Monday, July 03, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

We're back from our stay in Estes Park. We had a really good week together and did lots of fun things. My favorite thing was spending time in Rocky Mountain National Park. You can not believe how beautiful that place is until you see it for yourself. I'm moved to tears each time we're there. Seriously, it's that beautiful. God is the best artist!! We did some hiking and I was so proud of the kids, especially Abbey, for completing a two-mile hike uphill to Alberta Falls. We did some more hiking too, and saw some elk and deer and lots of chipmunks. Every time we're at the park, we try to see the bighorn sheep at Sheeps Lake. The sheep live up in the mountains, but come down to these kettle lakes to lick minerals from the mud. The times of their descent are never predictable, and we've never seen them in the park. Big bummer! The bighorn sheep is the symbol of RMNP, but the visitors who actually see those elusive animals are the lucky ones!

Our kids will tell you their favorite thing was the go-karts and bumper boats and the giant slide. That was fun, but they love being in the park as much as their parents do.

Um...if you're ever headed to Estes Park, let me tell you where NOT to stay. Our little cabin that I fell in love with last year quickly lost it's charm on this trip. Seems the owners had a problem with mice. Eek! It really was so gross. The first night we were there we were watching a movie all together and John thought he kept seeing things out of the corner of his eye. That was all he had to say for me to be a ball of nerves. Literally, I curled up in a ball on the couch and stayed that way for the rest of the movie. We got the kids to bed and he got out the broom to do a little searching. Sure enough, we saw two mice. He shooed one out the door, but we never found the second one again. The next morning, he got the owners to set some traps out. Let me just say we stopped counting at 8 dead ones. So, so gross. I was really irritated. John felt bad about it all week. If we could have found another place to stay, we would have, but Estes Park is packed in June and July. NO VACANCY is a sign you see everywhere. We finished out the week, but the owners knew we weren't happy and wouldn't be back next year. I understand that the cabin is on a cliffside, and field mice are sure to turn up every now and then, but this was infestation. It was NOT a restful week for me! The kids were great about it though, and didn't seem to be too aware of our guests...or their mother's fear. We ended up eating out a lot more than we planned to...simply because I didn't want to be in that place! We did find another cabin we'd like to stay in next time. We were shopping one day (we spent a lot of time out!!!!) and discovered a cabin on the river that we wanted to check out. We stopped in and the owner showed it to us, and I was delightfully surprised to find that it fits our budget and is WAY nicer than the Mouse House! I'm there!

The weather there was fabulous. Highs were in the 70s, lows in the 40s. We had to turn on the heat at night! And we wore fleece when we were hiking. Up in the higher elevations of the park, the temperature is much lower! One night we went to a dulcimer concert downtown in Estes Park. I was freezing! The wind was blowing and temps were in the 50s. Despite my layers and fleece, I couldn't get warm, so we left...and went for ice cream! John and the kids could eat ice cream even if it was 30 below. I passed up ice cream for a chai from Starbucks! It warmed me right up!

Before we left home, John and I gave each of the kids a roll of quarters. The deal was that every time they complained, argued, talked back, or whined, they lost a quarter. At the end of the week, any money they had left was theirs to spend on whatever they wanted. They each lost a couple of dollars, but their daddy taught them an important lesson about grace...getting something you don't letting them spend money they didn't really have! Good lesson, and I think they "got it"!

Oh yeah...about those license plates we've been searching for. We're still lacking four states--Hawaii, Rhode Island, Delaware, and West Virginia. I'm sure
we could have found them in Estes Park, but John wasn't quite as into this quest as the rest of us, and didn't want to drive us through the parking lots! So...we keep searching.

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