Tuesday, September 30, 2008

$8.16 date and more random stuff...

I stayed up until midnight last night finishing up my Pikes Peak story so I could post it here today, and right before I logged off, I clicked the wrong button and instead of saving it, I DELETED it. Oh, I was so M-A-D. It was very long and I had worked so hard and now I get to start all over again. I was not a happy camper when I crawled into bed last night.

So...because I don't have something really interesting to share, let me just ramble on about what's going on around here.

I just got home from a lunch date with John. We ate at Chipotle, our favorite lunch spot. I always get the same thing there--a steak burrito bowl. I had to wait about five minutes for them to put out some more steak, but was pleasantly surprised that they comped my meal. Lunch for both of us was $8.16 What can I say? I'm a cheap date! :)

This morning, I resumed my volunteer job at the girls' school. I've been a library helper for the last several years, and I go once a week and shelve books or do whatever our librarian needs done. I put off starting because I was hiking so much and training for Pikes Peak. I really didn't think I missed it, but once I got back in my groove today, I realized that I love that job and I have missed being there.

I finally feel like I've found my stride as far as the school year goes. I've tried to arrange my schedule so that I have Mondays and Fridays at home. I like to get up on Monday and get things back in order after the weekend, and I like to be home on Fridays and get the house clean so that I can let things slide on Saturday and Sunday. Tuesday is my busy day because of my volunteer job and Brownies. I'm the co-leader for Abbey's Brownie troop...and I love that too. I think I love it because my talented friend, Jen, is the real leader and I'm really there for crowd control. Seriously, it's a great group of girls, and I have a lot of fun with them. That leaves Wednesday and Thursday pretty open, but I'm such a homebody that I generally find reasons to stay home on those days too!

Abbey finished up her cross country season last night. We're really, really proud of her! She's such a great little runner and she told us she wants to do track in the spring!

We visited a new church on Sunday, and I loved it. Up to this point, we've only visited a couple of others, but I haven't really felt very hopeful about what's out there until now. I was pleasantly surprised. We walked in and realized we knew several families and friends. The music was great, the sermon was great, people were friendly, and my kids felt comfortable enough to go to Sunday school. I so needed that glimmer of hope. We're going to continue to visit around, but we'll definitely go back there again. One huge perk for me was that we were home by 11AM. I love being able to get up, go to church, but still feel like I have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy. We came home and ate lunch while watching the Broncos. Love that!

Speaking of football...every single one of my teams lost this weekend. And that's all I'm going to say about that because any more would just add to the shame.

Can you believe tomorrow is October??? Me either! October is always such a busy month for us. I'm sure it will fly by too. I actually hope it will because I'm doing something VERY FUN at the end of October. I'm going somewhere all by myself for a weekend. Wanna guess where??? If you're the first person to guess correctly, I'll bring you back a small souvenir! (If you already know, you can't guess, 'kay?)

Must go and retrieve the boy from school, then head out to Brownies. Enjoy your Tuesday!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

35 Things

I saw this on Jacquie's blog this morning and decided to play along...if decide you'd like to play also, please let me know! I'd love to read your list!

35 Odd Things About Me

1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing? Yes

2. Do you own a gun? Nope

3. What's your favorite drink at Starbucks? Tall, non-fat chai latte

4. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? chai

5. Do you do pushups? No, but I SO need to.

6. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? A Swarvoski crystal heart pendant that John's parents gave me.

7. Favorite hobby? Hiking

8. Do you have A.D.D? No

9. What's one trait that you hate about yourself? I'm quick to judge.

10. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: What is Jack barking at? Settle down, people. I'm cold.

11. Name 4 drinks you regularly drink. Chai, sweet tea with lemon, Dr. Pepper, water.

12. Current worry right now? Sarah's tummy hurts...worried about her.

13. Current hate right now? Weekend homework

14. Favorite place to be? Home with my family!

15. Do you like to travel? Yes

16. What color shirt are you wearing? Purple

17. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No...I prefer flannel.

18. Can you whistle? Yep

19. Favorite color? Green

20. If you could would you be a pirate? Nope

21. What song do you sing in the shower? Different every day! Yesterday it was Hannah Montana...today, who knows?

22. Favorite girl's name? Sarah and Abbey, of course! I also like Callie and Mary-Margaret. Those are the names of the girls' Bitty Babies, and I chose those names because they were the names we almost used for our girls.

23. Favorite boy's name? Will, Hunter, and Carson. Carson was the boy name we had picked out for our third child...which as you know turned out to be a girl.

24. What's in your pocket right now? Nothing because my pajamas don't have pockets!

25. Favorite bedsheets as a child? Raggedy Ann and Andy.

26. Worst injury? I once had a stress fracture in my foot from running. That was painful. Equally bad was running into the sliding glass door face-first--and my two black eyes that resulted from that were just lovely. :)

27. Do you love where you live? YES!!!!!!!! But you already knew that, right?

28. How many TVs do you have in your house? Two

29. Who is your loudest friend? Two come to mind, but they read my blog and I would never want to "out" them.

30. How many pets do you have? Two--Jack the Beagle and Stella the betta fish. Sunset, the other betta fish, died not long after we got her.

31. Does someone have a crush on you? My husband does. At least that's what he tells me.

32. What is your Favorite Book? Peace Like A River by Leif Enger.

33. What's your favorite candy? Hot tamales and Brach's candy corn.

34. Favorite Sports Team? Arkansas Razorbacks (I'm afaid it's not gonna be pretty today), Dallas Cowboys, and Denver Broncos.

35. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Why am I on the couch? (Sarah got in bed with us--because her stomach was hurting--and I moved to the couch so I could actually sleep).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Question of the Week...

What do you guys call the metal thing with wheels that you push around and add stuff to when you shop?

I call it a buggy.

And twice this week people have made fun of me. I guess they didn't really make fun of me, but two different groups of people I've been around have laughed and asked me why I call it a buggy instead of a cart.

I guess it's a southern thing because when I read Chickadee's post just a few minutes ago, I laughed out loud! She's from Arkansas and she calls it a buggy too!

What do you call it????

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pushing through hard things...

The other morning, I went on a walk with my sweet friend, J.

J happens to be a counselor. I actually have several friends who are therapists, and initially I found those relationships a bit hard to navigate. I was constantly wondering if my friends were trying to pyscho-analyze me, or when they asked me how I was doing, I wondered if they really wanted to know or if perhaps I should be paying them to listen to me. :) I'm so glad I got over that hump and realized they wanted to be my friends because they just liked ME!

I consider all of my counselor friends to be very, very wise. So when they speak, I pay attention.

I was sharing with J the other morning about a personal struggle I'm working through. It's not really beneficial to talk about in detail, but the gist is that I'm feeling a lot of pressure to do something I don't really want to do. (Vague enough for ya???)

As I listened to J's response, it really was one of those "aha" moments for me. She's worked really hard over the years to not operate/respond out of guilt. Knowing what it feels like when you're operating out of that guilty "place" is key. When you start feeling that guilt, that's when it is time to put on the brakes and really ask yourself how you're responding and why...and from there, give yourself permission to say no or change your course.

BUT, sometimes there are just some really hard things we need to do. Sometimes we need to push through the hard stuff, and be obedient to what God might be asking of us--not because we feel guilt, but because it's the right thing to do.

I know this struggle SO well. It sounds simple, I know, but I don't know that I've ever fully grasped the difference between guilt/non-guilt in regard to hard situations. There is no LIFE for me when I'm functioning out of guilt, but there is often a blessing when we do the right things for the right reasons.

Yesterday, I had a chance to experience this "aha" realization in a completely different situation.

A friend of mine had a baby last week. Her fifth child. She ended up having a c-section (not exactly what she'd planned) and she's needed some extra help this week. Another friend called and asked if I'd be willing to go over and help her out for a few hours. My morning plans fell through (sorry, Jamie) and so I found myself with some extra time to lend.

As that time approached, I found myself growing resentful. Not a fun thing to admit, but true nonetheless. I've had a busy week and haven't been home as much as I had hoped. I had laundry and cleaning to do, and I really started to get frustrated at the thought of leaving MY to-do list undone while checking thing off of my friend's list. Ugh...so selfish.

Remembering the conversation with J on Tuesday, I asked myself if I was doing this out of guilt. I wasn't. Believe me when I tell you that I KNOW that place within myself really, really well. This wasn't guilt. This was just a hard thing that I knew God was asking me to do. I was being asked to serve my friend, and I knew God wanted me to do it in love.

I wish I could tell you that my attitude immediately improved, but that wouldn't be true. I did manage to squeak out a prayer in her driveway and I knocked on the door determined to be cheery and positive.

I had told her the night before that I'd do anything she needed me to--errands, cook, laundry, play/read with her kids or help them with school (she homeschools). When I arrived, she handed me a list and gave me some instructions before heading upstairs to take a nap. She kissed each of her kids and said to them, "please be a blessing to Mrs. B". I probably would have said something like "please be sweet or please, please, please behave". I found her choice of words so interesting.

I fed her kids lunch, then loaded them into her van for a trip to Walmart to buy a birthday gift for her son to take to a party this week. Did I mention she has five children? Of course, the baby was at home with her, but that means that I had four children. In Walmart. In the toy section. You know what? Her kids were perfect. They didn't ask for one thing for themselves, didn't balk when I told them we all had to stay together on the Barbie aisle and we could look at Legos next, didn't whine or cry when I herded us all over to get milk and bread and checkout. Who are these kids and where can I get some more like them? (Just kidding, of course!)

They were a blessing to me! They were a blessing even after we got home and talked over a snack. They were a blessing while doing some schoolwork, and they were a blessing while reading books and tucking the littlest one in for her nap. Honestly, the time spent with them was one of the bright spots in my day. My friend thanked me for my help, but honestly, the pleasure was all mine!

Sure, my list was still waiting for me when I got home, and sure, some things even got bumped to today, but there was reward for me in pushing through and doing something hard because it was the right thing to do.

I can't say that I've ever had that kind of reward when I've done something out of guilt. For me, it doesn't seem to really work that way. I usually just end up more angry and more resentful, and blessing is NOWHERE in sight. What a difference it makes when we know why we're doing something and we're doing it for the right reasons..and when we push through even especially when it's hard. Guilt, for me, will never be a good reason to do anything.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I had an email from a sweet friend not long ago telling me that I always leave her hanging here on the 'ole blog. Evidently, I throw things out there, and forget to come back and finish up the story.


About that noise John heard the other night that kept me awake for hours afterward? Don't know what it was. I never heard it, but it woke him up. No, it wasn't an animal or person in our house (thank goodness!) Maybe we have some interesting neighbors. Don't know.

And about Pikes Peak. I've got all my pics saved, and am working on text for that post. It's forthcoming. I promise. If there's one thing I want documented on this blog, that would be it! Just give me a few more days to get it all together.

I can't remember what else I've forgotten to tidy up, so now's your chance to ask me if there's something I've written about that I didn't go back and wrap up and you've been awake at night wondering about. Anything? Anyone? Ask away.

Back where I started...

It has been gorgeous here today! I mean gorgeous.

I've been outside enjoying it too! I was supposed to meet a friend at the tea house this morning, but she asked if we could walk instead, which was great by me. I love being outside in weather like this and exercise is much more enjoyable with a friend.

I had already planned to hike with another friend this afternoon, so essentially I got two workouts in today. Awesome.

Sarah and Will had after school stuff, so it was just Abbey and me this afternoon, and because she's so stinkin' cute we made a run to Coldstone Creamery on our way home from school.

I'm pretty sure that ice cream I ate replaced all the calories I burned today and I'm back where I started this morning.

At least it was yummy. And that girl talked my ear off. I love her so much.

Monday, September 22, 2008

6.5 and 41.5

Abbey reminded me this morning that today was her half-birthday. That means it is John's half-birthday too!

So, tonight after we got home from her cross-country meet (she did GREAT again tonight!) we made some gingerbread and had a mini celebration!

You're halfway to 7 and 42, guys!!!!

Here's a pic from the meet tonight. Abbey ran FAST!

We're so proud of her!

*The cute plate that Abbey is holding in the first picture is from her birthday party at the paint-your-own pottery place. Her handprint is in the middle and each guest made a thumbprint around the edges. The owners of the store transformed it into a fun birthday keepsake!

starting out tired...

It's Monday. And I'm feeling it.

We had a really great weekend. Nothing exciting, really, just a low-key weekend at home--my favorite kind.

I should feel rested and relaxed, no?

Sometime early, early on Sunday morning, John awoke to hear weird banging noises outside. After listening for a few minutes, he decided it sounded like it was coming from our basement. So, he woke me up and told me what was going on and that he was going downstairs to investigate. He might as well have told me he was going downstairs to get jumped by a gang of thieves.

Calm was not my immediate response.

Turns out it was nothing. Or at least he found nothing down there.

But I was WIDE AWAKE for the next three hours. I lay there terrified of every little sound, sure that it was an intruder in our house.

FINALLY, I fell back asleep for an hour or two before it was time to get up for church. We'd decided the night before to visit a church down the street...and their service was much earlier than I'm used to.

So...because I was so tired, I took a nap yesterday. I *love* naps on Sunday afternoon.

The three hour nap was great UNTIL I tried to fall asleep last night. Wide awake at 11pm. Ugh. Wide awake at 11:30. Ugh. Wide awake at midnight.

I'm starting my week with a tired body and mind. Definitely feels like Monday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

i *heart* saturdays...

Such a great Saturday we're having!

Started off with John making pancakes for the kids, and fried eggs for the grown-ups (and the beagle). Love it when he makes breakfast!

Had a fun date with him last night. Went to one of our favorite mexican places. Weather was great so we ate outside and talked uninterrupted for a long time. Afterwards went to a surprise birthday for one of our friends. He turned 30, and that made me feel old, but had such a fun time with friends!

Ran to the grocery store and Blockbuster with Will this morning. Will has been dying to see the third Indiana Jones movie, and I was excited to find Baby Mama. I hope it's funny. I'm in the mood to laugh.

Know what annoys me about grocery shopping on Saturdays? The solicitors camped out at the store entrance. All I want to do is walk in the store without being asked to buy popcorn, raffle tickets and newspapers. Arghh.. but not going to let that ruin my day.

Couldn't find the Razorback game on television here, so kept refreshing the live stats update on espn.com Was NOT a pretty game and so glad I didn't pay money for a ticket! Still not ruining my day though.

It's beautiful outside. About 70 degrees and sunny.

The girls are playing together so well...laughing and playing Wizard of Oz with their Happy Meal toys. Will is at a friend's house and John went for a run. John was at a book show yesterday and brought me a huge new stack of books including, Eat, Pray, Love. Started it last night and am anxious to read more. Books make me happy.

Getting together tonight with my "Summit Sisters" to celebrate our hike last week. So excited to meet at 3Margaritas...the place it all began. We met there right after New Years and hatched our plan to train/climb.

The laundry is done, the house is clean, the weather is perfect, and the afternoon is slow-paced and relaxing. I *heart* days like this!

Friday, September 19, 2008

feeling all artsy-fartsy...

Last night, our fam of five ate a quick dinner, then headed out the door to our local Art Hop. Art Hop is the third Thursday of the month, and all the downtown businesses stay open and offer refreshments for the locals who want to walk and shop. It's called Art Hop because there are some galleries downtown, and the other merchants try to have some sort of art emphasis. The bookstore had a book signing by a local author, and the guy performing live music at the tea house was our good friend, Joel.

I'd like to say we've been to every Art Hop this summer, but we haven't. Last night was our first, but definitely not our last. We had a terrific time, despite the fact that it was a very chilly Colorado evening. By very chilly I mean that my teeth were chattering the entire time.

Anyway, we sat outside and listened to Joel for about an hour. He did fantastic, and he only had to stop once to warm up his fingers! I guess it's kinda hard to strum a guitar when you can't feel your digits. We enjoyed his music, and it was wonderful to see so many of our friends from the church that we just said good-bye to. It was great to see them, but hard at the same time.

I haven't talked much about leaving our church because that happened around the time our computer crashed and I was offline for awhile. We loved our church and were very sad to leave. Nothing bad happened, we just felt like God was leading us to find something a bit closer to where we live...here in our little community. I think it's much easier to leave a church when you're miserable than when you're content there. Seeing our friends last night made me question whether or not we were doing the right thing. I know we are, but it feels hard and lonely right now, and seeing the old gang was a breath of fresh air! Our pastor and his wife were there too and I talked to them for awhile. They both told me that they think John should start a church...and believe me, he thinks about it...just not sure we're ready to dive into that pool quite yet.

After we got home and started to thaw out warm up a bit, I glanced up and noticed this...

Our friend, Kari, created it. At first I thought it was a painting, but it's really a collage...kind of a mixed media collage (I'm a bit illiterate in the world of art, but I think that might be the right term).

Isn't it amazing?

John led an art/faith small group at our church for a couple of years with Kari and her husband. He has had his eye on that piece forEVER! They moved to Denver this summer and he asked Kari if she would sell it to him. She did, and though we've had it for awhile, we finally got it hung up last weekend.

I LOVE it! I love the colors, I love the image, and most importantly, I love that it was created by our extremely talented friend.

I think of Kari when I walk past this piece. And that makes me think about church, especially the church that is so dear to my heart. And then I'm mindful of the One who holds all of us in His hand...no matter how close together or far apart we are, and for that I am grateful.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My ever expanding circle of blog friends...

I had a really fun day yesterday. I went to Denver to meet a blog friend, Teri. I've made so many (cyber) friends through this blog, but when I have a chance to meet a blog friend IRL (in real life) I jump at it!

If you know me, then you know that I'm NOT a mall person, but Teri discovered Anthropologie not long ago and suggested we meet there. She convinced me that I would love it, and I did! I haven't visited a mall since last Christmas, and I sorta had a little pact with myself that I wouldn't visit again until this Christmas, but when I entered that store, I was very thankful I didn't hold out that long. It was awesome! I've been missing out! I exercised restraint and didn't buy one single thing, but I did come home with some fun decorating and craft ideas. That is one inspiring store.

We spent quite a bit of time in Anthropologie and next door at Williams-Sonoma, then headed to one of our favorite lunch spots...Rubio's. I knew I liked Teri when I first started reading her blog, but when she blogged about loving fish tacos from Rubio's, I knew she was a soul sister!!! Their fish tacos are the best I've ever had.

Over our tacos, we talked about church and the South (she's from Texas but has lived in Colorado for twenty years) and our families, and of course, blogging. It wasn't ever awkward or weird. It was just like talking to an old friend. As I've said before, it's interesting when you finally meet someone you've already spent time getting to know via their blog. It really doesn't feel like you're meeting someone new...just catching up. I love it!

Teri...I had a great day with you, and am looking forward to our next visit!

I was able to meet my blog friend, Jenn, back in August, and didn't have a chance to post about it before my computer crashed. Jenn found my blog last year, and we have some mutual friends from my college days at OBU. Small world stuff like that makes this blog world feel even smaller, doesn't it?

Anyway, Jenn and her family were in Colorado for a family vacation, and since we've wanted to meet for a long time, we made it happen.

We got together at Agia Sophia, a fun and artsy coffee shop in Old Colorado City. Even though we talked until it closed, our time felt way too short and our conversation never lagged! (Jeremy, thank you for your patience!) Jenn, spending time with you was wonderful. You're just as sweet and caring as I imagined you to be.

When I stop and think about it, this community of bloggers has really been a huge blessing in my life. I was telling Teri yesterday that through blogging I've found people who really "get me" and people who are like me in so many ways. Sure, we're different in lots of ways too, but I've lived in a communities for years before finding friends that I share this much in common with.

So...off to add two more friends to my sidebar. Wendy, you're next,'kay?!?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Her Daddy's Daughter

Yesterday on the way home from school, Sarah told me how "frustrating" one of her teachers was. I probed a little and she said it was because the teacher was always using "dreadfully large" words. Dreadfully large? Like what I asked. Like "procrastination and progress". Uh-huh. I couldn't help but laugh out loud.

Just a few minutes ago, I was getting breakfast for her. John had to make a late night run to Safeway and came home with toaster strudel. Remember, I'm the health food nut and sugar sheriff, so stuff like that only makes it into dad's shopping cart.

Anyway, I burned the tip of my finger fishing Sarah's pastry out of the toaster. I yelped, and she was compassionate. She reminded me that she burned her finger on the toaster once...and it was "heroic". I use words like "ouch" and my 10-year-old uses words like "heroic".

Clearly, she doesn't get her vocabulary from her mother.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Question of the Week...

What is ONE object in your home that makes you feel happy every time you see it?

It's hard for me to choose just one, but today it's my cheery red tea kettle that sits on my stovetop.

What about you? What's your ONE object?

Monday, September 15, 2008


So much to say tonight...

Abbey--we're SO proud of her. She ran in her first cross-country meet tonight, and did great. She ran the 1/2 mile and did so without stopping. She's a natural and she's F-A-S-T!

Recipes--Several of you asked me to share the new recipe I tried the other night. Sure thing. It was Chipotle Chicken Pasta in Fire Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce, and it was delicious! I also rediscovered an old favorite, Chicken Broccoli Fettuccine, that is super easy to make and my kids love it!

Scrapbooking--I'm loving it again! I really lost motivation to scrapbook during the few years I was a Creative Memories consultant. A friend of mine has tables/chairs set up in her basement and I've been hanging out there a lot lately getting more and more caught up. That's a great feeling! I used to dream of the day when I'd have time during the day to do something just for myself. Now that days like that are a reality, I'm loving it!

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin--WOW! Did you see her on Saturday Night Live? I crashed long before the beginning of SNL, but I found the segment online and I thought it was hilarious! My sister told me today that she saw a short clip and thought Sarah Palin was on SNL...didn't EVEN know it was Tina Fey.

Pikes Peak--THANK you for all of the congrats you sent my way! It was a big moment for me. I'm still waiting on pics from my "summit sisters" (great name, Renee!) but yeah, that was snow up there, and no, I wasn't fully prepared to hike through it. It certainly makes for some good story telling though, so stay tuned.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yeah, baby!

I did it! I made it to the top of Pikes Peak yesterday!

It was a stunning hike, and I'm completely exhausted, but I'm also completely exhilarated!

I have lots of pictures from yesterday, but my friends have some that I need to fill in the gaps and tell the complete story. So, I'll blog about it in detail later this week.

I'm not sore at all today, but I'm very tired which is why I'm camped out on the couch right now watching NFL and reading the Sunday paper!

Here's the sign my family had taped to the front door when I got home yesterday! Isn't that great? They're the best!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Afternoon freak out...

Things have certainly been interesting around here this afternoon.

I had an email mid-morning from our school district informing me that our district was implementing their "shelter in place" status because police were pursuing a dangerous suspect in our area believed to be armed. "Shelter in place" didn't sound like it warranted too much concern, so I thought, "okay...that's good to know" and I went on about the business of the day.

Around noon, a friend called me and told me to turn on the television. Every single local news station was either broadcasting about the ginormous manhunt for the armed suspect at large or had a crawler on the bottom of the screen detailing all the schools in our district and the district just south of us that were in lockdown. A community college and mega-church down the road were also in lockdown mode. S-C-A-R-Y.

Naturally, I freaked out, because that's what I seem to do in crisis situations. God forbid I ever get bit by a rattlesnake or something because calm isn't really my first response. A few years ago, my sister came for a visit, and I ventured out in the ice and snow to retrieve her from the airport. On the way home, my van slid on the ice and landed in a ditch. We were fine, but I'm pretty sure she had no reason to freak out because I was doing enough of that for the both of us. And man, did I chase a rabbit here or what?

Anyway, other than the same info that the news media was continuously crawling across the screen, information was scarce.

I knew my kids were in a safe place, so I tried to calm down and just pray. Thanks to those of you who knew to pray with and for me! I appreciate it.

The kids are fine. The armed suspect is still at large, but I felt better seeing policemen around school when I picked the kids up. They're all home with me now, and I'm thankful they are safe and sound! And I am so, so grateful.

The law of the trail...

Barr Trail is the name of the foot path that leads to the top of Pikes Peak. I have a Colorado trails guidebook that describes Barr Trail in ten pages of great detail. Here's one part that jumped out at me:

After the first set of switchbacks, the trail flattens out and passes through a natural rock arch. Beyond the arch, you will learn the law of the Barr trail: Every flat section is quickly followed by a steep section.

Isn't that so much like life?

Every easy phase seems to be followed by one that is hard and steep.

I had a great day yesterday. I dropped the girls off at school and then spent the entire day scrapbooking and laughing and talking with friends. It was just what I needed! I picked Will up after school and he was in one of his talky moods telling me everything from the status of his grades to the girl he thinks is "hot"--oh my! Later, I made dinner and the new recipe I tried was delicious. Everyone ate without complaining, and to top it all off, there was minimal time spent around the table doing homework. It really was a good day--an easy section of the trail.

And then this morning. Boom. Things got steep quickly, and trust me, it was rough. Nothing about this morning felt easy. I wanted to fling my "mom backpack" off and run back down the trail screaming. Ugh. We could all use a do-over around here.

Thinking back over the course of my life, the law of the trail seems to hold true. Easy followed by hard, then more easy followed by more hard.

The trail book tells me when to expect the easy and encourages me to enjoy it because the hard is quick to follow. I wish I had a guidebook for this trail called life. Oh, wait--I do, and thankfully it's more than ten pages long. Here's what I'm hanging onto in the steep of today.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run climb with perseverance the race trail marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1-3

PS--Tomorrow I'm actually heading up Barr Trail with the goal of summiting Pikes Peak. If you think about it, pray for me! I'm very excited but a bit nervous too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Allow me to introduce you...

...to my husband, John.

John and I have been married for 18 years. We met while students at Ouachita Baptist University back in 1988. I was a freshman, he was a senior. He saw me on campus one day shortly after the fall semester had begun and simply HAD to find out who the mystery girl was. He found my picture in the freshmen directory, called me, and asked me out. I had NO clue who this John guy was, so before I agreed to the date, we met for lunch at Walt's--the OBU cafeteria. He was very handsome, he met my dating criteria, and I liked him enough to want to get to know him better, so we headed to Fat Dave and Reba's, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Hot Springs, AR, and the rest is history. Seriously. He's the only guy I dated in college, and after my sophomore year we were married, and our life of adventure together began.

Eighteen years. Wow.

We've definitely had some adventure in our marriage. Lots of joy-filled memories, lots of FUN, lots of laughter and lots of happy, happy times. Like most of you, we've also experienced disappointment, heartbreak, and loss.

Last night at dinner, we were talking with the kids about the significance of 9/11. It is a day that I hope America will never forget. But it's hard for our family to think of that day and not be reminded of the personal loss that occurred on another 9/11.

And that's why I want to introduce you to John--the one who sees things more clearly and expresses things more poetically than I ever will.

Here is what he's written about our own personal 9/11. Want more? Then click here and here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tuesday happies...

My friend, Jen, is known for her fun, impromptu gifts that she's always giving to people. More than once, she's handed me a bag filled with a "little happy" as she calls it. I love "happies" and I've had a few of them today. They weren't packaged in a cute little bag, but they still made me stop and smile!

Happy #1--both of the girls wanted to eat lunch at school which meant that I didn't have to pack a lunch for them this morning, which meant that I had extra time and our morning felt a bit more leisurely.

Happy #2--I met a friend at the tea house after I dropped the girls off, and we spent three hours catching up over tea. It was wonderful. I love her dearly!

Happy #3--Kashmiri chai from The Wisdom Tea House. It is out of this world delicious. And extremely fattening. But I'm not going to think about that right now.

Happy #4--The sun decided to make an appearance today. Yesterday was cold and gray and my mood followed suit. It started out the same way today, but thankfully the sun triumphed! I really NEED sunshine every day!

Happy #5--I came home from the tea house and had an email from J asking if I was up for an at-home date tonight after the kids are in bed. Yep...I can't wait.

Of course, my day isn't over but it's definitely been a good one so far! Hope yours has been good too.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I finally got all my pics uploaded from the weekend--don't ask me how many hours I've spent being frustrated with Blogger today--arghh!

We had a terrific time camping over the weekend!

We went with some of our favorite friends. We actually camped with them last year at this same spot and had such a wonderful time that we decided to make it an annual event. Not only do we love Steve and Allison, but they have great kids...two of which are our girls' best friends. Since they have four girls, and we have two, we decided to let Will bring a friend with us. He was thankful, and it turned out to be a good move. The boys had a blast playing with fire and getting wet and climbing all over rocks. They even slept in their own smaller tent, which they thought was the greatest thing ever!

We camped at The Crags and one of the great features of this camp is that it's located at the trailhead to one of the most beautiful hikes in Colorado (that's my humble opinion, of course). We hiked to the top on Saturday and it was amazing. I was so proud of all the kids for making it to the top without with minimal complaining. They did great!

One of the more memorable things about this trip was the temperature. It was FREEZING at night, with lows around 30 degrees. Somehow we ended up with 5 sleeping bags for 6 of us (remember, Will brought a friend), but we survived with no one getting hypothermia. The cold temps made our time around the campfire each morning/evening even more fun!

Allison and I concluded that all food just simply tastes better when eaten outdoors. She made a huge pot of chili for Friday night, and we all devoured it! We also consumed massive quantities of hot chocolate and s'mores! I was in charge of dinner on Saturday night, and thanks to the suggestion from my friends, Renee and Janna, we enjoyed delicious foil packet dinners...so easy and so YUMMY! Yeah, everyone thinks I'm weird for taking pics of my food.

Here are the rest of the pics from our weekend. We're already planning for next year!

(Huck and Tom)

(The sparklers Allison brought for the kids were a hit!)

(An early morning shot of our campsite)

(I told you that the sky here is bluer than anywhere else!)


I cannot upload any pictures to Blogger, and I am so frustrated.

I tried for at least 30 minutes last night before exhaustion overwhelmed me, and I've tried again this morning and NOTHING.

I'll try again after I return from grocery shopping (ah, my glamorous life!) because I have some fun camping pics to share.

Anyone else having Blogger/photo problems?

Friday, September 05, 2008


We're heading out in a little while for a family camping trip. John took today off (so glad!) and we went to Walmart together this morning to get the last of the stuff we need for the weekend.

As we were leaving, I was listing all the things I still need to do before we can pull out, one of which was take a shower. I casually said something like "that won't take long though because all I'm going to do is pull my hair up in a ponytail".

John said, "Yeah, me too."

If that's not funny to you, then you either don't know my husband or you haven't seen him in quite some time.

John wears his hair in a ponytail these days. Uh-huh. He really does. And until Tuesday when he went for a haircut, his hair was longer than mine.

There are a lot of things I envisioned sharing with John over the course of our marriage, but hair bands was never one of them.

So...about camping. I'm pretty sure we're going to freeze our tails off. The temp right now is 54 degrees, and we're camping up in the mountains at 10,000 feet. I just packed my down parka! It should be tons of fun despite the weather! We're going with some good friends and my kids are just so excited to spend the weekend with them. I'll post some pics when we return. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Question of the Week...

What's on your to-do list today?

My daily to-do list is something I can't live without. I rely on it to help me prioritize my time and remember the myriad of things that must be accomplished each and every day. Today, my list is long:

1. Mop the kitchen floor.

2. Clean bathrooms.

3. Dinner--I put this in the crock pot earlier this morning.

4. Laundry.

5. Complete some Girl Scout paperwork and get it turned in.

6. Make list of things to pack for our weekend camping trip. I'm certain I made a master packing list after our last camping trip, but I have no idea where I've put it!

7. Make grocery list for our camping trip. This list in includes plenty of hot chocolate mix, Hershey bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers!

8. PACK for our camping trip. This includes pulling out our winter gear since overnight temps are going to be in the low 30s. Brrrrrr...we're gonna freeze!

9. Make weekend arrangements for Jack-the-beagle.

10. Pick kids up from school.

11. Pick Abbey up from track. She's running cross-country this fall--how fun is that?

12. Call Allison.

That's what's on tap for me today. What's on your to-do list???

Updated: I'm making progress!!! Crossed some more tasks off--woohoo!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

life tidbits...

Life seems to be moving at a fast pace these days. I'm not extraordinarily busy, but the school year has such a different feel to it than the summer, and I don't think I've quite found my rhythm yet. I love a slow, relaxed pace, and school days don't seem to offer much of that for me.

So, because I'm feeling a bit random with my days, I'm offering you a random post. Oh boy!

The Blog. Thanks for your feedback regarding my header. I contacted my blog designer and she re-coded it for me and now I can see it in both of my browsers, and you should be able to as well. So happy about that! For those of you who thought I meant that "I" was going to personally fix it, sorry to disappoint you, but thanks for thinking I was capable.

Facebook. Oh my gosh. I've been totally sucked into the Facebook vortex (I borrowed that phrase from Elaine, who has been sucked in too). So much for that post on time management. Not only have I caught up with friends from high school and both colleges I went to, but I've found elementary school friends as well! It's been so much fun. I'm not planning to attend my 20 year high school reunion this fall, but now I sorta wish I was.

The Weather. It definitely feels like fall is in the air. Everyone went to school this morning in jeans and jackets because it's been quite cool. Last night we slept with the windows open and this morning our house is F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G. It's supposed to warm up to about 70 (perfect) and be a beautiful day. I love these cool, crisp mornings! Makes me want to pull out my fall decorations and put them up. I just might have to do that this afternoon.

Sarah Palin. You know what? I like her. I think she won me over when she responded to a reporter's question about her favorite designers with "Patagonia and The North Face". Woohoo...that's my kind of girl! I've always been a "word" girl, and one quirky thing about me is that I see words in my head. When you tell me your name or a city or pretty much anything else, I usually see it spelled out in my head. I know, it's WEIRD, but love me, love my quirks. Anyway, for some reason, I keep seeing "Plain" instead of "Palin" in my head. I think she's anything but plain, and I'm not dyslexic, so I don't know what's going on there. Maybe it's some crazy subliminal message. Don't know. As for her family stuff...I'm not going to judge her. There's enough of that going on. I thought John had a great post about the merciless media yesterday.

Kids. Abbey missed 3 days of school last week. She had a cold and was running a temp. Poor thing. She's feeling much better, but is still sniffling. Sarah and Will have both complained of sore throats, but so far haven't missed any school. Everyone here that I know has had some version of this lately. I'm trying really hard to keep us well.

Where is my Brain? I've felt so out of it the last few days. Monday evening I was mixing up some brownies for my family, and I measured everything according to the high altitude directions. I kept mixing and mixing and wondering why the mix was still powdery. I asked John to read the directions and see if he could figure out what was wrong. He picked up the measuring cup filled with all the liquid ingredients and said, "Ummmmmm, maybe you could try adding this?" Have you seen my brain? It seemed to have disappeared yesterday too.

Homework. It's back with a vengeance. We spent two hours doing homework with Will and Sarah last night. Two hours on top of the seven hours they spent in school. I just think that is too much for them. Way too much. I don't have anything good to say here, so I'm just going to quit.

The Weekend. I'm ready for it. We have something very fun planned. More on that later. My laundry beckons.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Hike

The kids and I hiked Spruce Mountain a few weeks ago with some friends and we loved it so much that we took John back there today. It's a great hike for kids and the views are amazing. Today's weather was perfect and we had such a fun time together!

We had to share the trail with several horseback riders. I think I counted six horses!
Will is in one of those phases where he rolls his eyes whenever I try to take his picture. This is one of three photos I was able to take of him today. Doesn't he look absolutely thrilled?

After we finished, we went to 3Margaritas (our fave!) for dinner. It was delicious as usual!

I was so thankful for a family day since John was in Dallas all weekend. I'm feeling a little blue that our weekend is coming to a close, but thankfully, this will be a short week.

Hope your Labor Day has been a great one!