Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday Blizzard 06

Got snow? We sure do. 18 inches and counting!

The news media is calling this the Holiday Blizzard 06 and let me tell you it is a MESS! Here's a sampling of what's going on "in our neck of the woods". The wind has been howling since just after midnight Tuesday. Sustained wind speeds of 25-30 mph (gusts up to 65mph) have been blowing snow creating blizzard conditions for over 30 hours. We've got 4-5 foot drifts in our yard. I'm sitting at John's computer downstairs in the basement and our window wells (at least 4ft deep) are completely filled with snow. They haven't plowed our streets (wind would just re-cover the cleared area in minutes) and snow is up to the bumpers of cars outside (most of which are stuck in the street).

In Colorado Springs, malls are closed, banks are closed, and the Post Office and UPS called their delivery trucks in yesterday just after noon. Denver airport shut down, the interstate was closed from Denver to the Kansas border AND from Denver south to the New Mexico border.

John made it to work yesterday morning, but they sent him home at 10am. His return trip wasn't pretty. When the wind is blowing that hard, it creates white-out conditions where you literally can't see anything in front of you. He told me he had to stick his head out of the window (into blowing snow) to TRY to see if he was even on the road. His windshield wipers were freezing up, the defroster couldn't keep the windshield clear, and so he had to keep clearing the window everytime he stopped. Talk about a scary commute! He arrived safely two hours later, but had to walk the last block home when his car got stuck in deep snow at the end of our street. It's still there as are dozens of other cars, which is going to make plowing an interesting job--more likely a major headache for the plow drivers.

One of our good friends has been in South Africa since Thanksgiving on a sabbatical trip. His return flight was supposed to arrive in Denver last night around 6pm. Cancelled. Because of the heavy holiday traveling, he wasn't able to re-schedule his flight home until 10pm Friday night...and if he didn't take that one, his other choice was to arrive on Christmas day. What a NIGHTMARE! He's just one of THOUSANDS of passengers trying to get somewhere.

And think about retail. They've officially been closed for 1.5 days now (most have said they'll open at noon today). We're at the height of the holiday shopping season. When John worked at REI, it wasn't uncommon this time of year for daily sales to be in the $85,000-100,000 range. Think about what closing down does for them...yuck. And think about what malls and Walmart are gonna look like around here on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. I'm already cringing b/c I have some shopping to finish up myself.

I think that UPS and the USPS are feeling some stress right now. I just read on the newschannel's website that we won't be getting mail service again today. Their trucks can't get to our neighborhoods. Someone's gonna be busy on Christmas Eve, huh?

I'm am thrilled though that the kids didn't have school yesterday or today. I was whining about today being their last day, but things definitely worked out much more to my liking. We got started on some of our Christmas baking yesterday, and just enjoyed having the day "off" from errands and from holiday stress!

Holiday Blizzard 06! Fun, fun, fun! We're under a blizzard warning until noon today and hopefully the storm will move on out and things can begin to clear up around here. We're definitely going to have a white Christmas because this much snow isn't going anywhere!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Got It

We got that snow day I was hoping for. Started snowing last night and is quickly piling up out there. 8-16 inches predicted...whoo hoo!...and should continue through tomorrow afternoon. Snow is in the forecast for the weekend and again on Christmas Day! I LOVE it!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006


Today can best be summed up as a day of surprises--some good and some not so good.

John usually leaves about 7ish in the mornings, but this morning he had some things to do in Monument and left a little closer to 8am. He stopped at home right before I was leaving to take kids to school and offered to start my van...only it wouldn't start. Surprise (and not a good one!). John took everyone to school, took the morning off, and eventually we got Minnie-the-van going again ($2xx later--ugh!).

The kids and I got home this afternoon and found two packages on our front porch (surprise!). I wasn't expecting anything so that was extra nice, as were the 12 Christmas cards we got in the mail. I love going to the mailbox this time of year.

And tonight we had a babysitter come so we could attend a surprise 50th birthday party for one of our favorite friends. Her husband rented out a jazz club and it was a cool party. She was semi-surpised by it's hard to pull off a surprise that big, but she loved it and we felt privileged to be a part of her special night. And while we were there, we got to visit with a couple from our church that we sorta/kinda know. They invited us to grab some coffee after the party and we were again surprised by the easy conversation and the common ground we shared! Cool new friends! Surprise!

We had some other not so good surprises along the way felt more like opposition. A lot of stuff today felt really, really HARD! But...God also showed up and surprised us in some very personal and life-giving ways...and I'm thankful for the eyes to see His hand in it all.

I'm heading to bed in a few minutes...hoping to wake up to another surprise. Snow is in our forecast and I'd love to wake up to a snow day! That would be a very welcome gift! I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

One week until, oh man. My mantra these days is "It will all get done, it will all get done, it WILL all get done". John and I started our shopping last Friday night--online. We don't usually wait this long to begin shopping but between his new job (and finishing up the work he was previously contracted for) and my volunteer project, we were both swamped and unable to find time to shop. Thank goodness for the internet. I didn't even mind paying the steep shipping costs to insure on-time delivery. Anything that saves me a trip to the mall is a very good thing. I did have to get out and do some other shopping yesterday and again this afternoon, and I'll probably take Abbey tomorrow afternoon and finish up. They're forecasting a pretty big storm this week, so my hope is to get things wrapped up tomorrow.

My kids are in school until Thursday (Wednesday for Abbey)! Thursday! That seems so late to me...especially since most districts in and around Colorado Springs dismissed last Friday. I'm a little bummed that only gives us 2 days before Christmas Eve, but after further consideration, I realized it gave me a few extra days to get some things done before I have everyone at home. I'll take it!

We were excited last week to visit with some of our best friends from Arkansas. They spent several days skiing at Copper and then came and spent Thursday night and most of Friday with us. They brought their little guy with them and we enjoyed hanging out them so much!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

When John began his new job a month or so ago, a fellow employee from the art department approached him and asked if he'd be willing to be Jesus in an upcoming photo shoot. If you've seen John lately, you'd know why they asked him. His hair is long and he's got a full beard, and people jokingly refer to him as Jesus quite often. In fact, one lady at church told me recently that her little boy asked her when "the guy who looks like Jesus" was going to preach again. Funny. Well, today was the photo shoot and John came home with a lot of make-up on his face and a check for $25 in his pocket. I'll let you know what they use his photo for--some upcoming publication of some sort. He's becoming quite the model, huh? If you'll remember back to January, John and Will had their photo taken for an article in Pray! magazine. This time though, they actually took a photo of his face!

Monday, December 11, 2006

The North Pole!

Today a friend and I took our kids to the North Pole, a family theme park just outside of Colorado Springs. It was so FUN! I let them have the day off from school and that proved to be a very good thing. There were no crowds and therefore, no lines! We didn't have to wait for anything...not even our visit/photo with Santa. It was GREAT. We rode lots of rides, and because it wasn't crowded, the operators let the kids ride for as long as they wanted. I got to ride most of the rides too because Abbey needed an adult to go with her, and I realized that I'm not the biggest fan of roller coasters (even the kiddie coasters) and those pendulum-type rides that swing back and forth. Ughhh. Abbey was so fun to ride with though. She squealed with glee and her delight was contagious. It was a good day to be a kid! It even snowed on us...which just made it feel all the more like the NORTH POLE! I think we've discovered a new December tradition!

Today in Colorado Springs there was a memorial service for a police officer who was shot and killed during a traffic stop last week. So very sad. As we were driving back from the North Pole, we got to see the police motorcade. Cars were stopped all along the interstate (a 10-mile stretch of interstate was closed for the procession) and people were standing out in the cold saluting the officers as they drove past. It was very moving. Amond those standing outside were firefighters, highway department workers, truckers, and families. I've never seen anything like it, nor have I ever seen that many police cars. There were hundreds and they were from all over Colorado and many other states as well!!! They were all driving with their flashing lights on and you could see them coming for miles. I don't even have words to describe how moving it all was. It was a good opportunity to talk to the kids about sacrifice and honor...and it was a rather serious moment until Sarah cracked a joke and things went south from there. Check out photos from the procession at (click on blog and scroll down)

I'm hoping to get our Christmas cards mailed this week. It's a big job, but I've been chipping away at it...and John just finished our letter tonight. Yea. Almost finished. If you haven't gotten our letter in the past, send me your address and I'll add you to our list. You can reply to this post or click my profile and there's an email link! Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What a Week!

To say that last week was busy for me would be a major understatement. It was insanely busy. I have a whole lot of stuff going on. All of it is good, but it's a lot to add to an already busy time of year. So this weekend was restful for me. And now I'm ready for another busy week (I hope!).

So in the midst of this busyness, I had a really, really cool gift delivered to my door last Wednesday afternoon. The gift was dinner! One of our friends in Chicago overnighted 2 world-famous deep dish Chicago pizzas to us. I just had to thaw and bake, and it was Y-U-M! It was THE best pizza I've ever put in my mouth...and there are some terrific pizza places in Colorado. Thanks RM (aka St. Nick!)! You rock!

Last week I got together with a friend and spent the morning baking. We made lots of cookies and some fudge and ran out of time to make some of our other Christmas favorites. I finished some of that up this weekend with the kids (relaxing for me!). While we were baking last week, we hatched a plan to take our kids to see Santa at the North Pole. Seriously. The North Pole is a mini-amusement park outside of Colorado Springs. They have rides, Christmas shops, elves, and of course Santa is there. The only problem was finding a time during all this craziness to actually GO. We decided it would be fun to let the kids miss school and go, so that's our plan for tomorrow. I didn't tell them until this afternoon, but they're pretty pumped! I'm just thankful that it won't be as crowded...unless there are other moms out there who are thinking what we're thinking. We'll see. It's supposed to be pretty cold tomorrow (fitting for the North Pole!) so we're taking hats, mittens, and plenty of hot cocoa!