Thursday, December 29, 2011

I've Missed A Month....

So....it's been a busy month full of babysitting, caroling, nursing home visits and choir performances.  I sang in a church choir this past fall & just finished up my 3rd season with The Noteables.  Malachi now has 6 teeth & I have discovered a quick and easy holiday treat that I am actually good at making (for those of you who are familiar with my relationship with the kitchen, you know what a big deal that is).
    Even with all the holiday goodies and activities, hubby & I have kept up with our 90-day work-out routine (ok, more like a 120-day program for us....we keep taking extra rest days) and we're close to day number 60.  His goal is to get back into shape, and mine is to find my shape ;)
    The kid's preschool acquired a new teacher & Josiah's behavior has improved since.  Malachi's up and moving around and Amber's bed-time confessionals have become a regular routine for us, though sometimes it's more like a recounting of the day's activities than actually confessing to her sins.
    No major drama happened, and we stayed in CO for Christmas celebrations.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Almonds...

   The other day my husband was at a friend's house.  He called and asked if I wanted some almonds (they had bags full, he said).  I know what almonds are. I love almonds. I eat almonds.
   What I didn't know was that they come in shells (I should have put 2 & 2 together....peanuts come in shells...walnuts come in shells...pistachios come in shells....).  When I saw what was in the bag he brought home, I told him that these were NOT almonds.  I didn't know what they were, probably chestnuts, but DEFINETLY NOT almonds.
    I don't have a nut cracker.  I used a meat tenderizer to open one, and guess what I found?? ALMONDS!!!  Apparently almonds come in shells too.  Lesson learned.  Well, since I didn't have a nut cracker, and the meat tenderizer thingie was crushing the nut, not just the shell, I used a vise-grip to crack them all. 
   After I finished that task (and ate half of them), I googled how to roast them.  So I did. I made a batch of garlic-pepper & one of cinnamon-honey.  They came out well and tasted good, but someone forgot to tell me NOT to put the ones with honey on a paper towel to cool.  Apparently they stick.  Lesson #2 learned.  At least I didn't burn anything.

Black Friday...

     Since the madness of Black Friday/Cyber Monday has passed, I shall regale you with my tale....
      Black Friday....Yes, I am one of those crazy people that attend Black Friday sales (does this surprise you???)  I would totally camp out for hours before the sale times if necessary, but we live in a small town that only has a Walmart.  I've attended the Black Friday sales here for about four years now, and the first year wasn't too bad. There were only about 20 people lined up before Walmart opened, and year after it seems to get a little bit busier, but not as crazy as it is in the cities.
     This year, i was late getting to Walmart for their 10pm sale-I arrived in the parking lot at 9:45pm.  Immediately I started panicking when I saw that the parking lot was 75% full.  I parked on the outer edge and ran (yes, I ran. I was on a mission.) to the store.  I saw some bikes outside (I was shopping for my friend as well, so I needed two bikes) and threw them in a shopping cart (talk about awkward-one was a 16" & the other a 20"....and they were already assembled).  I barely made it inside to the service desk without knocking anything or anyone over.  They agreed to put my name on the bikes & hold them for me till i was done my shopping.  Whew!
      Next, I made my way around the main aisles of the store where all the goodies were- on pallets and in boxes.  After retrieving just about everything on my list, I realized I couldn't find one item from the sales circular- men's socks.  They were for my friend, so I desperately needed to find them.  I asked several of the sales associates that were posted as crowd control and they pointed me in the general vicinity.  After circling the store several times (and asking random customers), I came to the conclusion that no one had ever actually SEEN the socks, they just knew *WHERE* they should have been located.  So, either these socks never existed, or they just just vanished because there wasn't even an empty pallet where they "should" have been.
     As I continued my adrenaline-fueled journey, I saw a few of my friends who helped me find some of the missing items on my list that did exist, and I continued to throw things into my cart ("oooh...this looks like a good idea", "wow! that looks neat!").  Finally, I reached the check-out lanes.  While there, I remembered the bikes I had at the service desk (I didn't need the boy's one anymore because I found one in a box, unassembled-fits into a closet better).  When I arrived, the sales associates had changed shifts, and apparently my name was not placed on the bikes, so the girl's one (one I needed) was given to someone else who "claimed" it was theirs.  I was mad. I was planning on finding this person and giving them "what-for".  However, the CSM could see the fire in my eyes & refused to relinquish the name (small town).  OS, desperate for the bike at the sale price, I rushed back outside to see if there were anymore.  Thankfully, there were.  I made my way back inside, bike in hand, and somehow managed to maneuver the cart out of the store (I did pay for it all) with the bike on top.
   When I finally arrived at my vehicle, I opened the back hatch (Chevy mini-van) only to say "oh, crap".  I had forgotten to remove our double-stroller before my "search & rescue" mission, leaving less room to shove stuff into.  Somehow (after saying "oh, crap" a million times) I managed to cram it all in there with enough room to close the hatch.  The End.
     Then, I stayed up till about 3a.m. setting up all my Christmas decorations.  I only slept because I had to watch kids in the morning and I knew I needed rest.

Friday, November 18, 2011

...And This Is Why Michelle Is Never Invited Anywhere....

   Last weekend I attended a women's retreat with my friend's church.  Needless to say, after that weekend (and reading this story) most of you will never invite me to a women's retreat again ;)
    The place we went to was about an hour & a half drive from where we lived, and it was up a mountain.  We attempted to follow the mapquest directions on poorly marked roads in the dark.  Obviously, this was a fail.  As we continued our ascent up the mountain, we saw some cars parked along the side of the road and a man in what appeared to be a tan forrest ranger uniform.  He had a flashlight.  This was not good.  A van of four females being stopped by a creepy serial killer....I mean, just look at all those parked cars.  I urged my friend to NOT roll down the window or stop.  What does she do? She rolled down the window and stopped.  When I realized the danger we were now in, I told our friend sitting in the passenger side (no, I didn't drive my van. my friend did. then I let a taller friend sit up front) to pull my knife out of the glovebox.  Did she? No.  Here we are, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, about to be slaughtered, and  NO ONE CARES! 
    Amidst my utter panic, I heard the serial killer ask my friend if we were there for the Veteran's Dinner.  Veteran's Dinner?? What kind of ruse was this?? Are we about to be fed to cannibals???  Instead of rolling the window up and zooming away, my friend then told the suspicious fellow our REAL plans! Hello?? Has she NEVER seen crime dramas?? You NEVER let potential killers know your real plans! The man then gave my friend "directions" for after we turned around and we followed the path back down the mountain.  Apparently we were up the wrong side.  We eventually found the location of the camp and made it just in time for a portion-controlled dinner.
     The next morning, we drove from our cabin to the lodge where we were to be served breakfast.  Someone failed to inform our group of the caked-on ice that covered the steep roads up to the lodge.  Needless to say, several cars had to turn around.  One vehicle had become stuck, so I volunteered myself to get out of the van (we were stuck in line because of the stuck car) to go help (we all know how that goes....).  By the time I arrived, the car had become unstuck.  Another driver offered to give me a lift up the hill (it was super-windy) and I reached for the door handle.  Next thing I knew, I was licking the ice.  My coherent thought was to roll away from the tires in case they thought I vanished (it has happened, you know...), but instead I laid there, listening to the women inside the vehicle wonder what happened to me.  Finally, one of them opened the back door to discover me, lying face-down on the ground.  I'm not sure how, but I got up and was ushered into the back-seat.  Then we were stuck because we were parked on ice.  Story of my life.  Somehow, we got unstuck and made it to breakfast.
    Fast-forward to lunch-time.  So dinner Friday night and breakfast on Saturday were healthy foods.  We anticipated as much for lunch and instead we were surprised with pizza and rice-krispy treats for dessert!  I have a slight problem with sugar-once I have some, that's all I can think about....so I try to avoid sugar as much as possible on a daily basis.  But this was a free weekend.  So I ate my rice-krispy treat.  And I enjoyed it. And I wanted more.  Well, the kitchen staff informed me that there was no "more".  Heavy with disappointment, I visited some women at another table to let them know about "game time" in our cabin.  Imagine my delight when they told me that I could have the untouched rice-krispy treat setting on their table!!! (These were super-yummy: not only did they have sprinkles on top, but underneath was a carmel sauce....mmmmmmmmmm.....)
    As I made my way out of the lodge (treat in hand), I had this sudden giddy desire to run.  Across the hill.  In my snowboots.  In the snow.... And so I ran-arms open wide, holding onto that precious dessert.  And then I went down the hill.  My sudden giddy desire forgot to warn me that the snow was deeper at the bottom.  As soon as my foot touched the deeper snow, my entire body twisted, then collapsed. (You know the word "whomp"? I'm pretty sure that's the sound I my body made as it crashed into the snow)  As I laid there, rice-krispy treat held aloft (even though I was pretty much buried, the treat made it out alive!), I screamed "Christinaaaaaaaaa!" so that my friends wouldn't leave without me.  So much for friends.  Instead of rushing to my aid, Christina and one of our friends remained at the van, laughing their socks off.  Thankfully, we had one more friend.  She came to my aid and helped me up, rice-krispy treat and all.  And on our way back to the cabin, I finished my dessert.



                                           "Hangin' With The Hoodies"...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sewiously?!?

   Last night someone at church asked me if Malachi was our "serious one"....My reply was "we don't know yet" (hello-he's just a baby), but as I pondered this later, I realized that I should have responded with, "Oh, wow! I hope not!"
    In fact, I hope that none of my children become labeled as "serious".  My family is one that loves to laugh and make others laugh.  Josiah (5 years old) has already caught onto the concept of doing things to make people laugh.  Before he turned two, he started "fake falling" just to elicit a jovial response.
   Silliness runs deep in my family's bloodlines, and sarcasm is one of the major arteries.  I tend to find the humor in almost everything (sometimes when I injure myself, we're not sure if I'm laughing or crying- like the time I was working at my friend's infant care center and when I came out of the diaper changing area, a child-height sink took out my leg & I collapsed). 
    If laughter is the best medicine, my family are the doctors that administer it (albeit in strong, unwatered down doses sometimes).  Even though we may not be understood by most people, I don't see the possibility of any of my children being the "serious one".... Amber will prance around funny or put on a silly voice, and Josiah, combining his physical antics with his sense of humor will probably destine him for a career in the circus.....  I'm sure Malachi will catch on soon.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Five Years Ago....

    Five years ago a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed wonder entered the world, and we called him Josiah.  Five years ago, he couldn't walk, talk or write his name, but now he can do all of that & more!
    These past few years with him have been an interesting journey, but we're pretty confident we have him almost figured out!  Right now he's in his second year of preschool and learning so much! He gets to swim with his speech therapist once a week and he loves riding his bike.  He's a good big brother (with the occasional fighting-tattle-tailing-"you're-not-my-friend" sibling rivalry) who tries his best to entertain Malachi and Amber.
    We are so proud of how far he's come (speech delay, sensory processing disorder, ADHD tendencies....) and we know that he has a long road ahead of him, but he will always be our little boy-the one who loves airplanes and engines...and basically anything with wheels.  He's a stunt-man in training (rides his bike with his feet up & breaks into a skid out of nowhere) and just may join a circus one day.  Our little acrobat used to jump off the top of our love-seat on the matching ottoman with wheels.  He loves entertaining and the vanVeen sense of humor runs in his blood too.
                                                 So look out! Here comes our five-year old!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dream Attack

     My dreams are yelling at me. Apparently I've been a very naughty girl, and they're trying to tell me to shape up. For the past few weeks I have been running indoors on my treadmill-it started out just as an innocent-once-a-week-running-to-late-to-go-outside kind of habit, and escalated into a daily thing (fall=colder a.m. runs). I didn't think I was being lazy-I'm able to push myself further on it than when I'm out in the open air.

      Well, I guess my excuses aren't good enough for my body. One night I had a dream (it could have been too that I was looking at a photo of someone who had just run an ultra-marathon in under 5 hours and I wondered "How in the world could someone do that at that kind of speed? I can barely push two miles thanks to my wonderful "friend" living in my lungs") that I was running down a hill, and I was running and pumping my arms so fast that I started flying (quick recap- I have dreams of running when I don't run). I actually passed this ultra-marathon winner and flew down this hill.....and then I can't remember what all else happened, but when I woke up, I knew my dreams were yelling at me for running inside these past few weeks instead of outdoors where I can think and breathe fresh air.....
       Well, time to make my dreams happy... I'm going out for a run....(in the dark....in the cold...)

Monday, October 24, 2011

*Stuff Happens*

   Stuff just happens to me.  It does.  No one knows why, but after a lifetime of accepting it, I've come to the conclusion that God allows the near impossible to happen to me so that people can see that "that" is actually possible! (Seriously, I think it has nothing to do with the hair...)
    For example, I have a touch-screen full-keyboard slide cellular phone.  I'm sure that NO ONE thought it was possible for someone to pinch their hand in it.  Well, I did.  I got my palm stuck in it one day after I texted a friend.  Thankfully, she was in the same house as me and was able to help me free myself.  (I'm telling ya, this stuff just happens!)
     The same day that the cell phone incident happened, I was getting groceries out of the back of my van.  This wonderful machine has a "back hatch" (I call it a trunk-it stores stuff and is located in the back of the vehicle. It's a trunk) that lifts up by itself.  Well, I had just finished a large shopping trip, and I knew that some of the items were trying to help me out by launching themselves out of the trunk, so I squatted down in preparation for catching said items.  While I was squatting with one arm extended, I squeezed the lever that releases the hatch (sometimes I just call it a "lid"....just sayin'...) and as I leaned in towards the trunk, I realized that I should've been leaning AWAY from it as the lid quickly ascended, almost knocking my head off.  Thankfully the calamity was averted (I tell ya, these poor, unsuspecting guardian angels....) and my head remained intact.
     My last tale for this session happened just the other day while i was in the wonderful land of Walmart checking out.  (Many of you may not know, but three cashiers, a CSM and I discovered that apparently there is just the skinniest of cracks between where the checkout stand ends and the baggage carousel begins).  As I handed the cashier a check, it flew out of my hands, into the air and swooshed into this hiding spot.  After looking on both sides of the register for it (we didn't see it disappear), we discovered it laying flat at the bottom of this little crevice.  After holding up the line for what seemed like forever (and trying various means of extrication), a CSM came over with a wire hanger and was able to push it out.  I am telling you, this stuff just happens....
    So, if you ever find yourself saying "that could never happen" or "wow! that seems impossible!" just remember: it probably isn't.....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

*25 Years*

  Alot can happen in 25 years.  In fact, 25 years is a lifetime (for me at least).  Lets see....in the last 25 five years, I have:
                      *broken the same wrist twice (sprained it once),
                      *gotten hit by a car,
                      *got married,
                      *hatched 3 kids (one on a toilet, no less!),
                      *gained 190lbs (lost all but 7 of it!),
                      *cut my hair numerous time (by myself),
                      *performed in myriads of plays & concerts,
                      * help my hubby start a church (and close it),
                      *moved half-way across the country,
                     and have visited a South American country.
       If I were to list all of the injuries (that I can remember) that I have sustained in the past 25 years, it would probably take you three days to read the list.  My hospital visits list would be much shorter, so that would probably only take you a day to read ;)
       The big *25* is a quarter of a century....I have 75 more years to go till I turn 100 (if I can stay alive for that long, lol).  I dreaded turning this year because it means I'm just that much closer to being 30 (which, at this time in my life, I consider "old" and I tease my husband because he is turning the big 3-0 this year).
       I have spent a good number of years being involved in teaching and caring for children under the age of 5.  Right now I help my friend babysit during the week.  I run in the mornings and do Pilates (right now it's to get the rest of my gained weight off, but afterwards, it will be to maintain a healthy lifestyle). 
     Kids take up the majority of my time these days, but I don't think I would want it any other way. I love taking care of kids and seeing them grow (especially babies)!.  Thursday nights are dedicated to the community choir ensemble called the Noteables.  My friend & I just started a nursing home ministry where we take our kids (and the ones we watch) and read Bible stories & sing to the people at the local nursing home.
     Yesterday I enjoyed a leisurely morning, sleeping in till 8 a.m. (when you wake up at 4:45, that is sleeping in), followed by a nice run, then a walk to my friend's house where the kids we babysit gave me hand-made cards, then I got showered & dressed (skipped the Pilates), and then we went to Arby's! (yes, the nearest one is an hour & a half away).  Afterwards we browsed in some stores and then went home.  After the kids went ot bed, we watched episodes of Psych (one of my favs!) by candlelight with carmel-covered popcorn!  It was the best birthday I've had since the first one JR & I celebrated when we first started dating.  I'm blessed with a great family & wonderful friends!!! 

Rainbows and Promises....

   The other day I looked out the front of my friend's house and was greeted by the awesome sight of a huge double-rainbow.  As I gazed at the beautiful colors, I thought of how pretty it was.....and then I remembered my rainbow-chasing attempt a few Saturdays ago, and my world came crashing down.
    That rain bow no longer stood as a sign of promise and hope to me.  Instead, all I could see was empty promises and disillusionment.  I think I was even more disappointed after seeing the double rainbow than I was the day I tried to chase one.
    Well, God pays attention to our thoughts (and blog postings) and instead of chiding me, He decided to send me a birthday rainbow!  I stared at the sight on our way through the valley and I came to the conclusion that rainbows aren't signs of empty or broken promises.  They're not symbols of disillusionment or abandonment.  The reason you can never find the end of a rainbow is because they start and end in God's hands.  His hands hold the world, and His hands hold promises.  Without God, there would be no rainbows.
                  
                                                              double rainbow
                                                       my BDay rainbow...(it looks kinda faint...)

St. Elmo 2011

      Every year we take a trek up Mount Princeton to the tiny ghost town of St. Elmo. Aside from the beautiful fall foliage, another of their famous attractions is the chipmunks. You sit on this pile of old logs and these little guys just run all over you looking for food. The general store sells "chipmunk feed" for a small price (I think it's just unsalted sunflower seeds) and you sit there with some in your hand or on your shoulder or wherever & the creatures just scamper around and tear apart the hulls to get to the seed. It all happens so fast-one moment you have a chipmunk on your arm, the next he's gone!

    Something interesting seems to happen each year. One year it snowed, so we didn't see too many chipmunks. Another year, Josiah got so excited that he was jumping all around and....he stepped on one's tail.... The poor little guy! The squeak sound he made was sooooo pitiful, it made you wanna cry....
     This year we had two interesting things happen: 1. squirrels became brave enough to eat out of our hands (I DO NOT recommend this-usually there are squirrels hanging around, but they've never gotten close enough to eat out of our hands), 2. I had two chipmunks poop on me (it could've been the same one twice...who knows?? they all sorta look the same). For some reason, hubby didn't find the chipmunk poo as disturbing as I did....but that may be because it wasn't on him....
                                                           Amber feeding the squirrel
                                                      chipmink poo...you know you were curious....



Monday, September 19, 2011

The Lost Sheep...

     ::sigh::  Just about everyone knows the parable that Jesus told about the good shepherd who went and left 99 of his sheep to find the lost one (who was apparently injured and stuck).  This is a picture of Jesus seeking diligently after each and every person until He can bring them all back into His flock.
     The word "Christian" means "little Christs".  Well, even though I claim to be a "Christian", today I realized that I am not at all like Christ.....
     We (Amber, Josiah, Malachi & I) were in the checkout line at a grocery store.  Amber & Josiah (legs=disobedient mobility) were not staying with Mommy.  After threatening to leave them (why yell at your kid or argue with them when you can just leave??), Josiah finally climbed into the cart to entertain Malachi (the wonderfully immobile child) while Amber hung around the back of the shopping cart.  I kept an eye on her as she wandered back & forth (we were being checked out).
    All of a sudden, I see Amber screaming and crying and running as fast as she could towards the exit, calling for me! She ran right past me!!! I tried calling her name, but she was too caught up in the fear of losing me to hear.  The cashier tried calling for her, then asked if I wanted her to get Amber.  I told her (while I was desperately trying to hold back waves of laughter after seeing Amber run like the wind) "No, she's fine" (as she's still wailing by the front door...I was waiting for her to exit before I started chasing her).
    Well, I guess the customer isn't always right, because she started towards Amber.  About the same time, a customer (engaged in a not-so-deep conversation on her cellular phone) entered the store and (of course) headed towards the crying child as she abruptly ended her conversation ("I gotta go. I gotta go!").  Just so things wouldn't become more complicated than they already were, I walked over as the stranger scooped Amber up and promised her she'd help her find her Mommy. 
    Things would have gone alot smoother if the cashier just finished ringing up my stuff, and then I would have intercepted Amber on my way out.  Instead, I took the frightened child (after telling her "That's what happens when you leave Mommy") back to the check-out line (amidst a variety of on-lookers) and finished our transaction.  As we were leaving, the cashier asked if I needed help out to the car (I had...6 items and a shopping cart).  I told her, "No. I just need someone to take her" and pointed to Amber....but after reflecting back on this statement (and my behavior) I realize this may have been the wrong thing to say.  Oh, well. Maybe next time I'll go after the lost sheep (more like screaming banshee....).

On Chasing Rainbows....

     I'm sure as you read the title, you thought this would be a deep, though-provoking post about the meaning of rainbows....well, it's not...     Saturday was a wonderful morning for rollerblading (if you ignored the really cold temperature & winds). As I was on my route back home (wondering why I was attempting to skate in such high winds), I saw my answer-a rainbow. God had made a rainbow just for my morning jaunt (because He knows how silly I am).
     As I glided toward the beautiful sight, I could see that the rainbow was close to where I lived, so if I booked it (yeah, in the wind...) I could probably make it to the location & back home before JR had to be in work. Yes, I was going to touch a rainbow.
     My excitement built as I grew closer to where it started. I just hoped that I could reach high enough (I could see that it didn't touch the ground). I swiftly made my way (well, as swift as I could considering the wind) around the corner of the block and past where I lived....and then I paused....it seemed that the rainbow has disappeared! Oh, no!!! I glided further towards the assumed location, looking for just a glimmer of my rainbow....but it was gone.....
     No one had ever told me that visions of rainbows were dependent on certain angles. I almost cried as I slowly made my way home. All my hopes and dreams of touching a rainbow had been crushed (and this was after they had insensibly escalated because the highway that runs through our town is called "Rainbow Boulevard"-we see many rainbows, doubles & triples each year). Neither hubby nor the bff understand my devastation...but perhaps you will...


                            you can see the gap between the rainbow and the ground...





Sunday, September 18, 2011

Confessions Of A 3-Year Old...

    Somehow I am already starting to embarrass my 3-year old.  During "warm-up time" the other day, I was dancing (the kids are supposed to follow the teacher until "free dance") and Amber said, "No! I can do it myself!" and walked away from me!   Then today, we went on a really long hike. It was one of those "oh-this-sounds-like-a-good-idea-oh-wait-the-trail-keeps-going-we-got-time-lets-follow-it" hikes.  On our trek back to the vehicle, we were travelling down the windy path (I had the baby carrier on & was holding Amber's hand) when we saw two (male) cyclists who let us pass.  As we were walking by, Amber said, "no, Mommy! Let go my hand!" like I was (again) embarrassing her!
    I'm not sure how a wonderful Mommy can embarrass her just-turned-three-year-old, but it has happened.  So, to embarrass her further, I shall do what all embarrassing mommies do and tell you something about her.....
    Since Amber turned three, it seems like her nightly tuck-in is her confessional time (note that I always ask the kids how school was as soon as they get home).  Twice when I have tucked her into bed in the last couple of weeks, she has told me about receiving time-outs that day in school, and more recently she has been describing her day.  I don't ask, she just spills (sometimes a little too fast & unclear). I'm wondering how she can keep it all contained for so long without forgetting the details! 
    Maybe she waits until bedtime to tell me how school was because she knows she can't get into trouble for it then.  Or, perhaps she sees it as an intimate way to bond after the rough day she's given me (her attitude could rival that of any 16-year-old).  Either way, I find it sweet and soak up every word (even if I don't understand it).  And for now, her confessions are that of a three-year-old....I fear the day when they turn into the confessions of a 16-year-old.....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Making A Difference....Or Not....

   My youth pastor from when I was a teenager always quoted Jude verse 22, "And of some have compassion, making a difference" (it's actually his life-verse) which is basically saying to do good to other people (to make a difference).  Doing your "good deed of the day".  Well, I totally stink at doing good deeds of the day.  Oh, it's not that I don't do them, or don't like to do them, it just seems that whenever I do a good deed, it turns out to be useless or unnecessary.
    One week, I was on a roll.  My good deed had been deemed useless, so the next day, I saw an opportunity that I knew just couldn't go wrong, and I took it.  Our town was going to host the USA Pro-Cycling Challenge for a day, and the week prior I saw a van sitting in a parking lot with a sign that said "survey in progress". Well, duh.  They must be surveying the traffic flow of this particular road for race day.  Well, as my mind was wishing them well, I realized that there's a preschool on this exact road.  Since all schools were starting the following week (race-week), this guy was NOT going to have an accurate survey for the day of the race. 
     So, I decided to let him know that the traffic flow on this particular road, on that particular day, at this exact time (early a.m.) would be severely heightened.  After I told him this information and he thanked me, I felt better.  So much better (and happier-hey, I just saved race-day!) that I decided to let a few friends know of my good deed (how else were they going to know that I just saved race-day?).
     Even though my children do not attend that particular preschool, they have friends who do.  After talking with the parents of these friends, I discovered that my good deed was-once again- futile.  Even though most of the public & private schools were starting the Monday of race-week, this preschool (whose patrons would have affected the traffic flow) was not starting for another 2-3 weeks!  Imagine my devastation when I realized that yet another "good deed" had turned out to be not so good.....
    So, if you see me on the street and I fail to help someone across, or don't pick up a piece of trash or ignore that hurting person, please remember that there is a reason.  My "good deed" will probably back-fire and cause more help to be needed.  My not doing a good deed, I am doing a good deed.
     *Editor's note: Michelle will still continue to do good deeds, but do not expect positive results

Monday, September 12, 2011

Caught In The Headlights

   Someone should pay me to come up with answers for things.  I think I've figured out why it seems like deer "freeze" when headlights from vehicles shine on them.
    I've done alot of observing of deer on my morning runs (it's just one family) and they've done their fair share of observing me as well.  This morning after I almost ran into one, I realized that deer aren't actually frozen by the bright lights that turn on them.  The reason deer stop moving (and no, I am not a registered wildlife expert) when cars approach is a natural instinct.  See, usually deer are surrounded by nature that they (of course) naturally blend in with.  They freeze whenever an unfamiliar object approaches because they that they are blending in to their surroundings and therefore become invisible. 
   However, we as smarter-than-the-average-deer humans know better.  We can see the deer because as civilization has encroached upon their territory, they have less blendable objects surrounding them.  They, of course do not know this (perhaps they can only see in black & white??).  Maybe I'll let them know one of these days...if they stop running away....

Running Update

     Since summer is waning and fall is fast approaching, I've discovered that if I run before 6 a.m. (its even dark then) I need to take a flashlight with me.  I'm looking at a long, early days this week, so 5:30 a.m. runs are going to be the norm. 
    It was so dark when I left the house today that I could still see the stars!  The full moon partly illuminated my path this morning, along with some street lamps, but I used a pen-light for most of my journey. 
    As I neared the end of my route, a deer took off from behind the bushes and I realized I hadn't been paying attention to where I was headed-I almost ended up running into the deer's hideout!
    Running hasn't been easy for me this past week-last Tuesday I bruised my tailbone really bad when I fell while rollerblading (pushing a jogging stroller & watching Amber on her trike = not paying attention to what I was doing).  Apparently you can't run to fast (or far) with a sore coccyx, so I've been having to take it slow.  (Apparently these things also take forever to heal-boo....)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Relatives Of Bambi??

    Ever seen deer jump? I have. I'm not talking about how they run....Some of them actually jump! I see this phenomenon when I go running in the mornings. Instead of running away, the deer jump away-kind of like they're wind-up toys with springs.

     There's at least one family of deer that live in the development I run in. I saw the lot of them watching me one morning as I was walking up an incline on my way back home. They watched me as I watched them (I was kind of afraid that the two bucks would come charging at me) and jumped away as I neared. They seem to be a pretty skittish lot. I'm not sure if deer ever take the aggressive advantage, or if they always run.
     I think they assigned one to "tattle-tale duty"-at least that's how I feel when she spots me, then runs off to inform the others of my approach. I have noticed that the deer don't jump on pavement-only in the meadow area. The grass and soft ground probably give them the spring they need to keep bouncing away, limbs together.
    They seem friendly enough, but for now I keep my distance (well, my bright orange running jacket probably scares them off, too). Maybe one day I will start giving them names-my problem is, they all look the same to me....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Amber Turns 3!!!

   So, our little girl just celebrated her 3rd birthday last Friday.  We had two wonderful years with her...and then she turned 2.  This last year started with a potty-training roller coaster that finally stopped in February.  When I had pneumonia from Jan-Feb, she had to step it up and use the potty all by herself because I couldn't pull myself off the couch to help.  After months of pooping in her underwear, something snapped and she started pooping on the potty like most people do. 
   Over the summer we sent her to daycare once a week at the place where she would be attending preschool.  She started preschool about a week ago and seems to enjoy it.  She gets to go three times a week with her friends.
    For the past 2 months while Josiah's been in speech therapy, I've taken her to the Salida trail so she can practice riding her tricycle.  She's really getting the hang of using the pedals and *maybe* by next summer she'll be ready for a bike with training wheels (and 5 years after that, we just might take the training wheels off)
    So even though she just turned 3, we can already tell that she'll be a true blonde-as ditzy & clutzy as they come.  She never watches where she is going and ends up walking into everything.  The day before her birthday, she jumped off a bed and hit her face on the metal frame, giving herself a nice bruise on her cheek.  It looked like she had a black eye. 
     She has the toughest time making choices and she absorbs attention, especially from older folks.  She has discovered that her whininess appeals to most everyone's sympathetic side, and she uses this to her advantage.  She has the word "princess" written all over her!!!
    She loves dressing up, putting on make-up and wearing jewelry.  Her daddy's heart is in the palm of her hands.  Maybe one day she'll surprise us all and be the smartest in her class, but until then, we'll keep warning her of the wall she's about to walk into....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Guardian Angels

   My poor, poor guardian angels.  I feel so bad for them sometimes.  I'm sure that God has them on a monthly rotation for me so they don't get too worn out (or go insane).  Actually, I think their conversations go something like this:
   God:  "Hey, Angel גייב, come here.  I have a very special assignment for you."
   Angel גייב: "Oh, really?? Me?? Sure, Lord, whatever you want!"
   God: "Now, you can't tell anyone about this.  This is a secret mission."
  Angel גייב: (feeling quite proud) "I won't tell a soul! I promise!"
   God: "Come here." (gestures towards Himself) "Closer."
   Angel גייב: (all giddy with excitement) "Yes?"
   God: (whispering) "---------"
   Angel גייב: "What?!? No!!! Nooooooo!!!!"
   God: "Yes."
   Angel גייב: ::sniff, sniff:: (big sigh) "Ok. But only a month, right???"
   God: "Yes. Next month I'll find someone else to pick on."
    If you are familiar with my blog, you have probably come to the conclusion that stuff just happens to me.  No, it's not the hair color.  Things beyond my control just have a way of happening to me....and my poor guardian angels probably ward off more things than I can possibly imagine!!!  Well, I'm going for a run now.  It's back to work for them!

My Hot, Steamy Love Affair

    Yes. I did have a hot, steamy love affair. (I know, scandalous, isn't it??) However, since we moved out to CO, I haven't been able to continue it due to the distance. That's right. You know what I'm talking about (don't pretend you don't know!) If you've ever been to the east coast (specifically the DE, PA, NJ area) you're familiar with the taste of... Wawa.

       The other day I stopped myself from writing on the Wawa FaceBook fan page: "I miss you. I can't wait until we can be together again. I hope you think of me as much as I do you."
        Wawa is a wonderful brand of convenience stores that also markets their own coffee, dairy and food products. Some sell gasoline too, but I can't really comment on that since I've never voluntarily ingested it.
         Every weekend morning (when I lived at home), my dad would bring my mom and I coffee from this wonderful place (I...um....started drinking cappachinos at age 11....). On my way to school in the morning, I would stop by. After work, on my way back to school in the evenings (college days, anyone??) I would revisit. Wawa has seen me through many phases in my life. Coffee from other chains never quite measured up.
        My fav product of theirs is these plastic, microwaveable coffee mugs that last forever. Great quality for a low price!!! I have 3, but sometimes I feel like I need more ;p
        Whenever we make a trip to the east coast, Wawa is a required stop. Even though they now sell their own ground coffee (in store and online), I'm not sure that it will measure up to the fresh java they make in-store, but the way coffee prices are rising, I just might have to stock up on it on our next visit!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Hair!!!

   Last weekend JR went on a camping trip with some men from the Friday morning Bible Study he attends.  My friend Christina's husband just so happens to be the leader of this weekly gathering, so she too was left alone for the entire weekend.
   On Saturday, Christina called me and asked if I could come over and trim her hair-she had chopped off her pony tail and was going to donate it to Locks of Love (they make human-hair wigs for cancer patients).  So, after hauling my troops over to her place (she has 4 of her own), what should have been a 15 minute session turned into a 3-hour hair-cutting party.  Christina & I ended up being hair-cut twinsies (my hair hasn't been this short in over 10 years!) and we trimmed our girl's hair (she has 2 & I have 1).  Needless to say, the hubbys were a bit surprised when they came home Sunday morning.  Oh, well. I guess they shouldn't have left us alone, now should've they??
twin cuts!

                                                           me & the hubby!

Friday, August 12, 2011

...And You Are??

   So, I see people when I run.  No, they're not imaginary or dead.  These are real people.  And I may as well blog about them since they probably go home and blog about that crazy blonde chick who wears a visor and can't run too far.
    Some of these people I see daily, and some only when I'm running late.  Some I've only seen a few times, no matter when I go.
    First, there's the lady who doesn't live around here.  I know this because she drives a pretty blue boxy vehicle and parks it at the bottom of the hill I run up.  She comes to walk her dog.  They're nice.
    Then there's this lady who walks two dogs.  And another lady who doesn't walk her pet.  Then there's Storm and his owner-they're usually out around 7 a.m.  I see them when I'm running late.
   More recently I've encountered a man who does live around here.  I've seen him riding his bicycle around Poncha....and he doesn't wear a shirt (in the summer time anyways).  I've often thought about asking him to put one on.  I've seen him twice now on my morning runs, so I'm thinking he goes for a walk around 7 a.m.  Once he had a dog with him.  He seems a bit odd (not creepy creepy, but creepy).  The only other person I've seen out and about on the trails in the early mornings was this elderly gentleman running on the morning that I saw the cows.  And I warned him of them. (And yes, he did look @ me like I was silly....)
    I never know who I'm going to see when I go for a run. I just hope it's not a bear or mountain lion ;-o

Update On The Gremlins

     Well, school's about to start in a week and I am so ready for the kids to go! Amber is starting her first year of preschool & Josiah's going back for his 2nd.  Amber's been introduced to the school setting and teachers through a summer program their school offers.
     Josiah is still attending his weekly swim/speech therapy lessons.  He thoroughly enjoys his sessions with his speech pathologist.  He will be attending Pre-K 4 four mornings a week this semester which will help transition him to kindergarten next year.  He can already write his name (well, he can write all of the letters-just not in order....ok, fine, so the "S" is just kind of a half-hearted squiggle....) and recognize some letters.  Right now he enjoys riding his bike (without training wheels!) and scooter outside.  He loves running around and being active.  He also loves anything with wheels or an engine, so it's no wonder that he is still obsessed with toy cars and his train set. 
     Amber is (slowly) learning how to ride a tricycle.  She's been progressing quickly these past few weeks, and when Josiah's at the pool for his weekly lessons, we've been taking her to the Salida Trail (not the official name, but that's what the locals call it) to practice.  We're hoping she'll be ready for a big-girl bike (with the training wheels-she'll need them for at least 5 years, lol) by next summer.  She enjoys singing songs, riding her bike, dressing up and smiling for the camera!
    Malachi weighs 15lbs now (he's not even 4 months yet!) and enjoys smiling at people.  I'm pretty sure he's teething, so we'll see some chompers pop up in the next few weeks or so.  He also likes to poop...alot...  Right now his siblings seem to like him, but that's probably because he's not mobile & into their stuff yet.  Josiah seems to think he knows what's wrong with Malachi when he cries, and he's constantly telling me, "He's hungry! Feed him!", "He needs to be changed", "He's tired."  Wow.  I am so glad my 4-year-old knows what's wrong with the baby! The children are also very good at telling me when he's spit up, or is drooling. 
    Well, Amber will be turning 3 in the next few weeks and two months later, Josiah will be 5!  Where has the time gone? 
   Enjoy this photo...and the spit-up....(yes, the poor kid must wear a bib 24/7 now because he drools constantly...)


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Talk To Me??

      I don't know why people bother to talk to me. This morning when we visited a church, a man came up to me and asked where I was from. My immediate response was "Delaware", but my mouth knew it was the wrong thing to say since we've been living in CO for 5 years. However, due to lack of oxygen (high altitude), having 3 kids, or the hair color, I couldn't come up with an appropriate response (did he mean location, church background, country??), so I said nothing. Time slowly passed.
       As he stared at me, I realized an answer was wanting, so I tried explaining to him that my first response was DE, when it should have been Poncha Springs. We are from Poncha Springs (ok, so sometimes I tell people Salida, just because know one knows where Poncha is...). And after shaking my hand he offered a weak smile and I assume went to find someone with more verbal skills than I possessed.
      I'm not sure why people expect something eloquent to pop out of my mouth.... It seems like I tend to disappoint ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The End Of An Era

    To those who have been following my jeep/truck driving saga, I wanted to let you know that for now, I am giving up on the ambition of learning to drive a manual transmission.  ::Insert shock here::  It had come to my attention that not everyone is created equal when it comes to learning the basics of the necessary driving techniques need to drive stick.  I do not think that I will ever be able to smoothly transition a vehicle with a manual transition from the stop position.  Releasing the clutch while my foot is engaging the accelerator "just right" takes way more coordination than I have right now.
   In my defense, my timing is off....when it comes to everything, including music.  This is a fact that is well-known, but missed when it came to teaching me this new venture.  I may attempt this feat again, but for now, I am content to drive my van that is gradually becoming ghetto-er the longer we have it (since Josiah damaged the door, the computer in the vehicle registers the door as either being not shut properly or missing, so it started this annoying dinging that seems to cease only if you disconnect the car's battery; we need a new seat belt in the back-we had to slice through it when a friend's kid decided to wrap it around their neck; the other automatic door has issues closing/opening sometimes; the list just goes on...).
    For some unknown reason (stubbornness, maybe?), Hubby still thinks that I am capable of learning how to drive a manual transmission.  Ah, well....at least someone still had confidence in me ;) 

Social Anxiety Disorder, Anyone??

   I discovered the other day that somehow I had developed this social anxiety disorder that was gradually increasing.  Sunday night I phoned my friend to see if she would be able to go to a BBQ with me that started in an hour.  I was devastated when she said she couldn't attend with me.  Now, it wasn't just some random cookout that I had wanted to go to.  This was for members of a group that my friend and I are a part of.
    As I was signing into my email account to email the hosts and let them know I was canceling last minute, I asked myself what I was doing.  Where were my big-girl panties?  I was an adult and fully capable of attending social functions by my self, especially if I know the people who are attending.  After realizing how silly I was being, I had to mentally psych myself up for the event: "It's ok. You're ok. You can do this. You will do this.  You know these people. They are your friends.  You're wearing your big-girl underwear. You can do this."  And I committed myself to staying at least a half hour for the sake of being polite.
    I guess I should have realized what was happening to me the Thursday prior.  I was attending a cookout with my friends & all of our kids.  After I had arrived at the location (I didn't know anyone here) I called my friend to see how much longer it would be before they showed up.  I was panicking until they arrived, just about frozen in the same spot I had been since I had reached the destination.  As soon as I saw my friend, I felt better and clung to her.  Apparently we've been attending all the same social functions, so I see her as my buffer when it comes to social settings.
    Now, I tend to be a shy person... unless I know you-then I talk you're ear off.  I think what scares me about talking to people whom I don't know is saying the wrong thing.  I need to get a book with good conversation starters in it, and carry it with me wherever I go.  (I also need a pocket-size database with photos and names of people I've met and the place I met them).
    So, I went to Sunday's social function despite my unresolved fears and you know what? It was great.  I actually ended up staying for two hours (without my friend!) and had a great time!  I got to know other members of our group on a more personal basis and ignite friendships. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reflective Answer For Yesterday's Post

    This post if for those of you who have been deeply engrossed in thoughts about how I could possibly perish while running (eww....you're sick....).
    Yesterday I wrote about the randomly mysterious animal (I assumed) tracks I encountered on my morning run.  Today, I discovered that I was wrong.  They were not hoof prints...instead...
    Today is Saturday.  Usually I run four days a week, then rollerblade on Saturday (I take two days of rest from exercising).  However, I had the uncontrollable urge to run today and forgo my rollerblading jaunt.  I think it was God wanting to give me the answer to yesterday's curiosity.
    As I made my way up the hill behind where we live, I heard a cow moo-ing.  It seemed pretty loud, and although I know that there are herds kept near where I run, I had never heard one so far up the hill.  As I continued my ascent, I was greeted by the startling sight of three cows munching the weeds that are starting to overtake the trail.  While I was thankful for some trail maintenance, the realities of yesterday's thoughts flooded my mind. 
     Whenever I feel the need to call 9-1-1, I call my best friend first.  (She seems to know whether or not I actually have an emergency on my hands, so calling her spares me the embarrassment of unnecessary emergenical calls)  So at 6:45 a.m. I asked her if cows wander randomly while being herded to their location.  She then informed me that Colorado is an "open range" state, which apparently means that these huge beasts can graze wherever they choose to.  I eyed them cautiously as I continued my run, grateful that they didn't decide to chase me but were content to just stand where they were and finish their meal (cows can run. I've seen it happen.)

Friday, July 29, 2011

One More Way To Die?

     I tend to ponder myriads of things on my morning runs, including ways to die while running, what my children are doing that day, my day's activities and what to have for dinner.  This morning I ran a section of trail that had large hoof prints.  I kind of know what deer prints look like, and these were much larger and not cloven.  I also saw some mushed excrement near these impressions in the dirt.
   My mind rattled with ideas (was it a bear?{yeah, the fact that bears don't have hoofs evaded me} or a moose? what do moose prints look like? maybe it's a rogue cow! I'm going to get trampled by a cow!!!) as I continued my journey.  The panic wasn't enough to stop me because I know I will die one day, and when it happens, it happens.  I trust that God has it under control, and if it's my time to die, there is nothing I can do about it.
   Finally I reached a turn around point (I can't just run until I can't go any father-I have to get back home somehow) and as I passed by the same tracks and trampled poop, I knew what animal had been here.  I almost slapped myself (that would have been a sight to passers-by: "Why is that crazy runner slapping herself? Oh, her hair's blonde....that explains it") for the panicky thoughts earlier.  Those hoof impressions were made by horses.  Not bears or moose or random cows.  It all made sense now.  The deep crescent shape was a horse hoof.  Well, I guess I could always get trampled to death by a horse....

Friday, July 22, 2011

1000 Ways To Die While Running....Well, More Like 4....

    While I was on my daily run this morning, I realizes that there are many ways I could die while running the trails behind my apartment complex.  The first one that crossed my mind actually took root last week-part of the trails that I run on are under these enormous power lines.  Since I take water on my runs (not to mention a high percentage of our body is made of water), I face the risk of being violently electrocuted if one of those line should happen to collapse on me.
     Another possible horror I face is being mauled to death by black bears.  I'm not sure if there are any lurking in the secluded woods where I run, but this type of bear does not take "playing dead" well.  They don't wait around for their food to grow cold before chowing down. Note to self: I must find bear mace.
   Last year there were mountain lion sightings in our area.  This too is a reality that I face as I run.....and I am sorry to say, but I am not physically capable of out-running one of these.  Even if I did manage to out-run one, where would I lead him? To civilization where he could maul countless children and not-so-quick adults to death?  Let's just hope this scenario never occurs.
    I have instructed hubby to question my whereabouts if I am not home within an hour of leaving the house for one of my runs.  I also use a phone app while running that has a gps tracker which I'm hoping the authorities can tap into (hey, they do it on TV all the time!).  A fourth scenario of my untimely demise is a vehicle collision.  There is nothing substantial separating the biking-running-walking-let-your-dog-poop-all-over trails from the actual road.  Cars and trucks fly down the hills and I've witnessed some illegal ATVing back there.  It wouldn't take much for one of those vehicles to veer slightly off course and take me out.
    So as you can see, not only am I bravely risking my life every morning for a run, but I've been watching too many episodes of "1000 Ways To Die"...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Almost Died Again Today...Well, Almost...

     So, I rollerblade. I try to do it every Saturday to change up my weekly running routine and work my lower abs.  Usually I wear jeans for the rare occasion of falling down.  This morning, however, I wore my track pants.  After today, I am highly considering investing in wrist guards, a helmet and pads.
     Since inline skates don't go very far in dirt, I only use them on paved surfaces-this limits my routes.  This morning as I was travelling down my usual route, I thought about how I don't like to go really fast downhill because I feel out of control, and that's not safe.  The last time I went barreling down a hill really fast, I ended up taking a chunk out of my pant-leg and knee (sure, it was elementary school, but that stuff sticks with you forever).
     This morning I had a late start.  I usually don't see anyone on my roller-blading jaunts, but today I did.  As I ascended this large hill, a huge dog came bounding down to greet me.  The golden-haired canine reminded me of a pet that friends of mine once owned.  It actually shared the same name, too-Storm.  Apparently the owner had not encountered anyone at this time of morning either, because Storm was not leashed.  I stopped so the dog could sniff me, then we continued on our separate paths.
    Time is hardly ever on my side, and my exercise durations are limited by what time hubby has to go to work (well someone has to watch the munchkins).  As I turned around on the top of that hill (I couldn't take an alternate route because the other roads haven't been paved yet), I knew I was headed for disaster, but I was on a time crunch and couldn't wait for Storm and his owner to finish their descent.
   Today's distance was a bit farther than prior intervals, so I haven't descended the hill from that height.  As I took off flying down the decline, I tried to slow myself by lifting my feet, but the effort seemed futile.  Well, Storm heard my wheels and turned around, bounding towards me.  All I could think of was the damage that would be done if she stopped right in front of me.  I started panicking, and all I could do was yell.  Storm's walking companion yelled for him to stop, but it didn't seem like an immediate possibility.  Faster and faster I flew, knowing this could only end in mishap-damaged dog and clobbered Chell. 
   At what seemed like the last possible second, Storm heeded the commands and stayed away from me.  I yelled "Sorry, I'm going too fast" as I passed them, but he may have just chalked the incident up to my naturally light hair.  As I continued home, I felt like my heart was about to explode.  I couldn't slow my pace due to my limited time, and when I was almost home, I realized that I may as well be wearing trick blades-my skates have a brake on the back that I never, ever use.  Why don't I use them? Well, it's probably the fear of using it up (it's a rubber stopper), but it sure would have come in handy today.  Maybe next time....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lawn Mower + Rain = Yuck

   As mentioned in my previous post, yes I did go lawn-mowing yesterday.  Someone actually trusted me with machinery and I didn't die.  Almost, but I guess yesterday just wasn't my day.
   Yesterday I helped our friend, Mike mow a yard.  It has been years since I've touched a lawn mower.  I think the last time I mowed a lawn was when I ruined a riding mower by getting the blades stuck in a block of wood that was hidden under tall grasses.  We're talking about 8 or 9 years ago.  But I am always up for the challenge of trying new (or retrying) things!
    The mowers we used were electric, so we didn't have to deal with the stench or hassle of gas.  Well, no one mentioned that this lawn would be kinda of large and had a big hill.  Sports-induced-asthma girl should not be pushing lawn mowers up and down hills (at least not yet). 
    When we had about a quarter of the yard left to mow, it started to rain.  Not too heavy at first, just a light sprinkle.  Since we weren't stopping, I wondered if Mike had even felt it or if maybe he just shrugged it off as sweat.  Well, the rain started gradually increasing.  I told Mike, "Just let me know when we're going to be electrocuted, ok?" and he nodded, but that was the end of it. 
     So here we were, in the pouring rain, with our electric mowers plugged into the outside electrical holes, mowing grass that was becoming wetter by the minute.  I'm pretty sure that wasn't the safest thing we could have been doing.  I was waiting for lighting to join us, or an electrical short, but neither came.  We finished up the job, and by the time were were done, I felt like a wet dog who had rolled around in fresh cut grass.  The wind had been blowing softly, so there were clipping all over.  And I mean all over.  It was the grossest I've felt in a long time, but I do now have more respect for people who do mow lawns.  It may not be the hardest job, but, Mike Rowe, it sure is a dirty one.

Cheating Can Be Refreshing

     So yesterday I did something bad and didn't feel guilty about it.  Sure, I was kind of forced into it, but afterwards, I didn't feel guilty.  I cheated on my husband....well, more like my husband's manual transmission lessons.....
      Yesterday I was going to help our friend mow a yard (he owns his own business).  We took my husbands truck, but instead of making things easy and holding to our time constraints, he insisted that I drive.  For those who have been following the "Jeep Saga" series and my other mentions of my driving lessons, you are aware that I am not capable of driving a stick-shift vehicle very far or for long periods of time (especially since afterwards I am visibly shaken by it).
     Well, it came down to the fact that if I wasn't going to drive, the mowing wasn't going to be accomplished (either that, or he'd pick me up and put me in the driver's seat-he's a big man).  So, we went.  And several times the truck jumped (sooooooo not good for the engine....won't burn the clutch, but not good).  Each time, he laughed.  Usually it's met by complete silence, so it was refreshing to hear the laughter.  But i missed being able to squeeze my husband's hand when I was scared or unsure of what to do.  I miss the gentle encouragement JR gives.
    We ended up stuck at a stop sign.  Not because the truck was out of gas, or I ruined the engine, or the tranny wouldn't work, but because we were on a hill.  I can barely operate the vehicle on level ground, let alone a hill.  After stalling the truck a half a dozen times trying to go past the stop sign, I had to relinquish driving rights.  We eventually made it to our destination safe and sound.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why I Love Running...

   So, I love running.  I know not everyone does (though I believe they should).  I'm not sure where my affection for this natural sport started.  Perhaps it's always been apart of me.  Maybe it's the feeling of exhilaration as I run trails in the early morning.  Or, or it could have started in elementary school when we would take turns pushing the merry-go-round as fast as we could while running as fast as our little feet would propel us.
   Either way, it's a passion of mine now.  I run 4-5 days a week, estimating a little over a mile & a half each morning.  If I don't do it in the morning, it won't get done.  And there's just something about running in the crisp morning air. 
   I love where I live, because there is a development about a block from my house that has a series of dirt paths built in.  The trails are separate from the main road, so I can run knowing that I'm not directly in a vehicle's path.  I also enjoy running here because I can choose my distance, difficulty, duration and direction.  These choices help me to escape the clutches of boredom that come from running the same course everyday.
   My asthma still plagues me, as I imagine it always will.  It's the running buddy I never wished for. Everyday I strive to fight against it's binding grasp, knowing that I will not win the war, but I can win the battles. 
   Before I started my running journey two summers ago,  I was looking for a running buddy.  Someone to run with me so that I would not be alone; someone to push me further than I could do on my own.  Well, I never could find someone, despite well-meaning promises.  And now, I'm not sure if I do need a running friend.  God is my running buddy.  I enjoy conversing with him as we traverse the early morning terrain.  The fragrant weeds (I'm not sure if actual flowers can grow on their own in this rocky location) provide a fresh start to my run and refreshing breezes are a gift from Him as I slow my pace to cool down. 
   There really is nothing like an early morning run with God.  He created me to run, so I do.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"How Not To Stop A Truck"....

   ::sigh::  I wasn't sure whether to call this post "Two Doors Meet", "Mommy Almost Got Crushed", or "How Not To Stop A Truck"....
    Yesterday was July 4th-a fun-filled day of parades, parties, food, family, friends and fireworks.  This busy day is also when ER's see the most patients.  My obsessive curiosity saved our local ER some traffic last night.
     After attending a friend's BBQ, we stopped home to switch out vehicles-JR wanted to take the truck to watch the local fireworks show so we could sit on the tailgate.  JR unlocked the house so Amber could go potty before we left. Josiah started to follow her inside.  I started transferring the "usual stuff"  (purse, diaper, wipes, ect) between the vehicles.  As I was leaning into the side of the van, I heard a "pop" that didn't sound normal.
    I turned around to see my four and a half year old sitting in the driver's seat of the truck as it's rolling backwards down the parking lot.  Unlike some people, I do not have a fast reaction time.  Instead, I screamed until the thought of taking action materialized in my mind. Panicked (and not remembering what to do with a manual transmission), I grabbed onto the truck (automatic response was to stop it from moving) and shoved my foot onto the clutch.  Apparently that doesn't stop a rolling truck.  I racked my brain, trying to think of how to stop it and it finally occurred to me that the "pop" I heard was the emergency brake being released. 
     By the time I had switched the location of my foot to the e-brake, I could hear the sickening screech of metal against metal.  The open truck door had collided with the open sliding door on our van.  If I had still been standing there, I probably would have been pinned between the two.  The only (physical) damages sustained were to the doors (the poor van had no chance-the motor in that door is inoperable and it takes the force of a strong adult to close it; the truck's takes more force to close as well). 
   After the truck stopped rolling and I stopped yelling "Can I take my foot off the e-brake now?", JR pulled the truck forward to dislodge the door, and take a closer look at the incurred damage. Thankfully no one was hurt.  We did informed Josiah that he is not allowed to drive yet, or touch the emergency brake, but he still seems unfazed by the situation....

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

   Ahhh....July 4th. The national patriotic holiday commemorating the freedom of the United States.
  Why do I love July 4th?? Is it the fireworks? The excitement? Singing in the Freedom Choir? Even though all these thing are wonderful and certainly add to the holiday, I think my enthusiasm comes from being able to dress up and look silly.  This is the only holiday where you can look as ridiculous as you want, and as long as it's red, white, and blue, you get a free pass!
  This year has been more exciting for me, because Josiah (who has a sensory-processing-disorder) let me spray-color his hair and paint his face! Last year it was a struggle for him to allow me to draw a simple flag on his cheek.  This year, he asked me to do his hair and face!  Albeit, he didn't allow much, but it's progress!
   Amber was more of a sport, and she dolled herself up with all kinds of red, white, and blue jewelry.  I take a special pride in dressing up for July 4th, especially since I'll be singing in the Freedom Choir again this year.  We'll be performing in about an hour, so I need to hurry up with this post. Hubby has instructions to record the program so I can post it to youtube (www.youtube.com/blondiechell), so we shall see what happens. Last year the camera supposedly wouldn't work, so we're hoping it does this year!
              (shhhhhh!!!! the mask is a suprise for Christina!!!! she probably won't sing with me again, tho...)
aren't they cute??

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Not To Do (Volume 1)

   Yesterday I discovered that my husband does not like it when he comes home and I greet him by running outside with a large serrated-edge knife.  Apparently this is a "no-no".
   I had called my husband yesterday afternoon to find out when he would be coming home, and the message conveyed was that he would be coming "straight home".  I don't know about you, but to me that meant he would be coming from point A (his current location) to point B (our apartment) with no stops.  After a reasonably allotted amount of time had lapsed, I called his cell phone. Twice. No answer. Twice. So I called our friend's house.  My friend answered the phone, "Yes, your husband is here."  This answer ignited a tiny flame of anger, and I asked her to grab the largest knife she could find, then go outside and tell my husband that 1. he was a jerk for lying to me, and 2. she was going to slash his tires for this indiscretion.  Sadly my friend was not able to accomplish her mission before my husband headed home, so I took it upon myself to complete it.
    My first snafu was decided which knife to pull-what would cut through tires more easily? A straight-edged knife, or a serrated-edge one?  I made my decision and exited the house, wielding my weapon of intended destruction.  The whole "slash your tires" thing was more about drama than actual intention.  I was not going to slash his tires for two reasons: 1. our friends needed to borrow the truck the next day for a long trip, 2. I didn't want to spend the money for new tires just because I had a fit of rage.
   However, hubby did not receive this message as well as I had hoped.  Instead of repenting for his actions, he defended himself and became angry at me for running out of the house towards him wielding a large knife.  I'm not sure why he got so upset...After all, I wasn't intending to stab him, just his tires....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mom of the Year??

    One of the scariest things that could happen to a parent happened to me today...Only I didn't realize it...My daughter had run away from me and I didn't even notice.  Oops.
    See, my family was at the park all day for a church function.  And this particular park lives right by the fast-flowing Arkansas River...  In the afternoon, friends of ours stopped by and Josiah wanted to follow some of them (adult supervision included) down towards the river.  I agreed to this.  What I did not agree to was Amber following too.  Her small size combined with her natural inclination for accidents does not equal a safe trip to the river.
   After some time had lapsed, on of our friends questioned Amber's whereabouts.  Since she doesn't travel far, I assumed she was still around.  "Mother's instinct" kicked on in my friend and she made it her mission to help find her.  I was totally calm, believing that my little girl was hiding behind a tree or playing out of sight.
   Did she fall into the river? No....Was she playing out of sight? No...She was walking....towards us...with a stranger... Apparently she had approached their picnic table and just stood there.  Didn't say a word.  She didn't even say anything when the nice lady brought her back to my friend and I.  She didn't day anything.  But I could tell she was angry.  Why? I wasn't sure.  I didn't send her away.  I didn't "leave her" anywhere.  I had no idea that she had even wandered off.
   Later, I realized what she had done.  She wasn't lost.  She didn't "wander". She willfully and maliciously ran away.  She was angry that I wouldn't let her follow the older kids down to the river, so she decided to "run away", even though she didn't stray more than 100 yards.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure she recieved the reaction from me that runaways hope for.  Since I hadn't been too concerned that she was lost, I wasn't overly relieved that she had been found.  I didn't give her a big hug and gush all over her and express how much I missed her...Instead, my friend gently chided her for running away, and I took her by the hand and led her back to our location.
   Well, maybe some day I'll be nominated for "Mom of the Year"....but today was not it...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The "Magical Summer Snow"

    JR & I first visited Colorado 5 years ago in June.  We fell in love with the gorgeous mountains and summer sky.  My favorite part was the "magical" snow that was falling, even though it was super warm out and there were no clouds in the sky.  That's right-Colorado is wonderful because snow falls even when the sun is at it's peak and no clouds can be found.  Perhaps it was the snow pack blowing off the mountains.  Maybe there were clouds, but they were invisible-better yet, the clouds were too thin to see....
   As we watched the fluff swirl around on the ground, I could not get over how amazing this phenomenon was. And to think-the townsfolk must be keeping this secret to themselves because I had never heard of it before!
   Sadly, when we took a closer look at this majestic white stuff, we discovered it had more substance to it than ordinary snow. (I, however, was still convinced it was frozen water crystals from the sky.) We eventually discovered that my "magical snow" was actually cotton.  Apparently trees produce cotton too (we're from the east coast-we've only known cotton to grow from the ground), so the amazing white stuff floating around everywhere was actually cotton that falls off trees.  Since it's so light and fluffy, it spends alot of time floating in the air, or swirling around on the ground.  This discovery was really depressing and it took me weeks to recover.
                             A close-up of the fluff
                        See??? It looks like snow....
                  Cottonwood trees (i think) from which the cotton hails...

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Am NOT Crazy...Ok, So Maybe I Am...But This Morning I Was Not...

   So this morning my friend Mike broke my house...or at least that's what I thought... Earlier this morning our friend Mike rang the doorbell when he dropped a kid off at our place.  After the dinging stopped, a buzzing sound started, which I assumed was the dishwasher ending it's cycle.  But the noise never stopped.  After this realization, I started freaking out.
   The noise seemed to be emanating from one of the walls in the house....I checked the closets on that side of the wall, but the humming sounded like it was coming from within the wall itself!  Moderately panicked, I called my husband's work, but he wasn't there.  Instead I ended up talking to one of his co-workers who said he could hear the humming sound.
   Since our friend Mike is a handyman and has built houses before, I called him.  He couldn't hear the noise, and he asked me how many cups of coffee I'd had.  He thought the buzzing was in my head.
   Slightly less worried (the noise wasn't coming from the water heater or other large metal heating object in the closet), I decided to wait till JR called me back.  Then, I heard the sound of a weed whacker outside which meant the apartment complex maintenance guy was there.  I explained my plight and he came to see what "Crazy Chell" was talking about.  I asked him if he heard the noise, and he said, "No, I hear the dryer".  So I had him put his ear to the wall...and he heard it!!! I wasn't going crazy!!!
   Then, he looked up and pulled a magical white box off the wall, and the humming stopped! Apparently that box was where the doorbell noise emanates.  After cutting a fuse or two and fiddling with the innards of the box, he showed me a square metal thing and told me that it was getting too warm (yeah, like I really know what that means).  Then he said we needed a new doorbell which should arrive next week.
   See? I wasn't going crazy...this time....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Truck Lesson (Formerly "Jeep Lesson")

  This week my driving lesson was forgone in favor of teaching Josiah how to ride a bicycle with no training wheels.  Instead, I am spending the week looking up instructional videos on youtube about manual transmissions.  What I have discovered in my quest is that a large portion of these vids have been done by highschoolers as a project for a class or graduation.  Although some of the videos were done just to get a grade, the majority of them were done well.  It amazes me that these "kids" are pretty proficient at driving a stick shift and have the capacity to explain it so that I can understand it.
   Other instructional videos are done be Europeans because apparently they don't use automatic transmissions.  I found it really hard to watch these videos because of their accents and the colloquialisms used. However, I do feel more prepared for my next lesson.  I asked hubby how many more lessons he thought it would take until I felt comfortable driving stick, and he said 10.  With one lesson a week, that's 10 weeks!!! Hopefully I won't burn the new clutch out by then, but we shall see....