Tuesday, November 27 2012

It doesn’t seem possible that life could have engulfed us like this; twisting us around and spitting us out the other side into late November!  It’s been a true whirlwind of birthdays, holidays, and travels.  Of course, the added dailiness tossed in as well; work, school   programs, practices, painting (up-date on this soon), and trying to balance it all.  I try to look back, about a month ago (when I lasted posted something), and I  am not sure where one event stopped and another started.  I have a feeling that this scenario might play out throughout our holiday season, as well.  Hopefully, I will be better at documenting it, however.

In preparation of Halloween this year, beginning to feel overwhelmed, I decided (just barely), to say ‘”No” to the expectation of throwing the best costume party EVER for a third year in a row.  Saying ‘No’ meant I didn’t have to entertain and feed 60 some people while most of them were souped up on sugar and about to run rapid in the streets.  Containing my own wild beasts ~ or, I guess, pirates and chicken ~ was all I felt up to amid the Halloween chaos.  And, I truly enjoyed the event this year, more so than I remember…well, except the year our chicken was born.  Mindful of our three-year old’s Halloween birthday, we celebrated extra hard three times that week as well.  I did not think my children could handle any more sugar without numerous meltdowns and bellyaches.  So, on November 1st, I tore down all the Halloween decorations and declared all celebrations OVER.

Detox began.

And,so did the countdown to Thanksgiving…

…as did the basement painting, which ate up all of our free time (AKA when the kids are asleep) in that three-week time span.

But we ended our whirlwind in a beautiful paradise with so much to be thankful for.  So, much to appreciate and so much life to soak up.  So much time without schedules to keep, appointments to attend, and routines to follow.  So much time to focus on the importance of smiles and being together.  So much so, that computers and blog posting were farthest from my mind.

Is this place for real?

This little man was ready to explore our magical island at 5 am every morning.

From swimming with dolphins

to hunting for sea turtles,

to enjoying the multitude of colorful sandy beaches,

we packed a lot in!

And, that’s what happened to November!

I have to admit that this vacation has given me a new sense of calm; island rejuvenation of some kind.  We came back feeling refreshed to conquer our routines and schedules again, for another quick four weeks, I suppose.

Bring on the holidaze!

I’m ready.


Images: All Laura for Monkeysonmyback

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Daydream Believer…

Monday, Labor Day, 2012

We had no problem enjoying our extended weekend with a family mountain escape to the largest freshwater, natural lake in Colorado.  The lake is not very big, but the area is gorgeous.  My favorite spot.

Waking up Saturday morning, we were greeted with this beautiful scene from our front deck.  I could not inhale enough of the crisp, fresh mountain air.    The kids got a good deal of play time in that little beach below.

One, two, three, JUMP!

And, we enjoyed this little boat ride.

We also took a bike ride to a small hike and played in the river some more.  I think we could’ve played at this spot all day.

It seemed as if time stood still.  No one complained of being hungry, tired, or uncomfortable.  Bliss.


Images: monkeysonmyback


Fear not, Friends!  We are back!…just barely!

During our sicksteen-hour (yep, you read that right, SICKsteen), car trip home, I was reminded how painful driving for so long can be.  Perhaps it was the sick children, (Summer flu?  Really?)  or extreme Nebraska boredom that set in, but I was right there complaining and whining with the best of them.  With a good night’s crash in our cozy beds, we are ready to focus a little bit more on the fun that was had during our annual summer ‘Sconsin visit.

We sure kept busy during out trip, of course, enjoying every minute of it.  Sharing time and laughter with family and friends whom we don’t see often enough.  Here are only a few of the 250 plus pictures we took during our visit.

EAA Oshkosh

County Fair

Put-Put in the Dells

Swimming Fun/JO Family Reunion

We truly enjoyed our visit!  (Forgetting the awful drive home, of course!)  And, we are getting back to the grind around here,… well, when everyone is feeling better.


Images: All Laura for Monkeysonmyback

Hairpins for you?

Sunday, April 15 2012

I recently found a post on Craigslist for a Hairpin Leg maker.  I was curious why anyone would want hairpin legs,  but after a quick Google search, I was sold!

Google images

Yahoo! Hairpins! I decided to try my hand at finding  an old piece of wood today, just waiting to be reclaimed to greatness.  So, with great help from the JAZ team, we found this beaut at our local ReStore!  All 10 feet for $3.25, and a pretty teal blue too!

Can you see the potential?  Time to order my hairpins…

Now onto another fabulous find of the day during our daily trip to Target.  If you remember, part of our boys’ room makeover includes stripes on the bed.  Origionally, I had these stripes from West Elm in mind.

West Elm – $80

But today, we randomly walked past the bedding aisle, at Target, and found almost the same duvet (same looking, different fabric) for about $60 cheaper!  When you consider that buying the duvet from West Elm means purchasing all bedding pieces separately, it adds up.  These we found today were all-inclusive (duvet, shams, etc.)  And, when you have to buy two of everything, this find chalks up to A W E S O M E! in my book.

Room Essentials Striped Duvet Set

Target – $20

This duvet from Target is from their Room Essentials line, in case you are wondering…

And, lastly, on to an unrelated subject of sorts: Arizona.  Being that the weather is cold, rainy, sleety, and windy today, I caught myself looking at our photos from our  Arizona Spring Break trip.

Phoenix Zoo

Crazy Agave?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Me, laying by the pool...

On that note, have a great week!


Images: 1) Google, 2, 5-7) Laura for Monkeysonmyback 3) West Elm 4) Target

Gondolas and Balloons

There may be nothing more wonderful than creating memories for the little ones.  A few weekends ago we drove a  3 hour trek to our ‘stay-cation’  in Steamboat Springs, CO, a small mountain ski town.  Three hours may not sound like a long time to most, but for our kids, it is a stretch.  Thinking that the Fall colors would be at their peak (ps. they were not), we joined the category  of individuals commonly referred to as ‘Front-range Peepers’ by the Steamboat community.  In other words, we were stalking trees.

Of course we could not convince the children that the only reason we buckled them into Jerry the Van, loaded with four bikes, snacks, one suitcase, multiple blankies and pillows for all those attending, and a few scatterings of toys, was to look at trees.  I actually tried sharing this explanation with my oldest stating that the colors would be beautiful, to which my daughter responded,   “What else is there?”  What else is there…

The same explanation also did not work after the stop lights of Boulder had disappeared only 35 minutes into the drive.  There are only so many cows to spot, and train tracks to follow, and repeats of “My Brother’s a Monster” to listen too. “Mom, I’m bored,” declares Middle One!   “Look out the window,” I say.  I must have had this same conversation about 6 times over because I realized I was repeating myself under my breath in some sort of  mumble, “Loooudawindo…

For me the car trip went a little like this:

Tracking Jerry’s every inch on our GPS, focusing on the arrival time, comparing to  the clock, focusing on the arrival time, spying the odometer, “Loooudawindo…”, spying the clock, “Leave him alone!”,  looking at Jerry’s snail-paced movement, checking the clock…repeat.  Fun.

Then we arrived.  “MOM?!!” exclaimed a small muffled voice buried in the back under pillows and blankets and trapped in her seat next to two adult sized mountain bikes,  “The trees are…green…,” the voice trails off in disappointment.  Can you picture it?  Maybe not what we had planned, but really, who wants to sit around and look at trees anyway?

One of the best vacations to follow.  For me, the 10.5 mile bike ride along the peaceful river with Little Z tickling my back while sitting in his bike seat was the highlight.  But there was also seeing the hot springs, visiting the multiple skate parks (which invite themselves to my kids as  slide parks), walking the quaint old town in the most perfect Fall weather, watching the kids catch caterpillars and snakes that migrated in multitudes across the bike path, and hiking 2 miles with Zander ‘boneless and snoring’ in my arms (okay, that one is stretching it!)

~Zander meets snake~

We honestly would not have ‘gone up’ (that’s what us Front-rangers say) to the Mountains had we not thought the trees were golden. As it turned out there was quite a bit to do there.  So much uncommercialized fun!  So much so, that we will in fact go back, despite the drive.  There was nothing to get in the way of the sweetness of life and family.  No extra noise.  No extra schedules.  No extra hubbub.  Just us on our own time.

Of course there were things that we could not have planned, like chasing a hot-air balloon around the base of the ski hill (in our car), and riding up to the top of the ski hill in the Gondola for a small, expensive bowl of overcooked Mac-n-cheese.  These two things rated very high on the kids lists of ‘Most Memorable Stay-cation Moments.’  Next up were the migrating Wholly Bears, (you know those little orange and black fuzzy, striped caterpillars?).  Even if I had planned a vacation itinerary perfectly hour for hour, I could not have planned for the spontaneity of those happenings, and the smiles had by all. Much to be said for vacations with nature, I suppose.

It was not a long stay, just an extended weekend.  But when it was time to leave Steamboat, nobody was ready.  “Mom,” said Jada, “It was okay that we didn’t see yellow trees.  I like it here, and we can come back next year when the trees are yellow. Right?”

I most certainly agreed. To that, we all piled back into Jerry; four bikes, fewer snacks, one suitcase, multiple blankies and pillows for all those attending, our scatterings of toys, and three tired, but happy kids with fond memories of Gondolas and Balloons on our way back to Boulder.

Images:  2) ~ 9News.com;  1, 3-8) Laura @ Monkeysonmyback