September 29, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

This year, over Labor Day Weekend, we were able to take advantage of the long holiday weekend- as much as people who work in a church can, anyway.  We have some incredibly generous, blessed friends from church who own a cabin in the mountains here in CO.  It's in a small town called Alma, in between Fairplay and Breckenridge.  Someone had described it as "rustic", and if this is rustic living, I'll take it!!!  There was no dishwasher, but other than that, the kitchen was far nicer than the one in my home.  Our friends have put quite a bit of work into the place, and it definitely shows.  It was the perfect place for a little Nielson family get-away for some much needed R & R.

So I should qualify our weekend away with all the facts.  We invited some friends of ours for the first night in the mountains, so Tim and Kyle hit the links Friday afternoon, while Erika and I headed for the hills with a van full of kids- our three and her little boy.  We got there long before the men, settled in, fed the kids and put them to bed while we kept the dinner warm for the guys.

Saturday, we explored Breckenridge and took advantage of the free gondola rides.  I can not put enough expression on paper to convey to you how excited Sophia and Noah were to ride the gondolas.  We were driving down the road through town, and Noah saw one passing over us on the road.  He nearly shrieked, "MOM!  HOT AIR BALLOONS!!"  Once I finally realized what he was talking about, and told him that was what we were riding, he could hardly contain himself.  Sophia either.  They couldn't WAIT for us to get babies situated and get going.  (Which took longer than usual since Phoebe showed off her skills with a massive blow out and we had to borrow clothes from baby Jack for the rest of the day.  Hence the faceless baby girl with us in all blue.)

Sunday morning, early, found Tim headed back into town by himself to be at church.  Our church had a ministry fair expo that day and all employees were required to be in attendance!  Although Tim rarely misses a Sunday, he otherwise would have taken a vacation day and stayed with us for the weekend.  Alas, not to be.  So he was gone for a good portion of the day, and then met us back at the cabin that afternoon.  Which still gave us time for exploring.

Then, just to maximize our opportunity, we stayed until after nap time and didn't leave until about 5:00 on Monday.  Which we ended up paying for on the way home, but in my book, it was totally worth it!!  We had lots of time to finally find the old mine that was just a short hike behind the cabin.  It only took us three separate attempts with some vague directions and a bad map, but we did find it.  And it was well worth it.  We could have explored there for hours.  And Tim could have been annoyed with me for all my attempts at good pictures as a wannabe photographer.  (You can tell I'm such a novice.  I'm still experimenting with all the light settings on our new camera, and have a lot to learn.  Some of these pictures would have been far better if I wouldn't have screwed up the lighting.)   Anyway, that may, or may not, have actually happened.

So, all in all, we had a great weekend, even if half of our family time was spent in different locations!

-Most- of the stuff we "needed" for 4 days away from home.

Riding the gondola in Breckenridge

More gondola riding

One very intense game of "Ms. Pac-Man"

Love those two!!!!

These were the only backpacks we brought, so I loaded Sophia's up with snacks and water for hiking.  I was fully planning on carrying it myself, but she insisted.  And since she had a backpack, Noah insisted on bringing his- full of more totally practical hiking gear like coloring books, crayons, and trucks.

More of Noah's practical hiking equipment.  He insisted on carrying these rocks the whole way.  Tim kept trying to convince him that he could leave these rocks behind and get new ones right out the front door of the cabin, but he wasn't buying it!  He did, however, keep trading the two rocks for progressively smaller ones!

Finally, we located the anticipated mine.


Along the road to the mine, was this crazy, totally random junk pile.

Also spotted along the road to the mine.

Sophia's new favorite hobby.

Remember how I said we paid the price for waiting until later in the day to leave the mountains at the end of a holiday weekend?  At least there was a view!

September 23, 2010


Last month, we took our first- and last :( camping trip of the summer.  You may think it was the baby that kept us away, but sadly, it was just an overcrowded schedule.  Somehow, I think that next summer when the baby has become a toddler, it will be even more difficult.  So we took advantage of the one weekend opportunity we had, and packed it up for the mountains.  

Turns out we I forgot several things.  The most significant thing I forgot?  The kids sleeping bags!  Augh.  As if any of us sleeps that much in a tent at this point anyway.  We really didn't get that much sleep that night, with Tim and Noah sharing a sleeping bag and me and Sophia sharing.

Nevertheless, we had a GREAT time, and I can't wait for another opportunity.  But next time, I'll remember the sleeping bags.  All 4 of them!

 As you can see, the baby isn't phased by the change of scenery at all.

 Sophia was "sliding" along on our hike.

 Tim taught Noah how to chew some grass while we were hiking.  Like father, like son!!

 This would be Noah hunting the bears.  Yes, with the pruners.

 On our way back into town, we stopped along the road for a short hike.  (As much as Sophia loves hiking, her little legs don't last long these days!)  There was this river at the end that was a great place for climbing and throwing rocks.

 My favorite camping partner.

 We're praying she grows out of this awkward throwing phase.

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