Monday, May 28, 2007


For Memorial Day weekend, we loaded the kids into the 4Runner and headed to Moab. I've been there four or five times now, and never get tired of it. Amy and I rarely visit the same place twice - we usually are much more excited about experiencing something new. Moab is the rare exception. Even after all these visits, there are still plenty of new places nearby that we haven't yet explored.

Day 1 - Arches National Park
We spent most of the day on a 6-mile hike in Devil's Garden. Andrew was a champ - he hiked the first 4 miles by himself (a new distance record for him), without even asking me to carry him. In fact, I think a rock climber may have been born. He was fearlessly scrambling up and over boulders and up steep slickrock - always with a parent positioned next to him in case of a slip. The last 2 miles he spent sleepy piggyback on mom, while dad carried Liz and the family's daypack. Elizabeth endured her journey on my back quite well, too.

Day 2 - Behind the Rocks
On Saturday we skipped the crowds and 4-wheeled and hiked some seldom-used trails west of Moab to a couple of nice arches and through Conehead canyon. We passed only a single 4-wheel drive vehicle on this 2.5 hour hike. After lunch, we did some 4-wheeling to Picture Frame arch and let Andrew scramble on the rocks again.

Day 3 - Canyonlands National Park - Island in the Sky
Canyonlands is vast - over 300,000 acres surrounding the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers. The views from here definitely rival those at the Grand Canyon, and the variety in the landscape is definitely greater. Once again, there are some fantastic, short slickrock trails that are perfect for the family.

Day 4 - back home after meeting my dad for lunch in New Castle.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Farewell, Tango

We said goodbye to our dear old dog, Tango, today. Here she is last night with me and the kids.

Our Chow-German Shepherd mix had a hell of a life. Amy and I found her at the Denver Dumb Friends League about 9 years ago. She was a 3-year-old stray dog who ended up at the pound. There's not a lot of demand for dogs this age, so she languished in her plexiglass enclosure for many weeks, and her time there was about to run out. We visited the place and spent time with a few of the dogs. The first few were hyper and licked us a lot; then we spent a few minutes with Tango. She was mellow and friendly, and didn't lick us once. That sealed the deal.

Tango was an accomplished escape artist. She actually pried a hole in our chain link fence -- with her teeth -- large enough to escape through. That happened sometime in the first 4 hours we ever left her in the dog run in the back yard. I came home at lunch to check on her, and panicked when I found her missing. By the time I typed a "lost dog" flyer on the computer, I found Tango - sitting patiently on my front porch. We figured out that all she needs to be happy when we aren't home is a view outside where she can watch and wait for us to return home.

Tango was also an accomplished mountaineer, having summited 11 of Colorado's 14er's (14,000 foot peaks) with me, including a snow-covered Mt. Sneffels on Memorial Day weekend.

She hung in there after our 6-month round-the-world trip in 2002, when we left her in the care of Amy's brother and sister-in-law, Jason and Jan. She stayed loyal again when we left her with my Mom while we spent 4 months in China last year. (Thanks a ton to Jason, Jan, and my Mom for the many times they kept Tango for us!)

It's been tearing at my heart for months now to see her deteriorate. The worst part is that in the past few weeks, her happiness faded completely, and when she looked at me, her big brown eyes looked sad and confused, wondering why she was in so much pain. When
that happened, I knew it was time. It was heart-wrenching, but I know it was the best thing to do for her.

Tango, we'll miss you!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Going mobile with two casts

Elizabeth is now wearing her 4th pair of casts in the series of about 8 pairs of casts she'll need to correct her bilateral club foot. The casts aren't painful, and don't seem to bother her at all. She gets around pretty well, although she can't quite crawl. The casts are thigh-high so they won't slip out of position so easily, but despite that, her right cast has slipped out of the correct position in each of the first 4 weeks. Her right foot is more bent than the left, so the foot hasn't been pulled up as much yet, which makes it easier for this cast to slip down.

This video shows just how mobile she is despite the fact that she can't bend her knees or ankles.