Monday, September 7, 2009

A Camping the Ryans Will Go!!!!

The weekend after the Corn Festival, we all decided to go on a camping weekend together. (Unfortunately, Lori wasn't able to join us that weekend, but we are looking forward to seeing her next weekend when we will go on our last camping trip of the season!) We hadn't gone camping with Joe and Jen since Juliana was about a year old and James was three!

After having seen our pictures from our camping trip to Woods Lake in July, they quickly decided that that was where they wanted to go.....beautiful scenery and a good fishing lake! What could be better? They don't have a lot of camping stuff, so we told them we'd try to make it as easy for them as possible. They did buy a tent, so they did have their own "home". We took two camp spots, side by side....we staked our "claim" in our "regular spot" as we've now camped at the same site three times! We really like it there. Joe and Jen pitched their tent in the adjoining spot, but other than sleeping there, they were with us at our site all the time. We cooked and ate together and had campfires both nights together.

During the daytime, Dusty and Joe took the kids fishing up at the lake and Jen and I hung back at the campsite, visiting and taking care of little Jack. All of the kids did so well that weekend. Camping can be intimidating for young ones, when you take them out of their familiar surroundings, but they all really seemed to enjoy themselves! Even Jack enjoyed watching the breeze blow through the leaves and played contently in his "pack and play". The highlight of the weekend was that both Juliana and JT caught their very first fish! And so now the fishing excitement goes into the next generation of the Ryan clan!!!

Here are some pictures from the weekend......

Our little man, JT...all bundled up in the morning. It really wasn't all that cold!

Jen with Jack

Juliana with her very first fish! Yeah, Jules!!

Jen got matching fleece jackets for all of the boys and a girl's version for Juliana! We couldn't miss out on this photo op!!! So cute!!

One of my favorites of the weekend, of Juliana and her baby brother!

This was the first time we allowed James to clean a fish! You can be sure the adults were hovering close by as he worked with that sharp knife, but he did very well!!

Here is the photo-elusive, Joe Ryan!!

James, deep in thought, about what who knows!!

James and JT, during campfire time!

Father and Son (Dusty and Joe) enjoying the campfire....

JT trying his hand at fishing up at the lake.

Homeward bound....we had one tuckered out boy and dog! James discovered that Lacey made a great pillow!

It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend! The weather cooperated, with clean skies and no rain, although the wind did blow alittle harder than we would have liked. But I would have settled for wind over rain anytime!! We ate well and made smores over the campfire. And more important than anything else, we made many happy family memories that weekend!!

So Far Behind....Let's Start with the Corn Festival!!!

I can't believe so much time has passed since I posted my last entry. Yes, we've been busy, but not that busy!! We had a few very busy weekends, where the camera never stopped....lots of fun time with the family!!

The first Saturday in August is always our Olathe Sweet Corn Festival. It's a day we all look forward to the rest of the year. It's a LONG, exhausting day out in the heat but we love it! Last year was the first year Dusty's daughter, Lori, drove up from Denver to join us and she really seemed to enjoy herself at our small town festival! This year it was her brother, Joe's, turn with his wonderful family!! On Friday evening Lori arrived with Juliana and JT....Joe and Jen's two oldest. They came down on Friday so that we could all go to the street dance that evening.

To kick off the Corn Festival each year, on Friday afternoon, they have an antique car show "downtown". This is followed by a street dance, where they line the downtown street with bales of hay and a local band plays. I might mention, too, that as part of the evening's entertainment there is also a "burn out"......where people who have "soupped up" their cars, turned them into hotrods, smoke their tires in a performance and noise show until the tires pops!! Can you say "REDNECK DELUX"!!!?? I long ago have stopped going to this "event" as I really don't enjoy the noise or smell, but Dusty and James always have to drag our unsuspecting guests to it!! It's about 6 blocks from our house, and I can still hear it from inside our livingroom!!!

Anyway, back to the story at hand.....that whole weekend was a big slumber party at "Nana and Papa's" house. Lori brought the kids down on Friday night and we all enjoyed the music and ourselves at the street dance. When we got back to the house, we assigned sleeping partners. This was going to be a challenge, as our house is quite small and by Saturday night there would be a total of 8 of us sleeping under our roof! On Friday night, Juliana slept with Aunt Lori in our spare room and JT shared "Uncle" James' bed! Quite cozy!

Joe and Jen arrived on Saturday morning with baby Jack and we all headed up to the Festival park. They run free shuttle buses all day and night from the downtown area and since our house is only three blocks from there, it's much easier to take the shuttles up and back than trying to find parking close to the park and paying for it. You just make up your mind that that day you walk your feet off! It's part of the "magic"! Hehehehe!!

After spending a few hours munching on corn and various other foods, playing games and spending a lot of time at the climbing wall, we headed home for the hottest part of the day. Joe, Jen and Lori took the kids to see Grandma Stella for a few hours, before they all returned to our house so that we could head back up to the park for the evening and the Clint Black concert! It was a great evening, with lots more family time, corn, food and some wonderful music! The weather was perfect and there wasn't a mosquito in sight....Dusty always says with 14,000+ people even the mosquitos are overwhelmed and don't know where to start, so they don't even try!! The evening always ends with a terrific fireworks show! From beginning to end, it's a weekend that makes you proud to live in Olathe....and wonder how this little town (of only 1,100!!) can pull it all off like it does. From the corn to the entertainment to the security to the peace and harmony, no one could do it any better!!

Here are some pictures I took that weekend......

Here's Juliana with her glow stick headband at the street dance.

And JT....

Papa Dusty kicking up his heels with his granddaughter! I love how I caught her in midair!!

Aunt Lori dancing with the kids....are we all tired yet???

I took this on Saturday morning right after everyone woke up. Lori with all three kids, cuddled up on the couch!

Settling into the festival. One of our first stops is the corn, of course!!

We spent quite a bit of time with James, Juliana and JT at the climbing wall. James had never done a climbing wall before and we were so proud of him as he made it all the way up to the top of the 30' wall and then repelled down. Not easy for a kid who, until recently was afraid of heights!!
Getting secured in....

...going up!

 the top!!

Back in the evening,Baby Jack's had his first taste of corn....YUMMY!! (He actually got more butter than corn, but that's okay for the first time with no teeth!!)

Uncle James playing with Jack....

Ahhhh, the love of cotton candy!!!!!

The sister-in-laws....Lori and Jen!

JT, all bundled up and ready for the show! "Start the music", he says!!!

Here I am, playing my beloved role as "Nana" with sweet little Jack! It won't be long before he's running around and keeping up with the other kids!!

At the end of the concert! I loved how James "melted" into his chair and had to take this picture!! All three of the big kids did the same thing! They had gone nonstop since 9am and it was now after 11pm. Juliana woke up for the fireworks, James watched with one eye open and JT slept through the whole thing! Better luck next year!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Taste of Next Week......

Our corn season has arrived!! Next week is our annual corn festival....yippee! Joe, Jen and the kids are coming down to join us for the festival next week, as well as Joe's sister (Dusty's daughter!!), Lori from Denver! It's going to be a real family affair this year! We're going to have so much fun!

Clint Black is the headliner at the concert on Saturday night and we're all looking forward to that!!! We were driving the streets of Grand Junction yesterday and I saw this billboad....I had to take a picture, as I'd never seen a billboad for the Corn Festival before! WOW! We've hit the big time!! LOL You have to remember that it's the one day of the year when our little town of 1,100 people swells to tens of thousands! Pretty exciting stuff for us, though we're also pretty glad when things go back to normal!!

For about two weeks now, I've been seeing the trucks full of corn, coming down out of the fields on their way to the packing plant, across the highway! It's always exciting to see, as it's the area's major crop and income! Jen had asked us to bring them a case of corn (which is 48 ears, for those who don't know!), so that she could freeze it for the winter. We stopped yesterday morning on our way up to their house, at the packing plant to pick up the case of corn....picked just the day before! Yummy!!!

Here is a stack of the plastic trays of corn that they bring down from the fields. And that's a giant mountain of ice in the background! They produce ice 24/7 to keep up with the demands of packing the corn for shipping. They pack the 48 ears of corn in each case with a generous amount of crushed ice to keep it cold in transit. From this packing plant, they ship OUR corn to grocery stores, all over the country! WOW!

I took a picture of James standing in front of the ice mountain, so that you can see how huge it really is.......

Dinosaurs......OH MY!!!!

Yesterday we made the hour drive up to Grand Junction, to Joe and Jen's new home! Then we took all the kids to the Dinosaur museum called "Dinosaur Journey". What fun time we all had. It's a great interactive museum for kids, though the adults enjoyed it too!! It was a hot, humid day and it was nice to find an indoor activity to do for a few hours!

Here are all the kids out in front of the sign!

There were many replicas thoughout the museum....these are my two favorite pictures! The second one was a bit gory, but realistic nonetheless, I suppose!!

James, Juliana and JT posing with the skeleton of one of the dinosaurs....

They were doing "tatoos" for all the kids! James had one on both arms by the end of our stay!!!

Even Baby Jack, at 6 months old, took it all in! He was so cute, all wide-eyed!! Here he is with his Mama, Jen!

And James with a mean looking dinosaur!!:)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recorder Music, Sunsets and Mustaches

James really enjoys his sessions with the school's music teacher, Mr. Chenivert. He has been able to experience all sorts of wonderful and fun musical things through this man in the last 3 years. Then this June, when James found out that Mr. Chenivert was teaching the recorder as part of the summer camp, he was THERE!! James has learned quickly and well, practicing often at home.

Mr. Chenivert called and said that he performs at the Coffee Trader (a locally, privately owned coffee house in Montrose) on Thursday and Friday evenings and he was inviting some of his students to join him to perform on Fridays! They have a lovely patio area and he sets up there. So we went on Friday evening for James' first performance!

He did very well dealing with the "butterflies"....Mom and Dad knew they were there because we've heard him play these songs flawlessly many times at home, but that wasn't to be at performance time. Nonetheless, he got up there and performed and now knows what it feels like to be in front of an audience!

This is Mr. Chenivert and James setting up the stage before they all started performing......

James, rehearsing beforehand. He's always so serious when he plays!

I'm looking forward to his being able to start an instument in the 4th grade. We're already discussing which instruments he might be intersted in.....will it be the clarinet, the french horn, the sax??

And here he is playing "When the Saints Come Marching In"! We were so proud of him and I love the look on Mr. Chenivert's face! He obivously was quite proud too!

On our way home, we were treated to a specatular sunset!! There have been fires in our area the last week and no doubt they were contributing factors to the beauty of the sunset! Here are two pictures that I took when Dusty pulled off into the cemetary (which sits up on a hill) just as the sun was setting.

And then, when I woke up yesterday morning, I was greeted by a mustache-less husband!! Never in the 12 1/2 years I've known him, have I seen him without his mustache!! The beard comes and goes, depending on the season, but the mustache is ALWAYS there. When I asked him what happened, he said, "It fell off!" Something about the trimmer! LOL I don't suppose it'll last long, and so I grabbed the camera to document the "moment"!!

This Sunday afternoon finds us being lazy around the house, as we head into another week. This Thursday evening, I'll be performing with the band, in downtown Montrose. That should be fun and I'm looking forward to it. We've already got plans for next weekend and I can promise that many pictures will be taken. So stay tuned for another posting soon! I hope that in the mean time, you'll have a terrific week!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Weekend in the Mountains

This last weekend we went camping! We went to one of our favorite places....a campground up above Telluride at a place called Woods Lake! It's amazingly gorgeous up there! At about 9,500 feet above sea level, we were up in the aspen forest! Woods Lake sits in a "bowl" surrounded by high alpine mountains, several above tree-line. The views and scenery are spectacular, and reminds me of why people say Colorado is "God's Country"!! And we are lucky enough to live only an hour and a half drive from this beautiful place!!

I have many pictures to share with you from the weekend. I took so many pictures and choosing which to post here has been difficult. I'm glad I don't feel like I have to hold back too much when I comes to posting pictures here! LOL I hope you'll enjoy seeing these. As we were camping and I was taking pictures, I was thinking how cool it would be to have you all there with us!! Well, this is the best I can do!!

As I said, we were up in the aspen forest. I've always thought that the aspens have a different "feel" than being in a pine forest. The aspens tend to be "lighter" in feel, with there light colored bark and light green leaves. Dusty took this picture, near our campsite, and I really like the way it came out!!

I took many pictures of the wildflowers that were blooming. This is one wildflower that I really like. It's so delicate looking. I believe it's called "Queen Anne's Lace". If you know differently, please let me know as my wildflower education is lacking!!!

I took this one of the aspen trees above where we had set up our tent.

Here is our "home away from home" we'd LOVE a camper of some kind!! Maybe someday!! But for now the tent is fine....all four of us fit in it just fine (yes, Lacey too!!).

And our newest purchase....a screened canopy! When it rains (which it often does in the mountains in the summer!), it's nice to have a place to escape that's not the tent!! The tent tends to get very hot and humid during the day! This gives us another option! While the screen part is supposed to keep the bugs out, we found it did the opposite! As we use it in the future, we'll perfect HOW to use it, but it was nice to have!!

And before too many people complain that I never post pictures of myself, here I am! I didn't do a very good job of getting in front of the lens this trip. I was enjoying being behind it too much!!

And a great close up of James....the "camping kid!"

And one (the only one!) of James and me that was taken this weekend!!

And a close up of now you've seen real current pics of all three of us!!

Here's James concentrating on Dad teaching him to tie a fishing knot!

On Saturday afternoon, even though it was raining on and off, the boys decided to go fishing up at the lake. I stayed back, reading and resting a bit in the tent, listening to the rain! When Dusty and James came back about 2 hours later, there was great excitement.....for the first time James had "out-fished" Dad!! (Of course, Dad's busy helping James and not fishing himself, but that didn't count!! LOL) James had caught 4 nice brook trout, and kept two of them, bringing them back to camp for dinner. Here is the proud guy with his catch!!

And sitting down to enjoy the "fruit of his labor"! Ahhh, the sweet taste of success!!!

On Sunday, after we packed up our camp, we headed back to the lake for some more fishing. While no fish were caught, it was so great to see that James is truly becoming a lover of fishing, just like his Dad! It's so much fun for me to stand back and watch my boys do something together that they love so much!! James really listened to the pointers that Dusty had for him this weekend, and it showed! He's well on his way to being a great fisherman, just like Dusty!!

Here are some pictures that I took while we were at the lake....

I don't know how you can concentrate on fishing when you are surrounded by this beautiful scenery!!

There they are....the two fishing Ryans!

Some pictures of James fishing. I love the concentration he showed....he was really into it!!

I thought the reflections, of the clouds and mountain across the lake, in the water were amazing!!

And I leave you with a picture of our State Flower....the Colorado columbine!!