Posted by: dlc136 | September 28, 2016

Honesty from kids…

I remembered this story as I was putting my makeup on this AM before going to work and figured I’d capture it on the blog before I forgot it…

The other day (can’t remember if it was Monday or last week…) Kota was standing there watching me put cover up (make up) on underneath my eye and she asked “Mommy- why do you put that stuff on?”

So I told her “Well, I put it on to try to cover up the dark circles under my eyes”

So she stood there watching me and when I finished, she told “Mommy… it didn’t work”

The truth… it hurts sometimesūüôā

 

Posted by: dlc136 | September 27, 2016

Remembering Mike

5 years… wow, in some ways it seems like a lifetime ago but in others it seems like yesterday!

This is still my favorite picture that Karen sent me after Nittany died with the caption “They are together in heaven”

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We love you Mike/Dad/Grandpa!

Posted by: dlc136 | September 24, 2016

Rainbow Gulch

Ah, today’s hike… what to say about it? ¬†If you only looked at the photos I posted on FB, you’d think we had a perfectly wonderful day taking a hike as a family and enjoying the fall colors, right? ¬†Photos don’t always tell the whole story, do they?ūüôā ¬†Summy was NOT liking the backpack today- she whined/cried/yelled pretty much the entire time (hence in the family photo a fellow hiker took of us standing on that bridge she was OUT OF the backpack b/c I just couldn’t handle listening to her cry any longer and had to take her out), S&D were whining too. ¬†We had to resort to finding pine cones and kicking them along the trail to amuse the girls. ¬†Jeez- another exercise in patience when hiking with kids! ¬†All Chris and I wanted to do was enjoy the beautiful Aspens but we had to block out crying and whining to do so.

Anyway…. I’ll quit my whining. ¬†Summy woke up at 6:20 am this morning and S&D were up shortly thereafter. ¬†So, I decided, after scrolling thru FB and seeing a fellow Stroller Strides mom’s photos of Rainbow Gulch from Fri afternoon, on a whim that we should do this hike since we were all up early. ¬†We managed to leave the house by 9 am and got to the trailhead a little before 10. ¬†It was CHILLY this AM! ¬†It was about 45 degrees at 10 am. ¬†I don’t think we were at too high of an altitude- maybe 8000 ft or so- but we definitely could’ve used gloves for the 1st part of the hike!

A family selfie at the beginning of the hike:

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There were beautiful groves of Aspens around every corner!

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And this group had some orange in them:

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In my opinion, Aspens still don’t beat the fall colors of PA but they’re certainly beautiful when you catch them at their peak yellow color!

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The trail connected up with and paralleled a pretty stream and then there was this bridge that crossed it at one point and provided a beautiful backdrop for some photos.

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And then we finally could see the reservoir (Rampart Reservoir) in the distance- this was our destination.  I swear the trail summary said it was a 2.6 mi ROUND TRIP hike but Chris said his GPS tracker said it was more like 2 mi ONE WAY.  So we ended up going 4 mi total.

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And we found a spot on the trail where it wasn’t too steep to get down to the water so the girls and I trekked down to feel it. ¬†Well, they felt the water… I was fine with just taking a picture of them and believing them when they said it was coldūüôā

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And I turned around to take a picture of Chris still up on the trail- he didn’t venture down to the water’s edge- can you see him at the top of the hill snapping some photos w/ his phone?

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Unfortunately, it was pretty windy and cold near the reservoir and it was getting late so we turned around and said we’d go back to the bridge to sit and eat our snack. ¬†A fellow hiker nicely took a photo of all of us in front of the stream- so pretty!img_3426a

After this photo was taken we let Summy walk along the trail for a little bit but then Chris put her back in the backpack b/c we needed to get home b/c Skylar had Nutcracker costume fitting and rehearsal at 2 pm and it was already noon. ¬†This was also when the big time whining kicked in for S&D so we instituted the “no talking” rule and tried to hightail it back to the car as fast as possible. ¬†I did snap 1 more photo of the brilliant Aspens:

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And then 1 last selfie w/ Kota when we got back to the beginning of the trail and we could all muster a smile since we were doneūüôā

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The above photo looks a little washed out here b/c the sun was so bright but Kota and I were in the shade so the focus was a little off.

I think we were leaving the trail head at 1 pm and got home at 1:40 pm and Sklyar and I rushed right back out to ballet rehearsal. ¬†A photo of Skylar getting her costume fitted- our little Sugar Babeūüôā

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Skylar (along w/ all her classmates) was so excited when her teacher brought the tub o’ props and the girls got to carry big candies! ¬†Kinda just like in the photo I found from the web and posted in my previous blog post. ¬†Skylar’s definitely excited about participating in The Nutcracker!

And then 1 last photo from tonight of Kota reading Summy a book before bedtime- so cute!

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We’re hoping tomorrow’s adventure is going to be Echo Lake by Mt. Evans if all goes according to plan!

Posted by: dlc136 | September 18, 2016

Dakota’s 1st Haircut!

We got Kota’s hair cut for the 1st time EVER today! ¬†She’s 2 weeks shy of 5 years old and just got her 1st haircut. ¬†I was procrastinating on cutting her hair b/c I was afraid the curls would go away just like Skylar’s did when we cut her hair. ¬†And sure enough, her hair looks pretty straight after the cutūüė¶ ¬†Maybe when we head back to PA some of the curls will come back… but out here in this dry air, her hair is pretty darn straight. ¬†Here’s the “before” photo- her hair looks pretty straight here too… She said she was “kinda scared” so Daddy was holding her handūüôā

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Mid-haircut:

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I think Daddy was more nervous about her getting her hair cut off than she was- he was afraid I was going to tell the lady to cut TOO much hair off! ¬†I had told the lady I thought Kota needed about 2 1/2-3 inches taken off b/c the bottom of her hair was pretty darn scraggly. ¬†So the lady took a 1st pass and took about 1 1/2 inches off (just to be safe and so Chris didn’t have a heart attack and faint) but she said there was still a little bit of damaged hair at the ends so I said to go ahead and take another inch off and get rid of all the damaged hair.

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The finished product- she got a braid with glitter tooūüôā ¬†This picture looks like she might have a little curl left…

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And a photo I just took at home now that her hair is completely dry:

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Skylar got her hair cut today too- nothing too crazy, just cleaning up her scraggly ends too. ¬†She wanted to get bangs cut back in but since she’s going to be in The Nutcracker now we said no bangs for now… I don’t feel like having to hairspray the hell outa bangs to get them to stay back!

Before:

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And Summy got to sit in the little kid chair and “drive the car”:

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A successful day for hair cuts!

And I can’t believe I forgot to post this photo yesterday. ¬†Summy likes to pull her own pants off these days and run around pants-less. ¬†Skylar or Kota must’ve helped her take off her shirt b/c she came running in from the front room (I was in the kitchen) where they were all playing and took a running lap around the island and then turned around and showed me this:

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What the…?!? ¬†That’s some serious plumber’s crack there Summy! ¬†And a massively saggy diaper- luckily she hasn’t figured out how to unstick the velcro closures at the sides of the diaper… yet! ¬†I”m sure that day is coming where she will come running in TOTALLY naked! ¬†This was right before bedtime last night so I pretty much scooped her up and took her upstairs to get PJs on. When the plumber crack starts making an appearance it’s time for bed!

Posted by: dlc136 | September 17, 2016

Random stuff

It’s Saturday night and I really don’t have anything but random stuff to talk about…

A photo of Skylar’s ballet class from their 1st class last Monday, 9/12- she’s still in the Gold 1a class (same as last year):

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And then 2 photos of Summy’s CRAZY morning hair on Wed, 9/14- I don’t know what she does at night but she usually wakes up with some pretty wild hair:

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Thurs, 9/15- A photo of Kota and her artwork she created at school- a portrait of Daddyūüôā

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Also a photo of Skylar missing 2 more teeth on the bottom. ¬†I think I had talked about in a previous post that we went to 2 orthodontists to see if they recommended removing either or both of the bottom teeth around the 2 adult teeth coming in to give them more room. ¬†1 Ortho didn’t recommend removing any teeth and the other did (it figures they didn’t agree). ¬†But after seeing how the 1 adult tooth was really coming in sideways, we decided to go with the recommendation of the Ortho who said to remove the teeth to hopefully alleviate some of the crowding. ¬†So we had Skylar’s dentist appt to remove those 2 teeth on Thurs afternoon. ¬†These teeth were NOT at all loose so it was a little more painful for Skylar this time. ¬†She was REALLY looking forward to getting her teeth pulled before the appointment but then afterwards (after the Novocaine wore off) she wasn’t as excited about it when she started feeling the painūüôā ¬†But she was such a good patient during the entire process that both the dentist and dental hygienist/asst said so repeatedly.

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She couldn’t really open her mouth much more than this b/c it was kinda painful at this point. ¬†I should take another photo of it now that her mouth has healed a bit. ¬†But we FORGOT to put her teeth under her pillow on Thurs night for the tooth fairy! ¬†Doh! ¬†How could we forget?!? ¬†But she remembered for sure on Fri night so here’s a picture from this AM with her loot from the tooth fairy:

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And then another 1 from this AM when Skylar was reading to Kota and Summy before breakfast:

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Chris, unfortunately, had to go to work this AM so I took the girls and we headed to the library.  The girls like playing on the computers there and we also got out 19 (19!!) books between the 3 of them.  Skylar is currently reading Ramona The Pest- I remember reading the Ramona books and LOVED them!  She also got a couple other chapter books to read.  Dakota got a bunch of books too (a couple Curious George books, 1 Pete the Cat book and a couple other random ones) and Summy even picked a couple off the shelf to read.  A couple photos from the library this AM:

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We got home from the library and had lunch and then it was naptime for Summer. ¬†I think Chris got home at about 3 pm or so and then we realized that Skylar’s ballet studio was having an Open House that day from 1-5 pm. ¬†They moved to a new location so that’s why they were having the Open House. ¬†We had gotten an email about the company’s The Nutcracker performance in December but I forgot to ask Skylar about it and today was the last day to sign up for it. ¬†So while we (just Skylar and I went) were at the Open House I signed her up for it. ¬†Little did I know that there were “tryouts” for it that day at 4 pm! ¬†(Way to pay attention to details Deb!) So we quickly went home, got Skylar in her ballet attire and went back to the studio (luckily we only live about 5 min from the studio). ¬†Also, little did I know, but the “tryouts” lasted 2 hours til 6 pm!!! ¬†Holy crap! ¬†So I called Chris to let him know that we wouldn’t be home for awhile and he decided to go check out a gym place where we’re thinking about having Kota’s bday party- The Little Gym. ¬†He said Kota liked the place and it seemed like a fun place to have a party so that’s where we’ll probably have it. ¬†Can anyone else not believe Kota’s going to be 5 in 15 days?!? ¬†Anyway, back to ballet. ¬†Skylar was done by 5:45 pm and she had her part assigned to her- she’s going to be a Sugar Babe. ¬†As far as I can tell, these are the little kids who dance around the Sugar Plum Fairy. ¬†A photo I found on the web of what the costumes might look like?

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Skylar is very excited about participating in it this year. ¬†Last year she started ballet after the Nutcracker tryouts were held so she didn’t get a chance to dance it it. ¬†And she’s REALLY excited about dancing on a BIG stage b/c the performance will be at The Pikes Peak Center downtown. ¬†This is where I saw the DWTS Tour last year and it’s a pretty good sized venue!! ¬†A photo of Skylar and her assignment card:

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And then yet another random photo of Chris playing w/ the girls tonight after dinner:

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And my last random photo- as we were getting Summy ready for bed tonight I happened to glance out our window and saw this super bright star in the sky. ¬†So I snapped a photo of it (kinda grainy b/c I used the zoom on my phone camera)- it’s the bright dot sort of off to the upper right side of the photo. ¬†Chris used his “star finder” app to determine that this is Venus we’re seeing! ¬†How cool! ¬†We both wished we had a telescope so we could take a closer look at it. ¬†But I had to settle for breaking out the binoculars and looking at it that way- it wasn’t very impressive thru the binoculars- just looked brighter. ¬†Oh well.

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OK- that’s about all for now. ¬†Time to hit the couch and watch some football!

Posted by: dlc136 | September 12, 2016

1st day of 4K-2 for Kota

I forgot to post this last Tuesday but it was Kota’s last “first day” of preschool. ¬†She had started in the 4K-2 room maybe 2 weeks ago? ¬†But the Tuesday after Labor Day is the “first day of school” for Primrose and when the kids have to start wearing their uniforms again. ¬†Kota was quite bummed- she much prefers her dresses over the uniform dress or skort. ¬†Sorry Kota!ūüôā

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And then 1 of all 3 of them:

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You can’t really tell it too well from the photo above but Skylar is still in her PJs b/c she didn’t have school on Tuesday. ¬†It was a holiday for them- they had off Monday Labor Day AND Tuesday. ¬†I worked from home that day to be home w/ her. ¬†She had her 7 yr checkup that day. ¬†Here were her stats:

Weight- 38 lbs- still in the 5-10th percentile

Height- 45 1/2 in- still in the 10th percentile

Everything else checked out well- eyesight is 20/20, hearing is good, blood pressure is good, etc. ¬†And she doesn’t need any shots until 2020!!! ¬†She was excited to hear thatūüôā

And I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on my blog yet or not but Summer moved up a room as well. ¬†She’s now in the Early Preschool room since she turned 2. ¬†They’re working on using a real cup and going potty with the kids now at school. ¬†Fun stuff. ¬†I can’t believe how brave they are to let a bunch of 2 yr olds use a real cup- I don’t feel like cleaning up that many spills! ¬†Summer is definitely still interested in sitting on the potty but nothing has happened yet when she sits on itūüôā

And Summer has now started bringing her own backpack (“pack pack” as she calls it) to school b/c her sisters have theirs so she must have hersūüôā

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I only talked about our hike in yesterday’s post so here’s the rest of our weekend- it wasn’t very excitingūüôā ¬†Friday- Kota wanted me to do a “unicorn horn” hairstyle for her, as she called it:

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Friday after picking Skylar up from school we headed to Old Navy to find a new skort for Kota for her uniform.  Nothing exciting after that- just ate dinner at home and played.

Saturday AM I went to a free exercise class at a store called Athleta from 8:30-9:30 am. ¬†I had gone to this class in early August w/ a fellow Stroller Strides mom and LOVED IT! ¬†I can’t remember if I posted about it then or not so I’ll try not to ramble on about it now. ¬†It’s called TurboPower and it’s a full hour of cardio- it kicks my butt and I love it! ¬†The lady who teaches it just has such great energy that you can’t help but feel energized to work out with her! ¬†I wish I had that kind of energyūüôā ¬†Anyway, then Chris treated me to a morning by myself b/c he took the girls to breakfast at McD’s for pancakes and then to play on the playground and then ran a couple errands w/ them. ¬†That allowed me to head home, shower in peace and then finish some laundry and vacuum the house. ¬†What I REALLY wanted to do was sit my butt on the couch and read but I decided finishing those chores was a better use of my time- definitely not as fun/relaxing tho! ¬†After Summer’s nap, Chris went to another store to run an errand and took Summy w/ him. ¬†I went for a bike ride w/ S&D- it’s so fun now that Kota can ride a 2-wheeler! ¬†We can ride around the neighborhoods and go to the playground that much faster/easier. ¬†Love it! ¬†And then we just ate dinner at home and played a little bit before bedtime. ¬†Not a super exciting day but it was a nice down-day after our super busy LD weekend.

And now it’s Monday and Skylar’s ballet class starts today. ¬†I’m so not looking forward to ballet starting again only b/c I have to keep Summy and Kota entertained for an hour somewhere. ¬†But Skylar is totally looking forward to ballet so that makes it all good.

Ta ta for now.

Posted by: dlc136 | September 11, 2016

7 Bridges

Our hike today was an exercise in “Patience when hiking with kids”. ¬†It seemed like every five minutes someone was whining about wanting a snack (“What?!? ¬†You just ate breakfast” ¬†“What?!? ¬†You just had a snack 5 minutes ago…”), having to go pee (“Hold on, lemme find a big enough bush/rock/tree for you to go behind…”), or just whining in general (My legs are tired, there’s a bug on my hat/arm/leg/wherever, and we couldn’t even understand WHAT Summy was whining about…). ¬†But let me just ignore that part of the hike and give the details and try to gloss over the annoying parts.

I think this picture of Summy’s face that I took pretty much sums up how everyone was behaving/acting this AM:

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The trail was called “7 Bridges” and yep, you guessed it- the trail crossed 7 bridges. ¬†It ran along N. Cheyenne Creek and was really beautiful! ¬†This was the trail we had wanted to hike last Monday but the parking lot was too crowded and we couldn’t find a parking spot. ¬†We made sure to get to the parking lot nice and early this AM- I think we were there by 8:45 am! ¬†Amazingly early for us! ¬†After getting sunscreened up and getting backpacks on, etc. I think we were on the trail by 9:30 am. ¬†We hiked ~4 1/4 miles and it took us ~3 1/2 hrs. ¬†We started hiking at the same time as this group of young women but they hiked unencumbered by children and they passed us on their WAY BACK DOWN between bridges 4 and 5. ¬†O.M.G. ¬†We were progressing up that trail at the pace of a dead snail! ¬†But we persevered and made it to the top! ¬†Yay us for perseverance!

A photo of all of us on the first part of the trail- we had to hike along the old (closed) road before the actual trail started off to the right:

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After we started on Trail 622, it wasn’t long before we came to bridge #1 crossing over N. Cheyenne Creek- we documented each of the bridgesūüôā Notice the #1 in the bottom right of the bridge.

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Bridge #2:

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In between bridges #2 and #3 there was a really cool, big waterfall.  I hiked down a little side trail to stand out on a rock to get this photo- that darn tree was right in the way of my photo though!!

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Bridge #3- it was a BRAND NEW ¬†ONE and didn’t even have a # on it yet. ¬†Panoramic photo of the area:

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And a pretty waterfall looking upstream from the bridge:

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And then I actually took this same photo later on when we were coming down b/c the sun was higher and shining on the water making it even prettier:

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In between bridges #3 and 4, there was an area close to the water so we let the girls touch the stream water and it was, indeed, COLD!

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Chris and I were getting SO sick of stopping to get snacks for everyone that by the time we hit bridge #2 (or was it #1?!?) we said NO MORE snacks til we hit bridge #4.  Well, right before we got to #4 Chris was taking some photos of the stream so the girls busted out their snacks and started eating while sitting on a rock waiting for Daddy.  You can hardly see it but bridge #4 is in the background up the trail:

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Bridge #4:

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Bridge #5:

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A(nother) cool waterfall along the trail between bridges #5 and 6:

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Bridge #6- an interesting “story” is that as we were getting to bridge 5 (I think) a couple passed us and Skylar said “That’s Jake’s mom!” ¬†So I asked her who Jake was- from Primrose or from Academy Endeavor. ¬†She said from Primrose. ¬†So when we got to bridge #6, that same couple was coming back down (apparently they didn’t have Jake w/ them today and dumped him off somewhere to hike sans kids. ¬†Nice!)- you can (barely) see them on the trail up above/behind us. ¬†We briefly chatted w/ them when they offered to take our photo for us (but we declined) and then I told them that Skylar recognized them from Primroseūüôā

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And- yay!- we finally made it to Bridge #7!

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We stopped after that and had our “treats”- gummies- and rested for a bit before heading back down. ¬†There was a pretty waterfall right there too:

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On the way back down we stopped and took a photo on this cool rock- Chris wanted me to frame the photo so it looked like they were sorta hanging out over the edgeūüôā

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But I don’t think I did a very good job… here’s the zoomed out photoūüôā

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And we had stopped for something and I happened to look over at Summy and saw that she was “bracing herself” (for impact? ¬†for fun?) and thought it looked kinda funny:

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And then back down by bridge #3 and, as I said earlier, the sun was higher in the sky so the view was different and brighter and prettier:

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It was an absolutely beautiful day!  And then 1 last one back down by bridge #1 where the girls were playing in the stream again:

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As I was going thru my photos, I realized I took a whole bunch of photos of Chris and the girls on the trail ahead of me. ¬†This trail so was pretty I just kept wanting to snap photos around every corner! ¬†Our usual hiking order is Chris in front (he sets the pace b/c he’s carrying the most weight and does the best at pacing us), then S&D in between us and me bringing up the rear making sure everyone makes it up the trail. ¬†I also just love these photos b/c it makes me happy to see my family out on the trails hikingūüôā ¬†So, yeah, I took A LOT of these photos- bear with meūüôā

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We made it back to the road part of the trail by about noon and were back at the car by 12:30-ish. ¬†Summy had fallen asleep in the pack at about 12:15 pm so she had a quick 15 min nap but then woke up for the car ride home. ¬†We spent the rest of the day getting lunch, playing at home and nap time for Summy. ¬†In the end, all the whininess was pretty much forgotten so I guess I can pretty easily forget the beginning part of itūüôā

 

 

 

 

Posted by: dlc136 | September 5, 2016

Busy LD weekend!

As Lisa commented on FB tonight, “You guys had a BUSY weekend” and we certainly did! ¬†I’m sitting here waiting for my laundry to be done b/c I have no clean underwear (TMI? ¬†Probably…) so I figured I’d update the blog.

FridayРexercise class in the AM.  A photo of Kota playing w/ some of the kids on the playground after class:

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And then a cute 1 of the girls after we picked Skylar up from school- sitting on the steps eating their Chex Mix snack:

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And then it was warm enough that afternoon that I asked if they wanted to play in the water.  And they did so we filled up the baby pool:

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And the little water table without legs:

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And we played til Chris got home at about 5:30pm:

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Summy thinks the water table is her personal poolūüôā

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When Chris got home I asked if he wanted to do anything in particular for dinner and he said he was kinda thinking Chuck E Cheese. ¬†And I was feeling adventurous (hey, it’s a holiday w/e, right?!?) so I said Summy and I would join themūüôā

Dancing w/ Chuck E. Cheese and getting free tix afterwards:

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And Summy “playing” a game:

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At ~8:30 pm Summy started getting crabby so we decided it was time to head home.  And 1 last photo from the night of Skylar reading her library book to Kota at bedtime that night:

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I think the face Skylar was making b/c it was the part of the story where the “Chunky Toddler Crayon” talks about the little brother taking a bite of himūüôā

Saturday, 9/3

I had come up with my weekend plan of doing a hike on Sat AM, the balloon glow Sat PM, then the Lift Off Balloon stuff Sun AM, the PSU Women’s Volleyball game Sun PM, and then another hike on Mon AM. ¬†And I hoped everything worked according to my schedule and we could fit it all in. ¬†Amazingly enough- we did! ¬†I had researched hikes earlier in the week and came up with Helen Hunt Falls and Silver Cascade Falls for 1 hike and then Seven Bridges as our other hike. ¬†So we did Helen Hunt Falls & Silver Cascade Falls Sat AM. ¬†The hike to the top of Helen Hunt Falls isn’t really even a “hike” in my opinion- more like just walking up some stairs to get to the top of the falls (I think they said it was .1 miles?) but hiking to Silver Cascade Falls gave us a little more distance and exercise altho Silver Cascade Falls was not very impressive in ¬†my opinion. ¬†The view of the canyon and the Springs in the background were more impressive that the waterfall. ¬†Anyway, I digress. ¬†A photo of the girls at the bottom of Helen Hunt Falls:

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So you can kinda tell from this photo how short of a walk it is to the top of the falls.  A photo at the top on that bridge:

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And then we kept on going on the trail to get up to Silver Cascade Falls.  Skylar next to the stream with a random small waterfall:

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And here’s Kota looking at the side view of Silver Cascade Falls- if you look VERY closely to the left of her head, you can kinda see a stream of water spraying up into the air- that was about the most exciting part of Silver Cascade Falls. ¬†Otherwise, it seems like it was just water running down a huge slab o’ rock.

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If you kept going on the trail you got to the lookout area and you could look down on the falls (we had to lift the girls up so they could see over the wall).  Here they are crossing a little bridge that was just above the lookout area and the falls:

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Panoramic photo of the lookout area- the canyon and the Springs that you can barely see in this photo:

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A more close up photo:

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I had taken a photo of the “waterfall” from the lookout area- here’s the uncropped photo. ¬†Can you even tell where the “waterfall” is?!?

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And then an extremely cropped photo zooming in on the water:

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Like I said, not terribly impressive. ¬†But we explored the stream area a bit upstream from the ‘waterfall’ and had fun before heading back down.

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Chris explaining something to the girls:

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We ate lunch in the car on the way home and got home in time for a nap for Summer and some playtime for S&D. ¬†Then at about 4:30 pm we headed for Memorial Park where the Labor Day Liftoff Balloon Festival was being held. ¬†We got some “healthy” dinner from the food vendors there- brats, hot dog, burger and cherry limeade (Skylar wanted to try it- it was kinda yucky so we didn’t finish it). ¬†Oh, and of course we brought some mac & cheese from home for Kota for dinnerūüôā ¬†Our little picnic in the grass w/ Pikes Peak in the background.

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And then we walked around to explore everything before the balloon glow started at 7:30 pm. ¬†No balloons were set up yet when we got there- they probably didn’t start w/ any balloon activity til about 6:30pm. ¬†They had an entire “kid zone” where they had bouncy houses, the rubber band/bungee jump on trampoline thing, etc. set up but we told the girls no and that we were here to see balloons- not do activities. ¬†We walked over by Prospect Lake and played for a little bit there. ¬†And then at 6:30pm they had the “introduction” and played the national anthem and then all the balloons started setting up. ¬†The girls liked this heart balloon:

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And they loved getting to be close-up and watch all the balloons being inflated.  And they also loved watching when they turned the burners on and got to see the balloon lift up off the ground and into the air:

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The announcer said they had 70 balloons participating this year but I would say not all 70 were there for the balloon glow on Sat night.  But it was fun to see so many of them!  A panoramic shot of the grounds- the girls and I are sort of in the middle of the photo:

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There was a pretty good crowd of people there that night to see the balloons!  And a neat one showing the line of balloons:

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And then finally at 7:30 pm they did the first “All burn” balloon glow! ¬†Pretty cool looking! ¬†I was having flashbacks to 1996 when I was in Albuquerque for their balloon fiesta and there were 800 (800!!!) balloons there that year.

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Another “all burn” photo:

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We got a couple videos of the “all burn” and “flicker” (where the balloons turned their burners on/off quickly to make a “flicker” effect) and I also video’d the girls faces one time during the “all burn” to catch their looks on videoūüôā ¬†Unfortunately, the wind kicked up at about 8 pm and cut the show short. ¬†You can see the balloon on the right side of the photo above looks like it was deflating and it was probably b/c of the wind. ¬†The balloons at the edges of the field were the first ones to deflate and go down. ¬†So we decided it was late enough for us and we headed out… and of course got stuck in massive traffic with everyone else who decided to head out too. ¬†Oh well. ¬†We stopped to get gas on the way home and I snapped this photo b/c Summy was the only one of the girls still awakeūüôā

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Sunday, 9/4

Our original plan was that all 5 of us were going to go to the Liftoff on Sun AM. ¬†However, when the alarm went off at 5 am, Chris vetoed that plan and said he’d rather sleep in. ¬†So I got dressed and then woke S&D up to see if they still wanted to go with me or if they wanted to keep on sleeping. ¬†Both of them, surprisingly, got right out of bed and got dressed and we were out of the house by 5:45 am! ¬†Amazing. ¬†We got to the parking area and were walking to the fields by a little after 6 am. ¬†Liftoff was at 7 am but I wanted to have enough time to get some food and see all the morning activities. ¬†This event did NOT disappoint! ¬†It was well worth getting up before the crack ‘o dawn to see this ! ¬†As we were getting in the minivan at 5:45 am, Kota asked me “Is it the middle of the night?”ūüôā ¬†I told her “No, it’s just super early morning” and then showed them how you could see that the sky was starting to get brighter in the east but it was still super dark in the west. ¬†So they were enjoying watching the eastern sky brighten as we were driving. ¬†They were VERY concerned that it was getting so light and that we might miss the balloons take off. ¬† I assured them that, no, we won’t miss the balloons. ¬†We are PLENTY early today! ¬†We got some donuts for breakfast and a breakfast burrito for me and sat on our blanket eating our food while watching Pikes Peak get brighter and brighter as the sun rose.

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At 7 am they had the “introduction” announcements again and played the national anthem and then the Pepsi balloon started filling up 1st b/c it was going to be the “chase” balloon. ¬†The announcer told the crowd what the “chase balloon” was- it goes up 1st and then the other balloons attempt to “chase” it through the sky. ¬†I guess it gives the balloon pilots a target or something?!? ¬†Who knows. ¬†Anyway, the announcer was cool to listen to (I don’t remember Albuquerque having an announcer but maybe it was too large of an area to be able to hear it well? ¬†Or maybe there was 1 and I just can’t remember it b/c it was 20 YEARS AGO!) b/c he was giving a bunch of details about balloon pilots (they’re certified pilots but are only certified for visual navigation and can only fly during daylight hours) and the balloons and such. ¬†The girls, of course, weren’t listening to the announcer but they were SO excited about all the balloons inflating and going up around them that it was just so awesome to watch and be there with them to experience it! ¬†I wish I could’ve had Chris’ GoPro on my head or chest the entire time to get a running video of their excitement level!!!

The girls w/ the Pepsi balloon:

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And we have LIFT OFF! ¬†The entire crowd (including the girls and me) cheered when it took offūüôā

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And then the first “wave” of balloons started filling up and taking off. ¬†The announcer said there were 68 balloons there that AM and half of them would go off in wave 1. ¬†Then the heart balloon was the 2nd chase balloon and the 2nd wave of balloons would chase that one. ¬†So it was about an hour and a half of non-stop balloon inflation and take off action. ¬†SO COOL! ¬†Again, flashing back to my 1996 Balloon Fiesta experience, we were there for liftoff 1 or 2 mornings but I really don’t remember it being as exciting as it was on Sunday. ¬†Maybe b/c I was 21 and there with a bunch of other 20-somethings vs. being there with a 7 and 4 yr old who were just beside themselves with excitement?!? ¬†Anyway, back to Sun AM… SO MANY balloons to watch and cheer for as they lifted off. ¬†Since we were able to be in and amongst all the balloons it was hard to get a good photo showing all the balloons surrounding us. ¬†I took a video where I spun around in a circle showing all the balloons around usūüôā ¬†I asked the girls if they wanted to head over to a little hill (where we watched the balloon glow from Sat night) to get a better “over all” view of the balloons but they said no, they’d rather stay in the thick ‘o the actionūüôā ¬†As all the balloons starting heading into the sky, Kota was just loving looking up and seeing them all above her:

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 I took 1 photo where I was able to capture 5 balloons in my viewfinder- the black and yellow balloons look like they were very close to each other but really the yellow 1 was higher/above the black one:

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I actually took so many photos that AM that I filled my entire phone’s memory with photos and couldn’t take any more photosūüôā

A selfie of me and the girls w/ the piggy balloon and the “Flounder” balloon (as Kota called it) in the sky above us:

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And then a great one of the girls hugging each other w/ the bumble bee balloon in the sky behind them (they loved the bumble bee balloon!):

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And another great hugging photo w/ a balloon being inflated behind them:

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Each time a balloon was about to take off a “lift off official” would come and clear the area in front of the balloon by blowing their whistle (they were also wearing black/white striped shirts like referees to make them stand out from the crowd) and that was your auditory clue that a balloon near you was about to take off and everyone would kinda turn and watch that particular balloon take off and cheer for them. ¬†It was a very fun and festive atmosphere all morning! ¬†We were watching this balloon inflate and I got a fun photo of the flames. The girls didn’t like being too close to the balloon when the flames started b/c they thought it was too hot!

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And then the “Old Lady in a Shoe” balloon- we missed seeing this balloon on Sat night b/c the wind had already kicked up by the time we got over to that part of the field. So the girls wanted to be sure to see it Sun AM. ¬†This balloon was having a heck of a time inflating! ¬†It never did actually fly but it hovered for a little bit and then they landed and deflated the balloon. ¬†It sure did entertain the crowds though!

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And, lastly, the girls wanted to know when the sun balloon was going to take off. ¬†We had seen the trailer there in the AM but they never took the balloon out of the trailer. ¬†So we went over and asked 1 of the crew members if they could tell us when it was going to take off. ¬†Unfortunately, they didn’t know if it was going to be able to take off at all b/c of the winds and the shape of the balloon. ¬†I didn’t get a picture of it inflated (it did eventually inflate but it never flew) b/c my camera was already full by then- darnit! ¬†But here’s an image I found on the web of it:

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This was a BIG balloon! ¬†I mean huge. ¬†It’s “name” is Sunny Boy (all the balloons have names). ¬†You can see from the photo above how big the balloon is compared to the basket below it. ¬†Anyway, the crew member told us that the winds report was saying that the winds at higher altitudes were quite gusty and b/c of the shape of this balloon, the pilot was being cautious and not wanting this balloon to get pushed around by winds b/c I guess bad things could happen with such an oddly shaped balloon. ¬†So we got a little lesson on winds and balloons. ¬†We watched the remainder of the balloons take off and saw a couple come back and land- here’s a photo of the heart balloon landing back near the field. ¬†If you look past/over the white Suburban and trailer, you can see the heart balloon starting to deflate:

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Watching the balloons flight patterns was pretty fun (for me- the girls, of course, couldn’t have cared less about that stuff). ¬†You would see them take off and head southeast and then start to rise in altitude and then catch a wind that would then take them north. ¬†And then they would descend back into the winds that would take them southeast again and head back towards the festival fields. ¬†Not ALL the balloons followed this path but I would say the majority of them did- so you got to see the balloons twiceūüôā ¬†Anyway, enough about balloons. ¬†Suffice it to say that we had an awesome time and we were heading home by about 9:30 am.

I got a shower and then ran to Target w/ the girls to get diapers (Chris needed a break from Summy b/c she was being her usual self and S&D just wanted to go to the store w/ me (they were probably hoping to get a toy or something- they didn’t!)) and then it was time for lunch and then time to get in the car and head to Boulder. ¬†My friend Naveen had emailed me earlier in the week and said that the Penn State Women’s Volleyball team was in Boulder playing the Big Ten/PAC 12 Challenge and did we want to go to the game w/ him? ¬†Penn State played CU Sat night at 7 pm but that was too late for our bedtime schedule- it’s 1 1/2 hrs to get up to Boulder from the Springs. ¬†And then they played Stanford on Sun @3 pm. ¬†That was WAY more in line w/ our bedtime schedule so we told Naveen, sure, we’d love to go. ¬†So we met him at the Coors Event Center in Boulder where the volleyball team plays at 2:30 pm. ¬†It wasn’t super crowded since CU wasn’t playing but that was nice b/c we had lots of room to spread out and the girls not bother anyone. ¬†The arena was nice b/c it was pretty open and I could still see the match when I went up to the top to let the girls run around when they got too antsy sitting in the seats. ¬† But, first, a photo of me and the girls and Naveen:

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We could’ve sat much closer to the court but, again, we didn’t want the girls to bug anyone. ¬†And that would’ve been just that many more steps we would’ve had to walk up when the girls said they had to go pee or wanted to move around. ¬†Summer took an instant liking to Naveen! ¬†I was sitting next to Naveen and Summy walked past me and stood next to him just smiling up at him and then reached her arms up to him for him to pick her up. ¬†It was the cutest stinkin’ thing! ¬†For being such a PITA, Summy can definitely be cute when she wants to be!!

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The girls got antsy after about an hour. ¬†Chris took S&D and went to get a snack in between sets 2 and 3. ¬†And then I was up at the top of the bleachers w/ them during the entire 3rd set. ¬†I watched the game as much as I could while they ran laps. ¬†Unfortunately, PSU lost to Stanford 3-0ūüė¶ ¬†Here’s what my view was like for the entire 3rd set- and that blur in the background behind Summy’s head is either S or D running along the bleachersūüôā

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We said bye to Naveen (he only lives about 20 min away from Boulder) and were leaving by about 5:15 pm. ¬†We didn’t hit any traffic so we just headed straight home (vs stopping for dinner somewhere) and picked up pizza for dinner and then hustled them all into bed ASAP b/c no one had slept on the way home. ¬†They had all fallen asleep on the ride up there for pretty much the entire time! ¬†Another fun day!

Monday, 9/5

We “slept in” today (7:30am) and then ended up getting a late start for our hike. ¬†Our original destination was a trail called Seven Bridges but when we got there the parking lot was so crowded and crazy we said screw it and left. ¬†But as we were driving out of North Cheyenne Canyon we passed a trailhead for Mt. Cutler and Mt. Muscoco and found a parking spot there. ¬†So we pulled in and decided to try out this trail and see what it was like. ¬†The map at the trailhead said it was 1.1 miles to the top of Mt. Cutler (elevation 7200 ft w/ a lookout area at 7050 ft- so a 200 ft elevation loss which we wold have to hike back up) and 2.3 miles to the top of Mt. Muscoco (elevation 8000 ft). ¬†So we decided to try Mt. Cutler and this trail didn’t disappoint! ¬†It was relatively steep for the girls and there was definitely some whining going on at the beginning of the hike but by the end of it, the girls agreed that it was a great hike and they did, indeed have fun. ¬†Success! ¬†A photo of the girls next to a tree w/ some gnarly roots:

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And then we came up to a turn in the trail and got our first pretty view of the Springs down below us.  A nice couple offered to take our picture for us:

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There were definitely parts of this trail that were a little steep and had a couple rockslide areas that we had to cross and parts that made me nervous hiking w/ the girls (fear that they’d fall off the side of the mountain!) but they did great and we had fun. ¬†A random pretty view of the mountains at 1 point on the trail- doesn’t it look like we could just topple backwards at any moment and fall off the side of the mountain?

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And then a panoramic shot Chris took:

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And a photo of Chris and the girls hiking up the trail- this part wasn’t super steep or scary- I just thought it was pretty:

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And then we came around a corner and low and behold- we could see Seven Falls which is in the canyon next to the one where we were parked. ¬†So cool! ¬†This photo doesn’t show it too well but if you look closely sort of above Skylar’s head you can barely see itūüôā

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A zoomed in photo-you can see the falls in the middle of the photo and the Eagles Nest viewing platform to the left side:

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And then we made it to the top of Mt. Cutler and ate our sandwiches for lunch. ¬†Poor Summy didn’t even get to get out of the carrier… we feared she would run straight for the edge of the mountain and we’d have to do nothing but chase her around.

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And then a view of the girls sitting on the bench at the top of Mt. Cutler:

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After eating lunch we headed down from the summit and down to the lookout point 200 ft below.  It was a pretty steep and gravelly trail to get there but, again, the girls did great!  It was pretty windy at the lookout point but there were great views of The Broadmoor and the entire city:

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And, of course, Kota found some dirt to play inūüôā

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Chris had taken off his hat to let his head dry out in the wind and Summy was enthralled w/ playing w/ his hair- too funnyūüôā

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And another view looking west:

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And a selfie of us coming down the trail from the lookout point- you had to go down and then back up to get back to the main trail:

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As we were going back up we found some big quartz-looking rocks that I hadn’t noticed on our way up to the lookout point. ¬†The girls liked them b/c they said they looked like crystals- and a view of the city in the background:

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When we got back up to the the main trail we rested for a bit and enjoyed our “treats” that we had brought for the girls- gummies! ¬† Summy loves her gummies!

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This is a photo I took of Chris and the girls crossing 1 of the rock slide areas of the trail.  You can sorta see how narrow the trail is and how it pretty much just drops off on the downhill side.  Yikes!  But, again, the girls did great and we had no mishaps.

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Taking a quick break on a neat tree with cool roots- I had to lift both girls up on the root to be able to sit (their feet are dangling):

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And 1 last photo of the girls hiking back down the trail back to the car- what a great hike!  Chris said we ended up going almost 4 miles with the hike out to the lookout point and back.  Great job girls!

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We got home by 2:30-ish and I attempted to put Summy down for a nap at 3 pm. ¬†By 3:45 pm I gave up b/c she just wasn’t sleeping (altho I think I did manage to fall asleep in the chair for a bit) and we headed outside to play in the water before dinner:

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And now my laundry is done (I have clean underwear- yay!) and my marathon post is done and I’m going to bed! ¬†Happy Labor Day everyone!

Posted by: dlc136 | August 30, 2016

More snow…and weekend adventures

Yay waking up to more snow on Pikes Peak yesterday AM! ¬†And I especially love it b/c it’s UP THERE and not DOWN HERE! ¬†It was still 80 degrees yesterday and we were wearing shorts while the snow stayed up on the peak looking pretty.

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And it was kinda weird b/c we were driving home from the zoo on Sunday (more details about that later) and all of a sudden Chris noticed there was snow on the peak. ¬†We swear it hadn’t been there an hour before but…there it was.

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So you can tell the peak got a bunch more snow Sun night into Monday. ¬†I love snowūüôā

OK, back to our weekend. ¬†Friday everyone seemed to wake up cranky (including me) so I decided on a whim to go to the zoo after exercise class w/ Kota and Summy. ¬†I didn’t need to do any grocery shopping or run any other errands so I figured this would be a nice thing to distract us. ¬†Kota had fun feeding the budgies (birds) and Summy really enjoyed the birds too. ¬†Skylar does NOT like the birds- the only time she was in there she had nightmares that night that there were birds in her bed. ¬†So she doesn’t go in to see the budgies flying around anymore- she waits outsideūüôā

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Kota and Summy also had fun playing on this see saw in a little play area:

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And we saw the grizzly bears for the first time! ¬†We’ve never ventured up to the bears enclosure b/c you have to use an elevator to get there (or walk up the stairs but we always have a stroller so we can’t do that) and there’s always a line for the elevator and I’m never patient enough to wait. ¬†Anyway… today was our day and the 2 grizzlies did NOT disappoint! ¬†These bears were HUGE!!! ¬†Easily the biggest bears I’ve ever seen in a zoo- to give a size reference, they were bigger than the polar bears at the Philly zoo. ¬†And the zoo keepers were feeding them treats when we were there b/c they needed to draw some blood so we got to see them pretty darn close up! ¬†This picture doesn’t really show the size of the bear too well but it’s the best one I got. ¬†I also got a video of the other bear playing in the water and trying to catch a fish. ¬†So cool! ¬†And as we were walking away we could hear the bears growl/roar.

*Update- I emailed the Cheyenne Mtn Zoo and they said Emmett and Digger weigh about 700-750 lbs each right now (their weight fluctuates a little throughout the year).  And the Philly Zoo website says their polar bears weigh over 450 lbs.  Holy moly!

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We also went into the goat petting area on Friday that we’ve never gone in before. ¬†Summy was very focused on the poor goats tails and I kept trying to swat her hand away from touching them since they’re so close to their butts- yuck.

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We left the zoo at about 2pm and I think Summer was asleep before we were even out of the parking lot! ¬†We sat in our driveway watching a movie (Kota), reading a book (me on my Kindle) and sleeping (Summy) til 3pm when it was time to go get Skylar from school. ¬†She was sad/mad/bummed that we went to the zoo w/o her so I said maybe we could go back on Sunday w/ Daddy. ¬†We didn’t do anything exciting Friday night. A photo of Summy coloring on Fri afternoon:

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Saturday- Skylar’s “Back to School Carnival” was Sat from 10am-1pm at her school. ¬†I had volunteered to run the putt putt golf activity for the entire time and it was just me running it and I was SWEATING the whole time running around! ¬†You’d think it would be pretty easy, right? ¬†I mean, it’s putt putt golf. ¬†But with elementary school kids the balls were going EVERYWHERE except in the holeūüôā ¬†And there was always a line of kids waiting their turn so I was trying to go as fast as possible. ¬†I was pretty glad when 1pm rolled around! ¬†Chris brought the girls and did all the activities with them. ¬†They stopped by my activity to say hi and take their turn w/ golf. ¬†Sounds like the girls had a nice time w/ Daddy. ¬†Chris said he might’ve taken a photo w/ his phone so if he did I’ll add one later. ¬†I was pooped after the carnival so we pretty much did nothing for the rest of the day! ¬†I let S&D watch TV while Chris was napping w/ Summy in her room so I could rest for a little bit too! ¬†A photo of Summy playing w/ stickers on Sat afternoon:

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Sunday- the zoo.  As promised, we headed to the zoo on Sunday and got there at about 10:30am and left by about 3pm.  We had a nice time but, unfortunately, the grizzly bears were no where to be seen that day- bummer!  I asked the girls to pose by the giraffes to (sort of) show how the zoo is built into the side of the mountain:

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And then just as we were getting the lions we heard the zoo keeper start their talk so we got to hear all about the 3 lion cubs (about a year old now and weight about 200 lbs!) and the male lion- 480lbs!  A photo of the girls w/ 1 of the cubs in the background:

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And then 1 of S&D “playing with” the orangutan:

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And then 1 of Chris w/ the girls over by the elephants w/ the view of the city in the background:

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You can see the clouds in the sky in this photo- maybe these were the clouds that dropped the snow on PP?ūüôā ¬†So, yeah, a very nice trip to the zoo and we were all sufficiently pooped after our trip.

Mon, 8/29- snow on the peak in the AM, usual exercise class and then a couple of the exercise moms and kids headed up to Castle Rock to go to the Phillip S. Miller playground/park there. ¬†Kota and Summy had a great time playing on everything but, unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos b/c I was too busy playign w/ them or making sure they didn’t fall down hills! ¬†Also unfortunately, some clouds rolled in and it started raining at 12:30pm so we headed home. ¬†And it POURED for the rest of the day! ¬†Holy rain! ¬†I was seeing some photos/videos on the news of the flooding in other parts of the city (my phone was beeping like crazy w/ all the flood warnings going off!) w/ rain and hail. ¬†Holy crazy weather! ¬†Glad it avoided our house! ¬†But it was still raining pretty well when it was time to pick Skylar up from school so I had to bust out the rain cover for the stroller so we could walk over to the school. ¬†It really doesn’t pay to drive to the school b/c there isn’t a good spot to park so you still have to get out of your car and walk to actually get her. ¬†So we just bundled up in our rain coats and boots and broke out the rain cvoer. ¬†And I brought Skylar’s umbrella for the walk home. ¬†This is the 1st time it’s been raining at pick-up time in the (almost) year we’ve lived here! ¬†It has been snowing several times but no rain.

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And then, of course, my wonderful view of PP on my walk in to work this AM. ¬†I liked the couple clouds that are surrounding the peak… ¬†kinda hard to see in the photo.

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Happy Tuesday everyone!

Posted by: dlc136 | August 25, 2016

Snow!

Yes, I’m crazy and I know there are TONS of people out there who think oppositely of me! ¬†I’m not wishing summer away (according to the weather forecast, it’ll return this weekend) but I always get excited for that first glimpse of snow. ¬†And that first glimpse came this AM!

I had seen some snow peeking out from under the clouds that covered the peak yesterday but couldn’t get a good enough photo to make it worthwhile to post. ¬†But this AM we could see the snow in all its gloryūüôā

My grainy 6:15am photo before the sun fully came up:

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And then a couple more after the sun started coming up:

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And as we were getting the girls dressed I checked my phone for the weather and saw that it said it was COLD outside- brrr!

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And as I was heading to work today I saw some dudes working on top of a building and thought “Wow- what a great view to have while working today”. ¬†You can just barely see the top of PP above the Midas building:

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And a view from the highway (as I was sitting in traffic)- what a view in the AM!

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And then 1 last 1 while walking into the plant- the view from our parking lot. ¬†I don’t care how bad of a mood I’m in, this view always makes me feel better!!

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And, as a disclaimer, I took the photo above by basically holding up my phone and snapping a photo and hoping it turned out OK while focusing on trafficūüôā

Happy Thursday!

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