Friday, August 2, 2013

Copper Mountain: Soaring High in the Sky, Racing Around the Track and Putting it in the Cup

Spending the day at Copper Mountain is one of the highlights of our trip to Colorado.  Its a chance to try out a few adventure sports that we might not try anywhere else.  In fact, until this day, I never would have considered Miss M to be a Zip Line Enthusiasts, but now I know better.  Mr C who I consider to be a very cautious and safe driver can really rev up an engine and gun it in a go even if his little sister is sitting beside him.  Even P couldn't catch up to these daredevils.

Miss A lead the way again on the Bungee Trampoline and she was thrilled when her big brother even attempted somersaults.  Who knew a six foot two boy could actually be a gymnast.  Since it was our second time to Copper, we finally got smart and brought a change of clothes so that after the bumper boats soaking everyone could change out of the wet stuff.  Smart Mother.

The Diggler again was a popular riding toy and Miss A is still trying to figure out how we can sneak one into our car next year.  She thinks it would be the perfect bike for the neighborhood and is convinced that she'd be the talk of the school if she had one.  Ever the practical one, I realize that the huge hill we live on would make this toy more of a challenge than it's worth.  Plus, having one to visit in Copper is just another reason to go on a Colorado Vacation each summer.

My favorite part of the day: walking at the top of the mountain with the girls while the boys were rock climbing and golfing.  I loved sitting on the Chair Lift and looking around, but I will admit I love Chair Lifts much more when there is snow beneath them.  Something about the rocky ground below makes me a little nervous.  However, I will admit riding the Chair Lift down the Mountain and seeing the whole town of Copper below is breathtaking.  Well worth the ride.

Next year, we have plans to actually walk down the mountain, but this year we scrapped those plans when it looked a little like rain and we it was nearing the time the Chair was going to close down and we didn't want to start on the journey, get soaked, and then realize we couldn't go back down on the Lift.

The best way to show you how much fun we had is with pictures: so beware it's photo overload today!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Canoeing Lake Dillon: Lessons in Teamwork

We came prepared this year for our canoe trip on Lake Dillon.  We had water shoes, shorts that would repel water, waterproof bags for our phone and keys, snacks and water bottles, and a plan for who would travel together. We even decided to rent the canoes for a longer time so that we could explore the "islands" a little bit more and not be stressed about getting back to the boathouse before our time was up

At least we started out with a plan on traveling companions, but the kids quickly vetoed the idea of P and I in our own canoe with the three of them in the other.  Guess they figured out that we could easily ditch them and have our own adventure.

Why do we have such smart kids?

Leaving shore the canoes were:  P and M vs C, A and Me.  How is that I ended up with Captain C again you ask? I don't know. This year, I gave him strict instructions that I was the Captain of the boat and would tell him when to paddle as last year's fiasco of me doing all the work was still fresh in my mind!  Miss A again was our first mate and enjoyed her seat in the middle with no work involved.  Let's just say after our "three hour tour" I'm even more certain that next year there will be three boats involved.  Canoe One will be Mr C and Miss A; Boat Two will be Miss M and Dad and I'll be all by myself in a Kayak.  That way I can be in charge for real!  At one point, we did a partner switch and tried "girls vs boys."  The problem was that the boys kept beating us and rubbing it in!

You know what they say, "If the Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

In reality, we had a beautiful morning on the water.  We got to explore the islands, dip our toes in the Lake and take in the beautiful scenery on every side of us.  There really is nothing better than a mountain/lake view from every direction.  Amazing.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Breckenridge: Mountain Town Where We Try Our Hands at Panning Gold

Last year, we were unsuccessful in paying for our vacation with Gold Nuggets, but that doesn't mean we weren't willing to try again.  Let's be honest; my husband is rather cheap so if he thinks there is even a slim chance that our vacation could be free thanks to a little gold panning he's willing to give it a shot.

For this year's expedition, we tried the "official" Breckenridge Historical Society's site and not some tourist site.  As an added bonus, the cost was 1/3 the cost of last years trek into the creek.  If for no other reason than the Mountain Man who ran the Lormax Placier Gulch welcomed us into the Prospectors Cabin with the phrase "Dude" I felt that maybe we might stand a chance of actually going home with golden nuggets.

Not only did we get to tour an official prospectors set up and see firsthand the tools of the trade of gold mining the mountain streams, the Mountain Man took us to his favorite spot and showed us the tricks of the trade.  We learned to dig out the creek bed and go beneath the surface; there was swooshing and moving of water and silt in the pan and of course we felt that unlike the crowded spot we tried the previous year that this year we were in a pristine environment for finding that hidden gem; the allusive golden nugget.

Mr P and Mr C were intense; they were on a mission to find something, anything that would put them on the map as official gold diggers.  Miss A announced early on that she wasn't holding out much hope and that more than anything she was a little concerned that the clouds looked like rain.  ( I tried not to envision Pooh and holding an umbrella and marching about saying,  "Tut Tut it looks like Rain!")  Miss M wasn't easily swayed from her task either.  If anyone looked legit in showing us how to find wealth in rocks, it was our guide.

Alas it was not our day.  We did however get a great history lesson in how the Blue River in Breckenridge was the site of some amazing mining during the 1880's and how the miners used water under high pressure , scoured the hillside and collected the dirt and sediment to recover gold deposits.  All of this using hydraulic power they created in the 1860s.  Amazing.

While we might have let the Mine empty handed we did learn a lot and had a chance to get our hands into the soil and water.

To finish our trip to Breckenridge, we took a Gondola Ride up to the Base of Peak 8 and had a picnic lunch and watched the crowds.  It is amazing how many people there are in such a small amount of space.  Makes us really appreciate our stay in Keystone.  The girls found a patch of Snow/Ice not too far up the mountain and we decided to trek up there and get a picture of this wonder of winter in the middle of July.

The most humorous part was that the kids had no trouble climbing up the hill of snow, but Miss M did a 'bottom slide" a fur piece down the mountain.  Much to her siblings delight.  Thankfully, she saw the humor as well.  Then since we were already "dirty" we took a trek around Swan Mountain Road to feed the chipmunks.

Another great day in the Rockies...but then aren't they all!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Worship and Play in the Mountains: Can It Get Any Better

I'll admit that our family is a little bit creature of habit/ traditionalists/routine lovers.  You see even when we are on vacation, we tend to like to do the same sort of things we've done before.  If we loved a place before, we tend to return and do pretty much the same thing.  For our second summer in the Mountains, we kept to form while still trying to venture and try new things.

Sunday morning, we were thrilled to again worship as a family at the Frisco Bible Church.   The message is always a winner and the view outside makes you abundantly aware of God's Majesty.  Fun to Worship God surrounded by the Beauty of the Mountains.  Then to keep the tradition going we went out for lunch at the Butterhorn Cafe.  Thankfully, this year we got a seat inside, but as it goes it rained again!

Our stroll around the shops resulted in Mr P getting his own walking stick made out of Colorado pine. Amazing craftsmanship and beauty in that little stick plus I told him it's a way to prepare for old age when he'll actually need a cane to keep up with his younger wife.  

The rest of the afternoon involved walking around Keystone, playing miniature golf and hanging around the Condo.  A perfect recipe for a relaxing day.  There were even card games happening that evening in the condo.  Can't explain how perfect these laid back days are for this weary family.  I don't even recall any fights among the kids; and lets be honest that doesn't happen at home! 

Day 1 in the Mountains; Can't get better than this!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Road Trip: Our Family Vacation Begins

Our family vacation begins with only four members;  Mr C has been in Colorado for the past week at Church Camp and after an evening with friends in Denver, we plan to pick him up in Denver bright and early Saturday morning.  As we begin our road trip to Colorado, I'm not sure if P is more excited about leaving work behind for a week or having Mr C back in the family to balance all the females he has had to deal with for the past week!

Now, I'll be honest and say that Road trips with my family are pretty easy; there is a built in DVD player, we have snacks, art supplies and Ipods at the ready for the kids and we make pretty regular stops to stretch our legs and relieve our bladders.  (According to my husband, he travels much quicker alone) I, of course, enjoy the time to just talk to P while he drives and I do everything from knit, read and plan my calendar for the fall. We've come to the agreement that in the car my husband likes to drive and I like to do everything else.

For this first part of our journey, we'd packed a picnic lunch and made plans to add a little history to our lunch break by visiting a site on the Pony Express Trail.  I thought it was pretty fascinating; the girls not so much.  Guess the fact that they barely use the regular mail today makes them think that horse delivered mail is very slow and boring. 

By far, our favorite part of the first days journey was our arrival at our friends/relatives house in Denver for the night.  We've nicknamed these friends as our Colorado Family/ Cousins even though the family is really old neighbors and kids I babysat long ago.   Now that they have all grown up, I consider them even more like family!   The best part of this visit is that we got to meet the newest member of the family; a sweet baby girl who shares her birthday with Miss M meaning they are even more like family.

It was a wonderful night of catching up and soaking up time together in wonderful hospitality.  I'm so glad that my kids have younger "cousins" that they can play with and spoil with affection.  Mr C was especially glad that this year his bus arrived on time and that Saturday morning he got to join us for a lunch date with the gang.  Bonus.

Before we knew, it was time to make the trek up the mountain to Keystone with five members of the family and a trunk now filled with smelly camping gear/clothes to kickoff our week in Mountains.

Summer Vacation here we come!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Girl Scout Overnight at the Zoo: Miss A Has an Admirer

We slept with the Sharks and the Penguins and the Octopus and lived to tell about it; I think the fact they stayed in the tanks helped!

Our Girl Scout troop has talked all year about our big plan to spend the night at the Zoo.  It was the incentive to sell cookies, limit our number of field trips during the year and I think the reason some girls stuck out the first year of Brownies.  We have a great Zoo and often we take for granted the chance to see the animals, but getting the chance to have a night tour, sleep in the Aquarium and learn more about the inner workings of the Zoo is hard to pass up.

Miss A was thrilled to think that we'd be sleeping with the animals.  I, of course, was most happy that once again I'd convinced a troop of girl scouts that "sleeping inside with air conditioning and flushing toilets" is still camping.  In July those this are non negotiable in my book.  My favorite part of the sleeping part was that Miss A still wanted to have her sleeping bag next to mine.  I'm wise enough to know that those days are fleeting.  We choose a quiet corner by the Penguins and, after a night hike and a movie, I was ready for some sleep.  Thankfully, the fish like to sleep at night too.  They just get up a lot earlier than I would like, but then so do a bunch of 2nd grade girls.

My favorite part of the Zoo Overnight was our morning hike before breakfast.  We got to see some of the animals before they were really awake and ready for viewing.  It was amazing.  I'm really glad though that we didn't have to see the Bats sleeping!  A close second in favorites is probably all the hand holding that happens when you get a bunch of young girls together. You tell them to "find a buddy" and they take the job seriously.  I love seeing how girls through the ages stay the same; I can remember my Girl Scout field trips and holding hands with my friends.

I'll admit that I learned a lot about the Zoo and Animals on this field trip.   I'm not really what you would call and animal person and hearing our tour guide explain the animals more in depth and hear about the unique ways they were created to live in their native environments was amazing.  I loved how their diets are so catered to the areas of the world they live and how even the color of their skin and fur are natural protections for them from predators.  All of this makes me more in awe of how amazing our God;as only God can make so many different species and creatures.

Miss A's favorite part of the tour was our visit to the Gorilla Valley where she made a great friend; a Gorilla! This amazing Gorilla spotted Miss A sitting by a window and came right up to her and tried to talk and touch her; it was absolutely beautiful and amazing.  Of course, I'm glad the glass separated them; but it was like they were meant to be friends.  Miss A was smiling from ear to ear and so was her new friend.

Spending the night at the Zoo with the Girl Scouts and Mom Volunteers was great; getting to do this with my favorite youngest daughter was the best part.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

These are the busy years.... 

That's why the Calendar says December and  the Blog is still in July. Life got away from me. I was too busy with kids, house, husband  and life to sit down and write down all the things, places and events that have taken place in the last six months.  How did it happen?  

I'd thought the baby and toddler years were busy (they were) but these teen and tween years are crazy busy too. 
The physical demanding days of young motherhood have been transformed into the mind and energy demanding days of having three kids who each have demanding schedules, homework and events to get to.  Some days it's nine o'clock and I'm just wiped out. Spent.  

Thus, the blog has been silent while my life has been loud and crazy.  My goal over the next few weeks is in the quiet of the afternoon when the house is empty and the fireplace is roaring and Hallmark Christmas Movies are playing I'll sit down and catch this blog up on the last few months.  If I don't I'll never remember what all the 1000 plus photos I've taken are all about and I can pretty much forget ever getting my scrapbooks caught up.

Really I want to catch up on all these days because more and more I'm realizing that these days of the crazy busy life are fleeting.  Very soon these kids will be off on their own and P and I will be left just with the memories. I'll want to be able to log onto this blog and remember.  Then I'll go sit on the back porch with P and enjoy a glass of wine and we'll laugh about all those funny things the "kids" used to do!  

Slow down time...I'm enjoying the ride too much to wish it away.  That's what this Erma Bombeck Column reminds me so eloquently.  

 Erma Bombeck Column:

A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome -- that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now, I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"


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' bedroom neat and tidy -- bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and 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?" 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 bathrooms.

No more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, or rubber bands for ponytails.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your 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."