{through the rearview} fall in the flat tops

I took these photos the last time I was up in the Flat Tops of Colorado. IMG_1301 September 2005. IMG_1280 I knew it would probably be the last photos I took up there in a long time as we had just decided to make the move to Oregon.

IMG_1306I made Ryan stop on the way down the road so I could take most of these photos.

IMG_1293Lots of good memories were made up there.

IMG_1294Withe the dogs.
IMG_1303 With family. IMG_1282 With friends. IMG_1305 We camped up there a lot from 2000-2005. IMG_1296 It seems so long ago. IMG_1302 It is one of my favorite places on earth. IMG_1304 IMG_1298 home is…memories of a favorite place.


you know what i have learned in the last month?

heat, humidity (low or high), mosquitos, and i don’t get along.

but, cousins, cousins get along…always.

we’ve had a lot of cousin visits this summer.

we are currently visiting ryan’s family in new york.

and, just two weeks ago we were in colorado visiting my family.

cousins on my side of the family…


cousins on ryan’s side of the family…


and, all of our kiddos cousins.

cousin’s are like long lost best friends.

you know the ones where you haven’t talked in years and you pick up right where you left off?!

yeah, that is exactly the kind of friend a cousin is.


older cousins.

younger cousins.

first cousins.

second cousins.

first cousins once removed.

cousins are just awesome.

home is…cousins.

saying no

This morning we were supposed to board a plane and head to Colorado to visit my family.

Ryan suggested the idea and I came up with the plan.

He has a meeting in California over the weekend, so we figured that the kids and I could go to Denver and visit family.

We would go for a long weekend and attend the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo just like my sister and I used to when we were little.

We would visit with family and friends we haven’t seen in months.

I even printed out all the addresses for the Goodwill’s and other thrift stores in Denver.

It was all planned.

We were checked in for our flight.

And, it just didn’t feel right.

As much as I wanted to go all the signs were telling me that it just wasn’t right.

Lorelai has been sick, the weather was calling for freezing rain right when we were supposed to head to the airport, my body was losing the battle against the unending barrage of germs that it has been fighting off since the holidays, and I was not looking forward to flying through Seattle to get to Denver by myself with the two kiddos.

Yesterday afternoon I called my mom and let her know that we were planning to come, but would keep an eye on the weather…there might be flight delays.

Within minutes of getting off the phone Lorelai threw up in the kitchen. I’m pretty sure it was caused by a coughing fit, but that was the last sign I needed.

I cried, I thought, and I finally decided that we couldn’t go.

Ryan got on the phone with the airlines and canceled our tickets.

I called my mom and let her know we wouldn’t be coming.

The last two times I have visited Colorado I have been sick.

March 2010, we visited for Spring Break. While we had a wonderful time when we were there, I was fighting a cold the entire visit and ended up with walking pneumonia when we got back.

Thanksgiving 2011, I had Laryngitis the entire time. And, Lorelai was sick both times.

I decided to say no.

No to myself.

No to the plans I had made.

No to traveling alone with the kids while we are not feeling well.

I was afraid of disappointing everybody…my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, aunts and uncles, cousins, my niece, and Reece & Lorelai.

But, I had to say no.

home is…taking care of my family.

UPDATED: fires in colorado

Source: google.com via stephany @ on Pinterest

Gosh, they scare me.

My parents, aunt and uncle, and many friends live in the foothills west of Denver.

I also have cousins and an aunt and uncle who live up in the Vail Valley.

Source: google.com via stephany @ on Pinterest

As of right now, they are safe.

That could change in an instant.

Did you see that 32,000 people have been evacuated near Colorado Springs?!

The fire doubled in size OVERNIGHT!

Huge fires are burning west of Fort Collins, Boulder, and Colorado Springs.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of houses could be destroyed this summer.

If I could send the rain and cool temperatures that we have been “enjoying” here in the Pacific Northwest to Colorado I would in an instant.

Please pray for Colorado.

Please pray for rain.

Please pray for my family, friends, and their neighbors.

How can we help?

Please visit this website.

I will post more information about how we can help from out of state as I find it.

home is…praying for my native state.

making a list…

Checking it twice…

This morning I am making a list of all the things I need (want) to get done before Christmas!

We had a wonderful time in Colorado despite the fact that the majority of us were sick the entire time.

I lost my voice the day after we got there and didn’t get it back until the day after we left.

Oh well.

I wanted a “do 0ver”, but the most  important thing was spending time with family and that is what we did.

The kids played, we saw deer and elk, and there was even a 10 minute snowstorm the night before we left!

So, now we are moving on…

Our lights are up outside.

I just ordered our holiday cards.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

home is…going home and coming home.


Remember this photo from this post?

I told you there was a story behind it.

Here it is…

My husband and I spent a lot of time in the Colorado high country when we lived there.

One of our favorite places were the Flat Tops.

We camped up there in the same spot year after year.

My husband named it “Sunny’s Camp”.

On August 14th, 2004 we drove up to our camp for a weekend of camping, hiking, and probably scouting for Blue Grouse.

On the way up the long dirt road we passed by one of the trailers that they sheepherders use for a base camp. The young man came over to our truck and asked us if we had seen a horse on our drive. He said he had the sheep down in the canyon the night before and some bears came through and spooked the horses. He found one, but was still looking for the other one. We let him know we would look for his horse and told him where we were going to set up our camp. We kept on down the road, through the herd of sheep with the Kuvasz keeping watch as we passed.

Once we pulled into our camp we let the dogs out and started to unload the car and all of our gear. After a while I heard our dogs barking. We called them back to camp, but they kept barking and running up a small hill behind our camp. Finally, we tied them up while we continued to set up camp.

A short time later, while we were still settling in and unpacking we heard a loud noise coming up from the canyon below. I ran out from the trees that surrounded our camp into the open park and waved at a large Army helicopter. As I waved it got closer and closer and then landed in the park.

“Oh no,” I thought. “What if they think I am waving at them for help?!”

We had low flying planes and helicopters fly over our camp numerous times as the Army did some of their high altitude training for Afganistan from the Eagle Country airport nearby, but never had one land!

One of the men, looking very official, hopped out of the helicopter and came running over to me.

He asked me if the horse up on the hill was ours.

Immediately I knew what the dogs had been barking at and whose horse it was.

I told him no, but that we knew whose horse it was.

He explained to me that he knew the family who ran their sheep up there and they called to see if they would be able to run any of the training missions over the area to look for the lost horses. I told him we would take care of the horse and he said he would give the family a call.

So, Ryan and I walked up the hill to find the horse and get it free. It had gotten loose when the bear spooked it and run out of the canyon and finally tangled it’s lead (or the rope that they tie it up with for the night) in a tree near our camp. Ryan (who was not very fond of horses at the time) and I worked for a while to get it free and once we did, we had no idea what we were going to do with it!

We slowly led it down to our camp and decided to tie it to the old rail fence that ran along the trees on one side of our camp.

{this is a photo of the rail fence on a different day}

Once we tied the horse up we got in our truck and drove to the sheepherders trailer to leave a note to let him know we had his horse and where he could find us.

After about an hour (or maybe 2) we heard a pickup drive up the road towards our camp. It was the sheepherder coming to get his horse. We told him the story and he tied it up to the back of his truck and slowly drove down the road back to his base camp…he had to get back to work.

And, we had to get back to relaxing.

{Sunny’s Camp}

It’s hard to remember all the little details…in fact, I couldn’t remember if we saw the horse and then the helicopter, or vice versa…I still might have gotten it wrong.

At any rate, it was an exciting little adventure.

That helicopter landing right next to our camp after I was waving to it from the park sure got my heart pounding.

home is…reliving adventures from the past.

{colorado} day 1 and 2

We made it to Colorado with the two kids in tow!

We got up to my parents house last night after a pretty uneventful morning of travel.

We got acquainted with the wildlife (actually said hello to some deer out the back window, too).

Played with a new remote control Jeep that Topher brought home.

And had dinner with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece.

Ryan left to fly to Florida for work on Sunday morning, so he missed out on the festivities which included lunch with the Catlin/Fields/Larson/Maiman bunch.

A little time playing outside.

And, a visit from the rest of the Larsons on their way home from Costa Rica!

Baby girl also learned about Elk poop.

And, how to fall down gracefully in a tu-tu.

I also feel like I have been eating non-stop since we got here. Might have to go for a run tomorrow morning to work some of it off!

home is…time for bed after a busy couple of days!

Lost in Transition

A lot has been going on the last two weeks.  We found out we are having a baby girl, my 97 year old grandmother passed away, we became a two car family and coordinated the transport of a car from Oregon to Colorado, we moved the little guy to his “big boy” room, we had new carpet put in the house, and today we had to say goodbye to our beautiful little kitty, Murphy.
It seems that every time I sit down to write something that the right words don’t come out.  I guess that’s why I don’t write for Hallmark.  I want to be deep and meaningful, but I am at a loss.  The ups and downs of life come at us all the time, but the last couple of weeks they have come with lightning speed.  Some of the events were planned or “expected”.  Others, like the loss of our sweet Murphy, came on suddenly and have been quite a shock to the system.
The good news is that we have a healthy baby girl on the way, the little guy is sleeping well in his new room, and we have beautiful new carpet.  The hard stuff is dealing with the loss of Grandma and, right now, Murphy.  And, while dealing with all of these emotions, my house is not put back together and that will have to wait until the weekend after Ryan returns from Seattle.
I am on a roller-coaster of emotion due to my fluctuating pregnancy hormones as it is, and I am feeling a bit lost in transition.