Friday, September 11, 2009


Warning, picture overload ahead!
Ahhh, our little peace of heaven, Welcome to Paradise Valley, folks!
We attempted hike to blue springs. Some hike are really great, and others are like trying to herd kittens up a mountain. This was a herding kittens kind of hike! The kind that you wonder why you even bother! It was fun anyway.
Painting river rocks with cousins. This was one of Summer's favorite things. But of course you probably already guessed that seeing that she's an artist and all.
Being babysat by Aunt Kelli! We don't do time outs on my watch. On my watch, we work! Don't let those sad faces fool you, I think they enjoyed scrubbing the paint off Grandma's patio as much as they liked painting.
We have a rule in our family. The only time the kids are allowed to help us drive is when we are on the ranch. This was the first time Matthew was able to participate! He was very pleased with the opportunity!
We had a few picnics at the ranch. Here we munched on fresh veggies from the garden nearby. I practiced my crocheting and watched the kids play in the tree house. Very relaxing Lexi would like a sandwich, too. This was our first outing after Daddy arrived. We missed him so much and were thrilled to have him to play with.
There's a reason they don't give hunter's safety licenses to kids, no matter how cute they are. We went camping and it was a ton of fun. It rained really hard while we were trying to cook dinner. I loved falling asleep listening to the rain patter on the camper. The kids had a blast running around with their cousins and I got to enjoy cold weather. It was in the 50's! A rare treat for us Floridians.
The BB gun was one of T Jay's main objectives while in MT. Everywhere we went, he asked me if he was going to get to shoot the BB gun.
Posing with aunt Angie (Jess' little sister) while camping.
T Jay had a blast playing with his cousin Danny. They are exactly one month apart and were essentially inseparable for the entire two weeks we were there. Playing army men was their favorite game.
Camping. T Jay was really pleased with his ability to jump into the picture. He kept saying, "did you see me? Did I get in?"
I raided the baby doll clothes at grandmas house for some warm things for Lexi to wear. She even used the baby doll sleeping bag! I thought that was funny.
We went to Chico Hot Springs for pizza and a swim and we saw this rainbow on the way home. They don't call it Paradise Vally for nothing.
Argh, Matey!
Grandpa and the local Uncles built this pirate ship tree house at the ranch. We had a pirate ship christening party. Grandma made the kids pirate costumes, and grandpa even made little cannons! It was a great party.
T Jay raising the flag.
All of the pirate cousins together. They're a menacing bunch.
They got to have a treasure hunt...
and the pirate ship was christened with water balloons.
Summer with her "booty" from the treasure hunt.
Jess' ancestors were pioneers in Paradise valley. This is their family plot in the Shorthill cemetery which is designated for those pioneer homesteaders. His great Uncle Dave took us on a tour of the valley and told us stories about the family. It was a great highlight for me. I love hearing old stories and learning about family. It's the history lover in me.
This hike to Pinecreek falls was much better. We hardly had to do any herding at all. T Jay did want to pose on every large rock we came to. Seeing that we were on a mountain, we had to limit the photo ops a bit to make it out for lunch. Speaking of, we went for an Old Saloon burger. It has been there since the early 1900's. I had to resist a really strong urge to walk around and ask the lady working if each and every item in there was original or not. I was able to find some newspaper articles. I think that is why I was able to keep from making a pest of myself.
We celebrated T Jay's 7th birthday on our last day in MT. I can't believe my baby is 7! We were doing the balloon relay. Loud noises still make him nervous. He ended up liking the game, though. He wanted a Star Wars party. Aunt Angie made him the coolest Star Wars cupcakes! Somehow I missed getting a picture of them in here. Maybe I'll have to add one later because they were really cute.
All of the cousins who were at the party. I thought it was funny how TJay was lounging out in front of everyone in all of the pictures. Let there be no mistaking whose party it is.
Matthew and cousin James out by Grandma's raspberry bushes, or as we began calling it "the snack bush." I can't begin to tell you how many times a day I would catch Matthew out there having a snack! He was in heaven.
Gross, yet cute!
We had so much fun in MT this summer. We hope to be back for another great summer next year! Thanks for all of the fun Grandma and Grandpa! We love you and miss you already!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


We got to spend two weeks in CO with my Mom and we had a blast. Here are a few (OK, more than a few!) photos of the visit.
We went to the fountains downtown and had a picnic. It was a little chilly to get wet, but heaven for me.
Proof that Matthew has another speed besides on. It's called off!
The very first thing that T. Jay wanted to do was go to Mr Bigg's. It a huge arcade, bowling, jumpy, go-cart, little Bigg town place. Here they are playing in the ball room. There are air guns all over the room that shoot these foam balls. The kids had a blast in here.
Grammy protected Lexi from any stray balls flying her way!
We also went to the Denver zoo. It was a great day. Although here our second stomach bug outbreak (Summer) took place while watching the Monkeys. Later that night, Uncle Chris and Aunt Brittany also succumbed while T Jay got to enjoy round two the next day.
You can't drink form the hose like that in FL! The water is too hot! Of course, one should pace oneself...
We went on a great hike! Oh, why is Matthew pant-less you are wondering? Well, when we got to CO he decided that the toilet was overrated and opted instead for his pants. While on the hike he kept acting like he was going to use the bathroom (#2)but refused and so I just took them off. I didn't have extra clothes, nor enough wipes to clean up such a mess. I finally got him over it with unholy amounts of sugar and hosing him off in the yard with the lovely CO glacier water! Terrible, I know, but a girls got to do something!
The view from the start of our hike with Aunt Lana, Uncle Carson and Amanda.
Summer and I went with Grammy and the sisters-in-law in town (we missed you Nicole and Katherine) to have a mani-pedi! Great fun and Summer ate up the girli-ness of it all.
Hugely underrepresented in this post, so a little slice of cutie pie for you!
Note that row of cups on the wall behind you. Having a Mother who barely (if at all) scrapes the 5 foot mark (sorry, Mom) I have to be mindful of myself at all times in her house. These cups that are eye level for her are right at shoulder level for me. I can't tell you how many times I chimed those cups walking by! It's a little like being an almost giant in an almost little persons house! stools everywhere, etc.! I love you Mom!
We got to go to my Mom's church picnic with her. The kids had tons of fun running around this huge park. Oh, that sweet face! I cna't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the awesome, dry weather in CO. I loved the cool nights. I wanted to sit in lawnchair outside and just enjoy being cold on Mother Nature's dime!
The children got to bath and walk my Mom's dog "Magic (pronounced majeeck)." They loved playing with him, and his really cool retractable leash. By the way, those kinds of leashes are good for way more than just walking dogs!
We went to Garden of the Gods to climb around and play with Uncle Carson's rock crawlers.
Anyone else nervous? I had him put his monkey backpack on right after I took this. I really didn't need to lose him over the cliffs! No fear, I tell you.
Summer coming down with the little car. I love this park. Great hiking trails and beautiful scenery. Jess and I went one of our first dates here to see the sun rise.
All of the cousins present posing for a picture. Amanda (Carson) and Caevin (Chris) and Brittany (Chris' wife) are on the right.
Check out the storm in the background! I had two requests for my trip. One was obviously to survive and enjoy the trip and the other was that I could have at least one cold, rainy day. I love rain, which we have plenty of here in FL, but I really love cold rain. I was blessed abundantly, I think I got three or four rainy days in CO and even more in MT.
So, that was our trip to CO, plus lots of cousin time & relaxing. Oh and remember that post where Jess and I declared our independence from being obsessed with desserts, well that didn't work on vacation! My brother Chris and I made cookies several times and compared notes. We used to call Chris "cookie boy" when we were kids because he always made cookies for the fam. Thanks for the fun visit, Mom!