To celebrate the end of summer we headed for the hills, mountains that is, and spend Labor Day weekend at Rifle State Park. Woody hooked us up with a great campsite walking distance from these beautiful falls. We were delighted to find there are several caves you can explore as well. So we donned our headlamps and crawled in to take a look around. Due to the creepy quietness and absolute darkness in the caves, some of us were more hesitant to go spelunking than others!
Saturday morning we headed back to Glenwood Springs to hike up to Hanging Lake, a Colorado favorite. Apparently, a thousand others had the same idea. After a half hour of trying to find a parking spot, we ditched the idea and headed to Carbondale. Happy to get away from the crowd, I guided Woody to a trailhead off the beaten path and down an eight mile dirt road. This one had to have parking!
I have to say, this was probably my most favorite family hike. Every single part of the trail was gorgeous. From the wildflowers to the quaking aspens just starting to turn yellow. The grand views of Mt. Sopris were magnificent too. Best of all, the girls didn’t complain at all (I think the gummy bears and Swedish fish helped). Unfortunately, storm clouds rolled dangerously close when we reached the first lake, so our trip was cut a little short. We made good time getting down the mountain before the rain poured.
While we were visiting Grammie and Grampie in New Hampshire, Woody and I took a morning to explore some of the beautiful trails that the Lakes Region has to offer.
What started out as a gentle trail in the woods, soon turned into steep granite boulders leading straight up a mountain! So our running slowed to a crawl and we maneuvered our bodies slowly upward. These pictures don’t do the steepness justice! I was scared!
We love our visits out to New Hampshire and this year we were treated to a few new things! Tiffy and Teddy are the newest members of the family and were given much attention from the girls.
We also got to hear the Pemi Choir perform at a beautiful park for the town’s anniversary celebration. What a great group of singers! (Grampie is in the yellow in the back row, Grammie is on the far right at the top)
Another year of our church’s Bible Blast program has come and gone. Megan worked hard this year and earned a “Seekers Award”, which required her to look up many scriptures in her Bible and writing down facts she learned from them. Zoe also got an award for answering so many questions right. Way to go girls!
We had the pleasure of hosting the Ehrlich’s for a weekend! It’s awesome to have a tween and teen in the house, especially these two. They are a delight. Megan and Zoe pretty much really look up to them. A lot.
We met a really sweet couple at the barn, who gave us treats to feed the horses.
Soccer Saturday. What a cute little Bumblebee! Way to defend that goal!
After two days of crazy travel from Denver to Charlotte to Miami, we finally boarded our destination…the Disney Wonder bound for the Western Caribbean! Farewell mass of land, we will see you again in a week. Hello wide open blue sea!
Disney celebrations spare no expense. True to their style, they had a great cast off deck party to get the vacation started. There was dancing, there were Disney characters, and of course pompoms and horns, all leading up to the ships departure. Only catch was…the ship didn’t actually leave for an hour after the party ended. They might want to work on that timing a bit.
We celebrated Mom’s 70th birthday with much singing and yummy desserts at one of their three restaurants, the Parrot Kay. While mom relished in the attention, Megan tried to hide.
Everything about the ship was amazing. It is gorgeous from head to toe. Impeccably clean. The food is a sight to see and equally delicious to eat. There were ample activities to keep everyone happy and entertained.
If only the weather had cooperated. Who knew it can get stormy and cool in the Caribbean! Above you can see the overcast skies at Grand Cayman. Not only was the sun hiding, the wind was out to play which made the seas rough. We anchored south of the island to be better protected and tendered to shore. Our snorkeling excursion was cancelled due to the weather. So, not knowing what else to do, we made our way over to Seven Mile Beach hoping to use one of the resort pools. We ended swimming at one of them before heading back to the ship.
Cozumel was a different story entirely. The sun was out and water was calm-ish and we had more time off the ship. We also had the best excursion planned of all…swimming with the dolphins!
This experience was AMAZING! Really, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. We got to be pushed on a boogie board, pulled by their fins and a bunch of other things that allowed us to interact with them up close. I was surprised how the girls seemed to be fearless out there. In the ocean. With two huge dolphins swimming around below them.
After our time with the dolphins, we ate authentic Mexican food at a restaurant on the sand. Delicious! Then Woody and Megan relaxed on the beach while Mom, Zoe and I took an afternoon snorkel to see the fish. This was another highlight for me. The fish swarmed around us and we excitedly found many treasures to show each other beneath the sea. I was sad to leave the mariachis and Mexico’s festive atmosphere, but the ship would leave without us if we didn’t get back.
Ahoy Matey’s! It’s Pirate night. Always ready for a fun time, Mom came in costume!
Last but not least, one our families favorite amenities on the cruise was being greeted by towel animals and chocolate at bedtime each night. Zoe was so enamored by them, that she got lessons from the ships staff and now creates these little creatures at home.
The girls and I used the first day of Spring break to play at Winter Park one last time. Let me tell you, our last day of skiing for the season did not disappoint. Six inches of fresh powder awaited us. We were all squeals and laughter making our way down the mountain trails. Megan exhibited a newfound confidence and attempted many jumps on the bumps, resulting in her landing on her rump! We had a lot of great belly laughs. Unfortunately Woody couldn’t join us and we missed him much.