Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rocky Mountain Sledding

Rocky Mountain Sledding
Here in Colorado, the Rocky Mountains are our backyard. A couple weeks ago, we piled into the Volvo and headed up I-70.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Sander had a pair of $2k headphones to deliver to a client in Evergreen. {I'm always shocked at what people spend money on for quality audio...buuut...I'm glad there are people in the world who pay for headphones this expensive because it keeps gas in our car and food in our pantry.} He has a lot of clients in Evergreen! He's up there all the time.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
So we decided to make a day of it and take the girls sledding in Conifer. I spent a good chunk of my childhood in Evergreen and Conifer, because Grandma & Grandpa lived there. Every time we drive through the Rocky Mountains, it feels like coming home. I snapped these photos of kids ice skating, people ice fishing, and Valley-Hi Ranch. Places of my youth.
Rocky Mountain SleddingRocky Mountain SleddingRocky Mountain SleddingRocky Mountain Sledding
Right in front of our car, a red-tailed hawk swooped up what was either a prairie dog or a chipmunk, and carried it off for lunch. Poor vermin! Majestic hawk! But what I'd really like to know is how I was fast enough to get a photo of this when I can never get a photo of the funny/cute/silly things my kids do before it's over? Huh? Explain that.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
We stopped in Evergreen, because these days they have a drive-thru Starbucks. This is amazing. When I was little, we'd visit Grandma and all there was in Evergreen was a Safeway, Coney Island, and a Fantastic Sam's that Grandma once confused for a restaurant and took us to eat there. {Fanatastic Sam's is a chop shop salon.} We stopped, of course, because I Cocoa needed my her coffee "puppaccino" fix. No, really, the barista saw our cute obnoxious dog and offered us a "puppacino" on the house. She loved it. She has a Gold Card now, and goes everyday.
Rocky Mountain SleddingRocky Mountain Sledding
So driving into Conifer from Evergreen brings back so many memories.
Rocky Mountain SleddingRocky Mountain Sledding
That's Grandma & Grandpa Erickson's old place. Across the highway from their house is Meyer Ranch Park. AKA, the best sledding hill ever.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Grandpa Erickson, a true Rocky Mountain cowboy, cut branches from an aspen tree, carved us hiking sticks, tied leather straps on them, and took us on a hike up this mountain once. Another time, dad took me here to learn how to snowplough on my skis before my first school skiing trip in 4th grade.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Justin was set on taking the kids to Ruby Hill in Denver, which is impressive, I'm sure, and ran by Winter Park Ski Resort. But I said, no, while we're up in the mountains let's go to my old sledding grounds!
Rocky Mountain Sledding
So we got out of the Volvo and piled on our snow pants and boots. The dog wore a sweater. I'm not sorry.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
These photos don't really do justice to the Meyer Park sledding hill. It is long and we stayed on the "safe" side. Snowboarders, skiers, and crazy sledders come here and create ramps and humps on the west side. We stayed on the east side, and even go fast.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Climbing back up is exhausting!
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Cocoa may be small, but she is a hardy Colorado dog. She didn't shiver a bit, she loved it. She is addicted to Starbucks.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
To say the girls loved it would be an understatement. Eisley especially, couldn't get back up the hill fast enough to go sledding back down again.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
If my Grandpa Erickson were still alive, he would look at this picture with a twinkle in his eye and say, "She's my little Svenska flicka!" {Swedish girl} just like he always said to me {Papa Erickson was a Swede}. There's just something about a blonde in the snow that screams, "Svenska!!!"
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Also, she met her first boyfriend that day. This cute little guy, who was about Eisley's age, was sledding near us and they got to know each other and sparks flew. He was one of the nicest stranger kids I've ever met. He even carried Violet's sled up for her after one run. {Later, when we got back to the car, Eisley blushed and said, "He was so handsome!" Oh dear. She noticed a boy. Are we there already?}
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Violet wasn't quite as energetic as Eisley, what, with the up and down and up and down and up and down.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Pax went down a few times in the lap of Justin or myself, though I think he was just happy to be there.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Yep there's me, way down there, with Paxton.
Rocky Mountain Sledding

Rocky Mountain Sledding

Rocky Mountain Sledding
This boy! I love him in his little snowpants. I just want to goose him.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Eisley & her first love:
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Then, at last, it was time for the last run. The sisters went down sister-style.
Rocky Mountain Sledding
Rocky Mountain Sledding
And Pax went down with dad, while I got stuck with the dog. We walked down discussing our chances of getting a second Starbucks run...
Rocky Mountain SleddingRocky Mountain Sledding
The best part about sledding at Meyer Ranch? This is the view. Yep, those are the cliffs we climbed up as kids. That yellow Victorian house looks just the same as it did 20 years ago. That's the famous Meyer Home, they had plans to turn it into the Conifer Museum. I wonder if that's happened yet...
Rocky Mountain Sledding
And finally, the best part about such an outing with your kids is how well they nap and chill out afterward. We piled back into the Volvo and headed east on U.S. Highway 285 which turns into Hampden {which my Grandpa Erickson, as a state highway engineer, helped design and plan} which coincidentally leads us right back home.
Rocky Mountain Sledding

Just another great day in our backyard.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

La Lune et le Chat

(The Moon & the Cat)
La lune et le chat.
Sometimes I just really feel the need to be creative and make something. It's like an itch you gotta scratch. I know you fellow creative types know what I'm talking about.
La lune et le chat.
Back when Paxton had his first birthday, if you will rememeber, I painted that fun vintagey moon face for his party and room? I still have not put it up in his room because my teachers always gave me high marks in the procrastination category on my report cards. Anyway, I so enjoyed painting that moon face that I bought more of these wood circles at Home Depot {they make perfect moon face canvases and around about $5} to paint more moon faces. I finally got around to it. This time, a crescent moon face {la lune} and a cat {le chat}.
La lune et le chat.
I'm pretty proud of the fact that I free-handed the sketching. I mean, I tried finding a circle around the house to create the crescent shape--but that only led to me uttering a few choice unsavory words while rummaging through the cupboard that I keep all my round cake pans in.

In the end, I used this antique moon face image and this moon cat silhouette as inspiration. Can you see them both in my painting?
La lune et le chat.
This is one of my favorite things to do, so why don't I do it more often?
La lune et le chat.
I decided I didn't want to go full on black cat and end up with Halloween art, so I used our cat Stella as my muse. She so graciously agreed to pose for me.
La lune et le chat.
The thing about muses, however, is that they can be awfully needy and thrive on drama. Um, Stella. I'm trying to paint here. {She loves my hair and will take any chance she gets to perch on my shoulders and purr sweet nothings into my blonde locks.}
La lune et le chat.
This made for a very comical moment of chaos {in hindsight of course, hindsight} when my muse became put out over me trying to dislodge her from my hairstyle, whereupon she jumped onto the table and into the white paint, at which point I grabbed her in my arms and for whatever reason could only think to cry out, "DISASTER! DISASTER!" and Justin leapt from the sofa, grabbed the cat from my hands and rushed her to the kitchen sink where he attempted to bathe the cat...attempted being the keyword here, because trying to wash cats...well...that's never going to go well for you.

I took this photo as proof of what happened, and as you can see Justin is appraising a rather deep cat scratch while my muse leaps from where she thinks he tried to waterboard her, and a mere second later--if you must know--my husband yelled at me about appropriate vs. inappropriate moments to take pictures. Duly noted, husband. I spent the next five minutes scrubbing white acrylic paint off our dark hardwood floors in paw-shaped 12-inch intervals.
La lune et le chat.
What I'm trying to demonstrate here, is that artists have to make sacrifices for their work. We put up with a lot. Or something like that.
La lune et le chat.
So what do you think of La Lune et le Chat? You know I like folk art and fairy tales.
La lune et le chat.
One of my favorite folk artists, Charles Wysocki, painted a lot of cats. I've studied his paintings and always found painting cats to be intimidating but now I can say I've done it. I have upped the ante for crazy cat ladies everywhere. Sure you say you love your cat, but have you painted your cat in a whimsical setting? Hm. :::admires fingernails:::
La lune et le chat.
I have my own studio in the basement, but more often than not I just end up at the dining room table. Glorious mess! The tricky part can sometimes be decided when a painting is done. You could mess around with it until kingdom come, but I once asked my father {who is a legit artist, not the kitchen table kind who gets into it with cats} when he knows he's done and he just thought about it and said, "When you don't feel like fussing with it anymore!" Here I am...wondering if I should dot some white twinkling stars on that blue sky, or should I leave it be?
La lune et le chat.
I have a thing for painting these wood circles, I gotta tell you. I want to do more moons. Moons & owls. Moons & stars. Moons & flapper girls. #cantstop #wontstop
La lune et le chat.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'm not complaining, but...

So yesterday Paxton was up at 2 a.m. coughing and Eisley was up at 4 a.m. puking. I was putting my faux-Uggs on to go get provisions at the grocery store when Justin stopped me and insisted on going. Right, I'll stay home and hold the hair away from the sick, you go out in the middle of the night...

I made him a list:

  •  ginger ale 
  •  Saltines 
  •  Gatorade 
  •  popsicles
I checked the pantry for Jell-O. Of course you're never out of Jell-O. I checked the cabinet that doesn't have a name but holds our over-the-counters, coffee and mugs, and the wineglasses. Is there a name for that sort of cabinet? I'd love to hear your suggestions. I mean, everyone has one of those cabinets right? What do you call yours? The Help? The Self-Medication Station? We could get real creative here.

I pulled out the bottle of activated charcoal, it was still about half full. I've learned from experience to assume that when one member of the household petri dish gets a stomach bug, you should always prepare as if all of you are about to start Linda Blairing all over the house.

Justin headed out the door while I poured about 5 black powder pills into my hand and washed them down one at a time with milk. The last one caught in my throat and I very nearly tossed my own own cookies, because my gag reflex since pregnancies and morning sicknesses has been something extraordinary in itself.

God bless that man, my husband, because he came back with Starbucks.

Eisley puked every 1/2 hour until 1 p.m. that afternoon. Paxton had a raspy cough and refused to take his two naps. Violet? She was her usual, rambunctious self. Which is no help.

Look, my kids don't get sick often. One of the perks of homeschooling and having a mother who is hyper-vigilant about handwashing, I suppose. But when we do...

All I'm saying is I also started to suspect Eisley of having a UTI on top of the stomach bug, and Paxton of having an ear infection on top of the cold. Because we don't get sick often, but when we do, we go all out. Go big or go home, that's how we ride. Apparently.

So fortunately, it was Sander's short day at work. I texted him that Pax had an appointment at 4 so he'd better be home by 3:30 or else. He came home with stories about half of his work also being sick and his boss sending people home and emails out about "don't come in if you're sick!" and you wonder, Do sick kids count even if you're healthy? and then I read that Chipotle is pulling pork from their menu and Cadbury Creme Eggs will never be the same and the pope is threatening to punch people in the face over yo mama jokes and you just have to wonder what the heck sort of world my sick kids are growing up in?

On our way to the pediatrician, Violet began coughing. Though I'm still not sure if she had what Pax had or if she needed attention. When I was her age, I convinced my parents that I had vision problems because I wanted to wear eyeglasses. I was purposely un-focusing my eyes. They bought it, took me to an eye doctor who apparently had no ethics and diagnosed me with a condition I didn't have and thus I wore eyeglasses for about two weeks in Kindergarten. {I have always had perfect vision.} I know, right? And I wasn't even a middle child...

All five of us piled into the small room and were eventually joined by a PA who Justin would later say looked younger than us and that sort of sent me into a mini-early-midlife crisis because I'm not ready to be old enough to be older than people who can write prescriptions.

Speaking of prescriptions, we walked out with two and the option of a third but I turned down, opting instead to await that lab result to confirm the possible UTI. In the meantime we can cranberry juice up and enjoy being girls who are merely given antibiotics when we get a UTI instead of surgery, despite the fact that we get them more often than boys. Whatever...

Three children.
One ear infection. {Or two? Does each ear count?}
One case of croup. {Or two? If Violet is legit sick.}
A stomach bug. {Eisley declared she doesn't like chicken anymore, but I swear the roast chicken Justin made the night before was delicious and none of the rest of us got sick.}
And a possible UTI.

Fantastically, no fevers. Whatsoever.

Paxton didn't sleep well last night, according to Justin who laid down with him on the floor for 1 hour and 45 minutes while I slept right through it just as I would a hurricane or a tornado. Today, he's not napping either even though he really needs it. The PA had warned us...the baby steroids to help his croup would probably make him hyper. It might also give him chest hair.

Actually, this morning everyone is showing few or no signs of any illness, and Justin and I are still healthy. I'm not sure if that's due to the activated charcoal pills I pop and the grape juice I forced on everyone or what. I'm just glad, because I'm also irritated about this...

I spent about 3 hours last night doing some creative writing on my computer after the kids went to bed. {Yes, I do creative writing for fun. No, you cannot read anything I write for fun.} It was the sort of writing that just pours out, easily and swiftly. This morning, due to a computer glitch that I just don't want to go into right now, it was gone. All of it.

I know how to auto-save and even recover documents and I've done it before, but I'm on a new Chromebook using new programs and saving methods and an error screen later I could see all my text behind the error message but I cannot save or recover it. Boo.

I'm not complaining.

I just wish right now that my two seemingly healthy girls would simmer down and  stop fighting and that my son on steroids would take a nap he so desperately needs instead of standing in his crib screaming, "Yah! YAH! Yah! YAH!!" while beating his chest with his new, steroid-induced muscles.

That's all.


I didn't even tell you all how I got the flu for Christmas, did I? It was a mixed blessing because while I was dealing with aching and chest congestion, Justin had to cook the entire Christmas dinner. As soon as I fell ill, I started Justin, the girls, and my parents {as they were coming over for Christmas} on black elderberry extract. Aka, "nature's Tamiflu". I didn't give it to Pax, but everyone else took it. It's supposed to stop the virus altogether or shorten the flu symptoms.

Pax and I were the only ones to get sick.
So, you know, everyone go stock your Over-The-Counter Wineglass cabinet with: activated charcoal pills, black elderberry extract, cranberry and grape juice. And baby steroids. 

:::clinks wine glass full of 100% grape juice against Chromebook that can't remember anything:::

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Summary of 2014

In 2014...

We celebrated 10 years of marriage.

We made an offer on and went under contract on our future home. 
Our favorite little redhead turned 3, and we celebrated for the first time without a big party
Violet's 3rd BirthdayViolet's 3rd BirthdayViolet's 3rd Birthday

Stain & Paint
{Many thanks to all the family & friends who helped us move,
refinish our floors, and paint!}

We bought our first chicks
Ducks & Chicks

The Little Yellow Coop

Our favorite little guy turned 1! We celebrated with a rainy Wynken, Blynken, and Nod themed party
Paxton's 1st BirthdayPaxton's 1st BirthdayPaxton's 1st Birthday

We got our first egg!
For the Birds
Bushel & a Peck 

Justin left his job at ListenUp to seek out a new opportunity...

We did our first homeowner projects, like installing this new window which started off our kitchen makeover.
Kitchen Makeover - Part 1

Justin & I turned 30! We've been together for about 1/2 of our lives now. 

Our oldest, Eisley, turned 6! We celebrated at the Downtown Aquarium
Eisley's 6th Birthday at Downtown AquariumEisley's 6th Birthday at Downtown Aquarium

Justin went back to ListenUp and we all celebrated!

We decided to upgrade from our '04 Volvo with 180k miles on it to a newer, peppier version that will {God willing} take us on road trips in 2015. That car was good to us, 90k miles and two babies home from the hospital. What lies ahead with new Volvo? Here's to the next 80k. 

We completed our kitchen makeover with new countertops, a new sink, a new window, new tile, and lots of fresh paint. 
Lark & Lola House Kitchen Makeover
We got our first-ever flocked tree, and the kids' first-ever real tree. 
Christmas Decor 2014 

We celebrated the holidays well, especially one night when we had my parent's friends and our pastor's family over. Good times in the new home!

The year came to a wonderful close, as it often does for Christians, as we celebrated the birth of our Savior. One day He will return and we celebrate that promise as well. 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Our Love,
The Erickson-Sanders

Auld lang syne...and all that...