Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Laugh About Vaccines

By now you all have realized how incredibly supportive and passionate I am about vaccinations.  While the pro-vaccination movement is still a very serious issue... this is not a serious post.

I hope this gives you the laugh it gave me:

Have a great Sunday.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful Mom and Daddy!
Thank you for the wonderful example of marriage you have set.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Vail Mountain

Vail Mountain is a very special place for me.

I have countless memories on that mountain.  To take a line from The Sound of Music, "That's my mountain -- I was brought up on it."  And, yes, I was brought up on Vail mountain.

The winter of 2013-14 was the first year since I was three that I hadn't skied on Vail mountain.  I was pregnant with Tracey Ann until the middle of January, then I was recovering from childbirth... and then, I didn't get a ski pass for the year, nor did I really want to spend a big, long length of time away from my baby to go skiing.  Plus, I was exclusively breastfeeding, so I would have either had to pump, or come down to nurse... it just wasn't worth it.

This ski season, I went skiing for the first time just a few weeks ago.  My first day on Vail mountain in almost two years.  As I stood in lines for the chair lifts and gondola, I found myself remembering so many beautiful memories on Vail mountain.  My first time skiing this mountain in nearly two years -- where would I ski first?
  • Maybe LOST BOY, because that was ALWAYS my family's first run, for decades, we would always take the Vista Bahn, and then Chair 3 and start with LOST BOY.
  • Maybe CAPPUCCINO, my first ever "favorite run", when I was a kid.  My friends and I would zip in a out of the trees.
  • Perhaps BLUE OX,  my favorite run as an adult, as I became a more accomplished skier.  A run my cousin and I race down almost looking like synchronized skiers.
  • Oh, but what about the BACK BOWLS?  It wasn't until I moved out here that I discovered the joy of the BACK BOWLS.  POPPYFIELDS would be wonderful, and less crowded.  I love POPPYFIELDS.
  • Or maybe SUN-UP BOWL, which has proven to be the best way for me to avoid crowds in recent years.
  • Then, there is RIVA RIDGE -- the black diamond ski run where my husband asks me to marry him.  I would definitely HAVE to ski RIVA.  Did I mention, this is also the ski run where my dad proposed to my mom?
But no... none of these would be my first run.

After nearly two years away, there was no question, my first run had to be NORTHWOODS, the beautiful run where my sister's earthly remains remain.  My sister Tracey was not laid to her final resting place in a casket, in a cemetary, witha  headstone for anyone and everyone to see her name and the dates she graced this earth.

Her wishes were to be cremated and her ashes scattered on Vail mountain, on her favorite ski run, where she could be one with the mountains, trees, animals, skiers, and breeze.  Her name is not engraved anywhere... but a tiny charm, the size of a dime adorns one small spot, of one pine tree, at the base of which, her ashes where scattered, twelve years ago.

Each year, I wonder if the charm will still be there -- winters certainly take their toll on Vail mountain.  But, thus far, the charm has always remained.  The only time it hasn't been there was when I've gotten mixed up, and been looking for it on the wrong tree.

I'm not able to visit my sister's grave and leave flowers... instead, I ski NORTHWOODS, almost every time I ski Vail Mountain, and I stop at Tracey's charm, and I pay my respects.

I don't go through every day in deep grief over my sister's death.  Time has lessened the pain of loss.  But then, on a beautiful, joyful ski day, I ask myself which ski run I will take first, and the answer rushes in with a flood of emotion -- NORTHWOODS.  I haven't visited my sister's charm marker in nearly two years... before anything else, I have to go to NORTHWOODS.  I haven't been to the charm since before my daughter was... well, conceived, and then born... the daughter I named after this sister, whose ashes were scattered there.

The first run had to be NORTHWOODS.
The charm was still there.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Yeah, I'm Going There... Today

I really try to leave politics largely out of my blog.  I do share my thoughts from time to time... but I don't want it to be the focus of my blog, and I do not want to make a habit of promoting disrespect for the leader of our country.

All of that being said... this political cartoon was WAY too funny (and a little too true, in my opinion) not to share.

As those of you who have followed my blog for years know, I respect and remember December 7th -- Pearl Harbor Day.  I have posted President Roosevelt's speech to our nation following that attach several times.

Well, here is how that speech might have read if Obama was president when the Japanese attacked:


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Flashback: Rome Update 5

Flashback: Rome Update 5

September 27, 2004

Hey Y'all -

The past week absolutely FLEW by. Some highlights included my first
visitor to Rome, another weekend trip and my first letter from home --
thank you Aunt Ginger and Uncle Bill! :)

My good friend and sorority sister, Lydia Toso, is doing service work
outside of Florence and came down to visit me this past week from
Tuesday to Thursday. She studied in Rome a few summers ago so she knew
her way around, and we just had a wonderful time catching up while
visiting old favorite places of hers and new favorite places of mine.
One of the places we saw was Villa Borghese which is a beautiful park at
the north end of Rome. It is quiet and green and you can actually hear
the birds singing (as opposed to cars and bus motors) and I am really
excited to go back one day with a picnic lunch and a book as it was so
peaceful. Lydia and I had so much fun together and are hoping to plan
some trips to other parts of Italy together, since we are both here - we
both find it kind of surreal. She is a wonderful friend and we had
great talks and great times.

Soon after I parted ways with Lydia on Thursday, my roommate, Christina
and I and a friend named Chris took off for a weekend in Naples. We
took the train and arrived in the late evening just in time for a dinner
of the famous Neapolitan pizza. Friday morning we went to Pompeii and
wandered around the old village that was preserved by the lava from
Mount Vesuvius. It was a beautiful day and we all agreed that the
village would make a great place for little kids to make a fort or to
play hide and seek. Friday afternoon, back in Naples, the three of us
split up and I went window shopping. The people in Naples are SO NICE!
Not all of them speak English, but they are so thoughtful and much nicer
than the people I've met so far in Rome. If Christina, Chris and I just
stopped on a street corner to look at our map to determine which street
to take, more often than not, someone stopped and asked us if we needed
help and gave us directions to where we wanted to go. They were very

Saturday, the three of us spent the whole day on the Island of Capri,
and it was BEAUTIFUL! I wish there was a study abroad program there.
It was very tropical, which I wasn't really expecting and as we walked
to and from different sites, it seemed that every view we saw was more
breath-taking than the last. We saw Villa Jovis where Jovis used to
through his enemies into the sea, and we took a chairlift to the top of
Mount Solaro, and we saw the outside of the Blue Grotta. My favorite
part was being on top of the mountain because you can see the entire
island, the sea surrounding it, and I loved being so high. It was nice
and windy, and I could have stayed there forever. Another thing I
really liked was the Villa of San Michele which was a home built by a
doctor before the first world war. He described the house as 'having
small rooms but plenty of terraces and patios to watch the sea, the sky
and the clouds. After all, the soul needs more room than the body." I
love that quote and I hope one day I can say the same about my own home.
The whole island was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen
and I really want to go back.

Sunday I spent the majority of the morning at the Cathedral of the
Duomo which was a beautiful church near our hotel. Then I went to the
National Archaeological Museum which was free admission that day, and
there was a jazz band playing among some of the statues which was really
cool. Then I did homework at the train station until our train left.

The temperature has dropped here considerably over the weekend. It's
gone from tank-top to long sleeve shirt weather. Apparently it is
illegal for anyone to turn their heat on before October anywhere in
Rome. I think that's a little weird, but at least October is just
around the corner, so we'll be fine. I'm a little under the weather
today with some congestion and a sore throat, but I'm trying to get more
rest and stay warm and hopefully this won't turn into anything serious.

I hope all is well where you are and I'd love to hear from you and all
that is new and wonderful in your world. You are all in my prayers. As
always, visitors are more than welcomed here in my little villa.

I love you all!

- B

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tracey Ann -- 13 Months

So, this is a total Mama-Fail that I'm posting Tracey Ann's thirteen-month update before I've posted her 12 month update... major Mama Fail.  I do plan to keep posting monthly updates, but in a different format than I did for the first year.

I just want to post some bullet points of new things that Tracey Ann is doing -- not in the detail that I did for most of the last year.  I will eventually post the 12 month update, but I think having posted this 13 month update will help sort of divide up what she's started doing recently, and what she was doing a month ago, when she turned 1 year.

At 13 months, Tracey Ann is:
  • Climbing on EVERYTHING -- I mean EVERYTHING!  As soon as she pulls herself up, she looks for the nearest thing to climb -- furniture, beds, stairs, toys... EVERYTHING.
  • Signing a lot of words -- she just started saying "Help" and "Sleepy" -- she now signs all the time.  In fact, she signs "Help" so often when she wants something that Hubby and I are having to ask, "You need help with what?"  She signs "milk", "more", "food", "all done", "up", "help", "sleepy", and she blows kisses, which are also "thank you."
  • Nodding and shaking her head to communicate.  We can literally ask her questions now, and she will answer.  "Are you hungry?" and she will nod her head vigorously.  "Do you want some banana?" and she shakes her head.  "How about some oatmeal?" and she nods her head.  It is SO helpful!!!
  • Giving us hugs and kisses -- wide open-mouth kisses.  We LOVE them.
  • Meeting one of Mama's closest friends from college, "Aunt" MaryCarol who came into Denver on business, so Tracey Ann and I went down to see her
  • Still breastfeeding -- about three times a day, but she's now to the point where she doesn't drink any bottle while I'm at work, and I don't pump when I'm at work.
  • Drinking water exclusively from a sippy-cup -- dare I say, we could possibly put the bottles in storage?
  • Hugging and petting Lexie whenever she gets the chance
  •  Throwing the ball for Lloyd... well, understanding which are Lloyd's toys and rolling them to him.  She rolls the balls to him, and she picks up his bones and carrys them to him.
  • Crawling with toys in one or both hands -- she also climbs with toys in one or both hands.
  • Loving brushing her teeth... and I must be clear, SHE loves brushing her teeth.  She doesn't necessarily love for me to brush her teeth.
  • Walking... occasionally, and when we least expect it.  Tracey Ann actually took her first steps before she turned one, but she only did it once.  Then a few weeks later, she walked again.  Then again a few days ago... but most everything she does, she tries it once, and then she HAS it.  Walking has not been that way.  She can do it, but for her, she is so fast when she crawls and she loves to climb, so she's not all that interested in walking.  Most recently, she has started walking while just her little bottom is sliding along a cupboard giving her just the smallest degree of reassurance.  She is getting there (and frankly, I'm not rushing her).
  • Sharing any chance she can -- she will hand me my phone, she will share her food (with Mama, Daddy, and Lloydey), she will share her toothbrush -- and she wants to be the one to put the food or the toothbrush in your mouth.  It is so sweet.
  • Giggling and laughing all the time.  Her little sense of humor is developing, and she loves to laugh, which we love because she took so long to really giggle, that it is a sound we just cherish.
  • Not loving getting her diaper changed.  She does not like to lay still for that length of time.  So, I must admit, I have caved, at least for the moment, to turning on cartoons when we change the diaper.  She immediately lays still and is patient.  I know, it's probably horrible of me... but its a LOT easier than wrestling with her each and every diaper change.
  • Drinking from a straw -- and blowing bubbles into a straw
  • Fully vaccinated!!!!  She's been up-to-date with her vaccinations all along, but her turning twelve months was a big milestone for us because it meant she could get her MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, which she did this past month.  We feel SO fortunate that we live in a country where vaccines are so affordable and available.

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