my birthday

Posted on July 12th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  3 Comments »









I had such a nice birthday, at home with my very own people. In the morning, I found a Papyrus card from David, handwritten with words that always make his cards the best presents ever. :)

The kids had signed it, too, and Cash gave me all the juicy info about it last night. “Just so you know, I wrote ‘Happy Birthday from Chub, Dadda, Mia, Caleb, Zia, the Whole World, and Chub.’”  In a few pen scratches, of course.

I wore my Johnny Cash shirt the other day (he has one, too) and he noticed. “Is that your Johnny Mia shirt?” he asked, a clever little gleam in his eye. I guess if his shirt says Johnny Cash, it only makes sense mine says Johnny Mia, haha. :D

happy birthday, zia!

Posted on July 10th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  7 Comments »


Happy birthday to our baby girl–who somehow, someway, became a nine-year-old today.


We went to White Fence Farm in Lakewood for lunch. They have a home-style restaurant, gift shops, a little petting farm with goats, a playground, and a stagnant brown pond that sports a sign with something about “natural flow water.” ;)


The restaurant food was grandly overpriced, but kind of interesting–the grandpa at the table behind us ordered liver and onions–and the place was mostly patronized by the 70-and-over crowd.


Still, there were plenty of kids, and ours loved it. I’m glad they had the experience, because if it’s up to David and me, we just might never return, LOL. Or at least, not to the restaurant. The outdoors part was really pretty nice (aside from the stagnant pond), and they even had an “aviary” which consisted of a peacock and peahen. Peacocks are just awesome.



Our birthday girl’s day was punctuated by us checking on the fire in Nederland every so often. The wildfire has been raging since yesterday, and 600 acres are in flames. There is 0% containment, 2000 people have been evacuated, and homes have been licked up practically right where we lived less than three years ago. Here is the view of the smoke from our front deck in Black Hawk:


It has been so hot here–91 degrees in Black Hawk when we came home this evening, which is pretty abnormal. Also windy, which of course has contributed to the rapid spread of the wildfire.


We headed home after our shenanigans at White Fence Farm, and David and I set up Zia’s treasure hunt, which ended in a puppy pinata and presents in the goat shed.


She asked for mostly “homemade presents” and here are some things I made for her:


She’s into red foxes these days, so I sewed up these pillows for her new loft bedroom. (The moon chair was a present, too–but not homemade.) The “Happy Place” fabric was a standard pillowcase I got at Target and deconstructed, then added a fox print envelope backing. The others I made from scratch, using ideas I found online.


A set of hooks–this was quick since I bought the hooks already attached and just painted the animals and background color with acrylic paints. It was a last-minute gift–I wanted her to have a place to hang her growing collection of necklaces.

Speaking of necklaces…


I carved this wooden fox necklace for her from basswood.



And here’s another little carved fox, which turned out to be her very favorite present. :)


I painted both of these with my artist oil paints, since I liked those colors best. They took weeks to dry, ha. I’m glad I started them both in May.


Zia baked this decadent chocolate cake by herself, and I helped with the frosting and chocolate-covered strawberries. The whole thing was her idea, inspired by a chocolate-strawberry cupcake she found a picture of online. She also put in an order for root beer floats.


I tacked a strawberry cashew-cheesecake onto the mix–I made it early and saved it for my birthday, but I really wanted a piece tonight, so I had one (or two). When you’re almost 41 you can make executive decisions like that. Besides, it just doesn’t matter to me much if I serve my birthday cake with a missing piece.








Happy, happy birthday, baby girl. I can hardly believe you’re nine years old already! (It seems like it was just yesterday when I was nine, haha.) You’re growing so fast, and you’re so funny, smart and lovable. I miss those days when you were tiny and everyone said you were my little “mini-me.”  But I also love seeing you grow into your very own person–so different than me, so unique and original. I hope you have an awesome year (your tenth!) and I know it will fly. I’m trying to slow you down and keep you just slightly smallish, but it’s most definitely not working. So fly–and I’ll just try my best to keep up.

photos of june

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


Somehow June slipped by without a single peep from me in this space. David went to Pittsburgh in the beginning of June for 2 1/2 weeks to work the U.S. Open. The kids and I had planned to go with him, but I wasn’t well enough, so we stayed home and had a quiet half-a-month without him. It was actually a good, restful time, and we enjoyed every bit of the beginning of summer. I took lots of pictures, and here are some of them.


Watercolor egg cartons.


Playing at Barker Resevoir in Nederland.


The rich lady and her dog. :)


“Dr. Luizious Chub” inspecting a Stellar’s Jay feather.


Pasque flowers–medicinal, but only in very tiny quantities. Otherwise, poisonous.


Zia’s new loft!  David built it in the upstairs bedroom rafters, and it’s so nice for her to have her own space. All her tiny Shopkins and figurines are finally safe from the clutches of Dr. Luizious.


The rope ladder, which Dr. Chub has not yet learned to climb.


But he has his own happy place, too–Zia’s previous corner and bed.




Boulder Creek


and the nearby park.



Hiking in the forest above Barker Reservoir.



Our last June wood fire–though the first of July almost made us light another. Mostly, June was VERY warm. It was actually over 80 up here more than once! Down in the valley, of course, was even warmer. It hit about a hundred one day when we were in Boulder. That day was 120 degrees in Pittsburgh where David was.


My latest bear carving, for a customer in Bear, Delaware. :)



Giant flowers at Hobby Lobby.


Sending a photo to David from the Hobby Lobby restroom.


Playing at the park down the road from our house.



Trying to fatten myself up with homemade cashew cheesecake, LOL. Seriously. I haven’t noticed that it’s working yet, but I’ve been through three cheesecakes in about a week. (Not by myself, of course.)


Playing at Johnny Roberts park in Arvada. They play disc golf (with frisbees) there, so we had to watch our heads everywhere we went. These tress were a pretty safe spot.


Coldstone Creamery.


Waxy presents from Dadda. :)


Going for a ride in the Mustang.


Zia baked her first cake!


Hope you’re having a good summer. I’ll try to blog a little more this month than last. :)

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. :)