A whole week of cleaning, rearranging, and decorating. It feels so good now that it's done. It's closer to what I think I want. It always takes some pressure for me to finish something that requires a lot of work and family coming in to town for the first time was just the thing I needed to try out a new furniture arrangement and work through the piles in our bedroom corner.
Brett and I have both been kind of basking in the good feeling of a clean house. It's rare with two kids and a dog but only because I really enjoy doing things with our time other than keeping everything sparkling and in it's place. There's stuff to do! Things to make! Places to go!
But it really does feel nice not to have shoes in every room, books splayed across the floor, dishes in the sink, the piles....THE PILES!
We took a drive Monday evening to see what was going on with the fires and ended up at a trail head parking lot with a sleeping toddler. Brett agreed to sit in the car with Ruby and some NPR while Sebastian and I went exploring. Oh, and I was wearing a dress and mocs. If ever you want some surprised looks from the men gathered on the top of a bunch of rocks in their Chocos and Vibram five finger shoes show up in a dress.
Sebastian and I saw the highest point to our trail that we could reach within a reasonable time and went the long, easy way up on the trail. It was so quiet with the smoke settled in between rock formations that I was extra cautious should we stumble upon some creature that might be just as surprised to see us. Especially since I was wearing a dress.
Sebastian asked me all kinds of questions like what could eat a wolf, what could eat a bear, what could eat a rock, if rocks could break, etc. His scientific stage of development has been upon us since the end of spring and it's been fun talking about what I know and telling him we could look online for the things I don't know (or remember from 8th grade science).
Each turn of the trail was a new level for him and he told me he was beating everyone else in the competition to get to the top. He told that to the guys at the top, too, much to their amusement. We looked around awhile and then decided we'd better get back so Brett wouldn't worry about us but took the more exciting way back down over the boulders.
In. A. Dress.
We should've stayed up there ten more minutes because as soon as we were pulling out of the trail head the sun peeked out through the haze as it was setting between the mountain peaks and the sky was suddenly on fire in the West. The lovely kind of fire.
We should take more hikes. And probably in shorts next time.
These photos were all taken on Memorial Day but it was such a busy/heavy weekend I forgot to share them. Here we are with another intense week with the fires and I just find myself looking for normalcy. Normal, boring, everyday things that remind me that life is not always so intense and tragic.
These photos were a good reminder of the fun we did have a few weeks ago - teaching Sebastian how to ride his bike, watching Ruby try to balance on hers, rolling down grassy slopes, drinking fizzy drinks, making a temporary fort, and loving on Sunday.
I feel like my senses are all on high alert because even though we aren't in danger, danger is near. I'm doing my best to stay away from the news unless I'm checking up on new evacuation notices so that my mind doesn't stay focused on the tragedy. Instead I made a new bedspread and curtains for our room, a new pillow case for our couch, dusted, folded laundry, cleared off the mantel, ironed and hung our shower curtain, mended another pillow, did the dishes, watered the new lawn, and bought more box fans. It was a productive day for sure.
I think I sew when I'm feeling out of control of life. It's my happy distraction, a coping mechanism, something therapeutic I can do with my hands. So, if you're in need of curtains...
Time to figure out a way to enjoy a 4th of July birthday party without fireworks this year. Maybe glow sticks? Strobe light? Taking suggestions below.
The fires have been spreading and the evacuation zones have been shifting but the 100 degree temperatures, wind, and little humidity have made the various hot spots hard to contain. We drove through Manitou Springs after it had been evacuated Sunday morning via a backroad and it was a ghost town. Only one solitary 20-something roaming the popular tourist town. It was eerie.
We watched from a Manitou neighborhood on a hill as the fire crept towards million dollar homes higher up and spotted planes dropping red powder almost in vain. We hiked somewhere South of Garden of the Gods Monday evening when everything was just hazy from the change of wind that was blowing it back through the Springs. It was so quiet despite the crowds of other hikers gathering with the same curiosity.
Tuesday felt much worse. The kids and I ventured out to run some errands and realized the plumes of smoke were covering most of the sky to the North. It looked as dark as a thunderstorm that's about to rain down some hail and a tornado or two. It was so blue and clear to the South, though.
From Academy near Platte (photo above) I could see the mountain range clearly and despite being miles away, lines of orange flames were visible on the mountain side as they'd flare up and then be covered with smoke. I had an older woman pull up beside me that told me which areas were burning and what historic sites were liable to be destroyed. She gave me a hug before we left.
We drove up to Academy and Austin Bluffs (photo above) to Hancock's fabrics and took this shot of how dark it was. This was more parallel with the fires and the smoke was much more noticeable as we stepped out of the car. An hour later the wind had shifted south again and there were ashes falling in our driveway like light snow. This is what was happening.
We're about five miles south of the evacuation zone with all of downtown Colorado Springs in between us and the fires so we're in no immediate danger and probably won't be unless things get out of control later this week but it's heart breaking to see the mountains on fire and to know there are so many people losing or in danger of losing their homes.
My family is arriving Wednesday and Thursday for a week of vacation and to celebrate Sebastian's birthday but I have a feeling our plans might be rearranged a bit. There may not be a drive to Pike's Peak or a tour of the Air Force Academy this time.
I've heard so many IGer's from in town and around the state share how they know someone who has had to evacuate already or can see the smoke from hours away. I don't think I realize the magnitude of this kind of natural disaster just yet.
I'll be sure to check in here in the next few days but with family visiting and a birthday to plan it may just be quieter in general. Thanks for the concern on IG and Twitter. Now how about some rain...
Garage sales can be as fun as you make them, right? Saturday morning we were up with the birds pulling stuff out of our garage to prepare for the multitudes that were surely coming since we'd put an ad in the paper this time. We ditched the lemonade/brownie stand because all of that sugar went into my two-year-old's little body last time and made her crazy for the rest of the weekend. No bueno. I had music on, the yard was nice and shady, and the littles were either asleep or playing happily.
Outfit details: Vintage dress cut into a top, thrifted. Tank and shorts, Target. Minnetonka moccasins, trade store in Oklahoma. Sunglasses, ModCloth.
One hour and two customers later I decided it might be just another hot afternoon that ended with a trip to Goodwill so out came the camera. This is my 'Where are all the customers?' face. Whatever happened to 'If you build it, they will come?'
I was so prepared! I had my trusty money bag full of ones, fives, tens, and a few twenties in case we had some big spenders. I even had a separate bag for quarters!
I made sure to wear comfortable shoes since I knew I'd be on my feet all morning helping the busloads of treasure hunters find something shiny to take home.
There was plenty of caffeine on hand to help me remember prices, flirt with old men, and entertain kids.
I even put on makeup. I didn't want to scare potential customers away!
The crowds never showed up but it was another morning of special visitors from down the street and as far away as Brighton (Hi, Stephanie). A sweet friend brought iced coffee on her way to the flea market and another army wife/mama that I've run into randomly twice stopped by for a visit and I got to hold her baby boy!
We made about the same amount of money, earned a little more garage space back, and got to visit with friends. I'm not doing it again any time soon but it was worth the effort. Today is for cleaning the house and preparing my to do list for all the things I want to finish before my family arrives in a few days. Nothing like company to light a fire under my tail!
Speaking of fire, you may have heard the mountains near us (as well as throughout the state and surrounding states) have been burning. We were coming back from a date last night and got high enough to see where the smoke was coming from and were shocked that we could actually see the flame line on the mountain just North East of us. We had a trip into Manitou Springs planned for this afternoon so we could use the photobooth but the town has been evacuated and parts of the highway have been closed.
We aren't in danger at all but it's been sad to hear about the structures and homes that have been lost already. One news report said there were deer running through neighborhoods fleeing the fires and that scene in Bambi flashed through my mind. We had to close all of the windows last night before bed because we started smelling smoke all of the sudden and this morning for a few hours I couldn't see the mountains at all. I feel like we'll be keeping an eye on things for awhile as today is going to be another hot, windy day.
Floral prints are my happy prints. I'm all for stripes and geometric patterns and even a great font but slap some flowers on something in the right color way and I'm a goner. So when I first saw these floral wedges I was smitten. I've worn them out twice since they've arrived courtesy of Blowfish and both times with floral dresses. Too much of a good thing? I think not.
One of Brett's Father's Day gifts was the gift of time and freedom to do whatever he pleased. After spending the morning together at a new breakfast joint (Smiley's in downtown Colorado Springs is not only delicious, they had a live banjo and guitar duet) we took him shopping and then he took the longest nap of his life. I kind of figured he'd choose that plus his eyes were still needing extra rest. If you haven't seen me share about on Twitter, he had PRK on his eyes (similar to Lasik) and has been home recovering for a few days.
We kept ourselves busy outside. It was a perfectly relaxing day after both kids getting sick, a trip to the local ER, two trips to the base hospital, an empty fridge, a messy house, and a happily drugged husband.
We won't get to celebrate Father's Day together next year. There are so many things I'm paying more attention to because I know things will be different when he's deployed. Nothing is getting taken for granted right now. Our time is precious. It's not always fun and beautiful and well planned and we get frustrated with the kids and each other but oh, it's still so much better when we're all together.
I'm Erin, a mom of 4 that began making handstamped jewelry on my kitchen counter as a fun hobby. Over the past few years the business has grown and I now have an amazing team that helps me create pieces and make orders for our website. We also have 2 retail stores- which is very exciting for us- we love the face to face connection with our customers! We strive to make unique and meaningful pieces that people will cherish.