Monday, August 30, 2010

Lovely, lovely pictures

So, our 14th anniversary is tomorrow. Wow! It's hard to believe we've been married that long, or that we've known each other for 16 years. We saved our pennies all year and decided to buy a new digital SLR for our anniversary. We've had a digital Olympus for years and have loved it. So we decided to stay with what we knew and got an Olympus SLR. Can I just tell you how much we have LOVED this new camera? It is love at first sight! The pictures it takes on the most basic, automatic settings are incredible and as I learn more how to manually use it, it is becoming a new hobby and could easily absorb all my extra time if I'm not careful. Unfortunately, this week promises to be one of the busiest all year and it is only Monday. The kids started homeschooling today with a whole new curriculum so they are using today to orient themselves. We've got Boy Scouts tonight, our anniversary is tomorrow followed by Awana Tuesday night, Thursday at the public school, we have a deck to finish building and our litter of puppies are due sometime Wednesday or Thursday. Wow! With all that in mind, we've taken a few days to rest up and get ready. There was a local street bike race yesterday with a 33 mile, 66 mile and 100 mile option with a 13,000 ft elevation climb and over 1000 bikers that were "touring" the mountain roads and came right by our house. In attempts to avoid the traffic, we planned to go to early church and spend the rest of the day at Pirate's Cove Aquatic Center. I spent no less than 4 hours on a raft going around and around on a tube in the lazy river. Goal: Relaxing! I didn't take the camera because, well, I didn't want it ruined and I didn't want to leave it in the broiling car. But, I did take some pictures around the ranch earlier that I wanted to share. I played with the lighting and some of the basic settings to see what I came up with. Still learning lots!

This is the 3 month old filly, Skittles.

And little sister doing what little sisters do best...

And all is well that ends well (especially when noone is angry or hurt).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kenosha Pass, Georgia Pass & Breckenridge Pt. 1

A few days ago, we took a break from everything remotely considered work and decided to go four-wheeling. A much needed and much deserved break. MacGyver's been working me pretty hard lately (can you hear the violin's playing in the background?). The kiddos were also starting their Thursday school the following day and we wanted to get one last fling in before school set in full-force! So, we decided to head towards Breckenridge via Georgia Pass. Georgia Pass is a four-wheel drive trail rated easy to moderate so it should be easy enough to do in the truck. We usually save the harder trails for the Jeep. We definitely needed the high clearance but only used the 4x4 in a few spots. We took almost 300 pictures in one day. Yikes! I've pulled out a small percentage of that to share but still decided to break it up into 2 blogs...Going over Kenosha Pass (which is a paved road) and Georgia Pass (four-wheeling), and then Breckenridge, where we ended a beautiful, fun-filled family day with more fun and yummy pizza! These are mostly flora and fauna pictures and not a lot of family pictures. We are definnitely nuts about God's beautiful creations!

Stopping for a picnic lunch

 Remants of the old Santa Fe railroad

Snow still visible in the valleys with temps in the mid 80's

First sign of leaves changing

MacGyver teaching the kiddos how to gold pan in one of the creeks we crossed

Chipmunks (aka minibears), cool rocks and flora

And when we got to the top of Georgia Pass, we saw these:

There were about a dozen mountain goats hanging out, eating the grass. (I'm not exactly sure why their tongues are sticking out but we thought it was funny)! Ike decided he would try to sneak up on them and see if he could pet them. After ensuring him they were wild, would run and may charge, he decided to listen to his own wisdom...I want to pet them! Needless to say, we were ready with the camera to capture him getting butted by the mountain goats (we are solid parents, huh?). An eleven year old is old enough to know better! Fortunately, they were indeed scared of him but did little more than move away slowly and continued to hang out and graze. He did get within a few feet of the big daddy! It was funny to watch him squatted down, walking like a duck one step at a time trying to "sneak" up on them.

At one point, MacGyver yelled out the window, "watch out for the one coming up behind you"! He shot up and started running for the truck before he realized his dad was teasing him. LOL!

We also saw a bunch of different kinds of huge, cool looking but very poisonous mushrooms.

An old outhouse just a few yards away from an old mining cabin

But the highlight of the trip, was seeing a mama and her two baby...


They were grazing in one of the meandering creeks. We have never seen the wild moose in Colorado before. The only wild moose we've ever seen were in Yellowstone. We were so excited!
The babies went and hid behind the shrub while mama continued to nibble

A beautiful pond showing the signs of mining from over a hundred years ago!


Kenosha Pass, Georgia Pass & Breckenridge Pt. 2

Our fun family day took us over Kenosha Pass and Georgia Pass and concluded in Breckenridge, a ski resort located about an hour and a half west of us. As the dirt road met the paved road coming into Breckenridge, we stopped at an historic site. We found an old gold-dredging boat dating back to the 1890's. I never knew there was such a thing!!!

After grabbing a buffalo chicken pizza from Northside Pizza, we jumped on the gondola...

We rode the gondola (this one is taken from inside) which happened to be a 25 minute ride with 3 stops and 3 turns along the way. I've never ridden such a long gondola with so many stops. It was pretty cool. The very last stop was where the Fun Area is with the Alpine Slide, putt-putt and a bunch more summer and winter activities. We didn't get off and play because we were the last to get on the gondola before they shut down for the day and weren't prepared to hike all the way down! By the way, did I mention that Ike is afraid of heights? He tolerates these things pretty well but doesn't like for anyone to stand or move around while we are in transit. To put it mildly, It Freaks Him Out!

By the way, Breckenridge is one of the prettiest towns I've ever been to. The residences and businesses have spent a lot of time and money making it a town you want to come to for either a romantic getaway or a family vacation and in any season. I've been here a few times at different times of the year and it is one of my favorite local spots. And it is way more affordable than our other local celebrity hangouts like Vail or Aspen, where even the fast food can be expensive!

After walking around town a bit, we decided we needed some icecream...

I realized just now I really should have taken before and after pictures...I think she had more on her face than she actually ingested!

Oh, I'm sorry. Am I interrupting your waffle cone and cupcake icecream moment? What a look!!!

And the local wildlife are always looking for a handout!

As we were walking back to the truck, the kiddos decided they wanted to go bouldering in the river. It was kind of hard as a mom to watch them jumping from wet rock to wet rock, but there is always a part of me that wants them to enjoy life without taking into accout my fear. I have noticed that kids like to give their mother's heart attacks and strokes. They even think it is funny.

They crossed the river 4 or 5 times.

And as they became bolder bouldering...there's a tongue twister for you...the funnier the situation became. I knew it was a matter of time before one of them took a plunge into that frigid, icy, straight out of the mountain, water. And guess what?
It was just a matter of time! What a laugh! The kiddos had a blast, and Ike had a change of clothes and an extra pair of shoes waiting for him. (We like to come prepared because we never know what situation we will find ourselves in)!

As we headed home, we passed Lake Dillon and saw some boaters, a family and their dog playing in the water and enjoying the beautiful day, as well. Ya gotta love the diversity of Colorado!

Did I mention Colorado has 300 sunny days a year?