July 27, 2011

summer in the rockies.

We went on our first family road trip two weeks ago, which was much-needed and very much enjoyed. We hit up Aspen, Crested Butte, Ouray, Silverton, and Glenwood Springs here in colorful Colorado... Absolutely lovely. All new places to both Raul and I (except Glenwood--we went there in 2008 for the first time). I'm pleased to say I've already printed all of our pictures and have them in a photoalbum--woohoo!--but I'll show you some highlights here.
Liv did great--she was mellow and enjoyed soaking everything in. Nighttime was an interesting time :) but as soon as we turned out the light and went to bed ourselves, she followed suit.  She is an adventuresome little girl, and it was fun toting her around with us.


We first went over Independence Pass, which was beautiful. Everywhere we drove this trip was beautiful, so if I keep saying it, I just can't help it...

Anyway, we stopped to take some pictures and stretch our legs, and saw some crazy southern guys jumping into a pond with snowpack, their families cheering them on. Good times, dude.


Raul was soo excited to see the Maroon Bells, the most photographed peaks in North America. Breathtaking. That's all I can really say. Even on a rainy day! I had never heard of these mountains before (whoops), and so I was glad Raul knew about them. We read on a plaque that quite a few people have died trying to climb them--8 people on different occasions in 1965, and the most recent last fall. They're deceitful as the rock looks sturdy, but is extremely loose, rotted, and unstable and gives way underfoot without warning. Um, yikes. So beautiful, but so dangerous!

We spent our first day wandering around the national park, walking downtown, and letting Liv play in a water fountain in the square. So cute. The next morning we hit up a little bakery for some pastries and coffee, and sat in the park while Liv played on the playground. I didn't realize how happy I would be about going to such a quaint little bakery, but I think that was my favorite morning of the whole trip.


My favorite place we visited... flowers, flowers everywhere. The town is adorable. Friendly people. And bikes! So many bikes.

On Wednesday morning, we took a chairlift up the mountain and got some awesome scenic pictures. We had so many strangers take our pictures, and vice versa... fun.  And of course, I love the ole "take it ourselves" picture--someone's head is bound to be cut off. R did a much better job than I did!

Liv fell asleep in Daddy's arms on the way down. What a way to nap. This was Raul's favorite moment of the trip. (She usually doesn't go down this easy ;)


We drove into Ouray later that day, and were amazed at how close the town was to the mountains! Again, beautiful! Completely different vibe from Crested Butte; I don't know if it was just the day we were there, but it felt almost ghost-townish. We didn't hit up the hot springs this trip--hopefully next time.


We drove into Silverton the next day via the Million Dollar Highway. Lots of four-wheeling trails this way; we saw lots of jeeps rumbling up the mountain, and ATVS on the side of the road.

We stopped at Red Mountain Pass and were loving all the views and different mountain ranges. (It's really amazing what a brief pitstop can do... a little snack, stretch the legs, and everyone is happy again, especially a one-year-old.)

And then, Silverton. A charming little town, and much busier than I was anticipating! We stopped and had lunch and wandered around before heading out to Glenwood Springs, driving back through Ouray. We both thought the drive into Ouray from the South was prettier than coming in from the North.

Sadly, we really didn't take many pictures aside from driving shots in Glenwood, maybe because we had been there before? Lame excuse, I know.

We went to the Hot Springs, which was great, and the Bavarian Bakery, and a cute little Italian place for dinner, PeppoNino, where we sat on the patio listening to live guitar music. Liv clapped after every song and chowed down on their ravioli--I wish I hadn't forgotten the camera in the hotel room!


On Friday, we packed everything up and headed home. I began calling this trip a "town tasting"--stopping long enough for a sip of the place before moving on, and comparing how different each one of them was to the next.

We have lived in Colorado for so long, and it's ridiculous how much of it we've never seen. We loved it. I didn't grow up road-tripping, but I think it will be a regular memory for Liv and little-sister-on-the-way, or so I hope!

July 26, 2011

firstfruits & chocolate.

Er, more like first veggies from our garden... Three Gypsy peppers, and a green pepper! Horray!

Our jack-be-little-pumpkin, cucumber, and butternut squash plants are taking off as well... I can't wait until those puppies start producing.

On another note, how cute are these plates?

Sweet Leez gave these to me for my birthday, and they are perfect to hold an afternoon snack such as this:

Um, yum. Melted dark chocolate drizzled over almonds. Can't get much easier than that... I laid wax paper on a cookie sheet, spread out some almonds, then poured the chocolate over them and put them in the fridge to harden. Then I broke it up into little pieces, brittle-style.  They now reside in the freezer--because I love my chocolate frozen.

Speaking of, it's not too sweet. I used some leftover Ghiradelli chips vs. Nestle chips, which I think might be too sweet for this... Although some peanut butter chips mixed in with the chocolate would probs be pretty good, hmmm... and the almonds are nice and crunchy. Awesome. Next time, I'd like to roast the almonds first. Note to self for a holiday treat/gift idea...

July 21, 2011

totally random.

Saw this today and it made me laugh:

Hopefully I'll be posting pics of our mountain adventures soon... yay for summer vacations! Hope you're having a good day today.

July 6, 2011

ms. lavender.

I downloaded the free RetroCam app onto my phone yesterday (thanks for the rec, Mattea!)... Can we say obsessed much?! I've been taking pictures of everything.

So to add a little vintage charm to an otherwise normal July morning, let me tell you a little bit about our lavender plant on the side of the house:

Dex and bees are really the only visitors on a daily basis; she's sadly ignored most of the time. She depends on rain for water as I'm usually too lazy to stretch the hose all the way to this side of the house, and too pregnant to lug a watering can over yonder. For this reason (or maybe another), a good chunk of her has withered away...and yet, she still blooms, and is even spreading down the wall.  Way to hang in there, Lav!

Lav reminds me of our honeymoon in Port Angeles, Washington. Sequim is nearby, which is the lavender capital of the US--they have an annual lavender festival every July, which I would love to go to someday. We visited so many little herb farms and shops while we were out there... such a quaint and peaceful place. Ahh.

Liv & I cut some flowers this morning...

We'll keep em' on our kitchen table until they begin to wilt, then we'll hang them for a day or so to dry so we can collect the buds.

...and I'm hoping to fill up this jar, eventually. This little batch is from earlier this week.

I think this is going to be a new summer favorite for us to do! How fun to come across a tradition in the making on a whim. Anyway, the jar smells incredible. I'd like to use the dried buds for homemade lavender sugar, or maybe lavender tea bread. Yum. You'll have to stop by for tea and try some. :)

July 1, 2011

a girl after my own heart.

Liv is learning how to spell her name. It began when I hung up a banner from her 1st birthday in her bedroom...

She would wake up and point to it from her crib every morning for about two months afterward, babbling. Now she talks about it when I'm changing her.

If you ask her to spell it, this is what you get:

She's a little obsessed with letters these days. Any time she sees them--on a book, on a t-shirt, on TV--she instantly goes into Olivia-spelling mode. "O-l-iiii-e-iiiii-o-eh-a." She even noticed the monogram letters at B&N in the office section when we went for storytime. A girl after my own heart.

How cute is storytime, by the way?? As cool and hip as Kindle and iPads and such are, there's absolutely no replacement for the magic of pop-up books or the crinkly sound of plastic-covered library books being read aloud.

A few of Livi's other likes right now:

-Helping me feed Dex by pointing where his food bowl goes after we fill it up, patting him, and saying "good boy" as he's eating.

-The ABC song or "You Are My Sunshine"

-Bubbles ("bubb-bas")

-Pushing things around on our tile floor--stools, chairs, the dog food bin

-Saying "buh-bye" and waving (she's very proud of this one)

-Playing outside: lining up rocks, dodging the sprinkler, pouring water to and from her little cups, running in the grass away from you

-Pulling her barrettes or ponytail holders out of her wild and crazy hair

-Giving you hugs around your legs when you least expect it.

-Laughing at the most random things--and heartily!