Friday, May 31, 2013

aquarium trip

Our oldest daughter gave us a gift card for a trip to the Denver Aquarium... After never seeming to have time to get up to Denver for it, we finally headed up to the aquarium this week.

This was an especially exciting trip for R who LOVES sharks and spends a lot of time thinking about shark conservation. She couldn't wait to get there and see the sharks in the exhibits.

We started with lunch in the aquarium restaurant because we are, of course, always thinking about food...

... and we wanted to make sure to see the mermaid show.  (Honestly, the best part of the mermaid show was watching all the little girls lined up in front of the tank, open mouthed with wonder, watching the "mermaids".)

Then we started wandering...

We were members of the aquarium during it's inaugural year, back when M was little... We went several times that year and he was always afraid of the "flash flood" exhibit.  He puts on a good show of courage now but when the flood came....

... he went!

We saw so many incredibly amazing creatures...'s such a treat for us land-locked Coloradans to be able to see and experience a tiny bit of the richness and diversity of the ocean environment.

R and her sharks....




Just a couple more pictures... ;)





Thursday, May 30, 2013

a jam emergency

I tossed and turned most of last night, thinking about all the things I still need to do before M's graduation.

There is grass to cut...

weeds to pull...

manure to shovel...

food and other supplies to buy....

a house to clean...

and 101 other little tasks that I'd like to have done by Saturday.

So what did I do when I got up this morning?

I made jam.

I had some wonderful fresh strawberries in the frig that just needed to be made into jam.

I was late feeding Murphy and Tucker, skipped my breakfast entirely, and trashed the kitchen.


But I have lovely jam from spring's first strawberries.

And I figure everything else will get done eventually (or it won't ;) )

Mmmm... sometimes the "must do's" just have to take a backseat to a jam emergency.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


No not me, I'm far beyond the nesting stage...

But there are about a million birds that share our land with us... and they all seem to be nesting.

We see an amazing variety of birds here... everything from ordinary robins and magpies to chickadees, finches, orioles, meadowlarks, hummingbirds, mourning doves, pigeons (in droves!) and woodpeckers (please take them... please?) to red tail hawks and great horned owls (and many, many that I don't know the names of...).

We currently have at least four nests "sharing" our home... three on the front porch and one on the sun-room deck.

I can get up to a couple of the nests to take pictures... so, of course, I did. :)

Here are four finches, looking almost ready to fledge:

And our super tiny, newborn robins (after this picture was taken the other eggs hatched). Their mother is extremely protective of her babies and spending time on our front porch, or even just stepping foot on it, can be a noisy, unpredictable experience as she scolds and hops and swoops around trying to get us to leave.

I'll post more pictures of the babies as they grow... R and I both love watching them and check the nests almost daily.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

catching up... a picture post

Warning... there are LOTS of photos in this post since I'm catching up on a very busy month or so for us.

I'll start with the RCC Prom the kids went to last month...  It was an amazing evening and they both seemed to have a wonderful time.

It was kind of cool too that it was the first big dance that M and R were able to attend together (usually it's just M and his girlfriend, or just R and her boyfriend at a dance, but since they are both members of RCC, they were both invited!)

At home before the dance...

and messing around in the parking lot before going in .

R and her date under the "photo-op arch" ;) Sorry for the blurry photo..

We are so fortunate to live in a community that provides opportunities like this for the kids... they had SO much fun!!

We also were lucky enough to be able  (thanks to my friend Liese) to take a historic tour of the town of Castle Rock on their cool little trolley. I'll post just a couple of pictures here, Liese did a much better job of capturing the tour here on her blog.

The trolley...

R and S on the trolley. M was there too, I just didn't get a good picture of him...

Then it was time for another prom... this was the COVA (Colorado Online Virtual Academy) prom. R's boyfriend is a COVA student and they always put on a very nice prom. So more prom shopping for a new dress, and a stop at the florists for another boutonniere, and we were ready to go!   Once again they had an awesome time...




Joe and I squeezed in an anniversary celebration (I won't tell you how many years, but here's a hint.... we've been married almost twice as long as I was single!), and I got some lovely roses delivered right to the door. (I also got a gift card from Home Depot... he knows my favorite store!)

Next up was out grandson K's kindergarten graduation. He's also a COVA student, and they did a very nice graduation for the kids... the kids were all so cute and took it all so seriously.

Here's our new 1st grader!

And that brings us to the last major event of our spring... M's graduation. We are having his graduation here at home on Saturday, with his grandfather awarding him his diploma. He is beyond excited... (it might be a long week!)

Here's a sneak peak at some of the graduation photos I took.


I think that bring us mostly up to date... I hope you enjoyed all the pictures. :)

Now it's back to graduation preparations!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Monday

Crazy Casa K

It makes me happy today that

... the little kitchen garden is in.

The view from the back-porch...

Here's a quick tour...

Herbs, lettuce and radishes (just starting to sprout), purple onions and green beans (they'll grow up the trellises):

Three little jalapeno pepper plants and carrots (not yet sprouted):

The tomato plant that spent the winter in the sun room/classroom, it looks a little straggly now but it did give us fresh little cherry tomatoes all winter (and it's still producing!). That is mint growing up around the base of the pot, around the flagstones. I use mint like ground cover, letting it spread between the flagstones and cutting  it with the lawnmower when it starts getting too tall. It smells wonderful to walk through....

Rhubarb (with a little more mint peaking out from the side):

this year's tomatoes:

It's just a tiny garden but it will give us lots of delicious veggies through the summer.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

laziness + busy-ness = a quiet blog

But I'm going to work on not being too lazy (and busy) to update more often.

Lots going on here... prom, graduation planning and attending, finishing up the "big" house project I've been working on, garden planting, mandolin playing (thank you again Loren, it's crossed the line to obsession... :) mixed with more than a little just lazing around.

Yesterday was an exciting day, as we received a package from K (dd#3) who is in Ghana with the Peace Corps.

She sent a variety of gifts from Africa, most made as income producers by groups organized and supported by Peace Corps volunteers (a group for women with AIDS for example).

My favorite, of course, was my Mother's Day gift... A bag made by the tailor in K's village out of the same fabric as K's favorite head wrap.


It makes me feel closer to my girl who is so far away...

That's it for now, hopefully some catch up pictures tomorrow. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Monday

Crazy Casa K

One of the things that make me happy today:

A 7:15 phone call from Ghana...

...from K (of course!)...

...asking if I'd talk with a couple of young girls (17 years old) from her village.

Apparently they thought it would be exciting somehow to talk to K's mother in America.

I could understand little of what they said, but hearing K laughing with them (over my not understanding?) made my day.

K enjoying the Ghanian rain...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thrifting Thursday

When my sister moved to the PNW I "inherited" a plant from her that had been my mom's... Mom was endlessly optimistic about having growing plants around, but not so great with keeping them alive.

She loved Boston ferns, and having one sitting on a plant stand in the living room. Thinking back now at the stream of Boston ferns she bought... and killed... I'm impressed with her optimism... I think she probably kept buying (and killing) those Boston ferns her entire life. That's true optimism. I can never see a Boston fern, especially one sitting primly on a plant stand, without thinking of Mom.

Anyway, the plant I inherited isn't a Boston fern, it's a philodendron, and Mom kept it alive for a long time... (philodendrons are good at staying alive in less than optimum conditions!)... as did my sister who has had it since Mom passed away almost 10 years ago. So the philodendron is mine now... It came with a sturdy, but faded, macrame plant hanger... but I thought it really deserved a nice little plant stand, so I've looking around for one.

This one showed up at Goodwill the other day...

... I believe it's cast aluminum (I should ask Joe) and I thought it might be a fun painting project. I going to paint it white with a dark wash or wax over the paint to bring out the detail on the top.

A few days later I found this sweet little birdbath and couldn't leave it behind... the hoards of birds out here need a nice place to bathe. How could I deprive them?

It's also cast metal but is heavy for it's size so it might be cast iron. I'm not sure though because I'm thinking it would be heavier than it is if it were iron... again, I should ask Joe.

I love the little hummingbird detail...

It will also get a refurbishment one of these days soon... There is a little rust showing through (maybe it is iron?!) so it needs a good cleaning and the protection of a good coat, or several good coats, of paint.

So those are my two recent "finds"... I do love metal things, especially vintage metal... and these should be quick, fun, fix-up projects.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Shakespeare Festival

We had a lovely adventure last Friday... We drove to the nearest light rail station, took the light rail into downtown Denver (an adventure in itself to us), and visited the Shakespeare Festival (a DPS event).

We went to see our friend S. She is the young woman who was in my friend's foster home for many years but then had to leave... It's a heartbreaking situation. She lost everything... home, family, school, friends... her whole life disappeared in the 10 minutes she had last summer to pack her things and leave that foster home.

So we're her family now... she's is not able to live with us, but we see her frequently and try to fill a little of the void that was left when she lost her long time foster family.

Anyway, she was performing in the Shakespeare Festival, and I wanted to be there to cheer her on.

It was such a fun day... seeing all the costumes, the happy excitement of the kids, watching even the littlest kids performing Shakespeare on the many stages scattered around the DCPA (Denver Center for the Performing Arts).

Here is our S, anxiously waiting her turn to perform...

Her performance... She did amazing, by the way, she had a lot of lines to memorize (she shares M and R's developmental disability) and she breezed through her scene. I was SO proud of her...

... and taking her bow.

I do love this kid... I'm so glad we could go and see her perform, meet her friends and teachers, and just be a part of her life.