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    Archive for July 2011

    Colorado Rocky Mountain High - part 2

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    For the second part of our trip, we drove down to the Colorado Springs area to a cottage we had rented in Manitou Springs. We stayed at the Town N' Country Cottages where we had a two room cottage that was just perfect for our needs. Lucy and Benjamin stayed in the living room and we had a bedroom all to ourselves. We swam in the pool and Benjamin loved the little playground they had.

    We did a bunch of the typical touristy stuff while in this area like hanging out at the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade, driving up Pikes Peak and visiting the Royal Gorge and Garden of the Gods. Here are some highlights:

    Penny Arcade fun

    Manitou Springs Penny Arcade

    Pikes Peak Highway

    Pikes Peak Highway

    Familie Schmitt at Pikes Peak Summit

    The Royal Gorge

    Minnesota representing at the Royal Gorge

    Garden of the Gods park entrance

    Benjamin at Balanced Rock - Garden of the Gods

    Mike and Lucy at Garden of the Gods

    We also took a slightly adventurous driving route from the Royal Gorge to Cripple Creek called The Shelf Road. It is a gravel road that is just what its called, a shelf along the side of some mountains. The drop-off down to the bottom of the canyon is quite close to where you drive and the scenery is stunning. Mike and I always seem to get ourselves into adventurous driving when we travel (Saddle Road in Hawaii, Ring of Kerry on St. Patrick's Day in Ireland, etc etc), so we jumped at the chance to try this route out. We had a blast driving it! We stopped to take a few photos of the scenery and I even shot a video of how crazy the road was (to be posted at a later date).

    Driving Shelf Road

    Driving Shelf Road

    Driving Shelf Road

    We had such a wonderful trip and created so many family memories. We all look forward to our return to Colorado very much. It was a sad time leaving those amazing mountains behind for the corn fields of our midwest.

    Colorado Rocky Mountain High

    Familie Schmitt has made yet another successful trek across the plains to Colorado. This was our third trip out west to the mountains. The first time was all the way back in 2004, right before we found out we were expecting Benjamin. The second trip was in 2009 when he was just 4 years old (read about that one here). And now we did the trip as a family of four and it was so wonderful.

    As I alluded to in previous blog posts, we took a chance by attempting our drive out there over night. We left Tuesday at 9pm and arrived Wednesday at about 11am, Mountain Time. I took the first seven or so hours of the trip and when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, passed the wheel over to Mike just before 4am. Mike brought us all the way to Boulder. We were both surprised at how easy and painless the drive seemed. There, of course, we some moments when each of us were driving and we were sick of being on the road, but honestly it wasn't too bad! Both kids slept like champs and after we stopped in North Platte, Nebraska (NOT recommended) for a very early breakfast (6:00am), those of us not driving even got in a little extra shut eye. We made Pearl Street in Boulder our first stop and after strolling around the shops and playing in a fountain to cool off, we ducked into a local restaurant for lunch.

    Hangin' out in Boulder

    Next we took a drive up Boulder Canyon. Before we left, I had rented a new lens for my camera from BorrowLenses.com - a Tokina 11-16mm and I was eager to try it out on some mountains. The lens was great for capturing wide spaces, but the quality of photos wasn't as good as I get from my go-to lens, the "Nifty Fifty." I was happy to have it along though and it proved useful in large areas like Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods later in the trip.

    Boulder Canyon Drive

    Boulder Canyon Drive

    For the first two nights we stayed in the Hyatt Summerfield Suites in Broomfield, which is directly between Boulder and Denver. It was a great location for exploring that area and the hotel itself was wonderful. They had a nightly welcome reception with appetizers that largely served as our dinner for those first two evenings and a great breakfast every morning as well. Our room was a suite with a partial room divider between the living room area and bedroom area. We also had a full kitchen, which served as Lucy's bedroom.

    Storm brewing at Colorado Open Space

    Mike and the kids at Eldorado Mountain
    (I am trying to photoshop that blade of grass off of Benjamin's face...)

    Before we left home we bought some tickets to a Colorado Rockies baseball game. They played the Milwaukee Brewers. We cheered for the Rockies and they beat the pants off of the Brewers! It looked like it was going to storm during the entire game, but it must just have been some kind of crazy mountain weather effect, because it never rained - thank goodness.
    Colorado Rockies game

    Makenna is 1!

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Momma and Makenna
    We traveled over to Milwaukee this weekend to attend Makenna's first birthday party. It was so fun to see my family and it was a beautiful day for the party.

    I think Makenna enjoyed her cupcake!
    Makenna enjoying her cupcake

    Lucy and Benjamin had fun seeing their Great Aunts, Great Uncles and even Great Grandma.
    Lucy and Great Uncle Terry
    Great Grandma, Great Aunt Mary and Lucy

    After the party wrapped up and we spent some time relaxing at the hotel, we headed over to Erin and Dennis's house for dinner and some play time. The kids all get along so well. Makenna was so pleased to have Lucy there to hug and wrestle and Benjamin enjoyed reading books to Kelsey and also getting some hugs from Makenna.
    Lucy and Makenna
    Benjamin reading to Kelsey
    Makenna giving Benjamin a hug

    The next day we all met up at the Milwaukee Public Museum, which was a great place to let the kids explore. It is a natural science and history museum and is full of dinosaurs, bugs, creepy mannequins and historical scenes.
    Benjamin at Milwaukee Public Museum

    We parked Makenna's stroller next to Lucy's stroller and they were so cute - they held hands! Makenna is such a sweet girl, she is always smiling and giving hugs -- even to strangers!
    Lucy and Makenna held hands

    They had a little display of bugs that you could touch and hold. Benjamin was very brave and held a couple of them. His favorite was the stick bug, which enjoyed Benjamin's arm.
    Benjamin and the stick bug

    For lunch we stopped by the Milwaukee Public Market for a variety of different lunch options. We had everything from Greek food to Hawaiian food to Indian food to Mexican food! It was a tasty lunch!! Kelsey topped off her lunch with a giant cone.
    Kelsey and her HUGE cone

    Both Benjamin and Lucy were great in the car both on the way to Milwaukee and back home.  We were considering this trip as a kind of test-run for our big vacation to Colorado.  We have loads of car toys and activity books packed up for the kids.  We are attempting our very first ever overnight drive for this trip, so it is bound to be an adventure!!  When we return, we will undoubtedly have lots of photos and stories to share...

    Cindy is 60!

    Today I will continue our string of birthday party posts with two more. The first is the semi-surprise 60th birthday party we threw for Mike's Mom over the July 4th holiday weekend. She knew she was coming down to Rochester to celebrate with some of her kids/grandkids, but did not know that we had secretly invited a bunch of her friends as well. We weren't able to completely surprise her, but she was pleased with the party nonetheless.

    Cindy's 60th Birthday Party

    Katie and I gathered ideas for weeks to create the vintage travel themed party. I designed the invitations to look like airline boarding passes and Katie worked hard at printing vintage travel posters for diy decorations.
    The homemade invitations
    Cindy's 60th Birthday Party

    Benjamin and John had fun helping Cindy blow out her candles.
    Cindy's 60th Birthday Party

    Even though she wasn't completely surprised, I think the party was a hit and everyone had a great time!

    Cause Baby You're a Firework

    Thursday, July 07, 2011

    (Is that song/title a bit overplayed for this fourth of July? Probably. Ah well.)

    If you know me well, you know that I have never really enjoyed Independence Day. It is my least favorite holiday and we rarely do much to celebrate it. This year was really no different. Mike ran a 5 mile race (came in third place in his age group), the kids and I went to a parade in Cannon Falls, I took Lucy to the Emergency Room for this horrible virus she has which keeps her so congested that she has trouble breathing and Mike and I tried to do something a little festive with Benjamin in the evening. Neither of us thought to buy fireworks, sparklers or anything, but we did find a bag of champagne bottle poppers in our basement storage closet. As far as Benjamin was concerned, these were fireworks and we had a blast (pun intended) shooting them off on the deck before the sun went down.

    Familie Schmitt-style Fourth of July

    Familie Schmitt-style Fourth of July

    Familie Schmitt-style Fourth of July

    Lucy is still recovering from whatever it is that she has.  She spends all night coughing and neither of us gets much sleep because of it.  If only Baby NyQuil was such a thing.

    Nine Months

    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    Wednesday in Cannon Falls

    Lucy turned nine months old on Friday, July 1st. It is amazing how quickly she is learning new things these days. Here's a little bit about our sweetheart:

    • She is an expert at giving kisses.
    • She loves to look in mirrors and completely adores the large poster sized photos of her and Benjamin that we have hanging in our home.
    • She has six top teeth and four bottom teeth now, which is very abnormal advanced for a nine month old.
    • She weighs 15 pounds and is 25 1/2 inches long, which puts her below the 3rd percentile - she's our tiny dancer.
    • She hasn't started crawling yet, but is the fastest roller this side of the Mississippi!
    • She understands and tries to say "All done," if prompted when she has finished eating.
    • She thinks her brother is hilarious and giggles more at his antics than at anyone or anything else.
    • She sleeps through the night like a champ.
    • Her favorite food is carrots.
    • She loves playing with anything that is not a toy: remote controls, cell phones, cameras, necklaces, camera straps...
    • She has the exact same skin as her big brother, but we're much better at managing her rashes.
    • She loves taking baths.
    • She has an awful cold right now, but has soldiered on with a smile.
    • Her big blue eyes can melt your heart.
    • She is the sweetest, best little baby girl ever (yes, we're biased).