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

Monday, June 30, 2008

Proud to be Americans!

In an hour it will be July 1st, and I am reminded of how fortunate we are to be Americans! In a few days we will celebrate our country's independence. How lucky we are to live in this wonderful country where freedom is ours. My dad was an officer in the US Army, and today Kyle wore his hat, pins, etc...operating on "covert missions" in his bedroom with pillows stacked, and sock missiles waiting to be launched. He has such pride that his "papa" was in the military. We feel that same pride in all the men and women who have fought for our freedom; freedom that we enjoy and often take for granted. We are just so proud to be Americans, and have our flags ready to wave and display this 4th. There will be 16 of us celebrating at our home, and we are blessed!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Kyle's Rock Camp

Tonight was Kyle's Rock Concert after a full week at Guitar/Rock Camp. The kids did a terrific job, and Kyle just "rocked" during his solo! Our favorite song was "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. Kyle will be performing at the Arts Night in downtown Longmont later in July, so we will have a chance to see him perform with the same group again. Afterwards we had dinner at the "Pumphouse" and are now enjoying the beautiful sunset over the mountains from our patio. Wish you were here to enjoy it with us! Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Another great summer afternoon...

The weather is great, and two of Kyle's classmates came over to play, so the kids are having fun on the new "Skimmer Surfboard" slip and slide. We had a nice lunch at a restaurant in the historic district we've been wanting to try, and Kyle had his last day of Rock/Guitar Camp this morning. Tom is having the same mystery stomach pains he experienced in Red Bluff a few months ago and we are wondering if they are related to his diverticulitis. Hopefully not, and we'll keep our fingers crossed they go away as quickly as they came. They must not be too bad, as he managed to get the slip and slide set up, so that was a good sign!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Erma Wisdom...

Today Kyle had his guitar camp, we went to "Crack Pots" a paint-your-own-pottery place, and then for a picnic lunch at a local park on the lake. It should have been a lovely day, but Kyle complained, fussed, and griped about the whole experience. It is so hard to find activities that both a 7 year old girl, and a 12 year old boy would enjoy. Someone is usually not happy, and today it was Kyle. This afternoon there is guitar and swim lessons, each for a different child...we'll see who complains loudest tonight! Anyway, between reading the Bible and Erma Bombeck, I can usually gain enough strength to get through the day without pulling my hair out!

Here's another great Erma Bombeck article...sure to encourage you to live it up tonight and eat some ice cream; no matter how your day went!

Seize the Moment~ June 25, 1991
Written by Erma Bombeck

"I have a friend who lives by a three word philosophy: Seize the moment. Just possibley, she may be the wisest woman on this planet. Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word "refrigeration" mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched "Jeopardy" on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, "How about going to lunch in a half hour?" She would gasp and stammer, "I can't". Check one: "I have clothes on the line." "My hair is dirty." "I wish I had known yesterday." "I had a late breakfast." "It looks like rain." And my personal favorite, "It's Monday."

She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ouselves when all the conditions are perfect. We'll go back and visit the grandparents...when we get Stevie toilet trained. We'll entertain...when we replace the living room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon...when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of "I'm going to", "I plan on" and "Someday when things are settled down a bit."

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps and open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my hips with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process.

The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy."

So, go some ice cream tonight...and don't fall for that old trap of, "We don't need to go out, we have some here." Load up the whole family and drive to Dairy Queen, Coldstone, or Baskin Robbins...that's what summer is all about, (bet the kids won't complain either!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Watching the garden grow...

In between guitar, swimming, piano, tennis, Webkinz Class, Writing and Publishing Class, and Rock Camp, we do just SIT and watch the garden grow! Ü It's been one of our favorite summer activities! hee hee It's been a busy week keeping the kids on time to their many activities, but they are having fun so I can't complain! We're looking forward to our upcoming family trips, and seeing more of this beautiful country we live in. We'll be hitting 4 states this summer and can't wait to photograph much of it! Kyle and Ashlyn have been reading book after book this summer, are willingly doing the "school work" I give them, reinforcing math skills, etc...BUT we do have a fair amount of arguing and bickering too through-out the day. One day, they will both be grown, and I will long for the sound of "He hit me" and "Stop it right now or I'm telling!" Until then, I am off for now to put out a "fire" as I hear rumblings outside the office! Happy Summer and stay cool!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Little Pond That Could...

The trees have been planted, the grass and wildflower seed is in, and the sprinklers are watering! Thanks to the farmer behind us who is irrigating, the little pond is all filled in, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that evaporation doesn't eventually steal it all away! The island is just visible, and we are now dreaming of our water feature, bridge, etc...etc...Those items will come another time, so for now we will just be thankful for that beautiful sight of water!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Daddy's New B.B.Q.

Here it is! Even our friends back in CA commented on the fact that Tom was way overdue for a new B.B.Q! ha ha They remembered our old relic from our going away party last June! Our old one was an embarrassment, (think splitting, mold stained, wooden side shelves~ Eeew!) The new stainless steel model is a beauty and did a great job tonight with Tom as chef.

Our neighbors came to dinner, and we all had a wonderful time. I didn't get photos of the adults, but here is one of the girls together at the end of the evening. Darby (with Tara Belle) and Taylor were so good with Ashlyn, especially after she had a bad wreck on the gravel driveway on her bike this evening. She had a darn good "road rash" along her arm, left leg, etc...and came in screaming. The girls were so kind and loving toward her, and spent the rest of the night playing with her and being the "big sisters" she always wanted!

It was a fine dinner with 10 of us, and fun to entertain outdoors after the sun went down. Gotta love summer! After the last snow fall on May 1st, we are all appreciating being outside every chance we get! Here's to summer vacation! P.S. Billie, the baked beans turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Haunted Hawaiian Hotel

I tutored two students this morning, and afterwards Ashlyn's friend Ashley came over to play. The girls are busy at work turning the swing set into a haunted Hawaiian hotel! They have "rooms" where guests have their clothing, and ghosts occupy each room in one of the mysteries that the girls have to solve. This entire scenario has Scobby Doo written all over it! My first instinct was to think, "Now who is going to put all that away when they are done?" After reminding myself of last week's Erma Bombeck story, I decided to not make a comment. Later I overheard Ashlyn say to her friend, "Let's be sure and clean this up when we're done, it's only fair to my mom!" Thank you Ashlyn!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More fantastic flip flops!

Oh, we're addicted now! The cute Scooby Doo pair on the right just came in yesterday; another great E-Bay find! The Disney pair on the left Ashlyn and I made together yesterday afternoon. It's amazing what you can do with a cheap pair of flip flops from Wal-Mart and an .89$ bag of balloons! We're already planning to make them for summer birthday gifts...gotta love summer and the time to be crafty!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fantastic flip flops!

Just an idea for my crafty friends...Aren't these the cutest flip flops you have ever seen for a child?!? They are 'balloon tied' and look just like a party on your feet! Ashlyn loves them, and we are going to try making some for gifts. I have several crafty friends and relatives and couldn't resist sending on this idea! Gee, if only it were acceptable for moms to wear them too! hee hee

Goodbye Tom and Nancy! :-(

Toms dives for distance at the local indoor pool...

Kyle jumping in trying for a big splash...

Enjoying the hot tub...

Playing football...

Checking out the house that is for sale across the street...perhaps we'll be neighbors once again?

The kids and I are down in the dumps is always sad saying, "Goodbye" to friends that come to visit, and Tom and Nancy were no exception. I was teary eyed at the airport, and Kyle is missing Tom's presence and compassionate nature throughout our visit. The boys had such fun playing, swimming, biking, etc...Nancy and I had lots of quality time to catch up, and the whole week was so enjoyable. Here are a few highlights of the boys in action! We are counting down until we see everyone again later in the summer for our CA trip. We hope you too will consider a visit out to Colorado; we miss you all greatly!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Good News!

I just got a call from my mom, and her MRI results came back negative for any cancer cells! Hooray! My mom, Annette, and my sister in law Cindy were all heading out to lunch to celebrate, so she said she would share all the details later. Hearing that her blood counts were up, and that the MRI showed no cancer cells was so uplifting! Just wanted to share this positive news with you!

Father's Day in Boulder

Here is Kyle and best buddy Tom! Tom and Nancy pose in front of a sculpture on Pearl Street, and the gang all enjoys dinner at the Walnut Pub for Father's Day! (Notice the 'sticky eyeballs' on the kids faces...we found a great store on Pearl Street with lots of trinkets and treasures...the eyeballs were a hit! hee hee) Our visit is going well and we are having such an enjoyable time catching up with our friends and all the news from back home.

Tom had a relaxing day and picked out the new BBQ we promised him. Luckily, Sears assembles them for free, so that was a nice treat! Now we just have to wait until Wed. when it is ready to pick up to do some grilling. Happy Summer!

Today my mom will meet with the neurologist at 11 a.m. Her friend Annette will be with her, and together they will learn the results, and what treatments my mom can pursue from here forward. I will be sure to update you as I learn more. Thanks for your continued care and concern!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! We wish you all a very special day celebrating the dads in your life! We wish we could be with you today Papa Ron, (Tom's dad) but please know we send our wishes to you for a wonderful day relaxing and doing what you enjoy! Special Father's Day wishes to my hubby Tom, and Nancy's hubby Tom, who is without his family today since we get to have them with us! Missing my dad today, and remembering all the dads who have passed. It all comes back to the single message of living each day fully with those you love! Live fully, live joyfully, and Happy Father's Day! Ü

Weekend Update

They made it! Our friends Nancy and Tom, made it safely to Colorado on Friday night! Kyle has been in heaven having his best buddy here! I see the big smiles on his face, and realize it has been a long time since I saw him this happy! There is nothing like an old friend, a familiar face, and a best buddy to make everything "perfect" as Kyle says!

We had a great time today driving to Rocky Mountain National Park. Sadly, not one of us remembered our cameras, so I have yet to record those happy faces on film! We drove to 12,000 ft. to the alpine tundra level of the park. It was cold and windy, but there was pleny of snow on the ground for the kids to make and throw snowballs at one another! Later we walked through Estes Park, had lunch, walked through the quaint shops in the village, and had a lovely day.

The kids had fun playing at the pond later on this evening. Ashlyn has been catching tadpoles in a bucket to "save." I am a bit nervous at the amount of tadpoles in this pond...we will have literally thousands of frogs or toads by mid summer at the rate they are multiplying! I have images of frogs taking over the porch, the driveway, etc... :-)

The doctors are going to make us wait until my mom's Monday appointment for her lastest results, so I am afraid I have no news to report on. We are of course praying for positive results with the best possible outcome. The hardest part is waiting, and hoping for the news we want to hear. Life doesn't always give us what we want though, so whether it is good or bad, we will make it through together. Thank you for remembering my mom in your prayers...I know your love and support will see her through this journey.

Happy Sunday, and live well TODAY!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Afternoon

"Summer Afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."

~Henry James

Sock wars and construction paper creations

Ok, enough already! I’ve finally had it with construction paper creations and dirty socks decorating my home.

Ashlyn occupies herself with writing lots of stories, and making elaborate 3-D pop up construction paper lands. In the basement, you will find an “amusement park” that includes a paper rollercoaster that cascades down the sofa arm. It loops to the coffee table and onto a “ trail that leads to the snack bar” on the opposite end of the room. In the family room, Sponge Bob has a diorama of his pineapple under the sea. The pineapple pops up, includes cut out doors that lead to bedrooms, and of course little matching cut out people that I have been instructed not to touch or move.

In Ashlyn’s bedroom her closet is full of taped on pictures, stories requiring editing, and an endless supply of possible illustrations for her many “chapter books”. I’ve purchased binders, folders, and supplied boxes to store all these creations. When the craft cupboard started overflowing with her construction paper creations I lost it. I am officially lost in a construction paper world and need a map to find my way out!

Tom and Kyle occasionally have sock wars, with sock balls as missiles. These missiles have knocked over pictures, upset my “pretties” on tables, and have found me as one of their targets. A sock missile is still lost on top of our built in shelves….I see it every time I walk by upstairs, but have no means to get it down. The other morning, a sock weapon was waiting for me, proudly displayed by one of two sock soldiers at the bottom of the banister.

BUT, this time, before I went into my “lets not mess up the house, and I want everything put away” lecture, I remembered a newspaper article written by one of my favorite humorists, the late Erma Bombeck. She wrote it almost 40 years ago, but the words still fit today. Read on:

No More Oatmeal Kisses ~ January 29, 1969

One of these days, you’ll shout, “Why don’t you kids grow up and act your age!” And they will. Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do…and don’t slam the door!” And they won’t.

You’ll straighten up the boys’ bedrooms neat and tidy: bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked in smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you’ll say out loud, “Now I want it to stay this way.” And it will.

You’ll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you’ll say, “Now there’s a meal for company.” And you’ll eat it alone.

You’ll say, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear me?” And you’ll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms. No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps. No more clothespins under the sofa. No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent. No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathroom. No more iron on patches, rubber bands for ponytails, tight boots, or wet knotted shoestrings.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby sitter for New year’s Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a streak that isn’t ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on y our lap.

No PTA meetings. No car pools. No blaring radios. No one washing her hair at 11 o’clock at night. Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing, “I did.”

Maybe the roller coaster, the cut out people, and all the drawings should stay put. And just maybe, the socks will stay...for one more day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No MRI results...yet...

I spoke with my mom today, and she had not heard any news regarding her recent MRI. We are anxiously awaiting the results and praying for good news. She will meet with the neurologist on Monday, and review the results and further treatments at that time. She also had her blood drawn today, so they can see where her current levels are compared to those over the past month. The form of brain cancer she has, "Glioblastoma Multiforme" is very aggressive, and even the most cutting edge treatments have not extended the average patient's survival by more than a few years at most. Of course with my mom, and her outlook on life, we know if anyone can beat this ugly disease, it would be her! She has survived 6 months now since her diagnosis on Dec. 24th, and is ready to keep fighting and keep living! Thank you for your continued prayers and well wishes~I will post any news as soon as we have it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The leprechaun bride appears!

From across the hall, out of sight, Ashlyn asked me when St. Patrick's Day would come again. I told her that it was a long way off and that she would have to wait about 9 months. She informed she couldn't wait that long. I replied with a lengthy explanation of all the months inbetween now and then, and before I knew it, she popped out of her room in this very green shamrock ensemble! Things were quiet once again back in her room until this lovely "bride" appeared unexpectedly! I thought you'd get a chuckle out of it...especially our California Grandmas who love these moments!

Remind me to tell you about the nail polish caper...every Barbie Ashlyn owns now has bright pink nails and toes, as do the white decorative towels she used to clean up! Yikes! The whole house smells like bleach as I have scrubbed and scrubbed. Ashlyn later reminded me, "You know Mom, people are more important than things, so don't worry about the towels!"

Tennis anyone?

Kyle is loving his tennis lessons and the great instructor we both shared. Laurie Chrisman has been teaching tennis to children and adults in the Longmont area for over 20 years, and we love her! Ashlyn and I enjoyed her beautiful backyard while Kyle played. He's the only boy amongst a group of girls, but it doesn't seem to bother him much, at the ripe old age of "almost 13" I think he's loving all the attention he gets!

Mother Robin

This mother robin built herself a fine mud nest above one of our entry way columns...I couldn't figure out what the long black hairs were that were hanging from it and that we kept finding underneath the nest, until Tom realized that they were hairs from the horse's mane next door!

Is it a dust bowl, a volcano, or a giant mud pile?

Yes, it's a mud pile! ha ha Well, that strange mound outside the window is not a barren volcano crater, but it will be a sledding hill in the winter! Today four workers came and dug trenches for the sprnkler system that will water those mounds once grass seed is planted. Fortunately water is filling up the pond, but instead of being a pretty blue, it is a rusty brown filled with tadpoles. Our pond/lake/water feature will be slow going, but I will keep you posted on the progress. Once it is finished, we invite you to come fishing on our just may be awhile, and perhaps a long while, until that day comes! hee hee Ü

MRI Today

Please keep my mom in your prayers today that her cancer is gone for good, that the tumor has not grown back, and that she will have fully restored health. Today is her MRI, and we will anxiously be awaiting results. She has an appointment with the neurologist on Mon. but hopefully she will not have to wait until then to learn the results of today's test. Thank you Lisa for sharing the uplifting story in the Sacramento Bee about another woman with Glioblastoma who has survived 3 years now! It was great to read a positive story about this form of cancer, thank you! As we learn more I will keep you all up to date! ~Denise

Monday, June 9, 2008

Swing set in action!

Since the time Kyle was 3 years old, I have been hounding Tom to get a swing set for the backyard. Our homes in CA never seemed to have a yard with the right lay out, but now that we have all the space in the world, only a portion of it has pretty lawn. We mulled over getting one of the big wooden structures, but for the price, and our kids ages, we will be lucky to get a year or two out of this one, so we went for the inexpensive metal set. It's not fancy, but Ashlyn would never know it. She has spent the past three days, swinging, doing tricks, sliding, and taking all of her stuffed animals for rides! :-) It truly is the little things in life that bring much joy!

Kyle and Tom took Papa Harry's Corvette for a ride yesterday, and Kyle gave it a wash before it went back in the garage. I know my dad wanted Kyle to have his beloved car, so it is special for Kyle to own it now, and await the day when he is 16 years old and can drive it!

Here are few photos of the kids in action the past few days. Tom and I are doing well and working deligently on our exercise and dietary habits. I'm down 12 lbs. now, and feeling good! Unfortunately I must have far to go, because I don't look any different than before! HA HA

Happy Monday to all far and near!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer Flowers in Colorado

Remembering my grandma...Iris'were her favorite flower! Back in CA these would have bloomed several months ago, but their late presence here brought back memories of my "Grandma Johnson." We planted bulbs last week around the garden where the picket fence will be. I hope in a few months when the bulbs bloom, they will remind us of several family members who have since passed away, and that they will serve as a reminder for all we have to be thankful for!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Update

Today was a lovely summer afternoon in Longmont! Tom got off work early, (hooray!) and he begun work on the kids new swing set. We went for a family bike ride around McIntosh Lake, and I attended a fun Mod-Podge workshop where I made two clever crafts for the kids rooms. We got Kyle's 6th grade report card in the mail yesterday and were pleased with his 7 A's and 2 B's. So far, it has been a good summer, and we are looking forward to our Mt. Rushmore trip next month. The kids and I will be in California from Aug. 1st-7th which will be great, but the trip that originally started out as a two week adventure, has dwindled down to a week. The summer is filling up quickly! Kyle's best buddy Tom is flying out with his mother next week, and Kyle is counting down. We are planning all the fun things we can do when they visit, and Kyle hasn't stopped talking about it. We will be sure and post photos of their reunion! Hoping you are all healthy, happy, and enjoying your summer! Above is a picture of the Honey Locust tree, that is blooming like crazy...we saw a bumble bee today that was an inch long, and I am sure his presence has helped the tree!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Happiness is a good report card!

Ashlyn poses on her piano teacher's porch. It was a happy day for her as she got her "report card" from the guild auditions. Her overall grade was an A- so she was proud of the accomplishment! After all the months practicing and memorizing, she is ready to move on to new skills and happily accepted her new book that leads right into flats and sharps. Kyle's guitar camp is coming up, so the kids are playing their instruments daily. If I can ever get the You Tube feature to work I will post some video of everyone in action!

The garden two weeks later...

The garden is doing pretty well, but we have more weeds than we keep up with around the raised beds. Until we get our picket fence in, and sand to line the walkways with, we will be weeding everyday! The watermelon and cantelopes never took off, but the rest is healthy and looking good. As Kyle says though, "I think your eyes were bigger than your garden Mom!" Although it all looks neat and orderly now, those "in the know" have said we have way too many vegetables in these beds if they all take off and grow! I will just have to thin the crop as we go! Hopefully in a few months I can show you another picture of actual vegetables growing from the plants!

It was a wet and rainy run...

What a mess! My good intentions of exercising this evening turned into a wild run through rain, wind, thunder, and lightning! When I started out no one was around, and I should have figured there was a reason, especially when the rain started to pour and I found myself fearing for a lightning strike! (If you ever wondered, people in Colorado do not carry umbrellas and someone later told me that lightning is the reason!) Here are a few photos taken on my journey; I still loved the cows and prairie dogs that kept me company!