Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm not in my twenties anymore...

In my mind, I feel a lot younger than I actually am.

Sometimes I look at my two teenagers (who are both taller than me) and wonder how they can be as old as they are if I'm so young. That usually jolts me back to the reality that I'm in my forties. Granted, I'm in the low forties but I've crossed the line nonetheless.

I'm also reminded of my age from time to time when I take a tumble.

Yesterday some friends and I hiked the Incline.
The Incline is a killer workout and one of my favorites--though I'm not willing to concede that I actually like it until I'm at the top and headed back down.

On our descent down a very crowded Barr Trail, I slid and fell. O-U-C-H.

Today I'm feeling it. My right leg is scraped up, my knee hurts, and my right arm and shoulder are super sore from trying to catch myself when I went down. Ugh.

I'm feeling every bit of forty-two today. Sigh. I suppose I am only twenty-something in my mind. Now, where's the ibuprofen?

Yesterday was not the first time I've fallen on the trail down from the Incline. I busted it on New Year's Day when John and I basically slid down Barr Trail on a sheet of ice (ummmmm, that was NOT a shining moment for two forty-something adults).

I've been wondering what kind of damage one could see from the Waldo Canyon fire from atop the Incline. Turns out not much. The Incline is actually very close to Waldo Canyon, but it's so close that you really can't see too much. If you want to know what you CAN see, then you'll have to hike up there yourself. That is if you can talk your twenty-something-year-old self into it. Grin.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lazy Saturday

We're having a super lazy Saturday. The kids and I have played hard this week and we're all feeling slothful today. I love the ultra laid back pace of summer weekends. Also love that we don't have anything we have to do today.

How about some random nothingness today?
I bought a new cap this week and I love it! I kinda have a thing for caps/hats. I love wearing them. You can't really see the purple flower on the side but it's really fun! Actually you can't even tell how cute the cap is from this picture. You'll just have to trust me.
We stayed up so late last night watching the Olympic opening ceremonies. As usual I thought it was a little weird--I just don't get all the artistic interpretation--but also very interesting. My favorite part is when the athletes parade into the arena. Seeing their smiles is amazing and heartwarming and I feel so happy for all of them--especially the athletes from tiny countries! What an honor to represent your country at the Olympics.

I downloaded a free Olympic app for my iPhone to keep up with events, schedules, athletes, and medal counts. It even lets me watch events live (through my cable provider) and I'm pretty jazzed about that since we're taking a somewhat impromptu road trip this week to one of my favorite places and I'll be able to watch while we're on the road! Yay! The app doesn't have great ratings but I've had no problems with it whatsoever. 

Fair warning: Y'all might get tired of me talking about the Olympics. 

We have a little more than three full weeks of summer left. BOO! I feel the need to pack the remaining weeks with as much fun as I possibly can and cross a few more things off of my summer list. I am NOT looking forward to structured days and crazy schedules. I'm going to have kids at three different schools again this year (and for the foreseeable future) and that means that my mornings and afternoons are pretty nuts. I'm grateful that I get to be the one to take them/pick them up every day but it does get a little hectic sometimes. Will is old enough to get his driver's permit but he has shown zero interest in it so we haven't really pushed him. I'm hoping he comes around soon. I've gotta admit that I will be happy when he can help out with some of the driving around here.

That's about all I can think of right now. My patio, my favorite outdoor chair, my newest Southern Living magazine, and a glass of ice water are calling my name this morning. Peace out, peeps.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Flip Side

I know I sound like a broken record when I say that I love summer. I really really really do and I've always loved making summer fun and special for my kids. Since they were little I've tried to make summer a time that is markedly different than the rest of the year. I've planned crafts and baking projects, trips, outings, fun activities, playdates, etc. You name it, I've done it. And I've loved every minute of it! 

Last summer something shifted. The bottom line? My kids are growing up. Things that have always been a part of our summer were met with mixed reactions. I heard words like "We're too old for that, Mom", "Do we have to do that? Do we have to go?", "Mom, this really isn't fun for us anymore". Honestly, the realization that things are changing makes me sad. I've had to shift my focus a bit and let go of things that feel important to me. I've had to lengthen my mom-tether a bit.


I had an "aha" moment this week. The flip side to them growing up and saying good-bye to beloved summer outings and projects and "kiddie-fun" is that we get to have new kinds of fun--without me being stressed! We went to Elitch Gardens with some friends on Wednesday and I wasn't constantly counting and corralling kids. I mean yeah, I kept my eye on them but it wasn't H-A-R-D like it used to be and I didn't come home and want to collapse in an exhausted heap. It was great! 

We've been to the pool a lot and I've been able to sit and chat with friend while keeping an eye on them. I can get in the water if I want or I can lounge on my chair. Gone are the days that I'm constantly holding on to a kid or trying to keep three afloat. Gotta say it's NICE!

I've also been able to squeeze in my hikes in the mornings while they're still sleeping. Win-win. They get to sleep in and I get my outdoor fix yet am home in time to make them breakfast and spend the day with them. 

I'm definitely liking the flip side of things more and more.

They've still asked to do some of our usual summer fun stuff. Like camping in the backyard. Watching movies at night on the patio. Swimming. Hiking (okay, they haven't asked me to take them hiking but they've been somewhat agreeable to going). Going to the Rock House for ice cream. And to Sonic for happy hour. I can live with that!!! My hope is that they will look back on these days and have very happy memories of childhood summers. 

 Yeah, we have to bundle up to watch movies outside at night. LOVE evenings in Colorado!
 We hiked Seven Bridges last week with some friends (a LOT of friends actually). Great hike, great company. 

 Abbey and her friend at Groovy Hippie Paint Day at Paint the Town. FUN place! 
 I braved Elitches with the kids. Amusement parks aren't usually my favorite thing but we all had a GREAT day. I liked the water park the best. 

This was Abbey's first roller coaster ride (and according to her, it was also her LAST). So thankful for my friend Heather who took my girls on this ride. I am not a fan of roller coasters!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Team USA

I've always loved the Olympics. Aside from the 4th of July, I can't think of anything that inspires my sense of patriotism and awe like the Olympic games. In case you've been living under a rock, the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics is tomorrow! Gotta say that I'm VERY excited about these games. I usually prefer the winter games over summer, but I really love gymnastics and track and field events. This year, we actually know someone who is IN the Olympics! Jenny Barringer Simpson is a local (so y'all cheer extra hard for her!) and she and her husband are involved with our area Young Life organization. She's running the Women's 1500M and could be a medal contender. Knowing someone makes watching that event so much more awesome! Go Jenny!

Last week the girls and I went with some friends to check out the the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. We've lived here for almost nine years yet we'd never been. My friend and I thought that since the games were so close we might have a great chance of seeing some athletes/teams training.

The only team we saw training was the women's wrestling team. I believe the tour guide said that this is the first year that women's wrestling has been an Olympic sport.

I definitely wouldn't add the OTC to my "Top 5 things to do in Colorado Springs" BUT if you have time to check it out, it's interesting, informative, and FREE. I loved the short film at the beginning of the tour and I loved the flags of all the Olympic nations that lined the walkways around the complex. The grounds are beautiful and the facilities are impressive but I guess I really hoped to see more athletes. Maybe they'd already left for London? Who knows.

One interesting thing I learned while there is that they Olympic Training Center has a torch on the top of the building that stays lit while the games are in session. I think it would be cool to see that lit at night! We might have to drive down that way just to check it out over the next few weeks.

This seems to be the summer that I'm crossing things off my "I've never done that" list so I'm glad we checked it out! Now, let the games begin!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Current Books: Guess what? I finally seem to have my reading groove back! Here's a list of what I've read/am reading: The 19th Wife, Little Bee, No Matter The Cost (more about this in another blog post), The Art of Neighboring. Seems like I'm forgetting something...

Current Playlist: My girls are One Direction crazed right now and I like their stuff so that gets a lot of playtime. I listen to almost anything/everything that my kids like with a few exceptions--Maroon Five/Adam Levine. Ick. Cannot stand his voice.

Current Color: Hmmmm...lately I'm loving the aqua color of the pool!

Current Smell: Sunscreen and chorine...ahhh two of my favorite summer smells.

Current Drink: Water. John asked me the other day if I missed coffee. Can't say I do. I've been caffeine-free for 14 months. I do occasionally drink a diet coke, but it's pretty rare. If I want soda with a meal I drink Zevia.

Current Food: I love that each season of the year lends itself to different types of cooking. Here are some new favorite recipes we've discovered this summer.
And I'm trying Buffalo Chicken Tacos tonight!

Current Favorite Favorite: HIKING! So many trails, so little time.

Current Wish List: An exercise ball.

Current Needs: I need a new television series to watch on DVD/Netflix. Suggestions?

Current Triumph: I don't want to jinx things and say that I have my blogging groove back too, but I do at least have several things that I want to blog about right now. That's a huge improvement over the last few months when all I could do was stare at the computer screen when I sat down to blog. 

Current Annoyance: I actually have a blog post in my draft folder of things that annoy me. However when I look at that list of (valid) annoyances I feel petty and shallow for letting those things get to me. So....I'm gonna let that draft be my "venting place" and keep things positive on the blog. :)

Current Indulgence: A daily nap. Even better if it's outside in the sun!

Current Mood: Relaxed

Current Blessing:  Last night after dinner, John and I got up from the dinner table and our kids lingered there for a bit longer telling stories and laughing with each other. I was listening to them from the other room and it made me smile. They seem to really love and enjoy one another and it is a blessing I don't take for granted.

Current Outfit: My summer uniform--capris, t-shirt, flip flops. 

Current Excitement: We have a dinner with friends coming up this week that I'm looking forward to. And I'm also really excited about THE COLOR RUN next month. A group of friends and I are doing it together and I can't wait. 

Current Link: Homemade Puffy Paint. Going to try this with the girls as soon as I hit Costco for salt and flour.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Snapshots

It's no secret that I love summer. I don't know if it's the complete lack of schedule or the unhurried rhythm of our days but there is something so relaxing and peaceful about this season of year. I sometimes wonder if I'll feel this way when my children are grown and our lives don't revolve around the school calendar. Something tells me it will always be my favorite...

Besides haircuts, physicals, dental appointments and all those things I try to knock out during the summer we've been trying to have as much fun as possible.

We've been checking out new places...
The girls and I stopped by Squeak Soda Shop one day last week after someone told me they serve shaved ice. I've been trying to find a snow-cone/shaved ice place after consuming one-a-day while on vacation. It was a cute place and the shaved ice satisfied my craving! The soda shop is really close to the Waldo Canyon burn scar so on the way there we saw quite a bit of the fire's devastation. I couldn't keep the tears from's pretty hard to take it all in. We saw where the fire came to the end of some friend's street and stopped. There are signs everywhere thanking all the firefighters and first responders. It's a pretty humbling scene. One that locals won't soon forget.

Yesterday we hiked up to the top of Castle Rock. We didn't go to the very top (no trail) but we got up as far as the trail took us and looped around the giant rock formation. I bribed the girls with a trip to the pool afterwards. They're not big hikers but this was a short, easy hike and not only have we now officially crossed it off of our bucket list but they have bragging rights! I told them every time we drive past that big rock formation on our way to Denver, they can look up and say they've climbed it. I'm pretty sure they were more excited about swimming than bragging rights.

We also celebrated Sarah's birthday last week! She had two friends join her for a little shopping excursion, dinner, and a sleepover. Our shopping trip included a stop for her favorite dessert--Pinkberry! She had a fun day and got a VERY nice gift from her sweet daddy. We usually let her pick a place to go for a fun birthday dinner out. I thought it was sweet that she wanted to wait until Will got back from camp and go out as a family even though we gave her the option of going without him. She's a beautiful, sweet, thoughtful, funny, responsible, caring, smart and wonderful 14-year-old and we are so thankful for our Sarah!
Will got home from Young Life camp on Sunday and I am very happy to have all my peeps at home this week. I've had three weeks of summer with only two kids at home and I've gotta say it feels strange. With two teenagers I think that could become more and more of my summer norm but I am happiest when all five of us are home together. Will has one more camp to attend this summer and after that it will be almost time to start thinking about school. Oops. Didn't mean to even voice that thought. 

Until then, I intend to milk every last drop of fun out of summer!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Dauphin Island 2012

The beach vacation we took last month was such a treat for our land-locked family! I hope I don't bore you to tears with all of our photos!

We chose Dauphin Island because it's where John's brother and his family vacation every summer. They told us that it was very small and there wasn't lots to do there--mainly just the beach and the condo pool--and that sounded great to us because all we really wanted to do was sit in the sun and read a book and stare at the ocean! It was also great that Dauphin Island is on the western side of the Alabama coast because we drove from Colorado and that made our destination just a wee bit shorter. :)

I absolutely loved how uncrowded Dauphin Island was. We took the ferry across Mobile Bay one day and drove into Gulf Shores. The difference between our beach and Gulf Shores was drastic. It made our beach feel almost like a private one! It was really really nice!

John and I didn't watch any weather news before we headed south so we were a little surprised to hear about Tropical Storm Debby. I feel like we really dodged a bullet when she trekked toward Florida. The first day we were there we had tropical storm warnings and the riptide was very strong, but the warnings were lifted by the next day and we had beautiful sunshine and not one drop of rain the entire week! 

This photo was taken on the afternoon of our arrival when we were unsure of the path the tropical storm would take. See how choppy those waves are? And how brown that water looks? That was Debby's doing. 
 This is not a great picture but it was the only one I took of the kids catching sand crabs...hilarious!

We had snow cones every single day...I love snow cones!

 Sarah is holding one of the many hermit crabs she found in this picture. We also found lots of sand dollars--it was crazy--one day they just kept washing up on the beach. One afternoon there were some guys next to us on the beach who had waded into the water chest deep and were fishing. They kept catching catfish (weird) but one of them caught a baby shark and called us over to see it. COOL. Except not. Especially when they were fishing right next to where we were playing in the water! Of course that was the day I opted to leave my phone (and the only camera I took) in the condo so as not to be distracted by all the wildfire news back home, so sadly I have no picture of that baby shark.
 We vacationed with John's family--his brother's family and his parents. I think Papa had as much fun in the water as the kids did!
 I got up and walked almost every morning by myself on the beach. I sure don't have views like this at home! I missed my walking partners though!

 We did NOT get a picture of the five of us on the night we dressed for photos because the sun was setting too quickly. We did get a good one of all the grandkids with their grandparents though! I just don't have it on my phone to share.
 We went to LuLu's for lunch on the day we went to Gulf Shores--FUN place! These are the only pics I took that day. I was a wee bit distracted by the fire situation at home as this was the day we got the pre-evacuation notice for our neighborhood.

 Abbey and John made this sand sculpture one day...
 And John's brother (the artist) made this one. Yeah, he won.

 Breakfast at The Light House Bakery--oh my word--that was some good stuff!

 By the way, I bought a Land's End swimsuit at Sears and I L-O-V-E it!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention all the seafood we ate while there--oysters, shrimp, all-you-can-eat crablegs, gumbo (oh my word!), crab bisque (a-mazing!), scallops, mahi mahi, etc, etc. One night we got NINE pounds of fresh shrimp and steamed it. The guy we bought it from said it had been caught only two hours prior. We ate until we could eat no more. It was delicious. I think I could eat seafood every single day.
Totally stole my brother-in-law's photo of the aftermath of his crab-leg fest. 

We had a wonderful, relaxing week and I am soooooo thankful for the time spent with our family! It was a beautiful, beautiful week!