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July 14, 2011

We've moved!

No, not to another house. I've made the jump to Wordpress, and the new blog address is  Blogger has just been to temperamental (losing photos in posts and even sometimes the header image!), plus the formatting never seems to work for me anymore...and not sure if it's due to having a convoluted template code.  Be what it may, I joined the dark side (next thing you know I'll be buying a Mac!).  So I've been spending time the last few days learning about self-hosted blogs, FTP sites, and CSS.  It's been interesting.  Hopefully this will be a good move for me, I do feel a little like I'm cheating on Blogger. ;)
So, please follow me / us on over to our new blog, I hope you like it!

And, as always,

July 11, 2011

Camping Redemption!

This past weekend we went camping with our church life group.  There were 17 (or so) families that came out and we literally took over about 1/4 of the campground at Cutty's resort.  This was a GREAT camping experience for us for numerous reasons.  We opted to rent and "try out" a pop-up tent camper since tent camping has not been hugely successful for us in the past (verdict: it was awesome.  We are now in the market for a used pop-up tent camper if you hear of any good deals).  The campground had so much to do, was off the beaten path, and had great views of the Rockies.  We also had a wonderful time getting to know other families in our new church.  It's never easy to transition to a new church family, but I really like the people I am meeting there.  Everyone is very friendly and out-going, love it!
Oh, and there was barely any rain!  The "Recke Curse" is broken!! :)

View of the Rockies
A deer Tom admired...a little too much.
On Friday we drove to the Royal Gorge, not too far away from our camp.  We chose not to pay the crazy-expensive entry fee (we were just there 2 years ago anyway), and took pictures from scenic overlooks.
I love the juxtaposition of flowers on cacti.  Just don't accidentally brush your hand on it.  Those needles are sharp!
The pop-up. Oh how I miss it.
Tom loving the quality time with the kids
Unfortunately, with the lack of moisture in Colorado this year, we were unable to have any campfires.  Even charcoal grills were banned.  So, we all came prepared and used propane stoves for cooking.  I also made some meals ahead of time so I could just heat them up with minimal prep.  While I missed the gathering around a campfire (and s'mores of course) we managed quite well!
White bean chicken & bacon chili hit the spot!
I also made some s'mores brownie bars.  Hey, had to get s'mores somehow!
One big reason we enjoyed Cutty's so much was the amount of activity they had for kids.  There were indoor and outdoor pools, miniature golf, horseshoe pit, volleyball court, shuffleboard, a playground, and a creek running by our campsite.  The bathrooms/showers were very clean too, so other than them ALL being uphill from our campsite, going the bathroom was a non-issue.
The girls analyzing the course.
Apparently that analysis wasn't "on par".  ha.
Tom also took part in some friendly competition.  He did pretty well considering he never played before.
On the last day I took some pics of the kids playing by the creek. I had fun playing with the "manual" setting on my camera here.
What a fun time.  I can't wait to get back up there and do it all again!

July 4, 2011

4th of July and birthday festivities

hAppY 4th oF JuLy!  
Thanks to all who have made, and continue to make, the USA a free country.

This weekend was a busy one for us.  On Sunday we had a wonderful church service in the park and then enjoyed barbecue, games, and fellowship.  I love how out-going our new church is, it reminds me of the things I did as a child and I am really looking forward to this next weekend's camping trip with our life group.  I'm sure I'll blog about it and post some pictures. :)

Later, after church-in-the-park, we went home to celebrate E's birthday since we had not been able to do it the previous weekend with Tom and C out of town.  Our good friends also celebrated with us since we were marking their son's first birthday as well.  I made cakes for both kids, so it was fun to diversify a bit and make both a "princess" cake and a "dinosaur" cake. Admittedly, it was a lot of work, but we have such wonderful friends who re-paid us with a delicious barbecued chicken dinner...complete with a spinach and strawberry salad straight from their garden.  Wonderfully worth it.
BBQ chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and spinach/strawberry salad.  Yum!
the birthday kiddos
E's princess cake.  I used "ballerina barbie" since she had a molded top already.  The cake was a 4-tier french vanilla with strawberry and butter-cream filling, and of course very pink butter-cream frosting.
Dinosaur cake.  This was a 3-tier chocolate cake with buttercream filling & frosting.  Delish!
the carnage.

Today we headed to another barbecue for 4th of July...which was hot, hot, hot.  I think it got up to 96 degrees or something this afternoon.  I was happy to return home to air-conditioning for a bit and then head back out at 9pm to watch the variety of fireworks across town from the park across from us.  It's a fun way to see everything "from above" and yet not have to deal with hordes of people (and traffic) afterwards. :)

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend as well!
{we were just happy to not be re-living last year's July 4th fiasco}
p.s.  I had so many problems getting this post to format that I am now considering the "Big Move" to word press. Not to mention my pictures have been disappearing from old posts. Frustrating!

July 1, 2011

Part One: Our Vacation to Riviera Maya

This weekend Tom and C took off for Texas to be in one-of-Tom's-childhood-friend's wedding. So that left me to my own devices...using my time alone wisely to clean organize make freezer meals blog.  I figure it is high-time I posted about our incredible week in Mexico, and try to sort through the digital stack of photos on my computer.  I think the most efficient way to do this is to post about each day, showing pics along the way.  I hope you don't get too bored!

DAY 1:  We (Tom, me, and our friends Wendi and Gary) left Denver at o'dark:thirty to make the 9 hour trip to Cancun (including a layover in Houston).  Definitely one of the easiest travel days I've ever had so it was off to a good start.  We arrived in Cancun and met up with Tommy and Sara, the third couple.  Once we got through customs, we went to the car rental place (herein known as "rent-a-wreck").  We proceeded to get the most beat up cars you've ever include a burned out tail light, missing hub cap, and dents/scratches galore.  Mexico mandates that we get car insurance which, we were soon to find out, does not cover much at all.  Quite a racket they have going on there.  I had to laugh at the notion that we girls thought we would bring along our ipod cables to listen to non-mariachi music in the cars.  Laughable because we actually assumed we'd be getting cars manufactured after 2000.  Silly Americans.  Needless to say, there were no auxiliary ipod hook-ups in the cars.
So, we went on our way...down the highway from Cancun to Riviera Maya, about 2 hours south to where our rental house was located.  Tom and I in one car and the other 2 couples in the "swagger-wagon".  I have to insert here that I had done some "travel advisory" reading prior to our trip and was made aware that corrupt police like to target rental cars (read: Americans), pull them over for some bogus thing, and ask for a bribe in exchange for letting them go.  We were advised to carry a separate wallet with about 200 pesos for this very situation.  Well,  Tom and I failed to get pesos (or any cash) at the airport, and thusly had no bribe money what-so-ever.  Poor Tom, the whole way down all he heard from me was, "slow down!", "I don't care how fast Tommy is driving, we need to stay at the speed limit!", and "I don't care that the locals are all passing us, we are foreigners and they know it!".  Um, yeah, I don't think the police looked twice at our rent-a-wrecks.  Guess it does pay to rent crappy cars in Mexico.  Either that or the stupid travel advisory is being overly paranoid, as usual.  Live and learn.
Around 7pm we finally arrived at our house, Casa Escocesa.  It's a gorgeous, private villa located well off the beaten path.  We were greeted by the caretakers, Elder & Elda, who were easily the sweetest people we met down there.  We had pre-arranged to have Elda cook our first-night dinner, and she was grilling meat kabobs when we showed up.  She prepared the most delicious meal of the kabobs, rice, beans, salsa, and guacamole...all homemade.  It was awesome. 
After dinner we all changed into swimsuits and jumped in the pool, with the clear starry-filled sky above us.  Not a bad start to the week if I do say so myself.

DAY 2:  Shopping day.  Before getting out and about, we needed to go to the local super market and pick up food and other necessities.  Tom and I stayed behind and relaxed, taking in the house and the beach.  Here's some shots of the beach as we saw it from the house...
We even had Elder nab a couple of coconuts for us to enjoy...

Aside from lots of swimming and napping, that pretty much sums up our first full day.

DAY 3:  We went a bit south of our house to see the Tulum Mayan Ruins.  Luckily Tommy is a planner and we got there well before the tour buses and extreme heat...which also meant not sleeping in.  It was worth it though, we got some great photos without tons of people in the way.

DAY 4:  Was basically a repeat of day 3, but this time we got up early and headed west to the Mayan Ruins of Coba.  This was a bit more of a drive but totally worth it as we actually got to climb one of the ruins.  Also, if you ever find yourself visiting Coba, rent a bike!!  We chose to walk the ruins which was crazy dumb in the heat.  Plus, these ruins are extremely spread out within the forest.
gotta get a  "Captain Morgan" pose in there
Tom, Wendi, and Gary climbing the ruin (which I ventured to do after these photos were taken)
view from the top, amazing!
At one point in our hike, Tom had a footwear malfunction...not surprising since the only time he EVER throws something away is when it literally falls apart.  The above photo to the left is him trying to go all MacGyver and reattach the sole of his sandal with vine or a palm leaf or something.  The photo to the right is the sole of his sandal, after giving up on the vine and walking the rest of the way on the leather foot bed.  Needless to say, those sandals did not make it back home with us.
Wendi & Gary...walking one of MANY trails at Coba.
Tom and Gary did the zip-line over crocodile-infested water.  
I was happy taking pictures from non-crocodile-infested land.

{Ok, I'm burned out and need to stop avoiding my child. I will post days 5-7 later. Adios!}

June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to my baby girl!

June 2008
June 26, 2011
Hard to believe 3 years have passed since I first laid eyes on you.
I savor every moment.

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