Wednesday, February 11, 2009

hello from us

Hi ,
sorry no photos today. Intended to last night BUT no internet connection. Then tonight, well we are completely worn out. So you will just have to do with a few brief comments.
WE are at the Grand Canyon .........and it is stunning. It snowed here yesterday so there is a covering of snow that took our breath away. Saw a sunset here and it was beautiful.
We are going for more of an explore tomorrow.
The past few days have been draining as we have spent quite a bit of time in the car. However we have 2 nights here so hopefully we will get our energy back.
The Captivating retreat was awesome and Jo is excited about what God is doing in her heart. She made some great friends, 1 from USA, 1 from UK and believe it or not, 2 from Australia.
Steve survived his weekend as a single parent and he and the kids had some great adventures. They went up the Cog railway to the top of Pikes peak mountian which is 14,000 feet. They spent some more time at the Garden of the Gods and the kids earned their junior ranger badges from the National Park. Yesterday Steve, JAck & Tom went mountain biking at MOAB which was fantastic .......BUT not long enough.

We had heard about the terrible tragedty in Vict on the internet. And it did make the papers here on Monday morning ...FRONT PAGE. SO very distressing. AND so unbelievable.

Well I might leave it there for tonight as we need sleep. Will endeavour to post some more photos tomorrow. Only 7 more sleeps till we are home...Yay. We are missing you all and our Kalbar.
Love Steve, Jo, Jack, Tom, Sarah & Tim

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Garden of the Gods

This boy is cute! He absolutly LOVES hoping around on rocks but with his usual level of enthusiasm it doesn't always go according to plan.
He has given himself the nickname "Mr Bump" (from the Mr Men books).

This fella LOVES rocks also!

More Rock Loving!

Laying down on the job of rock Loving.

A pair of rock loving ladies!!

WE had a lovely afternoon of playing on these rocks. It was a tiny 1.2 mile loop walk with this rock outcrop in the middle. The "T" Buddies (Tom & Tim) have tittled themselves the Rock Walaby and the Mountain Lion. All 4 of the kids (and mum & dad) had a ball playing here for over half an hour. It was lovely in the afternoon sunshine with views up into the mountains.

One of the craziest parts of it is that this is only 5 minutes from our cabin and 10 mins the other way to the heart of Colorado Springs.

The weather has been unseasonally warm. 10-15 C , which means there is only tiny bits of melting snow on the ground hear and there, so we will have to wait to drop Jo off at her camp at the base of the Rockies to see real snow, but on the plus side it means that we have been able to look around with no weather issues. Colorado is very beatiful, but dryer than we were expecting, I guess all of the trees having no leaves makes it a lot less green, but the ground is dry with little vegetation. Also another bazarity was how the beige plains end on the eastern side of Coloado Springs and the foot hills of the rockies are on the west. Interesting.

Another exciting part of this day was going to visit Ransomed Heart's Head quarters. About 3 minutes from those rock formations above is their 3 story commercial building where we were met by Craig (one of John Eldredge's right hand men) for the tour.

It was an act of God that we even found them as we had misplaced their address and they weren't answering their phones. All we knew was the street it was on and that it was an unmarked building. SO we drove along the street and drove into the carpark (parking lot :) of an unmarked building with a lot of 4 wheel drives out the front. I (steve) went in to see if it was the right building and was met by Craig coming out to greet us, as he had seen us drive in. As he and I headed out to the carpark to get the rest of the family an old land cruiser pulled in next to our car and out gets John Eldredge himself so we all got to chat to him as well.

Then we had a full tour of there building, they have an amazing facility, with offices, lounge areas, recording studio, mini conference facility etc etc.

There was much activity there as they were getting ready for the Retreat this weekend. We met 4 other guys I had met in Sydney and some of the ladies that Jo recognised from the DVDs. Everyone was excited that Jo was going to the retreat.

Craig looked after us very well and the kids had heaps of fun.

It was great to see where they work from and to chat to Craig about how they work and where they've been over the years.

Ghost town & Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is magnificent. Rocky outcrops that blow your mind, Coloured sandstone with incredible conglomerate chunks of quartz and other little rocks all through it. Colours and patterns.....
And as you have all worked out something we are likely to go nuts over.

A Rock formation Called the "Simease Twins".

The view from the park's visitor information centre. (Yes, that's Pikes Peak in the back ground) We had lunch at the cafe they have at this centre. Awesome view! This photo only captures about 1/5 of the panorama, with more rock out crops and more, middle distance sized, large mountains.

This formation is part of the big red outcrop in the right of the picture above. The call it the "Kissing Camels" For obvious reasons.

Inside the museum.

Went to the Ghost Town Wild West Museum.

Off to Colorado

It was beautiful to see streams with snow. Quite picturesque.

We all were very excited when we spotted this squirrel. They are sooo cute.

This is a picture of the mountain cabin we are staying in. It is small but very warm and cosy. And most importantly has a fantastic view of Pikes Peak.

And this is Pikes Peak Mountain from our veranda. Stunning.

Leaving New Mexico and driving into the state of Colorado.

Museum and church

Inside church: this photo doesn't really show how magnificent this church is. It was truely beautiful

San Felipe de Neri church : Old town

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

Kids and I had a great time exploring the Museum. There was so much to see. Jack & Tom loved talking to the lady about rocks and minerals, and Timothy was enthralled by the small live shark in a big fish tank.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Exploring Old Town and the local park

Having a late lunch in our thermals

The kids loved playing in this park.

Old town

SanFelipe de Neri Church: Old town

Old Town

One of the requests the kids had of America was going to a park. We found this park right next to Old town which is in walking distance of our house. We had a lovely time there and the kids made friends with some local kids. It was good to spend some time doing a 'normal' eveyday activity and having a break from all the sightseeing.

Old Town follows the traditional Spanish pattern of a central plaza and church surrounded by homes and businesses. There are restaurants and shops and museums. Shopping here is delightful and we found many native indian handicrafts and art work.

We dropped Steve off at the Centre for Action and Contemplation at lunch time. He was going to head off to his leaders forum called Solarize. He should have a great time. Jo had to drive on the 'wrong side of the road' for the first time and this went well. No accidents and no-one beeped at her. Jo and the kids are planning to spend the rest of Friday and Saturday just relaxing and catching up on sleep. On Sunday they plan to go to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science before picking Steve up at 2 pm.

More of Sandia Peak

Albuquerque at Sunset

Sandia Peak Tramway

More snow fun

We had a wonderful time at Sandia Peak. After taking the Tramway up to the top (takes 15 minutes) we were able to explore. As it was late in the afternoon we were in the shade which made it a lot colder. However we were having too much fun to let the cold bother us. The snow was a little icey and hard and so making a snow man was not possible today but we spent a lot of time sliding down the hills.

Going back down the tramway at sunset was spectacular. Timothy missed it though as he had fallen asleep in mum's arms while we were waiting for the tram. The snow realy did wear him out.

Fun in the Snow

View from top of Sandia peak

Ready for the snow

Red Mesa

The CAC have purchased this land to hold future MROP's

View from top of Red Mesa and the land CAC owns

The men from around the world who run MROPS

Another view from top

Red Mesa : home of MROP

Kids first spotting of snow

Interstate 40 going west

Centre of Action and Contemplation : home of Richard Rohr and the Men's Rights of Passage.


We didin't realise just how big a large pizza was. Much bigger than Australia.

Happy 13th Anniversary

Sandia Peak: elevation 10,000 feet

Cookie dough anyone????

Breakfast cereal in huge packaging (much like dog food bags)