Archive for the 'Fourth of July' Category

Fireworks at the Lake

Just after sunset. Just before the show(s).

For the last few years, we’ve walked to the lake & watched fireworks erupt all around us, from the professional and non-professional shows. It’s magical & we don’t have to deal with crowds & parking. Last night we did the same, and the shows were ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. …and absolutely amazingly illegal.

Are fireworks illegal in Colorado? I think the official answer is yes, but the real answer is no. (In fact, you can set them off in the park right by the police station. All night. Yes, really!)

I didn’t try to take lots of pictures of the fireworks, because I’d rather be in the moment (i.e. enjoy them…and be ready to run). This one turned out well, though!

We opted to embrace it. We took it all in, and we were astounded by the beauty all around us.

Last night was one of the best shows we’ve been to, quite honestly. After we walked home, we marveled at the nonstop explosions around us, talked about how we’re lucky we (and our critter) can sleep through things like that (the loud attic fan drowns out most sounds), and then we ran our sprinklers for most of the night, just in case.

My Waterfall Spotter

The mountains are gorgeous this time of year. Granted, I could actually, in all honesty, say that at any time of year and be correct. 🙂 Whether it be the crisp white snow against the deep green of the trees, the extravagant colors of the spring flowers or the Aspens that seem to glow from within, all against a blue sky that puts Caribbean waters to shame, the mountains are so beautiful all year ‘round.

But, during this time of year, if you look closely, you can see the different waterfalls peeking through the pines, cascading down in white, feathery streams. And, there is something so magical about catching a glimpse of them.

While on the road for our mini-vacation to the mountains for the 4th of July, I showed Claire what the waterfalls looked like, and from that point on, she was my little waterfall spotter.

“Look, Momma!” she’d scream, pointing out the window. “Another waterfall! You love waterfalls!”

And, sure enough, I’d see a waterfall way up on the side of the mountain, nearly hidden from view. “Ohhh, that one is beautiful!” I’d gasp. “Thank you so much for finding that one!”

And the game would continue. She found more waterfalls than I even imagined was possible, many of which I’d never seen before.

Even though she’s little and has a very limited view from her car seat, you’d be amazed at what she can see when she puts her mind to it. She didn’t need to focus on the winding road or the traffic, or all of the things the adults in the car were preoccupied with. She could focus on the important things: finding waterfalls for Momma.


I was just trying to be patriotic

So, I was trying to figure out what to wear for the 4th of July. I thought wearing something red, white, and blue would be fitting, and the t-shirt my hubby got me in London was perfect!

Click photo to read the logo…

What?  It’s red, white, and blue!

Or not.

After I looked at myself in the mirror, it hit me. Wearing a decidedly British shirt on the day that recognizes our independence from all things decidedly British, may not be the best choice.

Even if it is red, white and blue.

And, the saying makes my near-mistake even funnier. Mind the gap, indeed. More like create a gap, if I’m not careful. And, I wouldn’t want to do that! I love the Brits!


Needless to say, I decided not to wear it, and crisis (real or imaginary) was averted. 🙂

Edited to add:  This is the logo for the Underground (tube/subway system) and all throughout the system, they have an automated voice reminding passengers to “mind the gap” or watch your step between the train and the platform. I think it’s pretty clever and can mean a bunch of things in different contexts… ;)

Tourist in my own state

For the 4th of July, we took a little mini-vacation to the mountains. I’d been to this particular resorty town before, but I’d never really had a chance to explore it on foot or in great detail. On the last night of our trip, we decided to dodge a threatening rain storm and head farther west to explore another resorty town, which according to radar was rain-free. (And, it was!) This town is world-known and rather hoity-toity.

It wasn’t until we were there that I realized that I’d never actually been there. I’d been over that pass countless times, and my hubby had skied there many times, but I’d never actually been in the town.  Doh!  For real!  I couldn’t believe it.

I was pleasantly surprised! It was actually really cool!

(And really cold! I felt like a total tourist buying a fleece jacket off the ½ off rack, but my hubby justified it by saying that I never buy clothes for myself [true], and the sale price made it very reasonable [true], and I needed another jacket [also true].)

And, for the record, I told him, out loud, that he was right. You see, before packing for this trip, he made sure we all packed jeans and a jacket. I had rolled my eyes at him and made gagging noises, but I packed what he told me to pack. I was wearing my jeans, but my jacket was conveniently in the car. And, it was a rain jacket, not a fleece…but, I digress. He was right, and I told him so. 🙂

And, the reason I had trouble wrapping my head around that was because the day I nearly froze to death was the day people were melting at home. 😉

Anyway…in exploring this little well-known place, we stumbled upon the most magnificent thing. A pirate ship! On the side of a mountain! Who knew!?

Click photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

A Pirate Ship!

A pirate ship!


And a dragon!

And a dragon!


And a little boat!

And a little boat!


And a little girl peeking through the top window!

And a little girl peeking through the top window!

Needless to say, the pirate ship was Claire’s favorite part of this particular adventure, and she did not want to leave it behind. I had to carry her, kicking and screaming (quite literally, I’m afraid) to the stroller. All the way to the potty in the parking garage, and to the car, and all the way back to the condo she kept lamenting for the pirate ship.

“But, I don’t wanna leave the pirate ship!!!”

…which out of context is pretty funny.

Summer was the perfect time to explore this place, because everything is so different when the snow has melted, plus the normally $15 parking garage was FREE! Bonus! We had such a great time, and I can’t believe I’ve lived here for almost 10 years, and I’ve never been there before.

There’s a first time for everything, I guess. 😉

Fireworks & Free buses

So, our plan for celebrating the 4th of July was simple: See the fireworks in the mountains.

We’d rented a condo in a resorty town, and we knew that one of the major firework shows in the area would be on, fire-danger or not. In a neighboring town, they shoot the fireworks off over the reservoir, and have for several years. In years past, it’s been the only show in the area because of the fire-danger. This year, some of the communities were having their own shows, but we wanted to go to the reservoir. Everyone has raved about this particular show, but we’ve never had the opportunity to see it ourselves.

This year, that’s what we decided to do.

In doing some research for our trip, we discovered that the town where we’d be staying has a free bus service that runs all over town and between the neighboring towns, too. We called, and sure enough, they were running on the 4th! Woo hoo!

So, we loaded the car, battled holiday traffic and arrived at our destination. We got checked into the condo and did some exploring. We then found the main bus terminal and found the right bus to the neighboring city, 9 miles away.

Claire was so excited to ride the bus that she could hardly contain herself. She’s only 2-and-a-half, so she had no idea what it all meant, but she knew she couldn’t wait. We’d brought the umbrella stroller with us so that it could be folded up and stored under the seat for the ride, and it worked perfectly.

“Momma! We’re ridin’ the bus!” she’d say excitedly, the whole way there. Needless to say, her excitement was contagious, and it was one of the best bus rides I’ve ever experienced.

The buses were free, were on time, and were clean. All three of my criteria were met. Awesome. And, not having to drive and find a place to park and then play bumper cars on the way home with the other billion people at the show was even better.

We found a great place for dinner, headed over to the carnival for dessert, and found awesome seats at the marina for the show. They shot the fireworks off over the water, and we were so close that it looked like the entire sky was exploding right over our heads.

We weren’t sure how Claire would do with sound of the fireworks, but she did great! She loved every minute of it. She was cheering right along with everyone else.

I knew it would be a late night. The fireworks show started around 9:30pm, half an hour past Claire’s bedtime. Her bedtime on the weekends is somewhat flexible anyway, so I wasn’t concerned about this. The show lasted almost an hour and then we moved with the mob of people away from the marina. I knew that getting to the bus stop and walking back to the condo in the dark would be an adventure.

But, there was a small little detail that I hadn’t really anticipated.

I should have known that after a certain hour, the free bus service turns into the free drunk bus service. I wouldn’t have changed what we did, but I think being prepared for it would have helped me deal with the situation in my head.

For the record, Claire wasn’t the only child on the drunk bus. There were other families that were taking advantage of it, too. Normally, children wouldn’t be on the drunk bus, but the 4th of July festivities had altered everyone’s schedules.

I wasn’t sure how much of it Claire remembered until she was talking to my hubby’s parents the next day on the phone and told them all about it. In great detail. Sweet! That’s just the conversation you want to clarify, letmetellya.

When it was my turn to talk on the phone, I did just that. “Yes, there were two people thrown off our bus last night. Yes, the bus driver was very angry at the ‘bad man.’ [her words…not mine!] Yes, one man was thrown off the bus at the hospital…but that’s because the hospital was an actual bus stop and it was purely coincidental that the bus driver threw him off there. Yes, there were lots of people acting goofy on our bus, and yes, I wouldn’t let Claire talk to them.”


I mean, the last thing I needed was my very verbal toddler getting into a conversation with a drunk party-goer-now-bus-rider.  Luckily, I was able to keep her quiet.

At least the drunk bus exists and those people weren’t behind the wheel. In fact, I’d rather sit quietly in my seat, holding my child close and whispering to her that everything is going to be okay, and please don’t talk out loud to the goofy people, and we’ll be back soon, than have even one of those people driving.

So, note to self: If we do this again next year, which we very well may because the over all experience was awesome…be prepared to handle the drunk bus. Because even though it was an adventure, it was more than worth it.

Overheard at the 4th of July Carnival

We had the opportunity to watch the 4th of July fireworks over a mountain reservoir. The area surrounding the marina had been transformed into your typical carnival-like atmosphere. We got there a little early so we could have dessert and to get good spots for the firework show.

As the guys pushed Claire in the stroller over toward the Beverage Line, I waited patiently in the Roasted Almond Line. It was next to the Funnel Cakes Booth.

I had just completed an internal debate over which line to do, ultimately choosing the Roasted Almond Line, and a woman and her friend walked past the Funnel Cake Booth.

“Ugh,” the woman said with disgust to her friend. “That just smells like batter and grease.”

“Mmmm. Tasty batter and grease…and isn’t that the point?” I thought to myself, almost ready to jump from my line to the other but deciding against it.


Happy 4th of July! (and an update…)

Well, we have good news about my dad! He’s doing so well on the medications that he may be able to come home early next week! This is quite a relief. He’s relatively young (he’s only 59) and stubborn…two criteria that seem to be helping in the recovery process. (Well, the “stubborn” portion of that mix can go both ways, as I’m sure most of the nurses on duty the day he went to the hospital can attest.) 😉

But, just as we were all sighing a big sigh of relief in this situation, things took a bad turn for my maternal grandmother. Sadly, she suffered a massive stroke yesterday morning and is not expected to recover. She has been unresponsive since the incident, so the end is near. 🙁

I know it’s cliché to say that she’s 90 and lived a full life…but it’s true. It doesn’t make the sadness any less powerful, but it does make me thankful that she’s been able to experience life to its fullest. My hope for her is that she’s at peace soon and not in any pain.

Of course, in the midst of all this, time marches on. Because my dad was in the clear, we continued full-steam ahead with our vacation plans. Even with these new developments, we’re still moving ahead with our trip to the mountains for a weekend get-away with my brother-in-law. (He arrived from out-of-state just in time for dinner on Thursday night.) We’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while, so hopefully this long holiday weekend will serve as a nice way to recharge after this incredibly stressful week and store up energy for what we could be facing next week. Time will tell if we need to cut our trip short, but my relatives have assured me that there isn’t anything that can be done at this point. Go! Try to enjoy the holiday! Easier said than done? Perhaps…but we’ll try.

Depending on what happens, we may be making a pit-stop at home on our way eastward. Or maybe we’ll have time to regroup before heading out again. It all depends on what transpires over the next few days. Nothing like living life on the edge!

In other news, I won’t have access to the blog while in the mountains, but Merlin has begged and begged to do some guest posts for me, so be sure to check those out. Something tells me that they won’t be nearly as insightful as Jasper’s, but like bloggers everywhere, every kitty has his own style. 😉

In showing Merlin how to look through the photos, I found some Festive Photos Fit for the Fourth, so here they are.

Claire is 7-months old in these photos, and it’s hard to believe that two years has passed! In these photos, I was posing her in her 4th of July dress. And, the last photo captures the personality that still shows through today.

Click photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

Pretty as a picture


Pretty as a picture


Pretty as a picture


Fourth of July Dress

There’s the rascally Claire we know and love!

So, we’re off! Have a happy holiday, and don’t eat too much birthday cake. 😉

Belly on up to the trough!

We are gluttons. If there is one thing inherent in being from the Midwest, it’s knowing how to celebrate with food. “Belly on up to the trough!” was not only the command of the evening, it was a pretty good description of the night’s events. Yes, that whole phrase can be used as a verb. Trust me.

Neither Momma nor Daddy felt like rolling away from the table to go see fireworks, and we figured that Claire is too little to feel slighted anyway. We opted to watch the New York ones on TV instead.


Plus, we got a front and center show to the ones bursting right over our roof.


One of our neighbors needs his head examined, and he’s actually lucky my powers weren’t in full force last night, or he would have “blown himself up.” Because, that’s what I wished upon him…out loud. I understand that patriotism is important, but is it really important at 2am? On both the wee hours of the 4th AND the 5th? Seriously, dude. Knock it off, already.


Oh, and in case you didn’t hear me last night over all the loud explosions, “Happy 231st Birthday, America! You don’t look a day past 229, honest!”