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, September 30, 2008

We're home!

Leaving California on Sunday...Ashlyn gazes out at the view of the Sacramento Airport.
The pretty sunset as we head down the runway. We flew east so we missed the view of the sun setting from the air, but it was an easy flight. Thank goodness for the portable DVD player! :-)

Our trip was enjoyable getting to spend time with my mom, Tom's parents, and Ashlyn was able to see her 95 year old great grandmother! My mom's health is holding steady. She is trying to keep her leg strength up by walking "laps" around her pretty circular drive. There is a big fountain in the middle and pretty landscaping on her property so she has a great view while exercising. She takes her walker and caregiver, and is able to stay active in this way two times a day. She also is working with leg weights to keep the remaining leg strength that she has. She treated us to a delicious birthday dinner, and it was so nice to have that time together. We don't know how fast the tumor is growing or progressing at this point, and are hoping the oncologist will grant another MRI to follow it's growth. (Typically, once treatment is stopped, Hospice takes over and there are no more tests.) The tumor has affected various cognitive areas of thinking, and the steroids she is on for brain swelling have also brought side affects. All things considered though, my mom is doing as much as she is able and desiring to do, and we are so thankful for this quality time that we can have together!

Ashlyn and I made it safely home at midnight on Sunday evening. You can tell how busy, (or not busy) I am in my personal life, by how often I post on the blog. Since you haven't heard from me since Sat. you can guess which it is! You know how it is after a trip...lots of this...

And more of this...

We returned home to a spotless house thanks to Tom, but then... the dishes are back! :-)
The kids were anxious to start our fall/Halloween decorating, so the living room looked like this yesterday.
What a mess!

The window washer came...
And then we breathed a sigh of relief, and realized that the trees had started changing while we were gone!
After decorating, the porch looks so pretty with giant mums and pumpkins from our garden.
Our cat Rspberry gets in on the decorating wrapping himself in the fall garland.

Today I had my riding lesson, and my friend and instructor Kate, treated me to a birthday ride and lunch! This is Kate riding, "Ringo."
Pretty view of the lake from horseback.

Here is my horse, "Chummie" as seen from my perspective as a rider. It was much harder to take photos on horseback than I thought, thus the shaky shots!

Horses in a neighboring pasture while we were on the trail.
The changing fall colors along the trail at "Pella Crossing."

We stopped for lunch while the horses nibbled on weeds and whinnied at passing horses. Kate packed a lovely homemade lunch of pasta salad, fresh fruit, dessert, and a gift; all of which she carried in a small pack on the back of her horse. How enjoyable it was to ride for an hour out, and find a cool spot to have lunch and visit. It was a great way to end my birthday celebration, and start my 42nd year!

And that my friends, is a photo recap of the past few days! It's good to be home!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Greetings from Red Bluff!

Hello from sunny Red Bluff! Here are a few photos of the past few days events...

Isn't this a great shot of the clouds flying to Sacramento?! We couldn't ask for a better view!

Dinner last night at The Green Barn. Mom, Denise and Ashlyn: three generations!

Our good friend Annette joined us for dinner and made this delicious chocolate cake for the birthday celebration! Thank you Annette!

My mom's evening caregiver Sarah is great with hair, and styled Ashlyn's hair in this fancy "do" this morning.

The back view...oh how I wish I were talented enough to style hair like this!

Off for now...Ashlyn and I are sitting in Starbucks once again for the Wi-Fi connection, and we are due home. More to share later from Colorado upon our return home tomorrow!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hello from warm and wonderful California!

We made it! Ashlyn and I made it in to Sacramento yesterday evening, and had an uneventful flight; the best kind! I am writing to you from a local Starbucks as there is not a wireless connection at my moms. This is the first time I have enjoyed a Mocha Frappacino while typing a post on a lap top in a Starbucks! There is a first time for everything!

All is going well on this end...Ron and Billie, (Tom's parents) picked up Ashlyn to take her to lunch and then on to visit Great Grandma Myra, who is 95 years young! Later tonight we are going out to dinner at, "The Green Barn" for my birthday dinner. (No, it's not a real barn, but a tastey local steakhouse!)

It is nice to spend my birthday with my mom, and have this time together. There are many changes from my last visit in terms of her physical abilities, but she is a good sport, and adapts well to those limitations. I will post some photos of all of us together next time.

I am off to the grocery store, and then to run a few errands, so I will check in again this weekend and post some photos to share! Happy Friday, and don't forget to eat your apple today...Johnny Appleseed would be proud!

Birthday cake or birthday apples?


Happy Birthday Aunt Shellie, Tyler P. Johnny Appleseed, and Me! :-)
Today is Tom's sister Shellie's birthday, Kyle's good friend Tyler's 13th, and for those of you trivia lovers, today is also Johnny Appleseed Day!


Johnny Appleseed's real name was John Chapman, and he was born on Sept. 26, 1774. It is true that he traveled the countryside planting apple trees, and bringing seedlings to the settlers who in some areas where required to plant at least 50 seedlings per homestead. When I was teaching we always celebrated this day with lots of apple activities, and since I too share Johnny's special birthday, my love of apples continues! Enjoy your day, and eat an apple in honor of Johnny Appleseed! :-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just beautiful!

My friend Beth posted this photo on her blog today: You can read her posting under the heading, "President Risdon?" Isn't this photo incredible?!? I think it is so pretty and wanted to share it with you! I even told Beth that if I could, I would climb right inside that photo, and live there!

California here we come...

Just like the song, Ashlyn and I will be California bound on Thursday afternoon! The two of us will be flying out to spend some time with my mom, and will be in Red Bluff until Sunday afternon. We're looking forward to spending time together, and for Ashlyn and Grandma to have many positive memories throughout the weekend. Those memories will surely help see us through whatever lies ahead...and we are grateful.

Ashlyn is also looking forward to spending time with Tom's parents over the weekend! Grandma Billie and Papa Ron are very special to us, and Ashlyn is so happy to be able to see both sets of grandparents. Grandma Billie even rescheduled her surgery to the following week in order to have time with her granddaughter, and we feel fortunate to have this weekend together. Tom will be working, and Kyle is at an age where it is difficult to miss school, so they will join us on a future trip.

I will try to post a few pictures during our stay, and if not, I will fill you in on our adventures when we return. Remember to savor every day, and "eat the chocolate!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get ready! Johnny Appleseed Day is coming!


Enrichment Fridays!

Many of you may remember that I taught 3rd grade for 5 years, and tutored students for 15 years when we lived in Dublin, CA. I loved it, and found it so rewarding to work with children individually and in small groups. Well, you can take the teacher out of the classroom with an interstate move, but you sure can't take the teacher out of the girl! I love education! :-)

I will be teaching 6 wonderful 1st-3rd grade girls in a special "Enrichment Friday" at our home in the coming weeks! I feel so passionate about dynamic learning and hands on activities at all grade levels, that I am putting my teaching experience to use! I will be hosting my own "classroom" where I can utilize some of the creative ideas I used to teach in 3rd grade! My 'students' will be coming on their first class to take part in a blind taste test of a variety of apples where we will chart their favorites before revealing which variety they actually ate. We'll be doing apple crafts, math activities and making moveable books! It should be a great afternoon, and a fun way to "teach" until I return to the classroom again one day!

Ashlyn is excited to have all the kids over for a fun afternoon, and I'll be sure and take pictures of everyone in action! We'll be meeting every other week, and may include additional children depending on how our first class goes, and how many more chairs I can fit around our dining room table!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rocky Mountain National Park

Our friends Jim and Marilyn enjoy the pretty fall colors up in the mountains.

Besides pretty colors to admire with the changing season, another high altitude perk is beautiful blue skies!
Elk as seen from the road.

Jim and Tom outside watching over the steaks. We enjoyed a nice dinner togther in Boulder on Saturday night, and a relaxing Sunday with our friends! Thanks for spending your weekend with us Jim and Marilyn!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy 42nd Birthday Tom!

Last night we had a mini celebration at home with BBQ hamburgers, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, and "birthday apple pie" for our birthday boy who prefers pie over cake! Today our friends Jim and Marilyn are coming into town from Chico, California and we will continue our celebration this evening with a nice dinner out. Jim was in our wedding 20 years ago, and he and I attended middle school together, so we go back a LONG way! Tomorrow we hope to take them on a trip into the mountains to see all the pretty fall colors. I'll post photos along the way, and until then, have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Happy Birthday to my hubby Tom! Here's to you honey, have a fantastic day! We love you! Love, Denise, Kyle, and Ashlyn! :-)

More birthday wishes to my friend Kirsten!
Happy Birthday Kirsten! I miss you SOOOO much! Enjoy your special day! With lots of love to you from Colorado to California!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy 13th Birthday Nathan!

Happy Birthday Nathan! Kyle and Nate were in a play group together when they were toddlers and the two of them were best buddies from age 2 years on! We don't get to see Nate very often, but were lucky enough to see him in Feb. at my mom's celebration of life luau. Nate is also a cancer survivor, and a talented musician! Enjoy your first day being a teenager Nate, and have FUN!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday Musings, retold on Tuesday :-)

Our little "Brownie" in her vest of many badges...
The many "Try It's" Ashlyn earned last year. Last night was Ashlyn's first meeting of the year under the new Girl Scout "Quest".
The kids are well underway with homework and routines...
Yesterday morning, this was the view when I walked Kyle out to the bus...isn't the moon pretty?
My new lap top has come in handy with Kyle's new homework schedule. The middle school kids have to access textbooks on line, and all homework assignments, supplementary materials, etc...are all managed through on line "virtual campus" sites. I don't know about you, but I still think kids should be able to feel a page under their fingertips, and be able to refer to a "real" book. Oh times are changing, and my old age is showing!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grandma Lorraine Update

I talk with my mom almost every day, and wanted to let you all know that she is managing very well, all things considered! She went over to her friend Annette's house for pizza tonight, and yesterday she was able to attend the "Red Hat Society" luncheon! This week she will be attending several group functions. She manages all of this with the help of caregivers, friends, and her own fortitude to spend time how she pleases! I'm so proud of her!

Hospice comes by once a week, and brings medications, answers questions, and takes vital signs, etc...

She is walking extra loops around her property driveway to keep her strength up. She is no longer able to use the cane due to stability, so she uses the walker to do her exercise, and the wheelchair for outings.

She said she is getting more confused on schedules, dates, times, math skills, etc...but is still able to do enough that she won't let those limitations get in her way. She is definately showing cancer who's boss!

Thank you sunset lovers...

To my faithful commenters below, thank you for leaving me a little tidbit to know you were here! You are welcome to sit on our porch anytime! I'd love to share the sunsets with you, and would welcome your visit! (Since I know you are all long distance, just had to share that you can stay in our basement and enjoy your own private quarters with a fireplace, kitchenette, bathroom, bedroom, and big screen TV all to yourself!) Have I talked anyone into coming out to visit us yet? We need company!

P.S. Jim, we are counting down until you and Marilyn arrive this week!

Long's Peak by night and day

This was the view last night of Long's Peak from our back yard. We never tire of having the mountains as the back drop behind our home!
We like to sit on the back patio and enjoy the view above!
Long's Peak by day on our way to horse back riding lessons. This was the first day we saw the mountains covered with snow. After all the rain we have had, it is so green in town, yet snowy in the mountains!
Ashlyn and her friend Caitlyn are taking riding lessons together. Ashlyn is so happy to ride with her friend, and the day continued on with a play date, sleep over, church this morning together and another play date this afternoon! These two girls are inseparable, and happily so!
Ashlyn patiently waiting for instruction on "Chummie." This is also the horse I ride at my lessons, but I don't look near as cute!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ode to Chocolate

Photobucket Image Hosting I love thee chocolate. I am so sorry flavors of vanilla, coffee, peach, and strawberry. I wish you could be "the one", but you are just not worthy of my most delectable, chocolaty, culinary friend. You each have a special place on my palate, but none can ever take the place of my beloved chocolate! My chocolate has seen me through the worst and best of days. You celebrate with me when thing are going well, and you indulge me when I am needing a lift. I have many calories, are full of caffeine, and go directly to my hips, but I shall never desert you, for you are my favorite dessert! It doesn't matter to me if you are bitter, semi-sweet, dark, hollow or solid. I love you served cold, I love to eat you warm and melting, and I love you in pie, cake, or cookies. I just love to eat you best! Chocolate, I heart you!

P.S. If time allows, check out my friend, "Chatting" on the side bar to the right and read her beloved ode to the ever delicious, "Pumpkin Spice Latte." As she says, it is "16 oz. of liquid pumpkin pie!" You are so funny and such a good writer, "Chatting" but I am afraid I do love my sweet chocolate friend best! :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Big Bang Machine

Is it just me, or is anyone else bothered by the new, “Big Bang Machine” that has been launched this week? Physicists have begun the most elaborate science experiment in history, creating 17 miles of a circular tunnel 300 ft. below the earth’s surface along the French/Swiss border. Protons are each launched in opposite directions at the speed of light, creating collisions at blistering temperatures. They wish to recreate Earth’s past, explore further dimensions in space, and pursue Einstein’s, “Theory of Everything.” Some fear that man made recreations of what Mother Nature can do, will create vast black holes in our atmosphere. Others are concerned about potential magnets used in this experiment, and how these enormous magnetic pulls could affect earth. Is it just me that thinks some things about our planet should not be tampered with? Or, am I ignorant to what these advances could possibly do for humanity? Hmm…I would be curious to see what you think, as personally, I find the whole experiment to be risky. Is it just me?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering Sept. 11th

Photobucket Image Hosting
My blogger friend over at "Chatting at the Sky" (visit her site by clicking on the side bar to the right) asked her readers to recall where they were on this fateful day 7 years ago.

I started thinking about what was happening in our family that day,and know it will be a day that none of us forget. I remember Tom being in the shower, and myself getting ready for the day putting on my makeup. What a superficial act moments before the lives of Americans would change forever. I turned on the TV, to catch the morning news, and watched the awful events unfold before my eyes. Later that day, we learned that a father of one of the children from Kyle's preschool was on Flight 93. His name was Tom Burnett, and he was one of the men who tried to stop the terrorists during the flight. Once he realized what would soon be happening, he called his wife and shared his final thoughts with her, and their little girls.

He will always be considered a hero for what he and the others attempted to accomplish, especially in the eyes of his family. I heard his wife's account first hand when she came and spoke at our womens church group a year later. Her story was so powerful, and we all left full of appreciation for our country, and all those who worked tirelessly in the recovery efforts. A street was named after Tom Burnett in our community, and he will certainly be remembered for his heroism that day.

I feel so proud to be an American, and to live in this wonderful country we call home. Where were you on 9/11? Share your story, and never forget.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Excitement at school...

Ashlyn came home with quite a story...her teacher had to perform the Heimlich Manuever on a child in class! The teacher was reading a story aloud while the children were seated in a circle eating their snack. A little girl next to Ashlyn started to choke. She put her hands to her throat, (the girls learned this international sign for choking in Brownies when studying safety, so Ashlyn knew what was happening) and the teacher quickly came to the girls rescue. After doing the move while all the children sat stunned, Ashlyn said a piece of carrot popped right out of the girls mouth! Mrs. Heidel, I would have to say that you are a hero!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another great "Deal of the Day!"

I hate to remind you, BUT there are only 14 more shopping weeks until Christmas! :-) It will be here before you know it, so I have already started thinking about who we need to shop for, and have kept my eyes open for a 'steal of a deal.' When I was running an errand at JCPenney for my friend Laura, I ran into this great deal. These gift packs of hanging files, photo albums, note cards, frames, etc...were regulary priced $99.99! (Can you imagine anyone actually spending that on these?!?) Anyway, luckily people did not, because today they were marked down to...drum roll please... $4.97! My friend Kim Faires, who is the original "Deal of the Day" finder, would be proud! (You can read about her great weekly deals at "Who's Your Mama" on the side bar to the right.) I hope you are reading Kim as I knew you would appreciate this early Christmas find! hee hee (Too bad the albums are not Creative Memories ones, but that's Ok this time...the price was too good to pass up!)