Archive for the 'Visitors' Category

The Fort

We’ve upgraded things at The Hotel Rasmussen, and we had fancy-schmancy electronic theatre seating recliners delivered for the Entertainment Room.

With big-ticket items come big boxes.

“I’m going to make Claire a little fort!” my husband declared. “I’ll just use one of the boxes. It will be simple.”

Nothing that man does is simple, so when he got out TWO of the boxes, the hot glue gun, and an exacto knife I wasn’t truly surprised. (The tarp was an addition, because apparently it rains now in Colorado. Who knew?)

Click photos to enlarge.

Fort original location

Claire had a friend over for an all-day playdate, so they were able to play in the fort.

They also took a break, because that can be exhausting.

They also took a break, because playing can be exhausting.

Then, when they discovered raiders on the horizon, they leapt to action.



…so they did with super-soakers. (I then had them water my plants. I’m a practical multi-tasker, if anything.)

I’ll admit, it’s a great fort, but I got tired of it on the deck. So, last night, my two enginerds scoped out new locations.

They found one in the back 40.

They opted to use the natural resources of the area to secure the fort.

They opted to use the natural resources of the area to secure the fort.

The child labor laws have always been lax around these parts.

The child labor laws have always been lax around these parts.

This particular post was installed inside the fort, through the floor, to keep it in place. Worked like a charm!

super cool new fort

It got too dark to take more photos, so I ventured out today to snap some more.

Fort 1

Fort 2

I love it.
I love Claire’s simple, little, tiny fort.

Woodsy Feel of the Fort

It has a woodsy feel.


So, to the rest of the visitors headed to The Hotel Rasmussen this summer? Your Guest House is ready. 😉

A Visit to The Stanley Hotel

We love Colorado. We’ve been here since 1999, and we have a rather constant stream of visitors that pass through our doors.

We affectionately call this place The Hotel Rasmussen.

I’ve been tempted to search for a good place to buy mints for pillows…in bulk.

Speaking of hotels, years ago, we took some friends up to The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. It’s iconic and really cool to see in person, especially if you’re a Stephen King fan.

Last week, when one of my friends from college was here, we decided to do that again.

Claire has only seen it from a distance, and it’s been years since I’ve gone.

We had a blast!

The weather was perfect. The crowds at The Stanley were minimal. The crowds in Estes Park proper were insane, so we headed back toward Denver and checked out the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder for a while.

While at The Stanley, we had lunch in the restaurant, and we checked out the waterfalls behind it.

We lounged on the terrace overlooking the pool.

I use the term “we” loosely.

A fantastic time was had by all! And, no, we didn’t see any ghosts, but we were assured that they saw us. 😉

If this isn’t a peek into my psyche, I don’t know what is.

This week, a friend from college has been visiting. The only week that would work in our schedule for her visit also coincided with my husband’s camping expedition.  He would miss out on pretending to be a tourist in our own state, but he was okay with that. He always drives when we go places, so I would miss out on having a chauffeur on our excursions, but I was okay with that.

…until I realized where we were going on Tuesday.

I’d gotten the bright idea to take my friend to the top of Mount Evans. It’s one of the 14ers in Colorado, and the “hike” is relatively easy. You drive to a parking lot at 14,134 feet and then walk up a rocky path to 14,264 feet…to the top of the world.

I’ve been to the top of Mount Evans a lot, and I love it. The views are some of my favorite in the entire state.

I couldn’t wait to share this with my friend, and I thought this would be perfect! Most everyone who visits us has been to the top, so we haven’t gone since Claire was a baby.

July 2006

Yes, even Claire has been to the top of Mount Evans. Granted, she was just over 6-months old (I can hardly believe it was four years ago!). She doesn’t remember, but she was there.  (The other photos we have of her at the very top with the grandparents and our little family of three are some of my favorites!)

This was going to be so much fun, and I couldn’t wait!

Then I remembered a tiny detail of my plan.

I’d be the one driving.  Me.  The one who hates driving on bridges, through tunnels, on winding roads, or even next to cement barricades.


I’ve been on the Mount Evans road many times, but I’ve never driven it. I’ve been the one in the passenger seat holding on to the door handle as if my life depends on it. I’ve been the one willing myself to take each breath…slowly…again and again…in and out…repeat. I’ve been the one telling myself that the incredible views are worth the hairpin turns and switchbacks. I’ve been the one ignoring the seemingly crumbly sides of the road that reach right out to absolutely nothing at all.

I have no problem standing at the top of Mount Evans and looking out over the world below us. It’s the road that scares me to death. It’s meeting other cars on those curves that nearly gives me hives.

And, it was my idea to do this.

So, I took my own advice, and I pretended to be brave.

I only gasped out loud a few times.
I didn’t even feel like barfing.

…and I remembered to keep my eyes open the whole time.

As it turns out, my friend prefers to be a passenger rather than driver when it comes to a road like this. She likes to look away from the vast nothingness, and there were times when she pretended to have really intense conversations with Claire in the back seat. For the most part, though, she handled the drive really well.

Claire was completely oblivious to the precariousness of our situation.

For me, there was something relatively calming about having control of the wheel and speed of the vehicle. I purposely forced myself to be relaxed and didn’t grip the wheel tightly. I laughed. I joked. I admitted to myself that I was absolutely terrified, but then told myself it didn’t matter. We’d be fine, and we were.

Who knew that I’d be more comfortable behind the wheel than in the passenger seat?

We made it to the parking lot at the top, and up the rocky path.

July 2010

Being at the top of the world should have been enough of a prize, but I knew what I’d gone through to get there.

That day, the views were even more magnificent.

The top of the world

An old college friend is visiting us this week, and Claire and I took her to the top of the world today!

JoAnn & Claire at the top of the world! Mount Evans, Colorado. 14,264 ft.

Oh, and it’s the college that’s old…not us.  Just to clarify.  😉

A restaurant with a view

View from Runway GrillAs you may have gathered, we have out-of-state guests staying with us this week.  We’re all having a great time, and I love it when we have visitors so that we have a good excuse to check out new venues in our own hometown.

When Claire and I were at swimming lessons a few weeks ago, I was chatting with one of the other mothers.  She mentioned a local restaurant that I’d never been to overlooking the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (formerly Jeffco Airport).

It sounded like the perfect place to try when my inlaws were in town.  I knew we would all like to see the planes, and when she mentioned that each table was decorated with a glass enclosed navigator’s map, I knew it would be the perfect place to take someone like PaPa, who was retired Air Force.

This informal and impromptu restaurant reviewer said that she has taken her kids there on numerous occasions, and that Fridays seem to be a good day to catch a lot of air traffic.  My hubby was going to have that particular Friday off, so a lunch date would be perfect!

So, I put it on our schedule of events, and yesterday, we went there for lunch.

It was awesome!  The food was fabulous and eating our lunch while watching the planes land and take off was an incredible treat.  From our vantage point, we could see the gorgeous snowcapped mountains, and Downtown was clear.  What a beautiful day!

If you’re a local, you should check out The Runway Grill!  There is a map on their website, but if you need more “localized” directions, drop me a line, and I can explain where it is.  And, if you’re one of our regular out-of-town visitors, remind us about this place when you come to visit, and we’ll take you there.

We can’t wait to go back!

Photos added October 2009.  Check out that view!

Photos added October 2009. Check out that view!

My meal wasn’t nearly as exciting, but it was just as tasty.

Last night, my inlaws took us out for my birthday dinner.  We went to a nice fish market type place that my husband and I had never been to.  They’d been to this same restaurant in another state and suggested we try it.  It was a fabulous choice, and the food was awesome!

The menu was so full of wonderful items, that it was hard to choose.  After much deliberation, my husband decided on his meal.

That’s when he asked for the shark.

The look on Claire’s face was priceless.  Her eyes got really big, and she gasped out loud.

“Daddy is gonna eat a shark!?” she screeched.  She just couldn’t believe it!

We tried to explain to her that he would only be eating part of the shark, and not the whole thing, but we were getting nowhere.

So, we decided to feed into her excitement and talk about how shocking it all sounded.

Daddy was going to eat a shark!

We talked about how normally the shark would take up the whole table and try to eat us, but that it wasn’t going to work that way this time.

She was rather disappointed to see his plate come out with what looked like just regular old food.  There were no sharks to be seen.

Still, she thinks her daddy is some kind of superhero.  I mean, who else could eat a shark and live to tell about it?


How many days until…

Thanksgiving?  Three! (as in this week!)

Claire’s Third Birthday?  Six! (as in less than a week!)

The Holiday Letters go out with a December 1st Postmark?  Seven! (as in a week exactly!)

And then the ball starts rolling so fast that it won’t stop until it drops in Times Square on the 31st of December (or a couple hours later…such is life here in the Mountain Time Zone…).

Things are starting to move at a breakneck speed. Every day, we have packages arriving that need to be sorted by elves: Birthday ones in one pile and Christmas ones in another. Mixed in are packages that have final destinations across the country. Those packages need to be undone, wrapped, packaged and shipped. Then, we’ll have guests arriving by land and by air. Meals and activities are being planned. And, I’m in the process of organizing Santa’s schedule so that his visit can be timed like clockwork.

Like everyone else, I’m dealing with all of these things in addition to my other duties. But you know what? I’m not stressed. Not only am I thinking positive thoughts and vibrating with a positive energy, I’ve got my To Do List under control.

All of this excitement energizes me!  The power to multitask and get things done intoxicates me!  Muuuuu-ah-ah-ah.

But I digress…

Thanksgiving is going to be a breeze this year. This year, it’s just the three of us, and I’m so excited! We’re breaking from tradition a little bit and will be trying out new recipes. We’ll do our signature ham for our guests in December, and in the meantime, I’m finding new recipes to try on Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, The Noble Pig has a pumpkin cake recipe that I’m dying to try!!

The gifts for The Birthday Girl are purchased and need to be assembled. This won’t be too difficult and will just take time. We’re limited to naptime to do this covert operation, but we’re skilled at this maneuver.

The Birthday Girl Party Invites went out, and the cake is ordered, and the goodie bags are waiting to be filled with various Birthday Girlie Items. I just need to pick up the balloons and the cake the day before The Big Day, and we’re set!

After the Thanksgiving Meal is cleared, we can really focus on the decorations for that affair.

The Holiday Letter Photos are shot, printed, and tucked inside Holiday Letters that are composed, printed, prettied-up and stuffed into envelopes that are addressed. We just have to add Claire’s Three Year Photo, and the appointment for that photo shoot is already made! Stamping and sealing should be a quick and fun activity, and we’re right on schedule for my December 1st Deadline!

The Holiday Gift Lists are made and checked twice. As soon as the last package arrives, joining the things we purchased locally, we’ll get them wrapped, boxed up and ready for distribution.

Thanksgiving passes the baton to Birthday who passes the torch to Christmas, and then the Guest Room (aka The Gift Storage Room) will be livable again, just in time for our guests to arrive. After the Birthday Party, we’ll put up the tree, set out the presents, and enjoy the ride.

And then, as soon as January gets here, I can start working on our Valentines.

Just kidding!



Today is Day 24 of 30 in the NaBloPoMo Challenge! Check it out! A post for day 24 AND a recurring To Do List Item checked off The List for today and added to tomorrow’s…yes!

The Little Yellow Car

My father-in-law, PaPa, has rebuilt a 1932 Ford that we all lovingly refer to as The Little Yellow Car. Over the years, they’ve driven it all over the country to car shows.  Last week, he and Daey (“Day” is how Claire pronounced “Granny” when she was super-little, and the nickname stuck!) were able to drive it across the Midwest out to a car show in California, and they stopped here on their way home.

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

1932 Ford

(Yes, I blacked out the license plate…)

He is a true craftsman, and has a love of cars. And, it shows!

Claire loves The Little Yellow Car, and we were able to get some good pictures of her in it.


1932 Ford


1932 Ford

So, today is a sad day around here, because Daey and PaPa headed home. As we waved good-bye to The Little Yellow Car, the tears started to fall.

In order to get her mind off of all of this, we decided to look at pictures of The Little Yellow Car and other photos from our adventures with Daey & PaPa over the past week. As I type this, Claire is helping me with the photo-editing and writing of this post, and the sadness is starting to fade.

She’s being a little too helpful, so I have to pull out my bag of tricks, or this won’t get posted anytime soon.

I have a feeling we’re about to be one Ariel™ sticker closer to success. 😉

Song & Dance

We have had a busy week!

Some friends from out-of-state have been staying here with their 4-yr old twin boys and 2-yr old girl, and then on Saturday, my brother, his wife, and her brother (also from out-of-state) were also here for an overnight visit!

Claire has loved playing with everyone. We’ve had so much fun!!

On Saturday, my friends were on their way to a “no kids allowed” wedding, and we were able to babysit their crew for the evening. When my friend came upstairs after having gotten all dolled up for the big event, one of the boys said, “Mommy, you look like a princess!!”

All of the other kids agreed and were quite impressed. Then Claire decided that she wanted to wear her “dancing princess” dress, too. And, because of all this, an impromptu dance party broke out in our dining room and spilled out into the hallway. Claire grabbed one of the twins by the hand and said, “I wanna dance! Dance with me!” He excitedly and quite willingly obliged, and his two year old sister joined in the fun.

As everyone was twirling and spinning in the hallway, my friend and I took a quick break from all the dancing and grabbed our cameras, hoping to capture some of this for posterity.

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

singing and dancing

As you can see, I’ve captured Claire belting out a tune.

Show Me

And, in true “instantaneous digital-photo style”
both dancers wanted to check out their form on my friend’s camera.

There’s nothing like a little song and dance to get the evening started right! 😉

Fancy Schmancy Sheets

The shorter version of this story is at the end. In the meantime, here is the long version:

My hubby and I were at the store looking for a swimming pool for Claire. Earlier, I’d mentioned to him that I wanted to get new sheets for the guest room, as we are going to have a whole houseful of people, and I’m tired of the old ones in there. He pooh-pooh’d the idea, rolling his eyes and saying we didn’t need fancy sheets. The ones in there are good enough. They’re in good condition, so I agreed with him. I just wanted to get new ones if we found a good deal.

Now, for the record, I personally don’t care about the quality of the sheets in guest rooms that I frequent. I’m thankful for a bed. And sheets. They don’t have to be a certain thread-count. In fact, the sheets on our own bed aren’t of a super high-end quality. They’re soft and convenient and match the color scheme in the room.

As a wedding gift, we received a really nice set of satin sheets. We were both madly in love with them, but over the years, they wore out and have gone the way of the rag bag. And, in the winter, I put flannel sheets on our bed, because there isn’t anything better than nice snuggly flannel sheets on a cold winter’s night. Really nice sheets are just so expensive…and it’s a luxury that just isn’t on the top of our priority list.

So anyway, we’re in Target (pronounced Tar-jay in my head…just so you know), and we’ve found the perfect swimming pool. We didn’t spend nearly what we thought we were going to have to spend, so we decided to go ahead and splurge on a new set of guest sheets.

Claire had to use the potty, so while we were doing that, my hubby went in search of guest sheets.

When we were done, we saw him wandering around the Bedding Aisle. My hubby comes up to me with a Queen Set in his hand. “Look at these!” he says, showing me an awesome 450-count sheet set. “They are on a super-sale, and these are the last Queen Set!”

“Um, the guest bed is a Full…we have a Queen,” I said, admiring the fancy set.

“I know! Let’s see if we can find something similar in a Full for the guest room!” He was so excited. All of a sudden, he was singing a different tune. All of a sudden, getting new sheets wasn’t such a bad idea. “Feel these!! You have to feel these!” he said, unzipping the package so I could feel the luxurious softness. I’m not sure I should admit in a public forum just how excited he was at having nice sheets.

“Okay, show me where you found these,” I said, on a new mission.

“Well, that’s the thing. These were on a weird end-cap, and I’m having trouble finding a Full Set. Some are on sale, and some aren’t. This whole section is so confusing.”

So, I start searching. In the 300-count section, I happened upon a little notice from the management of Target. A certain style of 450-count sheets is gone, and they are to do an automatic substitution for a different style of 450-count sheet. Yes, this notice was in the 300-count section.

Still, I found a Full Set of 300-count and took it to the automatic scanner to see if it would ring up properly with the killer-sale price. It didn’t. It was ringing up as full-price.

Hmm. So, I found someone to help me. As I was talking to her, I found the 450-count display indicated in the little note that had been incorrectly posted in the 300-count section. They were marked at full-price. I found a Full Set and scanned it. It wasn’t coming up with the sale price indicated on the little note.

This clerk understood the situation, but she had no power to fix it. She got the manager to help me. This is when I started to feel like I was trapped in an alternate reality.

“I think your Automatic Substitution Notice is in the wrong section,” I said to the manager. “These are not ringing up as the sale price, but I think it’s because they are 300-count and not 450-count,” I said, pointing to the 300-count version. “And, these are ringing up as full-price, because they aren’t in the section with the little note,” I said, holding up the 450-count version.

“Well, it’s against store policy to move those notices once they are posted…” she said, obviously not understanding what I was saying.

“Even if it’s posted in the wrong place?” I asked.

“The notices have to apply to the shelves where they are posted,” she said again, still not getting it.

“I understand that,” I said, trying to be patient. “The notice is for 450-count, and all of these…” I said while gesturing to all of the 300-count sets. “…are 300-count. They’re not 450-count, so they won’t ring up at the 450-count sale price.”

Blank look.
Lots of blinking.
No comprehension, whatsoever.

“Someone put the sign in the wrong place,” I said again, wondering if I was actually speaking out loud and in English. “The 450-counts are in a different place,” I said again, this time walking her toward the end-cap again. “See? These are 450-count mentioned on the notice, but there is no special sign, and they are labeled as full-price, and because they don’t have the Automatic Substitution Notice posted here, they won’t ring up as the sale price.”

“And, you want the correct set at the sale price?”

“Yes, please,” Duh. (I didn’t say that last part out loud…but come on! No, I’d like the incorrect set at the full price. Geez.)

Was this so hard to understand? The store was closing in 45-minutes and today was the last day of the sale. Far be it from me to let this awesome sale-price go. I was prepared to go another round with her, but she surprised me by pulling the actual sign off of the 300-count shelf and handing it to me. “Pick the 450-count you want and take this sign to the register with you,” she said. She then gave me her name and said, “Tell them I said it was okay.”


So, the next day, I washed the sheets in anticipation of not only putting them on the guest bed and admiring how nice and luxurious it will be for our guests…but also how happy my hubby would be at such nice sheets on our bed.

But, to my dismay, they came out of the dryer so wrinkly! I even tried the Wrinkle Release Setting (which has yet to fail me), and they were still too wrinkly for my liking. My modest lower thread-count and a blend-of-whatever sheets never had this problem! Paying extra for sheets that require extra work just seems wrong to me…

Yes, they’re sheets. Yes, people hardly pay attention. Yes, I doubt anyone would really notice wrinkly sheets. I’m not even sure if any of the guest rooms I’ve stayed in had wrinkly sheets because I usually fall into bed exhausted. But, in this case, I’m making the bed, so I’d know they were wrinkly. I didn’t get a super good quality sheet (granted, they were on sale) to have the bed look unkempt.


Which brings us to the short version of the above story:

I ironed the sheets.
And now you know I’m crazy.
The End.