Friday, April 19, 2013

Colorado Vacation–the second half

 

Charlie’s Birthday was on Tuesday of our trip, and it turned out to be wonderful. We spent a gorgeous day on the slopes, enjoying the mountain with all of our might.  That evening, the Riebel family invited us over to their place. Their driveway was a long hill, which happens to be perfect for sledding!

A snowman was enjoying the sunset…

 

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Here’s a video of the awesome sledding we did.

The Carlins going down the hill.

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The ride back up – from the back of the golf cart.

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This is how Charlie rolled.

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All of the sweet girls playing (and trying to stay away from the boys).

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It was icing on the cake that the kids got to spend their vacation with friends!

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Silly picture alert.

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We even had a little cake and sang to Charlie. Talk about an epic birthday.  Now all the boys want this (friends, and Colorado) for their birthdays…

After the sledding and dinner, we headed out to the springs in downtown Pagosa and spent quite awhile “swimming” in these big hot springs. The kids had a blast, and slept like rocks that night.

This is what all of our families looked like in the mud room. It was hilarious, with so many people calling out “I can’t find my boot!”, “Have you seen my glove?” “Where’s my hat/scarf/whatever?”

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And on to our final days. For our last hoorah the three families went out to a restaurant for our final meal together. This was the kid table.

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And believe it or not, there’s actually good Mexican food in Colorado!

We were sad when our final morning came…Chance, chillin’ with Dad before packing up.

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After we loaded the car, we took the kids to a nearby sledding hill. It was nothing compared to the Riebels’ set up, but it was fun. You could tell that some of the snow was starting to melt, but we were setting out that day because another blizzard was en route.

Chance, attacking the jump.

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Chandler made a snowman.

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Charlie could have sledded all.day.long. What a blissful face!

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Speaking of blissful faces…  I mean, check out that iconic view!

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As we drove Southward, we stopped in New Mexico at a place the Riebels told us about called Echo Canyon. It’s a park just off the highway. Do you see the hollowed out area in the back? It made for some amazing acoustics.  Our little tone def choir had a fun time singing back there.

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We stopped a couple of times to take photos along the way home because it was all so beautiful. This is Chuck’s shot.

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And this is mine.

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We are blessed to have a family with which to enjoy this beautiful Earth, and friends to celebrate!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Colorado Vacation–the first half

One of the perks to the new school is getting a “winter break” in February.  We still get the “spring break” in March, as well. But since February would be the prime time to take the kids to the snow without the busyness of Spring Breakers, we decided to give it a try. Other than a Christmas in Kentucky, the kids had not had any exposure to snow.  I was a bit nervous about how the kids would do skiing, but then my friend Stacia showed me how her own kids did fine (who are my kids’ ages). Thanks, friend, for the encouragement.
As I was growing up, we never did family vacations like this, and I didn’t see snow or ski until I was in high school. I had always dreamt of taking my own family someday.  It sounds cheesy to say it was a dream come true, but it really kinda was.
All of those windmill pieces go by on I10 are clearly going to good use.  There are thousands of these in the panhandle.
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The week before the break I learned that two other families from Summit were going to the same destination. It worked out to be even more fun, and we joked that this was the best joint unplanned vacation!  The Carlins met us at the half-way point, in Lubbock, on our first night.  We then traded people back and forth between our vehicles for the second leg of the drive.  That in itself was such a treat!  Once we made it Colorado, we stayed in the same hotel again, and the next morning, we got up, suited up, and hit the slopes. No time to waste!
Wake up, Dad!  Aren’t you glad we’re sharing a hotel room?
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Checking out the “Billy the Kid” museum in Fort Sumner, NM.
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Breakfast in this iconic Colorado lodge our first morning in Pagosa Springs.
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They have no idea what they’re in for…
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Not gonna lie, the first day was a bit rough. Charlie was adamant that he wanted to snowboard, so we enrolled him in lessons. It was extremely difficult. He was crying and frustrated.  Chance and Chandler took the skiing lessons, and then we rode the bunny slopes with them. Chandler couldn’t control himself to stop so he ended up tangled in the (temporary) fence.  It was a bit cold and snowing by the time we left the mountain.  I think Chuck and I both wondered if we’d made the right decision. Not to mention, we were both sore from getting back in the swing of things. 
Chandler in the red jacket on the conveyer belt lift.
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Chandler after.
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A funny side note. After we got into our rental house that evening, I ran to the grocery store. While there I ran into Abbe Reibel, the mom of the other family. I love how it is a small world!! We caught up again the next day on the mountain.
And also, I forgot how marijuana had been legalized in Colorado…so there were a few times when the smell was so strong, I’d have to remind myself to just relax, it’s…ya know…legal.
The next morning we decided to persevere back to the mountain and it really paid off.  It was a gorgeous day, the mountain was less busy (it was a Monday), and the hot tub the night before had worn away our blues.  After putting the kids in their classes, Chuck and I enjoyed a mini date on the mountain. 
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My mountain man. He said the beard truly came in handy in keeping him warm!
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I could’ve stayed up there forever. Even with the 3+ layers of clothing!
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Charlie had a much better day on the snowboard.  Everyone was relieved!
That night, the Reibels and Carlins came over and we enjoyed dinner together.
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And the kids vegged out after a long day of skiing.
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We did one more day of skiing, followed by dinner at the Reibels’ place. More on that in the next post. 
The next day, to break things up a bit, we spent the morning doing the other thing the kids had been waiting for: free play in the snow. 
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Chandler made me a heart out of snow.
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Charlie cleverly crafted a snowball, added water from a nearby dripping gutter, and had a nice tight ball with which to nail targets.
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We had lunch in the small downtown area, and walked around a nearly-frozen over river.
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And made snow angels.
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Then we headed over to a wildlife refuge, to see the local animals up close.
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The mountain lion was my favorite.
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There are 2 bunnies in this picture. Can you find them?
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A Grizzly bear.
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A porcupine.
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A majestic elk…
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Who is docile enough to share his food with the bunnies.
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The bunnies ran wild around the place, and were even tame enough to eat out of our hands!
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There were many other animals, wolves, a bobcat, goats, and wild turkeys.  I’ll let Chance show you the turkeys…{wait for it....}

The Hobbit

Chuck read The Hobbit to the Charlie and Chance at bedtime. At first, I thought it was a crazy notion, because they don’t even know what many of those words mean, ya know? But I learned later that it’s better to read to kids beyond their reading level; it stimulates their brain and aids in their development.  So, they waited in great anticipation, and finally the movie came to theaters! Chuck took Charlie to see the movie.  It was still a bit too strong in emotion for Chance, but I’m sure he’ll see it soon enough.
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Chuck was impressed with Charlie, how he pointed out the nuances of the book that were different or left out of the movie. Way to go, boys. I'm so proud of you both!