maddox's First Fish!

Yesterday Brian, Maddox, and I went to the Mesa to fish (Madison was at her Aunt Peggy and Teja's riding horses). Maddox was so excited and spent the whole day climbing, jumping, and throwing rocks. Our first lake was my personal favorite, Atkinson, and we walked to the inlet to do some fishing. Maddox was the first, and only, one to catch a fish. He was super excited and even wanted to hold it up for a picture, then he touched it and discovered how slimy it was and changed his mind.

We tooled around the mesa 4-wheeling into some of the back lakes to fish and just enjoying oursleves. Maddox fell asleep, so we found a nice meadow and all took a brief snooz.

Our journey continued over the top of the Mesa and down Lands End road. I really enjoyed myself watching my two boys fish together.



Learned? Fishing is like gambling; Just one more cast and I know I will catch one!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Conquering the Serpent

On my 5th week of running Serpents Trail, I have finally conquered it; I ran it all the way up, both times with out stopping! YAHOO! It felt so good to accomplish this. I will of course keep going because it is such a great, scenic and cardio, run.

Our group of women going has grown from the original two ladies to now include six of us; all ranging in ability from the casual hiker to the marathon runner! It is such a great group of women all enjoying the scenery and a common goal of improving our health.

I can honestly say that with out each of these amazing ladies, I would not have succeeded in this goal. I for sure would not be crawling out of bed before 5 during the summer if I didn't have them waiting for me, nor would I have made it to the top if I didn't have two great examples blazing the trail ahead of me!

Now to improve my pace!!!

Learned? The view from the top is beautiful, but not nearly as great as the sense of accomplishment attained from reach it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finger Lickin' Fifteen!


I have always found Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series to be hilarious fast reads full of mystery, love tension, great characters, and horrible eating habits! Finger Licking' Fifteen did not disappoint; and may be one of my favorites to date!

I woke Brian up several times and embarrassed Madison (who had a friend over) belly laughing at this book; which is not an uncommon occurrence while reading the perils of Stephanie Plum.

In this edition Stephanie finds her self working for Ranger, separated from Morelli, skips getting the best of her, and trying to find a killer and a business wrecker before they get the best of her friends. Don't forget many trips for fried chicken, doughnuts, and any other heart clogging foods, all while Lula and Grandma try to come up with an award winning BBQ sauce that doesn't leave everyone running fo the bathroom.

I rate it (4.5) A Must Read!

Learned? It was refreshing to stop my other readings (Outliers, and Shell Seekers) and pick up the newest Stephanie Plum; I needed a good laugh (or two, or twenty)!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Heman or Tarzan?

Last night as we were eating dinner, Maddox hauled the step stool into the bathroom, that should have been a clue that he was up to no good... but we did not heed the warning!



He came out with the towel hook in his hand, wall screws still attached, saying "Mom I am sorry about your wall."

I assumed that he just yanked it out of wall with sheer strength (hence Heman), but when we went into the bathroom and saw the hole in wall we asked what he had done. He said he was swinging on it!

So it looks like we have a Tarzan in the house!

NOTE: His is not crying because he pulled it out of the wall, he is crying because he HATES getting his picture take!

Learned: Boys can not be trusted alone in the bathroom.

Mountains and Pools!

Since school got out we have been go, go going.

I have been upping the intensity of my running with a once a week run up Serpents Trail. I go with a few ladies and we go up it twice then enjoy a scrumptious Bolthouse Mocha protein drink when we are done. I have seen steady improvement in my ability to complete it, I can now run up it 1 1/2 times with out stopping, and run/speed hike the last half of our second trip. I am really enjoying this run it is so beautiful.

Pretendingsanity and I have scheduled to go to the lake once a week too, but this June has been quite cloudy and chilly, not much over 80 yet (I am not complaining); and once again last week it was not lake weather, so we took the kids to Ouray hot springs and enjoyed the warm pool. The kids loved it, and it was amazingly relaxing with 4 kids in tow.



Madison and I hiked Mt.Garfield last week with the ladies I run Serpents with and their families. I had never hiked to the top before, and though it was a steep hike, the weather was perfect for the ascent and the view was amazing! However, I would choose to climb that thing 100 times before coming down it again; my toes were jammed into the ends of my shoes, and made my feet about an inch shorter!



We are planning to hike to Hanging Lake soon too! That is such a pretty, though populated, one!

Learned: It is nice to have time to enjoy the place where we live!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Significant Investment

WARNING: What you are about to read deals with the perils of being an up-kept woman, if you are not prepared to read about "sensitive" woman issues, cease and abort now!


I am serious... you may not want to know the following about me... so just consider yourself warned!



Last Chance!




Today I started the first of several visits towards permanent hair removal (reduction according to the professionals because they can't guarantee permanent).

It all started last week when a friend went to get a Brazilian wax and I thought I would brave it, but I didn't (for other reasons). So I had planned to go yesterday and drag along my good friend pretendingsanity. After telling my mother about what I was about to do she suggested ("DON'T TORTURE YOUR SELF WITH THAT...") I look into laser hair removal (reduction). So I did, and found that it would be well worth the time and money (even though it is quite expensive) to go that rout as opposed to waxing. My main reason is I can still shave between treatments and don't have to have a certain amount of regrowth as you do in waxing, and I HATE shaving and how short term it is.

I was quite nervous, but that didn't last long as the lady was super personable. When it started it was a bit uncomfortable, and got more intense as we covered more sensitive areas, but it was never unbearable. Within about an hour of completion it felt completely normal.

I am scheduled to go in once a week for the next month, and then once a month for a few months after that and then I should be all done for quite a while (not permanently, but close!)

Learned: Being an up-kept woman is a lot of work and sometimes requires some pain, but if it makes me feel better about me, AND it makes my husband happy, it is SO worth it!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Five Things I Can't Live Without


I just finished this book by Holly Shumas, about a lady who seemed a lot like me from the synopsis on the back of the book. She is almost 30 and lives in what she calls her meta-life. Her meta-life is where she constantly - no obsessively- analyzes everything; from her interactions with her boyfriend and friends to her work situation. It is an enjoyable journey through her personal self discovery, and realizing exactly what she wants out of life.

How do I rate it: (3) Enjoyable, not a total waste of time.

The Five Things I (me) Can't Live Without:

1. LOVE-given and received from GOD, family, and friends.
2. COMPANIONSHIP- I need social interaction.
3. ALONE TIME- I need time to be by my self to make sense of my world.
4. A GOOD BOOK- This is my addiction, my escape from reality!
5. RUNNING- (another addiction) If I don't get this at least every other day, I go stir crazy!

Learned: In the end she really was not much like me at all except that I am almost 30 and seem to spend a significant amount of time in my personal meta-life.

Catch-Up Via Slide Shows

I have been SO incredibly busy since school got out. After retruning home from Denver over Momeorial weekend, I had family in town for my grandma's 80th birthday. We had a surprise party for her and all her brothers (except one), all her daughters, and all her grand kids came in for the surprise. It was a great week/weekend to spend with everyone; and grandma looked great- I think the visit from her family perked her up!

This is a slide show of the bar-b-que we had at her house and the lunch up on Glade Park at Peggy and Tea's house the following day.



I have been so busy that I have not even posted pics from Maddox's birthday last month...



Here are the long awaited DC pics as well...




Learned? I put off all of this because I could never find the time to upload pics to Flickr, create slide shows, and then post here. It was time consuming, but next time I won't do 3 at one time!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rain, Soccer, Rain, Run..

It was a very busy weekend here at the Caster household!

We left for Denver Friday when I was done with work (done for the rest of the summer!!). From the moment we got Denver it was go time! We went to the soccer fields, dinner with friends; got up the next morning for 2 soccer games, visited and had dinner with the Sandovals, went to a Rapids game; got up for another early game, went and saw the house my brother is buying, took Madison to the new Night at the Museum movie (cute and funny!), had rain delays for the afternoon soccer game, went to Dick's and got some new running stuff, back to the soccer field for a short game, pasta dinner, then to bed, up at 4:00 today to head into Boulder for the BoulderBOULDER 10k, ran 6.2 miles, drove back to aunt's, packed, gassed up the car headed home, stopped at the Adidas outlet got more running clothes, then pulled into town at precisely 4:28, two minutes earlier than I predicted and won the bet with Brian.

Weekend results:

Madison's team won 1 of 4 games but still finished 3rd because they only had 3 goals scored on them the whole weekend, Madison did great!!! She played every minute of every game and many people were very impressed with her! (not just her mom and dad, but complete stranger!!)

Ran 6.2 miles in 57:50, a 9:19 pace, 5 seconds faster than last year. My best mile was 8:36, and that was the first one!

The bet I won entitles me to a massage! JOY!

Learned? Usually being this busy makes time fly, but it seems like weeks since I left work; maybe it is because we did SO many different things!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle

After reading "The Other Boleyn Girl" this period in history has intrigued me. So when I saw "The Queen's Lady", a book about a young lady in the court of Catherine of Aragon, I was pretty sure I would enjoy it.

It turned out to be nothing of what I expected, but still very enjoyable! I was expecting the story to center around the Queen's dealings with the Boleyn situation; instead I was treated to a different side, yet likely more influential aspect of this time period, the religious turmoil and persecution in England.

An excerpt from the book gives a great hint of what you will be treated to when you read: "She saw that everything that had come to her in the years that followed--the wrestlings of her conscience, the striving for some better social order, the fulfillment of love and the despair at its loss, the disillusionment at the self-deception of the world and the hunger to know why men craved such self-deception -- all this turmoil was nothing less than life itself."

"The Queen's Lady" is a great story of love, loss, faith, deception, suspense, following your conscience at all cost, and in the end finding yourself.
Learned: Though hundreds of years have passed, that simple truth applies today; all the messes and problems of this world are just a part of life; unless you want to quit, you have to learn how to survive it all.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wow! That's Hot!

In my 6 (or is it 7?) years of teaching I have had many embarrassing and/or laughable moments; today I add another to the list.

One of the students at school, whom I do not have but he always comes in to say "hi", was making his daily appearance. Today he had a special treat, he brought in one of those dancing and singing stuffed animals and danced for the class. While he was dancing I went to type something and forgot that I had a scented candle burning and slightly burned my arm while reaching over it.

In reaction I yelped, "WOW! That's hot!" in that instant the whole class became silent looking at me with shock and discomfort, then completing my thought, I said "Don't reach over an open flame!"

This was met with an entire class bursting into laughter, and it dawned on me that they ALL thought I was commenting on how hot this student dancing was.. I of course couldn't stifle my own laughter.

Learned? Sometimes it is not wise to say what ever is on you brain.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Hear Birdies Tweeting In The Grill!

For the past month or so some finches have been building a nest in our grill. Because we love to grill so much, we would remove their efforts almost daily. Finally we gave up and let the persistent birds have their way and soon we had 4 little speckled eggs.

On Maddox's birthday we checked the progress and were all surprised to see four tiny, featherless, big beaked, ugly birds in the grill.

Today Maddox ran in the house from playing in his sand box super excited saying "MOM! I hear birdies tweeting in the grill!!!" He knew they were there but had never heard them, and they are quite loud!!



Learned? No matter the species, all mothers are "called" on Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Life Lessons On YouTube

Some great examples of life's greatest lessons.

First: Never give up, no matter the circumstances, perseverance pays.

Second and Third: Don't judge a book by its cover, you may miss out on something completely amazing. Don't let what others think about you influence your dreams.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"I'm 3 Today!"

(I apologize in advance for the lackluster of my writing; I am exhausted but wanted to get this up before tomorrow.)

Yesterday we made a big deal about it being the last day Maddox would be two; during one of our conversations he said, "Mom, I don't like my number anymore (referring to 2), I like my new number 3!? Then this morning I woke him up singing Happy Birthday, and he looked at me with the biggest smile and said "I'm 3 today!"

We started the day with a special breakfast, doughnuts and Horizon chocolate milk, then I dropped the kids off at my mom's and headed to work. He was so excited at my mom's to tell her it was his birthday that he walked by the presents she had wrapped and placed in the middle of the room for him! A huge thanks to my mom who made his day super special while I had to work. They played outside, slayed dragons, rode trikes and scooters, flew his cool new dragon kite, and played his new game; he was so excited to tell me all about it when I picked him up.

We headed home and Madison gave Maddox her gift. (She is the most thoughtful girl, she bought him 4 really cool books at her school book fair with her own money!) He loved them and asked right away if we could read ALL of them tonight!


We originally planned to go out to dinner before he open the gift from Brian and I but he wanted to open it first. We tried to trick him and just give him his helmet, but he immediately asked "Where are we going to go ride?" Then he put it on and pulled out his skateboard and started skating. He did not want to leave to go get dinner.



So... we ordered pizza, had a picnic on the grass, and let him open his big present...




He was so excited and hopped on right away. It didn't take long before he figured out the rhythm of pedaling and was trying out new tricks.

We ended his birthday with some great stories and him asking if he could read one more by himself, with out me in the room. So I let him and when he was done he got up turned his light off, told us good night, and crawled into bed... too grown up at the age of 3.

Learned? 3 years seems like eternity from one vantage point and 3 minutes from another; either way our lives have been so enriched with Maddox in them! What a great kid! ( I am not bias at all!)