Wednesday hike.

On Wednesday morning we ate breakfast and went on a lovely hike without Abe and Clark, who were working. Sruthi was a literal angel and carried Ammon in a pack for the entire hike (with one ten minute exception pictured below).

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Then we all headed to Benji and Janine’s for lunch, after which they had to run to the airport. After they left it started raining, and the kids watched Inside Out together. I was pretty sick by that point, so I think I spent the rest of the day napping on and off, but I’m sure we also had dinner. There were so many leftovers that we didn’t want to go to waste that I think we had those for dinner as well.

Family pictures, climbing and Llamzon feast

On Monday night Shauna Arrington, Abe’s cousin, and her mother, Vanessa, came up to Estes Park. Shauna is a photographer, and we love her. She came up on her birthday, so while we were in Boulder I got some cupcakes from Tee and Cakes for her. They were really yummy.

Tuesday morning Benji, Janine, Sruthi and Swathi got up early to go on an able-bodied-adult-only hike in the snowy mountains. At one point the hike included sliding down the mountain on their bums because the terrain was too icy. They then started over at another hike and successfully climbed the whole way.

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Then we all went to Lily Lake to take family pictures. When Shauna finishes editing them, I can fill in this post more completely. In the meantime, here are some Abe took of Ammon during the shoot, and one of Sruthi and Soren.

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After the photo shoot, we all headed to Estes Park and ate at a Nepalese restaurant. My mom, Abe, my kids and I were all pretty sick, so the warm, spicy food was very pleasant and comforting. Ammon is crazy and uncontainable after about ten minutes, so Abe took him outside and let him play after Abe was done eating. During that time Ammon crashed his face into a boulder and got quite cut up. At least that happened after the pictures!

Now to be perfectly honest, I completely forget which day we did the climbing wall. I feel like we did it one rainy morning, but I can’t place it. In any case, we went to an indoor rock climbing place in Estes Park and discovered that our family has a lot of rock climbing talent! Lydia blew some experienced rock climbers away by climbing up an adult section of the wall successfully, Mary and Soren both made it to the top of the wall, Liem was a lightning bolt of speed during his climb, Swathi and Sruthi succeeded in their climbs, and so did Clark, Pao and Abe. I have since put Lydia on the waiting list for our local kids’ climbing club. That girl looked so good climbing, and I was so proud of her.

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Benji and Janine cooked us all a feast for dinner. It was so delicious.


I was so full that afterward I went straight to bed. The girls stayed up with Liem and Pao and played monopoly for hours. Abe went over to get them and ended up spending an hour playing with them. I was glad for my 8pm bedtime because between his cold and his black eye, Ammon ended up waking up all night long…

Boulder Day

On Monday we had breakfast all together before heading to Boulder. Abe and Clark had a lot of work to do before the trip. Abe was busy trying to close the biggest deal of his career, and Clark was on the phone working remotely almost every day. But after their phone calls we piled in our cars and headed to Boulder.

It was raining most of the day, but we were able to walk a length of Pearl Street and eat in a lovely little Italian restaurant. My mom spent that time visiting my dear Aunt Sandy, and we all picked her up and spent a little time with Aunt Sandy after we ate. We didn’t spend too much time because our crew of many children was rather boisterous and threatened to dismantle her gorgeous condo. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of us with Aunt Sandy. I regret that because she looked so cute in her wide-rimmed, bright, luminescent gray glasses.

After our visit, we headed to a local park and ended up playing the Filipino lawn game, Patentero. I did not get any pictures! Janine has some, so hopefully I will get hers later. Everyone had a blast, and it was so fun watching everyone play together. (With my girth, there was no way I was going to participate and risk pulling every muscle in my body.)

On Pearl Street.
On Pearl Street.

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Sprague Lake and Ammon’s miraculous survival

On Sunday Clark, Swathi, Sruthi, Soren, Benji, Janine, Liem and Pao all went to Lily Lake and hiked around. They were running on Eastern time, so getting a start at 5:30am was no big deal for them. We, on the other hand, slept in.

They have beautiful pictures which I downloaded from Swathi, but I am not sure which pictures match this particular hike. Here is my best guess!

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Once my mom and our crew were up, we headed to the visitor center for Rocky Mountain National Park, got some advice from the ranger, and then headed to Sprague Lake. (The night before while we were getting ice cream in Estes Park, the ice-cream-scooper-man had told us that there was going to be deadly lightning for the first time in eighteen years on Sunday. Hence the need for advice and reassurance from the ranger.)

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Abe impressed us all with his incredible rock skipping abilities, and my mom even skipped rocks! Pao also had some great talent in the rock-skipping arena. Janine has a video wherein she caught Abe skipping rocks halfway across the lake, and then she also caught my mom make a rather impressive rock-skip. As soon as I can, I will upload that.

After our hike, we had some of Janine’s delicious chicken salad sandwiches, and then my mom, Mary, and I hustled to church while Abe looked after Ammon and Lydia at home. Ammon needed to nap and Lydia was sick.

It turned out that Ammon refused to nap, and Lydia begged Abe to go play with Ammon. Abe was resting in bed and agreed, unaware that Lydia intended to get Ammon out of his pack-n-play. Unbeknownst to all of us, Ammon had figured out how to open doors. When I pulled into the condo parking lot after church, what should I see but Ammon running gleefully into the parking lot. I was shocked and terrified out of my mind. Conscientious little Lydia was busy inside strapping on her shoes so she could run and chase her brother, but before she made it out of the door I rescued him and brought him back in to a horrified Abe.

I spent the next several hours feeling panicked, and it was only later in the evening when I was talking to Janine that I calmed down. She exclaimed over the miraculous timing of it all and clearly pointed out the hand of God in my arrival just at the moment Ammon entered the parking lot. It had crossed my mind before she pointed it out that God had helped spare Ammon’s life, but I was so focused on my own emotional terror that I couldn’t process that. But with some space, I can definitely see the hand of God in this timing and praise him for helping me arrive before Ammon killed himself in the parking lot.

We used the high deadbolt religiously for the rest of the trip.

Colorado trip

On Saturday we flew to Colorado for a family reunion with Clark, Swathi, Soren, Sruthi, and my cousins and their kids: Benjie, Janine, Pao and Liem.

The kids were so, so excited to be traveling. Mary was blowing kisses to all of us, and Lydia was grinning ear to ear and telling people how much she loved them. Ammon was even thrilled because Abe put him in a forward facing car seat, and he loved his new situation.

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I was really nervous about flying for a lot of reasons, but top of the list was that I had no idea how Ammon would manage being constrained for even the very short flight between SLC and Denver. Before we flew I went to Target and raided the junk section of the store for activity books and snacks, and we charged three tablets on top of that.

On the flight, Ammon did great! Once we strapped him in, he seemed to understand that he wasn’t allowed to act crazy anymore, and we kept him entertained the entire time. At any given moment Abe was covering him in stickers and helping Ammon color while Ammon was simultaneously poking at a device, sucking on his bottle and downing snacks–a perfect recipe to encourage Ammon to develop ADD. Good thing the flight was so short!

IMG_2691 IMG_2686 IMG_2689When we arrived in Denver, we walked through the huge airport, procured our rental car, and drove to Estes Park. I had called ahead to get two enormous Subway sandwich platters for everyone’s dinner. Abe laughed when he saw the giant platters and said it was the Filipino in me. I am always terrified that we will run out of food, so I buy a LOT. Now we have about twenty leftover sandwiches in the fridge.

After we had a picnic by the stream behind the Estes Park WorldMark where we are staying, we decompressed a little bit before heading into Estes Park to walk around, get ice cream, and go grocery shopping. Driving into Estes Park from Denver we saw a whole herd of Elk cows in the downtown park all grazing around a statue of an Elk. As my mom said, they knew right where they belonged! On our way into town after dinner, a male elk with a new antler rack meandered right next to our car, and right after that we had to swerve to avoid a crow eating a fuzzy dead rabbit in front of our car.

It has been an exciting trip so far!

A happy evening

Abe has been working like crazy to win a huge deal with Caterpillar, and in about two hours he will give his final presentation/sales pitch in Peoria. Because he has had to work so much for this deal on top of his normal responsibilities (and his normal responsibilities at this point are basically two jobs already: managing his team AND hitting his personal quota), he has been completely and utterly swamped. He also was out of town for a week, and obviously he’s out of town right now for the presentation.

Anyway, Abe was so sweet and got a babysitter so that I could do whatever I wanted Thursday evening. It was the best time ever!

The babysitter came at five o’clock while everyone was eating dinner. That was great because it meant I got to skip out before Ammon threw all of his dinner on the floor and on his head. Those are my least favorite moments of the day.

I started by going for a swim. I love swimming because it’s the only time I don’t have pressure bearing down on my sore hips. After the swim, I went to Aubergine and had a falafel and quinoa bowl for dinner with some cucumber mint lemonade. So yummy! Then I headed to the Aveda spa in the mall and spent a loooong time there. I started out getting waxed, then moved on to a facial, and then ended with a pedicure.

It felt extravagant, but honestly, if I hadn’t done that, I don’t know how I would have survived this night. It’s 5:13am and I have been up since 3am because kids woke up a lot last night. First Mary had a nightmare and came into bed with me to cuddle, and then Ammon had a nightmare and needed cuddles in his room. After transferring a sleeping Mary back to her own bed, I was up for the day, so I ended up doing laundry and trying to catch up on some blogs. But since I had such a great evening, I feel great! I have no idea what this day will bring, but I feel full of energy right now, and I’m attributing that to my extraordinary evening.

After I finished at the spa, I went to the Gap and got outfits for our upcoming family reunion photos. Now I have a lot of returns to do because I had already bought some things for the photo, but the things I got last night seem to be much better.

After the Gap, I drove to my favorite place, Dairy Queen, and got my (unfortunately standard) large chocolate cone. NPR had some interesting shows on discussing the cultural significance of Princess Leia’s gold bikini scene. I never realized she had been sexually assaulted by Jaba the Hut. Apparently that’s obvious to any feminist viewing the film, but that detail escaped me. Anyway, I enjoyed becoming enlightened on that.

Then I came home, paid our wonderful babysitter, and finished off by almost finishing Cannery Row. In our upcoming Highway One trip, we were originally going to go to Monterey, so I felt that I should read Cannery Row. We have since swapped that plan out for Disneyland, but I am thoroughly enjoying the novel(la?? It’s so short!) anyway. It’s full of earthy pathos and hilarity.