Over the River and Through the Woods

I live in the state with the most fourteeners and highest mean altitude in the country, the highest paved highway on the continent, and the highest suspension bridge in the world. I'd love to be exploring all the peaks and ridges of these beautiful mountains every day this summer, but real everyday life just doesn't allow that sort of venture. 

So I'm particularly grateful for sweet weekend trips to my mom's house. I'm extra lucky that she lives in a charming neighborhood on the side of a mountain at around 8,500 feet elevation and completely surrounded by forest.

She's also just a hop, skip, and a jump from Evergreen, Colorado, which is a fun town to visit for its sites and shops. I love visiting her just to spend time with her and my stepdad, but I'd be a fool not to enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking views while I'm there.

Saturday was Mom's birthday, so I doubled up my trip by celebrating with her and also taking a little time to enjoy the mountains. We had a great time, except that it rained and we didn't get to take our little hike around Lake Evergreen. We did some shopping though, and I got a hike in later in the weekend.

My mommy

My mom has a little brook running behind her house along with a hiking trail that runs through the neighborhood and back into the woods. S and I took the trail with her on my back and eventually she took a nap along the way. This is basically in Mom's backyard.

Bear country, for sure

Back side of Mom's house

Bark scars on the Aspens

Pond #1

Pond #2

The shed stores ice skates for residents. There's also a horseshoe pit near the pond.

This guy swooped down so close to me I thought he was going to land. He was something else.

I plan to pick up a trail map of the area before I head that way again, as I know there's several preserves and open spaces around there I haven't seen before. We've got less than half the summer left, and I intend to make the most of it!


It's That Time Already

Today we had to lower the crib mattress to its lowest setting. It's hard to believe that just 10 months ago she'd nap it in at its highest setting, just inches from the top of the rail. The next time we change her crib it will be to convert it to a toddler bed. Where does the time go?

In other news, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that today I finally hung the nursery art I've had for nearly a year. The only thing I've had on her wall besides the polka dots is the banner her Auntie Sarah made for her baby shower. I still have a few more things to add, but at least I'm finally getting started. I'm thinking when we move out of this house I'll want to choose new room decor anyway. And I know it won't be too long before she starts forming opinions of her own and wanting to choose her own things. (Sigh.)

She's now sleeping heavily in her newly lowered crib, resting up for the major mountaineering we're about to do in the next couple of days. I can't wait!



I recently watched a video from Nature Valley (you know the granola bar company that makes those delicious sweet & salty bars?), and it echoes one of my fears for my daughter's generation. Of course, the video is an ad trying to sell granola bars and it is a bit dramatic, but it still makes a good point. 

While I understand the value of learning about technology and recognize it's imperative in the world today, it makes me sad to think S might ever be more interested in the internet than playing outside. My best memories as a child involve riding my bike, running, playing in the sand and dirt, building forts out of fallen tree limbs, climbing to the top of our willow tree, sneaking off to the creek that ran through our land, climbing over fences, and nosing around my friend's parents' boat. This is exactly why I'm so grateful to be in Colorado where it is easy to just get outdoors and have fun!

Yesterday our outdoor adventure was a visit to The Wildlife Sanctuary outside of Keenesburg. I got closer to lions, tigers, and bears (and porcupines and wolves and lynx and fox) than I've ever been. It was such a neat place, and I'm so glad it exists. If you decide to visit, it's good to know going in that it is NOT a tourist attraction. It's not like visiting the zoo. The habitats aren't set up for the animals to be "on display." Rather, it is a true sanctuary in every sense of the word, with habitats and enclosures built to provide a happy, safe environment for the animals in as-close-to-natural-as-possible circumstances. Visitors view the animals from a walkway high above the habitats, and sometimes it takes a while to spot an animal in its area. But it was such a pleasant trip, and I plan to visit again.

I wish my "good" camera wasn't broken, as my husband's camera just can't capture the quality photos I would have liked to have. But we had a fun day, which is what was most important.

* I first saw the Nature Valley video here


It is enough.

It all started with the plates. We’ve been married 11 years and still had the dinnerware my husband’s parents bought for him to use at college. I was grateful we had them, and they served their purpose well but had become quite rough around the edges, and more than a few pieces had gone missing in the past 15 years. It was time to acquire new. We just happened upon a set we both fell in love with when we weren’t even looking. They are just so us.

The simple, rustic design is accentuated by the unique quality of each handcrafted piece.  So we purchased them along with new silverware (also to replace his now-incomplete set from college).

As I unpacked, washed, dried, examined, and put away every single piece, admiring the craftsmanship of each individual dish, I realized I loved them because they were earthy/modest/unembellished. They are simple, but sophisticated with understated elegance. And they are representative of the things I want in this life.

I used to want an extraordinary life. I wanted to make a BIG difference. Or I wanted to be well-known for something. Or I wanted constant excitement and entertainment, and I wanted to be different from everyone. I wanted to be exquisitely unique. I didn’t want to settle for a “regular” life, because I thought that would be boring. 

So I had a life that was different from everyone. I moved across the country and went to art school and then dropped out. I enrolled in college and took classes in every discipline to learn a variety of things and decide what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” I took my time, working to support myself because I was convinced I was independent and that taking the road less traveled was better. I got married at 22 years old and moved across the state to start life all over, a new adventureagain. And it was okay, except that I learned the more traveled road had heavier traffic for good reason. It was paved with experience from people who were older than me and knew what I’d be looking back at when I got to the age I am nowand what I’ll be looking back at in another 50 years.

I don’t regret my choices. They’ve made me who I am. There is nothing wrong with going off the beaten path instead of just taking whatever logical step seems to be the one that’s supposed to come next in life. But with quiet reflection I see there can also be comfort and richness and happiness in the traditional route. Growing up, getting married, having babies, mowing the yard, and "picking out the curtains" isn’t boring. It is life. Life is an adventure. There is joy in every step of this journey if we choose it. 

And for the next 50 years of life, I’m choosing differently than I have before. I don’t need fancy or phenomenal. I just want to simplify it all. I want just enough things in our home to get us by, but I want enough loving memories and experiences to last our family for generations. I'd rather we flourish in heart than anything else. I want early morning snuggles with my littles. I want the smell of bacon and coffee and the sound of giggles and rustling newspaper at the breakfast table. I want afternoon smiles and schoolwork and weekend camping trips. I want to kiss my hubby on his way out the door in the mornings and back in from work every evening for the rest of my life.

I want simple, and that is now what I have. It is everything. If this is all that life ever is—worshiping God, loving my family, and tending to a little home, then life is good. It is enough.