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Monday, August 15, 2011

8 Years Ago

Eight years ago it was August 15, 2003.  I taught summer school that morning and continued getting my room ready.  Mark called and asked if I felt like going for a walk when he got off work.  Sure, I said, although I didn't really want to since it was about 100 degrees out.  But we did at Minnehaha Falls. 

Soon after our arrival my life changed - He asked me to marry him.  Eight years later I still get teary-eyed thinking about that day.

So much has happened and changed since then. 

Today our little boy went to preschool for the first time ever.  No tears. Pure joy. 

Thank goodness 8 years ago Mark made the excellent decision in asking me to be his wife;-)

Colorado Road Trip 2011

Wow, what a trip.  Our road trip to Colorado lasted one week.  It was an amazing family bonding experience.  I guess you bond with anybody you share a vehicle with for 14+ hours in a day though, don't you. 

We took nearly 800 pics.  I narrowed it down to a few (ok, almost 20) for the blog.  If you want to see more I can show you the digital album or the iMovie.  But for now, you'll have to settle for this snapshot of our wonderful family vacation.

We stopped after 7 hrs in Omaha, NE.  We had a fun three hours at the indoor waterpark.  The kids were exhausted and ready for bed.  Mark and I camped in the hallway for about half an hour with the monitor until they were fast asleep.  Then we went back in and turned on the lights and tv and enjoyed a couple relaxing hours before bed.  The kids slept peacefully and we were back in the car at 7am to finish the ride.  We stopped a couple times on the 11 hour journey to Breckenridge. 

Everyone needs to wake up to this amazing view once in their lifetime.
When people ask what I loved about the trip I say Breckenridge.

It was just us, Ted, Hollis, Walker and Nash.
It was low key and so fun!!!
They kids loved each other right away.
Even though we don't see each other often, when we do it's so easy.
Like best friends. Like family.
So easy, so fun, so warm and touching.
I love those people!

The resort was totally amazing.
Next time we're invited (crossing my fingers:-)
we're going back without kids.
So relaxing.

We took a gondola a mile across the mountain into town, had a great pizza lunch, lounged in the many hot tubs, splashed in the pool, played with the kids, rode my first ever - alpine slide, and many other memories.  Fun filled time!

Then it was off to Golden to stay at Aunt Joan's.
It wouldn't be a trip to CO without lunch at Casa Bonitas!

My favorite hot spot.
I tease Mark's family going on and on about how much I love Casa Bonita.
They say, "We'll do whatever you want while you're in town except - go to Casa Bonita!"
Well, they're missing out.
We spent nearly four hours there.  Too fun!  Had (a gross) lunch, watch cliff divers,explored every nook and crany, played at the arcade, won some small trickets, Christian got 'lost' (I could see him but he couldn't see him and he enjoys telling everyone who will listen how mommy got excited and lost me), we wild gorilla got loose, Christian was trampled trying to get a tootsie roll at the pinata, and we got our traditional old fashion photo taken.

Classic. Three year old it holding a gun and the whole family is smiling.
I love it!

We spent a couple nights at Unos hanging out with Ted and Hollis.
Their food is awesome.
My vote is for the Stuffed Baked.
Absolutely delicious!  I wish we had an Unos here right now and I'd be there for dinner! 

We hit the jackpot going to Colorado Springs.
At the base of Pike's Peak is a small city called North Pole.
A Christmas theme park. So cool!
All you can ride, little shops, restaurants and Santa!
The kids went and sat on Santa's lap and he told them there was 142 days until Christmas and they should continue being good.  What fun in August!

No money is exchanged in the park.
Each person had an exit card that they just write whatever they bought on it and you pay for everything at the end.  This place is magical.
I hope the kids remember it with such fond memories like Mark remembers it from his childhood.

We had an amazing time - can you tell from that smile?
I took Christian on a really fast and high ride.
My head was spinning for a couple minutes after and he kept asking to do it again.
He's our little dare devil!

After 5 hours at the park we got back in the car and headed up to the summit of Pike's Peak.
The kids slept the whole way.
Wow, what a drive.  It's so scary I would have preferred just to turn around.  Constant hairpin turns driving right on the edge of the mountain side.  It dropped 50 degrees when we got up there.  We woke the kids and they were cranky.  After just an hour of sleep and it was cold we wrapped them in their blankies and walked around a bit.
The altitude got the best of me.

I was so light headed I looked at the ground wondering what I would hit if I passed out.
At that point I decided carrying Victoria around wasn't the best idea.

It snowed on our way down.
We opened the windows and tiny little flakes came in.
Christian wanted to jump out and play in the snow.

A very short trip to Garden of the Gods.

Red Rocks.
I could take pictures there all day long.

America's Next Top Model?!

He wanted in on the attention of posing too!

There he is!  My most favorite Godson in the whole wide world!
Isn't he simply adorable!?
He is so cute, so sweet and so darn cuddly.
After a couple days I was able to get a couple good cuddles and some kisses in.
He is a very cool kid who I wish I saw so much more than I do.
Hopefully he'll remember us from this trip until next time we go.

Love my little Walker!

They invited us to Unos for lunch on Saturday.
The kids not only got dough to play with, then they made their own pizzas, then they got a tour of the kitchen.
They LOVED it (so did I!).  Very cool.
Then the pizzas came out, everyone at quietly and nicely and I enjoyed my second Stuffed Baked for the week.  Seriously, so good!

Hollis introduced me to the world of Shellac and I'm obsessed.
The most perfect manicure of my life. The kids napped in the car while I did that then we all went for a hike in the Enchanted Forest.

I could feel the memories being made as I stood back watching Mark lead the way and talking and teaching them all about the forest.  He has many many fond memories of exploring the same woods for many many hours with Ted.  It was beautiful in so many ways.  I just stood back and took pictures and let Daddy take over.  Next time, we're going for a hike every single day we're there.

Mark did find bear prints and poop.  It was a little too close for comfort for me but the kids loved it.  The excitement that a bear could pop out all of a sudden. Very cool - to them - scary to me.

We spent a lot of time looking for wildlife.
Some nights we drove around all of us with our windows down and our eyes darting all over looking for anything that would move.

When you least expect it - last night - over 50 elk showed up in Joan's yard along the driveway.
5 blocking the entrance.
It was stunning!
I videotaped driving down the driveway and the elk were just staring at us.
So cool - the kids LOVED it!

You don't get too much closer to a fawn!

Colorado 2011 in a nutshell. 
So much more to share.
But there will be a book and a movie.
I'd love to share them with you, just ask:-)

A super duper special thank you to Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob for, once again, opening your gorgeous home to us and treating us so so well!

A heartfelt thank you to Ted and Hollis for spending so much time with us and generously allowing us to frequent Unos and for the amazing time in Breckenridge.

So lucky to have our Colorado Family.