Friday, October 6, 2017

Reality Check

Before the year 2017 comes to a conclusion, we are embarking on a family vacation that rivals all others we've taken.
Because of this, I felt now is an appropriate time to document our daily life in order to ensure that the world is knowledgeable of what a truly un-glamourous lifestyle is really like. Bonus: It's totally attainable by the average citizen.
To begin, we currently have a comforter on our bed in the master bedroom that is unlike any other I've seen. Not even when dumpster diving.
I totally plan to Pinterest this picture. It's bedding from Target, after all.
For the sake of full disclosure, we're zooming in.
I've always wondered what the inside of my comforter looks like. Said no one ever.
 If you'll take a little glance at the left side of the picture toward the top of the bed, you'll see another nice little rip. I keep that hidden with pillows. 
Lately I've been experimenting with this hair try-on app. I actually think the app is great and it does give you an accurate depiction of what you can expect if you color/cut your hair. I've personally found my goal: Looking like an abandoned sheepherder dog was the look I never knew I wanted.
For whatever reason, this picture reminds me that a friend of mine recently introduced me to a feature on Snapchat that allows you to create funny videos and we have been texting them back and forth to each other. Dawson, Evan and I all created a video.
The weather here in CO has recently changed from high 90's to cooler temps in the 50's and cloudy. This kind of weather doesn't last long here, as we have mostly sunny days, believe it or not. But my husband was not prepared to turn the heat on in our house in order to accommodate said cooler temperatures and several days ago I found myself in sweats, a sweatshirt, thick socks and wrapped in a blanket on a morning when it was 40 degrees outside. Because... this:
This was how said husband decided to remedy the situation:
Yes, a tiny space heater to warm our entire downstairs. Also available for your viewing pleasure is the fact that we are in the process of redoing our kitchen and we've been without cupboard doors for weeks. This doesn't bother me however, because I'm lazy and the effort it takes to open a cupboard door is nonexistent now.
As far as the boys are concerned, we have one low maintenance kids and one high maintenance kid. Basically, any maintenance required is high maintenance in this stage of my life. Probably because I'm 40 and I just want to sit and stare.
Dawson frequently amazes me with his Lego artistry. He stays holed up in his room for hours on end building MOCs (for those of you that aren't fluent in Lego, that means "My Own Creation") for his YouTube Channel.
For reality's sake I'll mention that Dawson can be a camera hog. I went outside to film Evan learning to ride his bike without training wheels...
Evan might be the most expressive child I've ever known. He uses descriptive words such as "massive, ginormous and insane" right along with hand gestures to make a point.
If Dawson is asking me to take a picture of something, Evan wants his picture taken as well, and he'll pose quickly in order expedite the process.
The other day when we went shoe shopping, I heard Evan mumbling his frustration about something in the back seat. Suddenly, he was proud of himself for accomplishing something he'd been working hard on and wanted me to look.
Apparently, getting one of those nylon hose socks on your head is harder than most criminals make it look.
Dawson didn't struggle nearly as much which leads me to believe he's matured in his criminal activity.
I will say that when the boys play Xbox together it's like the Hatfield/McCoy feud in our house.
 I yell, I threaten. Evan stomps off in tears and Dawson tries to talk Evan into letting him have his way with the game for just a few minutes. This makes Evan scream no from whatever place in the house he's landed to pout, and the chaos usually results in me declaring the game must be turned off and get me chocolate.
No, I've been without chocolate for about 2 months now. I've been doing this eating plan called "Eat Fat, Get Thin". So really, I yell for someone to get me bulletproof coffee, my new favorite drink which also makes me smart.
And I've suddenly run out of anti-glamour talk. Can you believe it?
I'm sure there's more where this came from.
Peace Out.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Uprooted From The Land Of The Living

Recently my sisters and I have been talking about our family line. The history has been a bit convoluted as it has made its way passed my ears -either due to the informant, or the way I remember it happening. But as we were talking through events of the past, it became suddenly clear just how tragic lives can be.
My daddy survived the deaths of 4 brothers, both parents, one step father, his father-in-law, mother-in-law and one daughter.
He didn't survive his own death though.
Actually, he did survive his first death. I'm guessing there aren't a whole lot of people that are afforded that opportunity in life. Well, there's always Lazarus. He was dead so long that the bible said he "stinketh".  I can totally relate to that. I live with all boys. My house often stinketh.
For the sake of memory (which is most often why I blog), I decided to be brave and share the circumstances surrounding my dad's sickness that left him uprooted from the land of the living.
Uprooted From The Land Of The Living.
I read that exact phrase one day when I was reading about the life of King David in my bible. Specifically it's mentioned in Psalm 52:5 in reference to a tattletale who brought death to several innocent people. 
Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
    He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
    he will uproot you from the land of the living.

Something about reading death described as being uprooted from the land of the living made shiver. Kind of like my spine was italicized for just a moment. I just thought of that all on my own because I was admiring how italics makes letters all shivery. That's a word you know.
Back in August 2016, I received several phone calls updating me on the state of my dad's health which was declining enough to put him in the hospital. It was my sister telling me that I should come home because "this time is different, he doesn't look good" that sort of put me in a frenzy to get home quickly. 

Now, I have days when I don't look good. Like today -I was outside all morning in the freezing cold drizzly weather and my hair had gone through a metamorphosis of  chic straight to animal with mange nappy. What I need is a hair hospital. You know? I knew from the tone in my sisters message that my daddy was in a bad way.
So I did laundry for hours while Jason scoured the internet and made phone calls looking for cheap flights to get me home. This was the first time I ever flew alone. I was a nervous wreck. I'm not afraid of flying. I'm afraid of getting lost and missing my flight. Security also unnerves me just a little. Like I'll unlawfully have cannabis oil in my Revlon Lustrous Super Natural lipgloss and I'll get tazed. On this trip I actually did get pulled aside because the scanning machine found a suspicious object in my backpack. It happened to be a roll of quarters that I brought along to give to my mom and I suddenly found myself talking rapidly to the TSA agent like I do when I get nervous, explaining that I brought them for my mother who lives in an apartment complex that has washers and dryers that take quarters and one time when I was visiting my mom I felt bad that my mom had to have change and when I was growing up we always went to the laundry mat and I would bring my friend along and we would play hide and seek and go behind the vending machines. Yeah. That TSA agent waved me on pretty quick.
It was during the layover in Dallas that I received an update stating that dad had been seeing visions. I never got to meet my Grandpa DePew. He died of a massive heart attack before I was born. It was at this point where I had to settle in my heart that was in serious condition and perhaps my plans for him to pull through were not God's plans. I continued to mull it over.
When he said Jesus was calling him home though. That was a big deal. I can't remember a time my dad ever spoke the name of Jesus without it being a form of a curse word. (For more on the status of my dad's faith, feel free to read this). 
He also endeared us all when the nurse asked him questions:
There are 5 of us sisters, but my sister Sherri had passed away over 20 years ago. My daddy still claimed her. 
I finally made it home and my sister was able to take me directly to the hospital so that I could let dad know I made it home to see him. 
I stayed the night in his room on my first night. Only I forgot to bring my bed with me from Colorado. I asked the nurse -couldn't they overnight my bed to me via FedEx because the bed they provided felt more like a baby mattress. And the pillows were too airy and squishy like sleeping on a deflated parachute.
Dad was pretty miserable. He couldn't get comfortable and when any of my sisters were present and he was awake, he consistently called out to have someone move him, shake his arm, or give him a drink. It was hard for us to see him in this state. We did our best to do everything he asked. Late at night on this night that stayed with him, he noticed that there was someone in the room with him and he cried out "I need a hug". So I jumped up from the couch bed and ran over and hugged him tight.
Then I wondered where my hug was. You know, when you sit and have a pity party because the immature nurses are standing outside your dying loved one's doorway at 3 a.m. loudly proclaiming the events they have planned over the weekend and laughing like they're exciting lives are not being bogged down or impacted by death, so no big deal. 
And then I prayed. Lots of us prayed.
There were a few moments when God had mercy on us and our grieving, somber state. Like my nephews announcement:
And my little parking lot incident:
It was the decision us girls had to make about dad's care that burdened us the most. We were told that we had to make the decision if we wanted dad to be treated aggressively, which meant ultimately he could die there in the hospital, because of the complications of the treatments. OR, he could go into hospice care. All treatment would be stopped which meant he would die of Sepsis, but he would be given enough medication to keep him comfortable. And, he could go home which is where he most wanted to be.
Who in there right mind wants to make that sort of decision?! What a torture for your mind. I can see how families are torn apart by these kinds of circumstances.
Ultimately, we made the decision to take dad home to his apartment where my sister Anita -who was able to take advantage of FMLA and my nephew Michael would care for him (as well as the rest of us as we were able). This brought us all peace. We had hospice nurses who said that they would come and teach us how to administer medicine and talk us through any questions, concerns or needs we had.
After dad was brought home we were told he would probably only make it about 2 days. So made some calls and invited family members to say goodbye. 
Ugh. 
I cry just remembering the goodbyes. "Save the last dance for me" and "you were always a good daddy"... Just ugh.
My daddy never said goodbye.
On August 14, 2016 at approximately 3 a.m. He just never woke up. Uprooted from the land of the living.
We all stood as the funeral directors wheeled my dad out of his apartment, past us, and placed him the back of the hearse. Which was a Mercedes. If dad had known he was going for a ride in a Mercedes. He probably would have died earlier.
That evening my sister and her husband took me out on the lake for a pontoon ride. Dad had the most beautiful sunset God could have given him.
A few days later, we officially said good-bye.

During this time, this song gave me great comfort and peace:
Thanks for letting me remember.
Good-bye daddy. 
I You

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

This Funny Kid of Mine

Okay, both of my kids are funny. 
But if you sing "This Funny Kid of Mine" to the Tune of "My Funny Valentine"... it works.  So.

Dawson got a camera for Christmas from his grandpa. As a result, he has taken pictures as well as videos of random things. He has also started a YouTube channel which I just can't bring myself to talk about right now because at any minute he will say "Mommy, I have another video for you to load" and I'll break out in hives. It's a lot of work for me, him having a YouTube channel is all I'm saying. 

One day as I was saving pictures and videos from his camera to my laptop, I came across the masterpieces I've decided to include in this blog post.
Sometimes I'm a busy gal. This means that all manner of shenanigan's can occur at any moment by either or both of my children. Many times the boys have asked to ride Evan's old crib mattress down the stairs. This is not a new form of entertainment, am I correct? Because I've talked about similar things before. When they've asked, I've always let them, until the last time they did so resulted in a tearful Evan telling me that Dawson rode over his foot with the mattress. (I've never let my children go up front at church to the altar and ask for prayer for these things after they happen.) 
That being said, Dawson had the great idea of talking Evan into donning his bicycle helmet so that I would let them ride the mattress down the stairs again. I agreed. This is because I'm an excellent mother and great role model.
Surely it was at this point that Dawson asked Evan if he was ready.
And then he went.
video
And then it was Dawson's turn, with commentary.
video
video video
That's actually all I have to say.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Crested Butte: The Vacation

There's something about reading the words "Crested Butte" that can hardly be tolerated by immature people like myself. One has to snicker and say "butt". Now that I've done so, I can move on with this blog post.
Of course I took our obligatory road trip selfie. We hadn't quite made it out of the garage when I forced my peeps to joyfully commit to said picture.
This was our second excursion to Crested Butte and it generally takes me 3/4ths of a blog post to work up to using big words like excursion. But since we've been here before, clearly my word power range is amplified.
We stayed at The Grand Lodge, 
whose entrance has this ginormous chandelier. I need this hanging in my living room -who cares that it's actually slightly larger than my house. 
Once we were all checked in, we immediately set out for our favorite coffee place called First Ascent. I've not yet discovered the relationship between that name and coffee. 
It was on this walk that we came across this twisted concoction of hillbilly hippie. I was extremely motivated to run up to the driver and say "Hey! I'm from Indiana too!" But his tire rims shouted out "California", so I refrained.
Sadly, the coffee shop was closed and the suggestion was made to try a different location so we did. This is us waiting patiently for our drinks.I actually had to use this picture instead of the original which made me look like I had a double chin. 
There's a free shuttle bus that takes you from town to the lodging area so we rode it frequently because we're lazy.
It was on one ride that I caught a glimpse of Evan sitting like this:
Something about his being so dutiful screamed out to be documented on digital HD.
This has nothing to do with anything, it just made me laugh.
Swimming is the main attraction for all of our vacations. So if you are reading this and you don't own a pool or a hot tub, we can never visit you. Unless you live in Hawaii. Only exception. Wait. Or Alaska. Or Italy. Listen, if you live in the U.S. just get a pool okay?
I had to borrow this photo from the internet which explains the snow on the ground and the steam coming up from the hot tub. I never got a picture of the rest of the pool area because Jason frowned on my insistence of bringing my phone with me into the hot tub. Eye roll.
The pool is indoor and outdoor. I'm pretty sure that qualifies as being exotic. Right up there with the fact that the tiny refrigerator in our hotel room actually worked.
There's a pizza place there called The Secret Stash. The decorations are very eclectic and I thought I might get kidnapped by a Hindu statue before leaving but the pizza was terrific. 
On day 2 I got up early thinking how awesome it would be to go for a run. So I did.
Only the 4 mile run ended up being uphill the entire way back. This resulted in a sweaty, stinky, sunburned, uncomfortable me.
But the view on my run was excellent.
When I finally got back to the hotel room Jason asked me what took so long to which I replied that I had first been kidnapped by the taliban but when I escaped a Colombian drug lord chased me through a hidden area riddled with land mines where I fell down a well which took rescue workers 4 hours to get me out and it was actually on the news! Would you believe he was unmoved by my story? So I told him the whole run back was uphill and he asked if we could go for a hike. I said yes. 
This year was the first year since Evan was born that we weren't able to use a hiking back pack to haul him around because he's too big. With that in mind, we made the decision to forgo all of the mountainside hiking trails and go on the paved recreation trail that leads to town. Dawson took it upon himself to take a short video of our setting out.
Dawson also took several superb photos during the hike:
My absolute favorite:
Me taking a picture of him taking a picture of me. It's so artistic, it's delicious.
 And that ends his moment of glory. I took this picture. So.
A certain little brother conned his big brother into hitching him a ride.
During this hike, I used the opportunity to take picturesque photos of a certain drink for a sweepstakes I plan to enter. But Evan was getting a tad jealous of all the camera time the drink was getting.
I love these hikers.
The path ends near a park where we let the boys play for a bit and I hid behind a slide and did  squats in an attempt to shrink my thighs and firm my backside but Dawson was extremely embarrassed by this for some reason and wouldn't claim me as his mother until I was finished.
We finished our time at the park and finally made it to our favorite coffee shop during opening hours.  We went upstairs and found the same backhoe that enamored Evan two years ago.
2015:
2017:
Later that evening we ate a place called The Slogar. Please leave me comments below telling me what kind of food you would expect to eat at a place called Slogar. 
On day 3, our final full day in The Butte (hahahahahahahahaha!), we rented a pontoon so the boys could go fishing on Taylor Park Reservoir. Now, it's a beautiful place to be sure, but we left at 6 am to get there in time to be on the lake for 5 hours. It was -1,000,000 degrees below zero. Or maybe 40 degrees outside. Yeah. So I was going into hypothermic shock.
But the boys got to fish and caught nothing. I blame the stock market.
Somebody got really tired because he only sees 6:00 once a day.
 
He perked up when Daddy told him he could drive. In the meantime, I discovered that I could get blood flowing to my extremities if I moved around a lot.
If I only had 10 more degrees I could have nearly been perfectly happy.
Our five hours finally came to an end and we made it back to the dock.
They have these hummingbirds at the docking station/office and I was determined to make them love me. Aren't they cute?
On the drive back to the hotel, there was advanced silence.
At the entrance to the hotel, Jason thought he was funny getting our picture in front of the fireplace that wasn't working. It still warmed me up.
Day 4 was spent on the road going home. But the drive is so beautiful I was still taking pictures. See how I can take an average, ordinary turn sign and make it look extraordinary by putting it in a picture with my face in a rear view mirror? People pay big money for that.
I'm thinking our time with the Butte (heeeheeeeheee) might have come to a permanent end because there are other ski towns to explore and more pools to canon ball. But I really can't in good conscience end this post without this picture of the most creative name for a store ever: