Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This Is Torture!

We have new bikes in the house and nobody has been able to go for a bike ride!
Rain, illness (me) and a lack of time (Mitch has a gazillion final projects due this week) are keeping us off our sweet new bikes.
I did take mine for a spin around the courtyard when I first brought it home:

For all the biking I've done in my life (six months riding all over the country with my hubby, 24 hour rides...) I had never actually even been on a road bike before this week. Just an old mountain bike actually sized for my tall sister that I had put road slick tires on and rode almost everyday, everywhere. Now I know what I've been missing! Look at that bike! And at that grin on my face:) Mitch decided that for his graduation he wanted to get me a bike. He found this one on Craigslist and we went and got it last week. FELT 86, my size (52), aluminum frame, one sweet bike! It felt so tight and fast riding it! Thank you, Mitch. You do know what your wife loves!

Mitch also got a new bike for graduation from his parents. He might have to tell you more about it because I won't be able to do it justice. This bike is the top of the line. Specialized Tarmac S-Works, if that means anything to you. It was a demo bike ( top of the line rental) at our favorite bike shop here, has very few miles on it, had a full tune-up before and after each time it was used, is the 2008 model, and because it was a demo bike from a previous year it was half-off. One incredibly nice bike that was actually in the price range Mitch was looking in! Carbon frame, dura-ace components (this is what professional racers use), you can lift this bike with your pinky finger. You should see the grin on Mitch's face!

Now if only we could go for a ride together!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Engineering Awards Banquet

After three long years and lots of hard work Mitch is finally about to graduate! That is one big cause for celebration in our life!!! He's planning on attending grad school here at CU in the Fall, working towards a masters degree in Civil Engineering, but for now we're marking a milestone achieved (or, almost achieved-we still have to get through this last week of classes and then finals week before graduation next Thursday). Mitch was given an award for being the Outstanding Civil Engineering Student and we got to attend an awards banquet along with the other awardees from the other Engineering departments, other outstanding alumni of the college of Engineering who were receiving awards or have received an award in the past and donors of the college. Congratulations, Mitch! It was quite an event. Not our typical Friday evening, let me tell you.

My sisters, when they found out about the award and accompanying event, decided to send me my own award: "Mother of the Year", as nominated by the 'Two Sisters Selection Committee'. My award came with dresses to wear to this and another upcoming banquet. Thank you, sisters! It does feel like this graduation has been a joint effort, even though you were the one actually taking the classes, Mitch. I suppose any achievement in a united household will feel like that.

Here we are, the handsome couple, before the banquet:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cozy Hammock Pile

See?! It really was a pile! But it's a bit of a chilly day here, so it felt cozy, as opposed to squishy or hot or crowded. These are the days when I say that the weather feels coastal: cool and grey. A nice contrast to all the bright sunshine. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving all the sunshine, but I also like change when it comes to the weather. Too much of one thing is, well, too much.
We were excited because we finally figured out a way to hang our hammock up outside our house. All the trees in our courtyard are too far apart, but one huge spreading Maple has some large branches that are far enough apart to hang the hammock from. Anna has been asking me every day this last week to put the hammock up ever since we discovered this place. The first time we put it up was on a sunny day when all the kids that live in our whole courtyard were outside. They all piled in at once and had a blast. The only problem was that the littlest ones kept getting lost on the bottom of the pile. Today was a little more peaceful. On grey days we tend to have the courtyard to ourselves. I suppose you could say that no matter what the weather is I just like to be outside. And what better way to be outside than to snuggle up in a cozy hammock with your three little girls?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Anna Rides A Two-Wheeler

We officially have a little bike rider in the family! Anna can ride a two-wheeler! I am so proud of her. About a week ago I took the training wheels off her bike and she has been going around the courtyard propelling herself along with her feet on the ground on her 'balance bike', as we were calling it. This afternoon she was showing me how she could get herself going and then lift her feet up off the ground for a ways, coasting along. That is a huge improvement in her balance, let me tell you. I decided she was ready to learn to really ride a bike. I held onto the bike and had her start pedalling, but I only had to follow her a few times around the courtyard before it was very apparent that she didn't need me any more. She picked it up quick! Here's a video of her biking along:

We were so proud of our little bike rider that we felt like a family ice cream outing was in order.

Good job, Anna!

My favorite part? The huge grin on her face and the sparkle in her eyes as she said "I'm doing it, Mom!" after we had gone around the courtyard once.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Picnic

We had a blustery day here as we celebrated Resurrection Sunday, one of the highlights of our year (you can read some of Mitch's reflections on what Easter means to us here).

The weather seemed to match my mood on this day as it oscillated between dark clouds, snow, and blustery, warm sunshine. The fullness of what it means to me to be human, feeling all the emotions of living daily life on this planet. The joy and hope of Christ's resurrection defining how we seek to live our lives today. The reality of a husband finally getting home at 4:30 in the morning, swamped with work, exhausted, stressed. Three precious, sweet girls with bright, expectant eyes, trusting, loving, knowing, laughing, living in the present moment of this beautiful life we have. Me, taking it all in, struggling to let go of the things I cannot control, feeling the depth of my thankfulness for all that I have been given, loving the now and hating the now, knowing that now is all I have and yet living in the knowledge and hope of what is yet to come, remaining connected and in love with every member of my family. Daily life.

After church our friends the Cuthbertsons came over and we celebrated Resurrection Sunday with them, laughing, feasting, soaking up sunshine, loving on little girls, watching the antics of big kids flying in the wind and making kites, celebrating as one big family.

Ruthie in her Easter outfit playing with an Easter egg:
Josie wanted to show you her egg:

Anna working hard to peel hers:

Does she seem bigger to you? All grown up and cute as a button:

Nora and Ruthie, forever friends:

Josie and Nora running in the wind. These two are a good match for each other:

The colorful picnic spread:

The younger generation served their plates first and found a spot on the picnic blankets:

Then we joined them:
Here's wishing your Easter, too, was full of real life, good times with friends, smiles and laughter, sunshine and not too many dark clouds that keep us grounded in our own humanity.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Compost Season Has Begun

Notice that I didn't say gardening season. The weather is finally starting to warm up, but with a last frost date still 6 weeks away, I'm not in a hurry to plant anything in the ground. But that's okay because I got to do my next favorite thing, playing with the compost! The best thing about being the garden liaison here in our community garden is that I am in charge of the compost (the other main benefit is that we get two garden plots instead of just one). So yesterday the girls and I headed out to fill the huge compost tumbler out at the garden. We have two big black bins that families in our apartments can throw their compost in year round. When the weather is warm enough I periodically fill our compost tumbler with the raw material in the black bins, along with weeds from the garden, leaves, and other garden waste. If I do it right I can have finished compost ready to put on the garden plots every 2-3 weeks. Of course, the mice enjoy this ready food source all winter long. They've had quite an easy life in the black bins. Until I came along with my shovel and pitchfork yesterday, that is. You should have seen them, two or three mice scurrying up out of their holes with each shovelful of compost. They couldn't quite figure out what had happened to their nice homes. Anna, Josie and Ruthie loved watching them, as long as they ran away from us when I scared them up. A few of them were pretty disoriented and had to be encouraged in the right direction. Today when we went out to spin the compost tumbler there were no mice to be seen in the almost empty black bin. Until next winter, little mice! We've enjoyed watching you scurry away from us all winter long as we came out to your home to dump out our compost. I hope you find nice summer quarters.