Friday, August 27, 2010

First hike

While we were in Colorado, my mom and I took the kids up to Lookout Mountain to go hiking. Elijah hadn't been to the mountains since he was a year old, and last time he went hiking he was still in the carrier. Molly had never been to the mountains. (Last summer I kept waiting for them to adjust to the time change and sleep better, thinking the altitude would be extra hard on them when they were already exhausted, but they never slept well while we were there and so it just didn't happen.) I was really excited to take them this year!

Lookout Mountain is right off of I-70, so it's a quick trip (and a very convenient stopping place on our way to the Western Slope), and the Nature Center has easy trails for the kids. It was a great place for the kids' first hike! We all had a lot of fun. Molly kept saying, "We're in the mountains!" Elijah wanted to run the whole way. We saw some black squirrels and some birds, but not the Steller's Jay that Elijah was hoping to see.

There's a little museum inside with exhibits about the animals in Colorado high country - here's a mountain lion.

Still learning not to take anything while hiking - but they had a great time exploring.

Here we go!

They called these plaques "maps" - which they both love.

Reading the sign.

It was a great hike!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Playing at Nana's house

One of the best parts of our trip to Colorado was that the kids had plenty of time to just hang out and play at Nana & Grandpa's house. They colored and painted and acted out fairy tales with puppets and played with bubbles and trains and baby dolls and micro machines. It was lots of fun!

My mom pulled out a few of our old place mats for the kids to use while we were there. They loved choosing to sit at "Julie's Place" or "Stuart's Place," but the most fun were these line drawing mats made for coloring. They originally came with special crayons, but dry-erase markers worked just as well.

Molly working intently on a place mat masterpiece

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some of our adventures in Colorado

One day while we were in Colorado, we met our friend Barb and her granddaughters at the park to play. It was a fun, shady park and the kids had a great time together. It was nice to catch up with Barb too!

Emma and Elijah had fun making baby Grace laugh.

Taking a snack break with Nana

Another day, Nana took us to a nearby shopping center so that we could ride their little train. Elijah was thrilled, of course!

Riding in the tender with Nana.

How fun!

After the train, we walked over to the fountains to play for a while. The kids were pretty intimidated at first - we don't have a real yard, so they've never even played in a regular sprinkler before. The fountains were very exciting, but they weren't at all sure that they wanted to get close enough to get wet. Elijah eventually got into it and had lots of fun (but still didn't want his face wet) but Molly just stood in the center where there were no fountains (but her feet could get wet) and held my leg and watched.

Afterward, Grandpa took us all to Red Robin for lunch. The kids had never been before, and they thought it was great. They loved the mac & cheese (I can't seem to convince them to order anything else - no matter where we go, if it's on the menu, they get it!) and the balloons, and Nana, Grandpa and I loved our yummy burgers and milkshakes. Happiness all around!

mmmm ... mac n' cheese!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dinner impossible ...

Well, I thought I had a great plan for dinner tonight.

I've been trying to think of an easy, yummy dinner to make for a friend who just had a baby and none of the old stand-by recipes sounded good or fun this time. When I checked out the schedule (check out this cool site where you can make a meal registry! wow - what crazy practical idea will they come up with next?) I was laughing to myself because no one is making a lasagna. Poor old lasagna - almost always yummy, freezes well and most people like it, so it's the perfect meal to bless someone else - except that the blessed people usually get about 14 lasagnas and are so thoroughly sick of it they never want to have a baby again! Anway, that made me realize that we haven't had lasagna in ... years? It sounded good (something different!) but when I thought of what a pain it is to cut up all the pasta layers for the kiddos I almost dismissed it again for a few more years, and then I remembered the lasagna-style dish that I used to make when I was a nanny. Basic, yummy, lots of cheese, and layered with smaller noodles (I like bow-ties because they lay kinda flat) instead of the lasagna noodles - perfect for kids. I can't believe I haven't made it for my own kids yet! I don't even remember exactly which recipe I started with back then, but I think I found one looks right. So I was excited to try it out, and thought we could even manage it tonight, with a super-quick run into the grocery store right after nap.

Then Molly didn't go to sleep until after she usually gets up from her nap. Grocery store - out. And I went back to the freezer (after a very cursory glance this morning for ideas) to get out the ground beef and realized that it was cubed beef instead.

Oh well, starting from scratch now. Maybe I can manage some steak tacos instead. If I do get to the store someday, I'll try to post the kid-lasagna recipe after we see how it tastes. =)

To Nana & Grandpa's house we go!

The kids and I were excited to go to Colorado - to see friends and family, go to the mountains, eat Olathe sweet corn and Palisade peaches, and do so many fun things. But I was not so excited for the flight out - I learned last year that flying on my own with both kids is hard work and that while most airline people are very helpful and understanding, help sometimes disappears at the worst possible moment.

The flight out this year was difficult. The gate agent in Boston was great - he and Elijah were great friends as soon as we got to the gate. He got Elijah an invitation to the cockpit, so Molly stayed in the gate area with Patrick while Elijah met the pilots and I loaded the car seats, and then the gate agent brought the kids down to me on the plane. I was thankful for the wonderful people who helped and made getting on pretty easy!

The flight was long, and we left just about the time the kids usually go down for nap. Elijah did fine, coloring and watching his movies and eating snacks. Molly was miserable the whole way. She didn't want to wear her headphones, so watching movies didn't help, and nothing else interested her for very long. Molly kicked the seat in front of her every time she got the chance, so I ended up spending a lot of time leaning across Elijah to hold Molly's feet. The pilot invited Elijah back up to the cockpit at the end of the flight, so he had a great time while I was loading up. On the way out, there was no one to help me carry both car seats and our carry-on bags and wrangle both kids off the airplane and up the jet way, until we got to the gate and Nana & Grandpa came to meet us. Hopefully, if I ever try to fly with just the kids again I'll be able to take just one car seat and they'll be older and the whole thing will be easier.

We were glad to get to Nana & Grandpa's house and spend a couple of days just settling in, getting used to the time change and a new place. The kids had so much fun with their grandparents throughout the trip - reading, playing play-doh and bubbles and trains, playing in the yard and in the little pool. They both were excited to play the guitar with Grandpa, too!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home again, home again

The kids and I came home on Saturday from a four-week long trip to Colorado. It's that crazy time of year again when Patrick has to be at work so much the kids forget what he looks like, so we headed out to spend some time with Nana and Grandpa, visiting lots of special people and doing lots of fun things and generally trying to make this period of missing Daddy a little easier. It was a good trip, and we accomplished all those things (plus I got a lot of sewing/quilting done!) but we are glad to be back. We were all thrilled to run into Patrick's arms when we got off the plane, and to spend the day with him yesterday. I'll be posting about our trip in the next few days as I sort through all our pictures, so come on back and check it out.

It's good to be home.