Sunday, March 29, 2009

Frolicking

A snow blizzard came and went, but the snow isn't completely gone, even though temperatures hit 60 today.

Oh, and by the way, Isabella wanted Henry to practice the piano today.

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So, tonight, before the sun went down, the four of us walked (well, three of us walked and one of us was carried) around the neighboring area. Isabella led.

Let's just say that I'm learning to loosen up as a wife and as a mother. As a mother, I'm learning to let the girls do things that are beyond the neat freak part of me. Yes, yes, I'm letting the little girls be little girls. What did that mean today, while we were on the walk? Letting Isabella run and JUMP in puddles, even the big ones. That meant that she got large chunks of her pants quite wet. The look of satisfaction and joy on her face was well worth it. A little inconvenience for a little girl's fun goes a long way. What else? Isabella played with snow, walked in the snow, and generally had a grand ole time. Her socks and shoes were soaking wet when it was time for dinner, but we've got to have a little fun now and again. As a counselor in training, I've read that humor and living the lighter side of life is crucial to one's well being.

Enjoy!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

A huge snow storm to ring in the Spring

We had been hearing about a snow blizzard coming through the Denver area, but I was in disbelief because we didn't see any clear indications - in the clouds or in the temperature in general - of it. Then yesterday morning, earlier in the morning, it started. The snow came. Then by noonish, the winds came, too. For nearly twelve hours, it snowed and snowed and snowed. What a way to ring in the Spring season, eh? Susan, from church, had said that a snow blizzard hit in 2002, with a few feet of snow, in March. I knew Denver weather was fickle from when we last came for Troy's formal interview. It snowed for about an hour during one of the days we were here, but by late afternoon, the snow stopped and was melting. But, this, this was, well, a surprise. Not altogether an unpleasant one. All I can say is that I am glad it didn't last several days, because we wouldn't have lasted past the weekend for groceries. Might have been able to push to Monday or so, if worst came to worst.

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The colors on this tree are a bit hard to see, but the purple colors on the branches are just one indication that mother nature had already started moving forward into the spring.

Visiting with some good old Missouri friends, the Laboiles

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We know Cynthia Laboile, on the far left, from our days in Columbia, Missouri. She works super hard to provide for her family, as a full time real estate agent and as a caterer. We had met her two daughters, Celine and Camille (in the middle of the picture), but this was our first time meeting Louis, who lives in Denver. A splendid lunch together we had.

Making contact with a rhinoceros

Life has been a little craaaaazy around these parts. That's my explanation for not blogging for awhile. Never claimed it was a fantastic excuse, but I'm rolling with it. Saturdays have been jammed packed for the last month or so. So busy that I haven't had the chance to go back to the pediatrician since Victoria's 9 month wellness check. At that appointment, they ran out of the Hep B vaccination, and I haven't had the chance to take her back for the shot, yet.

Anyways, we went to the zoo last Saturday afternoon, and as Troy would have it, not only did I have a camera in hand, but one of the rhinoceros came close enough for Troy and some others to touch him. Troy could spend hours literally just gazing at rhinoceros and waiting for an opportunity to touch one. Seriously.

A prairie dog gracing us with his presence, for a moment.

Several male peacocks were not at all shy. Troy stuck a hand out to see whether they would come a wee bit closer, and a zoo representative warned us that they tend to be a little aggressive this time of year. I'm guessing it's mating season.


It was hard getting a shot of Troy petting the rhinoceros, because so many people wanted to lay hands on it. You should be able to figure out, by process of elimination, which hand is his. If you can't, shame on you!

Personally, I think the rhinoceros is an ugly, I mean, fascinating creature. See?

A sleeping. Harmless, right? Don't try approaching one of these guys at home, folks. Not if you want to stay in tact.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Birthday celebration at the zoo with Ashley and Mike

Well, we haven't seen Ashley and Mike since Thanksgiving, so it was fantastic getting together with them to celebrate Troy's birthday. Nothing like an extended birthday celebration. Troy's choice? To go to the zoo. Thankfully, we got to redeem ourselves from the last time they went with us, where it was bitter cold and snowing and all the animals were hiding where ever it was warm. Yesterday? it was in the lower 60's and gorgeous. And the animals were all putting on a show.


While we were waiting for Mike and Ashley to arrive, Isabella was having a party, running around and checking everything out.

Victoria was doin' pretty nicely herself.



Got to see a tiger up close. You do not ever want there that close to a tiger without glass separating you from the tiger. If this is the brother (or father), in California, the sister (or daughter) tore apart a person when the tiger jumped quite a distance. Might have killed the person. If not, left very little recognizable in the person.

Youngest giraffe in the zoo. Now 4 weeks old. Timber, the next youngest is behind. Troy took this picture, by the way. We met the youngest when she (or he?) was 2 weeks old. Pretty neat.


Our friends Mike and Ashley. They didn't just bless us with their presence, but they gave Troy some gifts for his birthday. I hope Troy does hoard those Easter M&M's to himself. I'm way too addicted, and I do NOT need the CALORIES!

I am rather proud of the multiple peacock pictures I took, I must say. We came to the zoo one other time where one of the guys was showing off his b-e-a-utiful feathers, but I had absolutely no camera in hand. I posted a second picture on my photography website: Photography by Lily.

A sleeping polar bear, also very dangerous. Not meant to mix and mingle with civilization.



Can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something I just love about this picture.


These two zebras were having at it. They weren't playing gently, either; they seemed to bite each other on the scruff at time, very hard.

Troy's birthday

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Troy's birthday was this past Wednesday, March 11th. Wednesdays are our busy days this semester: I have classes off and on from 7:30 AM to 3 PM and then Troy teaches a class at 6:30 PM. The weekend before, I made him a birthday dinner - penne pasta with chicken breast, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes with pesto, all in vodka sauce (one of Sunflower Farmer's Market's tomato based sauces). The dish was so popular that even though I made a large batch Saturday night, it was gone by Monday.

Before Troy taught his evening class, we went to Cold Stone for some ice cream. For those of you who haven't heard and who are interested in FREE icecream for your birthday, sign up on their website no strings attached and they'll send you a coupon for a free like it signature creation the week of your birthday: . Then we walked around Aspen Grove Shopping Center for a little bit before he had to go teach. I also got him a cheesecake for his birthday, but we didn't dive into it until a couple of days later.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Scraping the bottom of the barrel

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I am painfully aware of my shortcomings as a person, and being a parent seemingly has added insult to injury. How it feels to be confident in my own skin is foreign to me, and on days like today, when I am eyeball deep in existential angst, I would love to be intimate with such confidence. Alas that is not something I have.

Instead, I have been meditating on the possibility that God was on vacation mode when he created me and that God made a mistake when he allowed me to become a parent not just once but twice. To leave me playing one of the lead roles in the character formations of my children, what was God thinking?

Here I sit, without distractions from the little ones, needed desperately to write a reflection paper. What am I doing to get past being buried in despair? Well, the day before yesterday, a friend told me that she sees me as her mentor. To have such an honor bestowed upon me; I am positively speechless. What else? I am sipping on a Caramel Apple Spice - dessert in a cup; very tasty.

Before signing off and attempting to be massively productive in a very short period of time, here are some recent events. Victoria has learned not only how to get herself into a sitting position but she can also pull herself up into a kneeling position. Pretty neat, I think. She still loves to stare at me and give me the smile like I am the apple of her eye and nothing else in the world is as important to her as me. . .

Today was our first outing with our real estate broker. We ended up looking at approximately five houses, one of which I absolutely love and adore. It's a bit cozy, but, as Troy knows, I love the character of older homes that have been well taken care of and loved. This one was built in 1941. Will be hard to top this one. Absolutely exquisite on the inside.

Oh, and I made Troy an early birthday dinner. His birthday is actually on Wednesday of this coming week (March 11), and our Wednesdays are pretty hectic. I made Italian penne pasta, Lily style - had in it chicken breast, sundried tomatoes with pesto, and artichokes, all basking in vodka sauce (a tomato based Sunflower Farmer's Market sauce). Deeeeelicious.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Going hand in hand and learning, over and over again, what is really important in life

Over and over again, I need a reality check and reminder of what is truly important in life. I very easily get lost when I am in the trenches.

For instance, lately, I've been extremely concerned about my teeth and how they seem to be decaying at such a rapid rate. I floss and brush carefully everyday, but a combination of genes for bad teeth and continuously fluctuating hormones are killing the well being of my teeth. Having been either pregnant or nursing since December 2005 is killing my health. Seriously. I've spoken with other moms who feel like nursing or pregnancy has totally affected their dental well being. Why didn't the La Leche League or other huge breastfeeding advocates warn me of this? My teeth were doing decently up until I got pregnant with Isabella. Now? I have three teeth that currently have fillings on them, two of which need crowns and one of which needs a new and larger filling. And? I think another tooth on bottom is starting to bother me. Great. Those of you who are itching to give me some lessons on dental hygiene, please try to restrain yourselves, as hard as that may be. I feel super bad as it is. . . Not that I would have made a different decision regarding breastfeeding with the information I now know regarding how breastfeeding (as well as being pregnant) ruins my teeth. At my very worst, my fear is that all my teeth will decay and fall out. Great. And tomorrow? Pulling out two fillings, replacing one with a new filling, and getting a temporary crown in the other - will take minimally two and a half hours. I'm still drinking water like crazy not only because I live in the dry mile high city but also because I am still nursing. I still go to the bathroom often. I'm recovering from being sick, with junk still in my throat and nasal congestion. How the heck am I going to keep my mouth open for two and a half hours?! I've been dreading the appointment at 9 AM tomorrow morning, since the day I made the appointment.

What else? Periodically, I sink into the depths of despair. Depression. Affects me to the point of not wanting the next day to come and repeat everything all over again. I am doing my best to cope and overcome when it does occur - getting out (to study) on nights Troy doesn't have to teach, journaling, trying to exercise on the weekends (by the time Troy gets home during the weekdays, doing the elliptical machine is out of the question; doing an aerobic activity that late in the day tends to interrupt my ability to sleep well at night), etc.

I'm still not done yet. I miss teaching. Worse? I'm worried that I've put a nail in the coffin by not teaching for such a long time. . . Troy and I are looking to co-teach a class at Denver Seminary in the fall - Philosophical Ethics. I don't feel qualified or equipped to teach.

(taking a long and deep breath)

Sometimes, okay oftentimes, I have to reexamine whether I have my priorities straight. These little girls and my husband are my priorities right now. We live in an imperfect world, where our bodies will inevitably decay. It's a huge inconvenience and expense for doing damage control, but it's not the end of the world. Work? Well, I certainly am not sitting back and waiting for opportunities to come. I need to remember that the Lord will provide and there is a season for everything. . .

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Speaking of time, I've got to go cook. On the menu tonight: delicious pan-fried fish, asparagus, and baked tofu stir fried with corn and bean sprouts.

Zoo-a-licious

The Changley family continues to go to the Denver Zoo almost weekly. Isabella still seems to enjoy being outdoors more than visiting with the animals at this point. Nevertheless, she's constantly asking to go to the zoo or the dog store. Victoria also seems to enjoy her surroundings at the zoo these days.

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Our little growing and curious toddler doesn't like to sit or be held for very long. She wants to walk, explore, and chase.

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Oh, and sit on the "cows."

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