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February, 2009:

Dear Mother Nature – Follow-up

Dear Mother Nature

Thank you for your quick response to my request yesterday. I just got up to fold some laundry and saw this when I looked outside:

I doubt that it will end up being feet, or even multiple inches of snow, but for now it’s coming down in large plentiful flakes, and for that, I thank you.


Driving To The Mountains This Weekend For Snow Because I Miss Winter


Day 3 of Lent

It’s the start of Day 3 of Lent. I’m a recovering Catholic . . . in my previous life I was an E and C Catholic. I do, however, still observe Lent, more for my own personal reasons than for any specific religious belief. This year, I decided once again to give up sugar. In past years, I’ve given up what I call “frivelous” sugar . . . cake, ice cream, pop, etc. Anything that is obviously sugar-filled and completely unnecessary. This year, I’m attempting to take it a little further by avoiding anything that has sugar/high fructose corn syrup as one of the first 3 ingredients. Since Monday, I’ve lost 3 pounds!!! So it must be working . . . that along with an increase in the number of trips to the gym :-)

It hasn’t been that difficult so far to avoid things with sugar . . . my biggest vice was drinking too much sugar. Following is a list of some of the things I have to avoid . . . many were obvious, but some surprised me a bit:

  • Pop – Duh! I’ll have an occasional diet something-or-other, but not often. The aspartame is poison and gives me a headache! But sometimes I just need something other than water, milk, and tea.
  • Candy – Duh again.
  • Ice Cream – sure I could get the sugar free stuff, but YUCK! It tastes all chemically. Is it Bryers that is all natural and may have sugar not so high on the list, under cream, milk, etc.? I’ll have to check that one out. Ice cream is hands down the one sweet I would have every day if I could do it with no ill effects.
  • Bread. I’ve been on an egg, turkey, english muffin sandwich kick lately. I had to change to Orowheat whole wheat english muffins because they replace the sugar with honey as the 3rd ingredient. Ya ya ya, still not great, but it fits the criteria so I’ll go with it!
  • Whole wheat bread . . . yup, sugar is the 2nd ingredient. I’ve switched to 7 grain. Tastes the same and sugar is way down there.
  • Cheerios, Rice Krispies, and any other cereal they say might be a bit “better” for you than the others. I didn’t eat these often anyway . . . but I guess there will be more oatmeal in my future!
  • Condiments such as many salad dressings, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc. They have so much sugar in them it’s not even funny! I love a good salad with a little dressing on it. I usually dip my fork in the dressing then into the salad, so really, not much dressing at all. I’ll have to search for a dressing that fits the criteria.
  • Most potato chips. Baked Lays have moved sugar down to the 4th ingredient, so I’m good to go with those 😉
  • Pancake batter, even the light and fluffy stuff. While sugar is 2nd in almost all premade batters, it moves down to 3rd in the light and fluffy. Still too high, so I have to make homemade batter, where sugar comes in 4th or 5th.
  • Peanut Butter, even the lighter stuff has sugar way up high on the list. This is no surprise. I switched to Adams All Natural peanut butter a couple of years ago. It’s AWESOME! Way better than the other “all natural” PBs out there.
  • Jelly of course has a ton of sugar in it as well. I’ve switched to Just Fruit spread. Yummola!
  • Chicken Wings at BW3. THIS will be tough for me! I love love love them, but they are so so so bad for me! That was my “last meal” on Fat Tuesday – medium chicken wings and Coke :-)
  • Many store-bought flour tortillas have quite a bit of sugar in them. This should be easy to remedy with a replacement, though.
  • G2 – the reduced calorie blah blah blah sport drink still has high fructose corn syrup as the 2nd ingredient. I was a little bummed, but not surprised, by this.

So there you have it . . . a bit of the list of things I’m avoiding for Lent. I’m finding new things every day that I can’t eat, and wonderful new yummy things that I can! My favorite new snack? Frozen red grapes with sugar-free jello-powder on them. Not much aspartame in one packet, and you use one small packet for a bunch of grapes. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this snack as well! Just pour the jello-o powder in a large Ziploc bag, dump the washed grapes in the bag, zip it up, shake, and freeze. Voila! Yummo snack :-)

We’re going up boarding this weekend . . . could be a bit more of a challenge avoiding all of this sugar while I’m not at home and am eating out more! Wish me luck!

Dear Mother Nature

What’s up with the weather? Seriously? 60 degrees and sunny – in Feburary – in the Rockies?! While I love the 360 days of sun you give us here in my little corner of the world, and I love the bug-free summers, I would appreciate a little snow in the winter. You see, I’m a Minnesotan at heart, and I LOVE winter and snow. I love sledding down the road, and builidng luges for the kids in the front yard, and having snowball fights, and bundling up so you can get cold and drink hot chocolate when you come in, and lighting fires in the fireplace. And believe it or not, I even like shoveling snow – except for that time a couple winters ago when you dumped multiple feet of snow on us every friggin’ weekend for 6 weeks – that was a bit much to shovel, but I did love the snow. And I did get a snowblower out of it. But since then, I’ve used it about 5 times . . . because there IS NO SNOW!

What happened to snow days? Weekends where you can’t go anywhere because you can’t get out of your driveway? Seeing those rosey apple cheeks and red noses on the kids when they come in from outside?

A little snow would be nice. And not one of those upslope dump a boatload of snow on you in 24 hours but be 60 degrees out the next day so it melts while you shovel in shorts and a t-shirt. No, A LOT of snow for a few days would be good. Heck, a lot of snow for a few weeks would be good! It is winter in The Rockies afterall. There’s plenty of time for warm summer days in a few months.

Missing Winter

That’s All We Did All Day!

Yesterday you read about our fun hike and day with friends.

So, after breakfast at Rosie’s Diner (yummy!), a great hike with the fam, and 2 1/2 hour of uninterrupted play with the friends of their choice, the kids finally came in for dinner. After dinner of mac and cheese and cod nuggets (hey, it was their day!), I said “You guys need to clean up the living room and your rooms before you take your baths, please.”

Dude: Awwwwww! What-EVER! That’s ALL we’ve been doing all day is boring work stuff!
Me: Um, REALLY?! Have you forgotten about breakfast out, and hiking, and playing with your friends, and getting to choose what you want for dinner?
Dude: Oh ya. I guess I was thinking of last weekend.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! I think his brain was tired, along with the rest of his body.

60 Degrees in February

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know that I love winter! And I love snow! And as much as I’d love there to be more snow on the ground and weather cold enough for us to have to wear coats and gloves, I’ll never pass up a beautiful day for a hike.

Dude and Princess are always on the go – playing, running around with friends, whatever – but sometimes they just need to get out and explore with the family. So, I loaded up the kids and dog on Sunday and we went hiking in one of our favorite spots. It was BEAUTIFUL! There was a little snow, which made it feel a little bit like winter at least . . .

It was actually really icy hiking down into the canyon, but we all made it safely. Duma is so good that we just hook up her long lead and don’t even hold onto it. I guess it’s my stupid way of cheating . . . dogs must be leashed, but who wants to hold onto a 1 year old lab puppy while they drag you down an icy hill? She never goes far away and always comes when you call her. (Oh, and to the lady who gave me the evil eye for letting her run in the water without a leash on . . . boo hoo to you! I guess you didn’t see the 4 BAGS of dog poo that were in my backpack that I picked up that OTHER PEOPLE left! So lay off my well-trained dog that didn’t even come close to you and whose poop I actually pick up!).

Back to the hike . . . Dude is ALWAYS in the lead, with Duma right behind him. They love this little bridge at the bottom of the entrance to the canyon. Yes, that is my intelligent dog who managed to get herself wrapped up and stuck on the bridge 😉 At least she was smart enough to not jump and strangle herself!

And here’s Mr. Rock Jumper out in the middle of what is usually the creek. He was so proud of himself!

After I took this picture, I instructed him to come back immediately WITHOUT stepping on the snow! “But why can’t I step on the snow?” he says as he JUMPS off the rock onto the snow. UGH! Um, how about because there is RUNNING WATER under that snow, which is covering only a thin sheet of ice, and which won’t hold you! He did come back, and gave me a look like “you’re such a prude” . . . until I explained what happens when you fall through ice into really cold ICY water, and what happens if you happen to fall in one of the many spots that is over your head. He didn’t think drowing or hypothermia sounded like too good of an idea, so he stayed away from the snow and ice by the water. The dog? Not so much. She thought it was fun to run all over the snow and not listen to me to come back (OK, so she doesn’t ALWAYS listen!) . . . UNTIL . . . she fell through. Yup – the ice cracked out from under her feet and she fell in. Only up to her waist, she kept her front paws on the ice and got out. But she learned a lesson! She also realized the water wasn’t that cold and spent her day splashing around in the FREEZING cold water of the creek. She had a blast! At least she was tired when we got home.

Princess found this fun little cave with a really smooth rock just her size to rest in while eating a snack. Looks like a great place for a snack to me! She also informed me that it would be a great place for all of us to go if it ever started raining and lightening while we were hiking. That’s my Princess! Always thinking :-)

2 1/2 miles and a couple hours later (yes, it takes a while to hike when you explore every cave and rock imaginable) we were back at the car, ready to head home. But WAIT! Hey Mom, I haven’t played with Travis for a long time and we’re driving right by his house! Can Travis and Connor come over to play?

Why not! So we picked up a couple extra kids for a few hours and they all had a blast. There were two tired kids and one lab who was too pooped to pup at the end of the day :-)

A great day for sure. How about you? Good weekend?

Only In Breck

This made me giggle when I saw this up in Breck a couple weekends ago. You see lots of vans, SUVs, Jeeps, Subarus, etc. carting people around with racks on top . . . not so much with the white stretch limos!


A New Job

Wow – I had no clue so many people would be interested in my little part-time job!

I accepted a part-time admin assistant position with a local small company. We know of this company through Hubby, who is working with the owners of the company to use their training program for his discertation to get his Ph.d.

I interviewed a couple weeks ago for a technical writer/courseware developer position with them. The interview went very well . . . I liked them and their company and the culture, and they liked me and my skills and thought I had a lot to offer the company. I think it would be a great fit – I’m willing to work part-time hours, they’re willing to give me flexibile hours that I need, I don’t need benefits and they don’t offer any. It would be tough for a lot of people to accept a job there at this point.

The kicker is that they are not ready to hire that writer/courseware developer yet. This position has been on the HR priority list for about 6 months now, but it never makes it past #3 . . . everytime it gets up to #1, the find other positions they need first, like graphic artists and IT guys (small company – 7 employees). At this point, they’re waiting on a few contracts to be signed, at which time they’ll have more work than anyone will know what to do with. So for now, they offered me the admin assistant job . . . it was their way of getting me into the company until the writer position is available. I wasn’t sure about accepting it . . . if the technical writer job – the real reason I took the admin job – doesn’t come available before summer, I won’t be making enough money to send the kids to summer camp. It would be stupid to send them to summer camp that costs more than I make at a part-time job. Hubby and I went round and round on what to do, and I decided to take it and cross that bridge when we get to it.

I won’t start this job immediately either . . . probably not until the end of March . . . which was actually OK with me. I’ve gotten used to this whole SAHM thing and was trying to figure out how to make it work financially, but when this opportunity presented itself, I wanted to go for it. So now I have one more month of SAHMommyness and then it’s off to a part-time job to see if I can make it into something more.

So there . . . the scoop on the job mystery for all of you who sent me emails about it :-)

Weekend Recap

I finally took over the domain for my blog. I’ve always been the one who blogged here, but did not own the domain. But now it’s mine – woo hoo! I also switched hosting services . . . the bummer is that I lost some comments due to the timing of a post and the transfer . . . sorry if your comment got lost.

I accepted a part time job last Friday – the part time is good. The job, not so much. It’s not exactly what I wanted or what I’m qualified to do, but I accepted the job because I love the company and think this job will springboard into something I really want to do in the near future. The company is small and has a wonderful culture and is 10 minutes from my house and will be hiring a technical writer in the near future . . . like hopefully before the kids are out of school. I figure if I get my foot in the door, it’ll be easy for them to transfer me to that job when they’re ready to hire. In the meantime, it’ll give me a little income and get me out of the house a few days a week. Not that I haven’t been keeping busy, but it’ll be nice.

I signed Jason up for little league on Saturday. I had a whole dilemma about that . . . with his August birthday and all. Another post coming on that later. The thing is, I played competitive softball – travelled and the whole bit. I know what we’re getting into . . . I just didn’t start at 8 with that! He’s not good enough yet to get on a travelling team (thankfully!) . . . he just really likes baseball and wants to play – and I support that 100%. Tryouts are March 7th, the draft is March 12th, and practice starts March 14th. I’m dreading this and looking forward to it all at the same time :-) Dude also finished his book report and science project – a couple weeks early! Woo hoo! No more big projects looming for the Dude :-)

The fam went roller skating with some friends on Sunday – it was a lot of fun! The kids had a blast, we got some exercise, and the kids got together with their friends after skating. We went to the rink with 4 kids in our car and came home with none – that was kind of fun. It’s fun that they’re getting older and can just go with their friends or have them come with us when they want.

Monday was boarding in Breckenridge! The weather was perfect – and amazingly, it wasn’t too busy for President’s Day. Princess always follows me down the mountain . . . usually saying things like “Go faster Mommy!” or “Why do you go so slow?” But yesterday, she said “Wow Mommy! You are going faster today!” Nothing like a little validation from the 6 year old 😉 We got in 5 runs in 1 1/2 hours! For use, that’s awesome . . . we’re usually quite a bit slower than that. It was lunch time, so we boarded to the condo (thanks for the Day Pass Queen Taunya!), had lunch, and headed to the pool for a couple hours. Ahhhh – nothing like a nice hot tub after some boarding. Home it was to get the kiddos in bed and ready for school today.

A great weekend – it’s nice to have this time to hang with the family now that I can get most of the stuff done during the week while they are in school. Since my layoff, there has definitely been a lot less barking and a lot more wagging going on around here, and I think we ALL appreciate that :-)

How about you? Good weekend?

The Bestest Answer

Princess is on a roll this week! Yesterday after school . . .

Me: Dude! I did NOT buy and hang those hooks down lower in the laundry room so you could still throw your coat and backpack on the floor! You are not new here. We do this every single day.
Dude: Fine! I’ll go pick them up.
Me: And please put away the books we got from the library.
Dude: I will when I’m done with the other thing you told me to do.
Me: That’s fine.

(I start walking down the hallway)

Me: And when you’re finished putting the books away, please empty your backpack so we can check out your homework.
Dude: Gosh! Why can’t I ever just do what I WANT to after school! It’s always homework do this homework do that homework!
Princess: Jason! The BESTest response would be “Yes MA’AM!”

At least SOMEone is listening to me ;-)

That’s Very Old!

I love car rides to school – I can always count on Princess to let me know how it really is . . .

Princess: Mom, how old will you be when we’re teenagers?
Me: Um, I’ll be 41 when Dude is a teenager and 43 when you’re a teenager.
Princess: Wow, that’s really old!
Me: No it’s not!
Princess: Yes it is! Grandma is only in the 50s and 43 is close to the 50s and that makes you almost as old as a Grandma!

I did not get into the part about how Dude won’t be a teenager for 5 years and she won’t be one for another 7 years . . . I fear I would have “lost” that debate as well.

Gotta love that kid!