Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Tree Decorating

With Thanksgiving behind us, it was finally (FINALLY) time to decorate the Christmas tree!!! From the time the "Pickles" have been able to walk (without wobbling too much), they have assisted in the decorating. In fact, for the last couple years, all Mr. LH or I do is attach hooks to ornaments and watch the tree take shape.

The "Pickles" decorated the tree themselves this year. I think they did a pretty good job (I only had to shuffle a couple ornaments around).


The Girl even went so far as to place sticky notes to Santa near the tree...


Once the main tree was done, they moved on to the miniature tree by the front door. This is where they hang their Hallmark miniatures collections. We couldn't fit all the miniatures on the tree this year, though. We may need to get another little tree...





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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lego Maniac

I've always remembered the Lego commercial with Zac, the Lego Maniac. It would be fitting for Elder Boy, but while he enjoyed his Legos when he was younger, he never REALLY loved his Legos as his brother does.

The Boy asked for a Lego mini-figure birthday cake. He subscribes to the Lego Club magazine. He designs Lego structures on the computer. He watches Lego videos on YouTube. The Boy has wanted Legos for his birthday and Christmas for the last 3 years (not to mention every trip to Grandma's house would end with him acquiring new Legos). The Boy LOVES Lego.

When it was discovered that there was a Lego Outlet in the area, we know it was a trip we had to take. So on Black Friday (I have no idea why we went on Black Friday), we headed toward the Lego Store.



Though the mall was crowded (did I mention it was Black Friday), I think the bulk of the people were in that Lego store. Kids were everywhere, parents were everywhere, and people just seemed...happy. I mean REALLY happy. Maybe it's just the power of Legos.



After spending almost $80 there (a combination of The Boy's purchases and mine), we finally left. We will DEFINITELY be back there again soon.



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Friday, November 26, 2010

Bird Is The Word

Last year was the first time I hosted Thanksgiving Dinner at my house. Lucky for me, I had plenty of help...especially since the turkey was not completely thawed and we didn't get to eat until about 7:30pm. I was thankful everyone had consumed plenty of wine and didn't mind the additional wait for dinner.

This year, because we are so far from family and friends, it was all me. Sure, help was just a phone call away, but it's just not the same.

I let everyone choose something they wanted to eat and then I threw in some extras. The Girl wanted cole slaw. Mr. LH and I HAD to have the onion casserole. The Boy wanted his special corn dish - a side dish Mr. LH created and named for him) and Elder Boy wanted the mashed potatoes and gravy or Mac and cheese. Of course, no Thanksgiving meal is complete without the stuffing and the pumpkin pie!

I did most of the prep work the day before so it was all about the turkey Thanksgiving Day. I was stressing a bit about it but I had my game plan...Then there is the high-altitude baking thing...sometimes meat burns before it's fully cooked. Sometimes it's actually still RAW on the inside. I didn't know what to expect with the turkey. The last thing I needed was to cut into a nice brown turkey only to find it still pink inside. I kept the oven at 325 and let it go. 5 hours later (and a well-used meat thermometer later), we were ready to eat.

I am happy to announce everything ran smoothly. The turkey was yummy, the gravy was fabulous (even though Daddy wasn't here to make it like he normally does) and Mr. LH even enjoyed the sweet potato casserole (he's never cared for sweet potatoes before).




Our first successful Thanksgiving dinner in Colorado! Hope the ones that follow go as well!



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Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Am Thankful

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." - Aesop

I am thankful for my husband, a man who is loving and supportive even when I am at my worst.

I am thankful for my three healthy children, so full of love and life. They bring a smile to my face when I need it most.

I am thankful for my friends who, while so far away, remain my friends.

I am thankful we were all able to be here in Colorado with Mr. LH instead of spending this time apart.

I am thankful for Mr. LH's job here, one he had hoped to get after years of preparing for it.

I am thankful for the roof over our heads and the food on our table.

I am thankful for the chilling winds and the blankets of snow that fall so often here for without them I would not fully appreciate the Spring to come.

I am thankful...



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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Prep

Since the kids were out of school the day before Thanksgiving, they got to lounge around the house in their pajamas while I prepped food for the following day. Of course, while I love the idea of spending a day laying around in my PJ's, my daughter gets bored of it very quickly.

The Girl is my arts and crafts child so I quickly put her to work cutting out circles for a felt flower garland craft I found in the December 2010 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.




She loved being able to help out and her excitement when we sewed her circles together to form a flower was just priceless!



Once we get all the flowers made, we'll string them together to form a garland.

There are a lot of circles to cut out and sew together so we may not be done with this garland in time for Christmas, but we'll have a beautiful long one for next year!

It doesn't have to be for Christmas. The Girl is already planning a pink one for her bedroom...



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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snowy Sunrise

Mr. LH caught this image from the bedroom window while I remained snuggled under the warm blankets asleep.





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Sunday, November 14, 2010

The 25 Cent Jacket

The PTCO at The Girl's school takes donations of clothes, shoes, books, toys and movies every year and then holds their annual garage sale where everything (an I mean EVERYTHING) is 25 cents. Of course, I go.

We got stacks of books, Mr. LH found a shirt and The Boy got some jeans. But the best deal of the day was my jacket. Having just moved to Colorado and discovering none of my jackets were quite suitable for the cold winds and driving snow, I was getting desperate to find a good jacket - for cheap. Thank goodness we went to that garage sale.

While I was browsing through the children's books, Mr. LH walked up to me with a jacket. It was chocolate brown, down and feather filled, had a removable "fur" trimmed hood and was in pristine condition. It even had an overlap at the wrists so my gloves could create a sort of "seal" to keep the cold out.


In fact, the jacket was so perfect for me that I was worried someone had set it down while they were shopping and my husband walked off with it. But no one ever grabbed the jacket out of my hands and I walked out with it for 25 cents. Ya gotta love a bargain!



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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Peaceful Moment

The kids were off at school and Mr. LH had just left for work. For a moment, the morning was silent...peaceful...with only the rhythmic drip-drop of melting snow falling from the trees.















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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Snow

After a beautiful 70+ degree day yesterday, it was hard to imagine it actually snowing today. We thought it would just be rain for sure. Especially since we actually BOUGHT a snow shovel this year. It was our insurance against snow. Get the shovel, it won't snow. That's how it worked in North Carolina. We even got the snow boots this year, too. Guess those "rules" don't apply here.

Here it is November...early November and the weather reports are calling for the dreaded "s" word.

Of course, the kids knew there was snow in the forecast. They were also aware that school wouldn't be closed unless there was a TON of snow on the ground in the morning. They were pretty disappointed to find the ground bone dry this morning. However, by 2pm, there was what looked like sleet pouring out of the sky (I thought we left the icy stuff back in NC). The gutters looked like they were flooded with Styrofoam pellets! We later learned this was called graupel.



By 2:30, snow flakes were falling fast. When school was dismissed (at their regular time), the volume in the playground increased tremendously. There were kids laughing and carrying on like they had never seen snow before and others who were running like there was fire and brimstone falling from the sky. Even the "Pickles" were suddenly "freezing" even though the temps were not bad. They weren't too upset about walking home, though.



They collected snow from fence rails and pavement on the way home to make snowballs.



By the time we got home, we were sufficiently chilled and ready for some hot cocoa and cookies.


But there will still be school tomorrow, so the homework must get done!





As for me, I'm changing into my fuzzy socks and turning up the pot of chicken stew on the stove. This snowfall is only going to be the first of many...





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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Scoping Out Aurora Parks

Yesterday, the promise of 75+ degrees in November prompted us to head outdoors to explore the area. The "Pickles" had wanted to walk down to their school playground (about a 10 minute walk) but we decided instead to venture out to other area parks to see what they offered.

Even before moving to the area, we noticed Aurora has a huge selection of parks, many of them catering to different interests. One in particular, Wheel Park, is the perfect place for kids (and adults) to go with their skateboards, in-line skates, bikes, etc.


We didn't go to Wheel Park. We were looking more specifically for parks with great playgrounds. We headed first to Great Plains Park. The view from the park was spectacular!


In the summer, they have a Splash Zone where water sprays cool you off.



There were 2 playgrounds. One suited for smaller children and another for larger children.


Great Plains Park has restroom facilities and picnic areas as well as a nice baseball/softball diamond, sports field, basketball court, fitness stations, and walking paths. The whole park was clean and seemed to be well maintained. It is not far from the Air Force base, so we got to see military jets taking off and even a group of helicopters. The Boy seemed to like that.

Mr. LH and I still can't seem to get over how huge the sky seems...or how blue it is. This really is a beautiful area.



The kids had a great time there which, I guess, is all that really mattered.


Although the "Pickles" wouldn't have minded staying at Great Plains Park for the rest of the afternoon, we left to head over to Rocky Ridge Park where we had once noticed a huge Geode statue out by the road. The Boy has an interest in rocks and gems so we thought he'd get a kick out of the giant geode model.


Rocky Ridge Park has all sorts of amenities. Several groups were having birthday parties, cookouts, or hosting sports games while we were there. There are many open areas to play as well as a volleyball/badminton net. Restrooms and shelters are available. Natural areas dotted the park offering shade from the sun...



And a few "secret" paths to follow.



The playground was dinosaur themed with a huge T-Rex skeleton to climb on...


And a rock climbing wall...



and seats you could spin on (which kept the kids busy for a very long time).



And which made them VERY dizzy...



Once our park exploring was complete (for the day) we started to head back home...but not before we stopped to get a close up view of the natives...



It looks like the prairie dogs have put on a heavier coat for the upcoming winter. They look a bit shaggier than they did back in August.



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