Monday, July 30, 2012


The Olympics!  Swimming, gymnastics, cycling, diving. . .spare change!

Yes, my children are very interested in the 2012 games.  They love watching the sports on TV, each rooting for his or her own country.  We drew countries out of a hat (in full disclosure - out of my hand, because how many hats are really laying around?), and each child received a new home country.  We made a huge chart on the wall and each time their country gets a medal, they get a coin taped onto the chart.

The plan was that a gold medal would get a quarter, the silver a nickel, and the bronze a penny.  Until I got smart (luckily just before the games started) and realized the good ol' Olympic games would bankrupt me with five kids cheering for the top five medaling countries!  So - I downgraded the gold to a dime.  Pats on the back for mommy, all around.  Close call.

Each child is enjoying watching his or her country receive medals, and they are noticing just how rich they might be when it's all over (my middle son especially, who drew the US of A).  For my part, I'm enjoying the kids' interest in the games, no matter the reason.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Colorado, Part Two

We drive an awesome van.  Yep, we are the envy of our friends.  Not everyone has a fine, classy, 2005 Chevy Astro.

But we do.

Okay, okay.  So it's not the coolest van in carline.  But that has never bothered me.  While it would be awesome to drive a new suburban or Odyssey or 12 passenger van (I know, I'm weird), this van suits us well.  It's paid for, has plenty of room for all of us and our stuff, and it has that "lived in smell".  The new car smell is way overrated, in my opinion. 

So, on our trip to Colorado, we were dismayed to see it begin to overheat.  Parts of Colorado were experiencing the intense heat wave, and the van's radiator and two other parts (you don't think I actually remember which parts, do you?) had to be replaced.  

We were staying in a gorgeous home with breathtaking views at this point of our vacation.  Our plan was to just hunker down with our family and enjoy the home, the scenery and each other.

Did I mention this home was in the middle of nowhere?  We had to drive about 20 minutes from the main road to get to the house.  On dirt roads that wound up and down, left and right, with a couple of switchback turns thrown in.  It was a beautiful drive back to the house, but it wasn't a quick or easy one.  

For three of the days we were staying in this house, the van had to be driven into Colorado Springs, a four hour round trip, to be fixed.  My husband and his father were returning from the springs on the second day with four of the kids, after the van had been "fixed", only to have it overheat again on the side of the road, about a half hour from our house.  My mother-in-law had to shuttle everyone back and forth to the house, where my older daughter and I were anxiously waiting.  Twice, in the dark, she to drive her rental car to our van and pick up our family.  Twice, I stood at the door, watching for her return.  

Oh, it was scary!  First I had visions of her and the children, broken down on the side of the road, with no cell coverage and no one near to help her.  Then, as the time passed (slowly), I had visions of them teetering on the side of a steep hill in the dark.  I prayed and prayed for their safety and was so relieved to see the headlights in the driveway.  God was surely watching over all of them as they drove back to the house.  

The van has since been given a clean bill of health by our mechanic, so we have decided to keep her.  Aside from this "little" problem on vacation, she has served us well these last several years.  So - if you see us in our Chevy Astro, try not to be too jealous.  Not everyone can have such an uber cool van!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wedding reflections

This week marks the 16th anniversary of my marriage to my wonderful husband.  As I am wont to do every time one of my children has a birthday or we have an anniversary, I am remembering lots of details from our wedding week.  And in so doing I realized I must share this story.

The Friday a week before our wedding, my fiancé and I had a disagreement.  He was staying with his parents and I with mine, about 2 hours apart.  I think we patched things up that night, but it was still a bit bumpy as I recall.

The next morning my fiancé came to visit me as planned.  As he came up the walk of my parents' house, I realized he was carrying a bouquet of roses.  Certain he felt bad about our argument, I rushed out to meet him.  Though we were both sorry about our disagreement, the roses were a part of something bigger.

A gift countdown to our wedding.

As our wedding day grew closer, my dear fiancé followed those seven roses with a small gift each day, somehow tying in the number of days left.

The next day I received six chocolates.  On T-minus 5 days, he wrote out five meaningful Bible verses.  With four days to go, I received a T-shirt commemorating the Chicago Bulls' four championships (he was a diehard fan, and we always watched their games).  At three days till the wedding, he gave me three bags of chips (he knew me well, even then).

Sadly, the gift on Thursday (2 days before the wedding) has escaped both our memories.  Why, oh why, didn't I blog then?  Oh yeah.

The day before our wedding, I opened my last present.  One strand of pearls.  I admit being a bit choked up.  We didn't have much money and I was overwhelmed that he would buy something so extravagant.

The day of our wedding, July 13, 1996, I received the best gift of all, my husband.

Thank you, Lord, for these 16 years of marriage!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A glimpse of the future

The scene:  Camp, immediately after leaving my (happy, smiling and excited) 8 year old son for the first time.

My oldest son:  (walking ahead of me, without once looking at me)  "Mom.  Don't cry.  You're only leaving him for three days.  It's not like you're taking him to college!"

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Colorado, Part I

We returned home late last night from a near-three-week trip to Colorado.  We spent a week and a half with my husband's parents in two houses in different parts of Colorado.  Then we were off to the YMCA of the Rockies to spend a week there while my husband took a class in the mornings.  We finished off the journey with some friends at their home in Nebraska. I'll try to highlight a few parts over my next several blog posts, the first being:  


Sounds benign, yes? 


We embarked on an 18 mile round trip between Breckenridge and Frisco.  Already, does it sound like a bit much to bite off for a family of seven mostly non-bike riders?  Yes, yes it was.

This was the sitch:  Our three oldest would ride alone, my husband would pull little K in a trailer carrier, and I was to have a tag along bike with our 5 year old.  Our adorable, white-haired, non-pedaling, 45 pound child.

Off we went, on the paved bike path, adjacent to the road.  I quickly realized the tag along bike was loose but a wonderful good Samaritan tightened it for me.  (My son wanted to give him a reward - in the amount of fifty cents).  Once that was fixed, it was smooth sailing.

Until the road got a little, then a lot, hilly.  It veered right away from the road to hide all those beastly hills from unsuspecting folk like us.  It would have been exceedingly difficult in the Midwest, but remember, dear reader, we are at 9,000 feet.  If you haven't been that high, I encourage you to try it.  You might find that walking up a flight of stairs has you panting slightly.

These hills were a tad more than a flight of stairs.

Finally we made it to Frisco.  We regrouped for a bit, then headed back.  We had a couple of hours to return to Breckenridge and turn the bikes back in.  Soon, my non-pedaling son and I were way behind. I began to look at my watch, fearful we would not make it back before the store closed, causing us to rent the bike for another full day, somewhere in the amount of $100.  I pushed on as fast as I could, feeling with each mile that I might soon die, or at least vomit.  After awhile, I didn't care if the bike got back on time, I was just praying, "Let me live, Lord!"  Okay, I was perhaps a bit dramatic, even to myself.  

After what seemed an eternity, I saw a beautiful sight.  My husband, in the van, was doubling back the remainder of the ride to save us.  He traded my son and me the cool of the van for the bike.  He raced off, making it to the outfitter with ten minutes to spare.  

We spent the rest of the vacation gloriously bike-free.