Saturday, November 28, 2015

Egg-citing Chickens

After almost 8 months of waiting, our chickens have FINALLY started laying!!  Woohoo!  Free eggs!!  Kind of.  I love what one person wrote on a chicken page we are on.  They said the first egg is the most expensive - cost of the coop and food.  The rest are free!

We are so excited.  The downside... they were frozen.  As in, completely solid!  Haha.  From what we have read online they are still perfectly edible but maybe not good fried.  We have not tried them yet.  I'll probably save these first ones to bake with.  One was cracked so we pitched it.  It's hard to tell how long they were down there because it had been a few days since we checked on them.  But from here on out there will be a daily chicken chore of checking for eggs and making sure the water is full (and not frozen even though we have a warmer).  They go through water so fast now!  We have two warmers on all the time in their coop.  The night before we discovered the eggs it got down to -3 outside!  Poor chickens!  They like to cuddle and they are pretty resilient.

Here's a few pics of our girls.  They are not sure what to think of the snow.  They peck at it and eat some here and there.  For the most part they stay in the coop.  We try to leave it open during the day to let them roam and then close everything up at night.  This last snow storm though we left them in there for days and just made sure they had food and water before the storm hit.  That's when we discovered their water froze.  So yesterday we picked up a heated water container for them to make sure it doesn't freeze.  Can't wait to start eating our farm fresh eggs!

 Gathering eggs in my pjs and snow boots.

The Beauty of Snow

I love snow. LOVE snow. Some people think I'm a little crazy but the anticipation of a snow storm gets me all giddy. It's a similar giddiness I used to feel back in my high school days when I thought I wanted to chase tornados or be a meteorologist. I take pleasure in the hype the media portrays as it gets closer and all the crazies who run to the store to stock up on milk and bread. It might be a disease! Often I'm let down living in the banana belt that we do. When the forecasters say 12 inches it usually means less for us because of how we are situated against the continental divide and two fourteeners, as we call them. (14 thousand foot mountains)

But it's not just the anticipation. I love the magic of snow. Yes, I said it. Snow is magical! Or supernatural maybe. To me it's God's built in "rest" days. Days we get to watch it come down and take in the amazing beauty. Days we get to cuddle our family and be thankful for what we have. It forces us to stay put and pause. And because it's cold, it makes us build fires or put on soft fuzzy jammies and slippers. To me it's comfort.

It has draw backs but even those can be beautiful if you let them. Take driving. Driving in snow can be very scary and dangerous. Especially on 285 hwy here. I pray for safety each time one of us has to drive in it. But it's also kind of exciting. Challenging. Exhilarating even. And beautiful. Even stuck in traffic it can be beautiful. Another way God makes me pause and take in the amazing Glory all around me. One of my most memorable snowy drive moments was back in Kansas City. We had just celebrated Christmas Eve with John's family at his grandma's in Overland Park. Our drive back to Spring Hill was "magical." It was Aaron's first Christmas, music was playing on the radio, we had to drive very slow, and the road was silent. I remember thinking "this will be a moment I will never forget" as John and I recounted all the ways we were truly blessed.

Proverbs 31:21New International Version (NIV)

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

It's also clean. (OK bear with me, there are probably chemicals and such in it but that's not my point!) It's white, the color of purity. Ps 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. It has a cleansing feeling to it. Especially in the morning. A reminder that each day is a clean slate with no dirt or footprints or noise. Just a blanket of beautiful grace.

This is why I love those tiny frozen puffs of magic that fall from Heaven. And in part why I love Colorado so much. I hope you all get to enjoy at least one snow storm this season where ever you are!

Isaiah 55:9-11New International Version (NIV)

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Friday, November 27, 2015

My first 5K!

A huge shout out to my friend Kelly for inviting me and encouraging me to run this 5K with her! Thanksgiving morning was more than just sitting around waiting for the turkey to cook this year.  I wish it would have been a little nicer outside but I promised myself no excuses in November.  And as a result I not only ran the whole thing, but I also lost over 10 lbs while training for it.  No diet needed.  I also may have become addicted to running...  or maybe it's just my addiction to fitness accomplishments.

The whole family came to cheer me on.  The day started early and very, very cold.  It was 14 degrees when we left the house and warmed up to a balmy 23 by the time the race began.  Kelly's son, Andrew, was a real trooper and ran with us.  We started slow as the crowd was large but it evened out eventually and we found our groove.  I can't wait to do another one.  I'm already looking at upcoming races and trying to decide which ones to sign up for.  I would love to try a 10K or 15K next fall.

John was so great taking care of the kiddos while I ran.  The boys decided it was way too cold and ended up watching a movie in the car with the heat on.  Chloe Bean was super snug in her full body snow suit and new water proof stroller blanket.  She actually slept the whole time.

 This 5K benefited Flight For Life.  Bonus!  Plus, I love this shirt.  It's so soft.

My race results.  609th place!  Haha.  My average mile was 13:48.  Not bad.  It's a starting point!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

We were by ourselves this year for Thanksgiving but our hearts were with our family. We really miss spending holidays together.  Especially when we call and everyone is gathered together but us.  It makes it especially tough.  Skype has been hard for us to embrace as our kids have such short attention spans and our connection is not always great.  So this year we decided to make a video to share with our family.  We could not be together in person, but we were together in spirit.

We had fun making our own "jibjab" inspired dance video and just being silly all day. The food was great too.  Well most of it! Haha.  I botched a few things but no matter.  It was a day of firsts for me.  I ran my first 5K in the morning which I'll blog a separate post for that.  And I made my first pumpkin pie ever!  With as much as I love to bake and cook, it's kind of crazy that I've never made a pie in my life!  The inside was amazing but the crust needs work!  I don't buy Crisco and it's just not the same with only butter so I need to do some research on how I can improve it.

Overall, we had a great day.  Miss you all.  Christmas is less than a month away and then we get to come visit!  We are planning for January 3rd through the 10th as long as all goes well with John's schedule and requests off.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Let's try this again

You've heard me make excuses and promises before.  But this time... this time I'm trying to catch up so I can print the books of 2013 and 2014 before I have to finish my 2015 book!  Really, I just want Chloe to have the same memories in print that the boys did.  I basically have to go back through this whole year and write posts.  2015 will be a slightly different format.  Right now I'm going through all of our pictures and important facebook posts and compiling them.  I'll try to post chronologically but some things will be lumped together into one post. i.e. family hikes or park dates.  So if you are still following - if I have any followers left! - make sure to look back as I try to fill in gaps in 2015.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Church, God, and Kids

I'm not sure if there is anything more exciting and rewarding than seeing God move in the lives of your children.

When we first moved to Colorado we quickly found a church home in Red Rocks Church and loved it.  We loved the messages and the music - especially me - and our kids enjoyed Kids Rock.  Red Rocks is a very large church that now has 5 campuses.  We really didn't mind the size so much at first.  I mean, big churches mean LOTS of opportunities to serve and to make big impacts on the community around them and the world abroad.  I loved this about Red Rocks.  But it also makes it very difficult to plug in.  We hosted a life group and that was awesome.  We love the people that were in the group very much and we had fun with them.  We both also served on the "host" team in different areas.  But still, it was hard to get to know people and with so many services to choose, quite often we found ourselves lost in the crowd longing to be known and to know others.

When we moved to Bailey we decided we wanted to find community up here in the mountains.  We tried to make Red Rocks work but the drive was tough and for the most part, there weren't any people up in our neighborhood who we went to church with.  We wanted our children to grow up with friends in the church and to be part of others lives.

Enter Aspen Ridge.  We have been attending there since January now.  The community there is amazing.  Our kids LOVE the AWANA program, the cub scouts meet there, and I am co-coordinating our MOPS group now.  We see the same people every Sunday and Wednesday and the kids are actually making friends and learning about Jesus. I am constantly impressed by what they understand and repeat.

I had a moment yesterday at AWANAs pickup when Ethan said hi to our Pastor and he affectionately said hi back remembering his name even.  Our kids are known not only by their AWANAs teachers and Sunday School teachers but by the Pastor as well.  That's really important to me.  Of course, knowing people doesn't make you a great person or follower of Jesus but it sure helps to feel loved and accepted.

Today I was going through papers in Ethan's backpack.  He had drawn a picture of Jesus on the cross and wrote in his adorable 4 year old miss-spelled way, "God died for our sins."  He's learning.  And he's thinking about it even when he's not at school.  He's even applying and exploring his relationship with Jesus.  Today the DVD player in our car seemed to stop working.  It had a crack down the middle of the screen.  Not the actual glass but underneath in the pixels.  I know it's silly but I was really upset and figured the kids had destroyed yet another nice thing that we own.  We went to the Y for my Zumba classes and when we got back in the car it worked just fine.  No crack.  Ethan's response?  "Man God, you're awesome!"  When I asked if he had prayed about it, he said yes, inside the Y.  I was blown away that he would credit God with fixing his DVD player.  It seems trivial but to him, he genuinely was thankful and in his sweet four year old mind, gave glory to God in that moment.

I pray that these sweet moments keep happening.  God continues to use my little people to teach me and convict me to be a better mom and a better person.  I don't say all these things to brag.  Just where I'm at right now and I thought it important enough to blog about.  I hope to get this blog fully updated soon.  I know I keep saying that!  But I'm serious.  It's important.