over labor day weekend, we took our annual estes park trip.
the first batch of texas trash (or "papaw's check mix") was made for the season, as well as my first loaves of pumpkin bread... and it was all promptly eaten up, like it was the last food we'd have this year. it's become a running joke that we all turn into actual carbohydrates while in estes, and though not physically possible, i'd say it's about as close as you can get.
aside from the food consumed, estes is like home away from home. we walk the same stretch of town, eat meals at our usual restaurants, hike similar trails + always have our eyes out for elk. we did try to mix it up some this year, in hopes of making some new memories without my dad + also find out if we were missing out on some good grub that had been overlooked, but in my opinion, we found that we have been going to those places + doing those things 20 years running for a reason, ha!

to be 100% honest, i have to say that for now, and maybe (hopefully) not forever... but for now, estes has lost it's "all time" feeling for me. it hurts to admit that, but i'm stuck on estes trip 2013. my first year as a mom, my last year with my dad... the shortest window of time, packed with so many moments that my mind is holding onto for dear life and praying to never forget. some of our last great memories before everything changed. this feels foolish, because SO many wonderful things have happened since then, things in which i have unending gratefulness... but memories, and nostalgia, and expectations combined have my estes experience in this season of life a little tainted. i still enjoy our time there together to my core, and am working towards adapting to change...
chris encouraged me while talking with him about it. he reminded me of christmas 2007...
i always always always talked about christmas 2007, and how it was the best of all the christmases + how i was always feeling a little let down every christmas since, because i had expectations for things to be EXACTLY wonderful like that year had been... my dad was cancer free after the previous year being in the thick of it, chris and i were back together after the dark time, and it was a blizzard white christmas + we all sled down the steepest driveway in history on pleasant view lane...
i must have talked about that christmas for at least 5 years, until i didn't. no christmas has surpassed it necessarily, i think i just eventually let go of expectations + opened myself to NEW experiences. 
i'm so happy he reminded me of that, because it gives me hope that "estes 2013" will eventually be stored in the memories only bin + i can again, open myself to new experiences... it might take 5 years but hey! we're 2 in haha, i sure am thankful for that husband of mine!

all this aside, watching my kids experience new things for the first time, and seeing it through their eyes doesn't hurt one bit! it's healing + it's wonderful, and i couldn't be more thankful for them.

joy comes in the morning...
i've always loved that phrase. it's so true, no matter what happened the day before, mornings are a fresh start! that, and all the babies are well rested haha ;)
coffee with my family on the deck will always be all time, and it also gets me SO excited for our house to be finished... they say four weeks, we'll see- but for now i say, "huzzah!"

a few trips of estes past  ||  here + here + here)

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