Days are hectic.  Someone is always getting accidentally (or not accidentally) poked in the eye.  Sometimes it's all I can do to get through the day...

There's homework, and violin practice, and backpacks full of crap I am supposed to look at, and home room mom meetings, and so much freaking laundry I'm pretty sure I need a margarita.  And it's 9:42 am.

When you're in it, it can be difficult to appreciate the every day.  Because you're wearing the same clothes you wore yesterday.  And you're out of tortillas.  

And they will only eat tortillas.

I made this little video for us.  So that Chris and I can see the good parts too.  

Because the old people tell me I will miss this...  

And now I will go forth and Carpe the Double Hockey Sticks out of this Diem.  This crazy, dirty, messy, loud, diem.  With boogers on it.

(if you can't see the above video, try this link.)
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Giddie Up, Megesta!

Horseback riding was one of the things that the boys were looking forward to the most about our Colorado trip.  They're all such animal lovers, especially Lucas.  This was not their first encounter with horses, or their first ride, but it was their longest ride.  At the Devil's Thumb Ranch the children's pony rides aren't just in a circle around the pen.  The boys' horses were still led by an adult, but they each got to ride their own horse and go on trails through the ranch.
Harry's horse was named Boss Hog, or Bossy as Harry likes to call him.  Bossy is the smallest horse in the stables and just right for Harry.

No, I did not make Lucas wear a helmet.  It's one of those riding helmets...  like jockeys wear?  Well Lucas got really excited about it when he saw it in the stables and they let him wear it.  I think he has seen it in a book or on a TV show or something...  
Lucas's horse was Apache.  Chris won the honor of leading Apache, who the nice stable cowboy man informed him was maybe the orneriest horse in the stable.  He liked to eat grass...  A lot.  He wanted to stop and have a snack.  A lot.
Max rode a sweet girl named Magesta.  I know she's a sweet girl because she didn't buck Max off.  I would have bucked Max off if he had been on my back, but I'm not as sweet as Magesta.  For the entire hour long ride Max said, 'Giddie up, Magesta.  Giddie up, Magesta."  Only, he didn't pronounce it correctly.  Because he's Max.  So for an hour, sweet Magesta heard, "Givvie up, Magesta.  Givvie up, Magesta."  Over.  And over.  And over again.  It makes my eyes cross to think about it.  He wasn't demanding about it, didn't kick her in the flanks or anything.  Just quietly.  Sweetly.  Repeatedly.  "Givvie up, Magesta.  Givvie up, Magesta."  At one point, he did take a thin little leather strap from his saddle and to use it to whip her hiney into more of a givvie up kind of pace, but Magesta ignored him.  Because she's a saint like that.
Then these two love birds went off and rode one morning by themselves. And left us alone with our children.  

For reals.  I know.  That is not why we made them go on vacation with us...
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Devil's Thumb Ranch

Our trips to Colorado have not been fun this year.  They've been heartbreaking.  Stressful.  Completely needful, and I'm not sorry for one second that we made those trips, but they weren't for us.  Chris and I had been planning a Colorado vacation for this summer, just kind of in the back of our minds.  But after going three times in three months to deal with the illness and then death of my grandfather...  We weren't sure if we really wanted to do it again.

But, eh.  What the heck. 

So, we did.  Loaded all those wild heathen in the minivan.  Again.  But this time we did something new.  Something I thought they only really did on sit coms.

We went to a dude ranch.

Okay, calling it a dude ranch is maybe a bit of a stretch.  There were dudes there.  I brought some of them.  But it was really more of...  a resort and spa.  Like...  that's what it's called.  A resort and spa.  

Totally my kind of dude ranch.
This is my cousin Jasmine and her husband Travis.  We like them.
Jasmine and I really couldn't be more different.  

She's a color coded list kind of girl.  I have delusions that someday, maybe when I'm a grown up I will also have color coded lists.  That I not only make, but also check item off.  With relish and satisfaction.  But for now I'm really more of a, "Oh, crap!  People will be at my house soon and there's junk everywhere!  Quick, boys!  Put on pants!  Help Mommy put all this laundry in these trash bags and into the closet!" kind of girl.

And yet, somehow...  I end up making the vacation plans.  I'm not sure exactly how it happened...  Yes I am.  It happened like this.

Jasmine-  "So what do you want to do while you're here?"
Me-  "Oh, I don't know."
Jasmine- "Do you want to go anywhere?"
Me-  "Hmmm...  I hadn't thought about that..."

an hour later...

Me-  "Hey, I just booked a cabin for the eight of us.  It's someplace I've never heard of.  But it has resort and spa in the name.  Cool?"
Jasmine- "..................................yeah.  Cool." 

I have no idea why she goes along with my schemes.  But she always does.

And that's how we ended up at the Devil's Thumb Ranch.  

Resort and Spa.

Seriously, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

They had a flippin' movie theater.  Our kids are going to be so warped.  This is NOT the vacation of my childhood.
And will someone please.


Do me the kind favor of reminding me before I go on vacation again, to PLEASE hand someone my camera???  There is virtually no proof that I was on this vacation.  Or that I exist.  Chris looks like the best single dad in the whole wide world.

These two photos from Jasmine's phone.  This is it.  The only proof that I have ever been to the Devil's Thumb Ranch.  

Resort and Spa.  


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Gone Fishing

There are a few  always things wen we go to Grand Junction, the town on the western slope of Colorado where I grew up.  We always stay with my cousin Jasmine and her husband Travis.  Converge upon them like a plague of locusts is really a more accurate description.  And we always spend a day on Grand Mesa.  Then we always go fishing.  And then we always feed chipmunks.  Then we always come down the mountain exhausted and disorientated.  Then we always go home and eat the fish we caught.  Then end.

I was impressed how far the boys could cast.  They weren't very patient waiting for a bite...  Which is shocking I know.  Small boys are usually so good at standing in one spot while holding a stick in very still in their hands.  It's what boys are known for.  Holding still and not using sticks as swords.  Right.  But Uncle Travis is good at that part.  So he got the body all set up and then would call them over to reel in the fish after he had it on the line.  The three big boys all got to reel in two.   
Pretty exciting stuff, right here!
Then...  Oh, yeaaah baby.  It's chipmunk time.
As you can imagine...  This is rather a hit.  I always try to stress to the boys that we respect the animals, they are wild and free.  Not pets.  We don't chase them or try to pet them.

But Lucas thinks they are all his cousins or something.  He's pretty sure that particular rule doesn't apply to him.
It's a pretty good way to spend a day.

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Heading West

 We're actually getting pretty good at the road trip thing, despite my little iPhone movie trailer that I posted yesterday.  This was our third trip to Colorado with the boys since February, so they are getting it down.  It was our first time going for vacation though.  The other times were for my grandpa.  So we really wanted to enjoy ourselves and make this trip fun.

Yeah...  expectations.

 Chris and I love Santa Fe.  It's one of our favorite cities.  We had never taken the boys with us, only gone by ourselves.  This trip we decided to take a little detour and spend a night there.  We had no delusions that this would be the same kind of Santa Fe trip that we had taken in the past.  Not the Santa Fe of our youth.  Not the Santa Fe of young love, strolling through art galleries holding hands, delicious alfresco meals and romantic late night dance floors.  We expected there to be seasoned 11 years of marriage love.  Holding chubby toddler hands, walking past and not daring to go in to art galleries.  Delicious alfresco meals...  with plastic cups of lemonade and plates of corn dogs and french fries on the table.  Chris and I knew this trip to Santa Fe would be different.  But we didn't know that it would suck quite so much.
Because there are six of us now, getting a hotel room is a bit of a challenge.  No, not a challenge.  Just horrible.  Terrible.  Awful.  Because one of our children is Harry.  And he is a serious pain to share a room with in the very best of circumstances.  

No.  Really.

The kid just doesn't need as much sleep as normal humans.  Getting to sleep is a challenge for him.  And if it's a challenge for him, it's a challenge for everyone.  Because he will try and wrestle with your head while singing the Winnie the Pooh theme.  And then cry because you hurt his feelings when you make him get off.  Then he's awake at the crack of dawn.  An inch from your nose.  Whispering loudly for applesauce.

I think Chris and I are also a little traumatized from the last time we stayed in a hotel with the four boys...  Last summer when Jude was four months old and we were on our way to Florida.  You know...  That time when Lucas insisted on bringing his entire collection of Zoobook magazines cross country, temporarily lost one issue in the hotel parking lot...  which of course brought on an enormous meltdown, and then Max snuck six apple juice boxes in the back of the van, ate only a chocolate chip cookie for dinner...  Then threw up all over Chris's bare chest and Lucas's special blankets in the middle of the night... and I spent 2:00-4:00 am in the hotel laundry room whilst Lucas sobbed quietly on his pull out sofa bed until his blankets were clean.  And then was up every two hours with an infant.  You know.  That time.  Yeah.  Chris and I are a little scarred.

So... instead of a hotel in Santa Fe, we got a little condo.  Two bedrooms.  With doors.  They can puke all over themselves in the privacy of their own room and we never have to know a thing about it.  Perfect.  The condos are situated on a steep hill, so there's lots of of sidewalk and steps in the complex.  And of course our unit was in the center, far from the parking lot.  And of course, Lucas must bring the comfort of home with him on road trips.  Not his 46 issues of Zoobook magazines, this time.  Only his two blankets (of course); pillow pet; stuffed gorilla (which is as large as the three year old); stuffed beagle (also as large as the three year old); stuffed panda (reasonably sized, thank you very much.); stuffed rabbit; and stuffed parrot.  These are his father, mother and sisters respectively, and Lucas cannot travel without them.  Oh, and three animal encyclopedias, four back issues of Williams Sonoma catalogues and two cupcake cookbooks.  Let's not forget about that little bit of light reading.  (And in case you're curious, yes.  Yes, we DO take ALLLLL of this with us every time we stay anywhere overnight.  Yes.)  

It took the whole family several trips up and down the steep, and windy steps of the condominium complex just to carry all of Lucas's entourage.  Max was carrying the gorilla (Lucas's father, remember.) which is almost as big as he is.  He was struggling a bit, having a difficult time navigating the steps while looking over the gorilla's fur.  An older gentleman was out of his patio watching our little parade.  "Wow!  You guys sure have a lot of stuff!"  We politely smile in return.  "You guys moving in?"  Another gracious smile.  Then to Max as he's carrying the gorilla, "That sure is a big monkey!"  To which Max replied, because he is awesome, "Yes.  But I believe in myself.  And if you believe in yourself you can do anything."

That's right, Max.

When we finally got all of Lucas's nighttime necessities into the condo, we walked down our hill (our very steep hill) to the town center to find dinner.  Santa Fe is always lively, in a quaint art town kind of way, but this evening was an exception.  So crowded.  There was apparently a big event in Santa Fe that weekend, one that we were neither expecting or invited to.  (rude.)  Could not find a table anywhere.  Hungry.  Tired.  Cranky.  The boys were holding up pretty well though.  I, on the other hand was barely able to contain my fury.  I'm a ticking time bomb of rage on a good day, like the Hulk ready to flip out and smash at any moment.  Really.  All the time.  But this was testing my resolve.  How dare my beloved city not have a table outside on a lovely patio somewhere for me and my freshly washed, travel weary, sweet faced offspring?  

The first restaurant we went to...  the beautiful patio was full.  And to accommodate a table for six seemed to be a real hardship on the hostess.  "I'll have to push two tables together."  the bemused woman said confusedly to Chris.  He waited.  For a while.  Then leaned in and politely said, "Then push two tables together."  Thirty minutes later the tables were pushed together and the restaurant was filling up with attractive, well dressed childless people.  And Jude was not cool with being put in a high chair after 8 hours in the car.  If it took thirty minutes for them to push two tables together, how long will it take fro them to bring french fries and plastic cups of lemonade???  Not a good fit...  So we left.  

Three tries later, we ended up at a rooftop pizza place on the other side of the Paseo.  45 minute wait.   ummm...  no.  I will kill you all.  But Max did follow a waitress into the kitchen to chat.  "Did you know that pizza is my favorite food?  I only like pepperoni."  Then we got stuck in the basement because of a broken elevator (seriously?  yes.  seriously.).  At last we found a table at a little diner off of the square and sat down to eat at 9:00.  Then walked up the steep hill to our condo.  In the dark.  With no street lights.  And four small boys.

Screw you, Santa Fe.  Screw you and your quaint narrow, poorly lit  no sidewalk streets.

But nobody puked on Chris.  So, a win all things considered.

The next morning we were not sad to have Santa Crapface Fe in our rear view mirror.  Ya know...  an hour after we had packed the van with Lucas's nighttime necessities.  After that.

When we got to Colorado, we stopped at a pretty rest stop.  Put my camera on a rock and let Harry hold the remote.  And Max got to hold some sticks.  Everybody's happy.

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The Family Road Trip

Our little fam of six just returned from a Colorado vaca.  A road trip vaca.

Go ahead.  Let that sink in.

Six humans in a minivan.  Four of them small, loud and volatile.  And usually sticky.  And sometimes they smell funny.

Our boys actually do amazingly well on road trips.  Granted, since our return Jude bucks and cries every time I try to put him in a car seat or his high chair...  But that's probably temporary, right?  




Here's a little video I made on my iPhone in the car somewhere in New Mexico.  Or maybe Texas.  Southern Colorado?  It's all a blur.
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The Last Dance

My Grandparent's Last Dance...

Saturday evening, my dear Grandfather passed away.
I cannot yet wrap my head around the fact that she will be here and he will not.  That hardly seems possible.  They've been an inseparable team since they met as teenagers on that San Francisco street.  Almost 75 years together.  I don't know where one begins and the other ends.
 I will not say that he has "lost his battle with cancer".  Even though, yes, technically.  Cancer is what finally took him from this world.  But he has never lost a fight.  Never.  Never ever.  Not this one either.
 He didn't lose.  He is just beginning.  His new beginning.  The newest chapter in his amazing story.  He is writing on a fresh, new page.  It's hard to imagine that his adventures could possibly get better.  But I believe they have.  I truly believe he is on his greatest adventure yet.  His most exciting chapter.  I am so glad I got to be a part of his story.
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