Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I call the day successful when I don't get a sunburn!

Last year I posted about an Alpine Slide adventure, and our desire to find and ride every one of them in Colorado.  Well folks, I'm here to tell you we Workmans live up to our promises (unless we've promised to help you move, then we will most likely also schedule "surgery" for that same weekend).

A on the TRAM coming down the mountain.
Our next trip was to Glenwood Springs.  A busy little town that is set in the mountains and has a ton of stuff to do-I would highly recommend a trip there if you drive through the state.  This slide was a little bit more formal, and a lot more expensive, so I was setting my expectations pretty high.  This destination took you up the mountain in a TRAM to an ADVENTURE PARK!  The slide is so high you have to take a TRAM to get there!!!! (note-the word TRAM must be capitalized due to excitement)

However, as we were waiting in line to board, the TRAM employee told us the wind was to high and there were stupid safety concerns, so we had to take a bus to the top instead.  We were disappointed (wouldn't the wind just make it more awesome) until the bus ride started.  The bus driver was freaking amazing and took us up the switch back one way dirt road like a member of the Top Gear staff!  That woman could drive, and the views were spectacular all the way up. We got to ride the TRAM on the way down, however I missed our chance to have a white knuckle ride down on the bus!

We reached the top and immediately bought tickets to go on the Slide.  My sister recently suggested that slides are for babies.
video
The only thing this slide has in common with babies is that I screamed like a newborn as I was careening down radical curves, and flying at unknown speeds.

Breaks and Accelerator were on the sides.  You control the speed.

Kurt and I dared each other to never put on the brakes...he won that dare.

The Alpine Coaster, super fast and awesome scary.  More to my sister's liking!
K and H riding in the TRAM on the way down the mountain.


I love this crazy state and it's crazy adventures!
I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Zen of Art

When trying to find things to do with the kiddos without spending money Moms generally turn to art projects.  It is usually easy, fun, and good old fashioned entertainment for all ages.  Not to mention it shuts them up for a minute while you finish that marathon of Hoarders (why do we watch it? because it makes us fell better about ourselves).   I am no different.  However, I wanted to find projects that focused on art and were created from emotion versus the typical glue and sticker and glitter ideas provided by the Family Fun magazine that is stolen from my doctor's office mysteriously appears.

So during Spring break I was determined to find something we could create together, that both my 12 year old and my 8 year old would enjoy, and let's face it, me too.  For we are important!  We tried to do an art project everyday from origami to coloring to fairy houses.  However, it wasn't until we revisited the art of Zentangle that we really felt like artists.

My friend at work (whose name is Harper-crazy!) is a certified Zentangle teacher.  She invited us over for dinner and then taught us how to Zentangle.  I was skeptical, and really came over for a free meal, but then fell in love!  She bought me a kit.  I pledged to do one everyday, then put it in a closet and forgot about it.  Because I'm classy and never flaky.

Fast forward to 5 months later and I brought out this treasure chest for Spring break.  How can I explain it...it's doodling extreme.  It seriously is Zen like.  Now I do it when I'm stressed, mostly because liquor is expensive.  And the super cool thing is, you really can feel like an artist when you are done.  The kids dig it, and we are learning more patterns.  The first time we all did the same patterns...each one of us created something with the same theme, but it turned out very personal.  This was our first try all using the patterns:  Static, Cresent Moon, Holibaugh, & Static.




 Now we are making our own patterns and getting pretty good.
Amanda using patterns:  Mist, Tipple, Kekko, Flux

Ainslee using patterns:  Mist, Tipple, Kekko, Zander
We also did it on our Easter Eggs before we dyed them!
But we ate them before taking pictures.



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Saturday Night at a nerd's house...

I am a very competitive person.  This might be putting it lightly.  Whether it's a simple board game, a video game, a basketball game, typing game, karaoke contest, etc I REALLY hate to lose.
A game of Carcassonne.

I think this all comes from living with 6 extremely smart, creative, talented siblings with whom I had to constantly battle to claim notoriety.  Or maybe, I'm not a loser.
For some reason this competitive nature really started to rear it's ugly head the last 15 years.  I don't remember being this competitive in high school.

The worst incidents include yelling at a dear friend while she held my newborn son for not pulling her weight in a serious Pictionary game, and throwing a Wii controller during a heated Mario Party battle...with my children.  Yes, I threw the controller as my children looked on, mouths open.  I know, I'm an amazing role model.  Just yesterday I cursed the Zelda: Skyward Sword game for I am having difficulty beating a stupid skeleton warrior with FOUR ARMS!  Why FOUR ARMS, what is it trying to prove?  Thank goodness my children were not there to hear the obscenities coming out of my pie hole.

I have decided that 2012 was the year I grew up.  Financially, professionally, physically, etc just make more grown up decisions.  This has also included getting a hold of my insane competitiveness.  However, as you can see from the sentences above this is going to be a long year of resolution breaking.

Ainslee in front of The Wizard's Chest.

As part of this new Grown-up Amanda Regime Kurt and I are on a strict budget to get our finances at a more grown up state.  Henceforth for entertainment we have been playing a ton of board games at home. Hours of cheap entertainment that all of us can enjoy.   We found some fantastic game stores that sell great board games.  The Wizard's Chest is one of our favorites.  I especially love the back room, where devotees play role playing games and D&D.  What I really love about games like Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne is that you can get expansions.  So if you are bored with the original just get an expansion to make the game new and fresh again.

Three of our favorite games.
With all this board game playing came the crazy competitive Amanda.  At first I hated losing (except when Ainslee pulled out a win-I'm not that heartless), I would get so mad.  Mostly because Kurt and Harper are annoyingly smart at strategy and beating me.  This was causing some unwanted side affects (aka threatening to sell one of the pets, or someone may be sleeping on the couch).  So inspired by Operation Grow-up I have been being more Zen like at losing (and winning).  Now I play to just enjoy time with my family, enjoy the game.  It has been hard, which is why when I'm alone...playing video games...I let it all out.  It's therapy.

To be honest I actually have been enjoying playing much more.  There is no pressure, just fun. Maybe in time that friend I mentioned earlier during the Pictionary game, will someday play with me again-if she takes drawing lessons.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tebow Delivers Another Christmas Miracle!

Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm not a religious man. In fact, kind of the opposite. However, with the inspiring success of Tim Tebow here in Denver, I have started saying my nightly prayers again. All logic and reason are lost to me when I try to account for his amazing run. Even when he loses to the Patriots, somehow the Raiders collapse in the fourth quarter to keep the Broncos securely in first place.

Last night as I settled in for slumber on the the last day of Fall, I knelt to the south, toward the Bronco's Dove Valley practice facility and asked Tebow to please deliver us a white Christmas.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up on the first day of Winter and saw this scene outside.

Sweet baby Tebow delivered another last minute miracle. With eight inches of fresh snow and no warming trend in sight, I think this win is secured and now we just have to run out the clock.

I hurried inside to wake up the family and put them to work.

Harper shoveling the sidewalk.
Sophia and Ains digging a hole.

Amanda building Fort Squidward.
It's still snowing hard now at 11:30 and I think we can reasonably expect 10 to 12 inches. So, Merry Christmas to all of you and don't forget the reason for the season. Timmy bless us, every one!

Monday, December 12, 2011

When life throws you lemons...go ice skating!

Our holiday adventures have begun during my family's FAVORITE time of year.  And I mean FAVORITE.  We get our tree as early as possible, we put up as many lights as our circuits hold, our house inside would give the Grinch hives, we read Christmas stories, watch Christmas movies, and make Christmas food - sometimes at the same time.

So when life has thrown us a few curve balls lately I'm very glad it all happened during our FAVORITE time of year.  It's just easier to handle when we all have smiles from ear to ear.

So what have we been up to...well here are some videos for your viewing pleasure!

After the lighting of Union Station there was a delightful Handbell chorus!

video

We have fallen head over skate for ice skating...in fact that is what Ainslee wants santa to bring her.  This is a video of Kurt doing a "hockey slide."  Don't blink for this one.  Also, someone in the background has a really annoying laugh.

video

We have also attended school concerts and Winter Faires...Harp played his Bass and Clarinet and Ainslee sang with her class.

video


Much to do, so little time...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving at age 34 and age 20.

This was the first Thanksgiving in ten years I have not been with my or Kurt's family.  Not to mention the first in a few years we haven't had our annual Friend's Thanksgiving.  At first I was so depressed and melancholy I was having a hard time getting excited about the days off, the feast I had in store, and celebrating the best Holiday of the year (second only to Arbor Day).  I just couldn't get past the fact I would not be partaking of my friend's Sam's famous Chex Mix, my Mom's pies, or participating in the Madden Family Gala Talent Show (and I had worked up such an amazing knife throwing act).
The kids and I had the entire week off, so I had a lot of time to think about what I was missing. 



I was also remembering the first Thanksgiving I had as a married woman in Austin, Texas.  We had moved to Texas with our first born Aaron (he's actually one of our best friends and a lovely gentleman) days after getting married.  It was such an amazing adventure.  Traveling in an old bakery truck across the Western US for two weeks, sleeping in swap meet parking lots, running out of gas, told by the police to get out of Yellowstone, and watching our cat Slick walk around on his leash.  Yes, a journey that everyone takes sometime in their life.
I will never forget this trip and the time I spent with my two best friends.  

When we got to Austin we headed to an RV park, where the owner charged us only $5 a night (because did I mention it was just an old Bakery Truck).  Aaron slept outside on a huge pillow, our TV was hooked up to a pole and placed classily on the ice chest, and our spot was backed up to the parking lot of a pretty nice Italian place where people routinely gasped in disgust at our set up.  Yes we were living the good life.  We couldn't get into an apartment for two weeks.  Henceforth we rode the city buses all day long to enjoy the air conditioning, much needed tip to surviving the heat of Texas in August. 

We finally got our apartment in the hoity toity Sea Breeze complex that was placed right in front of a great little spot we called the "Drug House" and no where near a Sea.  The "Drug House" was a rundown home where people went in with TVs and came out hours later empty handed, with glazed eyes and singing versions of Bob Dylan songs.  (Mom, don't worry it was similar to Church).

We all got jobs:  Kurt - 7-Eleven, Aaron - Pizza delivery, Amanda - Drive through dry cleaning.  
It's amazing how little money we survived on.  We found furniture by dumpsters or garage sales, ate a lot of free pizza from Aaron's job, and swam in the pool.
Austin was a great city...it really was...the library was beautiful, the buses were free if going downtown, the people very friendly, food was amazing, and the music and movie scene was everything 3 twenty year olds could ever want.  We also made some great friends (especially after I got a job upgrade to baker at a Kosher Deli).

Months passed and we settled in to a life I now realize was extremely care free.  We built a distinguished record collection, and played a ton of Atari.
The holidays came upon us and I soon realized that I am unnaturally connected to my family.  I missed them so much I could hardly get up in the morning.  I had my two dearest friends with me, not to mention a husband I adored, yet I was so young.  I had never lived 5 minutes away from my mom and dad or my wonderful, wonderful, sweet baby brothers.  God I missed them.  I hadn't realized that my crazy, loud, much too talented brothers and sisters were such a part of me and who I was.  The holidays were so lonesome.  We invited a down on their luck family to a Christmas dinner.  I'm not even sure what I cooked.  We exchanged gifts...

We moved back to Portland 4 months later.

I've grown up a lot since then.  I am still connected to my family in ways most people can't understand.  I need them in my life...they are still a part of me and who I am.  Yet, I'm more me now.  I'm also a part of my own family.  I have two of the best kids in the world, and a husband that is my best friend and whom I adore.  So this holiday season it wasn't so bad being so far away...we cooked an amazing meal, truly epic, we played board games, we went ice skating, watched the Muppet movie, and just sat and enjoyed each other.

So I probably won't move back to the West Coast in 4 months this time.  We will make sure to fly home for Thanksgiving next year guaranteed.  I have my family and friends with me all the time in my laugh, in my songs, in my head, in my heart.  



But my little family now is my heart and soul, and the adventures have just begun.