Friday, June 30, 2006

I stole a few quiet moments today to read some of Zac's writings from his Kindergarten class. It caused me to reflect thoughtfully on how this whole parenting thing is really about letting your children go a little bit at a time. We have always respected our children as individuals, each with their own unique soul and it is a privilege to be able to watch them grow-up.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Yesterday was one of those days that comes along and smacks you in the face and gives you a dose of reality. It's been a fun break so far with A. and Z. We have gone to H2O Brien's pool, Westlands Park, swimming at the Purcell's wonderful pool and walked the dogs to the park several times. While Stucco "slaves away" at work everyday, his family gets to enjoy all that free time has to offer. Then along comes a day like Wednesday! I delighted in the fact that we were going to get to visit Nancy and the boyos at their house. Oh! How mistaken I was! We came home from a last-minute visit to A.'s pediatrician for a well check to an awful smell in our house. I followed the smell down to the laundry room and found 2 puddles of water and a large wet area under the furnace. I called Nancy and told her we were unable to come over due to the small flood. She happens to be the kind of friend who not only offers to come over and help clean-up the mess, but brings Qdoba (my fav) for lunch! I called Stucco and we decided to call the AC folks. While waiting for them to show, Nancy and I cleaned the water and mess out of the affected area. Right before the AC guy showed, I tried to do a load of laundry and this time it COMPLETELY flooded the laundry area. I realized that the AC unit itself was not causing the flood but the main drain from the house to the sewer was blocked. Now, we have been having construction on our street for the past 3 weeks (they were supposed to be done in 10 days) and yesterday was the day they pulled the sewer lids up and supposedly flushed them "clean." Funny how the drain from our house to the sewer became completely blocked at almost the very same moment. The foreman denied having anything to do with it but said if we could prove that it was them they would take responsibility. PROVE is the key word there. While I am stewing about the drain, Sal decided to pee all over the carpet in our bedroom and halfway up the stairs. It honestly looked like he hadn't peed in days. I nearly started a nervous breakdown, and would have, if Nancy hadn't been there to console me! After cleaning up the pee, I called Roto-Rooter to come snake the drain. The woman on the line assured me her guy would be there "within the hour." Two-and-a-half hours later Stucco and I start calling around to other services to get someone out. The RR guy finally showed and the drain was fixed. So now we have a fixed air conditioner (needed some new insulation and cleaning), snaked drain, new refrigerator and new cable modem (other lengthy stories!) Now if we can go on vacation to San Francisco without having to fix anything else, I will feel very lucky. Thanks again, Nancy, for your unending support! And thanks to Stucco for being able to provide so well for us!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Here you go Nancy...

5 Things in the Refrigerator (it's new so nothing too interesting!)
1. Coffee (always)
2. Creamer (again, always)
3. Rainier cherries (my fave)
4. eggs (must always have so I can bake cookies)
5. butter

5 Things in the Closet
1. Stucco's shoes
2. A container of various children's art supplies
3. Board games
4. Stucco's motorcycle helmet *sigh* poor guy has no vehicle to use it on!
5. Several jackets of different sizes

5 Things in My Wallet
1. Stucco's passport photo (a dodgy picture that I am sure would prevent him from being allowed to return to this country should he leave it! ) I keep it because it makes me smile every time I look at it.
2. My C.N.A. license
3. A Target gift card worth $25 (wanna trade Nancy? :)
4. An old phone card from about 8 years ago
5. My blood donor identification card

5 Things in the Truck (all Stucco's doing)
1. A hammer? (just in case?)
2. NAPKINS from the drive-thru (they really do come in handy!)
3. More Quarters for me!
4. Old paper towels from his breakfast sandwiches in the mornings
5. A small hair brush for Stucco (to curl his mustache on the drive to work)

5 People to respond
1. Kel
2. Stucco
3. "Dork"
4. Anyone
5. Else!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The sky was cloudy and the breeze was cool this morning when I woke. I smiled and felt right at home under the clouds. The clouds soon gave way to the brutal brightness of the Colorado sun. The breeze remained cool so Alia, Zac and I took the dogs on a walk to Dove Ridge Park. I couldn't help feeling that it would have been a perfect walk if the clouds had stayed. I am really starting to despise the sun and all of the brown grass and prickly weeds. I miss warm, wet breezes with sprinkles of rain, rolling thunder, rainbows and all of the green beauty the rain creates. It will be nice to spend some time in San Francisco, next week, where the air is fresh and the smell of eucalyptus is everywhere.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Today was one of those days that I knew was going to be busy. I was in charge of Alia's class's end-of-the-year BBQ at school and Zac had his Kindergarten Continuation program. The BBQ was a success and a good time was had by all. Alia and her classmates wore white t-shirts so they could sign each other's for a memory. It was amazing to watch Alia confidently move in the crowd signing everyones' shirts. When we went to Alia's classroom to retrieve her things, she showed us her Principal's Medal award for academic achievement. We don't need to see an award given to her to know how very special and bright she is, but she was so proud to get it. Zac's program was absolutely hysterical! All of the children in the 3 afternoon Kindergarten classes wore flower masks that framed their faces (boys too.) They stood on risers on stage and sang a few songs including a version of "New York, New York" that made Stucco's face turn red with laughter. My eyes welled-up with tears as I watched my youngest sing his heart out. When he spotted Alia, Stucco and me in the crowd, he grinned from ear to ear. I cannot describe exactly how I felt at that moment. Pride, mixed with a little sadness but happiness at the same time. I feel so honored to be Alia and Zac's mom. Today, even though it was busy, was just one of those days that reminds me how lucky I am to be a part of this family.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

While we waited for our new fridge to be delivered today, we had a snowball fight. Yes, in the middle of June! We have a tradition around here of saving snowballs in large ziploc bags to be enjoyed at a later date. That day was today. We had to clean out the dying fridge and move it to the garage before Best Buy could deliver the new one. So we decided to take advantage and have a snowball fight on a 90 degree day. It was a lot of fun. On the down side, while we were shuffling cars around to make room for the fridge in the garage, Scott and our neighbors both backed-out at the exact same moment and hit each other. No one was hurt and our truck didn't sustain any damage, but our neighbor's car has a broken tail light and a dent near the back of the car. They insisted on calling the police for a report for their insurance. The officer came and found no one to be at fault. Our neighbor is going to have a bit of trouble because he has been in this country for 7 years and never got a US driver's license. He is licensed in El Salvador. So when Scott tried to help file a report with the Parker police he couldn't do anything because our neighbor doesn't have a CO license. It is out of our hands now. After we moved everything around in the garage, Alia, Zac and I went for a 4 mile bike ride along the Cherry Creek trail. It was so wonderful to feel the wind rush by and to hear the birds singing in the nature reserve. Happy Father's Day to all of the dads! I hope you enjoyed "your day!"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Heart troubles shouldn't plague people with such "good hearts." Unfortunately for Stucco, his heart decided to go out of control again today. He was eating lunch with his friend from work when it started racing at 200 bpm. His buddy called 911 and the ambulance came to Quiznos in Cherry Creek. The EMTs cardio-verted him right there. Then they took him to Swedish Hospital for the routine "Oh, you have done this before? (Yes, about 6 times now.) "So you can go home and call your doctor now." (Yes, thank you.) Stucco never likes to go to the doctor about these heart episodes because she always wants to do more surgery. For the record, he has had 4 ablation surgeries that have obviously been unsuccessful in fixing the problem. It is very frustrating for him to have to keep dealing with it but he does. The kids and I met him at the hospital and drove him back to work. He stayed at work to get a few things done. (Yes, he is a workaholic!) Now I am at home telling myself that "the universe unfolds as it should." But then I think that a lot of good people suffer every day and sometimes it doesn't seem very fair. I guess that's life sometimes.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I am still new at this blog stuff but it is pretty fun to hear the feedback. Not much happened today. Zac and I were entertained for quite some time before he had to go to school. Our cul-de-sac was ripped out to make way for new pavement. Zac was amazed at the power of the digger and frankly, so was I! After school the kids ran through the sprinkler. It was a perfect day for the sprinkler as it was at least 98 degrees here. Alia helped me plant our cucumbers and pumpkins too. We are starting them in the greenhouse and will eventually move them to the ground once our brick sidewalk project is complete.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Have you ever had one of those days where you stretch lazily in bed and think, "The whole day is unplanned, a blank slate!?" Then you eventually put your feet on the floor and actually drag yourself out of bed, then the day becomes a blur of activity that you never imagined? I had one of those days yesterday. The first time I was awakened was by Alia "scream-whispering" in my ear that her FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME ("Aquamarine") was coming out on DVD this Tuesday and can we PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get it? I said, "For the love of all things holy! Yes! If you will let me go back to sleep right now." I did eventually get up and Stucco reminded me that we needed to go retrieve our vehicle that we forgot (yes, forgot) to bring home the night before. (No, we weren't drunk, just mentally not all there after attending graduation at DU for Scott's friends!) So we got the car from the Daniel's Fund first (In case we might forget again.) Yes, we are mentally "stretched" these days. Then we had a wonderful lunch at Wahoo's Fish Taco. Yum! The rest of our day's blur of activity started with my one innocent little comment, "Do you want to go see what's at Tagawa Garden Center?" So we met-up at home to drop the car off safely in the garage. Then I got the bright idea to bring our dogs with us to the dog-friendly garden center. If you've never taken an 8-month-old lab puppy to the greenhouse before, let me tell you, it will take you 3 times as long to get through the building because everyone wants to pet him, give him treats and tell you about their dogs at home. We finally made it out of there (not that we wanted to leave, but the puppy did end up peeing near the fertilizer and I didn't want to think of what he would do next.) As we were headed home, I got another brilliant idea! After dropping the dogs off at home, I dragged my family to the garden center at Walmart. Stucco wasn't thrilled with the idea of hanging out with all of the "knarlies" at Walmart, but he indulged me. We innocently wandered around the parking lot where they keep large garden supplies and we came upon a tent that shaded several square yards of sod. The light bulb dimly shone over both of our heads as we decided to embark on a seemingly simple yard project. We decided to purchase a "small amount" of sod (20 rolls.) We wanted to do a test area in our barren backyard to see if we could bring some life to the desert. One of the "knarlies" who was working there suggested we put manure down first and lay the sod on top of it. We did as we were told and purchased 9 large, heavy bags of foul-smelling fertilizer. When we got home, Stucco and I surveyed our dusty, dry backyard and realized (a lttle late in the game) that we needed to finish laying the bricks in a path to our new greenhouse BEFORE we lay the sod down. By now it is getting late (4pm.) Stucco starts digging into the scorched, hard-packed earth, trying to finish the path, while I start pulling weeds. I get the seemingly logical idea of wetting-down the dirt to loosen the soil so it will be easier for Stucco to dig. I wet it down and the water proceeds to form a slippery top layer of clay-like mess. I apologize to Stucco as he slips and slides all over. He says "Thank you anyway" while trying to bear the disaster. He's a trooper! Meanwhile the kids start to starve so I suggest they make Easy Mac for themselves for dinner. Keep in mind, I have shown them how to make it a few dozen times, so I thought it would be fine to let them make it without supervision. I was terribly mistaken!! A few moments into "making their own dinner" The children run outside to where we are still slaving away on the yard screaming that smoke is "EVERYWHERE!" They, unfortunately, weren't exaggerating. It really is a simple process to make Easy Mac. That, presumably, is why they call it EASY. I came into the house and had to keep low because smoke was literally pouring out of the microwave. They had forgotten the crucial step in making the mac-n-cheese where you add water. It is the first step. It really is easy. Maybe I was hoping for too much. I left our dear children to themselves once again with specific instructions to make PB&J instead. Whew! I rejoined Stucco in the yard where the sun was hot but at least there was fresh air. To make a very long story a bit longer, I put all the manure and sod on the right side of the greenhouse and proceeded to flood the yard with the sprinkler as I tried to water the grass. The sprinkler hasn't worked well since the puppy mistakenly thought it was a bone. Stucco was able to make a great start on the path. We both took showers, ate sandwiches and called it a day. So much for a "blank slate!"

P.S. I have a new-found love for PB&J sandwiches.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Yes, it's cliche. " Life is what you make it" is one of those sayings that makes people roll their eyes and shake their heads. I truly believe that we are given choices every day on how to handle situations. You can either be positive or negative when faced with adversity. I love to observe people and how they handle difficulties as well as the good things that come along. I have learned a great deal about human nature from my observations. You learn to predict how some people will react when faced with tragedy.