Tuesday, August 31, 2010

goodbye sunshine ranch, until next summer

We said goodbye to sunshine ranch for the summer and started our drive towards Denver, stopping at the Butterfly Pavilion on our way.

The Butterfly Pavilion was a bit out of our way from the hotel but the kids were pretty excited about going after their cousins said how neat it was.

Evie was happy to hold Rosie, the tarantella

Ethan wanted to but not until he's three. He was a good boy and just looked.

The kids enjoyed watching the busy little bees - if they only knew they are just as busy.

The horseshoe crab was burying itself in the sand to go to sleep. It was cool to watch but Ethan thought it was especially neat it wanted to go night-night. Maybe three or four times Ethan crawled back up to watch the crab.

You can only imagine how stoked Evie was to find these shiny blue butterflies. I wish I could have had her "whoa, mom, look at these" on video.

When we actually got to where the living butterflies were I think Evie was maybe more excited about the flowers than the actual butterflies.

Evie was so gentle when holding the butterflies.

The kids took a nap on our way from the butterfly pavilion to our hotel in downtown Denver. The kids always love looking out the window first. If I have one travel secret to share it's ask for an upgrade and see what they say. We always ask and at least 70% of the time the hotel upgrades us to a suite for no extra charge. If the hotel isn't busy they usually do it. We booked our hotel using Expedia and it was $80 a night. When we checked in I asked if they happen to have a room with a larger bathroom and they put us in a $400 a night suite at no extra charge. Just thought I would mention it. It never hurts to ask.

Evie couldn't wait to play dress up when we got to the hotel. She is queen of wardrobe changes.

We were able to meet up with my cousin Michelle and her family in Edgewater for dinner. She knew of this great Thai place and it was yummy. After dinner the kids enjoyed feeding the ducks and playing by the water until it was past bedtime.

There's that face I want to squeeze!
The kids had fun breaking apart cattails. Evie remembers her grandpa Malcolm doing it in Colorado for her.

The kids busied themselves drawing in the sand with the cattail stems.
Ethan is helping Evie finish her sandcastle.

Heading back to the car; tired and soaked. The car is just past the sign below, across from the restaurant but also near lots of medical marijuana places. Joel and I looked in one and were surprised to see a bank like teller window with Plexiglas and a hole to peak through. We saw totally normal looking people and some not so normal looking people pick up and drive away. Maybe this will be the way of the future and legalizing it?

Sunset in Colorado

We had some amazing sunsets in Colorado. This was our last one for the summer as we are packing up and starting our drive back to NE in the morning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Berry yummy...

We had berry pancakes this morning and by the look of Ethan's face and smile they must have been yummy.

Evening sunset

We had a beautiful sunset last night. I was in the bathroom brushing the kids' teeth and looked out the window. I quickly told the kids to hurry outside. The moon was fantastic also but didn't grab a picture before it ducked behind a cloud. Evie was excited the sky was pink.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A little quad adventure

Sadly Joel has been sick the past few days. It hit him when he was in Cortez testing with Johnny. By the time he got home he was pretty sick and spent the next few days in bed. I think he read two long books in three days. He is better now and back on his bike and back to being super-dad.
These are pictures from my cell phone.

We went to the wash near the end of the driveway. The kids always have fun digging in the dirt and playing with rocks...or sticks, in this picture.

Did I mention the kids like to play in the dirt?

Another beautiful, perfect day in Colorado.
Evie gathered a beautiful bouquet of flowers and said she was getting married today. (so girl)

Ethan sat in the dirt dumping handfuls of dirt on his shoe (so boy)

Evie and Ethan decorated this tree with lots of flowers. It was cute to watch them gather and decorate.

One of the lucky branches that got decorated.

Evie and I went through the culvert before getting back on the quad and heading back to the house for dinner.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eating chipper food...

We always put out our old bread, etc. for the chippers, bunnies and birds that visit us at Sunshine Ranch. I have to watch what I put out because the kids also eat it. This morning I put out chips that we made the night before and I looked out the window and the kids were sitting around the chips like they were at a picnic.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ethan's White-lined Sphinx hummingbird

Joel caught Ethan a White-lined Sphinx "hummingbird" moth. Luci noticed these when she was here. They look like little miniature hummingbirds when they are moving but when they are not moving they look just like a moth. (Mom, Ethan loves his cars water bottle. He carries it around everywhere)

This is Ethan's White-lined Sphinx. We didn't keep it long before we let it go. It was neat to get a close up look though.

What I found on-line: This is a moth species commonly called "hummingbird"," "sphinx," or "hawk" moths.

The Sphingidae are strong fliers, with a rapid wingbeat. Most are medium to large moths, with heavy bodies; wingspread reaches 5 inches or more in some species. Although a few are active in the daytime, most species in the group are active at dusk. Most, but not all, sphingids feed much like hummingbirds, hovering in front of a flower and sipping nectar through the extended proboscis. The proboscis rolls up like a party noisemaker when not in use, and may not be readily evident in a resting moth.

(this one fed like a hummingbird and had a proboscis).

Good times

When I got back from my bike ride Joel and Clarke were (literally) 'hanging' outside with the kids.

Joel was getting a leg workout and the kids were working their abs.

The kids caught a ride into the house with Clarke. He really is so fantastic with them.

Clarke has been working with Tomac since the beginning and since that's out of our house it feels like he has watched the kids grow up as much as Joel and I have. He really is part of our family.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Buena Vista Gold Rush Days

I forgot about the Gold Rush Days in Buena Vista because it over lapped with the Leadville 100 event that Joel and Clarke were working. On our way to church we saw a sign that said parade in progress so after mass we walked to main street and watched the start of the burro race. Yes, burro race. They had a lot of fun venues and games for the kids. I didn't think to bring my camera so here are a few pictures from my phone.

Evie took a ride on this crazy bungee jumping thing. She didn't weigh enough to get herself high in the air so with some help from the staff she soared quite high. We had so many people ask us how old she was and tell us they were expecting her to scream that she wanted off. She not only loved it and asked if she could go higher but she asked if she could do it again when she got off. Guess she has a little of that Smith adrenaline in her...

Ethan wasn't sure what to think which was a good thing because he was too small to take a ride.

Yes, that's Evie way too high in the air...

The kids enjoyed petting all the different animal furs. Evie knew quite a few of them.

The kids waited patiently for their turn to jump. Evie was only in it a minute before she came out and told me she had to go potty.

Having a little hot dog lunch before heading back to sunshine ranch.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Salida with Luci

We had lunch at Amica's in Salida, Luci's favorite restaurant in Salida. It's one of our favorites also. It's always consistently good and the food comes out quickly, which is a plus with kids.

After lunch we went to the river. The kids discovered they could walk through the trees to the left.

The kids had fun making their way through the trees. They would start down by the water and end up near the road/boat drop off area, walking through this big section of trees. It was cute. When they were in the trees I couldn't really see them but I could hear them and then all of a sudden they would pop out. It was cute.

Joel was brave and swam in the ice cold water.

Ethan and Evie saw daddy get in his swim suit and so they had to also. Ethan tried to throw Jake a stick to fetch but it was a bit heavy for him. Aunt Luci was cute and helped him. Jake swam after that stick at least 50 times. I think he worked pretty hard swimming against the current.

Evie was brave and wanted to float down the river with daddy until she felt the cold water. She quickly jumped on his back and made him carry her as she was trying not to touch the water.

Even at the end Evie was trying not to touch the water.

She quickly wrapped herself up in a towel and found a sunny spot to warm up.

Ethan wanted a turn in the water. Joel took him out to the middle and soaked his feet knowing he would think it was cold too.

Ethan and his fun daddy.

Joel mid jump off a rock

Ethan got brave enough to soak his bottom. It was cute watching him work up to this...first he squatted and would stand up really fast and eventually he sat down.

Aunt Luci and her puppy Jake. I wish I would have been better about taking more pictures. These two posts are about the only pictures I have of Luci and her trip here. I'll have to get pictures from Luci, she was so good about having her camera with her. It was a good trip, but a fast one. Thanks again Luci for making the trip!!!