Saturday, September 13, 2014

Colorado Springs, day 4

Today we went hiking at the Garden of the Gods. It's one of our must-do items each time we come to Colorado Springs. Every time you visit you can see something different because it's so large. The weather was just gorgeous today - it even got somewhat hot this afternoon in the 70s and there wasn't a cloud to be found for most of the day. It was a complete opposite from yesterday.
We chose a trail and set off. By the time we got back around to our car, we had walked 2.47 miles. Kate and Trey enjoyed scrambling up rocks and making Nick a ball of nerves most of the time. She seems to think she is as big as Trey, and if Trey can do it, so can she. This is a great source of stress for Nick, so I don't generally have to worry too much because I know he is worrying enough for both of us and watching her like a hawk. Not that I think he's being ridiculous. Sometimes she pretty much has no fear.
We spent the majority of our morning in the park and then headed down into Manitou Springs for lunch. We stopped at the Wagon Wheel and had burgers (I had a black bean veggie burger and sweet potato fries, yum!) before we walked down the street and browsed in some shops and then stopped for ice cream and fudge. We let the kids play in a local park for a little bit before we headed back to the room to rest and clean up. Tonight is dinner with Krystal and Mike one last time because tomorrow morning it's time to hit the road back to Texas.

Colorado Springs, day 3

Part of the reason we decided to take a trip to Colorado Springs was to attend a wedding. Nick's stepsister Amanda and her long-time boyfriend Russell finally decided the time was right to become one. The were married last evening in Denver at the City Park Pavilion, a beautiful events venue located in a huge and beautifully landscaped park in the heart of Denver. It is bordered by the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Science (we have visited both in the past). It is also an outdoor venue. The pavilion itself is a building, yes, but the iron scrollwork doors do not have glass in them as one might assume they do when you look at them online (which I had done) so we were slightly unprepared to be outside all evening while it was 39*. 

Yes, thirty-nine degrees. Cold.

The ceremony was short and sweet, performed by Amanda's brother, Mickey. Although it was overcast and cold, it was still so beautiful that it was easy to forget here and there that you couldn't feel your feet. True, we were bundled up in coats but I had failed to pack gloves and scarves because when I checked the forecast before we left Texas, 39* was not in the picture. Thankfully there were large heaters to stand under and we kept retreating to a room off to the side that did have a bit of heat, which is where the bridal party all got ready. As cold as I was, I know I was't near as cold as the poor bridesmaids in their strapless, knee-length gowns and heels. I had at least packed and wore my boots.
Kate and the bride, Amanda. They twirled together on the dance floor.
Nick's other stepsister, Sydney. She was maid of honor. 
I took the opportunity to get lots of fun family shots while we were all together and all dressed up. Kate was't feeling the photography at first, but then I gave her my camera so she could take some pictures and she warmed up and eventually began posing for me everywhere. 
Photos by Kate:
We had barbeque that was delicious (especially the chicken!) and after toasts and cake the dance floor came alive. I wish i hadn't been quite so cold (and that my new boots were more broken in and comfortable) because I would've loved to stay longer and dance. However I did get one slow dance in with my love and Kate did as well, even though I'm not sure she was happy about it. We left as the party was just getting started, partly because my feet were killing me and partly because we had an hour drive back to the hotel in Colorado Springs. 
She finally got to hold Lucas. She had been waiting for this moment. Look at his little suit!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Colorado Springs, day 2

We met Krystal, Mike and baby Lucas as the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo this morning. We visited the zoo in August of 2011, so naturally Kate didn't remember any of it (she was only 21 months the first visit!) but Trey did. They have changed a lot of things and added some new exhibits since we were last there, so it didn't feel totally like doing something we had already done before. They're also currently revamping their Australia area, so someday we will have to visit again. It's one of my favorite zoos, so that is definitely not a problem.
We fed the giraffes again this trip. I love their giraffe exhibit. I wish all zoos would let you interact with the animals more. I wanted to feed the elephant too, but Nick didn't want to pay the $5 for me to do that. We walked the entire zoo, which begins at 6714 feet in elevation and goes up from there. It's one of only four mountain zoos in the world, from what I can find on Google. (The other three are in Virginia, Washington state, and Wales.)
I have a dozen or so photos of Kate with various statues and art pieces throughout the zoo. As usual, she wanted her picture made with each and every one. Occasionally she made Uncle Trey or Aunt Krystal join her for a photo.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Colorado Springs, day 1

This morning we pulled out of our driveway in Texas at 1:54 am. We arrived to Colorado Springs around 1:40 pm. It was a long day.

It started yesterday evening when Nick got home from work. He ate a quick bite of supper and went to bed by 5:45 pm. I finished packing our things and at 12:45 am I woke him up to get ready to hit the road. I had the car pretty much packed, all I needed was to get Trey in the car and wake Kate up and put her in her car seat so we could leave. In the midst of getting everything together, Kate woke up on her own, bright eyed and ready to go. It actually took her a good half hour to go back to sleep once we left town. She was rambling a 100 miles an hour and talking about how bright the moon was. I hadn't bothered to go to sleep yet, so I was quite ready to attempt to get comfortable in the front seat while Nick headed north.

I woke up once every hour and a half or two, but mostly I slept decently through the night as did Kate and Trey. We stopped in Amarillo at 6:45 for breakfast at Cracker Barrel, who by the way is in trouble because they changed the menu and no longer serve multi-grain French toast with that delicious orange yogurt sauce. After eating and walking a lap around the parking lot, we headed out again and I went back to sleep for a couple of hours. Nick said Kate stayed awake for a while, still chatting. 

When I woke up again in Clayton, New Mexico, I had managed to sleep in such a way that my seat belt was cutting across my left cheek so I had a nice big red seat belt line across my face. It didn't disappear for a good three hours.

We had some lunch in Trinidad, Colorado. I feel kind of guilty - I have been to Trinidad countless number of times on road trips and church ski trips...and I've never been anywhere other than the McDonalds that sits on the interstate. It's a pretty cool looking old town too...one that is begging to be photowalked.

After lunch in Trinidad, I drove the last leg into Colorado Springs so Nick could catch a nap for a bit. Our room wasn't ready yet because we were early, so we headed over to Krystal's hair salon and she gave me a much needed hair cut. We got the call that our suite was ready, so we headed back to Embassy Suites and checked in, unloaded, cleaned up and rested for just a little bit before heading over to Krystal's house for taco night. It was our first chance to meet our nephew, Lucas. He's a cute little thing and he let me hold him while Momma cooked. He often cries when other people hold him, so I thought we got off on a good start.

Now we're back at the hotel, Kate is going to sleep, Trey is showering, and I just did 30 minutes on the treadmill in the gym. Tomorrow we are planning on hitting the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, possibly my favorite zoo I've ever been to (next to Fort Worth, of course) and who knows what else we will get in to! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Music of John Williams

Shortly after our date night at the Concerts in the Gardens, I received a call from the Fort Worth Symphony offices trying to sell me season passes for either their symphonic series or their pops series this year. It ended up being $105 for two tickets to each pops concert (like 7 or 8 in all) so for that price, it was really difficult to turn it down. That's a whole season of guaranteed date nights, after all.

Tonight was the first concert so we headed to Bass Performance Hall where we were treated to the music of John Williams. Even if you live under a rock and aren't familiar with that name, you know his music: Star Wars, Superman, Jaws, Shindler's List, Indiana Jones, the Olympics theme, Harry Potter, Saving Private Ryan....I could go on and on.
It was amazing. I hadn't been to the symphony in quite some time. I love getting completely absorbed by the music, and watching the instruments move in sync with one another, like a dance...it's mesmorizing. I think the Jaws theme song was my favorite to hear live - you could feel it - the danger that a piece of music can evoke is so cool. Superman was awesome too, and when they did the Imperial March, Darth Vader came out and acted as conductor....totally classic.
After the concert, we decided to walk around downtown for a while and enjoy the weather and atmosphere. It wasn't too terribly hot and Nick had not been downtown since the Square remodel was finished. We ended up at Taco Diner because we were a tad hungry, so we split two grilled avocado tacos that were amazing. They also had a fabulous green sauce. Since we ate food kind of late, I made Nick walk around downtown until we had done at least a mile and we also took the stairs to get up to the 5th floor of the parking garage. Calories in, calories out.
Our next concert is in October: Marvin Hamlisch. It should be a good show too!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

MapMyWalk: August 2014

August was a killer month! Part of the reason was because I had some serious motivation - since Nick and I joined the Biggest Loser challenge on July 20 I knew I had to keep it up if I was going to do well in the competition. Competition is a huge motivation for me because I always want to WIN. So I really stuck to my guns and made sure I got at least 30 minutes of exercise every single day - heck, I even went walking or running 3 of the days we were in Galveston! I ate really well while on vacation too and came home less than a pound heavier than when I left. All things considered, I was perfectly happy with that.

Here's my August stats:
94.73 Total Miles
24.05 total hours
15,828 Total Calories

In the month of August, I took 392,151 steps (which includes all walking, not just exercise).
For 2014, I have completed 489.41 miles with  110.59 left to reach my goal of 600 exercise miles. No problem!

So you're probably wondering about the 6 weeks challenge, right? I managed to lose a total of 14 pounds and 15.875 inches! I love over 5" in my chest, 3" in my waist, over 3" in my hips...and the rest was arms, neck, thigh and calf. I see no reason to stop now that the challenge is over either.
In fact, I dare say that I'm a bit addicted to exercise now. I'm still doing my Leslie Sansone videos (I found 3 more today at Half Price Books!) and now that Kate has started back to pre-school I can start running outside on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have a 10k to prepare for, after all. I have 171 days left to train!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of Pre-K

Kate has officially been dropped off for her last first day of pre-school, which we might as well start calling pre-K. By this time next year she will be in her second week of kindergarten, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. She turns 5 in two months. Two!! It seems crazy.

Naturally we had to grab some photos this morning. She's growing up!
She was completely excited this morning, and if she was a little bit nervous, she didn't let it show at all. I wasn't overly emotional this time around - I think it helped that she wasn't scared so that made me be less nervous for her. I can't speak for Daddy, but he seemed better. I make no promises about next year's first day. Here she is with a copy of last year's first day photo. Her little baby face has changed so much over the past year.