Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There's a Countdown Going On

MED and MAD, in particular, have a countdown going on in our house. It really kind of tickles me to see MED do this as she's been practicing subtraction skills without even realizing it (she's four!). What are they counting down to? Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt L, Uncle M, and cousins M and C are all coming to visit. The kids are all very excited and we have spent the last few days working on getting the house ready. Surprisingly, everyone is staying with us and I think the sleeping arrangements should work. Only two of my kids get displaced and they're happy about sleeping on the couches in our rec room. What troopers they are.

We have a few plans in place - nothing too involved and things that everyone should enjoy. I know that everyone will like Garden of the Gods as it's an easy walk and very pretty to look at. That same evening, 'the guys' and CED are going up to Denver to watch the Colorado Rapids play. JAD is very excited and can hardly stand himself knowing that the game is coming very soon. We're going to spend the 4th just hanging around the house, do some barbecuing, and let the kids run through the sprinklers. On a side note, we've had a rather warm summer so far, with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. My air conditioningless house has gotten rather warm, so I think the kids (and maybe even adults???) will enjoy running through some water. Hopefully we will be able to partake in fireworks, though I'm doubting that will happen as there is a burn ban in effect (about a quarter inch of precipitation in the last month and a half). Next Tuesday, Manitou Springs is where it's at. If you've never been there, it's a quaint little town with a main street full of little shops. It's really fun to just walk through and poke your head into all the different establishments there. In the middle of one side is a penny arcade (the games really cost a quarter) and a little kid's delight - lots of motorized riding toys. I know this will be the highlight of the younger kids' day and a great bribing point for us parents (no, I'm not above bribery).

Sadly, L, M, M, and C have to leave on the 6th. Grandma and Grandpa will be staying with us a few days beyond that and we are looking forward to a little hiking with them in the mountains. All in all, it should be an enjoyable week with family. After all, the cousins haven't seen one another in 2 1/2 years. It's going to be a crazy, loud, fun week spending time with family.

And now I'm off to continue cleaning my house...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Waste of Time

This weekend, we had a rummage sale. I, of course, had delusions of grandeur and thought we would sell SO MUCH STUFF because I have the BEST stuff EVER and everyone who drives by will just want to buy it all. Ya, well, things didn't quite work out that way. I was up at the crack of dawn to set up and get the final things to sell out the door. By seven a.m. I had people already walking around my driveway looking at things (what part of 'No early birds' don't we understand???). We had good traffic throughout the day and made very little money. As always, a disappointment. By 11:30 in the morning, I had my computer and camera outside so I could sell individual 'big ticket' items on craigslist. Craigslist is my friend and I plan on never subjecting myself to a rummage sale again. I say that now, but I know someday in the future I will once again succumb to the Ihavethebeststuffeverandeveryonewillwanttobuyit syndrome and get ready for a rummage sale again. If I do, will you please shoot me?

K sold his motorcycle - but not via the sale. Craigslist. We sold a wooden headboard with matching footboard. Again, craigslist. Antique wardrobe? Craigslist. Extra twin box spring mattresses? Yep, craigslist. Computer desk? I'm sure you can guess. So, why in the world would I even bother to subject myself to the pain of a rummage sale? Because, apparently, I'm dumb. Oh well, live and learn. So, by the end of this week, I will have made almost as much money as I fantasized I would thanks to the wonders of the free posting site of craigslist. If you have something to sell, I highly recommend this method. You don't have to worry about shipping costs, because all buyers are local, and most of your unwanted items are gone within days.

Meanwhile, Goodwill hates me because I brought all of my leftover crap to them. And, believe me, there was a lot. I got eye-rolling, grunting, and barely a word of thanks as I gave them all of my unwanted treasures. Well, pooh on them. They'll be seeing me again very, very soon because I have a trunk full of kids' clothes still. Ha! My own personal vindication (of what, I don't know, but I will feel vindicated as I drop more stuff off. Again!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Incline on Hold

My plans to go up the Incline tomorrow are temporarily on hold until Friday morning now. I have an interview tomorrow (early afternoon) and I don't think an hour climb and subsequent hour hike down are the best thing to do right before an interview. So, K and I have agreed that we will be going up (early, hopefully, as it's supposed to be low 90s on Friday!) two mornings from now. I'm hoping for good things with this interview - it's my third this summer and I HATE interviewing! I always walk out and kick myself for omitting information I really should have mentioned. Oh well, three's a charm, right? I can only hope... Just in case you are DYING to know what I'm interviewing for, it's a 4th/5th grade Looping Teacher. No, not loopy - looping. If I get the job, I'll teach 4th grade this year and then move up to 5th grade with the same class next year. I did it once, many moons ago, when I taught in Illinois. I absolutely loved those 2 years. You don't spend the first month of school the second year setting rules and guidelines, figuring out the levels of your students, getting to know one another... you just hit the ground running and never look back. It's great! But, I'm not getting my hopes up. I just want to hit this methodically and not. forget. anything. at the interview.


It's like a ghost town in our cul-de-sac. My kids are the only ones that play out there and they almost seem lost. There were always two other girls out with them, but since they moved away it's been almost eerily quiet. Our new neighbors are starting to move in, but we have yet to meet them. They do have a child - an infant. CED is already seeing dollar signs - babysitting! Who wouldn't want to hire a girl that has four siblings? I think she's perfect for babysitting - just not an infant. But, as soon as that baby turns into a toddler, I bet I know where CED will be!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Incline... Second Attempt

Today K and I went and did the Incline again. I was determined to get to the top faster than I did last week (a very slow 1:25:49). Today we had the mentality of 'slow and steady wins the race'. It was amazing how much farther I was able to climb when we moved at a slow and steady pace rather than trying to move quickly. It also helped that we've done it once now so we know what to expect (like when we reach the false summit we only have about a 1/3 of a mile left to go - that's a good thing!). We started off at about the same time as many other people, but we were able to leave them behind fairly quickly.

Before we even start the Incline, we have about an 8 - 10 minute climb from the parking lot to the beginning. As I started that initial climb, I kept asking myself why in the world I was doing this again. Why would I want my thighs and rear end to burn and me t0 gasp for air as I scrambled (yes, scrambled) up several different parts of the Incline? But let me tell you, I felt so good as I progressed up that mountainside - I was accomplishing something that's fairly difficult and I was doing it better than last week. Today we did the Incline in 1:08:30! We shaved 17 minutes off our time (I know K could go up so much faster - he's just being nice and staying at my pace) and I'm really happy with that time improvement! Now my goal is to shave off 9 more minutes, but I know that's going to take a few more trips up in order to do that.

Next climb? Next Wednesday! Look for a mention of my new time next week.


On a sad note... all of the neighbors that we loved when we moved into our house here in Colorado Springs have moved away. We live in a cul-de-sac of just five houses. Last summer, two of the families moved away. This week, two days apart from one another, the other two families moved away as well. One family moved elsewhere in the Springs, so we'll see them on occasion (very often this summer as their daughter is CEDs closest friend here). The other family is moving all the way to Florida (MED bawled last night for a good 20 minutes saying goodbye to her friend M). Now we are all alone with only one set of neighbors we sort of talk to, two brand new sets of neighbors that we don't even know yet, and the crazy people next door. Yay. Here's hoping we'll like our new next door neighbors.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

41 Years

My parents celebrated their 41st anniversary today. I can't imagine being married for that long (but I'm looking forward to it, K!), but they sure are role models to me in this day and age where most people don't make it to this milestone. Congratulations, Mom and Dad! I hope you did do something fun and exciting to celebrate your special day. And mowing the lawn and weeding the flowerbeds doesn't count! I love you both very, very much.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Soccer Fun Rolls On... and On... and On...

Friday night JED began a new season of indoor soccer. He's playing with some boys that he's played with before and he loves his coaches (one is a friend of ours - the dad of a boy on JADs team). JED played hard along with his teammates, but they were defeated by a team that had as many subs as they had players on the field. JED got his turn at playing goalkeeper in the second half and allowed only 3 goals (two boys in the first half together allowed 8 goals, so JED certainly did a great job!). He loves playing keeper and he even ran back into the house because he forgot his goalie gloves. I'm glad my kids have the opportunity to play soccer year-round (even if the experts say that playing one sport exclusively is bad for them). It's what they love and if the opportunity is there we will do what we can to help them play. Call me crazy.


Today JAD and CED played in their very first 3v3 tournament. I'm not going to rehash any scores (neither team won a single game), but watching the games was fun and it turned into a beautiful day. 3v3 is a completely different game than a regular soccer game. The fields are small, the goal nets are small, and the players move fast and are very physical. I think the game certainly separates the 'men from the boys' so-to-speak. It was a great experience for both of my kids and I was very entertained to see how competitive CED, in particular, became (I already know how extremely competitive JAD is - no new news there). Her coach kept saying "We're here to have fun and learn" and CED kept saying "I'm here to win!" I wonder where these kids get it from?

Friday, June 10, 2011

A-Hiking We Will Go

Today we decided to take the kids on a hike. We love Cheyenne Canon Park which is only 10 minutes (at most) from our house. Cheyenne Canon Park is home to Seven Falls (a very popular tourist attraction that charges you big bucks to go see it) as well as many wonderful hiking trails. Mt. Cutler trail is a very beautiful, fairly easy trail that takes you a mile into the mountains and gives you a nice view of (duh, duh, duh...) Seven Falls. This is a trail that we take friends and family on when they come visit us. Today, however, we decided to go on the Mid-Columbine trail. We have hiked this trail before (and were hailed on - BIG hail - the last time we traversed it) and it's a very nice trail. However, we forgot how the first mile of the trail goes - UP. Let me remind you that K and I just went on the Incline yesterday and we have parts of our bodies sore in places we didn't realize we had muscles (well, at least I do). We powered through it, though, and we hiked out two miles before turning around (we had soccer practice and a game to get to!). The little girls did a fantastic job keeping up with the family and, in fact, MED led us the whole way out and back. I'm amazed at how well my 4 and 5 year olds do hiking up hills and coming back down them. The Mid-Columbine trail climbs a little over 1,000 feet and most of that is in the first mile. You get gorgeous views of nature and the mountains, though, which makes it so worth the work.

I don't want to live anywhere else, when I have views like this just a few miles from home.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Incline

If anyone is an avid hiker, exercise enthusiast, or crazy person and you have been in Colorado Springs for any amount of time, you've probably heard of the Incline. And, yes, I am capitalizing it for reasons you will soon understand. The incline is NOT for the weak of heart. In short, you climb about 2,000 feet in one mile. People, that's a 200 story building in 5,280 feet. It's a workout. Here's what one website says:

Notice that last line? Stair-master on a mountain. This is exactly what it is. I went through most of the water in my 2 quart Camelbak in the time it took to get up. My legs were burning and I thought my quadriceps were going to give out, but once I got up there I felt on top of the world. I had accomplished something that many people haven't. If you had asked me halfway up if I would do this again, my answer would have been a resounding NO. But, I'm planning on next Wednesday making the hike again! I've compared it to childbirth - you hate it every minute you're going through it, but once it's over you forget the pain and you want to do it again.

Here are some pictures that we took while on the Incline.

Looking UP

A view looking down from just about halfway up

Looking down from the (almost) top

My favorite picture of K and me in recent times. This picture was taken as we were coming down Barr Trail.

Happy climbing!