Monday, September 29, 2008

Bright spots shining in the darkness

As many of you know I lost my father this month and it has been and continues to be a painful experience. But I have been reminded in so many ways of how blessed I am and I am grateful for the love of a Heavenly Father and the sacrifice of his son and my elder brother Jesus Christ. I have an amazing family who have supported me in every way I have needed and the outpouring of love from all our friends has also been something I will never forget. Most of the events of the last three weeks are too personal to share but here are some things that make me smile and help me to see past the darkness.

The words of my younger brother Simon have lifted me up and I want him to know I appreciate him and the wisdom beyond his years that he possesses.

Getting to spend some time with the jolliest most gorgeous baby in existence, my nephew Max.

Getting to go to London and see some sights I hadn't yet seen. The view from the Royal Observatory in Grenwich is pretty great if you ever get the opportunity.

The peace and tranquility of Colney Wood. A place that has found it's way to my heart.

Spending time with Mum and Rachel has been what we all needed. We had a fantastic day in Grenwich and an evening in the West End and China Town. But aside from that I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such amazing women for my mother and sister. I'll always admire my Mum for the qualities she has and I only hope I can be just a little bit like her. And I feel so blessed to have a sister who understands me like Rachel. We are like two peas in a pod (or a bag as Smithy would say!).

We are continuing to find so much joy in this new home of ours. This photo was taken by Gary in Garden of the Gods park.

The boys got their hair cut today. Don't they look handsome? I missed the kids so much while being in England. I'm sure they will get tired of my kisses in the days to come.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


One of my favorite authors is Thomas Hardy. Often the weather or the backdrop of scenes in his books reflect the moods or emotions of the main characters. Yesterday my life could well have been a Thomas Hardy novel. It was raining all day and the sky was grey. I haven't yet discovered whether it was the weather that got me down or whether I was down in the first place. Whichever it was, the day was miserable and where was the silver lining?
This morning I found out what the silver lining was. Pikes Peak has snow on the top of it. It looks spectacular. I wish I could capture how wonderful it is. My picture doesn't do it justice.

And the sky is the most beautiful clear blue. The temperature got no higher than 75 degrees so we decided to go hiking. We found a great 2.2 mile hike along a canyon at Manitou Springs. It's basically an old railroad bed and along the way there were 6 tunnels through the rock to explore. Two of them were long enough to where you couldn't initially see the light at the end and so flashlights were necessary. It was uplifting to my spirits to be amongst the mountains. I'm grateful for these moments. I can't wait to show this hike to my family. Here are some photos.

The initial climb up to the trail head. A bit scary for the kids!

Approaching the first of the tunnels

A nice view along the way

Being careful not to trip on boulders in the dark

Stopping to take in the scenery and eat a snack

Two hours of fresh air and exercise + a bag of M&Ms = a sleepy three year old

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

We made new friends yesterday at church. We were invited to a couple's home for dinner after church and then we all decided to go hiking today. We drove up into the mountains and went for a small hike on Cheyenne Mountain. Between us we had 7 kids, 5 of which were quite small so we couldn't do anything too strenuous. But the mountains around here are so accessible to every age group. There were those who were mountain biking steep inclines and then there were 1, 2, 3, mile up to all day trails. You can even drive all through and up the mountains if you don't want to or can't walk/bike them. It was absolutely beautiful and a perfect way to spend labor day. For those of you who will be coming to visit us (you know who you are) are in for the best time and are going to LOVE it here. It's like being on vacation but I live here.
But for those of you who are wondering, I haven't thoughtlessly forgotten Ohio and all of my friends. All of you - Shannon, Jill, Michele, Nicole, Jen, Jen, Jana, Cindy, and all my other friends who do and don't blog, are very much on my mind. Ohio still feels like home and I miss you all very much. It's going to take a long while for this place to feel like home no matter how wonderful it is.
We were driving yesterday and we had this conversation.

Nate: Isaac's my friend (meaning Issac Palmer)


Leia: I have a true love

Me: Who might that be?

Leia: Joseph. But now I'm like Buttercup in the Princess Bride who is forced to marry someone who's not her true love.


Gary tries to explain that even had we not moved, the Palmers would have. The cool logic didn't move a tired and overexcited 7 year old (surprisingly!)

Spencer: Don't worry Leia. I'll marry you because I'll always love you.

I think the distractions of school are much needed! Here are some pictures from today.

Our new home in the background

The whole crew

Beats the Smoky Mountains, and the Blue Ridge Mountains in our humble opinions