Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Walk on a Warm Spring Day

On Saturday morning, we woke up to beautiful, clear skies and warm temperatures. It's often windy here in the Spring, but on Saturday, it wasn't only warm but the air was still. It was definitely a perfect day to get outside and enjoy, as at this time of year the weather is not dependable and winter can return at any moment! So we all (Lacey included of course!) headed out for a walk in one of our favorite areas.

The Uncompahgre Valley (where we live) is considered a "high mountain desert", and desert it is! I'm including several photos that I took on Saturday, mostly for our far-away friends who have never visited us here, so that you can see what the "back country" looks like, when you're not in the mountains! We went walking on BLM land.....Bureau of Land Management, which is Federally managed. There is a LOT of BLM land close by and we spend quite a bit of time out and exploring when possible! The trail that we were on, on Saturday, is one that we've walked before, but each time we see something new!

I especially like walking along this trail as it reminds me of the old Western movies! I half expect cowboys to ride up to the edge of the hill above us on horseback!!
So dry and desolate, even at the end of winter! We have had a rather dry winter, with little snow or rain so things are looking particularly dry already! Even though it looks like "snake country", they aren't very common. While we are always on the lookout, we've never come across one, except for the one we found in an irrigation ditch last Spring and brought home and made a pet!! (That's a whole different story!!!!)

What a great place to take a boy who LOVES rocks!! James loves to explore here and find interesting rocks! It provides a wonderful lesson in geology and many other earth sciences.....we always end up having very interesting discussions while walking!! LOL

Cacti grows everywhere, which provides a keep the dog and James safe. At this point, I'm not so worried about James, as he's old enough to understand and be careful. Lacey, on the other hand, is a different story!! She'll have to figure it out on her own and I guess she will. Once or twice through a cactus patch ought to cure her!!!

Some of the rock outcroppings on the hillsides above us are quite amazing!

And here comes James, running up the trail, to catch up with us! That's tumbleweed growing on either side of the unusual to see it growing! Most of the time when you see it, it's blowing across the road in front of your car!!!

James hiked up off the trail to have a look at the big rocks.....when there are rocks, they have to be explored!!! In those camo pants, he just about disappears!!

And one more of James....I stopped him as he was examining some more rocks!
As the weather continues to warm and improve, we look forward to more trips around our area!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Not That You Win, But How You Play

It's really hard to stand by and watch your child learn about losing first hand! James had his second wrestling tournament on Saturday and for the first time since he started wrestling, he came away empty handed.

He worked so hard and played so fair. We were so very proud of his efforts! He is now in the biggest (heaviest?!) group in the division, which means he's up against kids who have been wrestling longer and have a lot more experience than he does. Even though he wrestled during his kindergarten year, his missing last year seems to have really put him at a disadvantage. They've all had so much more "mat time" and although he's a strong kid, his lack of experience is showing.

He works so hard at practices and often becomes frustrated when the other kids are "messing around" as he always wants to get the most out of the practice. At the tournament, he was all business, but just came up short. He wrestled in three matches on Saturday, and all he lost, but not by much. Yes, there were tears, and times when he wasn't even sure why he had lost. With time, if he sticks with it, it'll come together.....the skill level and the understanding of the sport (which we are all learning!!)

What he does already possess is raw determination. I saw it on the mat during Saturday's tournament and I could see it in these pictures as I was editing them to post. (Please excuse their poor quality, as they were taken at quite a distance and my editing program leaves a lot to be desired!!) He wants to learn, he wants to do it right and he wants to win! All three of the boys he wrestled against on Saturday said he was a challenge for them and I think that helped to boost his morale, even just a little bit.

If he doesn't get anything else out of this experience, I want him to learn more about being a gentleman, and a team player. Yes, it's nice to win, but that's icing on the cake, as far as I'm concerned. What is mandatory is to always do your very best, to cheer on your other teammates, to be encouraging to one another and to be a good sport! These are all things that we talk about away from practice or tournament time and I know he's getting it.

And so we move forward and prepare for the next tournament on Saturday! We keep telling him, as long as he goes out there and does his best, all will be fine because it's not that he wins, but how he plays!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Busy Kid....

I tend to be a homebody. I like my time at home, especially after working a full day. But somehow, in the last month or two, that precious time has been gobbled up by various extra-curricular activities. As I wrote in the last posting, my involvement in the band is our Monday evenings now.

James continues to LOVE his Cub Scouts and swimming lessons. And a few weeks ago he started wrestling. He had done this in kindergarden (boy, they start 'em young!!), but we skipped last year. He seems very happy to be back to it this year. They have practices on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and then meets every Saturday, to compete with other kids on the western slope of Colorado. Yesterday was his first meet and he came home with a bronze medal!! Third place isn't so bad for his first meet of the year!! We were very proud of him. His big sister, Lori, came up from Denver and surprised him! He was so happy to have her there at the meet!!

And so our weeks now fly by, being busy Monday, Tuesday, Thursday evenings and Sundays! As much as I'd like mellow home time, it's well worth it to see the big smiles on James' face as he thoroughly enjoys these various activities!!

This picture is from yesterday's awards ceremony, when he was awarded his bronze medal!! Way to go James!!