Lazy Days of Summer?

In looking back at a recent email where the sender had asked what I had been up to this week, I thought long and hard.  What have I been up to this week?  Here it is already Thursday and even though the days seems to pass by in a blur, I couldn’t actually say that I had done much.  Well, I did go to a baseball game with all 3 of my kids on Monday night (hey, $1 tickets through KwikShop, couldn’t pass it up!), ran track night Tuesday night (my awesome running group), church group Wednesday night (DivorceCare), did some baking (banana muffins and brownies – yum!), cleaning, watched the latest episode of Zoo, and finished an entire library book (they’re due on Friday) so I did do something, just not as much as I would usually accomplish.

This morning I made sure I was going to do better than that.

So, I hit the weeds.

This was supposed to have been a vegetable garden.  Although I didn’t seem to get around to it this year.  I meant to.

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Instagram caption: “My vegetable garden. Hey, at least the weeds aren’t too crazy – yet! #keepingitreal #haventgottentoityet #notenoughtime

Geesh, it had gotten ridiculously crazy.

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A third of it was already weeded by this point. And I had a huge blister on the palm of my right hand to show for it!

The dogs were chasing around a humongous wasp the entire time, which was like, 2 hours in the semi hot sun, that seemed to think I was disturbing its area.  It kept landing on the fence around the garden but, fortunately, never on me!  I never found a nest so hopefully it just moved away but it certainly kept my fur boys busy!

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Cooper finally gave in to the heat and wasp chasing and collapsed in the cool earth under the bay window in a section that I hadn’t weeded yet.

I had some potted plants that weren’t fairing too well in the heat, despite the constant watering and their location, so I planted them in this really-next-year-it’ll-be a vegetable-plot.  They’re likely going to die anyway so at least it’ll look nice for a day or two. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m hoping they’ll last longer than that since it took me so long but I won’t hold my breath. At least my neighbors will be happy not to have to look at the overgrown mess that was there before! (You might be asking why is there an old tire in the garden? I saw somewhere on Pinterest that they made a planter out of it so I thought I’d give it a try. I may regret it later . . . )

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The finished product, including the fence, to keep the dogs out of it! Granted, Cooper can jump it in a single bound but it does slow him down.

I worked very hard this morning to accomplish this, then went inside to change clothes and headed to the Y for a treadmill workout with my daughter, who had missed her cross country conditioning this morning (likely on purpose because it was early!).  After getting in my miles (our group run was scheduled for 6 pm tonight, but I haven’t been doing well with the heat/humidity and the heat advisory was brutal today – 108 degrees – so the treadmill had to suffice), a quick drive to MacAlister’s for their free iced tea day (free drinks! Yay!), lunch at home, then preparing for book club. Book club is always fun (a post on that coming up soon!), then dinner, which my son didn’t want to eat.

I feel quite accomplished with today. Is it time for bed yet?

 

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Escaping on Spring Break

It’s been long awaited – the joy of a full week off – SPRING BREAK!  I had decided to split up the week to have time away and time at home,  a win-win situation, right?! The teens seemed to think so. Time away, time with their friends and time with their Dad. Too bad my eldest just got a new job and couldn’t come with us.

I put in my mandatory 3 1/2 hours at work on the Friday, packed up the kids and the dogs, and began the trek to Keystone, CO, where the mountains were beckoning. We did a couple of hikes, tried tubing (1st time in 13 years we actually couldn’t slide due to accumulation on the slope!), and walked in the snowstorm that dumped approximately 40″ in about 4 days.

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The morning after a few inches of snow fell – glorious, breathtaking, God’s handiwork scenery.  The pic on the left is Buddy and Cooper on a hike through an overlook by Lake Dillon. They love galloping through the snow and didn’t mind sinking belly deep! I sank in thigh-high deep at times but it was a  very enjoyable hike.  There’s just something about being in the mountains surrounded by such beauty that I feel at home, in peace, and so close to God. It clears the cobwebs and stress from my life back home and I feel so. much. better about EVERYTHING. What a wonderful emotional/mental break from life. And great cross-training, too!

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Brother and Sister did some great bonding on this trip. Lots and lots of laughter and memories made.

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Can you see how beautiful it is? In fact, my son got burnt on this 6.18 miles hike!

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This was our destination – La Bonte’s Cabin – and ski area! 

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And then the snow began in earnest. We took a walk when it tapered a little (my daughter coordinated her walrus socks with her Grandma’s jacket!) but it was snowing sideways and actually wasn’t  very pleasant. I came back with my hair soaking wet but I was plenty warm enough, despite the dropping temperatures.

We had planned to drive back on Tuesday and despite the hazardous warnings and the first time I’ve ever seen signs requesting  passenger vehicles have chains, we braved the I-70.  The highway wasn’t as bad as it could have been and some blowing snow caused some issues but we did just fine.  By the time we got to Genesee Park on the west side of Denver, you couldn’t even tell there was any weather! How bizarre . . .

As always when I leave, my soul feels fulfilled and although I didn’t want to go, I knew I had to. I’ll plan another trip soon.As it turned out, if I hadn’t left when I did, I wouldn’t have been able to leave due to the additional inches of snow!

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Mid-mountain on North Peak – Elevation: 11,237 feet – The official snow stake!

 

 

 

Goodbye 2015

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The end of the year makes me sad. I’m really not sure why, as I enjoy new beginnings such as a new school year and a new calendar year.  It’s like a fresh page of a notebook or a newly sharpened pencil, crisp and new. So why am I so sad?  One may say it’s the year that I have endured. Yes, this one has been particularly challenging, but no, I feel the same way every New Year’s Eve. I was trying to explain to my daughter when she asked why we always came back from Colorado on New Year’s Eve day. I didn’t want to start the New Year without my husband. Strange, particularly since we never really had any plans and I was usually so tired from the long drive that I never stayed up until midnight. But I meant well, and at least we started the year off together since he didn’t enjoy the trip. Although this is now the 2nd New Year I’ve been alone, well, except for my fur babies and (some) of my children.

My sweet, ever faithful fur babies, Cooper & Buddy.

My sweet, ever faithful fur babies, Cooper & Buddy.

But no, that’s not why I’m sad. I love the above Bible verse where I, personally, will run with endurance the race that God has set before me. I don’t know what plans God has in store for me in 2016 – or beyond, for that matter – I just know that I will rely heavily on His love and strength. I will embrace the New Year with a grateful attitude and know that I am in control of my next thought. I will hold tight to Jesus’ hand knowing that I am loved. This trust will give me the necessary strength to take whatever life may deal me.

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Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed 2016!

 

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.

Spring Break In Pictures

We've been driving by this sign for YEARS! This trip we actually stopped and got out of the car for this picture.

We’ve been driving by this sign for YEARS! This trip we actually stopped and got out of the car for this picture.

Breckenridge, CO. We went on a haunted walking tour one evening and then revisited the next day. Wonderful and quaint little town!

Breckenridge, CO. We went on a haunted walking tour one evening and then revisited the next day. Wonderful and quaint little town!

My daughter insisted on having her picture taken outside of a shop in Breck with this fine fellow.

My daughter insisted on having her picture taken outside of a shop in Breck with this fine fellow.

Run, Forest, run! Bubba Gump restaurant is also located in Breck. Love this photo op bench.

Run, Forest, run! Bubba Gump restaurant is also located in Breck. Love this photo op bench.

Back in River Run, Keystone, we always enjoy a picture in the big chair.

Back in River Run, Keystone, we always enjoy a picture in the big chair.

This was Cooper's first time in CO and he LOVED it. I've never seen him so tired from running and playing with the other dogs.

This was Cooper’s first time in CO and he LOVED it. I’ve never seen him so tired from running and playing with the other dogs.

3 generations with Lillie the dog.

3 generations with Lillie the dog.

Being goofy with glasses while shopping. Nothing like a selfie with my daughter!

Being goofy with glasses while shopping. Nothing like a selfie with my daughter!

A treat from Starbucks after the walk into River Run. We walked/hiked A LOT of miles - one of my favorite things to do in CO!

A treat from Starbucks after the walk into River Run. We walked/hiked A LOT of miles – one of my favorite things to do in CO!

DIY Photo Canvas = Gorgeous Pic!

I am fortunate that there is talent in our family for photography. When I first saw this picture of my children and one of our dogs, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I had originally posted something similar to my Facebook wall but then, alas, I took my whole account down. Boy was I glad to find something on Pinterest! I checked out this post here to learn how to do it “professionally”. I didn’t have much luck with that part of it, but that’s okay.

So, some black paint ($0.60), a 2-pack of canvases (>$3.00 on sale) and some Mod Podge later (already had), I was all done. It didn’t take very much time at all although I spread it across a couple of days to be sure the mod podge was adequately dried. I added some chevron ribbon that came on a gift ($0) and since I couldn’t find the glue for my hot glue gun, I used my staple gun to attach it. The 5×7 print was approximately $0.78 Site to Store from Walmart so this entire project cost less than $5 (I used my Michael’s coupon as well as my teacher discount.). I then hung it on my bedroom wall. Love, love, love it!! Can’t wait to do it again with another print!

My three children and Cooper.

My three children and Cooper.

Our New Fur Baby

I had been thinking about getting another dog for awhile as I thought another furry friend would help keep our Buddy entertained and healthy. The thought of trying to train a new pup, though, was not that exciting and takes A LOT of work, which I usually get stuck with.  Since school was right around the corner, it would’ve been a nightmare to get a new pooch. Until my hubby got a Facebook message about a dog in foster care . . .

Copper/Cooper was an abandoned retriever mix that was in foster care through the Wichita Animal Action League. A Facebook message said that this fabulous dog had to have a new home found for him and I was amazed when Ken made it quite clear that he was very interested.

FB says: I need a forever home. My fosters have been awesome but I’m ready to settle in!  Remember my friend Copper? Well he is ready now ready for a loving home. Super sweet, good looking. He is now house trained and understands English (he only knew Spanish).

 This is the most awesome dog. Great house manners. A sweet and playful companion. Enjoys other canines. Cannot abide cats, however.

We went to meet him to see if it would work and we were amazed at how wonderful he is. Ken was smitten and took copious selfies with him.

Ken and Cooper the first night we met him.

Ken and Cooper the first night we met him.

He really made an impact on us and although we were dog-sitting my parents’ dog, Lillie, we took Buddy to meet him to be sure they would get along all right.  They did. Whew! We couldn’t wait to bring him home.
It’s been a week since Cooper has come home with us. He’s a joy to have although he’s an incredibly sloppy drinker and sheds an amazing amount of fur. He’s a fabulous addition to our family!
Buddy & Cooper on the deck.

Buddy & Cooper on the deck.

All smiles!

All smiles!

Worn out after a trip to the vet.

Worn out after a trip to the vet.

My fur babies weren't happy when I was heading out to work on Friday!

My fur babies weren’t happy when I was heading out to work on Friday!

Another selfie!

Another selfie!