Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Well, it's New Year's Eve, and I was going to write some kind of reflection on 2005, but I just don't have it in me right now. I asked John if he wanted to, and he might later. He's worked at REI all day and when he gets home in a little while, we're just going to have some nice, quiet family time at home. I've got some stuffed mushrooms and spinach/artichoke dip in the oven. It's our traditional New Year's Eve appetizer-dinner, and it's yummy even though it's pretty darn fattening! For as long as I can remember we've rented the movie "Auntie Mame" with Rosalind Russell and watched it sometime between Christmas and New Year's. It is one of our all-time favorites. Last year, we couldn't find it at Blockbuster, and I've had it in my queue forever, but they still haven't shipped it. So, no traditional favorite this year. I guess we'll have to pick one that we already own.

Tomorrow we're heading to the mountains--to Winter Park. We're meeting some friends to go tubing on a huge tubing hill. We had originally planned to meet at Lake Evergreen for some ice skating, but our weather has been so mild that the lake might be a little too slushy! Tubing sounds more fun to me skating with a three-year-old is translated sitting on bench in a warming hut! I think I'm more excited than the kids. I just had them gather up their snow bibs, coats, hats, gloves, and boots to get ready for the big day. It's supposed to be snowing and cold there tomorrow! I can't wait!

Happy New Year from the Blases! We pray God's blessings on you and yours in the upcoming new year! May it be your best one yet!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Bailey and Ira

Call us crazy, but we volunteered to babysit our neighbor's new puppy today while they're out of town. Her name is Bailey. She's a yellow lab and she is beautiful. And so far she's been very good! Our neighbors have had her a week or so, and I give them a thumbs up for their training technique...whatever they're doing seems to be working!

Will wanted a puppy for Christmas, but his mom talked him out of it. We had a puppy once before (before kids) and it is a LOT of work and a LOT of expense. Apparently, I forgot that a puppy is also a LOT of fun. Agreeing to puppy-sit Bailey may be all the persuasion I need. We'll see! Oh, I forgot to mention that Abbey is terrified of Bailey, and has spent the entire morning in the "red" chair watching a princess video with her toes tucked tightly under her bottom, or playing in her room with the door shut. That's definitely got to be considered if we resume talks about a puppy.

I'd like to ask you all who read this to pray for an 8-month old boy named Ira Hays. Ira spent the first 6 months of his life in the NICU of a New York City hospital. Ira was hospitalized on Christmas Eve after he stopped breathing. He has come down with RSV (a severe respiratory virus), and yesterday his left lung collapsed. His lungs aren't strong to begin with because of a condition he was born with (that's what kept him in the NICU for so long.) His parents are relatives of a friend of mine, and I've felt somewhat of a connection with them because they are a pastor's family. Joe, Ira's dad, has planted a church in NYC. It's somewhat of a miracle that they actually live in NYC where Ira has access to the best medical care available to him. But, if you are so inclined, please, please pray. Their family is so weary. And, while you're praying for Ira, thank God for your own healthy children. It is a blessing that I too often take for granted. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


We are in princess heaven around here. Santa brought Abbey Cinderella's Talking Vanity and lots of princess dress up clothes. She couldn't be happier. Everytime I see her she has on a different princess outfit, complete with shoes, jewelry, crown, and magic wand. Abbey is thoroughly convinced she's a "real" princess...and you know what? She is!

Last week, one of my favorite friends gave me a book titled, Gigi, God's Little Princess. It's a great book, and I highly recommend it if you have a little girl in your life (or if you're a girl at heart!). It is written by Shelia Walsh, and it tells the story of a little girl who believes she is a real princess. She can't figure out why she doesn't live in a castle or have any royal jewels though. Her parents explain to her that she is the daughter of the King of Kings...and therefore, she is exactly what she believes herself to be...a beautiful princess! It is an adorable book!

Will is very tolerant of his sister and her make-believe games. Of course, he's so obessesed with playing the GameCube that Santa brought him that he doesn't care much about anything else right now! I couldn't even get him to tear himself away long enough to eat breakfast this morning! I've let him play almost constantly for two days (it's Christmas, for Pete's sake), but tomorrow I'm afraid he's in for a rude awakening!

We got a really fun game this year from my sister. It's Cadoo, and we are loving it. We've played 5 or 6 times already and it's so fun! Abbey played with us tonight and she was actually able to answer some questions and give some clues. I'm so happy to have a new family game. There's only so much UNO a mom can take! Thanks, M!!!

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Merry Christmas!

We had very Merry Christmas! I think it was our best Christmas to date! Here's some fun pictures from Christmas Eve to enjoy. We go to church every Christmas Eve and John always takes a picture of me with the kiddos when we get home. We also make food for Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve and sprinkle it outside before going to bed. The kids think it's a great tradition, and they always check on Christmas morning to see if the reindeer ate the food they left the night before. Santa's reindeer must like coming to our house, because the food is always gone when they check!

Friday, December 23, 2005

It's beginning to FEEL a lot like Christmas

We're ready for Christmas around here! Today we baked more cookies, and just had fun doing nothing! It was a beautiful Colorado day, with lots of sunshine and some warmer temperatures (finally!), so the kids even got to spend some time playing outside. We can finally see our sidewalk again since most of the snow has melted, so they got to ride their bikes and scooters. I was grateful they could be outside for gives me a little break.

A few days ago we got a package from my mom and she sent us a Christmas puzzle. Will and I started it yesterday, but he got frustrated and soon gave up. I couldn't leave it alone though. We finished it this afternoon. It was the hardest puzzle I've ever worked. It was monochromatic, so that made it hard, but the picture on the front of the box wasn't lined up correctly with the puzzle, so we kinda had to make it up as we went along. NOT an easy task! We stuck with it and were glad to have it finished.

John offered to take us out for dinner tonight--and of course we eagerly agreed to go. We went to one of our favorite places. They have the best fish tacos. If you're grossed out by the sound of fish tacos, rest assured I was too, until I tried them. They're really YUMMY! After dinner, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. We hope to do that again tomorrow night too because we didn't get to all the neighborhoods we intended to. We came home and made reindeer food to leave for Santa's reindeer tomorrow night.

Right now the kids are watching Olive, the Other Reindeer. They're heading to bed soon, and John and I have got to get some wrapping done. Other than that, we're in good shape and are ready for Christmas Eve...won't be long now!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Will got new glasses last week and they came in yesterday. We found out about this time last year that he had failed the vision screening at school and needed to see the opthamologist. Her diagnosis was amblyopia and as a result, his left eye is very weak. This summer, we did about 12 weeks of vision therapy to strengthen that left eye, and he made some great progress. Anyway, his glasses broke beyond repair last week and were not under warranty, so we let him choose some new frames. They look great. Oh...and this time, we spent a little more money and bought a pair with a 2-year warranty!

We're getting really excited about Christmas. This week we've gotten 4 large packages in the mail filled to the brim with gifts! The kids have been begging to open them. It hasn't worked, so they've resorted to negotiating, "I'll clean up my room if you'll let me open one!" So funny! Don't worry, I haven't caved to their woeful pleas!

Tuesday night, I met some friends in Denver for a Girls Night Out. We had dinner and then went to see a movie--The Family Stone. I thought it was hilarious. If you get a chance to see it, do. It's very funny, but sweet too. And if you have any dysfunction whatsoever in your family, it will make you smile!

I had another Girls Night Out last night with Sarah and Abbey. I took them to a birthday party for one of their favorite friends. It was very fun. It was at a nearby family fun center. They have a huge play area for preschoolers...with a dress-up area, beauty shop, firetruck, pet shop, art center, playground, a HUGE sandbox, and more! They were in kid-heaven!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Having a three-year old around is such great entertainment. Abbey and I have been home this morning. I've been cleaning, and she's been playing with her "activity set". Each of my kids has a nativity set that their Mimi and Papa have given them. Every year at Thanksgiving, they get a new piece for it...and they think it is the grandest thing. Abbey loves the camels, donkeys, and sheep. She likes Mary and Joseph too, but her favorite is baby Jesus. It's so cute listening to her give voices to the characters and make up stories with them. I love it! She's convinced it's called an activity set, no matter how hard I try to get her to say nativity. Funny! She's had me in stitches this morning. She's quite the conversationalist these days. She interrupted me while vacuuming the den to tell me that my vacuuming was "exhausting her" and she'd really like me to stop. She told me the floor was clean and I needed to stop. Apparently she couldn't see all the goldfish crumbs she spilled earlier. But you know what, she was right...the floor was clean enough. So, I stopped vacuuming, and took some time to play with her and the "activity set". We had a blast!

Monday, December 19, 2005

I got our Christmas cards mailed today. That is a huge relief. I read in the paper today that this is the busiest postal day of the year. With that in mind, Abbey and I drove a few miles out of the way to a smaller post office to buy stamps. We live pretty close to a local post office, but the lines are soooooo long, and standing in line with a 3-year old isn't very fun for either of us. This other, smaller post office is a well-kept secret in these parts. It's never crowded, and I can get in and out in about 3 minutes...well worth the drive! I saved a lot of time, but don't laugh if you get our Christmas card and it has a Disney character or Muppet stamp on it. They were out of Christmas stamps (unbelievable!), and so I let Abbey choose from the available designs. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but it sure made Abbey's day! She was pretty taken with the Little Mermaid and Miss Piggy!

Tomorrow is the kid's last day of school for 2005. I went to their class parties this afternoon, and as we were walking to the car, they kept telling me that they didn't have school on Wednesday. And, I kept telling them that they did. I've had it written on my calendar for months, and of course I'm never wrong. Just a few minutes ago I decided to double check...and I'm so glad I did. I might have figured it out on Wednesday when the parking lot was empty, but who knows? So what a treat! An extra day at home with of my most favorite things! And yes, for once, I was wrong!

Sunday, December 18, 2005


I bought a 5lb box of "Cuties", or clementines, on Friday, and they were such a hit with the kids that I bought another box this afternoon. They're super easy to peel, and they're seedless too, so they're very kid-friendly. My kids eat 2-3 at a time! In fact, they finished off that first box before lunch on Saturday!!!

We LOVED the Narnia movie! I took Will yesterday, and John took Sarah after church this afternoon. It was pretty intense, and a little scary at times, but they both really enjoyed it, and so did their parents. We've read the first three books in the series, so I think after Christmas we might try to work our way through books 4-7. John and I also finished up our Christmas shopping on Friday night. It is a GREAT feeling to be completely finished! Now, I just have to wrap everything!

It's been snowing all weekend. It's a really fine, powdery snow, and it's just been lightly falling since yesterday morning. We don't have significant accumulation which is good, but it is sooooo cold.

I just finished addressing all of our Christmas cards, and I hope to mail them tomorrow. Here's a bit of trivia for you...we mail about 250 cards each year to friends and family in 20 different states. We have friends and family scattered all over the United States...from coast to coast! It's fun to go through the list each year and remember the connection to each person we mail a card to. Some are friends from high school, college, seminary, and lots of them are friends from churches that we've been a part of. Sending cards is a Christmas tradition that we love.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ready for the Weekend!

I am so ready for the weekend! It officially begins (in my opinion) on Friday afternoon after the kids get home from school. Tonight, we're going on a date! Our favorite babysitter is coming to stay with the kids while John and I go start (and hopefully finish!) our Christmas shopping!!!

Also this weekend, we're going to take the kids to see The Chronicles of Narnia movie. It's a little too much for Abbey, so John and I are going to split up and take Will and Sarah separately. We've been telling them they get to have "Mommy" and "Daddy" dates. I'm taking Will, and John is taking Sarah, and after the movie, we're going to let them each do a little shopping for their siblings. They're so excited and are having a little debate about who gets to go on their date first.

It is still very cold here. Right now it is 11 degrees. I had to put gas in my van this morning and it was soooooo cold. I like to stay inside on days like this. We still have plenty of snow on the ground from two weeks ago, and the forecast is calling for more snow tomorrow! Should be a fun day!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Stay-at-home mom?

Some weeks are slow, some weeks are busy, but this week has been insane! I call myself a stay-at-home mom, but this week I'm wondering when I get to stay home!?!!

I finished my up my part of the Christmas for Kids project today. I put together a box for two sisters, ages 3 and 7, which was kinda fun since my own girls are 3 and 7 years old. Anyway, each girl got 2 new outfits, a dress, a pair of pajamas, new tennis shoes, a new winter coat, hat, and gloves. Each also got 2 books, a game, a puzzle, a Bratz doll, and another toy they requested. Oh, and the 3-year old also got a Dora the Explorer dvd. That's some serious loot! And these two sisters were just 2 of about 125 kids that our community provided Christmas for. Isn't that amazing? I was really, really proud to be a part of this awesome project. It's kept me much busier than usual, but it's been SO great.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Here is the Chrismtas story as told to me this morning by Abbey: "Mary and Joseph traveled to Becklehem. The man was walking and the girl was on something. Then they were there. Then down came an angel. The angel said, 'Don't worry, you will have a baby and name him Jesus, and you can give him presents 'cause he was very good.' The end." I thought she did well for a three-year old! So funny! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This is really random, but I've been pondering it for about a week. Seems my 8-year old son and I wear the same size shoe now. He wore an orange pair of Crocs all summer that were just a hair too small for me. Well, last week, I tried on his snowboots before I went outside to get the paper...and THEY FIT! Unbelievable!!! I bought a pair of hiking boots 2 years ago when we moved here, and they've always been a tad bit on the small size. After trying on his snowboots, I asked him to try on my hiking boots, and he claimed them as his own and wore them to school the very next day! I guess the good news here for me is that I can buy kid's boots and shoes and get some really great deals, but I'm still in disbelief that my 8-year-old's feet are the same size as his mother's!!! Like I said before, this is really random!

Monday, December 12, 2005


We were rejoicing around here at 4:30 when the UPS guy pulled up in front of our house and brought our new Christmas tree! We've been waiting for what seems like forever for it to arrive, and it finally did...just as we were getting ready to leave for Pizza with Santa at the kid's elementary school. We cut our time there a little short to come home and put the tree up! NOW it feels like Christmas at our house, and we are ever so glad!!!

Yesterday and today have been very good days, but very, very busy. Yesterday after church, we drove to Denver to meet with some friends. We get together there once a month, with 3 other families, and it is always a rich time together. We spend the entire afternoon visiting and praying for one another, and we always leave feeling so encouraged...and so grateful for their place in our lives. It is amazing to me that we've made such wonderful friends in the short time we've lived here.

Today John got some promising news. Most of his freelance work is for NavPress, and they called to ask about his interest in a writing project they've got going. I don't think I'm at liberty to disclose details at this point, but it sounded promising and John was excited about it. God has been so faithful to give John steady work, and we are tremendously grateful!

I've almost got my commitment to the Christmas for Kids project wrapped up. It's been a great experience, but I'm ready for it to come to a close. John is ready too. He's watched Abbey for me more times than I can count during this project, and I think he's ready for a break! I'm afraid I've used all my babysitting privileges for a while!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

This morning I took the kids to Walmart to buy the gifts they selected for the Christmas for Kids project. As we were driving to the Springs, we got to see one of our favorite things...Air Force cadets parachuting. We spotted about a dozen of them on the way there, and six more on the way home. It's really cool! We live about 5 miles north of the Air Force Academy so we see lots of planes and training gliders, but our favorite is watching the guys parachute. The planes drop about 5-6 guys at a time. The chutes are brightly colored, so we can usually track them on their descent. It's always fun to spot them in the air, and we never get tired of watching them.

We also attempted to make a gingerbread house today. I've never tried this before, and I can't remember making one as a kid, so I was really at a loss as how to begin. I didn't make gingerbread; we used graham crackers, buttercream icing, and lots of candy. The kids got pretty frustrated and decided to just decorate their graham crackers. My house looked okay until it collapsed. Abbey ate more candy than she decorated with. She is pretty sneaky. She'd glance over at me before popping M&Ms in her mouth...just to see if she might get away with it...and she did, of course. Sarah and Will gave the house another try and were pleased enough with the results to ask me to take a picture for the blog. So...check out their handiwork.

John had a nice surprise waiting for him when he got home from REI. The 3rd and 4th Bible study books he wrote last fall were published recently, and his copies came in the mail today. It's really cool to see the finished product. They look great. They're titled Living the Questions in Mark and Living the Questions in Luke, and are based on the questions Jesus asked in those gospels. Way to go John. We're really proud of you.
John and I are watching It's a Wonderful Life right now. It is such a great movie and one of our all-time favorites. Recently, I found all of our Christmas cards from last year and re-read them. I felt like I had a "George Bailey" moment when I finished reading them (and there were almost 150!). I realized that we are very rich indeed, and blessed with families who love us, and so many special friendships. Going to the mailbox this time of year is a much anticipated part of the day. It's so wonderful to receive photos, warm wishes, and blessings from so many people who are a beautiful part of our lives! Ours is a truly wonderful life!

Friday, December 09, 2005


I'm always so glad when Friday arrives. I especially love Friday nights. We usually have pizza and watch a movie with the kids. Tonight I made two pizzas--one for the kids and one for the grown-ups and we watched Kicking and Screaming together. It was pretty cute. Towards the end of the movie, Will told us that his tooth was going to come out soon. I didn't even know it was loose, but it seems he'd been wiggling it during the entire movie. Sure enough, out it came while we were watching the outtakes. We counted up and it is his 9th tooth to lose. Sarah didn't like our counting method though...technically he's only lost 8 teeth, and he had one pulled by the dentist, so according to Sarah that one he had pulled doesn't really count. Siblings!!!

Abbey and I went to the library this afternoon. As we were leaving, we got some food for the ducks and walked over to the pond to feed them. There was another man there feeding them, but when his supply ran out, they immediately moved toward us. We gave them what little we had which they gobbled up, then we just watched them quack and waddle around on the frozen pond. It was fun. There were probably over 200 ducks there (and no, I'm not exaggerating!). There were some geese too and Abbey thought their honking was funny.

Also, today we made it past the freezing mark for the first time in a week. At 34 degrees, it felt almost tropical!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Well I was going to mop my kitchen floor this morning because the snow makes such a mess, but when I went to get my mop and bucket out of the garage, it was frozen solid. Seems I didn't pour the water out last time I mopped and the mop was stuck in a block of frozen mop water. So...I simply crossed that chore off my list. I'm sure my floor will still need mopping when it finally thaws out.

I've been working on a volunteer project in our community called Christmas for Kids. It's similar to the Angel Tree project and I've been overwhelmed with the generosity of this community. This afternoon, I collected gifts from two churches and one office in town. Our beloved Minnie-the-van was so packed after the first stop that I had to go unload everything and then go back for more. I collected two van loads of gifts from 3 places! It was really good for me to see such an outpouring of love, kindness, and generosity. Most of the folks I talked to when collecting the things this afternoon commented on how much fun they had doing it! It's been a rewarding project to work on, and I hope to be a part again next year.

Tonight I took the night off and went to Colorado Springs. I get a little stir-crazy after being in the house for a few days...especially with all the kids at home. John was gracious to let me go. He fed the kids, helped them with their homework, and put them to bed. He told me when I got home that I would have hated dinnertime...he fixed something different for everyone! I don't do that very often. I usually make them eat whatever I prepare. I guess it was as much a treat for them as it was for me. I did a little bit of Christmas shopping and then met a friend for dinner. It was great! Thanks, John!!!
Well, we're probably not going to reach the freezing mark today, but at least we can begin to thaw a little! I'm ready for some warmer air. Here's an interesting fact we heard on the news last night. Yesterday, it was WARMER on Pikes Peak (elev. 14,110 ft) than it was in Colorado Springs. Isn't that odd? The meteorologist called it temperature inversion, but I couldn't even begin to explain it to you!

The kids have a 2 hour delayed start this morning at school...which means no preschool for Abbey, and therefore no break for me! I was supposed to work in the library at their elementary school, but I wouldn't be much help with a three-year-old in tow, so I guess I'm off the hook.

We STILL don't have our Christmas tree up. In our fifteen years of marriage, I don't believe I've ever made it this far into December without our Christmas tree. Right now though, I'm at the mercy of UPS. I hope it comes today! We did do a little decorating yesterday while the kids were home, but the tree really makes it feel like Christmas. I also haven't done ANY shopping. I'm hoping Abbey has school next week because I really need that time to make a dent in my list. It will all get done, it will all get done, it will all get done. I keep repeating that to myself over and over...because it will all get done!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yea! Snow Day!

Yipee! No school today! I love days like this. Everyone is going to clean their rooms (me included!) and we're finally going to get some Christmas decorations up. I also promised the kids we'd make cookies later, so that should be fun. They want to make sugar cookies and then ice them. "Icing" sounds appropriate for a day like today. We're thankful the snow has stopped and the sun is out, but currently, our temperature is -10! I don't think we'll be playing outside in the snow today.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Winter Wonderland

It is very, very cold here today and it's been snowing for a couple of hours. We still have about 8-10 inches of snow on the ground from Saturday, and we are going to get about 6-10 more inches tonight. The reported high for tomorrow is 7 degrees...and that is optimistic. We're prepared though...I've got plenty of hot cocoa mix, plenty of groceries, a pot of chili going, and some fun things planned for the kids tomorrow if school is cancelled. I was really surprised they had school yesterday because our roads are still very icy. My guess is that they knew this new storm was coming in today and the chance was great that we'd need to take some snow days. I'm no expert, but that's my thought on the matter. We were supposed to have pizza with Santa tonight at the kids' school. They've already rescheduled it for next week. I think that was a great call because I'm ready to put on my pjs and stay in for the night.

John and I have really gotten into the television show LOST. We've never watched the show during it's regularly scheduled time, but instead we rent the dvd's at Blockbuster. We much prefer watching a show like that back-to-back. My friend who got us hooked on watching "24" told me about "Lost". I really like it now, but it took a while to get into it. We're almost finished with season 1 and it is getting very interesting. When one episode ends, we can't stand not to start the next one. We've been staying up way too late at night because we're addicted to the show! So...our plan for this cold, snowy night is to put the kids to bed and watch the next 4 episodes. Hopefully we'll get to sleep before midnight!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I just logged on and the weather icon at the bottom of my screen says it is 7 degrees outside right now. Let me tell you that is COLD!!! It didn't get out of the twenties today and we aren't supposed to be above freezing until the end of the week. Thankfully our house stays pretty warm because we can't get Abbey to wear warm clothes. She prefers to run around the house in a leotard and tutu most of the time. She takes her socks off the minute we come inside. Sometimes I have to put them back on her two or three times before we even leave the house. In October, I packed away all the kids summer clothes and pajamas. Well, Abbey has a pair of Sarah's old pajamas that she loves to wear. It's a pair of shorts and a tank top with three Disney princesses on the front. When Abbey couldn't find them, she went downstairs with Sarah and got into the box of summer clothes and has been wearing them ever since. I've tried to sneak them back into that box in the basement, but she throws a royal fit when she can't find them. We usually just let her wear them to bed, then go add some extra layers before we turn in for the night.

Right now, she's playing in the laundry basket, and has surrounded herself with her "friends". Her friends include Curious George, a couple of dolls, some stuffed animals, and some plastic horses. It's pretty cute to listen to her carry on a conversation with all of them.

Abbey decided to serenade us on the way home from church with her version of Jingle Bells. She has the chorus down very well, but the "dashing through the snow" verse is quite hilarious. I'm going to have to make a recording of her singing it. It is really cute.

The roads here are still very icy and even though the sun came out for a little bit today, not too much melting happened. I will be very surprised if they have school tomorrow. At best, I think they'll have a delayed start. I'm anticipating them being home, so they're getting to stay up a little later than usual tonight.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Snowy Saturday

I got up really early this morning and headed to Sears to buy a new Christmas tree. They had the one I wanted on sale today only, and I was determined to buy it and get it put up this evening. Well, I happened to look outside while I was drying my hair and noticed that we had snow...a lot of snow...on the ground. We got about 4 inches overnight. Determined, I set out for the mall despite the snow. It was pretty treacherous! I finally arrived at Sears and was incredibly disappointed to find they didn't have the tree I wanted. Seems that their delivery trucks got stuck in the same blizzard we did last week and they didn't receive their inventory. I was so frustrated, especially after getting up at 6am and braving the elements. So I drove home and went to and ordered my tree for the sale price...and free shipping. I wish I had just done that in the first place. I usually get my tree up the day after Thanksgiving, so I feel very behind this year. I keep telling myself that it will get done...eventually.

We decided to go ahead and leave for Denver despite the snow. We went to Cherry Creek mall to visit the Narnia Snow Globes and to see Santa Claus. We'd never been to this mall before but we will go back. It was awesome! Abbey and Sarah sat on Santa's lap and each gave him a lengthy wish list. I wish I could have heard what they were saying because they were so animated while talking to him! Will couldn't be talked (or even bribed) into it, but I bought a cute picture of the girls with Santa Claus. The Narnia exhibit was pretty cool too. We entered the giant snow globe through two wardrobe doors and it cooled off and started snowing inside. Everyone was walking around the mall with fake snow on their hair and clothes...funny. They also had some smaller snowglobes that had interactive figures and scenes from the movie in them. I thought it was pretty neat. Some smart marketing execs spent a lot of money to draw people to their mall this season. The picture of the kids at the top of the page was taken in the snowglobe...can you see the snow??

After we left the mall, we went to LoDo (which is lower downtown Denver). It was really too cold to walk around and shop, but we made a few stops before heading home. We were really glad we left Denver when we did because we ran into some bad weather coming home. It took us an hour to drive the last 6 miles home because of icy roads. It was snowing when we left our house this morning, and I don't think it stopped all day. We came home to about 9 inches of snow in our driveway. The altitude where we live is about 7000 feet. That is almost 2000 feet higher than Denver, and maybe 700-800 feet higher than Colorado Springs. So, once we got close to home, things got pretty dicey! It was an hour of white-knuckle driving at less than 5mph. Let me just tell you those last few miles home were really, really long ones. One really neat thing to mention is that we saw the Oscar Meyer Weiner-mobile! While we were stopped on the interstate, it passed us. It happened too quickly for the kids to notice, but I thought it was hilarious. I can't remember ever seeing it before...pretty cool!

It had stopped snowing in Denver by the time we got there this morning, but the trees all over town looked so beautiful. I took this picture of trees in Pulaski Park on the way to the mall. The picture doesn't capture the beauty of the scene, but maybe those of you in Arkansas can at least be reminded of what snow looks like! We watched the news this evening and snow is in the forecast for 4 of the next 5 days. It's not supposed to be above freezing until Thursday of next week! Brrrrr!

Friday, December 02, 2005

I have been running all day! This seriously might be the first time I've sat down for more than two minutes!

Today makes five weeks since I've had a diet soda. I'm pretty picky about what my kids eat and drink these days, and I felt hypocritical telling them no soda while I downed two or three cans a day. That, and the fact that artificial sweeteners are very bad for your body was enough to make me give it up for good. I've been drinking lots more water, and lots more tea, and I haven't even really missed the soda. So, yea for me!

Tomorrow we are going to do some Christmas shopping with the kids. We are headed to Cherry Creek mall because their decorations this season have a Narnia theme. The centerpiece of their display is a giant, walk-in snowglobe. You enter the snowglobe through two wardrobe doors, and once inside, the temperature drops and it begins to snow. Sounds very cool! We read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe with the kids in October, and last week on our trip to Arkansas, we listened to The Magician's Nephew and to A Boy and His Horse on cd. So, needless to say, we're Narnia-crazed right now. Tomorrow should be really fun! If you've read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (#2 in the series), I highly encourage you to read the first book, which is The Magician's Nephew. It was my favorite, and it explains some things about the second book that were really neat to know (especially the end!). So, get reading!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

John took Sarah to AWANA tonight. She goes to AWANA at one of the churches here in town and she loves it. There are two teachers in her class and during the first 10-15 minutes of class, both teachers listen to the kids recite their memory verses for the week. As you can imagine, it gets a little rowdy in the classroom when both teachers are occupied. So, a few weeks ago, they recruited John to stay for the first few minutes of class and listen to the kids say their verses. Tonight, one of the teachers was telling him about how excited she was that one of the dads was going to help out during that time. She was grateful for the help, but wasn't sure this dad was a Christian, so she hoped that his work with AWANA might lead to an opportunity for him to come to know the Lord. Well, it turns out she was talking about John! We got a good chuckle out of that little story. She was a little embarrassed when she learned that John was a pastor, but was able to laugh at herself! John told her to keep praying...he's very close to making a decision.

We're NOT in Kansas anymore!!!

We've had quite an adventure this week getting home from Arkansas! A major blizzard shut down a large section of I-70 in Kansas...the interstate we travel to Colorado. We were stranded for two nights in Hays, Kansas while waiting for the interstate to re-open. What is typically a 12-13 hour drive turned into 2 days!!!! We were very fortunate to find a hotel room. We saw lots of news reports of families having to sleep in their cars or in a Red Cross shelter. I can't imagine having to do that with children!

We tried to make an adventure out of our predicament and we actually had fun as a family! It gave us all a chance to get caught up on our rest and the kids LOVED the fact that the hotel room had cable tv...a luxury they don't have at home! Our hotel was next door to Walmart so we had everything (and more) that we could possibly need. This really was an adventure that our kids will likely remember for a long time. I hated that they ended up missing two days of school though. Last month, we got stranded in Arkansas overnight when our return flight was cancelled, so I guess we're not having much luck leaving that state, are we???

We're happy to report that we're safe and sound. Our Thanksgiving was great. And we are so very glad to be back in Colorado. John and I are seriously considering boycotting travel next Thanksgiving and Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sarah did a GREAT job in her class Thanksgiving play this morning. She said all her lines perfectly! We are so proud of her. We're leaving in a few hours for Arkansas...a 17 hour road trip! I've got the van well stocked with movies, books on tape, games, toys, snacks, and more! I think I'm ready! Or at least I will be after I finish packing! Gotta run. We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 21, 2005


Why is it so hectic when you're trying to leave town??? We're heading to Arkansas tomorrow and it has just been one thing after another. Abbey woke up early, early Sunday morning throwing up. We always get a little freaked when she starts vomiting because she can't seem to quit. We've made 3 trips to the ER in 2005 because she's vomited to the point of dehydration. She was actually admitted overnight after one of those ER trips. We know that we just have to watch her really carefully and try to keep her hydrated. Thankfully, (and that is a BIG THANKFULLY) she stopped throwing up this morning and was able to drink a lot and eat a little. She's kept it down all day and is asleep right now, so we're still on track for leaving tomorrow. No ER trip, no IV fluids, and a relatively short duration period...add those to our list of things to be thankful for this week.

Speaking of thankfulness, we finished our thankful chain this afternoon. We'll hang it up tonight at dinner when we're all home. We all have so many things to be thankful for, and our chain is a vivid reminder throughout the year of our many blessings!

Sarah's class is putting on a little Thanksgiving play at school tomorrow morning. She has a main part, and a LOT of lines to remember. She's got them down very well though and is getting excited (and a little nervous) about tomorrow. She's going to do great!!! I'm planning to video the play and take it to Arkansas with us so our family can watch it! If I have time before we leave tomorrow, I'll post a picture of our little actress.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Yesterday, the UPS guy left a package for us on the porch. He rang the doorbell to notify me of the package, and when he pressed the doorbell, it stayed depressed...and fried not only our doorbell, but our thermostat too (they're on the same circuit). Our heating unit wasn't disturbed, but I couldn't turn it on because my thermostat wasn't working! Since it's been in the teens and 20s at night, we decided we needed to get someone over to check it out for us. Of course, it was a Friday afternoon, and we ended up paying more for an after hours call, but one new thermostat later, we're toasty and warm! It's a good thing because it snowed again last night and this morning!

Today is a major cleaning day around here...but so far, I'm the only one doing any cleaning! It's a familiar feeling, but thankfully they're all playing well together, so I can actually get some work done. I'm trying to get things in good shape before we leave for Arkansas...only three more days. YIKES!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Refrigerator Art

Did you know that most refrigerators can do double-duty as a dry erase board surface? Abbey got into some of our art stuff this this afternoon and found a dry-erase marker. John was trying to explain to her that you have to use it on a special writing board...and that we didn't have one. A lightbulb appeared over my head, and I remembered reading somewhere that you can write with those markers on your fridge. So, we cleared a section of ours off and let her go to work! She was in HEAVEN! I'll have to remember this in the future (no doubt she'll help me remember) because she was busy drawing away for at least an hour. If you try this at home, keep the bottle of windex handy!

Check out her artwork. I think we have another artist in the family! She told me that this is a picture of Abbey. The crown on her head is full of jewlels, because she is a princess. She also told me that I needed to leave so she could concentrate. Funny! Her drawing is actually quite good for a three-year old, isn't it?

By the way, did you know that Abbey is left-handed? She has preferred her left hand since she was a baby!

Abbey's preschool class learned all about the first Thanksgiving today. I helped in her classroom this morning, and had the best time. They each made a pilgrim hat and an indian hat. Then, their teacher told them the story of the indians helping the pilgrims grow and harvest food, and giving thanks to God together at the first feast. They acted out the story a few times, taking turns playing pilgrims and indians (wearing the appropriate hat), and then sat down to a yummy "friendship feast". It was the cutest thing! Her teacher had constructed the Mayflower out of a cardboard box (it was awesome!) and used it as a prop in the "play". They all wanted to be pilgrims so they could get in the Mayflower!

Abbey missed both days of preschool last week because she was sick, and didn't have school Tuesday because of snow. Her friends were happy to see her today, and she was happy to see them too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Today has been a whirlwind of a day! It always seem to be like that after a snow day. I think having kids at home is great, but I seem to get SO much more done when they're at school.

I had to run some errands today for the volunteer project I'm working on. I was making a delivery in a nearby mountain community, and there in the middle of the road was a really large mule deer. It was just sauntering across the street, oblivious to my van..and pretty much everything else around it. It was a buck and I counted 8 points. Isn't that funny? It's actually not uncommon to see deer walking across the highway, or even in neighborhood streets in this particular community. It still catches me off guard! I'm hoping to see a deer than a bear or mountain lion though--from inside my van of course!

Sarah is at AWANA tonight. She goes every Wednesday night to one of the churches here in town to their AWANA program. She loves it. It's a pretty challenging program. You should see the number of Bible verses she has to memorize each week. She's great at it though, and we're really proud of her. Will doesn't really want to go, and we certainly don't make him. I think one reason Sarah likes it is because it's something that is uniquely "hers". In the picture above she's wearing her AWANA vest. For those of you who are familiar with AWANA, she's a Hiker this year and is working on the red jewels.

You know, there's never really a dull moment around here. After dinner and homework, we were working on our thankful chain, and I asked Will to bring me the stapler. Somewhere between the kitchen drawer and the kitchen table, he managed to staple his thumb. You should have heard him scream when he realized the staple was in his flesh! YOW! Well, we got it cleaned up and bandaged, and all is well with the world again, but I don't think he'll be asking to use the stapler any time soon!

Abbey was John's buddy today. He stayed home with her for a couple of hours while I ran errands this afternoon. They have a lot of fun together. Today, when I came home, they were playing with Will's matchbox cars, but it's not unusual for them to play Polly Pocket or princesses together. John, of course, gets to be the prince in the princess make-believe game. Cute! He's a great dad!

Mystery Solved!

I think we've solved the mystery of Abbey's hives...pistachios! They were such a hit, that I bought some more this week. The kids were eating them in the den, and all of the sudden Abbey started crying because her eyes were "hurting" and she was itching. It happened again a day later, and so being the Einstein that I am, I put two and two together and promptly removed the offending nut from her presence, and she's been fine ever since. Isn't that crazy??!!?? I may have to let Will and Sarah finish eating this round of pistachios on the sly, but I don't think I'll be buying more.

Yeah! School is back in session today, and the kids are about to leave. We've still got snow on the ground, and it is very, very cold. John had breakfast really early this morning with some friends, and when he got home this morning, he said it was 5 degrees! Brrrrrrrr

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We made chocolate chip cookies this afternoon. I don't really have enough counter space for three helpers, so we just sat down in the kitchen floor and mixed away. They were great helpers and we have some yummy cookies for dessert tonight!  Posted by Picasa

Sarah, the snow angel

We actually didn't venture out in the snow until later this afternoon. John volunteered to go out with them when he finished working, so I gladly let him. It didn't get above 26 degrees today, and that is just a little too cold for my liking! The kids don't seem to mind though. We'll see how warm their new gloves and boots are when they come inside. When it snowed in early October, we found the kids had outgrown their gloves and snowboots. We bought them all some new gloves and boots at REI (using John's great employee discount) a few weeks ago, but until today, we hadn't even taken the tags off! Posted by Picasa

Snow angel Abbey

Until this year, Abbey hasn't really liked being out in the snow. She usually lasts about 5 or 10 minutes and then wants to come inside. However, the last snow we had, she LOVED. I watched her this afternoon walk down the front steps, turn around and fall backwards into the snow, and immediately start laughing while moving her arms and legs in angel fashion. She can't get enough of it! She is too cute out there. Posted by Picasa

Will is probably the biggest fan of the snow. He'd stay out there all day if we'd let him! He has a really cool toboggan and he will sled down the front steps, or find the slightest slope and take off. Of course he loves to pound his dad (and little sisters too) with snowballs, but mom usually advises against throwing them at the girsl. He found a huge icicle this afternoon, and that is what he's holding here. Throwing those is DEFINITELY off limits! Posted by Picasa

On another note, our Mr. Turkey that I was so proud of yesterday, has likely met his demise. Snow and pumpkins make for a mushy mess. I was hoping he'd last until Thanksgiving, but he looked pretty sad out there earlier. I think he's done until next year!

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!

We woke up this morning to about 4 inches of snow. John turned on the tv, and saw that our district closed school for the day! Yipee!!! I love snow days! I always consider them a gift because everything stops and we're forced to slow down and REST! So, today, I'm planning to let the kids help me make some cookies and later, we're going to try out the kids' new snow-boots! It's very cold today...our high is supposed to be about 28 degrees, but the sun is out and the sky is blue, so that always makes it seem a little warmer than it really is! By the way, Abbey's preschool is closed too!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Abbey and I made play-dough this afternoon...and of course it had to be PINK! She loves to get out my cookie cutters and make all sorts of shapes and things...especially princesses. After years of picking play-dough off the floor and out of the carpet, I finally came across a terrific idea. I give her a large cookie sheet and let that be her work surface. It's extremely portable, and the mess is contained! Clean-up is a breeze! I just wish I had known about this years ago! Posted by Picasa

It started snowing this afternoon around 4:oo. There is a winter storm just west of here that is dumping major snow in the mountains. The ski resorts are getting some great powder. We'll likely only get a few inches, but it's still fun for us. We've lived here for two years, and we are always excited when it starts to snow. It really just makes me want to hole up inside with a warm bowl of soup or a cup of hot tea.

Mr. Turkey

Our kids are getting really excited about Thanksgiving! I'm still in shock that it is NEXT WEEK!!! We're going to Arkansas to visit John's parents, and we leave a week from tomorrow! The kids get to see their two cousins, and I think they're most excited about that, and eating some of Mimi's pumpkin bread. Last weekend, we pulled out our thanksgiving decorations and converted our biggest halloween pumpkin into a plump, Mr. Turkey. I bought "Mr. Turkey" about 10 years ago at the Tate Barn Sale in Camden, AR, and he still brings a smile to my face when we pull things out of the box each November!

More things you might not know...

Last week, you learned some things you didn't know about Will, so this week I thought I'd share some things you might not know about John. He is 38 years old and shares a March birthday with our youngest daughter. He was a pastor for 12 years, and is currently a freelance writer/editor. He became a Christian at age 6. He loves being a dad to Will, Sarah, and Abbey, and he also enjoys running, reading, and hiking.

Favorite movie: To Kill a Mockingbird
Favorite author: Frederick Buechner
Favorite food: steak
Favorite color: blue
Favorite time of day: dusk
Favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon: take a nap
A few other favorites: Where we live (Colorado), getting up early while we're all still in bed and reading a book with a good cup of coffee.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil...ah, if it was only that simple! It was Sarah's idea to pose like this for our picture. I took several pictures of them because they kept having to change the specific part they were covering up! Funny!

John and the girls had another lazy day. Abbey still isn't feeling great, so John stayed home from church with her. For years, I've been the one to miss church when the kids are sick, because the pastor REALLY needs to be there, so this was a nice change. He asked if I'd like to go, and he didn't have to ask twice. Will went with me, but Sarah wanted to stay home with Abbey and Dad.

Will and I had a little "date" after church. We went to Burger King (his choice) and then to Walmart. I try to avoid Walmart at all costs, but it was close and there were a few things we needed, so we ventured in. I also ran another "errand" while we were out. I persuaded Will to go to the scrapbook store with me. A new store, Archiver's, opened a few months ago, and it it super cool! They send discount coupons every month and I hate to see them go to waste. I had to use them today before they expired!

Every Sunday night we camp out in front of the television (sometimes with dinner, other times with popcorn) and watch America's Funniest home videos. I love to hear the kids laughing out loud! John and I are usually laughing right along with them. I still don't know why seeing people fall, or get hit in the head or crotch is so funny, but it is. And laughing is a great way to end the weekend!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Lazy Day

John had to work today, so I had some fun things planned to do with the kids. We were going to the library for a Narnia party they were hosting in anticipation of the release of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe next month. We just finished reading the book together as a family, and the kids were excited because they were going to serve Turkish delight at the party. I'm still not really sure what Turkish delight is exactly, but it sounds nice. Also, there is a pond behind our library that is home to lots of ducks and sometimes geese. I saw tons of geese there earlier in the week, and I thought it'd be fun to go a few minutes before the party and feed them...and take fun pictures, of course. Posted by Picasa

Well, Abbey woke up this morning with a bad case of hives. Her arms and face were red and blotchy and her face and eyes were really swollen. One eyelid in particular was several times it's normal size and she kept telling me that her "eyebrow" was in her way. Funny. Well, she's doped up on Benadryl, it's obvious she's not feeling well, so we opted to forgo the geese and the party at the library and stay home. No one seems to mind though. Will's been reading, Sarah is still in her pajamas, and Abbey is playing "makeover" with her. She keeps insisting she needs real make-up though. Make-up is actually on her Christmas wish list! Yikes!!! No wonder the girl has hives on her face.

So, we've officially proclaimed today "Lazy Day" and we're all enjoying it. It is nice to have one of those every so often!

Friday, November 11, 2005

I really don't like coffee at all, but I'm quite addicted to the nonfat chai latte from Starbucks. I consider it a special treat, and I was very kind to myself this afternoon! There's really nothing better on a cold afternoon.  Posted by Picasa