The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just like mom always said, "Eat your fruits and vegetables"

Thanks Lorri for sharing this local site...for our Colorado readers, check out this organic fruit and veggie delivery company. Just like Longmont Dairy with fresh milk and NO added growth hormones, this site delivers fresh fruit and veggies grown by local farmers to your doorstep. I used to always think that an apple was an apple. BUT, knowing now that my body knows how to make a cancer cell from my melanoma a few years ago, and my new cholestrol issue, I don't want to add any chemicals or pecticides that can add to my risk. Eating organically grown foods eliminates pesticides, preservatives, and other cancer causing additives from our diets. We can all benefit from that! Stay healthy!

Sick and Tired...

Poor Ashlyn had a fever of 102.4 today, and felt lousy, as you can see by the photo! The funny thing with kids though, is that as soon as the Tylenol kicks in, they are up and running! Ashlyn was hot and miserable until the medicine started to work, then she was literally running and dancing! I thought the DVD I got her would be relaxing, but the latest "Strawberry Shortcake" video is a dance number. (Yes, you mom's of girls who know all too well the Strawberry songs, will come to love the new, "Strawberry Shake" dance!) After all the dancing and running, (and a nap here or there) it will be a wonder if her fever breaks by morning. I will keep you posted.

While we were homebound today, I took the opportunity to exercise on our recently aquired treadmill,(and boy am I out of shape...or as Kyle said during his track meet, maybe it is just the altitude! HA HA) In addition to exercise, laundry, and caring for our sick one, I also "decoupaged" the afternoon away while Ashlyn slept. I embellished a fun little wooden tray and decoupaged a clay pot and saucer with Modge Podge. Who knew sickness and crafting could go so well together!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wishing you April showers and May flowers!


Today was a busy day filled with school, work, riding lessons, Brownies, and all the other fun things a busy household accomplishes each day! Busy days though, often lead me to not be as observant as I should be. During Ashlyn's riding lesson, the wind was just howling, and the dust flying around her eyes made it difficult to work on balance, etc...She was a good sport though, and didn't complain. We rushed home for dinner, (Yes, it was healthy,and low fat, I'm trying! :-) Ashlyn kept putting her head down during dinner, but I still didn't suspect anything brewing. Next we were off to Ashlyn's Brownie meeting, where she was teary eyed and extra sensitive. I thought she was just being dramatic, as is often the case when one is 7 years old! :-)

Afterwards, when we got home, the wind stopped and the weather was so nice outside. I insisted the kids go ride their bikes around the court to get some fresh air and steer away from the TV. When I called them in, poor Ashlyn had a 101.7 fever. She said, "I just wanted to do as you said Mom, and stay outside!" Oh, did I ever feel terrible. I had one of those "bad mommy moments" as I call them! We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Please keep us updated on YOU, and stay healthy! Happy Spring!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle

Remembering my dad today...although this is not him in the video, I loved the lyrics and message just the same. Appreciate your dad today!

April 27th...I remember...

Today would have been my Dad's 69th birthday. I miss him very much. I often wonder if he would have been happy that we moved to Colorado. Knowing that he loved the mountains and snow, I hope the answer would be, "yes." I often wonder if he would be pleased with how his grandchildren are turning out, and if he would be happy with the way they are being raised. I hope the answer would be, "yes." I often wonder if he waits for my mom in Heaven, knowing his time to see her, will be sooner than I want to say, "goodbye." I wonder if he hadn't died, if I would have been as proactive in seeking out that I have the same heart condition he did. I wonder if he knew the impact he had on so many students that he taught, lives he saved being in law enforcement, and the impact he had in my life. I hope he knows he is thought of, and loved, today.
Happy Birthday Dad

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Roadrunners Club

Ashlyn has been attending a 6 week long training for children in the district who want to join the running club. Today was the big race and she did a great job! We were apprehensive about it when we arrived, as it was cold, lightly snowing, and windy. Ashlyn decided to just compete in the 400 meter race for her first year. I was secretly glad as that was the only event held indoors! :-) They encouraged parents to run too, and Ashlyn passed me up right from the beginning. She tied for 2nd place out of about 20 1st graders. Great job Ashlyn!

First mow of the season...

You'd never know it snowed earlier in the day based on this picture, but it did! The grass is finally long enough for a first mow, so Ashlyn rode with Tom to tell him all about her race today. We're ready for spring and some good weather!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tree Planting

Tree planting has begun...our landscape designer has started planting trees along the driveway. We will have trees lining either side of the drive, so that in years to come, they will create a canopy effect as you drive down the middle. We are just happy to have a little bit of shade this summer. Our flat property feels like the vast plains sometimes, so trees will be a nice addition. :-) Tom also finished the raised garden beds. Gee, between farm fresh eggs from our neighbor, our dairy deliveries, and home grown veggies; we'll be living "organic" in no time!

Gorillas, Gorillas, Amazing Gorillas!

Ashlyn has been steadily working on her upcoming Gorilla Report. Her class is doing a unit on Africa, and the kids have been assigned an African animal report. Installment 4 is due on Monday, and as of tonight she has 5 chapters complete. Tomorrow Ashlyn will finish the glossary and bibliography. As you can see from her title above, even just titling the report had to have some pizazz! Ashlyn is working on a special letter to the readers of her report detailing how everyone should help preserve the rain forests and gorilla habitats. She is determined to change the fate of the endangered gorilla, one report at a time! hee hee The author above requested a blog post, so here she is hard at work! Ü

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cactus Pear Martini


While eating my low fat, no salt, no taste diet dinner this evening, I glanced over at the refrigerator where an awesome recipe awaits. My new friend Kathy served "Cactus Pear Martinis" a few weeks ago and shared the recipe. I thought you might enjoy it too. It is so light and refreshing, and perfect for spring and summer entertaining! Enjoy!

"Cactus Pear Martini Recipe"

1 1/2 oz. Pear Liqueur
3/4 oz. Sour Apple Pucker
3/4 oz. Peach Schnapps
1 1/2 oz. Pear Nectar
Pear slice
Sugar for garnish

1. Chill martini glass.
2. Add liquors to tin of ice and shake at least 15 seconds.
3. Strain into chilled martini glass.
4. Rim martini glass with sugar.
5. Garnish with pear and serve. Yum!

Hmmm... What are the chances that a martini is low in cholestrol?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!


Ashlyn was excited to wake up this morning and announce that today was Earth Day! We are making small changes where we can. I no longer use the plastic grocery store bags, and invested in the fabric totes instead. (For you moms out there that do the grocery shopping, they are so much easier to carry...with the long handles you can put all your groceries over your shoulder and carry it all in one load! Huge!) One of my favorite hip boutique stores even has a neat recylcing program. The store owner told me that instead of buying bags, she has customers bring in their handled Nordstrom, Macy's, gift bags, etc...and for every bag you bring in, she credits you .20$ a bag. I walked away with $7.20 in credit at her store. See, it's fashionable to be 'green!'

Finally, a new car!

My old 1996 Explorer has found a good home, and we purchased a 2007 Ford Expedition with only 15,000 miles in it's place. We've been looking for a newer used SUV, and were swayed by the flashy Escalade and Navigator. They are all so expensive though, even at 3-5 years old. We were lucky to find this Expedition with few miles, leather seats, a 3rd row, and the DVD player the kids were hoping for. For the first time we bought a car the way our parents always did, and paid cash! Not having to worry about a car payment is such a good thing! Now we'll be all set for ski trips in the winter, and our summer journey to South Dakota. Best of all, the whole family can go to the airport to pick up visitors! Now we just have to hope that gas doesn't reach the $4.00 a gallon price! Yikes! As of today, here in Colorado gas prices are at $3.45 a gallon. Time for us to start biking!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

John Denver - Rocky Mountain High

Slideshow from 4/20/08

Sunday Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Tom and Ashlyn pose on fallen logs.
Kyle in front of the creek with half water and half snow.

It still looks like winter here, but the warm sun made for an easy adventure.

I am always amazed at how blue the sky is in the park. We were at 8,000 ft. and it was clear and beautiful.
The creek appears frozen, but we could hear and see rushing water below the surface.
Driving through Thompson Canyon.
The kids take a break during the hike. We hiked for 2 hours, and they were troopers.

Such a peaceful sight to see all the elk sunning themselves.
A clear and beautiful day in Rocky Mountain National Park~ Won't you come for a visit?!?

Look where we're going this summer!


Friday, April 18, 2008

First track meet of the season

Kyle at the track meet getting ready for his event.

Beautiful views of Long's Peak and Mt. Meeker in the background.

Kyle running in the 800 meter event.

How did Kyle do you ask? Let's just say, there's a reason no other runners are in the photo. Kyle says it must have been the altitude, and we'll just leave it at that. Ü

Turn out the lights, the party's over...

My lifelong "party" of eating hamburgers, hot dogs, buttery popcorn, cookies, cakes, candies, etc...has come to an end! I met with the doctor today to review my recent lab work and heart scan. Unfortunately, in addition to having a small amount of plaque build up in one of my arteries, I also have high cholestrol. The two put together, along with my family history, give me an official diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease.

The GOOD NEWS is that by catching it early, I can do something about it, before it becomes more advanced. I often think of my dad who passed away so unexpectedly from Coronary Artery Disease, without even knowing he had it. His death, had prompted me to be proactive about my own heart health. I feel lucky to have this chance to change my own future, and rewrite what could have been my own fate in 20 years. If only my dad could have had the same chance.

I will be on "aspirin therapy" and a cholestrol lowering medication for the rest of my life. In addition, I have 3 months to bring my cholestrol numbers down to a normal range with diet and lifestyle changes. If I am not able to get my numbers where they need to be, I will need more aggressive medications to ensure that I am not at an increased risk for a heart attack, stroke, etc...Of course the diet changes will be the hardest. We love our red meat, butter, eggs, etc... Time for fish and plant based foods, and lots of exercise to drop the 20 lbs. I have been lugging around. Hopefully all of those things will keep this disease from progressing. I will keep you posted!

Until then, here's to eating "heart healthy" and living well!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Snow

We had to laugh because it was 78 degrees in our house the other day, and no one slept well due to the warm rooms. We debated turning on the air conditioner, we opened windows, and braced ourselves for a warm week. What a surprise during lunch yesterday when it started snowing! The trees have finally started to bud, but by evening, we had snow covered foliage. I wanted to post a few photos, but am unable to on the "blogger" site tonight. I will try again later!

All is well in both the Kofford and Johnson Households! My mom is feeling good, and is able to get out and about, and do as she pleases. She met with her oncologist who did say that since her blood numbers have not recovered as they would have liked, she will not be able to do anymore chemotherapy. They will recheck her levels every two weeks, and repeat MRI's every 3 months. We hope and pray that the cancer stays GONE since she cannot do anything more at this point to prevent it's return. Of course life never has a dull moment, as my mom's refrigerator went out, a sprinkler head got ran over and she had a "geyser" in her front yard! Other than that, she went out to lunch today at the airport restaurant and sat near my dad's shadow box of memorabilia they have displayed. She also took flowers to the grave, participated in her book club this week, and attended her hula class! She doesn't let any grass grow under her feet!

Ashlyn is busy preparing for the National Piano Guild Auditions next month where she will memorize and perform 6 pieces. She stays active with Girl Scouts, training for the upcoming 400 meter "race" and of course...writing stories....LOTS of stories!

Kyle has his first track meet tomorrow where he will compete in the 800 meter and shot put. He will also be playing his guitar in a "showcase" in May, and next week he will play his violin in the orchestra concert.

Tom is busy at work, and is preparing for building our garden boxes. Once we get a few sunny days, he can begin building it! We have also been working with the landscaper to clean out our pond, and plant trees along the driveway to the house. We're anxious for the pond to be completed so we can add fish, and have our own catch and release fishing pond. (The biggest plus will be keeping all those horrible mosquitoes at bay this summer!

I began playing tennis again, and have found that techniques have changed over the last 20 years, and my ways are the old ways now! I really felt like a beginner again having to relearn the new methods the instructor wants us to use. Luckily my friend Elisabeth also signed up, so that will make things extra fun!

Please let us know how YOU are, and we will stay in touch! Happy Spring! SMILES! Denise Ü

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Riding Lessons

It was the moment Ashlyn has been waiting for all year... Turning 7 years old is the magic age when our friend Kate at Briar Gate Farm begins private riding instruction. Ashlyn has loved participating in her, "Saddle Clubs" but the chance to learn to ride on her own has been much anticipated! Yesterday Ashlyn learned about ground work, grooming, balance, etc....She was in heaven the whole afternoon!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Girl Scout Bike Rally

Yesterday Ashlyn attended the local Girl Scout Bike Rally at the Boulder Fairgrounds. She decorated her bike in a "My Little Pony" theme. "Pony Power" was her motto! Unfortunately, the event focused on train safety, (go figure?) rather than bike safey, and several kids rode right into each other. Ashlyn crashed a few times, as did our friend's daughter, so we called it a day after a few hours. Later that evening Tom and I went into Boulder for dinner, and enjoyed all the sights on Pearl Street. The kids were perfectly happy to stay home with a sitter and enjoy macaroni and cheese! :-)
We discovered this neat old church that was built in 1891! It had beautiful brick work that caught our attention.
The historic Boulder Theater lit up at sundown. Come for a visit, and we'll show you all the local sites!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


"Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." Just like the popular Girl Scout song, it is so important to cherish all of our friendships; those that we have had established for years, and those that are just forming.
Since our move, we have missed our friends and family in California SO much. Luckily, we have been blessed to live in such a friendly community, and have met such kind people here! Ashlyn has made several good friends in her 1st grade class. Pictured here is her good buddy Caitlyn...the two girlfriends got together on Friday and laughed, played, sang songs, and had so much fun together!

Happiness is a good friend!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Vintage Chic in Downtown Longmont

I never knew such a term existed; "Vintage Chic", but boy is it a decorator's dream! Ashlyn and I stumbled upon two "retro, vintage, antique" stores in downtown Longmont. We so enjoyed seeing all the old things with a past...tiny tea cups and saucers, antique teaspoons, and candle holders. I should have known antique stores would be so interesting! We walked through each aisle seeing old cameras, original letters from Jackie Kennedy, to old baby buggies and 1950's tables and chairs. Hmmm...I think I have discovered a new favorite pastime!

My "new" find, an old tea cup and saucer with a french theme. I collect tea cups and saucers, most of which have been beautiful sets from my Grandma Johnson's collection. This was the first time I purchased one. Of course the great price made this set a special "vintage chic" find!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Congratulations Lorri! Ü

Our friend, Lorri Steer, has been battling breast cancer since August. Yesterday she completed her last radiation treatment, and her chemotherapy treatments are also all finished! In honor of this special occasion, she threw a, "It's Good to be Alive" party this morning! We all got together to help share in her joy of being cancer free! We had a great time visiting, catching up, and sharing in Lorri's happiness!

Special thanks to Brett Fontaine, Haley Benson, and Laura Striffler for running in the Cancer Society's "Relay for Life" events in honor of Lorri, my mom, and my friend Toni....all incredible women, who have faced cancer with strength, dignity, and grace.

Congratulations Lorri on completing this journey, and on all the wonderful new beginnings to come!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Appreciate every day...

My new friend Beth, posted this entry on her family blog. I found it very inspiring and thought you might too. Here is the link...

"I'm always a sucker for words of inspiration. It's my belief that we can never have enough reminders about how to live and love well. Here is such a reminder that some of you may have seen - a talk given by a young Carnegie Mellon professor - a father of three children - who is dying of pancreatic cancer. If you have 10 minutes, take the time to watch this. I assure you, it will not be time wasted. Beth"
(The original video was part of an Oprah episode but is now not available. The above link is part of a Good Morning America clip.)

Summer...we're ready for you!

At last today feels like a spring day, despite the 20 degree weather this morning, and a snowy beginning yesterday. At this point, I am ready to forgo spring and jump right into summer! Tom and I are planning our summer garden, and took the kids to a nursery this weekend to get everyone's input on what to plant, and how to do it. When we lived in Dublin in our first home, we had a small garden bed and grew HUGE zucchinis which have left a lasting imprint in my mind...I want to grow more! With a larger space to work with here, we want to plant corn, pumpkins, sunflowers, and all the usual delicious vegetables of tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, etc...Here is the book that contains my plans; "The Summer Book" by Susan Branch. For years I have been studying her simple plans for an easy garden, and this summer we are going to recreate it!

No news, is good news...

Hello friends!

I hadn't posted any updates on my mom recently, mostly because we didn't have any new information to share. Things are still status quo regarding her blood work, (still low) so she is not elegible for chemotherapy right now. Instead, she is finally able to do, what she returned home to California to do... to live well, and to live fully. She went to church last weekend, out to the movies with friends, enjoyed dessert and dinner outings, and attended her book club as well! She will even be taking a hula dance exercise class with friends! She said she is feeling good, and is ready to get out and do the things she loves. So, for now, everything is going well, and as the saying goes, "No news (truly is) good news!"

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hiking to Cub Lake

While Ashlyn and I stayed back in Longmont to attend a birthday party, Kyle and Tom adventured into Rocky Mountain National Park for an afternoon hike. The weather in Longmont was in the 60's today, but up in the mountains the guys ran into snow and strong winds. Kyle came home talking about how cold it was and how his legs could barely make the 5 mile hike, but I think they secretly enjoyed every minute of braving the elements on this father/son adventure!