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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Little Excitement!

I am working on a big photo blog post now that class is over for a month or so! But in the mean time, check out this link to a video of some recent excitement in the news that involves my company!

http://www.ky3.com/news/ky3-small-plane-makes-safe-emergen-121410,0,3217131.story

Sunday, October 31, 2010

About That Half Marathon We Ran...

I figured it was about time to post about the Denver Rock 'n Roll half marathon we ran TWO WEEKS ago. I knew that running a half marathon would give me a good idea about whether or not I could handle a full marathon. I knew I would either think "that was awesome, I can't wait for the full marathon" or "no way will I be running TWICE this distance!"
The night before, we had a yummy pasta dinner at Olive Garden, courtesy of Arlene and Ron. We got a good night's sleep and woke up ready to run, albeit a little bleary eyed at 5:15 am.
As it turns out, the half marathon was a great experience for both Matt and I. We got off to a bit of a rocky start, since our light rail train didn't get us downtown until 20 minutes before the race started. We basically had 20 minutes to us the restrooms in the convention center, walk (RUN) the 4 blocks to the race start, check our gear and get to the starting line.
But we made it, and once we got started running, everything was fantastic! The race as a whole was very entertaining. There were lots of spectators cheering us on with signs and cowbells. My favorite sign said "Your Feet Hurt Because You Are Kicking So Much A**!" :)
I liked the Rock 'n Roll marathon because they had live bands playing every mile or so. They were really good, and it made me wish that I could linger a little and listen longer. But we had a race to run!
Matt and I challenged ourselves to run 10 minute miles so that we would finish in 2 hours and 15 minutes. We barely kept this pace at the beginning. I think this was partly due to the fact that it was so crowded that it was hard to find a good "pace." Once we got about halfway through the race, I guess adrenaline kicked in and we really picked up the pace. Our final time ended up being 2 hours, 6 minutes and change.
Around mile 9 or 10, someone was handing out "Gu." Gu is an energy substance that comes in little packets. I can't really describe its consistency other than that of toothpaste. There are lots of different flavors, like vanilla, mandarin orange, berry, etc. By the point where we were offered Gu, I was HUNGRY, to I took one. It was a bad idea at first. When you are thirsty, a pasty gooey substance is not the best thing to put in your mouth. Luckily, there was a water station not far afterward.
I think the Gu did give me some more energy, because we finished the race strong. The best part about the whole thing was getting to see parts of Denver that I had never yet been to. Such as City Park (zoo, museums) and Cheeseman Park, which is just a beautiful pedestrian park.
When we crossed the finish line, I definitely had a "runner's high." I felt like I could have kept going longer. Perhaps not another 13.2 miles, but a marathon definitely didn't seem impossible. It actually made me really excited to sign up for a full marathon. As a matter of fact, we signed up last week for the Nashville Country Music Rock 'n Roll Marathon, April 30, 2011. It is nice to have another goal to work toward now that the half marathon is over.
Here are a few pictures at the finish line. I would have liked to take more along the way, but i didn't really think about getting out the camera while we ran.


Enjoying a celebratory beer in the MGD64 beer garden after the race.

Downtown view from the finish line festival.

Pongo and Perdi Say...

Happy Fall to you all!!







Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekend Home Update

I have been antsy to spruce up our front entry hall. For one thing, it's just empty and unwelcoming. It also drives me nuts that shoes just pile up there. Not something that really welcomes people into the house. See for yourself!


Not very welcoming, am I right?





















Luckily, Matt and I happened to wander into World Market this weekend and found the perfect solution. It required me to drive to two different World Markets, on opposite sides of Denver. Matt had to do a little bit of work too. :)



Here is the finished product! A coat hanger, shelves, and matching bench/shoe holder. We are so excited about the outcome! Pongo didn't get off of the bench part all evening, so we know he loves it!

Close up of the shelving unit.



And the bench. Apparently, we will have to ask Pongo's permission to sit on the bench, since he has claimed it as his own already. I think it has been a successful decorating weekend!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Running Ramblings - 7 Weeks

Matt and I are in week seven of 26 of marathon training and rapidly approaching the date of the Denver half marathon (Oct 17). It hardly seems like we have been training for nearly two months. I thought this would be a good time for some initial reflections.
Running has always been my favorite stress outlet. When I am upset, I lace up my shoes and hit the pavement. I had a good 5K loop mapped out around the old neighborhood before we moved, but never ventured much further than that in terms of distance. I never really had a good reason to break that 5K habit until now. Click here for a recap of why we decided to run a marathon if you don't know already.
When I looked at the marathon training schedule to see what all it would involve, I was actually pleasantly surprised. The biggest commitment is actually the "long runs" which are scheduled on weekends. We basically add a mile each week until we get to twenty-two miles, and then taper off a few weeks before the marathon. After one or two "recovery days," two or three short runs (3 or 4 miles) and one Farltek or cross training session are all that is required during the week. Since I was already running 5K's regularly during the week, it was no major adjustment to my schedule except to make sure we fit those long runs into the weekend. So far so good!
It is amazing how my perception of running has changed now that I have such a lofty goal in mind. A couple months ago, I never would have thought I could run 7 or 8 miles. This weekend, we will run 10 miles and I am honestly looking forward to it! Each long run is a new milestone for me in terms of distance. In high school, I never did like distance running much, so I skipped cross country against my track coaches' advice. Hind sight is 20/20, as they say.
I have definitely started to notice "battle scars" after such long distances including but not limited to chaffing, blisters, and dehydration. However, I have been able to find solutions to every single one! Oh, and no one ever mentioned how running so much would make me want to eat EVERYTHING in sight! I am constantly hungry.
Despite the battle scars, there are also plenty of benefits that I have observed. My lung capacity is amazing. My legs and thighs are toning up. (Now if only every other "trouble area" would just follow suit...) I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow and am dead to the world until my alarm goes off. Four mile runs feel like a walk in the park. I am getting faster, little by little.
I don't think I would be nearly as excited about my workouts if I couldn't track my progress like I can with my new phone. I downloaded an app called Runkeeper. It uses my phone's GPS to track distance, pace and elevation gain. It also estimates my calories burned and saves each "activity" online so I can track my progress. It also posts everything to Facebook, so EVERYONE can keep track of how we are doing. :) The main downside to Runkeeper is that the GPS on my phone sometimes screws up and throws everything way off. Still, this is the first time I have been able to get anything like that to work. Plus, it's good to have a phone on me in case of an emergency. I never used to bother bringing it along.
Another tool that I recently acquired for the long runs is a running belt, with bottles that clip to each side so that i can easily carry fluids with me and hydrate along the way without stopping. This definitely helped with my dehydration issues. But I also make sure I drink lots of water during the day before and after I run. I especially like having the belt because I can train myself how much to drink without getting cramps. During our 8 mile run, I drank way too much at once and ran doubled over for the last mile. Last weekend, I limited myself to a couple ounces every mile or so and discovered that it was refreshing and didn't give me cramps at all. Its good to know all of this stuff before the actual race, where they will offer cups of water every mile or so. Now I know why runners never drink the whole cup, and dump the extra water on the volunteers instead. :)
Unquestionably, my best running tool of all is Matt. There is no way I would be on track without him. He keeps me motivated and makes me push myself to go faster when I settle in to a comfortable (lazy) pace. He is ready to run with me even after long days at work when we just want to sit down to dinner and some TV. I was so glad that he willingly took on this challenge with me, and I am happy that he will be at my side during the races to keep me going when I am sure I will want to quit.
It will be interesting to see how this training progresses through the winter. The days are getting shorter already, limiting our available time in the evening to run. Soon enough, we will be getting snow and freezing temperatures. The temps don't bother me nearly as much as snow on the ground when I have to watch every step. But then again, I have never run more than 3 miles in extreme cold, so it might become a factor as well. I know winter will make this more challenging, but we will just have to plan around the weather and hope for the best!
I think that's enough running rambling for now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Last Hoorah

We went camping possibly one last time last weekend. I say possibly because it was 90 degrees here today, so it hardly seems like summer is over. The only clue to indicate the onset of fall were the beautiful aspen trees turning a beautiful fall yellow up in the mountains!


Our partners in crime, Ted and Susie met us to camp. We took an impromptu off trail hike, but couldn't get very far since the campground was surrounded by private (fenced) property.


The gorgous trees turning colors.


Our trio of beagles: Bagel, Pongo and Perdi.










The guys kept plenty busy climbing rocks.


And drinking oil cans. :) Cheers!

Pongo hung out in the tent as usual. He was perfectly content to do so.
Susie and I discovered we had matching flavors of vitamin water in the morning.
Ted cooked some wonderful scrambled eggs over the open campfire for breakfast.
It was nice to have one last quick camping trip before the seasons change. I hope fall comes soon now. I am getting a little tired of these 90 degree days!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Refreshed

This week was a short work week for me. I took a 5 day weekend starting last Friday through Tuesday. I came back to work on Wednesday feeling incredibly refreshed and productive. Since I hardly ever take that much time off work at once, it was great to get away from the office for a while and just enjoy the company of good friends. I certainly made the best of my "staycation."
So what did I do with my 5 days of freedom? Here is a short recap:
Thursday evening, Matt and I attended the Great American Beer Festival in downtown Denver. We went to this last year and had a great time. This year was no different...SO MUCH FUN!
Friday, Matt and I drove up to Ft. Collins to watch the KU football game with our friends Ted and Susie, who just moved to CO about two months ago. While the game didn't come out the way we would have liked, we did enjoy some fantastic homemade chicken enchiladas made by Susie. And Bagel (their beagle) even treated me to a few of her cute playful howls that I love! While the guys played video games, Susie and I discussed home decorating strategies and planned a short camping trip for this weekend. Can't wait!!
Saturday was filled with more time with college friends. Carlene and I went out and did some fun shopping. Later that evening, we met Jim, Becky, Carlene and Nick downtown for dinner at the Rio Grande and ended up prowling around the 16th St. Mall for a few hours after that.

Sunday was another busy day. It was time for Matt and I to do our "long run" for the marathon training: 8 miles. Unfortunately, it was a hot and sunny morning. But a slight breeze made the run bearable and we got through it in an 1 hour and 24 minutes. Each week, we add another mile to our long run, which means this weekend will be 9 miles! So far, my body has not had any objections to the physical challenges of running for hours on end. But more on that later. I am forming a blog post about our marathon training thus far.
After the run on Sunday, I had to take Matt to the airport. He went to Madison, WI for a conference from Sunday-Thursday. Luckily, my friends Tazz and Jenn, and their 14 month old son Landon came in for a visit shortly after I got back from dropping Matt off, so I didn't even have a chance to be sad or lonely!
We spent Monday and Tuesday doing fun Colorado-y type things such as having lunch in Boulder at the Walnut Brewery, doing the river walk in Estes Park, and hiking Table Mesa in Golden. We also went to the Denver Aquarium. Landon loved all the fish--it was so cute to watch him get excited about them all! I made Tazz run a 5K with my on Tuesday evening. He was such a trooper because running in the higher altitude takes some time to get used to and he set a pretty fast pace! It was great to have a temporary running buddy in Matt's absence.
The picture below is Tazz, Jenn and Landon at the bottom of Table Mesa. It was so great to have them out here.
Matt is home now and we have a lot to look forward to this weekend: a short camping trip with Ted and Susie, and a 9 mile run to be specific! I am glad to have him home. We are watching season 6 of Grey's Anatomy right now and it was hard not to watch it while he was gone. I guess I missed him a little too. :)
And of course, I couldn't end this post without posting one of my favorite recent pictures of the beagles. I snapped this one with my phone's camera on one of our daily walks in the neighborhood park.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Slacking: Big Time

Hi. How can it possibly have been a month since I have last blogged? I used to be pretty good at keeping you all semi up-to-date on what we have been up to. I have a few pictures to post from our labor day weekend visitors. Those of you on Facebook have probably seen these already, but I will post some here as well. Maybe by Christmas. :)


Here is one that you Facebookers haven't seen, taken from my phone.















Matt, Alissa and I decided to do some mini golfing in the beautiful weather on Labor Day. This course is about 2 minutes from our house and pretty entertaining. Anne and I did this course when she was here in July, so I had a one-up on everyone. I like to think that's why I beat Matt by one stroke anyway. :)

Matt and I are continuing to train for our marathon, which we still haven't officially picked out yet. I have my heart set on Little Rock in March, but we have until Nov. 1 to decide for sure before the registration costs go up. We haven't done any seriously long runs yet. I think the longest has been 6 miles. We got a little off track with the holiday, but just getting out and getting my "running legs" back in the fantastic summer/fall in-between weather feels great.
Did I mention that we have some fantastic trails in our new neighborhood? Here is our typical route map.












I feel OK publishing this because we alter the route daily, depending on how long we want/need to run. But I know some people (Dad) have been curious to see a map. We tend to loop Los Verdes country club on the High Line Canal Trail for a nice 4 mile loop. This is a gorgeous run, and it is also somewhat entertaining to watch the golfers as we run.
*Side Note* The trail systems through Denver are maintained by the Colorado State Parks, an organization that has lost a lot of my respect this year. They recently decided to fence their fabulous off-leash dog trails in order to make the parks more "equine friendly." I loved walking Pongo and Perdi through Cherry Creek State Park almost daily and was saddened by this news. But what I really and truly don't understand is why a dog owner can get a ticket for not picking up pet waste properly, and yet every day, we are constantly stepping in horse droppings left in the middle of the otherwise nicely paved and maintained Cherry Creek and High Line Canal trails. I know it's not convenient to stop and pick it up when you are on a horse, but come on. Lots of other people use the trails every day to bike, run and even walk dogs (on leash, of course). All I am saying is that we don't leave Pongo and Perdi's "business" in the middle of the pavement. We could get a ticket if we did and it's just not polite. Uh oh...I feel another letter coming on! :) *End side note*
As it turns out, Matt and I will be returning to Kansas in October, November AND December this year. We are attending a wedding in October, Thanksgiving in November and of course Christmas in December. This is the first year that Matt gets both Thanksgiving and Christmas off, so we are going to take full advantage. We might be a little tired of driving after this year!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One More Thing

I figure it's about time that I catch all of you up on the lives of the Colorado Millards. We have been very very busy (i know, always the same excuse!) with the move to our new house and various other committments. I think I am almost ready to take some house photos, as we are unpacked enough that I can show it without there being boxes everywhere! That will most likely be my task for the weekend.

On Sunday evening, Matt and I returned from a fabulous weekend in Kansas City. It was not nearly a long enough time to spend there! Our main purpose for the trip was for a Walter family reunion. We stayed down on the KC plaza and did totally relaxing things such as swim, eat and hold lots and lots of babies! I was so happy to meet all of my cousins' children and catch up with everyone. Grandma Helen even flew all the way from Grand Rapids to join us.

Of course we got to catch up with Matt's family too. It always seems like there is never enough time to go around between everyone when we get back to Kansas. I am always surprised at how many things are still the same since we left, and also how many things have changed at the same time.

One of the very major changes to face was the death of my friend and former co-worker, Ryan Goddard. He passed away from a year long battle with cancer on August 2nd, at the age of 29. His death really hit me hard. It is never an easy thing to lose a friend or family member. I think losing Ryan was especially hard though, because he and I were at similar places in our lives. We were close in age, and he and his wife had barely been married two years at the time of his death. Not to mention the fact that we worked long hours in the secure room at Western Air Maps and when you work that close to someone for so long, you just really get to know every side of them. When you are young (and old, I suppose!) you like to feel like you are invincible. I think Ryan's death really taught me not to take anything for granted, because death can happen at any age.

My friend Tazz and I were talking on the phone about something we could do to show our support for Ryan and his family. I think we came up with the perfect solution.


We are going to run a marathon in order to fundraise for the Goddard family, since the hospital bills from Ryan's battle with cancer are so overwhelming. A few people have asked if I wanted to run marathons in the past, and I have always declined. Too time consuming. Too daunting of a task. You want me to run HOW many miles!?! The thing is, I have major inspiration to do this now. Ryan faught cancer with everything he had, even though it was very time consuming, no doubt a daunting task, and no end in sight. I am doing this for Ryan and his family, and also to keep myself healthy. Oh, and Matt is going to do it with me! Between Matt and my Western Air Maps co-workers, we will have a great team of runners for Ryan.
We still have a few details to work out. Mainly, to pick a marathon to run in! But in the mean time, I have registered Matt and I for the Denver half marathon in October for practice. I am so excited!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mid Week Fun

Just a little video to lighten up your week. We are in process of trying to make plans for Labor Day weekend this year, and it made me think of our labor day last year. Here is a clip!

BTW, this is Matt :)

video

Here are the pictures:



























That little Chunk (Perdi) wanted to say hello to our friend the Marmot!

















Hope you enjoy the pictures! Hopefully there will be more soon!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In Disbelief

I am not a parent, but I do hope to have kids someday. Sometimes, it seems like this is just too harsh of a world to brave raising children in. This morning, I read my cousin Abbe's blog and have spent the rest of the morning in sheer disbelief that something so horrible could happen, and hit so close to home. Though I am not super close to Abbe and Adam, I do know that they are a couple of the most devoted parents around. I know this because Abbe's blog is "brutually honest," which is something I really appreciate and have a hard time incorporating into my own blogs. Words can't describe the pain I feel for their sweet family.
I wanted to pass along the Dolls' story. Please read Abbe's blog "Breaking the Silence."
http://dollfamilyzone.blogspot.com/2010/07/breaking-silence.html
I have it linked in my blog reel as well. You will be sad, you will be angry...you will probably go through quite a few emotions like I did. But please...all you parents (or future parents) out there: remember this story and talk with your children. It's never too early!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dreaming of Floyd

First of all, let me explain the title of this blog before anyone starts worrying that I am thinking of another guy. :) You see, in 15 days, we will be closing on our NEW HOUSE, which happens to be on a street called Floyd Place.
I used to think that I would be really sad to leave this rental house. It's the first house we called "home" in Colorado. This house rescued us from homelessness when we were crazy and stressed, moving from Kansas City without an actual address to give to the movers. My side of the family had our last real family Christmas in this house. We have hosted so many dinners, parties and barbecues, and housed countless numbers of visitors over the past two years. We have so many memories in this house, that it's hard to imagine living anywhere else.
I am a pretty sentimental person, so I think this move would have been a lot harder had our current landlord not intervened. About a month ago, he called and said that he was going to have his son in law put a new roof on the house. He mentioned numerous other assorted projects, including new counters in the kitchen and some new windows, but he implied that these could wait until we moved. We agreed to facilitate the roof and windows (which involved giving our house key to the handykid), not knowing what we were really getting in to.
B, our landord's son-in-law has been at our house for the past 2.5 weeks working dilligently on the roof. And the new roof looks great, I must say! However, the loose nails and tar paper that liter our deck and back yard are not so great. It appears that when he finished last Friday, doing a little pick-up was too much to handle. So we spent the weekend dodging said items on the deck and hoping that our dogs wouldn't come in the house with a bloody puncture wound until I just couldn't handle it any more. The yard hadn't been mowed in weeks and it was turning into a swamp. So i gave in and filled two trashbags full of roofing debris before I felt I could mow properly.
I am also not thrilled that B's air powered nail gun and other tools are residing in my garage spot. I'm sure I have grumbled about this a fair amount to way too many people, for which I humbly apologize. However, nothing set me off as much as B did yesterday when I got home from a not-so-great day at work. He informed me that the windows would not be ready until June 29, so he would be focusing his attention on the kitchen counters instead.
*****RANT ALERT*****
Ok, the roof was one thing, and the windows need to be done in a BAD way, but Matt and I did NOT sign on for having our kitchen torn apart while we are still paying rent and living inside this house. I was politely informed last night that I would need to remove everything from the counters by today or Wednesday so that he could begin work. He did not ask if this would be a bother to our lives or schedules even though I later volunteered the information that we would be heading out of town starting Wednesday. B also made a comment that it would be hard to do the windows with our stuff in front of them (living room and office). I really wanted to snidely remind him that we do in fact LIVE in the house, but I kept my cool and he left.
What is a girl to do when she had set aside the evening to finish a boat load of homework, and is suddenly told to spend that time packing up her kitchen instead? Naturally, I broke down and had a good cry. :) And I didn't pack a single thing last night. Today, he must have found other projects, but he wisely wasn't around when I got home.
Today Matt called our landlord, who is in Atlanta for a conference and didn't seem to want to be bothered by these issues. And we don't really have too much of a case to argue, since he somehow already knows that we will be heading to Kansas after work tomorrow. So tonight, we took everything off the kitchen counters and I packed up the china for the move to Floyd, in order avoid any chance of it being broken. I'm still not thrilled about the constant parade of people through the house (between the repairs and the rental showings.). But I know that when we move, WE will have control over what happens in our house, and that is an amazing revelation at this point.
I am hoping for some magical changes in the rental house when we get back, so that we can enjoy our last couple weeks in our first Colorado "home." Old counters out, new ones in and finished. Kitchen swept and cleaned like no one was even in there. Remaining mountains of roofing debris to magically disappearing from the yard. Garage spot clear and open for my car again. Garage door opener waiting for me on the new counter. And most importantly, for these household projects to be DONE until we are outta here. I laugh even as I type out this list of "hopes" for our return.
In the mean time, I will enjoy my time in Kansas and keep dreaming of Floyd when we get back! And I promise for a more uplifting blog (and maybe some recent photos) soon!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Angry Ranger Story

Some of you may have seen my status on Facebook earlier this week about our disappointing Memorial Day camping trip. As promised, I am blogging today to tell the story of the state park ranger who ruined our weekend.
Early last Saturday afternoon, Matt and Alissa and I and our friends Nick and Carlene arrived at our reserved campsite at Golden Gate Canyon State Park (GGCSP) for a long awaited weekend camping trip that we had on the calendar for months. We wasted no time setting up our tents and unpacking our cars. A couple hours later, we noticed a state park ranger approaching our campsite. He noted several violations in our campsite, including our three tents on the pad (only 2 are allowed) and the fact that we had Perdi teathered around a tree with her leash. He asked us to take down a tent and tie Perdi to the picnic table, which we immediately did. He left shortly after that. We were slightly annoyed at this, but didn't really think much of it for the remainder of the afternoon.
We enjoyed our afternoon, playing board games, snacking and having a couple cold beers. We noticed that some storm clouds were rolling in, so we hung up a tarp over our picnic table to have shelter from the rain. It ended up raining and hailing for a couple hours. We were cold and miserable, but we stayed pretty dry! It even hailed for a while, so we were especially glad to have the tarp up.
At dusk around 9:30 pm, I went to the Highlander to put some food away so we didn't attract any bears. I noticed the ranger's truck pull up as I was heading back to the campsite. Two rangers got out of the truck and headed directly to our campsite, which was set back in the woods a little bit and not visible from the road. I got back to the site before them to warn everyone that our ranger friend was back.
This time, he had a really bad attitude with us. He asked us why we had the tarp hung up in the trees. We reminded him of the hailstorm and said we would take it down right away. He asked us if we had ever camped in the state parks before and we said we had camped there on numerous occasions. He also asked if we had ever been approached by a ranger before, and we said no. He really thought that was funny...he asked us if that was the case, then did we remember what he had just talked to us about yesterday. Since we had arrived at the park that very afternoon, we had no idea what he was talking about. We told him he had talked to us earlier that day and that we had complied with his requests, but he didn't seem to remember that. He had it in his mind that he had paid us a visit the day before, and that we were deliberatley disobeying park rules.
We were all really flustered by then, as we were no more in violation of camping rules than any other campsite. (lots of people had trash bags and clotheslines hanging in the trees and one campsite with a family was way over the six person limit.) What really freaked me out was when the ranger asked if we were aware that quiet hours were at 10 pm. Since it was about 9:35 by this point, we didn't know why he was asking. Matt politely asked if anyone had complained about us being too loud, as we tend to have animated conversations at times. I thought the ranger was going to use a taser on Matt for asking that question. But he said that there had been no complaints. We told him that we would observe quiet hours and the rangers left without visiting any other campsites with the same "violations" (or worse) than ours.
We were angry and perplexed after that confrontation. We had not been being loud or obnoxious. Frankly, we had been sitting under a tarp in the rain for hours not doing much of anything. We tried to think of ways that we were over-reacting or being dramatic. But the fact of the matter was clear: we were the only "young" group of campers in a campground full of families and older couples. We had clearly been targeted because of our age, with the assumption that we were there to be loud, drink and party all night. Ironically, we went to bed shortly after the ranger left. We didn't feel like staying up to risk another visit.
We had a nice conversation with the head ranger the next morning. Ranger Todd asked us to provide written documentation of what happened. He even came to our campsite and picked it up himself. Finally we were being treated with respect! Ranger Todd promised to address the ranger who had visited us the previous evening and apologized for how we had been treated.
We decided not to stick around and find out if he would follow through with his promise. We didn't want to risk another night filled with visits from that ranger, since we knew he would be on duty again after talking to Ranger Todd. We took a quick hike, packed up and left. Luckily, we were able to salvage the rest of our weekend with Alissa, but she still didn't really get to experience camping with us, which was the main point of her trip.
I wrote a two page letter to the Colorado State Parks Board on Tuesday and mailed it to the Denver Admin office as well as GGCSP. The way we were treated was completely unwarranted and very frustrating to five responsible adults who simply needed a couple days of solitude and relaxation in the Rocky Mountains.
Some children go through an "awkward" age. I know I certainly did, probably for most of my childhood. :) But I believe that we twenty-somethings are still in an awkward period in our lives. We are working HARD at so many aspects in our lives: careers, relationships, educations, friendships, and on and on. We want to be taken seriously. We want to prove to the world that we are responsible and capable and that we can handle it all and succeed. And, like anyone else, we just need a chance to get out of computer/cellphone/reality and relax for a while. It is so upsetting to me that five twenty-something friends can be written off as loud drunken partiers with just a simple glance. That is all it took for that ranger to judge us.
GGCSP used to be my favorite place to camp. It is beautiful and set way up high in the mountains. The scenery is breathtaking. At least it used to be. I hate to say it, but I don't know if I will be able to go there again without feeling the dissapointment of last weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

On Our Way!!

We are moving right along on our path to home ownership. Sometimes I wonder if this is supposed to go so smoothly, but I won't think too much about it until we close on June 23. The latest news is that the house passed inspection with flying colors! There were a few minor odds and ends to take care of, but the seller agreed to fix a sprinkler zone that wasn't working and replace a cracked window. So when we move in, the place will be almost flawless! I kind of didn't want them to fix EVERYTHING...Matt needs a few projects to keep him busy. :) I suppose the first thing on our list will be to replace the patio roof. It is pretty shot, but since it doesn't affect the inside of the house, we didn't ask the seller to do it. We also thought that would be a kind of fun project to tackle ourselves (and any handy volunteers who might want to come help). :)

Matt was playing around with some of the photos of our house last week. They are the same ones that are online, but he has put captions and various notes around them, so I thought I would post them here.


The kitchen is by far my very favorite part of the house. Lots of counter space and brand new appliances. I can't wait to get cooking in there!












































Thursday, April 29, 2010

We Found One!

I am really excited to announce that we are under contract on a house!! After searching and searching through a sea of suburban houses in south Aurora, they all just started blending together. There were major disappointments with all of them, mostly due to the fact that the lot sizes are SO small. What do people do with their pets when they move on to a like that?!? We were also having doubts about if we were really ready for that particular lifestyle.
So on Monday, we focused our search to an older neighborhood in the actual city and county of Denver. This area is in a good central location for both of our jobs and is much more accessible to the highways. It's still moderately suburban but it reminds me a little of Roeland Park, where we lived in Kansas City. HUGE trees, older houses and best of all, no HOA's and WAY lower taxes. It's a little funny, because we had originally skipped over this house when we saw it online based on the fact that it is a ranch style house (we wanted a two-story) and because the outside is pretty funny looking. But I guess we re-learned our "Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover" lesson. It's a good thing we have an awesome realtor who put the house on the list for us. The whole house has been remodeled and the floor plan is not like your typical ranch. Added bonus: the hot tub is included and it's been well maintained like the rest of the house! :)
Anyway, we decided to put an offer in that same evening and had a response by Tuesday afternoon! The seller acctepted our price offer, but wanted to push back the closing date. *Insert a bit of drama and a really long, dull story here.* If you recall my first blog entry about our move to Colorado, it just wouldn't be right for us to BUY a house without some drama if we could barely manage to rent one. :)
So, as of yesterday morning we are under contract! Hopefully the rest of the process goes smoothly. But if not, at least it will make for some good blogs!

Monday, April 12, 2010

House Hunting, Abbreviated

Question: How do you pick ONE?!? There are so many to choose from!








Monday, March 15, 2010

Softy

I have been thinking a lot about volunteering somewhere lately. I miss doing volunteer work and I want to give back. In college, my roommate Anne and I decided to volunteer at the Lawrence Humane Society. We only went once or twice. We basically just took the dogs out on leashes and walked them around so that they could get out of their kennels and get some fresh air. I didn't understand a lot about dogs then and I was kind of scared when they protested so hard against getting back in their cages. It was hard to see animals in that condition, and even harder to see the "countdown" on the time they would be at the shelter. I just wanted to take them all home, but most of them had serious health or behavior issues that I would not have been able to begin to address. (Not to mention the fact that we lived in the dorms!) Still, the cruelty that some humans seem capable of inflicting on innocent animals was too hard to deal with.

Fast forward to today. After work, I went to the mall to pick up a couple dress shirts and ties that Matt showed interest in. (He almost NEVER buys himself new clothes, and it's hard to pick out things he likes, so when he shows interest in something, I am THERE.) Anyway, I digress.
As I walked through the mall, I happened upon a pet store. Of course I was immediately drawn in by all the little puppies in the windows even though in the back of my mind, I knew it was a bad idea to go in.



After a few minutes of admiring how cute they all were, I started to get really sad. First of all, NO ONE in the store was actually puppy shopping. Kids were laughing and pounding on the windows of the cages. The dogs were all basically on display. I wondered how often they were let out of those 2x3 ft cages, or how often they even got to breathe fresh air. I wondered what happens to the puppies if they didn't get purchased by the time they are too big to be on display.
I wanted to slap down my debit card and buy them all! Granted, that's probably 40 dogs...but you know we have two beagles, what's 40 more puppies in the grand scheme of things! :)
I'm just kidding about buying all the puppies, by the way. I probably wouldn't have a husband anymore if I pulled something like that! Plus, if I HAD bought all the dogs, the pet store would just put 40 more on display tomorrow.
I watched two little beagle puppies playing in the storefront window and then tore myself away. I went home and took my own beagles out for a long romp in the sunny dog park. I may not be able to save the puppies of the world from the horrors of pet stores and shelters. But I can be glad that my own two sweet dogs are not in that situation.
And I am thinking that I might give the animal shelter another try...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Written Out

I just realized over the past couple of days that probably the main reason I haven't been blogging as much lately is because of writing overload from class. While my second Penn State course has been much easier to handle overall, it really is a lot of writing with the weekly papers we are asked to compile. It seems I dump all of my (somewhat limited) creativity and energy into those darn papers and by the time I am finished, it's hard to write a blog post!
Luckily, I have some pictures from my new camera to post, which rescues me from having to do TOO much writing tonight. (I finished and turned in my homework last night, so I'm off the hook with school for a couple days.)
First off, I have to say that I LOVE my new camera. It's super small so I can take it anywhere. It's super thin, so I can put it in my pocket. Oh, and did I mention that it's PINK?!? :) There will be no excuses for not having lots of pictures now, unless I forget to bring it along with me. So far, I am doing pretty well. I have a whole montage of pictures for a peak into our lives over the past couple weeks.
Sorry for how weird the formatting came out. The way I arranged it was way different from the way it ended up being published.

The pups got a new bed for the living room. They really love snuggling down into the blanket we put on top. And it's round, so hopefully Perdi won't be tempted to chew on the corners and pull out the stuffing. :)










Perdi still likes to chew on bones...
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And it has been snowing off and on in Denver quite a bit. Nothing substantial, but enough for us to have needed to shovel the driveway a few times! The mountains have gotten at least 7-14 inches of fresh powder, which means we will be skiing this weekend!




Pongo went to work with me last weekend. He is so good, and just sleeps on his blanket under my desk while I work. He is great company when I am there alone.
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Last Sunday, we had crock pot roast with potatoes, carrots and roasted asparagus. It was SOOOO good, but smelling it cooking all day long while we were home was pure torture. :)







This is how I like Perdi the best...when she is passed out and super tired. In other words, NOT destroying anything!








On Monday, I came home to a funny sight. Perdi had chewed a hole in her kennel blanket and had gotten her head through it! It looked like she had gotten cold and wrapped herself up snug and warm.








This week and next week is "5280 week." Basically, its Denver restaurant week, where lots of really fancy restaurants offer nice meals for $52.80 per couple. On Tuesday, Matt and I ate at Fogo de Chao, a Brazillian steakhouse where lots of waitors bring you every possible kind of meat you could ever want on skewers, as much as you want until you are full! I went in thinking, "I will limit what i eat tonight." WRONG! You can not do that at a place like this. They start you off with a salad bar, move on to the meats, and end with a dessert.












Matt and I were so full after dinner that we had to walk around a little bit before getting in the car to go home. We got some cool pictures of the pedestrian bridge (left) and Union Station (below).















Last night we went to Old Chicago because they were having a drawing for St. Patty's day prizes. Matt won a T-shirt and I won this cool hat.















Matt emailed an ESPN blogger who had written a post about how the KU-MU game would be one of the better games to watch at the end of the regular season. Matt pointed out that if KU wins the rest of their games this season, the KU-MU game would be their 2000th win, which would add to the appeal. The ESPN blogger emailed him back! He was mighty proud of this...


Well there you have it! Tonight is a relaxing blog-with-a-movie-on type night. I will probably fall asleep warm in bed within a half hour or so. It has been a busy week as usual.