Archive for June, 2011

Last night my parents, brother, and I took the kids to a local park to see a free concert.  Trav has been traveling a lot more lately and I’m always trying to think of ways to occupy our late afternoons and evenings.  But I would have gone to this concert even if Travis had been in town.  And he would have gone, too.  The Spectrum Band performed at our wedding almost 7 years ago and they are so good.  They put on a great show, and they really get the crowd up and moving. 

After eating dinner at Chickfila and getting these balloon characters made…

…pretty cool, huh?  I particularly love Arial’s bikini top.  Makes me giggle every time I look at it.  The balloon maker was a generous man.  And Spiderman’s web is pretty awesome, too.  Anyway, so after we ate dinner I was hoping that the kids would sit and chill out for a little bit so we could enjoy the music.  But when Molly tried to escape and I told her she needed to come back and sit down, this was the look I got:

I gave in, knowing it was a losing battle.  We spent the remainder of our time at the concert dancing on stage.  Owen was a dance machine!  He was nonstop motion and was dripping sweat in about 2 minutes. 

I caught his dance moves on video.  This is 35 seconds worth watching.  The kid has confidence, switches up his moves to keep it fresh, and has the ladies watching in awe (notice the little cheerleader who tries to imitate his moves). 

They didn’t stop dancing for long, but I caught them taking a short breather off stage.

Great music, great company, great way to wear out a couple energetic kids, and a perfect way to spend a summer evening.


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things i find funny

He finds cowboy boots to be the best baseball playing shoes he owns.  And he consistently wears them every time he plays…which is every time we go in the backyard.

These are Molly’s monkey jammies which just so happen to also be footie jammies.  And those are Molly’s Cinderella socks.  She thinks this combo is perfection and insists on it every time she wears these jammies, which is not nearly enough (in her opinion) due to the fact that it’s summer and there are no good shows on TV to record and watch during my laundry folding sessions.  But when these jams and socks are clean, she puts them on and then runs to find her daddy to tell him, “Lookit Daddy!!  I CUTE!”. 

 And that picture?  Well it’s just cute and it shows off Max’s tongue birthmark quite nicely.  But to fit with the theme of this post, I find it quite funny that our dog takes Valium whenever there’s a storm to help him deal with his anxiety.  I guess everyone has their quirks…even the dog.

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happy daddy’s day!

Happy Father’s Day to the best daddy in the entire world.  We love him so much!!  He’s the best sword fighter, cowboy player, baseball catcher, movie watcher, and story book reader in the world…and he’s greatly improving in the realms of hair styling and outfit coordinating.  He’s a keeper.

To tell Daddy how much he loves him, Owen and I had a little interview session.  I think the video makes it pretty clear that Owen’s best buddy is his dad.

And Happy Father’s Day to my dad!  He was and still is a great dad and is such a great grandad to my kids.  I love you, Dad!

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Our favorite activity of the summer so far has been frequent visits to the library.  Owen loves the big selection of DVDs he can check out.  (Today he picked up a documentary for kids about cowboys.)  I love that they have books on CD to keep Owen’s rest time/reading time new and different.  And Molly loves seeing how many bookends she can remove and the domino effect that ensues before I notice her destruction.  After our first visit to the library I discovered that we’d be bringing home quite a few books.  How can a kid choose when there are books about Star Wars, pirates, princesses, Curious George, Clifford, cowboys and Batman all in one room?  That’s the beauty of the library.  Let’s get them all and READ READ READ!!

One rainy day, we headed over to Hobby Lobby to buy some bags to decorate that would hold all our library books.  The kids could carry their bags around the library as they shopped for books, putting in the books as they decided which ones to check out.  You may recall from other posts that Owen isn’t one to love arts and crafts.  I was sure this project was going to occupy two minutes of his time before he got bored, but he loved it!  Getting to use special markers to draw on a fabric bag was so entertaining.  Molly loved it, too, although keeping her from drawing on her own clothes with the fabric markers was a bit of a challenge.

   Here’s Molly’s finished bag.  She was so proud.

And Owen’s bag.  He got very into drawing a picture on the bag.  If you look close you can see there’s a red house, a river with different colored fish swimming in it, grass, a moon, and there’s even a person in there.  On the other side he wrote his name all by himself.

The kids were really excited to join the summer reading club at our library.  They each had to read a number of books (Owen=12 and Molly=10).  After they’d read their books, they could bring their sheets back into the library and receive a prize.  After reading our first 12/10, we headed into the library. 

The kids were SO excited to see what their prizes would be.  Because Molly is 2, she still qualifies for the baby reading program while Owen qualifies for the grade school program.  The prizes were geared toward the specific age group.  Owen received a pile of coupons which greatly excited me (awesome stuff…one free ticket to the Magic House, free ticket to a Blue’s preseason game, free Slushie at Sonic, and a free bean burrito and taco at Taco Bell) and a big glittery bouncy ball that lit up which excited him.  Molly thought she was getting the same thing and kept saying, “I want a ball!!”.  After handing Owen all his goodies the librarian reached for Molly’s prize and gave her a plush truck with wheels that barely rolled.  Molly was less than enthused and we booked it out of the library before her screams of “No truck!  I want a ball!!!” got too loud.  I tried to get them to show me their prizes for a picture.  Owen was delighted to do this, but Molly refused to look at the camera and put on her best pout.  This picture gives you a pretty clear indication of how disappointed she was in her prize.

I’m hoping the prize she gets for her next 10 books will be a little more pleasing to both genders, but this hasn’t kept us from going to the library at least once a week.  I’m loving this time off with my kids to do whatever we want with no schedule whatsoever.  I love summer!

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The last day of our vacation was rainy and cold…a good day for souvenir shopping!  The town of Estes Park is adorable, and the shopping is great.  We all picked up a few things to remember our time in Colorado.  Owen even scored this awesome umbrella that I found at a children’s boutique.  Molly loved it, of course, because it is her brothers and because it has cowboys on it and she also thinks cowboys are fantastic.

The rain paused long enough for us to take some family pictures.  Spoiler alert: this picture may make it’s appearance on the 2011 family Christmas card.  How often can we get a picture where all four are looking, smiling, and the scenery is beautiful?!?  And Molly’s elk stuffed animal souvenir made the picture.  It doesn’t get any better.

I have a feeling this next picture may make it onto Jeff and Julie’s 2011 Christmas card.  Just a guess.

We spent our last night in front of our fireplace roasting marshmallows for s’mores. 

They were so yummy and the kids got all good and sugared up before bedtime.  Oh the fun of vacation!

The next morning we loaded up the cars for the long drive home.  While we were passing through Denver, we stopped at my cousin Enid’s house to meet her new baby, Hope.  We usually see Enid and her family every summer at our family reunion, but they won’t be able to make it this year.  Hope was born with Down’s Syndrome and is having heart surgery in a few weeks.  She is such a sweet baby girl and her surgery will be in our prayers. 

While we were at Enid’s, Owen and her son, Declan, bonded over a rousing game of pirates with some sword fighting thrown in.  They were fast buddies and it made me sad we don’t live closer so they could play more often!

Then came the never-ending drive through Kansas, a stop in KC to see Grandpa Lane, and then back home.  It was a fantastic trip…one that won’t be forgotten!

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Day three brought more hikes, horses, and some fishing.  Travis and Jeff woke up early and went for a long hike with some fishing mixed in.  Unfortunately Trav didn’t catch anything but I’m sure he had some great scenery to look at.  Julie and I took the kids to the playground and had a quiet morning around the cabin.  Later that day, Jeff, Julie and Travis took Owen on a real horseback ride while I stayed at the cabin with a napping Molly.  He was really excited about this horseback ride and, from what I heard, he was pretty brave. 

After the hour-long trail ride was over, Trav bought Owen a souvenir horseshoe with the horse’s name, “Lightning”, written on it.  Owen was so proud.

They all had a great time.  And my afternoon wasn’t too shabby either…not being a big fan of horses myself, laying on the couch reading more of my book without having any distractions was a little slice of heaven.

When everybody got home, Owen and Molly couldn’t wait to get outside and play in our backyard.  Here’s a picture of our cabin with the awesome porch that wraps around the entire house.  I wish it had been about 20 degrees warmer so we could have eaten meals outside on that porch.

And here’s the view from that porch.  Not too bad, huh?

The kids didn’t appreciate the view as much as the adults did.  They just loved the fact that the yard was filled with huge rocks to climb on.  It was their own private playground! 

Owen and Jeff never tired of searching for bad guys in the woods.  They look pretty tough, don’t they?

Evidently the fact that we were staying in a cabin in the woods made this acceptable behavior:

Molly didn’t shy away from the craziness.  The girl grabbed her gun and chased those bad guys along with her brother, dad, and Bubba.  I’ve got a little tomboy on my hands.  Have I mentioned that her favorite shows/toys/books are about Batman?  And she does a very authentic Joker laugh.  But she still insists on wearing her Cinderella socks to bed every night.  My girly girl is still in there somewhere.

That pretty much wraps up day three.  One more Colorado post will pretty much finish the story of our vacation!  More coming soon.

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Wednesday was our second full day in Colorado and we woke up to SUN!  Cold sun but still sun nonetheless.  We put on our many many layers and piled in the minivan to drive to Rocky Mountain National Park (which was really only 5 minutes from our cabin).  Our first stop was at Moraine Park, a beautiful and windy valley with this enormous rock that makes for AMAZING posed pictures of which we took quite a few.  You can see Jeff in the picture below off in the distance, forging on ahead to find the big rock.

And he found it!  And it’s a pretty great rock, huh?

This next picture gives you an idea just how BIG this rock is.  Maybe I should refer to it as a boulder.  Anyway, our kids were obsessed with climbing it.

Owen was more successful at climbing this rock than Molly.

Our next stop was Bear Lake.  The plan was for us to hike around Bear Lake and then picnic there.  But we were met with this:

That’s a heck of a lot of snow, huh?  More than I think I’ve ever seen in my life.  6 feet of snow, to be exact.  The kids loved it and couldn’t wait to hike all around in it.

This next picture is of O and me standing in front of Bear Lake.  That big snow covered field looking thing is a lake.  I’ll say it again…I’ve never seen this much snow in my life.

The drive was beautiful.  The snow was fun to tromp around in, but this altitude stuff made us tired!  (And not to mention sick…me=sick, all 4 days we were there.  Next time we go I need to find out if there’s a pill for that.)  When we got back to the cabin we all relaxed.  Trav and I were in the middle of devouring all three books of the Hunger Games (best series EVER if you haven’t read it), while Owen and Nana played some Chutes and Ladders.

Later that day, Julie had us signed up for a hayride and marshmallow roast back at the Y Camp’s livery.  This was probably my favorite part of the entire trip.  I’ve been on hayrides before, but never through the beautiful mountains being pulled by two of the biggest horses I’ve ever seen.  The kids absolutely loved this.  Here’s a little video glimpse into our hayride:

Here’s a couple shots of us on the wagon.

After about 30 minutes on the wagon, we stopped to have a marshmallow roast.  Owen got to learn how to roast his marshmallows from our two real-live cowboys!  He was in HEAVEN.

Molly wasn’t quite that lucky.  She got to learn from me.  Molly’s not the most patient marshmallow roaster and succeeded in making me catch the marshmallows on fire each and every time we’d roast them.  Good thing neither of us minded eating charbroiled marshmallows.

I lost count of how many marshmallows we roasted (more like burned) and ate.  It was a sticky experience.

After we were done stuffing our faces, the kids got the chance to pet Beau and Luke (the horses).  And then one of the horses decided to pee and they were fascinated (and I’ll be honest, so was I…those guys can hold A LOT of liquid).  We gave the man his privacy but were quick to pose for a picture with him once he was done taking care of business.

The ride back was so pretty.  It was right around sunset and we had some amazing views.

We rode right by all the Y Camp buildings (our cabin was up the mountain a bit from this main area). 

And then we saw this guy and snapped his picture.  Elk are so common in this part of Colorado.  We saw them like we see squirrels here.  And they aren’t scared of people at all.  In fact, they seem so used to us that they just kind of stand there and watch you.  This one was about 10 feet away from us as we passed by on the hayride.  Molly was completely obsessed with the elk and would get so upset when they would walk away.  Our catch phrase during the trip was “More Elk!” because that’s what Molly would say whenever we’d get in the car.  She loved those big hairy beasts.  (Fun fact…one of the cowboys on our hayride told us that a male elk’s antlers can grow up to 6 inches per DAY!)

Speaking of wildlife…after the hayride we headed into town to grab a bite to eat.  On our way we saw a bear!  A real live out of the zoo eating trash BEAR!  We’d talked to the kids about how bears live in this part of Colorado.  We’d heard from some of the Y Camp’s wranglers that a bear had been spotted in the area recently.  And we’d really hoped we see one while we were there.   Our wish came true!  We saw a bunch of cars pulling off the road and so we pulled off too…obviously there was something good to see and people didn’t just pull off to see an elk–they were everywhere and weren’t that novel.  We pulled off and then we saw him.  At first he was sitting under a tree hanging out.  Then he walked over to a house, grabbed a trash bag in his jaws, ripped it open and began munching it’s contents.  We sat and watched him for a long time.  Here’s a picture of the guy…looks a lot like the ones we see in the zoo, huh?  Only this one is walking around wild and free about 25 feet from our car.  SCARY!

After the bear sighting and dinner, day two ended.  Day three will be a whole new post.  More horseback riding to come…

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