July 30, 2009

The Rest Of Our Vacation

We spent the rest of our vacation in and around the Denver area.  Thanks to all of Jeff’s travel rewards our room was taken care of downtown at the Crowne Plaza.  I’m sure Grant would tell you that his favorite part was definitely the rooftop pool.

On Wednesday morning we went to one of our favorite breakfast spots.  We discovered the Original Pancake House when Jeff’s sister lived in Florida and they seem to be located everywhere (except Wichita) so when we go out of town we always have to see if there is one nearby.


If you have never been to the Original Pancake House then you’ve probably never heard of a Dutch Baby.   It is one of the signature items.  Basically it’s a pancake that is baked in a cast iron skillet and served with whipped butter, lemons & powdered sugar.  Jeff loves these so much that several years ago I bought a cast iron skillet and tried to make them here at home.


On Thursday we took a little road trip to Golden, CO to tour the Coors Brewery.   I guess we should have gone later in the day because at 10:00 am neither Jeff or I was really up for drinking all 3 of the full beer samples after the tour.  We did hit the gift shop though where Jeff got to try on this goofy hat!!!

On our way back to Denver we stopped for a late lunch at the famous Casa Bonita’s.  It is a Mexican restaurant that has been around for almost 30 years and is known for it’s cliff divers, escaping gorillas and cowboy shootouts.  I think it might also be famous for it’s horrible food.   We all make sacrifices for our children and this was definitely one of those times.  Grant left thinking it was the best place ever so Jeff and I just smiled and told him how much we loved it too.

For those of you who have not been lucky enough to experience Casa Bonita’s for yourself  let me fill you in . . . you begin by waiting in a cafeteria style line with a tray that is probably 25 years old to have horrible school lunch like food dished out  to you.  Then you are seated and get to watch a new show every 15 minutes with the same people dressed in different outfits using microphones that somehow make it unable for you to understand anything that is being said. 

Here we are outside Casa Bonita’s by the fountain.  I think Jeff and I were smiling so big because we were headed to the car!!!DSC_0064

The other big highlight of our trip was going to the Rockies game on Saturday evening.  We found out earlier that day that it was photo night at the ballpark so we got there early and got to go down on the field and Grant got his picture taken with all the players and coaches.  He was in heaven!!!  My goal is to make a collage for him with all the photos. 

That’s all folks . . .

July 28, 2009

Playing Around

There are so many other productive things I could be doing right now but I just can’t stop playing around with this new program.  I absolutely love the options it has for posting pictures.

Isn’t this cool???

(Pardon the old photos . . .  I think these are from about 4 years ago.)  I always loved the ones of Grant in his little suit. He looks so grown up.   That year all he wanted for Christmas was a suit like the one daddy wears.  So we got him this one for Christmas.  He was SOOOO excited.  I ended up taking him to Portrait Innovations to have his picture taken in it and of course bought way more than I needed to.  My plan is to have his senior pictures taken in a suit too so I can frame them and hang them together.

This is the other feature that I love.  Check it out!!!  These are all photos from a trip that the boys and I took to see Kristen in Texas a few summers ago.

Lunch With The Girls

Today I got together with the girls from school for lunch at Jason’s Deli. Our good friend Julie, who used to teach in our hallway, was in town visiting her family and managed to sneak away for a little bit to see us and catch up. She brought princess Madeline along with her. Gosh she is a doll!!!


Here’s a lovely group shot.

(Lori, Diane, Julie, Madeline, Kelsey, me & Michelle)


It’s so hard to believe that we have to go back to work two weeks from today. Summer vacation always goes by way too fast!!!

* You may notice that this post looks a bit different. I found the greatest new program called Windows Live Writer that I just downloaded to my new laptop (shh . . . don’t tell the technology department at work) that makes posting pictures so much easier. I was so sick of having to go back and reformat every single time I added photos to my blog. If you haven’t heard of it you might want to go check it out. It was free and so far I love it!!!

Adventures in Colorado Springs

On Wednesday we spent a lot of time in the car but we managed to hit most of the big “touristy” spots around the Colorado Springs area. It was a day full of adventures.

Our first stop was at the Royal Gorge. As we got out of our car we were disappointed to see that we didn’t really have a very good view of the bridge. There were several structures that had been strategically built to block the view of from the parking area. It became very clear to us why this was so when we got to the booth to buy our tickets. That’s right . . . you have to buy tickets to go on the bridge and to see the bridge and they are not cheap ($28 per person). We kind of thought this seemed like a waste of money, as did most of the other people arriving around that time, so we headed back to the car to go to our next stop on the itinerary. Luckily as we were leaving the parking lot I spotted a viewing area hidden in the trees and we managed to get a few photos. This made me feel like the trip hadn’t been a total waste of time.

Next we went to Manitou Springs to see the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. They were built more than 700 years ago by the Anasazi indians and have been preserved. Grant really enjoyed walking around and going inside the cliff dwellings. I think it will be something he remembers and will be helpful when he begins learning more about native americans in school.

Our last adventure of the day involved more time in the car. We headed to the summit of Pikes Peak.

*** Before I tell you the whole story I think it’s important to add that my mom and dad had called me the night before to remind me that if I had to do any of the driving coming down the mountain to remember to drive in a low gear and not ride my brakes. Obviously they could already foresee what was going to happen.

We took off up the scenic 19 mile, 2 lane mountain road with Grant riding shotgun in the front seat and me in the back. We reached the halfway point without any trouble. Eventually though it started raining, the roads turned into gravel and the guard rails slowly disappeared. With every turn in the road we were climbing higher and higher and it looked like we were going to just drive right up into the clouds. It is definitely an odd feeling. I could see from the back seat that Jeff was breathing quite a bit harder than usual and I started to get a little stressed out thinking that I might have to take over the driving duty. A few miles farther (at about mile marker 15) there was a place to pull over and that’s just what we did. Jeff said he couldn’t go any further. He is extremely afraid of heights and he wasn’t feeling well so much to my dismay I got behind the wheel and started driving. I probably need to add that Jeff didn’t even get out of the car. He just climbed over the seat and got in the back and closed his eyes. Very manly, huh????

So, I began our slow creep to the top and could tell that Grant was getting quieter and quieter the farther I drove. There’s something about seeing your dad scared that has an effect on a child. At mile marker 17 there was a huge viewing area so we stopped there and got out to take some photos. Grant begged me to turn around and go back down because he said he was feeling sick. Really, I think he was just worried about Jeff.

This is the part of the story where admit that I started to feel sick. Drving down the mountain seemed so much worse to me than I imagined. I don’t think I have ever driven on such steep narrow roads that plummet into caverns 2000 feet below me. Not to mention on every sharp turn meet another car all while trying to drive in 1st gear and not use my brakes. It was truly a horrible experience and I was the one to blame because I had talked about going to the top of Pikes Peak ever since we started planning our trip. I knew all about Jeff’s fear of heights but for some reason I really thought he would be ok. It was much worse than I remembered as a child.

We stopped again at the halfway point to let our brakes cool down. Jeff must have been feeling better because he actually got out of the car!!! He and Grant panned for gold . . .

then he got back behind the wheel and finished the drive. I’m still little sad that we didn’t make it to the summit. I was hoping to get a picture of all of us around the sign at the top of the mountain but considering how stressed out everyone was I think it’s a good thing that we stopped when we did and headed back down to lower ground.

July 27, 2009

Summer Vacation – The First Few Days

We just got home last night from a fun filled family vacation in Colorado. I should really be doing laundry right now instead of posting pictures of our trip but this seems like more fun!!! I may have to divide our trip up into several post because I'm afraid this could take a while.

Last Monday morning we packed up the car and headed west. Jeff had 5 offices that he had to visit in Western Kansas before our vacation could begin so the first two days of our trip seemed more like Grant and I were just tagging along on a work trip. Our first stop was in Dodge City. We dropped Jeff off at an Edward Jones office to do his thing and we went to Boot Hill. It actually ended up being a fun way to kill time while Jeff was working. Grant absolutely loved it.We toured the old western town, got locked in jail and enjoyed a bottle of cold sarsaparilla while we watched a show in the saloon.

Our next stop was in Garden City. While Jeff worked Grant and I hung out at the hotel and swam. They have a great zoo that you can drive thru in town so later that evening we went to check it out. We were able to stop along the way and got out of the car to see many of the animals. The lion exhibit was probably our favorite. There was also a fun little park near the exit where we let Grant get out and play.

After one more stop in Scott City on Tuesday morning we finally made it to Colorado.
We stayed in Pueblo on Tuesday night. We had heard there was a nice water walk area downtown. We went down there with the intention of having dinner and shopping around but there wasn't as much to do as we thought. We ended up walking around for about 30 minutes and then went to have some Mexican food before heading back to the hotel to swim. We had a big day planned on Wednesday so we knew we better get to bed early and get a good nights sleep.

July 16, 2009

Week With The Wood's

This week my Kristen and her girls came to visit from Texas. Kristen and I met when I was a sophomore in highschool and we were partnered up to play doubles together on the WHS tennis team. We have been friends ever since. It's always so much fun to get together with Kristen and her family. I just wish they didn't live so far away.

Kristen and the girls arrived on Monday afternoon and we just spent a lazy day around the house catching up and letting the kids play. We of course had to watch "The Batchelor" and then after it was over we made ice cream sundaes for the kids.

On Tuesday morning we got up early for a 4-mile walk and then home to do my 30 Day Shred Video. (I'll tell you all about that in another post.) Then we ran a few quick errands and hit the pool for the day. We packed a cooler full of sandwiches, snacks and drinks and spent the majority of the afternoon soaking up the sun.

Here are some pictures from the pool.

On Wednesday morning we got up early for another walk and 30 Day Shred session. Then we got everyone showered and cleaned up and headed downtown to have lunch at Margaritas (which is one of my favorite Mexican restraunts). Our next stop was Old Town. It is a great place to take pictures on the old brick streets so I litterally took about 200 pictures of the kids. It was the perfect day because the sun was hiding behind the clouds and it was about 20 degrees cooler than it was the day before. Thanks to Kristen I even got a few shots of Grant and I together. Here are a few of my favorites.

On our way home we stopped one last time at the riverwalk in front of the Hyatt Hotel downtown for a few more pictures. This was my favorite shot of Grant.

Wednesday night Kristen and I got a babysitter and hit the town. First we went out east and did some kid free shopping at Town East Mall. My big purchase for the evening was a pair of DKNY jeans from Van Maur that were on sale for $14. Then we drove back out west and went to Emerson Biggin's for drinks. I obviously had more fun than I remembered becasue I woke up feeling pretty bad on Thursday morning. Needless to say there was no walking or 30 Day Shredding the next morning.

Once again on Thursday we got the kids all dressed up again and went down to the lake and bridge in my neighborhood for a few more pictures. Jeff got home earlier that day so he was able to join us for a few pictures too. I think he was wishing he hadn't come home early!!!

Kristen has some extended family that live here in Wichita so on Thursday night she and the girls met them for dinner. That gave me a chance to hang out at home for a few hours and catch up on dishes, laundry, etc . . . This morning they got up bright and early and headed home. I was so sad to see them leave. Hopefully we will be able to see them again this fall. I always love taking a long weekend and going to see them and do some shopping in Dallas.

We are leaving early Monday morning to head to Colorado for a week of vacation so I've got to get busy packing and getting my house in order before we leave. Our weekend looks like it's going to be very busy. Grant is playing in his last baseball tournament of the season and we have to be at the ballpark on Saturday morning by 7:15 and it looks like we will be there ALL day and then again on Sunday.