Sunday, July 26, 2009

Out with a BANG!

Well for those of you who thought my horseback riding story wasn't all too bad...just wait. Saturday I woke feeling more or less like I had been in a car wreck. I discovered muscles in my back that I didn't even know that I had and I really wanted to carry a "donut" with me everywhere to help me sit down. What a day! I think I was a little nervous knowing how much I was hurting and that we were about to go on a 4 mile hike and going UP most of the hike into the mountains.

But once again, I get the trooper award and get ready to go hike. The hike was actually so gorgeous and totally worth the dealing with my horseback riding soreness the whole day. One of my favorite new places on Earth is Nymph Lake. It's the smallest of the three lakes we saw that day but it's exactly like it sounds. I just imagine fairies living there and it looks like it came straight out of a storybook and blossoming lily pads cover the lake like a blanket.

Only bummer on our hike is that we brought NO food, snacks...just water. I didn't think we realized how long it would take us to hike. Mostly because we stopped every five feet to take a photo because it was so beautiful, but I'll admit a "few" rest breaks too. There were all these parents carrying their kids in backpacks on the hike...I just kept imagining my Buddha belly of a baby and having him on my back for 4 miles. Ouch. So it's 2:00 when we're done and my 8:00 breakfast after the long hike was long gone.

After that, we headed to the Alpine Visitor Center to get some grub. You can drive your car up this highway that scares the death out of you. One wrong turn, swerve, or sneeze could send your car off a cliff down thousands of feet. I've never seen Justin so nervous or white-knuckled before. Thankfully it was him driving and not me! Justin kept saying, "It's just around the corner," as he hears my surround sound stomach growling. But seriously this highway was like the Never Ending took us an hour! I run out of the car like I just finished being on the reality show Survivor and look for the closest edible thing. After eating, I realized how tired I was and the impact of the horseback riding and hike had fully set in.

Justin talked me into walking up one more mountain so that we could get to the highest elevation to take our picture at the 12,005 elevation mark (over 2 miles above sea level). At this point, I'm so exhausted and I look at this little ant hill of a mountain but it might as well have been Mt. Everest. I agree but tell him we're headed straight to the hot tub when we're done. We get up the hill only to discover the sign was "just around the corner"....does anyone see a theme developing here? On the way down, we saw so many Elk just grazing. So once again, it made it all worth the pain.

We get back to the lodge and the hot tub is calling my name. The day before it had been my physical therapist for the damage done by Dale. This time I wasn't sure if I could be helped...only Icy Hot, a heating pad, and some ibuprofen could touch this pain. So we're sitting in the hot tub enjoying the mountain view and I'm starting to finally relax. It's absolutely wonderful. We found jets that hit the really sore spots on our backs and took turns sharing. So Justin says it's my turn and I have no problem taking over. I get in the spot and the breeze is blowing and I'm finally thinking, "Hey this is what we're supposed to be doing away from our kids...RELAXING!"

Not even a minute later...BANG! Suddenly, I feel this tremendous amount of weight hit the top of my head full force. It is so heavy and hits so hard that my head whips back and the back of my head hits the hard surface of the hot tub. I'm so confused wondering what just happened. Was it a tree branch? Someone doing a cannonball in the hot tub? A moose (that's how heavy it felt)!? Nope...just the hot tub lid. Now I know you're thinking I'm a total wuss but seriously this thing had to weigh 30 lbs and came flying through the air from the wind. It was leaning on the railing. It hurt sooooo bad. I haven't cried from hurting myself physcially since I was a kid. I was totally crying like a baby and Justin is frantically trying to get this hot tub lid off my head. Now I'm wondering if maybe this is Justin's plan to take me to the mountains and never bring me home again. He felt terrible though and realized his trip planning privileges just must be revoked for the next anniversary trip. And I just kept thinking how HE was the one that was just sitting there...just my luck!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not such a pretty pretty princess

DISCLAIMER: I'm sorry for all the grandmas, moms or motherly figures of you out there reading this. This isn't one of my finer lady moments in life but it sure is funny.

Meet archenemy. Don't be fooled by his beauty, he saw a city girl coming from a mile away. Justin really wanted to go horseback riding which I thought sounded like fun too. I thought one hour sounded like enough fun but Justin convinced me the two hour ride would be more fun and we could go up higher and see more of the mountains. I knew I should have listened to my gut.

Let me preface this by saying that anytime in my life that I've gone horseback riding, I ALWAYS get the crazy horse. It must be my energy. When I was 8, I vividly remember riding a horse at a family reunion and the horse just taking off from the rest of the group and my Uncle Kent sprinting after the horse to take me off while I'm screaming bloody murder. I think that might have been the last time that I rode a horse until I remember why.

All those feelings of nervousness came back as soon as I got on Dale. The ranch hand helps me up and immediately leaves me after I tell her that I'm from Texas like we ride horses to work or something. Awww, look at how naive I am in this picture before we leave for our ride.

Somehow I end up at the very end of the pack. Justin is on this beast of a horse. I'm scared to get within a 5 ft radius of him because he's so huge and he might just knock over my horse by sneezing. I'm sweating through my shirt like a guy already and we haven't even left the ranch. I brought my camera but immediately handed it to Justin because I knew there was no way I was taking my hands off the reins. The praying begins.

Call me a city girl but I had absolutely no idea how much gas horses have. Justin is in front of me riding Costello AKA Goliath and the guy in front of him is on another giant of a horse as well. I'm pulling on the reins every two seconds trying to keep my distance for two reasons:

A. Because both of their horses are tooting something terrible literally every 30 seconds. One would go and then that other would start in and let me tell you, it was awful! There's nothing like looking at the beautiful mountains hearing a whoopie cushion sound the whole time...kinda takes the edge off the beauty aspect.

B. If I got too close to Justin's horse, Costello, he started to pee and it splattered all over me!

So I'm starting to gain my confidence but Dale suddenly sees a tree that looks like a might good butt-scratcher. So as the group is going on, I'm completely being mauled by a tree. As soon as Dale figures he got enough of a good scratch, I look like I just got into a cat fight with scratches all over my arm.

I look down at my watch and realize that we've only been gone for an hour and I have an hour more to go. My knees are burning and my bottom is already aching. I start into my inspirational "Little Engine that Could" talk to myself...I think I can, I think I can. We start descending down the mountain (thank goodness!). Dale goes down the mountain like he doesn't weigh half a ton and have toothpicks for legs. I tried to get him to slow down but I've already discovered this horse has a mind of his own. As we go down, it's really rocky and Dale loses his balance. Justin said that he looked something like this...
So Dale spooks Justin's horse and Costello AKA Goliath takes off up a mountain. Justin calms him down and our guide tries to get us moving probably because she is so ready to get rid of me at this point. As we get close to the ranch, our guide tells us that sometimes when the horses see home, they like to take off. Well, at this point I have Dale so tight on the reins he can hardly breathe. Costello AKA Goliath takes off. I mean not just a trot, I'm talking like there's a Kentucky Derby on the line. So now Dale is spooked and freaking out and going up on his back legs. Once again, I just hold on for dear life and look up to see Justin look like a jockey on his horse heading straight for the highway looking like his horse had no intention of stopping for miles. I say a prayer that my husband won't get killed on our anniversary trip.

Costello finally stops within feet of the highway. Justin throws up his hat like he just had his first had his first experience in a rodeo. Better him than me! I was so ready to get off that horse and get Justin off his. The ranch hands can't believe that the horses acted the way they did because they "never do that"...yeah right.

I won't tell you what I said to Justin after I finally got off that horse. It wasn't exactly the nicest thing to say to your husband on your anniversary. After a much needed shower, Justin redeemed the day by taking me to a really nice dinner that night. It was so wonderful getting to talk and have a conversation and not having to cut up food. Or even worse, not having any food after Campbell eats it all!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Anniversary Trip Day 1

ColoOur first day on our trip was so great. We had an early flight. Even without kids we somehow seem to make our ride to the airport a mad dash like we're on Amazing Race, I swear. Once we made it on the plane, the flight itself was so fast. Guess that's what happens when you're not worried about your kids being loud. And get this...I got to read a book! I haven't read a book on an airplane in over four years!

We got into Denver and headed straight to Jack-n-Grill after Justin saw it on Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. They are the home of the 7 lb. burrito but we weren't brave enough to get that, we just stuck with the regular breakfast burrito which seemed to be 7 lbs. I love how Justin is wearing a "Maintain don't Gain" shirt as he's eating this beast of a burrito.

Next we headed to Red Rocks to see the amphitheater. It was pretty warm in Denver when we decided to make the hike in flipflops up to see amphitheater but well worth it. I'm panting as loud as a dog and meanwhile there are all these people running up and down the stadium like it was just a fun jog. I bet concerts are so much fun there right in the middle of the mountains. The whole trip we keep blaming the altitude for everything. Then it just got to be the running joke throughout our trip any time something went wrong. And boy did it ever, stayed tuned for Day 2 and 3 coming soon.

After that, we thought we'd take the scenic route which is funny to say when everything is scenic in Colorado. Next we headed to the Big Thompson Highway. It's this meandering highway in the middle of the most beautiful canyons. I totally felt like someone might be filming us in our rental car for a commercial...perfect scene with the winding road! I was in sensory overload trying to take all of it in. I must have looked like a kid seeing Disney World for the first time. Then we came across this adorable picnic area nestled in the canyon. I can't even explain how absolutely picturesque it was but here's my attempt to try.

Finally we made to Estes Park and got to check-in to the Taharaa. I highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a great B&B. The breakfasts were phenomenal and the view looked fake it was so beautiful.
After having a happy hour at the lodge we headed to town for a casual dinner. On the way we saw a big group of Elk coming to down from the mountains to feed. It was so amazing to see wildlife that huge in the middle of the road.

The sheriff is back in town

Justin and I just got back from our late anniversary trip to Estes Park, Colorado. Oh do I have stories. Just to give you a teaser...let's just say it's a good thing that I came back alive in one piece with nothing broken with all my close calls I had this trip.

We left the boys with my parents. I figured four days would be all that they (and we) could handle. I called at least twice a day. Most calls were good minus one day when Nolan was full throttle on the meltdown. Whew, that was embarrassing! I got on the phone with him and told him to go to his room. I couldn't believe it when he actually did it! At least that helped me feel a little bit redeemed.

One of the times that I called they had just finished up breakfast and my mom asked me if I let him have chocolate milk. We have let him drink ONE glass of chocolate milk (soy, at that!) if he doesn't wet the bed as a little incentive so I don't have to change the sheets so often. Dead serious, my mom let him eat cheerios with chocolate milk instead of white milk. He told her that I let him do that and she believed him!

Ok, so now that mom and dad are back in town...we're trying to get things back to "normal". Last night Justin and I were so anxious to put our hands on the boys, we didn't even care that it was 10:30. We tried waking them up but they were OUT! We go in to kiss Nolan and he smells like syrup! I told Justin that I bet she let them bathe in it while we were gone. I guess they took their role of spoiling their grandchildren to heart. So we're on sugar, movie, and TV detox...I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Splash Park

I like my life of leisure (yeah right!). It's more like moving from full- time teacher to full-time mom that I've adjusted to this summer. I'm not sure which one is more exhausting.

On Fridays I get together with a moms group and we have fun things planned for the summer. Last week we took the kids to a splash park in one of the mom's neighborhoods. Of course it takes Nolan about 30-45 minutes to warm up to anything and then he's game. It was nice going to the park because it was all sprinklers so there wasn't a drowning factor to worry about. The only problem was the constant fountain sound apparently reminded Nolan that he needed to use the restroom. So in the first 10 minutes we were there, we went to the potty 3 times. Meanwhile, I left Campbell with a bowl of fruit that he devoured while I was gone and apparently left my sandwich within reach. Needless to say, I was hungry that day. It's my new diet where Campbell eats all my food! My friend Jenny is a photographer and took the last three shots. The last one is worth a click to see a close-up of Campbell. So cute!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Peach Festival

Last Saturday Justin went to go volunteer with Alcon to paint a daycare so I was trying to find something to do with the boys. My mom said that Weatherford was having their annual peach festival and we should take the boys.

See, here's my problem...I think things sound fun but I live in this delusional world. You would think I have learned my lesson with all the FFF outings in my life. No, apparently I'm a gluten for punishment. Remember my comment about Fort Worth Flop and how I act like a 5 yr. old when it's hot outside??? Let me just say that it's so hot in Texas right now that I can't even put my own children in the car without starting the car and rolling down all the windows for fear of baking them.

Parking was an issue so we had to park at one of the schools and take a school bus. Nolan never rode in one and was a big fan. Once again, my children were was me. I can't take the 103 degree heat, no shade, and a double stroller. Dead serious, I was about to pay someone for air conditioning. I tell Justin on more than one occasion that God purposely put me in this generation because he knew that I couldn't survive any other prior. Call me a princess, but I gotta have A/C!

We ate some very delicious homemade peach ice cream and peach cobbler...that made the beating well worth it. I felt guilty for two desserts but I swear I sweat the equivalent of my own body weight. Campbell wins the best baby award. I never heard a fuss! Oh wait, take the back. He did when I ran out of the ice cream...he was digging that! We stayed about an hour and then the heat just zapped us...or at least me and the grandparents. Nolan had a great time and had the hardest time saying "peach festival." I took a video of his rendition of how to say it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A visit to eat lunch with Daddy

The boys have been keeping me really busy and now that swim lessons are over, we can actually go and do things. Glad we did it but seriously it was starting to feel like a job...getting two kids in swimsuits (me too), towels, sunscreen...all for just a 30 min lesson. Last week we decided to go have lunch with Justin. Alcon has a gorgeous campus with ducks, huge coy fish, beautiful sand volleyball courts, and fountains. Nolan LOVES it. We chased the ducks...I think we scared them but then they flew to the pond and let us feed them. Next we were on to feed the coy. Those things are the size of small children. After about 10 minutes outside and sweating profusely in the 100 degree heat, we went inside so Justin could show off the boys.

I think he thinks that Justin plays all day with a campus like that. Now the only thing Nolan can talk about is his "work". I asked him all about it. He said that he works at a place called "Intruven" (clever name I thought!) and that I can come up there and see his kids. Here's more of our conversation:

A: So where is your work?

N: It's way far far away. You can't see it from here.

A: What do you do for your job?

N: I work at the computer and we watch movies like Dalmations and we eat candy.

A: Wow, your work sounds awesome.

N: Yea, and (in a whisper) we eat chocolate ice cream!

It was the cutest thing in the world hearing him say chocolate ice cream in a whisper like it was a secret.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Swim lessons

We made it through swim lessons and contrary to what I thought it was going to be at the beginning of the summer, it was not a waste of money! Let's take a time machine back to the first week of June at the was TERRIBLE! Nolan refused to go in the pool without a minimum of 8 floaties around some appendage of his body or holding me so tight that I can hardly breathe. So I usually had two boys-one on each hip trying to stay afloat myself.

Ok, fast forward three weeks later...Nolan is swimming with floaties on his arms only, jumping in the pool from the side and Justin and I can throw him to each other in the pool. He's not a fan of putting his face under water or floating on his back yet but look how far we've come!

I took a mommy-and-me class with Campbell while Nolan took his class and it was a lot of fun. They have the babies swim after rubber duckies and it really works! Campbell crawls out of the pool, gets his rubber ducky, and jumps back in. We still have a long way to go to blow bubbles instead of swallowing water but I hope starting him out early really helps. The more I take the boys to the pool, the better they get. It's still a lot of work to take them to the pool by myself. I'm tan from the waist up. My days of laying out at the pool are on the back burner for a few years it looks like. Until then, I'll just have to use spray tan on my legs.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fort Worth Fourth

I'm just now getting around to getting our 4th of July pictures posted. I have no excuse...I'm not even working right now! We had a great time. My sister, Tonya, and her girls came over to swim. Then we grilled out (what is the 4th without grilling out?) and headed downtown to see the fireworks.

We were really excited about seeing the fireworks this year. We haven't seen them in like 4 years. We have the WORST luck trying to see them. Last year, Campbell was a newborn and had jaundice and was on phototherapy. So we sent Nolan with my family as he "watched" the fireworks with his face buried in my brother's neck. The year before that we went to our usual spot to watch them only for 10:00 to come, then fireworks. So we were really pumped about seeing them this year.

We loaded up the car and headed to "Fort Worth Fourth" where they promised awesome fireworks after the FW Cats game. There were people everywhere outside the ball field ready to watch this show. The kids were doing pop-its and we were eating the delicious homemade ice cream my dad made. Everything was going well.

WARNING: Don't take children to watch fireworks where you have no idea what time frame you're looking at. My kids took a really late nap and were actually fantastic. I think it was me that was having the meltdown. Something about the sticky heat does it to me. I start acting like a 5 year old. We just kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Finally I called my friend Anna to find out what inning they were in. They were in the 9th! Thank goodness, it was 10:00 and we had been there since almost 8:00. She calls back...they tied it up and it went into extra innings. Hey thanks Fort Worth Cats...that's exactly what everyone is out here waiting for is for y'all to make the game LONGER!

Nolan was so adorable. He said, "C'mon light up your lights fireworks!" Sometimes he would call them "crackerfighters." He was such a trooper and so was Campbell even with his sweaty curls. Finally at about 10:20 we decided that this could go on all night. Good thing we left! Turns out the game went to 13 innings!!! No, I'm not kidding and they didn't do fireworks until close to midnight! Who shows fireworks that late? I personally can hardly stay up to that hour. So I have renamed Fort Worth Fourth more appropriately to Fort Worth Flop. I should have warned everyone that if it was our idea, it was going to be a bad one! Guess we'll just have to wait until next year....(sigh)!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer 'do

Justin and Nolan have been going with the buzz hairdo lately. Justin talked me into letting him do Nolan's in the backyard. I was very nervous and supervised to make sure nothing too wild or crazy was happening. Nolan was really still (for a 3 year old) and I thought looked really cute when it was done. Not too bad, Justin. These were taken a few weeks ago but he was so cute I just had to post them.

Afterward, we had to spray him down because of all the hair everywhere. It was pretty funny to see him running naked across the backyard from the hose.

getting the summer 'do from dad
being a good sport
posing with the new 'do
Whew! That's cold!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Movie time

I took Nolan along with Granddad to his first movie in a movie theater. I was a little nervous as some movies don't keep his attention. We went to go see the movie UP last week and it was a hit. At first he was a little taken back that it was so dark in the theater but was a really good sport. The only minor issue was that he couldn't sit back in the chair because the chair would eat him and snap him up like a clam.

He decided to sit in Granddad's lap and even though Granddad fell asleep Nolan was in a trance the entire time. It was my dad's second time to see it because he fell asleep the first time in it too. I told him he should just save his money and take a free nap at home.

Nolan talked about the movie all the way home about how much he loved it. He said it was too long but in the same breath how it was his favorite movie. I'm so glad this first experience was such a positive one! Justin took him on Friday to go see Dolphins in iMax at the Omni. This made me even more nervous because I know adults who can't handle it. Once again, Nolan was awesome and Justin said he would say, "Wow, that is so beautiful!" when they would show an aerial view of the ocean and islands. Looks like we have a movie buff on our hands!
movie ticket in hand
Nolan in his trance with Granddad

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

GRAND ol' time

Gram, Pop, and Aunt Rainey came in town from Kentucky to help celebrate Campbell's first birthday. It was so great to have them here when Campbell was born and a year later to celebrate yet again. It was a short visit but we jam packed in the fun. Friday night we went out with our close family friends Shay and Paige to dinner at Rio Mambo...yum. Those Kentuckyians can't get enough of good Mexican food but neither can I! Saturday was party day at the pool and after naps we headed to Central Market for some Burgers and Bock time. It was sweltering hot but we ate inside and then enjoyed some tunes outside. The band playing that night is one of Justin's coworkers from Alcon and Nolan was a dance machine. He kept saying, "I love rock-n-roll!"

Sunday we went to church, had a leisurely lunch and grilled out Sunday night. We were all a little pooped but we definitely made the most of our time. Nolan was pretty sad to see them go on Monday and kept asking if we were going to see them at the beach tomorrow. We're not going to the end of July but it's hard to explain a month in 3 year old terms. What a great visit!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks our 7 year anniversary! I can't believe how fast life is going! It's freaking me out! On the other hand, I look at all that has happened in 7 years and I can't believe all that we've fit in...our first house (still in it), career changes, two beautiful boys, and so much more. I feel so blessed that we've had 7 wonderful years. The thing I love about being with Justin is that we can always laugh at our lives even when things are crazy. It really helps us during those tough times.

We're going to Estes Park, Colorado in a couple of weeks for a late anniversary trip. Although it's going to be hard to leave the boys because of my neurotic ways, I know that we need to do things like this to take time for each other. I can't wait to not worry about nap times or eating dinner with conversation without trying to chase a sippy cup flying through the air...that in itself will be amazing!


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