Friday, July 30, 2010

rainbow and railroad

Sunday afternoon we planned to return to the park in Alamosa, but the afternoon rain was blowing in again. We drove to see the nursing home where Annie works. I love the big sky in the Colorado plains.

The children slept as we drove, and the storm passed by the time we made it back to the park. We had our picnic, and the kids enjoyed the swings and slides for an hour or so. We also took a walk by the model train.

Grant and William loved watching for trains out the window on our drive to Colorado. It seems like there are a lot of opportunities to appreciate railroad history.
This passenger train passes right by Annie and Eric's  house.

Back at the house we prepared the van for our drive home to Utah. The kids did more bug hunting. Kyle collected beetles and named his favorite Paul.
Eric made us chicken enchiladas, spicy and delicious.

We watched the sunset and settled down to sleep inside so we could be ready to leave early.

Pictures from our drive home Monday.
This is the house in Grand Junction where my great-grandparents on my dad's side lived after they retired from their corn farm.

The rainbow over Price brought the most excitement on the drive.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

great sand dunes

 More about day two in San Luis valley....Eric made us blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Delicious.  Everyone was enthusiastic about visiting the sand dunes, especially the Star Wars buffs.

I thought William was never going to stop being  clingy.
It was such a relief to see him get down and dirty and have fun.  Visitors from foreign lands were taking pictures of his saggy, sandy diaper.
The big kids spent the entire time digging a canal system that connected the large puddles.
Sam was the foreman, and quite serious about it too.

Bethany wants to go back to the park next spring when wild flowers are blooming on the dunes. I agree. She was also hoping to see the lake that hosts beavers and other wildlife. The ranger said there was a bear roaming the park at the time. We decided not to hike the dunes, pregnancy, William, hungry kids considered. Next time for sure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

morning light

I am in love with sunlight.  Partly one of the symptoms of three years in Beijing, I guess. Sunlight is always a great relief to an insomniac, such as myself.  There are some things I would like to change about by life, but can't, things that make me wonder night after night if it wouldn't be possible to wake up and say "glad that was just a dream.." but when I realize that I haven't been sleeping at all, at least I find that  the sunlight casts out the kind of eerie surreal shadows of my reality that really start to creep me out around four in the morning, and its a new day, with places to go, and we're off.

So talk about getting creeped out. How about sleeping in a tent in the desert?  I kept hearing footsteps all night long and telling myself they were Jindo's, then at dawn I realized that Jindo had been sleeping in the tent all along.... I don't want to know what that was about.   Sam, Olivia, and Will were the first to wake up. I was sitting by Annie's front door holding Will, who was drifting back to sleep. I was contented to observe Olivia and Sam's camaraderie.  They were exploring the sagebrush with Jindo and even observed Jindo opening the tent with his teeth.  That dog's got talent! I asked Sam to take some morning pictures for me.

morning in the tent....

and back in the A-frame...

And in the camper, where Granddad slept....Sam was impressed, he thought Granddad had been sleeping in the well house.  I think that would be elder abuse.

Cocoa's butt?

and Twiggy at breakfast.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

hot springs big wind

Saturday, our first day to wake to up in San Luis Valley.  I couldn't sleep past 4am (not like that never happens.)  I was happy to see light start to come through the window.

Eric made everyone french toast, then the kids went out to explore the environment. Insects were the immediate fascination. The grasshoppers were brown, like the dirt and rocks, not green.

Here's the view of Mount Blanca from Annie and Eric's kitchen door.
I thought it would be a great idea to encourage Sam and Ben to set up the tents before it got too hot. As they were finishing, Annie warned me about the afternoon wind...more on that later.

I passed out swimsuits to everyone and we got ready to go to Annie and Eric's favorite hot springs pool.

Here's the kids' hot wading pool.

And the big pool, at body temperature, with diving boards that the kids enjoyed.

Grant warmed up to this in ground slide that landed in a hot pool.

We ordered lunch at the pool. They had delicious salads and pizza.  Eric brought his homemade lemon bars for dessert.

After the pool, we went to the city park in Alamosa.
That's when the afternoon rain blew in and the high winds reminded us of our tents back at Annie and Eric's place.
I was relieved to see the big tent and all the blankets and pillows. Sam was frustrated by the wind damage, though it was nothing more than poles blown out on the ground.

Here's what we saw when we looked for Ben's blue tent.

The kids wandered around the ten acres looking for signs of the tent, but found none. We spent the evening watching the sunset, playing with bugs, and dogs. Olivia made a special friendship with Jindo the dog, whom she called "Jimbo." Eric served us his vegetable lasagna, and we were off to bed,in the remaining tent. We all fit fine,  but felt a little lonesome for the blue tent too.