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When Kids Are Left Alone

Some awesome friends spent their Saturday helping us install the stalls for the barn. Princess and her friend, G, were a HUGE help. They cut the boards for the stall panels and installed the boards after we had the panels up.

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(Um yes – those are lights above the stalls. Cowboy and Angel can have a barn dance!)

We got to a point where the kids couldn’t help anymore – the adults were installing the mats (100 lbs each – 6 in each stall – yikes!) and cutting them to fit. So Princess and G got creative. This started out as a Flintstones car with two spools, but ended up as a rickshaw. Love it!

 

Cowboy is coming home this afternoon. Can’t wait! Of course I will post photos because OMG we’re actually going to have a horse at our house!

Work At Homies (WAH!) Christmas Party

My good friend, MS, and I were out with the girls one night in early December. They were all talking about their company Christmas parties and where they were and what they’d done and all that jazz. We both just looked at each other with a little frown because we work at home and don’t get company Christmas parties. The conversation went something like this . . .

MS: That’s one thing that kinda sucks about both me and my Hubby working at home – no company Christmas party.
Me: Ya. Us too. Hey – we should have a work at home Christmas party!
MS: We totally should!

And that was the end of it . . . until the next day when MS emailed me with an idea. We’d actually do it! Have a WAH Christmas party and rent a limo to take us and our families around to look at Christmas lights. LOVE IT! We scheduled for Friday, December 23rd and couldn’t WAIT for the evening to come! Another family with both adults working at home joined us, so there were 12 of us in all – 6 adults and 6 kiddos – fun fun fun!

We started at our house for appetizer dinner before heading to the local grocery store to meet up with the limo. He was going to pick us up at our house, but we got too much snow and he couldn’t make it up the hill. That was OK, though! We told the kiddos we were going to stop at the grocery store to get some snacks before heading out to look at lights. Then we walked over the limo and told them to ask the guy if maybe they could take a peek inside. Of course he said sure – so they all piled in. Then we said to ask him who he was driving. He said nobody. So they asked if maybe he could drive us around – and of course he said yes :-) So we all piled inside the Excursion Limo for our ride!

The guys took seats in the back . . . away from the kiddos . . . smart people 😉

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Next were the Mommies in the middle.

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And the kiddos took the front, nearest the glass window that separates them and the driver.

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We had to load them all up with kid champagne so they could toast their good fortune of having parents that work at home :-) The driver said he was going to leave the window down to help with air circulation. I said he might regret that decision. About 5 minutes into the ride, the phone rang behind me in the car. It was the driver. All he said was “Ahhhhh. Now I see what you mean!” And he rolled the window up 😉

All the kiddos had a great time drinking more kid champagne than they could’ve imagined having in one evening! Dude isn’t a big kid champagne drinker, but I think the location and mood set the tone for him to down a few glasses.

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This picture makes me laugh; however, I think maybe I should be scared instead . . . my Princess having way too much fun in the back of a limo 😉

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We got to see some awesome Christmas light displays. The driver took us around to see all the houses that won awards in the this year’s Gazette judging. Then we headed down to the Broadmoor area to see the awesome lights down there. About half way through our ride, there was a really loud buzzing sound. The driver stopped the car and came back and said “Here’s the deal . . .” – at that point Dude got this really worried look on his face, like he thought they were in trouble for being too loud! He was relieved when the driver said “. . . we’re losing the generator and the backup battery.” He told us he was going to get us to the Broadmoor where we’d meet another limo to finish our ride. Right when we got to a spot where we could stop, everything went completely dark and the limo died! The replacement limo showed up just in time. The kiddos got in and were AMAZED! The driver of our limo (who was the owner) said he called it the Party Bus – and we could see why! It was an Escalade Limo and very tricked out. There were TV screens and color changing lights and mirrors on the ceiling, floor, and sidewalls where the bars were.

The girls immediately took a place together on the back bench seat.

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That thing above Princess’s head? A disco ball. Yup – an actual disco ball that was turned on when we got in; however, to avoid seizures, we turned it off 😉

We enjoyed the rest of our ride, and Dude made the most of his opportunity to surf the limo…

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It’s not very often they get to be in moving vehicles without wearing seatbelts!

Princess had enough and passed out on the back seat. That girl can fall asleep anywhere!

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12 years from the time this photo was taken, she will have just turned 21. If all goes as planned, me, QT, Princess, and some of her closest friends will be celebrating in Vegas. A glimpse into the future, perhaps?

All in all, we had a wonderful night. Good friends, yummy food, fun times in a limo, and wonderful Christmas lights to see all together. We’ll write it down as a successful first WAH Christmas party and see what we can come up with for next year!

A Little Whitewater Never Hurt Anybody

While the kiddos are getting spoiled rotten at G’ma and G’pa’s house, Hubby and I made impromptu plans to go whitewater rafting through the Royal Gorge with one of his work buddies who was here working. It was so fun to be able to make last-minute plans like that! We hadn’t been rafting in over 10 years.

The weather was beautiful, the river great, the Gorge was amazing, and the rafting was awesome!

*Note – this is probably the only time I will ever post pictures of myself in a swimming suit!

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Ted, Me, and Hubby before we got in the raft. Note our VERY stylish river boots! Last time we went, they made us wear wet suits even though it was warm out, so we figured we’d be doing the same this time. Um, nope. But, you can’t raft barefoot, in flip flops, or in Crocs. We hadn’t brought anything but flip flops for our feet assuming we’d wear a wet suit and river boots. Well, we ended up with Boots and Suits :-) I know – we’re irresistable!

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Hubby and I enjoying the ride before we get to the bigger rapids. I just have to say, this rafting trip is awesome, even when you’re not working, because the views are AMAZING!

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This helicopter buzzed us, literally, a few times on our journey. This tour guide is a MANIAC! Oh. My. Gawd! He would be so close to the water flying through the gorge and then he’d pull up and climb the huge walls on the side, turn and come back down. It made me want to throw up just WATCHING it! But I still wanna do it 😉

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Here we are heading into Sunshine Falls . . . the last rapids before the ones that go right by all the people below the Royal Gorge Bridge. We all look so relaxed, don’t we? I’m wondering if our guide knows something we don’t know!

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Maybe this was what he was seeing come up. He was getting ready to bark some orders and put us to work! Tellin’ ya – loads and loads of fun!

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Here we are after making it through The Gorge. Notice the Suspension Bridge above us . . . it was very cool. The bridge is just as cool from the top as it is from the bottom! Totally a vacation destination for all you out-of-staters :-)

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After the Gorge, there are a few more class 3s before you float the last 4 miles into town. We saw all kinds of fun stuff, including a few big horn sheep hangin’ out on shore. Pretty neat!

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Ted – all I can say is “It’s hard to look smart in a helmet.”

Finally, kudos to our guide company, Raft Masters – http://www.raftmasters.com/. They ROCK! We’ve used them all 3 times we’ve gone rafting through The Gorge – they were just as great this time as they were 10 years ago. AND, they had quite a few of the same guides, which says a LOT about that company. They are professional, knowledgeable, safe, and a TON of fun. If you ever want to raft through the Royal Gorge, definitely check out Raft Masters in Canon City. (No, I don’t know anybody who works at this company – and I live more than an hour away – they are just that awesome that I wanted to give them kudos.)

More Bacon, Please

After tomorrow I may get to add myself to the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon – OK, so I’m not an actor . . . small issue! I know you’re all jealous, EXTREMELY jealous, but Kevin and brother Michael will be performing in the first ever concert on top of Pikes Peak tomorrow to benefit global cancer care and promote the nationwide bone marrow registy campaign (go Bacon Brothers!).

I’m actually thinking of driving up there to see this . . . mostly because I want to see these guys and the other bands that are performing try to sing at 14,110 feet . . . the air is a bit thin up there, and last I heard, Los Angeles was pretty much close to sea level.

Disney – Day 2

Technically, Day 2 was at Sea World . . . and it was a blast! We saw all the cool sea animals . . . turtles, manatee (Barbara Manatee, manatee, manatee – you are the one for me, one for me, one for me – sent from up above . . . ) dolphins, whales, sharks, stingray, and all kinds of other cool stuff. There were lots of people there, but it was still really cool – you never felt like you were fighting crowds or really waiting in line. Again, I think we got really lucky with our line waiting – or lack of.

We kept up with our character sightings and got the kids’ picture taken with this dolphin. Dude humored us and took the picture, even though he’s certain he’s way too old for this kind of stuff 😉

 

One of the first things we saw was this cool turtle! I’ve never seen a shell like that before. It looks like the layers that you’d see on a dinosaur. Pretty neat!

 

Here’s the therapy picture! We decided to go on Journey to Atlantis right away because there wasn’t a line. Dude was a bit nervous about it, but he was a trooper and went anyway. This ride was WAY more than we’d expected! We expected a leisurely little water ride that ended with the big plunge to the bottom where you get wet. But this was neat! It had really cool stuff to look at on the ride, and there were a couple smaller falls in addition to the huge one that scared the pants off of Dude and Princess. There is also a roller coaster part – so way cool :-) When you go on this ride, you’re not allowed to take any “carry ons” with you, so we rented a locker. It worked out well – I just took my waterproof camera with us and we left the back pack in there for the day. Didn’t do us much good to have the rain coats in there when it rained, but it was no big deal. Dude did not go on this ride again. Princess, on the other hand, went on this two more times on our way out of the park. We got lucky and didn’t have to wait in line at all for this ride any of the times we went!

 

The first show we saw was the dolphin show – there are some dolphins and a couple smaller whales. We got there just in time to get some seats in the Soak Zone – it was cool! The water felt great since it was so hot and humid – we forget what humidity feels like since we live at altitude and have dry weather. Anyway, the show was pretty cool – it got a little cheesy at times with the “show” part of it, but for the most part it was really neat. The kids really enjoyed the dolphins and whales and loved it when they used their tales to splash us with a ton of water.

 

After the dolphin show, we wandered around and went on some rides and rode the space needle type of ride and saw the whole park. We decided to catch the Shamu show and headed that way, looking for some lunch. One thing I will say about Sea World is that if you want food on the run, you’re out of luck. BLUCK! We ended up at the stadium about 20 minutes before the show started and sat out of the soak zone 😉 But we still had good seats. We ate Shamu shaped pretzels while we watched the show. I’d forgotten how big Shamu actually is – oh my god! The little whales that are out there before the actual show starts are cool – then Shamu shows up and is humonstrous! The show was very cool :-)

 

The splashes from Shamu’s tail were quite a bit bigger than those from the dolphins’ tails! I think it’s so cool how they can train them to flap their tail and send half the tank of water out onto the people. The show is so worth the wait to get in to see it . . . the kids absolutely loved it! Dude would have liked to sit in the soak zone, but I was kind of glad we didn’t get there early enough since the soak zone was SOOOOOO soaking wet!

 

Just like every other day, it rained in the afternoon. After the Shamu show, we went on some more rides in the kid ride area and had fun playing in the rain. Quite a few people actually seemed to leave when it rained, which was weird since it rains every single day. But, that was OK for us because the lines for the rides were a lot shorter. We took in the Arctic helicopter simulator and fed some sharks before we headed out.

 

We had to stop and ride the sea creature carousel on the way out – the creatures were so cool!

 

Just like at Disney, since it was Halloween they had a lot of fun fall decorations around the park. Dude and Princess thought it was cool to play on the huge pumpkin fish.

 

We also ran across this fun statue and had to get a photo.

 

The last thing we did on the way out was stop at the Anheuser Busch tent and see the clydesdales. I thought it was cool how the horse looked right at the camera for us. The clydesdales are so pretty the way they stand and pose. It would have been cool to see them pulling the sleigh.

We had another great day and had a lot of fun! It was definitely worth it. We headed back to the hotel, grabbed a bite to eat, and got ready to go check out the pool. The kids had been dying to check out the cool pool at the hotel . . . after Magic Kingdom, the pool was closed because of the weather. After Sea World, almost all of the pool was closed, except for one little area. The kids had been dying to go on the water slide, but would have to wait yet another day. We ended up hanging out in the hot tub for a while. After the hot tub, I grabbed us a couple beers and Bloddy Marys for the room while we hung out and relaxed for the night. We weren’t sure what we were going to do on Day 3 . . . it was either going to be Universal Studios or hang out at the pool.

Check back tomorrow to see what we chose to do!

Disney – Day 1

Day 1 of our vacation was AWESOME! We decided to head to The Magic Kingdom on Thursday since it was a bonus time day for anyone staying at the resort. They had a Halloween party that night and the park was closing at 7:00 p.m., so we were glad we got to go an hour early. Bummed we didn’t get to see the fireworks, but it worked out.

And can I just say that Oh. My. GOD. Disney knows what they’re doing! They should since they’ve had so much time to figure it out and perfect it. But really, I think Magic Kingdom is the only place I’ve ever been that can make standing in line not seem like standing in line at all. For example, when we went to the Mike show (Mike Wizowski!) it said 10 minutes from that point. And it WAS 10 minutes, to get to the next room where they count you off to go into the auditorium. Then we stood in a room for another 10 minutes watching a Mike video, but hey, we were in “the room” so we had to be close! And we were . . . we were next. So after a 20 minute wait, we got to see the show. 20 minutes isn’t bad at all, but I have to say that they know how to make standing in line not seem so bad. UNLESS, you’re waiting for that freaking Dumbo ride. Princess just HAD to go on that ride . . . it’s the only ride we waited more than 20 minutes for . . . we waited almost 45 minutes for that stupid ride! But she loved it, so oh well. And also – whoever thought up the Fast Pass was a GENIUS! We had a 5 minute wait for Space Mountain, Pirates of the Carribbean, Jungle Adventure, and Thunder Mountain Railway with the Fast Pass. The rest of the time, I think we were just in the right place at the right time. It was SOOOOOO cool! So anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised with our experience at Magic Kingdom.

Ya, I know. Princess looks all kinds of excited, doesn’t she. Have I ever mentioned that she’s not much of a morning person? 

 

After a couple trips on the Buzz Lightyear ride and the Tea Cups, we put got some Fast Passes for Space Mountain and headed to Mickey’s ToonTown Fair – cuz ya know the Princesses are there :-) They had the entire Kingdom decked out for Halloween, so we got to see some fun stuff.

 

Toon Town didn’t open until 10:00, so we decided to go get some breakfast – at the ONLY place in the Kingdom that sells breakfast stuff. The line was HUGE, so Princess and I headed back to Toon Town while Hubby and Dude stood in line. On the way, we saw these guys behind Cinderella’s castle. I thought Princess would be all kinds of excited to see them! But, when we got close, she FREAKED out! Turns out, she thought they were going to mean to her like they were to Cinderella. I did get her to turn her face toward the camera a little, but she was NOT impressed.

 

We got in line for Toon Town to open, and when the gates opened, Oh. My. GAWD! Who ARE these people? Especially these mothers that are actually pushing other kids down (yes, I saw this happen) and literally dragging their kids screaming and crying across the pavement. Seriously, who ARE you people! Apparently, they just HAD to be first in line to meet the Princesses. My Princess and I apparently didn’t know where we were going, so we ended up in Mickey’s house :-) Fun fun fun! We were right at the front of the line to get our pictures taken with Mickey and Minnie . . . woo hoo! I was way excited because 24 years ago when I was here, I didn’t see Mickey Mouse . . . no I didn’t. So we got our picture taken, and it was COOL!

 

Dude and Hubby had come back with breakfast, so we sat outside the Princess house to eat a nutritious breakfast of donuts, muffins, and orange juice – YUM YUM YUM! After that, we got in line for the Princesses – it only took us 30 minutes to get in to see them – not bad at all – and certainly better than dragging my kid across the pavement and knocking other kids down so I could get there and stand for only 15 minutes. I must say, I was once again very impressed with this part of Disney. The Princesses were SOOOOO nice! I was so surprised that they actually talked to each of the kids and posed for more than one picture. It was so fun for my Princess! And so worth the 30 minute wait :-) She got to see Belle, Cinderella, and Aurora and loved every minute of it.

Notice that you haven’t seen Dude much yet. Well, he’s 8 and WAY too cool to be caring about characters 😉 Especially princesses, who did their best to embarrass him.

 

After the Princesses, we Fast Passed Space Mountain, which Dude LOVED! I didn’t tell him what the ride was about because I knew he wouldn’t go. He ended up LOVING the ride. Princess was bummed because she was just shy of the required 44 inches, despite wearing “tall” shoes and having a pretty on top of her head to make her taller. I know she would have loved it, too. We made it around to Tom Sawyer’s Island, which was fun. This was more up Dude’s alley – hiking, walking through caves, tackling barrel bridges. It was a nice break from the crowds where the kids could run around and have fun.

 

We had also fast passed Thunder Mountain Railroad, which obviously, Dude was NOT so fond of. I think as long as he can’t see what’s coming, he’s fine. But, unlike Space Mountain, this ride is all out in the open :-) He didn’t HATE it, but he didn’t love it either. He pretty much just tolerated it. Princess, on the other hand, thought it was the best thing since sliced bread :-)

 

After the roller coaster, we got front row seats at the very beginning of the parade. This was TOTALLY by accident. We actually thought we were at the end of the parade route and had gone to buy some ice cream and get ready to wait. Just when we got done getting ice cream, they closed off the road, so we got a front row seat. It was PERFECT! Our perfect timing day was continuing :-) The parade was awesome and totally worth watching. We ended up toward the front of the Pirate’s of the Carribbean ride line, which was cool cuz it got WAY huge really fast after the parade. That was a cool attraction! After a few more rides, we headed back to the hotel for some dinner.

 

We weren’t much in the mood for getting the car and trying to find somewhere to eat, so we ate at one of the restaurants in the hotel. Expensive, but worth it :-) And, Goofy and Pluto came to visit our table, which was way cool! We were all about the characters  . . .  it was kind of fun to get it over with on the first day so we didn’t have to try to “find” characters the rest of the trip.

 

Back at the hotel all cleaned up, we were going to relax and watch a little TV to wind down. But to my surprise, hotels in the Disney Resort do not, I repeat do NOT have the Disney Channel! I couldn’t believe it! So, Dude ended up reading a book while Princess watched a movie on my laptop. She crashed about 10 minutes in to it.

So, Day 1 was an incredible success and Day 2 was coming up! SeaWorld was on the schedule for Day 2, and we were not disappointed :-)

 

Up, Up, And Away In That Beautiful Balloon!

Happy Monday Morning Everyone!

 

Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home

 

Not quite Dumbo, but cute nonetheless

 

Got Milk?!

 

Everyone needs a friend!

 

Luuuuuke. I’m your faaaaatheerrrrrr.

 

Nemo thinks about throwing back a cold one at the end of the day

 

What did you see this weekend?

Amusement Parks and BBQs and Golf, OH MY!

We certainly didn’t waste a minute this weekend!!! We started off Saturday with a bang by meeting a couple other families at a small amusement park in the mountains. It’s called Santa’s Workshop and is obviously Christmas themed. Santa is available year ’round for the kids to tell him what they want! There’s even a post office, so you can send mail postmarked The North Pole :-)

Here are the kids at the North Pole – this pole is frozen year ’round.

 

Princess and I took a spin, literally, on the airplane ride. You can steer yourself completely sideways on this thing! It’s kinda freaky!

 

N and Dude on the Candy Cane Rollercoaster. This is amazing because Dude has decided he does not like fast rides or rides that spin. For him to decide he wanted to go on the rollercoaster was huge! He and N stayed on there 4 times in a row! I was way excited because I really wanted him to get on a rollercoaster before we get to Disneyworld later this year.

 

Princess and I had to take a couple spins on the coaster as well.

 

J, Princess, and Ia took a spin in the police car. Princess is usually the only girl. It seems that none of our friends are capable of producing a girl! But she loves it – she fits in great, and the boys are really nice to her.

 

Especially J – who has to “take care of her” even though she could probably kick his butt if she wanted to 😉 Is this a glimpse into her future???

 

Dude and Hubby enjoy the chairlift skyride around the park. They look really low in this picture, but they’re actually really high. There’s a point in the ride where you 180 and double back, so I got this picture.

In addition to all of those rides, Princess kept me VERY busy! Hubby doesn’t really like spinning rides, so I get the honors . . . which is fine with me cuz I like ’em. We took one trip on the bobsled, 9 trips on the Tilt-A-Whirl (which is Princess’s favorite ride!), and about 6 spins on the Scrambler along with all the other rides. Now I understand why my parents always refused to go on the spinny rides! My brain was MUSH after all that . . . and doing it at 8000 feet in altitude doesn’t help at all 😉

Princess had been invited to a birthday party Saturday afternoon, so Hubby and Dude dropped us off at the party after the amusement park. She spent the next 2 1/2 hours jumping and diving and hanging and running around at a trampoline party. Needless, to say, she was d-o-n-e DONE at the end of all that! Not even a huge piece of suger-filled cake could keep her awake. She was convinced that the “things” in her goody bag were tattoos, but it turned out they were stickers. That, of course, did not prevent her from putting them all over her arms and hands. And she INSISTED that she sleep in them . . . she wanted to leave them on until school on Tuesday, but I told her she needed to take a bath before then for sure.

 

Sunday morning was Duma’s morning. She and I walked the mile to the park and worked on some training on the way and while we were there. I was so proud of her! I was throwing the ball with her off the leash and she totally ignored a golden retriever that was roaming around the park. If I told her to come, she would come without a second thought – very difficult for a 9 month old lab for sure! After we did a lot of training work, we walked up to the pond and she got to play around a bit. I take the 20 foot leash for that because I don’t trust her totally yet. And for a lab, she’s a huge chicken! If her feet aren’t touching she turns back immediately – doesn’t like to swim! She’s a great swimmer, but she doesn’t like to – NOT normal for a lab. But she does love splashing around in the water.

 

She also thought it would be fun to dig in the mud and pull some of the reeds out of the water. This is an “early” photo before she really got muddy :-) I let her hang out in the water for quite a while to clean off a bit before we headed back home.

 

Sunday afternoon we got to go to a friend’s house for homemade ice cream and a BBQ. YUMMY! The same families that went to the amusement park were there, and we had a BLAST! All 6 kids play so well together, which gives us adults time to just hang out and relax.

Monday rolled around and we were up bright and early for the babysitter that was arriving at 7:15 a.m. She was so nice to agree to get up early on the Holiday and watch the 4 kids while we played in a golf tournament. We didn’t win, but the 4 of us shot a 65 in the bestball tournament. Our team handicap is 11 (The guy on the right is as close to a scratch golfer as you can get . . . the other 3 of us have at least a 30 handicap).

Pretty good looking group if you ask me! I think we should have won just because we coordinated our team uniform :-)

And in between all that fun? We did 8 loads of laundry, finished cleaning out the office closet, winterized the camper, and bought a new Toyota Highlander 😉 I MIGHT show a picture of my new baby one of these days!

How about you? What fun did you have for the holiday weekend?

Take Me Out To The Ballllll Game!

We joined some friends and took the kids and Grandma and Grandpa to their first Rockies game! The bummer was that we had our tickets before the rest decided to go, so we couldn’t sit with them :-( But, we had a WONDERFUL time – our seats were excellent (we almost caught a couple foul balls!) and best of all, they were in the shade, which was a big deal considering it was about 100 degrees! Have I ever mentioned how much I love love love baseball? And how much I love the baseball park? We don’t usually go to major league games (too spendy) but we do really enjoy AAA baseball here in town. Anyway – we got some free tickets to the Rockies game, so we made the trek to take the kids to their first Rockies game. We rode the light rail downtown, the game was fast (under 3 hours), there were homeruns, and our team won 12-3 or something like that, and we had a blast!

You didn’t think I’d actually go to an entire baseball game and not take any pictures, did you?

 

 

 

(The purple row of seats indicates that you are one mile high if you sit there.)

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Girls’ Night Out tonight! Woo hoo!

I’m meeting the girls for a drink and quick bite after work, then heading to the theater to see SATC :-) Makes Monday a little more tolerable in the office.

On an unrelated but slightly related note . . . Hubby and I got a sitter Friday and headed to a movie. We weren’t crazy about any of the movies out there, but wanted to go to one. So we headed out to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall . . . and ended up seeing Indiana Jones 4. We mixed up the theaters and Forgetting Sarah Marshall wasn’t showing at the theater we ended up going to . . . dumb asses!!! Anyhoo . . . Indiana Jones 4 was exactly what I expected – a movie meant for 1984 showing in 2008 :-) It was funny, goofy, unreal, not that bad – but mostly required no thought whatsoever on our part, which was nice after a fairly hectic week. Despite all the nasty reviews, it was entertaining. It’s all about expectations, people!