Hello, Winter!

Well, hello there.  Yes, we are still around. Smile I’ve been blogging a lot over on my crafty blog, so this space has been kinda quiet.  However, I got a new camera for Christmas, so there will be lots more family pics to share!

We had a wonderful Christmas… an excellent mix of (extended) family time and some time with just us.  Johnny was pretty funny on Christmas morning… I still don’t think he quite “got it”.  He doesn’t really like un-wrapping presents, so he mostly just brought a present to me or Doug and asked us to unwrap it.  Note to Santa next year – don’t wrap stuff!  He got pretty burnt out on the whole thing before he was even done.  He opened the last few presents and his stocking around 4 PM… he did not get this from me!

Santa Claus was very good to us.  Johnny’s favorite present from Santa was his bike.  He just rides it from one end of the kitchen to the other.  Hopefully, we’ll have a warm day soon and take it to the park.

Other favorites were from the grandparents.  Papaw & Bella got him the horse – he rarely gets off of it!  Yes, I’ve even been reading books to him while he sits on it.  Matter of fact, this is the view whenever you sit on the couch downstairs now:

Grandma & Grandpa Mojica got him the six shooters and holster.  Grandpa made the holster!  Johnny loves it.  He rarely takes it off, and usually wears it to sleep during naps.

Overall, we had a wonderful Christmas!  Hope you & yours did as well.

And to catch you up on what we’ve been doing the last month or so… here are some pictures from our favorite sledding/hiking spot.

 

(yes, Doug has a camera on his head!)

(watching dad sled down the big hill from the warm truck)

I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying the calm after the bustle of the holidays!

One more, just because he’s cute:

A Super Fun Playdate

We met up at the park yesterday with a bunch of friends for a playdate with all of the kiddos.  It was loads of fun.  So much fun that when we left, Johnny fell asleep in the car about .5 miles from the park.  And he slept for over 3 hours! 

Ready for picture overload?

We parked in the wrong parking lot to begin with, and I couldn’t coax Johnny back into the car.  We wound up walking quite a ways to the swings.  Much to Johnny’s dismay, a few geese accompanied us on our walk.  He is not a big fan of animals.  He loves reading about animals, but if he sees one in person, and they move in his direction, he freaks out.  Made for an interesting walk.

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Jessie’s little boy, Finn, has a tendency to break off in a run trying to escape (much like someone else I know.  Ahem.).  She found a nifty spot to keep him contained.  I’ll have to remember this one!

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Johnny was really stoked when Fisher got to the park.  Here is he is trying to boss Fisher around and convince him to come down the slide with him.

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How sweet is Miss Ruby??

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Not sure what was wrong, but her cry face is pretty darn cute.

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I figured getting a picture of everyone was futile with 5 adults and 9 kids.  This was as close as I got.

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Little Elliott had just woken up from his nap.  He was so stoic the whole time!

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Kristin showing Johnny how to cast a spell draw a J.

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Zoya’s haircut was so stinkin’ cute!  It made me really want to cut my hair off short.

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Whew!  How was that for a huge photo dump?  Nothing like a fun day at the park with beautiful weather and great friends!

Celebrating Sissy

Yesterday was Kristin’s birthday!  We hung out all day, and had so much fun.  I didn’t take my regular camera, but thought I’d share some pics from my phone.

Went went to Adam’s Mountain Café in Manitou Springs for breakfast.  I didn’t take many pictures there… Johnny was kind of a handful while we were there.  I did get a picture of her opening one of her presents.

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After Adam’s, we played around on the little rides near the arcade.  Johnny commandeered the rocket (or wock, as J calls it) and kicked anybody out who tried to come near.

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Right as we were trying to leave, Johnny got his head stuck in the window of the rocket.  It’s all fun & games until someone gets their head stuck in a rocket!

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If you were in Manitou yesterday morning, guaranteed you heard a shrieking bug making his way down the street.

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After Adam’s, we met up with our friend Melanie and her little girl, Onora, at the Manitou pool.  After, of course, we made a slight detour down the slide.

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A great time was had by all.

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This is what Johnny did the. entire. time.  He is saying “to infinity and beyond!”.

When we left, he was SO tuckered out he fell asleep mid-bite.

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Kristin & the kids came over for dinner after naps… This was my first allergen-free cake (no gluten, butter or eggs)!  It was actually quite delicious.

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What a fun day to celebrate Kristin!

A Beach Trip

I keep seeing people from home posting pictures from their beach trips.  Makes me miss sand & water.  Johnny has never been to the beach… I’m sure he would love it.  He loves anything to do with water!  Any time I start missing sand & water too much, we head up to Catamount Reservoir.

It was a powerful sight heading up to the reservoir.  The entrance to the reservoir goes right beside of the south side of the burn scar.  The picture below is a 180 degree panorama of Cascade.  You can see all of the mountains are burnt and this island of green with the town of Cascade in it.  Gives you a good view of just how close it came to those houses.  There is a medical specialist I see in Cascade & I spoke to him the other day – he said the bulldozers dug the fire line 200 yards from his house.  Crazy!

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Anyway, on to the hike.  We just took a quick hike in to get away from people.  =)

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Then we headed down to the “beach”.

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And more importantly, the water.

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This may be my most favorite picture ever:

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Johnny’s favorite activity of the day was taking rocks of all sizes & chucking them into the water.

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Followed by much celebration:

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Then we stopped the strenuous work of rock-chucking to eat a picnic lunch.

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Johnny made a new friend while eating lunch.  He had a little chipmunk that followed him around every step he took. He’s kinda hard to see in the pictures below… sort of blends into the background.  Just waiting for that sandwich to drop!

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I could spend every day like this…. just me & the boys, water & sand.

Nature’s Wrath

I’m sure by now, you have all heard of the Waldo Canyon Fire that has been raging outside of and in Colorado Springs this week.  The events that transpired over the last week are like something out of a nightmare. Or an action-packed movie. Not something that you would imagine in our calm life. We watched, day by day, as this fire built in size “safely” over the ridge of the front range. I never in a million years thought the fire would come into the city. Tuesday, everyone’s worst fears were realized as the fire jumped TWO containment lines and spread down into our lovely Northwest side.

 

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Top of the hill

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(the view from the top of our hill on Tuesday afternoon, right before the fire came over the ridge):

top of the hill 2

 

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(Photo credit: Marco Antonio Marchiani)

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(photo credit: Dana Smith)

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(photo credit: Chris Pareso)

We were among the 32,000 residents that evacuated – fleeing for our lives as this massive wall of fire entered the city.  This was hands down the scariest experience of my life (my sister said it even tops my labor with Johnny, which is saying something. I have to agree).

Today, we came back home.  The firefighters were able to stop the blaze about 2 miles before it got to our house.  Doug, Johnny & I are all safe.  Johnny is soundly sleeping in his bed.  This is more than I can say for a lot of folks who lost their homes or loved ones to this fire.

The scientific side of my mind makes sense of this fire with a formula that is something like this: over-growth + dry conditions + wind + spark = mighty big damn fire that wreaks havoc.  However, the emotional side of my mind can’t process this yet.  My heart weighs heavy for lives lost.  My heart weighs heavy for those who lost everything they had.  My heart weighs heavy for our beautiful vistas that are charred, burnt, and still smoking.  My heart weighs heavy for all of the beautiful hiking trails and open spaces that were destroyed… the places where we have made many memories as a family.

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Like a phoenix, the “burning down” of things, makes way for a new evolution – better than before.  I know beautiful things have & will come of this… a greater sense of community, a LOVE and adoration of brave, selfless firefighters, and nature’s power and beauty that exists, even in flames.  I hope, in time, the pain and heartache this community has felt will start to fade.

Just Boys… and Ma

Kristin & Piper had a girls day today, so Fisher came to hang out with me & Johnny.  He brought water balloons and a bubble machine – bliss for a couple of little boys!

Fisher showing Johnny how it all works:

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My official job was to tie all of the filled balloons.  I won’t lie and say there weren’t a few times where I doused them with the water instead of tying it.  I couldn’t resist… it was just too much fun.  =)

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Once a few balloons were filled, the boys got to squishing.

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Johnny quickly slipped into his normal role of Senor Bossypants.

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Then we broke out the bubble machine, which he loved.

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We capped the morning off with a mac & cheese picnic on the patio.  Yes, it was hot.  And yes, macaroni and cheese would be the last thing I would want to eat in the heat… but that’s what they wanted!

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Johnny napped so hard.  We sure do love a day with all boys (and me)!