Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cameron's video

Below is a link to a video I made of Cameron. It's my first experiment with iMovie. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swAwyyrHsvE

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

October

Below are some photos from recent fall activities. As I posted recently, our fall came late this year, but we are fully into the cold months now. We've had a dusting of snow three days this week.

Back when we were wearing T-shirts to paint pumpkins for Halloween.

A scenic photo of my evening exploring Phoenix after a day of training.

The boys on Halloween. This picture epitomizes the boys' experiences--Cameron was wide-eyed and a little unsure most of the time but loved the candy, and Carter loved every minute of it.

I also just figured out how to upload movies, so here's one from the Halloween with Horses event we went to recently.

video

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall

Fall seems to have come late this year. We were wearing shorts until about a week ago. Cool nights, warm days, the weather couldn't be more perfect. But I've known fall is just one frosty night away. I just returned from a business trip in Arizona on Friday, and I had to brace myself for the Colorado fall weather that I knew had arrived in my absence.

I usually love the changing of the seasons and everything that comes with each one, but for some reason, I wasn't quite ready this year. Maybe it's because summer days with kids that are old enough to somewhat entertain themselves really have become lazy again. Maybe it's because our summer didn't really start until June this year.

As my plane landed Friday night, I found myself wondering what I would even do this weekend with the kids if I didn't have the option of all day outside. A friend invited us Saturday morning to a craft fair and then to play in the park, and I was pleasantly surprised by the cool, refreshing, still enjoyable weather. But I still wasn't sold on fall.

I happened to have a bunch of ripe bananas, so while Cameron napped, Carter and I made banana bread. And then I had some fall leaf cookie cutters, so we made cut-out cookies. And then I was inspired to make a Thai chicken oven dish. And then I remembered fall.

Fall is the time I turn my internal speed from manic-paced to slightly slower. The early darkness gives me permission to stay inside and cook or work on projects, or on a rare occasion, just be. I actually enjoy time indoors and look forward to the warmth that cooking brings to our house. Our family spends more time closer together, rolling on the floor in tickle matches and snuggling on the couch.

On our first rainy morning last week, Carter looked outside and said, "Mom, I just love rainy days. They feel so snuggly. Today let's go for a rain walk, drink hot cocoa, and bake cookies." Apparently Carter remembered more quickly than me that we enjoy the change of seasons for a reason.

Right now I have homemade chai simmering, Moroccan meatballs sizzling, and naan rising. The kids are in the bath in preparation for family movie night. As I look out the kitchen windows, more trees than not are a golden yellow or orange. The cloudy sky behind them just makes the sun-kissed leaves that much more brilliant.

Fall is here, and I'm finally ready.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Gratitude

I have this amazing friend. We met in New Zealand ten years ago when we were studying abroad, lost touch, and then found each other again when she moved to Boulder, less than an hour from my house. Small world. She's one of those few people with whom I can be completely myself. I like who I am with her because I feel like I'm really me.

But here's the other great thing about her: we have these amazing conversations where I tell her stories about what's going on in my life, and she has this way of just looking at me that causes me to not only tell the story, but also my reflection on the story, things I didn't even know I thought. And as she somehow calls all of these deeper thoughts out of me about my relationships or past or whatever, I'll say something positive about someone else, and she'll ask, "Have you told her that?"

The answer is almost always "no" because I had never fully formed the thought until I took the time to really tell the story out loud to her and create my opinions as I spoke. And I walk away from our time together not only completely fulfilled and somehow unburdened by saying much of my "unspeakable" thoughts, but also with a new appreciation for what I have and had never stopped to recognize it.

Here's what I mean, for example. As I mentioned in my last post, I went to a wedding a few weeks ago, and Laura watched the kids. That's the story. But here's what Kim helped me realize...I have this amazing sister who has become this selfless, giving, loving, helpful person. After my family and I had driven 9 hours from NC to NJ, I had forgotten to go to the store for some important things I needed the next day. The last thing I wanted to do was drive around in a city I didn't know with a tired family looking for some pretty random stuff. Laura, without hesitating, offered to stop at the store and get what I needed. She then took care of the kids that night while we went to the rehearsal dinner, stayed at the hotel with us, and then watched the kids the next day while we went to the wedding.

But it's not like she just hung out at the hotel and watched TV with the kids while we were at the wedding. No. She had to check out of the hotel with 2 little kids in tow, drive our Suburban (no easy task for someone who doesn't usually drive) and entertain the kids "around town" while we were at the wedding. She eventually ended up sneaking into the hotel where the wedding was and took the kids to the pool to cool off because, oh yeah, it was 100 degrees outside. And she did it all with a smile.

Like anyone with a sibling close in age, growing up, Laura and I had our standard squabbles over whose turn it was to feed the dog, take out the trash, or clean up the toys. We labeled everything so no one was mistaken whose tube of lip gloss it might be. We were sure things we shared were split down to the molecule.

This was not the same sister I saw a few weeks ago. She just helped, and offered, and pitched in, and played with the kids, and gave and gave and gave. There was no splitting up of tasks or making sure we were doing the same amount of chores. She was just there to do what was needed and more. I had one of those moments where you've known someone your whole life, but all of a sudden, you see them in a different light and have a completely new appreciation for that person.

Thank you Laura. And thank you Kim for making me realize how lucky I am.

Laura and me, biking in Steamboat Springs


Laura with the boys, out on a pontoon boat

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Beauty with Age

This summer we've had lots of adventures, including a weeklong family camping/scouting trip, and week in Steamboat Springs with my parents and sister, and three weeks on the road to the east coast and back. But honestly, I don't enjoy writing recap posts (although I love reading others'!), so don't hope for one here. I get the most fulfillment writing about reflections on these journeys, rather than just retelling the events.

These thoughts came at my friend Evie's wedding where I got to see many friends and Evie's relatives that I haven't seen for many years. Apart from thoroughly enjoying my time with everyone, I came to really appreciate what age does to people. I know, not everyone ages gracefully, and there are parts of me that I know are worse off as the years have passed. BUT, by and large, the people I saw a few weeks ago all looked amazing. Not exactly the same, not like they hadn't lived since I'd last seen them, but it was astonishing to me just how great people looked.

Perhaps it's the way we hold ourselves as we age, with more confidence, less stress, more grace somehow. With very few exceptions, we seem to look more comfortable in our own skin and just care less about what others think. This radiates through and overshadows any wrinkles, age spots, sagging parts. This positive change becomes what is noticed, and despite what all the ads for skin creams and laser treatments would like us to believe, there is undoubtedly something that people gain for the better as they age.

Evie's mom, (I hope she doesn't mind my mentioning her), looked absolutely fabulous. She had a very flattering haircut, and she radiated confidence and pure joy for the day. But even if I had seen her on an occasion that hadn't been her daughter's wedding, I think her beauty would have still been as noticeable and remarkable.

I have found myself more willing to accept some of the less desireable changes that have occurred over the past few years and have tried to focus on the positive changes. I don't think all the compliments at the wedding were just lip service. I've tried to take them to heart and recognize how age can improve more than just wine.

(Somehow I messed up the html code and can't get back the picture I deleted of my friends and me. I'll try to add it to another post later.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Clubhouse

So, Cameron turned 2 a couple weeks ago. We (and Mark's parents who were visiting) thought rather than clutter up the house with more toys, we'd like some materials for a clubhouse. And so the project began...

























So far it's got a sandbox, a catwalk, a slide, and some windows. The roof is still to come, and there are future plans of climbing holds and a trap door.

























The boys love it, and it feels like the size of our yard has doubled.

We're all looking forward to summer and some warmer weather. Right now we're looking out the window and watching large snowflakes fall. It isn't really the middle of May, is it?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life Lists

So, it's been awhile. A long time from since the last post. My internal windvane has gone through wide vascillations and changeable puffs, but for the last month or so, it seems to have finally found a steady wind that points toward contentment, release, fulfillment.

One noteworthy event is my acceptance into graduate school. It's a program through Regis with a master's in professional leadership and a principal's license. I've always wanted to get my master's and the last couple years I've been clear about what I'd want to focus on, but it didn't quite seem to fit into life. Now Cameron is almost 2 years old (!) and we're all feeling a bit more like ourselves. The right program finally came along, so I jumped at it. It will definitely be a commitment on top of working full time and raising two kids, but I'm usually pretty good at finding balance. I'll truly have my skills tested over the next two years.


This weekend we also bought a new vehicle, more like a gigantic transporter that incomprehensibly falls into the category of "cars". Our Jeep has been dying a slow, painful death over the past couple years, and it finally failed an emissions test. It was somewhat of a relief for us because we now can unguiltily say goodbye and move on. Say hello to our new Suburban. Mark has always dreamed of such a car, and after surprisingly little debate (I tried not to have too much of an opinion), we found what we were looking for and brought it home yesterday.



We took it for its inaugural drive today up to go skiing with Carter. For his first time. I could barely contain myself. Ever since Carter was born I have dreamed of taking him skiing, but for one reason or another, we haven't made it up to the mountain. Today was finally the day. We rented Carter what he referred to as "crazy boots" (typically rigid ski boots) and skis, and headed up to a resort that had a magic carpet. He loved it and did awesome. The whole drive up he kept telling us he was a little nervous, but after two laps down the hill (more like a very small incline), he told me he could do it by himself, and that I needed to give him some space. He's beginning to get the "pizza pie" and we tried turning a few times. He finally tired out, but he's excited to go again, and that's all I wanted from the day...for him to want to go again.

Between Mark and me, we've been able to check of three things on our life lists--grad school, suburban, skiing with Carter. Not bad for only a couple months' time.


I've also included a picture of Cameron below just because I can't get enough of him. Everything he does makes my heart melt. And he's got an amazing sense of humor. He keeps Mark and me laughing.