Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy 90th birthday Grandma!!

Today is my grandma's 90th birthday!  She is an amazing woman and such a joy to be around.  For her birthday my cousin had the idea to put a book together of all the memories of Grandma which I'd like to share.  But one thing I forgot to add was what a wonderful example my grandma and grandpa were to me of what true love and commitment was.  They were the most amazing couple who shared everything and loved each other through thick and thin.  The truly stuck it through the good times and the bad to live life together and to the fullest.  Here is the letter I wrote to my grandma for her 90th birthday...I am so thankful I have such a fun grandma to share all these great memories with.

Dear Grandma,

Happy 90th birthday!  What a wonderful opportunity to share with a few memories and reasons I love you and all the joy you have brought to my life:

·         You have always been and always will be my favorite Olive Garden date! I love that we always order the same thing every single time…soup, salad, breadsticks and of course, wine!

·         I remember a week when Shawn and I stayed at your house while my parents were on vacation and every single morning you would listen to WGN talk show and whistle the morning away. I’ve never been a morning person so never really understood how you’d be whistling!

·         I’ve always loved our many family bike rides on the prairie path with you, Grandpa and all the cousins, aunts and uncles.

·         I love how you call me after almost every Cubs win!

·         Polka music, polka music and more polka music!! You love your polka music!

·         I cherish the many sleep-overs as a child and now the sleep-overs as an adult which include a glass of wine, or two or three.

·         I remember interviewing you when I was a young kid for a school project to learn about your family.  We were sitting at your kitchen table on Iowa and I just loved hearing all about your life and growing up.  I learned about your parents, sisters, brother, where you’ve lived and your courtship with Grandpa then your marriage and raising your four kids.

·         I love that you call me after most Cubs losses to tell me you're "selling" your Cubs playoff/world series tickets even if it’s still only Spring Training!

·         It was an extra special graduation day when you and Grandpa came all the way to DeKalb to sit through a very long commencement ceremony then took pictures with us outside in the really cold and windy temperatures!

·         I fondly remember all the trips up to the mobile and visits to all your friends and family when we were there and more bike rides.

·         I remember you taking me and Shawn to a county or state fair in Wisconsin where I was so excited to play a game and won a goldfish…

·         …I also remember you comforting me when that goldfish died that next day.

·         I remember going to yours and Grandpa’s 60th wedding anniversary party in Wisconsin and realizing all over again what an amazing couple you are. Not only was the love you share for each other such a cherished gift but also how many friends you have and what wonderful people you both are.  It was such a vivid memory of mine to remember that day how truly special you both are!

·         I’ll always remember all the Christmas and Easters we had at your house in Addison and how you’d always cook a full meal and make a lamb cake for Easter. 

·         I love how no matter what time or day of the week you're just a phone call away and usually not more than a week will pass and either you call me or I’ll call you.  Sometimes it’s just a quick hello or other times you’ll talk and talk and talk.  And I love you so much for how much you love to talk.  I never wonder where I get my own love to talk!

·         I remember how when I lived in Chicago you’d worry about me even when the things that were happening were more 15 miles away on the complete opposite end of the city.  I’ve always felt the love with your worries.

·         I will always remember how from a very young age you taught me to say gosh (extra emphasis on the shhhhhhhh) instead of God

·         You always made me feel special and valued by making me my own mini coffee cake without nuts because our family coffee cake always had nuts in it and I hated nuts!

·         You'll always have a cocktail with me no matter the time or place, or for that matter you’ll always have a cocktail with anyone no matter the time or place.

·         I have memories of me getting locked in the car and I couldn’t unlock the door (ok I don't really remember that one but I have heard that story enough times to almost remember!)

·         I have always loved how welcoming you are to Jason! From the day you met him you made him feel like he’s part of the family.  I love this quality about you!!

·         I’ll never forget the day you and grandpa visited me in Chicago and we went to my favorite bar for lunch and you both drank like the rest of the kids

·         I remember every time we drove up to the mobile when we’d get to the toll booth and the ripple in the road would make that noise so you’d say “buuuurrrrrrppppp,  buuuurrrrrppp, buuuurrrrrppppp!”  Every single time!

·         I will always remember how you and Grandpa were at the barn the day I got my first horse!  Then you even went with us to lunch to celebrate!

·         I'll always laugh when I think about the night you, me and Aunt Shelby were drinking out on your porch and the fire department showed up because you accidentally hit your emergency call button and how we just laughed and laughed and laughed.

Grandma, thanks for all the wonderful memories!  I’m so thankful for you and the friendship we have.  Thanks for always being there for me and for our phone calls!  Wish I could be there with you today but know you’re with the best people in the world, you own family!

Love you,

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Break 2013

Well the end of my break is coming to a quick close. I sure managed to fill all my time with just about anything and everything! Today was a day for me to get caught up on all I was supposed to have plenty of time to do the past couple weeks but haven't done. I was so excited to have two weeks off to just relax and do nothing but instead I packed both weeks and did so much every single minute. And on top of that, Jason had a work event downtown and I was supposed to have most day's nights to myself but both Monday and Wednesday I got a last minute invite to meet them for dinner which was fantastic but also meant there were two of my lazy nights that I would be out. What a fun spring break, I am not ready to go back to work tomorrow but I only have 3 weeks left of this assignment so need to get my butt in gear and make it count.

As a re-cap of all the fun things I can remember off the top of my head over my break:
  • My parents were able to be spend a week with us which I already shared those details here
  • I was so thankful to be able to watch the Cubs home opener watched from my living room. (Cubs games rarely air here in Colorado) But I dreamed of being in Wrigley with Jason as Opening Day in  has been my tradition since I became a Cubs fan  
  • Jason and I met up with his aunt and uncle from Atlanta at a Garden of the Gods hotel which was a delicious brunch and lovely view
  • I went to CCHS to see my co-workers and saw my old students
  • Registered for the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon on July 
  • Met Jason and his co-workers in Denver twice which was nice because it got me out of the suburbs.  And I was able to confirm that I've still got my parallel parking skills. :)
  • I joined and started running with the running group at my gym.  Another post on that I'm sure to follow but for now I am not really digging it but at least I'm up to 4 miles running!
  • I updated my resume and applied for several jobs for next year
  • Got a really inexpensive relaxing massage through my gym membership
  • met with a personal trainer for my free session from my new gym membership
  • Went skiing at Breckenridge then hit up the hot tub
  • I observed a teacher in our district who was able to show me how she runs things along with helping me write IEP goals, hooked me up with some curriculum and answered my many questions!
  • Got new running shoes (and they're actually a great color!!)
  • Returned my rented skis :(
  • Met the mom of the student I used to work one-on-one with for lunch at PF Changs...yummm
  • Took a yoga class that was amazing! I'm not usually into yoga but this one was extra long stretches and just what I need to incorporate into my running routine!
  • Got a much needed haircut
  • Met my co-workers from CCHS out for happy hour
  • Ran a whole lot of errands, did laundry, ate a lot of left-overs, made lots of good memories with Jason and bonded with Sam and Cooper.  
I felt like the entire break was packed from the second I woke up until I went to bed. I guess I just had a lot of things I wanted and needed to do. I'm hoping I learned a lesson from this and next time won't schedule something for every single day. But it sure was a fun couple weeks!!

Closing out Ski Season

Yesterday was our last day of our first ski season. Season 2013 is now over but it was a fabulous year!  I'm not sure how many days we actually skied but it has to be somewhere around 12-14 so we know the season passes paid for themselves. Jason loves boarding a lot more than I love skiing but I definitely enjoy it and LOVE that we both have a common interest so it's great that we had the means to go go this year as often as we liked. Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of us yesterday but I got a little cocky and took a picture of what we were skiing and since I didn't break any bones it's safe to share. :)

With that being said I've decided that I have a lot to learn and think the only way I am going to make it through another season is to take a lesson in the beginning of next years season.  I look forward to being a much better skier!  Thanks Jason for an amazing year and thanks to Ellis and Josh for including us on their vacation this year too!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mom and Dad Visit!

What a fun 8 1/2 days with my parents!  They arrived on Good Friday and stopped in on their way to my school and met all my kids and the team. I was so glad they were able to see where I work and what I do every day. That night we went to church for Good Friday's service so they were able to see our church. Everyone was tired from the week and they were tired from the long road trip so we stopped and got some pizza on our way home.

Saturday my mom and I went and got pedicures as we love to do then went shopping since one of my goals for her visit was to get her help decorating our living room and picture wall in the hallway.  We hit up a few stores and found a print we both liked which set the tone for all our week-long decorating.

Sunday was Easter so we went to church and I was so excited about the service. I wish every one of my friends and family could have been there to here the message!  The Spirit was so alive and present!  I just love Easter and was so happy my parents could be here this year with us.

After church we stopped on our way home at a restaurant/bar we like with great views for brunch. 

 In the afternoon my mom, Jason and I took the dogs for a walk since it was in the 60's and blue skies. I realized after reading my post about our first Easter here that we did the same thing last year.  I'm happy we continued what I hope can be an Easter tradition in Colorado.

My mom  cooked us a delicious ham dinner complete with all the sides! Growing up when I was really little we always went to my grandma's on our way home from my other grandma and grandpa's house.  She always had ham waiting for us.  It was so nice to have our Easter ham again this year and have my parents here with us.  Not to mention not having to cook a thing!  Thanks so much Mom!!

Monday we headed out to the mountains and went for lunch then hit up some shops in Breckenridge.  My parents took us skiing in Breck for years when we were younger so it was fun to all be back and reminisce.  

We took the gondola up to the base for a beer. Sophie didn't enjoy the gondola much but once we got to the base she was loving the people watching!  After Breckenridge, we went to my parents friends house in Silverthorne.  They have a beautiful custom home with amazing views. We loved getting a tour, I felt like I was on whatever those shows were on MTV with the celebrities homes!  My mom's friend even cooked us dinner. Jason and I took the dogs home while my parents stayed the night to visit some more.

My parents came back on Tuesday and we had dinner together and watched a movie.  On Wednesday my mom and I went to the doctor since she had been sick for almost a month!  (she had already been to the doctor and taken antibiotics so obviously needed something to help her!)  Doctor diagnosed her, gave her new meds and we were on our way to shop, shop and shop some more to decorate! We had a successful afternoon of shopping. When I got home we had dinner and watched another movie.  

Thursday we drove to Estes park (oh my gosh was the drive beautiful!) We started the afternoon with a picnic outside.  Then we hit up all the shops.  Mom and I found a cute little store with some great decorative items. Dad and Jason enjoyed all the cookie shops and I loved the salt water taffy store!  Dogs were welcome in most stores so that was fun too.  

Great weather and beautiful scenery!

The pups loved being with us.

On our way home we stopped for pies.

Friday my mom, dad and I went to Red Rocks. The plan was to hike but with the altitude and both of my parents still not feeling the best/recovering from their illnesses we instead went and checked out the amphitheater. Not like that's not a huge hike in itself!  Again the pups loved being with us exploring at Red Rocks.

Sophie and Cooper had no problem walking up all the stairs making us all feel really out of shape.  At least my parents had the excuse of the altitude affecting their lungs. :)  

After Red Rocks my mom and I finished up the shopping decorating. That night we went to dinner to celebrate my dad's birthday at Olive Garden.  Then we came home and watched another movie.  

I was so sad to see my parents go today.  The time went way too fast.  I have said over and over again how my only real complaint about living here is how lonely it is so to have them here was such a treat!  We did a lot of fun activities while also just relaxed and enjoyed each others company. I know we did a lot more than I just shared but these are the highlights.I am already missing them being here and all week keep replaying what we were doing at this time last week! I already have a trip planned to go back to Chicago in July so I can see them again. It's helpful knowing I have something planned.For now I at least have all the decorations my mom helped us buy to remember their trip by!  Thanks Mom for helping me decorate, thanks Dad for hanging everything, carrying the tree in ;-) and thanks to both of you for all you did for us and for your company!  Can't wait to have you visit again!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Meanderings

Happy Wednesday!  I say this every time with a Meanderings post but life is just flying by!  So much has happened since my last post and just no time to write! Life is good..really good! I am on (a 2 week!) spring break, so honestly what could possibly be wrong?  :)

Meanderings on...

Friends visiting...2 weekends ago my friend Ellis and her husband, Josh, were here skiing at Vail.  We took Friday off work and headed out there to meet them. Unfortunately the roads were terrible so it took us about 4 hours to get there. Thank goodness they started their day and didn't wait for us! We were able to meet up with them and ski a few hours then grab some drinks and dinner before heading back home. The next day they skied and then came to our place. We went to a Mexican restaurant we've been wanting to try (which we loved!) and then the next day went out for brunch. The weather was less than desirable last weekend so we were glad to have something to do. I was beyond thankful to have good friends here for some company and great conversation!! I'm very thankful for Ellis's and my friendship and now with Josh too!

Skiing Vail with Ellis

Ellis and Josh

Brunch on Sunday

Facebook Fast...I survived about 6 weeks without Facebook and it was so incredibly freeing! I decided I needed to get off Facebook because I was checking it on my phone without even realizing I was on it. I found myself subconsciously constantly comparing my life to what others were posting (not to mention how much it was making me miss Chicago). I was just fed up with everything Facebook was but also love how keeps me connected to friends and family and other people who have come into my life so I didn't want to deactivate either! I still connected to my messenger so most of the time it looked like I was online because I felt that messenger is email and it was the Newsfeed I was addicted to and didn't want to be on. Near the end I was really ready to be back on...especially to catch up with certain friends. I'm glad I can be back on but hope I have learned a lesson through it and will only check once a day. At least now I know life will go on without Facebook so that's a start!

Bolder Boulder...I registered for the Bolder Boulder and am soooo excited. The whole "workout at the gym" thing hasn't worked the past week because I got sick AGAIN. But even though my parents are here this week I hope to get back tomorrow and I joined a "running club" though my gym which I am hoping will be the key to gaining some extra mileage to my running routine. Doesn't' hurt to try it out, but I'm hoping its what I need to really get back into running! We shall see, but at the very least I am registered for a 10k on Memorial Day and cannot wait!

DMB...We got tickets to Dave's summer tour and I cannot wait!  That's all. :)

100,000 Miles...My car reached 100,000 miles while driving home from the mountains on Monday night.  I cannot believe it has 100,000 miles on it!!  I love my car. I am so ready for a full size car or SUV but me and this trusty Honda Accord Coupe have been through a lot.  It's taken such good care of me the past 100,000 miles!

Spring Break...Spring break started on Friday at about 4:50 and I have been loving every second of it. Teachers get so much crap for having off summers and spring break but oh my do I think we deserve it. The school I'm at starts a week early and ends a week later so I get 2 weeks for spring break and am and plan to enjoy every second. Sadly as a long term sub I'm not making a dime this break but the break is well deserved and exactly what I need to make the last bit of this assignment the best possible!

Decorating...Mom is here so she's helping me finally decorate our apartment. I purposely didn't buy anything when we moved in because we were supposed to only be here a year and then move into a house.  Since we decided to pay off my student loans and we're staying a bit longer, why not dress it up a little bit?  Thanks Mom for helping add a little color to the place!

One Year...It's been one years since we moved here! I reread my blog posts about the move here and it was so fun reading them. (Read them here, herehere and here.)  I cannot believe it's been a year! Time sure flies. This deserves its own post so I hope to write more on this next week.

Hope you're having a great week. I can't believe how much faster time goes having time off and spending it with family. I'm loving every second of my time off with them.