Miles, Moose & Memories

I think my Honda Odyssey knows the route to Keystone, CO, where I love to spend as much time as I’m able.  I saw the weather forecast for our fair city and thought, uh-oh, I can’t be stuck for a miserable sleet/ice-y long weekend! I made it out before the weather came in and back in as it was over. Perfect! Food was prepacked so our only expense is gas and hot coffee while traveling. (Yummy Mighty Mocha Latte from QuikTrip set the trip off to a great start!)  Oh, and Adele’s new CD – 25.

So we left early - 6 am - but still ran into a bit of funky fog. But all of a sudden, poof! It was gone! Weird KS weather!

So we left early – 6 am – but still ran into a bit of funky fog. But all of a sudden, poof! It was gone! Weird KS weather!

So, there’s no back yard where we are when we’re in Keystone which means when the dogs need to potty, we have to take them out on leashes.  I was up early Thanksgiving Day, maybe due to the time change, maybe due to the fabulous silence of being in the mountains or not wanting to waste a moment being inside in Colorful Colorado and God’s gorgeous mountains. I leashed up Buddy and Cooper and headed out.  I was walking through the parking lot when a large shape caught my eye by the tennis courts. By golly, there were 2 HUGE moose meandering up the walk!  I fumbled for my phone in an attempt to get evidence but alas, for such large animals, they move quite quickly. I went in search of them to be sure my eyes had not deceived me and saw them again by the townhouses before they likely headed back up the mountain as a loud bus taking skiiers to the slopes rounded the corner.  WOW.  Majestic moose were the words that came to mind as I marveled at their sheer size.  And the fact that I’ve been coming here for YEARS and only just saw this by the homes!

No, REALLY! There were 2 moose by the tennis courts!

No, REALLY! There were 2 moose by the tennis courts! (center of the pic kind of by the brown house)

Our first full day there consisted of a Turkey Day Fun Run in Frisco, supposedly a 5K.  My Garmin measured it at 2.68 miles. No timing, just for fun (really!). I ran with my daughter. We did it for the first time last year.  Fortunately there wasn’t anywhere near as much snow as there was last year (knee high and mushy. Think mashed potatoes!) and only some ice. We enjoyed watching all of the dogs dressed up and running with their owners. Dogs are so accepted everywhere there.  LOVE.

By the "start" line. Me & my fellow runner/daughter.

By the “start” line. Me & my fellow runner/daughter.

The Finish Line banner - perfect for Turkey Day!

The Finish Line banner – perfect for Turkey Day!

Got a pic like this last year with just my daughter. Had to get one with both of us this year.

Got a pic like this last year with just my daughter. Had to get one with both of us this year.

Our "official" finish picture. Yes, I grabbed my daughter's hand so we could finish together. I know, too sweet.

Our “official” finish picture. Yes, I grabbed my daughter’s hand so we could finish together. I know, too sweet.

My parents walked it. Not too strenuously as my mother had just had her 2nd cataract surgery 3 days earlier!

My parents walked it. Not too strenuously as my mother had just had her 2nd cataract surgery 3 days earlier!

A Thanksgiving tradition we've been doing since 2008, a balloon launch in memory of my sweet nephew,Weston, who went home to be with the Lord at the young age of 22 months.

A Thanksgiving tradition we’ve been doing since 2008, a balloon launch in memory of my sweet nephew,Weston, who went home to be with the Lord at the young age of 22 months.

Always loved, never forgotten. We write messages on the balloons.

Always loved, never forgotten. We write messages on the balloons.

A glorious sunset during an evening hike up what we call the "Back Mountain".

A glorious sunset during an evening hike up what we call the “Back Mountain”.

We took the dogs out several times a day to run and we hiked the “Back Mountain” several times as well, almost getting caught in the dark once! Cooper scared me on one of these hikes as he came toward me, crying, then trying to bury himself in the snow.  Great, I thought. He’s having a stroke of some kind and I’m going to lose him. Not to mention we’re over a mile up the mountain! Fortunately, he had a drink from my water bottle, cooled down in the snow, and then took off like nothing had happened. Geesh. Now to calm my beating heart.

Salmon for Thanksgiving dinner since 3 out of 4 of us are vegetarians!

Salmon for Thanksgiving dinner since 3 out of 4 of us are vegetarians!

My dogs love Colorado and playing in the snow! They particularly enjoy running without their leashes.

My dogs love Colorado and playing in the snow! They particularly enjoy running without their leashes.

We left to go home very early Sunday morning as not only did I have to go back to teaching and the kids to school, my two sons were back home. My youngest hates the long drive so we compromised this trip.  I can’t help but feel sad each time I leave there. I feel so at peace and more in-tune with my body, feelings and spirituality. Maybe some day this will be my home. In the meantime, I’ll visit as often as I can.

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On a Roll – My 3rd Prairie Fire 1/2 Marathon!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy biiiiiirrrrtttthhhhhday, dear Deb, happy birthday to me!

Yes, I decided in January that for my birthday gift I would treat myself to the race fees for the Spring Prairie Fire half marathon. Crazy, huh?! But really, why not? I’d trained for 3 others but only ran 2, thanks to a slip on the stairs as well as running my 1st full marathon in October so why not a little motivation to keep myself in shape as I celebrated my 44th year?

The weeks leading up to the race were tough. Work issues with school state testing, parenting issues and not sleeping well were rampant.  I was up in the wee hours of the morning and no, it wasn’t because I was excited and/or nervous! I approached the morning of the race with an attitude of “I’ve done the best that I can with what I’ve been given and I’ll run the best that I can this morning.” Oh, and lots and lots of prayer.

I left later than intended that morning. Great. Got stuck in traffic and had to park on a side road a long, long way from the starting line.  Good thing I knew where the hidden bathrooms were so I didn’t have to wait in the humongous line for the porta-potties with the other racers. I made it to the starting line with a few minutes to spare as I scanned the crowd, looking for my pacer.  (My goal was a sub 2 hour race but due to circumstances, I thought I’d try the 2:15 and see how my body handled it.)

To make a long story short, my body kicked it in. I made my way up to the 2 hour pacers after the gun/horn went off but my body felt like it could go faster.  I hung back for quite some time so as not to burn out too fast, then pulled ahead.  My 1/2 way point time was excellent and I was amazed that I could potentially make my goal.   In actuality, I BEAT my goal.  Even though the last mile was into the wind (20 mph, gusting to 27 mph), slightly uphill, and took every last ounce of energy from my body, I came in with my unofficial time of 1:57:07 with my Garmin showing 13.21 miles (not 13.1).  To say I was elated was a major understatement! I had beaten my personal record by a full 6 minutes! Woo hoo! I was SO PROUD of myself 🙂  and so were my parents, who were waiting for me at the finish line.

 

My race bib, medal, and evidence of my PR!

My race bib, medal, and evidence of my PR!

For those of you liking stats: Mile 1) 8:50 2) 9:07  3) 8:49  4) 8:50  5) 8:37  6) 8:46  7) 8:44  8) 8:53  9) 8:56  10) 8:51  11) 8:57  12) 9:03  13) 8:01  I did walk through 2 water stations . . . can you tell which ones?

I placed 316 out of 1576 with their official time of 1:57:10 (3 seconds off my Garmin).

Not sure where I am on the course here. Not too bad of an agonizing look on my face!

Not sure where I am on the course here. Not too bad of an agonizing look on my face!

I'm done with a PR! Woo hoo! Where's that Gatorade?!

I’m done with a PR! Woo hoo! Where’s that Gatorade?!

 

Next race? The Run for the Rockies 1/2 marathon in June!

Take 3? Or 4?

I’ve lost count how many times my daughter has redone her room. Hers was the first room we painted when we moved in, a soft pastel pink (she WAS 3!)  Since then we’ve done white with purple, and white again, not to mention how many times we’ve changed out the bedding and accessories. This past year she’s been itching for a loft bed to give herself more room but she didn’t want to downsize her full size bed. Her birthday was at the end of November so she got yet another redo!

Before - She'd gotten a little excited and already taken her box spring and frame out of her room before I could take the proper "before" picture. But you get the idea!

Before – She’d gotten a little excited and already taken her box spring and frame out of her room before I could take the proper “before” picture. But you get the idea!

After searching around town, we ended up using Site to Store from Walmart to get her bed. She specifically wanted a metal one and the only ones we could find in town were the clunky wooden ones with huge drawers and extra beds or even a slide(?!).  She chose one that had a desk already built in underneath. Very streamlined and open underneath, as long as she doesn’t bonk her head on the ceiling fan! Her walls needed a fresh coat of white paint (which we already had) and we had already replaced the curtains with the black, room-darkening, insulated ones, also from Walmart for less than $10 each  (much better for west-facing when it’s summer!). Even better, when we ordered the bed through the website, I was able to use a 5% cashback reward through my credit union. Woo hoo!

Building the bed!

Building the bed!

We ordered a cool bead curtain from ebay in black that she liked so much, we decided to order another one. It gives a little partition between the main door and her space under the bed. It had to be trimmed because it was so long and we used an existing tension rod that we had to make it fit nicely.

Next up, she got the idea that she wanted to splatter paint one wall for an impact and add some shelving. So in early July we did just that, taped off the adjoining walls, stirred a bit of water into a free sample of paint that we’d already used to paint a shelf for her bed (gotta love Lowe’s Valspar coupons for sample paint!) and let her go to town! (Personal Note: yes, this freaked me out a bit and I wondered if I should let her do it. But really, what harm can it do? I did the prep work with her help and it’s just paint – something that can be repainted if necessary. In the end she got a few dots on the white popcorn ceiling and that was the only damage. Whew!)

We purchased the interlocking shelves at Ross and she had a specific idea of what she was going to put on them – pop bottles with flowers (maybe painted, maybe not) and candle holders (warned that she can’t light them on the shelf – eek! fire hazard!) She also lined up all of her cologne sprays from Bath & Body Works on them as well. She had a wall mirror before but somehow managed to crack it so we got a new one (less than $5 from Walmart). She wanted a table of some sort to put all of her make-up and stuff in it that didn’t jut out too far and settled on a rolling cart that we got from Menard’s ($19.99 but I used a rebate that took $5.99 off it from a previous purchase).

Before with walls taped off.

Before with walls taped off.

Working on the splattering part . . .

Working on the splattering part . . .

These sample jars from Valspar at Lowe's are only $0.99 but I had a coupon for mine. Perfect for testing colors or using them for accents.

These sample jars from Valspar at Lowe’s are only $0.99 but I had a coupon for mine. Perfect for testing colors or using them for accents.

AFTER: splattered wall with shelves, new mirror and rolling cart.

AFTER: splattered wall with shelves, new mirror and rolling cart.

Did I mention that my daughter is sewing her own quilt to go with her room?  Well, she is, and I’ll say that she’s doing a wonderful job of it as well. My mother has taught her how to do it and this isn’t her first attempt. Now that we’re really getting a roll on putting the finishing touches on things, she’s been working hard on her quilt, too.

Here's a part of her quilt so you can see the colors.

Here’s a part of her quilt so you can see the colors.

Sewing away!

Sewing away!

Jocelyn originally had a foldable purple chair in her room but since it’s molded plastic and probably hard to paint, she wanted something different, preferable a stool.  That can also be tucked under her desk area much easily. When I was cleaning out the storage area this summer, I discovered a short stool that had a padded but torn seat. The legs will need to be trimmed and painted and then we’re going to use some leftover fabric from her quilt to make a cover.

The stool - BEFORE

The stool – BEFORE

She also wanted a plush chair of some sort to go underneath her loft bed to lounge in instead of up on her bed.  She decided on one from Target that was $44 but I used my red card to get a discount. She said it was her “human sushi roll”.  Say what?! She looks very comfy in it, though! She also spends more time under her loft instead of in bed!

2014-07-23 13.51.22

Other than finishing her quilt and covering the stool, there’s just one more thing to make the room complete – a rug. Unless I get the urge to rip out the carpet and I doubt that’s going to happen.  We have yet to decide on the color and size so we’ll hold off on that for awhile.  We have one very happy gal with her fancy room!  Hopefully this will keep her happy for awhile so we won’t have to redecorate it again!

A Saturday Morning at Cowtown

We only have one membership to a museum any more.  The children have outgrown the zoo and Exploration Place; they aren’t really interested in the Museum of World Treasures unless they go with their cousins/grandparents either so we recently renewed our membership to Cowtown, the historical living museum here in Wichita.

My daughter adores Cowtown. She spent many  hours in various Girl Scout camps learning about the history and the life of a prairie girl. For her birthday last year she specifically requested that we go to Cowtown. With the warmer spring weather upon us and a long weekend last weekend, it seemed the perfect time to visit again.

It was a bit windy – which threw my allergies into high gear – but we had an enjoyable time. We saw some new things, fed some chickens hot dog buns (given to us by a volunteer worker), saw part of a gun show, and rode in the covered wagon. Here are a few pics of our fun morning!

Right outside the main doors before heading out to the buildings.

Right outside the main doors before heading out to the buildings.

Me and my gal!

Me and my gal!

Getting nowhere fast!

Getting nowhere fast!

Attack of the chickens! Jocelyn called one of them Raoul.

Attack of the chickens! Jocelyn called one of them Raoul.

Pucker up!

Pucker up!

Silly pair!

Silly pair!

Driving the wagon!

Driving the wagon!

Jailbirds!

Jailbirds!

More jailbirds!

More jailbirds!

 

30 Years Ago Today . . .

Has it really been 30 years!?!? Yes, it’s my birthday, but no, I’m not 30. Thirty years ago today we arrived in our new city, Wichita, KS, on my 12th birthday. What a great present! Hmmm, maybe, maybe not, depending on what you think of this fair city. . .

My brothers by our Chevrolet Citation hauling our camper down from Montreal, Canada.

My brothers by our Chevrolet Citation hauling our camper down from Montreal, Canada.

The memories of our move down are interesting. I remember that it was so bitterly cold when the movers came to pack up the house that when they moved the washer there was a frozen sock behind it. I remember that it took about 3 days to drive down going through New York to the border then down and across. When we finally arrived in Wichita, we got off the KS Turnpike and our hotel was right there (Residence Inn). We thought it was incredibly warm in comparison to where we came from and wanted to dig out our short sleeve t-shirts! I remember that because we’d be traveling for my birthday that a cake wouldn’t be easy to make. My mum made a delicious fruit cake (yes, by request!) and it came with us from Montreal. (For those of you that like to make fun of fruit cake, it is one of my favorite cakes. You have to have it done the British way soaked in rum with marzipan.)  When I showed my daughter how we traveled in the car she said, “You drove in THAT?!”  Yes, dear, which meant one of us kids had to sit in the middle and I’m sure there were plenty of arguments with “he’s/she’s touching me!” Apparently my kids are now spoiled with a roomy van where they don’t have to touch their siblings.

My 7th grade class at Emmanuel High School

My 7th grade class at Emmanuel High School

After the move began the search for a new home and a new school. Above is the picture of my 7th grade class at Emmanuel High School before I moved. I remember my teacher’s name was Mrs. Uittenbosch. I’m the one on the front row, 3rd from the left, with Colin to the left and John to the right.  Andrea on the far left and Halona next to John were my best friends. The things we remember, huh? We moved into a house between Derby and Rose Hill and I attended Rose Hill schools through graduation.

Hard to believe I’ve been in the same city/area for 30 years now. Wichita is a great city and there are many opportunities.  My parents are close by and so are is my younger brother and his family. My older brother and his family were close until a couple of years ago. I like it here, and isn’t that important? Although I do really love Keystone . . .