Thursday, April 17, 2008

Colorado, Part One: Estes Park

Here we've been home from our trip for over a week, and I've not posted one single Colorado picture! That is about to change. In fact, you will probably be tired of Colorado when I am through. I've decided, since we did so many fun things and I have so many pictures, to divide it up into several posts. I get overwhelmed writing really loooong posts. Besides, this will give all of you, my dear readers, a little bit of a break in between.

We must start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. The girls, especially Emma, had been anxiously awaiting our trip for what must have seemed like forever to them. One day, Emma kept asking when we were leaving for Grandpa and Grandma's, and when I told her we wouldn't be leaving until Tuesday, this was her response: "Well, then I am going to go put my Tuesday panties on RIGHT NOW!" Apparently time is controlled by the type of underwear she has on! I love the way little kids think.

The big day finally arrived and we were all so excited. The kids loved getting on the airplane and taking off. They were all smiles for the trip, and were great little well-behaved travelers.

We arrived with no problems at all, actually getting into Denver a tad early. It was such a joy to see our family coming toward us at the airport and greet them with hugs and kisses.

On Wednesday, Jeremy and I left for our anniversary get-away in Estes Park, leaving the girls with the grandparents, aunties, and uncle. I know they had a wonderful three days together, but this post happens to be about the wonderful, amazing three days that Jeremy and I had together!

As we drove up into the mountains toward Estes Park the snow because more frequent and the air colder. But oh, it was so beautiful. We arrived at our place of lodging, The Woodlands on Fall River, and were very pleased with what we saw. It was a lovely suite, complete with jacuzzi tub and a real wood-burning fireplace in the little sitting room. However, one of my favorite things about it was that if we looked out the big windows in the front, this is what we saw right outside our door:
Look, a mountain stream, complete with evergreens and snow!
Another amazing fact? This place cost us all of $89 a night. Wow.
We didn't do very much that first day we were there. Just walked around downtown where we bought some fudge, taffy, cinnamon chews, and fresh-baked cookies from some of the many little candy shops. One must have something to nibble on later when cuddling in front of the fire, after all. We held hands, we laughed, we talked, we drunk in the beauty of the mountains. It was delightful.

Beautiful downtown Estes Park. It's a quaint and charming place, with a very homey and quiet feel to it. I love it.

At this time of year in Estes Park, almost all of the shops close at 5, since it is still the "off-season". So, when things closed down and we were beginning to get a bit chilled from the brisk mountain air, we went to an early dinner at a charming Italian restaurant called Mama Rose's. I loved everything about this place: the vintage feel to the decor, the beautiful woodwork, our funny little waiter, the birch trees and stream right outside the window by which we were sitting, the fact that we were the only ones in there (again, off-season), the food. Oh, the food! It was to die for. I'm sure I gained 5 pounds that night, but it was well worth it.

Inside Mama Rose's. Isn't the woodwork fantastic?
My hot dinner date enjoying his glass of Cabernet.
I prefer white.

Over the next few days we did some really fun things, such as taking a tour of the Stanley Hotel and going on a hike in the Rocky Mountains. Those shall be posts of their own. And while doing those sorts of things was amazing and memorable, I don't think they were any more memorable for me than the evenings we spent in our little suite, cozied up on the couch sharing a blanket, warmed by a crackling fire as we watched movies and hung out together, just the two of us. There is something so refreshing and much-needed in spending time with each other as JUST husband and wife, as two people in love, as best friends. I can so easily forget just how much I enjoy this man's company and the things we love to do together (even if it just to be goofy and carefree) in the day-to-day busy-ness and our roles as parents. This get-away proved to be a wonderful reminder. I love my honey-bunches more now than I ever have, and I love seeing how we have grown closer in these 5 years. Sometimes, on or near our anniversaries, I like to go through our "love-letter box" and read some of the things we have written to each other throughout our relationship. The other day I came across this little poem I wrote for Jeremy a mere two weeks after we were an official couple. I remember I was so excited that I could finally call him my boyfriend! We had just said "I love you" to each other for the first time, if I remember right. The poem is incredibly cheesy, especially when it comes to the poetry (gah!), but I love it because of the perspective. I was simply goo-goo-ga-ga back then, lovey-dovey and infatuated, and it so amazing that 6 years later these things are still true in an even better and more wonderful way-- a truer way.

"A Just-to-tell-you Poem" written May 16, 2002

One of God's greatest gifts is that of someone true

He's blessed me with that; Jeremy, I find it in you

Beauty has so many shapes, so many ways of showing

And one of its greatest is the way that we are growing

Everyday there's new appreciation; a deeper, true respect

And the care that you are giving is more than I could expect

I pray I will be worthy to look deep into your eyes

And hear you say "I love you" , at which my heart smiles and flies

Oh how wonderful it is, to know that you are you

And that we are together... I'm grateful for all you do

God has made you so good, and I always want you to know

Of my respect and love; May my joy for you always show

The future is there to anticipate, and whatever God may send

I'm so thankful and so glad... always, my blessing, my boyfriend

There, I will subject you to such things no longer. :)

Friday was our last day to ourselves, and we ended our trip by spending two hours riding horseback through the mountains. It was amazing!! The whole experience was wonderful, and I especially loved getting to ride horses. I'm not very good at it yet, but I could definitely get used to it. I thought of you, Ashley, since I know how you love to ride, and I decided I am coming to SF so you can teach me all you know and then we can go horse-back riding together.

These were the sorts of views we were blessed with on our ride. There was something so beautiful about the whole experience: sitting atop a horse feeling the rhythm of the ride, out in the peace and quiet high above town, surrounded by such awesome beauty. I felt like a real American-- if that makes any sense.
This is the only shot I got of our guide. It's very difficult to take pictures while riding horse! But look at those mountains...
Meet Jay. He was very gentle and submissive, a fact I was eternally grateful for. See, Ashley, don't I look ready for our ride?
Ride 'em cowboy! This is Macaroni, out on the trail with my hubby. Don't all cowboys wear black leather jackets and baseball caps??
Thanks for an amazing and wonderful anniversary trip, darling husband. I love you. Now, which way is the sunset??
(you know, so we can ride off into it together.... did you all get that? And here I thought I was so clever....)


Sunny said...

Awww, it all sounds so wonderful! I'm glad you two had a nice anniversary trip. It is really important for couples to spend time alone without their children, isn't it? Your pictures are beautiful. Just a lovely blog all together!

Jeremy said...

Very lovely post, my bride. And thank you for what you said in it! <3

Although, I think you probably should have put something in your post about our lovely 4-mile hike in the snow...there were some pretty cool pictures to go along with it, and it was definitely one of the more memorable activities there.

:o) I love you.

Cameron Ingalls said...

thanks for commenting... You have such a beautiful family!

Stephanie said...

aww Macaroni is such a cute name! I just cannot believe how good the girls were on the plane! They look so happy. Your hotel sounds so beautiful! What a fun vacation spot.

Lisa said...

Glad you two had a fun time.

And the stuff Emma says is just hilarious as always! I love those little stories you keep telling us about the stuff she says.

Band of Brothers said...

you two are too cute for words, I hope you realize!!And I love you on the horse! Maybe if I practiced on a tame horse instead of my sister's bucking rearing wild arabian, I would have stuck with it a little longer!!!It is very fun though.

sohobutterfly said...

Looks like a wonderful anniversary trip! Congrats on another year!!