Tuesday, June 11, 2013

1st Day of Summer

Wow. I just looked at the last post I wrote - three months ago! What happened? I have no idea where the time went.

Well, I do. Life. We were living life. Crazy, busy, stressful, wonderful life.

We also got a dog.She was a rescue dog. Her name is Bella and I love her more than I love my kids. Not really. Maybe. Well, almost.

Bella (she was already named) is a Border Collie / Lab mix, although several people have told me she is a Flat Coat Retriever. I am not a dog expert. All I know is she has black hair, weighs 50 lbs., and is of the canine species. She loves me more than anyone else, which is why she eats only my shoes (6 prs. so far). I take her out running at the dog park every morning, which has helped with her energy level, and assists with her making good little doggie decisions at home for the rest of the day. Some of you may be shocked that we have a new furry family member. Mr. C has long maintained that we could get a dog "over his dead body". I'm so happy he is still around to enjoy Miss Bella. She loves to catch, fetch, shake, give high-5's, lay down, chew (usually on a hoof or a raw hide), and be cuddled (but she only likes cuddling in the mornings when she is lazy and tired). She also enjoys herding Katie in the back yard, chasing birds and grasshoppers at the dog park, and splashing in any available water.

The kidlets went to their last day of school yesterday. It was a half-day, and a total waste of everyone's time. They didn't do a thing except sign autographs, play, clean, etc. I'm glad the school year is over. We were all getting run down and tired of it.

We held Katie's Birthday party last night. Those of you who know her Birthday was in March will be confused. It was like this: she wanted to have an outside pool party for her Birthday, and it is too freaking cold for that in Wyoming until summer (we had two blizzards in May!). Usually she is more of an "instant gratification" type of girl, but I was proud of her for delaying the fun for three months.

Which brings us to today. Our first day of summer break. Usually my favorite day of the year! Guess what! It sucked! I can't even tell you exactly why, it just did. Mr. C is working a lot (don't I always say this?), so I'm not getting much sleep. The month of June is going to be brutal for him. Lots of deadlines and stress. I am praying July will be better, but I'm not holding out much hope. So, I began the day tired, because I don't sleep well when he is working long hours. I hit snooze until 7:30 this morning, then was scrambling to get everyone out the door. Mr. C had work. Bren had golf at 9. Katie had Religious Ed at 9, then golf at 11.

So, my day went like this: Get Mr. C out the door. Get kids ready and out the door by 8:30. Take Bren to golf. Take Katie across town to the church. Take Bella north to the dog park to run. Come home and shower. Pick Katie up at 10:40 and deliver her to the golf course. Bren was supposed to be waiting for her at noon to play a couple of holes of golf, then I was supposed to pick them up for lunch and room cleaning. Well, fortunately, I had a feeling I should wait for Katie, so I spent a delightful hour catching up with one of my sweet friends whilst our children had their lesson. Brendan never showed up (he was out on the course golfing). So I took Katie home for lunch, then had to go back to get Brendan 45 minutes later. He ate lunch, then they both cleaned their rooms, then I had to take them back to the pool (because it was 96 degrees!), then I ran two errands. I came home with major plans to get some stuff done, then Brendan called and wanted to be picked up. Apparently Katie was being mean to him so he wanted to leave the pool. This meant Katie also had to leave the pool. That was not a popular plan with Katie, and she apparently became upset. I got them home, cooled her off (literally and figuratively), and thought I could maybe get a couple of things done. No. Katie wanted the day care kids from next door to come play, and the little darlings went into the back yard and opened the gate, but forgot to shut it. When we let Miss Bella outside, she got out, and she had a blast frolicking through the neighborhood before we realized she was out. We got her back in, and I gave up with trying to get anything done.

So it is now 6:00 at night, and I haven't accomplished anything I needed to, and I am worn out from being hot and tired. I figured while I am sitting here being all grumpy, I might as well write a post for my sorely neglected blog.

I am hoping tomorrow is better (and cooler). Did I mention it was 96 degrees today? 96! We live in Wyoming and have NO AIR CONDITIONING! My house is a balmy 85 degrees right at this moment. The only thing saving us right now is that fabulous Wyoming wind. It is blowing from the west at 12 mph, but gusting a bit higher. I also think we'll be eating out tonight, as I have no desire to turn on the stove or oven and heat up my house any further.

On a happy note: We signed up for the summer reading program at The Laramie County Library. I have read 5 of my 25 books already. Katie has read for 7 of her 25 hours, and Brendan has read 8 of his 25 hours. They love doing the reading program. It is always a fun activity for us to share during the summertime. Mr. C signed up once, but didn't finish anything. He doesn't read for enjoyment very often. I think it is because he is always working and doesn't have the time. Maybe when he retires he'll be able to read more often.

So, our summer schedule has begun: lots of golf, pool days, and grilling outside. I love summertime in Wyoming. We have beautiful summers and falls here. The evenings are especially gorgeous, with brilliant colorful sunsets, and temps that are "just right" for sitting on the patio.

Happy Summer!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lost and Found by Ginny L. Yttrup


It appears Jenna Bouvier is losing everything: beauty, family, and wealth. When her controlling and emotionally abusive mother-in-law accuses Jenna of an affair with her spiritual director and threatens to expose them, Jenna also risks losing her reputation as a woman of faith. Will she capitulate to her mother-in-law’s wishes again or fight for what she holds dear? As Jenna loses her life, will she find it?
Andee Bell has found exactly what she wanted: fame, fortune, and respect. There’s also a special man in her life—Jenna’s brother. Despite her success, a secret quells Andee’s contentment. As memories torment, will she find peace in a relationship with God, or will she sabotage herself while also taking down the only person she cares about? As Andee finds her life, will she lose it?
Moving between San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Jenna and Andee form an unlikely relationship that leads them to a crossroad. They can follow familiar inclinations, or risk it all and walk in faith.

Jenna and her husband Gerard live with his mother, who is controlling and manipulative. Nobody stands up to this woman! Where Jenna is sweet and loving, Brigitte is conniving and evil. The story also includes Jenna's father, brother, and her brother's girlfriend, Andee. Andee is focused solely on her career. This drive is fueled by the deep need to overcome a horrific childhood. As she betrays those who trust her, she realizes she needs something deeper from life. Something more.

I wanted to like this book. It was a really GOOD book. This book was filled with incredibly profound thoughts on faith, trust, and belief. The author really made me THINK.  It had interesting characters, and it kept me reading until the very last page. But that is where it lost me. And it is 100% NOT because it was not well-written, nor is it due to a lack of amazing life-lessons woven throughout the story. My problem with the book was that the story wasn't tied up in a sweet little bow at the end. It didn't end with the characters being blissfully happy. And that is MY failure as a reader.

As a girl, I didn't have much stability in my life. My escape from the every-day was reading. I read constantly. I would immerse myself in the stories and the characters. Books allowed me to be someplace else...someplace wonderful...someplace other than where I was. So, since reading was my ticket to another world, why would I choose to make that world sad? 

Unfortunately, this tendency has followed me into adulthood. I don't watch sad movies (I think I'm the only person on earth who has not seen Titanic - you know before you see it that it will end badly), and I avoid reading books from certain authors because they weave sadness into their plots (I have yet to make it all the way through a Danielle Steele novel, and don't even get me started on Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult). Give me a good Debbie Macomber novel any day - that woman knows how to write a light, happy story. I also enjoy Courtney Walsh and Amanda Cabot for the same reason: their stories aren't always light, but they wrap up their books in such an uplifting way. The only sadness comes from the fact that the book isn't longer. 

Now, I KNOW life isn't perfect, nor is it ever tied up in a sweet little bow. And I also realize I am missing out on some really great books because of this. I need to work on getting out of my comfort zone. Do you have a favorite genre of book? Have you thought about why?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Few Layouts...

I haven't posted any scrapbooking-related projects in a while,
so I thought I'd share a couple.

This is Katie's First Communion.
I used Crate Paper's Portrait Collection.

This is from our trip to Disney World two years ago.
We were selected as Family of the Week at our resort.
This is the photo they took and passed around to the staff
so they would recognize us.
It was pretty darned amazing.
I used some products from one of my Cocoa Daisy kits.

A layout I did of Brendan this fall.
The photo was taken seven years ago.
Again, I used Cocoa Daisy kit products.

This photo was taken the same day as Brendan's above.
Again, I used one of my Cocoa Daisy kits, plus some things
I had on hand.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, February 22, 2013

It arrived!

We had something very exciting arrive in the mail yesterday! Marc's degree! Here it is:

We are so proud of him. His determination and hard work finally paid off.

Monday, February 04, 2013

That'll Teach Me

I just spent a week in Florida without Mr. C and the kidlets. I came home to 60 mph winds on Friday, Bren coming down with some kind of virus (fever, head cold), and a pile of laundry the size of Mt. Everest.

Maybe I should stay home from now on.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crafty Monday - Christmas Projects

Every year for Christmas, I try to make something for all of Katie's teachers / support staff at school. With so many to make, it is important for me to keep the cost somewhat reasonable while also making sure it is something that will look nice. This year I chose to make chipboard wall hangings. I used the pages from a 5 x 7" chipboard album, and some assorted patterned papers / journal cards from Echo Park and Simple Stories. I chose their Christmas paper packs, which included sticker embellishments. This enabled me to put the plaques together quickly because everything was already coordinated for me.

For Katie's homeroom teacher, I altered a frame so she could insert a Christmas photo after the holidays. I found this frame / matte set at Hobby Lobby, then covered the matting up with paper, decorated it, then reinserted it into the frame. She loved it!

I hope you enjoyed this first installment of Crafty Monday! Happy 2013.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Scottsdale Vacation

I grew up with warm weather at Christmas.
I've missed that.
We decided to take the kids out of the cold weather for a while during
Christmas Break this year.
We left on December 26.

We chose to go to Scottsdale.
We drove.
To Scottsdale.

On our way, we saw a beautiful desert sunset in northern New Mexico.

A couple hours outside of Scottsdale,
we hit a blizzard.
It was a complete white-out for a while.
We are lucky like that.

Then we saw an incredible sunset in Scottsdale at our condo.
It was amazing.

At night, the residents around the lake turned on their
Christmas Lights.
It was so pretty!

We spent our first day in Arizona in downtown Scottsdale.
This man was dressed as a statue.
He scared the stuffing out of Katie's mom.
It was pretty embarrassing until a great big tall guy 
screamed like a little girl, too.

Brendan rarely lets me photograph him any more
so this was a nice surprise when he offered to wear a sombrero for me.

 You simply cannot go to the southwest and not
photograph the peppers.
It would be a crime.

We went to The Sugarbowl for ice cream.
It was a hit with everyone.
Katie liked the pink wallpaper, booths, napkins, menus, etc.
The rest of us liked the ice cream.

We had a park behind our condo so the kids played for a while.
They also went to shoot hoops on New Year's Day.

Mr. C and I had a couple of days alone.
This is rare.
The kidlets went to Tucson with our niece and nephew-in-law.
We love them.
A lot.
While the kids were gone, we went to Taliesen West.

This was on Mr. C's Bucket List.
He was very excited.
I was just happy to have some photo ops.

By the way, I also attended a Stephen Hawking lecture
with him in Salt Lake City once.
My sainthood is guaranteed, I think.

It was really beautiful.

My favorite part of the property was this little garden behind the house.
It had a round door to the back of the property, and beautiful flowers.
If it wasn't in the desert (and therefore loaded with snakes),
I would love to stay right there forever.

When we got the kids back, we had the chance to see 
our dear friend Jan in Casa Grande. 
We love Jan.

We also have another dear friend who lives in Scottsdale.
Brant works at the TPC Scottsdale, Champions Course.
The guys went golfing with him on New Year's Day.
Then Brant came over for dinner
(Katie would've been devastated if he hadn't).
The next day he took us all on a tour of the Stadium Course and the
preparations for the Phoenix Open later this month.
This is the players' entrance on the 16th hole
AKA The Stadium Hole.

One of the rare moments I'm in front of the camera.

This is Brant and the kidlets.
Notice how happy they are?
They adore this guy.
So do we.
He is an amazing young man,
and such a phenomenal role model for our children.
We are blessed to know him.

The guys had a golf day on our last day there.
Katie and I went to get pedicures.
Then I was blessed to be able to spend some time with
a friend I hadn't seen in many years.
It was wonderful.

We left to come home on January 4.
We spent the night in Santa Fe, NM and nearly froze to death.
It was colder there than it was in Cheyenne.
Again - lucky.
We woke up at 4:45 am and decided to get the kids up early and head home.
They weren't thrilled with that idea.
But somewhere around Las Vegas, NM, we saw
this incredible sunrise.
And it was worth it.
Well, to me it was, anyway.
The kidlets didn't really care about the sunrise.

We had a lovely time in Arizona.
The locals kept apologizing because it was only in the 60s that week.
It was heaven for us.
We are now back home in the snow, wind, and cold.
And work, school, laundry, etc.
Katie told Mr. C that she wishes he could be
"Vacation Dad"
every day.
So does he.