We headed up to the mountains this weekend to cut down our Christmas tree! We haven't had a real tree for a few years so we were really excited!
Will wore his big boy coat.
We hiked in about a half-mile, checking out all the potential trees on the way in. We wanted a big tree.
The trees weren't very full, but plenty tall.
We settled on one.
Grant chopped it down. Will cried. A true environmentalist :)
We tied it to the trailer.
And drove that puppy home. On the hour-drive home, we couldn't help but check out other people's Christmas trees tied to their cars. They all looked fuller and prettier than ours and we wondered if we would still like our tall skinny tree when we got home. (I guess the trees are always greener on someone else's car...)
But we got home. And our tree is THE BEST! Pictures coming soon.
I'm hiding in a hotel bathroom in the middle of small town, Illinois, USA. (We have to hide for about an hour every night because little Will won't fall asleep otherwise.) Grant ran to the store because we forgot the diapers at GG's house and we have a hunch that Will may need a clean one tomorrow.
But despite the whole "being holed up in a small, lonely bathroom" thing, I find myself reflecting on this wonderful week we have had, and how very blessed we are.
We arrived in Illinois on Wednesday to spend the holiday with GG and Great Papa. We have seen lots of family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.), and have spent most of our time eating and reminiscing. We've scanned pictures of old memories, learned about our ancestors, (especially William G. Tarrant, Baby Will's namesake), and made a few good memories to reminisce about during future holidays, (including Will's first experience with Santa Claus).
And more than ever I am grateful for the most important things in my life: family and faith: The brave souls who went before me, who did their best to be kind, and smart, and compassionate; Those who sacrificed their happiness and well being for that of their family's; for my own little family, built on the shoulders of those who showed us the way; who taught us to be kind, and smart, and compassionate just as they tried to be in their own lives; and for my Savior, who sacrificed all and continues to light our path each day.
We've established some new goals for our family lately. One goal is to have a recreational family activity once a week. While we usually spend a fair amount of time together, we tend to spend that time on home projects and television... not the most productive. It has been great for our family to set that time aside, and to know that Saturday afternoon, the saws and sewing machines will be put away for a bit.
So this week, we headed out on a hike to "The Compass".
Will loves his new carrier backpack. We got it at a friend's garage sale for $10. Woot.
The Compass is a little under 2 miles from our house and you can see all the major landmarks from it.
There is a literal 'compass' on the ground with arrows that point to places like the State House, Red Rocks, Roxborough State Park, and various reservoirs.
There are also telescopes (that are really just metal rod; see above) that point to the 14ers visible from that spot.
This is looking out NorthWest from where we were. In the middle of the picture is Will's future high school and middle school.
Cutest baby in the world.
Oh, and I got this excellent picture of his "swagger." He's quite confident in his walking skills these days.
Sometimes we can't believe we live in such an incredible place. I'm THANKFUL for being healthy and happy. (Gotta throw in a holiday reference...)
It was eleven-thirty pm. Six am breakfast was quickly approaching, but I couldn't get myself to write a blog post or go to sleep because I was just to busy giggling with my new sisters. Two queen beds, six women, and way too many cancer jokes. (While kidney cancer doesn't lend itself to many puns, breast cancer and vulvar cancer are just way too fun). How will we ever be able to leave each other in two days?!
Today I am amazed by the power of those around me. Marette (a.k.a. Ponch) made multiple full ascents despite missing all the toes on her left foot due to amputation. Charlie (a.k.a. Yogi) has not only been battling Asbergers and brain cancer, but pushed himself so hard today that his hands are covered in ridiculously huge blisters. Erica (a.k.a. Everything) and I both climbed routes we didn't think were possible and shared our subsequent emotional breakdowns. And my new "sister" Tikvah (a.k.a. Tiki) has discovered not only a new love for climbing, but an incredible talent for it as well.
On a lighter note, on a climb today I managed to lift my foot above my head, place it on a foot hold and then pull myself up to meet it. It was little short of an act of God. Pictures coming soon.
The importance of trust. Yesterday I met Terri (a.k.a. Waldo) for the first time. Today she held my life in her hands as my belayer. As I climbed a darn steep rock face, she held the rope that would save my life should I fall. And I had no choice but to have faith that she would be there for me. (She was :))
My body is capable of way more than I give it credit for. The last year has been an extreme test for my poor body. Natural childbirth, kidney cancer, a few running PR's, and now some serious rock climbing. This afternoon, we're returned to the rock after a much needed respite from the hellishly hot sun. One of the guides set up a new route on a large crack that climbed up the wall at close to a 90 degree angle. It was ridiculous. Straight up with huge distances between real foot holds, this climb was way above my skill level. I doubted my arm strength, my level of endurance, (which lately seems close to zero), and my limited rock climbing experience. And somehow, through some creative thinking, a few blisters, and tons of sweat, I made it thirty feet up that rock.
I have met so many amazing people and have already done more than I imagined I could handle. I can't wait to see what more will happen this week!
Day One at First Descents: Moab. The leaves are changing in the mountains and the drive was beautiful. I'm camped out at a fabulous, fancy cabin with 14 other cancer survivors and 12 staff members. The scenery is breathtaking, the company is great, and the food is scrumptious (elk burgers, quinoa salad, hummus and hiccuma, banana-peanut butter pudding...).
Tonight we all introduced ourselves with our official FD nickname and said a little bit about why we came to camp.
"My name is Beast, I live in Denver, and I'm here because I like to prove to myself that I can do hard things."
Tomorrow is our first day of climbing. Bring on the hard things!
I finally feel back to my normal self (mostly). Today marks 3 months since surgery which means I have ZERO restrictions. I went running twice this week (a pitiful attempt compared to where I was 3 months ago), and I'm leaving this Sunday for a rock climbing trip with First Descents. I'm stoked (and mildly terrified).
Will is doing great. He's officially walking. And he's the cutest baby in the world. Have I mentioned that before?
And Grant has been busy around the house. Latest projects include painting (of course), building a compost barrel, installing a hitch on his Camry, and assembling a trailer to tow our various crap around. He is impressive.
While there are certainly overwhelming 'motherhood days," we are so grateful to be healthy, happy, and most importantly, together.