“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift–that’s why they call it the present.” I’ve loved this quote for a long time and it’s been on my mind lately.

As I mentioned on the blog last year, my grandfather is very sick. He has late-stage emphysema, cancer, and is doing in-home hospice care. Back in May, my parents and brother drove from Austin to Denver to spend time with him and the rest of our family here in Colorado. Since John and I live in Colorado Springs, they stopped by our house before they went on to my grandparent’s house in Denver. I wish that their visit had been under happier circumstances, but I’m still thankful that they were here. We made the best of it and had a lot of fun together.

I want to keep it real. Visiting someone who is at the end of their life stirs up a lot of emotions. I’ve visited 3 times since my grandfather started hospice care. It’s difficult to see someone you love suffering. It’s scary and sad to see someone look and act differently than they normally did. My dad has basically moved to Denver to live at my grandparent’s house to take care of my grandfather full-time. As of today, he’s been there around 2 months and plans to stay a few more weeks (that could change at any time though). I can’t even imagine how difficult doing that is on my dad.

Being around someone during their last days also puts you face to face with the fact that we all have a limited time here on earth. Things won’t always be the way that they are now. That means that we should soak up all of the joys that life has to offer. When we’re around our family and friends, we should live in that moment as much as we can. I know that might sound cheesy, but it’s reality and it’s true. That thought leads me to what I’m grateful for on this Grateful Heart Monday post: my parents and brother’s visit to Colorado Springs!

 On their first day in Colorado Springs, John and my dad had to work, but me, my mom, and my brother were able to get out and do some things. First, we went to the Garden of the Gods Visitor’s Center. I know that some visitor’s centers can be lame, but this one is actually a must-see if you’re in Colorado Springs. They have some exhibits on the area, a nice gift shop, and my favorite thing-a deck that has an AMAZING view of Garden of the Gods. We took quite a few pictures there. By the way, my mom and I bought some beautiful (and inexpensive) genuine turquoise jewelry at the visitor’s center, so check that out if you go there. I LOVE turquoise so it was an awesome find!

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Me & the broski

Afterwards, we ate lunch at Schlotzky’s, and then went to walk around downtown Manitou Springs, which is a quirky little town close by. I didn’t take any pictures while we were there (well except one of a tan shirt with a drawing of a dachshund’s face on it that we saw at a shop, which was so ugly that it was awesome). Going back to my point of trying to be present in the moment, I decided to just enjoy hanging out with my family instead of worrying about taking a bunch of pictures.

 After John and my dad got off of work, we went to Garden of the Gods and walked around for a while.

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Aaaand a few outtakes might have slipped in to the photo session…

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Afterwards, we drove over to Helen Hunt Falls, which is another beautiful spot close by.

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Later on that evening, we all went to my in-laws house to have dinner with them. Afterwards, my parents and brother had to drive to Denver to go to my grandparent’s house. They stayed with them for a few days (and me and John went there on Tuesday night to celebrate my uncle’s birthday with everyone) and then my mom and brother drove back to Colorado Springs on Thursday morning to spend one more day with us (while my dad stayed behind in Denver to take care of my grandfather).

We had a lot of plans for that day. John had even taken a day off so that he could do things with us. But the weather had other ideas. This was in the middle of spring in Colorado, so the forecast was all over the place. We would have a day in the high 70’s, and then the next day it would drop into the 40’s. On this day, it actually ended up snowing. So much so, that my mom and brother waited for it to die down some before they left Denver. It was frustrating that the weather didn’t cooperate with us, but we decided to find some fun indoor things to do.

First, we ate at Bird Dog BBQ, which I’ve actually talked about before in this blog post (so good!). Then we went downtown to the Pioneers Museum. John and I had gone to the Pioneers Museum once before during our sophomore year of college, and we enjoyed it then, so we thought it would be something fun to do. The Pioneers Museum is located in a beautiful, restored courthouse from 1903. I’m in love with old buildings, and I especially love this place. Not only is the building beautiful, but the exhibits are also really interesting, since they show what life was like for the early settlers of the western/southwestern US. Also, admission is free. I think it’s so cool that they’ve made such a high-quality museum free to the public so that everyone can learn.

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Check out the old elevator on the right. It’s been restored, so you can actually ride in it (and it wasn’t even scary!).

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Since the museum was originally a courthouse, they’ve also restored some of the old courtrooms. I love the attention to detail on the ceiling.

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After leaving the Pioneers Museum, it started snowing even more. We ended up eating at Village Inn (because a snowy day and pancakes just go together). Afterwards, we went home and played this game that my brother downloaded called the Jackbox Party Pack. It’s this super fun party game pack with 5 different games where you use your smart phones as controllers and the TV as the “board.” It’s a little hard to describe without going into major detail, but the games kinda remind me of Pictionary or charades…where you have to use your imagination and it produces hilarious results. I seriously recommend it. We ended up playing for 3 hours, and I laughed more than I had in a long time. It’s the simple things, guys!

The next morning, they left to drive back to Austin. As I mentioned before, my dad has stayed in Denver for the past few months, but I haven’t seen him much because he’s been busy balancing work and taking care of my grandfather full-time. It’s a tough situation, but I’m grateful for the time that we had together as a family.

And that’s a wrap on my Grateful Heart Monday post. I know it was long, but I wanted to share both the good and the not-so-good things going on. Because that’s life-both good and bad things happen, and sometimes they even happen at the same time. I think it’s important to show that you can find things to be grateful for even during difficult times, and it’s okay to laugh and find joy in life in the midst of everything else that’s going on.

Don’t forget to check out Ember Grey’s Grateful Heart Link-Up! It’s open until this Friday.

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Cheers!

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