Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's the Little Things

Awhile back on good ol' Facebook, someone had posted random little things that tickled them.  I thought it was such a clever idea.  It's so easy to pick out our annoyances (good ol' Facebook), but what about those little things that when they go just right they make life a little smilier?
Ok, here goes:
Before I go any further, let me just say my dear Sister-in-law had like a hundred things written.  I'm not about to compete with that!  Since I'm a beginner and all, I think 20 is a decent goal.
Ok, here goes:
1.  The quietness of my house when the little boys are off to school and my little miss is taking a long nap... ahhhhhhhh- it's so quiet I can hear the fridge humming.  Heavenly.
2.  Fun catalogs in the mail.
3.  Playdates that go really smoothly.
4.  Watching older siblings take care of little ones.
5.  Seeing the fridge full of food after just grocery shopping and sampling just a little of everything.
6.  When my mom brings homemade salsa.
7.  Freshly washed sheets.
8.  Freshly washed anything really.  Oh, especially a fresh washed car.  They always run better when they are clean, right?
9.  That point when all my nails are the same length, before they get super long and break.
10.  A good run.  The kind that makes you feel energized like you could go forever.
11.  Meeting a new friend and feeling inspired.
12.  Feeling really organized after paying bills, folding laundry, mopping the floor- you get the idea.
13.  Getting to see family and friends that live far away.
14.  When my kids kiss me on the lips and I can smell their sweetness.
15.  When I wasn't even expecting it to rain and it does anyway- especially if there's a little thunder mixed in.
16.  When I hear an old song that brings back great memories... "everybody wants to rule the world..."- he he ;)
17.  A great conversation.
18.  Feeling comfortable in your own skin.
19.  The way my skin feels after a really good scrub.
20.  Watching Grandmas and Grandpas love my kids- nothing better.

Wow, that was easier than I thought.  I guess that means I get to advance to stage two.  Maybe 30 next time.  Off to pick my crew.  Goodbye quietness.  Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sign of the Times

“This recession won’t be over till we raise a generation that knows to live on what they’ve got.”
I think this sums it right up.  And what a difficult lesson.  I think we all know this and have all had it drilled into our heads by parents or grandparents.  How to resist living beyond our means?  How to resist  temptation and pressure, surrounding us constantly?  Paying straight up cash for everything is one way.  I tell ya, it's a lot harder to buy that cute top or purchase a new car when you've got to plunk down your hard earned dollars for it.   Always easier swiping the card or borrowing someone else's money.  This has certainly been a work in progress for the Madskaggs.  I wonder if it will ever get easier.  Will it ever just become second nature to not desire anything more?  Living where we do helps. There isn't a lot of pressure to have material things.  It's very casual, laid back, our friends are all very down to earth and couldn't care less about the haves and have nots.  We are very fortunate that the best things in our part of the world are definitely free.  The beautiful outdoors is always beckoning, awesome family just down the hill.  Still, there's always that little nudge saying "Oh, if we could only live there".  Not saying I'm not happy right where I've been planted- I AM and always so grateful.  While living within your means can be difficult, living below them can be even harder to swallow.  But, for us I believe it is necessary. Going into this new school year, I am determined to make this my goal.  Goal I said.  I've got my work cut out for me!  I think we need to start by holding each other accountable.  See who can spend the least.  Not including food (although excessive eating out is a no no in my book).  I refuse to skimp on good food for my family, though I do try to buy what's on sale and in season.  I'm talkin' 'bout all the other toys, gizmos and gadgets that just pile up and create clutter in my life.  And don't get me started on clothes.  Really how many of our clothes do we actually wear?  I think I wear about a quarter of my closet right now... possibly less.  I just got rid of two trash bags full, but as I type this I am thinking I need to do another sweep.  Hmmm... I shall keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Imogene Pass

Aside from the birth of my Birdies, the Imogene Pass Run proved to be one of the most difficult yet exhilarating experiences of my entire life.  For the last 6 months we trained for this moment.  And like labor and delivery, in the moment you swear never again, but as soon as it is all over that is quickly replaced with "I can't wait to do that again!".  The Imogene Pass run is a 17.1 mile mountain race from Ouray, CO over the 13,114 ft. Imogene Pass into Telluride, CO.  It is breathtaking and unforgiving.  With all of the training involved, I still at moments felt unprepared and scared that I really might not be able to do this.  For me, half of it was the physical challenge, the other half mental... repeating to myself, I can! I will! My ancestors had to do this kind of thing barefoot! GO! GO! One foot in front of the other!  Keep MOVING!

A good portion of the trail ran along a beautiful little stream, which we crossed several times.

Above tree line and prepping for the final push.  We have about 2 miles to go to reach the summit.  In one more mile I began pushing my lips together and blinking back tears.  I could hear the summit in the distance and I just wanted to make it there so bad, but the elevation made it grueling.

And I DID!!  So happy in this moment... the summit is here!  Freezing temps and 40 mile/hour winds forced me to not want to hang out too long.  Now only 7 miles down to Telluride.  The next couple miles were so steep and rocky I felt I had to inch my way down, but after that I took off.  I was ready to be finished.  I decided I would not stop running until I was done.

We survived!!!  SO happy to be done.  It felt like such a huge accomplishment.  I am so glad I did this and can't wait to try to improve my time next year.  Plus, having an awesome group of ladies to train with really made the whole experience. Until next year- Goodbye Telluride! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sunshine Days

For a summer that seemed to drag on and on, this post plans to be quite short and to the point, aside from the many pictures I decided to cram all together, I am keeping my words quick!  At the end of the school year, we left for the steamy, sticky, mosquito-y, but oh so much fun Midwest.  We hadn't seen our dear Gramma Bonnie and Grampa Bob in almost a year, so it was high time.  I always say it the ultimate grandparent's house- chalked full of toys, cookies, ice cream and candy dishes right at eye level.  There was even a big pool this year Grampa Bob had rigged up in the back yard which proved to be a huge hit and provided the only outdoor excitement with the relentless heat wave.

The boys splashed, dove, pushed and shoved their way around that little pool for hours...

One of the biggest summer achievements was Soren learning to ride a two wheeler!!  

He was very proud.

I forced this upon my in-laws. But don't they look sweet together?  I wish I knew the exact amount of years they've been married, but I want to say it in the ballpark of 50!  

My sweet Angel.

Two Sweet Angels after a long day at the pool.

This one is apparently getting too old for pictures.  I had to pull the Mama sneak attack.

Three cuties in a row.

Three chocolate covered cuties in a row.

Normal, IL is home to an awesome children's museum.  I know just the name of the town makes it sound not very exciting.  Trust me, when the pool needs a break this is the perfect escape.

Mr. Sory

 Yes we do pose for a picture of ourselves every great once in awhile.

Big D trapped!  This was such a fun netted climbing thing.  If someone could fit this in their house, I bet they could find a million uses for it.

Masterpiece Art

The Family- Michael's sister, niece, nephew and parents.

Goodbye Gramma and Grampa!  We had so much fun!  Can't wait to see you again!!

Grandpa Bill arrived the next week from Louisiana.  He brought the kids tennis clothes, raquets and taught them a few tricks of the trade.  We taught Grandpa Bill what Wild Westerners do for fun, like hanging out on top of 12, 000 ft. mountains.

And enjoying the simple things in life like a good old fashioned 4th of July parade.  It's Grandpa Bill's very favorite.

See the twinkle in his eye.  He's in heaven here.

No summer is complete without more swimming.  We spent many a day seeking refuge at the good ol' pool.

Seriously mom? Another picture?

Happy Birthday to my Dear Girl Sooz.  I love you always.

The gang!  Amy to my left has since moved to Hawaii.  And I just remembered I still haven't talked to her, just played a ton of phone tag.  Amy we miss you!

Summer in the mountains and Mama training for an impending killer race means LOTS of hiking.  Lucky for me my Birdies love the wilds.

As does Papa Bird.

In the wilds you can throw rocks, sword fight, shoot things, get muddy- it's limitless.

And yes, Princesses CAN wear hiking boots!

Summer has come to an end.  And I am so excited for this school year.  I LOVE the kids teachers.  They are so happy.  It's amazing how having both kids at one school now really makes my life seem like a cake walk.  One in kindergarten, the other- a big bad 3rd grader.  And my baby girl at home.  These are good years.

He took right to it the first day.  Soon as he found out toys were involved and lots of cool new friends, he was all over it!  
I love you little Birdies so much!  Hope you had a beautiful summer.  Hope this year we build lots  and lots of wonderful new memories together.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Romantic Weekend Away!

We finally took the plunge, left the Birdies behind and escaped!  I have to say it was probably the most relaxation I have had in the last 10 years.  We talked when we wanted, slept when we wanted, sunbathed, walked, ate lunch slowly... it was pretty remarkable.  And the best part- we had time to appreciate each other.  Another best part- my baby is now officially weaned, but that's a whole other story.

We attended my dear friend Sarah's gorgeous wedding at the Beverly Wilshire.  It felt so good to dress up and be a grown up for the evening.  Sarah and I go way back, which made the night extra special.  I especially loved what her mother said during a toast... "Sarah has always dreamed of getting married, most little girls do.  But, Sarah didn't just want the wedding (fabulous as it was) she wanted the marriage."  I think when things don't go as we hope for in life, there's always that second chance when you get married and start your own family that somehow it will be better.  You will do it different. I know she will.

After a long evening and lots of Jewish dancing (super fun) and kosher drinking (which, by the way, Riesling is NOT kosher) I know because I tried to get a glass and was given the stink eye.  Chardonnay, however, is perfectly acceptable.  Just in case you ever find yourself in my predicament.

The gorgeous view of the hotel from across the street.  I swear, the only thing that got me home was thinking of those three little faces waiting for me.  If I could've overnighted them all to Beverly Hills and stayed forever I think I would have.  Look as those spring blooms?  I mean, where else do you get that at the end of a long dry summer?
Moving on... it has obviously been a ridiculously long time since I have blogged.  I have a full CD worth of summer fun that I am downloading and blogging soon!  I think I'm just going to do one fat long post to sum it all up.  Stay tuned...
One more thing, if you have not read "The Help"- do it!  I know you probably already have.  I think I may possibly be the last person in the lower 48 to give it a whirl.  I usually have a hard time sticking with  a book, but this one grabbed me from the get go and hasn't left me since.  I have laughed and cried and learned so much and wondered so much.  On the cover someone wrote "if you only read one book, let this be it".  I think I would have to agree.