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August, 2013:

Earn My Business

This business tip brought to you by Jodie :-)

I’m getting quotes to have 100 course catalogs printed for our business to take to trade shows this fall. Full color cover with full bleed and black and white interior pages. Pretty easy job.

I got 4 quotes from local companies. Two were outrageous and 2 were almost identical in price.

So I decided I’d let them make the decision for me.

I sent the cover file to each company and asked for a sample. In the past, printers have had trouble printing the cover in good quality because it is PURPLE . . . very purple . . . think Barney purple. And apparently lots of solid purple is difficult to print.

Both printed a sample within a couple hours and invited me to come take a look.

Company #1 printed exactly what I’d sent them on a huge piece of paper with no editing or trimming. Company #1 said they could work more with the cover and would like to earn my business by showing me what they could do.

Company #2 printed exactly what I’d sent them on a huge piece of paper with no editing. Then they weren’t pleased with the result, so they messed around with the color and the printer until it was how they liked it. Then they trimmed the paper so I could see exactly how the cover would look trimmed to the correct size with the full bleed. It was beautiful . . . well, as beautiful as a purple course catalog cover can be :-)

Sorry Company #1 . . . Company #2 already earned my business by doing the work before I got there and showing me a quality finished product instead of one they could still work on for me.

Business tip of the day: the customer sample should be exactly how you’d reproduce the final product. If it’s not, you didn’t do your job and you will not earn my business.

Total Denial

I did not conscent to this . . . to my baby boy starting his last year of middle school and my baby girl starting her last year of elementary school.

I most certainly am NOT OK with this!

In other news, Dude is officially 5′ tall. 5′ + 1/4″ tall to be exact.

I most certainly am NOT OK with that, either!

QUICK! FLASHBACK TO 2010!

Ah yes – that’s MUCH better :-)

Bionic Lemon

So my Dude and my Dog both have a bum left wheel.

Dude strained his hip flexor in a baseball game last Sunday. Of course he thought he was “better” on Wednesday and against my better judgement decided to practice. His coach didn’t ask him to do a lot, but Dude wanted to take batting practice. One half-ass terrible swing because of pain later, he hurt it worse. Trip to the doc revealed hip flexor AND hamstring strains. So now he gets to have NO activity for an entire week (killer for a 13 year old boy!) other than the exercises doc gave him to do. After the week, he can see how it is on a daily basis and decide when to practice again. I was sooooo mad he didn’t listen to me and hurt it again and worse and had to start all over with healing! I guess natural consequences are the best kind of consequences for a stubborn teenager!

In other news, our largest 4-legged child tore her other ACL. Yup – she will have her 2nd TPLO surgery in a 13-month period. I know I know – it’s a lot of money to spend on a dog. But she’s only 5 and she’s happy and we love her to death. And we are fortunate enough to be able to make this decision for her. So my lovely yellow lab with a puffy ear and¬†allergies will have two bionic legs . . . because we can and because – just look at that face!

We are considering changing her name from Duma to the Bionic Lemon :-) I think it has a nice ring to it!

Baby Blues

Gotta love those Baby Blue eyes! Waiting patiently for a table at the Breckenridge Brewery :-)

Caving

Long long ago (Spring Break in March of 2013) and far far away (Carlsbad, NM), we camped for 5 days with some other families from Dude’s Scout troop for a spring break trip. We had 3 campers and 5 tents . . . it was a BLAST! We stayed at an RV Park that had an indoor pool, so the kids had lots of fun in the evenings.

This was our first time camping with the troop as a family, and we had a blast! Hubby planned the entire trip, so we brought all the food while some other families brought the troop supplies (tables, double-burner propane stove, patrol boxes, etc.). It as 80% scouts and 20% modern camping. We divided into two patrols, and within those patrols, each family had a meal responsibility. It worked out VERY well! I’m an early riser, as is one of the other Dads, so each morning we were out in the chilly mornings. He was heating up the coffee and water for hot chocolate and oatmeal while I was getting out all the other breakfast food and setting up a table with lunch food so everyone could assemble their sack lunch for the day.

Here’s Princess on the first morning, enjoying some Cheerios out of the wind in the back of the 4Runner :-)

 

And the rest of the folks milling about trying to wake up, stay warm, eat breakfast, and pack lunch before 8:00 a.m. departure!

 

The first day, our patrol got to go on a cave tour that required a 45 minute moderate hike up quite a hill. It wasn’t too difficult, but it was nice that they gave us a lot of time so we didn’t hate the tour before it even started ūüėČ We stopped at the visitor center first for our briefing and to get fitted for gloves (to protect the fragile cave) and a helmet with a headlamp.

Our patrol on the way up:

 

The cave was VERY neat! There is a locked gate to block people from getting in and vandalizing. The really crazy thing? After we all go in, the lock the gate behind us! Sure hope the guides don’t get hurt or sick! :-) We got a briefing at the top while we were still in the light. Then we hiked down the trail following one guide and having the comfort of the other guide at the end of our group. Here’s a view of the cave entrance from just a couple yards down the trail. Thank goodness for headlamps!

 

Our guide was awesome and very knowledgeable. He was so good with the kids and so patient with all of their questions. Here they are listening while he explained the mining that had taken place and talked about all the trash and litter that the miners had left behind (samples were still there) and how it affected the cave.

¬†I don’t have many more photos from inside the cave because it was DARK! :-) We had to use some ropes to climb up hills and try really hard not to touch the fragile stuff. We got to see the largest pile of bat poop (guana) ever – it really was amazing, if you can believe it. In the guana pile you could see bat skeletons! Ewwwwwwww! There weren’t any bats that used that cave anymore – thank God! We also go to experience the total darkness when everyone turned off their headlamps, then the guide moved his hands and we saw a naturally fluorescent rock shining. Very cool!

We got to climb to an area of the cave where they actually shot some movie scenes, which was also very neat. While the cave tour was great, it was also nice to be back outside in the light and feeling a bit less vampireish. The boys give a thumbs up for an awesome cave tour!

 

 

I like this photo and hate this photo. It looks like a graduation picture!

 

 

The hike down the hill back to the vehicles where an awesome picnic lunch and much water and Gatorade awaited!

 

 

None of us wanted to go back to camp yet, and nobody was really interested in starting a hike at 2:00 p.m. on a hot day, so some of us decided to go to Texas! Why not? It was only a 10 minute drive down the highway :-)

Dude and Princess “run for the boarder!”

 

 

Look, Honey! It’s part of an alien spaceship that must have crash-landed here!

 

Back at camp, we all had an awesome dinner and an even awesomer time watching the boys clean up, do dishes, and dig a sump for the gray water :-) Apparently it takes 4 scouts to find the right spot and 3 to supervise while 1 digs :-)

 

 

As I look closer, I see the supervising scouts are young scouts, so I will say this is my Dude “training” the younger scouts on the proper location and technique for digging a successful and useful sump while camping :-)

We had 3 days to do “stuff” in Carlsbad, 2 of which had cave tours planned. On our patrol’s day off, we decided to once again shun some awesome hiking opportunities and drive to Roswell :-) We had a blast! I’m not sure I believe in aliens as much as I believe in ghosts, but the evidence is hokey and compelling at the same time. Here we are seeing what it would be like to be an alien landing on Earth.

 

The Scouts took a turn. Yes, that’s my very weird child acting like some kind of disco dancing dorky alien :-)

 

We all spent a good couple of hours at the museum before heading next door for a yummy taco buffet lunch. Then we were off to town! We’d seen some fun aliens on the side of the road on our way through town going to camp, so we decided to go check them out while we were there. On our way,¬†we ran by the airport to see the giant 747 graveyard – one of the scouts is a huge fan of plans and flying and was beside himself when he to¬†be so close!

On our drive thorugh town, we just couldn’t resist this guy – outside the Holiday Inn :-) ET phone home!

No, Princess! Don’t let them take you!

 

Another night of campfire cooking and swimming in the pool was enjoyed by all before a VERY windy night of trying to sleep :-) On our 3rd day, our patrol go to go on the Left Hand Tunnel tour by lantern-light. The tour itself isn’t quite as exciting as the previous tour, but it’s very cool because you carry candle-light lanterns as your only source of light just like they original explorers did.

 

After the tour, we spent a couple hours walking around the show cave – especially the Big Room. It was VERY cool! I took a bunch of photos, but they just don’t come out well. It’s like the Grand Canyon – you just have to be there in person :-)

Our final night at the campground was a fun one! The boys made camp ice cream:

 

And dutch oven peach cobbler for dessert:

 

While it was all awesome and wonderful, one of my favorite parts of this whole trip was watching the boys work together with everything, including doing the dishes:

 

All while the adults use the leftover coals from our pocket meals to warm their hands on a very chilly evening :-)

 

We’re really looking forward to the next family Scouting event! It’s always fun to meet people outside of the meetings and get to know them on a more personal level.

Thirteen – Part Deux

While Dude and his buddies were biking down the mountain, Robyn, J, Princess, Hubby, and I were having our own fun in the adventure zone! We started off with a ride down the alpine slide.

Princess and J had fun riding the chairlift together:

At the top, Princess waffled between going down by herself and riding with Me. Once we saw the sleds, it was clear she and I would not fit in a sled together. We could fit, but with her ridiculously long 10-year old legs, I wouldn’t be able to reach around her to the control handle.

 

After some chatting about how the sled stops unless you MAKE it go forward, she decided to ride alone. I must say, it still confuses me how she can be so adventurous on some things and completely terrified on others.

 

J went first, then Princess, then I followed her. We told the guy running the slide as well as those people behind us that she would go slow . . . but none of us realized just HOW slow she would go. Oh My!

 

She definitely went at her own speed! Which meant all of us behind her had to at her speed, too. I kept egging her on telling her she had to push forward and go faster, but she just wouldn’t do it. She crawled at a snail’s pace.

When we got to the bottom, there were 7 people right behind her! At least the guy running the thing asked for anyone who had bought a one ride ticket to raise their hand, and he let them ride again. Whew!

We did go up again – she insisted she’d go faster now that she knew the ride. And she did go faster, so it was all good. Still no speed demon, but she had fun and I was the only one who caught up to her :-)

After that 2nd ride is when I got “the call” and left the adventure park on the afternoon tour of the local Urgent Care with H1!

While I was gone, Hubby caught up to Robyn, J, and Princess and joined them for fun on the Gold Runner Coaster.

Here they are, ready to go! Princess rode with Hubby, because she knew she’d go too slow. She told him he could go as fast as he wanted . . . and he did! She was not pleased . . . this was her look to him after they got off the ride . . . her look of “seriously, Dad! That was too fast!”

 

They loved the coaster and wanted to go again, but this time she insisted on riding with Ms. Robyn instead :-) Thank you Ms. Robyn!

 

Next up, the bungee jumping trampoline thingies!

 

They did this a few times before meeting up with the older boys and heading over to mine for some gemstones. Princess got some nice ones!

After H1 and I got back from getting his stitches, I walked up the mountain a little ways to see the boys coming down the Alpine Slide for the last run of the day. I was delighted to see my beautiful Princess walking up to say hi :-)

 We got to spend the rest of the evening with the boys at the restaurant and the pool. Beer was good after this day!!!

We got up Friday morning and headed back to the condo to help get everyone packed up before our 10:00 a.m. check out time. Hubby was awesome and already had all the breakfast stuff from the week out, and the boys went to town finishing that off. I’m not sure how, but they did manage to find all of their stuff and pack it in their bags in time for us to leave. 5 teenage boys in the lockout portion of a condo = one giant smelly mess!!! Sheesh!

The plan was to eat the awesomest burritos ever at Dorothy’s in Fairplay for lunch before heading back to town. We had some time, so we decided to drive up to Kite Lake with Hubby and Dude. They were staying up there and tenting with the Scouts so they could hike three 14ers Saturday morning. The drive up there is always fun and beautiful – 7 miles on a small dirt forest service road. It’s worth it, though! You see a very old paper mill on the way, some other mines in the mountainside, and the most beautiful little lake, shaped perfectly like a kite, at the trailhead at about 11,500 feet above sea level.

Hubby and Dude got their tent out and set out to find their tenting spot with the boys. Then my lovely daughter and her buddy, J, come to me and Robyn and say “Miss Jodie? I think you have a flat tire!”

Um, what?!

Sure enough – I go around the rear passenger side (the SAME side that went flat and I had to fix in South Dakota in July!) and there is a steady stream of air leaking from the tire. A guy heard us talking about it and came over to check it out. He said he did have a patch that we could try. I mentioned that it had already been patched and plugged once, so thank you, but I think we’ll just put the spare on before we head back.

So Hubby came over and we wrestled with finding the jack (why can 2 vehicles never have the jack in the same place?), figuring out how to lower the spare (again, why is it never the same?), borrowing a untility knife to use the screwdriver, and changing the tire (the user manual was very helpful for this first time!). I was just thankful Princess and J noticed it while we were stopped instead of it going flat while we were halfway down the mountain or driving 75 down the highway!

We got the tire changed, finished helping them get their camp setup, and we all headed back into Alma on our way to awesome lunch in Fairplay!

Everyone was pretty exhausted from the fun days and long nights in Breck for Dude’s birthday . . . so lunch was actually pretty silent, except for the man at the table next to us whose eyes got huge when we walked in and he said to me “Oh my! I’m so glad I don’t have to feed all those boys!” :-)

Many burritos and Cokes later, Hubby and Dude said their goodbyes and headed back to camp while Princess and I took the boys home.

We had a great time up in Breck as a family earlier in the week and with the boys after they came. I hope it’s a birthday that Dude will remember for quite awhile!

Thirteen

OMG! Sometime in the past couple of weeks (OK, August 1st exactly), my burrito turned into a full-fledged TEENAGER! Yes, my Dude turned 13. THIRTEEN! He wanted to go play up in Breckenridge with some of his buddies for his birthday, so we did :-) We had the condo for that week, so we invited 4 of his friends up to play for a couple days around his birthday. Princess and I stayed with a friend the two nights the boys were there so they could have their space. I was way excited when my friend, Robyn, agreed to drive all the boys up (her son and Jason have been friends since they were 3!) – saved me a 5-hour round trip. I was even MORE excited when she and her other son stayed with me and Princess up in Breckenridge. We had a great time!

Here are the boys enjoying one of the outdoor hot tubs the first night they were there:

What do I love most about that photo? Dude has been friends with T (furthest left) since he was 8 weeks old! They went to daycare together from the time they were babies. They go to different schools, but they still keep in touch.

Dude has been friends with N (3rd from the left) since they were 3. They met at Montessori when Dude and T left daycare and went to Montessori together. So the 3 of them have been friends for 10 years. N moved away for 3 years and came back last year . . . we couldn’t be happier to have him and his family back!

Dude has been friends with H1 (2nd from the right) since his 3rd birthday – the day we moved into the house we live in now. H1 lives 3 houses away AND shares the same birthday with Dude (happy birthday to you, too, H1!).

Dude has been friends with H2 (furthest right) since 2nd grade when he left Montessori and went to the public school by our house. H2 lives just through a few yards away from us.

Dude has a lot of friends, but I love that these 4 have been his friends for so long and that he holds the so close to his heart.

OK – off the mushy stuff and into the details of the 13th birthday bash!

Robyn and I planned to be back to the condo at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday for the actual birthday – wanted to help Hubby get breakfast made and the hungry beasts fed before we head out to the adventure park on Peak 8! I called to see if Hubby wanted us to grab him Starbucks on the way . . . apparently they all wanted Starbucks :-)

This is what 13 year old boys want for their birthday breakfast…

Starbucks for 5 boys, 3 adults, and 2 siblings is not the cheapest breakfast! :-) They enjoyed their Starbucks while we made pancakes and bacon . . . of course they chowed down on that, too, because TEENAGE BOYS!

They got “ready” in record time. Don’t confuse “getting ready” with actually showering or anything. It meant they brushed their teeth and grabbed their bike helmets . . . because they were headed to mountain bike down Peak 8 at Breck! After a quick lesson on the shifting and disc brakes, they were at the top of the lift in no time heading off on their bikes.

 

I, of course, followed them like the paparazzi and made them pause and give me one thumbs up before they hurled themselves down the mountain trail – Swingers Switchback!

 

And there they go – five 13 year old boys who think they are invincible.

I promise you I never had this view on my 13th birthday!

 

While they were cruising down the mountain, I met up with Robyn, her son J, and Princess for some adventure park fun of our own (more on that next time). On our way up the chairlift to the top of the alpine slide, we saw the boys riding down the trail and got some fun shots.

 Out of the trees and back into the trees!

 

The invincible boys were rockin’ and cruised right back up for a 2nd run! Then came “the call” from N on his cell. One of them had wiped out and needed stitches, so please send help.

Um – OK! So Hubby started hiking up to them while I chatted with the information guy and he got on the radio to the bike patrol. We finally pinpointed the location of the boys and the patrol arrived. The bike patrol emergency guys immediately complimented the boys on how awesome they were and how they’d done everything right for H1.

N was making H1 lay still, even though he insisted he had to get up. He had a giant dent in his helmet from where it hit a rock when he went over the handlebars. Thank God for helmets or definite concussion or worse! The dent was right on his temple . . . could’ve been bad.

H2 was holding H1’s arm up above his heart.

Dude had taken off his shirt and used it to put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding – there was A LOT of blood.

T had walked out of the trees to signal to Hubby and the bike patrol, who had ended up calling the truck to come get H1.

I have to say I was SOOOOO proud of all of them! Five 13 year old boys alone in the middle of a mountain bike ride down a 10,000 foot mountain, and not ONE of them panicked when they came around a corner to see their buddy lying on the ground with a huge dent in his helmet and this on his elbow:

 

Lovely, isn’t it?! I have to say that Scouting definitely helped my Dude know what to do in this situation!

The bike patrol wrapped his arm a bit so blood wouldn’t get all over before putting H1 and his bike in the truck and driving him down to the first aid station. Hubby hiked down and the other boys rode down.

I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon on the phone with H1’s Mom figuring out if she wanted me to take him to the ER or to the Urgent Care. Urgent Care it is! After lots of waiting around, lots of cleaning the wound, x-rays of his very sore elbow, and 6 giant stitches,¬†H and I¬†got back to the top of the mountain around 5:00, with one hour left to go.

While we were gone, the other boys took another run down the mountain – this time they upped the ante and went down the black run! No fear :-) They also “mined” for gemstones:

 

Notice Dude is wearing his new Breck shirt since his other one was full of blood.

They also took a couple runs on the Gold Runner Coaster. When H1 and I got back, everyone had time for one more run down the Alpine Slide – even H1 was determined to end the day on a good note!

 

Here the boys are heading back to the 4Runner for the trip back to the condo . . .

 

Even with the drama, I think they all had a great day! When we got back to the condo, we took them down to the restaurant so Dude could get his dream birthday dinner of Bell Pepper Chicken (his favorite!) before they headed back to the pool. H1 had to hold his arm above the water, but other than that, he had no restrictions. Fun night!

Many thanks to Robyn for taking care of Princess after I waved my hand at her, which clearly meant I was going to take care of something else. And also many thanks to Robyn for helping me find all the first aid stuff the doc gave me to purchase for H1’s arm! It was not an easy task :-)

Up next . . . a little more on what the rest of us did while the boys were celebrating teenager-dom and the story of our drive back home, which included changing a flat tire on a forest service road at 11,500 feet.

It’s a good thing we don’t mind an adventure!

Happy Monday!

Princess and Her Prince

After a show break for Girl Scout and Boy Scout summer camps, Princess was back riding and LOVING it! Prince had been working with the trainer and rode with the trainer in the show Princess missed for some practice. Princess’ trainer said she was totally ready to ride Prince in the show. So off we went to the barn to get him ready! We were excited, so we got there early to braid his mane and get him all gussied up. Everything was going great until Prince saw something . . . the neighbor guy was holding up¬†a big blue blow up swimming pool and spraying it out with a hose. Prince would do NOTHING but look straight over at the guy and the pool. Then the guy put the pool down and we had a couple minutes where we could work on Prince again. Then Prince got a bit spooked again . . . turns out the guy had picked up a large blue tarp and was shaking it out. Prince does NOT like the color blue! So we gave him a break and let him wander around the pasture for¬†awhile before walking him over to the fence to check out the big bad blue things :-)

The other girls finally arrived to get their horses ready and we headed to the show! Princess rode in the walk/trot flat class for warm up before riding in both jumping classes. She did great in walk/trot, but was always on the wrong diagonal, so she got 6th place. Then came the cross rail jumping. All the horses were refusing a couple of the jumps, so I was a bit worried. Prince and Princesses did great, until a lady in the far corner put up a blue camping chair with a canopy on it! Luckily, Prince didn’t notice it . . . but he did refuse one other jump. Princess did great getting him to go back and complete the jump and finish the course. She didn’t place, but was excited for the 2nd cross rail class. This time, they had to start from the other end of the arena . . . RIGHT in front of that blue canopy chair. Prince spooked when he saw it during the courtesy circle. Princess did AWESOME getting him on course and focused elsewhere. He refused the first jump, but after she got him going, he did AWESOME on the rest of the course.

I was so proud of my Princess for remaining calm and composed and for smiling the whole time she worked with her PITA horse :-) She got 5th for that ride – and I’m convinced it was because of her composure and how well she handled her horse. Now for some pictures of my beautiful Princess and her Handsome Horse.

Prince got a brand new maroon saddle pad, so we put maroon and white ribbons in his mane and also put maroon ribbons in Princess’ hair. They looked very sharp!