Family Matters and a True Statement of Character

     We are one month into summer and have so much to be thankful for.  Yesterday was the close of an act in a play that I do not plan to repeat nor write a second scene to.  I finally had my port taken out.  For those who don’t know what that is…it was a device put above my right breast just under the skin.  Attached to it was a line that went up my chest, over my collar bone and to Grandmother’s house… wait that’s not right.  Seriously, it went into my carotid artery down to the top of my heart.  When I’d get chemo they would have to use a special needle to access it.  SO when I’d say I was getting plugging in…that’s what I was talking about.  They did this because of the high doses of chemo I was getting.  Not so much the amount of fluid, but the amount of toxic chemicals.  It they would have just accessed a vain, my arms and veins would have been shot in no time.  That little thing is finally gone! Its like saying we are finally finished.  As long as I could still see it, feel it, I wasn’t cancer free.

     Yesterday our youngest daughter turned 10. 10!! The night before, both Dan and I were sitting there wondering where on earth 10 years had gone so fast! It’s hard enough to believe we have an almost 14 year old…let alone some how the youngest had turned 10. No more single digit birthdays.  When we got home from he hospital I had expected that she would be awake patiently waiting to have cake and open presents.  yes, it’s a family tradition to have birthday cake first thing.  Even if that means it’s cake at six o’clock in the morning.

  Daddy actually had to wake her up.  We had a yummy cake.  Probably one of the best combinations, ever! She had me make her a strawberry flavored cake with vanilla frosting. Originally I wanted to layer the cake, but the cake stuck in my rectangle shaped pan. We were going to put fresh strawberries in between the layers.  Instead we put fresh strawberries on top.  Her cake was labeled “Happy Birthday Bee!” in pink gel and to top it off it had red fine sprinkles.  Her choice of ice cream was chocolate that had brownie chunks. After the frightful singing of “Happy Birthday” she got to open presents.

  Best darn present any of my kids has ever gotten: a cotton candy machine!  This was way too much fun and we were surprised how much cotton candy you could make.

     Thankfully we bought extra cotton candy sugar.  The machine we got did not come with any.  According to the directions, you can use crushed hard candy.  When we took her shopping, to spend her birthday money she got from family, we got her some candies.  She picked peppermints, butter scotch and root beer.  I’m going to crush them in the food processor and we will see what happens. After cake and shopping Daddy make the birthday lunch.  Lunch instead of dinner because bub had a baseball game.  I personally was in a food coma after lunch.

     Last night Bub had a baseball came.  I am really excited about this team he is on.  It was a rough start.  The coaches he started with … glad they got replaced! One coach thought the boys should do football style conditioning for an hour and the other coach did nothing but hit balls and the boys and yell at them in broken Spanish/English.  Most of the time Bub had no idea what the guy was saying.  They were replaced by an excellent coach.  I, along with other parents, believe that eighth grade and down is the time to learn the fundamentals of a sport.  Hone in on strengths and fix weaknesses.  Conditioning is excellent!  But you have to create a program that is specific to the sport.  Yelling at kids and not taking the time to explain what you are talking about is pointless.  Not to mention it shuts the kids down.

    So this new coach we got is amazing.  He doesn’t stop coaching the kids and working with them. He really reinforces the fundamentals of baseball.   What is more amazing, he emphasizes sportsmanship! So far we are undefeated.  One game it was a nail biter, the other three games were blow outs.  What was awesome about last nights game was the actions the coach took:

  •  After the second inning it was 12-0. He told the boys they were no longer going to steal on wild pitches
  • He put in those who aren’t the best at certain positions (like a pitcher who isn’t the best but wants to pitch)

This is outstanding because it is no fun to be on the other side of that game.  We could have probably tripled the score before the night was out, but instead he decided to make it fair and recognize the situation.  He taught those boys that just because you are winning, doesn’t mean you don’t have the chance to show real character and to keep learning.  Normally Bub plays third base, left or left center.  He plays that side because he can throw a ball really far with accuracy. Last night he had Bub on second base and catcher.  Bub played catcher a few years ago.  Well, the coach pulled him after two pitches because the ball had gone behind him.  Instead of just coaching and encouraging he was pulled.  Last night our coach kept encouraging him and after a handful of pitches he was catching, no pun intended, on and doing really well!

In the end the score was 3-14.  Way to go Rangers! The coach gathered the boys up and told them “You can have all the talent in the world and still lose games.  You guys win because you have heart.” That is the best line told to kids I’ve heard in ages!

  The coming week are only going to get crazier — but I’m loving every moment!




The difference between a Good day and a Bad day has less to do with the circumstances
than the power we have over our thoughts
– Neil Sutton

    I really believe that quote has some power behind it. You know how you always hear about the power of positivity in healing… I think it applies to everyday life. I’ve really been tested in this category the last few weeks. Another favorite quote:

I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day.
And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes
you have an opportunity to change that
-Gillian Anderson

    SO those thoughts aside… Yesterday was FANTASTIC! Probably one of the more memorable birthdays I’ve had. I started my day out with:


   Coffee and my best friend. The night before both of us were boobing in our drinks about how we missed each other and how much we looked forward to her coming this way in a few weeks. Me being silly…I made a “Wilson” version of her. Unfortunately, no one in this house plays volleyball so a long lost baseball in the back yard had to suffice. After morning coffee my son made me waffles! Except once we got our plates…we realized the three of us had about a tablespoon of maple syrup to share. We all sat at the table talking about the day. I actually struggled for a moment. I was having a change of heart.

    Bub has found a new niche. He really likes making Mincraft videos. Since my camera has HD abilities…that the top choice to use. The night before, he asked if he could use my camera in the morning to make a new video. He went into depth about his topic and because he’s so passionate about it, of course I said yes. But, sitting at the table I was struggling to follow through. I knew Bee and I would encounter something while riding bikes and I knew I’d want to take a picture. As hard as it was, I let him use it.

    Yes, we found many things we would have taken pictures of. Bee and I went to the Fountain Creek area to ride bikes. I learned the day before that there is a trail that runs from Fountain Valley all the way to Monument. It’s about 30 miles. Wouldn’t that be a fun trip sometime…but not yesterday. It actually goes right through down town and the Air Force base. Perhaps next year? Any ways, we rode about four miles of it. We stopped in many places for water breaks. Ok, so mom could have a rest. It isn’t so much about being out of shape as it is fatigue in my leg. I can honestly say I am so proud of Bee. She has an amazing ability to spot all sorts of things. She spotted blue herons, turtles on rocks (that were across one of the ponds), fish eating off the top of the water, and cacti with blooms.

    On our way back to the blazer, I told her that when I was a kid, I used to pretend like my bike was a horse and I rode it everywhere. She said that was what she liked to do, also. So we rode our horses as fast as we could back. We stopped along the creek to give them a break. We both wanted to get our feet wet but we knew we had more things planned and didn’t want to get wet. We found a special rock to keep. Everywhere we go, we always find a special rock to take home. We put a date on it and add it to the collection of places we’ve been. We loaded Midnight and Duke into the blazer and went home.

    When we got home Andrew was done with his videos. I worked to transfer them from my camera to the desktop. It would take about 15 minutes to transfer them. There were two videos about 20 minutes long. My computer isn’t exactly new, so it took a few minutes. I decided to sit down for a bit. Let my battery recharge for my camera and decide what was next. I decided I wanted to go over to Memorial Park. I think that is what it’s called. It was the same park they do the balloon launch from. First, I wanted to head over and get some sushi rolls from the Asian store. I can’t recall what exactly happen, but as we were driving over to Academy, it started sprinkling. Looking at the mountain I knew we wouldn’t have much time if we went to the zoo. So I changed gears and we decided to go to the zoo.

    When we got to the zoo, the one thing we enjoy the most is riding the sky ride, was shut down because of the weather. Most of the time we wonder through the zoo visiting our favorites and at the end we ride the sky lift to the top and have a bucket of cotton candy. We were all bummed out but decided that we would go see our favorites. We always start out feeding the giraffes. Baby Waldo sure is growing up! We could reach down and feed him giraffe crackers and scratch the top of his head. He seemed to like that a lot. I always go into the barn and feed the ones on the inside. Most people don’t go in there because of the smell. It was really crowded today so we skipped through quite a bit. We did venture through the African Safari. Bub hasn’t been to the zoo since they opened the new exhibit for the elephants. We have to wait for the 4th of July for the lions to get into their new exhibit. Bub also hadn’t seen the new reptile house. He really enjoyed it.

    Lets see… After the zoo, the weather really moved in so we decided that since the monsters in our bellies were eating our back bones we’d go grab a bite to eat. I wanted my sushi rolls so we hopped along traffic to get over there. Went inside…all to find that they were sold out. After careful consideration we decided to go to Mc Ds. Not a favorite, but it was food. Bub ate a quarter pounder in five bites while Bee and I shared a few chicken nuggets. We wanted a frozen strawberry lemonade, but the machine wasn’t working. After a snack we headed home. By the time we got home I could honestly say that I was wiped out! I decided that I’d take a nap and figure out the rest of the day when I woke up.

SO why those quotes? I picked those quotes because so many things could have turned Monday into a “bad” day. I hint those by turning the text green.

The difference between a Good day and a Bad day has less to do with the circumstances
than the power we have over our thoughts
– Neil Sutton


Taking “it” for Granted…Patience and Lessons Learned

When it comes to life the critical thing is
whether you take things for granted or take them with
– Gilbert Keith Chesterton


    June 1st! Are we already getting to the halfway point of the year? This month marks the start of crazy for us. Birthdays, holidays, baseball, and a new element: marching band. Andrew started baseball this week. I love it! They have practices 4-5 days a week. The coach said at least 4 days. He is working them hard on conditioning. At this point they all know how to throw the ball, catch it, and hit it; time to get conditioned. I did not think he would like it, but he does. Last night he came home and was really sore. He almost an entire pizza and crawled on to the couch and went to sleep. Next Tuesday, Amanda starts marching band practice. On the second to last day of school, she got her Chamber’s music and marching band music. It was strongly suggested that she got her music memorized so she could learn and focus on marching. It will be interesting!

    I’m trying to work things out with my sister about exchanging or just taking kids. Her kids have a lot going on this summer. There’s traveling to see their other family, camps, and other things going on (sounds familiar). Amanda really wants to make money this summer. I can remember being 14 and wanting to make money. Not old enough to get a job, yet. I’m thinking about meeting my sister in Cheyenne so she can go to my Dad’s house the week he has his surgery. This would give him the chance to have someone around while mom is working. Someone to keep him out of trouble! Amanda also wants to go see her best friend. I can relate. I know at some point this month I will get to see my best friend. I’ve missed her so much!

So I have a question…. What is the “it” you’ve taken for granted?

    Have you ever stopped and thought about or experienced the “it” and realized how much you took it for granted? As summer rolls out it’s carpet I realized my “it” is Washington. There were so many opportunities as a photographer! I get mad at myself that so much drama and crap got into our lives that it really cut off being and doing the things that we loved so much! I have truly been uninspired. I guess my challenge here is to find that same beauty and mystery. I like tiptoeing through the dark misty forests and sitting on the beach listening to the ocean waves crash against the shore. There was something magical about it. Something that would awaken my senses and the challenge to me was showing and sharing it through the lens of a camera. Here… I’m struggling to find that inspiration and excitement.

    I have joined a facebook group that has some truly talented photographers. I think it’s awesome that they put together outings to not only give people a chance to dabble in a particular genre, but also to share their knowledge. I’ve scrolled through all the events, but the biggest problem is this stupid messed up leg. I so badly want to hike through the Rocky Mountain National Forest next weekend, but I know I’d just be holding people back and the last thing I want is people to feel sorry for me. I guess I should just admit, that patience I so delicately learned…is wearing thin. I know it isn’t the will power. I could go with them and keep up, but when the weekend was over me and my physical therapy team would be shaking their heads. I also still run that risk of dumb fractures, and that would just ruin not only my weekend, but those around me. So I will wait….and grumble about it….

    OH! I know another “it”. WALKING!! Isn’t it crazy? You’d think that walking is the most natural thing we learn to do. How do we learn as babies? This old woman can’t seem to figure it out. SO many things have to happen from the brain to your legs… I feel like half of my body is not communicating! It’s rather frustrating. My muscle memory is so messed up and getting it fixed is daunting. I’m so thankful I have a team of people working with me to get it fixed. It goes back into patience. One slow step at a time.

    Anything else going on? OH! Camping was really awesome! It really went without any major hiccups. I did forget a few things: dish soap, chapstick, and ketchup. It was a good belly laugh at times. When we showed up Thursday night we were not sure if it was a good idea or not. The wind was howling and it was getting cold fast. The wind was blowing so hard we almost could not keep one tent standing. So Dan moved the truck behind the tent and it helped. I am not sure we got any real sleep that night. The next morning was fun! The wind was still stirring the pot, but it wasn’t as bad as during the night. It was just enough to keep the little propane stove from staying lit. So we used the next best thing, a camp fire. Quite interesting to cook fried potatoes, sausage, and bacon on the stove; ok it took forever! My most favorite part was coffee!! I’ve been waiting for camp fire coffee for years! So warm and yummy!


The kids were playing with my camera…lol like my oversize hat? Can’t wait for my hair to grow longer so my head stays warmer!

    After we cleaned up breakfast, things could have really turned for the bad. Dan and I decided to go down and soak a few worms in the lake. Well, the third ranger drove up and parked next to our camping spot. Mind you this is the third ranger we had already seen that morning. He got out and asked the kids where the adult was. So Dan started heading up that way. Needless to say he gave us a ticket for not staying parked in the parking area. This is one of those lessons you teach your kids about rules are rules…no matter how much you have good intentions, if you break a rule you break it. We got to talking to the ranger and I was a bit mad. It wasn’t like we were our four wheeling. I was mad on the inside. All I could think about was this guy was telling my husband they were going to have to send someone out to “repair” the damaged we caused (by the way when he moved his truck you couldn’t even see tire tracks). Dan was very careful not to spin his. I mean I get the rangers point. Well, I blurted out how I felt sorry for the rangers because of all the litter that was lining the lake and campsites. Honestly, it’s the worst I’ve seen next to seeing Fountain Creek.



He explained that there was 20 miles of beach and not enough volunteers or rangers to keep things clean. I can understand that, but it’s a cardinal rule for us; what you pack in you pack out. You just assume that rule of thumb goes to all people using or visiting the lake. Well he went on his way and we resumed fishing. Dan and I were talking when he stopped in the public parking area and got out of his truck. He pulled a bright orange bag out and my heart sunk. All I could think was I possibly did something wrong with my crawdad trap. The ranger started walking down the beach and picking up trash. When he got to us I told him that if he wanted to leave his trash bag the kids and I would do some trash picking up. I knew that afternoon everyone would get board and why not do a good deed for the environment. He nodded and kept walking down the bank. On his way back he stopped and gave us a spinner. Oh, the amount of “fishing” trash was awesome! We got so many hooks and sinkers! There were all sorts of treasures lying around. Any who, the ranger stopped as he was walking away and turned to say, “In all my 27 years of being a ranger I’ve never made a deal with anyone. If you get your kids involved and pick up litter, I’ll void your husband’s ticket.” Know what I said? “Oh you don’t have to do that, I’m just passionate about trash.” (lol moment) He smiled and told me to have Dan meet him at his truck.

    I wasn’t trying to get Dan out of a ticket; I was just so darn mad about how inconsiderate people are. The rest of the trip went uneventful until late in the evening. I had my line in the water and was brewing a hell of a headache. Too much sunshine and not enough air to breath? So I propped my pole against a rock and ran up to get something to make it go away. While I was in camp I head Amber hooting and hollering. I was so excited! I thought she had finally got her fish she had been so patience in getting. So I grabbed my camera and “ran” back to the shore. Come to find out My pole had fallen over, so Dan told her to reel it in. The cutthroat on the other end had swallowed hook and all. So we say we tag teamed that fish. It got exciting! We thought that it was fish time. Nothing. No bites. Nothing until about 1:00 in the morning.


Amber named our “fish” and she wouldn’t stop playing with him. 🙂

    Now I was exhausted, so I went to bed early. So did my bear. The boys (Amanda’s boyfriend came with us) and little Bee stayed up to fish with Dan. He said several times they had something on their line, but it spit the hook. What was so exciting was Brandon caught a fish for the first time in his life. He even took care of it after Dan showed him. This is my final “it”. You know sometimes I just assume that people have done these things. I am starting to wonder if we are unique. It’s important to us to not only get away from “city” life, but also to show our kids some survival things. You never know where you might need to use a slip knot or how to cook with fire. It was great that we could share these things with Brandon. When Dan crawled into the tent he said, “You know, sometimes you take the things that you have done and know for granted.”

Got me to thinking about all the “its” that I take for granted.