Saturday, July 25, 2009

Random CatchUp

I've been away from home for about 10 days now and I seem to have forgotten how to write a blog post. I've tried 4-5 times to come up with something blog-worthy but keep coming back to random stuff, so I guess this post is part catch-up and part random.

The kids and I are en route to Colorado. We're not heading home though--we're heading to the Durango area for our family vacation. We're side-tripping through one of our favorite places tomorrow--Santa Fe, NM-- to meet up with John. I'm as excited about getting to go there as I am about vacation! I'm also very ready to see my husband. We've been apart about 10 days. It's not the longest we've ever been separated, but it's definitely too long. I've missed him terribly.

Thanks to all of you who have emailed to ask about my dad. My visit with him was good. Hard, but good. He's not really any better, but he's not any worse either so that's good. I spent most of my time playing nurse and taking him to his doctor appointments. I was thankful I could be there, but honestly, it was all a bit overwhelming.

I loved my time in Arkansas though because I just really love Arkansas. The weather was unseasonably cool and I only had one or two encounters with the suffocating humidity. I left this morning and realized that I didn't get one single mosquito bite while there. That is quite remarkable since mosquitos love me! (Let's be clear though--it's not a mutual affection.)

John and I think/talk about moving back every once in awhile (usually after a trip to Arkansas). I love Colorado and I don't know if my heart could handle not seeing the mountains every day, but it's so hard being far away from family. I tell John that if we ever do move back I'll absolutely have to have a house with a swimming pool. Seriously, it's the only way you can survive the summers! It's a deal-breaker for me. :)

My kids have been having fun with their cousins (and are still having fun since we're all traveling together to CO!) and I was so grateful for all of my family's help with them while I was away from them last week.

Yesterday the kids and I made a Walmart run (you know you MUST shop at Walmart if you're from Arkansas, right?) and we picked up a new game to take with us to Durango. Can't wait to try playing it. It's Scrabble Slam. Anyone played it? I'm excited to try it. I was also looking for LCR, a dice game that my cousin taught us to play last Christmas. Anyone played that one? I can't seem to find it anywhere but online. Was hoping to pick it up on the way. Anyone know where I might find it??? If I can't find it I may buy Farkle instead. 

After Walmart, we ran by Sonic because it was hot and it was happy hour and those two things just go hand in hand. The car hop reached to hand me a cherry slush and spilled it all over the inside of my van and all over ME. It was a sticky mess. I cleaned things up immediately, but today I noticed a few places that I missed. Ugh.

Had a really sad thought today while driving through Oklahoma (land of the worst cell phone coverage so far on this trip). Once we get home, my kids will only have 1.5 weeks of summer left. It's really gone by way too fast. Hoping we can really just lay low and fill those last few days with lots of nothing.

Can't wait to get home and see our new front yard! A friend from church repaired our sprinkler system and laid some sod for us last week and all my neighbors have been sending me messages on Facebook telling me how wonderful it looks. I'm excited to see it for myself! John sent me a pic from his cell phone but it's not quite the same.

Speaking of cell phones. I really want a new phone with a QWERTY keyboard. I love texting but I hate texting on my phone because I have to scroll through all the letters. A-n-n-o-y-i-n-g and p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y  slow. 

I don't know when I'll post again because I don't know if our cabin has internet. Actually, I don't think I'd mind being unplugged for awhile. That's actually my idea of a restful vacation.

So I guess you'll see me when you see me! Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Quick Hello...

Good morning from rainy NWA (that stands for Northwest Arkansas in case you're not from The Natural State and need some clarification). The internet connection here has been spotty at best, but it seems to be working right now, so I wanted to pop in and say hello.

I'm sipping coffee this morning and looking out at the rain falling on Beaver Lake. It's lovely. Today is one of those dark, stormy mornings that just begs you to sleep in.

There's not much rest for the weary around here though. My dad is getting 3 different intravenous medications which he takes at SEVEN times throughout the course of the day. That means lots of clock-watching and alarm-setting for me. I've become quite the pro at hooking his meds and tubing up, and I've been wondering if I should apply for nursing school when I return to Colorado. I think I would like the science part of it all, but I'm not a big fan of guts and blood. Not to mention math. So...on second thought...maybe I'll just stick to being a stay-at-home-mom.

Speaking of being a mom...

I miss my kids. A lot.

They're in South Arkansas with their grandparents this week. We'll reunite on Friday just in time to drive back to Colorado and meet up with their dad for our family vacation in Durango. They're having a lot of fun--despite one vomiting episode (on Mimi's brand new carpet) and their swimming plans getting rained out. 

I miss John a lot too. He and Jack-the-beagle are home in CO keeping each other company. And yeah, I miss the ole beagle too. 

I feel like our family is so splintered right now. I'm thankful it's temporary.


On tap for today is a visit to the oncologist. I've been to that clinic with my dad a few times now and honestly, it is THE most depressing place on earth. It's hard to see so many sick people come in and out. 


Anyway, I'm hanging in there. I know that it's important and good that I'm here.

Thanks so much for all of your sweet responses and prayers on my last post. I'm feeling your prayers!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The bad list...

I'm leaving tomorrow for Arkansas. I've got at least a dozen written lists going, but this one has been playing on a loop in my mind for days...

I hate cancer. I hate pancreatic cancer. I hate it's treatments and their nasty side effects/complications.

I hate that my dad is so sick from all of the above.

I hate having divorced parents, and the subsequent responsibility that weighs on me as a daughter and a caregiver.

I hate that the above statement sounds selfish and will probably hurt people I love.

I hate living 1,000+ miles away from my family.

I hate the circumstances that are leading me to Arkansas tomorrow. Hate that I'm going to have to be away from my husband and children. I'm a daughter, yes, but I'm also a wife and a mom. (My kids are going with me, but they're staying with family in AR while I stay with my dad).

I hate that I feel pulled in so many different directions.

I hate that I haven't felt very "present" with my kids this summer. And that the lazy days of summer that we all love so much have felt few and far between.

I hate insurance companies.

I hate not being able to nap or rest when I actually get the chance. My mind just never stops running and/or worrying.

I hate feeling emotionally exhausted all. the. time.

I hate that everything related to this feels like a crisis.

I hate that my kids are going to have to wait 2.5 weeks to jump on the trampoline we bought as a surprise for them. 

I hate that I'm having to pack for Arkansas AND our vacation while constantly wondering if it's even going to work out for me to get to go.

I hate that I feel so fake when I tell people "I'm good!" when they ask how I'm doing. 

I hate that I feel like I'm "too much" for my close friends who get the real answer to that question. (Thanks you guys for listening...and you know who you are.)

I hate that my emotions are always so close to the surface and that when the dam breaks, I have a hard time stopping it.

I hate that all of this is out of my control. 

I was reminded during church on Sunday that God is the only thing I can fully trust in. Relationships will fail you. Your body will fail you. Riches will fail you. Everything in this world that promises to sustain you will ultimately disappoint. But God is faithful to those He loves...and that's what I'm putting my trust in today. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Celebrating Sarah

Yesterday was Sarah's 11th birthday! We had a very fun day celebrating HER!

She woke up to a table-full of gifts...

...including some cute, silky pjs and some skinny jeans from Cissy. (Sorry I didn't get a pic of the jeans, Mom. They're very cute on her though.)

And some black, All-Star Converse. 

We were in Arkansas last summer on her birthday and she missed out on having a friend party. We don't have one every year but this year it was important to Sarah, so she invited some friends to go with her to the bead shop and make a necklace and earrings--they all turned out SO cute! I loved listening to them talk and giggle while they worked.

After the creative fun, we came back to our house for presents, pizza, and CAKE! 

Sarah requested an ice cream cake. I got this recipe from my neighbor last week and it was delicious!!!

A surprise gift from mom and dad...which was exactly what she wanted...a black EnV2 (which sent her daddy on a quest to several Verizon stores in Co Springs). 

Last night when I was tucking Sarah in bed, she gave me a BIG hug and said, "Thanks for making my birthday incredible, Mom." Those words meant more to me than all the money in the world. You're welcome, sweet-smiley-sunshiny-Sarah. I LOVE you!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

10 on the 10th!

10 things that have amused me lately:

1. I overheard my kids talking complaining last week while doing their chores. Their enthusiasm for the chore chart started waning a few weeks ago. One of them huffed and said, "We need a maid." What am I? Chopped liver? 

2. Last Sunday, I nicked the back of my ankle while shaving my legs before church. I try to shave occasionally.  In an attempt to stop the bleeding, I stuck a (rather large) piece of tissue over it. Completely forgot about the tissue until I happened to glance down right before walking up to communion and saw it sticking to the back of my ankle. Nice. No telling how many people were snickering behind my back and not telling me it was still there. Good thing I've learned to laugh at myself. And to forgive others for the sin of omission.

3. You guys familiar with word verification on Blogger? I came across the word "fartio" while leaving a comment on Lisa's blog. Fran had a contest a while ago where she gave a prize to the person who made up the funniest definition for word verification words and used it in a sentence. Talk about f-u-n-n-y stuff. Anyone wanna give "fartio" a go? So many possibilities for that one... 

4. You might be a redneck...if your van looks like this:
I had my windshield replaced last November, and a couple of months ago, the stripping at the top came loose and was flapping around and driving me crazy. Believe it or not, the guy who replaced my windshield told us to do this until the silicone glue dried. However, it has since come unglued and is now sporting the blue tape sans glue waiting for it to be repaired yet again. SO redneck, and SO embarrassing.

5. These pictures made me laugh out loud.

6. Do you guys watch Wipeout? Seriously, it is THE funniest show on tv. My entire family stops what they're doing to laugh together for an hour each week. We've also been known to say "Goodnight and Big Balls" quite frequently. Cracks us up. 

7. Jack-the-beagle has pooped in the laundry room three times in the last three days. Oh wait, that's not amusing. That's annoying. 

8. My toenails have been sporting a lovely shade of orange lately. I'm not one to deliberately paint my toenails orange (or blue or black or purple for that matter) because I'm an au naturale kind of girl. The orange toenails are rather amusing though, and it's all because of these shoes that I got for my birthday. Kelly told me that they scream Colorado. I don't know about that, but they definitely scream "hey, wear these and your toenails will turn orange". They're super comfy though and I love them despite the orange issues.
9. My husband saw the optometrist this week who told him that he's soon going to need bifocals. I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud. Wasn't laughing so much when he told me he was thinking of this look:

Elliott Gould stars as Ruben Tischkoff in "Ocean's Eleven."
I haven't seen the frames he picked out. Let's hope he was kidding. 

10. Nice pic, huh? I dropped my camera on the concrete (yikes!) and when I picked it up to see if it was okay, I accidentally took this picture of myself. A-M-U-S-I-N-G. Glad there aren't any "friends" in my nose since you can see straight up my nasal cavity.
Hope some of this made you laugh. Laughter is good medicine, ya'll! if you want to join in the 10 on the 10th fun, leave a link to your post below!

1. Mollie
2. Tiffani
3. Kendra@Kendra's Keepings
4. Elizabeth @ Finding Him Bigger
5. Michele @ Mama in High Heels
6. Angie
7. stephanie
8. Mary @ Simple Things
9. Tami
10. Gretchen (Jewels in my...)
11. afamiliarpath
12. Janet @ Engraved
13. Jackie@ Our Moments, Our Memories
14. Amber@Raising Rascals
15. Amber@ Raising Rascals
16. Alison
17. Carpool Queen
18. Christen
19. care-in
20. Robin

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Worth Repeating...

I decided to re-post something I wrote last fall after a fun afternoon with my neighbors. The reason I'm re-posting it is because we have been enjoying our neighbors so much this summer. This morning I woke up excited because I had a date with some neighborhood moms for coffee! After book club last month, we sat around and talked for a couple of hours and decided we needed to get together and do that more often. It was very fun! I'm very social (been sort of a hermit this summer though) and always feel energized when I'm around people. And my neighbors are some of my most favorite people to be around! I'm just feeling grateful for them and wanted to let you know how very much I love where we live...

Originally published October 2008:

love my neighborhood.

The houses are alright, I guess, but our neighbors are what make our neighborhood great! I love my neighbors. All of them. Well, 
almostall of them. The ones with the dogs that bark at 10pm drive me a bit crazy.

A couple of weeks ago, I came home from running some errands and saw two of my neighbors out talking by the mailboxes. I waved, pulled into my garage, went inside and went about my merry business. About 10 minutes later I walked past the window and I noticed they were still out there talking.

Have I ever told you that I hate to be left out of something that looks like fun? Well I do.

I decided right then and there that MY mail needed checking, so I walked outside and joined them. We ended up chatting for almost an hour about everything under the sun!

One of the things we talked about that day was our love of oatmeal. The old-fashioned kind cooked on the stove with lots of brown sugar and cinnamon and raisins. NOT those goofy instant packets. We even decided that we needed to get together for an oatmeal breakfast some morning, and TODAY was the day!

I took the kids to school then walked across the street (in my slippers) and had coffee, fruit, and oatmeal with Monica and Heather. It was SO much fun! And we talked for 
way longer than half an hour this time!

After awhile, we decided to move our little party to the Bead Shop downtown where we spent the rest of the morning (and afternoon) talking and making jewelry. I'll have to post a pic of the necklace I made. I think it turned out very cute!

There are so many great families and couples in our neighborhood! We've lived here for five years and we've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the people around us.

We've shared 4th of July breakfasts and fireworks in the cul-de-sac. We've had block parties, kids craft nights, bike parades, Bunco, yard sales, and play groups. We "Boo" each other around Halloween and take pictures of each other's kids trick-or-treating. Summer finds us outside chatting on the sidewalk while our kids play and ride bikes. Winter finds us outside chatting while shoveling snow and building snowmen in our yards.

My neighbors are willing to watch our kids, our dog, lend us eggs or butter in a pinch, and get our mail and paper when we're out of town. I can call them night and day for almost anything (and believe me, I have!) and they know they can call us night and day for almost anything (and believe me, they have!)

We've seen lots of babies born (including two sets of twins), we've mourned the loss of pets, we've shared meals together, and we've laughed until we've cried.

I absolutely LOVE my neighbors because they're not just my neighbors, they're my 
friends! I know that not all neighbors and neighborhoods are like this which makes me all the more thankful for mine!

Monday, July 06, 2009

My Most Favorite Day of the Year

I love the 4th of July.

It is my all-time favorite holiday and my favorite day of the year. 

Why, you ask? Well let me give you a few reasons:

1. It's in the summer, and I LOVE summer!
2. It's usually a pretty laid back day and doesn't bring the stress that other major holidays do!
3. We usually celebrate outside, and that's my most favorite place to be.
4. It's filled with all of my favorite "f" words--friends, family, fun, food, freedom, and FIREWORKS!

Moving to Colorado has only increased my love of July 4th. 

Why, you ask? Well, let me give you a few reasons:

1. It's not usually hot. Our high for the day was 75 degrees, and it was in the 50s when we watched fireworks--jacket weather!
2. We don't have mosquitos.
3. Our town has a *fabulous* 4th of July parade!
4. Our neighbors have a flag raising/pancake breakfast to kick off the day's events--complete with one neighbor playing "Reveille" on the trumpet. (If that won't rouse you from your slumber, I don't know what will!)

It is just a super fun day all the way around. Here are some of my favorite pictures!

Will snapped this pic...pretty good, eh?

Waiting for the parade to start!

Our parade has a little of everything--kids on bicycles, floats, horses, beauty queens, marching bands, protestors (see the TEA party pics), Shriners in small cars, clowns, firetrucks and SO much more. It's the best small town slice of life you'll find anywhere. It lasts about two hours and has been dubbed the Best Small Town Parade in America! We truly love it!

Click on this picture to enlarge it. My kiddos LOVED these little doggies pulling the wagon!

92.9 is a radio station in Co Springs. They drove this SUV in the parade and played Michael Jackson music the entire time. It was awesome. People everywhere were dancing. Thriller was playing when it cruised past us. Lots of people doing the Thriller dance--so funny!

I took this pic especially for my friend, Lisa. Sorry I was on the wrong side of the street and it's backwards.

We watched fireworks from the cul-de-sac at the end of our street. It rained all afternoon and was still raining when we walked outside so we just drove down there and sat in the van while waiting for them to start! We could see the US Air Force Academy & Palmer Lake fireworks shows. Definitely not the same as being there, but we had thunderstorms ALL afternoon so it was worth it to not be sitting on the soggy ground.
(I love making fun of John and his Harry Potter toboggan. He has a matching Gryffindor scarf too.)

Hope you had a fabulous 4th of July too!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

An Anniversary Miracle

Late yesterday afternoon, I was getting ready for my date with John. I was drying my hair and evidently didn't hear the doorbell ring, so Will came and told me that some lady was at the front door.

I quizzed him for a few seconds: Do you recognize her? Does it look like she's selling something? He shrugged and said he didn't know, so I walked to the front door and peeked thru the peephole. I usually don't answer the door if I don't know who the caller is, but something about this visitor compelled me to open it.

What I saw next brought me to tears.

This cute red-headed lady was standing there holding my purse that was stolen back in April. I could not believe my eyes!

She told me that her son had found it while walking home...behind a dumpster in a shopping center close to their house, partially hidden in some tall grass. He brought it home and showed it to her, and she called the police in our little town. The police told her they'd come retrieve it but after waiting several days for them to show up, she took matters into her own hands, looked up my address (my ID was still in my wallet) and delivered it to me.


How awesome is that? Doesn't it just restore your faith in the goodness of humanity?!?

She was so sweet while I stood there stunned and digging through it. She told me when her son found it, it was full of water. We've had a very wet couple of months (unusual) and I figured everything in it was ruined, but I was just so stinkin' happy to have it back that I didn't care.

She also told me that all the credit cards were gone (they've all been cancelled/reissued anyway) and I saw that my iPod was definitely gone too. However, my wallet was still in it and so were my coupons (yay!) and my zippies and my lipsticks and my nail file (the good one!) and my gloves and my house keys! (which aren't any good now that we've changed all the locks, but oh well!).


I was so stunned that I forgot to even ask her name, or ask her to thank her son for me. I wish I had been a little more present in that moment. Nice, pretty, red-headed lady: If you happen to read this will you contact me so I can thank you and your son? 

Soon after she left, our babysitter arrived, so I just shoved it all in the dirty clothes basket and this morning I pulled it out and sorted through the mess. It was filthy and filled with all sorts of dirt and debris. See?

But...Vera Bradley bags are machine washable! So I took it downstairs, treated all the stains and determined it's salvageable. It's a little sunbleached in parts, but overall is still in amazing shape to have been sitting out in the snow, wind, rain, cold, heat, and intense sun of CO!

After washing (twice):
My zippies from Joanne are a little stained (I think from the granola-bar packaging) but I'm so happy to have them back...especially the monogrammed one. And even though I had to throw out all my coupons (they were wet and mildewed) I am thrilled to have my coupon file that-I've-had-for-15+ years back. Most of the stuff that was in my wallet was still intact amazing!

The biggest surprise of all? Just before I threw the purse in the washing machine, I checked the inner pockets one more time. I was trying to get all the rocks/pebbles out, and lo and behold I found this!
I was very worried it was ruined because of all the moisture it had been exposed to, but guess what? I cleaned the grime off, put it in my camera, and discovered that all the pics I hadn't downloaded were still on it.

I cried again. Because it really was an anniversary miracle! 

I've had a thankful heart all day long! God really does care about the things that concern matter how small or inconsequential they might seem.