Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Don't Call Me

because I rarely check my messages! I listened to our home voicemail today. 26 new messages! Ack! I knew it had been awhile since I last checked my home phone messages, but I didn't realize it had been 3 weeks. Although the good thing about waiting so long is that most don't need calls back anymore. All those urgent issues are old business.

Monday, June 28, 2010

This Week's To Do List

This is, of course, in addition to all the normal things I do all day/week like take care of the kids, take care of myself, tri training, cook meals, grocery shop, keep the the house picked up, make beds, do laundry, pay bills, garden, entertain, and sometimes shower. Whew! No wonder I'm tired!
  1. Hang hooks in kids' closets
  2. Take kids shopping for meditation cushion fabric
  3. Make a cookie care package
  4. Make yogurt
  5. Get a new bell collar for Oscar (he already lost his first one... I think I may get several this time!)
  6. Convert sewing room back into guest room for visitors (aka clean it up!)
  7. Clean out closet
  8. Schedule dentist appointments for myself and kids
  9. Schedule eye doctor visit for myself
  10. Make craft box

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Retreat

I've spent the last 4 days at the Shambhala Mountain Center at a retreat called Running with the Mind of Meditation & Yoga. Runner's World had an article about the program a few months ago. I had already signed up for the program when the article came out and wasn't sure how I felt about the program getting so much press right before I attended. However, the article brought a number of valuable participants, so in the end I was pleased.

I've been meditating (or attempting to meditate anyway) for well over a year, if not closer to 2 years. I just haven't been quite able to formulate a practice. I was very inspired by the meditation instructor (such a soothing voice!) on our trip to Red Mountain back in November but still didn't maintain a regular practice. I see now that an intensive group program was what I needed. I really think this weekend was my break through. I'm actually looking forward to meditating tomorrow!

I want to go on and on about the program but won't. Just know that it was extremely enjoyable and beneficial for me and that I would recommend it to anyone.

Image from the Shambhala Mountain Center website

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Travel Meme

When we went out for Chinese food last week, the fortune in my cookie said, "A short vacation is in order for you." That's my kind of fortune! And now it is coming true. I've been gone on a little solo trip since Thursday. Can't wait to fill you in on the details.

But in the meantime, here is a meme I got from Penny

1. What country and/or state do you live in? Colorado, USA

2.
What was the last country you visited other than your own (or that you want to if you haven’t been out of your country? It has been so long since I've been out of the country! I'm guessing it was our ski trip to Fernie, Canada. Maybe I've crossed into Mexico since then, but only for the day.

3. What is your favorite kind of trip (i.e. camping, laying on the beach, cruise, etc.)? No preference. I like all of it, although I prefer anything that involves being outdoors.

4.
What is the farthest location south that you have gone? South Africa

5.
What is the farthest location north that you have gone? Alaska

6.
What is our preferred mode of transportation when traveling long distances? Airplanes... first class. Okay, that may not be how I actually travel, but is is my preferred mode.

7.
What kind of vehicle do you own or would like to own? I drive a Volvo for its safety features. I still want an Airstream B190 for road trips. I imagine I'll be working that angle for awhile.

8.
What is your ideal destination? Can there be such a thing as an ideal destination? Right now I'd like to complete my goal of visiting all 50 states, then I'll move on to continents. Just have Australia, South America (unless being in southern central America counts?) and Antartica.

9.
Who is your favorite travel companion? Me, myself and I. Or my friend Elizabeth. Or the kids.

10.
What is the largest city you have visited? NYC. I think only Tokyo is bigger, right?

11.
What destination would you recommend to a friend? I don't think I could choose just one place. Depends on what they are looking for in their trip.

12.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Ah, this question is the source of eternal debate in our house! We normally allow ourselves to split our imaginary time between two places. Some popular combos lately... Austin/Colorado. Colorado/Hawaii. Colorado/Minnesota lake house. Hawaii/Vancouver.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Goals

School has been out for 5 weeks already! I'm having wonderful summer fun with the kids, but I feel like I'm floundering a bit in other aspects of my life. While I can't complain about a life of all fun and play, I would like to accomplish a few things this summer. I go to a weekly goal setting meeting with a few other moms, and last week I set summer goals for myself. Hoping by putting them out here, I'll feel a little more accountable. It is also getting close to a quarterly review of my New Years Resolutions.

Financial Goals
  • Be on budget (I am now using Mvelopes thanks to the recommendation of someone in this group!)
  • Meet monthly savings goals (I have amounts for investments, travel, and future car)
Spiritual Goals
  • Choose a church to attend (I think I finally found one I like!)
  • Meditate 3x/week
Health/Fitness
  • Complete Sprint Triathlon
  • Find a regular healthcare provider for myself
Family/Kids
  • Start an allowance and chore chart system
Home/Garden
  • Declutter House and Garage (isn't decluttering always ongoing? But I need another jumpstart!)
Community Goals
  • Maintain volunteer hours
Me/Creativity
  • Complete 3 quilts
  • Finish current crochet project (I've been working on it - or rather NOT working on it! - for months)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Life is a Highway

Or a racetrack in our house. Lately my kids have been trying to make everything into a contest or race. Who can unbuckle their seatbelt first. Who eats their cookie the fastest. And on and on. It wouldn't be so bad except that it often turns into a bickering contest over who really won or what the rules are. Argh.

So a few days ago this was happening (I can't even remember what the "race" was about!) and it was driving me crazy. I told them for the umpteenth time that life was not a race. It doesn't matter who wins or loses, it is how you treat people along the way.

Something clicked for Jack, and he said, "OH! It is like when Lightening McQueen didn't care anymore about winning the race but went to help Mr. King out instead."

Yes, yes, yes!!

We've always love the movie CARS, but it seems to be making a resurgence in our house lately. All Jack wants to talk about is race cars. So instead of fighting it, I'm now working with it!

Later that evening we were having tortilla chips and salsa. Jack took the last two purple chips which sent Kate into a tizzy (horror of horrors since the purple chips taste SO much better than the other chips!). I looked at Jack and asked him what he thought Lightening McQueen would have done in that situation. And it worked! You could just see his little brain ticking away. We went on to have a long conversation about the right thing to do and whether or not cars eat purple tortilla chips.

So the new motto in our house is now WWLMcQD? What Would Lightening McQueen Do?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Speaking of Birds...

A few weeks ago, the kids and I were lounging in my bed like we normally do in the morning when we don't have to be anywhere early. We noticed a robin couple building a nest in the lilac bush just outside. I was very excited because we were going to have a perfect view of what I knew would take place over the next few weeks.

A few days later look what we saw in the nest! (I have 100+ year old windows that are really wavy so good photos are sorta difficult. Some of the others I was able to take through just the screen)
That mama robin was so faithful about sitting on her nest. I think I only saw her off the nest 3 times in 2 weeks. It has become our morning ritual to snuggle in my big bed and look out at the nest to watch for progress.

One afternoon, Kate was excited to find some bright blue shell below the nest. Unfortunately it was a little too early for any birdies to be hatching. Not sure what happened. Did it fall? Did something get it?
We waited and waited.
Finally on Father's Day, we saw two tiny heads with really big mouths poking out!
And another good view yesterday morning. I think they are already starting to look a little fuzzier.
Now we are wondering how long it will be before they leave the nest. We are all working on keeping the back door closed so Oscar will stay away!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kitty Bells

Conversation the other day as I am getting out of the shower...

Kate: Mom, I need to tell you something!

Me: Kate, you can tell me in a few minutes. Please give me a little privacy right now.

Kate: No, it is VERY important. You have to come now.

Me (knowing that the definition of "important" is relative): What is it?

Kate: There are bird legs on our kitchen floor.

Me: What?!?

Kate: There are bird legs on our kitchen floor.

Sure enough. A pair of bird legs. Nothing much left. We assume the perpetrator was Oscar since he later brought us a wing. It surprised me since I still think of him as a kitten, and our older cat Samuel has never been a birder (actually, I don't think Samuel has caught anything - ever!).

I consider our cats to be indoor pets, but they do often wander out our always-standing-wide-open-back door. I love having our bird feeders and lots of birds in the backyard so something had to be done.

Guess who is the proud new owner of a bell collar? Made out of recycled materials. Don't even have to order them special anymore!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

Sunday - Girls' Night out at Nosh (Martini flight, sweet potato fries - of course! roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, chicken & waffles - OMG that was good! Plus I was brave enough to try the fried trout head eyeballs. Not bad. And can't forget the chocolate lover's platter.)

Monday - Runner's World fettuccine Alfredo, green salad
Notes: I haven't made "real" Alfredo sauce in years since it sorta grosses me out to see what all is in it (cream, butter, cheese, more cream, more butter, more cheese). This was really, really good, and I'm so happy to have a healthier alternative. Plus it was really easy and really fast AND my kids LOVED it.

Tuesday - Pizza delivery with my friend Jen & kids

Wednesday - Vegetarian Taco Salad (recipe below)
Family Review: Kids seemed to really like it. Kate told me it was "awesome." Even Jack's friend eating with us ate a decent bit.

Thursday - Matt went mountain biking with friend so I took the kids out for Chinese food. We rarely have Chinese, so it was a fun treat. We learned what years we each fall under - I'm a rat, Kate's a monkey, and Jack is a cock.

Friday - Leftover Chinese food at home

Saturday - on my own... sensing a theme to these weekend meals...

***********************

Vegetarian Taco Salad
2T olive oil
1 large onion
1.5 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cans of black beans NOT drained (I use my homemade frozen beans... could also substitute kidney or pinto beans)
1 packet taco seasoning

Heat oil in skillet, add onion and corn, cook until onion begins to brown, add beans & taco seasoning, stir well. May need to add a little water if too thick.

Serve bean mixture with your choice of taco ingredients: corn chips/taco shells, lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, grated cheese, dice avocado, salsa, sour cream and/or ranch dressing

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Matt's Question

I'm finishing up my second child-free weekend in a row (how unbelievable is that?!?).

Matt took the kids on a Father's Day camping trip. Just dads and kids. Isn't that the best idea ever?!?

But Matt seems very confused.

He can't seem to figure out why on Mother's Day he takes the kids away and gives me some alone time, and on Father's Day he takes the kids away and gives me some alone time.

It makes perfect sense to me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

1000

Dollars. That's how much I made at my garage sale this morning. ($1015 to be exact) I could hardly believe it when I counted it up! I sold multiple $100 items which boosted my earnings significantly, but I was still surprised. Most of my baby items are gone (sigh), there is a BIG box to donate, another box to Ebay, and one thing to put on Craiglist.

This morning I was feeling a bit reluctant to part with my things, but now I feel so free and light and motivated to get things ready for next spring's sale!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

37 (and a half) years old...

and sported a bikini to the pool this week for the first time since having babies... AND I can still do a back flip off the diving board. Neither is as pretty as it was when I was 22, but I as long as I can still pull them both off without making a complete fool of myself, I'm pretty darn happy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Off Roading

Last of the Moab photos...

Uncle Mark always brings his motorcycles and rents a Polaris for the slickrock 4x4 trails.
This year he made me drive...
It doesn't look so bad in the photos, but trust me... those are steep rocks when you are in the vehicle!
The kids have to wear helmets when Uncle Mark drives. But not when I drive. That's because I'm such a better driver.
And a little video shot
(there is another clip on YouTube,
but in that one I think I sound like I'm in labor...
only with more laughing!)


Uncle can't wait until the kids are old enough to really ride motorcycles.

A family shot on the slickrock
Compare that to our first trip in 2007

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Closing

As of about 2:30 this afternoon we are no longer cohousing owners. We've finally sold our old place. I have very mixed feelings. Sigh.

Campsite Photos

Uncle Mark has had the same campsite for all 4 years we've gone to Moab. It is pretty much the best campsite there. Our family gets a place in town. The last 2 years Matt has camped out with the kids for one night. I always go back to the real bed...
Spring flowers
Chopping firewood
Don't want to burn those marshmallows!
S'mores!
(have I mentioned that I am a master marshmallow roaster?)
Sunset in the desert
Did I mention that we brought Nina this year?
Nina's rock
(to keep her from wandering too far...
just wish I could do that to the kids...)
Maybe next year I'll camp overnight... maybe.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

So this is late and not very exciting... our meals last week...

Sunday
- chicken salad (sans green onions), green salad, sliced cucumber, watermelon
Notes: scraping the bottom of the barrel to put this dinner together after returning from our Utah trip!

Monday - Hamburgers and sweet potato fries at the swimming pool (Matt had to work late)

Tuesday - Amazing Spanish-themed community meal at cohousing (thank you for the invite!!)

Wednesday - grilled chicken sausages (from Costco), skillet corn bread, roasted Colorado asparagus

Thursday - Hamburgers, club sandwiches and sweet potato fries at the swimming pool (Matt got off work early, so we went to the pool as a family... this may become a summer theme!)

Friday - family out of town so I was on my own - Kristen's favorite nachos (chips, black beans, cheese heated in microwave then topped with corn & black bean salsa, diced avocado, spinach, and diced tomato) - YUM!

Saturday - just me again - Trader Joe's Ravioli (my last bag - time to convince my friend Krista to send me a box from Minnesota... or maybe I should go up just to shop!) with Rao's Marinara sauce

The amazing thing is that I didn't go to the grocery store last week even after coming back from vacation. We used up A LOT of pantry items which was very needed.

Canyonlands National Park

Despite three previous trips to the Moab area, this was our first trip to Canyonlands National Park. I know it won't be our last since we only visited the Island in the Sky portion of the park.

Our first stop was a hike to Mesa Arch. You can't really tell from the photos, but the drop off just beyond the arch is hundreds of feet down. There was a woman who got up on the arch and did a few yoga balancing poses for photos. After that, Kate wanted to do her own "poses" at all the viewpoints...
I was not happy that Matt went across the arch.
Fortunately he has a good life insurance policy.
But then Kate wanted to go across.
This is as far as I would let her go.
I have a death grip on her.
Grandview Point.
Mom and Kate "posing"
A family shot
Jack was feeling tired, hot, hungry, and cranky (what a combo!), so he and Matt stayed in the car while Kate and I hiked Whale Rock. It was good for us to do together, and Kate was very proud of herself. Amazing views from the top.

A cairn as tall as Kate
Prettier than the view
The "pose"
That's where we were!
One last look before heading out
And, of course, we had to get Junior Ranger Badges!

Working on JR booklets at a viewpoint.
Park Ranger interview
We'll definitely go back to explore other areas of the park and do longer hikes as the kids get older.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Running Challenge Update

Week 6 miles: 15
Total challenge miles: 128
Challenge weeks remaining: 1
Miles/week to meet challenge: 47

Not going to happen. That's okay. I'm still happy with my progress.

I took it easy as this is the first week I'm running full time in my orthotics. I always thought I had a neutral foot, but I can tell that they do slightly adjust my form. I assume that the changes affect my muscles, because while nothing hurts, my muscles are more tired even with fewer miles. I plan to ramp up my miles again over the next few weeks then taper a bit before half marathon #2 in mid-July.

Typical Colorado Spring

This was Friday afternoon and started about 5 minutes after I got home from dropping Matt & the kiddos off at the airport. They went to a family reunion in Texas. Matt said it was a little bumpy taking off. I stayed home because my friend Nona is coming all the way from Italy to see me (okay, *maybe* she had a few other things to do in Colorado, but I'm pretty sure it was mostly me). I haven't been out to see how the garden faired. The hail did a number on my porch pots, but all that broken basil and cilantro made the air smell so good!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I won!

I won a copy of the book Whip Up Mini Quilts from Film in the Fridge. Can't wait to receive it and flip through!

I haven't yet talked about my new, old friend. She is giving me some quilting lessons (especially applique - my homework is to be draw a picture of a petroglyph to applique), and I think I'm going to take her to the fabric store today. I'll try to blog about her soon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rock Art

Last week was our family's 4th trip to Moab, UT. I'm sorta a believer in discovering new places for travel so it has been good for me to return to the same place multiple times. The best part is discovering new places in this now well-known landscape.

Last year I took a keen interest in petroglyphs and pictographs after visiting the Courthouse Wash site. I purchased a few books (Moab has an amazing gift shop in their visitor's center that always snags a few of my vacation dollars) and had intended to read and research all last year to prepare for this years trip. In typical "me" fashion, it wasn't until the day before we were leaving that I pulled out those books! I still need and intend to do some more reading, but it didn't make our petroglyph tour any less enchanting.

My parents with the kids last year
at Courthouse Wash
Our first stop was along Hwy 128 coming into Moab. We had been traveling for hours. The girls thought it felt good to get out of the car but the male family members were feeling a bit cranky and didn't want to stay long.
The next afternoon, Uncle Mark took us on an adventure to see some lesser know petroglyph sites. The first one was Bartlett Rock Art Panel. These pictographs (painted on the rock as opposed to petroglyphs which are carved into the rock) are believed to be 3000-4000 years old. A bit spooky. Not difficult to prescribe to the theory that aliens once visited these ancient people when you see images like this!

Look closely, you can see the faint images
on the wall face in this photo

We then drove on to an unnamed location that Uncle Mark stumbled across this site while out exploring on his dirt bike. I am still amazed that he could find his way back to the location. His directions were, "Stand with one arm outstretched pointing at that mountain peak. Point your other hand to that big rock over there. Right between them is where we hike down the ravine to get to the other side."
Uncle Mark & Jack showing us
the trail down through the ravine
Hiking to the site
This was my favorite location just because it is so remote. The pictograms were well protected and very distinct. Uncle Mark even pointed out all the flint pieces that don't belong in that location. Probably brought in to chip into arrowheads while camped in this site. The kids were pretty astounded when Uncle Mark made sparks fly from the flint!

The site
Favorite pictograms
(my best guess is that these are Ancestral Puebloan
dating AD 900-1200)
Checking out the flint
Being silly!
Our last stops that evening were along Potash Road. More amazing petroglyphs that are supposedly ancestral Puebloan dating back 1250-2000 years ago. And even some dinosaur footprints!
Our last evening in Moab, we had the kids already in their PJs and decided to drive out to one more site that I wanted to see. Along Kane Creek Road is a large boulder with art on all four sides.
Most of the art on this rock
is believed to be Ancestral Puebloan AD 900-1200
This one is probably Fremont
dating AD 700 to 1200
Famous birthing scene
Unfortunately it was too dark to photograph the rock art at the other sites along Kane Creek Road. Next year.