Merry Christmas 2010

Hello Family & Friends,

This year we decided to cut some costs and change things up a little bit regarding our Christmas Cards.  So I have put together a little video for you of some of our pictures from the year.  I hope you enjoy it!

Our first year in Colorado has been wonderful and challenging.  The work is hard at times, being out in the snow & low temperatures, however it is very rewarding helping folks enjoy themselves while they are on vacation.  We remember back when we were vacationers here and it makes us appreciate our jobs that much more.

One of our challenges this year was my accident in March when I broke my ankle on the job and was out of commission for several months.  I broke 4 bones & crushed 1 in my ankle and tore-up everything else in there in the process.  I developed a blood clot in my leg which elevated the risk of having surgery.  I ended up being on blood thinners & oxygen for several months.  But on the flip side the oxygen helped in my recovery and was fully released to go back to full duty work after only 5 months.  I only missed a handful of days during this time and worked limited duty throughout that 5 months.  We were originally told that it could be 2 years before I would be back to full activity… I guess you can call me an over achiever, because I was back to climbing mountains this summer and am back to skiing to “almost” full strength.

To add to our wonderful & challenging lives… we added a new family member in September.  As most of you know, his name is Phurba and he is a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy.  We have wanted one for 5 or 6 years, but being in Arkansas there was no way we could have one, due to the heat and humidity.  He is a true “Mountain Dog” and loves the snow.  In his short little life so far, he has traveled 4000 miles & been in 10 different states.  He loves to hike with us and goes with Mike when he leads snowshoe tours.  We have often wondered if we had had a child what he/she would be like… he/she would be as cool as this puppy is.  He is developing some of our characteristics… tough, loving the outdoors, and a real charmer!

Due to my accident we were unable to do a lot of traveling this year.  We had planned several backpacking trips for the spring and fall… along with a couple of visits back home.  Our plans for our 9 day backpacking trip in the Tetons, WY had to be canceled because I was not in the physical shape I needed to be in for the endurance of a 9 day trek.  Maybe next year!

In the spring, Mike went back to Arkansas for a couple of weeks and moved Chelsie to Breckenridge.  She is doing great, loving it, and is now attending Colorado Mountain College for early childhood education.  Bella, Chelsie’s Dachshund, is getting use to the snow… though I still don’t think she cares for it too much.

October brought us a little bit of time off, so we went to Arkansas for a couple of weeks.  We brought the new addition with us so he could meet all the rest of his family and some friends back home.  During our time there we made a quick trip to Fort Walton Beach for a few days of relaxation on the beach.  Phurba didn’t care for the heat of Arkansas or Florida, but kind of liked the beach at night.  The ocean waves on the other hand were a bit scary for him and as the first wave crashed towards him he did a 180 and if it hadn’t been for the leash that Mike had on him, he would have probably ran all the way back to Colorado.  We enjoyed our time back home and hope to return next spring for an even longer period of time.

Along with the rewards of our jobs this past year, we continue to be active in our church and volunteer for our community dinner and food bank on Sunday nights.  We have been volunteering for 3 years now and we serve 50 to 100 people dinner.  The people we help serve range from the poor & homeless to fellow employees on the mountain.  People with little or no resources to people that have the means but just like to join in the fellowship.  Though we all might not be able to give financially to a good cause, we all have some kind of talent that can be of some benefit to those in need.  So in the New Year to come… find some way to give, it will not only make someone in need feel better but in the giving you will also receive!

May this Christmas Season bring you Joy, Love & Laughter and the Spirit of Giving to those in need.

With all our Love,

Gail, Mike & Phurba