Friday, July 30, 2010
But the following two days proved our decision a good one. The kids all think a hotel is a super exciting place to be. So even just watching cartoons on hotel beds, playing some of the games we brought or coloring in our room had them pretty dang happy, but when it was discovered that our hotel (which wasn't a fancy one by any means) had a pretty great little free breakfast, a pool that was half outside and half in, and prairie dogs everywhere you turned -- the parking lot was mostly surrounded by empty lots, all of which were literally teaming with the little critters; well, the kids were convinced the trip was a complete success.
My favorite part was just strolling around the main "16th street Mall" in the middle of downtown Denver. The whole street had such a fun atmosphere. People were everywhere walking up and down the sidewalks. The busses that run up and down the street (stopping at every corner) are all free. So we let the kids experience standing in a bus holding onto bars to keep from falling. The middle of the street is set up with benches, fountains, and other random things -- blue painted bulls, brightly painted pianos (Goldie was pretty excited when we let her put a dollar in a hat by one that was being played), etc. There were horse carriages, and tons of little taxi bikes pulling little carts. A number of them stopped to see if we needed a ride up to the Rockies game at Coors field (though, if we had, I haven't the slightest idea how a family of seven would have fit on the small seat they pulled along). It would have been nice to have shopped a little, but it seemed fun just to walk and look around and stop for a shake. There was also a large fountain that, while it didn't allow "wading," had wet stony paths through it. The kids deemed walking on those to be different enough from wading to be OK.
I also took the kids to the Denver Zoo one of the days. One of the other guys at the training with Mike said his wife and kids had gone and weren't impressed, but they must have been pretty spoiled by the zoos wherever they live, because I thought this one was pretty great. It had all the animals our local zoo has plus a number of other fun ones -- sea lions, seals, polar bears, eels, okapis, etc. The only not great thing about it, in my book, was the fact that it was 90 some odd degrees (which, I suppose, wasn't the zoos fault), that Penny was extremely tired and grumpy, and that Jesse, who was very good natured, has become extremely earth friendly and at nearly every moment was presenting me with junk off the ground as he dutifully proclaimed, "garbage." It was cute watching him try to fit these never before seen animals into his animal knowledge base though. He was super excited and a bit shocked when he saw the giant "doggy" that the rest of us considered to be a giraffe. And he was nearly as intrigued with the fascinating "fish" that didn't even live in water . . . and had legs (a komodo dragon).
After three times in one month, I wouldn't mind having no cause to pack and unpack all seven of us any time in the next little while. Then again, I've gotten pretty adept at it, so maybe bring on the trips? Maybe. I really am glad Mike thought to bring us all along. I think we made some pretty good little fun memories. . . . And, of course, a few sad ones . . . like Daisy accidentally erasing the video footage she'd captured of the sea lions and seals showing off. Whoo. That was a cause for some tears.
Oh prairie dogs, we brought you some old biscuits! Quit chittering your little danger call and nervously peaking your heads out and come and get 'em!
Hello polar bear. You guys always seem so silly and pleasant it is hard to believe you'd rather eat me than play a nice game of fetch with me.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
For some reason this image made me laugh and then nearly cry. Not the kids. The chair. I had told them to get my camping chair out too so I could be out there and make sure they were safe. Notice where Goldie put my chair? In that spot of shade? It just seemed like the saddest and cutest little gesture to put me in the one patch of shade in the yard. Look how big the patch is. Here Mike and Abe help with lemonade stand set up.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Here the little critters are -- all grown up. Well, mostly grown up. As you can see, those little gray chicks didn't turn into either of the varieties we thought they might -- rather a kind of pretty and sissy little chicken. The one in the next picture that is staring right at you as if he might peck your beady little eyes out -- no wait, your eyes aren't beady; his are -- still, the one giving you the look proved himself most grown up of all by beginning to crow this past week. Mike thought he was the best looking of our chickens and so was sad about the discovery of his roosterness -- our neighbors won't be hip to his crowing jive, so he will have to leave us. It's just as well for me. Mike was out of town this past week so I was in charge of sneaking up on the fella and grabbing him, putting him in a dog carrier, and shutting him in a room in our basement each night so our neighbors wouldn't wake to his lovely calls in the early morning. Something like grabbing a hold of a rooster "just firmly with a hand over each wing," as Mike tells me, is nooo big deal to my husband, but it gives me a minor panic attack every time I have to do it. The other day Jesse was heading out the back door. Daisy was nearby so he called, "Daisy, bye!" to her. Then, as an afterthought, he paused and added in a serious and informative tone, "Daisy, bock bock." Which was cool because we both knew exactly what he was telling us -- which was, "Daisy, goodbye. I'm headed outside, and if anyone should need to know of my specific whereabouts, I will be paying a visit to the chickens."
Here he is feeding them some nice dead leaves. Chickens love to eat leaves. (Chickens do not love to eat leaves, but no matter, they never learn -- they simply continue to grab for each leafy offering, entertaining my kids for hours, in hopes that it might be something of a more grainy variety).Here Jesse and Goldie are "feeding" the chickens. They've both had their fingers pecked good and hard, but it hasn't stopped them. I'm glad my kids can have a nice healthy farmy upbringing on a normal city block.
When Mike and I first saw this small video clip, we laughed so hard.
First of all, because we had no idea of the films existence til I happened to load our camera pics onto the computer and noticed a bunch of photos and videos that I had never taken. (Goldie, it turns out, was the camera girl).
Second, because it showed us a side of Penny we had never witnessed first hand. A side that was both hilarious and disturbing.
And thirdly, because for all the world it reminded us of some low budget, independent, monster search documentary.
Watch and judge for yourselves.
First the camera crew comes upon something that appears to be a small child -- alone in a dark and strange place -- a swamp maybe. They slowly approach the child only to have it turn upon them and reveal itself to be a horrid monster. A banshee maybe? They back away slowly, but then the creature rushes them. In the ensuing panic, the camera shakes and there are sounds of terror as the camera crew scatter and run for their lives. Just when it appears they may have lost the strange swamp creature, she pops up in front of the camera again. There is more screaming and we are left last with the faint image of the wee thing running off into the distance never to be seen again. But the proof this team uncovered will keep monster seekers filming and searching in the area for years to come.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The next week we were up at Bear Lake for the reunion Mike's side has. I've mentioned before that we grew up spending a lot of time at my grandma's little lake side trailer at Bear Lake. We had the place til I was in college, so Bear Lake has always been a significant place for me, and I love that Mike's parents have had a few reunions up there so that my kids are also developing happy Bear Lake memories.
The lodge Mike's parents rent is incredible and makes the reunion so nice. Usually it is a little stressful trying to fit and sleep kids with so many family members around, but this lodge has 15 bedrooms! It's just a walk down to the beach and so amazingly fun. I don't have the energy to decide which of the many photos from the trip to put on my blog, so they will just go in my photo album, however, all this reunioning made me want to put up some pictures of our families from the reunions.
I stole the ones of my family off of my sister Shannon's camera. I stole the one of Mike's family off of his brother Jeff's camera, and the ones of the couples in Mike's family were all taken by his sister-in-law Rhonda. Thanks all of you for sharing your photos!
Starting off with the folks on my side.
My parents with ten of their eleven kids. (Amy left a day early and missed picture time. Booo).
Back row: Me, Chris, John, Mark, Aaron, Rob, Tony.
Front row: Kathy, my dad, my mom, Shannon, Megan.
All of us with our spouses. Once again no Amy and Alan. We didn't even attempt a full one with grandkids.
Now on to Mike's side of the family.
And, with his wife -- that would be me. Oh, look how much we like each other. And how big his arms are.Here is Mike's entire family. I tried to crop it so you'd be more likely to see individual faces, but there are just a whole lot of people.Here are individual shots of the couples in the family. Starting with Mike's parents then in order from oldest to youngest (well, Mike isn't in these ones since I just showed us -- but he's second to youngest). Anyway, the pics go (with his actual sibling listed first out of each couple): parents Alma and Gayle, Becky and Troy, Jeff and Elyse, Kimberly and Tom, Marnie and John, Dave and Jaime, Lisa and Dennis, Greg and Rhonda.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
This might be the only picture existing of all seven of us. I need to do something about that. Shan's friend Mary, Shan, and brother Rob.Mike and Abe after going on a ride that left them both feeling a bit out of sorts.Stef, Me, nephew Christian and his wife Sara, Shan's head poking up behind us, and other family off in the background.Amy rented a cotton candy making machine. It was quite a hit. Here Goldie gives it a try.Three of my messy little cotton candy makers.
Anywho, off to Mike's family reunion tomorrow, so don't go thinking the fun is all over.