finishing may

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  7 Comments »


Our May has been a beauty and a beast. The weather has gone from snow to practically summer (70 degrees for a couple of days!) and back to snow, sleet, and rain. And cold–brrr. Today we have a fire in the stove to offset the lovely white flakes that came floating down this morning. I always say Mother’s Day will bring the last snow, but this year proved me wrong several times.


Speaking of Mother’s Day, mine was simply grand. I spent the morning at the salon (I’ve been trying to get there since February, no joke!) while David and the kids roamed Cherry Creek–which is a posh area, not actually a creek. :(

I finally got a trim for the first time in a year and colored my hair for almost the first time ever, besides my normal DIY henna job.


The Before Pic–the last of my henna hair. I said goodbye to it because I want to start going lighter, and henna can only color darker. I had a red-gold with light blonde highlights in mind.


The After Pic, when I got out of the salon after 4 1/2 hours! I had a color correction, a balayage ombre job (deposit on roots and lift on ends), a trim, and a blowout. My poor hair! Normally I would never put it through so much, but I really wanted a change.

The leftover henna was a bear to cover (although my last application hasn’t been since January), and the new color didn’t come out exactly as I had envisioned, but it’s a step in the right direction. The henna will take some time to permeate.


This is after washing out the blowout and silicones and letting my hair do its own thing. I always feel more alive with curly hair, although everyone at the salon loved it straight. I don’t think it actually looks this bright–I was just having a sunny moment, LOL.


When I got out of the salon, David and the kids were waiting for me with a card, flowers, and a cherry chia kombucha (my favorite). My peeps are the best. :)



And that was when the beastly part of May began. My grandpa had just passed away, and I left for his funeral a few days later. The trip was good, but when I got back home my poor bod came down with several symptoms which left me extremely weak. The past two weeks have been spent either in bed or on the deck looking up at our blue sky.


I have a nice tan from those sunny days, and I’ve been pampered by David and gotten lots of hugs and kisses from the babes. My ex-midwife (is that a thing? I think I just invented it!) came to see me and check my iron, BP, oxygen saturation, etc. She is awesome and I’m grateful she cares enough to help me out even though I’m not giving her midwifery business right now, haha.

Since then I’ve been guzzling lots of incredibly bitter herbal tinctures, teas, and liquid iron, and my body is finally starting to feel like itself.

And Zia made me this super-duper-nuper card (as Cash would say. But he would nevah-evah-sevah draw a babycry heart like that).


To keep myself from going crazy by doing nothing, I started making art as soon as I could sit up. Here are a few things I’ve been creating:


A necklace I made to thank Kristine, my ex. (Midwife, of course.) This is a piece of river glass I found in Boulder Creek. Boulder is her stomping grounds, silver is her metal, and she has green eyes. She really liked it.


Something I made for my friend Darci, who has also been going through a hard time lately. She is an awesome mama and I wanted to send her something–she lives far away and I only see her every couple of years.


Here are a bear, eagle, and wolf which I made to resemble the totems in Disney’s Brother Bear movie. A man custom ordered them (through my shop) to give as gifts to three friends, Eskimo sisters. He said their grandfather did the voice of old Denahi, the character who opens and closes the story in the movie.


Here is the completed eagle. I finished them all with tung oil and a dark walnut stain, and hung them on leather cords.


A new Tree of Life necklace. While I made it, Cash worked on his own project. It ended up being a surprise for me–a beautiful little thing that I treasure very much.


Besides making things, my downtime has been a time of incredible thankfulness. It’s amazing how having a grateful heart can buoy you above your circumstances!  We awoke Wednesday morning at 1:30 because David heard a sound (Mr. I Can Sleep Through Anything). He went to the window and looked down. There, on our covered deck, was the stump our grill rests on, engulfed in flames. It had somehow re-ignited after he made steaks the evening before, and the sound he heard was the grill falling off as the stump disintegrated beneath it.

We raced down and the flames on the stump were about three feet high. The fire had burned all the way down through the stump and partway into the floor of the deck. David doused it with pots of water from the kitchen sink, hosed it down, and then carried the stump down to the fire pit.


If he had not been awakened by the sound of the grill, we would have slept till almost dawn–and no doubt the house would have been aflame by then. See why I’m so thankful?! :)

When I saw that burning stump and our deck only touched by the fire, I was overcome by the fact that God’s eye is on us, and He didn’t let the fire go far enough to harm us. It made me understand beyond a doubt that His eye is on me, too. Although I’ve gone from energy and vitality to being stuck in bed, weak and useless, He let me know He is watching over me, and will only let all this go so far.  It makes my heart sparkle to think about it. :)


The burn on the deck. David replaced the boards the next day.


Caleb and Zia had their last day of school Wednesday. The little reds and I started our summer schedule yesterday, and we’re loving it. Here’s our plan:

1. Make and Eat Breakfast

2. Bible Study

3. Get Dressed/Brush Hair/Wash up/Brush Teeth

4. Play Outdoors/Woods/Goats

5. Art/Craft

6. Nature Walk & Picnic Lunch

7. Reading/Quiet Time

8. Make & Eat Dinner

9. Straighten House

10. Jams/Wash/Brush Teeth

11. Watch a Movie

12. Bedtime


This morning’s giant snowflakes. Hopefully it’s the very last snow!!!!


I wish this pic wasn’t blurry, because she looks so pretty here. This is David’s niece Makayla, and the event is her promotion from junior high to high school, where she was also recognized for excelling in math.

We’re so proud of you, Makayla!


A bouquet of beautiful roses David brought home for me yesterday. They remind me of strawberries and cream. :)


We went to the airport this morning with Caleb. He left for New Mexico to spend time with his mom and attend a horse show with her in Kentucky, then he’s off to Germany for the rest of the summer! He will be living with his uncle and aunt who work in youth ministry. They have several summer activities planned, including hiking in the Swiss Alps and going on a sailing trip. Nothing very fun, obviously. ;)


I had to take this picture at a high angle to fit us both in, since he is so much taller than me now. He’s going to eat lots of brotchen and broiche and spatzle and stollen and wurst of all bratwurst–so we told him he’d better come home with a lot more chunk on his bones.


Our goatsy-toatsies.  The snow finally melted enough so we can let them out of their pen into the woods. I’m sure they’re looking forward to bright summer days as much as we are!

grandpa’s funeral

Posted on May 16th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  4 Comments »


Wednesday I flew solo to New York state to be with my family and attend my grandpa’s funeral. I have never left Cash (or  Zia!) overnight, so it was kind of a big deal for all of us. David took off work to spend time with the kids and take them out to do fun things. I came home to a spotless house and no dirty laundry, which was so very nice. Love that man.

My flight to Syracuse was a little crazy. I had a one-hour layover in Charlotte, but before we even left Denver we were delayed an hour and a half. There had been a bird strike on the landing gear, which led to a full inspection of the mechanics, and then a lady passed out cold in the aisle of the plane. They had to call the paramedics (Denver F.D.) to revive her, then disembarked her in a wheelchair and retrieved her checked luggage from the plane. It took a looong time.

The other passengers began making plans to take the night flights out of Charlotte, since it seemed sure we would all miss our connections. I just trusted that I would make my connection. It seemed impossible, but once we finally landed, I ran at top speed to the connecting gate and they let me in, although the door to the gate was closed and the plane was almost ready to take off. Talk about an adrenaline surge when I burst into that plane!


Flying over the Finger Lakes.

New York was really beautiful and green when I arrived. I think this is one of the best times to visit (aside from being the week of the black flies!) Everything looked verrrryyy low and flat compared to the Rockies, haha. There was also a lovely abundance of oxygen. :)


My time in NY was both sad and happy. I was really glad to see my grandma, but her health (physical and mental) had deteriorated exponentially since I last saw her, and it was shocking. She was so tiny and old, and it was heartbreaking to witness moments of lucidity when she understood the occasion and grieved for Grandpa.


Grandma with her daughter Sharon on her right and son Larry (Papa) on her left.


I explained to Grandma who I was (she hardly remembers anyone) and her eyes opened wide in astonishment. “How big you got!” From then on, when I told her who I was, she said, “I know, honey.” I like to think she remembers me, if only as a curly-headed tot.


Papa, Grandma, and me outside the funeral home.


Papa. This was one of the rare occasions any of us have seen him in a suit. :)


Pictures of Grandpa.


The headstone–which has been ready for so long it has moss growing on it, lol.


Zia brought me a card she made for her great-grandpa just minutes before I left for the airport. It was super sweet. They displayed it at the wake, and tucked it into Grandpa’s casket just before the funeral.


Me with Papa and Mama. Guess I got tired of wearing my shoes!


The wake was Thursday and the funeral Friday. It was hard and sad to say a final goodbye to Grandpa, but it was also a really beautiful celebration of his life. I got to see my three cousins on my father’s side whom I haven’t seen in years, and a myriad of other relatives and old family friends.


My cousin Christopher, who is just younger than me. Grandpa was like a father to him, and his passing was especially hard for him.


All my siblings and three of our boy cousins, back left. And Gaby-Baby!


…and here with spouses, fiancees, Gianna (my niece), and Papa and Mama.


My older brother and closest sibling, Seth.


The best part of the trip was being with my own family. It seems like forever since all eleven of us siblings were together, and I got to see my little nieces and nephews–including the latest, Gabe, whom I had never met. We all hung out together at Mama’s and Papa’s house and had such a good time.  It was strange being without my own little ones, and sleeping alone for the first time in more than eleven years (wow, did I sleep soundly!)


Saturday morning I headed back to Colorado and my munchkins, and home sweet home. :)

sweet sixteen

Posted on May 10th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  3 Comments »


He’ll hate me for that title, I know–but happy sixteenth birthday to our Caleb today!


He’s a music fan (obviously), and for his birthday he picked out a new guitar case to fly with him to Germany this summer. It’s still on the way, but we celebrated his birthday with root beer floats after dinner.



I suggested putting 16 candles in his float, but he wasn’t into it.


Happy Birthday, from all of us!

a tribute to my grandpa

Posted on May 6th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  5 Comments »


My grandfather, Fred DelConte, was born September 28, 1924. He was a farmer and a business entrepreneur, and he built his own house. He was also a brother, uncle, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

Grandpa was Italian, and his parents were immigrants from the province of Foggia in the Southeast of Italy. Here is a little history of Grandpa’s family:

His father, John Delconti, was from the village of Vico Gargano, and his mother, Concetta (Geni) Giannubilo was born and raised until age 13 in the little village of Serra Capriola. Her father, Fortunato (Fred), left Italy before his wife and five girls to secure a job and get established before sending for them four years later. They attended the church in Italy where the famous  young Catholic priest, Father Pio, presided. He was known to have performed many miracles.

Grandpa was very proud of this, and with teary eyes would relate the story of his mother taking her first communion.  She had no veil (her family was poor) and Father Pio said they couldn’t have that, and took the veil off the Virgin Mary statue and put it on her.


John and Geni ended up living across the street from each other in Pittston, PA. John worked in the mines as a young man, and they married when he was around 20 and Geni was around 18.

Grandpa had 5 siblings.  After Fran, Frank, and Fred (Grandpa) were born, the family decided to move to North Syracuse, New York, and farm. Geni’s parents and sisters–she was the oldest–all packed up for North Syracuse. Louise, Joe, and Vera were all born there. In Italy, the Delcontis fished in the Adriatic Sea and cultivated tomatoes and other fruits, so farming was their forte.

Grandpa spent his early years working as a farmer (and later farmed as a hobby). He married my grandmother, Florence Michelina Koziol, and they had two children, my father, Larry, and his younger sister, Sharon.

When Papa was 3, Grandpa had to have a risky back operation due to scoliosis he had developed as a child from heavy farm work. His disks were deteriorating, and with the operation (which would fuse his disks) came a 50% chance of never walking again. When the operation turned out well, Grandpa’s mother dropped to her knees and thanked God in front of all the doctors!

Still, it was a hard and discouraging time. Grandpa said that while he was recuperating in the hospital, he desperately wished he could have gotten to the window to throw himself out. He was in a body cast for a year, and during that time he watched my three-year old father while Grandma worked a job at General Electric.

After that, Grandpa needed a less physically strenuous occupation. He took up a tool and dye apprenticeship at Pass and Seymour in Solvay, NY.  He worked there for 11 years and also at other places for short segments to gain experience.  Around 1964 he teamed up with 4 other Italian men–his brother, Beppo (Beppo shot at American planes during WWII – he was with Mussolini’s army!) and three other men.

He felt the other men were unwilling to take risks in the business venture, so around 1974 he broke off and started a new business in Phoenix, NY with another partner. The company, Arrowhead Tool Builders, was very successful, but a computer glitch caused a huge financial loss and Grandpa sold the business and retired at age 63.


After retiring, Grandpa worked his huge garden well into his 80′s. I have memories of picking berries in the field behind his house, and in the summer they would bring us bushels of fresh vegetables. He was also a hunter for many years (his hunting buddy was my other grandfather) and would sometimes bring us venison.

Grandpa was a generous man to everyone who knew him. He and Grandma always brought gifts for us when they came to visit. I went with them on two road trips to Florida and a road trip to Washington, D.C., with my brother and cousin when I was about ten. I remember wanting to stop at the South of the Border attraction (for the second time) on our way back from Florida. Grandpa was tired and said no, but surprised us and took us anyway.

On one of those visits to their Florida condo, he went on a mysterious trip to Home Depot and came back with wood, tools, and stain. By the end of the day he had built a miniature corral for my entire collection of 1980′s My Little Ponies. I was thrilled!


My Grandpa died yesterday. He and Grandma had been declining for the past year and were living in a nursing home. They had just marked their 70th anniversary the day before. My father was with him, and he passed away quietly. He was 91.

I’m sad he has left this earth, but I’m thankful for the many years I knew my grandfather. He was always kind to me and left me with many great memories. Love you, Grandpa.

Top photo: Grandpa, me, and my brother Seth. 

Second: Seth, Grandpa’s mother (Geni), my cousin Christopher, Grandpa, and me.

Third: Zia (age 3) and Grandpa.

Fourth: Grandma, Zia, and Grandpa.

Bottom: My brother Jed and Grandpa (last summer).


at home

Posted on April 17th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  3 Comments »


David is home, and now we’re getting our spring snow. This weekend we got about three feet in one big blizzard.


Here is the painting I made for his birthday while he was at Masters. I worked it and reworked it, and for such a simple painting, the amount of time I spent on it is kind of hilarious. I stopped work on it simply because he came home and it was time for it to be finished. I can never seem to be perfectly happy with a painting, but he loves it, and that satisfies me.  It’s called Mountain Lullaby.


That’s my reference photo–one I took while hiking last summer while David’s parents watched the kids. Our house, I think, was just out of the photo to the right.


This is our back porch, LOL. The snow made it right up to the top of the rail, and gave our planter box a nice top hat.



Here is the other gift I made for David’s birthday–a small clay lion sculpture. I made him a tiny clay lion (more like a cartoon) when we first became friends, and this is a more realistic throwback to that.



Our playhouse is almost buried!  This is more snow than we’ve had at one time since we moved here two and a half years ago.



Isn’t that snow on the rail hilarious?


Just before he came home, I managed to start not feeling well. It was partly from my experiment with hydrogen peroxide inhalation, which I now think is a really bad idea, especially if it contains chemical additives.  Partly, it was probably due to trying to be Super Wife while he was gone, racing around all day every day trying to transform the house, truck, and goat shed before he got back. Super Wife has now become Snuggled Up In Bed All Week Wife.


(It looks like my kids are doing all the work, but that’s just not true.)




Hope you’re having a nice green spring!