Sunday, August 5, 2012

Belle of the Ball

It's the morning after Ashley's wedding, and I couldn't be prouder of Frankie. She totally ROCKED IT as the flower girl. She walked down that aisle with a big smile on her face, bursting with personality. She looked beautiful, too.

I have to say, too, that the wedding was absolutely beautiful. In the middle of a wave of 95 degree days, the universe decided to grant Bas and Ashley the most perfect day for a summer wedding that I've ever seen. Blue skies, around 80 degrees, a slight breeze... Perfection!

The ceremony itself was really nice, too. Ashley's fabulous brother Mitch got ordained over the internet and performed the ceremony. The father of the bride and the father of the groom both got up and gave speeches with their wishes for the couple. It was warm, lighthearted, quirky, and personal. I loved it.

The highlight of the ceremony for me was when Bas suddenly produced a ukulele in the middle of the ceremony, and surprised Ashley with an absolutely gorgeous song that he'd written in her honor. It was adorable with a capital A. Bas has a great singing voice (fun fact: He once auditioned for the Dutch version of American Idol), and the song was so sweet and touching that I confess to shedding a few tears. I think everyone at the wedding fell in love with Bas on the spot.

And the reception? Amazing! It was held at a local B&B in Old Town called The Edwards House. I must have driven past The Edwards House hundreds of times in the past fifteen years, but I never realized how amazing it truly is. The grounds are beautiful. Long stretches of green grass, private flower-filled nooks... Private, secluded, and really lovely. We walked around the grounds and socialized all night. We knew a lot of people at the wedding, but made some new friends, too. (Which is rare for me.) Ashley and Bas even put out a dress-up photo station that Frankie had a blast with throughout the night.

And the food? Amazing! It might actually be the best wedding food I've ever tasted. Gorgeous, earthy, salty, and garlicky. I would eat that meal every day if I could.

We stayed until after ten, and Frankie was bubbly, happy, and well-behaved the whole night. She played with the other kids at the wedding pretty much the whole time. We actually barely saw her. People kept coming up to us, though, telling us how cute Frankie was. Two different people advised us to put her in drama classes, and one New Yorker asked if we'd be interested in coming to the city to audition her for commercial work. (Which would be great, if it wasn't for Frankie's inability to take direction. Maybe they'd let her *direct* the commercials?)

Flower Girl verdict: It was a great night, and Miss Frankie was a hit. I was really proud of her.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Flower Power!

Today's the day our friend Ashley marries the adorable Holland-born Bas. It's an exciting day for Frankie, too, because she gets to act out what she has deemed her "life dream": being a flower girl.

I'm a little nervous for the ceremony, because Frankie has somehow gotten it into her head that the flower girl's walk should be unique and creative. Therefore, she's worked out some sort of weird, painfully slow, lurching, avaunt-guard Frankenstein-esque walk the borders on performance art. We've gone round and round about it, in fact. The more I suggest a more "traditional" (Read: more efficient, less Frankenstein) walk, the more she resists and amps up the drama.

Yesterday in the rehearsal, I think we finally came to an understanding when she realized how long the aisle was and how quickly she'd need to get down to the groom's end. She and I struck a compromise: she can do anything she likes with her upper body and hands, as long as she smiles and walks at a reasonable pace.

In case things go south, I have my Flip camera at the ready, poised to save the event for future blackmailing purposes.

Wish us luck!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Great Sand Dunes

It's been a few weeks since our trip down to the Great Sand Dunes, but I thought I might take a moment to recap the trip and share a few pictures.

It was a long way down to the Great Sand Dunes, around six hours. Matt and I drove in the Element, while Jo, Jim, and Frankie rode in the truck pulling a camping trailer. We stopped halfway and set up camp at a KOA campground. Frankie had a blast swimming around in the KOA pool while I sat in a lounge chair and baked in the sun.

Here's our campsite:

When we weren't watching Frankie swim, we spent most of our time hanging out in the air-conditioned trailer because it was blazingly hot. It was so hot that when I walked across the paved parking lot I could feel the heat from the pavement radiating back at me. I seriously feared that my flip-flops were going to melt.

That afternoon, we decided to take a tour of the nearby Cave of the Winds. It was really beautiful and best of!

That night, we cooked out on a campstove, made s'mores, and had a good time hanging out together at Jim and Jo's camper. That night, Frankie, Matt, and I slept in our tent, and Jim & Jo slept in the camper. It was actually a lot of fun sleeping outside. There was a super creepy guy in a beaten-up 1980's-style van with blacked out windows parked next to us, but once I got over my fear that he was going to murder us in our sleep and wear our skins while dancing in the moonlight, it was a great night.

The next day we packed everything up and drove the rest of the way down to the Great Sand Dunes. The campsite Jo had picked out for us was gorgeous, and we had a great view of the dunes.

The only bummer was that there was a campfire ban in effect for the rest of our trip. (At that point, pretty much the entire state of Colorado was on fire.) So, no campfire cooking or s'mores. But what we did get was....

Unbeknownst to me, moments later a giant and horrifying beetle would fly into my sweaty cleavage.

Sledding down the dunes. Whee!

Doesn't grandad look dashing in his Hello Kitty backpack?

There's usually a really beautiful (and refreshing) river flowing across the base of the dunes, but sadly it was so hot that the river had dried up just days before we arrived. After talking the river up to Frankie, she was a little bummed that it was gone, but ultimately she was a really good sport about it.

The dregs of the river, buried under the sand.

"Whee! I'm swimming!!"

Honestly, I had a great time. It was lots of fun spending time with the family, and we have quite a few wonderful and lasting memories from the trip. However, I'm not a very outdoorsy kind of gal, and going a few days without a shower was a real challenge. I hate feeling dirty, sweaty, and/or sticky, and those are pretty constant states of existence while on a camping trip. By the time we headed home, I was fantasizing about a bubble bath.

These memories stand out among all the others:

1) The heat
The temperature hovered around 100 degrees most days we were camping. It was too hot to do pretty much anything other than sit in the shade and hope for darkness to fall.

2) The wind
The last night at the Great Sand Dunes, there was a terrible windstorm. It kicked up right as the sun was going down, and lasted all the way through until morning. These winds were FIERCE. Trying to sleep in the tent was a real challenge. The sound of the wind howling and ripping and flapping through the vinyl of the tent was incredibly loud.  There no way to overstate how loud it was. It was like trying to sleep while skydiving. The wind would catch the sides of the tent and blow them in so that just as you were about o fall asleep, you'd be startled awake by the realization that the fabric of the tent was collapsed in so far that it was touching your nose. Not a restful wilderness experience.

3) The bugs
Biting flies are jerks. They think I taste delicious. No amount of bug spray will stop them.

4) Frankie
When we woke up at our campsite at the foot of the Great Sand Dunes, Frankie crawled out of her sleeping bag, wiped the sleep out of her eyes, and took a look around. The first thing she said (in a reverant hushed whisper) was, "Oh... It's so beautiful!" The smile on her face made the entire trip worth it.

5) The Moth
Inside the camper, Jo and I complained about an irritating moth that kept flapping around up. Jim, in a ninja-like manuever, looked up from what he was doing and SNATCHED THE MOTH RIGHT OUT OF THE AIR WITH ONE LIGHTENING-FAST GRAB. It was awesome, and totally unexpected. He's a real-life Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid. im caught the moth in his fist, and (because he has a kind heart) opened the door and shooed it back outside.

Jim rules!!

6) Climbing the Great Sand Dunes
The sand dunes were breathtakingly beautiful. I'm so happy I was able to see them. Bugs, heat, and wind... It was all worth it.

Camping face!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Time flies...

It's been so long since I've posted here, and there's so much to talk about I hardly know where to start. I've left CSU, the mountains around our house are on fire, Frankie is now a second grader, and I turned 40. Yeesh!

But, baby steps. For now, I'll just say that I seem to have found my motivation to write again. Hopefully, there will be more to come soon. For now, I'm sitting in the kitchen, blogging in the sunshine of a beautiful Colorado morning. While I type and sip coffee, Matt is packing up the car for our week long camping trip to southern Colorado. We're planning to see the Cave of the Winds, the Royal Gorge, and the Great Sand Dunes.

Personally, I'm terrified of being away from my hairdryer for five days. I don't like being dirty, and really can't stand bugs. But, it'll be great fun to have a few days of hardcore family time. I'm looking forward to a little relaxation, reading, and hanging out with The Fam.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Frankie, Fashion Icon

This is what happens when you let a six year old watch Project Runway. She's drawing in her sketch book, coming up with designs for couture outfits.

In the picture, she's wearing one of her original creations: snow boots, swimsuit bottom, and cape. It's going to be a big fashion trend this summer, mark my words.

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out

Somewhere along the line, Frankie has developed a weird fascination with guns. I honestly don’t know where she gets it from. It’s not like Matt & I have ever owned a gun, or plan on ever owning a gun. In fact, we rarely talk about guns. There’s a gun-shaped void in our lives. The only tine the subject comes up is when Frankie is begging me to buy her some sort of toy gun so she can practice shooting things.

Most likely, her love of guns was formed in direct opposition to my dislike of guns, as a way to drive me crazy. I can get behind target practice—That seems kind of fun. But when kids run around and pretend to shoot each other, complete with faking dramatic death scenes on the floor… Sorry, but I think that’s weird and morbid. Not my cup of tea. But that’s probably exactly why Frankie likes the idea of guns. The thought process is pretty straightforward: mom doesn’t like guns, so now I MUST LOVE GUNS.

Anyhow, Frankie has been on me for a few weeks to buy her a Nerf gun to play with. I really didn’t want to. Frankie’s an only child, and there’s no one around the house to shoot at but me. Call me selfish, but I don’t want to live my life in fear of casually entering a room only to be shot point blank in the face by a Nerf dart.

Frankie begged and begged. She promised me that she was responsible enough to play with it, and she would be super careful with it. Eventually I came to the realization that forbidding toy guns in the house was probably making them seem even more exotic and cool than ever. So, I caved. We went to the store, and I bought her one of those Nerf guns with the little foam suction cup darts in it.

The first thing I did when we got it home was lay down the rules:

1) No shooting at people (see my earlier comment re: my face)

2) No shooting in the house (mommy loves fragile collectables)

3) NEVER point the gun at your own face (you’ll shoot your eye out, duh)

I showed her how to load it and shoot it, and showed her how to hold the gun away from herself so it never had to be pointed toward her face. Frankie just rolled her eyes and sighed, “I know, mom. Geez! I’m not a baby!” I repeated the importance of never looking down the barrel, but she said “Mom, you’d have to be sooooo dumb to shoot your own face.” She snatched the gun away from me, and shooed me away, eager to start her target practice.

I went inside and watched her shoot two or three darts at the sliding glass door. She was happy as a clam. Not two minutes after I left her with the gun, though, she proceeded to check whether or not the chamber was correctly loaded by pointing the gun directly at her face, staring down the barrel….AND SHOOTING HERSELF IN THE EYE.

To be honest, it all happened so fast that I didn’t see a thing. I turned my head, distracted by dishes or some other sort of household chore, and the next thing I knew she was running past me, covering the right side of her face hysterically yelling in a high-pitched voice, “NOTHING’S WRONG. NOTHING’S WRONG. DON’T LOOK AT ME!!!!”

She came out of the bathroom five minutes later, strolled past me real casual-like, and totally tried to pass it off like nothing had happened. She was absolutely never going to tell me what had happened, even though her puffy red right eye was a dead giveaway.

“Did you shoot yourself in the eye?”


“Uh huh. Frankie, did you shoot yourself in the eye?”

“No way, mom!”

“Did. You. Shoot. Yourself. In. The. Eye? Don’t lie.”

(small voice) “Ok….maybe a little.”

Really, it was hard not to laugh. She was fine, of course, and I got the satisfaction of being proven right in record time. I couldn’t believe that it took her less than five minutes of having a toy gun to do the exact thing to herself that I was most worried about.

Still, I don’t think we’ll be graduating to BB guns anytime soon.