Saturday, January 27, 2007

Elizabeth Grace

That's the name we've chosen for our daughter. We still don't know when we'll travel, but we hope it will be in the next few months. We'll go to the Jiangxi province in China and see for the first time, followed by several days at the American consulate in Guangzhou (near Hong Kong) where we'll finish the paperwork. Upon arrival back home, she'll be a US citizen!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Enjoy the snow

For the 5th time in 5 weeks, Denver is getting pounded with a snowstorm. You've got two choices when faced with this situation. You can whine about having to shovel your driveway, yet again, and complain that the city is doing a crappy job of plowing the roads, or you can enjoy it! I feel like a kid again when it's snowing. I wake up early, subconsciously sensing the early glow brought on by billions of ice crystals reflecting the pre-dawn sunshine, and anxiously jump from bed to see the sublime flakes falling. This morning, I watched a bit of "Thomas and Friends" with Andrew before donning my running gear, including gaiters, gloves, hat, and trail running shoes, and went for a run on green mountain.

Not into running? How about sledding? If you don't like sledding, there's gotta be something wrong with you. There's nothing like zooming down an icy hill at dangerous speeds to bring back fond memories of childhood.

Too cool for sledding? Haul the family up the hills for some skiing or boarding. Yesterday, we trekked up to Breckenridge, visited my brother, and took Andrew skiing. The snowflake lift at Breckenridge exists for the sole purpose of providing ski-in, ski-out access to a bunch of homes and condos. It starts from the edge of town on Four O'Clock road and deposits skiers a ways above the base of Peak 8. From there, you've got perfect green runs for teaching kids how to ski. They don't check lift tickets here, either, so no worries about money.

Andrew was giggling with excitement as we took 3 great runs down the easy slopes here. The faster we went, the bigger his smile got. A think a skier was born yesterday.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pillow Fight League

Look out, WWE - there's a new kid on the block. The Pillow Fight League! What could be more fun than watching women with stage names like Boozy Suzy and Betty Clock'er duke it out with pillows?

Read more about it here.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pike's Peak Marathon

I've been running for years, and I completed my first marathon - the 2005 Boulder Backroads marathon - with a time of 3:18:25. That's about 7:34 per mile, but 8 minutes and 25 seconds too slow to qualify for the Boston Marathon (for my age group). I finished 47th out of 697 people, which I think ain't too shabby.

But that was all on relatively flat roads. This year, I'm considering running the Pike's Peak Marathon, with an elevation gain of 7815 feet to the summit at 14,110 feet. I remember finishing the Boulder Backroads, exhausted, thinking that it was nuts to run 26.2 miles. But by now, the pain isn't as vivid in my mind, and I'd like another challenge. I've got a few weeks to decide - registration opens on March 1st, and they fill all the slots quickly.

Our adopted daughter!

Introducing the soon-to-be newest member of the Swanson family...

Her Chinese name is Fu Ni Ying, which roughly translated means lucky, brave girl. She was born on April 15, 2006.

Amy and I started the adoption process in August 2005 through Chinese Children Adoption International, a really great agency which is located in the Denver metro area. We decided to adopt because we know there are so many children who, without adoption, would grow up in an orphanage or in a foster home. We chose China because of it's abundance of abandoned girls. We also learned that many of these kids are born with conditions that would be easily treatable here at home, but due to lack of funding and lack of availability of health care, often go untreated in China. So then we signed up for the waiting child program, which connects adopting families with children who have a variety of medical conditions. Last week, we received a call from the agency that brought us together with Fu Ni Ying, who has club feet - both of her feet are turned inward. This will probably require many months of treatment to correct, but most people with club feet, if they receive good treatment at a young age, recover completely. I understand that Mia Hamm, the famous soccer player, was born with club feet, and she obviously gets along just fine now.

So what's next? Sometime in the next 2-4 months, we'll travel to China and bring her back home with us! Until then, we'll be anxiously waiting!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

7 hours driving for 3 hours of skiing

This morning, Amy and I sent Andrew to Grandma's house so we could enjoy a day of skiing. (Thanks, Mom!) We were on I-70 by 7 am, but the icy roads from yesterday's snow storm made it slow going. It took 2 and a half hours to get to Mary Jane - a drive that usually takes less than 90 minutes. We hit the slopes at about 9:00 am, and enjoyed some great powder. The snow underneath the new Eagle Wind lift, on the back side of Parsenn bowl, was great. While waiting to get on the lift, I overheard a guy say that Berthoud Pass -- our route back home -- was closed due to an avalanche. We stopped at my trusty 12-year old 4-Runner for lunch, and confirmed the news on the radio. A huge slide took out 2 cars and closed the pass, probably for the rest of the day. We were fortunate - we drove through the same spot 90 minutes before the slide. Check here for some photos.

That led to a 4-hour drive home, through Kremmling and Silverthorne. Not our best day ever in the mountains.