This morning

For a while now, I’ve been very conscious, probably even anxious about how I spend my time. Times is one of those things that once you spend it, it’s gone. We can never go back and relive or do-over a day or moment, so it’s become very important to me that I maximize each moment and live very intentionally. Of course, then there is this thing called life that intervenes and makes decisions for us. At that point, I just have to choose to be content with whatever may be and look at the positive side of things. This morning, was one of those mornings. What I really wanted to do with my time was either a nice sweaty workout, or slip away to my studio and paint what has been in my head for weeks now. But my dear daughter, Selah, has been pining for a few days now to use her new donut maker. And we only had a half day to make that happen. (We are going snowboarding/skiing this afternoon.) So I put all my wants aside and turned my intentions toward my daughter, and I’m not sorry. She is a happy camper this morning, and so is everyone else. (Donuts to go around!)   My only lament is that her recent passion for cooking has coincided with my recent passion for eating a sugar free (Ketogenic) diet- and it is so hard to resist all these goodies when they are just hanging around the house! I may have tasted a donut, or two. Oops! (Side note: if you want your diet to be successful, remove temptations from your home and vision! Ain’t no potato chips here!)  I am now wishing I would’ve taken a few pictures of the mini donuts that took over our home this morning… but alas, that was not to be so. Thankfully, they have all been eaten… and I will probably skip lunch.   

Here is my happy girl and me, though. 

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2016 In Review

I was happy to see that I actually did one of these for 2015 as well, but I also felt like I should really write in my blog more often, just so it’s easier to remember what we did all year when I write a “looking back” post!  Ah well, such grand plans.  I continually felt like there were not enough hours in the day to do all the things I wanted to do, this year.  For 2017, I’m working on balancing that out, or going through the painstaking process of choosing what to let go of.  That is hard for me.  I have so many interests, and have never wanted to shut myself off to any opportunities; but I am hearing a steady whisper this year and it is, focus.  Focus on what is important, prioritize, choose what you want to bring to a new level this year, and don’t worry about the rest.

So without further ado:  The Year in Review…

Winter:

  • We really made the most of our winter this year and went up to our local ski mountain as often as we could.  Our “trusty” Suburban broke down a few times and left us wondering why we didn’t have a second vehicle that could carry all 6 of us; but alas, that is a problem for 2017.  All in all, we relished every bit of winter this year and kicked the normal seasonal blues to the curb.  I believe Kevin logged 30 total days on the mountain, each of the kids logged 26 days, and I logged 25.  Not bad!
  • Drew turned 13!  We officially have a teenager in the house.  Shoe size and appetite to match… sometimes attitude.  But he’s still a great kid.
  • One of our ski adventures ended with a trip to Ouray and the Hot Springs Pool there, via Montrose where we stopped and high-fived my cousin, Jason!  Hadn’t seen him in about 6 years, I believe.  It was a random and impulsive trip, my favorite kind, always one for the memory books, with dinner at True Grit in Ridgway, as per our usual.

Spring:

  • Beau turned 11! It’s hard to remember that he’s 2 years younger than his brother since he surpassed him in height this year, and they pal around together with mutual friends often. Beau is as entertaining as always and (mostly) a delight to be around.  He’s developed quite the middle school affectations this year with constant noise making, and harassing his poor mother whenever he gets the chance.
  • Kevin and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary!  We took the whole family skiing for the day and then headed to Glenwood Springs for a lovely dinner at Zheng’s and a dip in the Hot Springs Pool.
  • We finished our 3rd year of home school.  This was a wonderful year, and much learning was achieved from the kids and myself as well.  I am always awed by how much the teacher learns every year; and thank goodness, because my math skills could use the update!
  • I decided, after many years of vacillation, to learn how to play bass guitar.  At first, I practiced almost every day for at least an hour. It took a whole month for the feeling to return to my fingers on my left hand, but I am quite pleased with my progress.

Summer:

  • Summer started off with a bang!  We headed out-of-town to surprise my father-in-law for his birthday; a huge feat accomplished by his loving girlfriend! Somehow, Kevin, myself, his two uncles, our children and his girlfriend were able to keep from spilling the beans, and I think the surprise was a success!  It was great to see everyone and have a mini family reunion as well.
  • At the heaviest I have ever been, and not wanting to travel any further down that road, I decided to join a weight loss program at our local Metabolic Research Center. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but successful in many ways.
  • We went on many hikes this summer; mostly on the Tabaguache (pronounced Tob-a-watch) trails that are quite close to our home.  We did a few larger hikes this year as well including the Monument Trail and the Liberty Cap Trail; both completed with Kevin’s mom, Cherry, who is quite the hiking enthusiast herself! We also took ourselves to a hike right out of my childhood, the Thomas Lakes trail in Carbondale that goes right up Mount Sopris!  The kids really outdid themselves, as this was an almost 8 mile hike, with minimal complaining.  I was quite proud of them and brimming with nostalgia.  This was one of my most loved/hated trails my parents used to take us girls on, and also the site of my first steps as a baby!
  • In July, for Kevin’s birthday, we went on another hike, up Old Gordon’s Trail, just inside the Monument.  About a mile in, we found some giant rocks and began running up and down them, and climbing all around.  Rory was having a grand old time until she chose a spot on the rock that was a little too steep for running up, and fell down, unfortunately breaking her wrist.  She broke both bones, and they were quite displaced.  The hero of the day was Kevin, who somehow managed to very calmly talk to and distract Rory while carrying her on his shoulders the mile back out to our vehicle.  The rest of us were just trying desperately to hold it together.  Kevin and I dropped the three oldest off with his grandma, and then ended up spending the rest of the day in the ER with Rory. Thankfully, there was an excellent orthopedic surgeon on call that day, and he did a wonderful job resetting her arm.  As of now, she is quite healed- though it did take a while for her bones to stitch back together.  Last year, Kevin’s grandmother passed away on his birthday, so for 2017, we’re hoping the only thing that happens on that day is that Kevin turns one year older!
  • A few days later and with a totally unfazed Rory, her casted arm protected by a bag, we celebrated Selah’s 9th birthday at Highline Reservoir!  I cannot believe my baby girl is 9!  She has made wonderful strides this year with her reading and math and story-telling, as well as striving to become the top baker in the family!
  • For my birthday, another couple of days later, we headed up to Telluride, as is becoming tradition, and were as ever, delighted with the beauty of our favorite mountain town.
  • The kids also completed another round of swim lessons this year, and we closed out our summer with a visit to my cousin Julie’s, at her new home in Montrose!  It is so fun having her closer by now!
  • In August, Kevin asked me to sing vocals for one of the songs he was working on, and again for the next song.  A few songs later, I contributed not only vocals, but the lyrics as well.  It seems a secret dream of mine, to write music with my husband, was to unexpectedly come to fruition this year- and we worked on 8 songs together.  (Kevin worked on a total of 10!)  Looking forward to seeing where this new partnership takes us in 2017.

Fall

  • School in full swing and busier than ever.  Both boys and Rory are taking classes at the charter school that we home school out of, and Selah still has a reading tutor.  Mom’s taxi has taken on a whole new meaning.
  • On September 20th, I finally reached my weight loss goal!  I started out at 156 pounds and lost 25, putting me at 131.  Since then, I have hovered around 133-135, which I believe is my body’s “happy place.”  I’ll take it.  Have had fun and several laughs to straight up disbelief, buying new clothes.  Thought I would be able to fit back into my beloved Loki snow pants, and lo and behold, they are too big for me now!  What a problem to have, right?  #firstworldproblems
  • With finishing my weight loss program, I promptly switched over to a Ketogenic diet.  This has been a much better fit for what I like to eat, and has brought back some happiness, since I am one who enjoys food.  I don’t really miss sugar or grains, but enjoy drinking coffee again!
  • In October, Kevin and I went to our third show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver to see one of our all time favorite bands, Tears for Fears, perform!  It was yet another fun trip.  We got stuck in traffic on I-70 on the way there, just barely making it to the concert on time.  On the way home, we chose to go the Independence Pass route, which is longer and quite scenic.  This happened to be the better choice, because apparently the alternate route on I-70 was an ice-skating rink!  Thanks be to God for getting us home safely!
  • Later, we headed out to California for a week-long vacation, stopping in to say hello to Kevin’s dad and girlfriend on the way there.  We chose Pismo beach as our getaway this year, and it did not disappoint! I can only say that I wish we had more time to explore the coast. Such beautiful country!  We were also able to stop in and have dinner with my one remaining grandparent, my grandma Marfus!  She is hanging in there at the age of 93!  So glad we were able to see her!
  • Kevin finished my pottery shed!  It is just wonderful, and I am looking forward to warmer weather, when I can put my hands in water that isn’t 33 degrees!  Hoping to be much more productive on that front this year.
  • After MUCH deliberation, decided to go to Phoenix, to my sister, Hannah’s, for Thanksgiving again.  We were so glad to be there.  My parents were also in attendance, and we all enjoyed the extra warmth.  The boys got some lessons in shooting BB guns, and Beau got a very special welding lesson from Darin.  We enjoyed a lot of good food, lots of laughter and many games of Jenga.  The girls helped Hannah decorate her Christmas tree, and a good time was had by all.

Winter, again:

  • Already on the ski slopes again before the new year, and looking forward to more.  Hoping to beat our days on the slopes records for 2016.
  • Celebrated Christmas in Grand Junction.  We are always at church on Christmas Eve, as Kev has played with the band for several years now.  For Christmas Eve dinner, we went to Kevin’s grandparents and enjoyed low-key festivities with them.  On Christmas morning, we hung out at home, around our recently installed, and ever so nice, wood stove!  Yay for warmth!  Christmas evening saw us at my parents and my sister, Ariel’s, homes with several people from my sister’s side of the family as well.  It was “A Christmas to Remember.”
  • We spent the last day of the year with our besties, Adam and Mel, which has started to become a tradition as well.  Although this year, I dubbed it the “Lame-O New Years Eve Party, from 6 to 10”, because Kevin had to get up quite early to be at church to play again the next morning!

And that is our year…  or the highlights anyways.  In many ways, this was a difficult year, a learning year, and I am not sorry to see it go.  However, I felt it was important to look back and give thanks for all the good times, which were made so much sweeter and appreciated so much more because we needed them so desperately.  I believe that 2017 will still be a year of learning and change, but I am hopeful that it wont be as “heavy” as this last year.

 

My goals for 2017:  (in list form since this post is already half-way to becoming a novel)

  • Keep the weight off, get more toned, continue in my quest for balanced health
    • Drink a gallon of water every day.
    • Work out 5-6 times a week
    • Hike more
    • Bike more
  • Explore more
  • Acquire a camper
    • camp more
  • Spend more time creating art
  • Write more
  • Play bass daily
  • Sing daily
  • Write more songs with Kev!

 

Wishing you and yours a very blessed new year, with lots of fun and joy!  I hope that we are all able to give thanks for everything, but especially in the midst of the hard things- because that is what produces growth and positive change.  Much love to you all!

 

 

Ski-Bums

We’ve been hitting the slopes hard these last few weeks.  I told Kevin I haven’t felt like this since high school; actually excited for winter and slightly sad that it will come to an end. I love it all. Spending time doing something I love with my family. Examining each small snowflake that falls into my hands. Swishing through pine trees, heavy with mounds of white sparkly snow. Sitting down to a lunch of piping hot chili, fresh from the giant thermos, steam obscuring our faces.  Happily sipping hot chocolate and listening to Jane’s Addiction on the drive home.   This is how to beat the winter blues.  

In some ways, I’ve felt like we’re cheating. Surely we’re not supposed to be having this much fun? This often? Surely we need to conform to the societal norm of the 40 hour workweek? But I’m reminded that we only get one life to live, and it’s too short not to spend it doing what you love. I’m reminded, or maybe just discovering what it’s like to truly live. 

   
    
 

2015 In Review

 

Since I posted absolutely nothing for 2015…

 

I must’ve been more than a little busy, which is more than a little true.

Homeschooling:

We finished our second and hardest year of homeschooling thus far.  We had a lot of growing pains in our second year of homeschooling.  Curriculum misfits, motivation problems, learning blocks.  Thankfully, my academic advisor set me up with an excellent reading tutor for Selah, which has lead to lots of success in reading for her, as well as a few epiphanies for me as far as curricula and learning styles go for my children.  This has made our third year of schooling go much more smoothly.  I have been able to find and choose much better curricula for my kid’s learning styles.  I’ve also been able to let go of the brick and mortar school model- meaning we don’t spend all day doing school.  We get all our subjects done, and we move on to other projects. This makes for  a much happier me, and thus, happier children too.  We also started doing science and social studies together  which simplifies further.  No point in doing 4 different types of science studies and 4 different years of history.  (Ugh!)  One of the most helpful things I have learned with homeschooling, and this may sound like a no-brainer to some, is that if something is not working, it is absolutely okay for me to change it. In the past, it has been hard for me to let go of things that were just drudging on in the name of seeing things through to the end.  This is not a bad thing all the time, however: if your kid isn’t enjoying it, and neither are you, there probably isn’t any learning happening.  Misery isn’t necessary.

 

Health

I joined a gym this year, which is something I thought I’d never do.  Alas, my sister convinced me to go.  Not just to the gym, to classes at the gym that started at 5:15 in the morning.  Yes, you read that right.  This night owl was getting up at 4:30 a.m. five days a week to go work out.  I stuck it out for about nine months, even through my sister quitting, until I realized it just wasn’t working for me. All that hard work and dedication and not a pound lost to show for, and my pants were feeling a little tight. Which is to say, my weight gain wasn’t muscle I had gained from lifting weights.  (I did enjoy feeling a bit stronger and being able to help lift heavy things with my husband, like couches. So, there’s that.)  In September, I cut down my gym attendance to two days a week, at 6 am, instead of 5 am. I added in extra cardio, and am still weight lifting.  I am also getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, and no longer stressing out about having to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Lo and behold, pants are no longer feeling tight, and weight has gone down a smidge.  I’ll take it. This year, I resolve to stay active and have as much fun staying active as I can, and see how that works out for the ol’ physique.

 

Travels and Such

In October, I did something I have never done in my life.  I flew alone to visit my sister in Phoenix.  It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had in a very long time.  I hadn’t flown in 13 years, since Kevin and I flew to New York in February of 2002.  I love to fly.  I think I have mentioned before, that I would love to be a flight attendant in another life. I spent four lovely days with my sister, Hannah, and totally let loose.  Which means that I actually drank a Vanilla Coke.  (I can’t remember the last time I had a pop before that!)  We went and saw “The Martian” at a fancy theatre with reclining seats, shopped, ate at a gluten free bakery (I didn’t know what to eat, I had SO MANY CHOICES!) It was a great trip I hope to repeat again in the near future, and this time I want to drag my OTHER sister with me! Sister weekend 2016!

As a family we traveled to visit my Father-in-Law on October 21, 2015,  otherwise known as “Back to the Future Day.”  The theatre in his town was showing a double feature of the first and second movies, so we hopped in the trusty Suburban, in the wee hours of the morning and traveled 6 hours so we could all watch it together.  It was hugely fun, and I am SO glad we did it!  We were also able to see the new house he shares with his girlfriend, and it was really neat to see the masterpiece that she has constructed and decorated there!

 

In November, we drove down to Phoenix to spend Thanksgiving with Hannah and her in-laws and my parents.  It was quite a success, and the dinner was fabulous, as was the trip to the zoo.  It was over too quickly. (Unfortunately, Ariel and Jer weren’t able to join us this year due to some extraneous circumstances. Wah!)  We made a pit stop in Canyonlands, near Moab, Utah on our way down and spent the day gallivanting around with Kevin’s mom and brother and sister.  It was one of those days that was just a beautiful gift, and we all were the better for it.  Incredibly fun and life-giving.

 

 

We also made a few trips up to Telluride this year, as has become a sort of tradition for us.  This year, one trip took place on my 29th birthday.  (What!?  I’ve been 29 for 7 years now.  It’s great!)  My sister and her littles came with us, and we rode the gondola and wandered around Mountain Village, taking in the sights.  We ended up eating dinner at this great place, which I have forgotten the name of.  We all had a great time, of course, and resolved that next year we need to bring our suits so we can float down the river with everyone!

 

Earlier in the summer, we grabbed Kev’s mom and went up I-70 to hike up to Hanging Lake.  I was worried the kids were going to groan about the hiking part of it, so I had bribed each of them with $2 a piece if they could make it up and back without so much as one complaint.  Thankfully, this worked!  Selah and Rory nearly ran up the trail.  We reached the top in record time, and enjoyed our lunch at the top.  After we got back down to the bottom, we decided to go on up to Aspen and trek around there a little.

 

For Kevin’s birthday, we headed up to Aspen again, towing the trailer behind us, filled with all our bikes.  Of course, the main idea was for Kevin to be able to skate at the best skate park in the state up there, but we were thwarted by rain.  Fortunately, the clouds broke just long enough for us to get a few miles in on our bikes.  Rory and Selah did great on their bikes, and only slightly terrified us near the steep parts.

 

In September, Kevin and I headed over the mountains (and through the woods) to Red Rocks, to take in a Duran Duran concert. It was only the second time we have ever left the kids over night.  We decided to avoid all the construction on I-70, and went over Independence Pass, which did not disappoint.  What beauty from the top of the world!  By the time we hit FairPlay, Sunday traffic was backing up.  We were lucky to reach Red Rocks right when the concert was starting.  The opening band was Chic, which was quite fun to dance to, and Duran Duran was amazing. We returned to Red Rocks the next morning to run the stairs, and hike around a little bit, and had an enjoyable trip home via I-70.  The construction wasn’t so bad. 😉

 

New Developments

In 2014, I cut off all of my hair.  It has been one of my most favorite hair cuts to date.  By the end of 2014,  I had dyed it dark brown with purple highlights, which was fun.  Later in the year, I decided it would be even more fun if you could see the purple better, so I went platinum and boy did the purple show up then! Squee!  Then I decided to add some turquoise too.  Then I got tired of having to match my outfits to my hair, and so went just platinum for a while.  Still very much loving my pixie cut, and the creativity it affords me. Next up is pink sort of concoction.  If you’re lucky, I might just post a picture of it.

In September-ish, Kevin began construction on a studio-shed for yours truly.  This has been a long time coming, and a much anticipated event.  At the moment, it is completely built, roofed and has a lovely two panel door with windows.  It is waiting for several windows and some electricity to be added when it warms up a bit around here.  It has a loft, which is especially exciting, because I can put a bunch of pillows up there and make myself a comfy reading nook.  Also a great place to go when I’m mad at Kevin. (HA!  Like that ever happens… snort!)  Needless to say, I am looking forward to many hours of creating out there when it is up and running, and am forever grateful to Kev for all his hard work and support of my endeavors.  What a guy!

Christmas this year was a blur already.  It was especially magical this year though, with almost a foot of snow falling the day of.  We enjoyed Christmas Eve with Kev’s mom and grandparents.  I brought a lasagna, and we all opened presents together and were content to just be in each other’s presence for a while.  Christmas morning I woke up with a nauseating migraine.  Ugh.  Thankfully, coffee and tylenol helped to get rid of it, along with some fresh air and playing in the snow.  We cooked a turkey dinner (one I had reserved for Thanksgiving, before we decided to head down to Phoenix) and my parents and Kev’s mom came up and chilled with us.

A week before Christmas, we decided to take the plunge and buy our little family season passes to the local ski resort.  We have been immensely pleased with this purchase already. After taking lessons in January of 2015, the kids are pretty mobile, and have been chugging right along with us this year.  It has been a lot of fun to see one of our dreams come to fruition.

IMG_0526

 

This year has also been different from the others for me in that I’ve maintained a list of each and every little thing that I perceive to be a gift from God.  It can be anything.  A quiet moment of solitude, a tiny snowflake, or the cacophony of happy children running through the house together.  It has really altered my daily view of things, and been very helpful in maintaining my joy.  It is something I plan to do for as long as I am able.

 

A Thousand Reasons to Give Thanks

 

 

The Way of it…

So, some days… homeschooling doesn’t go so well.  Or maybe it is just a bit more challenging, more often than I expected it to be this year.  Or maybe it’s my attitude (probably more often than not.) Or maybe I need to really get rid of the distractions… (Helllooo, Facebook, anyone?)  Or possibly it’s just because this has been kind of a rough year…

Last year, being wet behind the ears with it, I employed a few things to kind of help us get by.  They were computer programs mostly, that the kids could work independently on. It was fantastic, because it freed up some time for me to do my normal “around the house and such” things.  I still had a bit of a life. (Ha!)

This year, I am “taking things a bit more seriously” and have thrown out the “patch jobs”, as I call them. Instead of doing math and language arts on the computer, we’re… not.  Which means a lot more one on one teaching time for me.  This is not a bad thing; it’s just a time consuming thing.  Also, this year, Selah is a first grader, and therefore requires a bit more focus from me as well.  So… I’m stretched a little thin.  Throw in soccer practices, church youth group, and hubby’s schedule, and I’m stretched so thin, I’m transparent.

These changes have required me to be a little more disciplined.  (Just when I thought I was doing so well!) I am not a morning person.  But if I want to get a jump on my day, get a work-out in, have a few minutes of solitude, I have to get up early.  This is hard for me, especially with winter drawing near and a comfy warm bed hugging me tight in the morning.  (I really should have requested some in-floor heating!)

So yeah, everything is not always roses and sunshine. Homeschooling has (quite a few) difficult days.  But I’m chalking it up as learning experience, and opportunity to grow and change for the better. And I trust that with every hour of hard work I log, things will get easier in the future.  (Right?!)

Post Script:  And next year, maybe next semester, I think I will try to find some legit computer programs to help lessen the load for myself a bit.  No shame in that!

Miss Selah

Momma and Miss Selah. #myprincess

This girl has been the cause of many giggles, proud moments, and exasperated ones, and lots of heart-tugging thoughts.  She is in the stage of asking questions about everything.  “Why” questions.  I know, this is a stage most kids go through at about the age of four.  But for Selah, it’s seven.  Which also means some of the questions are harder than your average 4 year old would ask.  She is incredibly impressionable right now too, and takes every word that is said literally and seriously.

Last night, daddy brought us home some piping hot fries for a treat.  He said to me that he knew the fries would steal my heart.  Later on, he encountered Selah, sitting bolt upright in her bed, eyes wide, looking a little flummoxed.

“Daddy?” she says in her tiny little high pitched voice, “is it true that french fries will steal your heart?!”  Poor girl was terrified her heart was going to be missing the next morning.

Lately she’s had an obsession with the word “illegal.”  She doesn’t totally understand what the word means, but she gets the gist of it.  I have been asked all manner of questions about which things are or are not “illegal.”  We were learning about columbines last week.  (And as a side note, you should know that Selah absolutely loves flowers and gardening of any sort.) I mentioned that it is illegal to pick them in the wild.  A few minutes later, a crushed looking Selah dissolved into tears in my lap.  When I finally got her to tell me what was wrong, she said, “I don’t wanna go near any wild columbines anymore!  They’re illegal!”

And my personal favorite, she calls us older people, “adultments.”Selah made a fairy house. She specified that it was the tooth fairy house, since the tooth fairy is real, but other fairies are not. #imagination #logic