Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moab Trip -- Day 1

I left Lafayette early Friday morning and picked up my mom in Castle Pines.  Stopping at Starbucks on the way, of course, we hit C-470 just after rush hour ended.

But we weren't the only ones out and about that morning.  We saw a big ol' MOOSE standing on the side of the road just before the Morrison exit.  It was a young moose, and its antlers were just starting to come in -- but it was still HUGE.

Our drive through the mountains was pretty uneventful, other than hitting a bit of snow in Vail.

We made it to Palisade before my gas tank warning light came on, so we stopped there to fill up.  I had never been in Palisade before, and I admit I was impressed.  It is a quiet little town, but it seems everyone has an orchard or a vineyard there.  It is just beautiful, and a nice little stop on our trip.

We got lunch in Grand Junction -- and long story short, I won't be eating at Applebee's for a long time.

Since we decided to take a scenic route to Moab instead of the usual Hwy 191, our turnoff wasn't too far after the Utah border.  We took Hwy 128 all the way into Moab, and it was spectacular.  The scenery was straight out of the movies.  The first few miles were back-country desert roads, and I joked about how in the movies, that's where the damsel's car breaks down and she's attacked by monsters.  My mom made me check to make sure I was still getting a signal on my cell phone.  LOL.

But after those first few miles, the road dove right into the canyon carved by the Colorado River.  The river was wide and full, and had lots of places to stop and enjoy the beach along the way.  The giant rocks, cliffs and mesas were spectacular. 



In some places it looked as if the rocks would come to life, a la Hellboy 2 or Galaxy Quest...

Galaxy Quest Rock Monster...


Moab Rock Monsters?





After many many stops to take pictures, we made it to the Adobe Abode B&B in Moab around 5:30pm.

The owner of the B&B, Keith, welcomed us and gave us the tour first thing.  He is a metal sculpture artist, and his work is everywhere -- from the lights outside each door to the toilet paper holders in the bathrooms.


Adobe Abode B&B.



Some of Keith's work.





View from our back balcony.


Keith told us that it was about a 25 minute walk to Main Street from the B&B, so we decided to walk down and explore.  It stays light in Moab until around 9pm in the summer, so we had plenty of daylight left for the walk.  Unfortunately it took about 45 minutes, not 25 minutes, to get to Main Street -- but hey, we worked up an appetite.

Our first dinner in Moab was at the Peace Tree Cafe.  We sat outside and shared artichoke dip and vegetarian lasagna.  To die for.

On our walk back to the B&B, we saw a trail along the creek that we thought would lead us back -- so we took it.  The sun was going down, and the trees were thick overhead, but we had enough light to see by.  As the trail went on, though, we realized it was looping us back to the road.  So we had a nice little 20-minute sidetrack before going back to the road and walking the same route we had come in on.

I can hear Jeremy's voice already -- "Jessi, only YOU could get lost in a forest in the desert."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Blue-Eyed Girl

Big Girl

Monday, May 23, 2011

Writing Resistance and Weekend News

I know this is going to sound odd coming from me -- but I just haven't been in a writing mood for the last couple of weeks.

My doctor tweaked my meds to try to get rid of the last bits of lethargy from my supposed post-partum depression, so that may have contributed to the change.  That is actually frustrating because the goal of the med change was to INCREASE my motivation.  But whatever.  I am weaning off of the medications over the next few weeks anyway because we are going to try to have another child after Scarlett turns 1 this summer.

So if I babble incoherently, lash out angrily, or disappear entirely, you can safely blame the antidepressant-weaning process -- and I'll be back to normal in a few weeks.  Look out, world!

So now down to the business of catching up. 

Saturday Scarlett woke up at 5am and wouldn't go back to sleep. She's been a bit off for the last few days, so it wasn't too surprising -- but it sure was exhausting.  At 7:30, I woke Jeremy up and asked him to take over so I could get a little bit of sleep before I had to hit the road.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of activity for me.  I left Jeremy and Scarlett at home later that morning and headed down to Colorado Springs.  I got my hair done first thing, so now it's back to golden blond.

Then I stopped by Josey's house, said hello to James and Connor, and Josey and I went to lunch and coffee.  It's been FOREVER since I've gotten to spend any time with her, so it was awesome.

Then it was off to see Katie, Matt and Kenzie.  Katie is pregnant with a girl, so I brought her a few items of clothing that Scarlett had long since outgrown.  So many people having babies lately... it's so great!

My last stop before heading home was to pick up boxes from my parents' house in Castle Rock.  I took C-470 home from there due to the U2 concert in Denver, so I had a beautiful (if a bit longer) drive home.  It's hard to complain about long drives in Colorado when it is so darn gorgeous here.

Jeremy had a rough day with the baby on Saturday.  She refused to nap all day -- and any of you with kids know what that spells.  So I promised him he could sleep in as late as he wanted on Sunday.

He definitely took advantage of that.  LOL.  I woke him up at 12:40, and he was startled that he had slept that long.  Obviously he needed it, though. 

Scarlett had another no-nap day on Sunday, which was just exhausting for all of us.  Jeremy went out and got a new mower, and mowed our lawn that afternoon, and I curled up with Scarlett on the couch and didn't let her move until she had taken a nap. And as you can see from the previous post, I took her to the park after she had finally taken a little nap.

So the new mower.  Gotta say something about that.  I promised Jeremy he could get a new one for the new house, but I figured we may as well get one now -- so he did some research and picked an electric (battery-powered) one.  He is IN LOVE.  The mower looks like a toy, but it works like a dream.  And no gas or oil to mess with.  Awesome.

When Scarlett finally went to bed Sunday night (a rough time of that too), we watched the newest Harry Potter and then Black SwanHP was okay.  Black Swan was FANTASTIC.  It was a real trip -- you never knew if what was happening was real or in Nina's head.  I highly recommend it for anyone who isn't sensitive to a little gratuity.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Scarlett at Waneka Lake

It was a nice, warm, overcast day, so I took the baby to the park while Jeremy mowed the lawn. Scarlett sat on the grass next to the playground, content to watch the other kids play for about ten minutes -- then she crawled across the grass and insisted on "walking" around on the woodchips around the play area. Quite the adventure for this little one!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Winning Streak

I have been on a winning streak these past two weeks. 

First I won a necklace from artist Erin King via her Facebook contest.


Then today I found out I won a "Max Pack" from Hazel Mitchell via her blog contest.  It includes her illustrated children's book Why Am I Here, a doll of the main character, and some other goodies she hasn't disclosed yet.

Now if I can just keep up this winning streak, maybe we'll close on our house soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mobile Baby

Three weeks ago Scarlett learned to army-crawl. A week later and she was crawling on her hands and knees. And a week after that she was standing with support. We're taking bets on her walking next week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garage Sale and Delayed Closing

It's been an adventure the last few days with Scarlett able to crawl faster and with more confidence, and with her new ability to pull herself to standing.  She is not satisfied to be in her jumper or playpen as much anymore, that's for sure. 

Jeremy, Scarlett and I went down to Castle Pines this weekend for their annual garage sale.  It's quite the event, since the residents there tend to sell pretty high-quality stuff for really cheap.  Here's a list of some of the things we bought: a matching couch, loveseat and leather ottoman set; two huge desks; two child gates; a toddler car seat; multiple rugs; a stainless steel sink with a super nice faucet; a princess house for Scarlett; a TON of baby clothes; multiple bookshelves (three from Scandinavian Designs); a king-size bed frame; king-size comforter set; sheets and a comforter for Scarlett; everything to furnish and decorate Scarlett's bathroom at our new house; a pink wagon filled with big legos; a training potty; and a dozen other things I'm probably forgetting right now.  And we didn't even spend all the money we brought.  Basically the bulk of the stuff we need for the new house is now purchased, and our savings account didn't even feel a pinch.

Speaking of the new house, the closing has been pushed out.  We were supposed to close tomorrow, but there is some claim against Freddie Mac that is preventing us from getting the title.  Our realtor is working hard to work everything out, so hopefully we'll close sometime this week.  The situation should make me nervous... but it really doesn't.  I know we'll be moved into our new home in no time.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Scarlett Standing

At 9 months and 4 weeks old, Scarlett just pulled herself to standing for the first time.

Monday, May 09, 2011

First Mother's Day Trauma

I couldn't write about Mother's Day last night because I was still recovering from the trauma of it.

The day started out innocently enough.  Jeremy got up with the baby and made me orange rolls and coffee.  We spent the morning being lazy, then got the baby ready to go in the early afternoon.

The open studios tour for the East Boulder County Artists ran for the last two weekends, and Mother's Day was the last day for it.  There are several participating artists in our neighborhood, so we planned on walking to several studios.  Scarlett wasn't napping, and was being really clingy, so instead of putting her in the front pack we decided to put her in the stroller so maybe she would rest.

The first studio we went to was Chuck Ceraso.  He had converted his garage into a studio and gallery, and it was awesome to walk through.  His art is so colorful and expressive.  And he is super friendly.  He fell in love with Scarlett, and she gave him some giggles.

From there we headed up to the combined studios of Susan Opfer and Karen Taylor.  As we were walking up the driveway, a bee flew into my hair.  I am not afraid of bees, but I was holding Scarlett and I had an absolute panic attack.  We couldn't get the darn thing OUT of my hair!  I could hear it buzzing in my ear, and I kept waiting for it to sting me as Jeremy and I frantically ran our hands through my hair trying to get it out.

Well we finally got the bee out and I ran into the ladies' home studio before it could get me again.  Jeremy came in a few minutes later and we calmed down as we walked first through Susan's painting studio, then Karen's jewelry display.  As we talked to them, we mentioned the bee incident.  Susan got defensive and said "It couldn't have been a bee."  I found that a little odd, but just responded, "Yes, normally bees aren't that aggressive."  We overheard in background conversation, though, that I was the second person that day that this had happened to.  Then Susan mentioned "Oh, we have honey bees, but they're not aggressive."

:-|

I have strong opinions about bee farms in family neighborhoods.  Even more so now that I have a baby that may or may not have a bee allergy (and I am in no hurry to find out if she's allergic!).  But I bit my tongue.

As we left, I made a run for it out the door, down the driveway, and halfway down the block with Scarlett in my arms while Jeremy followed up with the stroller.

Suddenly I was attacked again.

The bee landed on Scarlett's skirt, then my shirt, then went into my hair again.  I am not 100% clear on what happened next because I was in such panic.  But I do know I was bent over close to the ground protecting Scarlett, and I was trying to put her down, and the bee started going UP MY NOSE.

I screamed and quickly set Scarlett down (so Jeremy tells me), but she wasn't all the way to the ground yet.  She plopped the last four inches to the sidewalk and promptly fell on her back, hitting her head.  I will never forget the look on her face or the scream.

Jeremy threw the stroller and raced the last few feet over to us.  I remember he grabbed the baby and got the bee off me and told me to run.  But that's all I remember until we were huddled down the block, calming the crying (and thankfully unhurt) baby.

The man who lived in the house came to check on us, which I appreciated.  Then I took the baby and ran as fast as I could in my Tevas halfway home before I finally stopped for Jeremy to catch up.  I was shaking and crying, and Scarlett was still whimpering, but we made it all the way home without another incident. 

I have never had a fear of bees -- but I think I just developed one.

Jeremy helped me calm down at home.  I really don't know what would have happened without him.  I am so thankful for him.

He made me dinner that night and gave me a sweet card and a box of Raisinettes (one of my favorite candies -- I told him not to buy me a gift).  After the baby went to bed, we curled up and watched some episodes of Bones. 

I literally got the chills writing this post.  But now the story is out of me and hopefully I can start to recover.

Digital Art Tools

There is a post over at Attack of the Muse about the tools I use for digital painting, for anyone who is interested. 

http://museattack.blogspot.com/2011/05/digital-art-tools.html

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Date Day and Art Show

Saturday was such a fun day.

We took Scarlett over to my parents' house around 11am.  They agreed to babysit for us so we could have a day out, just the two of us.  Once the baby was settled in, we headed out for our date day.

We started with lunch at the Rockyard Brewery in Castle Rock.  We got the jalapeno soup to share as an appetizer, and we decided we had to have the recipe for it.  It was so good! 

We had some time to kill before our movie started, so we hit Lowe's to look at paint for the new house.  Jeremy grabbed every paint brochure in the place.  He's really getting excited about the new house now.  I grabbed some samples of Tibetan red-type colors.  We're going to paint my office that color because I want a worldly look in there.

Finally we made it to our movie.  Jeremy has been looking forward to seeing Thor for two years, now.  He has literally been counting down the days.  So of course we had to see it on opening weekend.  It was SO GOOD.  I'm not a comic book fanatic like he is, but I LOVED it.  I have always been into Norse mythology, so I loved that aspect of it.  But the actors they picked for all the parts, and the sharp way they made Loki's character so deliciously conflicted was brilliant.  I was left wanting more.  Luckily Thor will be a character in next year's Avengers movie, and it looks like Thor 2 will be going to production.

We picked up Scarlett around 4:30.  She was having a blast with my parents.  No separation anxiety at all.  She's such a great kid.  Once we were all re-packed and ready to go, my parents, Chad, Jeremy, Scarlett and I went to Denver for Drew's art show.

Della's younger sister, Abby, put together a show for her work and the work of a few other people.  My brother, Drew, was included in the show.  He put 11 of his most amazing pieces into it.  The whole show was incredible.  Mixed media, charcoal, pen and ink, sculpture -- it was a feast for the eyes.  I'm so proud of my brother for being so brave to show his art to the world.

We got home Saturday night just in time to give the baby her last bottle and put her to bed.  Then Jeremy and I went downstairs to the family room and put Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li in the DVD player.  It was a movie Jeremy had picked up for a couple of bucks at a sale not too long ago, and we hadn't watched it yet.  I would die happy if we never watched it again.  It was SO bad, it was actually hilarious.  We were both in tears from laughter by the end of it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Work, Work and Cranky Baby

I'm rarely too busy to blog.  At least I can usually squeeze in a short update, no matter how busy I am.  But the last few days have just escaped me.

Jeremy came home from the Springs on Saturday afternoon.  I have no idea what we did for the rest of the day, other than I worked on a top-secret commissioned painting.

Sunday we spent the entire day cleaning.  We had to cancel the maid service due to finances and our move, so we grudgingly got to work scouring the house from top to bottom.  Jeremy does a great job cleaning when he's got a few beers and his iPod, so we split up the work and left each other alone.  Of course, we had to trade off taking care of the baby too.  She was fascinated by all the activity.

Monday at my day job, two teammates and I were trying to come up with a solution that didn't require us to use IT.  We have this old, cranky content tool and a spattering of web code experience between us -- so we put our heads together to figure out a solution for a partner team.  I spent HOURS messing around in the content tool, trying to get it to work with my coding.  That type of work really consumes me. I can't walk away until I've figured it out.  But by 5pm, my body was in knots from the stress of it, and I knew I couldn't miss the gym -- so I reluctantly put my laptop to sleep, got dressed, and headed to Nia and yoga.

When I got back from the gym, I showered and curled up with Jeremy to watch Castle.  Then it was back to work.  This time I worked on my top-secret commission.  I love having different projects to do.  I feel like my brain gets a workout when I switch from writing HTML to painting, because they use totally different parts of my brain.

Today, Tuesday, Jeremy got up with the baby, then proceeded to bring me breakfast in bed - an omelet and cinnamon rolls.  Great start to the day, don't you think?  Scarlett disagreed.  She was the crankiest I've ever seen her today. The only thing she wanted was to be held and comforted.  So when Jeremy went to the grocery and I had her in my office with me for about an hour, it was soooo hard to work.  I appreciate Jeremy all the time, but ESPECIALLY during times like that.

And today work was insane.  It was one request after another, and I was still trying to come up with a solution for that partner team, getting all the first-of-the-month stuff out the door, answering people's questions, troubleshooting, etc., etc. etc.  But damnit I was determined to get that dang coding/content tool problem figured out.  So at 5pm, Jeremy walks in to my office carrying a plate of food, and says "Are you coming up for dinner or what?"  He had made an amazing dinner of burritos with queso, vegetarian refried beans and couscous.  So I pried myself away from my desk long enough to eat with him, and I went back to work again.  After a while, I finally figured out a code that would make the solution we came up with work!  It was such a relief.  This is the kind of project that puts the spotlight on me and my team, and come review time, that matters A LOT.

Ah, but I was not done for the day.  After the baby went to bed, I watched Glee and Raising Hope with Jeremy while we ate butter pecan ice cream with chocolate sauce.  Then I worked on my top-secret commission.  I couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock and it was 10:40pm.  I found a stopping point with my painting, and here I am writing this blog.  No rest for the wicked.

On a side note, the baby has been sleeping like crap for the last few days.  She's been waking up at night and having a hard time getting back to sleep. Tonight is the first night that she's stayed down (so far).  We think she may be having growing pains.  Poor thing.

We got amazing news about our house situation today.  The landlords want to move back in at the end of June, so they're letting us out of our lease without penalty.  This means we can close on our new house a month early!  Right now we're looking at closing around May 16.  We're very excited, and so relieved that we don't have to sublet our rental.