Monday, September 12, 2011

Pike's Peak

I have not blogged in a few months mostly because I didn't feel like blogging through tears and being a big downer. I'm not fully adjusted to this whole idea of living in Colorado but there are some things that make it easier. It sure is nice to have my parents here and my nephew is just down the street as well. Jackson thinks it is pretty cool to actually go to the same school as his cousin. I just think it's amazing that we're all in the same place! We've spent most of our time settling in but this last weekend we did do a little sight seeing. We headed up to Pike's Peak.

This was a trip we might NEVER do again. We will probably go to Pike's Peak again but we will not drive. It had to have been the windiest uphill drive that any of us had ever been in. It is also pretty difficult to breath at 14,000 feet so as you are driving up the mountain you can feel the difference. It was beautiful if you didn't think about falling off the side of a mountain.

The trip down wasn't as bad unless you count almost getting run off the road by an ambulance. There was a charity hike up the mountain that day and I guess there were several people in need of medical assistance. There is always medical crew up at the top and they even have an oxygen room to take those that need help breathing. Well, after the charity hike the one ambulance wasn't enough. On our way down we passed one coming up and THEN we came around a curve with an ambulance headed straight for us. Some idiot in a blue car did NOT pull over for the ambulance and so he was trying to pass it just as WE came around. Nothing like a giant vehicle squeezing in between two cars on a skinny mountain road!!! Fortunately we all survived!

As we got closer to the bottom of the route we got to watch a life light helicopter land. Turns out one of the people at the top was too sick for the ambulance and at 14,000 feet the helicopter is limited on the weight it can carry so they let off one of the crew and then flew up to the top. They actually let off a smoke signal so the pilot knows where to land up there. The kids thought this was pretty cool and one of the forest rangers was nice enough to explain it all to us.

Now I'm just hoping that the rest of our adventures in Colorado are just as beautiful but not as "eventful".

Monday, June 27, 2011

Absent Blogger

Have you ever just had so much to say that you just couldn't blog? I promise I will get to some of our events over the last few months.
Jordan had her first piano recital. She really loves playing the piano.

Jared graduated from the 5th grade. I do have a picture somewhere, but it must be on the other computer. Strange....but here is a picture of a play he put on with his class the day before promotion. They wrote the whole play as a class and they all performed in it. He had a great time.

Jackson graduated from the 8th grade. I am not sure how this happened at all!! Just last week he was holding his friend Jenna's hand as they nervously walked in to Desert Willow Elementary for kindergarten and NOW he will be headed to highschool!!

Right after all of those graduations we headed to Minnesota for a friends wedding. While there I crossed off one item from my bucket list and we went to The Mall of America. The kids had a great time at Nickelodeon world and I walked the entire mall. I am pretty sure it was the first time I ever got a blister on my foot while walking at the mall.

We then went to Colorado Springs. Once again - pictures are not on the computer yet so I guess I will have to add those later.

At this point I think we were home for ONE week and then the boys headed to scout camp. Stew went with so Jared could go to camp this year and Jackson was all set for his second year. They all had a great time and Jared ended up getting 8 merit badges!! Jackson got a few as well and they are both well on their way to advancing in rank. Jared shared a tent with his friend Ethan and they had a great time!!

While the boys were camping Jordan and I went to California to spend some time with my parents. We had fun enjoying cooler weather and going to Disneyland. We stayed with my cousin and I had to get a picture of Jordan on his bike.

The travelling didn't stop there. My mom, Jordan and I then drove to Colorado Springs again. I am pretty sure I don't want to be in the car for more than an hour - and I have to say that because it takes that long just to go grocery shopping some days ;) - for quite a while. In a two week period I drove 7 hours to California and then 7 hours back to Tucson. 6 1/2 hours to Albuquerque and then 6 hours to Colorado Springs and then three days later in reverse.

I would like to think the rest of the summer will be a bit more relaxed but I'm pretty sure that just the opposite is in store for me. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day...Everyone Loves Flowers

I have been married for over 18 years and I can count on one hand the number of times I have gotten flowers from my husband. A friend on facebook today shared her husbands lack of flower giving and it got me to thinking that she is not alone.

About 9 years ago I received the first of the few flowers. Yep, took him 9 years to buy me flowers. Not a big deal since several of the previous years flowers were definitely not in the budget. Well, anyway, he was out of the country on a business trip and a bouquet of flowers arrived. I can not remember if it was Valentine's Day or Mother's Day but I remember exactly what I said to my neighbor. "Stew is in England with Mark who probably bought flowers for his wife and told Stew to buy me some too." So, Stew comes home and guess who was right? Yep!!!

The next time he bought me flowers they were "I'm sorry" flowers. It was a ridiculous bouquet of flowers and I don't even want to know how much he spent on them. They would have looked better at the front of a church for a funeral or wedding than in our living room. It was like an advertisement to anyone that entered our home that he had ticked me off and was seriously trying to recover.

While out with a girlfriend one afternoon we stopped in a shop with some beautiful flowers. She picked some and so did I. As we were walking to pay she stopped and said she wasn't going to buy them because it was Valentine's Day the next day and her husband would probably buy her some. We both discussed how I was pretty safe to buy flowers since it was doubtful I would receive any. We were right.

Last year I was at my mom's for my birthday and amazingly some roses showed up. They were beautiful. I was actually quite shocked but enjoyed them. Roses are nice and I know they are the favorite flower for a lot of people - especially red roses.

Well, today is Mother's Day and yesterday I got my 4th bouquet of flowers. This time I was even more surprised. This time they were tulips. I am still wondering if he honestly KNOWS that tulips are my favorite or it was just luck. Either way I have a beautiful bouquet of tulips on my counter. Thanks Stew!!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys

We've been on a pretty good run of getting "asked" or "persuaded" to leave places lately. First we were at Dairy Queen and the kids were playing. I should premise by the fact that we had entered with a crowd but the crowd had long since left and we were just visiting. The kids were playing and one picked up another and the employee told them they needed to leave because that is a liability. We packed up and left. No big deal. Another incident puts us at Chipotles. Once again, in with a crowd and staying until the place had died down. An employee walked over to the children - who were NOT playing at all but sitting nicely and chatting with each other and told them that the garbage cans were placed by the exit doors. Sort of an "encouragement" to leave. We were annoyed so we did just that.

Now, yesterday, back at the DQ the oldest child was outside hanging out with some of his friends from school. I look over just as he is about to leap frog the "thank you" sign for the drive thru - as I get up and race to the door to stop him he goes over and the sign? Well, it is offset on a cement pole. The pole stayed where it was supposed to while the sign bent under his weight - and the fact it is offset from it's support. I continued to go out and yell at him. An employee out there looked at him and then turned back to her book.

Fast forward a few minutes to where it occurs to me that the inside employee MIGHT just be on the phone with the police. I raised my voice and told her the child that bent the sign was mine. Do you see here how I did not volunteer the information when it actually occurred? Anyway, she tells the person on the phone that the child's mother is here and that she will call the owner again and call them back if he want them too. So, I get to have a chat with the owner. For some reason he is impressed with my honesty. Um, the alternative was explaining it to the police and I don't think we want to go there yet. He tells me he will come out and look at the sign and I tell him I will leave all of my contact information at the counter. Once again he is shocked I'm volunteering information.

About an hour later I got a phone call from the owner once again. He has been to his store and fixed the sign. He then says "I'm not sure how often you come in...." I tell him almost every Friday, without admitting any prior offense. He then tells me that the next time I am there to ask if he is around because he would like to buy me a Blizzard.

The moral of this story? If your kid breaks something you might just end up getting free dessert out of it. Wait, is that right?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seven Years

Seven years ago today it was a Sunday. The weather was beautiful that day. We went to church, had lunch and we were visiting outside with our neighbors. I was outside with the kids and Stew was inside. He came out and told me I needed to come inside. I am usually annoyed by this kind of thing. Really? You can't come out here? Either way I went inside to see what important thing he had to say.

He just stood there for a minute as I looked at him, probably annoyed by the ordeal. He then said "Larry died." I honestly looked at him and said "Larry who?" My brother was two years older than me. I certainly KNEW who Larry was but he isn't the only one. He was named after our biological father. There was a brief moment, the only time in my life that I HONESTLY wanted someone to be dead. I shouldn't say that I wanted someone to be dead - I wanted it to BE someone else. In the moment I came to the realization of what I was being told I was on the ground. I am pretty sure why in the movies and on TV when someone comes to tell you bad news they tell you to sit down first. I sat on the floor in my living room for a long, long time. Neighbors came in, said a few words, cried a few tears and left. I stayed on the floor.

It is amazing how in a matter of seconds a beautiful day outside turns in to something else. I sat in the family room with the lights out, in silence for several hours. Hundreds of miles away the weather had never been so nice. The roads had been icy. The grass was wet and slick as ice themselves. Whatever caused the actual accident will never be known but the results will certainly never be forgotten.

The evening was a haze. A good friend came and took me to the store to get out of the house and to sort of buy things to provide for my family for the next week. My husband and a close family friend in California spent hours on the phone coordinating travel plans. My kids spent the afternoon and early evening with friends and then came home. Their routine was normal. Read a story, say a prayer, go to bed.

I then went to bed. The realization that I would be giving the eulogy/life sketch was very clear to me. I only had one sibling. He was gone - this was my responsibility. My mind went blank and I couldn't remember a thing. I was in a full panic that I couldn't remember a single childhood story. How could I be 9 days from my 31st birthday and not remember a thing about someone I had known my entire life??

Somehow I slept, somehow I packed my things and we headed to Phoenix. I was going alone, leaving my husband and children at home. We couldn't figure out the expense or I was too out of it, I'm not sure. I flew from Phoenix to Denver where I was to meet my parents who were flying from California. I made a few phone calls, calling my great aunt who we had sent to tell my Grandmother the news. Grandma was suffering for a bit of old age memory loss but we're sure she understood for a brief moment what had happened. I called friends who cried with me while I sat in the corner of the airport. My parents flight landed and I was supposed to board their plane. I'm pretty sure if they hadn't walked off during the brief layover that I just might not have boarded. It was just too much.

During all of this we were figuring out other logistics and letting people know. The "biological father" that was spoken of earlier? He decided not to come. His response was that it had been to long and that it would be to uncomfortable for everyone? Really, for EVERYONE?? You mean uncomfortable for you?????

The next few days were a roller coaster of emotions. Dealing with an exwife, a new wife, a 10 year old son and a 4 month old son as well. Taking phone calls and fielding calls. Making arrangements that nobody wants to make. Writing a life sketch.

It was amazing to me the moment I started writing about Larry's life I couldn't stop. I wrote memory after memory, story after story. I almost worried that I would talk forever. That I would forget something. Somehow it all made it's way on to paper. Thankfully the hotel staff let me use a computer in their office that was hooked to a computer. I don't know what would have done if I had to write a pen and paper.....that's a bit crazy!

The weather in Illinois had been indifferent. It was just dark and grey. No sun, no rain, no snow. Just as grey as how we felt. The morning of the funeral there was snow. Everything was so beautiful and white. Instead of grey dirty snow and ice it was all crisp and clean. As the funeral was ending and I stood at the grave site alone that is how I felt, alone. How could he do that to me? How could I go from having a sibling to being alone? Didn't he know that meant I had to take care of my parents all on my own some day? Don't people who decide to have ONLY one child know what they are doing to them?

We ended our week long ordeal with some family time. Just me and the parents. We had experiences that were just amazing. We cried and we laughed. The first laugh is definitely the hardest but once it comes you sort of know it will all be okay. You know that life will go on. You know that you will all make it and that together we can do anything.

This is honestly a post I've started and stopped many years. I probably even have drafts on this blog I could go back and look at. Do I sit here and wonder if I will hit post? Sure I do? But today - I'm just going to post. The day I lost the person that had been my friend longer than anyone else on the earth. The person I thought would always be there. I had plans to call him - it had been about three weeks since I had talked to him last and I kept forgetting to call. Is there a moral to the story? There always is. Either way I'm thankful for the 31 years I did have. I am thankful for the calls we did make. The visits we had. Even the fights.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Story - Today's Top Three

3 - glad I chose the t-shirt instead of the cami under my cardigan. I did get a bit warm and I was glad I could take the sweater OFF.

2 - I learned I should throw an extra skirt in the back of the van just for those moments. You never know when a diaper decides it isn't going to hold anymore.

But really - in all that goes right and goes wrong or just goes crazy in the day there is nothing like #1.

1 - hearing a sweet little voice tell you "Hi Sister Weber". That same sweet voice also said "bye" without any persuading when Sister S. said goodbye to her on the way out of sharing time. That makes it all worth it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday Story (shhhh)

Haha I just realized as I wrote the title that it is a little too appropriate. I probably shouldn't share this today but I'm pretty sure one of my little sunbeams said a word SEVERAL times that started out with the Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. It was really hard to tell for sure....but maybe I was just trying to HOPE he wasn't shouting what I thought he was. I guess I should just be glad it wasn't in sharing time, right?

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Substitute

I'm really thinking about making an anonymous blog about my subbing adventures. But then again - I hardly keep this one up and if I am going to keep subbing will I have time for both?

Today was a crazy day subbing. First off I was asked to teach math. I know NOTHING about math. I said yes with the assumption that there would be lesson plans and that everything would be fine. WRONG! No plans. I was teaching remedial math and there were teachers aids in each of those classes. You would think this would be helpful but they didn't have any great ideas either. Fortunately one student in one class said something about a workbook. Ding ding ding - workbook it is. The next class the TA took over. Something about 3 adults sitting in the room while a 16 year old goes over a previous assignments and leads them in to completing the homework. The 4th class? We did NOTHING. The parapros said that is basically what they do everyday anyway. Really?

At the end of those classes the teacher came in and I let her know what we did with no plan. She argued that she had left them. She blamed the administration who, while teachers are taking pay cuts, are making all the money! What? You really can't tell me the substitute coordination secretary is making $$. I've seen district pay scales. She finally FOUND her lesson plans that she saved under the wrong name and admitted she sent ones from last week instead. We won't talk about the fact she was at a meeting the parapros all thought she should have opted out of when it was known that district wide we were low on subs. Oh well!

I ended the day with 2 Algebra2 classes. I barely made it through algebra so I was not much help but they all got their assignments.

The biggest thing of the day was the fact that I am SO thankful for friends who are willing to jump in and help out with my kids on a moments notice. Nothing like telling kids they can't have cell phones out while I'm texting and making calls to ensure my kid isn't stranded at school. Tomorrow - house keys will be made for the little latch key kids. ;)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Story - All About Dad

Today the little ones were learning that Jesus had a Father just like they do. We asked them what their Dads like to do. The answers?

-Play games with me
-Go to work
-Computer stuff

but the winning answer?

-Get some money and go to the store and buy Raisin Bran.

I mean really - who doesn't like cereal shopping?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Story

Oh, how I have missed the Sunday Stories. I really think now that I am working with the 3 year old's at church that I need to bring this weekly special back. The hard part is remembering all the funny things they say.

I do believe the BEST thing I heard at church was:

"Oh you silly girls, Erica, I just don't understand girls!" Really? You're 3 - at least he's figured that out early though, right?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Slacking Again

I guess I haven't gotten the New Year off to a very good start. I'll just have to do a pictorial edition of what we've been up to lately.

Stew went to England before Christmas. While he was gone I went to his company Christmas party. I took the kids and we stayed the night. They swam and we had great fun. I didn't take any pictures except for this:

Jackson has ALWAYS been a car guy so we had to document the sighting.

There was also this set of pictures - lonely me at the party.

Yes, I'm too lazy to scan it.

Oh - I can't forget this one of Jackson trying to gain a few inches in height.

My parents came for Christmas and on Christmas Eve we went to the museum of dead animals. I mean the International Wildlife Museum. We've been before and the kids always enjoy it.

And then there was Christmas:

We also went to Albuquerque for New Years and for our little friend Sophie's baptism.

And then tragedy hit Tucson. I went out to UMC with my neighbor.

It was really amazing being there - everyone was so quiet. It didn't feel like you were in the middle of the city. Such saddness.