Thursday, December 22, 2011


I started this holiday season with huge dreams of a completely handmade Christmas, one that showed my loved ones how much they mean to me, and how unimportant the commercialism truly is to celebrate the holidays. I didn't get anywhere close to finishing my list, that was broken out in Excel with a tab for each family member, links to tutorials, ideas, and pictures that inspired me. Instead, I completed one handmade gift for my mom's birthday (Christmas Eve), am 95% done with a gift for my oldest, and have a well-thought out idea for my youngest (some of the prep-work is complete as well). That's all. I'm not sure how we are now three days away from Christmas and I haven't completed anything else on the list. I still want to make ornaments for our nieces and nephews, and I think we may have eaten all the christmas cookies we made over the weekend. I also had this grand idea of completely outfitting the boys play room for Christmas to include painting over the mauve color with something fun and playful, to inspire them to want to play there, we have ideas for a fort and stuffed animal zoo, a reading nook, and a place to do crafts. Like I said - grand ideas. We haven't actually done much to start that room yet.

We have certainly been celebrating the season: my oldest (who is still only 3 1/2) can sing the entire song of We Three Kings (he's amazing!), we read from our collection of Christmas/Holiday books every naptime and before bed, the boys take turns with the advent calendar, we are visiting the Christmas Train tonight, we have been to visit Santa, made sugar cutout cookies, and decorated the house.

Perhaps that long list of things we've been doing coupled with the fact that at least one person in our family has been sick at any given time in December has caused me to be behind. I really think that's just an excuse though. I would love to have made more this year. Instead though I have given myself a break. I could be disappointed, instead I'm thrilled that I made what I did. I could say that I'll be better next year, I'll start in the summer. Truth is, I won't. I know I won't. So I'm cutting myself some slack this year - instead of doing the play room before Christmas the hubby and I can work on it during my 10 days off between Christmas and New Years. We still bought less - much less. And we are creating memories in our new house - isn't that what this holiday is really about?

What gifts did you make this year? Does your family have any holiday traditions that you treasure?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Settling in

Ah yes, where were we? I think the last post was one filled with frustration and anxious, waiting-game filled drama (no? did I just imagine it?). We have since closed on our beautiful home - however the drama did continue through and I have a new best friend in an account manager of the local branch in CO where I opened my original account. He was the only one who told me "yes" when I asked for help in wiring our down payment and closing costs (at the very last minute, mind you), without my physical presence in the branch. You see, this particular bank doesn't have any branches in the entire state of OK. You'd think this would make me want to change banks. And I guarantee you that I would have, IF no one had helped. Yet I found one fantastic employee who didn't tell me "no" - he made it work. And at the closing, with less than 3 pages left (out of the approximately 5,000 pages you have to sign), the wire came through and we actually got our keys! We closed on Halloween at about 5pm, proceeded home to change the boys into their ninja costumes, go trick or treating, load some of the big items, put the boys to bed at grandma's house, then unload the truck at the new house.

On the trick-or-treating front - this was the first year that Colin REALLY enjoyed the whole process and really seemed to get it. He was dragging us along literally, or running through the yard, pointing out all the houses that had their porch lights on. Chris and I got a kick out of seeing what a big boy he has grown into. Jack on the other hand was perfectly happy clutching the lollipop he got at house #2 with a death grip and a growl to anyone who made a move to take it away.

We've been in the house for a whole 3 weeks now and are slowly starting to settle in. We lucked out with fantastic neighbors (only three houses on our cul-de-sac, ours is one of them). One neighbor has already given us an open invite to use his pool whenever, and the other neighbors have 4 kids and adore playing with the boys. I can usually come home to a handful of them playing basketball or riding bikes in the driveway of the house. It's fantastic. Colin loves his new friends, and they all seem to be pretty good kids.

We are getting ready to host approximately 30+ people at our house for Thanksgiving this year - it's my favorite holiday, and when we were contemplating a move to OK I made sure to tell Chris that anyone was welcome to come over but that I would be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I think he heard me :). It will be a mini-family reunion on his side of the family and we are both looking forward to a full house.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The waiting game

I am am competitive person. By nature, that generally means I like games; however, the waiting game is not one of them. I am as impatient as I am competitive - and when I want something I.Want.It.Now. Not tomorrow, not in a week, not two days after it's expected to be attained. Hmph. So when I found out this morning that our house closing, which technically should have been last Friday but was pushed to sometime this week, is likely not to happen until the beginning of next week :(. Sad. Yes, I realize that I shouldn't have been mentally unpacking all my boxes of things that were packed up nice and neat (read: thrown haphazardly into a box at the end becuase the movers moved faster than we could get the stuff in boxes and is now why I am cooking with three random, odd pans without lids for the past two months...).

I am trying to learn patience. Really I am. Trying that is, and failing miserably.  I will try to look at the bright side and say that this gives us the weekend to shove the few unpacked belongings back into a box (rather than having the weekend to unpack in our new dream house). I will pretend that by prolonging the chaos of moving my family for the second time in a few months we will have one last sane weekend together as a family to play before we have enough moving/unpacking/organizing etc to keep us busy until 2013.

At the end of the day I must say that we are pretty lucky. We found our dream house quickly upon moving to a new state, and up to now, all the pieces have fallen into place. Yes, the new roof could have been put on sooner, but in the grand scheme of things, I don't care that it will take a few extra days before we call the house our home.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sometimes I even amaze myself...

Have I ever mentioned that I'm not a fan of heights? Or that I generally try to avoid activities that could potentially injure me? I am not a risk taker; a fact that is getting progressively worse as I not only get older, but as I see my kids doing things that could get them hurt. As soon as I had a nasty fall snow skiing I pretty much gave it up. The continual fear of falling and breaking either my neck or my back prevented me from skiing safely. I would love to say that skydiving is my thing, but frankly, when it comes down to me in a plane with a parachute attached to my back, someone would have to physically push me out of the plane. I don't know that my feet would willingly jump. Things brings me to last Friday. We had an offsite retreat for work; you know, the teambuilding kind where we played games that highlighted the importance of getting to know and respect each other, and the value of communication.

After all that fun, the instructor led us the the high ropes course. Yep, ladies and gentlemen, it's exactly as it sounds. We were in the woods at a lodge just outside of Tulsa, with high poles all around us, getting strapped into rock climbing harnesses. I'm not sure what came over me. Maybe it was the fun and exhilaration that I felt when I climbed up the first pole, walked across the beam, climbed up higher to the platform and took the zipline through the trees. That gave me a taste of the excitement. Totally unlike me to enjoy that adrenaline rush. My legs were shaky and my heart was pounding. Rather than sit back and watch my colleagues experience it as well, I realized that I really wanted to climb the tall pole and truly challenge myself. I'm not really sure what came over me other than a sincere desire to just try it. I am a terrible judge of distance, but perhaps the pole was as big around as a dinner plate, maybe smaller, and it was about 40 feet in the air give or take. about 10 feet in front of the top of the pole was a bandana, suspended. The intent is to climb to the top, manuever your way to where you are standing on the pole, and jump - grabbing the bandana on the way down.

My legs shook for a good ten minutes after the jump, but the sense of accomplishment and sheer joy I felt will certainly last for some time. I'm pretty sure there are pictures to show for it - I'll post them eventually once I get copies. In the meantime, I'd just like to say that sometimes I even amaze myself.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ugh - landlords (or why I'm happy-dancing that we are one step closer to closing on our first house!)

Landlords. Security Deposits. No tax write off on mortgage interest. I could go on and on about renting and why I'm glad that we are so close to having it behind us. I can't tell you how annoying it is to receive a refunded security deposit that notes a ridiculous amount withheld for something that is considered "normal wear and tear" and the subsequent fight to get that money back in the hands of it's rightful owner. But alas, that is the fight I find myself in this morning. Our previous landlords are trying to have us purchase something new for the house due to normal wear and tear through normal use. While I can certainly appreciate that the owner felt that replacing it was more beneficial to the home than repairing the issue - replacement due to the normal wear and tear was not necessary and therefore not my financial burden. However since we are now states away, dealing with this issue is going to be such an annoyance but I'm stubborn so I'll keep on it.

This issue just highlights how happy I am that we are **this close** to closing on our first house. We still need to get through the appraisal, and are hoping we can schedule that after the new roof is put on. Did I mention that the sellers will be replacing the roof? :) Happy dance! Without a new roof we would have walked, and since this could be the dream house we are soooo happy that we don't have to. Cross your fingers that all continues to go well!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Found it...

Lately I have been comparing myself to my beautiful little almost two year old baby boy. Jack may be one of the sweetest ones in the world and gives his big brother a run for his money sometimes with the cuteness factor (we are very blessed parents!). Jack is the prince of pointing out the obvious in his own innocent way. He will happily shout "found it!" whenver we are looking for something, regardless of the fact if he: a) actually found the item we were looking for, b) saw mommy or daddy with the item 10 minutes after we found it, or c) saw something that did not remotely resemble what we were looking for in the first place but he thinks it's pretty cool. It's quite hilarious and he knows it - could be why he does it in the first place, this kid loves to laugh. Getting back to my comparison to him. As we are transitioning to life in Tulsa, I have had many opportunities to count my blessings. My kids are thriving, I am really enjoying my new job, my husband and I are able to go out on a date, we have found a beautiful house that we love and are in the processing of trying to make it ours. In the meantime we are in a rental house and since we don't plan to be here very long we didn't set up cable - this has led to countless hours in the backyard playing "Simon Says", baseball with the boys, and running around as a family. I feel like we have already been able to spend a significant amount of quality time together and we've been here less than a month. Perhaps the newness factor will wear off soon. Perhaps it won't. For now, I'll just remind myself how lucky I am that we have more health, happiness, love, and togetherness than I cold have ever dreamt possible. I knew when we first started talking about moving to Tulsa that we were going to do it for the kids, for our family; to slow life down a little bit. As Jack would say, we "found it!".

Friday, September 9, 2011

Settling in

Wow - so much has happened in the past month. The only way to describe leaving my last job is to explain it to you the way my (now former) co-worker explained it to me.

It feels as if you are in a war-zone and missles and bullets are flying around you. You watch as a close friend dodges each bullet as she or he runs toward the US Embassy. As that friend pulls open the gates and escapes into freedom, you feel nothing but happiness that as they turn around and wave with a huge smile on thier face.

While I understand that some may think it's in poor taste to compare my last job to a war-zone, at times, to those of us on the inside, it was an easy comparison. It was also nice to know that those I left behind are just happy to know that I have found something better. The new job is awesome; I'm still in that new hire cocoon, but I'm enjoying everything that I'm learning and am excited about the possibilities that are in front of me.

The move to Tulsa itself has been so wonderful for my family. The boys are thriving and really enjoying being around all our extended family. They have created bonds already and we only hope things continue to progress as they are currently. We have also already put in an offer on a house we have found and love. It's absolutely the dream house and fingers crossed, we'll be in it before Thanksgiving. Walking into homes during the search this is the only one that reached out and made us realized that we could visualize raising our families here. The garden will take a bit more planning because of all the trees on the property, but since the house feels like it's in the woods, it's a task I'll take on. The garden may not be centrally located and instead be multiple areas with garden boxes strewn about the property based on where the sun shines through, but I'm still excited about the planning process and what we can grow.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Giving Back

Movers are coming a week from today. Our move to Tulsa, one that we have discussed on and off for the last three+ years, is finally becoming a reality. I feel so blessed to have things fall into place the way they have. Don't get me wrong, this process has not been without many bumps along the way, however I am so fortunate to already feel so welcomed by extended family and friends who have had their fingers crossed probably just as much as we have! Our boys are looking forward to playing with cousins and being closer to many relatives just as much as we are.

I'm also looking forward to settling down, buying a house, getting our compost and raised beds ready for the spring planting season. I am also excited about finding new opportunities to volunteer. Chris and I met through volunteerism and have had to put that on hold while we had two boys and a master's program that kept us busier than we could have imagined when we first signed up. It will be nice to get back into doing something we love and meeting new people in our new community along the way. There are many different organizations that we can get involved in and there are already a few that have jumped out at me: is a local organization that works to plant an "urban forest" in and around Tulsa. My first thought was whether or not they plant fruit and/or nut trees to help supplement any of the local food banks. As a mom my heart breaks when I think about little ones and their families who go without the support they need - today's economy means there are more and more families out there who need a hand up. has a partnership with local farmers that allow volunteers to come pick fresh produce for the food bank.

There are also many community garden projects that have piqued my interest - can't wait to get down there and get involved!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I have been with my current company over 4 years now. Love it or hate it (I've been in both places more times than I care to count) I have had many many experiences here. I got married, got pregnant, met one of my closest friends as she was hired to be my replacement while I was out on maternity leave, got pregnant with #2, started (and finished!) my master's degree, made many wonderful friends (and potentially enemies), and the last four years here have been spent either laughing, crying, venting, or screaming (and sometimes working!). Although I am more than ready to move on next week there are many things, or should I say people, here that I will miss.

I say all the time that I love change - I should, I've been through it enough; I've initiated change, embraced it, left the country twice looking for change, and have started over more than once in my life. There is a difference this time; although I am excited about the change I know what I am leaving behind. I have never been one who was great at keeping in touch with people; I have groups of people from different times in my life and I'm sad to say that when I move on (physically or figuratively) I'm terrible about staying in touch. I want to be different. I need to be different. I am different now. I have been so lucky in the 6 years that I have been in Colorado - I think I may have even grown up when I wasn't looking (ssshhh - don't tell).

This time will be different. I know who is important to me and I know it won't be the same as being able to go out to a spur of the moment lunch or have infrequent but wonderful dinners with close friends. I will not be here to help a good friend plan her wedding (but you can be damn sure we'll be there for the event!!), and I'll miss seeing another set of friends as they make their way through the journey of being a parent. However, I am looking forward to our upcoming move to Tulsa. Being able to raise my children near family is incredibly important to me; we will also be able to buy a house (with land!) and have a big garden and hopefully be able to do all the things that we haven't yet been able to do in Colorado. I am overwhelmed with wonder if I can actually do the job I am being hired to do, and I suppose that a bit of hesitation and nervousness is only normal. It's not a bad thing to want it all, right? Cause I do. And we'll have a guest room ready for anyone who wants to come visit.

My friend sent me this picture today. This explains it all:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A lesson in patience

The past few months have given me a greatly needed lesson in patience. I have also been the type to WANT.IT.NOW. And when I can't get it now I often get frustrated and irritable and generally not fun to be around (my poor husband). I don't like surprises, and am generally just a control freak. There. I said it. I like to control the world around me and when I have no control over other people (like my children, potential new bosses, or the person pulling the lotto numbers) I get annoyed. While I'm not perfect (and I hope I never gave you the impression that I was cause I never will be) I am happy to say that I'm learning and I haven't driven either myself or my husband off the deep end in the process. Although I don't want to tempt fate by putting this out there - I'm highly expecting good news tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, cross your fingers for me and send happy thoughts my way!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

a new day

We graduated. My husband and I walked last Friday, on our oldest sons third birthday. We have (un)officially obtained our Master's degrees. It was a bit anticlimactic since we have to complete our final class before we are officially done. The empty casing that should have held our degree was simply a reminder that we have more to do. The time we had was exhausting; but luckily we have both of our moms there to help with the kids. I am happy to be home. A week in Vermont with mosquitoes the size of small airplanes was a bit too much, especially for my children who seem to attract them just as much as their mommy does...

I am still waiting on that magical phone call that could transform the comfortable little life we have created here in beautiful CO. I'm wondering if it's the right decision; second guessing myself is something I'm good at (who isn't?). However, since I don't actually have an offer letter in hand I guess I'm putting the cart in front of the horse. In the meantime, i plan on enjoying my time here, doing all the things I have taken for granted simply because they were in my backyard. Lunch with a good friend, a hike perhaps, accupuncture, a date with my husband, maybe even a trip to the Maroon Bells (six years of living in CO and I still haven't been there...)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A new perspective

it has been quite some time since I was last has gotten away from me a little bit. My baby is turning 3 next week and I'm still not quite sure how that happened (I swear I just brought him home from the hospital...). My youngest is 20 months, and my husband and I are graduating with our Master's degrees next week. My how time flies... About three years ago we were exploring the option of moving to Oklahoma to be closer to my husband's family, and gave it up when certain aspects of life started to fall into place here in Colorado. We are now back in the same place but looking at it from a completely new perspective. Moving to OK is not scary, strange, or nerve-wracking; instead it's an opportunity that I am extremely excited about. We are actively seeking employment that will allow us to buy our first home together; one that has at least an acre so i can create my dream garden, hopefully have chickens and ducks, rain barrels, and a large compost bin. Our lives have significantly changed - for the better. I never thought I would be back in this place now, but can honestly say I haven't been this excited about something in about 20 months.