Wednesday, August 26, 2015

milestones

Our little family had a pretty cool week last week:
First Day of School 2015

Sam cruised easily into 3rd grade with the same excellent and well-loved teacher as last year and the only 'new adventure' he experienced was moving up to the second floor of the school building (the big kids' floor!) and using a daily planner...

But Hamp moved all the way up to the Middle School and has been loving his transition to 6th grade! The new building and new staff didn't phase him - he totally digs his team of teachers and is thrilled to have a locker near some of his favorite classmates! A couple of 'new adventures' in Middle School include a real gym class (with lockers and stinky gym clothes and everything!) and starting band. Hamp decided he wanted to play the saxophone...




And while I managed to make it through the first week of chaos High School, it was the weekend that brought me to a very special place, with some very awesome friends!


Ever since Jason & I tried unsuccessfully to summit Mt. Sopris in 2008, reaching the top has been on my annual 'To Do List'.

The mountain is a Roaring Fork Valley icon, standing beautifully at the north end of the Elk Mountains like a greeter to people seeking the majesty and allure of Aspen's Maroon Bells and calling out to everyone (ok, maybe just to me!) to come hang out at 12,953 feet!

The first 4 miles takes you on a lovely mountain forest hike through meadows of wild flowers and aspen forests and across creeks up to the beautiful Thomas Lakes.

Then the real work begins!
The next couple of miles is nearly straight up the mountain, over rocks and up a vertigo-inducing ridge.
While my mantra was 'one step at a time' it felt a little like 'holy hell, I am never going to make it!'

But then the next thing you know, you're at the top!


The final climb (500 vertical feet!) to the summit!
Just for perspective, you can see a small figure on the left side, middle of the photo - that's a person!


Of course the summit was awesome - the views were amazing, but more exciting was the feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment in literally having no more to climb! I was with such a supportive and fun and amazing group of friends, too that I attribute much of my success that day to their tenacity and encouragement! It wasn't until we began our descent that we realized we had not taken into account one thing: the way down was equally as taxing and difficult as the way up! Consequently, we were extra proud of ourselves when we did finally (9 hours later!!!) reach the parking lot.


It was a good way to kick off the school year - with friends on a mountain.
Now I just have to figure out what to put on next year's 'To Do List'!!!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

journey on

It has been a FULL summer...

we have baseball'ed, gymnastic'ed, Meekerpalooza'ed, and mini-golf'ed:


there have been various entrepreneurial adventures such as lemonade stands and carwashes...



we made time for ice cream when it got hot...



we made the annual trip to the Craig Wave Pool with friends...


we hiked in and camped at Mirror Lake...



we took a horseback trail ride to Slide Lake...


we made several afternoon trips to Avery Lake...



And that's just the little things... more monumentally:
 ~  Hamp spent 12 days in June on a European tour with the High School Travel Club
~  all 3 of us went to the beach for a week in July
~  and best of all, the Hightower extended family spent a week with us in Meeker in July, where we were then joined by the Etheridge family and so many friends to celebrate in fine fashion the life of our beloved Jason

photo credit snap.click.design

And so tonight, on the eve of the first day of school with the lunch bags at the ready and the boys scrubbed clean and in bed before 9pm for the first time in months, I think about what an eventful and joyful summer we have spent - despite the nagging feeling that something is missing, that something is not quite right. That constant feeling of loss accompanies me everywhere we go, but it also pushes me to continue making life an adventure for Hamp & Sam and cherishing every moment, monumental and mundane.
I can't help but wonder what the road ahead will be like...
Miller Creek - Sunday, August 16th

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

save the date


A celebration of Jason's life will be held on 
Saturday 
July 25th, 2015
at the Meeker Golf Course and Club House

We hope that many friends and family will be available to come spend an afternoon/evening together in the spirit of Jason with good food, good drink (Dirty Hippie of course!), many good stories and wonderful memories.


Spring break


About two weeks out from our spring break... and prompted by an off-handed comment about the resurgence of tourism and safety across the AZ-Mex border... I decided it would behoove our clan to get a little beach time... and the easiest way to do that was to drive south past Phoenix until we hit the Sea of Cortez and the little Mexican town called Puerto Penasco!

So we rented a house on the beach - specifically the exact same house that we rented back in 2009! - and were nothing less than thrilled to have this as our view for the last week of March:

We traveled as a pack, and while we changed the personnel up a little from our last trip to Penasco, there were definitely some nostalgic moments... a couple of which we felt we needed to recreate!




The weather was perfect... and the water was ideal! It was calm and shallow in the mornings so that we could take the house kayaks out, and wavy and cool in the afternoon for swimming. The boats were a big hit - the boys would go out first thing in the morning and paddle around for an hour. The boats never sat on shore for long... and one night the boys took them back out for a sunset trip!



When they weren't in the boats or in the water, the boys spent a lot of the day in the sand. Castles, moats, islands, holes... it rarely mattered. They just dug and dug until they (well, Hamp anyway!) literally fell asleep...



And the best part was that Gabe got to be a beach dog for the week!
While he didn't exactly over come his fear/dislike of the water, he at least realized that is was good to cool off - as long as he could touch! But it was the cool sand in the morning and the warm sand in the afternoons that really appealed to him...


It was a simple, easy, beautiful, relaxing, fun, wonderful and much needed getaway.
I already miss this view....

Saturday, March 21, 2015

House -part II

There are so many special places in our home now...

With the house construction totally complete, and the boys & I completely moved in... 

I have taken the time to notice all of the very personal effects that I have either saved (!) or received since the house fire - all of which make me very happy and very proud to be home.

For instance: 

~ our "sun" from local retailer and friend that always graced the front of our house is back!

~ a beautiful tulip vase given to us by friends (thanks Goettels!) warms up our front room.

~ speaking of the front room, we inherited the piano from our dear friends (who so kindly transported it via 4-wheeler and a trailer! It was awesome! Don't worry musical friends... it's already been tuned.) The boys have been tinkering on it - and they will start back up with lessons in April. I just don't know how I could NOT have a piano in the house...

~ the big, cushy couch downstairs fits like a dream (although that wasn't the case when we tried to get it in the house!) and with "Bandit" watching over us it makes a perfectly comfortable game room.

~ the guest room is a mix of old, new and personal... a beautiful bed frame given to us by dear friends, a funky new end table, an antique glass lamp also given to us by sweet friends, and my grandmother's cedar chest that we rescued from the house!

~ the master bathroom sink is particularly special because it was something Jason wanted installed when we moved downstairs last year.
The bowl was made for us by 3G Pottery and installed by our awesome friends. 
And lastly, Lalah might recognize the framed print given to Jason years ago... 

~ the boys' room might just be my favorite room in the house!
Our dear friend kindly offered to paint the room for us - which is beautiful.
The boys' quilts were specially made by a sweet friend and they are perfect.
The boys' initials were again rescued from the house - they hung over their crib when they were babies!

This room is full of special pieces and memories... the paint, the quilts, the initials... 
but also their cool hand-built Playmobil shelves; a caricature of the boys from the San Diego Zoo in 2008; Sammy's self-developed Asian zen garden (!); a really cool thrift store painting Yaya & Papa purchased for the room; a sweet "Family Rules" sign from Aunt Jei & Uncle Alec; and a beautiful painting of our family from a dear friend... to name just a few!



~ even the dog and cat are not only happy to be home, but happy to have their own space. 
They are even a little more apt to share that space!

~ final touches make it feel like home. Lights in the window are the perfect nightlight.

There are still so many more things  - too many to show here! - that surround us in this house with love and kind words and uplifting thoughts. It counteracts the emptiness that comes at night when the boys are asleep and I sit and think about the life we shared with Jason and how happy he would be with our home. He is here with us, in everything we do and everything we see. That is what makes it feel like home.