Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thank you for reminding me why I chose to boycott you over the last few years. I truly try to practice the "Support your local coffee shop" idea. It was hard not to notice you in every little town and grocery store I visited during the last 15 months on the road. I could've taken the quick route and jumped out at any corner for my Chai and coffee fix. Instead, I ventured on down the lonely road to find the local coffee hut. When buying my coffee for home, I chose to pay just a bit extra for the local grind. And I always look for and if found, purchase fair trade coffee.
Now that I'm back to paying rent and bills I opted to purchase a bag of Organic Starbucks coffee because, well, it was on sale that day. My guilt lifted a bit when I got home and noticed the little writing inside the bag that said to return my empty coffee bag to any local Starbucks for recycling and a free cup of joe. I thought way to step it up Starbucks. I've heard stories about the support you give to the communities. How you support our troops and so on. I even went as far as to google you and read about your "green efforts" and how much you recycle.
Well then, one question. Tell me why then, after I gave the girl behind the counter my "recycled bag" she turned around and tossed it into the garbage?
Thanks for the reminder.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
WOW! Oh, the places we roam. Last year we trick or treated in Flagstaff, AZ.
This year, Anacortes.
We had a fun weekend. It started on Friday night with a small party consisting of lots of candy, donut eating contests, pumpkin bowling, mummy rolling and pinatas.
We had a Coraline Jones, Army man and of course, a Beautiful Princess.
All 3 children have a bag FULL of sweets. Too no surprise, Avery's is 1/2 gone. The other two are "saving". And doing a good job of it. I suggest they hide them from mom and dad.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Who can give mommy more gray hair?
Who can get more stitches?
Avery and Kaleb are now tied on trips to the hospital for some repair. Now we're going to start counting actual stitches. Ani informed me that she's not playing. I'm fine with that!
(this is avery after getting her numbing gel. we told her it was magic fairy potion. even went as far as to do the magic blow on it. the clear bandage holding it in place became the magic fairy window. she loved and believed every word. made for a somewhat cheery hospital visit)
the hospital staff got a kick out of her. she had lots to say. lots to ask and as soon as the last stitch was tied, there she was, jumping on the hospital bed. we were sure we'd have more before we left.
I have one more picture. It's "the wound". It wasn't long, but DEEP! I'm talking so deep we could see her skull. Even Avery wanted to see. I mean really, how cool to look in through your own head. She sure thought so.
I've decided to spare you. I won't post the picture. But if you call, Avery will tell you all about it. Just make sure you have enough minutes on your phone plan!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Have you hugged your kids today?
Looked them in the eye and gave them your undivided attention as they told you a story?
Got down and dirty and explored the earth? Grew a bean sprout? Smelled the flowers.
We sometimes forget the simple things in life. Letting our kids be kids. Letting them explore on their own. Figuring out who they are, not who we or society wants them to be.
I've spent the last year of my life on the road. Living in a motorhome with my family. To the surprise of many, with NO TV. Haven't had one in 1 1/2 years. And we're perfectly happy without. I cherish every moment I've had with my children. Watching their eyes smile every morning as they peeked out the window to see what their backyard was that day. Allowing them to make their own schedules, to take time to breath, to learn about others and the world around them. Letting them be in charge of themselves. (somewhat. i do still remind them to brush their teeth. :) ) And guess what? My kids pulled out books and read on their own. Colored, crafted, built forts, laughed and learned.
School has started again. I see the stress in the neighboorhood as parents stress to find the time to go to work, make dinner, do homework, go to football pracitce and finish the laundry. All in a day's time. I wonder if they've even asked their kids what they learned today. I wonder if the kids even care.
A friend passed this on to me and it's a simple reminder to slow down. Say no. Stay in. Let kids be kids.
Doing Nothing Is Something – The Overscheduled Children Of 21St-Century
America, Deprived Of The Gift Of Boredom
By Anna Quindlen
Summer is coming soon. I can feel it in the softening of the air, but I can
see it, too, in the textbooks on my children’s desks. The number of uncut
pages at the back grows smaller and smaller. The loose-leaf is ragged at the
edges, the binder plastic ripped at the corners. An old remembered glee
rises inside me. Summer is coming. Uniform skirts in mothballs. Pencils with
their points left broken. Open windows. Day trips to the beach. Pickup
games. Hanging out.
How boring it was.
Of course, it was the making of me, as a human being and a writer. Downtime
is where we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking at
the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop and staring at the
tedious blue of the summer sky. I don’t believe you can write poetry, or
compose music, or become an actor without downtime, and plenty of it, a
hiatus that passes for boredom but is really the quiet moving of the wheels
inside that fuel creativity.
And that, to me, is one of the saddest things about the lives of American
children today. Soccer leagues, acting classes, tutors–the calendar of the
average middle-class kid is so over the top that soon Palm handhelds will be
sold in Toys “R” Us. Our children are as overscheduled as we are, and that
is saying something.
This has become so bad that parents have arranged to schedule times for
unscheduled time. Earlier this year the privileged suburb of Ridgewood,
N.J., announced a Family Night, when there would be no homework, no athletic
practices and no after-school events. This was terribly exciting until I
realized that this was not one night a week, but one single night. There is
even a free-time movement, and Web site: familylife1st.org. Among the
frequently asked questions provided online: “What would families do with
family time if they took it back?”
Let me make a suggestion for the kids involved: how about nothing? It is not
simply that it is pathetic to consider the lives of children who don’t have
a moment between piano and dance and homework to talk about their day or
just search for split ends, an enormously satisfying leisure-time activity
of my youth. There is also ample psychological research suggesting that what
we might call “doing nothing” is when human beings actually do their best
thinking, and when creativity comes to call. Perhaps we are creating an
entire generation of people whose ability to think outside the box, as the
current parlance of business has it, is being systematically stunted by
A study by the University of Michigan quantified the downtime deficit; in
the last 20 years American kids have lost about four unstructured hours a
week. There has even arisen a global Right to Play movement: in the
developing world it is often about child labor, but in the United States it
is about the sheer labor of being a perpetually busy child. In Omaha, Neb.,
a group of parents recently lobbied for additional recess. Hooray, and
How did this happen? Adults did it. There is a culture of adult distrust
that suggests that a kid who is not playing softball or attending
science-enrichment programs–or both–is huffing or boosting cars: if kids
are left alone, they will not stare into the middle distance and consider
the meaning of life and how come your nose in pictures never looks the way
you think it should, but instead will get into trouble. There is also the
culture of cutthroat and unquestioning competition that leads even the
parents of preschoolers to gab about prestigious colleges without a trace of
irony: this suggests that any class in which you do not enroll your first
grader will put him at a disadvantage in, say, law school.
Finally, there is a culture of workplace presence (as opposed to
productivity). Try as we might to suggest that all these enrichment
activities are for the good of the kid, there is ample evidence that they
are really for the convenience of parents with way too little leisure time
of their own. Stories about the resignation of presidential aide Karen
Hughes unfailingly reported her dedication to family time by noting that she
arranged to get home at 5:30 one night a week to have dinner with her son.
If one weekday dinner out of five is considered laudable, what does that say
about what’s become commonplace?
Summer is coming. It used to be a time apart for kids, a respite from the
clock and the copybook, the organized day. Every once in a while, either
guilty or overwhelmed or tired of listening to me keen about my monumental
boredom, my mother would send me to some rinky-dink park program that
consisted almost entirely of three-legged races and making things out of
Popsicle sticks. Now, instead, there are music camps, sports camps, fat
camps, probably thin camps. I mourn hanging out in the backyard. I mourn
playing Wiffle ball in the street without a sponsor and matching shirts. I
mourn drawing in the dirt with a stick.
Maybe that kind of summer is gone for good. Maybe this is the leading edge
of a new way of living that not only has no room for contemplation but is
contemptuous of it. But if downtime cannot be squeezed during the school
year into the life of frantic and often joyless activity with which our
children are saddled while their parents pursue frantic and often joyless
activity of their own, what about summer? Do most adults really want to
stand in line for Space Mountain or sit in traffic to get to a shore house
that doesn’t have enough saucepans? Might it be even more enriching for
their children to stay at home and do nothing? For those who say they will
only watch TV or play on the computer, a piece of technical advice: the
cable box can be unhooked, the modem removed. Perhaps it is not too late for
American kids to be given the gift of enforced boredom for at least a week
or two, staring into space, bored out of their gourds, exploring the inside
of their own heads. “To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do,” said
Victor Hugo. “Go outside and play,” said Prudence Quindlen. Both of them
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
How it began...
The Suubi (hope) project was launched in 2007 while the Hansow family was living in Jinja, Uganda for the adoption of their daughter. At the orphanage, they met Anaso Grace and Adong Santa selling paper-beaded necklaces. And after they visited the original 60+ women who met each Sunday to bead together under a jackfruit tree in the village of Walukuba, Suubi was birthed - merely a response to a talent and a need. Who is Suubi...
Suubi (the Lugandan word for HOPE) is a project run by the non-profit organization Light Gives Heat. Suubi is the name of the self-governing community-based organization of beautiful women that make the jewelry, as well as the product name here in the West. HOPE is the essence of the Suubi (hope) project and our vision is two-fold: 1) The Suubi (hope) project is about creating consistent weekly incomes in otherwise unemployable areas in Uganda through the purchasing and reselling of these hand-made necklaces. Thus, allowing for women to provide food and pay school fees for their children. 2) In Uganda, we have been shown a HOPE that doesn't make sense and has changed everything. Therefore, we simply want to spread HOPE - sharing the stories of these amazing women and getting people across the world to look outside of themselves and respond creatively.
What we do...
In addition to buying each week (and tripling their usual profit), the Light Gives Heat volunteers also run weekly Literacy and English classes for the women of Suubi and simply spend time with the women. The majority of the 120+ women are Acholi widows who have been displaced from Northern Uganda because of an over 20-year-long war that has directly affected their tribe and homeland.
Despite the tragedies they have seen, the hardships they face, and the unpredictability of life in Africa, these beautiful women of Suubi have joy on their faces and hope in their hearts.
I discovered this organization while touring through Colorado earlier this spring. I bought a multi colored long necklace at a rock climbing gym we were visiting and it soon became my favorite accessory. Not only for the spunk it brought to any outfit but also for what it stood for. By simply buying one of these necklaces you are helping women support themselves and their families work, eat and educate.
Long multi-colored strands $20.00
Long newsy strands (simple black/white) $20.00
Short multi-colored chokers $15.00
Of course, you are supporting a non-profit organization by purchasing one of these so if you want to throw in a few extra bucks, that'd be cool.
Shipping and handling will cost ya $4.00.
I promise you these will make you smile every time you put it on. Be prepared to be harassed wherever you go about how rad your necklace is and wonder as to where they can get one. (ME) :)
These also make rad birthday/christmas/get well/i love you or whatever gifts.
Contact me by email if you'd like to know more or would like to purchase one.
I'll toss them in the mail the next day and before you know it, you'll be wearing one to.
Monday, August 31, 2009
I haven't seen him in 2 days.
His face that is.
His nose has been buried in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series by Rick Riordan.
He did rise enough to run out to the library today to get book 3. He read book 2, The Sea of Monsters all the way there. Finished it shortly after we got home and is already 1/2 way through the 3rd. I'm afraid I have to reserve book4. Hope it's turned in tomorrow or....who knows what we're in store for.
He only hit the baseball for 2 minutes today.???? Only to throw the bat down and run back to his book.
I'm proud of him!! But seriously, are his eyes crossed yet?
10 thumbs up from this boy. Highly recommended. I might have to read them myself.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
But I've fallen in LOVE WITH THE NORTHWEST all over again and all the FRESH LOCAL FRUIT that i can find on any walk, bike ride or drive around town. The backyard that we're "squatting" in at the moment has a purple plum, yellow plum, pear and apple tree!! More blackberries than you can imagine are taking over town. It's not uncommon to see folks walking around town with a bowl of fresh pick berries. Or kids with purple stained fingers and smiles. I love it! I'm missing my big freezer right now. Not to worry, we are getting our fair share. I thought you could tire of it, I'm mistaken. I still stop to pick a berry or two whenever I go.
We went raspberry picking a few weeks ago. Brought home 17 pounds of the bright red yums. We froze a lot and there's nothing better than throwing them in fresh whole wheat pancakes in mornin'.
Jason made a bomb blackberry biscuit cobbler the other night.
We would love to hear your favorite recipes for all these plums, apples, pears and blackberries.
Wish you were all near to share in the goodness!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Enough is Enough!!
I'm embarrassed that I'm still 2 months behind on blogs. Exciting events happen daily in our lives and I want to share them quickly with you all but I refuse to write about today's happenings when you don't even know where we are or how we got here.
So....I'm giving you the fast version. Jason will not be happy with my cheatin' ways but I'll deal with him later. :)
My last blog left off in Colorado. After the Teva Games it was time to head back to one of our favorite towns, Durango, where we "thought" we could "find" jobs. HA! Nada!
We tried to enjoy our time there. We met some great folks who took us out to bouldering spots RIGHT IN TOWN!! We played frisbee in the park. We spent lots of time at the library.
I also STRESSED!!! I'll be honest. Life isn't always peaches and cream. We all know that. We have our moments and we struggle through them. Hopefully we learn and become better people. Hopefully next time we are able to handle the situation with a more positive attitude. I try hard to see the light. To remember that this is only a moment and soon it will pass. Remind myself that everything happens for a reason, even if at the time you dig deep and can't find what that reason may be. Yet, I'm human and sometimes fail. I can easily get swallowed up by my funk. Tends to be one of my downfalls. I need to remember how to breathe and relax in times of stress. I often wonder how I can meditate and relax during the craziest contraction of childbirth yet during one of life's' roller coasters forget everything I know, get caught up in the not so happy moment and hold on tight before I might fall. Luckily, I am surrounded by a loving family and I am able to pull myself out. We all have those moments in life. Having them while on the road just makes them that much funkier. Not too mention affects your family and everyone around you. Here is where you learn how close of quarters your really living in and that indeed, you have no where to hide. This is when you say:Here I am, Love me or Leave me. No wait....please don't leave me. ;)
So plan B.....Flagstaff, AZ. It's a bigger town. Close to a even bigger city. Surely there's work there right???? Nope. Strike out Numero Duo. Humph.....
My spirits rose while here. I love Flagstaff. It felt more like home. The high desert. The juniper trees. Farmers Markets and Folk Festivals. Great people and music. A lively downtown that never gets old. But when it came to jobs, same ole' same ol. No one called us back and nothing manifested. It was okay though. This time I knew there was something else out there. At the time I didn't know what, but I knew it would all be okay.
Plan C....There wasn't one. What do you do? Make one!
Anacortes, WA. Far, far away on an island in northern WA lies a small town where family is close and apparently work rains down. At first we didn't want to go. We loved being near the red sandstone and deep canyons of the Southwest. Sometimes, you just don't have a choice and you need to trust and step on the gas. Prepare yourselves for a long, long journey back to where it all began. Deja Vu!!!
When we left Bend ONE YEAR AGO our first stop was....Anacortes, WA. Nans and Grumps live here and they had a grand old boat that needed painting. Jay being the handyman he is....tackled and conquered the job. This then gave him the experience to return back to Anacortes to paint yet another boat and another boat and flood us, literally, with more work than we know what to do with at the current time. Don't' get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Okay, since this has turned into a "spill all" blog, I *may* be whining from time to time about how tired i am or how i won't see my husband for the next 7 weeks. But the end result is all worth it.
On our way here we were able to spend a few days with good friends in Boise, ID who we've been promising for years we'd visit. We also to spent a few nights back in Bend with our dear friends catching up. Many welcomed new additions to their families and we finally got a chance to meet those little squishy ones. I tried to sneak out a few times with them tucked under my arms. Momma's beware!
So here we are. It's almost like we never left. I'm wondering if this past year as been a dream. I pinch myself periodically and know how fortunate we are to have had this opportunity. We're working hard now, enjoying time with Nan-Nan and Grumpy and wondering after this, where our next path will lead.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
The zig-zag continues.
From Basalt we took a day trip to Aspen. I've never seen Aspen in the winter, but I can only imagine how fun it would be. Kaleb had that brand new snowboard in the RV and was wishing the ski resorts were still open. What a great area. We played at the skatepark, made a tribute to John Denver, climbed at the gym with pro climber Emily Harrington and ate some of the best pizza ever. Unfortunately Independence Pass didn't open for 2 more days. BOO!
We still had a good 2 weeks before we needed to be back in Vail for Ani's competition. We thought it would be fun to sneak up on Uncle Brian in Colorado Springs. On the way we spent the night in Leadville at 10,000 feet. Of course, it rained the whole time. Lucky for us, we found a little RV park, plugged in and geeked out on almost a whole season of Survivor.
The next day gave us more rain and as we drove over passes we even hit some snow. Ugh!! This was our 2nd time this year in Colorado and even though it was May, we still got snowed on. We stopped at the visitor center to hit them up on free hot coffee and fresh baked cookies. Yummy goodness on a gray day!
We had fun surprising Uncle Brian with our visit. We spent a week with him in "the Springs". And yes, it rained every single day! (our Colorado theme) We still found moments of open sky to enjoy a weekend festival, climb, play in Manitou Springs, find a BMX track to ride around in, and waste dimes and nickles in the penny arcade.
It was almost time to start heading back to Vail. We took a few days getting there to climb some more and get Ani back on the rock and in shape. She was getting excited. We got to Vail early to ensure a good camp spot close to town. We heard there were bear sightings in camp but never got the opportunity to see one of these huge creatures out in the wild. We familiarized ourselves with town, took lots of walks, slack lined in camp and awaited grandma and granpa's arrival.
Monday, July 27, 2009
We spent just over one month in Colorado this spring. The picture above shows what we were almost always driving towards and never away from. We could not hide from the rain. No matter what direction we went or how many miles we drove. It rained. It poured. It thundered. It got us wet. But it didn't get us down!!
Our first stop was Colorado National Monument just outside of Grand Junction, close to the Utah border.
After a quiet night at the campground, we woke up and the kids completed there Junior Ranger Program. We took a few short hikes and drove the 25 miles scenic drive. It was a beautiful place. I'm not sure it impressed us as much as it might others. We had just spent 2 months exploring the canyons of Southern Utah, which blew our minds. But the Monument is still a good place to explore for a day.
We planned on spending a few days exploring the lands around this area. We drove a bit out of town and found another camp spot. It was May and already hitting the 90 degree mark. After sitting outside in the heat for a bit and staring at the red canyon landscape, I decided I had enough. I was now in Colorado and ready for the cool breeze and the Rocky Mountains. We quickly packed up and drove over to Paonia.
We met a couple in Joshua Tree who told us about Paonia. They told us that we looked like the "type" of people that live there. I took this as a compliment, especially after spending a few days there. Paonia, which is a Spanish for "peony" the flower, was founded in 1882. It is known for producing wonderful peaches, apples, and other fruits. I absolutely fell in love with the little slice of heaven. The people couldn't be any friendlier or welcoming and the scenery and energy of the town will have you skipping down the road. If ever given the opportunity to live and work here, I'd move tomorrow. Work is the key word.
After Paonia we headed to Carbondale where we spent an entire day at the Rec Center swimming and rock climbing. For those of you thinking about hitting the road for any lenght of time, rec centers are a great place to shower up and usually get free wi-fi. Then it was on to Glenwood Springs and Basalt to hang with the Ward family. We met this rad family while in Bisbee, AZ last Nov. They had rented a motorhome and took a month traveling around the Southwest. We promised them we would come visit in the spring and we stuck to that. They welcomed us into their home like family. Co-dinners we made, wine was drunk, lemonade stands made money, walks took us through the great community and friendships were strengthened. We couldn't have asked for better hospitality. Thank you guys! We look forward to spending more time with you one day.
And the story pauses here friends.......I'm tired. I'm trying real hard to catch up onour blogs. I'm now only 2 months behind. Part 2 will come tomorrow. Right now, my head needs to find my pillow.