Sunday, July 26, 2009

Caught Red Lipped...

I was taking a few pictures of Baby A this afternoon, and couldn't get my camera to focus! After a few pictures like this one

I checked the lense and found it all smeared and smudged. I grumbled something about kids getting ahold of my camera, cleaned the lense (it was REALLY dirty) and carried on with my picture taking.
Then tonight as I was uploading pictures I found this video:

My sister Heather was teaching me the sign language to a song I'm teaching the children at church (that's what we're doing in the background). Joseph thought it would be a good idea to video tape us so I can review it during the week. Great idea, till you make Ms. K and J-boy the cameramen!

Rule #369:

Do not kiss (or lick or nose smush or TOUCH) the camera.

I should probably tell the children they generally shouldn't DOCUMENT it when they break the rules.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

At the Beach

As far as I'm concerned, the greatest advantage to living here is that my darling sister lives about 5 minutes away. How lucky am I?!
With mom, dad, and three out of the 6 siblings here, my brother Dave and his family in Jersey just couldn't resist - they had to come for a quick visit. :) This meant that all 5 grandkids could play together for one brief weekend! After everyone helped unload the moving truck, we decided it was time for some fun. Heather and Ryan took care of us -- they planned & prepped the food for the entire weekend, and Heather made sure we always had something fun to do. We spent a fun afternoon at the beach of a local state park -- the kids loved the sand!

My baby's getting so big and adventurous -- it's making me really sad this time around watching my baby grow up.

Kendra and K-lady were lovely mermaids while burried in the sand. Not so with J-boy -- he was a shark. You can tell from his grimmace.

I'm so glad Dave & Angela & Bailey came -- it was so fun to be with them again! They helped me relax a little -- just when I'd be getting uptight about the crazy mess and huge amounts of work at home, Dave would tell me to chill out and have some fun. What a smart big brother.
Ms. K just worships her Aunt Kendra. It was so fun to have her around! K still asks if I think Aunt Kendra would like this shirt, or if Aunt Kendra would eat that food. :) Of course, I always answer in the affirmative (apparently Aunt Kendra is VERY supportive of eating vegetables...)
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The Other Graduate

K-lady 'graduated' from kindergarten the same day Joseph took off on his bike adventure. We'd spent the weekend before at a family reunion in Colorado (pictures floating around on a laptop somewhere....). Dad met up with us at Estes Park, and he and Joseph took off for their bike trip while the rest of us headed home (good long drive home....). The day after Memorial Day, K had a funny little 1/3 day of kindergarten, which included this little graduation ceremony. She LOVED kindergarten. It was kind of bittersweet to finish up -- we've really liked her school -- her friends and teachers there have been great.

Shaking the principal's hand -- she was so somber and serious. It was pretty cute. :)

With her best friend, who was in the morning half day kindergarten class (K was in the afternoon half day class)

The kid line up -- Baby A was super excited that K graduated from kindergarten (as you can see)

K and Madeline with their teacher.

This is the 4th graduation for K -- in utero for my Bachelor's, in the stroller for Joseph's bachelor's, waiting impatiently in the bleachers for Joseph's Dr., and now wearing her own little cap. What a cutie!
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Our "one-lasts" in KC

We had some good bits of fun while Joseph was pedaling his heart out on the Continental Divide -

One last Ladies Night In for digital scrapbooking and chatting. These ladies are GREAT! I miss our late night chats!

One last trip to the KC Zoo -- to bring our grand total of visits to a whoppin' 3 in five years. We had fun with three other families of friends. The Kangaroos just roam around wherever they want -- I was tempted to drag Joseph back with his cap and gown to get a picture of him with his alma mater's mascot (what kind of a feirce mascot is a 'roo???)
Once Joseph and my parents & sister made it to KC we had one last extended family night at the park with all the KC crew -- one last hurrah with cousins! Good food, good people!

One last get-together with school and church friends -- popsicles, bubbles and side walk chalk always make for a good time.

Obviously, one last hug and one last FLEX with best friends

I didn't get pictures, but we also had one last dinner at OK Joe's BBQ with my parents and sisters -- I still dream of their Z-man sandwich and crack fries! And one last dinner with the Bills' at their house -- I think we actually did take a picture at this one, but I sure can't find it now.... And, of course, we had to have one last Mormon Village BBQ in the backyard. (Why do all my memorable moments involve lots of yummy, not-so-good-for-me food??)

It's interesting to be at the end of this phase of our lives. I keep waiting for the 'vacation' to be over, and to head back to OP Estates to dig into another semester. :) Part of me feels so grown up, but part of me feels so inexperienced and unprepared. I'm thinking I'd better get used to this feeling -- I'll probably be enjoying it for the next 50 years or so. :)

Side note -- this is my 100th post! Happy blogging, everyone!

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Goodbye KC!

We've lived here for a month and two days! So I guess it's time to post the move pictures. :) This was our 8th move in almost 8 years of marriage. You'd think I'd have it down by now, but it was a lot more complicated this time -- probably has something to do with the 2 additional children and all the STUFF we've accumulated over the last 5 years in Kansas...
Thankfully (SO THANKFULLY!) we had my parents & sister to help us! I can't believe how much work they did, and how much time they spent helping us. Thank you so much!!
It's been a pretty smooth transition - we miss our friends and family in Kansas, but we're feeling pretty settled. Joseph is enjoying his residency - he got to do a jaw reduction yesterday (peel away gums & shave away jaw bone to prep for dentures). He's lovin' the crazy stuff. The kids have made some good friends, and I'm almost done getting the house organized. Maybe I'll finish before we move in 11 months (ugh).... And if I don't, then maybe there's hope for my perfectionistic obsessiveness. I suppose that could be good. Sounds like a win/win to me. I probably won't need the stuff I can't find, right?? :)
The vehicle line up -- Joseph drove the Penske, I followed in our van, then came mom in her van (with continental divide bikes on the back!), and Dad in Joseph's car. Whew!
Heidi to the rescue again -- she showed up Thursday morning and helped with all the last minute stuff that is just kind of hard and icky -- getting the last of the junk out of the house, cleaning, keeping kids occupied. She is such a saint!
That's our Penske heading out of KC (my sister was riding with me and the kids to keep the kids happy -- she was a life saver!! But she did make a few comments on my driving skills as I took pictures along the way...)

And our first good view of an interstate sign that said COLUMBUS OHIO!!! (yes, that was at sunset, and we still had about 5 hours ahead of us...)
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride

Day One - Leaving Jasper, Colorado

So... there's a gaping hole in the narrative of our lives (aka the Lotsa Lovin' Blog). Just where did we go? Just what did we do? I know you've all be sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out about our awkward silence. :) Here's a peak into one of the adventures from the past two months.

First, just a wee bit of history.

In 2004, my dad, two brothers and a cousin began this adventure. They started out at the Port of Rooseville on the Canadian border and rode their mountain bikes, towing B.O.B. trailers down a route that stays within 50 miles of the Continental Divide. That year they ended in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The next year, 2005, they picked up the trail in Steamboat Springs and rode for about a week to Del Norte, Colorado when things unraveled a little. Dad took a fall, and wasn't able to finish the ride. My brother took the Greyhound to Salt Lake to grab a car, and my dad drove the 'support vehicle' while my brothers and cousin finished the ride to the Mexican border.

Every summer since then Dad's been trying to figure out how to finish his ride. With Joseph's graduation and the 4 week break before residency began, it was the perfect opportunity to have a buddy on the trail.

Because they were riding so early in the season, the snow made it impossible to start in Del Norte. So they picked up the trail in Jasper. Joseph rode 565 miles in 11 days (add in 2 rest days for a total of 13 days on the trail), but he injured his leg and wasn't able to finish the last 3 days. So he hitchhiked to the nearest greyhound station and caught a bus back up to Colorado where my sweet aunt left Dad's truck for Joseph to pick up. Then Joseph drove the support vehicle for the last few days and 190 or so miles, following my dad to the border.

It sounds like it was an amazing trip. Joseph says it was absolutely worth the effort -- tough, but beautiful. I'm intrigued by the idea of such complete solitude - out in the middle of nowhere, propelled only by your own strength, alone with your thoughts and feelings. (I'm probably so intrigued because I have at least one child hanging off of some appendage most hours of most days). :)
Trip highlights:
Spending a beautiful rest day with Enoch and his family one week into the trip -- this was after riding hard (till midnight) to get to a hotel in Cuba, only to find all the hotels closed. Instead of the much anticipated clean bed, the boys camped behind the Conoco by the dumpsters and AC compressor. Not exactly restful.

Visiting with friends along the trail that Dad met 4 years ago -- they even let my stinky dad and husband sleep on their living room floor! And gave Joseph & Dad a history lesson on the Navajo nation. Thanks, Dennis!

Seeing lots of wildlife - including a black bear - and lots of beautiful wild flowers.

Finding pure beautiful springs just in the nick of time (Joseph REALLY didn't want to drink that brown stuff he tried to filter out of a cow field mud hole....)

Riding straight into horrific headwinds ALL DAY LONG on several occassions -- granny gears pumping and only going about 4 miles an hour.... that's when Joseph's knee started hurting (it's all better now!).

Riding through hail and rain, from burning heat to freezing cold.

Riding down hills.

Taking a shower.

Mailing home 25 pounds of stuff they didn't need (including dirty laundry!).

Getting excited for future adventures.......
Anyway, I'm proud of Joseph and my Dad - they are AWESOME!
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Monday, July 6, 2009


Happy Fourth of July, everyone! (yes, I'm aware it's the 6th...) I'm so grateful for our wonderful country. We went to our new town's 4th of July parade Saturday morning. The first half of the parade was fun old cars full of veterans from World War II, Vietnam, & the Korean War. There were even Pearl Harbor survivors. My heart filled with gratitude for the men and women who fight to preserve our freedom and share those freedoms with others. It is such a blessing to be raising our children in this country.

To my brother and dad and all those who have faithfully and honorably served our nation, Thank You. It is truly an honor.
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