B is for Bit-by-Bit

(Yes, I know that isn’t a cool vocabulary word, but I did say I would do it only when I could. ;-))

bit
noun
1. a small piece or quantity of anything: a bit of string.
2. a short time: Wait a bit.
idioms: bit-by-bit – by degrees; gradually.

I am finding more and more lately that the only way I can get significant projects done is if I do them bit-by-bit. Gone are the days when I could carve out 6-8 hours in a single day to complete one major design, editing, or writing job. No, no, no. That luxury is far gone, perhaps to be repeated in the future–just not the near future.

Therefore, I find myself having to do a little at a time each day. That is not so much the problem, as I can find an hour or two here and there to get things accomplished. The problem lies in being content with that small amount being done. I usually have a hard time feeling contented about accomplishing trivial things, but the fact of the matter is that getting a bunch of little things done eventually equals getting something big done, whereas doing nothing rarely accomplishes anything.

This morning was a bit of a slow start, but everybody made it to school on time, and I got off to work after doing a little straightening up downstairs. (It probably sounds like my house must be in a constant state of disarray with all the “straightening up” I do, but really…well, it would be if I didn’t put pens in their place, go through papers, fold blankets, and put shoes back where they should be. Cleaning bit-by-bit!)

I’m still working on the teen site for Got Questions. That has been my major project for the last few months. Today I was able to figure out a modification of a PHP script that would create a listing for the questions directory automatically. This made me exceedingly happy and, I’ll admit, rather giddy; though no one around me at the time would understand enough to be quite as elated with me.

Even still, I’m glad I’m learning more about PHP scripts, and hopefully one day, I’ll actually be able to write my own from scratch instead of performing a Frankenstein surgery on free scripts I find online. After all, I’ve finally evolved to the point where I barely need the WYSIWYG design view. I can read the HTML and know precisely where things need to go. (That should make my friend Wolfsong happy as he has always been a pure coder.)

Sadly, afternoon traffic caused me to be late to pick up Everest at the bus stop, but thankfully M & A’s mom was there and brought him home. Strange how I can leave at about the same time two days in a row and get there 10 minutes early one day and 10 minutes late the next. I need to devise a different route, methinks.

Everest got a snack at home, and we relaxed a little, then it was time to go get the Jewel from art club at school. She had a good day. She said she got to do art twice because they had art in class, then she had art club. Sounds like fun to me!

We headed over to Target to pick up a few things and ended up getting frozen pizzas for dinner. Yeeeeeah. Sometimes I lose my supermom card and just go for the path of least resistance. They enjoyed it, and they DID have pears to go with it. See? I made it healthy. XD

The kids begged to play a game with me after dinner, so I had them do showers and get their beds ready, then we played a few repetition games like copying motions in a pattern and telephone a variety of ways. It was nice to get that time with them, but bedtime did get pushed back. Bah. Always, there is a price to pay.

Once the kids were settled, I got the dinner dishes done and lazed about for the evening, trying to decide if I should shower then work or work then shower. Meanwhile, I got drawn into an audio recording of The Screwtape Letters from the library. It’s read by the same man who did the Sherlock Holmes stories I am so fond of (AND it’s C. S. Lewis!), so of course I was completely entranced.

By time I had finished showering, Heath had come home. He has been working double shifts all week so far and still has two more to go. I’m certain it’s quite wearying for him, but his week-long vacation starts Saturday. First long vacation in almost 10 years. Can’t come too soon, I’m sure!

I got a little bit of freelance stuff done on a project I am almost finished with. Bit-by-bit, it will be done. Just have to keep up on it each night. Now I believe it’s time to get into bed and see if I can make some progress on The Hobbit.

A is for Arable

In order to give me some kind of motivation to write in my blog daily, I’m participating in this thing called A to Z blogging. It’s a challenge to write a blog post for each letter of the alphabet during the month of April (taking Sundays off), using said letters to state a theme for your post/day. And because I’m an English nerd, I’m going to use fun vocabulary words whenever possible. Here we go!

Arable: [ar-uh-buhl]
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: farmable
Synonyms: cultivable, plowable, tillable
Antonyms: infertile

Today was one of those days that ends with a satisfying look back on what was accomplished. I got up in time to get the kids’ breakfasts and lunches made (and one for Heath too though he forgot to take it). After everybody was off, I took care of the trash and kitty litter, did dishes, put away laundry, straightened up the downstairs, and still made it to work around 9:00 a.m.

It was a productive day at work too, and I enjoyed my lunch of BBQ chicken and rice immensely (leftovers I made). Finished up my tasks and got to the bus stop with 10 minutes to spare before the kids arrived. So I even got to chill out with Plants vs. Zombies for awhile.

After we all got home, I got some more laundry in (yes, it is neverending), danced with Julie (which I had promised to do on Sunday), then finished the grocery list. The kids and I took off for Costco and King Soopers to get all the food stuffs we would need for the next 2-1/2 weeks. (We are down to getting groceries only two times per month now.)

We recently got the Costco membership, and it has been absolutely wonderful! So long as we stick to the list, it is actually quite helpful in making the shopping trips overlap enough that we can actually stay within a reasonable range of our budget. Now we only have to buy peanut butter every couple months instead of twice a month. Boxes of cereal bars and fruit snacks last over a month as well instead of having to be a purchase every time. LOVE that.

I have to add here though that my dear friend Elraen has been our faithful helper at the store over the last several months, and her presence was indeed missed. ūüėõ Jewel was great and helpful for the first store, but things just deteriorated from there. We were gone for over two hours, and I was about ready to lock at least one kid up as soon as we got home. Ah well…I’ve done this once before without help, and I’m doing it again!

We picked up dinner, which is our usual routine one grocery-shopping days (and a serious blessing to a very tired mother). While they ate, I got all the cold stuff put away. Afterward, I swooped the kids off to get ready for bed, leaving all the non-refrigerated items to be put away later.

Bedtime went all right with only one warning to stop talking and just GO TO SLEEP. Honestly. If I could go to bed 7:30, I would not be goofing off. I would be sleeping. What’s that saying about all the energy being wasted on the youth? How about we find some way to harness that energy, can it, then I can drink it in the morning?

Everyone got settled down upstairs, and I headed back down to finish putting away our bounty of groceries. I put on an audiobook of Sherlock Holmes stories that I regularly check out from our library online. This particular recording is outstanding, and I’ve about got all the stories memorized by now.

Putting all the food away was a lovely, relaxing time. There’s something quite satisfying about being able to break down boxes, fill containers, and fill up the pantry and fridge shelves with delicious stuff we will be eating in the next months. Having that time alone, in the relative quiet, is always meditative and therapeutic for me.

Once everything was put away, I cooked some eggs that had broken in transit (it happens!) so that I can use them for the kids’ breakfast tomorrow. That’ll be a nice timesaver! I cleaned up the kitchen again, straightened up the shoes, swept a bit, and unloaded the dryer.

Once all that was finished, I took all my stuff upstairs and finished folding the last load of laundry. Afterward, I got started on my list of to-do items for freelance clients. I managed to get 2/3 of the list completed before deciding that blogging had to come next, or I would surely start putting it off again.

Now it’s nearly 1:00 a.m. but I do not feel compelled to stay up and do anything more. The day has been most arable for this busy momma, and a bit of rest before bed will be quite welcome.

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

cookies

NOTE: While this recipe is called “Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies”, you really don’t need to use Red Velvet cake mix. You can use whatever cake mix you want and whatever frosting you want. I used the Red Velvet because my husband requested it, and we had cream cheese frosting on hand to go with it.

Ingredients
1 box Cake Mix
3 Tbsp. flour
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
1 can frosting

Baking Instructions
Melt butter in a pan or take forever microwaving at a low temp; set aside to cool. The cooling is important here or else you’ll get curdled eggs when you add it to the other stuff. Bleah. If you’re impatient, stick it in the freezer while you get the rest of the ingredients together. Just don’t forget it!

Combine cake mix, cooled butter, and the remaining ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix until well blended; dough will be slightly stiff.

Preheat oven to 325¬įF. Lightly grease baking sheets or use parchment paper. I highly recommend the parchment paper; it can usually be reused at least 2-5 times, keeps your pan clean, and NOTHING sticks to it.

Separate dough into small balls about the size of a large gumball (roughly 1 Tbsp. of batter). Pat balls into roughly the shape of a hockey puck, making sure it is even in thickness. The cookies will flatten out a bit, but without flattening it first a little, they will not form nicely for sandwiches.*

Arrange your hockey pucks on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. No need to get the ruler out. Just eyeball it.

Bake for 9 minutes. They will be puffy when you take them out, but resist the urge to let them cook longer! Allow to cool a bit on the pan before attempting to remove them. Better yet, if you’ve used parchment paper, you can just slide the paper off the pan and let them cool completely there. Transfer to a wire rack to cool all the way.

Spread frosting of your choice on half the cookies. Top each frosted cookie with another cookie. Gently press together.

These are super sweet, but if you have a sweet tooth, they will definitely make you happy.

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* If you don’t care about making sandwich cookies, toss them on there willy-nilly, then stuff them in your mouth as soon as they’ve cooled. Who cares what they look like?

Moving On!

Yeah, so about that bulleted list of various little goings-on… Um. Where did the last several months go? I couldn’t tell you because I haven’t blogged about it, and if I’m not blogging, I don’t remember to take pictures, and if I don’t remember to take pictures, I don’t remember what happened. It’s a vicious cycle, I know. But can my blog and I make amends here and get reacquainted? Let’s do try this again, shall we?

I can’t even begin to express the remorse I feel over not blogging about the last 10 months while my dear friend Elraen was living with us. How much I had plotted and planned that I would keep track of our goings-on so that we could see how God was working in both our lives and the life of my family. Alas, the best laid plans often do not come to fruition around here. Life just got too busy. But I am consoled by the fact that I spent more time living than writing about living during the last 10 months. That does count for something, eh?

Elraen left last Wednesday, and life has begun to fall back into the old routines. It was absolutely wonderful having her here, but we both felt that the timing was precisely right for her to move on. Things were still quite fabulous between us–no ill will whatsoever–just a mutual knowledge that God was ready for her to take the next step.

2013-03-31 14.21.06

Today, we celebrated Easter as a family. We ran a few errands around lunchtime, then headed out for a day together. Lunch was had at a breakfast place in Manitou Springs, followed by an Easter egg hunt in a park that we have gone to for the past couple years for just the occasion.

By time we got home, the kids were a little tired, but they still wanted to go outside and play in the beautifully warm weather. I baked some eggs (a new way to “hard boil” eggs that I discovered) while they played. Heath left to go get a few work things done for the afternoon so that we would have some time together for a date this evening.

2013-03-31 16.32.49

The kids came in and dyed eggs which produced no small amount of mess. Oh well. They had a fun time and ended up eating practically all their eggs! I also made some muffins out of this horrible Kashi Crunch cereal we got at Costco. I found a recipe that can be used to use up the stuff though. Will probably need to post it at some point because they were a hit with the kids. :-)

I’ve set up this blog tonight while Heath put the kids to bed, and now I’ve got to get onto some freelance work. Last night, I decided to go to bed at 8:45 PM instead of work. Silly me. But hey, at least I got about 11 hours of sleep!

When God was Busy Weaving

This is what happens when God starts spinning and weaving a woman’s life so fast that she has no time to think or breathe, much less blog about the blurry visions surrounding her. She goes months without updating but has more than a mouthful of life-changing updates!

Indeed, God has been hard at work in my life, and I am seeing just how long he has been threading this yarn around and across my days and years. It has been an incredible summer of learning to truly trust God with what matters most and finding out how delightful are His gifts.

Allow me to indulge in a whirlwind, categorized update with few details because that is how the last several months have felt to me. Life has come so fast and so wily that it has taken all I have to keep up with processing these events in heart and mind.

Event: Heath’s brush with cancer
Details: I am most happy to report that we found out in April that Heath does NOT have skin cancer after all. It was an abnormal growth but not cancerous. So thankful that was not in our script.
Lessons Learned: Our family unit is precious and the relationship between Heath and I is the most important one we have on Earth. We need each other desperately, and we need to keep the communication lines open and time spent together as a priority.


Event: Non-stop car problems
Details:¬†Our silver Jeep Liberty has had no end of issues over the last several months. Friends have come to help here and there, we have taken it to professionals, and yet the car still limps along on its last leg. Currently, it can’t drive for more than 10 minutes without overheating.
Lessons Learned:¬†We can actually survive with just one car, and it does, in fact, make it easier for Heath and I to connect–even if just for 10-15 minutes as we drive each other to various things.

Event: Elraen’s arrival
Details: Round about the beginning of June, Elraen, one of my dear friends from CleanPlace, rolled into town in her car to live with us for the summer and possibly longer. She had just graduated from college and was entering into a stage of transition before the next big life adventure.
Lessons Learned: Elraen needed rest, and somehow, in the midst of our family chaos, she could find it here. She is kindred spirit going through a lot of soul stretching that coincides with what my heart is stretching through too. Through day to day observation of her steadfast commitment to God, my own relationship with Him has deepened as we both actively practice listening to and obeying Him. We have really needed each other this summer.

Event: The mountains caught on fire
Details: The Waldo Canyon fire started at the beginning of June and continued for days, destroying homes, neighborhoods, and landmarks that have stood for decades. Whole sections of the city were evacuated, families displaced, as the flames ravaged the landscape. Our mountains are not the same today, and so many lives have been shaken.
Lessons Learned:¬†Even through evil, God shines brighter than any flame on this earth. A young family at our church lost their home, but God has cared for them in ways no one could imagine. Today, they are closer to Him and each other than ever before. Their testimony of God’s care and compassion wrenches my heart with gratitude of all that God can do.

Event: Cousins reunited
Details: My cousin Kristi and her family just happened to be coming through town at the end of June. We were able to meet up with her and see her kids, most of whom did not exist last time I saw Kristi.
Lessons Learned:¬†Family ties cannot be broken with time. There was no weirdness or awkwardness between us, and we talked as though we had been in touch all the time over the last decade, though I haven’t seen her since 2001. Not only that, but all of our kids got along famously!

Event: The sun sets on Pulpit Rock
Details: At the beginning of the summer, I received the news that, due to the economic state of the church, Pulpit Rock would need to reduce my position in such a way that I would really no longer be able to work there. The new salary would not be able to support our financial needs.

Though I broke down and cried over the loss of a job I had held for 12 years, I knew that God had something in store for me–something big. He always does when life does a dropkick. I had until the end of the summer to find a new job before the changes went into effect, so I began looking in earnest, trusting that God would do something amazing.

However, it wasn’t until I actually gave official notice that my last day would be August 15, completely blind as to what the future held, that God provided an opportunity to apply for a position at Got Questions Ministries, an organization that provides¬†biblical, applicable, and timely answers to spiritually-related questions online.

To make a long story short, I went through a multi-step application process (which began June 18), experienced my farewell luncheon at Pulpit Rock (August 6), and was then offered the job at Got Questions (August 10). Talk about cutting it close! But God doesn’t waste a minute at all. His timing was flawless.

Lessons Learned:¬†Wow. God is awesome. XD I am floored by how He has brought me to this point in my life. I couldn’t have planned a more perfect place for me to be. This is a job that combines everything I am passionate about: writing, webmastery, art, and working with teens. Honestly, does God know how to take care of a girl or what?

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Coming up in the next blog post: A bulleted list of various little goings-on that have been happening around here, complete with pictures. :-)

Easter, Blurry Week & the News

Sunday, April 8, was Easter. Sadly, Heath had to work in the morning if he was going to have time to spend with us in the afternoon. So I took all the cupcakes and both the kids, and we headed to the church. We got there in plenty of time to drop off the treats where they were supposed to be and get everybody to their classes. Easter service was wonderful, and for the second service, I was helping in Julie’s class. Their Easter worship service was a lot of fun too, and it was clear that the bunny cupcakes were a huge hit!

We came home and had a bit of lunch before the four of us took off for an Easter egg hunt. We went to a school park in Manitou Springs that was absolutely deserted. (Seemed like every park we passed was swarmed with people.) I stayed with the kids in the car while Heath went and hid all the eggs, then they were unleashed, armed with collection bags.




After all the eggs were found, they showed us everything they got. It made me exceedingly happy to see Heath really enjoying time with the kids. With all the tasks he has to do for work, those times seem very rare indeed.


Since Heath’s biopsy from the week before, we were reminded a few times a day of what we might be going through as I helped change the bandages and clean the wound to keep it from scarring. We talked a lot while I was tending to him. My eyes have been opened to so much during these times–through fear of loss, through realizations of my deep unconditional love for Heath, and through God’s clear direction about my place in this man’s life.

Monday, April 9, we started the first work week with a single car. Julie made it to the bus stop, and we drove Everest to school. Then I took Heath by Starbucks (some students gave him a substantial gift card!), then to work. It was actually unexpectedly wonderful because we got to have about 15-20 minutes together in the morning–again, attention undivided. We talked about what we had to do that day for work or kids, what the dinner plans were, when I needed to pick him up, etc. It was incredibly valuable to have that connection time first thing in the morning. I treasured it so much during that week.

Everest and I had lunch at my mom’s again that afternoon. Always a fun time. :o)

After school, we had Julie’s friend M over for a homework playdate. She ended up coming with us when we had to go get Heath at work, which was fine. The girls actually got their homework done too–even if it took them the whole time and they only played together for about 10 minutes. Oh well. At least we knew it would work and could plan on trying it again.

The rest of the week is rather a busy blur. I enjoyed having all the extra time with Heath, forced upon us due to the single car. We did a good job of cooking meals at home (I even made homemade peanut butter) and spending quality time together as a family. The kids were much better than they had been in awhile. I think they somehow sensed that Heath and I were uneasy and off before, but things were starting to look up. Still, we had a lot of waiting going on until the very end of the week when Heath heard back from the dermatologist.




We got the results back: NOT CANCER. Hallelujah! The spot was merely an irregular mole, but the doc advised that we keep an eye out for strange spots like that. We will definitely be doing that! Also, Heath is going to take extra precautions about protection from the sun when we goes hiking and rock climbing outdoors.

God has taught us so much through this and brought our family together.

I pray that we will hold onto these lessons and continue on with what we have learned about ourselves and each other and the way we do things individually and as a family.

God’s Most Efficient Way of Teaching Us

Well, being caught up didn’t last long, did it? Shortly before I did get caught up, we were faced with a situation that I wasn’t sure I wanted to publicize until I knew the scope of what was going on. I’m still processing it a bit, and considering what God has taught us through this trial.

You see, the week that I took Everest to the doctor, Heath also went to the doctor. He had a strange spot on his forehead that looks suspicious, so he went to get it checked out. The P.A. on duty examined him and said that it looked…well, just to be blunt: cancerous. Skin cancer runs in Heath’s family, so this was not a totally impossible fact. Also taking into account the amount of time he spends in the sun and at higher elevations, it seemed very probable indeed.

He was referred to a specialist, but his appointment wasn’t until the next week. We spent the rest of that week waiting and wondering and wrestling with questions we had never had to consider before. It was an eye-opening time. Heath and I talked, and while we weren’t sure what God was doing, we were sure that He must be doing something. I was interested to see what He was teaching us, though not exuberantly so. Who truly can love suffering after all? Even if we are to find joy in it. But still, I had a silent but stirring calm about it–that it would all work out the way it should and that we would be stronger because of it.

Heath’s appointment came on the next Monday. The dermatologist actually said that the thing on his forehead was nothing to be worried about–not cancerous or ever would be. It was, however, something that would get uglier if not removed, so he froze it like you would for a wart. But then Heath asked them to do a whole body check for anything weird. Well, they found something weird. On his back, there was a 7mm mark of some kind that the doc couldn’t identify right away. They did a biopsy and then more waiting came.

That catches you up to where my blog left off. I shall try to reveal the rest of the story through the following posts for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 4, Everest and I went to my mom’s for lunch after school. She is now making kids meals, so the kids can have mac n’ cheese while the grown-ups enjoy their Thai food. Everest sure appreciated it!

I took a couple pictures retroactively that day. Our new screen door and the dinner post-it notes that the kids can choose from each day.


Thursday, April 5, I was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted from work and life. Heath was going to be gone all day, teaching a CPR class up north. It was unlikely he was going to make it back that night because class ended at 10:30 p.m. We figured he would probably spend the night in a hotel. I had a meeting in the morning, plus work to do at home and juggling Everest after picking him up. I mostly burned dinner that evening, though the honey carrots looked delicious when they started out. :oP The kids were fine with it though; we had some alternatives.

Around 5:00, I got a message from Heath: “Jeep’s engine is dead.” At this point, I actually had to laugh. It was getting rather humorous, this whole thing God was doing. With all of these things to go “wrong,” surely this meant that God was teaching us something really good! I arranged to have my mom come be with the kids (while they slept) that night so I could go pick up Heath. After all, if we had car repairs coming up, a tank of gas was much cheaper than a hotel room. I put on my Sherlock Holmes audiobook and drove up to Denver to get Heath.

On the way back, something amazing happened: Heath and I had 1.5 hours completely to ourselves. That hasn’t happened in months, if not years. We had each other’s undivided attention, and we talked the whole time about everything. It was an incredible breakthrough moment for us.

Friday, April 6, I was basically a hermit and stayed at home with Everest all day. Heath took our only car and went to get a bunch of work done. I didn’t even meet with Puella and Legolas because I needed to do some prep work before my newest writers group started the next day.

Saturday, April 7, my newest middle school Inkaholics group began. I have four teens in this one, all repeat participants. The characters we came up with are in line with the usual insanity that comes with these middle schoolers. It’s going to be awesomely fun! It was great to be back with the kids and writing again. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until we were sitting there, laughing together.


That night, I made a bunch of cupcakes to take to the elementary classes for Easter at church. (I was one of many parents who volunteered to do this.) The recipe and supplies were given, and we were to make the cupcakes and bring them in on Sunday morning. It was a nice time actually because the kids were in bed and Heath was working at the kitchen table. We chatted a bit while I worked, otherwise, I listened to my Sherlock Holmes audiobook while decorating bunnies.


Dinner Planner

Monday was a lovely, blustery day. I love the wind. It’s fresh, clean, unpredictable, and nice and cool. I even like it when its cold wind–provided I have adequate warm clothing. XD

After picking up Everest at school, we stopped by Kangaroo Coffee because they had $1.00 16-oz. coffees and hot chocolates that day. The kids love going there. They even have “kids coffee,” which is basically sugared up decaf. Then it was off the church for my staff meeting. (Don’t even ask about the big hand clapper thingy in the senior pastor’s hand.)


That night, I made the kids chicken noodle soup while Heath and I had pan-seared chicken and roasted veggies. Nom nom. The kids got to watch The Aristocats, a video we got from the library, and a classic Disney movie. Heath went rock climbing after the kids went to bed, which was very good for him. He’s go to get out to exercise regularly or he doesn’t function well. Sounds familiar…

Tuesday (today–look at that; I’m caught up!), we woke up to snow on the ground. I’d heard it was going to snow, but it was hard to believe because just Sunday, we had to turn the AC on in the car because it was over 80 degrees out and hotter inside the car. What wacky contrasts! I love this state. :o)

After getting Everest, we went to the library to pick up some holds and return DVDs. Then it was off to the grocery store. We did a major cleaning out of the fridge, chest freezer, and the pantry over the last couple days. I had clearance to restock some of our staples and get enough food to keep us from eating out for at least two weeks. I believe I have managed to do just that.

While Julie was doing her homework, I made eight breakfast sandwiches (egg, cheese and ham on an English muffin) to put in the freezer for quick breakfast. I’ll show Julie how to heat them up, and she can get them ready for herself in the future. Also made eight meat and cheese sandwiches, ready to grab for lunch on the go.

Finally, I hard boiled some eggs and made two loaves of garlic bread, using a half-size French baguette split in two, butter, and crushed, fresh garlic. Those are in the freezer now, waiting for spaghetti or lasagna night. I plan on making some French bread pizzas for the freezer as well, but those will have to wait until tomorrow or Thursday.

Today, I devised a new system for choosing what we have for dinner. I wrote down a bunch of ideas that would use food we already have or that I was going to get at the store. Every dinner idea is on a sticky note. Each day of the week, someone in the family gets to decide what we’re having from the choices and puts the note on the stovetop so I can prepare. Because Heath forfeited his day, the kids each get two, and I get one. The weekends are going to be a free-for-all with leftovers or whatever is around; there will be plenty!

Tonight was my choice. We had oven “fried” chicken, roasted bell peppers, and a rice/pasta mix. It was pretty delicious. Even Julie enjoyed the chicken, and she’s not much of a meat person. Roasting veggies is SO the way to go. The method makes any veggie much tastier.

Tomorrow is Julie’s day to pick, and she chose pancakes, bacon, and fruit salad. Should be pretty yummy!

Parting Shot
Tulips at the grocery store. So many colors and so pretty!

Day at the Museum

Sunday, the kids and I drove up to Denver to meet Mike and Kate and their little ones at the museum, an outing we had been trying to nail down for weeks. The museum was a convenient place to get together because it’s roughly halfway between us. My kids had a ball with their cousins–of course, Nikko is just a wee one, but still… How lovely it was to meet him for the first time!

We started out by visiting at the park behind the museum for a bit. Mike and Kate were finishing up a picnic lunch, so we went ahead and joined them in having a snack.


Space Odyssey was the first stop (after the bathroom). Amazingly, some of the shuttle controllers were open for play. That rarely happens when we go in there.


We continued on to see the Snakes & Lizards exhibit (again!), which was way cool. Much less crowded than last time. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed inside, so I have no pictures. Next stop was the dinosaur exhibit.



Everybody else made their way to Expedition Health after the dinos, but Everest and I took a short detour for a snack and a break. He was getting pretty frustrated and tired. Julie and Tessa were practically attached to each other, he couldn’t play with Nikko or Kate, and his mother and uncle were trying to keep an eye on everybody. Taking a 15-minute break was really good for him though. He calmed down a lot, and the snack helped, as well as the individual attention I could give him.


Everest took that picture of me. He was very intentional about including the deer. :o) We joined everybody else at Expedition Health after that. Such a fun exhibit! There are lots of things to do, try out, and learn there. Very neat.





Nikko went between states of being underwhelmed (sleeping) and curiously interested in who was presently kissing or hugging him. :o)



After the museum, we got dinner at Toyko Joe’s. Mike and Kate had never been there, and I think they liked it. It can get a little pricey, but the food is definitely worth it. We were all pretty exhausted at the point, but it was nice to slow down and have something yummy.





We made it home in record time–barely over an hour. Heath had cleaned the entire house while we were gone, did all the laundry, and even did some spring cleaning of the outside closet and patio areas. Sometimes you just have to do that. I was everso grateful to come home to a bleachy-smelling house. (Yes, I love the smell of bleach because it means things are CLEAN.)

I spent the rest of the evening folding all the laundry and doing some writing/editing. It was a good way to end the crazy busy weekend.