Saturday, July 19, 2008

Opal Lake

I forgot to post one of my favorite parts of the trip. Opal Lake is a beautiful spot which was one of James and my camping spots from pre-parenthood. It is beautiful! The surrounding mountains and lush green trees reflect into the beautiful "lake" (large pond). And there are nice flat areas perfect for camping. We decided to take everyone there on a day hike. It is a mile hike straight up the mountain. Half went by horseback and the other half went on foot. James and I enjoyed walking (with James toting along little Ethan in our Kelty backpack) and of course Aidan rode good ol' Gunner. I am absolutely amazed at Aidan's skill at only 3 years old. He was able to ride via horseback through the rough terrain the entire hour and 15 minute hike without use of the stirrups. He never lost his center, keeping his balance through the steep inclines and decents. He was so comfortable, he even sang as we went! Ethan LOVED riding in the backpack. He could actually see the world from our level without exerting any energy! Just as Aidan did when he was small, Ethan fell asleep a few times while hiking. Opal Lake is one of my favorite places!

Exhausted after a long trip!

We had such a wonderful time in Colorado this summer. We spent hours soaking in the hot tub, went on peaceful walks, painful runs uphill from the Allen's cabin, had time to shop (Allie) and golf (James) and horseback ride (Aidan). We saw many wild animals--elk, deer, raccoons, marmots, hummingbirds, and we even saw a BEAR jet across the road in front of the bus the day we left! We enjoyed spending time with family and friends.
We can't wait until the Blanco Basin is covered in blankets of snow.
Maybe it will be a good time to get Aidan in a pair of skis.
But until then, we're gonna get to bed. We're exhausted!

Our Spot

I wanted to share a small memory of where our little family began. In August of 2001, James and I knew we loved each other and wanted to begin a life together but it wasn't official. I was able to take a trip to the cabin with him and one Sunday morning, we grabbed a fishing pole, threw our scriptures in a backpack, and took the ten minute hike from the cabin to the river. We found a spot on the rocks to sit and read scriptures for our impromptu "church". James then asked, through tear-filled eyes, if I would be his eternal companion and begin a life with him. I realized he was holding an open box with a sparkling solitaire engagement ring. It was so peaceful with the flowing water rushing by and so romantic with the gorgeous mountains surrounding us. There was no other place in the world that I wanted to be at that moment. We now have this wonderful spot to always remember and come back to. And now we are able to share it with our children.

Life is a journey, not a destination

Here's an awesome shot of the sunset from the sideview mirror.
Aidan and Ethan were good sports.
They never complained, they just went with the flow.

We did hit a pretty good afternoon rain storm on the way back home before Angelfire. It lasted, oh I don't know, 15 minutes. It was perfect.
There's our three children cozy in the back. The way back home took us about 20 hours. Once we got to the Panhandle of Oklahoma, it was torturous. That part of the drive is booooooring. I'm not sure I'm up for such a long trip in the green machine anytime soon.
But I wouldn't trade our experience for anything. It was so worth it.

Goin' Green

James has always wanted to make the drive to the cabin in the bus. It has always been vetoed because either I was pregnant or our kids were too young. But this year was the perfect time with the boys being such sturdy ages...they could handle a little heat (NO a/c).
We took the longer, scenic route through Taos instead of the standard I-40 route.
James had SUCH a good time driving the bus through the scenic passes.

Okay ladies, you know how it is with the window rolled down and your hair blowing in your face? I was such the trooper b/c I had my hair in my face the ENTIRE drive. I couldn't even run my fingers through it when we arrived to CO. BTW, in this pic I'm reading Stephenie Meyer's "The Host", anybody read it?
My favorite part was when it rained for a split second and then smelled like pine trees and fresh rain, we wouldn't have experienced that with the windows rolled up and the a/c blasting.
Normal Estimated Time to Arrive to Pagosa Springs: 12 hrs

Stuart's Total Time to Arrive to Pagosa Springs: 16+ hrs

Memorable Family Road Trip: Priceless

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive."---Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, July 14, 2008

4th of July

Since we were in Colorado for Independence Day, we went to the Pagosa Springs parade. There was a pretty good turn out and it was HOT (well, when I say "hot" what I mean is like upper 80s- early 90 degrees! NICE!). The boys had a great time and loved all the free candy.
Ethan wanted to check out the crowd, he kept walking off toward the people across the street. We should have brought Hondo's leash for him.
After the parade, we ate at this great deli, checked out the river in town, and then had ice cream cones on the way out of town.
Ethan LOVED his cone. We tried to take it a few times since it was melting rapidly, but he threw a massive fit. It was one battle we let him win and he was a big ice creamy mess.
Aidan went to the rodeo that afternoon with his grandparents and everyone else. James & I took Ethan back to the cabin to take a nap. We then met everyone in town for mexican food and soaking at the hot springs. We watched the fireworks from the hot springs. I was in the 98 degree swimming pool with Ethan. It was perfect. We had a great 4th of July.

S'more Fun

We made a fire pit in the front yard.
Aidan was sitting in his co-pilot chair next to his best friend "Papa Dad". Ethan wanted to get as close as he could to the fire,
so we had to distract him with pieces of graham cracker.

Hare Pasture

One of my favorite places to go in the Blanco Basin is the Hare Pasture. It's very close to the cabin. It's a huge open meadow surrounded by massive gorgeous mountains. Right now, as you can see, it is lush and green. It's leased out to cattle ranchers who need a good feeding ground for their cattle. In the winter time it is a BLAST to take the snowmobiles out there to make fresh tracks and sometimes find good jumps.
Having the horses there made it a fun way to explore.
Patriarch Wade just loves that horse of his, Rusty.
He kept saying, "I feel like I've died and gone to heaven."

4 Wheelin'

Aidan looks more like James every day.
While at the cabin, we loved taking the boys on scenic 4 wheeler rides.
Aidan has grown up on these things, he knows exactly how to start it...
I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

One of the many views of the mountains in the Blanco Basin.

Look at Mom go!

If we ever have trouble getting the boys down for naps at the cabin, the 4 wheeler or the snowmobile do wonders!

Premature Toothfairy Visit

Aidan & Ethan love to play together. Aidan is a great big bro and Ethan follows Aidan wherever he goes. Tuesday, June 17th the boys and James were at my parents house waiting for me to get off work. Ethan was playing in front of the fireplace. He bent over to pick up a toy (in front of the stone step of the fireplace) and just at that moment, Aidan came charging to give a bear hug or tackle him or some other playful gesture. Ethan rammed into the stone step, with his front teeth catching his fall. From what I heard, it was mass chaos with blood everwhere and both boys crying uncontrollably. When I got there, James was rocking Ethan on the front porch swing with Ethan sound asleep and James' entire shirt covered in blood. We knew his 2 front teeth were knocked out of place but we didn't know the extent of the damage. They looked like they were pushed back toward the roof of his mouth, but he was in so much pain that we couldn't see very well. We were on the phone with every dentist we knew: Mike Hansen, Johnny Jeffrey, Mark Allen was out of town, and Benj Bowman was luckily in town and just happened to be across the street from our neighborhood eating dinner when we called. He came right over and was able to look at Ethan's teeth and pull them forward back into place again. He recommended making an appt with a great pediatric dentist, Brent Moody, who we were able to see the next morning. Dr. Moody noticed that three of his four front teeth were totally loose, but said not to do anything but wait and see what happens.
So, here's what happened....

His front right incisor kept coming out little by little until he looked kinda snaggly-toothed, like he does in this photo! When it first happened, I was so upset that he might lose a tooth at such an early age. But then I realized how silly that big ol' tooth looked in his tiny cute mouth, I thought "LET'S PULL IT OUT!!!". While in Colorado at the cabin, James wanted to see how loose the tooth was. As he touched the tooth, Ethan promptly turned his head and POP, the tooth came out. James distracted him with a popsicle and he didn't even cry.
The other two teeth popped back into place and are no longer loose. Here's our toothless child.

I think he looks so cute without that front tooth!

And he's most definitely happier since that tooth came out.

We'll be comin' round the mountain...

Look at that scenary!!!
I see it every year and yet it seems more beautiful each time we visit.
Me and Chama had some good bonding time on this trip.

Aidan is more comfortable on a horse than I am.
Here he is on Gunner.

Grams & Papa Dad have both loved horses since childhood.
Grams, Aidan, and Chaco.

Here's the 3 1/2 amigos...David on Gunner,
Melissa & Aidan on Chaco, and Arnold Wade on
his horse, Rusty.

Stacy's Wedding Shower

Stacy's shower went really well. Rhonda Clemens generously let us host Stacy's shower in her home. There was an excellent turn out, great food, and Stacy scored some good gifts. All the ladies that came are dear friends of the Stuart family and graciously support us in all of our life changes. I remember one of my showers was at Jan Larsen's and there were TONS of people there. I still use the great gifts I received 6 1/2 yrs ago. I love it that we have a community of caring friends and family to help us celebrate life!