Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Christmas in Elementary school is an exciting and busy time time!
The kids have finals, gift exchanges, pajama days, class parties, and performances this week.
I've been cutting out felt mice for days for the 3rd grade party craft.  
My daughter's card for her kindergarten teacher brings tears to my eyes and makes me want her job.  But then I snap out of it when I remember she will be assisting 24 kindergarteners in the construction of gingerbread houses on Wednesday.   

This is the last day I have at home before Christmas break.  Tomorrow is the last day of school and I will be there all day for Christmas Chapel, and various class parties.  So today it's last minute wrapping, stuffing stockings, party preparations, putting together teacher gifts, and a little laundry.  Not to mention enjoying the last quiet moments I will have for the next 18 days.

I have 6 hours until I have to pick up the kids.  I think the couch is calling my name!

Monday, December 19, 2011


Christmas activities fill our schedule and 
this month has been all about ice skating!
Ice skating with friends and family at the local outdoor rink,

practicing new moves,
and preparing for the big show!

Ellie participated in the Ft. Collins Winter Wishes Ice Show this year.  It kept our schedule full this month with rehearsals. This past weekend it all came together and she preformed in 3 shows.  She was an adorable penguin!  It was a great experience for her meeting other skaters, participating in a team, building her confidence, and seeing all their hard work come together in an amazing show!

Monday, December 12, 2011


I recently heard on the radio that the White House will no longer have Christmas Trees but they will decorate "Holiday Trees" instead.  "...Because we are no longer a Christian nation but a nation embracing many faiths" is the comment I heard.   

How sad.

In our house we do CHRISTMAS!  We enjoy the fun of Santa, stockings hung by the chimney with care, colored lights on the house, the hustle bustle, the massive amounts of cookies, setting the perfect table, the parties, the shopping list.  It's all fun!
But when I hear my girls sing...

"The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing."

"The thrill of hope.  The weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!"  

" Silent night, Holy night!  Son of God, Love's pure light!"
...then I am reminded of what really matters.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Last night I enjoyed the Kindergarten Christmas program at school.  Not much beats Kindergartners for quality entertainment. There were singing camels, oxen, and sheep, and an angel band.  

Here is my angel.
There was nose picking, halo adjusting, sash yanking, excess voice projecting, face making and bored out of their minds, oblivious to the audience of hundreds, ceiling gazing.

Of course none of that was from my Molly.

She was a perfect angel!

Monday, December 5, 2011


December is here!  Our tree is up, our house is decorated, and all my shopping is finished.  But sit back and relax I cannot.  This month is the busiest on record for our family.  All good things though.  I love this time of year; the planning, the cooking, the Christmasy activities.  

There is so much to be thankful for.

My Christmas List

My kids don't write letters to Santa, or make Christmas lists, or spend time looking at toy catalogs.  I don't know why that is.  We haven't forbidden it.  I know there are things they would like to have, but they don't ask.  Somehow we have managed to raise kids who think it's not all about the presents.  I have no great parenting skill or advice on this but I'm happy that's the way it is.  I know I have certainly been pining over the catalogs that fill my mailbox this month.  But I have gotten some really great gifts already this year.
So my Christmas List is my gratitude list.  My ongoing counting of 1000 Gifts.  Here goes...

593.  Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes
594.  watching my 11 year old son stand in front of the church and ask for 100 boxes
595.  watching him shake hands with Franklin Graham
596.  and meet a young woman who received a shoebox in a Russian orphanage as a child

 597.  watching the 6th graders unload the boxes and form a chain to the door of the school
598.   enjoying his "moment of fame" as the kid who brought over 100 boxes
599.  hearing the true stories of hope that a box of pencils, candy and toothpaste can bring

600.  the first snow fall 
601.  the way the fog froze on the trees the other morning and made everything glitter on the way to school
602.  the smell of a fresh tree when you bring it home
603.  my paperwhites about to burst open and fill my kitchen with their scent

604.  seeing The Lion King at the Denver Performing Arts Center
605.  being amazed at what lights and costumes and sets can do to create magic
606.  enjoying hot chocolate after the show at a downtown Denver diner
 607.  having an indoor window seat to the Parade of Lights
 608.  watching children watch parades
609.  the Christmas hustle and bustle of downtown
610.  anticipation of things to come

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving

  It was the first Thanksgiving we have not been with family and we spent the morning looking at photos of Thanksgivings past.  Piles of leaves in my grandparents backyard, a house full of cousins, warm rolls from my Aunt Judy, the china and crystal, a brisk walk after dinner; all wonderful memories that have a special place in my heart and childhood. 

 Time marches on and my grandparents house is an empty lot, cousins have scattered, life is different.  This year we had Thanksgiving in our home with friends.  We shared stories and recipes, ate a little too much, and had a Bocce tournament in the park across the street.  It was a lovely day!  But I thought about my grandparents a lot, I had multiple conversations and text messages with my brother about the Judy rolls, I set my table with china and white linen napkins, and decorated my chandelier.  I talked to my mother twice and wished she had been here to make the traditional salad and take a walk after dinner. 

It dawned on me that what I create today will be the memories my children cling to.
I love that we can tie the past to the present with memories and traditions because I am thankful for both.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Dear Loyal Readers,

I have been in a writer's slump lately.  Too busy to do anything more than some photos and a few comments on our adventures.  But today, yes just this morning, I have been inspired!  

Did you know there is a whole new philosophy in education regarding good old fashioned grammar and spelling?  I recently had a conversation with someone in the field of education who said,  "We are really rethinking the need for rote memorization in our world of laptops and spellcheck..."


I personally think my children should know how to spell and how to write legibly.  With a pencil!  I also think they should look up a word.  In a dictionary.  The kind with a cover and 1500+ pages inside.

So imagine my delight and pride this morning when my oldest reached for a dictionary.  I was packing lunches and listening to the morning chatter over breakfast.  

First, they looked up "crap" - a word that apparently flies around school with regularity.
They decided that it was pretty funny that there are so many words in the English language for poop.

Then we moved onto the word "sex".  Now here is a word I know they have heard, but don't understand the complexity of.  The first comment was hard to understand through the fit of giggles but I think I made out "I actually found it!"  

Then in a mature voice of wisdom I heard - 
"I already know what that means.  Duh!  It means marriage."

To my great relief we did not spend much time on the actual definition; it was too long to bother reading but my oldest did discover that  the word "sex" is so important it makes new words.  Words that fill a whole page of the dictionary.  Words that are just fun to say.  Out loud.  While giggling so much you choke on your toast.
Here are some of the favorites:  sex appeal, sex gland, sexism, sexless, sextant, sextuplet, sexual, sexuality, sexualize, sexy...
And my personal favorite "sexpot", which is one of the guide words right at the top of the page.  From the other room I hear a female voice say in a confused tone "What is a sexpot anyway?  That sounds weird!"

I didn't get too involved in their conversation because I might start giggling myself, but decided the fun should end when I began to imagine what other words we might look up!  

My children are such intellectuals.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


On 10-10 Ellie turned 10!

She had  all her girlfriends for an ice skating party.
The girls skated in their matching, blue and purple fleece, monogramed scarves.

Itsme came from Oklahoma for the party.
(Thanks for helping me sew all those scarves mom!)
Tim provided the party games.

Later, the pumpkin cheesecake she requested and tickets to see Annie 2 at a local dinner theater.  

October was full of fun festivities.
 A Girls In Grace Tea Party and Fashion Show
Ellie and her friend Abigal  were models.

And we spent a wild evening taking the kids and 2 friends to the corn maze...
 where we buried each other in corn,

 toured a 3-D funhouse,
and of course made our way out of the maze just before dark!

More exciting events for October 
 my pickiest eater became inspired by bright purple cauliflower,
we had a family outing to the new Ikea store in Denver,
(Ellie modeling a Christmas "hat")
and a pumpkin carving party for some friends who had never done it before.
And then of course,
This year we had Strawberry Shortcake with her aquarium pumpkin,
A Star Wars clone trooper with his white ghost pumpkin,
Felicity - An American Girl with her dolphin pumpkin,
(poor Ellie kept getting called Little Bo Peep)
and a Jedi knight with a gruesome faced pumpkin.

I put on a white wig and a black witch hat and Tim donned his Darth Vader costume.  
We were a motley crew walking the dark streets!

Monday, October 31, 2011


My brother was married over Labor Day weekend in Los Angeles.  So to finish off our summer, we headed on another road trip out to California.  There were so many great moments and things to be thankful for so I have continued my count of  "1000 gifts".

568.  a beautiful drive over the Rocky Mountains, through the canyons of Utah, across the desert of Nevada and into sunny California.  It was scenic the whole way which made the 16 hour drive more bearable. 

569.  audio books and snacks for drive

570. arriving at your destination

571.  CALIFORNIA  -   the land of swimming pools...
572.  ...and movie stars
573.  Disneyland
 574.  a math teacher who assigns a picture with Goofy as the only homework while he is away
 575.  a ride he likes so much that he will stand in line 4 times for it
576.  when your kids are finally big enough to ride without you - those teacups make me so sick!
 577.  finally seeing the Pacific Ocean
578.  mountains of sand
579.   "I'm NOT tired..."
580.  the wedding
 581.  ties, suspenders, and boutonnieres on little boys
 582.  patent leather shoes, big bows and flowers on little girls
 583.  a beautiful bride
584.  4 kids making it through a Catholic wedding
585.  a reception so beautiful and perfect that you put away your camera after the first 5 minutes and just enjoy...
586.  the food, the flowers, the firelight
587.  the glow of candles, the glow of the bride, the glow you get after a glass of red wine
588.  watching kids on the dance floor
589.  hearing your brother rap a song he composed for his new wife 
590.  the personal touches - the jam made by the bride and groom,  the jewelry worn by my grandmother,
Papa's favorite apricots, the "hometown" tables 
591.  knowing when it's time to leave the party before your children turn into pumpkins
592.  heading HOME

It was fabulous!
Congratulations Jonathan and Alyx