Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ham Fam Photos 2012

We just got the photos from our family photo shoot and we LOVE LOVE LOVE them.
We couldn't decide on just a few to post, so better yet, here is a video.
Check it out!

Colorado Vacation ~ Boulder

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On Friday of our vacation we stayed home, relaxed around the house and then headed to Boulder to have family photos taken at Mesa Trail.  We are ecstatic to get the photos back.  We had a great time, it was a gorgeous day and a perfect location.  After being on vacation all weel, everyone was in a great mood for a photo shoot.  Stay tuned for the final product.
After the photo shoot we went to Pasta Jay's on Pearl Street for dinner.  Pasta Jay's is AMAZING!!!  It practically oozes butter and cheese.  It is definitely a special treat for us and we hadn't been there since I was on maternity leave with Kellan.  We were due our pasta pillows.
As we waited, we took advantage of their "waiting drink specials" and relaxed win anticipation of heaven.
Once we were seated, Kellan wasn't so sure about a self portrait.
He eventually warmed up.  This was his saying CHEESE with his hands in his mouth.  Ick!

Meanwhile, Keith and Oliver were focused on a serious cross word puzzle.
As requester, Oliver had spaghetti.
He slurped it up at our request.

Kellan tried to slurp it up too, but it wasn't the same.

For now, he'll stick with his Penne Mac Cheese.
Daddy showed Oliver how to twirl his spaghetti.

Oliver showed us how to shovel spaghetti in.
Mommy was in heaven with Tortellini Alfredo.  It is described as Pasta Pillows filled with cheese.  
Yes Please!!
Kellan was so happy he was doing a little dance.
So was Oliver.
After dinner, we went for Ice Cream.  Kellan was hilarious licking his cone.  I tried and tried and tried to get a photo of him licking his cone.  It resulted in numerous out takes.

FINALLY!  I tongue shot.  Special bonus, Crazy Eyes!
Oliver was thrilled to have a Strawberry Ice Cream cone and was very focused on finishing it to the end.
Big Licks!!

After the completion of two Strawberry Ice Cream Cones (Mama gladly helped Kellan with his), we paused for a quick photo of the boys on Pearl Street.
What a GREAT ending to an Amazing Week!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Colorado Vacation ~ Vail

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On our final morning in Glenwood Springs, we were serenaded by a choir of Frisbee drums.
It was quite the drum session and serious stuff for these two musicians.
We hadn't taken the camera to the pool, but I wanted to get some photos of the hot springs before we left so I brought my camera to breakfast, which was pool side.
We woke up to another cloudy and drizzly morning and the steam was rising off of the pool as I stretched above the fence to take a photo.

Down at the breakfast cafe, I got a few photos closer up.  This is the main pool to the west, the one where Oliver learned his backstroke.
This is the smaller pool to the right that was the hot pool at 104 degrees.
The pool didn't open until 9:00 but once it did, it was filled with bobbing heads, enjoying the comfort and warmth of the pool.
Even though it was cloudy and cool, it made for a beautiful scene.
This was the "Drinking Pool".
Back in the day, it was believed that drinking form this pool brought you good health.  
We didn't dive in to try it, we'll stick with our multi-vitamin.
On our way home, we made it through the canyon with Kellan holding onto his cookies, but by Vail he needed to get out for some fresh air, so we stopped for a stroll.
This is the side of Vail from Lionshead.  The colors were amazing!!  Imagine how wonderful it would have been with brilliant blue skies and sunshine.

Oliver popped in for a photo bomb, and I gladly let him.

After we realized that most everything was closed at Lionshead for mud season, we headed to Vail Village.  Vail Village is my absolute favorite mountain town location.  As I lifted my camera to take a photo of the flowers, Oliver bombed my photo again.  It's so great to have my boy back into photo mode.  Remember his time as an anti-photo guy?  I hope those days are long gone.

The rain was on and off, which provided great puddles for the boys to splash in.
We had an older lady stop and talk to us.  She encouraged us to let the boys play in the water and have fun.  She then proceeded to tell us about when her kids were young, and how they loved to play in the water at the bus stop.  She glowed as she told us this fond memory.  We let the boys splash as we walked.
When I pulled up the photos on my camera, I found this.
Feel free to giggle.
The flowers and colors in Vail were gorgeous.  We loved it all!

As we approached the chair lift and the playground we noticed that the chair lift was missing.  There was a big sign that said "What happened to the Vagabond Lift?".  Ironically, that was our exact question.  Come to find out, they are installing a new gondola and it's due to start service in November.  They had better chop-chop as that time is quickly approaching.  This photo is of no artistic or memorable meaning.  It is to simply show those who have heard me talk about Vail's heated sidewalks that here is evidence that they are tracing the ski lift entrance with heat trace (white on the left, bricks to the right).
A gorgeous shot from the lift.
What an amazing fall week we had in Western Colorado.  After lunch and a Starbucks for the road, it was time to head home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Colorado Vacation ~ The Good The Bad and the Ugly

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Our full day in Glenwood presented us with cooler rainy weather so we opted for a ride in the Glenwood Gondola.  Keith took these great candid shots of us on the Gondola ride.
Kellan was clearly talking about something, which is his usual mode.  He is quite the chatter box.  Many of his phrases are:
"This Mama?"  (or Dada)
"Mama, This?" (or Dada)
"Itchy" (for itchy or something that bothers him)
"Bless You" (when someone sneezes and for every sneeze)
Animals and Things are sounds, not names:
"Moo" for Cow
"Moo" for milk
"Neh" for Horse
"Brrrr" Car : This one is like when you brrr your lips together.  It is hilarious.  He'll say "Look Mama, Brr," or "I want the brr, Mama.  Brrr Mama.  Brrrr."
If you ask him what he wants for ANY meal, it's always "Mac Cheese".  Mac Cheese can be anything that resembles cheese and or pasta.  This includes Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese, Spaghetti, Elbow Macaroni with Spaghetti Sauce, Cheese pizza in tiny pieces.  It's all Mac Cheese said with gusto.  MAC CHEESE.
There are many others but there is a lot of undetectable words too and he gets SO mad if you don't understand.  I'm sure that in his mind he is speaking perfectly clear.  Every day we are understanding more and more.
Mama enjoying the morning ride in the gondola.
Oliver gazing up at the Gondola, or maybe the mountains, who knows.  He is constantly full of wonder and questions.  His questions are thoughtful, inquisitive and intelligent.  He is learning quickly that his Mama doesn't know everything and his Daddy knows enough to sound like an expert in most anything. He will likely out smart us before he gets into Kindergarten.  We may be doomed.
Like all Ham Fam adventures, our Glenwood visit had an adventurous story as well.  The gondola opened at 10:00 and we were there at about 10:15.  We pulled into a parking lot with ONE other car.  We expected a moose to jump out and announce that the park is closed like on National Lampoons Vacation.  To top it off, Keith had been quoting that movie all week so it seemed appropriate.  When we walked up to the counter the lady gladly sold us tickets to ride the gondola and take the cave tour.  We hurried on the gondola, not because of the crowd but just in case they changed their mind to operate that day.
At the top, it was deserted.  It made sense since there was only one car in the parking lot, but we expected someone.  Someone other than Miner Mike.  Since he was the only one there and we wanted him to feel loved too, Keith posed with him for a photo op.
The place was deserted with not a soul in sight other than the guy who helped us off of the gondola.
The booth to buy ride tickets was closed.
(insert wind and creaking door sound here)
The snack bar was a ghost town.
Good, Bad or Ugly, were were going to venture into the Glenwood Cavern Adventure.
Kellan checked with the local bears and they swore they had our backs.
We ventured to the tour meeting place for the cave tours and met up with a few others.  Lucky for us, they weren't slinging guns and whistling an unnerving tune (confused, listen to the theme music above)
Above the cave entrance was a sign of the original entrance in 1895.  The story goes that some guy, who's name didn't file away in my brain, was walking around and heard a whistling noise.  Good, Bad or Ugly, he discovered that there was a cave down yonder.  The ritzy folks would pay big bucks to ride horses up to this sight in their tuxedos and dresses, slide down the hold in the ground and tour the caves.  They also said that this cave had electricity for lighting before New York city.  I'm still debating if I believe this fact.
In we go!
There is no turning back now.
We halted the boys and picked up the caboose of the tour train.  It seemed to work well that way and then the could walk along without us worrying about the crowd. 
Deeper and deeper we went into the cavern.
I didn't get many good photos from inside the cavern since the lighting wasn't fabulous for the camera. It was lit and presented very well for viewing though.
At one point, something startled Kellan and he ran to Oliver.  Thanks to Mama being ready with the Big Daddy camera, I captured the moment.  It was SO sweet.  This photo was absolutely natural.
Once Kellan realized that everything was OK, he gave me a smile, so I asked for a group smile.  So... this one is a bit posed but still touching and adorable.
I found this to be very interesting, a rock formation that looked light a heart when lit up.  I'm not sure if everyone saw this as I did.  I believe that they didn't and it was my own happy moment.

There was one point that was a "man made" tunnel to get from one cavern to another.  They said that at the time they created this, the miners only made progress at 18" a day.  The tunnel was probably a 15-20 second walk, however long that is.  18" x a whole bunch!
Carrie by a door.  
Ironically, when we came back through, the tour guide gave Keith a very special job a this door.  Stay tuned for more.
We went further and further through the caves and the boys LOVED it.  We all LOVED it!!  At one point they said we were 150' under ground.  Yikes!
Ta Da! In a Cave!
Then... we emerged from the side of the mountain.
The best part of being a kid in a crowd is that because you're shorter than everyone you can squeeze to the front and get the best view.  
On a side note, we had a few people from our tour tell us how well behaved the boys were.  This is the best news from a stranger!!  We were very pleased as it's important for us to raise the boys so that they can enjoy events like this and they don't take away from the experience for others.
A view of Glenwood and down the valley toward Aspen.
A view to the town of No Name.
Straight Down!!
Down below, the Colorado River.
Back at the door and the big job, the tour guide asked Keith to make sure that this door got closed.  Of course, he brought Oliver in as an assistant.
Daddy explaining to Oliver what to do.
Kellan taking off in the other direction.  It's time to get this train moving.  Through  much of the caves you could hear Kellan saying "Choo, Choo!  All Aboard!"
If he wasn't saying this, he was roaring like a lion.  It was kind of funny and people giggled when he would do it.  The tour guide even encouraged it at one point.  Maybe it added grit and growl to the tour.
The Hamilton boy Caboose.
We were given strict instructions NOT to touch anything in the cave as the oils on our hand could (or would) interfere with the natural evolution of the cave walls.  Oliver spotted the guy in front of him putting his hands on the rocks and he turned around and in a gasp, let us know.  Such a rule follower!  That's our boy!!
i can't remember the real name of this but they referred to it as bacon since it looks like bacon forming along the ceiling.  Too funny!
This was a stalagmite that they called the Cheeto and it was about 18" tall.  I wonder if mother nature made it glow.  Ha ha... just teasing.
On one of the platforms we stopped to hear a mythical story about how some of the formations were created.  This was about the time Kellan's roaring started.
CAUTION: Cracks and crevices may appear without warning.

After the amazing cave tour (highly recommended)  we saddled up for a ride on the alpine slide.
Since Kellan was too young, Oliver rode with Daddy first.  
Ready... Set... GO!

They're Off!

Kellan was NOT happy that he couldn't go.  Fortunately, there was a shooting game near the alpine slide and Mommy had two quarters to make it go.  While Daddy and Oliver whooshed down the side of the mountain, Kellan and Mommy kept away the bad guys.
He's such a handsome boy.
Yes, I let him sit on the control panel.  It was practically a ghost town, remember.
Before we knew it, Daddy and Oliver were back so it was Mommy and Oliver's turn.  
What a lucky duck to get TWO rides!
Ready, Set...
Going, Going...
Hey look, we're back!
We enjoyed a nice lunch at the top of the mountain and watched the rain storm move through the valley and to us at the Adventure Park.  We quickly jumped on the gondola and headed back down the mountain.  Kellan was ready for a nap and Oliver had some serious swimming to do.
This photo of Kellan and Daddy cracks me up!  I'm not even sure that my comments could make it any funnier than it already is.  He is not one to hide his true feelings.
The boys!!
Can you tell who is ready to rock and who's ready to call it quits?
Maybe someone is just bitter that he was too little for the alpine slide?  Next Time Buddy!
Maybe someone is rubbing in two rides with two thumbs up?
After some fun going down the gondola, like making funny faces at the gondolas going up the mountain, everyone was smiling.
That afternoon, Kellan took a THREE HOUR nap!
Daddy and Oliver went to the hot spring pool.  Through rain, clouds and small appearances by the sun, Oliver learned to swim!!
He asked his Daddy, "Why can't I swim?"
Daddy: "Because you haven't decided to." hour later...
Oliver: "Daddy, I want to swim."
Oliver grabbed the side of the pool, settled in Michael Phelps style, pushed off and swam on his back the width of the pool. Keep in mind, the width of the pool is as far if not further that the length of most pools.  He did this several times.  There were a few times he didn't make it, but he would just start over and do it again.  He would get mad if Daddy would touch him, unless he was steering him out of peoples way.  We are VERY VERY proud of him!!!
At 5:00, Daddy and Oliver came back to the hotel, this finally woke up Kellan and the four of us went to dinner.
The boys were SO hungry.  They demolished plates of spaghetti and then Kellan went after Mommy's sandwich!
That's a big sandwich and a big bite for a little guy.
Washed out.. but still impressive.  One plate of spaghetti GONE and GONE!
Then, Oliver attacked Mommy's sandwich too!
Heaven help us as these two grow and their appetites exceed our budget.  We may have to take up donations!
After dinner, we took a walk around the block but quickly decided that it was too dreary for a walk and a swim in the hot springs sounded like way more fun.
After dinner, we spent the evening swimming in the hot springs pool.  Oliver demonstrated his new found skill of swimming on his back, the width of the pool!!  YAY!!!!
Kellan became more comfortable in the pool but declared that he liked the hot pool A LOT!!  He could have sat on that top step all night, just enjoying the comfort and warmth. Alas, it was time to hit the hay and call it a day.

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