Hmm, let’s play a game. It’s called “How Much Can You Be Gone in One Month?”. Yep, that’s what happened. I began the month in Newport Beach, wrapping up my business trip. The next week, Nana came up to watch Hanleigh while Trent, Brayden, and I jetted off to Colorado for eight days for a dude ranch experience. We flew into Denver and drove to Estes Park (amidst an emergency bathroom stop from Miss B) where we spent the night. During our stay at Estes, we walked alongside the golf course where we got pretty close to some elk. Brayden joked that they were wearing white panties and of course, a song about said white panties followed suit. We also drove up to the Stanley Hotel (home of the filming of Stephen King’s The Shining) where (of course) I began quoting lines from the movie and texting Kyle with my Mrs. Torrence finger in the air. After dinner, on our way back, we got VERY close to an elk (see video) and enjoyed some laughs about it. Much of the laughing in Denver was primarily due in part to the altitude. These Jones girls get majorly loopy when you put us above sea level. I guess my dreams of climbing Everest have now been shattered. I’d be a mess.
Where was I? Ah, yes. Loopy. We awoke the next morning to climb to even higher altitudes (what the heck?) and drive “through” Rocky Mountain National Park. Ideally (when the road is open all the way), this is only an hour drive through the park and then another 45 minutes to the dude ranch. However, the snow from the winter had other plans and the road wasn’t open. So, determining that this was a unique experience we probably wouldn’t get to do for a long time, we drove as far as we could and ended at the visitor’s center where it was FREEZING (in June). We explored some very windy overlooks and saw snow drifts that were about 20-feet tall. We even saw a family pulled over on the side of the road where the Dad was showing us son how to kick the base of the wall of snow: “Hey son, watch this!”. I’d say that guy qualified for a Darwin award…or as Jeff Foxworthy would say, “Here’s your sign.” What an idiot. So, after turning around at the top and heading toward Granby (this route extended our trip by another 2 ½ hours…Gilligan’s Island theme song as our soundtrack), we finally reached the Drowsy Water Ranch.
We had heard about this place from the Burds for years and it was our turn to experience it. Winding our way through the camp-like gate and gravel road, we made our way to the rustic cabin that sat right by a heavily flowing river and next to a small pond. No TV, no internet…just you, the horses, and a chance to decompress. At first (I have to admit), I wasn’t too sure of the place. It was definitely a departure from our typical, tropical island getaways. But, every vacation has its place and this ranch grew on all of us very quickly. And here’s why…every morning we were greeted with a collective (and loud) “HOWDY” from the staff at the dining hall and then began to choose our breakfast from a menu glued to a horseshoe (“Howdy” has now become a frequent expression in our household). You name it, you got it. I think between the three of us, we ordered everything off the menu (and some mornings Trent ate nearly one of each item). Then, you were off to your ½-day rides led by wranglers (two days offered full-day rides), a break for lunch, an afternoon ride, dinner, and entertainment. The evening entertainment consisted of something each night: square dance, dinner on the mountain, game night, hayride/campfire, and staff show. We rode horses every day with the exception of the day we went white water rafting.
The white water rafting trip was AWESOME. At first, I saw a class-two rapid up ahead and was a little nervous, but realized those were no big deal. The water temperature on the other hand was 40 DEGREES (I am not exaggerating). And who were the lucky ones that were in the front of the raft? Uh, that would be Trent and me. Do the math here, people. We were drenched and we hadn’t even been rafting 15 minutes. The other boat laughed at us because they were taking the easy rapids, but revenge is sweet, my friends as they would soon get theirs. HA! Fast forward another hour or so when we were approaching what typically is a class-three rapid. However, due to the amount of snow, the river levels were the highest they had been since 1989, so it was flowing fast and high. That silly class three had become a “baby” class five! I looked ahead as the dry boaters were going to get their due. Next thing I knew, I could only see half of their raft because the other half was under a wall of water. Our raft navigated it like a bunch of pros and just got splashed in comparison. It was a thrill!
Trent’s horse was named Charlie, mine Breeze, and Brayden’s Bobbysocks. They each had their own, unique personalities. Both Trent and my horses had their own personal space invisible bubble and they didn’t want anyone else getting all up in their business. Of course, it was a double standard because they would have their noses right up on the rear end of the horse in front of them. The views from the trailrides were simply breathtaking: we could see a few ski resorts, other ranches, beautiful pastures, and gorgeous sunsets. It was just so pretty! We decided we will go back again when Hanleigh is old enough to enjoy the children’s program along with her cousins.
As you may know, my maternal grandmother, Mamaw, has had health issues for many years now but has rallied on during these times. However, on June 17, she passed away peacefully and joined her other friends and family in heaven. This is my “Ode to Ida.” I was born in Louisville, KY and only lived there for nearly five years, so my memories there are very limited. I am thankful, however, that we visited KY (where the majority of my mom’s family still lives) on a regular basis as I was growing up. I absolutely adore that side of the family and we all continue to get together each year for a fabulous reunion. I remember visits to see Mamaw where we would sit with Papaw at the kitchen table playing cards for hours. She is a card shark (if there is such a thing!)! That woman knew how to play a good game of cards! I also know where my mom gets her crazy, loud cackle laugh from: Mamaw. Her laugh is so funny sounding that it would send everyone in the room into laughter as well. She would also move her mouth quietly when watching someone speak. It was hilarious! And, my favorite thing about Mamaw is her good ole Southern vocabulary: yonder, here she did, thar it was. She is definitely up there teaching God some unique lingo. Lawman officiated the ceremony and did an absolutely beautiful job. His theme was “her way.” Although she was constantly stirring the pot, she was honest about how she felt and you always knew where she stood on an issue. That is a quality that not many people have. This was my first time to experience a funeral of a family member and I have to say, it was emotionally exhausting. Even though it was her time to leave earth, I felt a piece of me was missing. At one point, standing next to her open casket, I had composed myself after shedding some tears and watched as Papaw approached her. He held her hand, gave her a kiss, and said, “Goodbye and good night.” Seeing that was so bittersweet and my mom and I just held each other as we both cried again. I will never, ever forget that moment. Rest in peace, Mamaw. You are missed.
Because of attending the funeral, Father’s Day was cut a bit short, but I did have an unexpected layover in Charlotte where I was able to attend a cookout at the Burd’s house and see everyone as a surprise! I do want to take this time to tell Trent that he is absolutely the best father in the universe! Brayden and Hanleigh couldn’t have a better dad. I know people say this all the time, but I mean it with everything that is in my soul. He is so incredible to them, is caring, plays with them, acts like a kid with them, disciplines them when needed, and most importantly, loves them to the core. I couldn’t image a better person to father our children. Thank you, Trent! You are also the best husband, but I’ll save that for our anniversary post!
The rest of the month was rather uneventful when compared to the things above, but we did enjoy a concert, dinner with friends, Brayden started a tap/jazz/ballet class, a birthday party, and an adult night. We also ventured to the annual trip to Nags’ Head at the Mantak’s beach house. Each year, it seems another child is added to the mix…soon they will take over the adults…help us all! We had a wonderful time (as always)!
In other news, Hanleigh is cruisin’ all over the place. That child has mastered the art of both crawling and freestyle furniture surfing. No walking on her own yet, but she does balance on her own every now and then for a few seconds. It’s only a matter of time! She loves to wave hello and goodbye to people, too. It is so adorable to see her personality shaping into this sweet, little girl (who occasionally screams like crazy if you don’t feed her fast enough).
- Brayden told me one day, “You look silly naked.” I said, “Why?” She said, “Because of your long boobies, but it’s OK because they are cool.”
- When we were on our way to Estes Park, we had our emergency bathroom stop where Brayden had gas. She said, “Why am I tooting?” I said, “Sometimes when you fly in an airplane, your belly expands with air and when you land, the air comes out as a toot.” Right about then, the woman in the stall next to us was tooting up a storm, so Brayden says, “Mommy, I guess she was on an airplane today.”