Weekend in Steamboat

We just came back from a weekend getaway in Steamboat Springs where Mike completed his first 50K trail race up Mt. Werner. This was Cooper’s first road trip ever and Maxon’s first diaper-free road trip so we were prepared for plenty of stops… and they did not disappoint. Cooper is not thrilled to be in his car seat for extended periods of time so I spent half the time between the car seats in the back trying to entertain and soothe the little guy. Maxon is a great traveler and kept himself entertained for the most part but I think he is getting a kick out of Mommy sitting in the back seat. He also got some experience in peeing outdoors, like the side of the road (“I pee-peed on some rocks!”), in a port-o-potty on Rabbit Ears pass, and along the creek at the Loveland Valley exit on I-70. I think he was a little disappointed that Steamboat Springs was not an actual steamboat but he did get to ride up the gondola to the top of Mt. Werner (cool) and the bus to downtown (waaaay cool).

On the Steamboat gondola

Riding the downtown bus with Lucy

One is dressed and the other in her pajamas. Anyone care to guess who is a better sleeper?

Questionable placement of activity mat

The boys in the kitchen

Book nerds

2011 Year in Review

You take a ton of photos in any given year, but even more when you have a toddler on the scene.  I summed up the ones that were most descriptive of how our year went and did my best to include family and friends.  I put it to music and here it is.   You can also check out last year’s summary video (which is really a summary of Maxon’s first year of life) if you are so inclined.  Happy 2012!  Enjoy!!

Traveling Coast to Coast (and a little in between)

It’s been quite a month! This is the first weekend at home in quite a while. It all started with a weekend trip up to Aspen, which is my latest favorite place in Colorado. We arrived on a Friday evening and found out that our cute little hotel was just around the corner from quaint downtown area with all the shops and restaurants. The sleeping arrangements proved to be quite a challenge since our hotel room was pretty tiny and Maxon is still reluctant in going to sleep and staying asleep. After a disastrous night of “sleeping”, we officially started the day with breakfast at the hotel (they even had a highchair!) and then made our way out to the Maroon Bells for a little sightseeing. We came back to the room for a much-needed nap for all three of us and then went back out to visit the John Denver Sanctuary in town and then out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Maxon LOVES being around people and he spent much of the day waving to everyone he saw, when he wasn’t flinging food around, that is. The second night of sleeping went a little bit better, but only after we resigned to having him sleep between us in bed. Who knew Maxon was a bed hog? The next day Mike rode his bike out of Aspen and up and over Independence Pass, meeting up briefly with Maxon and me at the top. Unfortunately, it took us over 6 hours to get home due to weekend traffic out of the mountains.

Maroon Bells

The following weekend, under some very sad circumstances, Maxon and I flew out to Virginia to visit my family. This was the first time I had ever traveled with just me and Maxon and I was definitely apprehensive. I knew Maxon would be agreeable for the most part since he pretty much goes with the flow when we’re out and about but I was still nervous about getting both us of and all our belongings from place to place. I decided to wear Maxon and pull a single carry-on suitcase and hook the infant carseat over it, which Maxon technically still fit into with millimeters to spare. Not feeling the need to challenge myself anymore than necessary, I decided to get Maxon his own seat on the plane. Best decision ever! I had somewhere safe and secure to put him and I could have my hands free for the majority of the flight. He did get antsy on the flights but luckily he made up for it by flashing all our seatmates great big toothy smiles and vigorous waves. Getting around the airports were mostly hassle-free, except for having to change concourses in Minneapolis which I swear is the longest airport ever and I had the shortest layovers. We got there and back all in one piece and Maxon had a great time seeing the family.

Last weekend we were out in San Rafael outside San Francisco visiting Mike’s aunt Peggy and family. Flying seemed like child’s play with two sets of adult hands, no connections, and a flight under two hours. Maxon was much antsier though which was unfortunate since he did not have his own seat, which I will lobby never to happen again. We got to Peggy’s house and had dinner and celebrated cousin Matt’s birthday and then got Maxon settled in bed. We reluctantly woke up very, very early on Saturday morning (thanks Maxon!), had a lazy breakfast and long nap, headed out to Sonoma wine country and ended the afternoon by watching cousin Sophie’s soccer game nearby. The next day we got an early start again and headed out to Muir Woods for some hiking and then drove up to the top of Mount Tamalpais. On Monday, we took a ferry from San Rafael to San Francisco and met up with the Wise-Templetons for lunch at the Fisherman’s Wharf. From there we high-tailed it to the airport and narrowly missed getting on our flight back home.

Blueberries with Aunt Peggy

I didn't even notice the low-hanging branches

At the top of Mt Tam

On the ferry from San Rafael to San Francisco

Of course, on our way home from the airport Monday evening, having been out of pocket for so long, we had no idea of the catastrophe in progress just a few thousand feet to the west of our house. As we descended into Boulder from Us-36, we noticed that the foothills were aglow. Since everything was relatively dark all around, we had no idea how far or how close the blaze was. At first it seemed far north of town but as we approached our neighborhood, we seemed to be driving right into it. We got home and smelled absolutely no smoke but were very confused by what was going on. Apparently, the wildfire had broken out Monday morning and was whipped into a frenzy by high winds all day but luckily was a little northwest of our neighborhood. By morning, our neighborhood was covered in a smoky haze and it took the rest of the week before it got under control, but not before we were scared into reality on Thursday when we realized we were just a few blocks shy of a potential second evacuation area. We still have a small pile of important items gathered in a “staging area”.

And in the midst of all this, I seem to have developed pneumonia. A little cough started in Virginia and turned into a fever upon returning, and by California I was battling hives and a racking cough. A few days ago I broke down and went to the doctor where she gave me some antibiotics and an inhaler but yesterday I was inspired to go to urgent care as the cough was subsiding but the pain on the left side of my body increased. After repetitive questions and a chest-xray, the doctor prescribed much stronger antibiotics and some neat painkillers. I have been largely unimpressed by the medication but Mike thinks I have been too conservative. I’m willing to up the ante on the painkillers, hence writing this latest post now.

Never a dull moment around here!

More Utah Pics

A few more pictures that didn’t make it to Facebook:

Congratulating Daddy on his awesome Ironman finish

This walking stuff is easy

Picnicking at Bryce

On a hike with Mommy

Sitting on the edge of Bryce Amphitheater

Road Trip – Utah or Bust!

TODAY: Drive to Fruita, CO. Normally, a 4+ hour drive but there was a rock slide last month in Glenwood Canyon that littered I-70 with huge boulders. Google Maps says we have to take a big detour off the highway adding more than an hour to the trip. Mapquest (and CDOT) says there is one lane open in each direction on I-70 and only tacks on a little more drive time. We’ll see what we end up getting!

THURSDAY: Continue driving to St George, UT. Mike will check in for the Ironman race. Game on.

FRIDAY: Mike will do last-minute preparations for the race and Maxon and I will check out the outlet mall =)

SATURDAY: Race day!!! Mike will be out dominating the course and I’ll be doing my best sending out updates on Mike and entertaining Maxon from sunrise to sunset.

SUNDAY: Make sure Mike is still in one piece. Head out to Zion National Park.

MONDAY: Drive out to Bryce National Park.

TUESDAY: Start heading back but stopping again in Fruita, CO and meeting up with Brady!

WEDNESDAY: Homeward bound.

Mission Babymoon: Accomplished

Well, after an exciting start to the trip, the rest went much, much easier. I’ve always thought that Mike and I travel well together and we’re not terribly high-maintenance, so once we figure out how things work, we’re good to go. We had never stayed at an all-inclusive resort before and it was definitely an interesting experience. There were a few lows and lots of highs but in the end we had a fantastic time doing exactly what we came for. Some of the highlights:

Pro #1: Food, food, food!
Con #1: Do I really have to wear this bracelet?
Our particular resort markets having 5 restaurants but I’m guessing with the low capacity, the really only only have two open at a time. A buffet was always an option and the variety was amazing. Not only for one particular meal but over the course of our stay–you could certainly never repeat a menu and there was something for everyone. And my growing sweet tooth and I were in bliss over the dessert options. They weren’t all home runs but did I try to swing at everything available! In return for all this variety, we had to wear plastic bracelets indicating we were part of the all-inclusive plan for our entire stay. No big deal while on-site but we stuck out like sore thumbs when we ventured off the resort.

Pro #2: Where are the crowds?
Con #2: Yes, it does get hotter in Mexico in the summer.
Whew! I can’t believe I thought it got hot in Colorado. We reacquainted ourselves with the double-whammy that is both heat AND humidity during the day and at night. Aside from our room and being submerged in water, there was no escape. The indoor communal areas like the lobby and restaurants did have AC but someone needs to educate the resort personnel on the efficiency of closed doors and windows in these areas. The upside of coming at the low season was the lack of crowds. We never had a problem finding poolside loungechairs or waiting for a table at dinner. Actually, we didn’t even have a problem scoring a couple stools at the swim-up bar. Our first room was not up to par and we ended up getting an upgraded room. I can’t say we were on a first-name basis with the service staff but we certainly got the head nod and smile of recognition. I’m pretty sure Mike was known as “gin and tonic?” or “uno mas?”

Pro #3: Where are the Americans?
Con #3: Found them.
Our resort was at the opposite end of Cabo San Lucas in San Jose del Cabo. Much quieter part of Los Cabos with a downtown about 1% the size of Cabo San Lucas. I actually enjoyed staying in a more low-key area since I didn’t feel the pressure of doing and seeing everything a good little tourist is supposed to do. It also seemed to have a little bit more of an authentic Mexican vibe. On our last full day of the trip, we finally took a daytrip down to Cabo San Lucas to see the Arch by water taxi and the rest of downtown. This is definitely where all the action is, as marked by the Burger King, Subway, Walmart and the Hard Rock Cafe. Of course, the nice swimmable beaches were at this part of Los Cabos and you could get lost in all the options of where to eat, drink, and shop. At our quaint little resort, maybe half the guests were Americans and the rest from other parts of Mexico. Of course, the Americans we could identify made themselves painfully obvious by talking especially loudly and only in English. Mike and I dutifully said our please and thank-yous in Spanish as well as any other word or sentence we could string together, or at least asked how we should say it in Spanish. Not trying to be heroes or anything, but it was fun to try!

Los Cabos? Or Lost Cabos?

So, we were up until just past midnight last night finishing work, packing and getting our affairs in order before heading out to Cabos for our ¨babymoon¨ which is suppose to be one final pre-kids stress free escape.  The alarm went off at 5:30 AM.  I showered and headed down at 5:50 AM to feed the cats and I realized my voicemail, email and text were blowing up with a big problem at work.  Oh crap!  We planned to leave at 6:00.  The woman carrying the baby in “babymoon” was still upstairs and I had drops of sweat forming on my forehead at the thought of ruining an event that was meant to counterbalance this exact type of scenario!  Work went on and by the grace of God we got out of there….albeit 30 minutes late.  Stress levels were high and smiles had been packed away in the suitcase awaiting arrival in Cabos before they would return.  I was hauling butt to the airport and running seriously late.  I dropped Melanie off with 8 mins to spare before Denver´s 45-minute pre-flight bag check rule bounced us from the flight.  She made it.   I sped off looking for parking. 

The first shot was a no-go when I accidentally landed in hourly parking.  On the second fly by I made it to the right lot….¨where is a spot…..where is a spot….where the mutha f is a spot!!¨  Eventually I found a space in the back of the lot where I could barely see the airport and started running towards towards the terminal with my bag of fruit swinging wildly in my hand.  I called Melanie and we agree to meet at the security line – she is already there.  When I arrive, we learn the hard way that both of Denver´s security checkpoints are open and we are standing at different ones.  This is not good.  We now have 25 minutes to spare!  She comes to me (not sure how I let that happen when she is almost 7 months pregnant) and we move through the line.  With 15 minutes to spare we race towards the train.  Of course we are at the last of 3 stops.  When the train opens I burst out and run up 2 flights of escalators and down the concourse.  I arrive at the gate 8 minutes before departure….doors are closed and I am given the big FU by the person guarding the closed door.  The only option on US Scare is to leave tomorrow.  I catch the train back to another concourse to see if we can get a flight on United while Melanie waits in a Southwest line.  By phone, we learn that her prices beat mine and I race back to concourse C to catch a flight that is leaving only 30 minutes after the one we just missed.  We get on and breathe a bit easier.

In the air, we realize that we´ll have 25 minutes in Phoenix to make our original connection to Cabo which is on another concourse and a huge haul away.  We give it our best shot.  At one point we split up when signs are unclear which concourse has our flight.  We make it with seconds to spare.  This is NOT the textbook way to start a babymoon.  Women this far pregnant are not built for high stress runs through an airport while carrying bags of fruit.  Despite the complete lack of food and water throughout all of this though, Melanie was doing great!

We land in Mexico (pronounced ¨Mexico¨ in English) and the stress continues as we wade our way through many many many folks trying to pry our dollars away from us.  It´s also 108 degrees and the stress of trying to find our shuttle is wearing us down.  Oh and then the wheel on our suitcase broke!!  When we FINALLY get to the hotel….we are down several hundred dollars, hot, stressed and tired from being up early and running all day.  We finally reach our room and look forward to a break from the 100-plus midday humid heat that has us sweating through our clothes only to realize….you guessed it, the AC in our room is not working.  Melanie needs food and is already leafing through the resort restaurants list, but I convince her to give me a few minutes to try in English….to convince the Spanish speaking folks at the desk that our situation, in a word, sucksmajormonkeyballs.  Without hesitation the senorita at the front desk gives us a new room that is way better in every way (not least of which is a working AC!). 

And with that, we could finally settle in…..of course until the pool bar shut down shortly after my first drink.  And that my friends is why I am here updating our blog on a Friday night at an all you can eat and drink resort in Cabo.  I have heard whispers of a bar in the lobby which I will be checking out shortly.  Until then, stay cool.  Oh, after we finally got into our new room with AC, THIS happened…..

Day One

Day One