Friday, September 18, 2009

So much to say and so little time..

Here's a rundown on all the little details I've not had a chance to mention lately.  My blogging has been as organized as my life it would seem. (Heavy sigh...) And, though it really was my intention to keep it quick, like the button says... Well, I could write a novel about my issues with brevity. This should color in all the corners I've missed this past week, though, with some embellishment around the edges of the page, too. (Run on over to Jennifer's to see if everyone else's Quick Takes really are quick.)
1) I've been looking over my shoulder all week, counting and recounting children.  I've gotten used to the six-kid count, now that the big boys are all off doing their own things, but I'm missing two more youngins this week and it's really thrown me off. Anna and Cathy are in California spending the week with Dan's parents. Getting spoiled rotten, lucky little chickadees.  Disneyland, Legoland, the beach.... Grandma and Grandpa all to themselves...  Heaven on earth for a kid.  (Or, heck, it'd be heaven for a grown up, too!) Starting back when Paul, our oldest, was a polliwog, the kids' California grandparents have flown each of the children out for a week of fun in the sun around their seventh birthdays.  This year it was Anna's turn (she'll be seven in November), but Anna didn't want to go by herself, so she requested a  flying buddy.  Cathy happily agreed to the suggestion, of course, and Grandma and Grandpa were fine with having two little princesses instead of one.  So, they're all happily keeping Goofy and Cinderella company in California, and I'm walking around feeling like I'm missing appendages.  One, two, three,  Four.  Four.  Only four.  I'm not used to the count being so quick. 

2)  We've been so busy this week, I've needed to keep track of everyone.  I'd lose my head if it weren't attached in a calm week.  (Yes, don't worry; it's there. I just checked.)  The itinerary has been hectic, but fun.  Last Friday, for my birthday, Dan took the day off and we took a hike along Bear Creek to Dunafon Castle.  I'd gotten a new pair of sneakers and a camera especially for the weekend of hiking we'd had planned, and, though I remembered the sneakers and the camera on this first hike, I forgot the battery for the camera, so didn't get any pictures.  Doggone it.  But, we made an Autumn Leaf Faerie in our ramble through the woods, and took a picture of it when we got home.  (See her lying sideways up there.  I haven't figured out how to rotate pictures on my new camera yet... We'll make a tutorial on how to construct these later in the week, if anyone's interested.)

3) Then the weekend:  On Saturday, Theresa and I had a wonderful rainy day adventure in Manitou Springs.  Then, on Sunday afternoon, Dan and I got to get away together for a little mountain drive.  We had time to take a stroll around Genessee Park and then stopped in for some Beau Jo's Mountain Pie (indescribably delicious pizza) in Idaho Springs before the rain and hail came.

4) Tuesday, the little girls took off for California, and those of us left behind consoled ourselves with a mountain hike, heading this time for Devils' Head Peak -- a gorgous hike on trails easy enough for William and Gabe to negotiate.  You can make the trip easily from your seat right there where you are. Are you ready for a little hike? 
Here we are near the head of the trail.  Got some comfy shoes on?

Here we go.

Lots of good finds on this trail.  X marks the spot here:

William lasted almost to the half-way point before he started needing piggy-back breaks. He wouldn't take his turn giving us any, though. 

Nature's schoolroom: the letter C

Not even half-way there, and look, we're up in the clouds, already.

There was a lot of trail talk about the little boys' favorite guy, Sasquatch, but William made sure we knew that this was the real big foot.

Do you need a breather?  We were pooped out at the halfway point.  (Not really. Gabe and the girls were fine.  Only William and I were really complaining...  Or, well... more like William was whining and I was groaning.)

A big letter Y.
Why? Because we like you.

Another little breather. The air is thin up here, isn't it?

And then there was U.

Theresa on the north side of the mountain. (Can you tell I'm still learning my camera?)

And, finally, we made it to the top!  Here's the little cabin where the park ranger, fire-lookout guy lives during the summer months.

And waaaay up there is where he goes to work every morning!

This is the stairway that  he takes up the rockface to the watchtower. Of course we went up to have a look -- some of us more energetically than others.

And here we are, all the way up at the top.  You can just see the park ranger inside the door, a sprightly young man in his 60s.

And here are a couple views from the top.  It was stunning.  Photos cannot possibly convey the magnificence of the 360 degree view from the top of the world!

On the way down, we found a cross and a heart and remembered that we had stood on the devils' head  (Devil's Head Peak) on the Feast of Our Lady's Seven Sorrows.  Of course we talked about how the Blessed Mother crushes the head of the devil, and though we couldn't quite figure out a way to explain the connection of all of it with our being there on that feast of Our Lady, we felt like there must be one...

5) So we rested up Wednesday and I caught up on Laundry while the kids caught up on some schoolwork. Then, yesterday, we diddybopped over to the Denver area and poked around the Littleton Historical Museum, where we got to watch a blacksmith making hooks for his tools, and where we saw the most darling little cottage garden we want to use as a model for our garden next year.  We fell in love with a circa 1890s cottage -- and I couldn't help but get bit by the "simplicity" bug, as we wandered around in the quiet, enjoying the beauty of the fibers and the wood and the conspicuous absence of anything that buzzed or hummed or spewed forth noise or pictures.  I think life really was better in the old days.  Here are a few photos from the day.  No taglines, necessary, I don't think...

6) I was reminded today that Paul and Nicole's wedding (the wedding of our oldest son) is three weeks from tomorrow.   Hold your ears while I scream, ok?  (Agh!)  But, I'm ok, really.  I'm kinda sorta getting close to ready.   This week we finally got the ball rolling on making reservations for the rehearsal dinner, though we haven't got it all worked out yet.  I do have the little girls' dresses and the little boys' vests and ties all set,  though the girls need some kind of sweaters or shawls to match and we need to make head pieces for them.  Oh, and I need to get nice black dress pants and new white button downs for the little boys.  And Cathy's got the perfect pair of little black patent leather shoes to match the dresses, but I'll need to find some for the other girls.  And Michelle and I still don't have dresses at all.  And I don't have a clue what to wear, anyway.  I've never been the mother of the groom before. But, I'm almost ready.  Mentally, anyway.  (Don't worry, Nicole...  Really...  I've always been a last minute "crammer." It'll all be fine.)

7)  So, you can see it's been a busy week.  But,  instead of the nitty gritty wedding work I probably should have been accomplishing, most of our activities have been satisfying some crazy wanderlust that's bubbled up.  And I don't regret a step we've taken or a thing we've done.   But, there was one thing we did this week that rises above all the others in importance, something I'm glad we did, even though I dreaded doing it.  There was a funeral  scheduled at our church on the morning of my birthday.  It was for a man named Elmer whom I 'd only met once, but about whom I'd heard only the best things.  He lived across the street from our church and had been ill for a long time, but had been the kindest of friends to our parish.  He donated roses to the garden and a set of knives for the kitchen; he bought Father a good pair of gloves for the winter; his door was always open to anyone who came to visit. Always thoughtful, ever a good neighbor,  Elmer died last Monday and was laid to rest on my birthday. 

And I tried to figure out a way to get out of going to his funeral.  I'm ashamed to admit it, but I lay in bed early Friday morning plotting out my excuses.  I hadn't slept well the night before.  Elmer and his family didn't know us from Adam.  It's over an hour to Church and I didn't even have Mass clothes out for the children.  It was my birthday, for heaven's sake!  But, my Guardian Angel (who likely woke me up so early to begin with) must've gotten the better of me, and, I'm not even sure exactly how or why, but we ended up going. Dan, all the Littles and I got up, got dressed, packed the car, and got to Elmer's Requiem Mass before the choir started singing.  And I'm glad we made it. 

Being reminded of your own mortality on your birthday is sobering, but hope-filled, too.  The Requiem Mass, in all its beauty and solemnity is the finest consolation to the living and the dead.  It's not just a goodbye, but a send-off, with a trunk full of prayers and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to get you where you're going.  It's such a sorrow to lose a good man's presence among us, but what a thing to see in action: the grace of the Holy Sacrifice is swirling between heaven and earth, the Communion of Saints is at work, the cycle of life is turning as God wills it, and all is right with the world.  Participating at that Requiem Mass for Elmer allowed me to pray another human soul forward.  On my birthday.  It seemed somehow right and good when all was said and done.  And it was definitely the most important thing I did all week.  I'm glad I didn't sleep in.


Aubrey said...

WHAT AN AMAZING HIKE! You are so blessed to live in a place with such amazing beauty. Nebraska has pretty spots, but they're nothing like that! ;)

Glad you made it to Elmer's funeral. We were blessed to attend the funeral of a neighbor who lived across the street. I was glad that we were able to; he had no children and thus a very small attendance.

Happy Friday!

Blessings each day said...

Wow...I read all that, enlarged pictures, asked mental questions and then when it came to the end...I said, is that all, where's the rest? This was like a good book that you don't want to end!

One very practical question keeps screaming at me...where is the bathroom and kitchen for that ranger in the high tower watching out for fires?? Does he have to hold it so long that he is responsible for putting out the fires with the help of his own bladder?

The kids all look darling as always. Love the letter you do that or assign it to the children?

I so dearly love those paths you traveled, so inviting, but alas...there are none around here and I doubt Michael would want to hike.

I sing in the alleleuia choir at our church which means I get called on for funerals and it's both difficult and uplifting at the same time.

Whoa...think I am making a whole 'nuther' post here!

blessings and hugs,


Lisa said...

Abrey -- we were glad we were there to help "fill the pews," too. Though Elmer had a pretty good sized family gathering, it seemed almost none of them were Catholic... Glad you enjoyed the hike! We never take for granted that God planted us here in Colorado. There are beautiful, beautiful places in every state (including Nebraska! We just love the area around the Missouri River), but we do love our home state!

Marcy -- that is a very good question about the potty! Maybe he has an old fashioned "chamber pot" up there somewhere? Next time we hike up there, we're going to have to ask him! He does have a woodstove up there, and electricity down in his cabin plus a national parks privvy on site, but no running water. He has to tote up all the water he uses. Can you imagine?

On the letters -- it's become a challenge for all of us since we started looking for letters ontrail. Everyone tries to be the one to get a good "prize," finding the best letter. Everyone gets into it! Great fun looking for faces, too. I'm glad you can come along on our hikes with us vicariously! &:o)

Lisa said...

Oops! I meant "Aubrey"! Sorry 'bout that!

And, btw, Marcy, we all got a good laugh out of your fire extinguishing solution to the lack of privvy in the firewatch tower... You're so funny!

Sarah - Kala said...

I find your posts just so beautiful and the pictures are gorgeous. I love your family outings and you going to the funeral on your birthday . . . wow. It does one good to remember that we will one day go on to our reward or punishment - keeps you on your soul toes, doesn't it? God bless !

Joannof10 said...

I want to be your neighbor so we can take all our kids on adventures together.....

This Heavenly Life said...

Thanks for the beautiful hike! And I appreciate your long quick takes - I'm no friend of brevity, either :) My quick takes often take me longer to compose than my regualr posts!

Gae said...

Dear Lisa,
I love your week. So full of life and care and love of family.
These are the best weeks ever, the ones that are full of just being family and the love of God and his creation.
I am always insired by your family life. It is what I hope our own children feel about our home life.

BTW I would love to see the Autumn fairies made please.
Have e great weekend
God Bless

MightyMom said...

in many things simpler IS better.

But I'm keeping my stove/oven, electric lights so I can sew at night and most importantly my CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING!!! thanks anyways.


yes, I've started taking the 2 youngers to and from Preschool on Fridays and I keep thinking "what am I missing???" followed by "ok, there's one less....but WHY does this seem SOO EASY!!?? "

Linda Higgins said...

exhausting! how do you do it? I guess I can say BTDT and glad (sigh) my time is over. It sure keeps you young though! Sounds like the next few weeks are going to be as filled! hugs...