23 November 2013

palo duro {time to rest and explore}

palo duro canyon welcomed us this month. this second largest canyon in america is rugged, colorful, and vast. the last time we visited, AD wasn't even walking. AD turned 4 years old on this camp trip. with our middle 5 and our oldest 8, i was seeing a whole new season of parenting this time. no babies, no toddlers. our freedoms and responsibilities are shifting, and it's bittersweet to take in.

we've camped palo duro in tent, cabin, and 2 different camper trailers. each way has been sweet (yet, tent camping did get rough with babies and toddlers' afternoon naps in tx heat, we discovered early on).

during this stay, temperatures were mild, pleasant with light winds, perfect. since our last visit about 3 years ago, it looked like the canyons experienced some major rainstorms, maybe flooding. cliffs were transformed evidently by erosion. the changes were stunning and interesting to explore with the children.

with the 1 1/2 days of hiking, we walked the ccc trail, cliffs along the southeast end of the park, paseo del rio trail, and much of the lighthouse trail. i was struck by how far we were able to go without front packs, strollers, walking toddlers. we were able to take more side jaunts off the main trails to explore water and the base of cliffs. and no child needed carrying at any point. it felt very strange and wonderful.

momma's trip-bloopers:
i dropped my pack on the rock to take a picture. my water bottle fell out and slowly rolled right off the cliff's edge about 4-5 feet away from where i stood. i cringed as i watched it plummet about 30 feet to a resting spot below.

as our family was looking up at the stars and the bright moon one night (amazing what we've been able to see in the night sky in that non-light polluted canyon--seen more shooting stars in one sitting), AF mentioned she was cold, so i picked her up to snuggle. as we turned to walk into the trailer, my shin walked right into a 2 foot wooden post. stumbled. no fall, thankfully, with a child in my hands. just a nice welt souvenir.

{the park's amphitheatre, post mini-espinoza stage performances. Espi and i enjoyed such entertainment as "humpty dumpty," "twinkle little star," and psalm 13 recited.}

{see our little ants climbing their ant hill?}

{the grass stalks were awesome, 6-7 feet tall. here, H asked to compare my height to them.}

{our last hike of the trip, these pumpkins finished that afternoon with 4 miles on the lighthouse trail}

highlights from the kids:
H: walking through the grass that was taller than mom and dad
AF: playing by the river
AD: finding some sticks
H: seeing the flocks of wild turkeys
AF: camping in our camper
AD: [throwing and] watching our sticks float down the river

and more highlights:
*a complete phone and internet break for about 48 hours--no reception down in the canyon
*seeing many early mountain bike racers while we hiked getting familiar with the trails in preparation for their 52 mile bike marathon (which took place the morning we left)
*afternoon naps--for the whole family

25 October 2013

5 {in october}


sometimes the children and i play "5 points" during car rides or wait-time anywhere. 5 points is just a quick review game, usually testing a person on something he/she is learning academically. when a child has filled all 5 fingers with correct answers on my hand or whoever-wants-to-keep-track's hand, the hand opens and closes, flashing like a light. well done. "5 points."

my 5 points here weren't earned, but i feel like i have won. 5 sweet gifts surprised me, were received and enjoyed, particularly lately, in small and big ways. as i write i know i am missing "points," thinking of a friend's farewell party, for example, celebrating many years of rich friendship now to treasure over the miles. like all of our months, blessings and gifts overflow more than we can truly count.

  • wildtree. a friend of mine is selling their food products. as a minimal spender and a make-from-scratch-often (cutting costs because i have time to) momma, i reluctantly decided to attend a wildtree tasting. but it led to attending a freezer-meal party. i loved the idea, the wildtree products, and many, tasty, healthy dishes that fed our family. thank you, jenna.

  • ingri and edgar parin d'aulaire. i'm a little in love with these early 1900s authors and illustrators. i have read several of their biographies with the kids. their work is factual, yet has so much heart. the kids and i give this couple a big thumbs up and thanks for their beautiful work!

  • quail eggs for breakfast and swapping harvested, garden seeds. as i passed some seeds onto a gardening friend this week, she surprised me with some of her seeds and several, fresh quail eggs from her birds. fresh food and seeds are some of the best gifts. the eggs were beautiful and delicious. and she got me looking forward already to the 2014 garden.

  • celebrating the gift and life of Espi this week (and the 3 little people he helped bring into my life). so thankful for the whole that's made him who he is (and God's presence making good out of the hard), for his love entering my life almost 17 years ago as friends, and his interest in continuing to grow with me. we take each other for granted, but so thankful for the many moments we don't, because that's when we are living. te amo, Espi, and glad i get to.

{back to dating days about 12 summers ago. this is what most of our dates looked like, biking and hiking while talking and getting to know each other. those mutual interests haven't changed much.}

what about you? what has been a pleasant surprise or a particularly sweet gift in your life lately?

16 October 2013

fall, we love you

a 3 month break. i have really missed here. but i really enjoyed my break away. more than i anticipated. 2 months more than i anticipated. the last several months have welcomed change. they've been filled with many special adventures across the country, in our state, in our home.
our little espino clan is well, homeschooling is off to a good start, and we are relishing in the beauty of this fall season. with Espi and i (and several other family members) sharing birthdays in October, through our bias vision, this month and time of year is hard to beat.
the high country is shining with aspen-gold. top that with the white snowfall as chilling temperatures start a day and drop again in the evening. harvests have wrapped up for the growing season. (we don't have much left in the garden to harvest except for seeds to put to use next spring and a crazy abundance of kale that has probably gone kaput after the last couple nights of hard freezes.) during this season, homes are extra cozy and hearts and bellies tend to be extra full.
the following are moments from the last 2 weekends--taking a birthday drive to see the gold and white on loveland pass up to the continental divide and finding the colors just a few miles from our home:
{a day or 2 after this "shorts" scene, our community received our first snow. mini-snowman worthy.}
{on the birthday drive, evergreens on loveland pass were beautiful}

{it was crazy cold up there. no guts to stick around longer for a family shot. took my fingers a good 10 minutes to feel normal again once in the car. but so worth the breathtaking views.}
{driving back down the mountains, we spotted the georgetown loop railroad chuggin' through the green and gold...}
{...and stopped along hwy 74 for peeks at the gushing "bear creek"}
{while in the area, we showed the children the beautiful red rocks amphiteatre. a highlight was listening to the live music playing that saturday afternoon and watching AD shake and bop as we walked around}

{i was stunned by the colors one evening driving hwy 86 east of franktown. so family and i went back to soak it up several mornings ago}

{then we gave the kids some much enjoyed play time}

thank you, fall!

08 July 2013

under God

I am not a dour God who discourages pleasure. I delight in your enjoyment of everything that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable. think on these things, and My Light in you will shine brighter day by day.
{sarah young, Jesus calling}
while push mowing part of the property last week, i stopped at a patch of the land mr. e. leaves uncut for a part of the growing season because he knows i love seeing the native grasses and wildflowers.
i had to go inside to grab the camera for a few shots when i noticed a variety of wildflowers. was sharing with a loved one recently that one has to keep an eye out. blooms don't last long, growth phases don't last long, and if one is not watching and doesn't take time to visit the plants for a week or two, one can miss an amazing show.
i fortunately slowed down for the show that day last week because i can't find some of these wild blooms on the land now.

i won't catch all the wonder and beauty God provides for us to enjoy everyday. oh, but i want to catch more of it.

{love seeing the bees in action. what would we do without these awesome little guys.}
on the fourth, hopes to take the family to a local parade and fireworks fell through. the colorado fire bans canceled fireworks for good reason, and our small town parades growing up i discovered aren't so common in the big city community on the fourth. 
one part of my fourth i am pleased i made time for was reading the declaration of independence. hillsdale college encouraged citizens to pledge to make the read this fourth so i did. it had been a long while since i had looked at the words of our nation's beginning. i was struck this holiday with the 28, if i counted right, bullets included of oppressive, abusive behaviors from the king of their homeland. they were hefty, bullying behaviors on the englanders, colonist, and yet, of course, many englanders chose to continue to live under such treatment (although i am sure many felt they had no other choice, though we always do), many of the homeland citizens were "deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity [which is of blood relations]." the colonist state they humbly addressed their concerns with the king, but leadership only came back at them with more abuse, and so here the colonist representatives were resolved to completely separate from the abuse, the oppressive tyranny.
maybe it was the holiday. maybe it was taking this document in fully for the first time in a long time, but my eyes welled up at the last paragraph stating the colonists' resolve "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of [their] intentions" and concluding that for support of this declaration of separation from their homeland "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, [they] mutually pledge to each other [their] lives, [their] fortunes, and [their] sacred honor," they were also stating their declaration of dependence on God and the citizens of this new nation.
it's a moving united stand against oppressive, self-indulged leadership and for responsible freedom.

another favorite from our fourth was loading in the truck as a family and driving into the deep country roads southeast of us.

evergreens were in abundance, so were grazing cattle...

...and images of years gone by.

and the sight of american flag after american flag on display at farm lane entrances almost made up for not being able to take the kids to a local firework show. almost.

hope you had a beautiful holiday week.
i'll be extra quiet on the blog for the rest of the month as we enjoy this last bit of summer break before the new school year. you can find us sharing on instagram in the meantime at "luluandfamily."