Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crazy Colorado Weather

Our first two weeks in Colorado we were in much need of rain. We had a lot of cloudy days but no rain ever came from the dark stormy Sky's. Thankfully we have had rain the past few afternoons but the weather has been unpredictable. I left for my ride two days ago and it was a bit cloudy but sunny and hot. About 45 minutes into my ride the clouds started rolling in and the winds started to howl. I decided I better get home. Only minutes after I turned around to head home the rain came...and it was sheets of rain. About 15 minutes from home I finally took shelter under a tree from a surprise hail storm. About 10 minutes later the hail, rain and wind stopped and it was perfectly calm and I headed for home. Crazy Colorado weather!

I rode to Buena Vista from the house yesterday and had amazing weather...unlike my ride the day before. The ride from the Smith ranch to K's dairy was 2:20. It doesn't seem like that long but the ride has a few pretty long, steep climbs before you even get to the trail head. The ride kicked my butt but I'm super glad I did it. I stopped about half way on my ride to check in with Joel. He and the kids were going to pick me up in Buena Vista. I took a few pics from my phone.

The trail has everything; fun, fast single track, technical downhills, aspen groves, etc...

This old church is now the visitor center and chamber of commerce for Buena Vista. It is in the park Evie had her Vacation Bible School at and it's next to Kay's dairy, where I was going to meet Joel.

Famous K's. The ice cream is like Dairy Queen but it's kind of the only hopping spot in town.

I took this picture from my ride yesterday after the hail storm. The tree doesn't have many needles on the branches but the wind and rain was in such sheets that when I sat down against the trunk I wasn't touched by the wind or rain or hail.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We finally got a good rain after eagerly waiting for the past two weeks. The bike trails have been soooo dry and dusty. It's always fun to find the rainbow after the rain stops.

Evie couldn't resist taking a dip in the birdbath - once she soaked her dress, it was quickly on the ground and it was all about naked time.

Standing at the house looking left. The clouds are parting and the rest of the rainbow is starting to show.

Standing at the house looking right.
Grandpa and Grandma Smith's house we are lucky to spend so much time at.

VIDEO: Of the Rainbow

Vacation Bible School - Buena Vista

When we were at the parade a few weeks ago we received a handout for a week long vacation bible school at the local park. Ethan enjoyed playing at the park while Evie was in class. Evie was well taken care of. The ratio of volunteers to kids was at least 2-1. Evie loved all the attention. Most of the volunteers were a single family from Tennessee (a mom & her 12 kids) traveling doing missionary work over the summer.

Ethan wasn't sure what to think sometimes. The singing and games would certainly grab his attention.

Both kids loved the snow cones at the end of class.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lunch by the Arkansas River

Joel packed a picnic lunch and we were off to the Arkansas River to this great little spot that Joel's sister Ashley showed us. The drive to where you park is a bit sketchy and from there it's about a mile hike. We got to the fire road and to our surprise it was now a private drive and the road was graded with no trespassing signs posted. We of course checked it out and sure enough there is a new home being built at the top of the hill. We turned around and found another spot to park. We were in for an adventure as we were not sure of the trail and the terrain is pretty rocky. We did carry both kids the whole time (and neither of them are light) but it was worth it. We all had a great time.

Super-dad. Evie loves riding on Joel's shoulders but it made Ethan fussy. Turns out he is a little cramped for space with Evie's bottom basically in his face. She got mad because he was shoving her out of his way.

Joel and Ethan scoping out where we need to go from here....

Mommy's turn to give sauce-pants a ride...

We made it to our destination but there were a few rafters using the picnic table area. It's a good spot for them to stop and have lunch. Occasionally there are campers also.

Evie loved waving to the rafters - I think they loved it too.

Evie's grandma Joyce got this swimsuit for her and I love it! I love the sun protection, that it's stylie and that it's comfortable. I just ordered her one for next year. If you're interested the site is:

Ethan is such a foodie. I thought it was cute that he was just chilling with his hand on Joel's shoulder waiting for Joel to unpack his lunch. He was so curious about what was in the bag.

To be able to play in the mud and then walk over to the river and wash up and then do it all over again...Evie was in Heaven!

Evie was pretending to be a swamp monster

It was convincing too...I didn't want her to touch me

There is our 'solid' Ethan. "Husker football here I come"

Ethan enjoyed an apple as big as his face. I'm not sure where it's going to go...his belly is so full from lunch. He kept digging around in the lunch bag every time we turned our back and pulled something else out of there. He only dropped the apple on the ground about 10 times. A little dirt and sand never hurt anyone, right?

And the cherry pit spitting contest. Unfortunately, and I still can't believe it, but our camera wound up in the water yet this is the last picture I have from our day. It's drying out again but unfortunately there is sand everywhere possible. I have never dropped our camera before let alone in the water and this trip to Colorado our camera has been in the water twice! Thankfully Joel was the culprit this time - which somehow makes me feel a little better. We're still hoping it comes back to life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chalk Cliffs Fish Hatchery

We went to the fish hatchery today and to our surprise it was soooo much cooler than we expected. When we arrived we were greeted by a volunteer who showed us around the visitor center, gave us a few buckets of fish food and directed us on our way around the grounds. The Chalk Cliffs Fish Hatchery annually raises about 700,000, ten-inch rainbow trout! Fish are raised in concrete raceways and seven dirt ponds on about 60 acres.

Ethan knew exactly what to do. He grabbed big handfuls of food and cocked his hand back as if he were throwing a baseball. The best part is he would hold his hand behind his head long enough for most of the food to fall out of his hand and down his shirt before throwing it.

There were a few dead fish to be found near the raceways. Evie quickly grabbed a nearby stick to poke at the fish. She is certainly curious.

A view of the raceways

It is hard to show the multitude of fish in a single picture. (You'll have to check out the video clip at the end of the post).

Ethan enjoyed dragging his bucket around. He collected lots of rocks, sticks and weeds.

When we were on our walk back to the entrance Evie asked Joel if he would carry her because she was so tired. We didn't expect to stay so long and it was well past afternoon nap time. Ethan fell asleep within a few minutes on our drive home.

VIDEO: Joel and the kids feeding the fish

Monday, July 20, 2009

Zip Line

Joel installed the zip line the other day and the kids have really been enjoying it. To my surprise even Ethan loves it. He looks a little surprised while he's on it but when his feet touch the ground he runs directly back to the ladder and starts climbing up to do it again. Here are a few videos of the kids having fun on the zip line.

Salida Park

We went to mass in Salida today so Ethan could take a good morning nap. Usually we go in Buena Vista but the mass time is basically Ethan's nap time and last Sunday he melted down in the car all the way home...saying ni ni (night night). It was hard not to feel guilty for putting him in that situation. Anyway, after mass today we had lunch at a great new Chinese restaurant we found last year and let the kids ride and play at the park.

There were warn paths that crossed through the park from the corner of each block and through the center like an X. The kids had fun running on the paths...actually, just running in general.

Ethan sporting a pair of glasses Joel found on the swing

Evie giving you the Taiwanese victory sign and I think a nanu-nanu or something from Star Trek...

Heading back to the car

...but not before the kids did twirly-whirlies until they were so dizzy they would fall down laughing

Just a few blocks away from the car. You can faintly see the Salida 'S' on the hill in the distance.

Evie was excited to find hand prints in the concrete that were her size. The names in the concrete were Sarah and Connor. Evie was full of questions about who the kids are and why there hand prints were there...