July 2011 archive

Why can’t teachers do the math?

Someone please explain to me why a 100 sheet spiral wide ruled notebook costs $1.75 and the 70 page version cost only 20¢?

On the school supply list: Six 100 sheet spiral wide ruled notebooks totaling $10.50 (before tax) VS six 70 sheet spiral wide ruled notebooks totaling $1.20 (before tax).

Am I smarter than a 4th grade teacher when it comes to economics?

I am still only getting started with the school supply list this year. Another item on the list that I don’t get is 3 glue sticks. Oh, well glue sticks come in packages of 1, 2, 4 or 6! Where are these teachers coming up with their numbers? Must be that new math.

I case you’re wondering…I bought the 70 sheet notebooks, saved myself $9.30, and the teacher will just have to deal. Sorry.

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Stuck in the Suburbs…Get me Outta Here!

So, lately I have been daydreaming. Daydreaming about taking a drive out of our severely suburban neighborhood and not returning for a long while. Daydreaming of booking a hotel (a nice one with a mountain view), ordering room service, sleeping until noon and reading a book, uninterrupted.

Just today, as I was turning the girls’ bedroom lights off for the 100th time and picking wet towel off the bathroom floor, I wondered, “Is this what my life has become?”  What happened to that adventurous life I thought I was going to have? I once dreamed of a life filled with travel to new and exotic places. My dream job was to become a travel writer. I would combine my love of photography and writing; and get paid handsomely for it.

What happened to that adventurous girl?

I got married and had kids, yes, but did my dreams have to stop when that happened? Why have I surrendered my dreams of traveling the world? And, no, I don’t think I have just traded my old dreams for new ones…I think they have been pushed aside for responsibilities.

Traveling with kids suck! At least with mine. I once read an article about a family who were basically gypsies and they had 4 kids with another on the way. They lived in an VW bus and drove all over Europe, living out of this bus, home-schooling their kids and picking up work in whatever city they happen to be in. First, I wondered how many times have their kids asked, “Are we there yet?” But after that I thought, “What a life!”

I was a little bit jealous.

My neighbor’s daughter was given a free trip to Edinburgh, Scotland this week. I repeat, FREE! She’s in her early 20s…lucky girl. Jealous, again.

I’ve been to Edinburgh about 10 years ago…I was pregnant with my first child. It was the last hooray.

Let’s just say for fun that I could go anywhere in the world (money is no object)…where would it be? The Galapagos Islands. The islands are so pristine, largely untouched by humans, and beautiful. Glenn bought me  a couple of books for Christmas last year and I have poured over them.  It’s the perfect opportunity for wildlife photography. Ah, a girl can dream.

Wait a minute! Why just dream it? I am thinking I need to plan a trip. Just me and hubby. Channel my inter-adventurer…find that girl who left me long ago.

What unfulfilled dreams do you have? It’s never too late. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

Things on our minds today…

  1. When will we get a new dog? That’s what people have been asking. I tell them, “When I stop expecting to see Bailey at the top of the stairs when I come home from work.” Maybe when I stop getting teary-eyed thinking about her.
  2. Will Alex be a singles ice skater or on a synchro team this season? She is still exploring her options. It’s an important decision. Picking a coach is a daunting task. From what I’ve been told it’s like a marriage, and you don’t want to divorce your coach unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  3. How hard will the 4th grade be this year. And more importantly, how much homework will she get?
  4. Why is there so many items on the school supply list? I know my mom never bought this much stuff when I was a kid! And why does the water bottle have to be made of plastic? I just pick up some metal water bottles on clearance for cheap at Target. She will be taking a metal water bottle to school, sorry.
  5. Where did the summer go? We haven’t checked off very many of the items on our Summer Bucket List.
  6. I’ve got writers block. {Can you tell?} Too much stress, I think. Too much death around me this month.
  7. Confession. I haven’t been to church in weeks. Unless you count the Sunday I went with mom while I was in Missouri. Mostly because I don’t hear the Word preached there; I see a marketing ploy to get more money from me. They want to build a new shiny church. When you can’t throw a rock without hitting a Christian church in Denver. When people all over the world die for practicing Christianity, we build another church with soft chairs and air conditioning…to make us feel good.

Photography | The Ranch

The old barn

White horse

The old farmhouse

On 4th of July we went out to “the ranch” in Deer Trail, Colorado. This is Glenn’s Grandma’s old ranch. His cousins now live in the house and run cattle on the ranch.

It is seriously quiet. Unlike the city with constant noise. Anyway, I like the old place. (I should probably stop calling it “old”. I don’t think Amy would like me calling her house old.) The barns, the fence, the garden that I could never tend, horses, rabbits, chickens, oh my! And a large bull snake trying to get the eggs out of the chicken coop. I love it all.

More photos after the jump…

(more…)

An end to a long illness. ALS.

View from Southwest Airlines...Somewhere over Kansas

I just got back from Missouri. My step-father, Ron McCormick lost his long battle with ALS. He was diagnosed over 10 years ago, which is a testament to the care he received from my mother and various caregivers. Lifespan is typically 3-5 years once diagnosed with ALS. ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

But, he was more than ALS. He was a friend, a companion, a father, a hunter, lover of nature and the outdoors, animal lover, a hard worker.

Stories I think of: When I see a man salting his beer, I will forever think of Ron and smile. (Funny the little things we remember.)

I will remember the time he hauled printing equipment for my company from Chicago to Denver. He, along with my mom, drove all night long to drop off the equipment. He could have rested the following day, but he didn’t. He went out in the field and worked with my husband on a landscape job running the trencher. That was just the kind of person he was. He wasn’t happy laying on the couch. He was happy working, being productive.

We enjoyed many fun times, like the time we were treated to dinner in a cave in Missouri, visiting in Kansas, or hosting him at our home after a week-long hunting trip in Colorado. Or, the time he threatened to put his horses in my suburban backyard if I couldn’t hook him up with a boarding barn! No worries…I found a place to board them real quick!

He was determined not to let this disease get him. He fought for every last day. He would have celebrated his 63rd birthday in August. ALS stole a lot from him. It stole a lot from my mother too.

The Memorial Service was held at his church in Versailles, MO. It was a celebration of life and love. It was perfectly simple. The way he wanted it.

This will be a difficult time for my mother. 10 years is a long time to have your life revolve around the care of another person. 24/7. She hasn’t had a solid night sleep in years. But she will carry on because she is strong. She is determined. And she has a heart of gold. Was it always perfect? Absolutely not. It was difficult most times. Anger and resentment prevailed. ALS doesn’t just rob the one diagnosed of a life, it robs the caregivers life too. Someday I might write more about what this illness has done to our family…but I don’t feel it’s my story to tell.

I find it appropriate that Ron died on July 4th. Independence Day. Independence from the disease that held him captive for over 10 years. Independence for those caring for him. Independence for my mother too.

He is now at peace. He will be missed.

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To learn more about ALS go to alsa.org.

Look What I Made…

Way back last winter, Glenn brought home 4 solid wood doors that a client was throwing out. For free. The thought was that we could replace our ugly hollow wood doors with beautiful solid wood doors. It was a nice thought…not one of the doors would work! {sigh.}

After these doors sat outside over the winter, a light bulb went on (in my head). Why not re-purpose the doors into headboards for the girls’ room?

I will admit that I have brilliant ideas all the time but I don’t have the skills to pull it off. I wish I was handy this way. I wish I could see things for more than what they were originally used for and then turn it into something spectacular. But I can’t.

I love my hand-held drill but this is reserved for minor drilling of holes and inserting of a screw around the house. I hate sanding. I hate prepping wood with primer. I don’t like power tools, mainly table saws…that’s why I married a handy guy.  Needless to say, I procrastination and this weekend project took me 3 months to complete. Yes, 3-whole-months!

Stop laughing.

Alex's headboard

Parker's headboard

I chose to go simple. No molding. Silver spray paint that I had in the garage for the door knob. A little bit of paint on the doors. All pieces where used from the door, including the posts. I measured and Glenn (happily?) cut all the pieces down for me with the table saw. I offered to do it myself, but I think he was afraid I would end up with one less hand!

I got inspiration from here, here and here.

Happy Fourth!

PRAY for our troops, for without whom we would not have the freedoms we so love. PRAY for their families who are celebrating the holiday without them this 4th of July. PRAY for our great country and our leaders who have lost their way. And please PRAY for our family, Glenn’s brother tragically lost his 23 year old step-son on Friday. PRAY that the Lord comforts them in their great time of need.

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Get the above download for free from Kiki Creates here.

What the 4th Means to Me.

Happy Half Year

July marks the mid-point of the year. Happy Half Year to you! Depending on how you choose look at it, either you can’t believe the year is half over, or you have 6 more months to look forward to.

Let’s celebrate! Bake a cake (like I need an excuse for cake), or simply lay in a hammock; reflecting on the past 6 months.

So, how’s that One Little Word Resolution coming along? You know, the one you made back in January. Yeah, me too. My One Little Word was NOURISH.

I had every intention of Nourishing my heart, body, mind & soul in January. I enthusiastically read books, recommitted to reading the Bible, stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies, took steps to better manage my health…I was ready to go! Then, life happened. I got off track (or was it derailed?). Either way, now is a great time to reflect on what has worked and let go of what wasn’t working the first part of this year.

It’s time to rev up, recharge, and recommit to your One Little Word.

Maybe you’ve found that your One Little Word isn’t working for you and there is a different word that is speaking to you. Go ahead and change it. There are no rules. Or, maybe you simply want to reflect on what you’ve done thus far in 2011. Maybe you have remained committed to your resolutions…good for you! Pat yourself on the back.

Reflection is good. You can choose to do this while eating a piece of cake, or laying in a hammock. The choice is yours. As for me, both sounds good!

What was your One Little Word and what have you been doing to stay on track for the past 6 month?