Saturday, August 7, 2010

Prospect Lake

Today we went to Prospect Lake which is in a park a couple of miles from downtown. It was so great. We had a picnic on the grass next to the lake and then walked the circumference of the lake, stopping to play on some of the equipment. But there were some disappointments. On the edge of the Lake was a sweet little beach house and a place where you used to be able to rent a paddle boat or something similar and go out on the lake. Both the maintained stretch of beach where you could go swimming and then rinse off in the little beach house, and the boat house, and the toilets were closed indefinitely due to city budget restrictions. Since moving here I've really fallen in love with Colorado Springs and I was saying to Gary on our walk that I really feel settled here and that this is our home. And it REALLY annoys me when people vote down levy after levy and prevent these wonderful community parks from being able to be properly maintained and run. I wish sometimes that people would research things themselves instead of thinking automatically that Taxes = bad/big government/loss of freedom/communism/the end of the world as we know it.

But aside from my momentary irritation, we had a lovely time together as a family. The kids chased the ducks and geese, collected their feathers and paddled in the water and ran on the sandy parts. I can see a trip there when family comes to see us in a few weeks and I just felt thankful. Thankful that such a beautiful city is my home and that despite recent upheavals we made it through with small scars only. Pikes Peak is always right outside my front door and whenever I need a small piece of it it's mine for the taking.

Chasing geese. Something that is so irresistible to children.

A view

This perspective makes Oliver look huge.

Searching for treasure.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just a few things......

It's about 8pm. Gary and are sitting on the couch watching tv and Spencer comes up the stairs.
"Nathan came down off the top bunk, pulled down my pants and then pulled my wiener" he says.
I had a hard time keeping a straight face. For one, Nathan could not have done that unless Spencer was messing about with him and that boy will say just about anything to get Nathan in trouble. Even though Nathan is portrayed as the instigator by Spencer I have a sneaking suspicion that Spencer has more to do with things than he lets on. I think the 5 year age gap between Nathan and Oliver was inspired.

Oliver won't suck a pacifier anymore. I don't get it. Over the last week he has been spitting it out in the middle of the night when I would go in to comfort him if he woke up. For the last two days he has fallen asleep from being wide awake without it for naps and bedtime. I know a lot of people see this as a positive thing but for me it's unknown territory. Leia sucked her thumb until a few months ago. Spencer gave up his pacifier at 4 and Nathan at 2. I've always had very well adjusted self sufficient children who rarely disturb us at night. I can probably count on one hand the times they have shown up in our bedroom in the middle of the night with any issues. I just hope that Oliver gets the comfort he needs from his cuddle cloth (cloth diaper that he has to have near his face when he sleeps).

Gary is the cat that got the cream. The part arrived today and he installed it and now we have a hot tub that is rapidly heating up. He can't keep the smile off his face and is altogether TOO excited. But to be honest, the thought of a hot tub to use over the winter is very appealing. The hot tub and the fire pit are going to make for a backyard oasis. What I love about our new neighborhood is that they allow privacy fences. Our previous neighborhood didn't allow that and every one's backyard was everyone else's as well. How can your yard be an extension of your home if the whole neighborhood can see what you are doing?

Guess I'm off to see if the hot tub is hot enough yet.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Take that, hot tub professionals!

Well the kids are back at school! Every day this week, even Monday when the kids weren't at school, Tuesday when the kids were in and out for testing, and yesterday when it was only a half day I have exercised. I haven't done anything spectacular (a one mile brisk walk with Oliver either in sling or stroller), but I do plan on increasing the speed and length of the walk as time goes on. It's amazing how much that alone has improved my overall feeling of health.

I am in full post summer organizational mode. Yesterday I cleaned most of my main floor including vacuuming out the crumbs in the sofa and dusting the ceiling fan (yuck!). Today I plan on hitting the mud room, putting away all the swimming stuff and getting caught up on laundry to include cleaning the washer and dryer. It's amazing how gross they become after a few months of use.

And a couple of days ago I convinced Gary that he really did have the smarts to tear down the hot tub and figure out why it wasn't heating. Previously he had done everything (he said) that he knew how to do to diagnose the problem and he would have to leave the rest to a "hot tub professional" who incidentally charge a ridiculous fee simply to diagnose the problem, let alone what the charges might be for a new part and labor to install it.

We decided pretty much as soon as we discovered it wasn't working that spending a large amount of money on it wasn't a priority this year and that we would wait on it. The kids have used it as a pool this summer. But every time we grill or spend time outside around the firepit we've both been guilty of looking at it longingly and making such comments as "wouldn't it be nice if we could just hop in the hot tub right now?" I could tell that any day I was going to come home to find a fixed hot tub and an $800 bill to show for it.

So I set out to change Gary's mind about fixing the hot tub himself. After all, he has his MBA, and teaches people about wireless networking or something at the college level, not to mention all the stuff he does at work but don't ask me exactly what that is because I'm not completely sure!

We discussed it to the point of it being an argument. Of course I came at it wrong using the whole saving money angle - NOT a good idea, but then I convinced him of his superior brain power and he agreed. On Tuesday evening he borrowed a thingy (a yellow box that tests something) from work to help him out and took loads of pictures of the insides and then got to work. I tell you he had it figured out within 10 minutes and by Wednesday morning he had a replacement part ordered and it should be here by tomorrow. It all seemed ridiculously easy so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. If we succeed then I'll post some pictures of hot tubbing fun - of the kids of course - don't panic!

So Oliver is unloading something into his diaper - just in time to get it changed before I put him down for a nap and get to the organizing and cleaning. The sun is shining, it's not too hot yet and all the windows are open. Nathan is watching Tom and Jerry and he's off to school this afternoon. I am anticipating a wonderfully quiet day. The only tiny bit of sadness is that I won't see many of these moments in the days ahead. (see below)