Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One Unforgettable Event from 2009

On Thursday night, October 29th, we headed out to swim team in spite of the snow. School had been cancelled for two days but the roads did not seem that terrible to me. On Dublin Blvd, another car lost control and flew over the median and head-on into our van. The Nissan SUV then spun around and forced us into a tree. The kids and I were thankfully kept safe inside the faithful Toyota Sienna with the airbags deployed. We feel so blessed.

This is what the other guy looked like. He happened to walk away safely also.

Now it is on to dealing with insurance companies and picking out a new car!

The following day I saved the van from being crushed mistakenly because I showed up to empty out some of my things. It was not at the lot where they'd towed it because it was being transported to a wrecking yard, instead of another van that insurance had already "totalled out."

Can you imagine that nightmare? The car gets crushed before insurance can see it! That was close. Just another thing to be thankful for this year.

I'll never forget how I spent my 39th birthday feeling a bit older perhaps (with soreness in my neck and shoulder) and quite a bit more humble. Life can indeed change in an instant.
P.S.- Just to reiterate--no one was hurt in the accident. Jake and I had minor scrapes and bruises and a few sore muscles. Ben had one bruise from his seat belt and Rachel was completely unharmed. Amazing, really.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My New Favorite Ten-Year-Old

I'd like to share 10 facts about Ben:

1. Favorite color: GREEN

2. He LOVES cars, especially fast, expensive sports cars. Go figure.

3. When he grows up he wants to be a professional keeper (soccer goalie, for those of you not in the know) or an NFL running back. Either one.

4. Favorite vegetable: CELERY

5. Favorite meal: Hot wings with steak and fries.

6. His best friends this year are: Matthew, Evan, Max, Cutter, JonJon, Joseph, Jacob, Brandon, ect. ect.

7. Favorite sport: Soccer (or lacrosse, although I argue he has so little experience watching or playing lacrosse it can't be a favorite.)

8. Favorite subjects in school: PE and Math

9. Favorite hobby (besides sports): building models

10. He's an absolutely amazing brother, friend and son. His teacher adores him this year because he is so kind and genuinely nice with everyone.

Ben is one-of-a-kind and we are so happy he is in our family.

Love you, Ben!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Guess What Jake Brought Home from School...

The swine flu.

That's right. My eighth grader, who is not the most social person, brought home the swine flu.

He's on tamiflu and we're prepared in case the rest of us get symptoms but we're hoping Ben's birthday plans aren't affected by the illness.

My guess is that A LOT of people are going to get it. Let's hope it's not too severe.

That's my excitement for today. Plus a soccer tournament for Ben in Denver. He's becoming a really great goalie. Way to go, Ben!

Get well soon, Jake.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

I hosted the "lunch bunch" last week at my house and served a family favorite.

Here's the recipe.


9 baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups whole milk (I use 2%)
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup bacon bits, divided
4 green onions, chopped
10 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

Prick potatoes with a fork and bake for about an hour. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a little milk. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook a couple of minutes. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in potatoes, salt, pepper, (use an immersion blender before adding anything else, if you want it less lumpy) 1/3 cup bacon bits, 2 tablespoons green onions and a little bit of the cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sour cream and heat through. Serve topped with remaining bacon, onions and cheese.

It's not healthy, but it sure is delicious. How I love fall and curling up with a warm bowl of soup!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Check Out What I Brought Back from Korea

Here are a few of my Korean finds...

A "Rolex" for Dave. (Which may or may not have stopped working already...)

A new vase.

A "super-soft" blanket for Rachel to dance on, because what else would you do with a super-soft blanket?

A couple of fabulous purses.

Some parasols.

The idea to make crepes(said with French accent) for breakfast with creme(also said with French accent). Delicious! Betty Crocker's recipe is not as good as yours though, Annee. You truly are a Renaissance woman.

Lori posted more wonderful details about our adventure HERE.

Let me publicly thank her for not posting every single picture of my rear end that she took and for keeping the pictures of my bad hair days to a minimum. That's a good friend.

The one detail I need to add is that I returned to Colorado to find a little piece of Korea in my very own family. I had been commenting on the bus ride to the airport on the eclectic fashions worn by Korean children. Every color in the rainbow makes for a good Korean outfit.
Check out what Rachel was dressed in to welcome me home (after she went to Costco, and Lowe's, and to a soccer game).

Korea may be over 6000 miles away but when Dad and Rachel are in charge of the outfits, it feels like I'm right back there. (A snowman shirt and snowflake tights in September--what the heck?!)

This picture is for you, Kurt. It's a paper chain made of origami cranes, I think. It was impressively long.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Farewell, Korea

Today I head home. I'm thrilled to be seeing my family in a mere 24 hours or so. Korea has been great fun; the sights, sounds, and smells of this land have sealed us BFF's. Thanks for a great trip, girls!

(This is at Seoul Tower overlooking the city. The fence is covered in locks that people place there to "lock in" their love and commitment to each other. Interesting.)
Thanks also to Darin, Henry, George, Ruby and Jane for sharing so much of their wife/mom with us for nearly an entire week! This adventure was way better than any spa week.

Many more details to come of the adventures. For now I need to pack up.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Seoul Grand Park

On our first full day here we celebrated the American Labor Day holiday by visiting Seoul Grand Park with Annee's family and some other families from the base.

Their "Grand Park" offered rose gardens, petting zoos (featuring animals with odd hair cuts), a dolphin show and a complete zoo, among many other thing. It was fascinating and very clean.

The weather started out a bit rainy but as luck would have it, as soon as we purchased ponchos to protect from the rain, it cleared up. I'll take a 3 ounce poncho for 2000 won and clear skies any day! (The exchange rate is about $1 to 1200 won.) It was the perfect introduction to a city that has been coined "not quite right" by Americans.

I ordered a traditional Korean lunch item call bibimbap. It was completely delicious with white rice, fresh vegetables, a little seaweed and a fried egg. So yummy.

It's been fun to see how the Koreans love little blond Ruby and Jane and how friendly they are to foreigners. It's a great adventure.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Lori and I made it to exotic, wonderful Korea. The trip was long but rather uneventful and a nice time to unwind.

Halfway through the flight it seemed much longer...

Finally we arrived to discover that Korea is a very quiet country. In spite of the large number of people, we were the only two talking and laughing...What can we say? We're finding joy in the journey.

Dr. Fish got a hold of my feet and it was a super ticklish experience. Unfortunately, I don't think the callouses are gone. I might have to spend a year or so here, with my feet in the water, to see that result. The fish definitely seemed to have a great meal though.

Kim chi is delicious. You would love it, Ben.

Bul Go Gi and all its side dishes from Sam Il is also delicious.

Korea is exciting and wonderful. More to come...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grammy Lois Visits

My mom came out for a week to see us and then she headed to Utah for some time with her sisters and high school friends. Those are some enduring friendships!

We went to the Flying W Ranch, Garden of the Gods, the North Pole, and the Current outlet sale. All Colorado Springs highlights. The weather was beautiful (for the most part) and we were able to really showcase our wonderful home state.

She brought me a skirt, the perfect black shorts, handmade crafts, and pictures. She cleaned out my junk drawers (that's right, more than one-don't judge!). We sure love our G-Lo.
Once a mom, always a mom. I think that is what I've finally figured out about motherhood. Although I'm all grown up and raising my own kids, my mom still thinks of me as her child. It's funny but I can see how that works now that I have a teenager. He's still my kid to love and protect even though he is growing up...Let's hear it for eternal families and our eternal roles in them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Costa Rica June 2009

Our big family vacation this year was to the lovely beach town of Tamarindo, Costa Rica in the Guanacasta region. It was tropical and gorgeous.

We drove from the city of San Jose to the coast so that we could score a direct flight from Denver. It was great to drive through the country and see the topography and vegetation. We will definitely see some volcanoes the next time we visit.
Some people might say the drive was a bit too long, but whatever.

(They sold large decorative pots here, but Dave couldn't resist a few pictures with the sign.)
Dave declared it his favorite family vacation ever...

Rachel paddles out.

Waiting for a set.

Riding one in with Dad.

Really, how can you compete with surfing every morning followed by teaching your kids to surf? There's nothing better than having your kids love something that you love. And let's be clear, these kids love the ocean like none other. I've never seen anything quite like it really. They LOVE LOVE LOVE the ocean. Especially for kids who live in a land-locked state!

Here Rachel is on her back floating away after she and Dave got worked on the surfboard. "No worries, Dad. I'm wearing a life vest and I love salt water up my nose."

One morning as we walked to the beach Ben could be heard saying, "Oh, those look so good." As is Ben's habit, I assumed he saw a souvenir or food item that he wanted. When I asked him what had caught his eye he replied, "The waves. It's gonna be a great day to surf." I'm not sure anything could make Dave prouder than recognizing clean waves...

For some reason, that I could never understand, Ben loves to do handstands in the ocean. He spent hours upside down out there.
I am going to blame my camera for the fact that I don't have any better pictures of Jake surfing. It's true. It is a lame camera for action shots in water. Jake is the only person who loves the water as much as Dave. That's a lot of love.

We saw the rainforest on horseback and thanks to Dave's fluent Spanish, Dave made a new friend. I wish I could say that he scored as well on the snorkeling tour he booked us, but I was afraid for my life on the jalopy of a boat that took us away from civilization, without a trace of our existence. All's well that ends well. Hah! Note to self: do NOT prepay ANY amount and tell someone where you're off to before you leave.
Lola's is the restaurant to NOT MISS. Right on the beach. Great food and smoothies.
Warm and humid.
Beautiful Costa Rica. We'll be back.