a train ride up Pikes Peak

Barry’s mom came and stayed from July 4th until the 30th and we packed a lot into that month.  One day she treated us to a ride on the Pikes Peak cog railroad.

we're going up, they're coming down

I spent most of the trip snuggling one feverish little person or another so I handed the camera to Brenna (I think Barry took a photo or 2 too).  Hunter and Eva slept most of the train ride, partly because they didn’t feel well, but also because of the elevation, I think.

train ride up pikes peak

feverish baby

they call this inspiration point

This place above is called Inspiration Point.

from the top you can see for miles and miles

It was a fitting trip for that month of patriotism because it was up on top of that mountain that Katharine Lee Bates penned the lyrics to America the Beautiful.  On a clear day you can see 5 states– Kansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and of course Colorado.


some of us

the train up top

the train

pretend you're having fun, guys!




big horn sheep way up there


strawberry pickin’

Last weekend Barry and all 4 boys went on our annual church Father-Son campout, so Brenna, Eva and I were on our own.  It is so fun that there are 3 of us girls now!!!  We decided to head up to Berry Patch Farm one morning to pick strawberries.

We came home with a few strawberries, two heads of really pretty lettuce, and a new basket to carry around my current knitting project in.

strawberries and pretty lettuce

a one project basket

We came home with a lot of photos on my phone too.  Brenna was the camera wielder, I was the baby wearer.

strawberry pickin'

strawberry picking with a baby on my back

little berry

squat, pick, stand, step, repeat

golden beetle


baby fingers


Eva was really good and seemed perfectly content, even when I was squatting.  My legs sure got a workout–squat, pick, stand, step, repeat–with 22 lbs. on my back.  I had planned on getting there at 8:00, we got there at 10:00.  The berries were pretty picked over and it was hot, but just when we were ready to head back to the barn we tried one more spot and it was perfect– lots of big red berries just there for the picking.  If my legs hadn’t been shaking from our previous hour of super squatting we would have picked more.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the hens and roosters pecking around the picnic area.  There were a lot of roosters.  I think they outnumbered the hens 3 to 1.

Store bought strawberries just can’t compare those little organic, red through and through, nuggets of deliciousness.  We didn’t have enough for jam, which means that we’ll have to go back.  That’s okay.  We got to eat them all!

strawberry eater

just one hour

Sometimes I am paralyzed by the thought of doing something.  I fret about all the work it might take to get there or the mess it might make that I already don’t feel like cleaning up.  It’s funny how such thoughts are such an energy drain.  Granted, getting myself and six kids ready and out the door more often than not causes breaches in my patience.  A batch of new play dough or a sewing project with a child inevitably creates piles of clutter and a crumbly mess on the floor.

But doing is always worth it no matter how hard it is to overcome the inertia of not.


found fort





almost done








Doing, acting creates more energy than all the fretting sucks up.

Just one hour can hold a whole day’s worth of connection, beauty, fun, wonder, and creative rejuvenation.

It’s one of those lessons I have to learn over and over and over.

(photos by both Brenna and I)

AND we went to Yellowstone

When we were planning our trip we thought we’d try to go camping, but eastern Idaho weather is a bit tricky.  We decided we’d just play it by ear and see what we thought as the dates got closer.  Rain.  Wind.  COLD nights.  We decided that camping wouldn’t be very fun.  We wanted to see Yellowstone anyway, so we made it a day trip.  It was a lot of driving in one day, but I think the memories were worth it.


There were bison, bison, bison for my cute nephews to spy with their new binoculars.

nephews at Yellowstone

Seriously, could little boys be any cuter (other than mine, of course)?

bison view

crossing the road

My favorite area was the Lower Geyser Basin area with the mud pots, colorful pools, and lots of little active geysers.

celestine pool

mud pots

at the gysers

spasmatic geyser

watching it

blue bird

The only other time I’ve been to Yellowstone was on our first wedding anniversary.  We decided to ride the main loop on our bikes– which was about 100 miles– which didn’t really give us any time to actually see anything but the backs of RVs.  This time was good from the comfort of our van and since it was early in the season it wasn’t very crowded.

We made the obligatory stop to watch Old Faithful.  There was quite a crowd and I was prepared for it to be pretty anticlimactic, but it was actually really cool!

old faithful

old faithful

I can’t imagine what the Native Americans thought about this place– was it holy?  was it cursed?  That’s something we should research…

We drove all through the park and made our way toward Grand Teton National Park.

Look what we found once we got past Old Faithful:

lots of snow

About 5 feet of snow.  I’m glad we didn’t try to camp.

breathtaking Tetons

It was the perfect time of year for the drive though.  The Tetons were breathtaking.  Not a single picture we took can really do them justice.   It’s hard to get the metering right.  Just imagine the bluest sky you’ve ever seen and dark mountains highlighted with white snow.

so, so, so beautiful!

We listened to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (and we really love this series) for the drive from Colorado to Idaho and part of this Yellowstone trip and also to Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke.  Road trips are made so much better with good books to listen to.  Much better than movies, I think, because one story can take 10 hours, fill everyone’s imaginations for the long haul, and even make it so the kids don’t want to get out of the car just quite yet when we get where we’re going.