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September, 2009:


WE’ll BE LOyal Scouts

Yup – we did it. Dude joined Boy Scouts . . . he’s a WEBELOS 1. Had is first den meeting last weekend and LOVED it! He was so excited to earn his first badge on his first night. And I loved his Den Leader (and the fact that I wasn’t it!). Long story short – we joined a different pack that was already established and had dens and stuff. Dude is in a den with 3 kids from his school in this Pack as well . . . so yay! And I only have to lead the den meeting twice in April – the rest of the year the other parents trade off. So we’re off to the races with Boy Scout stuff and Dude is SOOOO excited for it! He and I are going on the first campout October 10-11 . . . yes, we still live on the front range in Colorado and yes it very well could be snowing while we’re tent camping at the Air Force Academy . . . good times, good times!

Anyhoo – isn’t he the CUTEST WEBELOS you’ve ever seen? I think it was his cuteness alone that earned him 7 popcorn sales this evening 😉


“Hi. My name is Russell. And I am a Wilderness Explorer in Tribe 54, Sweat Lodge 12. Are you in need of any assistance today, sir?”

Things I Learned in 1st Grade – Just Yesterday

The plague has finally left my body, so I got to go to Princess’ classroom yesterday for a couple hours to pick up some extra germs from the petri dish that is otherwise known as a First Grade classroom. Things I learned . . .

  1. First grade is not for learning to read, do basic math, and write your letters really nicely.
  2. First grade IS for learning to read really big words, do some pretty advanced math, and write complete sentences with proper spacing, capitalization, punctuation, and expanded thoughts with compound sentences.
  3. Even the most anti-learning 6 year old will do their work if it’s someone else’s mom helping them instead of a teacher.
  4. Tanner has an iguana.
  5. Being able to type without even looking at the computer – AT ALL – is a very cool skill.
  6. Leaving the classroom to walk to the printer with an adult is the next best thing to recess.
  7. Paris has sunglasses that clip on to her glasses.
  8. Half the kids are called by names other than their given name.
  9. Doing your homework in pen is a very very bad thing.
  10. James loses his glasses every 5 minutes.
  11. Parents have gotten way too creative trying to spell their kids’ names. Bob is not spelled BAULQUB.
  12. Andris loves to eat at Pei Wei with his Grandpa.
  13. It will always take Ella at LEAST 2 minutes to ask a question – no matter what that question is.
  14. Princess gets to kiss her brain every day in class.
  15. 1st grade teachers are STILL some of the most patient people I have ever met!
  16. Our kids ARE learning! I have no idea who these people are that are saying our kids do not learn enough in school. I think they’ve all forgotten what kids are all about. After spending hours in each of my kids’ classrooms volunteering the past few years, I’m stunned at the level of learning they’re doing for their respective grades.


Is This What It’s Like To Be Old?

This must be some kind of cruel joke. Queen Taunya and I share everything – including our brain (she had custody last week!). Our birthdays are 3 days apart, and this year, we apparently decided to share being sick on our birthdays!

So ya – today is my 37th birthday and I’ve had this nasty plague-like cold/cough/chest thing for 10 days now!

This must be life’s way of saying “That’s it, you’re done. No more acting like a teenager. You are officially old and I’m going to make you FEEL like you’re old!”

I’ve only been 37 for 8 hours, but so far, 37 is kicking my ass!

The Girl’s Always Got Shoes On Her Mind

Last weekend, Princess and I went to Target on a little shopping trip to pick up some winterish jammies and hopefully some shoes and a shirt for her Halloween costume. We ended up going to 3 different Targets – yes 3 – because each one had something we wanted, but not in the right size. At the 3rd Target, we  decided to take a little break and have a yummy incredibly nutricious lunch of soft pretzels, cheese sauce, and Icees – mmmmmmmm! While we’re sitting there chomping and slurping away, Princess suddenly stops, thinks, and says . . .

“How much do you think a giant pair of shoes weighs?”

The things that go through her mind . . .

15 Pounds of Hamburger

I’m still feeling a bit yucko, but we have our Dine In Diva meal swap this Sunday at my house, so I had to make 7 freezable meals. Dude asked me after school the other day if I could help him with his PowerPoint. I told him sorry, not today (he has 2 more weeks to complete it) because I slept all afternoon and needed to start making meals for the food swap. So I got out all the hamburger to start browning it. Dude came over with a chair and an apron and said he’d do it. So my little Dude browned and rinsed all 15 pounds of hamburger for me! What a sweetie. And a good thing because my germs didn’t have to get near the food 😉

The funny thing was that after he was done, he proudly proclaimed that “Cooking hamburger is fun! Can you tell me the next time we’re having dinner with hamburger in it so I can cook it? I LOVE cooking hamburger!”

Yes, he’s easy to entertain 😉


I hate colds. When you sinuses are so nasty that you would rather just not have a nose. When your head feels so huge that it might explode. When your brain feels like there is a jackhammer constantly working in there. When your throat feels like you’ve run sandpaper over it for 3 days. When your chest feels like it could hack up a lung. When all you want to do is sleep, but you can’t because your head and throat throb.


85 Minutes

That’s how long it took Matt Carpenter to “hike” Barr Trail up to the summit of Pikes Peak for this year’s ascent. 13 miles, 10% incline, 7400 foot elevation gain ending at 14,110 feet at the summit house.

Me? Ummmmm . . . I made it to the top in a mere 525 minutes :-) WOO HOO! Since my goal was 10 hours and I made it in just under 9, I was a happy camper – er hiker.

My hiking buddy and “Common Moms” teammate, MS, and I started the hike at 0500 this past Saturday in the chilly dark hours of the morning. I even have a blurry photo of the clock (yes that is a.m.) and temp in my car and a picture of my very first, and most likely last, race bib as proof :-)




Our spirits were high, our legs were rested, our backpacks were full, and our headlamps were shining bright when we hit the trail. There were about 400 people doing the hike for the fundraiser – not everyone started at the same time – but we looked like a trail of ants hiking up the trail. I had that song “The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah” in my head for the entire first 90 minutes until it started getting light out! You’re welcome for getting it stuck in your head now, too 😉

We rocked the first part of the trail and got to Barr Camp at 0800. I, personally, was WAY excited about that! The last time I hiked to Barr Camp it took me over 4 hours and I was mad and crabby the whole way because it felt like it was uphill the whole way. This time, the “flat” part actually felt flat and was a great break. I guess that running I’ve been doing since July has paid off. Here we are at 10,200 feet . . . looking happy as clams.


We took a snack break at camp to get a little rest and put some energy in our bodies. Then we waited in line for the bathroom for 20 minutes and FROZE! It was wet and foggy and chilly and if you weren’t moving, it was downright chilly – this coming from the woman who wears a jacket only while snoboarding :-) Ick . . . but, we set back out at 0900 and were excited to work toward the A-frame at timberline.

We hit Timberline – and the first bit of sun – about 1100 and took a tiny break to soak in the sun. We didn’t stay long because search and rescue was getting weather reports that sometime between 1200 and 1400 the snow was going to roll in. So, we headed out on the last 3 miles of the hike, hoping to beat the snow and see some of the amazing views you can only see while hiking above treeline. Bummer . . . clouds came in just as quickly as the sun had appeared :-( It really was disappointing to not see any of the cool stuff, or the summit (grrrrrrr!!!) but we trekked on. Here’s a picture of Mary Susan and the awesome view behind her – fog. There’s also a view of Sadie’s behind – Sadie just stared at her owner and dared her owner to make her hike down that mountain.


The last 3 miles of the hike above timberline are my favorite part of the hike. I don’t know if it’s the fact that there are only 3 miles left, that you can see the summit, or that the beautiful views make it all worth it . . . but I enjoy the hike above timberline. On this particular day, however, it got colder and the fog got thicker . . . and I got sssslllloooowwwweerrr. It took us 45 minutes to go one mile – UGH! The thing that made me WAY happy was that my lungs were not the part of my body slowing me down – it was my legs . . . they were getting sore. My right leg did NOT want to move . . . my hip was killing me – took a good dose of ibuprofen, hung out until it kicked in, and headed back out. But my cardio – YAY – it was good to go . . . made me very happy :-)

We trekked on, I rested often and made it to the 16 Golden Stairs – WOO HOO! Those last 16 switch backs, which at points involve actually climbing over some rocks instead of “hiking,” are a KILLER . . . it’s so annoying because you’re SOOOO close to the top but it takes forEVER to get there.

But, at 1345 in 32 degree temps, I made it up the last step and saw the BEST smile I’ve ever seen from those cheering us on at the end. I got a medal placed around my neck and a tearfilled hug and the biggest thank you ever from a direct recipient of the money we all raised doing this hike. All the complaining the voices inside my head did over that last 1.5 miles of the hike immediately stopped. Oh the hike was so worth it!

MS and I hung out in the warm building and drank some yummy soup while we watched the snow start to fly about 1400. We have no photo of us on the summit. I know. ME! The person who always has a camera with her, has no picture of us at the summit. Reason 1 . . . we were tired and getting up to walk outside was not something we were interested in doing. Reason 2 . . . I don’t think we could have convinced anyone to get up and take our picture. Reason 3 . . . it was snowing out and we were cold. So, you get this picture of us sitting on some chairs in the warm building that you’ll just have to trust me is indeed at the top of Pikes Peak.


Then came the scariest part of the hike . . . the ride down the mountain in the van. Oh. My. GAWD! I’m an aggressive driver, and this guy scared the crap out of me! They’d closed the Pikes Peak Highway to everyone but the van service that was transporting all the hikers down the mountain. They closed it because of lack of visibility from all the fog, yet our driver thought it was completely acceptable to scream up to the hairpin turns, slam on the breaks, fly around the corners, hit 60 THREE TIMES on the way down, AND PASS PEOPLE! If you’ve ever been on the Pikes Peak Highway, you know how NOT OK that is. Everyone on the van was telling him to slow down and saying that the passing was ridiculous. Sheesh . . .

We did make it down safe and sound and a little sorer than when we started, but so very happy that we’d done the hike.

A huge thank you to all of you who donated to my fundraising efforts for the Brain Injury Foundation! I really appreciate it.

Next 14er on the list? Something quite a bit easier . . . Mt. Democrat here we come! It’s been 12 years since I’ve done that one . . . looking forward to doing it again.

Just Say No!

Jo, Na, Voch, Non, Ah Ah, Poi-e, Nope, Ngai, Iyayi, Ma, Chuk, Nani, Nej, Non, no thank you, uh uh, not gonna happen, NO!

See, I can TYPE no in many languages (thank you Google!). But SAY no? I have a problem with that.

If I could SAY no, I would have gone to the Little League informational meeting and left with a brain full of information. Instead, I left with a folder full of handouts and responsibility for the league Web site, player database, and all communications with the players and parents – the new Information Officer.

If I could SAY no, I would have listened to a friend tell me about the Daisy troop they’re starting at Princess’s school and said how fun that sounded and let me know when it starts so I can sign Princess up. Instead, I left with email addresses and promises that I’ll receive the paperwork soon so I can fill it out before I become the assistant leader for the troop.

If I could SAY no, I would be going to Princess’s classroom one day a month to help out with all the stations while doing extra stuff for the teacher at home. Instead, I’m the permanent 9:00-11:10 room helper every Monday.

If I could SAY no, I would be going to the Scout shop this weekend to buy Dude his WEBELOS uniform and all the books and some supplies so I could drop him off at his first meeting next week and pick him up an hour later. Instead, we walked out of the informational meeting with all the information I need to be the Secretary for the new pack, as well as with a WEBELOS den flag, a binder full of den leader information for a new den, and the first meeting scheduled at our house for next week.

If I could SAY no, I might have more free time on my non-working days during the week.

If I could SAY no, I wouldn’t get to experience all of these awesome fun things with my kids while they’re still young enough to want me around.

So YES, I am glad I can’t say No . . . I think I’m having as much fun doing all this new stuff with them as they are being involved with it. I’m a lucky lucky lady!

I’m Taking the Pikes Peak Challenge

In a moment when I suddently forgot that I’m middle-aged, overweight, and out of shape, I registered for the Pikes Peak Challenge. It’s a hike up Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak on September 12th to raise money for brain injury awareness and prevention. I get to start hiking at 5:00 a.m. – otherwise known as O-dark-thirty – it’ll still be dark for at least another hour, so I had to buy a headlamp. I’ll continue hiking up the mountain for 13 miles, gaining 7400 feet in elevation until I reach the summit at 14,110 feet. If you wanna feel what the “grade” is, set a treadmill for 8-10% incline and start walking – do that for 13 miles. While I’ve summitted Pikes Peak twice, I’ve never hiked up in one day – I’ve hiked half way, camped overnight, and hiked the rest of the way up and down the next day. This will definitely be a challenge for me! I just hope I make it past the half way point by the designated time so I don’t get turned around!

Why am I doing this hike? I started out doing it because a friend and I wanted to hike Pikes Peak and another friend told us there was a fundraising hike. We figured if we’re going to hike it anyway, we might as well help someone else, right? So, we, along with more than 350 other hikers, are going to raise money for the Brain Injury Association

Once I started reading about the fundraiser, I was even more glad that I decided to hike for this cause.
In the United States, a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs every 23 seconds. Based on national estimates, there are more annual incidences of Traumatic Brain Injuries than Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injuries, HIV/AIDS and Breast Cancer put together. It is estimated that over 20% of our American Soldiers are returning home with a TBI.

In this country there are 3 million persons living with breast cancer and public spending is $295 per person; 900,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS and public spending is $18,111 per person. In comparison, there are 5.3 million persons living with disability from TBI and public spending is $2.55 per person.

Here’s where I ask for money for the first time on this blog – I truly believe this is a donation worth making. I’ve already met my fundraising goals, but more money for the association can never hurt.

Please donate if you can . . . $1, $5, $10 . . . whatever. All donations are tax deductible, and you will recieve a receipt if you want one for tax purposes.

  1. In the upper right corner, click Make Donation.
  2. If you want to apply your donation to my fundraising efforts, scroll down a little bit to the Hiker drop down and select my name. Or leave it blank to donate to the general fund.
  3. Enter the rest of your donation information.

Think about me on Saturday around 10:30 a.m. mountain time and hope that I’ve passed the half way point! Think again between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. – I hope to climb the 16 golden stairs and summit Pikes Peak sometime during that window :-)

Wish me luck!

I Won The Back-to-school Clothes Lottery!

OK – so I didn’t actually win anything . . . but, my kiddos did try on all their existing clothing, and I don’t have to buy ANYTHING! I know! They have enough pants and shirts and shoes to last at least until December . . . right about the time they’ll each have another growth spurt. Of course Princess has gotten a couple new outfits, because you just have to, but Dude could care less if he ever stepped foot inside a clothing store.

So while I didn’t really win anything, any mom knows that getting to skip out on back-to-school clothes shopping ROCKS!

Any of you get that lucky?