Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Highs & Lows

What a month.  As I sit down to write this, I feel "heavy."  That's what I told Kreg when I got up this morning, anyway.  I wish I had a better word for it, but that was what came to mind easiest.  I feel like it's been one of those emotional roller-coaster months and I am ready to get off of it and find status quo for a bit! Not that I am complaining... I feel more blessed than ever and I realize sometimes you have to lose status quo for a bit to take a little inventory and realize how blessed you really are. 

Let me start with the "highs" :) We have had two very successful birthday parties in my house over the past 6 weeks!  Westin celebrated his third birthday with three birthday parties... oh, boy.  I wasn't trying to be clever, it just worked out that way.  He'd been anticipating his birthday this year and wanted to celebrate with all of his friends so we had his first birthday party with friends this year.  It was a lot of fun :) Wes is very "in" to Curious George, so naturally, that was our theme! 

We had all of his friends & their families, as well as some family over to our home on Saturday and we celebrated with cupcakes & banana splits!  AND some brownies & marshmallow pops & chocolate covered pretzels... plenty of sugar :)

Then on Sunday, my family came down from Denver & we did our celebration with them over lasagna and chocolate peanut butter cake with bananas :) and, some leftover cupcakes!

 Monday was his actual birthday (May 14th) and we celebrated by meeting Kreg for lunch at Chuck-E-Cheese (his request... and quickly becoming a tradition, as this was the third year in a row that we've done that on his bday).  He had a great time and surprisingly, so did Tucker! Tucker could not get enough of the rides & felt mighty big that he could ride along with his big brother.  I'm afraid I may have another adrenaline junkie coming down the pipe... is that the expression?  I think so... but as I typed it it sounded a little funny, haha!
This past weekend we celebrated Tucker's first birthday! I know its cliche, but I really am having such a hard time wrapping my mind around how quickly this past year escaped us.  Yikes. We had a small, just family, funky Dr. Seuss-themed party at our house :) I had a lot of fun with this theme... being the frugal (okay, cheap) person that I am, I decided I needed to use up all the mis-matched party stuff I had laying around so I bought very few items for this party.  I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, however.  And dare I say it, the cake turned out exactly as I had planned.  That never happens.  But it did this time and I couldn't be happier about it! Tucker loved being the center of attention and I decided he really had paid attention at Westin's party because he seemed like such a pro.  It really hit me that he's quickly phasing into a toddler (by the way, this past month he took his first steps!  it's still not his mode-of-transport-of-choice, but he will walk all the way across the room if you bribe him!) and will not be a baby much longer.  Had to shed a few tears.  He's just a joy, and I am loving every phase with him just like I did with Westin.  There's just no way to slow it down enough to feel like I've FULLY enjoyed each phase.  Is there? 

 As we were about to start the party, my Dad got a phone call from the Larimer County Fire Department on his cell phone letting him know that there was a fire near our cabin in Estes Park.  He spoke with my grandparents who live next door to our cabin & they had been out but once they got the call they ran back to the cabin in time to see the flames start moving towards our properties. They grabbed their dogs and my grandpa tried to start fighting it with a garden hose but the fire department showed up & told he & my grandma to get out, there wasn't even any time to run inside and get any of their belongings. All through the party we listened to the police scanner and waited for the phone call to find out if our place was still standing or not. No one could see anything through the flames and everyone was evacuated and a barrier was set up.  We were told that our place was on fire but that a helicopter had come in from just down the canyon where it was fighting the High Park fire and was dropping slurry on our cabin as the firefighters fought to put it out-- so we were hopeful!  Our minds kept going to what was inside, what we had left, the little things that had so many memories... but mostly it was just the place itself.  My grandparents bought it almost 50 years ago and it has been in our family ever since.  It was remodeled in 1996 & my parents purchased it in 1997.  Kreg & I have always planned on purchasing it from my parents one day soon.  We got a call later that evening that confirmed that it was a total loss.  Nothing was left standing except the chimney.  We got pictures the next day that made everything much more vivid and my parents & my sister Taylor headed up there yesterday.  Today they were allowed to go in and try to sift through anything that might be left-- they were amazed at the "path" the fire took-- our cabin & my grandparents' cabin were completely destroyed, but there are places across the street that are just fine.  We have been so thankful for all the love that has been poured out on our family. My Grandma (not the one whose cabin was lost) was with me this weekend and, as in just about every stressful situation I've found myself in through my life, had some wonderful words of wisdom that have stuck with me the past few days.  She said, "you know, just like you have to go through an inventory of your home that you lost, it's good to stop and take a spiritual inventory too.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to do that." So I've been working on just that. I've been counting my blessings. And I feel so very blessed. Just a few things that have come to mind:
             - I am so thankful we didn't lose anyONE.
             - I am so thankful we have good insurance.
             - I am so thankful for our memories.
             - I am so thankful they saved so many trees.
             - I am so thankful for the community of Estes Park &               all they've done for my family & neighbors.
             - I am so thankful for my faith, and for my God, the                God of all comfort who who comforts us in all our                    affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who
             are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we                ourselves are comforted by God. (1 Cor. 1:4)

There are fires surrounding our home right now-- to the West & to the East & to the North.  Our beloved Colorado is burning. So many homes are threatened, so many people have lost everything, and the heartache we are feeling is just a taste of what so many other people are feeling. 
Our Cabin Before:

The slide they showed at the homeowners meeting after the fire was out

My grandparents' place

My Grandparent's brand new Yukon Denali was in the garage

Taylor & Grammaw looking for something salvageable from the kitchen

One of the biggest blessings our family received this weekend came while Taylor was going through things.  She found this, still sitting on our mantle.  Such a wonderful reminder of God's faithfulness through anything & everything.  We plan to do something special with it when we rebuild.  Thank you God, for your faithfulness & your comfort.  We know you are mighty to save.
 "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17


  1. Oh no! When I sent you that text this morning, I had no idea this all had happened. I am so sorry for your family, but so thankful everyone is okay.

    On the flip-side, the birthday parties looked like a huge hit. I so appreciate when a mom is creative with parties. I, for one, am NOT great with parties. The food, yes. The decor, favors, games, etc...not so much.

    Looking forward to seeing your little 3- and 1-year olds!

  2. Keleigh, I was already sad reading about your sweet baby growing up too quickly, and then I got to the part about your grandparents cabin. I am SO SO sorry! I have you guys in my prayers.

    Love the updates. You keep trusting in our Almighty Father. The beauty, the joys, and the wonderful memories He lets us have on this Earth are only a SHADOW of the life to come! Praise God :)