Sunday, July 31, 2011

Denver County Fair Weekend

Knowing Chris would be leaving for NYC for 2 weeks at the end of this weekend, we felt the need to pack as much into two days as possible. We realized at some point though, we actually tend to have this attitude about every weekend :) Friday night we splurged (with a gift card!) and walked to South Pearl Street for dinner at Sushi Den. After dinner we got strawberry pie from Pajama Baking Company and then enjoyed live jazz at India's Pearl. Chris loves live music and we try to get it in whenever possible, so tonight was a real treat.

Saturday morning began at the First Annual Denver County Fair. The fair was everything you might expect a fair to be, except with an urban twist. So instead of knitting and quilt making booths there were local artists with funky clothing and jewelry. Instead of farming and agricultural booths, there were urban gardening and sign ups for crop sharing -

Crop Sharing is a growing trend in cities. You can sign up to receive a portion of a farmer's share of crop for a given length of time - so for instance, an urbanites might sign up for a 6 month share during the months of July - December and the farmer would have 'drop off' points in the city where the customer could pick up their goods once each month. The goods consist of whatever is in season that month so it might include fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs or whatever else the farmer is able to provide that month - it's a really neat concept, and we haven't gotten on board yet, but have begun to consider our options.

We went with Dave and Kate Stone and really had a great time. The highlight of the county fair was Chris and Dave participating in the Pie Eating Contest. Oh my! They didn't win, but they certainly had their share of apple pie...

Ready, set, go!

This is Chris looking over at his competition!

Our time ended with Chris winning a carnival game, and a huge stuffed pug! We took this pug to Sarah's company picnic after the fair, and gave it to a coworker's daughter. It made her day!

After the fair and the company picnic, we caught a couple hours at the pool down the street, and then cleaned up for a date night with Dave and Kate. We went to a fundraiser for The Road to Hope (View Website Here)a non-profit organization raising funds to help children in Haiti. The mission of the organization is to implement sustainable projects that are not just "handouts for the poor" but actually tangible ways the community will grow and thrive because of the projects. For instance, the organization rebuilt a local orphanage after the earthquake annihilated the structure for the children. The organization also installed a $10,000 water filtration system for the orphanage so the children are able to drink clean water. 

Chris had a great conversation with a board member of the organization and was able to share his insight about low-cost bio-sand water filtration systems. I know we were brought to this evening's event with purpose and intention, and it will be neat to see the way the Lord connects us with this organization. We're not sure yet what role we may play, or if we will have any involvement at all, but being at the event definitely peaked our interest and reminded us that there are ways we can get involved with positive, sustainable initiatives in the "real world," post-college life and post-SIFE.

Also, the event was being held at an art gallery, RedLine, that was featuring a really neat exhibit called "Design for the Other 90%" - the concept being:

“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”  —Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises

The exhibit displays new concepts low-cost solutions for everyday needs for people of poverty based around the themes of shelter - health - water - education - energy - transport. The exhibit was incredible, and we really enjoyed learning about all that is being made available to third world countries. View Website Here

Us outside the art gallery standing under a display of lighted globes, beautiful!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hobbs do Denver

Megan and John Hobbs came to visit last weekend and we showed them around, and ate lots of delicious Denver cuisine. Somehow we managed to only get one photo during their visit, so this will have to suffice. The rest of the week they are splitting between family vacation in Keystone, Colorado and Russian Camp in Winter Park, Colorado. John's family has three adopted daughters from Russia and every year the family attends the camp in Colorado. I think it's such a neat family tradition! We were happy to get to spend quality time with our Missouri friends :) It was so great to see you Megan and John!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Take me to St. Louie

The weekend of July 15th saw us headed for a quick couple of days in St. Louis to celebrate Grandpa Gray's (Pampaw to the Gilstrap grandkids) 70th birthday.  Rose had quite the weekend ahead, and he had no idea!

Mid-day Saturday was a BBQ and their place with guest after unexpected guess ringing the doorbell.  Always cool under pressure, Pampaw received his guests with his typical hearty laugh and bear hug.  Soon thereafter we showered him with gifts.  A Kindle, a couple of new shirts and a new ball cap and he was well on his way to a wonderful afternoon.  Little did he know, Rose was just getting started.  The final gift...

The entire lot of us (friends and family) were headed for the local minor league ball park to take in the evening from our own private patio...

And Pampaw, after a quick warm up...

...was to throw out the first pitch.

The rest of the night provided the perfect atmosphere for catching up.


Followed by one last gift/surpise...

Pampaw leading the crowd in "Take me out to the ballgame."

Sunday morning, we all attended the church Pampaw is currently pastoring.  Katie and Chris were pulled in at the last second to complete the Gilstrap Quintet.

Although quick, the weekend provided ample food for thought as we headed back toward Colorado.  It is the selflessness and focus with which Pampaw approaches his every day life that was most poignant during a weekend in which there were plenty of memories made.  We are proud and lucky to call him Grandpa (well, Pampaw, but you know what we mean). And we can only hope that for the big 7-5, he won't let the mascot peer pressure him in to throwing from the mound.   

Monday, July 11, 2011

So proud.

Have you ever had a moment when you are beaming and overflowing with pride?! I came home from a long weekend working an event for work, and Chris had built a fence! My husband built a fence, isn't that great?! I couldn't quit smiling because I was so overwhelmingly proud of him. He told me he may work on it this weekend, and then I came home and it was completed! I'm SO PROUD! If I get this excited about my husband, I can only imagine what it will feel like to beam with pride for a child's accomplishments :)

The fence and gate on the left and right side of the house....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4th Weekend

Our friends Matt and Andrea Harp from Springfield came to visit over the 4th of July weekend - it was so great to see them and really good to catch up on the last year of our lives. We attended Drury together and Andrea and I are sorority sisters. We have so many wonderful memories from college together, so it was nice to have old friends in town to share in a long weekend together. 

They got to Denver on Saturday and we did dinner at My Brother's Bar - which Chris claims has the 'best burger in Denver.' It's really just a burger with jalapeno cream cheese on top, nonetheless, it's "the best!" After dinner we went to Little Man ice cream and then sat on the Jeep to watch the Rockie's Baseball game fireworks. It was a great night!

Sunday we walked to church and then to the South Pearl Street Farmers Market which is just a few blocks from our house. We loaded up with veggies and bread for an evening picnic, and ate lunch at the food trucks - lots of local restaurants have food trucks the send to the farmers markets around town, so you can get some delicious grub at a reasonable lunchtime rate. Great deal!

Sunday afternoon we went to the Coors Brewery tour in Golden, CO. Matt has a home-brewing kit and is interested in making his own ale, so he was particularly interested in the tour. 

We stopped by Kaos Pizzaria on the way home to say hello to our fellow sorority sister Katie who lives in Colorado Springs but was in Denver for the Rockies game. It was great to see her and catch up on her life in the Springs. 

Sunday night we packed up our picnic goods and headed to Jazz in the Park at Denver's City Park. Every Sunday night they have live jazz and people come from all over to picnic. Rotisserie chicken, homemade salsa, garlic EVOO from Kansas City (a special treat from the Harps!), bread from the market and of a bottle of '06 Cab Sauv from our CO wine country trip! YUMM!

After Jazz in the Park, we drove down the street to Civic Center Park where the Colorado Symphony was performing. Civic Center Park is the grassy area between the Capitol building and the Courthouse. You may remember photos from the ski competition this winter which was in this same park. There were people covering every square inch of the park for the free symphony concert and to watch the fireworks. They shot off the fireworks from the top of the courthouse, and we were laying in the street directly in front of the courthouse - it was incredible! The symphony in the background during the fireworks show, simply incredible.

Symphony stage

They light up the courthouse and the lights change with the symphony music

Monday morning started with sleeping in and then brunch at Lucille's. If you frequent our blog, you know this is our go-to for out of town guests :) It really is one of our favorites, and with being a New Orleans fan, we just had to introduce him to our favorite spot for beignets and Cafe du Monde coffee.

We went to Morrison, CO to see Red Rocks Amphitheater, and the incredible view of Denver from this high-spot. Beautiful!

Next we headed south and stopped at the Air Force Academy - on July 4th no doubt. It felt appropriate to be there on this holiday weekend. The chapel at the AFA is beautiful inside and out and has won a lot of awards for architecture. Chris loves to see the airplanes too and enlighten us with his aviation knowledge. I should also mention that just for Rita Duvall, Chris wore his Eddie Bauer flag shirt. 

The cross at the alter made of stainless steel

We made it to Colorado Springs and cruised through the Garden of the Gods. This park looks a lot like Red Rocks in Denver, and it's always neat to see the beauty of these natural formations. The beauty never ceases to amaze me.

We finished the day Monday with a BBQ with Chad, Michelle and Colorado Springs friends. I think by this point, we were all very exhausted from a great weekend. We enjoyed good company and ending the weekend with old and new friends. 

We had such a great weekend and are so thankful for Matt and Andrea in our lives. I would imagine that over the course of our lives, most of us will have a limited number of truly genuine and authentic, long-lasting relationships. Relationships that sustain regardless of location or place in our life journey. Chris and I are so blessed to have the Harps in our lives to share in this life adventure together - through marriage, friendship, careers and our faith. We feel so fortunate to be blessed with their friendship and so thankful they came to visit!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Baby!

We are excited to announce Lily Belle Greeno - a new addition to the Hunter and Ashley Greeno family :) We have really enjoyed sharing in the joy of pregnancy and a new baby with our friends in Denver, and it warms our hearts to see such a wonderful couple welcome a new special life into this world! It will be so fun to watch this little one grow! Congrats Hunter and Ashley!!