Saturday Hikes

A few times this summer, I convinced myself to ignore the urge to sleep in on a Saturday and went for a hike. Each time I realized how amazing it was to watch the sunrise from the side of a mountain. How much cooler the air was at 6am at the peak of Camelback. And how nice it was to enjoy some peace and quiet without having to watch the clock.

This past weekend, I was treated to a truly breathtaking sunrise, vegetation that was greener than I’ve seen in months and a cool breeze with just a few sprinkles of rain.

I looked like a total tourist taking so many pictures, but I really couldn’t resist. At least I wasn’t hauled off the mountain by paramedics like a tourist so there’s that.

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Seriously, I couldn’t get over how green it was

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A view from the top

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Missing June

Before I get into the fun we had in Montana, I neglected a few of the things we did in June this year. I normally do a post for B’s birthday, my birthday, our anniversary…and yet here we are, staring down the barrel of school starting and not a post to be seen.

In my defense, it’s been busy.

The house is coming along – you can actually see where the new walls are going to be. And with a whole new sewer line that runs through the entire house, we shouldn’t ever have to use the phrase “shitter’s full”. So there’s that.  This is all a long way of saying instead of blogging, I’ve be housing. Yes, it’s a verb. Ask anyone who has remodeled.

So, without further delay, the missing June posts.

Sweet Baylor turns Seven.

You, my gorgeous daughter, are by far the smartest, most challenging, loving and wonderful girl. Your potential will only ever be limited by your desire – you will move mountains.

I am so proud of the hard work you put into school, into making new friends, into learning to read and do math. I love your enthusiasm for swim team this summer and for your ability to conquer your fears. Your hustle for sports is growing and it’s amazing. You are so beautiful and your outer beauty is only eclipsed by your beautiful heart. Watching your faith in God grow and your kindness spread – especially to strangers in need – makes my heart happy.

Year six was a pretty amazing year. But I think seven is going to top it.

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Love this kid. Gangsta face in a doughnut float.

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The Momma turns Thirty Something….

So this is one of those birthdays that makes me feel old. Not as much physically, but the number is a little up there. However, I really really really like my birthday. So while the number can be a little shocking, I’m always grateful for one more year to celebrate. And having good health, a happy family, fantastic friends, a good wig and the realization of a few dreams while still having time to dream up new ones? Well that’s just the icing on the cake.

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Also? This is the kind of old person I plan to be. Just bat shit crazy in the best way. Good news is that I think I’m already there. Check. Mark.

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Happy Anniversary

Every year when I bring up our anniversary, Peter argues with me about the number of years we’ve been married. He always thinks it’s less than the actual number. Which I think is better than him feeling like it’s been much much much longer.

We celebrated 11 years married and this year marks 17 together (also the other reason I’m feeling real old). We will have been together more than half my life this year, which is a nutty statistic and yet such an awesome one. It’s amazing to think how much we’ve both changed – we’ve grown up together. We’ve watched each other go from nerdy (ok, just me) teenagers, to college coeds, to young adults, graduate student, newly weds, homeowners, parents…and thankfully the list keeps growing.

The traditional 10 year anniversary gift is tin, but since we redid our pool last summer we decided the gift would be PebbleSheen. Which is not really romantic, however very enjoyable. We say “happy anniversary!” every time we slide our feet over the smooth surface of the pool.

Thankfully the traditional 11th anniversary gift is far more appropriate for us this year. As the contractors were bracing a new steel beam in our living room, I pointed and said “happy anniversary!”. Maybe 11 years is when most married couples go broke on a remodel so they made the gift steel. Makes sense to me.

Happy anniversary PW!

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Easter 2016

As we drove to mass this morning, Baylor and Auggs each told us what Easter meant. They talked about how Jesus died because He loves us so much. How He opened the gates of Heaven and then how He rose from the dead. It was so sweet to hear them speak about our faith so perfectly.

After yet another amazing brunch at my mom’s, we headed over to her friend and neighbor’s house. Joyce offered up her yard for an egg hunt. It was like being in a secret garden!

IMG_9217IMG_9231IMG_9220IMG_9229IMG_9242IMG_9245IMG_9248IMG_9251 (2)Happy Easter!

Spring Has Sprung

Ever since we moved last summer, I’ve been dying to have a garden again. Our lettuce table didn’t make the move (I’m still not sure why. And I’m still waiting on my replacement…ahem, PETER) so I have been without home grown veggies for too many months.

Now, finally after many weeks of building, stucco, planning, redoing, planting and fertilizing – the garden is growing! And it looks amazing. Every time I catch a glimpse of this space, it makes me so happy.

While this is not the true true before, it’s enough of a before for this post. Imagine no stucco and very 1970’s ugly brown cement block…

My helper was not excited for the camera. He was ready to work. And by work, I mean move dirt from one side to the other.

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Aaaaannnddd the after!!

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There are four new roses – three gifts from my mom – she hand picked not only the color but the scent. I’m so excited for the blooms. One is a Pope John Paul II white rose and the one at the nursery was amazing.

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See that little pod under the bloom? It’s a Praying Mantis pod. I’m hoping they hatch and keep the aphids away…we’ll see if it works.

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I’m a little obsessed with the obelisk. If you need one, I got these at A Rustic Garden. Good prices and fast shipping. They are making a happy home for two kinds of grape tomatoes including Sweet 100’s – my favorites. There’s also Swiss Chard and mixed greens lettuce coming up. IMG_9207

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I honestly forget how much I love Orange Blossoms. Every year, the first sniff of their scent reminds me – and it’s the most welcome memory. We will have Arizona Sweet and Valencia oranges this Thanksgiving. There’s also a small Meyer Lemon in the raised beds that will provide some shade in the summer.

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One of the lone survivors of our backyard re-landscaping was this Pomegranate tree. It was a bit neglected, but after a good trim and lots of fertilizer, it’s full of blooms. And hopefully lots of fruit too.

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Spring has Sprung

Ever since we moved last summer, I’ve been dying to have a garden again. Our lettuce table didn’t make the move (I’m still not sure why. And I’m still waiting on my replacement…ahem, PETER) so I have been without home grown veggies for too many months.

Now, finally after many weeks of building, stucco, planning, redoing, planting and fertilizing – the garden is growing! And it looks amazing. Every time I catch a glimpse of this space, it makes me so happy.

While this is not the true true before, it’s enough of a before for this post. Imagine no stucco and very 1970’s ugly brown cement block…

My helper was not excited for the camera. He was ready to work. And by work, I mean move dirt from one side to the other.

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Aaaaannnddd the after!!

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There are four new roses – three gifts from my mom – she hand picked not only the color but the scent. I’m so excited for the blooms. One is a Pope John Paul II white rose and the one at the nursery was amazing.

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See that little pod under the bloom? It’s a Praying Mantis pod. I’m hoping they hatch and keep the aphids away…we’ll see if it works.

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I’m a little obsessed with the obelisk. If you need one, I got these at A Rustic Garden. Good prices and fast shipping. They are making a happy home for two kinds of grape tomatoes including Sweet 100’s – my favorites. There’s also Swiss Chard and mixed greens lettuce coming up. IMG_9207

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I honestly forget how much I love Orange Blossoms. Every year, the first sniff of their scent reminds me – and it’s the most welcome memory. We will have Arizona Sweet and Valencia oranges this Thanksgiving. There’s also a small Meyer Lemon in the raised beds that will provide some shade in the summer.

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One of the lone survivors of our backyard re-landscaping was this Pomegranate tree. It was a bit neglected, but after a good trim and lots of fertilizer, it’s full of blooms. And hopefully lots of fruit too.

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Kindness Kits

Baylor’s school had the privilege of listening to Sr. Adele O’Sullivan speak about our city’s homeless. And where their school is located, they see homelessness everywhere. She spoke about how it is our duty as Catholics to care for the least among us and how we can do that. Sr. Adele is the founder of Circle the City, a respite that delivers healthcare to the homeless. In anticipation of her visit, she asked all the students to bring in hygiene items, snack foods, waters and bags. Then each class created Kindness Kits that the Circle the City volunteers hand out to those that visit the facility.

We decided that this was a great way for us to continue this stewardship at home. With a quick trip the Dollar Store and $15 later, we were able to create 6 bags full of soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, water, EmergenC packets, snacks and a few other small hygiene items. We keep them in the car and when we see a homeless person, we offer it to them. Sometimes I get worried that the person won’t want it, but we’ve yet to be turned down.

Creating the bags opened up A LOT of questions. How do people become homeless? Why are they homeless? Why do they need all this? It was a heavy conversation to have. But it opened up a lot of topics too about how blessed we are to have what we have and how we can share that with others.

 

How to Leave for School in 5 Easy Steps

We all know what a hassle it can be to get out the door in the morning. Just moving people can be tough, let alone remembering all the stuff – lunches, backpacks, water bottles – I’m ready for a cocktail just writing about it! So here are some easy steps to getting out the door in the morning:

Step 1: Wake Up Children

If your house is anything like my house, then your kids sleep like angels until 7am on weekdays and are up at 5:45am on weekends. So how do you get those little sweeties up and at ’em? I like to think of it like waking a hibernating bear. Approach with caution. Open the door a crack. Open the door some more. Gently sweep hair off of faces and whisper “good morning”. Quietly open blinds. Stomp out of the room. Turn on light. Warn in a not-so-quiet tone that we’re going to be late. Commence physically removing rag doll children from beds. Threaten them with naps if they don’t get up right freaking now. Put palm to forehead when they ask why you yell so much. Inform children that they haven’t even seen your best yelling yet.

Step 2: Breakfast

You know what I love? Those amazing Pinterest posts about creative, delicious and nutritious breakfasts for kids. So step 2 is a snap; go to Pinterest, the grocery store and then wake up extra early to create said Pinterest breakfast and then spend 20 minutes force feeding it to your kids.

Step 3: Get Dressed

I have found that giving your kids a sweet printable checklist  or adorably decorated magnets with pictures of the activities they need to complete is an excellent way to throw your money down the toilet AND it gives you another thing to scream about. Now not only can we repeatedly ask if they have their socks and shoes, but we can incorporate the checklist too! “Did you check item #3 off??” “I think there’s still a magnet on the ‘to do’ side of the board!!”. It’s an awesome way of adding a layer of difficulty to the morning.

Step 4: Gather All the Shit

Backpack – check. Lunch – check. Water bottle -check. Different water bottle – check. Uniform sweatshirt – check. Non uniform sweatshirt so we can fight about it – check. Teacher appreciation gift; roses in a vase that are sure to spill all over the front seat and my lap – check. Yet another fundraiser check – check. And after remembering all of this, you know who the freaking hero is?? Daddy. Because he forgot to take out of the car remembered the cheap, plastic bracelet for said fundraiser on the booster seat. Advantage; Daddy.

Well played, sir. Well played.

Step 5: Transport

After all of the stuff is loaded, begin the process of strapping children into the car. Do the willing ones first, that way when they change their minds and decided that they too need to find and obscure toy that might possibly be under the seat in front of their sibling, it’s too late because they’re already hog tied.

Once everyone is secure, put on what you want to listen to. They will fight about what is on the radio – even if it’s the Frozen soundtrack – anyway so might as well have a few minutes of peace.

After the extraction from the car is complete and your little angels are safely in the hands of their unsuspecting teachers, high tail it out of there. I prefer to do an arabesque on my way out the school gate. I find that it gives other parents hope that the misery that is School Morning is close to being over.

Good luck, kitties. It’s a jungle out there. Or rather in here. It’s a jungle in here.

 

Accepting Reality

I had a business meeting yesterday morning that did not go as well as I had hoped. I don’t often write about the water company that we own and operate – it’s not really my happy place. But I realized last night as I was trying to laugh off a bad day with Peter, I’ve been managing this company for 6 year. Whoa. It hadn’t really dawn on me that it had been that long. And while Peter was was making my laugh by comparing the time to a prison sentence, I realized that it might be time to embrace accept it. To stop calling it “the stupid water company” as I usually refer to it. To give it the attention it demands. To recognize that I spend a lot of time running a business and that while I may not love it, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I’ve learned a lot and together with my mom, we’ve turned a regulated business from solidly in the red to being in the black. It’s time to acknowledge our work and start to find the bright spot in the business.

As I dropped the kiddos off at their schools yesterday, Baylor knew something was up because I was wearing heels. When I told her that I had an important meeting, she responded with “I’ll say a prayer for you today”. The second word out of her mouth when I picked her up was “how was your meeting??”. When I told her that it wasn’t great, she told me that not only had she said a prayer for me, she asked her whole class to pray too and then the other class during religion to do the same.

I realized that no matter how unsatisfied I am with this business, there aren’t many things as amazing as being able to send our kiddo to a fantastic school and to have 35 six year olds saying prayers for you. And if I had to choose between an always amazing business or a six year old with a heart of gold, I’ll take that little lady every time.

Life is good.

Rockin’ and Rollin’ 2016

When you live near the Rock and Roll Marathon route, you can either try to get around the marathon, run it, or find away to enjoy it! We chose the last option and joined our friends, the B Family, for their annual water station. They are literally on the route so they are blocked in – which is a great excuse to hand out water and turn it into a party.

We rode our bikes over to their house and realized that this was a well oiled machine. Tables with cups and a system for filling and then refilling the water jugs was in place. Not to mention a great spread of breakfast and bloody marys for the volunteers. It wasn’t long until the first few runners came by, then the big waves came. It was so neat seeing the various kinds of runners – everyone was working hard. The sweetest thing was that so many runners not only slowed down, but some stopped to take the water from the kids and thank them for being there to cheer and hydrate. It was so cute to see the excitement on the kids faces.

Cutest helpers ever

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The waiting

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Someone has to drink the champs and bloodies

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Working hard!

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Towards the end, the kids handed out little candies too. It was a very sought after position

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Congratulations to everyone that ran! And thank you to all the runners who took time to say thank you, you made a lot of little kids very happy!

Lazy Gurl Curl

For years I have been trying to perfect “the wave” “the uncurled, curl” “the beach wave”. You know what I mean. That I just left the beach and my hair looks a-mazing! kind of curl.

But without all the, like, work.

Somehow last year, I finally made it work. And honestly, it was sheer laziness. It was summer, it was 115* and I was trying to do something with my wig. After I let it down, I realized that it had curled kind of…cute. With a little perfecting on my twisting and clipping, I had the perfect recipe for The Lazy Gurl Curl.

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Not too shabby, right? And not one curling iron used.

Here’s the how to:

  1. Use a shampoo and conditioner that are moisturizing. I love Wen, but Pantene will do in a pinch.
  2. Dry your hair as normal, round brushing the roots for volume.
  3. Put a small amount of leave in conditioner in the ends – I like the Wen leave in or even a detangling spray will work. Anything that adds a little moisture and some conditioner back in.
  4. Twist hair and then into a loose bun, right where your scull and spine meet (better known as your occipital ridge for all the yogis). Secure with a claw clip. This is the tricky part because it can leave a kink in your hair so be careful to clip it at the bottom of the bun.
  5. Leave in place for about an hour. Remove the clip, shake out curls, a little hairspray – voila! Curls without the heat.