Friday, April 12, 2013

April 12 on the 12th

 Friday Morning:  Dropping the younger Thing off at middle school for chamber orchestra rehearsal (now that's dedication, they need to be in the seats ready to rehearse at 0700).  Look who else is waiting for school.    A pair of ducks.  They must be lost as we don't have any water features anywhere near the school.

On to my work...which lucky for us the two schools are next door to each other.  Even with this extra stop, it looks like I've beat the morning rush!

.  When I went to nursing school and then NP school, never in a million years would I have predicted that my boss would be a former cheerleader and cheer coach (and a mighty good coach at that, having won a couple state championships during her reign as head coach).  Nor would I have ever thought that my work would involve the occasional pep assemblies.  These, plus snow days, are indeed those bonus benefits to my job.

That blob of a blur, is our live mascot, the eagle.

 With the kids at the pep assembly, the office is oh so quiet.  Which we paid for post-assembly:  highlights of the day included a schizophrenic who opted not to take her meds, 3 young men that opted to smoke a little weed instead of going to the assembly, and the usual headaches-cramps-bumps-and-bruises.    I think we rounded out the day with around 50 visitors to the office.
 And we finished out the day with a sad farewell to our favorite security guard.  (sorry for the thumb blocking the face of  my trusted and loyal assistant, Miss S.).  Mr. FC is headed over to be the head of security at another school in our district.  I'm gonna miss this guy:  we work exceptionally well together as a team.   He is indeed leaving some big shoes to fill and it shall be interesting to see how the team adjusts and adapts.

 Hi Honey:  we're home.  Friday afternoon snack time:  popcorn and tacos~   Hey, they are teenagers and can fix these things themselves?  Then it works for me.

 Hi Moosey, I'm glad you are being cooperative with my efforts for 12-on-the-12th, any chance you can talk Thing One into letting me take his picture?
Yeah, he's 15, this is about as good as it is going to get.

The edges are looking a little droopy:  I hope the snow and cold we've had this week didn't damage my daffodils.  Time will tell.

Speaking of time, it's almost time I wrap up this rather ho-hum review...with my latest two finds from the library.  Looks like I know what I'll be doing this weekend....
Oh crumbs, that was only 11?  Well, here, a quick shot....with Hubby somewhere on the road to Alaska, we've gotten lazy...and instead of going out to the cold, we brought the garbage cans inside.  Aw shucks, might as well also tell you that the other night?  I slept in the middle of the bed with all the pillows.  (Seriously, honey, we do miss you...but yeah, we're spreading out into your space just a tad!)  Ride Safe and phone home!  (just because we miss your voice!)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Overheard in the car

Driving home, we elected to make it one long day vs. stopping along the way.   At one point, Thing One noted to his brother "I'm going to throw you to the wolves if you don't shut up".  To which his younger brother (without missing a beat) remarked "I'd have more fun with the cougars".

We of course all burst out laughing....but now as I reflect, I'm thinking...should I be embarrassed that my 13 year old knows about "cougars?".

My guys....they never cease to amuse me!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Spring Break 2013

As Spring Break approached, I really debated about what to do.  One part of me enjoys staying home, using the week off from work as a chance to sleep in, read a few books, putter in the craft room and maybe work on some spring cleaning.  On the other hand, there was this growing case of cabin fever. The boys are getting older, and while I have no immediate plans to change jobs, I realized there are only a finite number of opportunities to travel with the boys before they head off to college and no longer share the same schedule for time off as I do.   In the end, the desire to road trip won out over having a stay-cation.

Where to go, where to go?  I was still in "saver" mode so I knew the adventure had to be within driving distance.

My dad winters in Arizona, Sun City to be exact.  We've already visited there and while it is nice and warm, the boys would likely be bored being asked to spend a week in the retirement center.  I too was more eager to explore some where we hadn't been before.  But, if we headed towards Arizona, perhaps Grandpa would be able to join us for an extended family adventure?    What about the Grand Canyon?  Wasn't it Theodore Roosevelt who remarked that the Grand Canyon is one of those sites every citizen should see?

Unfortunately,  I had made up my mind too late in the season to secure lodging directly in the park.  However,  my sister mentioned Flagstaff as being a good resting place not too far from the park.  
 While searching VRBO, I discovered this beauty was available and in our price range for the times we were looking at visiting.  And, it came equipped with enough sleeping space for all of us, plus Internet.  (while it turned out not to be needed, the original plan involved Dom working during the day, and sightseeing after he'd logged in his hours with his customer.)

The place was gorgeous!  I came home with a serious case of kitchen island envy!

Once my dad arrived on Monday, our first stop was a visit to the meteor crater site, located about 30 minutes east of where we were staying.  It was an incredibly windy day when we visited.  In fact, we later learned they'd had "gale force" winds during our trip.  No wonder the guided outdoor tours were cancelled for the day.  Instead the ranger gave a very interesting talk in the comforts of the theater  where we learned all that you could possibly want to know about a giant hole in the ground (and then some).  Here's a picture that Dom took:  I totally spaced using the panoramic feature of my camera.  

Perfect timing continued to be a theme:  as Thing Two had just completed a unit in 7th grade science where he had learned about this crater.  He was pretty jazzed to get to see the real deal so soon after hearing about it in school.  

Tuesday's adventure would be of the Grand Style....

It was overcast and brisk when we made our first stop here at the Watch Tower near the east entrance of the park.  
A few locals had already staked out their resting spot for the day...

We struggled to find a parking spot in the central village area...remarking if this was the "off season" we wouldn't want to experience the park during "high season"
 So weary from driving and hunting for the elusive parking spot, we opted to eat lunch tail gate style.  Imagine our surprise when we found this little gem just steps from our parking spot.  Oh many people can say they tailgated at the Grand Canyon?  Yeah, didn't think so...

 All in all, it was a grand place to visit.     A handful of pictures really does not do justice to the size and beauty of this canyon.

Next up would be an adventure into Sedona.   Admittedly, by this time, we were all getting a bit road-n-rock weary so we visited most of these places in the Chevy Chase American vacation style...pull in, take a picture and move on.  

 First stop on our way to Sedona was at Slide Rock State Park.  Thing Two was most eager to try his hand at sliding down the rocks.  Needless to say, he was a bit disappointed in the concept as it was presented by me.   I think he was thinking more along the lines of "tubing".  Oh well...He still agreed to have his photo taking with me, so I'm guessing I'm not totally persona-non grata?  (he's only 13, so there is still time for him to become totally disgusted and frustrated with us as parents).

After a quick drive through Sedona (where I took a turn as the monkey in the side car). next stop was the mining town of Jerome.

As you can see, it was a beautiful day, and we all fought over the chance to ride in the side car...

Continuing to expose these poor boys to learning while on break, we stopped off at the state historical center where we learned all about the boom-and bust of this old mining town.   Back in the day, copper was the thing to be had in these hills, and the town prospered.

This little gem was originally the housing built by the mine owners for some of the miners.  Not bad for "employee housing".

 As the supply of copper dried up, the town of Jerome also started to fall into a state of disrepair.  Until the hippies and the artists showed up.  These days the town is filled with a variety of art galleries and trinket shops.
 Along with ruins from the days as a mining town....rumor has it there are also a few ghosts that frequent this town (if you believe in that sort of thing).

On our last full day in Arizona, my friend Terri and I took a walking tour of the Historic Route 66.   No, we didn't really find our kicks, but we did discover a few photo worthy shots...

In the afternoon, we decided we needed one more rock-exploring adventure.  This time, just a few miles down the road, we took in the Walnut Canyon National Monument.  A steep trail takes you down to see the ruins of cave dwellers, from about 900 years ago.  

All in all, this Spring Break was indeed memorable and family focused!   And I realize after walking all those steps, and seeing myself in pictures, what I really need to get myself in better shape!

We headed home, but Dom continues on his grand adventure....please follow him as he heads North to Alaska (yes, you are welcome for that tune wedgie!)  His blog

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Trip of a Lifetime

Last Spring, my hubby took on a work assignment that was only guaranteed 10 months of employment.  We knew going into this assignment, that the gig was time limited but the financial promises were such that we both said "Let's go for it".  As I started to stash the extra cash Dom was earning through this contract, we often pondered "what next?"    
We save and we plan for retirement, but sometimes those plans end up being altered.   I've seen first hand two women that I have loved dearly miss out on post-retirement adventures when cancer claimed their lives while still in their 50s.  

With unemployment looming and my growing feelings that we shouldn't put off every big adventure until we retire, I started to think of an answer to the "What next" dilemma.    How about if Dom intentionally takes a break from the work word and he heads out on the dream adventure to Alaska?  

And well....the rest is becoming his story....

In the words of Fred Sanford, "I'm coming for you Elizabeth"...

Disclaimer:  this angle really does make his rig look huge, AND the actual traveling ride is sporting less gear, but I enjoy giving him grief about the Sanford-n-Son look to his ride.
As word of this adventure has gotten around, I have been paid many compliments for being a supportive and loving spouse.  But the truth of the matter is that Dom has been all of this and MORE for me and the boys.  Through the years, he has dragged himself to jobs he has tolerated, and some he has hated. He worked multiple jobs when the boys were young, allowing me to be a stay-at-home-mom for the boys.  All of this determination and dedications was  fueled by that desire to provide for us, ensure that we are fed, clothed, and housed. Without a doubt, his hard work and providing well for us has been his   love language.  

And for him going on this "trip of a lifetime" with my blessing?  Is indeed my love language.

So Dom:  get out there, enjoy this trip.....explore all that there is to see between here and Alaska....and don't worry...we'll keep the light on and be anxiously awaiting your return to the homestead in Centennial!

But before he can run away from us, we're tagging along on a Spring Break Adventure:  Destination Grand Canyon.  Here are a few photos from our trip to Arizona.

Somewhere between our house and Durango....we are so lucky to call Colorado home!

 Some things you just never outgrow....naps in the car with Moosey in your arms...
Over nighting in Durango....this is one town I could easily move to if ever asked...

Um, uh?  Twisters in Arizona?  Yikes...

Stay tuned for more Spring Break Adventures...
and find my wonderful husband's tales from the road HERE
(and please, comment on his blog, everyone enjoys comments!)