Friday, May 30, 2014

friday favorites: peonies.

hi. my name is ashlye and i have a problem.

we have 3 peony bushes in our yard and they are literally exploding with blooms this year.
and i am currently obsessed with them.  every evening i go out and cut more fresh ones. my house is filled with them.  i have enough blooms...and more opening every day so have fresh flowers in every room.  not that i need to, but i could.

and i'm sitting here at my desk with two glorious blooms and every so often i can smell them and it is just delightful.

along with cutting new blooms every evening, i then take pictures of them. every. evening. i seriously must have a problem.  but they are so beautiful.  and i want to take these images and blow them up on a canvas and hang them all over the house.  todd probably wouldn't be a fan... a little too girly for him, but i will have one of these hanging somewhere.  won't that be a lovely reminder of spring/summer come winter-time? (i cannot even think about that again at the moment)

i cannot even count how many blooms we'll have this year and if they expand each year, i cannot imagine what next year will look like (i cannot wait!! lol)

happy friday my friends.  

p.s. sorry for the lack of posts this week.. i was home most of it with a sick kiddo (strep. boo.) but now he's on the mend and i have several posts drafted for next week.  lots of summer fun coming your way!  have the most wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

flashback friday: a visit to the ranch. september 2010.

i've been working on this one for a while so thanks for sticking with me. if you don't like travel recaps, and you don't like probably don't want to stick around. just warning you now.  if you like travel, if you like colorado, or horses, or mountains, among other wonderful outdoorsy and adventury (yep. that is officially a word as of now) things...please stick around. you might like it here today!

three years and eight months later and i'm going to do my very best to remember all of the details of this trip.  because as much as i wasn't looking forward to it (i am honestly a much different person now than i used to be! i promise!) it turned out to be one of my favorite vacations and a place i'd love to take jackson and our other child (hopefully) someday.  

there are no other places like this one.

the trip started out with coffee at the airport and our flight to steamboat springs, colorado.

once we got to colorado, we had someone ready and waiting for us at the airport.  took a little drive and arrived at the ranch.  i am so amazed by colorado's beauty.  those blue skies.  they never get old.
here was our cabin for the week.  nice, huh?

i wish i could remember this guy's name.  he's pretty cute, isn't he?  he liked to greet us on our cabin's front porch.

on our first day at the ranch, one of the first things we had to do was visit the stables to be fitted for boots and choose a horse for the week. the ranch hands took such care to try and match us with a horse that fit our personalities and skill level.  i was matched with a calm, older horse.  seeing as though i had zero experience with horses before this!

dang.  colorado in september. i love it so much.

here are some pictures from one of our many hikes.  i am going to have to do a little more research to remember all of the trails we went on (what a horrible travel planner i'd be!).  

now that i'm really trying to document things, i'm kicking myself a little for not keeping better track of this stuff.  something to learn from i suppose!

i'm not sure if it was allowed...but..this little guy came home with us. i'm looking at it on our bookshelf right now. and it makes me smile.

when we arrived, those little blue water bottles were waiting in our rooms.  they provide them so that you'll keep hydrated during all of your activities at the ranch. we still have these and i just made chocolate milk for jackson in one this evening. again. smiling.

this is how cold each day started. brr.

each cabin has a hot tub.  it is honestly the perfect thing at the end of each day.  when your legs are tired and so sore from all of the hiking, biking, horse riding, and mountain climbing... it is just the medicine you need.  we left our bathing suits out overnight to dry and since it gets so cold, our suits froze.  todd's holding his frozen solid swimming trunks.  we were amused!

one of the absolute coolest things i've been able to do... work with the babies.  i don't remember how old they were (dang it!) but they were so gentle and sweet.  we got to start training the babies along with their mothers to get them used to having people around.  they were so small.  i wonder how big they are today?!

another lovely hike. with our friend and guide, cliff.  i love that our hiking guide's name was cliff. #meanttobe

large animal print. i'm glad we didn't see the actual animal but only the print. no thanks.

there's cliff :)

our view of the ranch on our hike back from pearl lake. not a bad view at all! and i believe it was on this hike that we saw a snake in the grass. we didn't see much wildlife but we heard quite a bit.  moose. you could hear them outside during the night. again. probably not an animal i'd like to come into close contact with anytime soon!

i stood next to this horse to give the size some scale. this horse was the biggest horse i'd ever seen.  still to this day... the biggest horse i've ever seen.  and so pretty too.

dinner entertainment.  the staff is amazing. oh and i don't know that i have photos of the food.  forgot to mention that it was gourmet meals every evening.  warm breakfast every day. yummy lunches, sometimes packed for long rides or hikes or whatever you wanted to do... and then the most delicious warm dinners and honestly the finest of wines.  it is such a treat. i'm not even kidding.  ask todd about it sometime. he will tell you all about it.  it has been almost 4 years and he's still impressed with the foods and wine!

a fellow visitor had her birthday while at the ranch. and they took care of her!

after dinner we made our way to the main room in the lodge for more entertainment.  they are seriously so nice and so talented. it was kind of what i imagine an adult summer camp might be like! lol

this is reed. the nicest kid. and come to find out, he had just graduated from the local high school here in fishers.  small world.  kids come from all over the country to work as ranch hands.  to gain experiences that most kids would never get.  its a job but a job i cannot even explain.  they took their jobs very seriously and their hospitality cannot be matched. i kind of miss the staff there.  i'm sure most of the staff has come and gone since then since they don't usually stay for long...but...i would love to see them all again one day!

all of us guests... enjoying the show.  some guests come back each year... or even multiple times each year.  there was one couple that i believe was even buying some land near by.  crazy, right?!

who knew a kid from fishers would be so musically talented and be working as a ranch hand in colorado?  that's so amazing.

oh and the harmonica too. no big deal. i wish i remembered the name they called their "band."  i'm not a big country music fan personally but they kept me completely entertained with their music and stories.  cowboys have great stories.


one day todd and i went mountain biking.  because, why not mountain bike when you have actual mountains around you?!  one of the hardest.things.i've.ever.done.  second to hiking the mountain (you'll see that later) that is.  

that's where i learned about type 1 fun and type 2 fun - 
type 1 fun is when something is really fun while you are doing it
type 2 fun is when something is "fun" or extremely rewarding after you have to work for it.  like mountain biking. totally type 2 fun. and running a half-marathon. mostly type 2 fun! :)

above: hahn's peak.  that's the mountain we climbed. and here are the photos that prove it. lol. 
below: follow the rock trail down... see that flat space? those are our cars. that's as far as you can drive up the mountain before you have to get out and move your butt... up... haha.

and let me just say, someone in our group was 12 weeks pregnant and  she was up and down that mountain before i even made it all the way to the top.  girlfriend was hauling it.  but from what i hear, she does this several times a year when she visits (ranch owner's daughter-in-law).  sounds pretty great to me. now that i've been there... i'd do the same if given the opportunity!

that's todd and heather (the owner's daughter-in-law) waiting for cliff and i as we were hiking to the top.  yep. i climbed a mountain with the guide named cliff. i'm glad someone wanted to climb to the top with me! ;)

views from the top. amazing.

the ranch at night. still so pretty.  and i don't think any of my old pictures turned out (i'll dig through the archives!!) but the stars at night. cannot be explained.  when you are literally in the middle of nowhere ... the stars. millions of them.

one of our favorite things to do was to soak in the hot tub with some wine. and look at the stars.  not something that you can do every day.  i won't forget those nights. cold. but so incredibly beautiful.

and since we were technically out at the ranch for business (todd was brought out by the owner as a "thank you" for working on the website for them)... they decided that we should just fly back to indiana with the family since they were taking the private jet home anyway.  um. yea. so we did. i guess it is good to know people.  and dang. it was really nice to get home faster, no security and just a faster flight in general. so we hung out with the owner's wife, his daughter-in-law and her daughter.  she was the cutest.  that girl (and their other baby at this point) are living the life.  those girls will be adventurers and then some.

and just like that... we were home.  a week in colorado was over in a flash.  that will happen when you are busy hiking, riding, doing yoga in the woods on a mountaintop, mountain biking, wine tasting, eating, hot tubbing, oh and sleeping too. it is one of those vacations that you need a vacation after just to recover.  i don't think i've ever used that many muscles or hiked so many hours.  and i would do it all over again.  i would love to take jackson there. can you imagine the look on his face when he saw all the horses and the mountains? i'd love it more than him.

i'll try to update this post with more links and references as i try and remember all of it. it might take a little digging.  but i'd love to talk to anyone about this place if you are ever interested in looking for an extraordinary vacation.  you'll need to save your pennies but i promise it is worth it.  i want to take my family back there.  it is so beautiful and an adventure to be experienced.    i am so very thankful that we had the opportunity and that i was actually allowed to tag along.  

okay. now that i'm stuck in my memories. i wish i had all the monies for all the vacations. who's going to help me win the lottery? i'll split it with ya ;)

until next time sweet, sweet colorado...  here's a promo video from the website. just gives you a little glimpse into the many, many, many ranch activities. and views. and everything else that's great.  and i'm glad i watched it.... i recognized quite a few faces and that's awesome. i hope you enjoy!