6.10.2021

Travel 2 years in the Making

Gwen finished Elementary School on the last Friday of May (my baby 😭), and boy did I feel some feelings about that. But in all our wisdom we had planned a trip, our first as a family since pre-pandemic!, to visit with Travis's family in Arizona for the very next week. This is the first road trip Travis has joined us on in a while... and, Daisy joined us too. It was so fun to go somewhere with all of us (especially as Daisy gets older, its harder to leave her behind... even with people she loves, and who love her).

It was 50°s and raining when we left Colorado... which made for an interesting and extreme adjustment to the very dry and 102° temps in Arizona! But, luck for us, Nana and PopPop have a pool. In fact, Gwen spent at least some time in that pool every single day in AZ. 

What else did we do? Well, we ate and read, walked around town, and took a pretty amazing cruise around Lake Saguaro.




The pictures are all kinds of mish-mashed, but hey, I'm here and writing something I want to remember! So I'm not too worries. Ha!


So I've said it before, I'm really a forest/mountain girl, but I'll admit that the desert has a strange and lovely beauty to it, so different from anywhere else. 



I'm so glad we got to see Trav's parents, it was a really lovely trip.



I drove the trip down straight through, leaving early and arriving after dinner; but we broke the ride home up into two days. We drove to Sante Fe, visited our favorite dinner, then drove the rest of the way home the next day.

It was so nice to see people again, to get on the road again. Thankfully, this summer Gwen and I will hop in the car again to travel to the East Coast! And hopefully I'll even get around to writing about that too  😉

6.07.2021

Movement In the Storm

I wrote this August of 2020, but just getting around to sharing! I'll try to do that more. 

 

I pack myself some water, lace up my good shoes, and head out onto the trail. So much of my day is noticing all that is different, all that has changed, all that is lost since March of 2020. I’m mad, disappointed, numb in rotating intervals. My faith in humanity shaken. The only break from that is when I encourage the miles to pass beneath my feet. 

When I walk, everything slows. 

One mile. 

The rain started to fall. It wasn’t heavy, but it was consistent, so I found myself hesitating – should I go back? Not for long though before the urge to walk overcame me and on I went. The rain danced little patterns on my skin, feeling so refreshingly cool, and drawing designs on the path in front of me. It was empty as far as I could see, no one else choosing to brave the storm. The more dirt that fell away under my feet, the worries more I felt wash away as well. 

Two miles. 

Out in nature there is no illusion of control. You do what you can, but nature is wild and denies your attempts to keep it in check. So, you learn to let go. I’m not always so great at that in the rest of life. I hold on to the illusion that I can keep my pre-teen daughter safely under my wing forever; that I can stop the slow of time in our old black Lab. I want to control my employers who shut down, or made cuts, and stop people from acting without regard to the pandemic at hand. None of this is actually in my control, but I still cling to it. Until I get on that path. 

Three miles. 

I lean my head back and taste the rain on my tongue. My shoulders have loosened, my hands release. Sometimes I take in the flowers and shrubs around me, waiting eagerly to arrive at my favorite copse of trees. Sometimes I listen to a podcast, sometimes I just let my mind wander as the steps fall away. On this day, I walk in silence. I listening to the padding of my feet and the rain, watching the clouds move across the sky, feeling the cool breeze. My mind wanders to the weeks ahead, making plans, and actually feeling excited. 

Four miles. 

The rain stops, the air is so fresh. Blue skies start to peek out, and while the storm passes, the path stays clear. It is mine alone today. For the rest of the walk I let my mind be still and clear. Storms often come to clear the air, and I’m reminded today that they always pass. 

Five miles. 

I can see my house approaching, my warm shower waiting. As I step inside, I smell dinner cooking, and am greeted with a wagging tail and curious nose. I hear my daughter yell from the living room, wanting to tell me about her latest toy creation, and my husband drops a kiss on my head on his way past. I take a deep full breath, and thank the storm.

3.19.2021

Birthday Interview: 11 years

Previous years can be found Here


 

Me: “Hey Gwen, how does it feel to be 11?”

Gwen: Not much different! 

Me: “Who’s your best friend?”

Gwen:  Clarissa  

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do?”

Gwen: I don't know.

Me: “What is your favorite color?”

Gwen:   I don't have one. 

Me: “How about your favorite food?”

Gwen:  Steak, pizza, and ramen; McDonald's, and junky stuff.  

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do with Dad and I?”

Gwen:   I like skiing and biking with Dad, and with you I like to go for walks, read, and watch movies. 

Me: “What is your favorite toy/game?”

Gwen:  Legos, Ninetendo Switch, and my bike. 

Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Gwen:  I might want to have a ranch or a farm, maybe take care of animals.   

Me: “What makes you happy?”

Gwen:  When you are happy. 

Me: “What is something that makes you sad?”

Gwen:  Amanda leaving to move to Arkansas. 

Me: “Do you have a favorite movie?”

Gwen:   No, I don't.  

Me: How about a favorite TV show?”

Gwen:  Just Add Magic, Last Kids on Earth, and Unlisted.

Me: “Do you have a favorite book?”

Gwen:  Too many to decide!

Me: What do you like to learn about?”

Gwen:   History. 

Me: “What were you excited about for your birthday?”

Gwen:   I can hardly remember my birthday! {Editors Note: Whoops! LOL One problem with forgetting for a month.}

Me: “Where’s your favorite place to go when we leave the house?”

Gwen:   It was Amanda's and Dad's work, now its just Dad's work. 

Me: “What is your teacher's name?”

Gwen: Miss Carlson (now Mrs Bocklemann)

Me: “Do you have a favorite treat?”

Gwen:   Ice cream, slushees, candy... I like them all!    

Me: “What’s your favorite animal?”

Gwen:   Daisy!  

Me: “Do you have a favorite song?”

Gwen:  No

Me: “What’s your favorite thing to wear?”

Gwen:   I don't have one.    

Me: “What are you looking forward to this year?”

Gwen:   Summer Vacation! And seeing everybody!  

Me: "Thank you for playing along!"

3.16.2021

I'm Out of Practice

 

So I'll admit, I'm out of practice in remembering to come here lately. Sitting down to write post used to be a regular part of my routine, but, well routine has been ever changing lately. I started a new job a few weeks ago, and I'm still learning how to make it all work together. So far I've just given up on keeping my house clean 😄 BUT! It's Spring Break week for Gwen, so there's a little extra time. I plan to use that to finally do Gwen's birthday interview (whoops), play catch up here, and maybe even vacuum (maybe).

First off, Gwen went in for her 11 year check up and shots, and she is now 4'7"... aka only a little over a half a foot away from my height! My days are numbered. She's healthy and coming around to the idea of being 11, now that the shots involved are behind her.


Its been a pretty crazy few weeks. Amanda Panda (one of my bffs) and her family moved to Arkansas. It's so crazy saying goodbye to them and not knowing exactly when the next time is that we'll see them. Thankfully they are a drivable distance away, but our weekly framily dinners had become such an important touch-point for us in the quarantine, and its been such a joy to watch Penny grow. It is an adjustment... one we can do, and that will be amazing for their family, but its been sad too.


We also just passed through the 4th largest blizzard in Colorado history, which was intense for a day, but fine otherwise. It was over a foot in about a day, but the next day was in the 40s, and everything started melting!



I've had 2 doula babies born in the past 4 months, and have another due next month, and it has been wonderful and intense and beautiful beyond measure. I'm so excited to take a break for the summer, but hoping to fill up for the Autumn!

We've also been the house of dogs lately! We've found ourselves puppysitting for a two coworker's pups, and its been a fun - and exhausting! - treat.

Daisy is not 100% sure on it, but we've been giving her lots of reassuring snuggles and love.


I know there is more... so much more! Some of it I can't share yet, some is still in process, some I just can't think of, and I need to get some work done. But I got here, and that's a start. I'll try to do it more regularly.

2.16.2021

Gwen - 11 years


Dear Gwenie - my Baby, 

Eleven feels so old to me, maybe because I can still remember vividly so many of the things that I felt and experienced in the days surrounding your birth. Maybe because I've been attending some births lately, and you are just so BIG compared to those little babies. A large part is just how much growth you've shown this year. 


This year brought an anxiety and depression diagnosis that knocked us all over, in addition to everything else that happened in this world (a pandemic! a very violent and charged election!)... but you! you managed to take those diagnoses and use them to grow. You handled them with more grace and fortitude then many adults could have. Learning what tools work for you to manage them, you turned them from a negative into just another part of the amazing you. To say I'm proud  (and impressed) would be an understatement.

Then there was that darn pandemic. We've spent more time at home in the past year then we probably have in all of the 4 previous years combined. Our big summer trip was cancelled, which was hard for us all. But we made it work. Thankfully we had snuck a ski trip in before everything shut down, so you got to see your cousin, Aunt, and Uncle, and had that fun... but it was hard for you not to head to the East Coast. 

 

That difficulty was nothing though next to virtual school. Oooo boy, was that a challenge! We made it work though, and I think after everything 2020 held, we became a much better team. Thankfully when this school year started (5th Grade! last year in Elementary School), they had all new plans in place, and most of the year has gotten to be in person... which a few weeks of much smoother and easier virtual in there.



We found new ways to have fun, spending lots of summer time outdoors, exploring our local trails. We took a really fun weekend to car camp at a nearby campground that we hadn't visited before, and it ended up being such fun! As it got cooler, we went on another camping trip with the three of us, and took drives into the mountains to see the colors. While we all missed our normal cross-country experience, we found safe ways to still get our adventuring in.


You spend this year working your way through Invisalign treatment, again, something that so many adults struggle through, and you just rocked it! Your adaptability will be one of your biggest strengths in life, and I hope you never lose that. And... treatment paid off! Not only do you have a lovely straight smile, but more importantly, first the first time since your first two loose teeth, you lost baby teeth without issue and had the adult teeth come in just as easily. What a win to NOT have to get teeth pulled.



Penny, our bubble family's baby, was born a month after your last birthday, and you have been so sweet to watch with her. You are playful and gentle, and no one (outside of her Mommy and Daddy) can get her to laugh they way she does for you. It's fun watching you play that big sister role. I think we've all wondered how you would feel in that role at times, and this has been the best of both worlds... getting to see you get to love on a "little sister", but then we all get to go home! 😁 Ha!



Many of your interests remain the same: you love fantasy and magic (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings), reading (graphic novels especially - Lumberjanes and Last Kids on Earth are favs), drawing, travel and adventure, and music. You've found new ways to entertain them: recently you were taught how to play D&D, and boy did you love that! It's the perfect combination of fantasy, magic, creation, adventure... and thankfully for you, your Dad, Aunt Ffion, and Aunt Elise all love to play too! So you have enjoyed some amazing adventures and travel right in our living room! 



Which brings up a big, delightful change from this year: your Aunt Ffion and Aunt Elise moved here!! I always joked that Colorado would be perfect if only I could pick up my family and move them here. Well, that happened at least in part, this past year. You could not have been more excited, and we've joined them for appropriately masked and distanced walks and celebrations. Since your birthday and Ffion's birthday are less then 2 weeks apart we celebrated with a fun horseback trail ride with all of us. It was a beautiful day, and embodied some much of what I had wished and hoped for, for over 5 years now!


Your love of music has grown even deeper this year, as you've learned its value in helping to express emotions and handle hard moments. Its become a valuable tool, and some of your favorite songs are You Will Be Found (from the Dear Evan Hanson soundtrack) and This Is Me (from The Greatest Showman), but you enjoy just about any music. Recently you asked for some Heavy Metal, and then pulled up Five Finger Death Punch all on your own (you have the Pandora app on your phone).



You have such a deep and abiding love of animals... this isn't new, but maybe even more so this year. Your pup friends are some of your favorites. Daisy of course, but also Becca's dog Hank (who is the office dog!), James's dog Lilly, and then the friendly squirrels that come on our porch to say hi regularly.


Gwenie, my love, its so hard to sum up everything from this past year. Normally I write your letter slowly over a month or two, and I have lots of posts to look back on to help me remember; but this year is just so different then most. My own depression stole away much of my desire and ability to write posts, while the pandemic took away a lot of my normal material to write about. I'm writing this as we sit at home together, the day before your birthday. Celebration this year will be Chinese takeout (your choice) with Ffion and Elise, and a quiet day at home building Lego presents and reading new books. Its all so very different.

(One thing, thankfully the same... they found safe ways to reopen the slopes! And you are better then ever on the skis!)

For everything we've got through this past year, and everything new that's happened, one thing remains unchanged: I am so so damn grateful that I get to be your Mama, and that you love me so deeply. I love you my Babes, to the deepest depth of me. Thank you for being you.

 

Best Gwenie I ever had, 

Mama



11 and 10