Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

We gave our kids a choice this Christmas- Christmas presents under the tree, or plane tickets to Oregon for some family time.  So I got off the hook this year for Christmas shopping.  And I really loved it.  Because some things can't be bought from a store....






We did open stockings this morning but there was a rule that things had to be created and made.  So little Christmas elves' workshops have been filling the house with puddles of glue, bits of wire, trails of ribbons and scraps of fabric. And there may have been some lemon curd made to top blueberry, pecan scones.



Christmas morning will find us leaving the house before the sun and hopping on a plane, and then a train, to more adventures in Oregon.  More pictures to come.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

A foot of snow yesterday blanketed the winter brown in sparkling white. Just in time for Christmas.



Having fun with textures from Kim Klassen. 

Monday, December 19, 2011


Shannon Phillip's Peppernut Recipe:

1 1/2 C Sugar
1/4 lb Butter
1/4 C Oil
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoon hot water
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 C flour

~Combine sugar, butter and oil; beat well.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.  Add the soda dissolved in the hot water.  Add vanilla.  In separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, and spices.  Add to the sugar mixture.  Beat until stiff then add the 1/2 C flour and mix by hand.  Chill dough (overnight is best).  Roll and cut with thimble or small cookie cutter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Yum.  Share with friends.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry and Bright

Sometimes people ask me what our holiday traditions are, and I usually don't know how to answer.  Because we don't really have any traditions.  We love trying new things more than we love any particular dish, so the food is always different.  The only ornaments that stay the same are the ones the kids bring home from school.  You know, the little foam trees with their school pictures in them?  I love those. 

But tonight I rolled out peppernuts with Chloe.  Peppernuts were a holiday tradition for my best friend's mom.  Every year she rolled out hundreds of the crispy little cookies and placed them in cute tin cans to give away.  She's gone now, and as I rolled them out tonight with my own daughter, I was remembering her sunny kitchen and contagious Christmas joy. 

We were cutting out our cookies though, with a Texas shaped cookie cutter bought as a reminder of our time in Houston, when it struck me that we DO have traditions.  But our traditions are different than doing the same thing every year.  It's a little bit like stone soup.  They change every year, because as we add new memories and friendships, our celebrations are constantly changing to reflect the new pieces. 


As we absorb a little bit of the new into the old, and make something of our very own.  But I guess that sorta fits us.  After all, we don't always even stay in the same house, same job, same city.  We are constantly being shaped with new experiences and people that share a part of our journey.  And maybe we will leave a bit of ourselves in their traditions, as they have grown into ours.

typewriter button med  Linking up with Storytellers over at A Picture Book Life

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Elmo and Dora

My brother and his family are staying with us for a while.  My little niece and nephew are 3 and 1 1/2ish.  Chloe is really, really, loving the chance to be an "older sister".  All that pent up mothering instinct is finally able to come to the front.  Roscoe is trying really hard not to look like a 90 pound wolf, but I'm afraid that he can be a bit startling to a little bit when they run around the corner and find themselves face to face with his hairy nose.  Although, my little nephew had no problems pushing him out of the way, so he could steal a bite of the dog food Roscoe was working on. 

Our house is starting to take on that certain patina of a house with toddlers again.  The Christmas tree ornaments have all migrated to the top of the tree to avoid little reaching fingers.  I am finding plastic french fries in unexpected places.  Shoes that fit in the palm of my hand crowd for space by the door,  and Dora the Explorer is back to doing her thing in the living room.

The best part though, was scene I found tonight in Chloe's room after saying yes to books in bed until  lights out...

Berenstain Bears!


 Aidan found the Elmo flip book.

Hope your holidays and filled with laughter and love.  And maybe a little chaos from sticky fingers to make it extra special.


Monday, December 5, 2011


I miss my garden.  I had to buy some kale today for the first time in a long time.  I have a few precious tomatoes left that are wrapped in newsprint in the bottom of the fridge.  I had to buy some eggs too because the girls are not laying as much with the onset of shorter days.  But even though I miss the garden producing, I really love this season.  I love the snow.  And fir trees, Christmas lights, and pomegranates.  I love hot cocoa and coffee on a cold day.  And games of Monopoly that last forever.  (I love homemade pickles too, but that's not really relevant to this post.)  Then there's sledding.  I love sledding.  But not nearly as much as the kiddos do. Sledding brings a whole new level of euphoric happiness to our younger set that is hard to top.  It tends to make everything right in their world. Probably there would be more world peace if people went sledding more often.


Here's Chris getting in on the goodness, until that unfortunate part where he ran into a stump.
Roscoe was nearly delirious with happiness chasing the sled.  And I was happy to let him run down the hill and drag me back up because having a 90 pound exhausted dog is way better than his normal hyper 9-year-old-boy-with-a-tail state.

Seriously, look at that face.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Colorado Sunset

For just a few minutes the other night the sky looked like this.  It was a step outside and catch your breath kind of beauty. 

And the camera doesn't even do it justice.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Afternoon Tea

My little girl just had a birthday.  She said goodbye to 7 and embraced 8 with arms eagerly stretched wide.  It almost felt like giving her that new number was giving her a new identity.  And she was so proud.  While she is happily embracing every step towards tomorrow, I am trying to soak up the minutes of today, knowing that they won't last long.

For her birthday we took her and a few friends to The Huckleberry for an "Afternoon Tea" put on in her honor.

Aidan was convinced to temporarily set aside his uniform of comfy shorts and a t-shirt for the promise of lemon curd and devonshire cream.


As the girls tried to out do eachother with their fancy grown up manners,




Aidan was there for the food...



Real sugar cubes!


On second thought, I'm not sure the sugar cubes were such a great idea...



At least she's not quite grown up yet.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Thanksgiving break is over and the kids are back in school. All of our company is gone and I feel a little bit lost in all of the quiet.  So for now, I am reorienting myself with a cup of tea in my new favorite mug.


 My mom was here for most of November.  It was a really special time for us, and I'm afraid we all got a bit spoiled having her around.  The kids loved having Grammie here.  My laundry is now woefully piling up again, and the dishes aren't doing themselves anymore. 

Some sweet friends from San Diego came to visit over Thanksgiving.  We hadn't seen them in 5 years, so it made our Thanksgiving extra special.



We all fell in love with little Evy who didn't take long to have us charmed.  Roscoe was desperately fond of her, but I think she may have preferred the chickens.

As it gets closer to the Advent season, I am extra thankful for these ordinary days filled with new memories and old friends.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Because today, it feels like there is not anything original to say...

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”
-Dr Seuss
“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as heck don't deserve me at my best.”
Marilyn Monroe


“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Apple Inc.


“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
Albert Einstein
(Not sure what this quote has to do with a picture of an outhouse, but go with it.)

(And yes, I'm aware that none of the quotes actually go with any of the pictures, but I like it that way)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beauty Unexpected

Okay so by now it's probably pretty obvious that I have a thing for barbed wire.  And old twisty sticks.  And rusty metal.  And other assortments of weathered and worn things.  This past weekend,  we were up in the mountains surrounded by towering pine trees and majestic peaks.  And don't get me wrong, that makes my heart breathe in beauty as well, but I literally squealed when I saw an ancient pile of metal nestled up next to a tree.


I know that beauty is supposedly in the eye of the beholder.  But it's easy to see, and appreciate, beauty that is obvious.  That is out there shouting, look at me.  And people do line up to look.  It's just not so easy to find the beautiful in something worn, neglected, and ordinary.


Maybe, it's kinda like that with people too.


To find beauty in unexpected places, sometimes, I think, you have to be looking.  Here's hoping I never stop looking, and you find something beautiful in an unexpected place.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Happy Place

Linking up with Storytellers over at A Picture Book Life.

What I love about right now.  The afternoon sun streams through the glass door and falls perfectly onto my chair making this spot right here, sunshiny and warm.  Roscoe is happily sleeping the afternoon away in a shaft of sunlight and my mom is here visiting, and today we get to celebrate her birthday.

My little foot has looked like a stranger to me these last few days.  My toes swollen to sausage like proportions and the skin stretched to contain all of the swelling.  I was worried that I had fractured my ankle but the x-rays only show a doozy of a sprain which provides me with a huge measure of relief.  It's hard for me to stay still and have others help me.  Chris has been out of town so Aidan has dragged countless loads of laundry up and down the stairs for me.  He and Chloe were so helpful while waiting for reinforcements (Grammy) to come--doing dishes, putting things away and cooking frozen pizzas.  Sweet friends have brought me dinner and done my grocery shopping.

But I might not have hurt my ankle if I hadn't been so reckless.  Sure the goalie looked a little too satisfied when we collided and I hopped of the field on one leg.  She was no doubt glad to be rid of my pesky presence buzzing around the goalie box.   But I was recklessly charging in, racing her to the ball.  I wonder how often in life I recklessly charge into things without weighing out all the consequences.  Only thinking of the excitement of an idea or an adventure.  Sometimes verbally with thoughts or words that might be better left unsaid.  Sometimes emotionally or physically.  I was thinking all of this while laying on the couch with my leg propped up and unable to cross the room for a drink of water.  Maybe there's times to sprint, and times to jog.  Pancho told me I needed to pace myself in soccer.  He didn't want me to get hurt by charging when I should be "dancing".  And I wonder if that applies to me more than just in soccer.  So now as I hobble around in my air cast, forced to take some time to stroll, I'm going to contemplate taking it easy, and I will be so grateful when I can run fast again.

 And maybe then I will not take everything at a dead sprint...and then again, maybe not.

storytellers button green

Friday, November 4, 2011

Storytellers: It's Hard

Linking up with Storytellers at A Picture Book Life.

My computer tells me that it is 18 degrees outside.  The chickens are refusing to come out of their coop and the dogs won't leave the house.  I have my favorite tea cup in hand.  The one from Starbucks with the wide mouth that makes it comfortable to curl two hands around.  I have my favorite bumblebee yellow sweatshirt on and I'm thinking about being a mom. 

A couple of night ago, my boy said something that hurt his sister's heart and left her crying in my lap.  He sat there, slightly defensive and defiant, unwilling to bend to make things right.  But behind the posture was a hurt that expressed itself in anger.  Firm but gentle probing led to a collapse in the wall and the reason for the pain: it's hard to be different.  It's hard to try to live life in a way that is counter culture.  To be kind when you want to be mean.  To turn away when everyone else is involved in something that makes you uncomfortable.  When culture says to act one way, but your conscience tells you to act another.  It's hard.  When the tears started dripping, the girl in my lap climbed down to crawl into her brother's and comfort him with her hug.   

I wish I could make the paths smooth and easy for my kids.  I wish I could promise only good things for their life.  But I can't.  But I can promise that I will be there.  That they won't be alone.  They won't have to figure out how to do it on their own.  And more than that, I can point them to a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. 

Burdens get lighter when they are shared.  And it ended with two littles snuggled on one bed under a fleecy red blanket and a mommy and daddy sharing stories from lives lived longer.  It ended with giggles, and whispers, and peace. And the strength to try again tomorrow.

storytellers button blue

Monday, October 31, 2011

Roscoe Love

All of the reasons I love Roscoe are right here.  He tolerated with good humor being tucked in with multiple blankies and stuffed animals. Goodnight kisses and songs.  He learned to drink from the sippy cup that he was force fed with, and didn't give the slightest protest to having his limbs and head manhandled into position by a small girl child.


Sweet Dreams.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Of Socks and Snow

In the winter I tend to wear my husband's socks.  They are thick and cozy and adorned with "Carhart", "Smart Wool" and other warm sounding names.  And under my jeans nobody can see them pulled high up on my legs like an old man's sock.   My socks tend to be either ankle running socks, (invariably with huge holes in the heel) or in cute patterns like spots or stripes with absolutely no thought to keeping my little toes warm. 

This morning as I got the kids off to the bus, and was heading back to bed to rest a fuzzy feeling head, I took a peek outside.  The light on the snow was brilliant.  Hmm, go out with the camera or stay in with the covers?  Camera won.  I will not describe the outfit I went outside in, but suffice it to say that I was rocking the "eccentric artist who was about to head back to bed and suddenly decided to go outside" look.  (And "Carhart" socks).

My ever faithful hiking buddy who gets really excited when I bring out my camera because he wants to "Go".

The car temp said that it was 14 degrees outside.  I was just enough of a weenie to leave the car running with the heater blasting while Roscoe and I ran around in the snow.

My husband doesn't understand my fascination with barbed wire.  Neither do I, really. But there it is.

When both of our feet were numb with the cold, Roscoe and I headed back to the overwarm car and home.  Me to a bath and book, and Roscoe to stretch out in the rays of sunshine on Chloe's sheepie rug.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Day of Snow

There is just enough kid in me that everytime it snows, I am hoping for a blizzard.  Colorado loved me enough this year to give me a great big fluffy snow for our first snowfall.



A friend asked me to take her kid to school today.  And I'm not sure why we couldn't get ourselves together this morning.  Every year the first cold day incites a scramble for lost gloves, warm socks, and hats.  It's not like the weather took us by surprise.  The weatherman did mention that the snow was coming, but apparently the tradition is more important.  So adding an extra stop this morning meant that something had to give.  And that just happened to be any semblance of normal clothes for me this morning.  Stripey fleece pants, check.  Furry black boots, check.  Bumblebee yellow sweatshirt from Broken Arrow track team, check. (And for the record, that color doesn't look good on anyone, except maybe a bumblebee.)  Went to bed with head wet resulting in a mountain of fluff atop my crown?  No problem...stripey hat with huge pom pom, check!  Fortunately, I didn't have to get out of the car. 


The chickens approached their first snow with caution.  Tikka came barreling out of the coop only to cluck scoldingly at Aidan for the weather and turn and try to shove her fluffy self back through the blockade of sisters behind her.



Roscoe decided that he didn't have to go to the bathroom after all and instead would like to spend the day curled up on Chloe's sheepie rug.  I am going to sip some tea, then try to tackle the clean laundry in hopes of finding all the right socks.