I feel more than a wee bit guilty spending a long weekend in Lake City while Jess is home with a snuffly little girl, but it hasn’t made the climbing any less fun. In fact, the climbing has been pretty darn good. Andy and Gretchen picked me up on Saturday morning at a little past 7:00, and we were on the road shortly thereafter. Although there was snow in the forecast, we got over Monarch Pass and all the way to Lake City with pretty much dry pavement and arrived by about 12:30. We checked into our room at the Matterhorn Motel (same place Pete and I stayed last year) and grabbed some lunch at one of the two open eateries. By the time we sauntered over to the ice park, things were well underway. The top rope and and lead climbing comps were set up in the same spots as last year, and the ice appeared a bit thinner. Andy and Gretchen walked up to the top to set up a top rope on a short little climb just to the left of the little mixed cave in the park while I relaxed below watching the comp and waiting to give advice (only if necessary, of course) in regards to rope placement. We spent a couple of hours taking turns doing laps on the climb in what was a consistent snow that soaked just about everything we had. Just as we were packing things up, someone got clobbered by a large piece of ice from an adjacent climber. It looked for a while as though he may have dislocated a shoulder, or worse, but he managed to regroup and finish the climb after a few minutes of what appeared to be intense pain. We didn’t end up with any pictures and had to hang up the ropes and gear to dry in the closet, but we had a fun time. Later that evening we made the 2-minute walk down the hill to the Packer Grill for a little ice festival afterparty and some beer. Sadly, there was no live band this year, but they did have the skills competition from the weekends NBA All Star Gala on the tube. Although the Packer Grill might be named for Lake City’s famous cannibal, I tried not to hold the decorations from Wisconsin’s famed football team against them.
The next morning we slept in a bit, as things are pretty laid back in Lake City. I made it out the door first and trekked to the coffee shop for a mocha and a bagel. A few minutes later, I was joined by the rest of the team. We chatted a bit with the proprietor before heading back to the room to grab our gear. A few minutes later and we were back in the ice park contemplating our options. This time Andy and I hiked up to the top and we ended up setting up a toprope on what was the lead comp route the day before. Since the climbs are fairly long, we used some cordalettes and a bit of static line to extend the anchor about 40-50 feet from the post glued into the ground until it reached over the lip. It ended up working well with both ends of the 60-meter cord reaching the ground and no rope drag. This was especially nice as there was about 6 inches of fresh snow along the top of the climb.
We managed about 3-4 laps each of the former comp route. It seemed to get easier with each lap despite the growing fatigue in my forearms, so either I was climbing more efficiently as the day went on, finding more of the hooks left from a constant barrage of assaults the day before (quite likely as we were slowly cleaning the snow from the route), or just making more big holes with each ascent. Regardless, we had a splendid time on the ice and thoroughly enjoyed beating ourselves to a pulp. Andy managed to clobber himself in the chin with a decent-sized hunk of ice (there wasn’t really any blood, so it ranks as fairly minor) and I got a little bruise on one knee.
After another night of bar hopping (Lake City has 3 functional bars in the winter), I’m comfortably back in the motel room able to share these pics from the weekend and planning out tomorrow’s climbing. As was the case last year, the festival was a fun low-key weekend in a city full of fun and welcoming people that seemed legitimately glad to have us in town, and just like last year, I’ll be heading back to the front range tomorrow certain that I’ll return next year. Maybe next year Jess and Phoebe will be able to come.
Last weekend Jess and I wanted to get one last camping trip in before the end of the summer. We were pretty busy, so we couldn’t hit the road until Saturday morning. We were going to go up to the national park, but it turns out it was the last weekend of the year that they take reservations, and everything was reserved. So, we did a little searching and discovered that some of the campgrounds along the Peak to Peak highway were still open.
Come Saturday we got up relatively early and finished packing up our stuff. Most of our gear was already packed from the previous weekend’s aborted trip, but we still had to pack up the cooler. We were supposed to meet our friend Elijah in Boulder at 10:00, but by the time we were leaving the house it was clear that we weren’t going to make it there that early. As things turned out, Elijah needed a few more minutes as well, so everything worked out pretty well.
There were a few nice spots left when we got up to the campground, so we picked the most wooded one and set up our camp. Elijah was planning to sleep under the stars, but we brought a 2nd tent just in case he wanted it. We’d end up setting it up too, but despite some ominous clouds and a couple of late afternoon sprinkles, it never really rained.
We decided to skip lunch and went for a little afternoon hike. Somehow we walked right past the trails and ended up following the road for a couple of miles. We had some fun watching a guy ride his ATV through a giant mud puddle that enveloped a short stretch of the road.The rider was dressed more appropriately for the Saturday cruise ride to Kermit’s than a 4-wheel drive road. Elijah thought he looked like Sylvester Stallone’s character Cobra from the movie with the same name. I’m not sure how he managed to stay mud-free, but he looked relatively clean when he cruised through the campground again later that evening.
While we were navigating the same giant mud puddle on the return trip, Jess managed to step directly into the mud. Turns out it was about ankle deep. Of course she blamed me for not rushing to her aid, but I mean, how would another pair of wet boots have helped us? Phoebe slept most of the hike out, but was awake and happy for most of the return trip.
When we got back to camp, we hopped into the car and made a quick trip to Nederland to pick up some firewood and beer. We were in such a hurry to leave town we’d forgotten to pick up a six pack, so we thought it might be interesting to get a growler from the little smoke house and brew pub on the main drag in Ned. We’d first discovered the place a year or so ago after doing a little mountain biking on the West Magnolia trails with Andy and Gretchen and rather liked the beers we sampled. This time around we agreed on a pretty hopped-up IPA style beer.
Back at camp, we grilled up some brats and made up some garlic mashed potatoes. Elijah cooked a grilled cheese on the fire grate, and we all enjoyed a cup or two from the growler. It didn’t take long for the sun to disappear and Phoebe’s bed time to roll around. Since we’d only picked up one little bundle of wood, the timing worked out pretty well. Everyone went to bed and I poured a couple of gallons over the fire to make sure it was out. The Fourmile Canyon fire was only a few weeks ago, so fire safety was on the top of all of our minds.
As I mentioned before, there were a few light sprinkles, but the sky was already clearing by the time we made it into the tent. I planned to get up in the middle of the night in order to take some star photos with the new camera if everything looked clear. We’d also forgotten the changing pad we’d used as a baby-sized sleeping pad, so we put little Phoebe between us to help keep her warm. She again slept great, even if her hands and feet got a bit colder than I would have liked. I, on the other hand, got pretty cold taking photos in the middle of the night and couldn’t warm back up once I returned to the tent.
The next morning, we switched things up a little and Jess cooked some breakfast while I packed up our tent. We headed back into town so that Jess could do a little more of her Phoenix work. We also had some friends from church coming over for the first gathering of a new discussion group that sprung phoenix-like from the ashes of the book group. I managed to get everything ready with Jess’s help just in time for the hordes to arrive.
Last weekend, I got out for a little hike with Phoebe around NCAR while Jess was still away at her business trip in Washington, D.C. It didn’t last long, because Phoebe zonked out pretty quickly. We had a few minutes to walk around inside the little museum, and then took a lap around the little trail just outside the Mesa Lab. I read all the interpretive sign to Phoebe, but she wasn’t too excited to learn about temperature inversions and the like. Later that night, Jess came home. We were super happy to have her back, and just in time too; Phoebe had finished up the last of the frozen breast milk earlier that afternoon.
The following day, we spent a little time relaxing with a breakfast burrito from Santiago’s II in Lafayette and a cup of coffee at Cannon Mine. As we were getting ready to go, someone noticed that there was an awful lot of smoke on the horizon. I popped outside and could easily see a large orange-brown haze hanging over the mountains. The wind was really blowing, and you could smell the smoke and see ash falling all the way out in Lafayette. This was the beginning of what is now being called the Fourmile fire because of its origin along Fourmile Canyon just outside Boulder. The fire is already the worst (with over 170 homes lost) in the history of Colorado and is still raging. Luckily no one has been killed or seriously injured, but the fire is only about 50% contained.
We were planning to go for a little hike that afternoon, but the fire pushed us a little further away than we’d planned. The smoke was quite heavy in Boulder, and most of the mountain roads heading out of town were closed. We ended up going all the way up to the national park in an effort to escape all of the smoke. It was a beautiful day in Estes Park, and we ended up riding the shuttle bus up to the Glacier Gorge trailhead. Though it may seem odd, we’d never hiked up to Mills Lake or any of the area beyond the split in the trail that leads to Loch Vale. So, we loaded up Phoebe and headed for some new sights. Over the years we’ve heard that Glacier Gorge is very pretty, but of course, that entire part of the park is spectacular. There really isn’t a bad choice amongst the trails available.
After about an hour and a half of hiking, we were finally standing along the shore of Mills Lake and Phoebe was finally awake from a little nap. Already it was getting late, so we didn’t hang out long. The wind was also blowing fiercely, so we put Phoebe into her little jacket for some added warmth. We switched the backpack to give Jess a try and I snapped a few pictures before turning around. We made great time back down the hill to the parking lot and only had to wait a few minutes for the first shuttle bus to arrive. We made it back to the parking lot and drove back to Estes Park. Phoebe was getting a little hungry, so we stopped in town to give her another snack. Afterward, we walked around town for a few minutes, and Jess tried on a unique jacket with a built-in mitten. I grabbed a cup of coffee—yeah I’m an addict—and we drove back to Lyons.
Since it was still technically our anniversary weekend, we stopped at Oscar Blues for a nice dinner. Phoebe was awesome and let her mommy and daddy enjoy a nice dinner without any drama, and she even flirted with all of the waitresses—one enough so as to earn a helium balloon. By the time we were leaving, it was dark outside, so it was hard to see the smoke. As we were approaching Lafayette, you could see the red-orange glow from the fire lighting up the smoke.
Fast-forward to this weekend, and we’re back at the coffee shop having a burrito. We were planning to go camping; however, Jess is a bit too busy with teaching at the University of Phoenix, and she has a little copy editing project as well. She’d have ended up working the entire time, so it didn’t really make any sense. Hopefully we’ll be able to reschedule for a couple of weeks from now and get decent weather as well. Phoebe has been having a fun weekend. She’s becoming a really expert sitter and has even learned a few new tricks. In the video below she uses one rattle to fetch another rattle. Wow, using tools already. She’s also discovered that instead of crawling towards her toys, she can just pull them to her along with her blanket. Pretty cool.
Since Jess had so much work to do, Phoebe and I went for an urban hike with the stroller around Boulder. We had a good time when she wasn’t pointed directly into the sun. I’ve been looking at replacing my old iPod and thought the new iPod touch looked like a pretty cool tool, but they were out at the Apple store at 29th Street. So I guess I’ll have to order one online if I want one. It looks like it can do some fun stuff like play on-line chess. Maybe I’ll be able to give Grandpa Gribble a MacArthur Park smackdown Internet style. It also has a cool video Skype-like app, but it requires talking to others with an iPod or iPhone, and few of my friends have either.
Later in the evening, we went for another walk around Lafayette. We stopped back into the mine and spent a few minutes listening to a guy sing and play original tunes on his guitar. The crowd was pretty small, but he was pretty good. Don’t ask Phoebe about the music; she slept through everything. Well, it’s time for the kiddo to hit the hay, and I’m needed for a little bed-time reading. Au revoir!
I’ve been looking forward to the past two weeks since about six months before Phoebe was born! We wanted to wait as long as we could before putting her into daycare, and I had three months of maternity leave from work. We decided that Dave would spend two weeks of his yearly vacation at home with her once I went back to work full time. Then we recruited! Grandma and Grandpa Hazelton agreed to come out for a week during the third week of July. And Grammie and Pappy took the last week of July. That provided a weekend of overlap, which was the perfect time to baptize Phoebe.
My mom, known as Grandma Hazelton, is also known as the Reverend Elizabeth Hazelton. We wanted Mom to baptize Phoebe, her first grandchild, so we checked it out with our church and found that Mom was welcome to both preach and baptize. Our dear church friend Gladi is on the worship music team, so she helped plan the service. Dave was signed up to play his sax and our friend Katie would play clarinet.
We even got the talents of Bruce Hoelter and the Halftones! Many of us staunch Lutherans love A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, so we included that along with some of the traditional baptismal hymns. One of them, Go, My Children, with My Blessing was sung at our wedding by my friend Adam. And the tune was sung to my brothers and me every night, with different words. So we were expecting a very meaningful worship service. We also had the joy of several more family members in attendance: my aunt Martha flew out for the occasion, our honorary family the Otts (Jennifer, Lee, and Alexander) were able to come, and Dave’s dad Dave and his wife Sandy (Grandma and Grandpa Gribble) drove their new car all the way here! Phoebe is a lucky little girl—well loved by our birth families as well as our Colorado church family and assorted friends.
But let me back up. Grandma and Grandpa Hazelton arrived on Friday, July 16. Dave went to the airport to get them while I put Phoebe to bed and worked on grading final papers. It was so good to see them! Grandma immediately went up to take a look at the sleeping Phoebe. Saturday morning, they were up early, ready to play.
On Saturday, I had time to finish grading my papers even though we went into town and walked around the Boulder Farmer’s Market. We picked out some vegetables for a stir-fry and ate lunch in the market. It was such a hot day! But Phoebe successfully ate some milk from a bottle, beginning a streak that would continue throughout the week. (Thank goodness! It had really stressed us out that she wouldn’t eat during Dave’s two weeks with her.) On Sunday, we went to the early service and then hung around waiting for Dave to finish playing during the second service. (It was Latin American Sunday, so he was playing his sax.) It felt great to be done with my Phoenix classes! I was actually able to enjoy the day off. Some other highlights of the week included Grandma’s sixtieth birthday. We went out for dinner at Hapa, a Japanese restaurant in downtown Boulder. Then she opened her presents: a Kindle DX and the case for it. Pretty cool! One night, we had chicken paprikash for dinner (thanks, Grandma!) and on another we had a pot roast. Grandpa, Phoebe, Dave, and I went down to open mike night on Wednesday, and we ate Chinese one night. My parents just loved spending time with Phoebe! Every morning she woke up her usual cheerful self, thrilled to swipe at Grandpa’s fuzy (moustache in Slovak) and drool all over Grandma’s shoulder.
Jennifer, Lee, and Alexander planned to come over on Friday night when they arrived in Denver, but they got caught in some bad weather in Chicago and spent three extra hours in the airport. We spent the evening grocery shopping and thinking about what we’d need to prepare for dinner on Saturday and the party on Sunday. Saturday morning we all got up and started chopping and cooking. The Otts came over in the morning and we heard from Mom and Don that they were also stuck in bad weather in Chicago, so they’d be at least a few hours late. Dad and Sandy were still on the road, and Martha was going to see the Garden of the Gods before coming over.
So we had some time to work on the food. When everybody started arriving, we hung out on the deck. We made hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and ate the potato salad Grandma had put together. We also had strawberry rhubarb pie—thanks to Sally at work for the rhubarb, already cut up! We had fun playing with Alexander in the yard. He seemed to have the best time pushing choke cherries through the gaps in the deck floor. Everybody dispersed to their hotels for the night.
On baptism day, my dad drove Mom and Dave to church for the 8:00 a.m. service, and then came back for Phoebe and me. I actually got to sleep in for an extra hour or so! I gave Phoebe a bath and we got ready for church. I had bought myself a new outfit, which I don’t do very often, so it was fun to get dressed up. We got to church in plenty of time and put Phoebe into the baptismal gown and bonnet that Grandma Hazelton made her.
The service was exactly what I had hoped for all those months! We were surrounded by our family and our Colorado family—the kids came up to watch the baptism, so Phoebe’s friends were all nearby.
Mom’s sermon was enjoyed by the whole congregation, and we both got a bit choked up during the baptism.
(Phoebe cried until the part in which the water was splashed on her head. She’s always loved her bath, so I wasn’t too surprised that she didn’t mind having a wet head!) After church we took a bunch of photos and then headed home.
A short video of Phoebe’s baptism.
Mom, Dad, and I pulled together five quiches and a savory bread pudding in the kitchen while guests arrived. (Thanks, Susan and Marpoo, for your help with the food!) We had a fruit salad, pickles, olives, and cheese, deviled eggs, and peanut butter squares. Quite the feast! Phoebe wore a dress that Dave’s Grandma Hoot crocheted. She looks gorgeous in peach. However, she slept through much of her party. Everything wound down by evening. The Otts left for the airport and our friends for their houses. Some of the relatives headed to their hotels. We sank into the couches with relief. It had been the perfect day I had imagined!
On Monday morning, Dave and I drove our new car (as yet nameless) to get Grammie and Pappy from the hotel.
They drove us to work and then went to the house to do the baby handoff with Grandma and Grandpa Hazelton. I got to see Mom, Dad, and Martha again for lunch, and then we said goodbye. They were headed up to NCAR and then to the airport. Monday night we had dinner and the Gribble grandparents stopped by to hang out for a while. The rest of the week was really nice. We had dinner at Tutti on Tuesday with both sets of grandparents, and then Dad and Sandy were headed home via Mount Rushmore. Grammie did some cooking for us: a yummy pasta and vegetable dish one night and marinated chicken with broccoli the next. We finally made it to Efrain’s for dinner on Friday—that’s a particular favorite! Grammie and Pappy had a ball spending time with Phoebe. They went on walks, headed to the coffee shop, and played in the farm for hours. We were sad to see them go on Saturday morning, and while they’ll certainly miss Phoebe, they’ll be glad to get back to their normal-sized bed! Dave had a rehearsal at church, so I drove them to the airport. We came home and I took a nap. (It had been kind of a hard night—Phoebe’s schedule is a bit off, due to teething and guests, we think.) We had dinner and Henry’s first ice cream cone with the Johnsons.
Today is Sunday. Dave played his sax at the African service at church and Phoebe and I took the bus home. My uncle Lee happened to be working at his Denver office this week, and he had some extra time, so he came over. It was great to see him! We don’t get to very often.
And here we are. Phoebe starts daycare tomorrow. She’s probably more ready for that than Mommy. I’ve been missing her during the day! But she’ll enjoy making friends and I’m enjoying being back at work and doing grownup stuff again. It’s amazing to think that five months ago, we’d never met Phoebe, and now she’s a chubby, happy baby, ready to start daycare! Change never ceases, so we just keep trying to keep up.
We haven’t had much chance to write this week. Dave’s mom is visiting and she’s been hanging out with Phoebe while I get a few things accomplished…none of which have been the blog!
On Tuesday of this week, Phoebe was sitting in her bouncy chair when Dave walked past behind her. She turned her head to watch him walk by! Just the beginning of a list of exciting baby developments… She can see the elephants hanging above her pack-n-play and at least one of the photos we have hanging in the living room. Most of the time, though, all she sees is the inside of her eyelids or something that is not the source of food…aaaahhh!
Wednesday morning was a little stressful. The three of us drove into Boulder to get a tire we were storing put onto Taco to replace one that was really bald. The guy at Discount Tire said that they couldn’t do it and that we’d have to buy two new tires. So we did that and Dave rushed off to catch the bus to work. Phoebe and I went over to Starbucks to wait for the car to be ready. We left a little late and Grammie was already waiting with her bag when we got to the airport. We headed home so that she could get properly acquainted with Phoebe (not in the carseat!). We hung out at home that afternoon and went to pick Dave up at work. I’d made a lasagna for dinner, which was delicious, but it didn’t seem to agree with Phoebe, who suffered through a tummy ache that night. We went over to Cannon Mine coffee shop for open mike night, which Dave and I always enjoy and Grammie really liked too.
On Thursday Grammie and I hung out at home in the morning with Phoebe and then went to the post office and to meet Dave for lunch. We ate at Serrano’s near his work and then split back up. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get some ingredients for a delicious variation on strawberry shortcake that Grammie proposed: a filling/topping made of vanilla pudding, cool whip, and pineapple chunks. Yum! I had time for a nap in the chair with Phoebe while Grammie did a bit of work.
Katie came for dinner (no-peek chicken) and we had shortbread cookies with pineapple and strawberry topping. Grammie and I had more time to chat and to go on a short walk around the neighborhood while we waited for Dave to get home. We had a couple of packages to open. Grammie sent all sorts of cool stuff…totally adorable baby clothes in bright colors for Phoebe, a fabulous care package for me (bath salts, body wash, a nice shirt, all in a great bag), a really cute organic stuffed bear for Phoebe, and this book:
Then we watched a taped episode of Bones and hit the sack. (Babies are exhausting!)
On Friday we did our newly established morning ritual of tea, breakfast, and coffee. Dave had decided to take half a day off, so we picked him up at 1:00 p.m. and had some lunch at ModMarket, which I’d been wanting to try. The salad and flatbread pizza were very good! We went to REI looking for the Deuter Kid Comfort III backpack and discovered that not only is it out of stock at the warehouse, they can’t back order it. So I guess we’ll have to keep our eye on it and wait for the next 20 percent off sale. We had leftover lasagna for dinner and watched an interesting movie, Surrogate, with Bruce Willis. Despite my enjoyment of it, I fell asleep near the end.
On Saturday, Dave had to rush over to the coffee shop to work on some music he needed to transpose. Grammie, Phoebe, and I met him in time for our usual Santiago’s burritos and coffee. Then we all headed over to church. Dave practiced for the memorial gospel concert he’s playing in, and we listened. I walked over to get more coffee and ran into my coworker Andrew’s mom, who was in town babysitting Tilley while Andrew and Maggie moved apartments. She stopped by to meet Phoebe and we chatted about babies for a few minutes. Tilley is already more than 10 pounds! After listening to Dave practice, we went over to the farmer’s market, but left pretty quickly because it was raining. We ended up at Amante for more coffee (I know…it’s an addiction!) and to feed Phoebe, who had slept a lot and ended up starving. We came home and she ate some more before we went to Efrain’s for dinner. (Don, we owe you dinner!) After Efrain’s, it was back to the coffee shop to hear some music. There was a group with a cello—my favorite—and we sat in the back room and had time to talk. At home, we watched some Legend of the Seeker and went to bed.
This morning we skipped church to get some extra rest. Dave was supposed to teach Sunday school, but got home early due to a scheduling mixup. I had the pleasure of making waffles for Grammie and me—Dave doesn’t like them, so I’m always looking for someone to feed them to. Then, alas, we had to take Grammie to the airport. It was so nice for me to have grown-up company during the week, and Grammie just adored Phoebe…she’s a lucky little girl, with very devoted admirers! We’re looking forward to seeing Grammie and Pappy in July when they come for a week of babysitting and Phoebe’s baptism. Now we’re at Cannon Mine again after lunch, a brief nap (for Phoebe and me), and some hockey on TV.
Here’s a video of Phoebe from this morning…she had the hiccups, which she hates, but she was in a pretty good mood anyway.