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May, 2013:

A Story . . .

. . . or at least part of one, by my Dude :-)


I love that his teacher laughed at this and asked him to come read it out loud to her . . . 3 times before he figured it out.

I love that he showed it to me instead of just recycling it without a word.

I love that he can giggle at himself about his spelling handicap 😉


The plaster guys came yesterday to start the stucco process (woo hoo!). While the kiddos were gone at school, the guys put up some of the paper and chicken wire, then they assembled all of the scaffolding around the house so they could do the higher parts.

Should I be worried that the first thing each of my kiddos noticed when they got home was that they each had a very accessible platform just outside their bedroom windows?

Other things I’ve found out with the scaffolding . . . if I don’t shower before they guys get here in the morning, I can’t. All of our bathrooms have windows that are half clear and half that funky bathroom window stuff. When there is no scaffolding, you can’t see in the windows. But when there is scaffolding, someone can be RIGHT THERE.

Guess I’ll pretend to be camping again today and put on a hat before I head out in public :-)

It Came!

The saddle came, MS came to help us put the leathers together, and Princess got to try it out on Sunny at her lesson last week. It was perfect! We need to get a new girth, but other than that it’s awesome and worked great and can’t wait for her to use it in the show this Saturday.

What’s THAT?!

Princess and I were out in the backyard this morning, gathering kindling and firewood for the Girl Scout campout this weekend.

For those who may not know, we live in the forest. Lots of pine trees (and pollen!), no grass, lots of dirt, lots of pine needles.

This is generally what our yard looks like:


We haven’t had decent precipitation for YEARS – total drought. We’ve lived in this house for 10 years, and our yard has always looked like this, except for the first couple years when we had some random greenery growing. Note the “stuff” in the lower left corner.

It caught Princess’s eye this morning. She dropped her wood, ran over to it, and said . . . “What is THAT?!” . . . as she pointed to this:


Um – it’s a living green thing, Sweetie.

She actually said “How did it get there? Did you plant it? When would you have time to plant that? And WHY did you plant it there?!”

Um – I didn’t plant it. It got there because it has actually RAINED every afternoon for the past 2 weeks . . . just like it’s supposed to here! Amazing how green things grow when there’s water around :-)

She crossed her arms, said “Huh” and went back to gather her wood. I guess you know you live in a mountain region experiencing a long drought when your 10-year old daughter wonders how the weird green stuff got in her backyard!

On another note . . . I thought I’d check out this little planter area of our yard since we had random greenery in other places. I have never planted anything in our yard, but the first spring we lived here (when it actually rained!), these started growing:


We had nice afternoon showers every summer day for the first few years we live here. Then the drought. I haven’t seen them for 6 years! Yet, here they are again, as soon as we got a little rain. They always look like this – about 9″ tall with no flowers. There are only these 3. Anyone know what they are and how they can hide for 6 years without popping up during the drought, then magically appear after a couple weeks of some moisture?

I’ll take it – a little green is good :-) And apparently, it’s time to rake my pine needles . . . ack!

Rough Day on the Field

The boys did great on Saturday, winning both baseball games by run rule and headed into Sunday’s games the #2 seed.

Unfortunately, they did not fare well in their first game and just couldn’t get it going. You know it’s a bad day on the ball field when your son’s white uniform pants have more mocha stains on them than dirt stains.

Here’s to hoping for a better Sunday next weekend!

Diving In

It’s official . . . we’re diving into the land of English horse jumping and shows.

Yup . . . Princess is leasing a horse this summer. We’re going to ride a couple times this week to make sure it’s a good fit before we make it official, but I can’t see why it won’t work out.

I also just purchased this as a surprise for my Princess…

An English saddle beginner’s kit (many thanks to MS and A for your help in educating me about saddles and decisions!).

We had planned on purchasing a used saddle, but I (and my lovely horse people who help me learn all this stuff!) found out it’s VERY difficult to find a used English saddle for a kid – and within the beginner budget I had set. Princess and I searched quite a bit last week – she even sat on about a half dozen used ones. There was one we’d settle for, but it wasn’t great, and was too spendy for what it was in my mind.

So when a link to this saddle came to my inbox (thank you Dallas friend!), it was meant to be :-) It should be here in a week and I can’t WAIT to surprise Princess with it!

***** To the moms in my life . . . note the word SURPRISE. Please don’t tell Princess!

Also excited to see how the riding goes this week before we officially add a new semi-family member to the family for the summer.

If you’d asked me a year ago, or even 6 months ago, if we’d be leasing a horse and owning a saddle, I would’ve said you were crazy. Come to think of it, I probably DID tell you you were crazy!

My how things change … and how giant blue eyes on a tiny little body can convince you that it would be just wrong to keep a Princess from her horse :-)


So I Went to Buy Some Sunscreen

You’ve heard the saying – don’t go to the grocery store hungry. Don’t go to Sonic thirsty. Don’t go to the car dealership with a wad of money in your pocket.

Well – maybe not on that last one, but you get my drift.

I’m adding a new one.

Don’t go to Walmart sunburned after sitting outside for two whole days in the blaring hot high altitude Colorado sun with no atmosphere to block its harmful rays from your pasty white winter skin.

Ya – I did that. I went to buy some sunscreen for this weekend. Figured I should throw out the old and start fresh. One lovely blue bottle of 35 or higher SPF was what I was down for.

This is what made it into my cart…


Too much?

Wait! I can explain!

Take this one . . .

Totally and completely necessary . . . to protect my precious angels’ faces while they play baseball and roll around in the grass with their sibling friends during baseball games.

And maybe to keep me and Hubby from getting oh so lovely rudolph look when we wear sunglasses for an entire day.


And this one . . .

Spray sunblock (which I HATE for faces and bodies) totally necessary to protect my Princess’ hair part when she wants pigtails or doesn’t want to wear a hat.

It also works well for moms who forget a hat, then remember they also forgot to sunblock their face, so they put their sunglasses up on their head to avoid looking like Rudolph, only to find out later that sunglasses do not in fact protect your part from the sun. Rather, they seem to magnify the effect of the sun.

Yes. I burnt my part again this year, just as I’ve done the first sunny weekend of every spring since 1978. Don’t judge.


And these guys . . .

Two kids. Two bags to pack for week long trips to summer camp. ‘Nuff said.

Then there’s this guy . . .

Yes, he looks like the previous 2 bottles. But I got 33% more – FREE!!! And besides, my kids will never return home fromn summer camp with those bottles of sunblock in their bags. I needed a nice big bottle that I could keep my eyes on for the family for the summer. And it’s huge – just like the GIANT Good Night Moon book I couldn’t resist purchasing 9 years ago even though we already had two copies because it was just so BIG!


Then there’s this . . .

Lips! Gotta protect those lips from those harmful UV rays! And look – it’s SPF 50! It has to work better than that crappy SPF 15 stuff we used last weekend.


And finally, this . . .

A definite must-have for when you forget the lip sunblock all together or discover that the 15 SPF lip sunblock you used didn’t do any good at all and your lips are sunburned beyond all recognition and hurt so badly you can’t even drink anything, let alone try to open your mouth to put a fork in it.

Oh – and I threw in a value sized bottle of Claritin.

“What does that have to do with the sun?” you ask? Snow + sun = water = even more pollen floating around than we’ve already got = Dude and mom sniffling and sneezing and clearing throats 24/7. This should help.

And besides, the package was blue. It matched everything else in the cart. I couldn’t help it.

I think it’s safe to say that we’re ready for this weekend. Bring on that sun, Mother Nature!

Well, he could try…

I love my kiddos, and I had to giggle last week at Dude.

One of the moms of a teammate took a bad fall on some ice during our last snowstorm a couple weeks ago. She broke her leg so badly she couldn’t move, so she was stuck on the neighbor’s driveway for 3o minutes until some construction workers drove by and helped her. It was COLD that day! Poor G :-( She is a very active, fit, and generally awesome mother and person. She ended up having surgery to put plates and screws in her leg. She’s been on bedrest for 10 days . . . doc finally took her ginormous cast off and put on a regular one . . . which she’ll need for 6-8 weeks.

Did I mention this is her right leg? So she cannot drive. For 6-8 weeks. She has 2 boys who play on different baseball teams. Ouch!

Dude and I were talking about G and how much of a bummer it was and how teammate was pretty bummed his mom got hurt :-(

I was telling Dude how it might kinda suck if that happened. He said “Not really. I had my cast for that long and it wasn’t THAT terrible.”

I said “Dude. The broken leg and cast isn’t the end of the world. But imagine if I couldn’t drive anyone anywhere for 6-8 weeks. That’s like until the end of June!”

He got this awful look on his face and said “Yeah – that would not be good. I guess you could tell dad and he could try to do it.”

LOL! Try to do it . . . like he doesn’t know how to drive :-) HAHAHAHAHA!

***Disclaimer . . . Hubby has been AWESOME at being more involved in the kiddo’s activities since he’s home way more. He likes to take them to their activities and doesn’t want to miss anything . . . and I’ve FINALLY begun to let him do it, so it’s all good for everyone :-)


When Dude decided he wanted to do this club baseball thing this spring/summer (practice 2-3 times a week and tournaments every weekend from April 1 – July 7) rather than rugby (1 practice a week and the occasional weekend game that Hubby or I know nothing about so it’s total relaxation) . . . it was a commitment for the whole family.

He’s loving the baseball and so are we. Last weekend was a marathon – 6 games in 2 days to take 2nd in the tournament. We started Sunday with a 10:00 a.m. game and ended in the championship game with a 7:45 p.m. start. We pulled into the driveway at 11:17 Sunday night. Get to bed kids – you’ve got school in the morning!

***We were informed after practice last night that we are by far the strictest parents. Dude was the only kid on the team who had to go to school before noon. Yes – seriously. I said “sorry, Dude, but school is ALWAYS first.”

Princess was a trooper the whole weekend. Coach’s daughter is about the same age, as are a couple other siblings. They all had a great time playing at the playground, throwing rocks into the pond, playing tag, and even playing ghost in the graveyard in a dark deserted baseball field next to the one the championship game was on.

When we agreed to let Dude try out for the team, Hubby and I were adimate that Princess would not have to spend every weekend sitting at a ball park watching him play.

As a result . . . I may have overcompensated in making sure to NOT say no to anything she wanted to do on the weekends 😉 This weekend – horse camp (I get to go, too) from 10-2 on Sunday. Hubby doesn’t know it yet, but this is a camp where Princess I learn the many different ways you can “own” a horse, including leasing (I actually see this as an option starting this summer). Princess said last night while she and I were here alone “I really just want to make something. Like cupcakes or something like that.” So she started flipping through cookbooks. The plan WAS for her and I to run up to Dude’s 3:00 game on Saturday after the horse camp.

The new plan is for us to go get ingredients for whatever it is she wants to “make” and make it. Just the 2 of us :-) Can’t wait!

The next weekend is a tournament nearby – it’s also Mother’s Day and Hubby’s birthday, so we’ll have all kinds of stuff to do around baseball.

The weekend after that? I’m taking Princess and 5 other girls from the troop tent camping! Can’t wait!

The weekend after that? Princess has her first horse show of the season on Saturday.

The weekend after that? Princess and I are heading to MN for a girl’s weekend with the grandmas :-)

The weekend after that? I’m hiking a 14er with some girlfriends (no, I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to that!).

The weekend after that? The whole fam will be in Omaha for a baseball tournament . . . and the grandparents from MN are coming to play!

The weekend after that? I drop Princess of at her weeklong Girl Scout horse camp.

The weekend after that? Princess has her 2nd horse show of the season.

The week after that? We’re all in South Dakota for a week… the boys will be at Boy Scout Summer Camp and the girls will be 4-wheeling and hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa. I’m sure there will be horseback riding as well 😉

Then baseball is over.

As you can see – Princess is in no danger of actually having to spend another entire weekend watching baseball.

She is, however, wondering if “gymnastics will fit into her schedule.”

Um . . . no. No it will not!

10 years later . . .

This coming August, we will have lived in our house for 10 years. When we bought this house, we knew we needed new windows . . . so we bought them and had them installed :-) All but 4 anyway. We had grand plans for the room with the other 4 windows in it! We also had plans for other parts of the house, which Hubby and I dutifully ranked on our own, then ranked as a couple, then priced, then re-ranked.

#1 on my list after windows? Stucco.

It did not remain #1 on anybody’s list after we priced it out.

In the meantime, we painted the entire inside of the house, completed tore out and remodeled one bathroom and the kitchen, redid the deck, built a shed, put in new carpet, built forts, watched our kiddos grow.

Finally, we decided it was time to do something to the outside of the house. We could paint or stucco.

Stucco was the big winner! I got some recommendations and quotes and we chose our stucco guy, who is more than knowledgeable and helpful – yay!

Apparently, choosing that guy was the easiest task.

Then we had to find someone who sold the same windows that we had installed 10 years ago. We never did get around to our awesome basement remodel where we would’ve installed those last 4 windows, but, I found a guy!

The final 4 windows are ordered and should be installed next week.

Then I had to find a painter for the soffets, doors, and tiny amounts of trim.


Then we had to decide on the color of stucco we wanted, so we drove around to a bunch of houses this guy has stucco’ed before to look at colors. Bonus – of the 25 or so houses we looked at, we liked the same color, a 50/50 mix of 2 colors.

During our stucco color scavenger hunt, Hubby decided he really liked the stone on some of the houses (who knew there were so many houses that had some stone? I had never noticed before, and now it’s all I see!). So, added to our project was the need to find a mason to put stone on the bottom 4 feet of our house.

A few recommendations and quotes later, I picked a mason! Yay!

THEN it was off to choose which stone we wanted. OMG! So many choices!

Surprise surprise – Hubby and I liked 2 different ones, but almost the same, so I let him choose because I really didn’t care – I was getting my STUCCO!

Mason on the schedule!

Last on the list . . . gutters. More recommendations and quotes later and we’ve just signed on our gutter people.

The plan?

Windows installed next week, then it’s off to the races! We’re hoping we can have the entire project (windows, stucco, stone, paint, gutters) finished by the end of May.

I will post a lovely “before” picture of the house before they come do anything.

Wish us luck!