Friday, October 17, 2014

Talkin' to the Squirrels

 All of us... especially Cookie... have enjoyed our shady backyard this summer. Cookie likes to chase rabbits and talk to squirrels, both of whom are frequent visitors.

The three snakes who have shown up at different times, however, are not welcome. I guess I ought to put up a sign:

NO SNAKES ALLOWED

They'd probably pay about as much attention to that as the door-to-door salesman pay to this one:
(Photo courtesy of Laura.)
But I digress. 

Our backyard is fenced all around and lined with trees and shrubbery, so though we have close neighbors we also enjoy a sense of privacy. It's lovely.
 As the leaves fall, it won't be quite so private, but I have to say, fall is just gorgeous in Colorado. Not just the aspens in the mountains, but also the city streets and brilliant blue skies.
The kids raked the leaves into a big pile. Doesn't it make you want to just go jump in it?
Maybe we'll build a fire in our little patio fireplace this evening and toast marshmallows.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Autumn in the Rockies

 Last Sunday afternoon was overcast and gray, but we decided to take a short drive up in the mountains to see the aspens anyway.
 The brilliant gold is a sharp contrast to the dark green of the evergreens. Just breathtaking.
 I especially enjoyed this scene with the farm pond and the barbed-wire fence... and the little bit of blue sky peeking through the clouds.
 And, of course, we had to pose in front of the leaves!
 This one is just to embarrass the kids. Because that's what we do.
 What a privilege to live so near such beauty. It's almost worth putting up with city life. Almost.
Wonder if I can talk the man into going again this Sunday. Maybe the skies will be clear? You never can tell about Colorado weather.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rainbow Over the Mountains


Just a glimpse of the gorgeous, full-arched rainbow that spanned over the Rockies early this morning. I snapped these quick pictures on my phone on my way to work.
My co-worker, Chris, took this one from his house.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Helen Hunt Falls

We had company for the 4th of July weekend this year. Two of Lyle's brothers and their families were in the area. On Saturday we drove into the mountains outside of Colorado Springs to hike along Helen Hunt Falls.
Some of us only made it up to the bridge over the falls looking out over the parking lot.
 It was lovely shady place to sit on the rocks and enjoy the splashing stream tumbling over the rocks.
The men and kids hiked on up the mountain. I'm not sure where it took them and or what they saw, but I guess it was a pretty good hike.
They stopped at the bridge on the way back down.
No telling what the brothers were talking about... but they enjoyed being together. They don't get to see each other very often, since one lives in Kansas, one in Idaho, and one in Colorado.
We look forward to finding other pretty places to hike around here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mount Evans

Our afternoon drive the last Sunday of June took us up above the tree line to the summit of Mount Evans at over 14,000 feet.
It is the highest paved road in North America.
We had driven the Pikes Peak road several years ago on vacation, and this one was every bit as dramatic, with no guard rails!
We learned that originally this highway was meant to connect three "fourteeners"-- Longs Peak, Mount Evans, and Pikes Peak-- but according to the brochure it "proved unfeasible at the time" so they gave it up. That would have been really cool, though.
Since it was a hot day in Denver we hadn't thought about taking along jackets. It was breezy and in the 40s at the summit.
We walked around a bit, but didn't take the time to hike the additional 100 or so feet to the actual summit.
The park entrance fee was $10 per vehicle... a bargain compared to the $40 fee for Pikes Peak! Besides, it's closer to home... so I expect we'll be buying a season pass for $25 next year. 

It's only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but it's a great Sunday afternoon drive destination!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Graduation Day

 
The third Saturday in June was a beautiful day for a backyard graduation. The late afternoon sun filtering through the trees made a lovely setting for the girl graduate in her pink cap and gown. (She was the only graduate in her "class" so she got to choose the color.)
Her teacher (me)... and her "principal" (her dad)... made a few comments and presented her with her diploma.
Then her pastor-grandpa shared some thoughts and offered a blessing. The gathered friends blew bubbles at her as she tossed her cap into the air.
And with that... my homeschooling journey was over.

 Sixteen years I've invested in my children's education. Long days of wondering if we were covering everything we should be. Delightful days reading piles of wonderful stories. Challenging days when nothing seemed to go as planned. But oh, it was so worth it!

 As my mother and I previewed the PowerPoint presentation that I put together for the celebration, she commented, "The years have gone by almost as fast as those slides are changing." I agree with her. How could sixteen years possibly have gone by already?
My emotions have been bittersweet. In some ways, I wish I could go back and do some things differently. On the other hand, I'm excited to see what the future has in store for my now-adult children.

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of being home with them all throughout their childhood. Motherhood is a blessing I don't take for granted.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Washington Trip

The second weekend of June was my last convention trip of the season, and this time Lyle got to go with me! I really missed him traveling with me (and doing the loading/unloading and driving) on my other trips this year. This trip was to Seattle, one of our favorite cities.
We were even able to sneak away for a couple of hours to take a spin in the Great Wheel which is new since we were in Seattle for our 25th anniversary in 2010.
My team in Seattle was made up of some long-time friends, two of whom are Sonlight graduates! We had a good time working together and enjoyed hanging out with the team for Sonlight's sister company, BookShark, as well. Then on Saturday evening some friends from Idaho drove over to spend a little time with us. 

The trip was much too short for everything we would have liked to do... but to be honest I was happy to get home and put my feet up after 9 conventions this season! This was my 15th year as a Sonlight Curriculum Consultant and quite possibly my most challenging one yet.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Virginia Trip

The first weekend of June I was part of a larger team that hosted the Sonlight booth at the HEAV convention in Richmond, Virginia. I would have liked to see a little bit of the historic district, having never been to Richmond before... or Virginia, really, for that matter. But... it was a business trip, so sight-seeing was not on the schedule.
We flew in on Wednesday and got set up for the convention early in the day on Thursday, so we had a couple of hours to relax by the pool before time for the convention to start. One thing I noticed was how different the air "felt" in the southeast than here in the mountains... softer and heavier. It wasn't too hot that weekend, though, which was nice.
HEAV is one of the larger homeschool conventions so we definitely stayed busy. Our team was made up of a group of ladies (and one husband) whom I've become friends with over the years, and we enjoyed working together. 

And that was convention #8 for my 2014 homeschool convention season. Maybe next time I go to Virginia I'll get to see a little more of it. Or maybe not... ya just never know!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Vintage China

 For several years I've enjoyed collecting random pieces of pretty vintage china when I find it at a garage sale or thrift store. Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know about my eclectic violet tea set. Other than that the only full set of china I have is a set that Mother gave me that originally belonged to my great-grandmother.
I have treasured Granny's china and enjoyed displaying it and using it, but the pattern is not one I would have chosen. I like a delicate floral pattern. In fact, my favorite piece (other than the violet dishes) is a sweet little bread-and-butter plate I picked up for 50 cents about 3 years ago.

Imagine how thrilled I was this morning to discover a full service for 8 of that very pattern at a Salvation Army store we just "happened" to go in!
The set included dinner plates, soup bowls, salad plates, dessert bowls, and cups and saucers, plus a serving bowl, a cream pitcher, and sugar bowl. There were only 6 cups, but 8 of everything else (except the serving pieces, of course.) The price marked was $52.10. The dishes were all stacked on a counter so I thought maybe they had been spoken for. I asked the lady behind the counter who told me she had just put them out.

Lyle had given me some money a few weeks ago that he said I was to spend on something just for me. I had been hoarding it for just such a time. As I stood deliberating over it, the manager announced over the loud-speaker, "Our special today is 25% off brick-a-brack items..." That's when I noticed that the price tag was labeled "brick-a-brack!"

"This would be 25% off?" I asked the lady.

"Yes," she assured me. "It's labeled brick-a-brack, so that counts."

"I'll take it!" I declared.

She offered to wrap it and box it up for me while I continued to look around.

I went to find Lyle. "I just bought a set of china dishes," I told him. He knows my fondness for pretty china.

We were casually wandering through the furniture department when I spotted a hutch.

Lyle said, "I guess you need that to put your dishes in, don't you?"

It was marked $80. Mmm. I didn't really want to spend that much.

"Furniture is 50% off today," Lyle told me.

"It is?!" I guess I had been so tuned in to the "brick-a-brack" special that I tuned out everything else.

 So I got my dishes for $38... and the hutch to put them in for $40.
My "new" dishes coordinate nicely with Granny's china (which includes service for 6) so now I have enough dishes that I can have up to 14 guests and still set a pretty table! Before, any time we had more than 2 people for dinner I had to either use every-day dishes or paper-ware.
Naturally I had to come home and rearrange the living room to fit the hutch in just so, and then arrange all my pretty dishes in it. What fun!
How about a cup of tea?

A Cuddle of Bunnies

"Mom, can you step outside for a moment?" she asked.

"Why? What do you need?" I wondered.

"I just want to show you something real quick. It's so cute!"

So I followed her out the door and to the end of the porch.

"Be real quiet," she cautioned. "See? Two babies and a mama!"

They were cuddled up against the house next door.
"How darling!" I whispered. "Let me go get my camera. I bet I can get pictures with the zoom lens."

Even from 6 or 8 feet away, the whir of the camera frightened the first little bunny back into the hole under the porch.
I'm not sure that the larger bunny is the mama. 

I think maybe he's the brother bunny with two little sister bunnies.

But who am I to judge? 

Bunnies don't put pink and blue booties on their babies so we can tell the girls from the boys!
And then there was one!

Mama or big brother... whichever it was... anyway, it was the bravest one.