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.