Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guanella Pass

After a brief breakdown on my part (hormones and such combined with all work and no play) we decided to take a family day.  The whole day was spent exploring Guanella Pass and a four wheel trail.

Guanella Pass connects highway 285 (which we live off of) at Grant to Georgetown off 70 highway.  It goes right next to Mt. Beirstadt which is a 14'er near Mt. Evans - also a 14'er.  Along the way there are a few Jeep trails to explore and tons of places to camp and hike.  We had fun taking the Geneva trail to try to see the ghost town of Geneva.  Unfortunately SNOW kept us from making it all the way there!  Yup, there is still snow covering some of the pass! We may not have been able to see the ghost town but we did make it all the way across Guanella Pass and took the long way home traveling to Frisco and around to Breckenridge and Fairplay, back down to Bailey.  It was a little long in the car but it was so fun to explore!  We stopped at a waterfall/creek area and got out to stretch and explore a little and we made a 7-11 stop for snacks too!

 The boys...
and the girls...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mountain Life

So everyone wants to know, “how’s mountain life?” Well it’s great! It’s different. But not in a bad different sort of way.  I still can't believe we LIVE here!  It feels like we are just vacationing here for a summer or something.  Maybe things will feel more real once school starts and we have a real routine again.  So how is mountain life different?  Well..

There is wildlife... lots of it!!  We have regular visits from the local deer on our property.  They are such beautiful and graceful animals.  I can't get enough of them.  I'm sure they can be a bother but right now, they are just so sweet and innocent that it's hard not to love them!  One morning a pregnant doe walked right up to us.  Close enough for John to pet it!  She kept her eye on me and for a brief moment I swear she was empathizing with my pregnant belly.  Like she knew I had a little one on the way too.  It was a very sweet moment.


There are also the animals we don't see but hear.  The first week we were here there was a crazy loud animal right outside our window.  After looking it up on google the next day we are convinced it was a fox.  So what does the fox say?  Now we know.  We also had a visit from a very large and strong animal.  We can't be certain that it was a bear but it is likely that we had a visit.  Whatever it was, it knocked over our very heavy trash can and pulled the heavy duty bungees to the side, drug two large trash bags down to a field and over a fence (which it dented), and proceed to devour leftover food items.  Raccoon?  Maybe but it would have had to be a monstrous one.  Mountain lion?  Nah, not the right kind of food and would have likely jumped the fence, not stepped over it.  Bear?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  There are plenty of stories of bears and trash out here!  We now have a shed so that if we start accumulating too much trash we can keep it in there.  And then there are the hummingbirds.  We see AND hear them!  They love our feeder out back.  There are also lots of Magpies and crows that squawk and lots of other little birdies who love to sing when it's nice out.  Of course we have little creatures like chipmunks and squirrels too.

Besides wildlife, another difference is the community.  We don't have a ton of neighbors but we've met the few that live around us.  They are very nice and all have offered to help if we ever need it.  The lady across the street is a retired NICU nurse and Labor and Delivery nurse.  Yay!  The couple next to her down he road a little have a 15 month old little girl and have exchanged numbers with us.  We plan to have them over for dinner when we are settled more.  The neighbor behind us is super friendly though reclusive.  He lives alone and has since 1980.  He filled us in on mountain life a little and offered his drive if we ever need to use it to access the back of our property.  I was worried about not having a "neighborhood" to ride bikes and play on the sidewalks but as it turns out, everyone here goes for walks.  I've been inspired to take up walking once Chloe arrives.  I really want to get a jogger.

The biggest change is the driving.  Driving to the playground (10 min), to the grocery store (20 min), to Denver (35 min)...  nothing is within minutes really which is a huge change.  It's not all bad though.  I do like having my own space out in the country.  We just have to be more mindful of shopping trips and such.  The other day I wanted Wendy's so bad!  I actually drove 20 min there and 20 min back for a Wendy's frosty!  Not good on the gas mileage!  In fact, we have been seriously considering an electric commuter car for John and for myself when I go down the hill for Zumba once a week.  We shall see.  Gas gets pretty expensive at about 12-15 bucks a pop to go down the mountains and back up.

Most of our time has been spent working on the house so we haven't gotten out and about in the mountains too much.  But from time to time we venture out to explore our "neighborhood".  I look forward to next summer when we can fully enjoy all that the mountains have to offer.  One of the best mountain biking parks is just 15 minutes away and an awesome climbing park is only 10 minutes from us.  Plus hundreds of places near by to hike, camp, and four wheel!

Yup, mountain life is great.  I really love it here.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

John's Birthday

This year we got to celebrate John’s birthday with Chelsee and Jay! They were on their great road trip to Albuquerque, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Denver. I’m sure I missed a town or two! Anyway, they stopped in Denver on their way home and spent the day with us on Saturday.

We started off at Le Peep for breakfast with Chelsee and Jay. It was fabulous! Then it was off to the Denver Museum of Science and History where we met up with Matt too. We had a great time checking out Dinosaur bones, Space Odysey, outdoor life, the mummies, and the kids Discovery area. I think the Space Odysey and Discovery area were the kids favorites! Even with a snack break it was still a lot for the kiddos to take in! But we found it pretty neat and maybe John and I will go back on our own some time to explore more. There was a giant splash pad out back and we let the kids run around in it for a while though the sprays were pretty rough and the temperature was cool so they were not keen on getting super wet.

Next it was off to lunch at Mod Market. Yum. And then on to our house for a visit and dinner and presents! I had a crock pot full of BBQ ribs going all day and Chelsee made her famous twice baked potatoes! Of course we topped it off with a birthday cake – or two… and ice cream.

John got a chain saw from his parents! Let the fun times begin! : ) Hahaha. I'm not sure if he wanted it more for our land or for the future boyfriends that Chloe will bring home!!  It has been raining like every day though and with all the things on our house to do list we’ve been pretty busy so he hasn’t gotten to use it yet! But he HAS read the instructions cover to cover. His other gift from me (well really himself I guess!) is a new climbing rope. They are pretty pricy so it’s coming a bit late! Such is the birthday scene when you are 33! Staunton State Park is just around the corner from us and has numerous climbing areas. We can’t wait to check it out!

Happy Birthday honey!  I love you so much!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Zip Line

Another cool gift is the zip line from Nanny and Papa! We set it up pretty soon after we got it but we discovered that going down the property makes for a REALLY fast ride! John and I tested it out and I slammed into a tree even with the brake!!  Well feet first so the baby and I were fine - but it confirmed that it was much to fast for the kids for now.  So John changed it up and now it goes more parallel to the property and doesn't quite go as fast. We wanted it to go from the swing set but the hill is just too steep. BUT when they get older… we want to build a series of zip lines starting at the swing set and ending at a tree house on the other side of the property!!

 We now have a great platform that John built so they don’t have to use a ladder each time. They LOVE it! And mommy and daddy can ride too! Yup, this adventure mamma even goes on it! : ) Baby Chloe may not be able to ride it for a while so might as let her go now while she can! I’m working on a backyard adventure Go Pro video. We still want to set up the trampoline outside. So now the kids have a swing set, a zip line, a trampoline, and a soccer net set up. With all these toys and space you would think I would NEVER get the boys to come inside! If only it would dry up! We've had rain every afternoon for weeks! Thank you Nanny and Papa for the awesome zip line!

The Swing Set

Aaron got some pretty cool birthday gifts this year! One of those gifts was a swing set! Uncle Matt came over and helped John get it all fixed up. It was a little challenging to level it as we don’t have a lot of flat space on our property but they did a great job! The boys LOVE it!

There have been several mornings of swinging in jammies… which is pretty funny since my boys tend to sleep in their underwear! The monkey bars are fun and both boys can make it across unassisted! They are getting so big. And of course, the playhouse is the perfect place to dig under. It may be just dirt, but who needs sand when dirt works just as well?! Showers are a necessity every night! Thanks Grandma and Granddad for the cool swing set!! Go Pro Videos coming soon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pine Valley Ranch

John had a trip planned with some buddies of his for quite some time.  It just so happened that the date fell just after we moved into our new home!  So while John was away, the kids and I slowly unpacked some more and went out exploring our new neighborhood.  We checked out the local library (very quaint), visited Stauten State Park for a special kids craft and hike, dined out at the (yes THE) local bar and grill, found an actual playground about 10 min from the house (um... its the ONLY one around here except for the elementary school!), and our favorite, visited Pine Valley Ranch.  All of these things were 10 min or less from our house.  We also went down into Conifer, a 15-20 min drive to do some grocery shopping and explore a thrift store and then on to Evergreen where we found a skatepark.  And finally, we went down into Denver one day so I could teach my two classes and have a fun play date at the pool with some friends.  Still, in all of that, I was able to get almost all of the boxes in our house unloaded.  They still aren't quite put where I want them or organized to my standards but at least the boxes are gone!  It was quite a week.

But back to Pine Valley Ranch.  This place is amazing!  It is a Jeffco Open Space Park that I had never heard of before and it's only about 10 min from door to parking lot.  It apparently used to be a real ranch that was donated to Jefferson County a while back.  There is a large, beautiful, fast flowing creek that goes through it as well as a pond where people like to fish.  There is also a great hike that takes you up on the face of a mountain overlooking Pine Valley.  It's really very pretty.  And a little nerve wracking for a momma with two little boys who love to climb!  But it was worth it and that was the most fun we had all week.  The boys still talk about it and can't wait to take daddy back with us.