Though I have still not gotten through quite all our wonderful pictures from the last couple of weeks, we bid you adieu for the time being...we're off to NYC for the Playtime salon and ENK Children's Club. Oh, and we might just mess around and do a few other fun things as well ;)
Q popped out of bed at 6 am this morning (that's two hours early for her) jumping up and down on her toes and saying "Mama, cab! Cab!...mama, airplane!mama...carousel!...mama...park!...mama...mickey mouse (aka FAO Schwarz)..."

Back in a week!


On the return from the mountains, we decided to take the long way back to Denver, over Trail Ridge road and the continental divide, through Rocky Mountain National Park.
It's a stunning and vertiginous drive over what looks like the spine of the world, and I never tire of it. Mike's brother and family decided to follow us, so we all got to enjoy the spectacular views.
Q warming up with hearty chicken soup on the road after a pause to savor the panorama from the top.
Out in the wind. Even on the hottest summer day, the wind is biting at this dizzying altitude.
Chrissie and Holland watching herds of elk and tiny wildflowers on the moraine.
A camper on the road.
Entertaining herself with mommy's accessories.
On the far side of the ridge is Estes Park, a town where I used to attend Arabian horse shows during the summers of my childhood, so it holds a lot of history for me. Once down from the heights, the heat closed in again, and we decided to stop for icecream and cool off the girls.
And after icecream...
Mike got all of the girls kitty whiskers. Once shown the mirror, Q couldn't quite believe her own eyes. (That's tempera paint still on her neck from the morning's crafts. It was also all over her dress, in spite of the smock - we'll see if it comes out!)
Two kitties....
...and three. Are they not the cutest thing you've ever seen?
On our last morning at Snow Mountain Ranch, my sister-in-law and I were eager to try out the crafts center, which we hadn't yet managed to visit. Fortunately the family was understanding, and let us have a couple of hours to play.
We brought the elder girls along, and honestly I have never seen them more focused on a creative project as they were here.
It's a wonderful space, with every imaginable creative resource available, from leather tooling to stained glass, painting projects, ceramics, jewelry etc.
Not only that, but the space itself is wonderfully put together, from the mosaic tiles at the art sink to the beautifully tie-dyed painting smocks.
You can't help but feel happy in a place like this.

What lucky people we were to spend four days in this amazing place, where you can do pretty much anything you can imagine and then some. Thanks to my mother-in-law and her posse for making this wonderful family vacation happen.


Collecting marshmallow sticks for the evening's fire.
Sunset fades into twilight.
The last of the light catches in the clouds as the full moon hangs above the Indian Peaks.
The quintessentially American ritual of making s'mores. This was not a part of my childhood. Neither of my parents was born into a native family. Though I have never really developed a taste for s'mores, I now understand the ritual and its pleasures.
What I most definitely can appreciate is the art of roasting a perfect marshmallow over a fragrant mesquite fire as the last of the lavender light leaches from the Colorado sky...
Here is cousin Harrison teaching Q how it's done.
With a second cousin, Abbie, from another branch of the family.
Uncle Sean and cousin Holland walking into the sunset, and my husband's mother at the campfire.
Cousins yet farther removed, enjoying the warmth of the fire. As you can see, my husband's family - largely Norwegian and Irish - is dominantly blond, while mine is mostly dark. All that wanton blondness is still fascinating to me, having come from Mediterranean stock. My mother was blond in her youth, with ice-blue eyes, and her Dutch father a redhead. But the bulk of us in my family have been dark of both hair and eye.
Crackling firewood culled from the high mountain valley.
My husband reading the girls to sleep after a long evening of Woodsmoke and song.
Taking a small break from mountain photos to post these sweet shots of Q and Holland playing piano at granma and opa's house, the night we got home from the reunion.
We had driven all afternoon through the Rocky Mountain National Park, and everyone was a bit frayed and tired, but there was icecream cake and some birthday celebrations to be had. Holland is still wearing the kitty cat whiskers that all three girls got in Estes Park on the way down.

Q and her cousin Isacah forged a fast friendship during the course of the reunion. They've played before, but this time, sleeping in a roomfull of bunkbeds all on their own, they developed a sisterly sort of relationship. I loved to watch them off playing their secret games among the wildflowers, or whispering in a darkened room at bedtime.

On our last night, we got to enjoy a ranch-style barbecue in this beautiful barn.
The light was absolutely irresistible.

Isacah and Q goofing over their dinner.

Q and I romping on the hillside behind the barn. Highcountry evenings in the summertime are so idyllic as to be intoxicating. It's hard not to get goofy with the sheer, giddy beauty of it all...the spangle of the air, the soft grunts of nighthawks, the breeze fragrant with sage and balsam.