So how did I spend my birthday?
There is a little slice of heaven that is located within an hour's drive of our home. Just outside of Red Feather, CO is a small state recreation area called Dowdy Lake. It is absolutely gorgeous. The topography is unique. You are in the mountains, at around 8,000 ft. elevation, but it doesn't really *feel* like the mountains because there are no mountain peaks looming in the distance. The air is cool, the pines are tall and the underbrush is green and lush.
Here is a shot to make you drool...
This photo was actually taken at the end of August last year, when we went up for Dean's 40th birthday. I just didn't get a good shot of the lake this time around. The lighting was totally different this time - bright and sunny all day. Here was the best I could do -
pine beetle is also starting to make a definite presence here, and I worry about how different it will all look by this time next year.
So this trip was all about just relaxing. Dean asked me weeks ago what I wanted to do for my birthday. Did I want a party? A surprise? A quiet dinner? I am an introvert at heart... and camping with just 'us' was what I wanted most. My happy place is right here (photo above), with my husband and children, breathing in the mountain air, with no sound except for the ripple of water on the lake shore and the quiet roar of the air moving through the pine trees. Camping does not feel like work to me. Sure there is a lot of preparation involved, but the payoff is worth it.
The kids wanted to fish, so that is exactly what they did. As it turns out, they are both very patient with reeling in the line very slowly. Rylan was even able to cast with surprising accuracy when she got the hang of it.
Last year, Colin was a tiny, sickly 8 month old. So this was his first 'real' experience camping. He loved it! He was a very very busy little boy as there was sooo much to explore.
Abby enjoyed her time too. Her end-of-summer shed has begun, unfortunately, so her hair is everywhere!! She reminds me of the character 'Pigpen' from the Peanuts comics. She is just this moving cloud of loose fur. Here she is in all her scruffiness...
I tried to get some good artsy shots. I scouted out wildflowers in the evening, and then I went out the next morning to make use of the good light...
|Abby passed this way, just before me. Can you tell?|
|There is nothing better than the smell of pine on a warm, sunny day|
Anyway - back to birthday fun. Our trip was only an overnight. We headed home and washed up in time for dinner with the family at Famous Dave's. My mom, dad and step mom, brother with his wife and three boys, my grandma and my three aunts and my mom's cousin all came to celebrate with me. It was sooo good!
Rylan helped me open gifts and Colin just devoured anything you put in front of him - especially the corn! The kids were just awesome the entire weekend. Minimal arguing and good spirits despite a rather sleepless night. We will be making some changes to sleeping arrangements and gear before we head out camping again in a few weeks.
A very good birthday indeed - and there is more to come. My birthday gift from Dean and the kids was delivered earlier today - an iPhone!! My mom is making me my official birthday cake today: Mississippi Mud. Is it just not a birthday without some mud. She is coming by with it tonight, and some sort of surprise is afoot. I am supposed to go out a get a new dress today and be ready to go out when Dean gets home from work tonight. Hmmm.
The only down moment in the midst of all the birthday fun is that the physical mailbox has remained devoid of one birthday card in particular. I could always count on a card from my grandma Betty, so yet again her absence has been painfully felt. She and I were birthday buddies - her birthday is coming up on Thursday the 11th. We would always share a giggle on the phone as we wished each other a Happy Birthday on the 8th and again on the 11th. It is hard to believe, still, that she is gone.
I don't want to leave you down... so here is a laugh for the road...