Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hike at South Valley Park

You GOTTA love Colorado weather! Compared to what we are used to, the weather here is a dream. Yes, it is unpredictable, yes the temperature can vary even 40F in one day, which necessitates wearing and changing layers often in one day.

But it is never humid and never damp cold like Ontario, and that is great. Rich and I went hiking the other day and for most of the hike Rich was in a t-shirt. I wore a sweatshirt and my huge camera bag and was very comfortable.

This park we went hiking in is so cool. The rocks and trails are red- Colorado means "colour red" (though they spell it color! lol) and it was called that because of the red rocks.

I have taken photos going by this place before, on one of my trips here, but this was the first time I got to walk around. There were many hikers out enjoying the lovely weather and the beautiful scenery.

I am going to load the whole album of photos from that day into my Webshots (link on the right side of this page) if you are interested.

In the meantime, here are a few shots to give you an idea of the splendor of the day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Another Christmas has come and gone. Though I will admit to being a little nervous about how it would all go- blending the families and all that you know... it went well and we all had a good day.

We played board games over the days the kids were home and went bowling. We watched movies and ate too much chocolate. We took drives around the neighborhood to see the lights and decorations. When the noise level got too high or the energy level was more than we could handle, Rich and I removed ourselves to the quiet sitting room and cozied up on the couch to read.

And it isn't over yet! Holly and Ben arrive on Wednesday for the second week of the holidays and I am sure it will be plenty rambunctious then too... last time we weren't even in the car for half an hour on the way home from the airport and the four were already bickering... lol

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our Feathered Friends

We always feed the birds, and over the warmer months, we keep the feeders close to the patio so we can watch while we sit outside.

For the winter, we moved the feeder to where we can see it from the kitchen window and back door. I am thrilled with the variety of birds we have visiting us!

We have the hummingbirds in the warm months of course, and they are fascinating to watch. We also saw some gold finches and house finches, which have a pretty orangish colour on the front of the males. I have seen a cardinal as well.

Constants at our feeders are the finches and there are a few varieties. Sometimes my now-bare plum tree is chock full of the little chatterers!

We also have red-shafted woodpeckers, both male and female (as you can see in the photos- the male is the one with the red spots on his cheeks), gray jays, magpies (they are HUGE!), chickadees, and just the other day, feeding on a small bird and not at the feeder was a type of hawk which I think may have been a sharp-shinned hawk, but I haven't been able to positively identify it in our book yet. That is the one it most closely resembles.

There are still great flocks of Canada geese around here; the girls and I saw an astonishing number of them while we were driving the other day.

It really is something to watch and now that I have such a nice camera, I am starting to capture some of the action!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

From garden to sitting room

We always put up the tree around my birthday, so this weekend was it. We had this tree out back in a raised bed garden (NOT a great idea) and we were told it needed to come out. So we decided to leave it till now and use it as our Christmas tree!

Rich helped the girls cut it down (we will dig out the stump in the spring), and he and I brought it into the house. It's a lovely blue spruce. Lovely in looks, but SOOOO prickly! Next year we will have to pick a softer needle...

So we got it in, got it set up, got the lights on, and the girls started decorating- and the tree came DOWN!!! Rich and I were downstairs sorting through some decorations- we ran upstairs and rescued the girls- then I put a sturdy cup hook into the bookcase behind the tree while Rich held on, and we secured the tree so (hopefully) it won't fall again. Though Molly (the cat) seems to think it the tree was put up for her personal playing pleasure- so maybe it can't be secure enough... lol

Here is how the tree looked outside, untrimmed. And here it is, all decorated, ready for Christmas. Oh, and here is our Art tree- a ficus I somehow killed soon after I brought it home from the store. I have seen similar things sold as art and so we decided it can stay...

Week of Music

Well, Chloe had her band concert and Heidi was in the Denver Parade of Lights; it was a busy week of music! Gotta love the holidays!

The marching bands were judged on music, lighting (yep, lighting!), and overall performance, and Columbine won first place in lighting and came in third in overall. Way to go, Columbine! You ROCK!

I have some video clips of Chloe but as it always takes some time to upload them, I will do that later. Chloe performed in the Intermediate Band (6th grade) and the Jazz Band, as well as a part of a quartet. There were five or six elementary schools combined for this concert and the bands were HUGE. The Jazz Band is optional, once a week at the middle school and there are only about 15 kids I guess. They played "Wipeout" and it was GREAT! lol

For now, here are some photos of the girls! The photo of Chloe wearing the Fedora is the Jazz Band and the Santa hat is the grade sixes.

Heidi is in the last photo, and she is second from the right, holding her flute.

Next week is the Monster Band concert at the high school- more than 80 kids in one band... next semester, Heidi will play in the Wind Symphony- a band she had to audition for and she practiced day and night! The band is mostly seniors and she was pretty excited to make it!

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