Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

    I’m Thankful for Colorado

    Most of the time, when I’m at home in the burbs of DC, I’m just being and doing. I take my kindergartner to the bus stop where he shyly-eagerly greets the older boys playing with a ball. I try not to worry about them not understanding him. I try not to worry about them picking on him for his speech delays, and instead, revel in their willingness to throw him their ball when he asks for it.

    Most of the time, when I’m at home in the burbs of DC, I don’t think about my real Home. I don’t think about Colorado as a September place, the mountains yellow with changing Aspen trees, humidity-free hikes, and air that forces me to breathe it more deeply and completely.

    Fall Aspen Leaves Colorado-sm This week though, these are the things of my thankful. Tucker, always my thankful, reminded me, on this trip to Home, of wonder and history and simple fun while riding in the wayback of a car with his cousins, playing smush ‘em, exaggeratedly leaning into one other on every curve.

    Boy Back Seat Smush EmTucker’s cousins understood pretty much everything that he said when he spoke, and, when they didn’t, it wasn’t a big deal.

    Running on the pathFamily.   Friends.   Home.

    On our hike, in this September Colorado place where I grew up, I saw the son that I live with at our home in DC. I saw the boy who needs support for academics, and I saw the boy who I don’t think of as having issues with motor skills until I see what other five year olds can do.

    I also saw the boy that I see fly, and the boy who gets the greatest joy in throwing rocks into a pond, a lake, and a river. I saw the boy that his cousins see. The boy who chose to climb back down instead of all the way over was just the boy who decided to climb back down. Him not climbing over didn’t matter.

    Boy throwing rock into waterI liked that.

    I liked this, too.

    Tucker on rock in mountainsThankful for family.

    Cousins ID protect Tucker and baby

    I was thankful to find shade from the Colorado sun, and for a breeze at sunset, at a lake.

    Lake at SunsetI was thankful for the view driving back from the mountains to Denver, and to wake Sunday morning, knowing I’d see my two longest friends. The ones who have known me and seen me through the kind of levity and darkness that seems impossible when conversations are had in snippets running after kids. I didn’t get a selfie of the three of us, but I got one of me and Sara.

    Kristi and Sara

    And ones of Sara playing hide and seek with my little boy, in the September sun.

    Of Tucker and Sara, being silly, together. Of somebody, other than me, realizing how cool my kid is.  Tucker came up to Sara and me and said, “Raise your hands!” While we understood his objective, it was amazing when I made him clarify it, and he said “Raise your hand if you want to chase me” (or close enough). He instructed us to say “ME ME ME” and then, when we did, he chose Sara. And she played.

    Hide and SeekTucker and Sara

    My husband went home early, for work, on our anniversary. And it was okay. I got to hang out with Stephanie and her family. Our kids – you guys, our kids played together!  I was a little nervous about Steph’s girls being annoyed with/accepting Tucker.

    Stephanie and Kristi and kids

    They were awesome, and they, too, understood his words. If they didn’t? It didn’t matter. They were amazing and I think Tucker fell a little bit in love with Steph’s older daughter, Izzy; he was still talking about her on the way home tonight. Asking where she is now, whether she’s asleep, and whether we can do Colorado again.

    Steph and Kristi

    I’m thankful for Colorado. For family, friends, and for yellow aspen trees. For breathing. Deeply and completely.

    Breathe deeply and completely

    What are you thankful for right now?

    This is a Ten Things of Thankful Post.

    Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group


    • Brittnei - This is so precious! I didn’t know you grew up in Colorado! You were a state away while on this visit! I saw the picture of Tucker and maybe it was Izzy on Facebook or did you just mention how much he loves her? So adorable. I’m so happy that you all had a wonderful time and that you didn’t have to feel sad or upset if you had to witness some of the things you were concerned about. I’m so happy you were able to see how normal and exceptional Tucker is around all of these people and situations even if he can’t say music just yet. 🙂October 1, 2014 – 1:06 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - You didn’t? Wow, yeah, I lived there (left for college for a year in CA) my entire life until I moved out here for a job in 2004. YES the photo of Tucker and Izzy on FB – he was totally smitten 🙂
        Thanks so much for your kind and awesome words, Brittnei!October 2, 2014 – 11:46 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi - I’m glad you posted, even if the link isn’t open right now. What a wonderful vacation! So perfect! I’m so happy for you and Tucker.October 1, 2014 – 1:37 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - I’m glad I posted, too, Kristi. Thanks and yeah, it really was a delightful vacation.October 2, 2014 – 11:49 amReplyCancel

    • Lizzi Rogers - I do not CARE that you’re late – this is beautiful and wonderful and SO so lovely, and I want you to link it next week, please, so that all the TToTers see it, because it’s FAB.

      And I’m so glad for all the different, good ways you’ve seen Tucker, and all the different-but-really-the-same good ways he’s been, and that you all have just BEEN, and breathed, and enjoyed, and reconnected with your place.

      *hugs*October 1, 2014 – 6:25 amReplyCancel

    • Sandy Ramsey - Can’t really care that you’re late after a post like that! I’m so glad that you had such a great trip and I love hearing stories about meeting fellow bloggers. I hope to have a story like that of my own one day. Tucker is getting so big and he has the most incredible smile. Just like Mama!October 1, 2014 – 6:41 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks, Sandy! I cannot believe how big Tucker is getting! It’s both amazingly wonderful and a little bit sad (what happened to my tiny baby???).October 2, 2014 – 11:51 amReplyCancel

    • Kenya G. Johnson - Awww I love it. I saw the picture on FB of Izzy and Tucker – too cute. Those trees are beautiful. We have NONE of that Fall right now. I’d say we are a month away but it’s October 1st and there’s hope for Fall colors and cooler temps. Glad you had such a wonderful trip.October 1, 2014 – 6:42 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - We don’t have any of the fall here in DC really yet either, Kenya! It’s hot! Although I think it’s cooling off the past few days so maybe we’ll see some yellow and red soon. Then in a few months we’ll complain about the cold. Sigh. And thank you – it really was a great trip!October 2, 2014 – 11:53 amReplyCancel

    • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - Well, now I’m totally jealous because I want you and Tucker to come play with me and my girls!!! 🙂 I’m glad you had such good time. I know you have been stressed and it sounds like this was a great reprieve.October 1, 2014 – 7:19 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - I want me and Tucker to come play with you and your girls! Next time we head south to OBX or wherever, I’ll let you know and maybe we can meet up!! And thanks, Lisa. 🙂October 2, 2014 – 11:55 amReplyCancel

    • My Inner Chick - –Lovely.
      Every time I click over here, I smile.
      Gorgeous scenery.
      Gorgeous children.
      Gorgeous “You.”
      xxOctober 1, 2014 – 7:51 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - YAY for smiling, IC! xx and thank you for your comment that makes me smile on this day today.October 2, 2014 – 11:59 amReplyCancel

    • Twindaddy - I’m grateful you had an amazing time in Colorado!!! Yay!October 1, 2014 – 9:17 amReplyCancel

    • Michele @ A Storybook Life - Sounds like a wonderful trip, full of exploration and fun and just BEING. Tucker looks so, so happy in every picture! (And WOW to the gorgeous scenery.) So very much to be thankful for here.October 1, 2014 – 10:17 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Michele and yeah, so much to be thankful for. I’m getting ready for it to feel more fall-like here already!October 2, 2014 – 12:04 pmReplyCancel

    • Valerie Newman - A beautiful, wonderful post. I bet it was so nice to see Tucker with loving friends and cousins having fun. Colorado is a beautiful state. I lived and worked in Boulder, CO back in the early 80’s. I forgot how gorgeous the aspen trees are when they splash yellow on the mountainside. October 1, 2014 – 10:19 amReplyCancel

    • Emily - I love so many things about this post, but most of all, I loved seeing the huge smiles on everyone. And yes, BIG and cool and touching and sweet when Tucker held Steph’s hand – LOVE THAT. I think also that I’m now jealous you grew up in Colorado — I love it there, although I’ve only been in the winter. It looks so beautiful and serene and I now want to go on a trip there!October 1, 2014 – 10:55 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - I know! I didn’t know that Tucker was holding Steph’s hand until I saw the photo. Love! He’s still talking about Izzy “What is Izzy doing now?” And you should definitely go to CO in the fall – it’s incredible. I’ll meet you there!October 2, 2014 – 12:05 pmReplyCancel

    • Janine Huldie - Late or not, this thankful was worth reading and absolutely perfect from start to finish. I was truly smiling at Tucker’s beaming face and so glad he had a blast on your time away. Perfect and great way to start my morning off reading all about it!! 🙂October 1, 2014 – 11:08 amReplyCancel

    • kerri - I think the best gift of the year is this post. This moment in time when Tucker was just Tucker and it was awesome. Without judgement, without explanation, without any qualifiers. He was a cousin, a new friend, a boy and a son who is the best thing to ever happen to his mom.October 1, 2014 – 11:09 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - I love the moments when Tucker is just Tucker and it works. Nobody judging, nobody wondering why he’s bouncing, that. And yeah, he’s most definitely the very best thing to happen to his mom. Ever ever.October 2, 2014 – 12:07 pmReplyCancel

    • Susan Zutautas - This is the first thing I’ve read today and I’m so glad that I stopped by to read your TToT. This made me so happy! Family and good friends are always special and they always seem to get us. October 1, 2014 – 11:46 amReplyCancel

    • Pattie Thomas - This is just wonderful Kristi. I am so happy for you and Tucker that your Colorado family and friends are so loving and understanding. Good memories for all of you. October 1, 2014 – 12:07 pmReplyCancel

    • K - OMG. I loved this post. Tucker has the BEST smile, and it looks like you guys had an amazing time. And I lovelovelove that everyone accepted him in all of his awesomeness…maybe Our Land is closer than we think!October 1, 2014 – 12:51 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Oh K – that Our Land is closer than we think would truly be an amazing thing. It certainly felt like Our Land when Tucker was just being and playing and nobody thought it was weird that his words were muffled, that he hid from loud noises, or anything. It was just playing and being and overall so so perfect. <3October 2, 2014 – 12:09 pmReplyCancel

    • Echo - I love that you had a wonderful vacation and I love that Tucker enjoyed it! The pictures are beautiful! It is so awesome that you got to hang out with Stephanie and her girls! Maybe someday, you’ll make it to the frozen north and you and I can Carpe Diem!October 1, 2014 – 1:14 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - WordPress ate my comment. I am sure it was brilliant. Sigh. I think I said that I’ll Carpe Diem with you any day and that I’ll even bring some whisky in a jar so that we can ride the lightning together. Thanks for awesome you and thanks for your awesome comment, Echo.October 2, 2014 – 12:33 pmReplyCancel

    • Elizabeth - What a great trip! What a beautiful place. So glad you got that time to relax and enjoy. 🙂October 1, 2014 – 1:25 pmReplyCancel

    • Tamara - I’m always thankful for breathing deeply and completely! And for Colorado, although I’ve never been there. It’s on my list so I’m thankful to have dreams like that.
      <3 Tucker!October 1, 2014 – 3:55 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Here’s to breathing deeply and completely, Tamara. And let me know when you make your Colorado dream come true and I’ll meet you out there. We go at least once/year…and it’d be a great place to take photos!October 2, 2014 – 12:35 pmReplyCancel

    • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Beautiful all around. XOOctober 1, 2014 – 5:13 pmReplyCancel

    • Allie Smith - Can I just say that your pictures gave me a Rocky Mountain high! Beautiful. You have so much to be thankful for! So glad you got friend time*old and new! I’m thankful for so much, but swear I’m to tired to write it ( in car waiting for Aud/dance class, falling asleep! Welcome home.October 1, 2014 – 5:22 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - I almost named this post Rocky Mountain High but given the new laws on legalized pot, I wasn’t sure if I’d get weird traffic from it (on second thought, maybe I should have!). Thanks, Allie. Sigh to being tired. I hear ya mama. And I only have the one!October 2, 2014 – 12:38 pmReplyCancel

    • Chronicallysickmanicmother - Oh how much my heart needed this. Such simplicity yet deeply felt gratitude.October 1, 2014 – 5:38 pmReplyCancel

    • Allison - Oh how wonderful you got to spend time with Stephanie- simply what blogging/writing is all about.

      Then, let me add, I want to be in Colorado, too. Reading this post made me yearn for it. Welcome home but glad memories were made and this essay created.October 1, 2014 – 7:26 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Allison – it really is! I think the very best part of blogging is the connections we make. Truly. I hope you get your Colorado soon. xoOctober 2, 2014 – 12:40 pmReplyCancel

    • Sarah - What an amazing trip! Seeing those pics of you and Stephanie together with all your kids is too great! I’m so glad you and Tucker had such GOOD family and friend time!October 1, 2014 – 8:08 pmReplyCancel

    • Robin - In so happy for you that you had such a lovely time! I didn’t know you were from Colorado. We love it here. 🙂 My mom used to say, “Other people come here on vacation and we get to live here all the time.” I always thought it was just propaganda to keep us close to home but now that I’m an adult I realize not only how blessed we are too live here but more importantly that living near family makes everything so much more manageable. So glad Tucker was able to have such a great experience!October 1, 2014 – 9:55 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Robin and I am SO jealous that you’re in Colorado now! I didn’t realize that you were either, for some reason! It’s so true that people come to vacation and well, it’s ours. My best friends that were in this post (Julie and Sara) came there because I told them how awesome it is and go figure – I was the one to leave for a job and they are still there!! Next time I come, we’ll have to get together!October 4, 2014 – 12:08 amReplyCancel

    • Lana - I’m thankful you shared this with us. Every time I see your little boy’s smiling face, it makes me smile too. It’s so wonderful to have a place where you feel completely at peace – so glad you have Colorado!October 2, 2014 – 1:14 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Me, too, Lana. It hasn’t always been the awesomest of vacations when trying to fit in so much in a single visit but this time, even though it was busy and we tried to fit so much in, it was truly wonderful. Peaceful.October 4, 2014 – 12:12 amReplyCancel

    • La Dale Reina Johnson - I love Tucker’s smile. And yours too. October 2, 2014 – 4:32 amReplyCancel

    • Tricia - So so lovely. The suburbs of DC are my September home now but of if I could go to Colorado, I’d love to take a deep breath of that air. So glad you got to go there and spend some September time.October 2, 2014 – 7:36 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Tricia… the ‘burbs of DC are mine too but I think the neighborhoods vary a lot. I mean, I can walk by somebody here and say “HI!” and they don’t even reply which I think is just weird.October 4, 2014 – 12:15 amReplyCancel

    • Chris Carter - Oh Kristi!!! I LOVED this SO MUCH!!!! I loved every single thing about it- every thankful that is indeed HUGE and BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT in every way!!! Dear friends. Tucker LIVING out LOUD and everyone LOVING your boy and laughing and playing and the mountains and the clean fresh air you so DEEPLY and COMPLETELY inhaled while you were there….

      And Stephanie!!!! I LOVE that you girls got to connect! Oh what a HUGE deal, HUGE trip this was. I long to have been with you and Stephanie… oh how I wish!

      What a beautiful post to take in… just so much love and light. As it should be. For you. For Tucker. For all.October 2, 2014 – 11:31 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Thank you BIG HUGE, Chris! I loved seeing Tucker living out loud and on purpose and being loved and loving and just him, too. It was completely awesome. And yeah, Steph. She’s my sweet love. And now, her daughter is Tucker’s. How perfect, right?October 4, 2014 – 12:17 amReplyCancel

    • Kathy Radigan - I smiled the whole time I read this!! So happy you had a great time, and so happy Tucker do too! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!! And how cool is it to see you and Stephanie together! Sending much love!October 2, 2014 – 12:08 pmReplyCancel

    • Bianca @ Rant Rave Crave - Sounds like such a wonderful trip! I can sense the joy in this post. 🙂October 2, 2014 – 4:19 pmReplyCancel

    • Roshni - Children truly don’t care about these little things! They just want someone to play with them!!
      So glad you all had such a great time!October 2, 2014 – 7:25 pmReplyCancel

    • Anna Fitfunner - It’s so cool that Tucker has such accepting cousins and family friends! He’s going to remember these trips for a very long time. I’m taking odds that Tucker will talk about this trip in a year or so, and let you know that he had a lot of fun!October 2, 2014 – 8:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Dana - Seeing you and Stephanie and your kids on FB made me smile huge! Glad you had a great trip, Kristi. I’ve never been to Colorado, but one day…October 2, 2014 – 8:40 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - One day. Let me know when that is because I’d love to be your tour guide.October 4, 2014 – 12:19 amReplyCancel

    • Jana - I love, LOVE the pictures of Tucker! He looks so joyful! I’m glad you had this time to spend in such a wonderful place, with wonderful family and friends.October 2, 2014 – 11:10 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Jana! It was SUCH a great and joyful trip. Tucker was amazing! I appreciate your comment – thank you!October 4, 2014 – 12:20 amReplyCancel

    • Stacey Gill - Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation. So glad everything worked out so well. I know that feeling of relief when you’ve held your breath so long with your child. It’s nice to have that break & what a beautiful place to have it in.October 3, 2014 – 12:16 amReplyCancel

    • Jhanis - Oh Kristi! I worry too much that other kids might not understand my 3yo daughter! At school, play dates, at the park, but you know what I learned? Sometimes they understand her and when they don’t? It doesn’t matter. Kids can see beyond speech delays, they communicate with their smiles and laughter and actions. Maybe we shouldn’t worry to much?
      Tucker looks so adorable! And how cool is it that you and Stephanie got to hang out!October 3, 2014 – 3:59 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Jhanis – Really? We should talk more about this. And yeah, kids are incredible and amazing and that they see beyond delays and just want to play is inspiring and amazing. Would we all just see one another’s smiles…
        Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much. You’re right but how? I mean I know that’s possible. And yeah, hanging with Stephanie again was awesome.October 4, 2014 – 12:22 amReplyCancel

    • Lillian Connelly - I love those moments where you are worried about the worst, but the absolute best happens. When people are wonderful. Thank goodness for family.

      What a wonderful post. You made me feel a little homesick for Colorado and I have never even been there!October 3, 2014 – 10:42 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Lillian,
        Yes, thank goodness for family when it’s family and awesome! And awww. here’s to being homesick for Colorado!!! 🙂October 4, 2014 – 12:23 amReplyCancel

    • Linda Roy - Wow, Colorado is gorgeous! Those beautiful Fall leaves, all of it. I want to jump into one of those pictures. How cool that you got to hang with Stephanie and that your kids played together! Sounds like one of those trips full of memories that will last a lifetime!October 3, 2014 – 7:38 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - It really is beautiful Linda, although my family reminded me that the fall is great on the east coast (which it IS but hello humid). Thanks so much for your comment and let me know when you’re going to Co as I’d love to meet you there!October 4, 2014 – 12:25 amReplyCancel

    • zoe - NO WAY! Way to link up woman! I am finally finishing the book this weekend… believe it or not I havent lost your address again… YET! Lovely pics! My guy looks great!!!!!October 3, 2014 – 7:49 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - I KNOW!! The fact that I wrote it two days late for last weekend worked out really well for this weekend… xoOctober 3, 2014 – 9:17 pmReplyCancel

    • Linda Atwell - Out One Ear - I’m thankful for your piece. I was just in Colorado for a brief moment. When we drove from Utah to New Mexico, we stopped in Durango. I wish we could’ve stayed longer. Colorado is a cool place and I can see why it was an awesome experience for Tucker. I think cousins (and friends) are the best. My cousin, born six months after me) had childhood seizures. He had trouble speaking and his words came out twisted and wrong. He’d get frustrated because we couldn’t understand him. He still can’t speak totally clearly, but I understand him. And he has so many wonderful, witty things to say. I think that early “cousin” relationship has lasted and I’m grateful. We have stories to tell and I hope that happens for Tucker too. BTW, I love the fall color in your tree photo. I think fall may be one of my most favorite seasons. (But I think that way about almost every season when I’m living it.)October 4, 2014 – 2:58 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Oh Linda, Colorado is awesome and cousins are so the best! I think Fall is my favorite season too. At least it is right now. I’m so glad that you still have such a strong cousin relationship – is this Eric, the one you wrote about?October 6, 2014 – 7:18 pmReplyCancel

    • Michelle Liew - Kristi, This was a wonderful thankful; and you and Tucker obviously have the strongest bond between mother and son that anyone can see. A trip really broadens perspectives!October 4, 2014 – 10:01 amReplyCancel

    • Jen St Germain Leeman - Wow, Colorado looks incredibly beautiful. What a wonderful experience your trip home was for you and your special boy. I loved reading about it.October 4, 2014 – 10:45 amReplyCancel

    • clark - damn good trip, it sounds like.

      Tucker clearly, (at least from our vantage-point as seers of pictures and readers of descriptions) is having a good time.

      Knowing that Tucker is enjoying the experience and (having) your own added dimension of ‘returning’ had to have felt good. ( betcha felt good even after you returned home), the old home and the now home…. nice intermingling!October 4, 2014 – 6:07 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - It was truly an awesome trip, Clark! Really. And yeah, I felt pretty good even after coming home…October 6, 2014 – 7:19 pmReplyCancel

    • Cyndi - I grew up in Colorado – these photos make me miss it so!
      That looks like Lake Granby up there – I taught skiing at a little resort near Winter Park and then in the summers, worked at a marina for a couple years out of college. Now, I live in NC, but…aww…I miss it out there. 🙂 Love this post. hugs!October 4, 2014 – 6:28 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Cyndi, I miss it SO much! And it IS Lake Granby – good call there. My brother has a cabin in Tabernash so super easy access to Winter Park (we also rode the alpine slide there) and the lakes. Thanks so much!October 6, 2014 – 7:26 pmReplyCancel

    • Dyanne @ I Want Backsies - We vacationed at Estes Park and spent days hiking at Rocky Mtn. National Park and just loved it. It is such a beautiful, spiritual place that it makes it easier to think and ponder and consider. How wonderful for Tucker to get to spend time with cousins and friends who showed their love for him by accepting him unconditionally.October 5, 2014 – 12:18 amReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Estes Park is awesome too. That’s where we rented a house for both of our families for Tucker’s first birthday. It really is an incredible place and I agree that it makes life easier to think about.October 6, 2014 – 7:27 pmReplyCancel

    • Romi - The scenery and the smiles in the photos are very beautiful.October 5, 2014 – 2:20 amReplyCancel

    • Denise - Late? Late for what?! This was great Kristi! The pics are fabulous and show so much. “Every picture tells a story, don’t it”?
      There’s nothing like home and going home to give that special perspective. Even those times you aren’t necessarily looking for it:)
      Here’s to home, friends and hide and seek.October 5, 2014 – 10:03 pmReplyCancel

      • Kristi Campbell - Well I wrote it for the TToT the previous week but linked it up the next because every time I tried to upload a photo on the wifi, I got an error. It was weird. And thanks, Denise! Here’s to home. And friends. And hide and seek. And you.October 6, 2014 – 7:29 pmReplyCancel

    • Stephanie Smith Sprenger - How has it already been a week since I saw you? Actually, it feels like it happened months ago and I miss you already. Ugh. I read this last week on my phone from the doctor’s office and never actually commented. But I love it, and you. xoxoOctober 6, 2014 – 8:43 pmReplyCancel

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