Friday, September 30, 2011


"Whose birthday is today?"
"How old is Grammy going to be?"

Monday, September 26, 2011

This Week

This week was the week our baby would have been born.

I bought this figurine after Paul gave our baby the name Angel. It's called "Angel's Embrace" - I suppose because the angel is hugging the baby.
But for us, it's because Angel is hugging the angels.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

9 days, 2000 miles, and 5 states!

Wednesday, we got back from the longest trip our family has been on. (Except maybe our honeymoon, but that doesn't count.)
We left here last Tuesday morning, and made the long driveto Colorado Springs (supposed to be 9 hours, took us 11 - two little boys require hour-long "run and play" stops, not just potty stops). We stayed the KOA there, in one of their cabins, and I was pleasantly surprised. When I heard "cabin", I thought "church-camp cabin" which consists of lots of plywood, plastic mattresses, no insulation, and lots of drafts. This little cabin was basically just a mini wood cabin (10'x10'?), with "log" floors, walls, and ceiling - very snug and cozy.
The beds (a queen and set of bunks) were real mattresses with soft mattress covers on them. They had a "Kamp Kitchen" (which I didn't realize until after I cooked supper on our porch) that had an electric ranges and sinks with hot water.
Not at all what I imagined. I told Paul we could do it again. (The only draw back being that the bathroom was across the drive from our cabin, and waking up needing to pee is inevitable if it's not convenient to go. They have more expensive cabins that have a bathroom, but I told Paul it wasn't worth the $20 extra.)
While in Colorado Springs, we took the kids to the zoo. They loved it. WE loved it! It was the perfect size that the boys could walk it by themselves. A lot of up and down hills (it's built into the side of the mountain), but the exhibits were close enough that there was plenty of places to stop and rest (me, the flatlander) and look at the animals. We did the whole zoo, and then half of it again before the boys were tired.
She was looking right at the camera until she noticed one of her roomies going after a toy she wanted.

They loved the open-air aviary, where there were hundreds of birds flying free. They fed them seed stuck to a popsicle stick, and the birds would land on their hands (or head!) to eat the food.
I made the boys wear their hoods up, too. I'm a bit poop-phobic.

They also enjoyed watching the bears play in a pool where trout were swimming. We were on one side of a huge glass wall, and the pool came up halfway on the wall so you could see the fish swimming, and the bears playing in the water.

And of course they fed the giraffes. Nathan loved that, but Jacob was freaked out by being in such close proximity. (We were up on a platform, so were eye-level with them.)
This one is a baby, hence the reason Jake is actually close to it. The rest could look over the railing.

Wednesday night, we went to Paul's best friend, Seth's house. (Unfortunately, forgot to take a picture.) We cooked supper and just hung out. The boys really made themselves at home - running, jumping, playing with Seth.... And pooping. I think they both pooped 3 times while we were there. Apparently you can't get the job done in a public restroom, which is all we'd been in for the last two days.
Thursday morning, we packed up and headed to Ft. Collins to see Paul's grandpa. Paul wanted to take the scenic route, but after two days of Jacob not sleeping well, I was ready to just get there. So, we took the scenic route. We headed up into the mountains to Florissant, thinking fossil beds sounded interesting.
They were less than what we expected (mostly fossilized plants, and a few bugs. No animals and definitely no dinosaurs), and we had to buy lunch at the only place in that small town - a coffee shop. $10 for a sandwich, and not a big sandwich, or anything special about it, not even a side of chips (but we did get a pickle spear!). Paul and I split a BLT (since every sandwich was offered as "half" or "whole" we expected something a whole lot bigger), and the boys split a ham and swiss. That was the second most expensive meal on our trip (the most expensive being for Nathan's birthday).
Six hours and a whole lot of whining later (and not just from the boys), we pulled into Grandpa's house in Ft. Collins. He took us out to supper at his favorite buffet, and when we got back, Paul's aunt and her fiance, and his cousin and her husband and two kids were at the house. Our kids had a blast playing with Jack and Millie over the next few days; they are very close in age to both of our kids.
It was Miss Millie's 2nd birthday!
(And gee, ya can't tell Nathan and Jack are related, can you?)

I told Paul that the boys needed a couple days of not being in the car. We usually go for a drive up into the mountains while we stay with Grandpa, but I knew there would be much whining which would mean I wouldn't enjoy it at all. So just Paul and Grandpa went for a drive on Friday, while I stayed home with the boys (and took a nap!).
Saturday, the whole family went up Poudre Canyon a bit for a picnic and to enjoy the scenery. The kids loved throwing rocks in the river and playing in the sand at the side of the river. When we got back, we took the boys to the park and took them on the old Trolley that runs from the City Park (practically across the street from Grandpa's house) to Old Town. They loved it.
Sunday morning we headed out for the next leg of our journey (7 hours), to Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Through the nothingness of Wyoming. It is pretty, in a very barren sort of way. We stopped in the small town of Lusk for lunch and to let the boys play - more from a "now or never" attitude, as it was 80+ miles of nothing on Highway 85 after Lusk. Seriously. A few giggle-worthy ranch names, and one rest area.
The map makes it look like there was actually something between Lusk and Newcastle.

Thankfully, the boys fell asleep until we made it to Newcastle, and then we were only an hour out from our destination.
We stayed with our friends Josh and Tara for two nights. They moved from here to SD a year and a half (?) ago, and ironically, when we finally get up to visit them, they are moving back here in two weeks. But it was a great visit. We felt very at home. On Monday we went to an awesome park in Spearfish.... It had a stream running through it where the kids could throw rocks, lots of huge trees for shade, and an awesome play ground (like a we-could-stay-here-all-day-if-the-kids-didn't-need-naps playground). There was also a fish hatchery that the boys enjoyed. It was the end of the season, so there wasn't a lot of fish in all the pools, but the boys still thought it was really neat.
Nathan was very excited to go see "Uncle" Josh when he learned that he was a firefighter (Forest Service).

I love this lady! (Bad, way-to-early picture.)

In spite of 4 little ones, we had some good visiting time, but had to take off early Tuesday morning. This leg (8 hours) took us to Grand Island, Nebraska. We stayed at another KOA. I liked this one, but not as much as the Colorado Springs one. I did like the bathroom set up much better, and it was quieter, but this time we did have the plastic mattresses.
The next day was Wednesday, Nathan's birthday! We woke up bright and early and headed to breakfast at Perkins. We thought the boys would love strawberry pancakes. Wrong. They loved the sausage. But I loved my loaded hashbrowns drowned in gravy (and their strawberry pancakes). Quite possibly the best meal I had the whole trip.
We headed out to the Husker Harvest Days, a huge outdoor farm show, complete with field demonstrations. It ended up not being quite the day we thought it would, due to temps in the 50s, plus a damp north wind. The boys loved looking at and climbing on the machinery, but we didn't last even halfway through the corn harvest demonstrations before both boys were shivering and turning blue. So we decided it was time to head home. A "short" 5 1/2 hour drive (for which the boys slept a good chunk of), and we were home sweet home. I was so ready for my own bed. And I slept like a baby.
That's our vacation. I loved it, but I don't think I would want to do it every year. It was a relatively inexpensive vacation - yay for $5 campsite meals and freeloading off of friends and family when you need a place to stay!
But then we also have to add to that, the car repairs we had to do prior to leaving (a snapped serpentine belt in the middle of nowhere? no thanks).... And the windshield we had to replace when we got back (thanks, Wyoming). Oh well. It was still worth it.

PS - Paul and I played "the license plate game" and got 42 states (with a question on two others), and 6 of 10 Canadian provinces. Boo-yah.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Air conditioner is going OFF. Windows, open! I have been waiting all summer for this:

Today: Sunny, with a high near 75. Breezy, with a north wind between 15 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Tonight: Clear, with a low around 48. North wind between 5 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

48 degrees! 48?!? We haven't seen that temperature for a long, long, LONG time.
And I am SO ready for it. Welcome, autumn!