36 years ago today...

...this handsome devil was born. Travis Stratford is a wonderful father, husband, friend, co-worker, Mac user, photographer, political activist, and most importantly, the biggest minimalist you've ever met. But those are the things you probably already know. Here are some things you may not know:

Travis loves candy. No, he LOVES candy. After his recent battle with kidney stones, when asked how big they were once they finally emerged, he said, "They are about the size of a Nerd." He then got a box of Nerds and started eating them.

Travis is a master Facebooker. I'm confident if things don't work out for studioCase in the long term, Travis could parlay his Facebook skills to generate an income.

Travis is always cold. Unlike most couples, where the girl is always cold, I'm the one who's always telling Travis to turn down the heat or take a blanket off the bed. Could it be his incredibly low percentage of body fat?

Travis likes playing "Devil's Advocate". He will often take the opposing view of any argument, just to make things interesting.

Travis loves to travel, but does not love to unpack. Often his suitcases will sit out for days (or weeks) until I break down and unpack it for him.

Travis does not cook. At all. He considers making a bowl of cereal a culinary feat.

Travis is a beautiful snowboarder. The first time I knew I loved him was when I watched him snowboard. He is graceful and elegant on the snow; not something many can pull off.

Travis never cries. Ever. Even while writhing on our kitchen floor in pain last week, while passing the kidney stone, he moaned and groaned but never cried. Only one time has he even come close to tears; when he was giving a talk in church and was speaking about his mother.

Travis is super-strong. I think he can bench 205. Tony? Is this right?

Travis takes the longest showers IN THE WORLD. This contradicts his environmentalism... but he loves his long, hot showers.

I'm sure you all have things you know about Trav that I don't know. Take a minute here to post a comment about Travis; what you like about him or what makes him special. I'm so glad he was born, and that he married me! Happy Birthday Travis!!! I love you... up to the sky.



I'm injured. I hurt my foot.

How you ask? Was it from jogging on the ice? No. Snowboarding? Nope. Playing basketball, tennis, volleyball? No. Shoveling, sledding, shopping? Nope, Nope, Nope.

I hurt myself...sleeping. That right people. I was asleep. And then I woke up. That is the whole story. And now my right foot no longer works. I can't stand on it, walk on it, nothing. Apparently it is a case of tendinitis.

Do you know how completely mortifying it was to tell an Urgent Care doctor I hurt my foot in my sleep? I asked him if this happens often - he said no. Apparently he doesn't see a lot of bed injuries. Go figure.

Well, I can't put any pressure on my right foot. I find myself on Christmas Eve with all sort of errands to run, trying to learn how to use crutches. (Or as Sara's daughter called them last night, crotches).

Wish me luck. I need it.

Gingerbread Winner

Well, I thought I would announce the winner of the gingerbread house competition.

House #1, by JD (my brother-in-law) took the victory by a landslide. I think we have all learned a valuable lesson. Don't mess with JD's family.

#2 was created by Ashley, Dave's little sister (married to JD).

#3 was by CARRIE (seriously - how did i not get more votes?)

#4 was by Dave


Whose is the fairest of them all?

Last night we had our annual gingerbread house competition.

When Dave was a little kid one of his local neighbors made gingerbread houses, provided endless candy, and allowed the neighborhood kids to decorate a home. Back then the goal was to cram as much candy as possible on your home so you could eat it later.

20 years later, we are still showing up at this neighbor's house as full grown adults expecting a gingerbread home ready for decoration. This poor lady is probably wondering when she will get rid of us, especially since some of her full grown kids don't even come home for Christmas anymore.

The competition of course has changed...it is no longer about quantity of candy, but instead, quality of design. Who can decorate the BEST home? The most infuriating part is when the parents go from home to home to praise each one for its own unique beauty, and then declare us all winners. WHAT? It is time to decide who is the WINNER and who is the LOSER (even if it results in a few tears).

Below I present 4 homes to the panel. The decision is now yours. Whose is the best? I will tell you later who created each masterpiece.

Choose wisely my friends.


The 7 year old who lives at my house

S has always been a very entertaining person, but lately she’s delighting me more than normal. For example, check out the items above. This is what she purchased for us at her “Christmas boutique” at school. I got the fake roses, and C got the puffy dreidel keychain. She did pretty well with the baby toy. On the day of the boutique, as I sent her off with money, she asked if it would be okay if she picked up “a little something for myself.” So cute.

Some other gems she’s said lately...

On Zandros, the kid who drives her crazy at school: “Sometimes in my head I call him ZanGROSS.”

At Bed, Bath and Beyond, when she found a paint your own dreidel, she yelled across the store: “Mom! I know it’s not our religion, but can I get this?!!!”

On the man who drives her bus (who happens to be African American): “We don’t need to give him anything for Christmas. He goes with Kwanzaa.”


A new chair for Oz

I too have been MIA of late. We've all been sick (some of us a couple of times), Trav is in Asia, and Christmas is coming. I've been totally in a panic getting everything shipped out. But I just got this new chair for the baby and had to post about it.

I AM IN LOVE. I don't understand why all baby stuff can't be more like this chair. It is simple, well-designed, and even the packaging was cool. AND I got it from Target for 50 bucks! You can't beat it. I just fed Oz a yogurt in it, and he was so happy. He loved being right there, at the table with C and I. I highly recommend it. Plus it is light and can go totally flat, so if you eat out a lot you could bring it for your baby/toddler. My plan is to use it at home and avoid restaurants until the kid is four.


I know I've been MIA as of late, I thought I would explain why...

INTRODUCING...Denver Industries: A company committed to promoting urban life in local Denver communities. In short, we make really cool T shirts.

A few years ago I was walking the streets of Brooklyn with Sara. I couldn't help but notice all the fantastic paraphernalia available to promote New York's local neighborhood communities and the urban lives they foster. I wanted something comparable for my Denver family.

Two years later thanks to the help of my fantastically talented brother-in-law Rob, my dream is coming true. We recently had our first official silk screening party and created the first line of DI (Denver Industries) Ts.

As you can see we have a deep and loving relationship with each individual T. We have held each one's hand as we personally walked it through the creation process. While it will be difficult to part with our beloved Ts, we know they are now full grown and need to spread their wings.

We decided our COLFAX design should be the first T launched since COLFAX ave has such a rich heritage and eclectic make-up. COLFAX avenue runs through the heart of Denver, and is the longest running street in the United States. It is dotted with concert halls, crack houses, trendy restaurants, boutiques, ghetto liquors stores, and just about everything else. Whenever Dave and I can't manage to get our selves out of bed early enough for a snowboard trip on Saturday, we find ourselves at Pete's Kitchen on COLFAX. Breakfast is served by extremely rude 50 year old ladies with bleach blonde hair piled high in hair nets, teeth covered in hot pink lipstick, enormous wads of gum being worked on, and cigarette ash covered clothing. Let's be honest, the service is half the fun. But the breakfast burrito is the real prize of your visit. A tortilla is filled with eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, ham, gyro, and then smothered in homemade green chili, cheese, tomatoes, and onions. You can't get a better heart stopper than that. This is only one of the many classic institutions running along COLFAX.

Playboy Magazine once called COLFAX "the longest, wickedest street in America." To learn why COLFAX is just so cool, check out this recent article in the New York Times.

If you are still in search of one last original and perfect Christmas gift look no further. This is it. We've got lots of color combos, but here are a few examples:

If you are local and want one, come on over. If you are not in the Denver area, you can get one HERE.

We have already sold 3 shirts...so you know...we are totally famous. More designs (and an official website) coming soon...


The Santa Threat

I just want to start out by saying that I'm not a huge fan of the Santa story. Mostly because it feels like I'm lying to my kids... which is not something I'm comfortable with.

But today, I sank to a new low. I've pulled the Santa threat out in years past... you know, your kid is freaking out about something and it's December and you utter those words, "Boy. I really hope SANTA ISN'T WATCHING RIGHT NOW." Amazing how easily it can transform a meltdown into a sunny, happy child.

Today S really messed up. She was mad at me, because I only let the kids play for 30 minutes in the FREEZING COLD after school. I am such a mean mom. Little Oz was practically a popsicle and I couldn't feel my toes, and it was time to leave. She pitched a fit worthy of a 2 year old (and the kid will be 8 in April) and then, when we were leaving, she THREW A ROCK into a group of us. Luckily it didn't hit anyone, but I was so mad, I couldn't talk to her for an hour. And when I did talk, guess what I said? "I think I'm going to write a letter of my own to Santa, and tell him what happened after school today." You should have seen the terror in her eyes. Apparently, she still believes. She is going to be so let down when she finds out that reindeer don't really fly.

Holiday Fun

I should be working right now.

Or Christmas shopping.
Or exercising.
Or showering.
Or cleaning.
Or wrapping gifts.
Or reconciling the credit card.
Or grocery shopping.
Or blogging about something meaningful.
Or doing laundry.
Or making lunch.

But I'm not. Instead, I'm doing this.


2007 Nativity/Katrina

As some of you know, I was asked to be in charge of the Flatiron's Ward 4th Annual Live Nativity this year. In past years this event has been outside in the freezing cold with music, hay, the choir, and I think they had real animals once.

First let me tell you that when the Bishop came to my office on his lunch hour (this required at least a 20 minute drive) by his arrival I had convinced myself that due to rather spotty church attendance and a stolen not-yet-replaced T Recommend, disfellowship was in order. So when he instead asked me to take on this "assignment" (he made it clear it wasn't an offical "calling") I eagerly accepted.

Since then the Nativity has been the bain of my existence. I concocted a program using the scriptures in Luke and some special numbers (Leslie the opera level singer always comes in handy) and tried to figure out when people should enter, how to do the lighting, where they should be placed and who should be involved. I have had knighmares about this and it is always in the back of my mind (the writer's strike being the only thing in "the front" of my mind) Yes I know, my life is pathetic.

So Saturday we had the dress rehearsel, emphasis on the "dress". Dad has been, as to be expected, a lifesaver (I'd say cherry flavor since that is the best) as he has peppered me with questions like "are you going to have a closing prayer", "how are the people going to know to sing the hymns", "will the congregation be able to see the hymns", etc. etc.

So this is how it all went down:

1 - several no shows (they left messages that they remembered the practice on their way to the movies and were so sorry)
2 - The angels, crouched hiding in the front behind the stand, looked like popcorn at their cue "and suddenly a host of angels appeared"
3 - The Shephards hit the deck and stayed there at the "and they were sore afraid"
4 - The pianist/organist wanted to know as soon as she arrived where the pizza was b/c she was hungry (this is a woman in her late fifties who would have just come from home)
5 - The youngest shephard kept wondering when he was supposed to give the baby Jesus the drum ( drum???? what drum? Isn't "the little drummer boy" a fable?)
6 - When Smitty Romney age 3 saw the wisemen he exclaimed exuberantly "hey, I have a batman costume!!!"
7 - The angels and shephards were looking in total different directions (I chalk this up to kids in their early teens trying to act like they haven't noticed the opposite sex)
8 - As the three kings sang their trio the choir director whispered to my dad "hmmm, they're all singing the same part"
9 - The narrator from South Africa proclaimed he didn't need a costume as he would be dressing in traditional Kwanza dress
10 - The baby Jesus was a dream and didn't make a peep (it is a doll)
11 - after running through it one time (running is an optimitic description) I went to say "okay let's do it again" but noticed everyone had shed their costumes, were eating pizza, and playing basketball.

So there you go. Luckily the ward boundaries are being realligned next Sunday, the day after the performance. I plan to gently fade away.


Strange social encounters

Don't you love pictures with work colleagues?

Look at us below, we are so incredibly awkward. Bob (the guy in the middle) has no idea what to do with his arms.

Clearly he has decided touching us is out of the question. I love it.



Did anyone watch the bachelor last night?
Are you kidding me?


New York, New York

I had a great time in New York.

When I go to NY people always want to know what I did:
Did you climb the empire state building? No.
Did you go to a Broadway show? No.
Did you see the statue of Liberty? No.

I hung out with Sara, and it was fabulous.

I also learned some valuable lessons this trip that I'll share with you:

Lesson #1: I would advise against sharing a bed with your adult siblings:

My brother Rand happened to be in town for business the first night I was there. Rand is 12 years older than me, so we have never had to share a bed before. Space was tight at the NY casa, Dave hadn't joined us yet, and I couldn't convince Rand to sleep on a air mattress in the unfinished basement. So there I found myself, at 10pm, frantically borrowing PJs from Sara, and sliding into bed with my 40 year old brother wondering if it is taboo to make conversation once the lights go out. Don't get me wrong, I really love Rand. But sharing a bed with a 40 year man who is not your husband is just not natural. In fact, it was quite awkward. I wasn't the only one feeling strange about the situation. Rand suggested I sleep under the sheets and he sleep on top of the sheets. Instead, we put C's giant stuffed snake down the middle of the bed. Even with the barrier in place, I was worried I would breath too loud (as I've been accused of before), drool, or worse case, snuggle him in my sleep. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, as I didn't get a wink of sleep.

Lesson #2: I am completely out of style

I had a sneaking suspicion how out of style I was, but I figured a NY trip was just the medicine I needed. With a few key items I figured I could get my wardrobe back on track.

I was wrong.

When Sara and I walked into H&M I immediately sunk into a state of depression. There was no way anything in my closet could ever be worn with these H&M items. It would be like trying to pair a poodle skirt and cowboy boots. I felt like I was like shopping for clothes in the future.

Sara said enthusiastically "So, what do you need?"
I paused and said "everything."
Sara "everything?"
Me "everything."

I bought a new coat and called it good. I figure I can hide all my out of style clothes underneath my cute new coat. I'm always cold anyway, I'll just never take it off.

Lessons #3: I am the most inefficient grocery shopper in the world.

Watching someone else complete everyday tasks can be a real eye opener. Shock and awe do not do justice to the emotions I felt watching Sara at the grocery store. I've never seen anyone move with more velocity or precision. We may as well have been at battle. Where as I have been known to spend 10 minutes trying to pick out the best carton of strawberries, Sara gave produce a concentrated 2 second once over and then would make a decision and never look back.

As she explained "sometimes you pick the wrong one, and its OK."

It felt like super market sweep. I pretty sure Sara wasn't holding her arm out as she ran the aisles, knocking items on the shelf into her cart. But I can not for the life of me figure out how when she sent me to get one item, I returned to a cart with 30 new items in it. In 20 minutes our overflowing grocery cart was filled with ingredients for well planned and coordinated meals. I still get chills thinking about it.

Lessons #4: If you take your camera somewhere, use it.

Despite hauling my camera to each event I only took 3 pictures.

Here is Dave at Rockefeller center. After exploring Mid-town with Sara, Dave and I headed to Soho for shopping and dinner at tiny and amazing place recommended by Travis.

I snapped this picture of Sara on the way to the airport. You know. To prove that I saw her.

We had so much fun. I love Sara's kids. They having fantastic personalities. Oz may just be the fattest, most kissable baby in the world.

Sara and Travis --- thank you SO much for your hospitality. We love you and wish we could hang out more often.



Let's talk shoes

Yesterday I was unpacking Dave from our recent NYC trip. I know, I'm such a good wife. As I was trying to shove Dave's shoes into his minuscule closet, I came to the conclusion he has got to downsize his shoe collection. I cite the following examples as proof:

1. In 3.5 years of marriage he has purchased 9 pairs of shoes and thrown away 1 pair. He agreed to part with the 1 pair only b/c they literally fell apart at the seams. (Translation: I threw the broken shoes away after they sat in his closet for 1 year and didn't tell him about it).
2. He has 4 pairs of shoes that will not fit in his closet. 2 pairs he is "storing" in the laundry room, 2 pairs he is "storing" in the middle of our office floor. It doesn't get more annoying than two pairs of shoes in the middle of my office.

I've tried to get Dave to part with shoes before and have never been successful. So last night I employed a new strategy. I got all his shoes out (with the exception of his pile of flip flops, a battle for another day) and lined them up in 2 groups:

To Keep
To Toss

I thought this would help Dave say good bye as it would clearly illustrate:
1. He has far more shoes than he needs or wears
2. His old shoes are dirty and nasty
3. When given the choice of all his shoes, why would he ever select a pair from the "to toss" pile?

These are the shoes I propose we GIVE AWAY:

If this was a scratch and sniff picture, it would be much more effective. Trust me - you don't want this odor in your home.

These are the shoes I propose we KEEP:

Dave's initial reaction was to give me a pained look and ask:
"Why are you doing this to me?"

Finally I got him to commit to parting with ONE pair of shoes. One. His old, nasty, new balance, mowing shoes.

Are you kidding me? He doesn't want to get rid of the Dr. Martens that were worn every day of his mission, and haven't been worn since. Why? As he put it "I might wear them one day." He doesn't want to part with the Tevas I have never seen him wear in 7 years, and seriously people...if he tried to wear these Tevas anywhere I would have to shoot him.

So please weigh in. Am I being unreasonable? What shoes would you get rid of? (Bear in mind his closet is so small he has to hang his clothes diagonally as the closet isn't as deep as the average sized hanger).

I forgot to mention...

...2 pairs of Dave's shoes came with a recent shopping trip. Just before Dave left for his training in Connecticut, he decided he needed to dress more professionally. Apparently wearing the same pair of over sized, grease stained, khaki pants every day wasn't cutting it anymore. He announced 2 Saturdays ago he was "going shopping for new work clothes."

When Dave left I hardly expected him home in 1 hour, toting the following:
-3 pairs of dress slacks
-1 dress shirt
-2 pairs of dress shoes
-2 dress belts
-6 pairs of dress socks
-1 clock radio for the shower

..all for $200. Unbelievable right? Now that is a talent.

You've got to love that my husband gets his work clothes from a place that also sells shower radios.


So cute (but sad)

Dave and Carrie just left today after a long weekend in New York. We had such a great time... we were ALL sad to see them go. I have a post or two up my sleeve about their visit, but this is a quick one. C has been plagued with bad dreams lately. Tonight as I was putting him to bed, he grabbed his blankie and said, "If I sleep with my kiki I won't have any bad dreams." Then he told me he had the "worstest bad dream" last night. I asked him what it was about, and he started sobbing. He said it was too bad to talk about, and finally I got him to tell me. In his dream, Dave had decided he didn't want to be C's friend any more. He was crying so hard he could barely talk.

It would be hard to say exactly when C's love for Dave became cemented. Could it have been:
-baseball in the park
-2 hours of Poke battles
-the Webkinz challenge
-his never-ending supply of Kit Kats
-riding on Dave's shoulders
-reading the dragon book together
-being chased by Dave all through the house with a spray bottle
-watching Dave take the oven COMPLETELY apart and put it back together, in order to fix the annoying noise it was making
-the fort they made out of Oz's crib and a few blankets
-the Primary Program (and Dave's roll in getting C to do his part)

All this in only 2.5 days. Where does Dave get the energy to be so cool? Oh yeah. Diet Pepsi.

These are a few of....

I saw this great commercial last night while indulging in Sunday night TV. Addison from Grey's Anatomy was in a loaded red Cadillac talking about her....favorite things. Also, Oprah in her magazine each month, lists her favorite things (though I think these may be influenced by advertising)

So I was thinking, what are some of my favorite things...
- Driving to work w/out hitting one red light
- when the CU students LEAVE for the summer and Christmas vacation (or even the day)
- when M says "extraordinary fella"
- when S says anything
- watching C walk one inch behind his mother when she goes anywhere
- massaging my dad and chatting
- baking
- Veronica Mars, Brothers and Sisters, My So Called Life, Felicity
- reading on the Stairmaster
- running on a hot day
- chocolate chip ANYTHING
- Hawaii with my family
- S's(the Colo one) wardrobe
- listening to Leslie my sister-in-law sing
- sitting around with Sara, Carrie, and mom AFTER the kids are in bed just chatting
- listening to any story that Sara and Carrie tell
- being with any and all of my nieces and nephews
- going to a good chick flick
- electricity
- my condo
- Boulder, Colorado
- the desserts at a potluck
- a cookie exchange (I NEVER get to go to these things)
- Christmas lights

Just a few



"If the first word the baby says is poop, I'm going to kill you."


Daylight Savings Time

Apparently Oz didn't get the memo on the extra hour of sleep. We've been up since 5.45. Ugh.


Dave's halloween creation

Life's Lessons

Yesterday after a fabulous Halloween Party for the KBVN employee's kids (somehow I ended up planning/executing when it wasn't even my idea) I cruised home to feed dad, treat the trickers and watch "Elizabeth" on the big screen.

Is it just me or have kids forgotten how to say trick-or-treat? Of the 15 or so door-knockers 70% of them just looked at me with expectant gazes. Except of the course the little girl and her brother, ages 5 and 3, who with big eyes queried "do you have anything without peanuts"? Holding my bowl of snickers I panicked and said "hold on a minute". I sashayed to the kitchen and started to forage through our candy cupboard at 655 Emporia in desperation for something w/out peanuts. All I saw was a tiger's milk bar, a Luna bar, one cert, 3 breathsavers, a couple of sesame treats, opened packs of gum and balloons. My mind raced to other alternatives, would they accept an easy mac 'n cheese, or maybe fruit snacks? Were frozen girl scout cookies from 2 years ago not an option? What about the caramels from England that mom had in the freezer dated 8/1982?

Suddenly I looked up one shelf and found a small (very worn) package of skittles, a $100,000 bar (left from Sara's visit in August) and two mini Reeses. Afraid I was taking too long I sprinted back to the door and said "here, I found these. Can you have peanut butter"? Their dad vetoed the Reeses but said the Skittles and $bar were fine. Luckily the kids smiled and seemed okay.

Lesson 1: always buy the variety pack of candy

At 8pm we turned off the porch light and descended to watch Elizabeth. Dad and I had read several Phillippa Gregory books about English Monarchs and had looked forward to this movie for a couple of weeks. Suddenly there was a very LARGE and graphic scene of Lord Norfolk and his chambermaid. Yep, right there on the BIG SCREEN in HIGH DEFINITION. Let's just say I was a little embarrassed. I hadn't even thought to look at the rating.
Lesson 2: English History is apparently R Rated.


A halloween treat

Just in case you weren't aware, Chipotle gives out free burritos to anyone who shows up on Halloween dressed as a burrito.

Translation wrap your arm in tinfoil and get down there.

Dave and I didn't realize they were so loose with their costume requirements. The first time we went we were wrapped neck to toe in tortilla colored linens, had a bed of lettuce balanced on our shoulders, and tinfoil covering every inch of our head.

We looked ridiculous compared to the other 50 people who had wrapped their pinkie in tin foil & called it a day. Not to mention it was hard to eat (and drive) as our arms were trapped by the costume.

Of course, the Chipotle burrito is worth any sacrifice.


Confessions of a Lewis Blog Stepsister


I have a confession to make.

Yes folks, I too caught a degree or two of "Rockies fever". How could I not when everyone else in my family did (except the NYC crowd and I promise if they were here S would have been a staunch wagon jumper since she could get excited about the lawn being mowed).

I ended up watching the last innings (this being HOURS) of the last three games; however, I am sure I drove my fellow watchers crazy as I peppered them (okay TG Lewis) with questions like

1 - Does Matsui speak English?
2 - How long has he been in the country?
3 - Don't the hats of the Rockies look like they are a deep green instead of black? (keep in mind that TGL is colorblind)
4 - How old is Papelbon "the closer" for Boston?
5 - Have you noticed that all the players chew gum now instead of tobacco? Isn't that nice?
6 - Wow, they certainly spit a lot don't they?
7 - Look how young that little girl is? Do you think her parents paid $250 for her ticket?
8 - What age do you think they have to start paying? Maybe it's like the airlines that for fans under 2 they are free
9 - Can you imagine being the catcher and squatting for living?
10 - I think Ramirez has hair extensions. (following was an in depth explanation to TGL of how extensions work)
11 - It is crazy how much they pay these players. Think how many people in Africa it would feed.
12 - Who is A Rod? Is he related to Dennis Rodman?
13 - Looks really cold doesn't it?

At this point TGL said "I've got to get up and stretch for a minute". Other famous quotes by dad were:

"the problem is you know they are going to lose but you can't turn it off"
"I wish this game would end so I could get on with life"
"Laura, would you please shut up" - Okay he didn't actually say this but I suspect it crossed his mind.

Anyway, I have to say that this whole experience has taught me a few things:

- My brother Rand can and will get anything he wants for his family and loved ones. He truly is amazing and generous. Who else gets tickets to game 3 by just calling the Rockies phone number?
- My brother-in-law Dave is HARDCORE (Sara can provide the true definition of what that means)
- Colorado will rally behind any team further cementing the fact that this is the best state in the USA.

So I too feel a little depressed. There was just a certain feeling in the air, a camaraderie if you will. People were more likely to smile and say hello, let you in the lane on the highway, etc. It was a sort of "Christmas in October" feel.


I'm a winner!

Okay, enough about the Rockies already. Here is the post that will act as a salve to Dave's hurting wounds from the losing Rockies.

This weekend, another competition was taking place. A church in Westchester hosted it's 2nd annual Chili-Pie Bake off. Let's just put it this way: it was the world series for pie baking.

I knew the competition would be stiff, and I prepared accordingly. Following a strategy session with my next door neighbor Rick, who won last year's contest, I settled on a caramel pecan apple pie. I baked all day (along with putting the final touches on the kids' Halloween costumes) and took the pie out at 3.30. I desperately wanted the pie to still be warm when the judges tasted it. As we were driving to the church, I had a moment of panic when I saw the water that was sloshing around inside the pie. Why was it there? What had caused it to appear? Travis suggested I pour it off, and a dicey operation ensued. Luckily the pie survived the draining, but my hopes of winning were crushed. Who would want to eat a watery pie?

I was completely surprised when my pie was called as the winning one. I was so thrilled I ran up the steps to accept my apron, and then turned around and gave an impromptu speech to the crowd. There had been several winners for chili, but mine was the only speech. I must admit I'm a bit embarrassed about it now, but it was a rambunctious group so hopefully no one heard what I said.

For those of you who asked (you both know who you are!), here is the recipe. I have some tips included too, if you're interested. The irony of it all is that I really don't like pie. I'm not a fan of any kind of cooked fruit... I'm just in it to win it. Any suggestions for next year's recipe?


single pie crust

1/2 cup sugar

2 T all purpose flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. salt

6 med. baking apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Stir above together until apple slices are coated. Transfer apple mixture to pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or till top is golden. Remove from oven; sprinkle pie with pecans, then drizzle caramel topping over. Cool on wire rack.

CRUMB TOPPING: 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup butter until crumbs form.

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

my tips: I always used locally grown apples. This year was honey crisp. After peeling I coat them in lemon juice, so they don't brown. I also used vanilla sugar, which was introduced to me by the lovely and talented Elizabeth. She gave it to me a couple of Christmases ago... it's basically regular sugar with a couple vanilla beans in it. You just keep adding sugar to the container when it starts to get low, and leave the vanilla bean in there. It adds a great flavor to whatever you're baking.


I know what you are thinking. When exactly did this become a baseball blog? Sara more than anyone has probably had this thought cross her mind as of late.

I promise. This isn't a baseball blog - and I do apologize for the excessive amount of baseball talk during October. You will be happy to know this is my LAST baseball update for a long, long time. I promise. (Unless maybe I run into one of the Rockies down town and he asks me out, or asks me to be his new best friend, or asks me to be his child's god mother, or asks me to get out of his way.)

I just thought you should know after all the drama, Dave and I did end up getting to attend a World Series game. My brother came through with 4 tickets to game 3 (Apparently the system allowed some people to buy 8 tickets on-line instead of the 4 ticket max. Those tickets were re-claimed and sold over the phone.)

We had a great time at the game. We yelled as loud as we could, we wore our rally caps all night, but the poor little Rockies just couldn't quite pull off a win.

After their last (and final loss) Dave and I were pretty depressed. I asked him what we would do with our lives now that baseball was over? He said in a hopeful voice "Well...the Broncos play Monday night..."

I don't think so Dave.


Mr. Creative

Every Rockies game we attend results in a free set of Rockies towels. As you can imagine, we have accumulated quite the stack of towels. They are driving me crazy. Every time I turn around there is a new towel laying on the ground, or on a dresser, or on the kitchen counter that I've got to find a spot for. The spot I keep suggesting for the towels is the trash can, but of course Dave will not hear of parting with one single towel. After all I can't get Dave to throw away his old cell phones, or movie tickets, or half eaten girl scout cookies from 2002. The man won't throw a thing away. I'm pretty sure he's not going to start with Rockies paraphernalia.

Yesterday I had had it. I told him to find a spot for the 3 towels scattered about the office or they were going in the trash can. 15 minutes later I happened upon the following...


Happy Halloween

Good news. My mother's purple jumpsuit finally got some action.


I've got some good news and some bad news

Good news: Game 1 of the world series is tonight!
Bad news: My boss is visiting from out of town. She wants to go to dinner tonight.

Good news: After 2 more frustrating hours of "team world series" pressing "buy tickets now" Dave finally got past the first couple of screens! He selected 4 tickets to game 4, had them in his check out cart, and pressed "PURCHASE!"
Bad news: After he pressed purchase, the website timed out. He never got the tickets

Good news: Dave's brother, Chris, got 4 tickets to game 5. They are great seats: top section, row 1
Bad news: If either team wins the first 4 games, there will be no game 5

Good news: Chris gave Dave one of his 4 tickets to game 5. The dream of attending a world series game is still alive!
Bad news: I was not the lucky recipient of one of the 4 tickets. Apparently Chris is giving the 4th ticket to his wife, who turns out, he loves more than me. THE NERVE!
(j/k Chris)

Although, if one more person says "once in a life time opportunity" I might lose it.

Good news: While we won't get to attend all the world series home games, we also won't have to sell everything we own to pay for the $250 a pop tickets.
Bad news: There is really no down side to that.

And one last piece of good news & bad news:

Good news: Halloween is 1 week from today!
Bad news: Dave and I don't have costumes lined up yet. Any clever ideas?


Operation world series tickets

Today at 10am World Series tickets went on sale (on-line only).

Dave has been prepping for this moment all week. He recruited everyone willing to help him buy tickets. The more the press talked up the ticket sales, the more stressed Dave got.

To emphasize Dave's conviction to this cause consider the following:
1. Dave set up 4 computers for me to run from home
2. Yesterday Dave made me do several "dry runs" with the Rockies web site to ensure I was ready
3. Dave couldn't sleep last night. He was too anxious.
4. During our morning prayers he said "please help us to get world series tickets."

Poor guy, he wants it so bad.

We started bringing up the website at 8:45am. Even that early the site was so overloaded it kept timing out. At 10am sales opened, but when you would click on "buy tickets now" the browser would either time out, stall, or shut down completely. Dave instructed us to press "buy tickets now" over and over again.

At some point during the process Dave's company blocked the Rockies site on their internal network and Dave could no longer contribute to the cause. Around this same time his brother's company took down their server for an upgrade.

Unable to focus, Dave decided to come home and help me man the 4 computers at home. He called me from his work parking lot totally defeated saying "I left the lights on to my jeep and now my car battery is dead. Everything is working against me." I gave him a pep talk, he got his car started, and raced home.

Between family members we had 14 browsers going on 8 different computers. Minute after minute ticked by and no one got through. I made Dave a sandwich, but he was too stressed to eat. Here is a clip from the email exchange of team "operation world series":

10:27AM, Rob: Having trouble getting past the first tickets page. Will keep trying
10:34AM, Missy: I'm stuck on the countdown page
10:46AM, Carrie: I've got 4 computers going - no luck so far
10:57AM, Missy: how long do we do this?
10:59AM, Dave: Until we get them.
11:04AM, Carrie: He would make an excellent boss in a sweat shop
11:29AM, Rob: Dave I'm wearing a pair of depends so I won't have any reason to leave my computer.

Around this time my dad called me. Dave had asked him to help buy tickets, but I never would have dreamed he would hang in there for over an hour and a half clicking "buy tickets now."

He said "Carrie, I have a bloody nose, and the doctor thinks I need to go to the hospital to receive platelets. Unfortunately I'll have to stop trying to buy tickets for a while."

Have you ever heard anything cuter in your whole life? What dedication! I love my sweet dad so much!

Finally around 12:15pm the Rockies management came out with a statement:

"Due to the overwhelming traffic to the site, Major League Baseball's ticket vendor experienced a system wide outage. Less than 500 seats were sold before the outage. Tickets sales have been suspended until further notice."

And that is where we are now. Waiting for further notice.

Feel a little un-satisfied? Would you like to know if little Dave will make it to the World Series or not?

Join the club.


Sad Conclusion

I need to buy a new washing machine.

There are about 50 other things I would rather spend a load of cash on, but I can't avoid this anymore. 8 months ago my washing machine declared war on my clothing. Back then 1 in 100 items would come back with small brown spots on it. Now it is up to 1 in 10. When I wash my clothes they are supposed to come back clean not newly dirty right? What am I supposed to do - keep buying new clothes? Darn washing machine. It always picks my newest, favorite item to ruin. Why can't it ruin the Araphaoe High school soccer shirt I borrowed from my sister-in-law 3 years ago?

So I need your help. What kind should I buy? How much do I have to spend? Should I go ahead and spring for a new dryer too?


Dedicated to Ashley

I just finished Ashley's jump rope workout for the first time. First, a bit of background info about Ashley. She delivered her son one month before I had oz, and she is 5 lbs. less than me right now... and within 5 lbs. of her goal weight! She's an inspiration; she looks amazing and has dropped her baby weight so quickly. I've been much more motivated this time because of her.

So she invented this jump rope workout, and has done it for three weeks now (3 X per week). This is how it goes:

jump rope for 5 minutes

lift weights

jump rope for 5 minutes


until you can't stand it anymore and stop. She is now up to jumping 10 minute intervals, which I can't imagine because just 5 minutes is hard. I set my kitchen timer and every time I thought it had definitely been 5 minutes and I was about to die, I'd look at the timer and still have 3 minutes left! I have a feeling I'm going to be sore tomorrow. But if I can drop some more weight, totally worth it. Plus I like it because it's quick. I was done with the whole program 35 minutes after starting.

And the sweat? I'm sweating from every part of my body!


World Series Baybee!

Wahoooooooooooooooooo! The Rocks are going to the World Series! We have won 21 of the last 22 games. Need I say more?

As you know yesterday didn't start out great for me, but I decided to shake off my ailments and go to the game anyway. After all when you already feel like crap - why not get a little sicker?

My boss called yesterday afternoon with a last minute work request - so I was running late for the game. I jumped into the shower 20 minutes before the departure time and called out to Dave, "Pick out some warm clothes for me to wear tonight!"

When I got out of the shower this was laid out on the bed:

I love my mother's retro, purple, silk jumpsuit as much as the next guy - and there is no disputing its coordination with Rockies colors. But I just couldn't do it. Normally when I take a costume public I've got a side kick looking equally ridiculous. When Dave wouldn't even let me write "Go Rockies" on his face in eye-liner, I got a sneaking suspicion he was trying to play me the fool. Maybe I'll slip this one on for the World Series...

Before the game we ate dinner at Wahoos. Below is a picture of the group: Dave, 2 nephews (T & J), 2 brother-in-laws (Chris & Jim), my brother Rand, and my father-in-law Paul.

Still feeling chilled from the coldest 4 hours of my life (the ½ marathon) I was really worried about the 30-40 degree weather. So I opted to wear the following to the game: snowboarding socks, running tights, jeans, 2 long sleeved thermal shirts, 1 short sleeved shirt, 1 hoodie, 1 fleece, 1 snowboarding coat, 1 snow cap, 1 pair of gloves. You will be happy to know I was NOT cold during the course of the game. (I think a few drops of sweat actually slid down my face.)

The Rockies started out down by 1, but then in a stunning 4th inning scored 6 runs including a 3 run homer!

Besides the 4th inning, my favorite moment of the game was when a large fan jumped over the wall and tried to run across the field. The poor chap didn't get too far. They grabbed him right away, but it still took 16 cops/event staff and 30 solid seconds to get him down to the ground.

The Rockies fans counted down and celebrated every last out until the World Series was secured. After the game the Rocks were presented with the NLCS trophy, and the whole city was in a unified state of celebration. Major intersections were shut down as people jumped in the center of them, brooms in hand, yelling "SWEEP, SWEEP, SWEEP."
It was another great night at the ball park.