It seems that there is little time these days. I wake up and it’s Friday, the week flew by again. Monday we had a Denver Police dept. tour, it was the video production area (and offices in that building, but it’s not THE police station, just offices.) It was cool to see the video guy in action, he taped the kids with a green screen and they got to add in the background. Hannah got a card from an officer and everyone got DPD dog tags, which was pretty cool.

It was Hallowteen night at the DMNS museum, Brad and Janet did not win the costume contest.

Tuesday we took Grace up to Keystone for the H2O science school. She was a bit nervous at being around total strangers, but then found out some of the kids were at the teen night and one girl used to be in our homeschool group. She ended up having a great time, making friends, getting to talk to water people, sampling and having some time without us. Hannah finally got to go to an Explorer meeting, they were working on combat care and tourniquets. She decided that Parker is a good fit and has to go to at least 5 meetings before getting her uniform and equipment. They let them wear fake guns on their belt and other tools on the belt to get used to the weight and feel of it, so that’s cool. I doubt there will be 4 meetings coming up (with breaks and they only go every other week) so it might be January before she gets her stuff.

Wednesday Hannah did school and then we watched the rest of season 2 of The Good Doctor and caught up on season 3. It started snowing right as I was dropping her at church. We ended up getting about 4 inches, but the roads were fine.

Thursday we did school and went up to get Grace. The road was fine with a few exceptions of packed snow on the road. I was worried about the road to the school, which was pretty snowy on Tuesday, but the plow had been by and packed it down (the road is dirt, so it never gets plowed to the bottom.) Jack had time to play in the snow before Grace showed up. We somehow made it to Westminster for the school Winter social in record time. Grace changed into her Janet costume and bam – they won the High school most original costume. The prize was an i-tunes card which Hannah turned into Psych the Movie and a few songs. We chilled for a bit, made dinner and then drove to the mall to walk around.

Friday I took James to work, we did school, grabbed water samples for October and drove out to Cottonwood farms. I wanted to wait until Tuesday, but it’s supposed to snow Sunday-Wednesday, so we went today. The corn did not grow this year for some odd reason, so the maze was easy for anyone over 3 feet tall. The girls picked out 2 big pumpkins and we took some pictures.

Grand Junction

Friday we left for GJ and spotted some fall colors along the way.

We checked into the hotel and went to the Antique store.

Jack found a ball.

We decided to use the grill at the hotel and cook up steaks and hamburgers.

The girls went to Bethany’s dorm to watch movies and spend the night. Bethany had to go to work, so we said goodbye and went on our way.

I planned to stop in Aspen and see the Maroon Bells, finally, but I underestimated how long it would take to get there, eat lunch and drive home to get Hannah to her volunteer gig. But we did finally go through Aspen and over Independence pass.

Long weekend

Saturday we headed to the Air Force Academy chapel to see it before it closes for renovation (for 4 years.) We hadn’t been in there in a long time and I’m not James ever saw it at all, so it was good timing. This building is new since the last time we were there and we found out the planetarium reopened (and it’s free!)

The plane plaza.

We had lunch at Ivywild food hall, it was a school that went out of business, then a brewery moved in, then another food place, a few craft places and they use the gym for live music and dancing.

Sunday was family weekend at church, Phil gave a great talk about being the person you want your children to listen to, follow and look to. If you aren’t reading your Bible, praying, thinking about God first, how can you expect your children to do the same? After lunch we went to check out the new LM ice cream factory, as soon as they get the slide fixed I’m making a tour.

Monday was Labor day, so James and I had a casual coffee at Legends and the walked around the outdoor mall at Southlands.

The girls wanted to go to the mall, so we dropped them off there and chilled at home. I finished up some reading and then we all went to Golden to swim in the creek. Of course, everyone else had the same idea too….

James grilled hamburgers for dinner and we watched Fool Us with Penn and Teller before bed. That was a long weekend, but a good one.

Whirlwind camping/roadtrip

Friday we loaded up the car and headed out. James was flying out the next day for a work conference in San Francisco, so we decided to camp over Friday night (and come back Sat night so Hannah could work at the coffee shop at church on Sunday morning.) Now, I did have a women’s bingo event at church, but I did not want to try to pack up the tent and drive 2.5 hours back on Sunday morning, so we printed out bingo sheets and I still got to play.

Our first stop was Rainbow falls because we’ve never been there (it was closed forever for cleanup, not that they cleaned up the graffiti.) It’s only open Fri-Mon and soon only Sat-Sun and they now have a $1 fee to go in. They fixed up the path and it’s a 1/10th of a mile walk to the falls.

As you can see there is still plenty of graffiti.

They fixed the path, removed trash, put in benches and Da Vinci walls, a bathroom, a little ranger hut and security cameras. You can walk in the water to the falls, I wish it were open in the winter (but I think that’s a no this year.) But, we will come back soon and see if we can get to the cave behind the falls.

Next we hopped back in the car and drove to our camping spot near Rye, CO. It was Ophir creek in the San Isabel forest. We got the spot right next to the bathrooms (on purpose) and the creek was right next to us too. We set up the big tent while Jack roamed on a long leash chewing up sticks.

Once the tent was set up we got a fire going for hot dogs and s’mores (our go to camping food.) I had grabbed condiment packets at the gas station when we stopped, but apparently I grabbed taco sauce instead of ketchup. I told the girls it just tasted like spicy ketchup, but they thought it was gross. So taco sauce, mayo, mustard, pickle relish and chopped onions were the toppings.

When we were ready to get in the tent we put Jack in and he freaked out. I think it was the crunch sound of the bottom of the tent and the fact that he’d never been in a tent before. He went crazy, then spent our whole Bingo game time chasing his ball from one end of the tent to the other.

I gave him an extra CBD treat to knock him out and it worked. He work up about 12, but I told him to go back to sleep. He woke up at 3:30am, which is a normal time, and we went to the bathroom, then he went back to sleep until about 7am. It was cold and we didn’t have enough blankets, I need to get new bags, these are old and don’t zip up and when they don’t zip up it’s harder to stay warm.

In the morning we ate our Belvita breakfast crackers and broke down the tent, shoved everything in the back of the car and headed up the road to Bishop castle. It’s not really a castle, but it’s also not a building, it’s labeled art so that Mr. Bishop doesn’t have to have anything up to code. He has lots of signs about his Constitutional rights, freedoms and signs that say law enforcement and lawyers can suck it. He had a new sign that had warnings like, not responsible for your emotional, physical or spiritual well being while on the property, not responsible for injuries, you might hear foul language, you might encounter angry people. Basically he’s warning you that you are entering his property and he has the right to do whatever he wants. Is he a bit crazy? Yes. If this place ever going to be finished? Probably not.

From there, because we were close and had a pass, we went to check out Lake Isabel. We always pass this on the way to the castle, but never stop and there was a campground there I wanted to check out. I’m glad we stopped at Ophir creek, it was better. It’s really hard to get down to the lake unless you park on the other side and walk in, so we didn’t go to the water.

Next stop a late lunch in Buena Vista. We ended up at K’s burgers because the 2 places that my dog app said were dog friendly were closed and the other one was very busy. K’s was busy too, but they do have good burgers. We took our order to the park and ate there. This time there was ketchup.

We would have gotten ice cream at our fav shop, but we were full. We backtracked a bit to go to the ghost town of St, Elmo. I wouldn’t call it a ghost town as much as a town that is trying to save some of their historic buildings and fix them up. There were a ton of hummingbirds and a place called chipmunk crossing where you could literally be covered in chipmunks if you sat down for a minute.

This humming bird is just red because the sun was glaring through the red feeder it was on.

We walked up the street to look at the buildings, most were closed, only a few were open to go in and there were just signs inside telling about the town and area.

The girls made the ghostly shopping list from Spongebob, so we took pics through the glass.

There was a general store and antiques out back.

On the way home we passed by the chalk cliffs on Mt. Princeton, the Mt. Princeton hot springs, we took 285 back and went through Southpark, did not stop for taffy at the hot dog stand even though it was open and made it home by 6:45pm. I promptly ordered pizza and we took some stuff out of the car.

We did find a lot of things on this trip even it we didn’t stop this time. We passed by the May museum in the Springs. I have heard about it, but never knew where it was. We went on the Frontier byway road which was a nice scenic route. We got to see Lake Isabel and went through Salida on the way to BV. On the way to St. Elmo we passed by Cascade falls, but I didn’t stop to get a picture. I found out that when you have no cell service you will get no maps. I had to plug in the old GPS to get to BV. I mean, I looked at the map on my phone and I probably could have navigated the turns from that, but it was nice to have an electronic backup. However no cell meant no calls or texting to James, and no way to search for dog friendly restaurants until there was a signal. I’m glad I keep that old GPS in the car, it hasn’t had a maps update in 7 years, so in Salida it didn’t know there was a straight shot through town and we were weaving in and out of the town, but we did make it to BV, so….there.

Next time, new sleeping bags rated to 20F, camping pads and ketchup.

Grand Junction

It used to seem so far to drive to the other end of the state, about 4-4.5 hours, but now it seems to whip by. Even with extra stopping for Jack (it’s not really that extra, we still stop for food/bathroom breaks for humans so…) The ‘just past Genesee’ picture.

Jack fell asleep instantly.

We stopped at Subway for lunch, they had weird pictures on their chip bags that were begging for a photo. But, I got Sun chips instead.

We enjoyed our lunch by the creek and a little bird came to the table to hang out.

More stuff we normally pass that I take a pic of, though everything looks better draped in snow.

Almost there.


We met up with Bethany and ate dinner at Pablos pizza. The street was closed off for a Thursday night farmers market, so after dinner we looked around and bought a few things.

We went back to the hotel and closed off the day with the (new) Willy Wonka movie. Jack was up (because of the movie) until after 10pm, so a late night for him.

Jack woke up too early on Friday morning and had a nap while we ate breakfast.

James and I dropped off Jack at the Wag resort, went to park and walked around.

The girls went shopping after breakfast, getting stuff for Bethany’s dorm. She wasn’t supposed to move in until Sat morning, but she asked and they said she could move in early. We met her at the new dorm with a trunkload of stuff. Here are the before shots, everything was just lying around. She has the end room in a pod of 4 rooms. The end rooms sleep 1 person, the 2 middle ones sleep 2 people (so 6 people total.) There is 1 bathroom/shower they all share and a common area with couch/TV.

We went to an Indian restaurant for lunch, then went to the antique store. There are 3 or 4 of them on Main street, but Robin’s Nest is the biggest and best one.

We went back to the room to swim and Bethany went back to her dorm to fix it up. We left about 6:30pm to pick her up and head over to Palisade for the peach fest. I’ve heard about the Palisade peach festival for 14 years, but we were never willing to drive 8 hours roundtrip for it. It’s only 20 min from GJ, and since it was so hot we decided to go in the evening (and it’s the main reason Jack was boarded, they don’t allow dogs.)

They were using buses to shuttle people to the festival – this was the first time my girls ever rode a school bus. Hannah was not impressed, but she was excited to get on.

Riverbend park.

Hannah won a tiger, we got some free stuff, ate dinner and looked around.

I had a BBQ sundae, beans, coleslaw and brisket in a cup – it was delicious.

Sunset was beautiful (I should have run back to the water, that would have been a pretty picture.)

It was lighting up the mesa on the other side too.

I really thought there would be more peach stuff at this festival – just because Palisade is the peach growing capital of the state and I hear about it all the time, but really the Lafayette peach festival is bigger and has more peach stuff and less ‘random festival’ type stuff. But, now I’ve been. We dropped the girls at the dorm (they were going to see a movie) and then went back to the hotel. Grace spent the night with Bethany, which meant that Hannah got a whole bed to herself.

Saturday morning we had a late breakfast and started to while the time away. We went to Walmart, some more stores and checked out the Cross orchard museum. I still don’t think we actually saw the museum though, we saw some outside trains, an inside model train setup and a few old cars. There wasn’t anyone around to ask about an actual museum, but we didn’t see the barn, an old house and some other stuff – so maybe next time.

The model train set was very detailed, a huge Mt. Garfield loomed over the set. We could see Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, parts of Denver, it was cool.

We went to Starbucks to play a card game, get drinks and cool off. Then, one last trip to the store/mall before having a late lunch with Zack’s parents at Old Chicago. We had a good lunch and great conversation, they live about an hour or so from GJ and have an amazing view from their house. They told us to come by some day to laze around on their pontoon boat in the lake. We dropped Bethany off at a coffee shop with Zack, went to pick up Jack and headed home. In Glenwood canyon.

I think Jack played hard and ate no food all day at the resort because he went to sleep instantly and every time I offered food he wolfed it down and had more at home.

We got home about 8:30pm and the guys were all gone. Joel and Timmy had an early morning flight and I guess Mike and Chris decided to sleep at the airport for an early morning Sunday flight. We let Jack play some ball for about 30 min and then went to bed.

Sunday I took Hannah to church and she worked in the coffee shop. Grace drove herself to church and then came home to tie-dye her shoes.

We picked up lunch and went to the park to eat, then Hannah and M hung out, I went to the library, we went to the grocery store, then we chilled the rest of the evening. Jack broke his new ball, either this ball was a bad lot or he has really gotten good at chewing in just the right spot to split the ball.

The week – co-op postings start, Clear creek tubing, Destinations picnic, roller skating co-op, kid-sitting, nbts photos, Corteo cirque show, on-line school testing/scavenger hunt/making sure OLS is set up, Rainbow falls hike, arcade, heading out to Rye for camping, Bishop castle, hiking, St. Elmo ghost town, church, coffee shop (Hannah), swimming with friends.

Dinners – This week is easy due to some evening activities that either include dinner or eating out. Tacos, picnic dinner, Hawaiian chicken with broccoli, something downtown, orange beef and fried rice, hot dogs/s’mores, make your own pizzas.

Stars of Hope, Mt. Evans

We went to church to help set up and paint some stars for the STEM school. There was a school shooting there back in May, 1 teen died, others were wounded. The kids go back to school in a few weeks and Stars of Hope is an organization that supplies wooden stars to be painted with messages of hope that will be hung up around the school.

We went back home and grabbed Jack and James and drove to the Springs to eat at Salsa Brava. We used to have a Salsa Brava near us, but they went out of business. They have a dog friendly patio, good Tex-Mex (hard to find here) and good drinks, so it was worth the drive.

Sunday we went to church, Hannah worked at the coffee shop and got $14 in tips (she can’t get paid, but as a volunteer she gets the tips, sometimes that works out to more than what the employee gets!) We were on the last part of the King’s tree series – Hezekiah. What is your level of trust? A foundational relationship with God empowers faith over fear. Who  do you trust? Pursue a relationship with God. Trust in God before you face adversity, that way when hard times come you are cemented in faith and ready to face it.

We didn’t have any afternoon plans, so James, Jack and I went up to Mt. Evans and the girls stayed home to paint, walk to the store and hang out with friends.

There were a ton of damselflies around Echo lake.

Headed up.

At Summit lake, we saw a couple getting married at the lake.

Heading up the really, really, bad road to the summit (no, Summit lake is not at the summit.)

Happy 4th

This was Jack’s first pet parade! He was super excited, waiting at the start.


Grace walked with her youth group and since the parade had already started, Bethany and James joined in with them and came to sit with me and Jack when they were done.

We went home to cool off, read a bit, had lunch, watched some TV, then decided to take a drive to FoCo for ice cream.

Jack waited patiently for his milk bone pup cone and we found out that Pizza Press went out of business. It’s a shame because the concept was cute and the pizza was great.

We went from sunny and beautiful to holy hail! Everyone on the freeway was trying to stop under the passes to wait out the hail, but only so many cars can fit under there and the water was starting to stack up, so we got out and got back on the freeway. We needed gas, but the first gas station was full of people hiding under the awning, so we kept driving to the next one. The hail was only pea and marble sized, but it sounds so loud when it hits the car. See this clip, but really to get the full effect put on headphones and turn it all the way up. We had a late dinner of breakfast when we got home, Jack was begging for cheese.

It was still raining when the girls and I went to see the fireworks, but the show went on anyway.