Tuesday, August 31, 2010

batter up!

Isabella gave Micah a t ball set for his birthday back in February. It's been sitting, still in the box, in the laundry room just waiting to be put together and tried out. This afternoon Micah asked again if we could play it. The weather has been so much nicer and by nicer I mean not 100 degrees outside so I put it together for him and brought it outside. He has another bat and ball we've been playing with and has actually made contact a few times but this was soooooo much better. After a few pointers from Zach he went at it. Each time he hit the ball he would throw his bat backwards, just like on TV, and run to get the ball and bring it back to go again. He did this for a good hour and only slowed down when Connor got in the way. I will be so excited when he's old enough to play on a team. He's going to be so cute in that uniform...oh and a good ball player too of course!

boo boo

Connor sustained his first noticeable boo boos this weekend.

The nose- chased after brother at church, face planted, rug burn

The eye- got in the way of his cousin, one big push, fell into a cabinet

He cried and cried and cried after he hit his eye but apparently he's all good now :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

me too!

If Micah does it, Connor wants to.

So far big brother is usually excited for Connor to tag along, hope it stays that way :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

embrace the camera: expressions of love

Each of the boys have learned a new fun thing to do with their mama recently...

Connor thinks it's hilarious when I blow my cheeks out like a blowfish so that he can smash them together as hard as he can to hear the pbbbbtttt noise.

Micah learned how to give nose kisses from watching
Monster's Inc. during our movie night last Friday.

Very different...but both are LOVE

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

colorado day 4: trail ridge road and home

On our last day in Colorado we had two goals. 1) drive Trail Ridge Road 2) make it to the airport on time! Trail Ridge Road runs along some of the highest points in Rocky Mountain National Park and was rated one of the most scenic drives in the U.S. This was the one thing Zach was looking forward to the most on our trip. We stopped by Estes Park on the way to our drive to buy some tshirts for the boys. It was a really cute town but we had an agenda so didn't stay very long.

The whole drive took about 2 1/2 hours. There were numerous view points a long the way and we stopped at every single one :) The first had a great view of Long's Peak but I'm pretty sure we're blocking it in the picture. oops!

They are repaving this extremely high, curvy and not fenced mountain road. We had to stop for about 15 minutes to let the other lane pass but it was ok because we got to stare at some wildlife. Elk ( i think) snacking in the mountains.

The highest point on the road is at Rock Cut. There is a .5 mile trail to the summit that we wanted to walk up. However, this just happens to be above 12,000 feet in the Alpine Tundra ecosystem where it's too cold for even trees to grow and EXTREMELY windy and we just happened to be in shorts. We powered through for some good pictures and a cool experience. Zach did get a little frustrated that I wanted to stop and read every information sign though.

On our way back down the other side of Trail Ridge Road we saw this amazing view of the glaciers and the gorgeous valley beneath. Have I mentioned that this is seriously the most beautiful place I've ever been!

Just before the exit on the other side of the park we saw this sign for the continental divide. Zach had wanted to drive to see it at Loveland Pass but time did not permit it. This was almost as good.

After our scenic drive we headed straight to Denver and the airport. Our route took us through Winter Park which was neat to see but definitely quiet since it's a big ski town. It was worth the quiet though because we saw this cool barn on the side of the road which of course required us to pull over at a random gas station to get a picture and also finally saw a moose! or 3!! We turned a corner and saw a lot of cars pulled over and assumed there was something to see. These guys were chilling in the pond eating drinking and being merry. Yay wildlife!

This was an all around awesome trip. I am so thankful for the opportunity to go. Thanks to my parents for taking excellent care of my boys, thanks to Leslie and Steph for loaning me stuff :), thanks to Katie and Jered for moving out there, thanks to all my ladies who prayed for my fear of leaving so I could experience an awesome trip, thanks to my handsome hubby for having fun along side me and thanks to God for making a beautiful world to see!

Monday, August 23, 2010

time budget

Preschool has begun and though it doesn't mean summer is officially over (well at least not in my house) it does mean a more routine schedule and a lot less travel time. This is the first year since right after Micah was born that I haven't either been working part time or watching other kids. While I am so excited to be able to invest all my time to my family, all the open time ahead of me is a little daunting. I want to use it to the fullest both for myself and for others without getting overwhelmed with the huge amount of choices, and sometimes, time wasters out there. Part of one of dave's sermons series about spiritual disciplines was planning your time wisely and making sure you are using your time for Kingdom things as well. Days, weeks, years seem to move slowly but fly by at the same time and to help get a handle on the time God gives me I made myself a weekly goals list. Zach and I readjusted our personal $ budget not too long ago to reduce waste so a 'time' budget seemed like a great idea as well. :)

My Weekly Goals

* daily prayer time and bible reading

* read some of a novel and/or spiritual growth book before bed each night

* have at least one meaningful/catch up chat with a sibling or sibling in law

* email/talk to at least one friend to encourage and catch up

* catch up conversations and time together with Zach daily

* play time with Micah and Connor daily

* special alone time with each child at least once each week

* keep up with cleaning/household schedule

* two scrapbook pages a week

* share with friends and family through blog and pictures

* volunteer time with something or someone

My desire is that this will keep me attentive to what I'm doing while strengthening all kinds of relationships in the process. Now some of you are probably just thinking why aren't you doing all this anyway, what's the point of making a list. Well there are two reasons...1) I am a HUGE list person, and not just for the satisfaction of checking something off, but to have a visual to remind and encourage me. 2) to share with others who will see it the importance of knowing what you spend your time doing and encourage them to help me stick to my time budget, and maybe think of what themselves and this is doable for anyone male/female, work out of the home/stay at home, etc. I'm really excited about having this reminder and seeing how more fulfilling my days might be.

colorado day 3: colorado springs and tumbling river

When Zach and I woke up Monday morning neither of us could move very well. I guess it makes since considering our bodies had hiked 13 miles the last two days and we weren't exactly used to that much exercise :) We were planning on a lot driving this day and not much walking so it worked out pretty well.

Colorado Springs was an hour and a half south of where we were staying and has a lot of things to see so we spent the majority of the day there. Our first stop was the Air Force Academy. Zach's cousin Caleb is a graduate of their and now flies fighter jets, plus, it has a beautiful campus and an amazing Chapel as well.

Growing up in Alabama it was cool to see a statue dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen all the way in Colorado.

The stain glass was gorgeous and the colors just brilliant when the sun came through.

Next stop was the Garden of the Gods. It is a red rock formation made of sand stone and was donated to the city of colorado springs in the early 1900's to be a free park for the public. It had started to rain right as we got there and I had somehow forgotten my rain jacket at the hotel. My sweet husband let me borrow his while he just got wet. We would have liked to hang around here longer but it was cold, wet, windy and slippery so we saw what we could and got back in the car.

My poor exhausted and sore body had enough by the end of this destination so I fell asleep while Zach drove to the Pike's Peak entrance. We were planning on driving to the top but when we got there we found out it was $15 a person, an hour and a half drive one way, and the top was closed due to a hail storm so I went back to sleep while Zach figured out what we were going to do next. I woke up sometime after sitting in a shopping center while Zach went out and took some pictures. It had cleared up some and he had a good view so there ya go! When he got back in the car we just happened to be next door to the Focus on the Family headquarters so we went to their welcome center.

Zach's brothers and sisters listened to a radio show when they were growing up called Adventures in Odyssey that is produced by Focus on the Family. They downstairs of their welcome center is a huge museum/playground for this show. We went and had ice cream in Whit's End and walked around the bottom while Zach attempted to explain to me what I was seeing. Since I'm sure he's going to buy all the CD's for our kids when they're old enough I'll have full knowledge whenever we go back to visit with the kids!

Our last event of the day was driving down to Tumbling River Ranch in Grant, CO where Katie and Jered have been working the last few months. They had invited us to come out and tour the ranch and have dinner as guests. We weren't really sure what to expect since the only ranch either of us have seen are in movies. It was quiet, relaxing, quaint and full of mountain atmosphere. Katie showed us around and explained everything they do on a daily/weekly basis. We bought souvenirs from the trading post, borrowed boots from the barn and ate ribs, potatoes, cowboy beans and smore's outside next to a fire. VERY COOL!

We said our final goodbyes to them until they come home in October and drove the dark mountain roads back to our hotel to get a good nights sleep before our last day in the west!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

colorado day 2: rocky mountain national park

I loved every second (ok well most seconds) of our trip, but Sunday was BY FAR my favorite day! The weather was nice and cool without a trace of humidity. The sky was a beautiful blue with just enough puffy white clouds to make Zach picture happy. But best of all it was our day with Zach's sister Katie and her husband Jered. YAY! They are the reason we convinced ourselves that we just NEEDED to go to Colorado. They have been working on a ranch since mid May and we took it upon ourselves to go to fill their need for friends and family. Such a sacrifice ;)

The Mckennas made it to the hotel about 8 and we headed straight to Estes Park and the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park for a full day of hiking.

There are TONS of pictures from today and I'm sharing a teensy portion but it's still a lot so I'll just narrate so that you can see a little of what we saw. The park just happened to be free the day we went but was PACKED so we parked in a park and ride lot and took a shuttle to the trailhead for Bear Lake. It was a 256 ft hike (walk) so we started there and kept going.

Our hike was basically a tour of lakes one just as beautiful or more than the next. This is Nymph Lake. It was covered in huge lily pads and our imaginations pictured fairies skittering from one to the other just as I'm sure the namers of the lake did as well.

Dream Lake was next. The trails were much easier this day and much cooler as well.

We reached Laka Hiayaha by noonish and stopped there to eat lunch. This was one of my favorite spots we saw. It's a lake surrounded by mountains and directly behind us was a glacier. There was no real path to it, just a lot of big BIG rocks surrounding and we had to climb over them until we found one we wanted to turn into our picnic table. The temperature dropped a lot while we were there and for a burning hot georgia/alabama girl it felt AMAZING!!

Just G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S!

After lunch we started the hike back down but on a different trail headed to Mills Lake. Zach and Jered felt it necessary to climb almost every rock we came to. Pretty sure that's a guy thing!

I on the other hand felt perfectly fine in my hiker'ish' gear staying on the trial and take pictures of the crazy ppl :)

This is favorite spot number too. Lake Hiayaha was awesome because you felt enclosed by the mountains and hidden away. Mills Lake was just breathtakingly beautiful! The lake was full of calm and peace and there was a great view of Long's Peak and Glacier Gorge. We met two people there were were hiking up to camp for the night at Glacier Gorge which they said is the most difficult permit to get in the whole park. Only one tent is allowed there per night and they open up for new reservations March 1st but by March 2nd they're all gone. He'd been trying for 3 years to get one.

We rested here for quite a long time soaking our worn feet in the freezing cold lake, stealing drift wood from the bottom :) and being chased by chipmunks.
Zach and Jered walked across the fallen trees to the other side on top of the cliffs. Can you see them? Look closely.
See I told you they were there. Amazing how tiny they look compared to the massiveness of the surroundings.
It was tough to get up and start the way back knowing it will be along time before we see this place again, but we finally did it. On the way back we passed Alberta Falls.

We ended this day taking Katie and Jered to dinner in Boulder and then going to Crepe a la Carte for dessert where we lingered for awhile to talk/share/laugh/etc. They are some of our favorite people to have conversation with and we made the most of the time together.