Winter Drive to Fulford

Bright and early this morning we headed out to do more sight-seeing. We decided to head up to the Fulford caves south of Eagle. As you can imagine it was quite the winter drive! When we left the house it was only 5 degrees outside. (Needless to say Jack wasn’t too thrilled about being woken up!)

After a couple miles on the dirt road it quickly changed from dirt to packed snow. As we continue the climb up the mountain we soon passed the last tire tracks and started breaking trail down a 4×4 trail. It was beautiful! When we reached the first clearing we unloaded the little ones and bundled them up to play in the snow.

Ammon then had a great idea to create a make-shift shed with a tarp. The kids loved going up and down part of the road!

Here are a few pics we took along the way –

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Snowy road
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Jack doing what he does best

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Tasha & Mommy

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Kevin and Mommy

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Sledding
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More Sledding!

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Snowy Peak Vista

It was a very fun trip! The kids had a blast playing in the snow. Had it gotten warmer than 8 degrees we might have stayed a bit longer. And just think, it is only November! But we can’t complain too much. By the time we returned home for lunch it was already 22 degrees. Nice. 😉

Thanksgiving Fun!

We had a fairly quiet Thanksgiving at our new place. Just us and the kids. With all the craziness that’s been going on the past few months, I was glad to have it that way. Natasha was thrilled to help me makes the pies this year. She even made her own little cake with the leftover pastry. =)

We played with the kids in the morning and then sat down to a yummy (if I say so myself) thanksgiving lunch. After Kevin’s nap, we got everyone all bundled up and went out to play in the snow. The kids had been asking since it snowed a few days ago, but we’d been so busy and it had been so cold (in the single didgets) that hadn’t gone yet. Kevin wasn’t too sure about this whole snowpants, boots, hat and gloves thing. He’s like his Daddy and hates clothes! If they had it their way, they’d both run around in their birthday suits. =)

We played outside for quite a while and even trudged through the field to the park. Note: don’t try going down a fast slide with snowpants on. They make it even faster! Ammon tried to help catch me and I still barely landed on my feet. =)

As I’ve reflected on what I’m thankful for, I realize that most of them are common things: good food to eat, every material thing we need, healthy, happy children and an incredible, loving husband. I’m also so grateful for true friends and supportive family who are always there when you need them. Big changes in life are always stressful and having these people like you, in our lives really make it more durable. So thank you!

Most of all, I’m grateful for a Father in Heaven who knows me and knows what’s best for me, even when I don’t. Thank goodness for him giving me a way to communicate with him and for the Holy Ghost, so that I know when I’m doing what is right. I’m eternally grateful to him for all that I have, most importantly for this life that I am living. It is my faith in him and knowing that he has faith in me, that helps me through life roughest roads and helps me to appreciate all of his bounteous blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope yours was wonderful!

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Tasha was very excited to help Mom make the pies. Her eyes lit up when I asked her if she wanted to help.

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Kevin getting used to the idea of snow clothes

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Dad getting attacked!

Snow is falling all around….

It finally snowed! The kids were delighted to see the white stuff on the ground and couldn’t wait to play in it. We were so busy with everything that we hadn’t had time to play in it yet. We got home from a shopping trip the day after it had snowed and well….we weren’t as quick as we needed to be getting the kids inside…….

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Look Ma, no coat….or boots, or hat….

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Kevin actually started it. I guess Elephant wanted to join in on the fun! =)

Life in Eagle

Well we are finally here! After many long days packing and unpacking we have mostly settled into our new home! It is absolutely beautiful here and we couldn’t be happier!

We’ve spent most of the past week unpacking and organizing our home. While it isn’t 100% complete, we decided to take some time off this morning and head further up into the mountains. We went up to Sylvan lake where it was snowing!

Ammon is really enjoying his new job. His first project was to rewrite a sales application that was thrown together previously using VB.NET (whatever that is!). The new one he is writing is an ASP.NET application in C# (no clue what that one means either!). It is so nice having him come home and eat every meal with the entire family! After all, it only takes him about 45-50 seconds to walk home. 🙂

He will go skiing every Friday with the people from work, but Vail didn’t open yesterday because there wasn’t enough snow. I guess he’ll have to wait a couple more weeks to go. (Next Friday is the day after Thanksgiving so he doesn’t work) Speaking of Thanksgiving, Paul (Ammon’s boss) gave us a HUGE turkey! How nice of him!

So, enough chit chat, lets get to some pics. Enjoy!

Downtown Eagle:

Down Town Eagle

Our new Condo:

New Home

Ammon’s Office: (only 85 yards away!)

Work And Home

View From Dining Room:

Front View

Sylvan Lake:

Sylvan Lake

Kids Eating in the snow:

Kids In Snow

Lauren with the kids:

Family in the snow

Last but not least, Jack’s first snow!

Jack's First Snow

And that is it for now. We will be posting pictures from the move soon, but the Grandparents have them all back in Denver. (So it might be a while)

Halloween!

The first year that both kids were old enough to trick or treat! We went out as a family to meet up with some of Tasha’s little friends. We went up and down one street. Tasha and Kevin were the least aggressive about getting to the door first, so they were usually the last ones to the door, but Tasha got really good at saying “TRICK OR TREAT!!”. They both thought it was pretty fun to run from door to door and Kevin was SO excited when there would be a doggy at the door.

We made sure we took a photo in front of the crazy flowered couch because we have a photo of Ammon as a little guy, dressed up for Halloween in front of the very same couch!

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Tasha and Daddy doing pumpkins

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Kevin was so thrilled for “pumkins”

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Tasha de-gooping!

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All ready to go!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Kevin!

For Kevin’s birthday, Tasha, Kevin, myself, Ellen, Christina, Jaron, Ethan and Malika all went to the Zoo! We had a great time looking at all the animals. We ended by going on the carousel. Tasha and Kevin rode a rhinoceros together. Kevin gripped onto Tasha and they giggled and grinned the whole way around!

We came home to pizza and cake and presents. Kevin immediately knew what to do when the cake was put in to front of him and the candles lit. He blew out one candle at a time and got them both on the first try. Kevin loved all of his presents mostly car things and Elmo.

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Sly Kevin

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Kevin showing up his new birthday outfit

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Tasha admiring the elephants

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The cake

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He was pretty excited to see “lightening mcqueen” (the blue car) on the cake

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Posing with his cake
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Kevin and Mommy-birthday snuggles

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Blowing out his candles

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Cool shirt!

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Presents from Great-Nana and Papa

New Beginnings

Well…it’s official! We’re moving!!! About four weeks ago after we returned from Ouray, Ammon and I expressed to each other our love of the mountains and how great it would be to live up there. On a whim, he checked Monster.com to see if there were any jobs anywhere in Colorado in the mountains. And there was only one. It was C# developer (what Ammon is) job in a small town called Eagle, Co. It’s about 40 miles west of Vail. He applied, not expecting anything to come of it. Almost two weeks later, we received a phone call from the owner who wanted to speak with him. The owner liked what he heard and we went up to Eagle the following Saturday to meet with him and check out the town.

It was an interesting day; the kids cried and whined for about half the total trip there and back, the owner didn’t show up even after an hour of us waiting for him and attempting to contact him…just not so much fun. Before we left town, we decided to get some lunch and the owner called us then and asked if we could still meet, apologizing profusely. So, we met with him and then finally a week later, he let us know that Ammon had the job!! =) It took a while to get everything finalized; the details, a place to live, etc.

It’s an incredible opportunity for Ammon career-wise. Much better pay, lots of creative freedom in his coding, a casual work environment, the ability to work from home basically whenever he wants/needs to, and more. It’s a developers dream! Although things took a while to be official, it was amazing to me how things all worked out. This really proved meant to be. If we hadn’t gone to Ouray, we never would have looked for a job for Ammon in the mountains. The employer also found us a great condo, half the price of anyone else in town and it’s right across the street from the office.

It’s sad to leave friends and family behind, especially since it’s harder to keep in touch with friends than family it seems. We have made some great friends here and will miss their love, support and companionship. Yet, it’s exciting to us to meet new people, take advantage of all the outdoorsy things right in our backyard and to take a chance that might not be as appealing later in life.

We move Saturday, November 10th. That’s about 4 weeks to get the basement finished and everything ready to sell (or possibly rent) our house and get all packed up. If you don’t hear from me much during the next month, I apologize in advance. I might be a bit busy….;)

Ouray Jeep Jamboree

We went to Ouray for our honeymoon five years ago, so we were excited about the prospect of returning again to the tiny, sleepy old mining town. The best part about the trip is that we got to go for FREE! A friend of Ammon’s, Chris (they work together at Firstbank) organizes the Jeep Jamboree in Ouray every year and asked Ammon and I to be one of his “tail gunners”. As the name implies, we were the last jeep in the convoy of jeeps in one group. We just had to make sure that every one was doing ok and not getting stuck, etc.

The trail that we went on was actually one that we started on our honeymoon, but hadn’t gone very far because we didn’t really have the vehicle for it at the time. There were 15 jeeps in our group, Chris was the trail guide and we were the tail. I really think that Ouray has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world and naturally, the pictures don’t do it justice. We were on the same trail both days called, “Placer Gulch”. Along the trail, Chris shared with us the history of mining in Colorado with us, in addition to many other interesting tidbits about the area, etc.

Here’s my summarized version….Originally, Colorado was mined for gold, but after the few veins that were found had been excavated, the prospectors weren’t finding any more gold. They used mills to sort through the rock and whatnot and discarded the unwanted bits to one side, forming a huge pile called “tailings”. As mining got more sophisticated, the prospectors hired geologists to come in and tell them where the gold was. This one prospector brought a geologist to check things out for him and the guy said, “Well, where’s the gold?”. The geologist told him he was standing on a fortune, but not in the form of gold….in his tailings was a mass amount of silver. And so, Colorado became profitable for it’s silver.

The largest veins of gold have still not been played out and are in the San Juan mountain range, around the area that we were in. The last functioning (big) mining company in the area, Sunnyvale Mining company owns the claims for those veins and is waiting until gold hits $1,000/oz.

There were few things that really amazed me about the mining industry. The first was the way they transported the gold/silver. In “Placer Gulch” and other areas we saw while on the trail, you could see the cable running from mountain top, over valleys and connecting to another mountain with little tram cars hanging from them. That was how they took their findings to the mill or wherever. Even in the dead of winter!!! The other thing that I marvelled at was that in the San Juan Mountains there are 1, 010 (or so) MILES of mineshaft! Wow!

Each day for lunch, we stopped at Animas Fork, an old ghost town. You’ll see in the photos below, a hotel that is still somewhat in tact, at least enough that you can walk through it. There are also some other resident buildings (former residents) and the mill that is now starting to really deteriorate. We also visited this spot on our honeymoon, but we took the road through a few towns, instead of the off-roading trail. I didn’t get the sense this time, but I recall on our honeymoon, visiting this ghost town and have the strangest sensation since it looked like people could almost live there today. To see everything just abandoned the way it had been a hundred years ago was just a weird phenomenon to me.

Along with Animas fork, we stopped at an old silver mill and drove through Silverton, a neat little town nestled in the mountains, much like Ouray. The second day we were on the trail, the leaves had really changed and we got to see true Colorado gold! =)

We had a fabulous time on the trail. I actually drove most of the second day. It was a really mixed terrain, in some spots really rocky and bumpy and other spots you had to drive on the edge of a drop off and others still there were big rock faces to climb up. It was a fun adventure! Ammon said I did great, so I guess I’m gonna side with him! 😉

The hotel we stayed at was a Best Western and had the greatest pool. It was outdoors, but was so warm, it felt like a bath! Ammon and I played in the pool each evening we were there. The last night, I got thrown in after I had my towel on!!

We can’t wait to do it all again sometime!! If you want an awesome adventure, rent a jeep and look up Jeep Jamboree online. It’s an experience you won’t forget! They have 36 Jamborees all over the U.S.

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This is Ouray, town of about 900 people. It’s everything you dream about a small, mountain town. Small, quaint little shops, bakeries, sandwich shops. A huge 4th of July celebration with pancake breakfasts and a parade and a firefighter waterhose contest.

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Everyone splitting into their respective groups

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Some guy I picked up in Ouray! 😉 Cute, isn’t he?!

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Driving to the trailhead

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Me, posing with gummy bears. Ammon just felt like snapping a photo, I guess!

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Stopping for lunch
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Women drivers!

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Me enjoying being the chauffeur

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I don’t remember where this is exactly, but it’s beautiful, so I posted it anyways

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Behind me is an old silver mill, though I think the photographer focused on me instead. You’ll see another photo of the mill below.

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Jack the Jeep taking a break

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Stopping at Animas Fork for lunch
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This mill was from 1903, I believe. It was in California Gulch.

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A mine in Placer Gulch

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This is what I mean by Colorado Gold. If you only could have seen it in person. I know that in Ontario, you’ll see more variety of colors; orange, red and yellow, but to see these gold leaves when the sun shines through them is spectacular.

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This is me in the bay window of the old hotel in Animas Fork

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This is that silver mill I referred to earlier

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I don’t remember where this is either, but I love the contrast in colors

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This is in Placer Gulch. I thought the color of the hills was really interesting, different.

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Red mountain, appropriately named don’t ya think!

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And me just waiting around to get back in the Jeep