920 is the new 1000

Yeah, that sounds a little odd. Apparently I didn't really pay attention to the numbers on this blog's dashboard a few months ago when I excitedly published my One Thousand blog post. One thousand was the number of posts I had written. The number published was actually 920.


I guess I'll have to pay a little more attention to detail. Or something.

And since I can't seem to post without a picture, here's my Jeep.
banana jeep-sm

I won't be posting another one thousand post, though, because that would be kind of silly. It's already been done. Just a little too early...eighty posts too early.

Oh well, it was still fun tracking down old posts to share. If you missed it, go check them out.


Just in Case

I think one of the causes behind all the clutter in my life is the dreaded Just in Case. You know, I'll keep this {insert the thing I'm keeping} just in case I want to {insert activity in which I would use said thing}. It applies to all areas of my life; clothes, art and craft supplies, kitchen utensils, papers, emails, purses,...it never ends!

The case for decluttering.

I need to stop that type of thinking. It should be more along the lines of, "Is this useful to me now?" "Will I need/use/want it in the next month?" Obviously, different rules apply to seasonal items. Just because I won't wear those sandals until next summer doesn't mean they should go. In the case of seasonal items, "Will I need/use/want it the next year?" would be more appropriate.

I am not the storehouse for all things that might be wanted or needed in my lifetime. Why do I live like I am?

I always go through phases of frustration with the clutter and right now I'm a bit maxed. I've lost my Bible study, even though I was sure I had put it in a specific location. I've also lost a certain item of underclothing which probably has my missing Fitbit attached to it. Sigh. I make myself crazy. And yes, all three missing items are useful to me now. Right now. I need and want them here and now and cannot find them. What a waste of my time, looking in the same places over and over again because I don't know where else to look.

I hope to make a dent in this with the new questions. Soon. Very soon.


Thanksgiving Weekend, part 2

Go here for Thanksgiving Weekend part 1.


Later Saturday morning, we planned to go to Helen Hunt Falls, walk around the lake at the Broadmoor, and go to Garden of the Gods that day. We also had my two nieces for the day, so now we were up to eleven people. Two vehicles were definitely in order. Sadly, we couldn't get to Helen Hunt Falls because Cheyenne Canyon was closed due to the flooding this summer. Huge disappointment. Up the street is the Starr Kempf house so we checked out his kinetic wind sculptures. They're so amazing.

large bird

short bird

We went the few blocks down to the Broadmoor and met with quite the variety of construction, but finally made our way around to the lake. It was stunning, as ever. We walked around, taking more pictures, but it was a little awkward, given the, um, class of people who stay and live at the Broadmoor.

hotel reflection

mrs water

lake bokeh

c and c kids lake

Then it was off to Garden of the Gods (for yet another vantage point!) after a quick stop at Sonic for hungry and thirsty people. Apparently, beings that it was a beautiful day and a holiday weekend, a LOT of people thought a trip to Garden of the Gods was a good idea. Meaning that parking was a little challenging and we had a bit of a crowd with which to contend as we walked around the park. But again, it was nice to be out and about, walking, taking pictures, and just generally enjoying the day.

I think this is so awesome!

The Garden of the Gods
given to
the City of Colorado Springs
in 1909
by the children
Charles Elliott Perkins
in fulfillment of his wish
that it be kept forever
free to the public

Many thanks to the Perkins family!

That's my kid - yeah, he's taller than I am, but he's still my kid. {wink}
z - bw-sm

Awww...sisterly love!

Always the climbers in Garden of the Gods.
rock climber

Quick! Run past the lady with the camera already. Sheesh.
passing me

One of my lovely nieces.
mrs fence sm

The oldest and the youngest of the collective offspring.
c and x

Somebody was getting tired.
x tired

The volleyballer. Out of her element.

Did I mention that someone was tired?
x tired 3

Like...really tired.
x tired 2

But not too tired to race John back to the car!

We decided on China Village for dinner for their last night. They got their things packed up and we just vegged a bit for the remainder of the evening. In the morning, as the car was being loaded, Carrie and I squeezed in a quick head shot for me, and then they were off a little before 8:00.

She did a great job with my head shot, don't ya' think?


As opposed to the last two times she's come, this one didn't feel quite so short. Sure, I'd love to have had them stay for another day or two, but the time we had was fun and wonderful and not so rushed. We loved meeting Chris (they were married last December) and enjoyed the kids. I guess it's about time we make a trip to Kansas, though, since the count is currently Godwins visiting = 0 and Hilgert/Evans visiting = 3. We'll have to see what we can do to make it so.


Thanksgiving Weekend

I tried to put this all into one post, but good night, Irene, it became HUGE. Plus I just discovered I need to upload more photos. But more than that, I need to go to bed. So here's the first part of it. But it will be finished in the second part, which is pretty much finished. Because I don't want to do that multi-part, never-ending blog story again. But I digress.


We had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend. Carrie, Chris, and most of the kids came out for a visit. They arrived Wednesday afternoon and we hung out for awhile, then headed off to Bird Dog for some excellent BBQ. Mom and Dad joined us, too.

Since our house is a bit on the cluttered side, adding 5 people to the sleeping arrangements is a little interesting. So we borrowed Mom & Dad's motorhome so Chris and Carrie could have a guest room in our driveway. Unfortunately, the heater quit running in the middle of the night, so Carrie was a little too cold (fortunately we didn't have this week's weather, because it's going to be very, very cold. But that also meant that she was up and in the house much earlier than otherwise. Once I smelled the coffee and heard the talking, I joined her. Since John's an RV technician, he was able to get the furnace fixed that morning.

Everything for the Thanksgiving dinner came together nicely. Mom brought her amazing pies, delicious (or so I hear) sweet potatoes, a veggie (whew!), and cranberries. It's what she always brings. Susan (my sister) brought homemade rolls and biscuits as well as some Cool Whip for the pies. We provided turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. It's all pretty standard most of the time. Susan and her family used to spend the day in Denver, but it's been nice having the here with us now.

Apparently I'm the pie nazi because people sure wanted pie in a hurry after that big old meal and I said, "no." Because I'm mean like that.

On Friday, seven of us headed to Denver to go to the Aquarium. It's been years since I've been, so it was fun to be back there again. Our boys stayed home and while we missed them, it did allow us to take one vehicle. Had a tasty lunch at Red Robin...yum!

hug a shark

polka dot

fishy face


Plenty of leftovers for Friday's dinner and it was nice to just hang out at home after being out and about all day. Carrie and I did make a couple of small grocery runs, though.


Saturday, Carrie, Chris, and I got up super early again as I'd heard there would be hot air balloons flying in from the west over Pike's Peak shortly after sunrise. Bundled up, we arrived before sunrise and got some beautiful pictures.

carrie focus

c and c field 2


kissing camels and peak

Following the live stream of the launch, I learned that they would have to move to a new location. By that time, we'd already shot the sunrise, the Peak, Garden of the Gods, and whatever else, plus we were cold and in need of caffeine. So we zipped down to Starbucks and headed back over to a slightly different vantage point for some new photos. The balloons finally were visible, but they were so far west of Pike's Peak that they were just little dots in the sky. Enough of that.

tiny balloons

After we dropped off Chris, we picked up Jack and his skateboard and drove down to the skate park. Fortunately, it was very UNbusy, which was nice for Jack to try things out. Of course, Carrie and I walked, sat, and took pictures. It's what we do.

skate park 2

skate park 4

skate park 3


Stay tuned for Part 2.


Life is Short

We hear about the brevity of life and sometimes, when we've experienced the death of someone close and/or unexpected, we're more aware. But I think that in addition to human life, we can forget that even our surroundings might not always be the same. But we live like they will be.

I imagine that every day I'm blessed to wake up alive here on earth that Pike's Peak will still be a part of the Rocky Mountains and a part of my landscape toward the west. I don't concern myself whether or not the Rockies will be there each and every day. Even on a smaller scale, I assume that my yard will look the way it does (barring some landscape work on our part), that the neighborhood will look relatively the same, and that the roads will be intact.

Yet that's not always true. Yes, for them most part, that's how life works. Major thoroughfares typically don't just go away or become altered. But they can.

The fires burn uncontrollably.

The rains gush down relentlessly.

And the landscape changes.

I got an update today on my great uncle who lives on the Big Thompson River in the canyon between Loveland and Estes Park. I knew he had to have been evacuated given all the information on the news. I believe he's 86 years old and still lives alone in that house where he's been for over 30 years. He and his wife bought it in 1977-78. The Big Thompson Flood happened in 1976 - a "100 year flood" - so they figured they wouldn't live long enough to see another flood of such proportions. My great aunt didn't. Surprise, surprise - my great uncle is still alive and kicking. In the same house. And the next 100 year flood did not wait 100 years to arrive.

It's one of the most peaceful places I've ever had the opportunity to visit. It's only a few hours from here and I haven't been there all that often (though I wish I had been). But when my aunt and my cousin's kids came to visit this summer, we did get the chance - no, we made the time to go visit him. My boys came along, too, for which I'm now even more grateful. It was a perfect day. Of course, I had my camera and took numerous pictures. While my pictures always are valuable to me, they are an even great treasure to me now.

My great uncle is in red. Probably pretty easy to figure that out. That's the Big Thompson River behind us.
norman and us-fb

The river runs off to the right just outside the picture and you can see it a tiny bit in the center background. This place is just so wonderful. At least it was prior to last week.

the river

Zach, relaxing and enjoying the water flowing past.
zach - river

My cousin's lovely daughter, taking in the fresh mountain air.


My uncle was helicoptered out last week during the rain and flooding. They took him to a shelter and one of his kids drove in from Kansas to get him. I'm not sure if he'll be coming back. I'm not sure what he'll have to come back to. While his house is elevated from the river a bit, we've had a ridiculous amount of water in Colorado this past week.

My heart just breaks for him and the thousands of other people impacted by this devastating weather. My heart breaks even selfishly for myself, not knowing if I'll have the chance to go back to that amazing place. But I'm so grateful I was there this summer.

None of us knows what life will look like tomorrow. Appreciate and savor the life you have, the people in it, and the places that you go while you have the opportunity to do so.


Homemade Caramels

We've been big fans of Alton Brown's show Good Eats for some time. Albeit, disappointed fans since the show's no longer on. But we have acquired his three cookbooks and Caleb thought he'd like to try his hand at making homemade caramels.



The first batch cooked too high and too quickly. Primarily due to the fact that we don't have a heavy enough pan. Nothing like the smell of burnt sugar. Blech.

Caleb enjoyed stirring and playing with the bad batch. He stuck it in the frig so it would harden quicker and we could toss it.


Then the pan had to be washed so he could start batch #2.


Looking much better.


Much, much better. Caramels were never meant to be black.


I wasn't sure how they would be sea salt on them, but that was what the recipe called for, so that's what he did. They're really not too bad. In fact, looking at how quickly they're being eaten, I'd say they were a big hit.


I actually cut my little square into about eight tiny pieces. That stuff is brutal on the teeth! But they are super tasty. I suspect we'll see those being made again sometime in the near future.

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