Tuesday, July 28, 2009

house update

It's been a while since I posted photos of the house. Last summer our big project was renovating the backyard (putting in grass, flowers, and a veggie garden) and turning the squalid shed into a proper garage. Then the house next door put up a new fence. This summer we're reaping the benefits of that hard work. We still have a ways to go but it's a big improvement over what was there.

Here's the garage.

Here are some shots of our veggie garden. In the back here are our tomato plants (full of lots of green tomatoes), some canteloupe, and our lettuce is up front. We let it go to seed in the hopes it will spring up again in the fall.

In this photo (left to right) are butternut squash, eggplant, zuchini, onions (not visible), broccoli, and yellow squash.

For anyone who's visited us here, you may remember the neighbor next door (nice guy) had a house with much room for improvement. Plus a pack of loud barking dogs. Well he sold to a developer who came in and renovated the place and put up a new privacy fence. Voila! Our house looks better just by sitting next to theirs!

And now the shoe is on the other foot. Now WE'RE the neighbor with the crappy yard in need of improvement. So this summer we've gotten started. It's a big job. We had to level the yard and haul of 12 cubic yards of dirt. That's a lot! When we did the back we did all the work of leveling and removing dirt ourselves with shovels, wheel barrows and one hired hand. It took us FOREVER! This time we enlisted some serious help.

It still took a 2-man crew with a bobcat a full day to get the job done! And they hauled off load after load of dirt. What we paid them was less than what we paid for equipment rental and dump fees in the back. And it was a heckuva lot easier for us!

We dug the front down enough to put down landscape barrier and mulch without having to worry about the fabric showing through the mulch or the mulch straying out of its designated spots. On Saturday we had 12 yards of mulch delivered. That's a lot! 2 yards were for Jen and Micah though.

We're going to have sort of a modern look in the front. The square of dirt you see below will have grass and a fruit tree in it. There will be plants in the mulch. Eventually.

Roan had a good ol' time watching and helping. There she is sitting on the steps watching Daddy rake the mulch. She insisted on getting her rake and "helping," which primarily consisted of her sitting in the dirt near a pile of mulch shouting, "No! Me do it! Me rake the mulch!"

Here's what the house looks like for the time being. The mountain of mulch that was delivered has become a smaller mound. The weeds and overgrowth are gone, but it's a rather stark place with nothing but flat mulch. Nonetheless I'm excited. I can picture it with all the new trees and plants we're going to have!

There will be two fruit trees. One on the right, one on the left in the grass. Also a common liliac (they get 10x10) and a forsythia (stunning yellow blooms early in spring). Around the house we'll do some grasses arranged symetrically and then a variety of other xeriscape plants filling in the rest of the mulched spots.

Coming soon - updates from our trip to Miami.

Monday, July 27, 2009

video glut

Brief aside: In case you missed it in the last post, I'M GONNA BE AN AUNT!!! Jen and Micah are due at the end of January. YAY!!!! Roan is learning about having a baby cousin. She says she's going to teach baby cousin "how to run real fast." She's also going to teach baby cousin its colors because, according to her, "I know ALL the colors."

You may've noticed that the videos I post end up lagging behind the photos by a week or two. There's just more processing time involved in sorting out the good from the bad and getting 'em posted. So here are some videos from back on our 4th of July camping trip.

Here's Roan feeding the chipmunks at the Anderson's cabin. I did not apparrently manage to capture any of the chipmunks or squirrels on camera, but trust me: they were cute little buggers!

Here's Roan adamant that the chipmunks need to come claim a peanut: "... to get one. They need to come here to get one. Come here to get one! to get one..."

At the campsite: "I'm raking up some mulch." Me: "Do you like camping?" Her: "Yeah. We're going for a hike later."

Down by the Rio Grande: "Ahhh that's cold! Cold! Cold!"

Throwing rocks into the river. She would've been content to hang out there all day. My little nature girl!

Ring around the fire pit. Notice how dirty she is! She was enjoying "falling down", getting her hands dirty and exclaiming "Oh no!" You will also overhear some physics/EE calculations going on in the background. Adam and Arwen were talking wind turbine stuff.

When we went to town for fireworks she randomly started doing this fake laugh that was cracking us up. Then after she'd laugh she'd say "Wanna see it!" She loves watching herself on the camera.

Jumping into the hot springs pool at Mt. Princeton. She's really getting comfortable in the water.

And here's one from around the house. One afternoon she piled stuffed animals into the laundry basket, climbed in after them, and insisted I take her picture.

In other general updates, we have been busy around the house. I'll post photos soon. We have finally gotten the front yard project underway. Yessss! We'll probably be working on it well into the fall, but I'm just glad to have gotten started.

We have had a prolonged battle with mild illness over the last month. Roan's double ear infection that she had on the camping trip didn't go away with the first round of antibiotics, so we had to start a second more intense round. The medicine gave her diarreah (a common side effect) and then she spiked a fever, started puking, and screaming about pain when she peed (NOT a side effect of the medicine). It had the doc stumped. We are keeping an eye on her. She hasn't run a fever in a couple of days so hopefully she's on the mend. We go see the doctor tomorrow. I've got my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Roan's eye view... and an exciting announcement!

Usually the subject of most photos in our house, Roan has decided to try out the other side of the camera and take some pictures herself. Here's a snapshot, if you will, of Roan's world.

I think she's got quite the photographer's eye.

As you can see, Baby Sarah is featured prominently. Baby Sarah has been growing up fast lately. Recently she's learned how to throw a ball. Roan will sit with her on the floor while "Baby Sarah" throws the ball over and over again. Each time Roan says, "Good job Baby Sarah! You did it! You big girl!"

Baby Sarah has also learned how to do somersaults. And bounce on a bouncy ball. And brush her teeth. Baby Sarah is still going in diapers, but now Roan has learned how to change them herself. They spend a lot of time snuggling together in Roan's rocking chair. And instead of putting her on the naughty step all the time, Roan lately has been lavishing praise and encouragement on her. I won't lie; it's pretty much the cutest thing ever.

It makes me think Roan is ready to be a big sister. I think she'd be a wonderful big sister. A bunch of kids in her class at daycare have had new siblings born in the last 3 months or so. Roan has taken note. More than once she has said things like, "Going to have a baby sister soon." And then she added onto that, "And a baby brother too!" I don't know whether any siblings are in the cards for her or not, but there's one thing I do know:


Yep, that's right. We have an exciting announcement! Jen and Micah are due with a little beanspout of their own on January 27, 2010! Yippie!!!! I can't wait to be an aunt!!! They refer to it as "the gummy bear," and here is its first photo:

And yes, the knitting has already begun. Baby's first sweater is almost ready to come off the needles! Photos of that to come soon.

happy birthday to gramps

We love you Gramps! Happy 55th birthday! (Sorry for the dark video)

Friday, July 10, 2009

happy july 4th!

Happy 4th! We weren't sure how the weekend was going to pan out. The camping trip we'd planned hit a few snags right before we were set to leave town. Jen came down with a cold and wasn't well enough to go, so she and Micah were out. When we checked the weather the forecast was thundershowers for our entire stay. Then the day of our departure we learned Roan had a double ear infection and spiked a 101* fever.

We had visions of being stuck in the woods in the pouring rain with a screaming feverish toddler. But the car was already packed and the food was already bought, so we decided to just go for it. And I'm so glad we did! The trip turned out great, and it was just what we needed.

The weather cooperated for the most part. We only had a few sprinkles at camp. Mostly it was sunny. When it did downpour, we were either in the car on the way to the fireworks, on the way home from the fireworks, or on the way to the hot springs. When we were actually out and about the skies cleared up!

Roan was a trooper. The antibiotics and motrin kpet her in good shape. And she is such a, well, a happy camper! (Like us) she just loves being outside day and night. And who could blame her with a place this gorgeous?

The Rio Grande was just across from our campsite.

Our friends Adam, Elisa and Ethan came along as well. We enjoyed beautiful scenery, the sound of the rushing river, lots of good food and drink, and excellent company. There were a ton of fun activites available to do in our campground and the surrounding area: kayaking, hiking, ladder ball, washers, horseshoes. We did almost none of it, and yet it still felt like an action-packed weekend.

Hanging out at camp

By the river

We got up and cooked a hot breakfast every morning, we went for a 3 mile hike with the kiddos, dipped our toes on the Rio Grande, made s'mores, and drank top shelf margaritas. But mostly we put away our watches, our phones and our computers, rose with the sun, spent all day outside, watched for wildlife, played in the dirt with the kids, drank and ate well, and collapsed exhausted at the end of the day.

Here's Roan "reading" to Ethan and Sasha

Bliss is shoveling carrots into a dirty face

What is she up to here? She looks awfully mischievous! Notice the red chucks. She got them especially for this trip.

We managed to overlap our trip just barely with Micah's mom & stepdad (Mimi & Grandy as they're known to their grandkids) and Micah's niece Samantha. Here the guys are sitting around camp enjoying a few adult beverages.

Feeding the chipmunks over at their cabin

Exploring the trails near their cabin

Here's Tresa with Ethan. Don't they have the exact same expression on their faces?!

All smiles

Roan spent a fair amount of time in the baby backpack with few complaints.

The Maines family on our "big" 3 mile hike.

Ethan & Elisa

On our way out of the forest we did get a little rained on, truth be told. And devoured by mosquitos. It was humid too. For a second I thought I was back on the AT!

We played down by the river one afternoon. We watched some kayakers put in, which was pretty exciting for Roan. We also took our shoes off and dipped our feet in the water.

Ethan got his toes dipped too! He didn't seem to mind a bit.

Hanging out at the river

Roan entertained herself by throwing rocks into the river. Notice her painted toenails. "Just like Mommy's" she'll tell you.

Sasha thoroughly enjoyed taking a swim

Arwen went into biologist mode and gave us a crash course in Aquatic Entomology 101.

He found some stoneflies, which are indicators of excellent water quality.

Later at our campsite he found a pretty impressive longhorn beetle.

While we're talking about bugs and Arwen, I think we should pause to review some of his bolder fashion choices over the weekend.

Gotta love the do-rag + socks n sandals + dangling keys

His hair went a little crazy

Here he is cooking us up a yummy breakfast

And looking like Mr. GQ as we set out on our hike

Maybe I'm crazy, but even after all these years and all his crazy get-ups, he still makes my heart go pitter-pat!

On our last night - July 4th - we ventured into Creede, a small town about 30 minutes from our campsite. It rained on our way in but pretty much stopped once we arrived. We had fresh squeezed margaritas at Kip's, the local hot spot, and enjoyed some live music. We also tried their bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos, with mixed success. Elisa got a dangerously spicy one! When we stepped out of the restaurant, we were greeted by this lovely rainbow.

We took a stroll through Creede, which is a charming small town. I got a kick out of this restaurant, the Wild Beaver, "House of Hooch and Fine Drinkables."

The rain held off just long enough for us to enjoy some fireworks that night. We got set up in our camp chairs at a beautiful overlook of the town and mountains. I was worried Roan was going to be scared of noise. She was a little apprehensive as people started to set off smaller fireworks before the town's show started. I told her, "Fireworks go pop, sparkle, sparkle." She replied, "I like the sparkle. I no like the pop." But when the big show started, she settled into my lap and enjoyed it from start to finish. I so enjoyed being cuddled up with her, watching the magic together.

The next day we had another great breakfast at camp (pancakes with berries and whipped cream) and then headed out. We wanted to have plenty of time so we could go home at a leisurely pace. We stopped for a picinic lunch at a small campground. Here is Ethan enjoying a pickle of all things!

And here's Roan pigging out on cherries. I thought I was never going to get her clean.

We also stopped off in the town of Saguache to see an old bank turned private home. Arwen's dad had brought him here 15 or 20 years ago to meet an old jazz musician, who lived there like a hermit. They stayed up listening to old tapes of his performances with all kinds of legendary musicians, and they made a trip out to some very special hot springs nearby. Then they had a harrowing drive home in the dark with no headlights in the car, using flashlights instead.

We also made a stop off at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, this time with kiddos in tow. As Roan was getting into her swimsuit she vowed, "No pool Mama. Not want to get in." I reassured her she didn't have to do anything she didn't want to.

But the minute she saw the water she wanted to go for it. Ethan had a great time too.

And the fun didn't end there. We headed over to Buena Vista to enjoy a popular hamburger stand. Lucky for Roan it's located right across from a huge playground, so she got some more playtime in while we savored our cheeseburgers. And then we got ice cream to boot!
To cap off our incredible weekend, the evening ended with a beautiful sunrise and a huge full moonrise over the mountains. I didn't want the weekend to end!