Sunday, September 30, 2007

Too Much Fun!

Today is Haiku's 1st Birthday! Well, maybe it was yesterday or even tomorrow, we're not really sure. The breeder couldn't remember when she was born. Any way you cut it, we have a cute puppy (I think Joel's pretty cute, too)! I say puppy, because she is still very much one. She still chews, misbehaves and eats like one. I think we have one more year of this kind of behavior ahead of us!

We've been wanting to have our friends and neighbors over for a get together to see all the work we've done on the house for a while now...we never really had an "Open House" when we moved in. So, this seemed like as good of a reason as any to have people over.

About 20 people (adults and kids) came by today and we had fun! The dogs played in the backyard and the adults watched football. Just like any other gathering in any other American household, everyone congregated in the smallest room in our house--the family room. That's just fine with me!

We had snacks, cake & ice cream (of course!) and opened gifts. I didn't really expect anyone to bring over gifts, but they did & it was fun! Haiku was oblivious to anything going on and just wanted to play wither her friends Libby & Fozzy (seen in the picture with Haiku--they just loved those hats!). Then she discovered people had brought her yummy treats and very large bones. She wanted to eat, eat, eat!

Anyway, we had lots of fun. The only downer was the Broncos lost. But the Rockies are in the playoffs (kind of)! That's big news around here!

We sure love our dog and for all you people out there that think we spoil our dog--you're probably right, to some extent. Most of all, we love having fun and laughing and we got to do a lot of that today! Just look at her--how can you not love that sweet face? (The dog, not the cake!) And yes, we did use that ice bucket!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ice Bucket

My friend Jeni told me when I was registering for my wedding, "Be sure to register for an ice bucket." Not being a big ice person myself, I remember thinking, "What? Who needs one of those? It will just take up space in my kitchen cabinets." But, I dutifully listened to her advice and registered for one. I have been thankful every time I've pulled mine out for a small group get together, large family dinner, or other occasions we've had with lots of people at our house.

I got to thinking about that old ice bucket (thank you to the generous giver of that bucket) today when I got it out for our small party tomorrow. I never would have bought it if Jeni hadn't given me that great bit of advice--it sure does make it easier when you're having a get together. Now if I could just find those little tongs.... She had already been married a few years by the time my wedding rolled around and she knew I would need it.

I sure am glad to have people like her in my life--just a step or two or quite a few ahead of me. The "been there, done that" people--not in a rude way, just "I've been down that road before, let me help you navigate the terrain.

Seems like more often than not, I'm a slow learner. I have to do things wrong a few times (or a dozen) before I get it right. I sure am grateful to have lots of Jeni's in my life--some older, some younger, but all with a different insight that helps me see more clearer that we're all in this together--helping one another out. Sometimes it's the small things, like registering for an ice bucket, and sometimes it's the big things like the finer points of marriage. Whatever it is, their advice makes my life a little easier and a little more full of purpose. I should have more parties, just so I can use that old ice bucket more often.

Friday, September 21, 2007

It Just Had to Go

One of the first projects I really wanted to work on was our bedroom. But, it kept getting pushed back because there were other rooms or projects that seemed to be more pressing. I also just kept procrastinating on the project because there was a wall of wallpaper to remove (see photo). It had been applied directly to the dry wall, so I was dreading the process of taking it down.

I couldn't stand it any longer and on Sunday afternoon while I listened to the Broncos game on the radio, I started. I hoped for the best and expected the worst. I got something in between. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, but it certainly was a pain. I worked for about 3 hours on Sunday (see picture at right) and another 2 this morning. But, it's done! (see picture below) Hopefully we'll have time to texture the wall this weekend so I can paint!

My mom and dad are coming in October and I'm hoping to have the room ready for decorating when they are here!

Friday, September 14, 2007

I love summer. And it's not just because I'm a teacher and we get 2 months off. I love summer because it suits my personality. Lazy days. Relaxed schedules. Sleeping in, staying up late. Spending time with friends and family. All the things we don't get to do during the school year because we move at break-neck speed.

I found myself really enjoying this summer. We went on some awesome vacations, had great time with lots of different friends, worked on house projects, and Joel & I just really had a great time together, being married.

Towards the end of the summer, in the middle of August, we found ourselves spending time with a number of different groups of friends. One Thursday night, some of the people in our small group met for a picnic at a park and had a small BBQ. As the relaxing evening came to an end, I found myself staring off into the darkening sky thinking "This is it--this is what summer is all about. I don't want it to end."

The next evening I had a very similar moment while we spent the evening on the back deck with our friends, the Smiths. We had eaten a great meal, the weather was turning just a little cooler and I had that same thought "This is it--this is what summer is about. I really don't want it to end."

Two days later, our friends Jason & Krista were over at our house and we were playing a rousing game of Pinochle. They are the only people our age we know that play the game. We play so often we have a notebook we keep of our games and all the funny things that happen during those games. It's fun to look back and see where and when we've played. As the evening was coming to an end and we realized it was a school night for Joel and me, I had that same thought, that same moment of sadness--"This is it--this is what summer is about. I really don't want it to end."

But, like all good things, they do come to an end. Work has begun. Life is moving at break-neck speed. The weather is getting cooler and summer and it's glorious lifestyle is but a memory.

Last night Joel & I attended the Air Force Home- coming football game against TCU. I have to say, it was a rather uneventful game leading into the 4th quarter. Air Force was down by 7, and their defense had been on the field for most of the 2 and 3 quarter. Lots of people left early. The weather was getting a bit chillier and it was getting late. Ok, it was 8:30. We even considered leaving to beat traffic. But then the game turned around quickly after TCU scored another touchdown. Air Force came back to win triumphantly in overtime. The cadets rushed the field and the air was electric.

As the band played one final song and the stadium stood silently, I had another quiet moment to myself. The air was cool, we were with family, enjoying a great game of football..."This is it--this is what fall is all about. I never want it to end." But, then I realized it's not what fall or even summer is all about. This is life. Awesome moments shared with friends or family, or even alone. Feeling community amongst our fellow believers. Sharing in the fun. Helping in the hurts. It's not about the season--hot or cold--it's about taking some time to slow down and appreciate it.

We still move along at break-neck speed most of the time. Running from one event to the other. I even cut back on my work hours this year--32 hours a week instead of 40--to have more time to get things done. Alas, my Fridays are just as busy as before. But, I think I will force myself to have more moments like these. When was the last time you had one?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Labor Day Projects

"Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
--taken from

Although Labor Day was set aside to celebrate the work we've done on the rest of the year, I think more work happens on Labor Day than all the other days combined. Summer has come to an end and everyone realizes how much work they didn't get done in the summer months. So people are out mowing lawns, working on house projects, gardening, painting, etc... Oh wait, is that just us??

We did lots of work this summer and finally over Labor Day it all came together! Joel finished installing all the baseboards on the upper level of the house--yeah! Who knew that baseboards were such a big deal? I cleaned the basement, painted the hall bathroom and worked on spackling and painting the baseboards. Here are some pictures of our accomplishments. As usual, pictures don't do justice to how it actually looks (& how much work it was!)

These are the baseboards in the dining room. We ended up having to add quarter round to it because the space between the flooring and the wall was too wide. I think it looks pretty classy.

This is our hallway with floors and baseboards done!
Here is the bathroom--a new pretty beachy blue. It used to be yellow...
Now my next huge project is sanding and painting white all of the trim--door jams, doors, etc...It's going to be lots of work, but well worth it in the end. The ones I've done already look really nice!

Wisconsin Trip Remembered, Part 3

Over the weekend I was in Wisconsin, we all packed up the cars (yes, it takes 2 cars for all of us to go anywhere!) and went down to Rockford. My mother was born and raised in this town--in fact my grandfather still lives in the house he built in 1947. How many people do that any more? This picture is with my sister & me and our cousin, Jacquie. Other other two cousins, Sue & Chris couldn't make it to the BBQ. There's just 5 of us girls on my mom's side of the family!

We had a family get together at my mom's Aunt & Uncle's house. They have a pool--which Faith & Avery love! We had fried chicken and lemonade and the weather even cooperated! My mom played with Avery in the pool and started saying "1, 2, 3, Go!" and then would throw Avery in the air. She would do it about 7 or 8 times and then need a rest. Well, Avery learned a new word--"go!" and then she would look at my mom like "What are you waiting for lady?" Faith had a great time playing with Aunt Connie in the pool. She loves Aunt Connie! The picture here is Aunt Connie & Faith after we ate dinner. I just love this picture! It's fun to see Faith making so many fun memories with Aunt Connie because Aimee & I have lots of fond memories with her, too!

On Saturday, we all went to a large water park. We went to one last year and Faith has basically been asking Aimee for an entire year to go again! We met up with Aunt Connie again and Aimee's friend, Diane & her son Andrew were there too. We had great fun--ALL DAY! 8 Hours of water park!

Faith was able to go on most of the rides at this water park. They had a number of slides she could go down and then a few adult slides she couldn't. The week before we went to a pool in Milwaukee and Faith couldn't go on any of the slides because she was about 1/4 of an inch too short! She was a real trooper that night though and had lots of fun on the slides she could go on at this water park!

Avery loved this water park too. They had a good kids section where she could wade in the water and a not-so hot hot tub she liked, too! By next summer she'll be running around even more with her sister!

About every 5 minutes this large bucket of water would splash down on top of the slides. At first Faith was a bit scared of it--understandably so. But then we got caught at the top & got drenched and she kind of liked it. It was a TON of water!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wisconsin Trip Remembered, Part 2

For a few years growing up we actually lived on a lake in South Carolina. I have found memories of fishing off the small dock we had and catching lots of sun fish on my little bamboo fishing rod. No reel or fancy mechanism, just a stick & a string.

Another distinct memory I have from growing up is being in the water. Our family loved to swim! Maybe it's because we lived in hot & humid locations--I'm not sure, but I grew up swimming ALL summer. And, by the way, for those of you born in the last 10 years--we did it all without any sunscreen. I'll probably pay for that later...

My point is, it has been fun to watch Faith, in particular, be able to share in some of these memories of mine. I guess it's what you call "vicarious living". I guess parents have a tendency to do that with their own kids. Since I don't have any of my own, I have to do it through my nieces & nephews! :)

Faith was introduced to fishing by her Nana (I hope I got that right), which is Gary's mom, while they were visiting this summer. Nana was even willing to purchase huge night crawlers (probably to my sister's horror--they closely resemble snakes & we're not too excited about reptiles). They would pull the night crawlers apart & Faith would say something like "I love you, worm, I'm sorry" and then "pop" them apart. Then it was off to fishing!

So, one afternoon while we were in Wisconsin, Oma & Opa (Grandma & Grandpa) decided to take Faith fishing at a local trout farm. Aimee & I opted for shopping and lunch at Panera. It was about 90 degrees and 99.9% humidity when they went, so that's why their hair looks all wet in some of the pictures--it ws just that hot!
They had a great time. Opa would get the worm all ready, Faith would cast it into the water and then almost like magic a fish would appear! Faith must think she's the best fisher ever! In all reality, some people were just scooping them out of the water with a net because they were so crammed in at the hatchery. Faith ended up catching about 16 fish in 1 hour! They had them all cut up and prepared and the fish were served for dinner the following week.

Wisconsin Trip Remembered, Part 1

It has been a busy month! We always know it's coming because school starts in August, but it inevitably still hits us like a ton of bricks. That is the reason for the lateness in posting this blog! Coupled with the fact I needed my computer-expert husband to get the CD-ROM to work! I'm so thankful for his knowledge of computers!

Back in August I was able to take a trip to Wisconsin & Illinois. It started out great--flight was on time, had a great evening with my mom and then the next day I was able to go to Chicago for the day. I met my old college roommate, Tracey for lunch and had lots of fun catching up with her & I had lots of fun looking alround my alma mater, North Park University. Boy has it changed! Tracey & I agreed we got ripped off--the campus is now beautiful, 6 years after we graduated! But, I am glad our $ went to good use and it is what I always dreamed it would be--a beautiful campus right in the middle of busy Chicago (you can tell in the picture below)!

Then it was off to Midway airport to pick up my brave sister, Aimee & her two daughters, Faith & Avery. I think she's brave for flying alone with two kids! (much like my brother in law & sister in law for driving across Utah & Colorado with four kids!) I really had it in my mind that I would make it to the airport early enough to park, get a cart and meet them at baggage claim to help. Alas, I did not count on Chicago traffic or their flight being early! They were ready to go when I arrived. It then took us about 3 hours to drive back through Chicago traffic to make it home to Wisconsin.

The next few days were filled with fun, fun, fun. Oh, and did I mention heat & humidity! It was really unbelievable. Reason number 504 I love Colorado: dry heat. None the less, we still played at the park, the girls rode bikes (mom found an old Big Wheel for Faith to ride--oh to be a kid again!), Aimee & I got in some good shopping time and we had lots of great food! Here are a few pictures.

Kayaking with Opa (Grandpa in German) & Picking Water Lilies
Fun on the Big Wheel Bike! (Do they make these for adults?)
Faith & me playing piano!
Avery looking sooo cute at the park. Her t-shirt says "My mom thinks she's in charge" Probably more true of all kids than we know! :) I love it!
My favorite picture--how cute are they? Good job, Aimee & Gary!
So now it's about 8:30pm and time for bed. My how times have changed since college. Part 2 of this blog will have to come some time this weekend...including Faith & Opa's big fishing adventure & our trip to Rockford (& the water park!!).