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Friday, November 28, 2008

Lunch Conversations

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Wilder tells Daddy"bye bye", blows kisses and talks up a storm.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blessings and Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving! What a wonderful holiday; a time set aside to count our blessings and recount all we have to be thankful for.

Lately I have been thinking about working part time outside the home. Most likely by my own fault, I have been feeling unfulfilled and not very useful just taking care of Wilder, the house and myself. I miss being in an environment with grown up stimulation and accomplishment where I can receive validation through acknowledgment of my work and monetary rewards. Scanning the classifieds, it's hard to find something that would make sense financially to do -I don't have any specialized or up-to-date skills (besides acting) that would compensate for child care and give us extra to put in the bank. Thinking back to my days in offices, I dread the life of a cubicle and it makes me super thankful that I get to stay home, nurture my baby and enjoy the spontaneity of no schedule, no boss (besides Wilder,) and no limits on the creativity we can enjoy in our lives.

Then as I think about someone else caring for Wilder while I "feel fulfilled" in a work environment (not that I'm knocking working mothers, by ANY means -I don't know how they do it all!) I can't imagine anyone else putting as much love into caring for my child as I do. I would miss lunch time where we chat and sing as he throws noodles all over the floor. I would miss putting him down peacefully for his naps. I would miss playing with him as he shoots all over the house, squealing with delight.

So I have discovered that my need for outside fulfillment can be satisfied in other ways. I need to connect with a mom's group. I need to invite my friends over more for adult (and child) stimulation. I need to find some fascinating books to get lost in. And if I only got to organizing my house a little, I might feel better, too :) The things I would miss out on while away at work are not worth the few dollars I could put in the bank. Brian is in full support of me staying home, raising our family. Yet he is behind me if I feel I needed to get a job to make me happy. Given the freedom and support to choose, I will take home life with it's minor problems over giving up so much precious time with my little man.

This year I have so much to be thankful for. The first thing that comes to mind is my healthy little boy who is a constant joy (and is currently pulling everything out of the dog cupboard and throwing it all over the floor.) I am thankful for a husband who exceeds my greatest expectations and is such a wonderful friend and buddy even though we're half the world away. AND I am thankful that he will be home early! Most likely we'll have him back by mid-March/April --and THAT'S something I am ecstatically thankful for!! Our wonderful home, the great community we live in, the freedom to live and pursue our dreams and happiness, the abundant supply of food, clothing and amenities... I have countless things to be thankful for this year. And I am thankful for all the Thanksgivings to come when Brian and I get to spend them together with our fabulous little family.

Brian, he is DEFINITELY your son. "STOP TAKING PICTURES, MOM!"

I hope each of you takes time today to connect with what you are thankful for and how we've each been showered with blessings this year. I know there are terribly hard days and seasons in our lives, but the faithfulness and love of God knows no bounds and picks us up to carry us onward into wonderful places of rest and blessing. I thank God for you, my friends, and thank God for Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Snow Long, Farewell...

Hooray! Hooray! I got my wish! The morning we left it was SNOWING!

Here we are at the vantage point from the day before. Snow much for the view, eh?

Wilder snuggled up with his blankie and souvenir bunny rabbit (r.i.p.) jazzed to be in his first snow flurry and headed home.

We drove through Fort Carson, but the pictures turned out crappy. The snow had stopped falling and was nearly melted until we got just south of Pueblo. Tada! More snow!

Here in lovely Trinidad light flakes fell gloriously as we drove the town's main street listening to Christmas tunes and looking for a place that was the most likely to serve chicken noodle soup.

Seeing a few cafes and promising restaurants, we parked the car and walked. Brrrrr! It was cold!

Ain't this town fancy?! They pave their streets with personalized bricks!

Alas, after trying 5 restaurants and cafes -even after a store owner called two places to see if they had soup- we appeared to be chicken-noodless. You see, the nurse at the pediatrician's office recommended that Wilder have clear broth and heavy starches. I was dead set on him having some minestrone or chicken noodle, but everyone was on cream based soup kick. Since milk was the last thing he should be eating with a raucous tummy, I had to do some quick thinking. Actually, it was all I could do to keep myself from crying at the last place we tried. They said they had chicken and wild rice soup. Sounded like it would work, right? Wrong. We paid for it and the gal brought it out: cream based.

Ah-hah! I remember passing a Safeway and they always have a soup bar! Perhaps, JUST perhaps....

15 minutes later we are sipping a hearty chicken noodle soup and I felt proud of my ability to both nuture and provide. Go mom!


Goodbye Colorado, hello New Mexico! (and, subsequently, Texas, in the end.) We overnighted at the same trusty Motel 6 in Amarillo and had a safe and uneventful journey home. Texas welcomed us with brisk weather of its own. Last night I even had to turn the heat on!

What a fabulous trip. It's hard to believe that adventuring unassisted with a one year old (particularly when it's a two day drive out and back) who was vomiting the majority of the time (my poor sweetheart!) could be envigorating, restful and downright awesome, but it was and I am so glad we went. I now know I can do it, so now NOTHING is impossible. Watch out, world, here we come! And Colorado Springs, thanks for the memories. We'll be back....


View Hallooooo

On day, well, I actually lost track, we took in the view. Here lies Colorado Springs and the Rockies.



This was the day we intended on heading home, but Wilder was still not road worthy. We enjoyed a few more places in town, returned to a some favorite spots and had a good last day.

In The Driver's Seat

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Wilder decided to take this roadtrip into his own hands...Let's see how he likes it.

Colorado Continued

After about two days at the hotel due to illness with the prospect of leaving the following day, I decided we had to get out to see Pikes Peak and Manitou Springs. The mountain beckoned us in the morning sunlight outside our window.

Driving the highway into the Rockies, we slipped into Manitou Springs, a small, mountain town boasting seven different natural mineral springs where the first carbonated beverage was made.

In a gift shop (with divine maple fudge) we tasted our first sip of the mineral water. This one was high in iron and though it didn't test for sulfur, it had a slight scent -and a wonderful natural carbonation. Quite an experience!


Manitou Springs is very charming. Pedestrian (and pet) friendly, it's "drivers be ware" as folks casually traipse across the street, slipping into the many wonderful and unique stores the town offers.
We stopped in The Spice of Life for a local cup-a-joe, and continued browsing the shops and streets on that delicious, crisp morning.

Here, a conversation "couch" outside a shop. The local art abounds. For those Alaskans reading, Manitou Springs is like Girdwood minus the skiing and adding in paved roads and some old buildings. The general feel is very much the same: A hippy, artist, outdoor enthusiasts town.



Oh, Brian..... care to take a stroll with me? ;)


Now THIS was fun! nearly a full block of arcades and small rides in the center of town. It was fabulous!

Another of the public, natural springs.


Wilder had a love-hate relationship with the rides. First off, he was still feeling gross (though much better) and secondly it was a new experience. I have a great video I'll post.



An artists rendering of a topographical map of the town.


Caffeinated and ready for the mountain, we hit the highway for Pikes Peak.

Yeah, he's pretty excited! The toll road/highway goes all the way to the 14,000+ ft. summit of the mountain.
The elevation was getting to Wilder (and a missed nap) so we only made it to a touch over 11,000 ft., but we saw enough wonders to make it worth the trip. And we listened to Christmas music all the way!


Here we are at Glen Cove, 13 miles in to the 19 mile highway to the peak.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! It arrived the day before when we were hotel-bound. Had we been up to the trip earlier we would have missed the wonderful blanket that surrounded us that day.

Wilder's first snow experience! He loved it at first...then his hand froze and he was madder than a...well, a baby with a really cold hand.


A view of one of the reservoirs on our way down.

A view of highway 24 which leads from Colorado Springs into the mountains. The city lay off in the distance.

Santa and the elves took the day off, to my disappointment. But we got a picture of the North Pole!

Miramont Castle boasts many different architectural styles, built in the mid 1800s by a monk. There's quite a bit of history on it, but we just drove by and snapped a shot since it was one of the "must sees" in the area.

One of the engines to the cog train that takes you all the way up to Pikes Peak from the Springs. It's a four hour trip that would have been great fun, but we'll do that next time.

It was wonderful getting out of the hotel (though just hanging out together there was still lovely) and seeing the exciting sights in the mountains. There was a lot we missed -but I like to say we're saving it for another time. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, the Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls, etc. We'll be back...

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