Aug 23

Update: It was a very good day

victory Update: It was a very good day
It ended up being a very good day for my first cross country meet as a high school head coach. Not to get into too many details, but 6 out of my 7 varsity guys medaled on their way to winning our first cross country meet of the season. For most of them it was their first cross country medal and for all of them it was their first cross country trophy. After one meet we have already beaten more schools then they beat all of last season. I was so happy that I was able to help them achieve some success this year. Besides the big smiles on their faces, and my runners saying thanks, and hugs, my coaching day became complete when the host of the cross country invitational shook my hand thanked us for coming, hoped that we will come back next year, and said we had one of the most solid squads that he has seen in a while. Like I said, it was a very good day.

picture via

Aug 20

Tomorrow is a Big Day

running Tomorrow is a Big Day
Tomorrow is a big day for me because that is the day I get to lead my first varsity high school team into action.  I have been a coach now going on a decade mostly at the middle school level and last year as an assistant/freshman coach.  While all of those things were great experience and a lot of fun it is nothing compared to what I am feeling now.  Butterflies are starting to build up, the constant thinking about what we have done, and wishing about what I could have or should have done differently.  Deep down I have a sense of confidence I know my team is well prepared I have seen them run fast, I have seen them put in the miles of hard work, and I know that they will try their hardest which is all, as a coach, I can really hope for. 

Tomorrow is a big day for the team because the school that I am at has had a very limited success rate when it comes to sports over the last 10 years.  You could say we have a crisis in the self-esteem department stemming from just the lack of success over that time period.  I have had seniors that have wanted to quit and told me they were going to because they were tired of taking last.  Fortunately I was able to talk them out of it just by showing them how far we have already come from last year.  I also realize if we do not have some success tomorrow I might lose my team because I have never coached them before this year and they have worked harder than they have ever worked.  If we do not get the results we want tomorrow they might think that all that hard work was pointless.        

Tomorrow is a big day for my senior runners because they have never taken home a cross country trophy and I think they can do that tomorrow.  Just as a coach I know anytime I walk by a trophy case and there are trophies that I helped put in there I swell up with a sense of pride.  I want them to have that feeling.  I want them to take home medals to be proud of and show off to their kids many years from now.  To have that pride when they hear their own kids like I do with mine when they say, “I want a medal.” 

Tomorrow is a big day for my school I know with the way they have been running my team since last spring, then all summer, the hard practices of early August when school started, that this can be a big year for the school.  That this cross country team can help start the process of turning around the stigma that goes with the school that we are at, and our city, area, state will stop looking at our school as just being a bunch of poor kids from a bad neighborhood and see what we really can do. 

Tomorrow is a big day…

picture via

Aug 19

Red Rock Canyon Open Space: Colorado Springs

14975737532 ed04edf73a z Red Rock Canyon Open Space: Colorado Springs
Having spent many summer vacations at the Springs in Colorado I was surprised to first hear about Red Rock Canyon Open Space as I was planning my most recent trip there.  Seeing the high reviews on travel sites, I quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted to visit.   The area did not disappoint.  It is not as scenic as nearby Garden of the Gods, but it is also not nearly as crowded.  There were several different trails to choose from and at different skill levels. The red rocks are scenic and there are chances of good wildlife viewing.  Overall, Red Rock Canyon Open Space is another great free recreational area in the Colorado Springs area and not to be missed if you enjoy the great outdoors. 
14789522817 0367df78e1 z Red Rock Canyon Open Space: Colorado Springs
Red Rock Canyon Open Space consists of over 750 acres of space most designated as “passive recreation” which means it is open to hiking, climbing, horseback riding, and mountain biking.  If you are hiker and worried about running into biker there are some bike free walking areas you can stick to.  The park also has off leash dog loops, picnic areas, some of which are wheelchair accessible, and a bike park which is like an adventure course for bicycle enthusiasts.     
14953096636 e1f66aaa82 z Red Rock Canyon Open Space: Colorado Springs
We got to spend an afternoon at the Red Rock Canyon Open Space and planned to go back again, but unfortunately we had an afternoon thunderstorm so we only made it there one day.  It was a lot of fun hiking some of the trails that I actually got to and the next time we are in the Colorado Springs area we will most definitely go back.  Though the overall view of the hiking trails is of the stunning red rock formations the trails have some variety to them some go to old quarries, others to a small pond, and furthermore some go to overlooks of the red rock formations. 
14953097656 746b038aa1 z Red Rock Canyon Open Space: Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods is going to be more scenic so if you only have a little time in Colorado Springs I would go there first.  However, if you have more time and are looking for a much quieter place than Garden of the Gods head to Red Rock Canyon Open Space, it provides a little bit of solitude without leaving Colorado Springs. 

To see our reviews of other Colorado Springs attractions click here

14789523397 538889d713 z Red Rock Canyon Open Space: Colorado Springs
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Located along Highway 24 off of Ridge Road
Hours of Operation Dawn to Dusk
Cost as of this Posting: FREE
For more information visit their Friends of Red Rock Canyon Open Space website at http://redrockcanyonopenspace.org/

Aug 17

Bumpdate (2): 24 weeks

14930666156 b8e4976713 z Bumpdate (2): 24 weeks

HERE is my 24 week bumpdate with M

How Far Along: 24 weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I am up fourteen pounds so far (yikes).  I haven’t seen that number in writing until just now.  That feels like a lot but I guess I’m closer to the end than the beginning (wow!).

Maternity Clothes: I just bought two cute new shirts on a little shopping spree with my Momma.  Since I am mostly just around the house with McKenna I don’t have to have super stylish clothes to impress her.  I am just trying to have several ‘cute’ outfits for running errands and going to the doctor.  I also bought some yummy soft jammies and have been enjoying them.

Gender: We are so slow with our gender reveal this go around.  I’m so sorry.  We will try to have that post up and running here in the next few days.  We have known for weeks and are just thrilled of course.

Movement: I still think feeling a baby move in your tummy is one of the most amazing feelings in the world!  I absolutely LOVE feeling those little kicks and jabs and rolls and flutters.  It is just a reassurance that baby is healthy and still going strong in there.  Never once have I ever felt annoyed or bothered by those little kicks, even when it’s late at night I still smile with delight.

Sleep: I’ve been sleeping pretty good here lately.  I almost always have to get up at least once to go to the restroom, but no complaints here.  Kenny is such a sweet nurturing hubby, if M happens to wake up at night he ALWAYS takes care of her and gets her right back to sleep.  He takes such good care of his girls.

What I miss: Going for walks.  Before M was born Kenny and I loved to go take a nice walk down by the lake near our house and after she was born we would walk EVERY day.  Some days while Kenny was at work I would take M for several walks and we would walk again once Daddy got home.  She loves to be outside and it is a great way to burn off some energy.  But I had to have a cervical cerclage surgery done again with this surgery (just as a precaution more than necessity), but that means staying off my feet as much as I can so…. no walks for now.  That’s alright, I know I’ll get a bunch in once baby number two is here.

Cravings: It seems like all I want this go around is salty salty salty foods.  A pizza place near our house has super yummy cheese bread and the best marinara sauce (I could drink it).  That seems to be my meal of choice when we get something from out.  Ted’s tortillias with queso are at the top of the list too, but they aren’t so close to us (boo).

Best Moment this week: Getting a great report from my specialist doctor and seeing our sweet baby on the 4D ultrasound.  He used the word ‘perfect’ several times, “look at that perfect little spine”…. “what a perfect little heart”… I was in heaven!

Aug 16

Made our Bucket List: Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls 1024x702 Made our Bucket List: Havasu Falls
My wife and I are big fans of waterfalls and seek them out when we go on our vacations.  We have seen some great ones in places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Smoky Mountains, and places in between.  However we have not yet seen one of the prettiest ones in the United States (some would argue the world) which is Havasu Falls.  Havasu Falls has made our bucket list because of its surreal setting of red rock canyons, turquoise water, a dream oasis in Grand Canyon country.  Located on Havasupai land Havasu Falls combined with nearby Mooney Falls is a dream destination and is something we look forward to seeing. 

The Havasu Falls requires advance permits and a bit of trek to get to.  It is highly popular so it will take some far range planning to make the trip come out right, but it would definitely be worth seeing one of the world’s premier waterfall and swimming hole destinations.        

To view our other dream destinations click here   

Picture via

Aug 15

Landscape photography Number 15: Sunrise Great Sand Dunes

14406312317 c28ef8de85 z Landscape photography Number 15: Sunrise Great Sand Dunes

One of the most fun things about photography is all the experimenting involved. There are so many different things you can photograph and ways to photograph them. Different angles, different lighting, so many options. Photograph literally means light picture, so lighting is one of the greatest things to experiment with.

On a recent trip to The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado I had the opportunity to take some pictures of the dunes right at sunrise. Not only was it an amazing experience (you can read about here) but I got some pretty nice pictures out of the journey.  I feel like the peace of the moment translates through this picture.  It was still and quiet and got to see the first rays of light hit the dunes.

I tried to my best to capture the light hitting the sand ripples creating an interesting shadow effect on the sand.  One of the toughest things for me that day was just trying to capture it all in.  It is tough when you are limited in the equipment you have and a wide angel lens would have been so nice on that day.  However, there are a lot of other nice things in my life that I am not willing to sacrifice for my lenses for my photography hobby.  So I am perfectly happy with what I have and as my wife tells me, “you take some pretty good pictures with what you have.”

Aug 14

Pueblo Zoo: Small Zoo Big Heart

Penguins 1024x670 Pueblo Zoo: Small Zoo Big Heart
The Pueblo Zoo was not on our list of must see zoos, but we were glad that we took the time to stop when we  were driving through the city of Pueblo.  When my wife and I are traveling we are always looking for a zoo to visit, and while the large metropolitan zoos can have exciting exhibits, tons of animals, and many unique species, the small city zoos have a unique charm all their own.   We have a lot of fun visiting the large zoos but sometimes a small town zoo provides better quality time with our young family.  The Pueblo Zoo is a great zoo for a family stroll.  At 30 acres it is not too big to tire out the little ones and with over 420 animals and close to 150 different species there is enough variety to make it a fun family visit. 

M and Goat 1024x682 Pueblo Zoo: Small Zoo Big Heart
The Pueblo Zoo is divided up into 4 regional areas, the Serengeti Safari, North American Grassland, the Australian Outback, and Asian Adventure.  For a smaller zoo they did have a nice variety of animals from zebras to lions, sun bears and maned wolves, and bison to prairie dogs.  There is also a children’s petting zoo area with variety of farm animals.  Our daughter really liked feeding the goats and sheep and getting up close to all the other animals. 

IMG 5906 1024x682 Pueblo Zoo: Small Zoo Big Heart
The best exhibits at the Pueblo Zoo were their American river otter area, the penguin exhibit (because penguins are always fun to see) and their reptile house called World of Color.  It is not so much the exhibits that made this a fun place for us, it was more of the fact that our 2 year old daughter really got to enjoy herself there.  The crowd was small so she got to explore a little bit more on her own, there were not dozens of other people standing in front of the cages to see the animals, and the zoo felt like it had happy animals.  All-in-all it was a fun visit. 

Golden Eagle 1024x682 Pueblo Zoo: Small Zoo Big Heart
The Pueblo Zoo is not going to be on our top 10 list of zoos or anything like that and it helped that we are members of our local zoo so we received a 50% discount on admission, but we really enjoyed our visit to the Pueblo Zoo.  It was a great zoo for a stroll and enjoying a family outing.     

To read our reviews of other Colorado attractions click here      

Pueblo Zoo
Located at 3455 Nuckolls Ave, Pueblo, CO
Hours of Operation: May to August 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and September to April 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost as of this Posting: Adult $10 Youth 13 to 17 and Seniors 65 and over $9 and Children 3 to 12 $8
For more information visit
http://www.pueblozoo.org/

Aug 13

So we got a Fish Tank

fish tank So we got a Fish Tank
My daughter M loves animals, it started when she was just a newborn watching the squirrels running in the yard.  She used to get so excited by the little guys running all over the place.  When that became routine we added a bird feeder by our big window and she loved seeing the birds and would run over to the window whenever she would catch a glimpse of a bird.  We have also taken her several times to our local zoo and whenever we get away on a family vacation we look for zoos to see on our trips.  In fact, her favorite vacation spot has been the Atlanta Zoo she still talks about it and occasionally gets out her little backpack and announces that she is off to see the Atlanta Zoo. 

Lately she has started dragging around anything with a string  anything from telephones handsets at hotel rooms to shoes calling it her puppy and she is taking it out for a walk.  I have joked around with my wife Karen that, “you know in a few years we are going to have the sad little kid with a string and tin-can who goes around taking her pet for a walk.”  Unfortunately with our small yard and busy schedule of my wife being a stay at home mom to one and soon to be two little ones, and I am working three jobs to support my family there is just not a lot of time for a puppy or even a kitten so we got a fish tank. 

M has enjoyed every trip she has taken to an aquarium and has been excited about the prospect of owning a fish especially a “colorful fish” or a “goldfish.”  I have to admit is kind of exciting for me too I was hoping for a puppy, but I will settle for some fish.  We just got the supplies today substrate, filter, some décor and put in the water and water purifier stuff.  So hopefully in a few days’ time we will add a few more minor members to the family.  We will keep you posted and wish us luck, we will probably need it. 

Picture via    

Aug 12

M’s Musings

14899432551 01841e46a7 z Ms Musings
We felt like it was time for another cute installment of M’s Musings

Musing #1
Mom: M was kind of in a M-O-O-D (spelling out the word) this morning.
Dad: McKenna, were you in a M-O-O-D this morning?
M: No, I in a A-B-C-D

Musing #2
Holding up a little slice of pie from her toy picnic basket
M: It’s pie-licious, I make it just for you!

Musing #3
One of McKenna’s books has a page full of yodelers.  I always do a little yodeling for her when we turn to that page.  Before I knew it whenever we would turn to that page she would bust out with her own rendition…
M: (slowly) A-dee lady lody lou, A-dee lady lody lou, A-dee lady lody lou.

Musing #4
While playing outside we happened across a roly poly bug.  I playfully asked McKenna
Mom: Is it rolling or polling
M: (after a contemplative pause) mmmm…  polling
so precious because it was indeed straightened out and crawling along (like a pole) as opposed to “rolling” in a little ball

14879495326 2e92588f5e z Ms Musings
General McKenna-isms:

  • Octopus= ock a puss
  • Picnic= pick it
  • Comfy cozy= com-sey cozy
  • Computer= computa

That sweet girl just makes our day, we want to remember all the fun things she says.  Hopefully it gave you a little smile too.  To see more of M’s Musings click here.

14715947557 280f0e7780 z Ms Musings

Aug 07

Nature and Raptor Center: Pueblo Fun

14876412373 f737e45426 z Nature and Raptor Center: Pueblo Fun
Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo is a bird rehabilitation center and sanctuary.  Helping injured and orphaned birds since 1981 ,the Nature and Raptor Center has returned thousands of birds to the wild.  However, not all birds could be returned from once they came and few have found a home at the center.  Those resident raptors are on display at the center and participate in their educational programs.  The Nature and Raptor Center also has what they call weekend Raptor Talks which take place every Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 where visitors have a chance to get up close to some of their raptor residents. 
14669892429 7c0eef671d z Nature and Raptor Center: Pueblo Fun
We have been to some wildlife and rehabilitation centers and each visit is bittersweet for us.  On one hand it is nice and fun to see the animals up close, but sad to see them hurt or unable to be returned to the wild.  Their raptor center had several cages where we were able to see eagles, crows, hawks, falcons, and owls.  We had a chance to talk with one of the staff who was about to give some of  the birds baths which sounded great to us because it was very hot day during our visit.  As we were leaving the raptor center we received a real treat when two ospreys returned to their nest which was high up an observation pole (telephone pole).       
14856182652 a20f886107 z Nature and Raptor Center: Pueblo Fun
After we took a little time to observe the ospreys we went down to the nature center which sits on the banks of the Arkansas River.  It was a beautiful oasis setting compared to the arid rocky area of the raptor center.  The Arkansas River bike/running path goes right through the area, and looks like a great place to do a little exercising.  There is also a restaurant overlooking the area, picnic area, playground, and the nature center itself.    
14669905638 4c75c858dd z Nature and Raptor Center: Pueblo Fun
Overall, the Nature and Raptor Center was a fun little stop for us while we were traveling through Pueblo.  To see our reviews of other Colorado Attractions click here.

The Nature and Raptor Center
Located at 5200 Nature Center
Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cost as of this Posting: $4.00 per car
For more information visit their website at
http://natureandraptor.org/

 

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