Monday, August 5, 2013

Final Day in Colorado: Vacation Nears the End 2013

We enjoyed every moment of our Keystone Vacation and took our final day in the mountains as an opportunity to do a few more things, but also to just soak up the moments of rest and family time.  We knew too well that once we returned home the "real" world and all it's demands would be upon us.

Since our previous trip to Chipmunk Mountain had not been too successful in finding our furry friends, we returned with provisions and a plan to stick it out until all our seeds and nuts had been taken.  We took a Gondola up the mountain in Keystone and wandered about during Friday Afternoon Fun Time.  There were ropes courses, horseshoes and epic views to take in from all directions.

To close out our evening there was a dip in the pool and jacuzzi!

For the second year in a row our family vacation to Keystone Colorado was the highlight of our summer!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dipping our feet in the Snake River: Lesson Learned that the Internet Lies

I'm the Vacation Researcher in our family.  You know the one who researches where we should go, where to stay and fun places/things to do while we are on the way to the destination and once we are there.  I normally put together a folder filled with brochures from the Tourist Department and maps on how to get to places; I think I might have even done this for our honeymoon to San Fransisco twenty years ago!  Now with Internet searches and travel blogs, I have a plethora of materials and information for our trips.

However ladies and gentleman, this year I learned that the Internet lies. Really.  I was looking for some quick day trips from Keystone and saw a few messages about a "Mining Ghost Town" not too far up the road from our Condo.  According to the information I read, Montezuma Colorado is a town that once was a booming mining community, but now is nearly deserted except for a school house, gift shop and a great walking tour.

Let's just say it was nothing like what I expected.  In fact, it's almost comical to think about the difference between the image I had in my head and the reality.  One room schoolhouse vs. shabby falling apart homes with cars on blocks and stray cats roaming the streets.  No Kidding.  We never got out of the car.  You know my three rules: no cats, bats or rats.  Well let's just say that I have the feeling had we exited the car we would have encountered all of the above.

To rectify the situation, we decided to have our picnic near the Snake River and dip our feet in the crisp clear water.  We walked on rocks, skipped rocks and just had an old fashioned day down by the river.  Better than any Ghost Town could have been.

While this day might not have been what I imagined; it really turned out to be a perfect Vacation Day; relaxing and surrounded by beautiful sights and our family was all together.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Climb Every Mountain: Meet You At the Peak of Loveland Pass Come Rain or Shine

After our visit last year to Loveland Pass, we decided that we'd come back better prepared for the climb and the elements.  As you can see we had jackets, water bottles, Paul had his walking stick and I was carrying my camera around my neck; so you know we looked like real mountain climbers.  If mountain climbers look like Suburban parents and kids!

Who knew of course that once we got to parking lot the rain clouds would begin to arrive.  Guess we couldn't really complain because our weather thus far in the week had been spectacular and in the mountains you expect daily storms that pass quickly.  Our only concern is that you really don't want to be at the top of the mountain in a storm wishing you were at the bottom!

Mr C who was on a mission to take us all to the "top of the Mountain" was sure that the storm was not going to drop any rain and we should just forge ahead.  He might have said something about "checking the phone's radar" and realizing we had a mutiny on our hands if we didn't forge ahead, we made the journey up the mountain.  It really was a nice walk, the temps were perfect the sky was filled with clouds that were literally laying on top of the mountains.

When we reached the Summit we were able to see the Keystone Ski Slopes, the Eisenhower Tunnel and Gods' beautiful creation on every side of us.  A great Mountain Top Experience.

Of course ,we still had to climb down the mountain.  As we ventured out, Miss M tripped on a rock and cut open her leg and the clouds that had seemed so kind decided to open up and drop cold rain.  As we slowly walked  (careful not to slip on the now wet rocks and dirt), the rain felt like freezing pellets coming right at your face.  I never was so happy to have a hood on my jacket!

All in all though it was wonderful Climb up the Mountain and one we will probably never forget because of the "bad weather" experience.  Plus, now I think we have no choice but to return next year and try again on our quest to Climb Every Mountain.  We realized there is an even better view from the mountain peak on the other side of the mountain.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Copper Mountain: Soaring High in the Sky, Racing Around the Track and Putting it in the Cup

Spending the day at Copper Mountain is one of the highlights of our trip to Colorado.  It is a chance to try out a few adventure sports that we might not try anywhere else.  In fact, until this day, I never would have considered Miss M to be a Zip Line Enthusiasts, but now I know better.  Mr C who I consider to be a very cautious and safe driver can really rev up an engine and gun it in a go even if his little sister is sitting beside him.  Even P couldn't catch up to these daredevils.

Miss A led the way again on the Bungee Trampoline and she was thrilled when her big brother even attempted somersaults.  Who knew a six foot two boy could actually be a gymnast.  Since it was our second time to Copper, we finally got smart and brought a change of clothes so that after the bumper boats soaking everyone could change out of the wet stuff.  Smart Mother.

The Diggler again was a popular riding toy and Miss A is still trying to figure out how we can sneak one into our car next year.  She thinks it would be the perfect bike for the neighborhood and is convinced that she'd be the talk of the school if she had one.  Ever the practical one, I realize that the huge hill we live on would make this toy more of a challenge than it's worth.  Plus, having one to visit in Copper is just another reason to go on a Colorado Vacation each summer.

My favorite part of the day: walking at the top of the mountain with the girls while the boys were rock climbing and golfing.  I loved sitting on the Chair Lift and looking around, but I will admit I love Chair Lifts much more when there is snow beneath them.  Something about the rocky ground below makes me a little nervous.  However, I will admit riding the Chair Lift down the Mountain and seeing the whole town of Copper below is breathtaking.  Well worth the ride.

Next year, we have plans to actually walk down the mountain, but this year we scrapped those plans when it looked a little like rain and we it was nearing the time the Chair was going to close down and we didn't want to start on the journey, get soaked, and then realize we couldn't go back down on the Lift.

The best way to show you how much fun we had is with pictures: so beware it's photo overload today!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Canoeing Lake Dillon: Lessons in Teamwork

We came prepared this year for our canoe trip on Lake Dillon.  We had water shoes, shorts that would repel water, waterproof bags for our phone and keys, snacks and water bottles, and a plan for who would travel together. We even decided to rent the canoes for a longer time so that we could explore the "islands" a little bit more and not be stressed about getting back to the boathouse before our time was up

At least we started out with a plan on traveling companions, but the kids quickly vetoed the idea of P and I in our own canoe with the three of them in the other.  Guess they figured out that we could easily ditch them and have our own adventure.

Why do we have such smart kids?

Leaving shore the canoes were:  P and M vs C, A and Me.  How is that I ended up with Captain C again you ask? I don't know. This year, I gave him strict instructions that I was the Captain of the boat and would tell him when to paddle as last year's fiasco of me doing all the work was still fresh in my mind!  Miss A again was our first mate and enjoyed her seat in the middle with no work involved.  Let's just say after our "three hour tour" I'm even more certain that next year there will be three boats involved.  Canoe One will be Mr C and Miss A; Boat Two will be Miss M and Dad and I'll be all by myself in a Kayak.  That way I can be in charge for real!  At one point, we did a partner switch and tried "girls vs boys."  The problem was that the boys kept beating us and rubbing it in!

You know what they say, "If the Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

In reality, we had a beautiful morning on the water.  We got to explore the islands, dip our toes in the Lake and take in the beautiful scenery on every side of us.  There really is nothing better than a mountain/lake view from every direction.  Amazing.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Breckenridge: Mountain Town Where We Try Our Hands at Panning Gold

Last year, we were unsuccessful in paying for our vacation with Gold Nuggets, but that doesn't mean we weren't willing to try again.  Let's be honest; my husband is rather cheap so if he thinks there is even a slim chance that our vacation could be free thanks to a little gold panning he's willing to give it a shot.

For this year's expedition, we tried the "official" Breckenridge Historical Society's site and not some tourist site.  As an added bonus, the cost was 1/3 the cost of last years trek into the creek.  If for no other reason than the Mountain Man who ran the Lormax Placier Gulch welcomed us into the Prospectors Cabin with the phrase "Dude" I felt that maybe we might stand a chance of actually going home with golden nuggets.

Not only did we get to tour an official prospectors set up and see firsthand the tools of the trade of gold mining the mountain streams, the Mountain Man took us to his favorite spot and showed us the tricks of the trade.  We learned to dig out the creek bed and go beneath the surface; there was swooshing and moving of water and silt in the pan and of course we felt that unlike the crowded spot we tried the previous year that this year we were in a pristine environment for finding that hidden gem; the allusive golden nugget.

Mr P and Mr C were intense; they were on a mission to find something, anything that would put them on the map as official gold diggers.  Miss A announced early on that she wasn't holding out much hope and that more than anything she was a little concerned that the clouds looked like rain.  ( I tried not to envision Pooh and holding an umbrella and marching about saying,  "Tut Tut it looks like Rain!")  Miss M wasn't easily swayed from her task either.  If anyone looked legit in showing us how to find wealth in rocks, it was our guide.

Alas it was not our day.  We did however get a great history lesson in how the Blue River in Breckenridge was the site of some amazing mining during the 1880's and how the miners used water under high pressure , scoured the hillside and collected the dirt and sediment to recover gold deposits.  All of this using hydraulic power they created in the 1860s.  Amazing.

While we might have let the Mine empty handed we did learn a lot and had a chance to get our hands into the soil and water.

To finish our trip to Breckenridge, we took a Gondola Ride up to the Base of Peak 8 and had a picnic lunch and watched the crowds.  It is amazing how many people there are in such a small amount of space.  Makes us really appreciate our stay in Keystone.  The girls found a patch of Snow/Ice not too far up the mountain and we decided to trek up there and get a picture of this wonder of winter in the middle of July.

The most humorous part was that the kids had no trouble climbing up the hill of snow, but Miss M did a 'bottom slide" a fur piece down the mountain.  Much to her siblings delight.  Thankfully, she saw the humor as well.  Then since we were already "dirty" we took a trek around Swan Mountain Road to feed the chipmunks.

Another great day in the Rockies...but then aren't they all!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Worship and Play in the Mountains: Can It Get Any Better

I'll admit that our family is a little bit creature of habit/ traditionalists/routine lovers.  You see even when we are on vacation, we tend to like to do the same sort of things we've done before.  If we loved a place before, we tend to return and do pretty much the same thing.  For our second summer in the Mountains, we kept to form while still trying to venture and try new things.

Sunday morning, we were thrilled to again worship as a family at the Frisco Bible Church.   The message is always a winner and the view outside makes you abundantly aware of God's Majesty.  Fun to Worship God surrounded by the Beauty of the Mountains.  Then to keep the tradition going we went out for lunch at the Butterhorn Cafe.  Thankfully, this year we got a seat inside, but as it goes it rained again!

Our stroll around the shops resulted in Mr P getting his own walking stick made out of Colorado pine. Amazing craftsmanship and beauty in that little stick plus I told him it's a way to prepare for old age when he'll actually need a cane to keep up with his younger wife.  

The rest of the afternoon involved walking around Keystone, playing miniature golf and hanging around the Condo.  A perfect recipe for a relaxing day.  There were even card games happening that evening in the condo.  Can't explain how perfect these laid back days are for this weary family.  I don't even recall any fights among the kids; and lets be honest that doesn't happen at home! 

Day 1 in the Mountains; Can't get better than this!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Road Trip: Our Family Vacation Begins

Our family vacation begins with only four members;  Mr C has been in Colorado for the past week at Church Camp and after an evening with friends in Denver, we plan to pick him up in Denver bright and early Saturday morning.  As we begin our road trip to Colorado, I'm not sure if P is more excited about leaving work behind for a week or having Mr C back in the family to balance all the females he has had to deal with for the past week!

Now, I'll be honest and say that Road trips with my family are pretty easy; there is a built in DVD player, we have snacks, art supplies and Ipods at the ready for the kids and we make pretty regular stops to stretch our legs and relieve our bladders.  (According to my husband, he travels much quicker alone) I, of course, enjoy the time to just talk to P while he drives and I do everything from knit, read and plan my calendar for the fall. We've come to the agreement that in the car my husband likes to drive and I like to do everything else.

For this first part of our journey, we'd packed a picnic lunch and made plans to add a little history to our lunch break by visiting a site on the Pony Express Trail.  I thought it was pretty fascinating; the girls not so much.  Guess the fact that they barely use the regular mail today makes them think that horse delivered mail is very slow and boring. 

By far, our favorite part of the first days journey was our arrival at our friends/relatives house in Denver for the night.  We've nicknamed these friends as our Colorado Family/ Cousins even though the family is really old neighbors and kids I babysat long ago.   Now that they have all grown up, I consider them even more like family!   The best part of this visit is that we got to meet the newest member of the family; a sweet baby girl who shares her birthday with Miss M meaning they are even more like family.

It was a wonderful night of catching up and soaking up time together in wonderful hospitality.  I'm so glad that my kids have younger "cousins" that they can play with and spoil with affection.  Mr C was especially glad that this year his bus arrived on time and that Saturday morning he got to join us for a lunch date with the gang.  Bonus.

Before we knew, it was time to make the trek up the mountain to Keystone with five members of the family and a trunk now filled with smelly camping gear/clothes to kickoff our week in Mountains.

Summer Vacation here we come!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Girl Scout Overnight at the Zoo: Miss A Has an Admirer

We slept with the Sharks and the Penguins and the Octopus and lived to tell about it; I think the fact they stayed in the tanks helped!

Our Girl Scout troop has talked all year about our big plan to spend the night at the Zoo.  It was the incentive to sell cookies, limit our number of field trips during the year and I think the reason some girls stuck out the first year of Brownies.  We have a great Zoo and often we take for granted the chance to see the animals, but getting the chance to have a night tour, sleep in the Aquarium and learn more about the inner workings of the Zoo is hard to pass up.

Miss A was thrilled to think that we'd be sleeping with the animals.  I, of course, was most happy that once again I'd convinced a troop of girl scouts that "sleeping inside with air conditioning and flushing toilets" is still camping.  In July those this are non negotiable in my book.  My favorite part of the sleeping part was that Miss A still wanted to have her sleeping bag next to mine.  I'm wise enough to know that those days are fleeting.  We choose a quiet corner by the Penguins and, after a night hike and a movie, I was ready for some sleep.  Thankfully, the fish like to sleep at night too.  They just get up a lot earlier than I would like, but then so do a bunch of 2nd grade girls.

My favorite part of the Zoo Overnight was our morning hike before breakfast.  We got to see some of the animals before they were really awake and ready for viewing.  It was amazing.  I'm really glad though that we didn't have to see the Bats sleeping!  A close second in favorites is probably all the hand holding that happens when you get a bunch of young girls together. You tell them to "find a buddy" and they take the job seriously.  I love seeing how girls through the ages stay the same; I can remember my Girl Scout field trips and holding hands with my friends.

I'll admit that I learned a lot about the Zoo and Animals on this field trip.   I'm not really what you would call and animal person and hearing our tour guide explain the animals more in depth and hear about the unique ways they were created to live in their native environments was amazing.  I loved how their diets are so catered to the areas of the world they live and how even the color of their skin and fur are natural protections for them from predators.  All of this makes me more in awe of how amazing our God;as only God can make so many different species and creatures.

Miss A's favorite part of the tour was our visit to the Gorilla Valley where she made a great friend; a Gorilla! This amazing Gorilla spotted Miss A sitting by a window and came right up to her and tried to talk and touch her; it was absolutely beautiful and amazing.  Of course, I'm glad the glass separated them; but it was like they were meant to be friends.  Miss A was smiling from ear to ear and so was her new friend.

Spending the night at the Zoo with the Girl Scouts and Mom Volunteers was great; getting to do this with my favorite youngest daughter was the best part.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

These are the busy years.... 

That's why the Calendar says December and  the Blog is still in July. Life got away from me. I was too busy with kids, house, husband  and life to sit down and write down all the things, places and events that have taken place in the last six months.  How did it happen?  

I'd thought the baby and toddler years were busy (they were) but these teen and tween years are crazy busy too. 
The physical demanding days of young motherhood have been transformed into the mind and energy demanding days of having three kids who each have demanding schedules, homework and events to get to.  Some days it's nine o'clock and I'm just wiped out. Spent.  

Thus, the blog has been silent while my life has been loud and crazy.  My goal over the next few weeks is in the quiet of the afternoon when the house is empty and the fireplace is roaring and Hallmark Christmas Movies are playing I'll sit down and catch this blog up on the last few months.  If I don't I'll never remember what all the 1000 plus photos I've taken are all about and I can pretty much forget ever getting my scrapbooks caught up.

Really I want to catch up on all these days because more and more I'm realizing that these days of the crazy busy life are fleeting.  Very soon these kids will be off on their own and P and I will be left just with the memories. I'll want to be able to log onto this blog and remember.  Then I'll go sit on the back porch with P and enjoy a glass of wine and we'll laugh about all those funny things the "kids" used to do!  

Slow down time...I'm enjoying the ride too much to wish it away.  That's what this Erma Bombeck Column reminds me so eloquently.  

 Erma Bombeck Column:

A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome -- that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now, I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"


One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!"

And they will.

Or, "You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do ... and don't slam the door!"

And they won't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy -- bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way."

And it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company."

And you'll eat it alone.

You'll say: "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti.

No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms.

No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps.

No more clothespins under the sofa.

No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent.

No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathrooms.

No more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, or rubber bands for ponytails.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings.

No car pools.

No blaring radios.

No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night.

Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste.

No more sloppy oatmeal kisses.

No more tooth fairy.

No giggles in the dark.

No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?"

and the silence echoing, "I did."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Moo: Cow Appreciation Day

We are a fun family!  I'm just putting that out there to clear up any confusion.  Seriously fun.  When I saw on Facebook and Twitter that if you dress like a cow you get free chicken sandwiches, I was all over the idea.  Sadly, I didn't see the notice until the night before; not enough time to create and elaborate costume (that's happening next year!), but I think our "Cows" looked pretty darn cute.

Thankfully, Chic Fil A had free Cow Spots, Noses and Ears on their website and my crafty girls were able to find black and white clothes so that we could go as both a Angus and a Holstein.  Hey, we don't live in the middle of Cattle Country for nothing; we know our cows.

Well, that's a lie!  I have no idea what color different cows are.  I just know how to google images.  However, I think the contrast of the black and white cow made the adorable factor even greater.

My husband came up with the Rubber Band Ear Flaps and the Straw Noses; God love that man he does have some creative juices flowing.  P and I even wore the ears and noses (we like free food too!), but have decided next year we are going to go all the way and wear costumes.  Maybe we'll start making them for Halloween Costumes and then just be ready!

Cow Appreciation Day is not one of our Bucket List items for next Summer and I'm sure we'll have even more fun then.  Who knows maybe we can get Mr C to participate next time too; this year he had a Youth Group party to attend so we gave him a pass.  Chick Fil A, you might not be right in our neighborhood (which is still our hope), but our family for one is happy that you've finally made it our "neck of the woods."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our Visit to a Girl Named Sue

We are slowly working our way through our Summer Bucket list.  Since this summer is flying by, its a necessity to try to fit in a few of the items each week.  Knowing full well that Mr C would not want to do all of the activities, we had a few things that we knew would be just a mom and girl event.  A visit to the Train Museum and their traveling T Rex Exhibit: A Girl Named Sue was just such an event.  With Mr C off to a Junior Golf event, we spent the morning at the Museum.

Now I realize that my girls can be a little bit of creatures of habit, but I was surprised that both girls insisted we not just "swoop in and see the dinosaur."  We had to go around the museum to each of their favorite places and experience them too.  We couldn't skip the Train walk through or the Streetcar that reminds us Grammy or the statues that talk.  Heaven Forbid!  Thankfully on a hot summer day, I'm willing to stay inside and walk around and knowing that the girls were creating memories and using their imaginations and minds; even better.

"Miss Sue" was in someways just another stop on the journey.  Amazing, huge and quite a sight, but when we read some of the exhibits facts and overheard a documentary about digging up this creature from "Millions of years ago," it can be a little disheartening to think that so much of science tries to discredit the Creator.  I was thankful, however, that both girls have a firm grasp of how this world really came to be and that both realize that Scientific Dating and Science don't have to be in conflict with Faith and Belief.

Of course, our trip to the Train Museum wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Candy Shop which is the home of the best candy in the world, Chuckles.  The girls got candy too but they had to wait to indulge until after lunch that day!  No day out with the girls can end without a trip out for lunch and since we had to pick up Mr C at the golf course anyway, we decided the Chic Fil A was a must.

Bucket list item checked off!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Off the Needles: Second Graduation Blanket Finished!

My one and only nephew graduated from High School in May and, while it had been my intention to give him a blanket as a gift at the party, at least I delivered it before he actually left for college.  The reason I was two months late in finishing can be blamed on the fact that I wanted to make it as "long" as possible and since it was color blocked, I had to add another block of both colors to make it look right.  Excuses, excuses!

The Blanket is from a free pattern I found on Knitting Daily.  I expanded the pattern to make it a bit wider and used the yarn recommended at my favorite knitting shop.  I loved the feel of the yarn while knitting and think it made for a very cozy and snuggle ready blanket.  The pattern is fun and textural without having a lot of complicated stitches.

I love the combination of Black and Gold and think the pattern really shows up great in these colors.  In addition, they were the colors of my nephew's High School and College's team colors as well.  Perfect.

My next project is a Baby Blanket for a sweet little girl meaning the colors are completely different and the size is much smaller.  I think my favorite knitting is blankets these days.  It is not too complicated, is easy to transport and knit on the go, and is fun to think that someday these blankets might make bring back memories of the love that went into every stitch from their Aunt.

Graphic Afghan pattern can be found here:
I used Berroco Comfort Chunk- Bulky Weight Yarn. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Day at the USGA Senior Open

Mr C has two big loves in life: golf and great food.  Really.  Give this young man a chance to play golf and he will give up almost anything else.  Offer him a dinner/lunch out at a restaurant he deems exotic or prepare a meal that is fancy and he will come running.  Knowing this about him, it was hard to imagine that a USGA event would be in our area and he would miss out on going.  When Mr C's golf coach offered up some tickets for the practice rounds and my husband had ticket for Thursday, I knew we'd be moving heaven and earth to go to the tournament.

On Monday, Mr C and Miss A and I braved the extreme heat (95 plus) to watch the practice round and catch a glimpse of some of the Old Guard of the PGA in action.  Guys like Tom Kite, Tom Watson, Fred Couples and Fred Funk; the people I remember watching with my Dad on Sunday afternoons.  In fact, I might have had a middle school crush on Tom Watson!

Walking the hills of the Country Club and watching these golfers gave Miss A an itch to pick up some clubs just like her big brother that she idolizes so much.  Seeing them walk hand in hand between the holes caused a little lump in my throat thinking about the fact that in another year this young man will be off to college. Having days like this when we can spend time doing something Mr C loves so much is even more precious.

Miss A and I had fun too watching the people.  On a hot day, its amazing what people will wear to a golf tournament and how much $7 Lemonade they will consume to keep cool.  Within minutes of arriving at the course, Mr C realized that his Green Golf Shirt choice was not the best as it was also the color of the Marshall's for the tournament.  I bet five or six people came up to him asking questions and directions!  Good sport that he is he helped them out as best he could.

Mr C was thrilled when we ran into his Golf Coach and they were able to "talk the talk" while watching; guess he didn't like Miss A and my comments on the Golfers shirts, cute caddies and bad putts.  

A day at a PGA event would not be complete however without a little fun at the Stemzone Tent where Mr C was able to act like a Golf Channel announcer and Miss A played the role of the Sound Guy.  Miss A learned a little bit about the science of golf technology and what a Stem Meter is while Mr C was practicing his swing in the simulator.  

Spending the day at the US Senior Open was one of the highlights of my summer because not only did I get to see PGA superstars up close, I got to experience it all with two of my favorite people in the world.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July: New Traditions with Old Friends,

I love being an American.  Freedom. I'm proud of my country and the people who gave so much to make it possible for me to enjoy that freedom.   I get misty eyed at the Pledge of Allegiance.  Don't even get me started when we sing all the verses of God Bless America; a little emotional doesn't describe it.  In many ways, celebrating the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.

This year was a little bit different, but it was good.  Great really.  Relaxing and Refreshing.  It was exactly what a summer day should be.  After a lazy morning at home decorating a Flag Cake with strawberries and blueberries, we spent the afternoon at the Pool where they had bounce houses and games for the kids.  We enjoyed a beautiful evening on the deck with good friends eating awesome food, watching our children run around lighting off fireworks, laughing, and enjoying life.  Could there be anything better?

In my day to day life, I often get too busy to stop and be grateful or to ponder all the blessings I have.  On a day like this when I get to sit and watch my children soak up summer, I realize just how abundantly blessed I am.  Sitting outside watching the sky light up with fireworks and glimmer like gold and silver, I am amazed at the beauty all around me.

God Bless America.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Learning New Skills: Roller Blades

Miss A was given a pair of hand me down Roller Blades and decided that day she would learn to use them.  No time like the present I guess is her philosophy.  Since roller skating comes pretty easy to her, I knew she could master the concept pretty easily.  The only problem is that our house in on a hill, and our driveway is very steep hill.  Yikes.

The process of getting ready to tackle this new challenge, however, was not one Miss A could do on her own.  There were elbow and knee pads, wrist pads and a helmet to put on and, of course, the skates to be put on.  Thankfully, she had willing helpers in her siblings who were able to help her get ready.

Not one to accept defeat easily however, Miss A convinced her sister to help her navigate the hills and at times hung on to her with all her might.  Sisterly love.  I got a kick out of watching Miss M and Miss A go up and down the street with one sister on skates the other walking beside offering encouragement and a welcome hand at times.

At one point, Miss A was ready to give up, but with her sister's cheering continued on for a bit longer.

I'm thinking there are a lot of life lessons that this snapshot of Roller Blades could teach me:  perseverance, support of those we love, sharing the burden and finally asking for help when it comes to putting on the "gear needed" to accomplish a task. Those are exactly the kind of skills I desire for my children to have when the go out in the world; how fun that my 9 and 13 year old are learning that while on Roller Blades.  Perfect.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day at an Amusement Park: Yes the Mother Got on a Ride.

Our day trip to an Amusement Park a few hours away is becoming a Summer Tradition and one of our kids' favorite things to cross off the Summer Bucket List.  Sadly, Mr C was unable to find a friend to join him for the day.  The joy of teenage jobs and summer conditioning for sports means there are less and less people who can skip town for the day and just have fun.  Guess Mr C should be grateful his summer job is umpiring and by the end of June he is unemployed.  At least that the message we told him when all his friends were busy.

This year, weather was perfect.  It was not too hot and not a drop of rain.  Of course, some of our group was disappointed that no rain meant no dancing in the puddles, but it was nice not to have soaked clothes and towels.  Our Cabana was located right outside the Wave Pool (or as Mr C calls it "heaven on earth") and we spent most of our time in the water.  Miss A was much more adventuresome on the water slides this year and with two teenagers hovering over her, the mother got to just sit in the water and relax.  I knew one day this could be my life!

We did venture out to do a few rides after lunch and, while my disdain for rides was well documented, the peer pressure put on me to ride one of the rides was a little overwhelming.  I guess the Water Log Ride is not considered "daring" enough.  I even tried to say that my job for the day was to watch the stuff since the stroller and totes needed some protection and I viewed it as my duty to be there for these items.  However after much arm twisting, I finally gave in and went on a "death ride" which seemed to include all of my least favorite things:  fast movements, twisting, going upside down, and having no control over the outcome.

I am surprised I survived.  The fact that I'm still talking to my children and my friends means that I fully understand the meaning of Grace.  They certainly did not deserve my forgiveness for forcing me onto this death trap, but I offered them mine.  Let's just say that next year I am going to be much firmer in my arguments that I can not under any circumstance ride a ride.  Maybe I can even forge a Doctor's Note

All in all, our day at the Amusement Park was fabulous and a perfect mix of fun and friends.  Plus to keep our Food loving son happy, we were able to make a pit stop at our favorite BBQ joint and Mr C was able to "devour" a brisket sandwich that tasted like heaven!

A perfect day!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Boy Versus Team of Girls.....

Mr C has not played on a baseball team since eighth grade.  He turned in his batting helmet and glove for a umpire's mask and shield.  In many ways, he's at the ball fields now more than ever before, but the only games of ball he plays anymore are with little white balls and golf clubs.

Last week, Mr C was scheduled to umpire a Pony League Girls Softball game doubleheader.  He normally does boys baseball, but the teams involved were his age.  Also, since it was inter league play, the Umpire Director wanted someone with great skills and presence on the field.  Since the games were being played on the field next to Miss A's final softball game, both P and I were excited to see Mr C in action.  When we arrived at the field for A's game, we realized that only one team was on the field where C was umpiring.  Guess the away team decided to forfeit the game, but hadn't told anyone in time to call of the game and the home team all showed up ready to play.

Mr C volunteered to umpire a Scrimmage for the girls to give them a chance to "play."  Since he was being paid anyway, he felt is was the honorable thing to do.  You have to appreciate the young man's integrity.  What he didn't expect was that before the game was over, their pitcher asked Mr C if he'd like to take a few swings at the bat.  Of course.  Even if he was wearing his umpire clothing and it was  a "girl pitcher," he figured why not.

Mr C got a hit and made it all the way to home base without getting tagged so I'd say it was a successful "at bat!"  So glad we were sitting near by and caught a glimpse of this handsome young man rounding the bases!

Pie in the Face? Yes, Please...On Celebrating Big.

This year, we decided to celebrate Independence Day with gusto; go to fireworks shows, light up a few of our own firecrackers, and swim and play with friends.  Nothing says American Spirit more than sitting in a crowd of people watching the sky light up.  Being able to do this while listening to Amazing Grace by Chis Tomlin, God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood and America the Beautiful is absolutely breathtaking.

We went to a near by Church's big American Celebration and were awe struck by the fireworks and sense of wonder and worship.  There really is nothing like worshipping God in a big crowd of neighbors and strangers and realize how blessed you are to live in this country.  Makes you think this might be what it's like in heaven!  Amazing.

During the hours leading up to the fireworks spectacular, there were bounce houses to conquer, turkey legs to eat, and not to be the Pie Eating Contest.  Both girls were willing participants and while they gave gallant efforts I kid you not when I say they lost by a mile.  There are some fast face stuffers out there!  Miss A said the she barely could taste the chocolate pie as she face planted in the plate and Miss M said that she thinks she got in three really good bites when they called out a winner.  Maybe the fact that their faces got more pie than their mouths can explain the loss.

All American fun and we were just getting started on the week long celebration! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

College World Series aka Head Basketball Coach Sighting

The College World Series have been in my hometown of Omaha for over fifty years and for my entire life my parents have had season's tickets.  You might say that I grew up in the seats of Rosenblatt Stadium and spent many weeks of my childhood watching and cheering for College Baseball Teams.  When I married my husband, I knew that his favorite Longhorns were frequent visitors to the CWS and while he says that the tickets were not a reason for marriage, I often wonder.
For the past two years, we've made the trip to TD Ameritrade for College World Series in it's new "house."  Some years I go to a game, others I offer up my seats to the kids.  Don't think me generous; I realize that a day at the ballpark for the kids and husband means a day off for the mother.  Hello Hallmark Channel Movies and peaceful time to knit.  On Father's Day, my husband and kids had a chance to go to an afternoon at the Ballpark...I encouraged them to have some father/child bonding.  I'm no fool.

The CWS opening weekend is a real experience; there are people everywhere and the Fan Experience is amazing with free give aways, baseballs to throw , and tons of interesting "people" to watch!

At that first game of the series that the kids got to watch, my husband nicknamed this years College World Series the "Year of the Basketball Coach."  Our seats were right near those of Coach Roy Williams of North Carolina. Coach Williams used to be the coach of the Big 12's basketball stars, Kansas, and thus this Texas boy recognized him right away.  Of course, the long line for photos with the coach might have had something to do with it too.

At the Monday Night game, P was joking with some Indiana fans that they were sitting in the same seat that Roy Williams had been in the day before when they told him that their own Basketball Coach was just a few rows ahead.  I think my husband almost couldn't believe it.  To up the ante, he bribed Miss A to go get her photo taken with Coach Tom Crean.  She balked at first, but finally subsumed to pressure when the offer included a large soda and a big pretzel with cheese.  Gotta love a girl with a strong will.

This is however where the basketball coach trend ends..... the rest of the series was just good old fashioned College Baseball.  Guess you can't expect every head BB coach to be sitting  in the stands, it is after all their off season.  Thankfully, there was stll a lot of CWS fun ahead and while the team we were rooting for throughout the series, Mississippi State, did not come out the final champion we had tons of fun watching them try!

The College World Series..the greatest show on dirt!