Monday, July 27, 2015

When Sisters Text

My sister and I have been known to have silly fun with each other via text messaging. We've had ridiculous conversations about cats in French, we've re-worked the lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air song to make it about communist Russia....gosh I wish I'd screenshot that.

Something along the lines of... "In west part of Moscow, born and raised, in the Gulag is where I spent most of my days!..." It was hilarious fun. {And best sung in Russian accent.}

Well, a couple weeks ago I texted my sister about a little gift she'd gotten for Pax when she was in France this past spring. Just go with me here...

I thought it was funny that I used the word monopolized, and started dropping corny board game references. I thought I was pretty clever. 

At this point, I honestly couldn't figure out why she was rambling on about it. 
Too early in the day to be drinking and texting. I was getting confused. 

I think I was frustrated at this point, that she wasn't getting my cute board game references, or playing along like she sometimes did. 

Then I call her "MOM" because that's what our mom is always doing. Fretting if she buys one daughter lunch, she is sure to mail the other daughter $10 to keep things fair. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but mom is obsessed with making sure we both feel equally loved.  

I think I'd given up at this point. 

What tomfoolery is this?

Go on, scroll back up and read the first word of each text. 
I'll wait. 

...did you?
Then you can see what she did...

If you don't know what being "rickrolled" is, you can read about it here

It's the meme that revived Rick Astley's career!

Nice, Bea. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pax Turns Two

Paxton is TWO. Already?!

Pax is Two!
Paxton's 2nd birthday crept up on me and also proceeded a week of VBS. So we celebrated like normal people this year and just had the grandparents over for a BBQ dinner.

Pulled pork to be exact.
Pax is Two!
And some good summer sides, like Martha's corn salad.
Pax is Two!
Any excuse to get us in good company, with good food, out on the back patio with some tiki torches is a good excuse, indeed. Thanks for growing up on us, P-Town.
Pax is Two!
Our Paxton, little bro of two sisters. Little mothers. He calls them his "Smothers". Okay, maybe he calls me his "Smother". What can I say? Guilty!
Pax is Two!
As I've said before, my children are fantastically photogenic.
Pax is Two!
Seriously. Don't be jealous. Slack-jawed, half-eyed photo ops are our specialty. Derp.
Pax is Two!
Having just the grandparents over for Pax's birthday was great. Sander and I agree that we're lucky that our parents get on so well. Makes things easy for us.
Pax is Two!
Since it was just the few of us, there were few presents to open. But he still got a good haul. Like this Matchbox Water Canon firetruck water gun thing. Seriously cool toy. He loved it, and we had a hard time getting him to open any more gifts after he'd met this toy.
Pax is Two!
He did spare a moment to kiss the hippo card mom and dad gave him.
Pax is Two!
The Smothering Sisters gave him a John Deere lawn mower! Get to work, Pax!
Pax is Two!
Then there was the big ticket gift...
Pax is Two!
A push trike! Yay, Papa Erickson put it together for him.
Pax is 2!
He says, "It'll do. It'll do just fine." {He LOVES it.}
Pax is 2!
So you see, a simple and sweet birthday party. Okay, we might have splurged on a bounce house for his birthday, to wear out the kids, you know? {Pax wouldn't get in the thing, of course.}
Pax is Two!
We sang 'Happy Birthday' over a chocolate eclair cake that didn't set up right. But you know what? I don't even care. Because we were well overdue for a easy going blah birthday.
Pax is Two!
And this birthday was juuuust right.
Pax is Two!
Even if Pax cried big tears when grandma and grandpa drove off in the RV that Pax thought was a birthday present.
Pax is Two!
Happy Birthday, my little man!!!
Pax is Two!

Mommy loves you to pieces. So much it hurts.

Pax's Mom

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Regarding Henry

{Henry the Rooster}

Today! Do you ever have one of those days where every plan and detail of your schedule just goes completely off-the-rail?

I was planning my day around taking the kids to one of the outdoor museums to photograph them after Justin got off work. These were our plans for today.

Until I got an email for my Craigslist ad late this morning. Finally! After a visit to the livestock swap--at which we could NOT get anyone to take our FREE rooster, but we somehow came home with two baby bunnies--and a few days of our Craigslist ad getting no bites... at last! A reply!

Our rooster is adorable, a cochin bantam white unfrazzled frizzle rooster. (He's like a mini-chicken.) I took a risk buying him from the straight run bin at the Elizabeth feed store. I figured I had a 50/50 shot of it being female. I named it Henrietta. He turned out to be a Henry and not a Hen.

I enthusiastically replied to the email, and a few back-and-forths later and we were set up to meet half way between Denver and Fort Collins at 6:30 p.m. So scratch the photo shoot, but it was worth it to get Henry to a new, good home. See, he's been cock-a-doodle-dooing at 5:30 a.m. sharp for the past couple weeks. And we're not supposed to have roosters in Denver. I've been fretting over the thought of the neighbors calling animal control on us.

We've even been considering culling him. {Which we're also not supposed to do in Denver.} But he's so darn CUTE!

It would take us about 50 minutes to get to I-25 and highway 7, but it'd be worth it to get Henry to a good home.

At 5 p.m., we found ourselves hiding in the basement from the tornado warning and HEAVY downpour. I texted the Rooster Lady that we might be late. Then again, I texted her that we'd be on time as we piled into the Volvo via the garage, despite the lightning and flash flooding. Justin dropped the car key between the seats and had to work for 10 minutes to get it out. I loaded snacks and a new DVD {The 10th Kingdom} into the player and finally we were on our way, northbound, despite the flash flood.

We drove with the wipers full speed for most of the trip. But we made good time despite the weather and had arrived at our meeting point--the Petsmart off highway 7--a whole 15 minutes early.

So it was lovely when she was a half hour late.

She apologized profusely. She was a nice woman, her son was with her. They seemed excited about the rooster. She told us they had six female one-week-old chicks but she really wanted a rooster. I was so glad it worked out! We handed her Henry-in-a-Box and a ziploc of chicken feed and drove off. Whew! That was done.

We arrived back home at 8 p.m. to find the power was out. Great. How do we make dinner now? I went nextdoor to talk to our super sweet neighbor--a middle aged woman who takes care of her adult disabled daughter 24/7. She's also a retired cop, we're very fond of her. Turns out the whole block was out of power. {140 homes total, according to the Google.}

I told her that we'd just finally got rid of the rooster! I apologized if he'd been waking her up in the morning. Instead of relief, our neighbor was disappointed. Turns out she grew up on the farm, and she said she loved hearing the rooster at 5:30 a.m. each morning. I'm not making this up! She told me more than once she wished we hadn't gotten rid of him. I told her how Denver doesn't permit us to have roosters, and I figured as a retired cop she'd care about that ordinance. But she didn't. She's cool like that.

With the power out and nothing to make for dinner without a stove or a microwave, we piled back into the car and drove to Little Caesars, thinking we'd pick up one of those ready-to-go $5 cheese pizzas, feed the kids, then get them in bed. We hate Little Caesars Pizza. It's the worst. But we didn't care.

Except everyone else in our neighborhood had the same idea, and there was a line out the door {which has GOT to be a first for Little Caesars #amiright}, so Justin called in an order to Famous Pizza, which was actually good pizza. We ate it at home by candlelight.

That's about when I got this text:

I still. Literally. Can't even. With this. Right now.

I can't. Even.

Who does that??? I'm not her mother, so I didn't text back anything I wanted to, like:

"WHY would you buy livestock off Craigslist without asking your spouse* if they were cool with that?! Do you even have a coop? It has barely been more than an hour and the rooster already has you in TEARS?!"

*So I totally bought two baby bunnies last week at the livestock swap without asking my spouse. #hypocrite But to be fair, we had already talked about getting the girls hamsters and bunnies trump hamsters, and also I know my husband and he was just glad I didn't come home with a goat. He was practically thanking me for getting bunnies. Back to the story...

At this point, I want to scream. But I also feel bad for her.

I'm also a little worried because:

1. She's crying about a chicken.
2. I'm worried her husband is the angry sort.
3. Justin and I both suddenly remembered the giant purple bruise on her arm. I mean, imaginations can run wild.

So yes, I text back, of course we'll take the doggone rooster back.



I look at the clock, it's 8:50. She says her husband can meet us at 9:45 at I-25 and 104th this time. Someplace public and well lit, please, I replied. Petsmart parking lot again. A different Petsmart, at least, a good 20 minutes closer to us.

Great. One of us needs to go drive up to north Denver and pick up our rooster nobody wants. At night. During storms.

Obviously I'm not going to go alone to meet a stranger with a chicken at nearly 10 p.m. in an unknown part of town. I'm a woman. We don't do things like that. We send our husbands to do them, and believe me, Sander offered.

But our power is still out. So the idea of being at home alone with the kids. In the dark. In the quiet. With a flashlight and a squirrelly little dog. With my anxiety problems. During a thunderstorm...

So, we all pile back into the Volvo. I start The 10th Kingdom again. And off we are, driving down I-25 at 9 p.m. with our wipers on full speed.

All I wanted to do today was take cute photos of my kids in a pretty park. I was going to come home, edit my photos over a glass of wine, post them here on my blog as my official first-post-since-bloggers-block began. It was going to be great. But no.

We get there early. Again. He gets there late. Of course.

The Petsmart parking lot is completely empty and dark, except for the security guard car, which passes us a few times. I wondered if I'd eventually end up explaining to some parking lot security guard how we were at a Petsmart at 10 p.m. because we were meeting a stranger to exchange a chicken. In the rain. This is the day I had.

I'm going to keep my thoughts, feelings, and observations about Mr. Rooster Lady Husband to myself. Mrs. Rooster Lady felt horrible, texted me a LOT, and promised to send us a Paypal payment for gas. I don't even care, I still do feel badly for her.

When we pulled onto our street at 10:45 p.m. we were relieved to find that the power had been restored to our block. The kids crawled into bed eagerly, we put Henry back into the coop. Poor guy.

Our neighbor is in for a surprise at 5:30 a.m..

{Eating pizza in the dark.} 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Daytrippin': Denver to Salida & Back Again

Daytrippin' to Salida
My sister came to town the week after Easter and she brought The Cousins with her. While planning our week of activities like the zoo, the museum and such--which should all be spread throughout a year, not a week, but what can you do? fight with your family some, that's what--someone mentioned the idea of going somewhere new. I seized this opportunity to share with my family an article in a recent Sunset Magazine in which Salida, Colorado, is mentioned as a worthwhile daytrip from Denver. I thought they'd blow off my idea {they usually do, I'm the baby of the family, after all}, but instead they were all gung ho. So yee haw. Up 285 we drove, into the mountains and through South Park. {Yes, the South Park.}
Daytrippin' to Salida
My Grandpa Erickson was an engineer for the Colorado Highway Dept., and he helped design and plan 285. So, basically, we own this road. I mean, pretty much.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Now, this is a 2.5 hour drive from Denver, and so you'll pass The Fort, the hogbacks, Tiny Town, the sledding hill, my grandparents old house, Pine, South Park, Jefferson, Fairplay, and a prison where inmates raise goats, until finally, eventually, you reach Salida. It's a pretty, and easy 2.5 hour drive. Just throw on a Tom Petty CD or something, buy some beef jerky, and you're good for the drive. Daytrippin' to Salida
You'll know you're in Salida, thanks to the giant "S" on Tenderfoot Mountain. {Just don't be fooled if your six-year-old tries to convince you it is really a giant 5.} This photo doesn't do Tenderfoot any justice. It was bigger than it looks, and I'll share more about that later...
Daytrippin' to Salida
On a Sunday in April, Salida was a quiet place. I've heard that it is quite booming during the hot season when everyone comes to inner tube down the Arkansas River or when Mumford & Sons visits for 2 day festivals. {Justin's brother and his wife are going in August! Jelly here. Todd and Rachel, I hope you're paying attention because I'm about to tell you where you'll be eating. Make reservations now.}
Daytrippin' to Salida
So, Sunset Magazine recommended The Fritz as a place to grab a bite. But we forgot to bring the magazine with us and couldn't remember what the name was. Thankfully, Justin's co-worker who has roots in Salida saved the day and confirmed: The Fritz indeed was a worthwhile stop. I'll say!
Daytrippin' to Salida

This was one of, if not the, best burgers I've ever had in my life. It was the speshal. Isn't that shpeshal? Grass fed beef, made to perfection, with something like "apple smoked cream cheese bacon mousse" as a topping. Also, truffle fries on the side. {You MUST with the truffle fries, you MUST!} And it was absolutely divine. My father ordered the same thing as me, and we agreed: even our burps throughout the rest of the day were like heaven. {We had beer! Also, Colorado makes one gassy #blamegreeley} The kids' mac and cheese was too good to be on the kids menu. Justin ordered some sort of sandwich with sweet potato fries and tried to act like he wasn't totally jealous of my burger {he helped me finish it}. Something is up with these photos but I'm too tired to fix it.
Daytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to Salida
So, if you find yourself in Salida {ahem, Todd and Rachel}, The Fritz gets our enthusiastic thumbs up. Also, the server/bartender was super great with our kids. Not that they were at all misbehaving--they were really good actually--but we'd entered this joint nervous about dining with 5 kids who'd just spend 2.5 hours in the car, so, you know. Look, some of the balloons the street clown forced us to tip him for popped as soon as we walked in and it put us adults on edge, but the guy working there put us at ease and served us beer. Everything came full circle.
Daytrippin' to Salida
I'm telling you...
Daytrippin' to Salida
What else to do in Salida on a beautiful, albeit windy, Sunday afternoon? Take selfies and shop.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Bring your camera, this town is ripe with photo opportunities, even if my kids aren't there.
Daytrippin' to Salida
I got my first real six string. Bought it at the Five & Dime. Played it 'til my fingers bled...
Daytrippin' to Salida
Obligatory spousal selfie!
Daytrippin' to Salida
A few shops were closed on the Sunday afternoon {sadly, including the little French bakery Sunset had also recommended} but many shops were still open. Salida has great shops. Creative shops, artsy shops, consignment, thrift, and the typical Colorado mountain town shops. They even have an antique mall!
Daytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to Salida
And vintage Pyrex in the windows!! I am sincerely considering selling our house and moving to Salida.
Daytrippin' to Salida
When you're done dragging the men with their dogs around from storefront to storefront to wait for you to finish browsing the shops, you can stop for a perk me up at the "Coffee". {That's all the sign says...and I can't remember what it was called.}
Daytrippin' to Salida
Pax is too little for The Coffee but he does get his butt carried around, so...
Daytrippin' to Salida
Photo-op! Too bad the youngest cousin was indisposed at the moment.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Eh. Throw him in there anyway! That's good.
Daytrippin' to Salida
We tried to convince the kids to get in the kayaks for this photo op, but they wouldn't. {losers}

Salida sits in Colorado's banana belt, the Arkansas River Valley, surrounded by three glorious mountain ranges. So, naturally, we wanted a room with a view. Justin texted his co-worker, who responded {thank God, because our cell phone coverage was quite shoddy up there} and told us to head up Tenderfoot, up the Spiral somethingorother that climbs up the--let's be real here, Coloradans--the foothill.

He even gave us directions to get to the road that took us up there. You know, for a photo op. Or rather, in my case, a flipping heart attack as our SUV climbed the narrow road up the...did I say foothill? What I really meant was treacherous mountain. I'm serious, this dashed my hopes of driving up Pikes Peak this summer. At least not sober.
Daytrippin' to Salida
I mean, it was gawahgeeous up thereh, honeh, but the sharp steep drop off the side of the insanely narrow {I might be exaggerating just a tad, I do have a touch of the anxiety} road was enough to make me cling on to my babies and scream at everyone to stay away from the edges. I wasn't always this way...and Justin made sure to remind me of that. {"In high school, before you had kids, you would have been all about this. Now you're plastering yourself to the side of the mountain in fear."} Something about heights anymore...between my anxiety and my anxiety. I felt very disoriented up there, like the world was tilty.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Truly, it was a beautiful view. Quite worth it. {Thanks, Scott!}
Daytrippin' to Salida
I somehow survived. I thought going down would be easier than going up. but
Daytrippin' to Salida
Here is the obligatory good-daughter photo I took of my parents and their dog. I was yelling at them as I took the photo, worried their stupid dog would jump up on them and...goodbye world!
Daytrippin' to Salida
But it was truly beautiful. Worth every moment of sheer panic.
Daytrippin' to Salida
What a perfect day trip! Thank you Sunset Magazine, for helping me convince my family to listen to me {for once} and head somewhere new. {Next, I've really got to get to Telluride. What kind of native Coloradan hasn't even been to Telluride?} I'll go back to Salida for sure. We headed back to Denver that evening before bedtime, but our rebellious children...
Daytrippin' to Salida
They were spent.
Daytrippin' to Salida


P.S. More photos here. I know, this post was kind of light on the pictures, that's so unlike me, you probably feel robbed, so you might want to see another million more.