Saturday, September 10, 2011

(continue pretending it's August...) What we actually did in Colorado

Well, I don't actually have a picture of us relaxing, but that was definitely the case.  We managed about one big "activity" a day - usually some geocaching or a picnic or a trip to town and the "Smokey Bear store" (aka, the U.S. Forest Service office in Creede).

This was our geocaching turned ooops, big hike day.  If you click on the picture above and look more closely, you'll see Mike & Clara heading off to reach the geocache (maybe another 1/2 mile from where we were?).  JM, Gracie & I stayed behind and I convinced the two of them to go play in what I termed the valley of rocks.  It is actually an old lake bed (I know Mike told me the name, but do you think I remember? I was too focused on finding good rocks to climb!)
 Here is JM just moments before lift-off.  Yes - he was busy jumping off all of the rocks he could. But I will say he did always wait until I had grabbed at least one hand!
 Here's Gracie on her little (big!) perch.  Amazing view, right?  I think it is almost hard to take a bad picture in Colorado when you are outside.  Gracie found a "secret" way up to the top of this rock which was pretty tall, maybe 10 feet?  I was amazed that Gracie was so excited to climb it and didn't hesitate at all.  She needed a little help coming down, but I just talked her through what to do and she made it on her own.

So Mike & Clara eventually made it back after finding the geocache and we headed back home, to take care of another important Creede tradition....Homemade chocolate ice cream.  It's not a traditional recipe and it doesn't taste like regular chocolate ice cream - it always reminds me of a Wendy's frosty ... yum!  I won't tell you what's in it in case you ever want to eat any & don't want to worry about how many calories/how much sugar you are consuming.

 I forgot to mention one of the most popular (with the girls) things we did in Colorado.  Mike fixed up two older girl's bikes that were at the cabin, so the girls were able to go riding with him (and once with me).  Check out that banana seat!  Gracie actually rode that retro bike the most.  Down below, Mike & the girls are heading back from town on a trail to the cabin.  It's a couple of miles, and they both did a great job!

One thing the kids may think they did was go rafting - who needs the freezing cold river and the trouble of finding a place to put the raft in and worrying about life jackets.  Just set your raft up in the front yard, get out the oars and you've got entertained kids! 

 The other big thing I didn't mention at the beginning that we got to do was hang out with Aunt Mary Jo, Uncle Dick and Cousin Kristopher.  The second night we were at their house for dinner (thank you!), MJ had gotten out Kris's old train - can you guess who played with that all night?
 The older kids got everyone involved in a super competitive game of Uno.  Kristopher didn't make it into the picture, but he was there, too. What fun that was for the girls - quite a change from a quiet game with Daddy or Mommy to settle down for bedtime!!
 And more geocaching - but this time to a "safe - no hiking involved" location that we had been to when we were last in Creede (two years ago).  And boy, was it easier without a baby and with two girls that could actually look for it, find it and put it back themselves. 

 Looking at the loot - They chose a ring (Gracie is adding it to her collection she says), Clara picked Tinkerbell bubbles and JM's choice ... a key.  (maybe it starts a brand new car somewhere, right?)

 And playing at the park was another fave activity. What a novelty to be able to go anytime of the day and stay as long as we wanted (quite a change from not even being able to touch the playground equipment in 110+ degrees, let alone be outside for an hour or two).  We actually went to the park every day that we were in Creede, it was such a hit.

I'm sure you are pictured out by now, or your computer is, so I'm saving our picnic and another geocaching trip for tomorrow (you know, the like, 17th of August, right?)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Colorado (pretend it's the second week of August as you read this...)

So it was great to get away from the 110+ temps and head up to Colorado. The drive wasn't nearly as painful as it was two years ago.  A three year old can behave much better (sometimes) than a one year old! 

Especially if you provide "the gripper" to play with.  We actually use it in the van to pass things to the girls in the back on long trips, but it's been broken for oh... a few years.  Mike worked his magic on it some time this year and ta da!  Toy & tool in one. 
 Clara was a little grouchy on the trip this year (sometimes three year olds behave better than five year olds!).  She started asking in the first fifteen minutes, "how long until we're there?" and she wanted updates every hour or so.  At least the audiobooks helped to distract her for a little while (love those pink headphones!).
 We had a lunch break in Trinidad (see the pics below - I was too lazy to cross the street and get the whole word in one shot) including a trip to see the train that Mike used to always see on his way up to Colorado.  It has been retired for fifty+ years now!  JM was disappointed that it was fenced off - he would have loved to explore inside!

And the last emergency potty stop (about twenty minutes from Mike's parent's cabin) in South Fork, at the rest stop that was in the Chevy Chase film National Lampoon's Vacation.  Where I took pictures of flowers (flowers, not dried up, browned, burnt, shriveled up plants and grass!) instead of any scenery you might recognize. 

Anyhow, it was lovely to get to Colorado and I'll have to share more about our actual adventures in Colorado in the next post.  It's dinner time & the MYOP (or really made by the kids pizza) is coming out of the oven right now - yum!