Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and swim team practices, scrapbooker and founder of the Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.



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Taste of Fort Collins

Yesterday, we finally experienced the Taste of Fort Collins. We'd never been to this annual event and ventured up to Old Town shortly after they opened for the day. We wandered around taking in all the vendors and food trucks before trying to decide what each of us wanted for lunch. 

In the end, we split up but found a picnic table to share in the shade. Micah fell in love with the Waffle Lab food truck. Noah went for pizza and a sno cone. Asher had chicken on a stick, curly fries and homemade ice cream in a waffle cone. (Micah also managed to snag ice cream in a waffle cone...though he was almost out of money, he convinced Asher to share so that Micah could buy one also, lol.) Nathan took to sampling many different things...potstickers, waffles, paella, coffee, and ice cream. And I enjoyed a lovely lobster roll and then a sno cone.

Amid all that, we also walked around and enjoyed some of the vendors. The boys all managed to win prizes from a prize wheel for Loveland Laser Tag (which I'm sure will come in very handy this summer), and Micah won himself some sunglasses at another booth (which looked particularly cool over his glasses, lol). 

(Above...the ticket booth to get in (fortunately, we only had to pay for Asher...Micah's free and the rest of us have First National Bank cards so got in free)...Micah enjoying a hammock chair...the handmade ice cream place...and hanging out waiting for the MAX bus home.)

All in all, another lovely festival enjoyed... :)


My birthday

Thank you so much for all the Facebook, email, text and other birthday wishes on Wednesday!!! Sorry I didn't reply more promptly but my guys and I were off having a lovely day. :) We headed up to Estes Park and took Trail Ridge Road up to the Alpine Visitor Center in hopes of climbing the steps there and recreating this picture from eight years ago (scroll a bit down the entry). Unfortunately, the steps were closed due to snow. :( But, at another of the pullouts not far away, we found an open trail and climbed it then climbed some boulders...

One of the views from there looked like this:

And I'd be lying if I said there weren't snowballs thrown all along the way, lol. (Apologies, again, to the woman Micah almost hit while trying to get his brother on the way back down the trail, lol. Fortunately, she was a wonderful sport about it.)

Here's a picture from another of the pullouts:

After leaving the park, we made our way to Ed's Cantina for a delicious late lunch then did a wee bit of shopping before heading to Fun City to ride the giant slide: 

(Micah doesn't like the giant slide so opted to take the pictures for us.) During all of the day, btw, we remarked on how beautifully the weather was cooperating...much nicer than forecast. 

So, after the slide, we started a round of miniature golf. We were having a grand time (boys had all gotten holes in one). It started sprinkling a bit. I decided to run back to the van and grab jackets and an umbrella. (It seemed light enough that we figured we could easily just keep playing.) On my way back to my guys, the skies opened up with hail. I'd say they were about peanut M&M sized. ;) 

I found Nathan and the boys huddled under a tree on the far side of the course. I joined them there with the single umbrella I had and we waited out the burst. It probably lasted about 5-10 minutes. Once it started to let up, Nathan and Micah made a run for it with the umbrella. Noah, Asher and I followed shortly after and we all made it to the pavilion. This is what it looked like on the course:

Yup. All the greens had turned white and there were puddles everywhere. This is what the slide looked like:

And, lucky us, we'd parked in the low spot of the parking lot...

Simply put, we were soaked! :)

We'd brought coats and snow boots anticipating the snow up Trail Ridge Road. But we hadn't brought changes of clothes or socks and shoes, lol. So. In wet clothes and snow boots with no socks for the most part (I happened to have brought extra shoes and socks...having been unable to decide what footwear to bring, lol), we then trekked into town for our traditional ice cream at Hayley's. (The sun had come back out at this point, in case you were wondering.)

And then, rather than continuing to hang out in our wet things, we opted to head home. 

We arrived home to find a delicious cookie cake on our doorstep (thanks, Vanessa!). We *may* have immediately opened it and eaten some, lol. The rest of the evening was likewise indulgent...just hanging with my guys, watching some shows and ignoring everything else. A beautiful day!

So. Happy birthday to me and here's to another wonderful year!


Denver Chalk Art Festival

I've been wanting to go to the Denver Chalk Art Festival for at least a few years now. Today, we finally made it and it was a gorgeous day.

We made it down there early in the day (via light rail and free mall ride shuttle and walking) and joined the crowds...

We were quite impressed by most all of the artwork on display! I didn't take pictures of everything but here's a look at some of our favorites...

Seriously, the amount of work that goes into all of the art is astounding! So much chalk...

(This was at one of the installments...I just thought it looked beautiful.)

After walking through everything, we grabbed some delicious lunch, revisited a few favorites, then headed out.

It was a good day. :) 


City Works 101

Remember back in March when I mentioned taking a class for me? Well, last night we had our City Works "graduation" gathering for a meal with City Council members and others. We were also each presented with a certificate recognizing us as "one of the most informed citizens of Fort Collins." :)

I'm sad that it's over.

I know it might not sound overly exciting, but I really enjoyed it. Each week (there were eight sessions), the city staff would feed us dinner (catered from different local restaurants) and then do presentations/tours on that week's topic. (There were also a couple of optional Saturday sessions...I was able to make one but not both.)

Through it all, we got to see different city facilities and learn about city government, sustainability services, parks/recreation/natural areas, utilities, transportation, community development and neighborhood services, and police services. I took all sorts of notes, learned so many fascinating facts, and met fabulous people.

Most weeks, I didn't take any pictures...so I only have a few. But here's the salt (for roads) during the week about transportation... 

...and one of the S.W.A.T. vehicles (I got to sit inside it and everything!)...

...and one of the K9 units...

Seriously. I learned so much! And at every point I was just so very impressed by the level of commitment and innovation and dedication to be found. I love Fort Collins even more now. :) 

And, I'm looking forward to finding ways to continue learning (and sharing that learning with my boys) and to contribute back to this fabulous city of ours.


End of an era

Okay, not really an era. ;) But yesterday was Asher's last day of Options. 

Nathan and I were invited to attend the awards assembly at the end of the day. Each teacher gives out a SOAR award for each of his/her classes. SOAR stands for Safety Ownership Achievement and Respect and is a motto that the school uses throughout the year to help guide the students in those areas. Teachers selected one student from each class that they felt best exemplified one or more of those qualities.

Asher was recognized by his PE teacher for her older kids class. I'm not sure why he's making that face, lol.

Here are all of her class SOAR award recipients:

Micah was recognized by his drama teacher (and was very smiley up there at center stage, lol)...

So proud of these boys of mine! To my recollection, they've received awards at the year-end ceremony every single year. :) 

After all the awards had been given out, the principal called all of the eighth graders up on stage to be recognized. Asher tried to hide out over on the far right...

This was Asher's ninth year of Options. He started way back in kindergarten...

(Isn't he adorable?!) I'm pretty sure, too, that he's one of the only (if not *the* only) students in Fort Collins to have gone all the way through from 2008 (when the Options program first began here) to now. (Technically, we did a year of the Loveland "Options" program in the middle but it was much of the same staff and definitely the same program so I'm counting that.)

And now Asher's done with Options. :(

We're sad to see that come to an end...as it's been such a welcome addition to our homeschooling routine. But. The PSD Options program only goes through eighth grade...their partner hybrid program (homeschooling but with time on site) doesn't appeal to us due to the lack of control over the curriculum and expectations...and Asher has no interest in attending any of the local high schools. So. We're going to homeschool high school for Asher. I'm actually looking forward to the challenge and think it's definitely got the potential to be fantastic.

(Sidenote: Micah still has another couple years of Options. So we're not saying goodbye altogether. Similarly to when Noah stopped going to Options, this will just be a new chapter.)

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