Sunday, September 27, 2009

What a Week it Was!!

I've never had a "word for the year" before. This year I do, and it is getting a real workout. The word, if you recall, is "flexibility." I just noticed it's been a week since I wrote a post, which is testament to the craziness of this week. I don't know if this year requires more flexibility than normal, or if I'm just noticing it because it's my word.

A week and a half ago Kristen had a blood test taken. An entire week later the doctor's office called to tell her she had swine flu - a week later! She was passing along germs a whole week before they called? She had a few symptoms, but just wasn't sick enough for this diagnosis, in our opinion. But, to be safe, we had to keep the kids - we couldn't risk them getting the virus.

Two days later, Kristen insisted on a second blood test, because she just didn't feel like she had H1N1. They asked her to come in rather than just giving her the news over the phone. That was a bit intimidating. Turns out she doesn't have the flu at all - but she is anemic. How in the world did they make such a mistake?

So she was given a mongo iron shot, which made her dizzy for a few hours. That night we took the kids to Kentucky Fried Chicken for supper. I don't take my purse in with me when I have the 4 kids to contend with. I just took my glasses case in with me to exchange for the sunglasses I was wearing. I never took my sunglasses off after all.

We took the big girls home, because their mommy was feeling good enough to have them overnight, and she obviously wasn't contagious. I discovered on the way that I didn't have my glasses case with me. I panicked. I need new glasses, but didn't have time to get before going away for the week-end. We headed back to KFC, hoping I had left them on the table. Unfortunately, they weren't there, nor under the table - there was a group eating there.

So - the next step was checking the garbage - YUCK!! The good news? Most of the people in there that night were getting the advetised special "to go" - consequently, no mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, or chicken bones were on top of what I had dumped in there a half hour before. There was my glasses case - I had put them on the tray with the trash and garbage. What a relief! UPDATE: Yesterday (Monday) my glasses BROKE! So now I'm running around in constant dusk with my prescription sunglasses - without them I'd be in a total fog! I'm heading to Lenscrafters today, though I'd rather go somewhere that's not in such a hurry. I pray they do a good job. I can't get along for a week without my specs, and I don't think they're fixable, even temporarily. sigh

Friday morning was Feisty's first ever field trip and Kristen wanted to go as a mother helper. We were so glad she wasn't contagious, so she could do it. The littles and I went to the library while she and Feisty went to the fire station.

Friday afternoon I left with the group from church for Women of Faith in Denver. On the way, two people realized they didn't have their tickets. What did we do before cell phones?? We made lots of phone calls, and discovered that technology is a good thing in cases like this - several of us who had our tickets were able to give them a number which allowed them to bring up the missing tickets on the computer and print new tickets. Who knew??

We finally got to the hotel only to discover that downtown Denver was a real mess - parking was a nightmare. We ended up with valet parking and walked to the bus to get to the auditorium. If you ever have a chance to go to a Women of Faith conference, treat yourself (go to the link to see who all was there). The speakers are so great - I call it inspiration overload. The music this year was a bit loud for my taste, and I was disappointed when Sandi Patti was unable to be there after all. I bought books by almost every speaker this year. Remember Blair from Facts of Life? Lisa Whelchel, who played her, has an amazing story of her years on the show. Sheila Walsh, Marilyn Meberg, Patsy Clairmont, Lucy Swindoll - all have the amazing ability to take something little that happened in their lives and find a spiritual application. Or, in the case of this year, something huge that changed her life and can help us with our spiritual journey. I go from laughter to tears in split seconds.

Friday night after the service, which included a Stephen Curtis Chapman concert (with his two sons playing in his band - Will Franklin, who was driving the car when their little Maria was run over, sits behind his dad as he talks about the tragedy), we headed on foot back to the hotel. After a stop at the Cheesecake Factory (where we consumed way too many calories), crazy as it seems, we had to deal with the fact that we were given rooms with only one bed per room and 3 women per room. Uh Oh. Suffice it to say,we worked it out, quite creatively. but it was a bit of a mix-up. You'll have to guess how we did it!

We ate too much, slept too little, laughed, cried, talked, bonded. Sema was able to go with us and I was so glad of that. We are going to be sure Kristen gets to go next year.

Mixed in with all of the other stuff this week, DC brought in a pick-up load of dirt to fill in around the new patio.

What a goofball!

He also installed these flag stones --

Some fun shots of the kiddoes --

Saying "Bye-Bye"

Calling Mommy, most likely --

Playing teacher - "reading" to the class -- (a friend added the color to her hair, and 4 washings later, it is still there!)

Hauling around something Care Bear created --

And, finally -- the "last rose of summer!"

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Five Word Meme

Before I do the meme, I want to update a bit from the last post. I just finished reading this book by Nicholas Sparks. I love his books. I've seen some of the movies that were spawned from the books, but I never like movies made from books - well, rarely. I do have to say that the only really good movies that I've ever watched that I felt did tremendous job of following the books were the Anne of Green Gables movies.

But - back to this book. I finished it this morning and shed more than a few tears at the end. Very well written - especially the end. They are already making the movie, which amazes me. Nicholas is writing the screen play. I have to say that I don't like the choice of Miley Cyrus as the main character, Ronnie (Veronica). I may be wrong, having only seen her on brief looks at Hannah Montana, but I can't see her in this part. And I probably won't. What do you think?

The pictures of the two girls in the previous post - the upper one is Care Bear and the lower one is Katie. We think they look remarkably alike. What do you think?

Mary, from Mary's Writing Nook, sent me these 5 words to write about. I've been short on ideas of late, so this should give me a boost. Mary knows me pretty well from our years of blogging together, and chose these words that would be just up my alley. So here goes.

Granddaughters. If you've read even one of my posts, you know that four little special girls brighten my life, and make me tired! I've been privileged to be at the births of all 4. Many of you lived through the twins' arrival vicariously with me. There's probably not much I can say about them that I haven't said before since, after all, you and they "Call Me Grandma Dawn."

My favorite things about each of them:

Care Bear: She is an amazing little girl. I can never understand how she knows what she knows. She has an inherent understanding of how life works. She has amazing insight. She is an artist, who loves to write and illustrate her own books. She is smart. She has worn glasses since she was the age the twins are now and is just fine with that. She can be very bossy - she is kinda like her grandma, who was always the self-proclaimed president of every club she started. Grandpa loves her can-do attitude and doesn't want anything to stifle it.

Feisty: She is a beautiful little girl with a smile that just brightens your day. She kind of got lost in the shuffle - she was born when Care Bear was 20 months old, and was only 3 1/2 when the twins came along. She has a very soft and kind heart. She can be very ornery. She is very smart, too, but gets overshadowed by her big sister so often. Right now she's coming into her own in kindergarten and in the neighborhood and it is delightful to watch.

Katie: She is one minute older than her sister. She is the bigger one. She has the greatest laugh. She can be very clingy at times, but on the other hand she won't let you hold her hand when she really really needs to! She can be a bit of a bully - she's a lot like Care Bear, which is as it should be, since Care Bear claimed her as her own before she was born - and named her.

Emma: Feisty named her long before she was born. They were supposed to be Victoria and Samantha, but Feisty wanted Baby B to be Emma so badly that Kristen let her have the privilege of naming her. Emma's the one who tore the oxygen out of her nose the morning after she was born, and they never put it back in. She has been first in many of the developmental steps. She talks constantly, and is saying more real words every day. She is bitty and mighty.

Colorado. I love living in Colorado. I love the seasons - especially this one. Spring's a bit iffy, but it can be lovely, too. I don't even mind the snow most of the time. I wish there weren't so many other people who keep moving here, because we're getting too crowded here on the Front Range. But I love it here.

I was born in Minnesota. We moved to Arkansas when I was 4, back to Minnesota when I was 11, to Nebraska when I was 16, to Oklahoma for college, to Kansas as a teacher for a couple of years.

My parents moved here when I was a junior in college. I think I've written about it before, but I'll never forget my first trip here for Spring Break. My dad bragged that the sun shines every day here in our town. We had to tease him mercilessly when we didn't see the sun for 3 days after we got here - we might as well have still been in Kansas or Nebraska or Minnesota - couldn't see a mountain anywhere.

But when the sun came out - it was glorious.

I moved here from Kansas in 1971. That's a long story which I've told before, but suffice it to say, I am glad I did. I had some heartbreak at first, but God had a plan - and it included meeting DC who had moved here from Illinois not long before I got here.

My kids and grandkids are natives. We have deep roots here. Come and visit any time!

Childhood. My childhood memories are wonderful. My dad was a pastor - we didn't have money. There were 5 of us kids and we had fun. I was the eldest, and I was given a lot of responsibility.

I loved being the preacher's kid. Sometimes PK's have a bad reputation. But we felt like it was a privilege. We got to know the evangelists who came and ate at our house and stayed with us. We became acquainted with the missionaries who also stayed with us. I loved moving from place to place - I considered it a great adventure.

My sister was born two weeks before my first birthday, so we had a great time being "twins" for two weeks every year. I loved it when someone found out we were sisters and said, "Oh, I thought you were friends." We were. We still are.

Travel. We have done our share of traveling, nothing like a lot of people. I'm not fond of the actual trip, but love getting there, wherever "there" is. I get claustrophobic in airplanes these days, but don't mind flying otherwise. We haven't taken a long road trip in awhile, but I wouldn't mind doing that again.

When I was a kid, we mostly went to our grandparents' in Minnesota for our vacations. We did take a trip to the North Shore camping - that was an adventure with a large family. We went to California when several of us were in college, for my brother's wedding.

DC and I have had some nice trips. When the kids were young, we visited grandparents as well. But we did make it to Disneyland and Yellowstone. We took a fabulous trip to England to visit my brother and his family when Kristen was 13 and Kev was 11. What wonderful memories we made there.

I've been privileged to go to Washington DC with my DC on several business trips. We finally made it to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary, then back for our 35th. We are craving another trip back there as soon as possible. We have really enjoyed our times in Georgia, North and South Carolina with DC's brother and SIL.

We did make it to Boston area when Kev was in TC the first time - I told him that I didn't like the reason, but I sure enjoyed the trip.

I'm planning to get out east to see Kev this fall. I also plan to get to my 40th college reunion in Oklahoma in November - yikes! 40th?? How can that be possible??

We hope someday, when we are truly retired, to take a road trip to every place we've ever lived - he is a PK, too, so that'll be alot of towns all over the country.

Hobby. Awhile back I did a series called "I Used To. . . " where I showcased all of the many creative things I used to do when I was young and energetic. I sewed like crazy, crocheted, knitted, embroidered, crewel embroidered, cross-stitched. I don't do any of those things now. My main hobby now is reading, strictly for enjoyment. Nothing very mind-stretching. I get most of my reading in while I am on the exercise machines at the gym. I guess it's called multi-tasking.

Fall is coming in with a cool start - we had a huge rain this morning and it's been very cool all day. I enjoyed a quiet day with myself!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Bit of Randomness

It's been awhile since I rambled, so here goes. The biggest thing lately, literally, has been the new patio, of course. DC worked all day today filling in the gaps with dirt. He'll have fun formulating the new landscaping, more than likely in the spring. But who knows, he may start this fall.

I am quite amazed that the foliage around the old patio survived the process. Our hibiscus plants haven't done as well as usual this year, but not because of the work. But I love this blossom - when it first popped out, it almost looked like a tulip. I love the sun shining through the full blossom.

Last week, on Wednesday, my two friends from high school and I got together again. This time we went up to a place above Estes Park to eat - called the Baldpate Inn. It is in a glorious location and has wonderful food. The menu is the same every day - soup, salad, muffins, and pie. Of course, they change every day and all are delicious. It's a very rustic place, and is a Bed and Breakfast as well as a restaurant. The name is taken from a mystery novel called
Seven Keys to Baldpate. If you go to the link earlier in this paragraph, you can read the most interesting thing about the inn.

Every summer young men and women go to the Inn as interns for their degree in Restaurant and Resort Management. They stay in rooms above the dining room and have a great location for their learning experience. Our waitress was a beautiful young woman from Spain. When it was time for dessert, she brought over this handsome young man - her brother. They both had scholarships from their country to spend the summer here working on their English. I wish I had a picture of both, but I did surprise the young man, whose name is Jesus, with this shot. His name tag caused the bright flash. They were delightful young people.

On the way back down to Estes Park, the sun was shining and it was pouring down rain and really small, soft hail. I wanted a picture so badly, but opening the window for a picture resulted in my getting very wet. Soon, it cleared up completely and I got this lovely shot of Long's Peak.

Last Sunday night the kids in our church treated us to an evening of music and joy. They'd been working all summer on this mini musical. Feisty has been excited the whole summer about being in her first play ever. The director and her daughter are so talented and energetic. The younger woman made all of the costumes and they always do a fabulous job on the props. I directed the children's musicals for years when our kids were little, so I appreciate the work that goes into these productions so very much - and enjoy them immensely.

The play was called "Arkeology." Feisty was a pink poodle and Care Bear was a monkey. It was so much fun especially watching Feisty - she didn't miss a note or a motion. Of course, Care Bear did great, too, but she's a veteran now. It occurred to me that it won't be long before the twins are up there, as fast as time goes.

Here are the lyrics to my favorite song in the entire performance. I especially love the four lines I have highlighted in red and italicized. What a blessed truth.

All who sail the sea of faith
Find out before too long
How quickly blue skies can grow dark
And gentle winds grow strong

Suddenly fear is like white water
Pounding on the soul
Still we sail on knowing
That our Lord is in control

Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn't mean He will

Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child

He has a reason for each trial
That we pass through in life
And though we're shaken
We cannot be pulled apart from Christ

No matter how the driving rain beats down
On those who hold to faith
A heart of trust will always
Be a quiet peaceful place

Lyrics by Scott Krippayne

And last but not least -- some fun stuff with the littles -- I can't really call them babies any more, but keep forgetting that. They are bonafide toddlers - heading for their TWOS. Can you believe it? Emma talks the most. Katie has become quite the little entertainer. I have them two days a week now and am having so much fun watching them change every week. Remember "laptime" at the library? Today Emma sat in my lap as I helped her with the activities. Katie, on the other hand, was in the middle of the floor the whole time jiving around and being totally uninhibited. It was so much fun to watch.

This is one of their favorite new tricks - throw everything out of their beds during naptime and nighttime. Yesterday I went in after their naps and found them nose to nose in their little mesh beds, chatting it up. Everything on the floor.

They LOVE brushing their teeth - I have to pry their brushes out of their hands for bedtime. Or when we're ready to go to church --

They LOVE corn on the cob ---

Which of the four are these two little cuties??

I'm enjoying the beginnings of autumn here in Colorado. The air is so wonderful. The leaves are changing. I just finished the Civil War trilogy by Lynn Austin - fabulous books. I'm excited to read the latest Nicholas Sparks book, The Last Song (does anyone know why they made a movie before the book even came out?) and the latest Faye Kellerman book, Blindman's Bluff.

Then next week, I'm giving myself a fabulous birthday present - a trip to the Women of Faith conference. Can't wait!

Have a great week-end. How could it be the end of another week already??

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Concrete Tale

We have lived in this house for 31 years. All of our new houses back then had these little tiny pads outside the garage stepping down into the mud which was our yards. We all wanted patios poured as soon as possible, but there was a concrete shortage. There was a concrete crew running around our neighborhood, and we all tried to catch Benny and ask him to come to our house next.

We were one of the fortunate ones to get a patio poured. It was huge and has served us for many years. Unfortunately, over the years the not-so-wonderful soil we have around here shifted and our patios, sidewalks, driveways, and even garage floors have developed cracks. You can see how much the patio settled - the original pad hasn't moved. The biggest issue, though, was that the water from rain and melted snow was running under the house.

When we decided to go for it and spring the money for a new patio, DC wanted it to be more artistic this time. He had in his mind curves rather than straight lines. He spent many days cutting out bushes that were either beyond their prime or would be in the way of the new design. I wanted to get pictures of him working so hard, digging out the deep, thick roots, but somehow it never happened. Here is an example of the kind of bushes he removed.

It will be interesting to see what he comes up with to fill these now empty spots. This rock has been covered up for years - I didn't even remember it was there.

The first crew arrived last Thursday and rattled the doors and windows and my head for a few hours with their jackhammer. What a hard, hot, difficult job - I wonder how anyone who does this can hear or breathe.

One young guy spent his day moving the chunks of broken concrete from the back yard to the street in front of our house. I had to chuckle when I heard him tell his boss that he now knows this isn't how he wants to spend the rest of his working life! The boss is a wise man - told him that's why you go to school and stay in school.

The next day, the Bobcat arrived, along with the dump truck. The neighborhood boys had a great time watching the truck filling up. I forgot to get a picture of the really full dump truck.

The next morning they arrived with sand and began the next phase - preparing the area for the new patio. DC had drawn his plan on graph paper.

They finished for this day just before a rainstorm started. But it didn't do any harm. When DC got home, he discovered that they had not set it up according to his specs. Fortunately, the owner wanted us to be satisfied, so his guys had to come and re-do the set-up it the next day. DC was able to mark what he wanted in the sand. By the end of that day, it was looking really good, ready for the cement truck early the next morning.

The final morning, the next crew arrived, preparing for the cement arrival. In talking to these guys, I learned that one of them had worked with Benny back in the day when we were trying to get the first patio done - he was 14 years old at that time. Small world.

I can't believe I forgot to get any shots of the cement truck and the guys taking wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of the gooey stuff from the front to the back. DC and Feisty (who was home from school with a cold) spent most of the day sitting in the yard watching the process. It is a grueling job!

Notice the leaves from the wind that blew in that early morning??

I'm guessing that the next thing to happen will be DC enjoying the challenge of creating new beauty around his newly designed patio.