Saturday, July 3, 2010

Colorado Springs, The Final Chapter

We did more on this vacation than I ever remember doing on a vacation before, mostly because we spent so much money getting and staying there, we wanted to have so many good memories that we couldn't walk at the end of the day.

(To my Utah friends: I did look up how long it would take me to get from Colorado Springs to Salt Lake, and it told me 9 hours.  I told Sven, "How about you take the kids for a day while I go meet some friends for lunch?"  Being a typical "detail-oriented" fellow, he dragged the rest of the information out of me and ascertained that I would be on the road for 18 hours for this event.  The kibosh was then applied.  I'm working on an actual trip to Utah for next year, though.)

Day 3 of our trip opened with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  This zoo is tucked into the side of a mountain and is not funded with taxpayer money.  I was not expecting much, but I was totally blown away.

When we got to the zoo to buy our tickets, some deer wandered out of the woods and into the zoo, then some came back out.  We saw one perched in a decorative shrubbery just inside the gate, gnawing on leaves and viewing us with a jaundiced eye.

Giraffes!  This zoo has one of the largest giraffe herds in captivity, has bred more than 150 giraffes for zoos all over the country, and has a special pen where you can pet and feed them.  That's my hand.

Princess and Dexy loved feeding the giraffes.  I had to stop taking pictures because Dexy was trying to jump in to the pen with them, which, besides being a fall of about 20 feet, would have put him in a pen with over a dozen giraffes who, frankly, were somewhat hostile if you didn't have a special "Giraffe Cracker" (3/$1).

In one of the stupider things I have ever done, when I purchased zoo tickets, I asked for tickets to the Mountaineer Sky ride, which takes you up the side of a mountain in what was described as a "cable car."  I was picturing one of those enclosed cars, like you see at amusement parks.  What we got was a ski lift, with no seat belts or safety equipment.  Sven said, "No, that's not it, it can't be it," but it was, and we rode it up the side of the mountain.  We were terrified.  By "we," I mean Sven and me.  The kids loved it.  Dexy immediately scooted all the way up so he could look over the bar, which prompted me to clutch him to my side so tightly he said he couldn't breathe.  We got to the top safely and planned to make our home on that part of the mountain, but since our stroller and things were at the bottom, we rode back down and vowed to never speak of it again.  This is the one picture Sven got before he began to get too scared to let go of Princess.  ("Daddy, you're choking my tummy.  Stop it.")

We got a new camera, and this picture shows how awesome it is: you can clearly see that we were watching "The Land Before Time 17: Little Foot's Digestive Trauma."

After the zoo, we went to Garden of the Gods again, but you've seen pictures of that.

Our last stop in Colorado was Miramont Castle, in Manitou Springs.  I am so writing a book about this house.


With that, it was time to go home.

It was a great trip.  Tune in next month for Branson 2010.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Why can't everyone be exactly like I want them to be all the time?

I just got home from seeing Eclipse, the third movie in what is now officially called the Twilight Saga.  As expected, the movie was completely awesome, but that is not the point of this entry.

I rarely go to movies.  Before we had children, Sven and I went to the movies fairly often, as it was a somewhat inexpensive form of entertainment, and we both liked movies.  However, as time passed, I became more aware of the rude behavior of others, and it got to the point where I dreaded going to the movies.  Here are two examples:

1. Once, during a highly anticipated sequel, I sat in front of a young woman who had talked her friend into coming with her.  The friend had not seen the first movie.  Throughout the entire thing, the young woman whispered things to her friend like, "Okay, the reason that is important is, in the first movie, she got her arm cut off?  Right?  And now she doesn't have an arm?  So that's important."

2. Another time, during one of the Star Wars prequels, a man sitting behind me was talking on his phone at conversational level.  I turned around and looked at him, smiled, and turned back to the front.  He called me a b-word.

By the time I got pregnant with Princess, I was grateful to have the excuse that I couldn't really sit through a 2-hour movie without getting up for various reasons.  I even missed the highly anticipated movie version of Rent, but Sven bought it for me on DVD soon after Princess' birth.  Of course, you can't take a baby to a movie theater, so then I had even more of an excuse not to go.  If Sven had some action-filled comic book adaptation he wanted to see, he could go with his friend, Hezekiah.  Not me.  Even when Princess was old enough to go to the movies, I had to stay home with the new baby.

Then there was Twilight.  After years of self-imposed exile, I went online and bought a ticket for Twilight.  I went by myself.  (A side note: I love going to movies by myself.  Sven thinks it is sad and weird.)  A year later, New Moon.  Last week, Sven and I took both kids to Toy Story 3.  Earlier today, I took Momz and the kids to Toy Story 3 (yes, again, it was awesome).  And then, tonight, Eclipse.  Here is what I have learned:


The first time we saw Toy Story 3, it was in a completely packed theater, first show of the day (around 11:30), full of kids of all ages.  It was silent, except for totally appropriate laughter.  Today, we saw it again, and there was a very noisy ADULT who kept commenting.  (Several children shushed him.)  Tonight, at Eclipse, there were THREE BABIES who were FUSSING throughout, but since it was the 9:00 PM show, I blame the IDIOTIC ADULTS who thought it was appropriate to BRING A BABY to a PG-13 movie at 9:00 PM.  In addition, there was a very drunk and loud man who was extremely vocal about his devotion to Team Edward.  ("Suck it, Jacob!" was shouted more than once.)

In short, though kids at movies get a bad rap, I'll go to a family movie with a theater full of kids any day.

And save the rest for Blu-Ray.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 Vacay: Colorado Springs, CO, Day 2

For the second day of our vacation, I planned on spending a day in historic Cripple Creek, home of folk songs and gold mines.  To my dismay, it has now become the home of casinos and casinos, so we just rode the train before heading back to Colorado Springs.

Since we crossed a time zone in our travels, we were chronically early throughout our stay.  We arrived in Cripple Creek at about 9:00, only to discover that nothing opened until 10:00.  Here is Princess posing with a bronze statue of someone as we killed time until the train left.

Dexy wanted to get on the train and go.  He did not understand why we didn't just go!  Just go!  Just get on the train and go!  It was a long hour.

Finally on the train, Dexy discovered, delightedly, that they blew the train whistle all. the. time., which meant he got to make this face and say, "What was that, Mama?" about 87 times.

Princess, less enamored of trains than her brother, was just silly.

That evening, we went to Seven Falls.  To get to this observation platform, we rode up an elevator through a mountain and came about about 100 yards from the falls.

To get to the top of the falls themselves, you have to climb 224 stairs.  I figured, no, we'll just stay on this nice, safe platform and look at it from a distance.

The chipmunks at Seven Falls (throughout the Colorado Springs area, as a matter of fact) are quite brazen and somewhat suspect in their political thinking.  I'm positive this one was wearing a Mao jacket before he knew I was there, but he took it off quickly and adopted an innocent, stereotypical pose.

We were lucky; that night at Seven Falls, there was a demonstration of Native American dance.  At the end, Princess was asked to come up with the other children in the audience (but she was the youngest one who got up, due to her belief that she is welcome to perform at any time on any stage).

Princess with one of the Native American dancers.  Those things hanging on her dress jingled.

This lady was an expert dancer and drummer and singer.  She was awesome.  I'm reasonably sure that is a different tipi from the Cliff Dwellers site, but I can't guarantee it.

Sven and Dexy coming down the enormous staircase to the top of the falls.  They made it about 2/3 of the way up, Dexy walking by himself, until Sven said, "Look at how high up we are!"  Dexy then looked down, held up his arms, and said, "I want Mommy."

Princess, on the other hand, made it all the way to the top of the falls.

Princess then took this picture of Sven.  After this, she dropped the camera.  Days 3 & 4 will be presented with pictures from our new camera.