Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a White Halloween

Here's the view we woke up to this morning- 21 inches of snow. And it's still snowing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It's snowing now. An inch already. The news reports say 10-20 inches in the next 24 hours. And more snow on Thursday night. I'm just hoping this doesn't ruin Halloween for the kids. This is the first Halloween that has really mattered to Brandon. And to Caitlin, but I don't think it matters as much to her as it does to him. Snow never seems to stop much around here, so  the show will go on. It might just go on in snowboots instead of cowboy boots!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Patch (Sort of )

Pumpkin patches here in Colorado are on farms. There are no cute corner lots. No games. No trains to ride. No pumpkins sitting nicely on straw bales. No fresh produce in the little stand on the way out. Nothing like the one that we use to visit yearly back in California. Here you go out the farm and walk the rows and rows of pumpkins, most still attached to the vines, trying to find one that suits you. It's an arduous, cold, and sometimes very dirty process, depending on what the weather has been like recently. Two years ago I went with Brandon's preschool to the pumpkin patch. We drove over 20 miles to go to a farm up outside of Longmont. The kids loved the tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch. And all the mud from the rain storm the day before. I did laundry right after we got home.

Brian and I decided to take the kids to a local pumpkin patch today. A "You Pick 'Em" patch - which we were unaware of until the woman at the entrance handed us a little pumpkin saw to detach our prizes from the vine. We drove out onto the farm, parked, and proceeded to inspect our pumpkins. The colder temps we've had, along with snow and freezing temperatures we experienced the first week of October have not been friendly to the local pumpkin crop. Most of the pumpkins were either rotting, or had some serious soft spots. It was a project and a half trying to find a decent one. It turned our pumpkin patch adventure from one where were just looking for a nice pumpkin to a serious search where were had to find pumpkins that not only looked and felt good (ie: no soft spots), and that we thought might last until Friday night's pumpkin carving party (Caitlin got a little pumpkin during her field trip last week that has already been relegated to the garbage pail due to rotting). Combine that with a cold front blowing in and attempting not to trip over the tangled mass of pumpkin vines, and you had quite a different outing than what I've experienced in California at the Spina Farms patch, or Half Moon Bay. I can see the value of both, but city patches (the fake ones, as people here tell me) are a lot easier. And cleaner.

All in all, we did manage to find two pumpkins that will work, provided they don't rot before Friday. I'm keeping them in the house, though, since we are expected to get snow tomorrow and more freezing temperatures overnight and next week. I bought one at Sunflower Farmer's Market last week. That's our "just in case" pumpkin. Just in case the other two don't make it. The kids seemed to have fun (except when they got caught in the sticker patches, or tripped on vines). Brian inspected about 200 pumpkins, no exaggeration, and I played photographer. Mothers must get the quintessential cute-kids-at-the-pumpkin-patch pictures, you know. Just ignore all the dirt in ours. And the storm rolling in!

For more pictures, click here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 16th

October 16th - last year

October 16th - this year

My what a difference a cold snap and snow in early October can make!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Two Year Anniversary

Lots of anniversaries this year for us. I've celebrated 2 years in Colorado in May, 6 years of gainful unemployment in August, 10 years of marriage in February, and now 2 years in our current house. We moved two years ago today.

I don't remember much about that weekend. Brian was gone the week before and the week after, but did manage to get back home right before we moved. He was suppose to on another business trip the day after our move, but his boss called him that night and told him to move his ticket to Sunday and stay at home another day. :-) I was busy packing, packing and doing more packing. We purged before we left California, only bought what was necessary for our awful little rental place after we moved here, and it still seemed like we owned far too much. The packing seemed excessive, even though at least a third of our belongings had not even been unpacked in our rental. It was badly laid out, and there wasn't room for our stuff - even though it was about 150 square feet bigger. Plus, we were hoping to move quickly. Oh how I hated that place. I've never missed it. Not once. Maybe the packing was getting to me because it was the second time in 5 months that we'd be moving. Or because I was exhausted. Who knows. I did contemplate having a bonfire of boxes to celebrate the move. Instead, I put them up as a freebie on Craigslist. Amazingly, it took weeks to get rid of the boxes! Not at all what I was use to!

So, what's changed in two years? Not much, as far as the house is concerned. The walls still look the same. Our bedroom is still green. We got furniture for the living room and a bed for the basement. Our life outside the house is a little different. Brandon finished preschool and started kindergarten at the local public school, which is half a mile away instead of 6 miles.That was a nice change. We've made a few friends, although community here seems hard to come by. The kids have gotten older. Caitlin has now lived over half her life in Colorado. She asks questions about California, but I doubt she really remembers it. Colorado has yet to feel like home, but I'm not pining for California, either. I miss my family and the friends we had. I miss the beach and the lovely green winters and the diversity. Don't miss the government, the over crowing, or the inability to talk to my neighbors because we don't speak the same language. Living in middle America is different. I'm slowly getting use to it. I've worn nothing but jeans for days! But I'm still not into football, the Broncos, or beer. And I miss people. It's a little creepy being the only person in a store in the mornings!

So here we are, in our little house (by Colorado standards). I like my house. And my backyard. Got some weird neighbors, but who doesn't? Happy two year anniversary to us!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Winter in Fall

October 10, 2009

Woke up to 18 degrees and snowing! Hello? It's October!!! Just because I said I was ready for fall didn't necessarily mean that I was ready for winter! I was just ready for the heat of summer to be done. It's not a lot of snow, just enough to coat our back deck and be visible. It's strange to see the leaves that have started to turn sitting on top of the newly fallen snow.

Colorado weather is strange. As long as you don't mind the unexpected, it's all fine and good. The first summer here in 2007 was hot with lots of thunderstorms. The second summer was just hot, with the only rain being a weekend in August that was 50 degrees and drizzle for 3 straight days. Wrecked all the pumpkins last year. This year's summer was just about perfect. Cooler June and most of July. Temps got up to the mid '80's in late July and August, with lots of thunderstorms. The annual fall cool down started in mid-September. Our first winter here was cold and icy. Not a lot of snow during each snowfall, but snow on the ground for months. I think I bundled up and put on boots every morning in winter to take Brandon to school. Last winter was mild, except for a bout of almost record breaking cold in December, when the lows were 19 below zero, and highs were around zero for a week or two. Then, in March and April we were hit by blizzards that dumped 18 inches of wet snow on our house in under 24 hours! This winter --- who knows? I'm expecting cold and snowy, but that's only because this whole year seems to have been on the cooler and wetter side. But what do I know? I live in Colorado. Best to just not expect anything!

Luckily Brian made chocolate chip waffles and coffee for me this morning. And the weather report said the temperatures for the middle of next week are suppose to be a good 40 to 50 degrees warmer. For now I'll just turn on the fireplace and maybe make some hot cocoa for dessert. I'm resisting putting on Christmas music. It seems a little strange with all the fall decorations and pumpkins around the house! But the weather feels like December.

Diaperless Nap Times

We have achieved a little victory in the P-4 household. Caitlin is no longer wearing a pull-up when she naps! Yeah for Caitlin!

A couple of weeks ago Caitlin started making noises about not wanting to wear her pull-ups when she took a nap. She would occasionally wake up dry, but it was *very* occasional, so I ignored her requests. Then it dawned on me that it was only after she'd made the decision to be potty trained right after she turned 3 that she had any success at all (of course, she'd also made that decision at 2 1/2, while on vacation, without much luck). Anyway, I went to the store and got a shower curtain liner for the floor. Caitlin has been napping, and mostly sleeping on her floor since early June. Why, I don't know. Our carpet is nice and padded, but certainly no substitute for a mattress! One can buy a waterproof mattress pad, but not a waterproof carpet! So, in an effort to minimize my daily maid duties, I spread the shower curtain liner on the floor, put a blanket on top of it, and she curled up and took a nap. And guess what - no wet pants! That was September 30th. Every nap since then has been dry. Doesn't matter if they are one hour or two. I'm so impressed! Let's hope this is it! Her constant rash, one that looks awful, is also clearing up. We've long suspected she was allergic to Pull-Ups, but even after we quit them, the rash never cleared up without help. I think getting rid of the mid-day diaper is also helping the rash clear up. Hopefully, in the near future we can get rid of the shower liner, too. Or I can convince her to sleep in her bed. The smell of the plastic - ugh- it's killing me! Caitlin has certainly not been the easiest to potty train!

I never wrote about Brandon's potty training here, since it happened before I started blogging. He was ready to go, and kept talking about wanting to not wear a diaper right about the time I was about to give birth to Caitlin. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to handle a newborn and a potty-training toddler all the same time. I don't regret my decision. We thought we'd missed the window with Brandon, but two months later he was ready again, and we went for it. Once he got the hang of it all, he was done. He was 2 1/2. A month later, after weeks of dry naps and many discussions with a friend with more kids than me, Brandon went diaperless during his nap. Golden. In another 6 weeks, after countless dry nights, we were done there, too. This was three months before his third birthday. We were done! I boxed up the remaining diapers and pull-ups (and we had a lot), and focused on how to keep Brandon's pants up without the extra padding of the diapers (he was a skinny boy then, too!).

Many, many people told me how easy I had it with Brandon. I'm no fool - I knew he was a mellow child. Still, when you're potty training your first child you really have nothing to compare it to. Caitlin was always my problem diaper child. Allergic to everything, blowing out of the diapers, and unpredictable (for example, Brandon didn't poop anywhere but at home. Caitlin thought that anywhere was fine!). It seems, though, that when Caitlin makes the decisions, she really wants to do it. And I just need to say "okay". I'm thrilled! And the rash going away is such a bonus! I've gone back to the Seventh Generation chlorine free diapers as a precaution, just in case the Pull-Ups aren't the reason.

Now Caitlin's starting to make noises about not wearing a diaper at night. I'm not sure I'm ready for that just yet. Brian's in business travel mode, which means I'm alone with the kids for a while. It also means I'm worn out. Early mornings, late evenings, and doing everything else in between by myself just aggravate my chronically fatigued body even more, and I don't think I'm ready for a lot of late night pajama changes! So, I'll see how much she talks about it. I hope it's coming soon. She's almost 4. It would be a nice Christmas present to have a diaper-free house!

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Outfit of the Day

Caitlin wore this outfit all day yesterday (click on it to enlarge. You'll need to this to fully appreciate the pattern combination):

Which was only enhanced in greatness when she put on this sweatshirt to combat the cold, windy weather:

I suggested putting on a black skirt or shorts, but she refused. The pink striped shorts were prettier, she said.

I'm hoping that all the people who saw her yesterday are fully aware that she dressed her herself, with no help from her mom.

On the bright side, she did dress herself without any help. And she wore appropriate clothing for the cold weather.