My journey to shoot for the moon.

Archive for the ‘Colorado’ Category

Good Morning

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City Worker at Wrightsville Beach

Since it was raining the day we went to the beach, my parents stayed under the shelter (most of the time) and then went back to sit in the car.  My mom had knee surgery last year and still (sometimes) has difficulties getting around.  If she is going to the mall or somewhere that she doesn’t have a grocery cart to push, and has a lot of walking, she brings her walker.  She also has a handicapped tag for her car.So at Wrightsville Beach my parents had the car in a Handicapped spot with the tag hanging from the mirror.  We had paid to park at a spot down the road before we realized that it was too far from the facilities (bathrooms, etc) and then moved the car to another part of the beach.  I didn’t think that we needed to pay again… (more…)

Snow 2/4/12

As most people are aware, Colorado (Denver Area) got a ton of snow yesterday.  We got enough snow that they closed the schools.  Although that isn’t all that unusual.  It started snowing Thursday night and continued through Saturday morning.  Michael has a soccer game this afternoon, so I went out a little bit ago to see if I could clean off the car and if we could get out of the parking lot.  The snow is melting already, as the sun is out.  I was wearing my winter coat and gloves and was overdressed.

Here is what my car looked like –

My Van after the Snow

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Fall Break in Colorado

Fall is by far my favorite time of year.  I love cool, crisp mornings and the changing colors.  I love Indian Summer (does anyone remember the story that appeared in the paper about Indian Summer?).  I love Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And it helps that my birthday falls in October.

Growing up in Illinois meant that Fall was generally a very short season.  Halloween often was cold, cold enough that we wore winter coats to trick-or-treat.  By Thanksgiving, there was often snow.  And then there was the grey.  Illinois is grey much of the year – what I mean is that the sun won’t make an appearance for days upon days and the sky is grey and overcast.  But for the few weeks that we had Fall, I loved it.

Colorado is quite different from Illinois during Fall.  The leaves change colors and against the blue cloudless sky they seem more vibrant.  There is often snow covering the mountains and I can see this from where we live.  It is generally cool in the mornings, but by afternoon it is quite warm.  It can snow.  But the snow stays on the ground for only a short period of time.

The very cool thing about Colorado is that the kids have either a week or two weeks off of school (they also have a week or two off in Spring).  There was no Fall Break in Illinois.  Michael has been off this past week and both boys will be off this week.

If you’ll remember from an earlier post, it snowed a week ago.  We woke up on Saturday morning and there was snow on the ground.  Yesterday (Friday) Michael went swimming at the outdoor pool in our complex.  It was warm enough for swimming.  Today it is supposed to be in the mid-80’s.  But by Tuesday the temperatures will drop down to the 60’s and it looks like it will stay in the 60’s for a while.  The 60’s in Colorado are still comfortable and the afternoons can feel quite warm.

During Fall Break, at least for this year, we don’t have much planned.  Chris’ parents arrive on Thurs. or Friday and will stay in Colorado for the weekend.  David has a doctor’s appointment.  Michael”s birthday is during this time, and so is mine.  But right now we don’t have anything special planned (lots of families travel during break, making it difficult to plan birthday parties).  But that is it.  We don’t have much else planned.  I expect that David will continue his journey into teenagehood by staying up late, sleeping in and perhaps napping.

Mostly, I think that the boys are going to play, relax and get themselves geared back up for school.  The next break is Thanksgiving and I know that from Halloween to Thanksgiving can seem like forever.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – Road Trip Part 2

Michael and Micah feeding the giraffes.

After we finished at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, we went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. We got there right about 11 am and after we got the map, the boys and I sat down to figure out what we HAD to see at the zoo, so we could make sure that we did.

This is how I usually do museums, etc. with the boys because we have, in the past, run out of time and missed stuff that they really wanted to see and spent time seeing things they didn’t care about.

At the giraffe area

The first thing the boys wanted to do was feed the giraffes. So we headed to the giraffe area.  Last year when we went to the zoo with my friend Kathy, the giraffes were eating “cookies.”  This year it seems to be lettuce.  There was a sign that said that the giraffes were going “green.”  Honestly, the lettuce was over-priced at $2 per bunch, but the boys had fun.  So it was worth it.

Michael feeding a giraffe.

After visiting the giraffes, the boys decided that they wanted to go on the Mountaineer Sky Ride.  Before we went to the zoo, I looked up the rules for the sky ride.  You could ride 4 at a time and 1 rider had to be 12 or older.    So, the boys could ride with either David or me.  They decided that they would ride with David, so I got to ride alone (which was fine – it was quiet and relaxing).

The boys riding the Sky Ride up the mountain. I just loved that I could see their heads and their feet.

At the top of the Sky Ride is a climbing wall and not much else.  The boys went to the climbing wall area and David and I sat on a bench.  The thing about the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, is that it is on the mountain.  So, to walk around the zoo, you are constantly either hiking up or hiking down.  It is beautiful, but on an 80°+ day, it was tiring.

The view going up on the Sky Ride to my right.

The view from the Sky Ride is amazing.  It is about a 5 minute ride.

The one and only time I had to say something to the boys was when they were in the climbing wall area and they were throwing rocks.  When I asked them to stop, they did.  That was all the “discipline” I had to impose during our entire day.

Going down on the Sky Ride to me is scarier than going up because you can see the whole way down and it is a long way.  Michael and Micah rode with me on the way down and Sean rode with David.  Michael and Micah were fine, but nervous.

After the Sky Ride, we had lunch.  We were all starving and everyone had pizza except for David (who had hot wings).  The slices were huge, but we were all still hungry after the pizza, so we had ice cream.  Sean got a brownie that was bigger than a sandwich and ended up taking much of it home.

After lunch we wandered around the zoo.  The boys were navigating using the zoo map and we only headed in the wrong direction a few times.  We saw penguins, hippopotami, a tiger, naked mole rats, kimono dragons, snakes, monkeys, otters, mountain lions, wallaby, and quite a few other animals.  Before we knew it, it was just about time to head back.  Micah talked Michael and Sean into riding the carousel before we left.   The carousel went pretty fast and I was surprised.  I was also surprised that the boys wanted to ride (I thought that they were too old for the carousel).  But I am glad they did.

Carousel

Sunday’s paper had an article about Carousels and the one at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was one of the notable carousels in Colorado.

In all, it was a great trip.  I hope that the boys learned a lot and I know that they had a good time.  They ate a ton of snacks during the ride back to Parker.  When Micah’s mom and Sean’s mom picked them up, they both started talking non-stop about the day.

Michael on the Carousel

Manitou Cliff Dwellings – Road Trip Part 1

The boys were awesome. Michael and his two classmates, Sean and Micah, sat in the back of the van. David sat in the front seat. For the whole ride, the boys talked, laughed and listened to music. It was great.

We left Parker, Colorado at about 8:35 am and arrived at the Cliff Dwellings in Colorado Springs at about 9:45 am.  It wasn’t a bad drive and it was pretty.  It is still amazing to me that the mountains are here!  Growing up in Illinois, I am used to boring flat land.  I love looking at the mountains and could spend days doing nothing but meditate on the mountains.  But this isn’t about the mountains, it is about the boys, our road trip, and their school project.

When we arrived at the Cliff Dwellings, there was a school group at the beginning. So we started at the end.  If you look in the picture all the way to the left, that is where we started.

Manitou Cliff Dwellings - Full View

The boys took turns climbing the ladder and going inside the first section.The first section we explored.  The platform that the ladder leads up to is only safe for 2 people at a time.  There was also a ladder inside the dwelling and the boys spent a lot of time exploring and climbing.  Michael was in charge of our “old” camera and I had the “new” camera.  He took some pictures inside the dwelling (at this point), but they didn’t turn out.

Michael standing on the platform.

When the boys finished this section, we moved on.  The next section was the middle area in the picture of the entire site.

At some point, we ran into the school group and the boys decided that it was time to go to the museum and gift shop and come back to the Dwellings after a while.  They really spent a long time exploring the gift shop.  I got two books.  One on the Anasazi and the other on the Dwellings.  The boys picked out a postcard for their teacher, as well.

The view looking out from the Cliff Dwellings.

They will use the books when they work on their project (hopefully).  They are doing a timeline and also a tri-fold poster on the cliff dwellings.

Since, all the individual pictures got mixed up in my head, I’m going to stop writing and post the pictures.  Enjoy!  (And look for Part 2 in the next couple of days on the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.)

Grinding stones

Corn Silo and Nine Room House

Firepit

Road Trip Today!

Today is a Professional Development Day for the teachers in our district.  That means that there is NO SCHOOL.  So, the boys and I are taking a short road trip to Colorado Springs.

Michael’s class is doing projects on the Native Americans of Colorado.  So, we going to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings to get pictures and information for the project.  Two of Michael’s classmates are coming with us.  Then we are going to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  Besides Michael’s project, David will get “field trip credit” for going, since the Cliff Dwellings are mentioned in his Social Studies book (and since we are homeschooling Social Studies, I can have him do whatever I think is appropriate for American History).

David, Michael and I went to both of these places last summer with my friend Kathy, who was visiting from Illinois.  Since the Cliff Dwellings won’t take all day, I asked my boys if there was anything else they would like to do while we were in Colorado Springs.  Both of them wanted to go to the Zoo.  David said that the Zoo was “awesome.”  So, that is what we will do.

So, while I may be a bit crazy, we are heading out today, hopefully, by 8:30.  That should put us in Colorado Springs by 9:30.  I expect that we will either get lunch at the Zoo or on the way to the Zoo.

One of the moms asked if I was sure that I could handle this with the kids.  Four boys between the ages of 10-13.  3 Fifth Graders and 1 Eight Grader.  No problem.  I’m expecting it to be a lot of fun!  I figure that we need to leave Colorado Springs by 3:00 at the latest to arrive back home in time to get one of Michael’s friends to the High School for his sister’s softball game and then to get Michael to soccer practice.  His other friend is going to be picked up at the soccer field, since they live nearby.

It will be a Little Caesar’s Pizza night, our normal Friday night after soccer practice dinner.  I am certain that I will be too tired to cook.  I am also fairly certain that I will be headed to bed soon after dinner.

Look for a post on Saturday or Sunday with pictures and stories about our adventure!

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