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 29, 2009

Summer Fun...

Summer fun is dinner with friends...
Beth and Kyle with the Chihuahuas...

Simple joys...Sam enjoys a lawn mower ride....we've now come to take our guests on tractor rides and for the kids it is always an activity full of smiles!
Emma and Ashlyn enjoy playing seems like just yesterday this entire area was surrounded by snow! Oh how we are enjoying green grass, and not having to wear a coat!

Decorating help needed....
So I bought this "gate" thinking I could hang it on this blank staircase wall....any impressions? Could it be a cool architectural element, or just plain dorky? Needing another woman's opinion I polled Beth during last night's dinner. She said she liked it, but she is also a really nice person, and I know doesn't want to hurt my feelings! hee hee If you agree with Beth and think the gate could look neat, let me let me know if you think it is absolutely ridiculous too. I need some opinions! :-)

More weekend activities...
Ashlyn singing with the Worship Team at church...

We're off to tennis lessons today and sadly for Kyle, a consultation with the oral surgeon to have 4 teeth removed! Poor guy...I remember having to do the same before getting braces...oh the pains and suffering of childhood!

For any Red Bluff readers, the estate sale will be held this week at my parents home. Please contact me for specifics...there are over 70 people scheduled for the first preview day! As hard as it is to watch everything I left behind be sold, I know the scholarship fund will benefit from all the proceeds, so if you are a local reader, feel free to stop at the sale and "shop" for a great cause!

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful summer with your family and friends!

With love from Colorado,
Denise :-)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jonas Brothers World Tour


Last minute tickets

Driving through pouring rain

Waiting two hours

Three excited children sitting next to me

American Idol's Jordin Sparks Live

3 Jonas Brothers arise from ground level

Thousands of screaming girls

Singing and dancing in the stands


Crowds and traffic

One bruised knee and a skinned elbow

Late night drive home

Three tired but happy children in my car

The memories summers are made of!

What a show! Thank you Tom!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Public pools and other summer joys...

Boy do I sure miss blogging and reading your blogs! I feel out of the loop on all of your lives and am anxious to catch up. Keeping two children occupied this summer without plopping them in front of the TV, requires A LOT of going, doing, planning, activities, etc...thus my computer time is really down to an hour at most, and this rare blog post finds me thinking of ways to get out of the public pool experience, (and blog instead!)

"Ready position!" Ashlyn and Kyle are both playing tennis this summer and we have a fantastic local instructor who teaches out of her backyard court. Tennis is a great summer activity, but the pool is another story!

I love to swim, always have. I have no fears of water, and never had a bad water experience. Since I have positive swimming memories, it always surprises me that my kids don't like the water or getting their faces wet,etc...swimming in the summer is as "All American" as apple pie.

Although I like to swim, I sure liked sunning by the pool better when I was 20 years younger and 20 lbs. lighter! With age and packing around more weight than I would like, I invested in a "Mircale Suit" which sucks in any fat rolls in a girdle like fashion. Not comfortable, but it enables me to enter a busy pool with a shred of self decency amidst hoards of kids and fit teens! I also don't want any excuses not to get in a gosh my kids will learn to love the water this summer!

Kyle doesn't like getting his face wet, so although he has learned to swim, he looks strange doing the pretend-to-swim-face-above-water-faking-it-method. I have paid for group and private lessons for Ashlyn but we were disappointed in Florida this spring to realize Ashlyn couldn't keep herself above water without dog paddling. So, since standard lessons don't seem to be cutting it, I am determined to teach Ashlyn how to swim myself.

We had our first lesson yesterday. "Lesson" may be too strong of a word, it evokes a picure of a calm instructor, a willing student, and plenty of space to practice needed skills.

We set out to swim at the local outdoor pool. How hard could that be? Turns out it was harder than it should have been. When we arrived there were wall to wall people. Really, like people in every inch of that pool and on every inch of land outside of it. It was just like a picture of Waikiki Beach where you really don't see sand, but zillions of people packed in like sardines.

I was ready to rough it, and set our beach towels down in the remaining dirt seating section since the small grass patch was filled with towels and sweaty people. There was no parking to be had though, so we set out to find another pool. There are two baby activity pools in town, and the only other option with some depth was the local indoor pool.

Off we went to try and have our swim lesson there. Fortunately, there was plenty of parking, but once inside we realized why that was. At least 3 day care centers were there with 25-50 kids each in matching t-shirts. (Busses drop off so it is deceiving to know how many kids are really inside! :-)

I was determined that we would swim though and have our lesson, so we marched in that pool and I found a small 3 ft. by 5 ft. area for Ashlyn and I to practice. Ergh...what a fiasco. I forgot to mention that the 3 by 5 ft. section was in the baby area with a depth of 2ft! So there we were, practicing arms and kicking skills trying to not scrape our knees on the bottom. While I hollered out "blow, legs straight, arms tight to your sides" the other children swam into Ashlyn, accidently kicked her, etc... It wasn't much fun, and I have to admit that even this water lover was ready to give up. My poor kids didn't even want to be in the water at this pool after a floating turd incident last year.

Apparently a baby was not wearing a swim diaper and once the floating surprise was noticed, the whole pool was emptied of people. Workers with santizing suits went in to retrieve the smelly floater. (Nancy you were visiting at the time...sorry for the bad first impression of our Longmont pools!)

It wasn't much fun; last year's incident as well as this years, so I am thinking a little backyard dough-boy pool may be the way to go! Tom doesn't want the hassle of it, not that I can blame him, but I would rather take the hassle of a plastic pool vs. the crowds and fears of floating poops. And the best reason of all to get a private backyard pool...I wouldn't even have to wear the "Miracle Suit"! :-)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day and saying "Goodbye to the DeClecqs"

Happy Father's Day to our special daddy, "Tom" and to all the fathers out there who make a difference daily in the lives of their children...whether small or grown, we never forget the influence our fathers have had in our lives. Tom was able to see his dad when we were in CA a few weeks ago, but we sure missed him today. We are both so appreciative of all that our fathers have done for us individually and as a family! Tom enjoyed playing golf this morning with Kyle and he is looking forward to redeeming one of Ashlyn' special coupons for free back rubs! :-) It's been a fun day and we tried not to put him to work, except for setting up the 3-D Shark Bite Slip and Slide! We were able to enjoy some early Father's Day celebrations with our dear friends the De Clercq's who came to visit this week!

Here we are...Tom, Denise, Laura, and Paul on "Pearl Street" in Boulder...
Now that all the kids are older, we adults were actually able to head out and enjoy a fun night on our own enjoying a sunset dinner of fine Mexican food on a roof top restuarant!

What a wonderful time we had with our friends this week visiting, cooking, sightseeing, shopping, golfing, the kids painting pottery, enjoying meals, playing games, staying up late talking, watching movies,enjoying margaritas over dinner, etc...etc...our kids couldn't have been happier having a 3 day sleep over with their friends Parker and Patrick, and we adults enjoyed it even more!

The 4 amigos swinging...they had lots of fun on the island and pond too...catching bugs and skipping rocks is truly hours of entertainment for kids; and it makes for some great memories too!

My friend Laura...oh how I have missed her! It was so nice to spend a few days together and get all caught up on each other's lives! You know how nice it is to have lunch with a friend; think how much more fun it is to have your friend stay with you for a few days and to have her all to yourself! 2 years is a long time since we have moved away, but with Laura it is so easy to pick up right where we left off!

Even "Happy Meals" taste better when shared with a friend! :-) Goodbye for now DeClercq Family, and please come visit again soon!

The Sharky slip and slide moments before the clouds opened up and buckets of rain fell!

Happy Father's Day Tom! We love you Daddy! :-)

Enjoy your Father's Day, and I hope you are able to spend it making memories with those you love!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sunsets, Rainbows, and Family Memories...

With all the rain we've had recently, it makes me appreciate when the sun does come out, and the wonderful reward rain leaves behind. Last night we ate dinner outside and watched the sun set behind the clouds...I thought of my mom and the many sunsets she enjoyed growing up in Hawaii, and of my dad and his joyful years growing up in sunny southern California.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of my parents, or of things I want to tell them. I've been corresponding with one of my mom's high school friends, and have so enjoyed having her tell me stories that match pictures I have been finding of my mom's high school days in Maui. What happy times those were, and from anyone who has lived through the 1950's has said, it was one of the best of times in history.

Tom finished hanging all of our family history photos on the wall going down toward the basement. How wonderful it was to explain to the kids who all these important people were that have impacted our lives and will continue to do so. It was neat to tell them, "You are related to every person on that wall, and because of them, you are who you are today!"

Every picture tells a story...

Where our parents came from and the experiences that made them who they are...

Beautiful wedding photos...displaying these photos brings such a sense of pride for us...our parents were both married for parents were married over 40 years when my dad passed, and Tom's parents have celebrated over 50 years of marriage! What a commitment we are both very proud of!

Life is not always easy, not every day is full of sunsets and rainbows...but we are a family, and that will see us through both the rainy and sunny days to come!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The pond, the unpacking, the memories!

Our natural underground pond is growing...the sump pump empties into the pond as well, so as the water table rises, so does the pond water. The big filters and pumps that were added will slowly clear the water, which will make fishing so much more successful! :-)

As the months and years go on, we'll plant a big Cottonwood tree with a rope swing, a litle boat and fish will be added, lighting, more plants, trees down the driveway, etc...but all in due time...if only money grew on trees! :-)

Our friend Warren drove for almost 4 days from CA and safely arrived yesterday! He and Tom are out sightseeing in Boulder otherwise I would show a photo of the two that the U-Haul has arrived, so does the unpacking! See this pile? It is full of memories from the past, and I need to find a new home for each item. Our house is already full, so this will prove to be a challenge!

What did I save? Well, lots of funny things that don't go together, except that just like a puzzle, they form a total picture of my past that I don't want to forget. Amidst those boxes are an accordian, a clarinet, oodles of photo albums, magic tricks, and stamp collections...there is a set of china, silver, an old roll top desk, and a neat shelving unit from 1951. There are awards, certificates, and old letters from my parents former students, fellow teachers, and administrators. There are practical things like unopened boxes of soap, Saran Wrap,and aluminum foil...there are brand new sets of paper and pens, and then there is a Lionel Train Set and an old Erector set from my dad's childhood. There is a rocking chair that my Portueguese grandmother rocked on, and then so did my mother, and me, and now our kids.

I also brought home the sundial I gave my dad for Father's Day, and a nice cement bench for the pond that my parents enjoyed on their property. Does it all sound like just a pile of junk? Perhaps it is, but then again, that pile of junk, is all I have left of my childhood memories, so each item is priceless only to me.

It makes you think about your own possessions...what things do you want your children to save, what things should they know were important to you? Although it is all just "things", what things are the best reminders of you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

It sure doesn't matter where you are, if the people you love are there, it's "Home." My trip "home" to California went well and despite the circumstances, we enjoyed spending time with many friends and family each day. Here is my friend Sofia who drove 3 hours to help, and my sister in law Cindy. Both ladies were a big help to this only child, and they even made it fun making what to do with 4 sets of sombreros and maracas!

Kyle's best buddy Tom came to visit with his mom Nancy...what a huge help to Kyle having his friend there and Nancy did a great job entertaining all the kids so I could work. If only I had a picture of one of their favorite past times...walker races! It's just like wheelchair races but with the big walkers with seats attached!

This is just a sampling of the many organized bins my mom kept of everything from holiday decor to my dad's old trains and Ham Radios. I needed to decide if I was keeping or selling every item in those bins. I thought I did well keeping only enough treasures to fill one bin. I found the most important things and saved only those items that were irreplacable to me.

I took photos of things I didn't keep...and said goodbye to many reminders of the past, like the Santa that graced the hearth of the fireplace in every home we lived in.

It was difficult leaving the house, and knowing that the items I left behind would all be sold by the estate sale woman.

Although I know all the proceeds are going toward a worthy cause of replenishing the scholarship fund, it is still difficult to leave all my parents remaning belongings to strangers. Any memories I wanted to have a tangible reminder of, are safely loaded in this 10 ft. U-Haul being driven here as I type by our friend Warren.

I also had the privilege of meeting the scholarship recipients and taking a photo for the local paper at the school my mother taught at for over 30 years.

What wonderful teachers who will honor my parents by how they use the funds in their classrooms. I am certain my parents would have been so pleased to see the generous contributions of friends and family used in this way.

Upon returning home...the pond had sure progressed, and there was such joy in watching the kids run over the bridge, and gaze at their reflections.

The life I knew has been left behind, and I am welcomed home with new opportunities for making memories...

Life ends and begins over again. Time marches forward even when I sometimes want to stay in the past and "live there" until I feel good and ready to return to the present. It would have been easy to get stuck in the past in my parents home, to let the tears return upon opening every box filled with some trinket or treasure from my past.

I am bringing what is left of that past home with me, but remembering that life goes on; and that home is really in many different was at my parents home, where their memories linger...home is at our grandparents home where holidays were celebrated..."Home" is at a friends house where we are welcomed with open arms...home is at the kitchen table of Tom's parents where they played hours of "Gin" with Kyle...where Tom's mother prepared meals for us...where we were loved.

Home is anywhere people we love are, and I am grateful for so many places to call home! How good life is to be "home" once again!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Home again...

We made it safely to California yesterday! It was a long day with a lot of waiting, not to mention grumpy children, so it felt great to arrive and be welcomed home with a wonderful home cooked meal with Tom's parents! Today they took Kyle up to Redding to golf, so as I type Ashlyn and I are sitting in, "Shari's Restaurant" for dinner and to use the free wireless service!

All has been going well...Today Ashlyn and I tackled boxes, and "stuff." Ah the stuff...once the "stuff" is gone, I feel like my parents really will be too, so this trip I notice I am stalling, being indecisive, and wanting to hold onto to everything. Here was our day today...a little reminiscing and a little fun too!

Let the sorting begin...St. Patrick's Day in June! Keep or sell? That is the question of the day!

Ashlyn found some old books, Easter animals, flags and wagons to play with while I sorted...

A full shed of stuff...Christmas? Keep or sell?

Old kitchen tools, cameras, and stuff I don't know what to do with...I'm going to be dreaming about "stuff" tonight!

Afterwards, running through the sprinklers was good fun!