An Apron To Remember...

I really never thought that in my lifetime I would enjoy spending a couple of afternoons gathered around a sewing machine...ever! My grandmother is probably laughing in her grave at the thought that her granddaughter (who she tried on numerous occasions to teach sewing) is sewing and most importantly enjoying it!

Recently several friends met for a "sewing party". Typically there were anywhere from 4-7 of us at one time. Our project was to learn how to make aprons. I have been wanting an apron for a really long time. Another thing that would have my grandmother laughing (she also tried to teach me to bake with no avail). We just put our sewing machines around one table and had another table set up to cut out patterns and we taught ourselves how to sew the apron. It was invigorating! I know what a crazy word to use for sewing but I loved being surrounded by women and creating something that before the day started I had no idea how to do. I learned to gather a seam, to sew a dart, to stitch in the ditch, and to cut on the bias!! These are all things that would have been Greek to me before our "sewing party". It was fun! It took several afternoons for all of us to finish and every time I heard we were getting together then I'd make sure I was there. I loved being there, listening to music, feeling like I was in a sweat shop when all the machines were going, learning a new skill, and talking with friends. Honestly, I can't wait for the next project!

Now I have an apron and it's reversible! I've used in several times already. It's nice to have an apron when I'm cooking because I usually always have a towel handy, now I just use my apron. Ethan came downstairs while I was cooking with my new apron and said "wow, mom that's pretty, let's take your picture". So here it is....


Christmas Unlimited

I took the opportunity to go through all of my boys toys the last few weeks. They had several toys that were really to nice for a garage sale but I didn't want to be bothered by trying to sale them on ebay or craigslist. I remembered about a great charity in our community called "Christmas Unlimited". They provide low income families with a "shopping pass" based on the number of children in their family. The families come in to the "store" during the holiday season to "buy" toys for their children. They take new and used toys in good condition. Sam and I took the boys with us to make the donation and talked to them about the opportunity for other little boys, who's parents can't buy them nice toys, to be able to have toys. We explained we were donating toys they never play with anymore. They just wanted to make sure that mommy didn't donate any of their transformers and then they were on board!
I encourage any of you out there in the Colorado Springs community with an overabundance of toys to donate them to Christmas Unlimited. They are a fantastic charity that has been in our community for over 50 years. They are also looking for volunteers during the holidays to help the families do their shopping, keep the shelves clean and organized, etc. So if you're looking for a volunteer opportunity!!!


The Elk Rut is On...

This weekend we took the opportunity (Sam had a 4 day weekend) to head up to Estes Park, Colorado and spend 2 nights. I casually mentioned to Sam that is was Elk breeding season and that I really wanted to go watch. Needless to say that got a second look and some raised eyebrows. However, I had read in the newspaper an article about how active the Elk are this time of year and how the bull Elk will bugle to attract the females and it is really quite interesting. I really had no interest in exposing myself or my children to the "breeding" and secretly hoped that would not be part of our trip (luckily it was not :-).

We stayed at the YMCA center of the Rockies. I've had friends that have stayed there and recommended it. They have a swimming pool, livery, climbing wall, mini golf, dining hall, bingo, craft center, gym, disc golf, lake for fishing, pool hall, ping pong, and a few other things. They are all available to members staying on sight. We took advantage of the mini golf, swimming, and fun "animal detective" class for the kids. The boys learned a new word in their animal detective class this weekend...scat. As we were walking to the mini golf we came across some scat and Ethan proceeded to tell me he was sure it was Elk scat instead of deer scat because it was all squished together. He also said humans have long really squished together scat. I said did you talk about human scat in your class? He proudly said; "no, I came up with that one on my own".

Our room had a queen size bed and two bunk beds! It was nice to have that kind of sleeping arrangements, however, the "lodge" was more like a college dorm and we would have liked a little more privacy and a little less noise. I think next time we'll stay in one of their many cabins.

Rocky Mountain National Park was beautiful! I highly recommend a trip to the park for anyone who hasn't been. It was nice to be there in fall and see all the leaves changing. We went into the park in the morning and drove around, took a few pictures, stopped at the visitors center, and then learned that the best time to come is during twilight. The elk start to get active around 5 pm and then "party" all night long. The ranger recommended we bring chairs and just plan to sit and watch for a few hours. So we came back at 4:30, and watched the rut. At 6 pm then the ranger gave a lecture about the Elk and their behaviors and what we were observing. I was fascinated to learn that the men urinate all over themselves to attract the females. Yum. The more urine they have on themselves...the stronger they are...thus the more attractive. Hmm. They can directionally shoot urine all over their necks! They also will urinate in one spot enough to make mud and then roll around in it. Essentially they do these things both to keep the other males away and to get the females to chose them as their mating partner. So in the end, it's the females who make the choice!

Here is a "funny" video of the main bull Elk in the herd we were watching chasing this female. It was really neat to listen to the bugle of the males (there were 5 total males in the herd we were watching). In this video it almost seems he bugles out of frustration. The whole time we were watching (about 2 hours) then the bull kept chasing this one female (she has a yellow collar). Needless to say he never did get her! I guess she was saving herself for a bigger stronger smellier male!