Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

We made it home from Nevada this afternoon after a good Christmas. We've been away for more than a week, but it sure went by fast. We all enjoyed lots of good food, playing the Wii, and everyone spoiled Aspen as well. Right after we arrived, she got hurt. We don't know for sure, but the working hypothesis is that she was kicked by a cow (She had an inordinate interest in the cows and headed toward their pens the minute she was let outside every time!). She limped around for the evening and had a stiff leg the next day, but it could have been much worse and she recovered quickly. In the meantime, she had everyone sneaking her treats and she also chased after the four-wheelers which she loves, and she had her own Christmas stocking to open, so she made out pretty good in the end. She enjoyed the bone her Grandma Harper gave her. I didn't let her keep it on Christmas because their were other dogs around, but I gave it back to her when we got home and she promptly "buried" it in the sofa and put a pillow on top of it. We won't find it there! She also liked the ball her Grandma Anderson gave her, though she's already got the stuffing coming out of it.

We all had a good Christmas and ate way too many treats, so Mike and I will have to make a resolution to eat better (more vegetables and less desserts) now that we are home again. It was great watching everyone play "Active Life" games on the Wii, jumping around and stomping. We even got Grandma to play once. Lesa took the pictures of that, so I will have to have her email me some to post. Now, it's back to work and cleaning up the house.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chocolate overload!

I've been busy making cookies all morning and freezing them to take with me (to give the family a stomache ache from too many sweets judging from the richness of these cookies). Now, I have to figure out how I am going to fit two carloads of clothes, presents, and dog into one car. And, we are also nervously watching the weather. It's supposed to snow in Wyoming on Tuesday! But, we will work it out.

There's always so much to do to get ready for a trip, especially a car trip. Laundry, packing, repacking, getting frustrated and trying again, and you need coolers for food and snacks, hotel rooms that accept dogs, and of course we can't leave home without an entourage of dog toys, snacks, and portable crates. Plus, we have to check in the with the neighbors about feeding the cat and watching the house, bringing in mail, cancelling newspaper subscriptions, etc...

Lots to do before Tuesday! But, I'm looking forward to seeing my friend Megan and her husband and two adorable children on Tuesday night in Salt Lake as we pass through. And, then of course arriving at my family's house for Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Busiest Time of the Year

I've been busy creating all sorts of crafty projects lately, but I can't post pictures of them because they are all gifts for people who read my blog. Maybe after Christmas. My craft room is looking like a cyclone hit, so come January I'm going to have to go into clean up mode too.

I am excited that we only have 4 more days of school before break begins, and then two whole weeks off! I'm really ready for a break. This time of year is so busy with all the extra activities and events at school. I spent all day at school on Saturday helping to host a breakfast with Santa for 200 elementary students. I was the official Santa photographer so I saw lots of happy, cute kids and quite a few crying babies too. It's so funny to me how they can be so scared of santa one year, and so enthralled the next! Then, I graded papers yesterday, so it really doesn't feel like I had a weekend at all. But, the end is in sight...

We are looking forward to seeing my family next week. We wish we could see Mike's family too, but we will see them soon. Packages have been sent!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009's cold outside!

It's been so cold here that I'm really excited by tomorrow's forecast. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I'm celebrating because it's going to warm up tomorrow to 25F for a high! Given we haven't been out of the single digits and have spent most of our time lately below zero, that seems much better. It's currently -8F. I'm sitting in front of a space heater because it's cold inside even. You can't go outside without feeling like your insides are being seared and your nose frozen with every breath.

It's a great day to stay inside. Even Aspen doesn't want to go outside because all the snow on the ground has become icy and gets stuck in her paws. She starts limping after a few feet and whines, holding her paw up for you to clean out.

So, we will hope for better weather tomorrow!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow Day!

We woke up to about 5-6 inches of snow this morning (and it's still snowing), so Aspen was very excited. She guilt tripped me into taking her out by following me around staring with those sad, sad eyes, so I pull on the snow pants, snow boots, hats, scarves, ear muffs, coats, gloves, and extra socks and we headed out. She gets so excited by the snow that she wants to run, not walk, so here I am jogging through 6 inches of powder with my dog pulling me along like I'm a sled. I'm sure you can already picture the comic value in this, knowing me, but it gets better. The trouble is, with all the snow, it is hard to tell where the sidewalk ends and the curb begins so we are jogging along and I miss the edge of the sidewalk and my feet find nothing and I go down. So, I'm laying flat out on the sidewalk, and Aspen decides to come back to me and lick my face. Of course, this couldn't be private. Just as it happens there's a car going down the street, so he stops and rolls down the window to see if I'm okay, and he's laughing hysterically at me the whole time!

We get up and jog on and run through the park and all its pristine snow, come home, go around the block and she still has energy so we head into the backyard to play. Then, I'm trying to get down the steps off the deck in my snow boots, big pants, and all the stairs covered in snow and I slip and go down again. What does Aspen do? She runs back to me while I'm lying on the ground, grabs ahold of the end of my scarf, and runs off with it to start a game of keep away. Too bad I didn't have the camera with me!

We played in the backyard for nearly an hour. She still wants to go out and play more, but I'm exhausted already! It's a good day to stay in the house, bake cookies, work on my Christmas cards and gift wrapping, and of course, somewhere in there, I will have to do some school work! Happy December!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Mike and I had a lovely Thanksgiving for two and so far an enjoyable week off work. I hope everyone has a great holiday. I am thankful for my wonderful husband, my adorable dog Aspen (who's currently asleep on my couch and so cute that I don't have it in me to yell at her), our great home and life, and, of course, all our families. Hope everyone had a great day. With love...


Monday, November 23, 2009

Odds and Ends

It's official. I've finally started working on my Christmas cards. These are my first two designs. I love the pine tree one because I have this material called "flower soft" which attachs to the tree to give it a fuzzy texture. Now, I only have about 20 more to make!
It's my goal to finish most of these during this week since I have it off. We are also planning to get our Christmas lights put up outside and maybe even get the inside decorations up. It's a little earlier than I usually decorate, but I figure I'd better get it in while I have time. Plus, I want to work on some Christmas shopping next weekend too.
I'm planning to cook my turkey tomorrow! I know that's unconventional, but with just the two of us we have to spread things out more. This way, we can have turkey for the rest of the week. In addition, we have to spread out the sides. We'll have stuffing with turkey tomorrow, cranberry sauce with turkey paninis on Wednesdsay, and so on...By the end of the week, we should have experienced all the Thanksgiving flavors we want.
Aspen has had a fun weekend because our next door neighbors finally got a puppy. Her name is Sienna, and she's very cute, very hyper, and very bitey...but she and Aspen are getting along wonderfully.

Last, but not least, Congratulations to Lesa and Colin who are now officially engaged!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welcome to winter

I haven't had much to report in the last few days, but here's my news. I have next week off, which I'm very excited about! We have no plans for Thanksgiving, so I am debating with myself whether the turkey dinner is worth it.

It snowed another 7-8 inches on Saturday, so it's been cold, and I'm fighting off the cold that Mike has had, and losing...

In other news, I finally found my old glasses over the weekend. They fell off the bathroom counter, went under the shelf on the bottom of the vanity, and landed inside the paper tube to a roll of toilet paper that was stored there. I definitely didn't look there.

More to come when I have anything good to report.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Aspen and her Daddy

Dad's been home sick for two days and what does Aspen learn? To get on the couch and sleep next to daddy. Yes, that's right. Mike caved and let Aspen on the furniture! I'm sitting on the couch last night and suddenly up she comes. Turns out that she's been sharing that spot with dad. After all that lecturing Mike gave me about being tough, he let her on the furniture first! Then, we've been letting her up on the bed for a few minutes to visit, though she doesn't get to sleep there. So, now we are both indulgent parents! I hope we are better at enforcing the rules when we have kids!

Today she stayed in her kennel all day! I probably shouldn't be celebrating after only one day, but it's a good sign. Maybe we've finally got it worked out so that she can't get out. Time will tell...

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Glasses!

Here are some pictures of my new glasses. They aren't great pics, but you can see the new look and I can see, period.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Little of This and That

Just a quick post tonight. You will all be glad to hear that we got a roof put onto Aspen's kennel over the weekend, and the roof seems to have worked in terms of keeping her from jumping out. Unfortunatley, it only took her two days to figure out the new technique of digging under. So, she was out roaming the neighborhood again today. Thank goodness for Lynette (our neighbor) who keeps an eye out for her and puts her in the house when she gets out.

In other news, my glasses disappeared overnight. It's a mystery as to where they have gotten to since I feel like we searched the whole house this morning, but I had to purchase a new pair this afternoon. I was about due for a new pair anyway, but I was hoping to get a little longer out of the old ones. Mike talked me into a pair that is very different, and much more trendy, than my usual style. I'll have to take a picture and post it soon, but tonight I need to get some school work done since I left school early today to hang out at Lenscrafters.

The trimester ends at school on Friday, so I will be grading essays and final exams all weekend so I can get my grades in on Monday and plan for my new batch of classes.

And, for those of you who know my friend Megan, she had a beautiful baby girl yesterday. They named her Ellie Kristine Brown. Congratulations to them!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall in Colorado, Oh my!

Here are some scenes around our house today. It's not that unusual to get snow here in October, but it's never been this deep, this early in all the time I've lived here. Check out the measure on the bench on our back deck--it looks like close to a foot. We may be in for a tough winter. Aspen is loving it, but the rest of us are scrambling to find ice scrapers and winter boots. All my kids are hoping for a day off school tomorrow because it's still snowing. We will see...I can't say that I'd be that upset with a day off, but I already wrote my lesson plans and final exams for next week, and if we miss a day I may have to rewrite a lot of these because we won't get to some of the content in time for the exams. Oh well...I'll have to wake up early tomorrow to see what the weather has delivered over night.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We Concede Defeat!

Aspen has been getting out of her kennel again recently, so over the weekend, we bought a bigger tarp and Colin and Lesa helped us put it on the roof. It hangs down on all sides and we cinched it down every 6 inches or so all the way around. There literally isn't a good gap anywhere in the new roof, so we were feeling pretty confident. We even put her in it Saturday afternoon for a few hours and she was still there when he came home. We weren't confident enough to make a bet with the neighbors, but we were cautiously optimistic. Oh how naive the parents are...

She went in this morning at 6:30am and by 7:30 we were receiving emails from the neighbor saying she was out! We aren't sure where she's getting out because it still doesn't look possible (there is a branch out of place in the hedge, so maybe she's going out through the middle of the hedge, but how she's bypassing the roof I'm not sure!). As of now, we are admitting temporary defeat. She's gotten out of every setup we've come up with, and there have been a few! Until we can get metal panels of chain link for the top, she won't be able to use her kennel and will have to stay in her indoor crate.

Lucky for us we have a great neighbor who works from home and who is now tuned to the sounds of rattling chain link. She's quick to catch the escape artist and make sure she stays out of trouble! We really appreciate her!

Visit with Colin and Lesa

We had a great weekend visit with Colin and Lesa. They came out Friday and stayed until Monday. We went to Boulder to buy tea at Celestial Seasonings and then to see a play at the dinner theater Friday. Saturday we checked out a craft fair, went on a tour of the Budweiser plant (really just to see the Clydesdale horses), and attended a hockey game. Go Eagles! Sunday, we went up to Estes Park to check out the mountains. It was a bit cold and windy, but at least they got a little taste of the town and the national park.

It turns out we picked the right day to go up there because yesterday, the town was pretty much closed due to a major disaster. The old Park Theater shopping mall, which we were in on Sunday, burned down on Monday morning! I've posted a couple of the pictures from the newspaper. The entire building and all the shops in it were destroyed (including the glassblower we stopped to watch and the Scrapbook store I bought some paper from), but they were able to say the historic tower that's attached at the west end. No word yet on what caused the fire, but luckily the wind had quit by Monday or it would likely have caught half the town in a sweeping path along main street.

We had a good time with our visitors. It was hard to get back to school and work today!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Good bye Fall, Hello Winter!

Aspen is thrilled with our new weather, though the rest of us could have used a few more days of fall first. We had quite a snowfall through the night. She loves to play in the snow, and it was also quite comical to watch her try to "help" Mike sweep the snow of the back deck. I've attached some video clips of the two of them as well as pictures of playing in the snow.

It is pretty, but it's cold outside. A high of 36 today, so I guess it's time to get the big coat out!

Lesa and Colin are coming to visit next weekend, and we were hoping to be able to do some fall hikes and explore the mountains with them, but it may turn out to be a different sort of getaway. Bring your coats!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Aspen the Escaper

Oh dear...Here's the chain of e-mails Mike received from Lynette, our neighbor, first thing this morning. We definitely owe her!

Sent at 9:16am:

It's official - she's an escape artist! 7:30 a.m. heard her howling, playing the oh-woe-is-me escape artist; 8:30 a.m. not a peep, worried, investigate - she's roaming your backyard. We go for a long walk, try to put her in the back yard again when we got back, but she was in my front yard before I could get to our garage. She's in our backyard right now. I'll put her in her crate later when I've got to leave - about noonish.

Great engineering on the dog run cover for rain runoff, however it won't do with a dog who's learned that she can climb and jump.

More on the continuing "Aspen saga" later, Lynette

Sent at 9:33am:

Continuing saga:

She's decided to jump our fence now. Spent the past 20 minutes trying to chase her, but have a 10 a.m. interview to prepare for. Hopefully, she'll come back home soon and then I can put her in her crate for the day.

Sent at 10:44am:
She returned back here on her own- finally - and is at home in her crate. Not happy, but safe.

Luckily we have a neighbor who really looks out for our dog! Apparently, the little brat will have to return to spending the days inside in her crate from now own.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Helping in the garden

Aspen decided to "help" me in the garden this morning. If mom gets to dig in the dirt, then Aspen should get to too, right? Of course, I was digging up carrots, and Aspen was just digging for fun, but she didn't see the importance in that distinction. At least she kept to her own box and didn't get into the carrots.
We pulled up the rest of the garden today, so the boxes are all empty now until next year. We had quite a few carrots, although
most of them were very small. I also picked my 3 pumpkins today. I am in
credibly proud of these since I grew them myself. They are currently serving as decorations for the front porch and then maybe as halloween gets closer
we'll carve them.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I had a very enjoyable day, running errands and grocery shopping with my husband in the morning and going to a movie and doing some shopping in the afternoon with my friend KC. We went to see the movie Bright Star, which tells the story of the British romantic poet John Keats and his love affair with Fanny Braune before his early death. He died of TB at 25, before ever getting married. The movie was very good, although very slow and very British. You may need to be an English major (or a British) to enjoy it, but it was reflective and well written. It's interesting that Keats was penniless and basically a failure before his death and is now one of the most well-known British poets from the Romantic period. Here's the poem the movie is named after:

Bright star, would I were stedfast as though art--
Not in lone splendor hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the mores--
No, yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon in death.

While I was at the movie, Mike spent the afternoon working in the yard and playing with Aspen. I came home in time to see Aspen guarding a tree. She'd chased a squirrel up said tree and was staking out the bottom of it. She's come close to catching the squirrels recently. I hope she never does catch one!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Such a long time...

Dear blog,

I'm sorry I've neglected you of late. I've missed you and longed to write to you, but life has been complicated lately. It's no excuse, but please allow me to catch you up on what's been going on in my life these last few weeks.

School has really heated up these last two weeks. Today, I spent all day grading essays and exams that have piled up. Yesterday, we had to go out to Greeley for the homecoming football game, and then drive down to Boulder to drop off a broken yearbook camera at a repair shop. Last week was homecoming, so there were after school and evening activities on top of the usual teaching responsibilities. In addition, my student teacher has taken over control of my classes now and for the next six weeks, which has me seriously stressed out. I spent a great deal of time worrying that my students aren't learning what they need to. That's not to say that she isn't working hard and learning, because she is and I'd rate her as advancing just fine, but there are still some gaps in her educational preparation that make me cringe. I've had the truth of the statement "You don't know what you know until you start, and you don't really learn the material until you have to teach it" in front of me for these past weeks. It's shocking what she can't explain to students, but I was probably like that too. And, she can't spell! This really drives me crazy. Of course, I'm willing to admit that I'm a control freak and just don't like giving up control of my classroom too, so I fully admit that all the fault is not with the student teacher. It's going to be a long time until December when I get my classes back!

In other news, the low cost remodel of the guest room is done....sort of. We switched plans slightly in the middle, and now the wall color behind the bed doesn't quite work. We were originally planning a bedspread and pillows that were green, which would have worked with the wall color, but the blue we ended up with clashes a little with the yellow and green tones in the wall color. So, we'll have to repaint sometime, but that will have to wait for a little while. We did well at keeping the changes affordable. We didn't buy any furniture but rather painted existing pieces. And, we used paint that we already had leftover from other projects. The most expensive purchase was the bedding.

I've also been fighting illness the past week. It started with a head cold and an inability to sleep on Wednesday, which hung around but luckily didn't get worse. So, I've been tired all week and then dealing with some other personal issues as well. But, this part is getting better too. I'm still tired, but I'm slowly catching up!
I took breaks from paper grading today to do some grocery shopping, go on a quick bike ride around the neighborhood with Mike and Aspen, and to paint the frame for the bedroom artwork, so it's been a busy day. Aspen also got stung by a bee today, poor girl!
I'll try not to let so much time go by before I write again. I hope everyone on the homefront is doing well. Give my best to everyone.
Faithfully yours,

Monday, September 14, 2009


I was planning to write more in my blog tonight, but since I've gotten home today, life's been going downhill faster than a sled on a snow hill. We put dinner in the crock pot this morning before heading to work--on low--and it still burned during the day...argh. We ended up having hotdogs for dinner which wasn't nearly as exciting. Then, we discovered that Annie has scratched and put big holes into the brand new sofa! I knew it was a bad idea to get leather. So, now I'm threatening to go to bed at 7pm :). Nothing more can go wrong if I'm asleep, can it?

In all reality, Mike's gone off to band practice, so I think it's rest of the night off for me. I'll make sure I write a longer, more interesting, more positive post later in the week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Products of Fall

I had a busy day yesterday, trying my hand at canning for the first time. I made homemade pasta sauce and canned it as well as canning pears and peaches. And, I made a batch of peach jam as well. I love the fall colors of the jars, which turned out so prettily.

I also made a peach pie-which turned out pretty well if I do say so myself-primed the wall in the guestroom with Mike's help, worked on laundry, schoolwork, and put out my fall decorations.
Sadly, one of my scarecrows has already fallen victim to the cannibalism of Aspen, so I might have to put these away again to save them. All that appeared left after the massacre were some straw and a sad little hat lying on the floor. We later found the body outside on the lawn, chewed into many pieces. So, I have to keep close watch on my remaining decorations!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fall is coming to the Rockies!

I saw my first Aspen trees turning yellow in the mountains today! I love fall in the Rockies. We headed up to Indian Peaks Wilderness for a lovely 6.5 mile hike with Aspen, the dog, not the tree.

We started out at Brainard Lake and then took the Lake Isabelle trail up the mountain, past Long Lake and finally to Lake Isabelle, which is above treeline right before Pawnee Pass. The trail is great for most of the way, but the stretch between 2.5 and 3 miles is very steep and very rocky, so we were tired when we made it to the top. I told Mike we'd do an easy hike today, so he wasn't very happy by the time we made it back to the car, but it really was a beautiful path. All three lakes are beautiful, and just before treeline there is a gorgeous creek flowing down a steep hill (almost a waterfall) with a field of high altitude wildflowers all around and a view of Isabelle glacier behind it. In addition, you have the smell of the mountains and fresh, fresh air. The temperature was nice and cool, and the rain only sprinkles. We also saw our first snow in the Rockies today too, but it was only a little bit and already on the ground.
Aspen was so excited all day. She spent the car rides up and back with her head hanging out the back window, and on the trail she practically dragged us up the hill because she was so pumped up. Even at the end of the 6.5 miles, she was still rearing to go! She could have turned around and done the hike again, even though we were exhausted (and hungry!). We had a lovely late lunch at the Millsite restaurant near Ward on the way home, and now we are vegging in front of the TV for the evening.
The only problem in an otherwise perfect day...I forgot to check the camera battery and it died just after we started. So, all my pictures are of the first 1/2 mile of our hike.

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