Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kinnikinick Trail

It was a beautiful day today (until around 3:00 pm) and Heath took advantage of the gorgeous sunshine. He took Kamy, Keaton, and Kolby back to Palmer Park to explore. Their initial plan was to let the kids mountain bike down the trail, but after Kolby wiped out, and almost went off a cliff, Heath brought the bikes back to the van and the kids hiked around instead. (Georgie and I had a long list of stuff to buy at Costco, so we went our separate ways.)

You can see Pikes Peak in the background, still covered in snow. Heath will climb up it this summer; something he is most anxious about doing.

I know we show you a lot of pictures of us hiking around, but it's really our favorite thing to do here. It's close, it's free, and it's so great to be outdoors!

Until our next hike...which is sure to be soon.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Monument Trail

This morning my friend Margaret called and invited me and the kids to go on a hike. We quickly agreed. It was a completely new trail to us, in a city just north of us, and we all loved it. The trail made a big loop, and in the middle of the 3+ mile trail was a large stone formation. Here we are, getting closer to it. You can see it in the background.
Georgie found lots of wildflowers alongside the trail, and it was a struggle to get her to walk, instead of stopping to inspect every little moving insect along the way.

We rounded the corner and there was a picturesque pond waiting for us. It reminded me of the pond I use to go swimming in when I was little, except I don't think there were any dead creatures lurking under the water in this pond.

Here are all the kiddos eating a snack of apples, yogurt covered raisins, and crackers in the shadow of the big rock.

Along the back side, there was a gathering of water, which made a fun place for the kids to practice throwing pebbles across the surface.

Keaton and Kolby were adventurous enough to climb onto a ledge. Can you see them?

On the way back, there was a bit of trail that went alongside a grove of trees. The kids decided they'd rather walk among the trees, than outside in the sunshine. I thought it was a neat little shady stroll through the trees.
We spent a lot of time waiting for Georgie to rest.
She wanted to be held most of the way back. Here is where I'm wishing Heath could have gone with us too. He has great stamina for piggy-back rides.

Turning back to wait for Georgie to catch up, I thought this was a pretty view. It was a really nice hike. We'll do it again soon!

If I could pick a perfect place to build a house, this would be it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Having Java Problems?

I've been having problems with my blog page loading. Most of the time, it wouldn't load all the way, and I would only see my pictures, but no writing. Until tonight, I thought it was just my computer, but my sister told me that she was experiencing the same thing when she tried to look at my blog.

So I've done away with the cutest blog on the block background for now, since that was the problem. I'll find something else, but for now, this blog will be a bit plain. Anyway, thanks for sticking around.

So Far So Good

I put the kids to bed last night with instructions to NOT wake me up early. No school = sleeping in. Of course, I guess the husband missed the message because he kept coming over and kissing me when he was getting ready for work. So, I didn't really get to sleep in, but I did get a relaxing morning.

After breakfast, I gave the kids an incentive. If they cleaned up in a timely manner, and to my satisfaction, we could use their free kids meal coupons at Chick-fil-A that they got for good attendance, and go eat lunch in the park with friends. They fulfilled their end of the deal, and I got a nice clean house in return.

So we got lunch, pulled out a blanket, and settled down for an hour or two at the park. I quite enjoyed it, especially when the sun came out from behind the clouds. Just lovely.

We had to cut it a bit short at the park, because, of course, Georgie had to go potty. So next we went to the library. The kids got a few books to read for their afternoon reading time, including the "BFG" and "My Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Next thing on the agenda is coming up with our summer schedule. We do this every year so the kids stay organized with activities, and I don't go crazy with their whining that they are bored. I just say "what's on the schedule?" and that ends the argument. Plus, it's the only way I can squeeze in school work and writing lessons every day for those who need a bit more encouragement in that department.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First Day/Last Day

This is a picture of the kids on the first day of school last August. We were in South Carolina at this time, and the kids had to catch the bus at 6:40 am every morning. Kolby was in full day Kindergarten, and he was so excited to go to school. Quite frankly, I was excited for him to go to school too!

Then we moved to Colorado in October, and this is a picture of the kids on the first day of school here. Kolby was put in afternoon kindergarten, which he was happy about. Even though he loves school, he's not too fond of the work, and would rather be at home playing with his light sabers.

And today brings the last day of school for the '08-'09 school year. Here is what they looked like this morning. They are very happy to be out for summer vacation. Who knows how I'll keep them occupied for two and a half months. They are likely to drive me bonkers. Speaking of, in the next picture, they are showing just how crazy I'll be come August.

Happy end of school to everyone! Lets schedule some play dates!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Got Kids?

Yesterday we had an impromptu BBQ at our house. We invited four other families who didn't seem to have plans on Memorial Day, and we all got together...with lots of food! One thing that you can always count on, when you tell people to "just bring whatever" is that there is always plenty of food for everyone.

The kids had such a great time together. I didn't stop to count how many kids there were, but here are as many as would fit around the table. The rest were eating on the floor.

I actually hardly saw the kids, except when they were eating. They were outside, playing in the jungle of our back yard, playing out in the cul-de-sac riding bikes, playing downstairs with the toys, or jumping on the trampoline. We caught some of the little 3 and 4 year old kids all jumping together. They would sit down, count to five, then all stand up and jump. It was pretty cute.

We really had a great time together. It made Heath and I realize that we haven't really hosted very many things since we moved from California. We want to have a couple's game night again...and soon. We are back in the saddle!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Palmer Park

Today we decided to explore Palmer Park, a huge park in the middle of the city filled with lots of trails for the mountain biking enthusiast, as well as hikers. Heath has gone there a few times by himself, but we've never joined him until today.

We drove around it and through for a bit until we found an overlook to park at. From there we took of down and around the trails. We didn't get far before the dark clouds warned us that a storm was brewing.

We couldn't tell which way the storm was heading, since there was a humid stillness to the air. We kept on hiking around a trail for a few minutes, until we felt a big gust of wind. The storm was moving fast!

Heath and the boys went one way, and the girls and I went another. I took this picture just as the big raindrops started falling. Within minutes, it was pouring down. Luckily, we made it to the van before the hail started.

So ends our quick 20 minute hike. We thought we'd wait it out, but hours later, it's still raining. We'll try again another day.

Swimming With Sharks Is Fun!

Have a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Trouble Trouble

Keaton came home with his head practically dragging on the ground in shame, as he handed me this note. He had to turn his card to red, which has never happened before. Keaton was mortified. It seems he was too busy talking with a buddy to hear to his teacher telling him to be quiet and listen.

So in apology, he wrote this next note. The picture demonstrates him and his two buddies, who he was talking with, and the teacher standing next to them, trying to get their attention. He will be quiet and listen from now on. Of course, there are only a few more days of school left anyway, but it's the principle that matters.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Update on the Job

Sorry to leave out so many details with Heath's new job. Quite honestly, he never wants me to get too personal with his job, but even he mentioned that I didn't say very much.

So to walk a fine line here, Heath will be working for Northrup Grumman. They are a huge military contract company. We fell very lucky to have gotten on with them. He'll be working at a different military base here, in Colorado. We will not be moving anywhere, so that is good news. Although we have plans to buy a house this year, that won't happen until the fall, right before the little lemon drop is born.

There has been a boost in spirits around here. Heath feels great, getting this new job, and I have finally figured out the secret to feeling better with this pregnancy. It is called TAKING NAPS. Seriously, on the days that I get a nap, I feel so much better, and I can usually eat dinner, although in very small amounts.

Luckily, this little girl has been cooperating with me on the nap affair. I get her to lay down a few days a week now, and it's been great. Yesterday she even went upstairs by herself and crawled into bed. What a good girl.

Do you see that book peeking out under the blanket? It's a Dora Princess book and she's been reading it nonstop since we got it from the library last week. She especially loves Dora's fancy shoes in the book, and says "I wuv those shoes, momma" just about every 30 seconds.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Husband Got a New Job!

He starts in a few weeks. Even better, the job offers insurance. Couldn't have come at a better time. No more crappy medical insurance. I called and cancelled it yesterday. It felt good. No more money for them!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Campout

Last weekend, Heath and the boys went on a Father/Son campout with our church group. It's always something that is highly anticipated, whether rain or shine. The forecast called for a sprinkling of showers Friday night. Nothing that that guys can't handle.

So I packed up the boys with flashlights, sleeping bags, sweatshirts, and bandaids. They were so excited for their Daddy to come home from work so they could go. It wasn't until 6pm that they got out the door. It took an hour for them to drive to the campsite, through the beautiful mountains that frame our state.

It is a tradition for me to make them hobo meals for their dinner. I started making them spaghetti and meatballs, with garlic bread, for their campfire feast, and this year was no different. They gobbled them up.

I sent the camera with Heath, with instructions to take lots of pictures. He took a few, but they weren't what I had in mind. You won't find a single picture of Heath or the boys in these pictures. Here is what Heath deemed memorable enough to capture with a photograph.

The countryside.
The cinnamon roll he ate with breakfast.

The six dozen eggs he cracked for breakfast.

The campsite.

The fire.

You'll just have to believe me that Keaton and Kolby were present and accounted for.

Belated Mother's Day Card

This sweet little card was handed to me on Sunday by Georgie's Primary Teacher. I can't stop looking at it. It is just too sweet.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Postal Communications

Went to the post office the other day, in the midst of my very annoying communications with my insurance company. It was a bad day already.
I brought my taped up box that I found in the garage, and dumped it on the scale.

"Oh, look at this box. That will never do." The older guy across the counter said, with his pointed nose peering down at me, almost causing his spectacles to falling off, and actually finished off his initial appraisal with a "tssk tssk".

I had spent quite a bit of time finding a box that would accommodate the three wrapped packages inside, and was pleased to find one that was smaller than a laundry basket. I spent even more time taping it up, and I wasn't going to give up quite so easily. "What's wrong with my box?" I replied...perhaps taking his judgement a bit personally.

"It's got the word 'Listerine' all over it. That means it's a fire hazard."

"The words make it a fire hazard?"

He looked at me like I was an idiot. "Because this box formerly housed a product that is considered flammable, it is not an allowable mode of transport for whatever you are mailing. They would never allow this to be mailed out."

At this point, the second worker behind the counter walks over, looks at my box, and then turns her own nose down at me. "Oh no. Never allowed. Never. We can't mail that."

I sigh heavily.

They offer suggestions on other Priority boxes, that are much too small to fit whatever items I have hidden inside my flammable box, and I am left with no other option than to go home and find another box. One that is worthy of being mailed by the post office.

"Oh, but there is one more thing you can do." the worker with the pointed nose calls after me. "You can cover the box with a brown paper bag so we can't see what the box was used for. Then, we can mail it for you."

I turn back. "So you are saying, that if I take a paper bag, which makes a great fire starter, and cover the already assessed 'fire-waiting to happen' box, then I can bring it back and you will mail it out with no problems."

"Yes ma'am."

Well, that makes a lot of sense.
I brought back the brown-bagged flammable box the next day. It should arrive at my friend's doorstep, barring any flammable incidents, in two days.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Beyond Upset at my Insurance Company

The biggest gripe we have, after Heath served his time in the military, was getting medical insurance. It costs so much!! People always said, when we were getting out of the military, "Oh, are you sure? Medical costs really add up!" We told everyone we knew what we were getting into. Afterall, we had three kids before we joined the military. We can handle it.

What we weren't ready for, was making more money. That is a good thing and a bad thing. The bad part, is that we no longer qualified for state insurance, or any of the other benefits families get from having a lower income. We now have to pay for everything...including medical insurance.

So when Heath was offered a job here in Colorado, we researched insurance companies. We found one that seemed to be a good fit. I poured over the fine print, read everything about the policy, and finally signed up for one. Having a background in insurance billing actually paid off! I thought we knew everything about the policy.

Boy, was I extremely misled. I found out today that instead of my insurance covering up to ten thousand dollars for my pregnancy, in actuality, I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR UP TO TEN THOUSAND before they will pay anything. Are you serious? It doesn't even cost that much to have a baby. Why on earth would I pay so much money per month on the premium, then another TEN THOUSAND, before the insurance company kicks in? That is ridiculous. Who would sign up for that policy? Oh yeah. I guess I did. Not what I thought I was signing up for, that's for sure.

Oh, and another thing, apparently I don't have a family deductible of a thousand dollars, but PER PERSON. For a family that hardly ever goes to the doctor, we have now paid more in premiums and deductibles than we would have paid out of pocket for years and years. I am so mad right now. Stupid insurance company won't get another penny from us, that's for sure. I'm cancelling, and I'd rather pay out of pocket for the rest of the pregnancy, than give another dime to that insurance company. It will actually be cheaper.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Pictures

Well, I'm not that thrilled with how I look in these pictures, but since I promised you yesterday that I would show you some pictures, I guess I have to oblige. I'm not really sure why my hair looks so bad. It seemed fine when I was doing it in the morning. Oh well.

I'm even less impressed with this next picture, but here it is: The 3 Month Waist-Thickening Picture.

Come on. This is my 5th baby. I'm bound to be showing earlier than is necessary. What can ya do, other than just go for it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day!

I want to wish all my friends out there a wonderful Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day to my mom, Heath's mom, and Chris Buchanan. These three women have been our anchors in life. We love you and wish we could be with you to celebrate this special day.

More to come about our Mother's Day. Heath made breakfast for me, including some apple coffee cake that we are just about to dig into. He's got dinner planned for me too. We'll fill you in on everything, including a profile picture of how this baby has expanded my tummy already.

Have a super fantastic day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I had three bowls of it. So what?

Yesterday, about 2:30 in the afternoon, I was hungry. I mean, I actually wanted to eat something! Afternoons have been my nauseous time, so I was pleasantly surprised that food sounded appealing. I decided just to make dinner a bit early.

By three o'clock, I was eating a big bowl of Baked Potato Soup. Ten minutes later, I had my second bowl. Then, I had another. I've always loved this soup. It comes together very quickly and it is so tasty. I've made this many times for friends that I have brought dinner to. It's always been a hit. So, give it a try.

Baked Potato Soup

About 3 cups of baked potato pulp. Depending on the size of your potatoes, this is approximately 3-5 baked potatoes. (I make meatloaf the night before, and just bake up some extra potatoes at the same time. After they have cooled, I spoon the pulp out and reserve it in a bowl in the fridge until the next night. )
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced (or 1/2 cup chopped green onions)
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
1/3 cup crumbled bacon
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheese

In a soup pot, add your potato pulp (nicely chopped so you don't have any big lumps), chicken broth, onion, celery, garlic, and salt and pepper. Bring to a soft boil for about 10 minutes. Add in bacon and milk and let simmer until it is heated through. Stir in sour cream and cheese. Serve.

I usually like green onions in this soup, but last night I didn't have any. I added half an onion with the potatoes, so they would cook through. If you do have green onions, you don't need to add the regular onion. Your choice. If adding the green onion, add it when you add the milk.

One thing I love about this soup, is that the celery stays firm. I hate soggy celery. It gives the soup a nice bite. Hope you like it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Most Disgusting Story

I've mentioned this before, but until I was 12 years old, I grew up on a ranch in Arizona. My family was one of four that lived on the ranch, which included many cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents. From my perspective, it was a great life. Here is a picture of my family when I was about 11 years old. (I am the one holding my sister Sharon) It was this particular summer, where my story begins.
We let our imaginations run wild, while playing on the ranch. There were these funny old rusted machinery parts of cars, wagons, and other devices that served as our spaceships for our adventures into outer space. They also made great jungle gyms. There were many levels of the hay-filled barn that begged for games like Hide-and-Go-Seek and Freeze Tag. We had a gigantic rope swing and tree houses that amused us for hours. We spent days and days gathering up tadpoles from the frog pond, only to get in trouble when my mom would find hundreds of frogs hopping around our yard. But on really hot summery days, we'd meet up with our cousins at the swimming pond.
It was located about a mile from our house, sheltered in the nook of a hill. It boasted lots of water snakes, dragonflies, frogs, and even more squirmy creatures that we couldn't see. It got deep enough in the middle that we couldn't imagine touching the bottom, nor did we want to. We swam in blissful innocence, not caring that the water was too murky and dirty and most likely harboring more bacteria than should ever be found in one place. Above all, it was nice and cool. A perfect remedy when running through the sprinkler, or being thrown across the slip and slide by an older cousin, wasn't enough.
On this particular day, most of my cousins joined my siblings and I as we splashed around the pond. We were having a great time cooling off, when someone said they just kicked something big and hairy under the water. We all screamed and paddled out of the water as quickly as we could. "What do we do?" "What's under the water?" "We are going to be eaten alive!" We all voiced our opinions.
One of my cousins ventured back into the water. Without all the splashes and ripples, he could see under the surface a few feet. There, completely covered by three feet of water, was a cow. A very dead cow. How long had it been there? We couldn't tell you, but we had swam in that pond all summer long and hadn't noticed it. We had blown bubbles in that water. We had halfway drown in that water. I'm sure many people had peed in that water. We all sat there, staring at the cow, and wondering just how disgusting our little swimming hole was.
While one of the older cousins went to get one of our uncles, we felt the sun beating on our backs again. It was hot. The water was much cooler. Soon, all of us were back in the pond, swimming away. Surely if we stayed away from the part that had the dead cow, we would be ok. I remember blissfully swimming and splashing happily, as my uncle used one of the tractors and a smart-looking pulley system to heave the cow from the depths of the pond. It looked very mutated and gross, but we turned our backs on it and kept on swimming.
Yes, we were gross, disgusting, and dirty children. I'm surprised we didn't harbor some sort of mutancy from all the bacteria we digested that summer. However, with all fondness, we forever remember that pond as "the pond with the dead cow in it"...and we kept on swimming in it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This is how I feel most of the time

Too tired to do anything, let alone climbing up and down the stairs. Keaton was sick all last week, and this is how I found him after school one day. Poor thing. I know how he feels. Sometimes it's just too much work to go upstairs to bed.

I'm sorry my blogging has been sparse. Truth is, I don't have anything to blog about because I haven't been doing anything. That craft week (or two weeks) really wiped me out. Quite honestly, I've been exhausted since March.

I try to clean. I try to make dinners. I try to keep up with other things, but for the most part, all I want to do is sit down and read (keeps me occupied, but doesn't exhaust me). Heath hasn't commented about the disaster level of the house, which is nice. He would, however, like to see me doing something other than reading. I like to read. So be it.

I don't really have much of an appetite either. I try to make dinner every night, but by the time it's made, I usually can't stomach eating anything. I've been loving cranberry juice lately, and cinnamon toast crunch (dry), cashews, and peanut butter crackers. Nothing else really sounds good.

I've been having clothing issues too. I'm in that awkward in-between stage, where my current pants feel like I'm strangling the baby, and yet it's way too early for maternity clothes. I've been trying to wear jackets and sweaters, to disguise the lumpy chunkiness that I feel my belly resembles, but with the weather finally turning nice here, that won't be a solution for long.

Hopefully another month will solve all my problems!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Was Going To Wait To Tell You...

...But now seems like a good time to let you in on the news. Congratulations! You are going to be an Auntie! (or an Uncle, depending on who reads this blog.) We are having a baby! That's right. Baby #5 is on the way.

I am almost through my first trimester, and I'm feeling much better. For about a month I wanted to do nothing more than curl up in my bed, but I think I'm on the mend now. I'm actually eating regularly again, so that's a plus.

We kept things to ourselves for a long time. I just wanted to make sure that things were developing normally for the little peanut before we made a big announcement. We didn't mean to keep secrets from anyone, and I did my share of denying that I was pregnant, but we hope you all understand that we just needed the peace of mind an ultrasound brought, before we shared the news.

Anyway, the baby is due the middle of November, and I'm officially declaring November 8th as the day the baby will arrive. We'll see, in six months, if I am right. My last three babies have been born exactly 10 days from the due date, so that's why I'm guessing Nov. 8th. Won't it be fun to see if I'm right?

We are excited. We are happy. Yes, the baby was planned. Yes, it will probably be our last. Yes, that makes me sad, but I think I'm ok with it. Time will tell. So, that's it. Congratulate us already!