Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Estes Park

On our last full day in Colorado we visited the town of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park with my parents, grandparents, my brother and niece.  Estes Park is a charming little town with a creek running right behind the shops on their main street.  We enjoyed a little window shopping and lunch before trekking out to the nearby National Park.

 The whole gang (from the left): Gordon, Frankey, Nelse, Sydney, Terry, Me, River, Janie, Lila, Thom

 I was so glad my grandparents could fly out from Nebraska to come visit us.  It had a been a while since we last saw them and they had never met Lila.  We had a great time re-hashing old stories and playing 3 to 13 late into the evening while they were there.

 Lila loved the little creek and was intent on sharing her sign for "water."  After lunch we separated in to two groups.  The altitude of the hikes in the National Park was going to be a bit much for Grams and Gramps, so they took a tour of the town with Dad while the rest of us tried to figure out the park shuttle system.

The information site in Estes Park was ill-equipped to handle our questions; after asking for the best shuttle to take for an easy hike for our little ones, the ladies at the desk suggested we "just drive up there" or "just skip the national park and head to the playground up the street."

Needless to say we worked it out on our own.

 Lila was thrilled, THRILLED to be in the forest.

 As requested, River found giant boulders to climb...

 ... and treacherous waters to navigate.

 We saw a beautiful bull elk munching leaves just off the trail.

 After a long hike we made it to the top of Alberta Falls.  It was a gorgeous view next to a precipitous fall.

 After a wonderful day we headed back to home base and ate Chinese food while screening Independence Day.  All around, pretty perfect.

The next day we had to say our goodbyes and head home.

 River and Lila were troupers on the flight.  Lila even took a nap!

Here she is on the floor of our plane, curled up in her standard sleeping pose: thumb in mouth, favorite blankie gripped tight.

It was a wonderful vacation and one we'll remember for a long time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wedding

We traveled to Colorado earlier this month to attend the wedding of my cousin, Sara, and her beau, Jordan.  The weather had been beautiful all week, but of course, as it was time to leave for the wedding site (on the beautiful grounds of a local home) the skies darkened ominously.  An hour before the ceremony was to start, it started to sprinkle and the wind whipped around so fiercely tablecloths flew off their stands and my hair decorated my face like Chewbacca.  I was certain we'd have a late ceremony or a drenched bride.

Then somehow the clouds cleared and the next thing I knew there stood the groom next to a beautiful, wind-free canopy, and soon after the bride walked toward her man under a clear blue sky.  Magic.

 We got seated pretty early, to make room for our large crowd.
 Lila entertained her great-grandparents, Frankey and Gordon...

 ... and auditioned for the part of the flower girl.

 Uncle Nelse (and the iphone) helped keep River busy.

 Jordan looked calm and handsome as he waited for his bride.

 Sara was just gorgeous, of course, and so happy.  The ceremony was lovely and unique, written entirely by the couple and presided over by their close friend.

After kisses and congratulations were passed around, Lila spent most of the evening doing this:

video

I had a fantastic time at the reception.  The food and company was fantastic.  After the kids were fed, we hit the dance floor with the kids and didn't leave until well after their usual bedtime.  There is something about dancing with kids that is just so liberating.  You don't really care what you look like out there because everyone is just having so much fun.

It was a wonderful, memorable event.  Thanks so much, Sara and Jordan, for sharing it with us!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Boulder

We traveled to Boulder, Colorado over the 4th of July weekend to visit family and attend my cousin's wedding.  With 14 of us crammed together in one house it could have been a complete disaster, but the rental house was spacious, the company fantastic, and the bathrooms plentiful, so we did just fine.

We got a ton of use out of the backyard which featured a beautiful deck, lots of grass for the kids and dogs to run around, and a hot tub (!!) for the little ones to enjoy during the warm afternoons.  The first evening we were there, we hosted the groom's family at a BBQ for nearly 60 people.  Above are Thom, myself, and my brother, Nelse.

 Lila is in a super daddy phase right now.  She pretty much wanted to spend every waking minute with him during this trip.  It was pretty cute - and made more hilarious by the fact that she insisted on calling him "mommy."

 River had so much fun with his cousins, Sydney and Chloe.  He followed the older girls around for hours and hours, and they never seemed to tire of him.  It was the first time I was able to really just let go of keeping track of him every second.  I knew he was occupied and safe while playing with them, and that freed up my attention to catch up with family.

 Dadu, of course, was a big hit with Lila.  She just loves that goofy guy and he adores her.  Lila was particularly clingy with mom and dad this trip (thank goodness River was occupied or we would never have had a hand free), but she did let Dadu keep her company.

 I was really glad to be able to spend some time with my mom.  We prepped meals together, went hiking, and hung out chatting long into the night.  Sydney and I took a special Auntie-Niece trip to the nail salon for a mani-pedi before the wedding.  I was so glad to introduce her to a key girlie ritual.

 The first hike we did together was a short trek up the Ironside Mountains in Boulder.  It was a brutally hot day and the little kids got wiped out pretty quickly.  A couple of us hung back with Lila and River while the group went on.

 While we were waiting River worked on a fairy house (that little bundle of sticks and leaves at the base of the tree).  It's something he's been introduced to at school, and now whenever we're in a woodsy place, he likes to construct a home for the wee folk.

That was the first part of our adventure.  I'll be back with more on the wedding and a trip to Estes Park soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hello again

I feel like I've lost my ability to say anything of import.  Maybe it's the sweat and sand and exhaustion of these long summer days, but the last thing I've wanted to do these past few months is sit down here and write. Here we are, the year half over, and I feel like the only accomplishment I have to show for it is having survived the winter.

I need a change, some motivation, SOMETHING to help me mark the passage of time (and on this end of 32, time is just cruising along in the carpool lane).  Some speed bumps would help, I think.

I am going to try to touch base here (or at LittleSage) every few days.  And maybe I'll find my voice again.