No More Limits!

Reagan at the BroadmoorWe are so fortunate as to have so much beauty right here in our backyard. Our recent 4-day weekend in Colorado Springs wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to 5-star hotel, The Broadmoor, home of the 2011 Women’s U.S. Open. We’re not golfers, but we could still enjoy the impeccably manicured grounds and glorious views that come with them! One day, we hope to actually be able to stay at this grand hotel.

It was a great way to appease Reagan after sitting in the car for half an hour at the base of Seven Falls, waiting for the rain to stop so we could ascend the mountain side as we had promised, to see the great waterfall. Fortunately, there was a family of deer eating dinner on the side of the road to keep her entertained while we sat in the car. The deer didn’t seem to mind the rain, and Reagan did her best to try to convince us she should be able to join them. We knew the rain would stop in about 15 minutes – it always does – so if we could just hold out a little longer…

Like every summer afternoon in Colorado, the rain did stop shortly after the downpour started and was followed by the most beautiful, blue skies. But what wasn’t expected was that they had closed the park! NO! We could deal with a little flooding and rock slides better than we could the flood of tears that ensued when we told Reagan there would be no waterfall. Some quick thinking on Danny’s part, and we were off to see another body of water – the man-made lake at the Broadmoor. Reagan seemed pleased. And that was all that mattered.

We didn’t give up on Seven Falls, making our return the next day – well worth the wait. Reagan wasted no time scurrying up the 244 steps to the top, while Danny and I huffed and puffed all the way up behind her.

Seven Falls staircase

We made sure to take a few breaths at each of the viewing platforms along the way, and take in the amazing view:

Seven Falls

Once at the top, we decided to take one of the hiking trails around to what we thought, would take us to the staircase on the other side. Would’ve even been nice to take the Mountain Elevator down, but it happened to be broken that day:

Elevator at Seven Falls

Okay, so we admit we aren’t the best at reading maps, because the trail and this staircase would never meet. Our trail actually led to Inspiration Point, and was Seven Fall’s longest trail. About the halfway point, little Reagan finally succumbed to her fatigue after going all day without her usual two-hour nap. She wanted Mommy to carry her. We made it back to the staircase, where after having had the luxury of being carried like Queen Cleopatra for the past half-an-hour, Reagan reluctantly made her way back down again on her own two feet.

By the time we were nearing the bottom of the stairs, I thought we would all be ready for a two-hour nap, but, Reagan suddenly found her second wind when she saw that an Indian dance show was about to begin on the stage below. She about climbed over every last person on those stairs to get to the few remaining seats in front of the stage. And when they asked for volunteers to come up on stage and dance, there was no stopping her:

Indian dance

As unprepared as we were, I was very glad we all made it out of the canyon that day without the need for a helicopter rescue. And especially glad that we were all able to make the journey together. It wasn’t that long ago that all our adventures in this new home state of ours’ were limited to the view from the windows of our car. Hiking was out of the question. It felt so good to be able to get out in the middle of nature with my family, and to know that we will be having many more days like this, without limits. However, next time we may decide to take the elevator.

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August 20, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Family Day!

Family Day 302nd AirwingWhat would summer be without a family picnic? For us, family in Colorado means friends, and especially those friends in the 302nd Airlift Wing at Petersen Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. After serving 15 years with the 302nd, flying missions in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and various other parts of the world, they are Danny’s brothers and sisters. They came through for us on numerous occasions while Danny battled cancer – from visits in the hospital or our home, home-cooked meals, helping with chores and even financial donations to just daily support and encouragement. They are our family. So, we were excited to attend the Annual 302nd Family Day picnic this month, which also marks Danny’s official return to his squadron after two and a half years!

There was BBQ, beer, Culver’s Frozen Custard (thank you, Culver’s!), snocones, bouncy castles, balloons, music and games for an entire afternoon, and it seemed Reagan was ready to stay until the last bouncy castle was deflated. The poor balloon guy must have inflated hundreds of balloons that day, several over and over again for the same children like mine. Reagan was so proud as she skipped off with her red balloon, only to watch it float off into the clouds a few minutes later. She pleaded with me to go after it, pointing to the sky as her eyes filled with tears. My solution? Get another one! Ten minutes later, tears again. I could see this was not going to work. On her third visit, I think the balloon guy figured the same, and gave my daughter a balloon animal instead. When the balloon animal died, we had snocones. And all was right with the world again.

mule rideIt’s hard to say which activity was Reagan’s favorite, but she sure did love getting the princess treatment from our friend, Moose, who brought his mules for hayrides around the park. Reagan got to sit up front, hold onto the reigns and bark orders at the mules (something she’s good at).

Kandahar

Danny at Kanadahar Airport, Afghanistan, 2005

That evening we joined several others for a gathering at one of Danny’s friends’ houses. More food, more beer and more good times. The best part, was how many other kids Reagan’s age there were for her to play with, all between the ages of three and four years old. Deployment babies– conceived either before, during (on R&R) or after the 302nd’s deployment to Qatar in 2005-2006. We pondered on whether the Iraq/Afghanistan war could be bringing us our next baby boom generation and how big would it be? And now these families were preparing for another deployment to Qatar in a few weeks. I can’t say I wasn’t secretly happy that Danny wouldn’t be going this time. His medical status doesn’t allow him to fly for the Air Force for another three years, and until then, he has no chance of being deployed. After two deployments in the first five years we were married, the first immediately following our honeymoon, the second during my pregnancy, I’m selfishly happy to have him home with us now, and proud of his service when our country needed him.

We’ll be praying for our friends – our family – as they enter their next deployment to the Middle East again. May God Bless you all and keep you safe!

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August 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm 2 comments

This Time’s For Real

Danny REAL first day backFirst day back – TAKE TWO! I swear, this is the last time you’ll see a post about Danny returning to work because, this morning, Danny’s plane actually took off with him in the co-pilot seat, making it his OFFICIAL first day back! YAY!

And how appropriate that the first city he should fly to is the one we left to move to Denver for his new job at Frontier Airlines, three years ago – St. Louis, the Gateway City.

Right now, he is meeting our friends for dinner in the Lou, where it is 95º, but feels like 109º with humidity. Being from Arizona, I can attest to the fact that a dry heat is much preferable to a midwest summer. But, I’m sure the heat is of no consequence right now to my patient husband, whose long wait to get back in the saddle has finally arrived. Ride ’em cowboy!

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August 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm 4 comments

Trying to Have It All

SuperwomanI’ll never be SuperMom, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try and have it all.

If there’s anything that turning 40 and watching your 39-year-old husband battle cancer teaches you, it’s that thinking you’ll always have later to live the life you really want is foolhardiness. Later is NOW and I’d rather not be the fool who on my death bed rattles off my list of “should’a, could’a, would’ves” to my loved ones in a pathetic attempt to add meaning to my life.

That is what I kept thinking when I knew I’d have to give up being a full-time, stay-at-home Mom to return to work. If I now had to give up some of my time caring for my family (which is all I wanted to do), so that I could provide for them, I’d better love what I do. Otherwise, it felt like we were all being cheated.

Gretchen Reid of Motherhood Transitions helped me to see clear of the box I had put myself in, which is why I’ve written a guest post on her blog today about where I started over a year ago and how this month, I finally find myself Coming Full Circle…

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August 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

The First Day that Wasn’t

Daddy and PrincessDo you ever feel like just when the prize is within reach, someone changes the game? I imagined that’s how my husband felt, though he did his best to hide his disappointment yesterday when what was supposed to be his first day back in the cockpit since February 21st, 2008, didn’t actually happen.

Danny had spent the night before pressing his uniform and packing his bag for a four-day trip that would be his Tour de France ala Lance Armstrong. He sprung out of bed at 7am sharp and by 8am was out the door to the old office, DIA, but not before snapping a pic with our princess for posterity’s sake. By 8:30am he had discovered his flight had been canceled because the Captain he was scheduled to fly with had called in sick.

Only a minor setback, for sure. Danny’s first day will come soon enough and will most likely be next week. But, after all the build-up and anticipation, waiting for this day to arrive for so long, it was a bit deflating.

So in the next week or so, we’ll take another “First Day Back” pic, and laugh about how life just seems to keep playing us a Tango: one step forward, two steps back. Eventually the song ends, and even though you might be right back where you started from, getting there gracefully with your partner is what matters.

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August 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm 1 comment

All Fun and Games!

Part of Perfect Moment Mondays…

Legend CityThe only “fun parks” we had growing up in Arizona were water slides. There was only one amusement park in the entire state – Legend City in Phoenix. And anytime we happened to be visiting Phoenix, a 3-hour drive from Lake Havasu City where I grew up, it always seemed to be closed for one reason or another. It was permanently closed in 1983 after suffering several bankruptcies. I guess it was just too hot to expect people to put their kids in metal spinning cups when it was 120 degrees out. Elitch GardensSince its’ closing, Phoenix remains the largest metropolitan area in the United States without a major amusement park.

So, I have to say I’m a little jealous of my daughter Reagan, whose summer daycare visits Denver’s Elitch Gardens once a week. There’s also Lakeside Amusement Park and Heritage Square within the Denver metro area. Frontier Airlines does a family picnic at Elitch’s every summer, and though we missed it this summer, I decided it was time to try a different park. So we made the trek to Golden to visit the charming Heritage Square, where all the rides were just right for a 3 & 4-year-old.

Heritage Square carousel

Reagan and gal-pal, Sarah were keeping us on our toes as they scampered from ride to ride, sometimes squabbling over which ride to do next. There were enough rides to keep the fun going all day. Thankfully, Sarah’s mommy took on the job of riding the spinning rides with the girls as I didn’t last long after one or two of them. Reagan definitely takes after her mommy as mid-way through the tea-cup ride, she began to look a little queasy with her head between her knees. The ride was stopped so she could get off, despite her protests. I explained that we didn’t want to stay on if it made her tummy hurt. After each subsequent ride she would proudly proclaim “it didn’t make my throat hurt, Mommy!”

Heritage Square tea-cup ride

We saved the Ferris Wheel for last and enjoyed the spectacular view.

Heritage Square ferris wheel

No day out is complete without ice cream, and the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor at Heritage Square was as quaint as the rest of the village. Reagan enjoyed her usual of mint chip and I had the spumoni, filled with fruit and nuts. Both were homemade and the largest scoops I had ever seen. It was no wonder Reagan had some difficulty keeping hers’ on her cone. As the ice cream dripped all over her hands, I tried to teach her the art of keeping the ice cream equally licked on all sides. She’s still getting it, but is sure to be a pro in no time.

As we drove home, Reagan nodded off in her car seat. That’s when you know it’s been a perfect day.

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August 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm 9 comments

Hey! Where’d my blog go? And more important matters.

dead houseplantWhile I’m sure no one really noticed, *ahem* it has been over TWO MONTHS since my last post! Ack! Hellooooo… anybody out there? You’ve all gone on to more important things than checking in to see if I’ve come back from the dead, I know. After my first successful year of regular (okay, somewhat regular) posts, I let a few weeks lapse give my perfectionist ego all the justification it needed to apply the “all-or-nothing clause” and wait for my world to stop spinning on its’ axis so I’d have a good hour to devote to a proper post. HA! My poor house plants, which have been brought back from the brink more times than Dick Cheney on a stretcher, were sadly under the same clause. Only, there’s no bringing them back this time.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging over this past year, it’s that you can’t wait to finish the laundry, pay the bills, mop the floors, and have dinner simmering on the stove before you give some love to your blog. Nope. Bloggers are probably some of the worst housekeepers you’ll ever meet, and they’ll be the first to admit it – on their blogs to the whole world. Because it’s all about being genuine, not perfect. And genuine means you may only have 15 minutes to get what’s in your head out on the page; typos and all. I’m still learning to embrace this part of blogging… seizing the moment when inspiration hits. Kind of like a Cialis ad.

There have been many moments of inspiration over these past two months, but since I didn’t seize those moments then, here they are in a nutshell now:

  1. Mile High Mamas at Denver Childrens MuseumReagan and I attended the new bubbles exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Denver with the Mile High Mamas. We had a blast!
  2. Jim Kelly’s Second Annual Crawfish Boil was held. Reagan managed to eat the tops off of 6 cupcakes without me seeing, until I found the evidence all over Jim’s yard.
  3. I was finally making progress on my New Year’s resolution to go back to the gym when a short-term, full-time contract position was plopped in my lap. Given a little lapse in my freelance work, I gladly accepted it and started work the next day.
  4. After 2+ years on disability because of cancer, my husband won his fight to return to the Air Force Reserves! He won’t be able to fly with his C-130 unit at Petersen Air Force Base for another 3 years, but, will be cross-trained into another position. A letter from Senator Mary Landrieu of Danny’s home state of Louisiana was sure to have helped and we are forever grateful.
  5. Danny receives the long-awaited letter from the FAA telling him he can return to work at Frontier! Our livelihood is finally restored!
  6. Danny is studying full-time while I’m working full-time and Reagan is at daycare full-time. *Ugh*
  7. Working full-time, taking care of my family and the house, begins to take it’s toll. I’m bone-tired and the house is slowly sliding into a sinkhole of disorganization. My perfectionist side gives up.
  8. Danny’s first day back at work at Frontier (in training)!
  9. My iMac goes in for repair for the 3rd time in as many years. It has now had more parts replaced than Tara Reid. Or Heidi Montag. Take your pick.
  10. Apple refuses to see it my way and give me a new computer to replace the lemon they gave me after all the trouble I’ve had. *fuming* But, they will fix it.
  11. Reagan gets a new princess sleeping bag and we have the easiest bedtime routine ever every night for the next week!
  12. 4th of July in Steamboat SpringsWe spend a glorious 4th of July weekend in Steamboat Springs with friends!
  13. My contract job is finally up and I’ve decided that two parents working outside the home is definitely not for us.
  14. Reagan’s first sleepover birthday party for her friend, Ana (4) in Winter Park!
  15. City Park Jazz in Denver with our friends, the Kellys!
  16. Packed up Reagan’s baby monitor. Forever. *milestone*
  17. My iMac is ready! (2 weeks later) Now for the miserable task of restoring all my files from back-up. *blech*
  18. Back to the gym and feeling good again!
  19. Another friend turns 4! Good times with the Bickings!
  20. Reagan takes her first swim class!

cockpitAnd last night, Danny passes his check ride and we pop open the champagne to toast to his official return to the friendly skies as soon as next week!

But the biggest news of all… today Danny got the official word from his Oncologist that his most recent PET Scan shows no signs of Lymphoma and that he is AS GOOD AS CURED!!!! Hallelujah!!!

Time to pop open another bottle of champagne!

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July 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm 9 comments

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