Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Road-trip and a Birthday

October, what a busy month you were! From a long road-trip to TX to Ryder's first birthday to Halloween...we could barely catch our breath. It was all a blur. Thank goodness we have the pictures to remember this special month by.

Cousin love! Ella, Caden, and Ryder sit in the grass at Brett and Karley's house. Next time Caden's baby brother (due in March!), Walker, will be in the picture.
 At the pumpkin patch bounce house:

Playing with Conlan and Ivy (and Eric and Tara) in Lubbock:
 At Gam Gam and Pepaw's house:
 Singing a lullaby to the kitten:
 We were lucky enough to have these wonderful pictures by Jessica Wood while in Wichita Falls:
A picture with Brittany, Justin, cousin Adelle, Gam Gam and Pepaw:
  A very special baby boy turned 1 on October 30th!
 Halloween with a teddy bear and ninja girl:
 Trick-or-treating with the sweet Lane girls. A Halloween tradition!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Leaving Civilization Behind

A few days after our trip to the cabin, my best friend in the whole wide world came to Colorado for a visit. 
 John was sweet enough to watch the kiddos so that Lacee and I could get outdoors and take to the trails. 
Our hikes were so much fun for a couple of reasons. Reason #1 is that we have hours to have both silly and deep conversations. Our first trail, Ridgeline Open Space, was over 10 miles and almost 3 hours. Before our hike:
This is our go-to trail. It starts only a few blocks from my house and scales through the foothills on the outskirts of Castle Rock. The sign warning us about rattlesnakes:
Clearly, we didn't take the wildlife threat serious enough.
Toward the end of our hike we had a close encounter with a mountain lion. It was hiding behind some brush beside the trail. I was talking, and Lacee stopped suddenly and grabbed my arm. I became quiet and immediately heard the growling. It sounded only about 10 feet away. We were at a part of the hike that had tall brush (about 7 feet high) on one side, and the mountain dropped off on the other. So we had no where to go. I'm just going to throw out there that my 'fight-or-flight' response wasn't what I hoped it would be. We'll leave it at that. It was the  most frightening moment of my whole life. At one point the growling got louder and branches snapped like it was getting closer. That is about the time we picked up the pace and picked up sharp rocks as we continued to walk backwards. I don't think we ever stopped looking over our shoulder until the hike was over. The below picture was in the Denver Post this last summer and was taken in a backyard in our neighborhood.
In case you are wondering, THIS is what a mountain lion sounds like.

The very next day we decided to test our luck again with the elements. We drove about 25 minutes south to Pikes National Forest to climb Mt. Herman:
 Reason #2 for hiking is because it is a great workout that doesn't feel like exercise. This trail was almost 11 miles, and the summit was 9,443 ft. We didn't plan on climbing to the summit until we got lost and couldn't find the trail we had originally planned to hike.

This sign was posted at the beginning:
I mean, how scary is the phrase, "Face the lion, but avoid eye contact." We did a quick cost/benefit analysis of our situation and decided that the odds of running into a mountain lion again were very slim. The beautiful weather outside and the chance to have so much time to talk was too much to turn down. Just in case, though, we took the next picture to put in the newspaper in case we were never seen again and only our phones were found:

Trying to figure out where we were:

Lacee doing a little strength training:
while I finish off the bag of snacks:
Reason # 3 for hiking: the scenery:

Nothing like a mid-hike nap:
Finally made it to the summit:
Of course we couldn't make it to the end of the hike without another adventure. I realized on our descent that I had misplaced the car keys. I panicked. We were in an area with hardly any cell phone reception.

I held my breath when we got to the dirt road parking lot at the beginning of the trail-head. We looked around. No keys. Then, Lacee saw a note on my mirror that said "Keys on tire." We breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. Someone was nice enough to take the time to find out which car the keys belonged to and then leave us a note. I realized in that moment that our problems could have been A LOT worse if someone had decided to steal our car. I figured out later that I had dropped the keys when taking off my long-sleeve shirt when we first started. Truly, God was watching out for us.

From spending hours in our choreographing dance moves to songs with laughing about old memories...

 What a treat it was to spend so much time with this girl. I don't know what I ever did to deserve a best friend like her.
“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”
― C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall in Grand Lake

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
-William Cullen Bryant
Since our move to Colorado 4 years ago, I can say that fall--hands down--is my favorite time to make a trip to the mountains. The air is crisp. The wildlife is out. The aspens twinkle with their yellow and orange leaves. Snow blankets the peaks. Everywhere you look holds God's artwork, and the promise of winter isn't far off.
In mid September, Brett, Karley, Caden, Eric, Andy, and my parents met us at the cabin in Grand Lake. It was a quick but special trip to connect and enjoy each other's company. Fires were made. Hot chocolate was consumed. Pine cones were gathered. Trails were hiked. And shops were hit up. 
  There was even a fireworks show one night:
 Eric sporting his beard:
All the cousins playing:
I can't even explain how much it warms my heart to see Ella and Caden play together. Ella's grown into such sweet little mother-hen having Ryder as a baby brother. Of course that carries over into her relationship with her cousins, too. One day it will most likely be Caden and Ryder that are close because they are only about 7 1/2 months apart. But--for right now--it is all about Ella and Caden:
Ryder loves his Uncle Andy:
 Andy, Brett, Karley, and John one morning:
Nana and Papa with Caden:
on the back deck:
Driving home from the cabin:
 Brett and Ryder at Nana and Papa's house:
  Andy, Caden, Ryder, and Papa at our house:
 Karley, Ella, and Brett:
Me and my round little pumpkin:
It was so good to have all my brothers under one roof again. Even for just a couple of days.