Day 56 - 63: September is Reason Enough

September anywhere is probably amazing, but September in Colorado is amazing enough to warrant 30 spots on my Colorado Love list for all the days inside of it. The landscape is a feast for the eyes, and the air gives the same refreshing feeling as drinking a glass of lemonade on a hot day. Sunflowers line the streets. Actually, entire fields of wild sunflowers bloom in surprise pockets throughout the city. Most of the leaves are still green, because technically it's not fall yet, and Colorado just really understands that.

Without further ado, here are a few reasons to love Colorado Springs in September:

1. Wild Sunflowers
2. Cool, crisp mornings warming to 75 degree days
3. Bluest skies of the year
4. The sprinkling of glowing gold trees that hint at a beautiful fall to come
5. Fresh new school year begins
6. Purple Russian sage bushes dotting the city
7. The deer grazing in our neighborhood in the cool morning
8. The clear mountain air positively caresses your skin. Not too hot, not too cold. With a slight breeze.

I could live in a Colorado September for eternity.


Day 55: Summer Afternoon Thunderstorms

Rain in Seattle is more like a gentle mist most of the time. And, it's everywhere. Like, it would take 2 or 3 days for my clothes to dry. We lived in a small, little house near the university. It was absolutely fantastic and one of my favorite places we've ever lived (that would be 10 places if you were wondering), but I didn't really have room to hang my clothes in the laundry area, so I would just drape all my 'line dry' clothes all over the furniture everywhere. Dustin hated that. But, you know the dryer is basically taking layers off of your clothes every time you stick them in there. Also, they are never really the same shape again.

So, rain.

In Colorado Springs, it rains. Only it prefers to rain in the summer here, and it sneaks up on you. You wake up to a perfectly ordinary summer temperature of 70, and the temperature climbs on through noon and into the afternoon, and then BAM!, at 3:00 dark clouds swarm the sky. Within seconds big, juicy raindrops pelt the earth. 

Usually, we all run to the porch swing to either watch the show, or in the case of the children, BE in the show. Rain water pools in all the crevices. It doesn't take long for the kids to run back to the porch shrieking,


Sure enough, lightening stretches across the sky, and we all count:

"1, one-thousand, 2, one-thousand, 3, one-thousand, 4 -"

Rumble, rumble, BOOM!

You can feel Colorado thunder in your muscles. They twitch in reaction.

I so look forward to summer afternoon thunderstorms! I like that the rain is sort of angry, and yet, generous at the same time. I like that the lightening is such a show-off, and that the thunder will never be outdone. I love that Dustin and I always sit on the porch swing while the short-lived storm lets out it's frustration. Dustin plays the guitar and sings, and the kids lay their umbrellas aside and wash their hair in the fresh rainwater.

I think, maybe, just maybe I fell in love with Colorado Springs over this summer. I only got to number 55 in July! This is great news because that means I have more than 300 new Colorado discoveries to make. Wish me luck!


Day 54: The Good Life - Front Porch View & Mountain Smell

Hello. Today is one of those perfect summer days of weather reprieve. It is only 66 degrees today with a slight breeze. I am sitting here on my porch swing and this is my view. I sit here a lot during the warmer weather while the kids play in all the neighbors' yards because, yes, I am that mom. See that little piece of forest between the two driveways? This morning, it was like a new discovery for all three of the kids as they traipsed around playing cheetahs, which fortunately for them, are not native to Colorado.

Every time I come out on the porch, whether to lazily swing and read a book, sit on the cement steps eating ice cream cones with the kids, or to be totally vigilant marching from the porch to the driveway to the neighbors' homes to keep track of the kids, I think how lucky I am to see this natural beauty every single day. As long as I go out on the front porch at least once during the day. Ha!

But, the real thing that inspired this post today was the fresh scent of pine. It was among the first things I noticed when we toured this house 3 years ago. It smelled like my childhood spent at family cook-outs in the mountains. With the cool weather and even cooler breeze on this middle-of-the-summer gift of a day, the aroma of pine was especially strong, and I thought, "Now, there's one for your Colorado Love List."

And, I was right.


Day 53: Fawns

Do you see those two baby deer trying to blend into our backyard? Well, June and July mean fawns here, and we've been waiting and waiting this year. The rain has kept them away, I guess, but here they are! We love catching a glimpse of them, and even when were are staring at them from inside the house, we whisper quietly because they are so easily spooked. I remember going on drives through the mountains as a girl, and we would be SO excited if we ever spotted any wildlife at all. And, even if we saw some, it would always be very far away from us, and here this is in our backyard. This picture was taken through the window. That's something to like, for sure.


Day 52: Santa's Village

Let me introduce you to Santa's Village, a small amusement park for children exactly the ages of my children. They even have a north pole that is frozen solid. It feels pretty nice to rub your hands all over it on a hot day.

I'm not normally very excited to spend the day at a theme park, but this amusement park is tucked away up in the mountain side and a nice breeze tickled our backs all day.

We also lucked out that Blake was just tall enough to ride all the rides. We last visited when Avery was about the same age and she was not nearly tall enough at the time.

The carousel is always a favorite with our kids.

Luckily, Dustin does think theme parks are fun, and he rode almost all the rides with the kids when they needed an adult to accompany them. What a fun dad, amiright?

Blake felt very big and independent riding without us, and the girls felt very big and responsible when we asked them to sit by Blake and put their arm around him to keep him safe. 

We had cousins with us, which is always the best, and we were all happy to watch Dustin wheel them around all day. Ha!

The buildings are pretty cute.

You can sit on Santa's lap if you want. You can buy Christmas ornaments. You can mail a postcard from the North Pole. You can buy a s'mores pack and roast it by the fire. It's all pretty fun.

So, Santa's Village at the North Pole. It's a pretty good find.

Day 51: Kissing Camels

When I was a kid, we would drive to the Provo/Orem area in Utah every year to see my grandparents. As we were driving in, my dad would always point out the lovely Mount Timpanogos.


He would tell stories of hiking it with my older brothers when they were small, and he would tell us of the folklore surrounding this majestic mountain. The one I liked best involved a Native American princess and her love story. Then, as we whizzed past on the freeway, he would say, "See! See it!? You can see the outline of the princess along the top of Timpanogos!" From the back of the crowded twinkie van or suburban because, yes, I was always in the back, I would concentrate on that outline, and you know what? I still have yet to see that outline.

Can you see it?

Well, in Colorado Springs, we have a much simpler outline at Garden of the Gods. It's called Kissing Camels, and we point it out to the girls every time we go. I am always reminded of my dad when we walk along the cement path while the girls zip along on their scooters, "See it?! See it, girls? Do you see the two kissing camels?"


Aren't they lovely? This, of course, is not my photography. Here is mine:

This is the angle we see the camels from our walks, but the other shot is how we see them every time we drive to and from school.

I'm headed to Utah in a couple of weeks, and you can bet I'll tell the girls the stories of Timpanogos and pretend I can see the outline of the beautiful princess and can they see it to?

It's the little things, you know?


Day 49 & 50: Fox Run Regional Park and Rosie's Diner

Our Colorado summer is well underway, and we have been tearing it up! Our first week, we explored Fox Run Regional Park, which might be my favorite park in the city. It is so delicious! We pretty  much drove through a forest to get there, and Claire exclaims, "Mom! Are we in a forest?!" And I got to say, "YES!" See:

This is the gorgeous view from my blanket where I sat watching the kids play:

Pike's Peak, I love you.

The air felt cleaner, fresher, and slower up there. Maybe we just chose a good-weather day, or maybe we really were in an enchanted wood.

I've been there once before, but I was so glad we decided to explore it again. It is absolutely stunning and lovely. Since we were farther north in the city, we hit up a local diner with friends, which was quirky and fun. It might even have been good food, too. Happy Summer to you!


Day 48: Summer Reading Program

This reading program is super cool. It is through our local library, and the kids fill out a reading chart. For example, there are 9 stars in 3 different sections. For every 20 minutes the kids read or are read to, they get to color in a star. When they fill in the first section of stars they take their chart into the library and get their first prize. The picture above it the first prize. As you can see, we already used two of the coupons. The first one was a $5 toy from Once Upon A Child. The second one was a free kids meal at Del Taco. We did both of those the day the kids earned the first prize, and now we have other activities to plan based off the rest of the coupons! They will also earn a frisbee and a book for the next two sections, but I think they start with the coupons so that you have an entire summer to enjoy the free kid's meals and activities.

Do you have something like this in your town?


Day 47: The Bearded Iris

13 years ago, I came home from a college class to find a bouquet of spring flowers tucked between the doorknob and the door of my apartment. They were from Dustin. I thought it was the most beautiful bouquet I had ever received. I remember there being a large, pink gerber daisy and a couple of purple irises among the others. 

 I'm pretty sure this is the first time I had seen an iris, and I loved it.

Most couples have a song that they share. Dustin and I have a flower. It is the iris.

As we've gone on our summer walks through the neighborhood, I've found gorgeous, delicate bearded irises, and also! I have some in my backyard! They're the yellow ones, but they are still amazing.

Do you have irises where you live? I'm glad to have them here however long they decide to last.


Day 46: Red Rocks Canyon Open Space

We love, love, love Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Something that separates it from Ute Valley Park is that the kids can do some 'scrambling' because the hiking path is carved right into rock in some places. Adults also 'scramble.' We see lots of rock climbers when we visit.

I guess also, the rocks are red instead of sandstone white, and we see horses a lot.

It's further from our house - maybe 20 minutes in the car - but it's closer to other parts of the city that we can combine into a fun day trip, like Manitou Springs, which we'll have to talk about later.

Can you tell these photos are from last January?


Basically this is a picture dump, but they are all just so good because of the scenery. In fact, it makes me want to go again. We've got to make it happen!