Monday, January 30, 2017

DayBook 1.30.17

Outside my window... just starting to get light.  

I am hearing... furnace warming the house up.

I am feeling... tired. Didn't sleep well.

I am thinking... that I'll take a nap later.

I am thankful for... warm winter days.

From the kitchen... I made 2 whole chickens in the pressure cooker. Worked well and fast, although I'm not sure I got as much meat as when I make it in the slow cooker. Maybe it was just these chickens? Having quinoa enchilada casserole for dinner tonight. Need to plan out the rest of the week.

I am wearing... jeans and an old sweatshirt.

I am creating... a project with Jack.

I am going... to make dentist appointments. They got put off with my eye surgery.

I am reading... another week of not much reading! I got sucked into the HBO series The Leftovers and watched that before bed most nights. So still slowly reading Olive Kitteridge and Intimacy as my fiction, Untangled as my nonfiction, and Lord of the Deep out loud to Jack. Kate stole Lion so I'll have to get back to that one. Almost finished with the audiobook The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything

I am hoping... to finalize some of our spring break plans soon.

Around the house... excited about our remodel. Cleaned out children's books last week, might work on my books this week.

In the garden... thinking a bit about landscaping with our remodel.

In the homeschool room... lots of science projects. Lots of reading/audiobooks.

How I am exercising... sore all last week from strength training. Sore again this morning from skiing this weekend. Going to do a short, easy run today. 

A few plans for the week... mostly normal week. I'm going to do a trip to Denver, Matt has a day off, couple homeschool library programs, and Kate has a birthday party AND a Super Bowl party.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekend Review - Last of January

Had a wonderful weekend up in the mountains!

After swim practice on Friday evening, we drove up into the mountains. A friend's teenager hitched a ride with us which made for more interesting conversation than we normally get with our own kids.

I was up relatively early on Saturday morning to work on a few projects, while the rest of the gang slept in fairly late - 10ish?  Despite our late start, we still got a good few hours of skiing. The snow was great, the mountain not crowded, and everyone was in good moods. The girls headed home a little earlier than the boys (so they could ski the stuff we don't like - double blacks, bumps, etc.). Kate worked on a school project, and I took the dogs for a snow hike. Later the kids and I taught ourselves to play Yahtzee.
Warming Up Hut
Town was crazy busy Saturday because of two festivals - The Fire Arts Festival (Instagram video) and the International Snow Sculpture Championships. We visited both on Saturday evening with a stop at Park and Main for dinner and Mary's Mountain Cookies for dessert to take home. Back at home, we all played Yahtzee while watching the X Games on TV.
Winning Sculpture
Sunday morning was a bit of a repeat only the gang didn't sleep quite as late. We had another great day of skiing. Great conditions, no crowds. We got up high and skied some big bowls. Kids looked great, but my legs are sore!
See Kate on the lift chair behind us?
She missed our chair! Ha!
Home now and getting ready for the week. My bed and book are calling for me already!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Eye" Got the Best News!

See this smile and those normal looking eyes?
That's the look of someone who got the all clear at her eye appointment today! 

While I'm not absolutely out of the woods, the chance of my ingrowth returning at this point is extremely low.

Plus I have really close to 20/20 vision in that eye, which should just continue to improve.

Don't have to go back for 2 months!

Monday, January 23, 2017

DayBook 1.23.17

Outside my window... a sunny Colorado day!  

I am hearing... Kate blowing her nose and Tripper scratching at the back door.

I am feeling... unmotivated.

I am thinking... that I need some vitamin D in the form of sunshine.

I am thankful for... HBO/Netflix/Amazon to entertain me when I'm folding mountains of laundry.

From the kitchen... I have NO IDEA what to make this week. Nothing really sounds good. Gah. I am going to try a whole chicken in the pressure cooker that I got for Christmas.

I am wearing... dark skinny jeans and pink, embroidered thermal tee. Hoping to be in running clothes later this morning.

I am creating... adults. That's what I keep telling myself when dealing with my kids. Teen/tween years are not easy!

I am going... to work on my 3:1 compliments to criticism ratio with the kids.

I am reading... most of the same things as last week. Not so much reading time lately. Olive Kitteridge and Intimacy as my fiction, Untangled as my nonfiction, and Lord of the Deep out loud to Jack. I did add Lion and the audiobook The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything

I am hoping... that Kate feels better soon. She's home from school this morning. Considering going in this afternoon if she feels better.

Around the house... moving forward with a remodel, although still not convinced that it will actually happen. Planning to clean out children's books this week (I've been saying this for a few weeks now!)

In the garden... need to call tree trimming guys.

In the homeschool room... mid-winter slump. Lots of videos and audiobooks!

How I am exercising... slowly feeling more energy. Starting back with my personal trainer this week. Still haven't made it to Pilates. Running is still really difficult, but I'm slogging it out slowly.

A few plans for the week... monthly therapy appointment, tennis match, eye appointment, architect appointment, plus all our normal places to be

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weekend Review - Ft. Collins

Our weekend can be summed up in two words... Swim Meet!

Kate and I drove to Ft. Collins Friday afternoon for her evening events. She was coming down with something plus this was her first meet since breaking her wrist and, honestly, didn't swim all that well. We went to dinner at Music City Hot Chicken (um, yum!) with friends, and Matt and Jack arrived later that night.

Up early, early Saturday morning for swimming. Kate swam okay (still feeling sick), but Jack improved on all his events. That afternoon we ate lunch at Backcountry Deli and walked around Old Town Ft. Collins. Back at the hotel the kids ran around with swim friends. Matt had a work related dinner that evening, and the kids & I joined a bunch of teammates for dinner.

Up early, early again this morning for swimming. Kate was full blown sick and scratched her events, so she and I headed home early. Kate slept the entire 2 hour drive, and she never sleeps in the car! Matt stayed with Jack for his events, and they arrived home early afternoon. The rest of the day was unpacking, napping, laundry, and watching TV for those that didn't feel well.

Swim meet weekends aren't terribly exciting to write about, but we sure enjoy them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

16 Great Things About 2016

I mentioned in my first post of this year that 2016 gave us our fair share of struggles. I have found myself (& weirdly other people) repeatedly focusing on that, and so I am making a list of 16 great things about 2016. Certainly not inclusive of every great thing in 2016 (and not in any particular order) but hoping it helps adjust my attitude...

1. Adding five baby chicks
to our little flock of backyard chickens

2. Spring break road trip to Pismo Beach, California
via some of Route 66

3. Kate being one of only 3 sixth graders
to make the school volleyball team

4. Girls' trip to Vancouver
with one of my dearest old friends and a new friend.


6. Learning to milk a goat

7. Trip to Tucson with kids

8. My niece and nephew coming 
to visit Colorado TWICE in one year

9. Dolphin tour from Newport Beach -
never seen such a huge dolphin pod!

10. Having a moose hang on the ski run
behind our mountain home

11. Three school snow days in a row!

12. Jack going to mountain bike camp
and loving his new sport

13. Planting and watching grow
the succulents gifted to me 

14. Kate making a state relay team
and the fun weekend trip in Grand Junction

15. Our summer fun in Minnesota/Wisconsin

16. Our end of the year trip to Baja

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DayBook 1.17.16

Outside my window... it's dark, dark. I was hoping to do a DayBook blog post most Mondays this year. Since yesterday was a holiday, I delayed until today, and this morning suddenly turned into evening and here I am just finding time to write.

I am hearing... the furnace and the washing machine running. Otherwise a quiet house. In this moment, anyway.

I am feeling... ever so slightly overwhelmed. I kept getting side tracked today and didn't accomplish what I wanted

I am thinking... and planning our spring break trip to DC.

I am thankful for... two (mostly) working eyes! The one that had surgery still isn't quite back to normal but slowly getting there.

From the kitchen... I made a family favorite for dinner tonight - Three Sister Stew. Roasted some beets for me to eat through the week. I have the beet greens soaking to make baked eggs with greens and mushrooms. I also have all the ingredients to make (more!) Texas caviar and a new quinoa and roasted butternut squash recipe. Might have that tomorrow evening with crockpot roasted chicken. Our bread loaf is getting old, so I think I'll make French toast in the morning for the kids.

I am wearing... black jeans, a black & white striped tee, and my red & black buffalo check hoody shirt. Feeling like a hipster!

I am creating... some space in my life.

I am going... to fold the 3 baskets of clean towels that have stacked up at the bottom of the stairs. Am I the only one who notices them?!?

I am reading... Olive Kitteridge and Intimacy as my fiction, Untangled as my nonfiction, How We Do It as my audiobook, and Lord of the Deep out loud to Jack.

I am hoping... for some warmer, sunny days. I need to get outside more.

Around the house... ARC coming tomorrow to pick up donations. Slowly working on basement, waiting for Matt to go through tools so I can continue to clean out/organize our workroom. Thinking I might go through our children's books soon. Will be sad to clean out a bunch of picture books...

In the garden... not much right now, but will start thinking about spring projects soon. If we get a warm day, I might turn the compost. Also need to add some dirt to the chickens' dusting bin.

In the homeschool room... sorta just doing what we want to right now. Maintaining with tutors. Need to sign up for a writing class and an art class.

How I am exercising... ugh. Getting back to it has been tough. I'm doing a lot of walking, started slowly running but it's HARD! A friend just announced she's opening a fit studio just a few miles from my house. Can't wait for that in March!

A few plans for the week...a massage, a haircut, a swim meet, my first tennis match since eye surgery. Plus all the other routine craziness. When is my nap??

Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekend Review - MLK

I love a long weekend!

Friday evening we headed towards the snow! Kids had swim practice while Matt and I loaded up for the mountains. I'm always amazed that a 2 night stay in the mountains requires as much stuff as a polar expedition!

We arrived at our mountain home late, and Matt was adamant as we went to bed that he was going to have the kids up and at the ski boot store when they opened at 8:30am so we could be on the lifts by mid-morning.

The kids didn't wake up until 9:30... we didn't get to the ski boot store until 11:30... we took our first lift at 3pm... !!!
Girls on the Lift
So Saturday, we ended up having a lovely, leisurely, late breakfast at a favorite spot in town. Kate needed new boots, so while Matt worked on that, Jack and I wandered home and took the dogs for a little snow hike.
Snow Romp
We geared up after a late lunch and *finally* got on the mountain for our first few runs of the season! Because of the late start, the lines and runs weren't overly crowded. Especially nice on a holiday weekend. Home for hot chocolate, snow play, and relaxing.
Jack & The Snowman
(He built this with
the drunk 30-somethings
staying a few doors down)
Met up with one of Matt's college friends and his extended family (who have become friends over the years) for a nice dinner out.

May have been a family snowball fight on the walk home...

Matt was up early Sunday morning to ski with his college buddy. Kids slept in LATE! I got a few lovely hours reading in front of the fireplace. Late morning, the dogs and I went for another snow hike. Had to cut it short because I found fresh moose tracks on the trail (later confirmed when we saw from the chairlift a big indention in the snow with moose scat right off the trail I was on). I love moose but have no intention of meeting one while hiking.
Moose Track
That afternoon, we went out skiing again as a family. Another short session, but it was really nice - not too cold with nice, soft snow. More hot chocolate then packed up and headed home.
Snow Dogs
Today was half holiday for us. Matt had to work, Jack still had homeschool tutoring and swim practice, and Kate spent much of the day working on her science fair project at a friend's house.

This afternoon in honor of MLK Day, we went to a matinee showing of Hidden Figures with another of Kate's friends and our math tutor (I know, seems random, but we adore JoAnn plus we knew she'd love the story being a female engineer & mathematician herself). So good! Just go see it.

Matt had a work dinner, so the kids and I went out for hamburgers and stopped at Williams Sonoma where I bought them out of clearance hot chocolate. If you can still find any, I highly recommend it! It's not powder but actual shaved chocolate. Blended with whole milk in my Breville frother - YUM -doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Quilt for Lucy

And another quilt I started a bit ago and finished up this fall for my niece Lucy's birthday.
The front prints are from a set of charm packs. Can't remember the name. Backing and binding is from my stash.
Quilted with wavy lines and loops. Tried a few quilted hearts. Need to work on that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Baby Fish Quilt

Speaking of quilts...

A quilt finish for a baby boy born in August. I didn't get it finished until December!

Pattern from here. Not difficult, just a lot of little pieces. I love the subtle fish pattern since these are friends from swim team.
Pulled all the fabric from my stash. Backed with a wave & whale print (maybe from Connecting Threads?) and a stripey binding.

Really happy with how it turned out. Hope it gets used and loved!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Quilt Plans

I really, really, really want to get some WIPs (works-in-progress for you non-quilters) finished up in 2017. Mostly because my sewing room needs cleaning up, and I've discovered the best way to clean it up is to finish quilts and get them out!

Of course I'll get sidetracked and start some new projects... I'm thinking of some fun ones even as I sit here writing about finishes...

Quilts to Finish
  1. Multicolor Madness - top is finished, have backing - just need to baste, quilt, and bind
  2. Colorado Wildflowers - top is finished, have backing - just need to baste, quilt and bind
  3. King Stars - top is finished, need to figure out back for this monstrosity
  4. Low Volume Love Quilt - need to finish piecing the top - this one is a gift and so a priority
  5. Green Quilt - this one is so old that I don't even remember what I was doing! Figure that out.
  6. Star quilt - pieces cut, needs to be pieced, just lap sized so should go quickly
  7. Boys' quilt - pieced the top but not happy with it. Need to figure out how to fix that.
  8. Xmas quilts - won't finish these, but want to cut fabric to reduce volume
  9. Bluebird of Happiness quilt - won't finish this either, but need some organization for it
  10. Scrappy Pieces - this is a quilt as you go, need to keep adding little bits to finish
Colorado Wildflowers on the Design Wall
Other quilty sewing projects
  1. Happy Birthday Banner - I made these for my sister-in-laws many years ago but never finished my own!
  2. Holiday Table Runners - I want one for each season or holiday because they look so nice. Just need to not make it complicated for myself. Start with winter, Valentine's Day, St. Pat's, Easter/Spring
  3. Quilted Throw Pillows - because I love them
  4. Zip bags - for gifts
  5. Christmas tree skirt - 12 months to make it!
I'd like to have a few quilts to hand bind during swim meets in January & February. I'm also losing my sewing room once our remodel starts (it's moving to our current guest room) so I'd like to make a bunch of progress in the next couple months.

Monday, January 09, 2017

DayBook 1.9.17

Outside my window... still dark. And crazy windy. I haven't slept the last few hours because I was worried a tree would fall on me!

I a hearing... the wind howling and the fire crackling and the furnace just turned on for the day.

I am feeling... anxious about this wind storm. But I've fixed myself a cup of tea, started a fire, and am snuggled under a favorite quilt with Tripper next to me. That makes me feel better. **While writing this post, Jack woke from the wind and joined me on the couch. Now he's sleeping on the floor!**
Right Now
I am thinking... about travel plans for this year. Exciting to wonder about what we'll see and do.

I am thankful for... a real fireplace.

From the kitchen... chili for dinner tonight (if I can fix the flavor - I used a new seasoning and it's crazy bland). Also going to try this chicken pesto and veggie recipe.

I a wearing... black leggings, a white turtleneck, and a grey cocoon sweater. Very comfy.

I am creating... a low volume quilt. I've never made one before, and I like it. The one I'm working on is a gift, and I already want to start another for myself.

I am going... to call the tree service first thing today. I want them to come thin the tree branches of my giant blue spruces.

I am reading... actual reading is still a bit hard on my eye. I'm slowly making my way through Wave (just a page or 2 a night). Jack and I are reading Call It Courage together. And I'm listening to Chasing Monarchs and New Seeds of Contemplation

I am hoping... that I can take a nap today. Was up way too early.

Around the house... working hard on cleaning out the storage areas of our basement. Just the workroom left. It's emptied out, now just slowly sorting all the junk that goes in there.

In the garden... hopefully the trees are still up with first light! I can't believe I'm starting to think about planting for spring. Considering doing some starts on my own. Just unsure if I'll remember to water them!

In the homeschool room... we eased into some homeschooling last week. I need to write out a plan for January.

How I am exercising... not at all the last 8 weeks or so. I'm going to do a couch to 5K plan to ease myself back into running. Today is supposed to be my first run.

A few plans for the week... hoping to meet wth our architect, Matt has a day off which is always productive, otherwise it's going to be a pretty routine week.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Weekend Review - 1/8/17

First full weekend of 2017.

Matt had to work early both Saturday and Sunday. The rest of us slept in both mornings. 

I mostly puttered around the kitchen on Saturday - made chili, French dip sandwiches, kale salad fixings, marinated chicken, caramel fudge brownies, and Texas caviar (last two dishes for a potluck). Kate went to a friend's house to work on their science fair project. Jack went to a friend's house to work on Legos.

Jack's first piano recital took place Saturday evening. It was a low key event at the teacher's home, and Jack did really well. Despite the potluck afterwards, we got home pretty early and finished up the evening drinking hot chocolate and playing Hearts.
Casual Recital
I have no idea where my Sunday morning went... it has disappeared into a haze of reading, minor chores, and mostly doing nothing. This afternoon was beautiful, and I took the dogs for a good jaunt along the creek. It was my first long walk since my eye surgery, and it felt so good!

This evening we went to see Rogue One. So great! I cried when I saw Princess Leia. I haven't been to a movie in months, and our theater has made some big changes. Seats are now all reserved, but the seats are now fancy recliners. I only wish I'd had a blanket to cozy up with!

Friday, January 06, 2017

2017 Reading List

I planned to read 60 books last year and ended up reading about 80 (and I didn't read much the last 2 months due to my eye). I'm setting my goal at 60 again because I'd like to tackle a few long ones this year, but I'm guessing I'll end up closer to 80 again. I know I'll add books to my reading pile as I hear of them, but here's 50 books for my 2017 read list. That's a good start, right?

Books I've Started and Want to Finish (8)
Truly, Madly, Guilty
The Hoarder in You
12 Steps to a Compassionate Life
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
Your Brain at Work
More or Less

Fiction (17)
The Red Tent
The Underground Railroad
'Til the Well Runs Dry
The Three-Year Swim Club
After You
A Game of Thrones
Olive Kitteridge
Life After Life
Pitch Dark
Youngblood Hawke
Seven Eves
Blue Remembered Earth
War and Peace
Miss Jane
The Nix
Imagine Me Gone
Behind Closed Doors

Non-Fiction (17)
The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything
Love is Never Enough
New Seeds of Contemplation
Salt Sugar Fat
How We Do It
When Women Were Birds
Brain Chains
The Organized Mind
Raising Happiness
Why Isn't My Brain Working?
365 Days of Wonder
On Living
Always Know What to Say
Hillbilly Elegy
H is for Hawk

Children's Literature (8)
Out of the Silent Planet
Watership Down
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Hattie Big Sky
Lord of the Deep
Missing May
Call it Courage

Thursday, January 05, 2017

2016 Reading Wrap Up

Goodread's says that I completed 78 books in 2016.

There are a few I didn't list in Goodreads, so I'm going to round that to 80.

My 2016 favorites...

Favorite Adult Fiction
Ready Player One
A Man Called Ove
The Dog Stars
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
The Time in Between

Favorite Adult NonFiction
Being Mortal
Tiny Beautiful Things

Favorite Children's Books - Never Fall Down & A Long Walk to Water - both powerful reads

Longest Time to Read - Don't Hurt Laurie - I started this in my 5th grade classroom in Iowa, but didn't finish because we moved to Texas. I've always wondered about the end, so I ordered an old copy off Amazon!

Monday, January 02, 2017

2017 Goal Guide

I'm not really sure how I want to do goals for 2017, so I decided just to brainstorm thoughts for what I might want to accomplish in different areas of life.

Finance - We are in a good place and want to stay there. Need/want to continue to monitor our spending, be mindful of our consumer habits, plan for big purchases and expenses, and meet our savings goals.
  • Continue to track spending using Mvelopes
  • Set saving goals with Matt
  • Revise will (this has been on my list for YEARS)
  • Figure out financing for kitchen remodel/master addition (not planning on anything too fancy but still a big project)
  • Set up a no-buy plan with Matt (we are thinking maybe buying on just certain days of the month or something like that)
  • Complete savings for a new vehicle for me (I've been slowly and steadily saving for awhile)
  • Start saving for mountain home remodel (probably still multiple years away)
  • Meet with financial planner for an overall review
Health/Fitness/Nutrition - This eye surgery really set me back with fitness (although I did lose about 10lbs from lack of appetite). I'm looking forward to getting back to regular activity but dreading those first couple weeks of working back up to running.
  • Back to Pilates 2x/week
  • Try 1-2 new Pilates studios
  • Start back to running
  • Try some fitness club classes
  • Use up pre-purchased personal training sessions
  • Monthly meal planner worksheets
  • Use up freezer food
  • Organize kitchen binder
  • Learn to use smoker/grill
  • Clean out cookbooks
  • Do a Green Smoothie Challenge
  • So a Step Bet challenge
Family & Friends
  • Figure out school for Jack
  • Schedule more 1:1 dates with kids
  • Be more proactive with some friends
  • Plan more time to spend with my niece and nephew
  • Plan activities for family reunion
  • Read 365 Days of Wonder with kids
Career/Personal Growth - I guess I've hit that stage of life where I'm starting to think about what I want to do as the kids become more independent. I'm hoping to make some real progress in 2017
  • Make plan for a possible new career path that has caught my attention
  • Think about RN refresher course
  • Sign up for volunteer training
  • Make a personal growth reading list for this year
  • Continue with therapist
  • Take DailyOm's class A Year to Clear What Is Holding You Back
Home & Garden - This could be a big year in our home. We've been working with an architect for plans to do a big kitchen remodel and add a master suite.
  • Kitchen remodel/Master addition
  • Create meditation path in side yard
  • Declutter & remodel basement
  • General/continual house decluttering
  • Plant Vegetable garden
  • Write seasonal plans and follow-up notes
Creativity/Pleasure - my sweet spot
  • Plan Spring Break
  • Plan Late Spring Trip
  • Plan Weekend Travel
  • Plan Summer Trip
  • Plan Texas family reunion trip
  • Set Reading Goal and make book list
  • Learn some woodworking
  • Plan out quilting projects

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Fresh Start

I'm pretty happy to see 2017.

Our family had lots of fun and adventures in 2016 but also our fair share of struggles.
Kate's broken wrist
November - December was especially rough as I was recovering from eye surgery (my 3rd surgery this fall - LASIK complications - ugh!) that left me practically disabled for 6 weeks from the pain and discomfort. That experience seems to be clouding my opinion of all 2016.
The one-eyed wonder!
(I noticed while writing this post that I keep finding myself focusing on the not-so-good from the past year when really there is so much more good. Not really like me. I might need to make myself a 2016 
gratitude list!)

Ice skating cousins
2016 did wrap up quite nicely. My mom brought my niece and nephew to visit the week before Christmas. Then after a small family Christmas, we spent last week in Baja, Mexico.
Matching Jammies
We ended up home a day early due to storms and brought a miserable cold virus home with us. But Jack and I still stayed up until midnight last night. We welcomed in the new year snuggled in a quilt on the back porch watching fireworks explode at the top of Pike's Peak.
Off to the middle of nowhere
Today feels like a bonus since we were supposed to be traveling home and is mostly quiet. We had queso and Texas caviar (with good luck black eyed peas!) for lunch. One of Kate's good friends from out of town is staying with us for a few days. Matt took all the kids out to dinner and movie this evening.

I'm going to use my alone time to do some reflection and planning. I love doing that!

Planning to be on the blog more in 2017. Happy New Year!