Friday, December 28, 2007


This Christmas we drove to my dad's house over on the western slope of Colorado. This entailed tackling the mountains, weather and traffic. Thankfully all cooperated for us and we made it safely.

On Christmas Eve day we drove up to the Grand Mesa (the largest mesa in the country, maybe even the world) and went showshoeing. It was a lot of fun for most of us...except maybe Kellen. He's too young to snowshoe so we brought our little toboggan to pull him, but he didn't seem to enjoy it too much. He was a trooper for the most part, but I think he was glad when it was over. We showshoed (if that's the proper term) about 2 miles around a frozen lake covered with snow and Aidan "walked" the whole way without much complaint.

As evening came the kids were chomping at the bit for Santa to come. They left cookies for Santa and they got to open up one gift...pj's. They love them and for the next couple of days I could barely get Kellen out of them. He'd wear clothes for about an hour, but then after coming indoors wet from the snow he'd want to change into his pj's again.

On Wednesday, Rick and Aidan drove to the Grand Mesa again and took skiing and snowboarding lessons at Powderhorn Resort. They had a blast. Aidan loved skiing and Rick, of course blew away his instructor and ended up leaving the class after an hour and a half. Kellen and I stayed at my dad's and hung out. Pretty uneventful day for us.

All in all it was a good Christmas and I'm glad we were able to spend it with family.

Kellen's birthday

It was a subdued birthday for Kellen this year, but he didn't seem to mind. He opened some gifts from us and his grandparents, then went to preschool where they helped celebrate his birthday.

We ended his day with spaghetti and meatballs (one of his favorite dishes) and a homemade cookies and creme cake! Yum!

Kellen's Christmas program

A couple of week's ago Kellen's preschool had a Christmas program showcasing all the hard work the children put into their singing skills. It was one of the cutest things I've seen. The director told me they worked really hard during practice, but when they walked in and saw all their parents and other family members most of them refused to sing. We just had fun watching Kellen's reactions from looking about to cry to goofing around with one of his classmates.

Even though most didn't sing they were absolutely adorable and fun to watch. If I can get the proper software program installed I will download the video I took. Here are some pictures from that night.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Monkey!

Kellen is 3 today and it's amazing at how quickly time flies. On one hand, turning 3 isn't such a big number, especially when the person who is typing this will be turning the BIG 35 next spring, but a lot has occurred over Kellen's last 3 years of life.

I remember when I was pregnant with him and wondering how the heck will I love another child as much as I love Aidan? I was even crazy enough to ask my friends...strange as that sounds, but maybe not. To love your children is such an all encompassing thing that it almost seems impossible to have more love to give, but of course you do.

I was so excited to find out that Kellen was a boy too. After my brother and his family came to visit when Aidan was only 18 months old and I saw how his two oldest boys played together I really wanted Aidan to have a buddy he could play with and count on at all times. Sure they fight and get into trouble, but even though they are 3 1/2 years apart they are truly buddies and partners in crime.

I can see as Kellen gets older he will be the one to try and persuade his big brother to do things they shouldn't be doing. (And Aidan will be the one to say we shouldn't be do this.) Kellen's just that kind of kid. He's our little the middle of the night. Rick's no longer sleeping very well because he's concerned Kellen is wandering somewhere around the house. And he usually is. I hope the novelty wears off.

Happy Birthday Monkey! We love you and we're so glad you're a part of our family.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Traditions

I read this off two of my friend's blogs and liked it so here's mine:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper

2. Real tree or artificial? REAL! Even with the mess of the needles. I love going to a Christmas tree farm and cutting one down.

3.When do you put up the tree? Around the 1st of December

4. When do you take the tree down? Day after Christmas. I get tired of looking at our destroyed tree by that time.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but I don't drink it often because it's so fattening, which is so hypocritical because I eat so much junk anyway...go figure.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmm, not sure, but maybe my Barbie house and car.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? yes

8. Hardest person to buy for? Rick

9. Easiest person to buy for? The kids

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't remember

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? MAIL! I usually do everything via email, but with Christmas cards it has to be mailed

12 . Favorite Christmas movie? Funny - Christmas Vacation; Traditional - It's a Wonderful Life

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? After Thanksgiving

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Don't think so

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? The sweets...especially the homemade ones

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home? stay home, but we're traveling to my dad's this year

19. Can you name all of Santa's' reindeer? probably not

20. Angel on the treetop or a star? an etched star on clear glass...hard to explain

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning. Sometimes we'd open up one gift on Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The crowds

23. What I love most about Christmas? That everyone is a little more kind and centered on Christ
24. Favorite Christmas Tradition? We don't really have any, but spending time with family, eating a good, big meal and cutting down our Christmas tree.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Denver Zoo Lights

On Friday night we drove into Denver and met up with one of my high school friends (Jen) and her family (husband Sunil and 5 month old son Rohan). We had a great time, even though it was snowing and wet outside. Dinner was great, thanks Jen for the suggestion and the zoo lights were fabulous. The kids...well my kids had a blast running around in the slushy snow. Rohan was nice and cozy and fast asleep in his stroller.

Like a total loser I forgot to take pictures of the adults and the following pictures aren't that great because the snow looks like huge white globs in the pictures. Oh well, it gives you an idea!

Starting to take shape

Here are the latest pictures of our house. They finished framing it and are now working on the siding, stone work and hopefully the roof. On Saturday we walked around inside and it was pretty cool to see how things are coming along. Even though the drywall isn't up yet we can definitely see what it's going to look like and we got to see what our views will be through the windows. We'll definitely have views of the front range through our front upstairs windows which is pretty cool.

front of house (siding is not the color we've chosen)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Downtown Denver

The weather has been so nice here that I've been wanting to spend as much time outdoors as possible. So, on Saturday we drove up to Denver to check out some sights. Our first stop was 16th Street Mall. An outdoor pedestrian street filled with shops and restaurants several blocks long. I remember loving 16th Street Mall as a child. They have some great shops, but none of us were in the mood to go shopping.

So instead we walked down to the State Capital building. 31 years ago my dad took a picture of me standing on the steps. (I was the same age as Kellen in the picture.) Now why is that so significant? Well besides the fact I visited that same site many years later with my children, one step is etched with the words, "One mile above sea level". I always thought that was pretty cool.

What's a trip to downtown Denver without visiting a museum? We ended our journey with The Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Once again, another trip down memory lane because I always remembered the huge T-Rex in the entrance. I wasn't disappointed, they still have it at the entrance. Unfortunately that kind've made up Kellen's mind about the museum. He didn't want to see any of the exhibits. Oh well, that didn't stop us. Rick and I just took turns trying to appease Kellen with some kid-friendly sites while Aidan enjoyed everything.

And for a little Christmas cheer...we decorated our Trader Joe's gingerbread house. Thanks Elva for bringing it at Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving fun

Is Thanksgiving over already? And Christmas is less than 30 days away? Yikes! But I digress.

We had a great time with family. Elva, (Rick's mom) arrived Monday afternoon and then Jose, (Elva's husband) and then Susie and Ryan (Rick's sister and her husband) all arrived on Wednesday. Of course the week they decide to come turns out to be the coldest week we've had since we've moved here. We had two snowy days, although only about 2-3 inches total, but it was really cold!

On Turkey Day, Susie, Ryan, Rick, me, the kids and Kirsten all braved the frigid temperatures (19 degrees to be exact) to run/walk in the Turkey Rock Trot. A 3 mile fun run in The Meadows the housing development we'll be moving to in the early spring. Although it was really, really, really cold we had a great time. Aidan did great, he walked/ran almost the whole way with his Aunt Kirsten. I followed behind with Kellen in the jogger. Poor little guy was pretty cold even though he had his winter jacket and a blanket wrapped around him. It was hard for me to gage how cold he might be since I got pretty warm from running/walking the 3 miles. Plus, he's a silent sufferer. He hardly ever complains unless he really hurts.

Thanksgiving dinner was great! We had 11 people in our little townhouse, but thankfully for a big table all the adults fit. Aidan and Kellen sat at their own little table. Of course everyone ate too much, but what's Thanksgiving dinner for? Overindulgence, right? Oh ya, and to remember why we are so thankful to live in such a beautiful country and to be surrounded by our family. I'm definitely thankful for both.

So, what do you do in the snow? Go sledding! There is a great hill right around the corner from our rental where we spent about 2 hours sledding. As you'll see in the pictures, not a lot of snow, but definitely enough to make the sledding fun and fast! The kids had a blast going down the hill and I think Kellen was the only one who enjoyed going uphill too. He got a ride up everytime! Thanks Uncle Ryan!

I know I use too much, but there were too many great pictures from last week I just had to include most of them. Enjoy the show!

A napping era has ended...

I'm so bummed out, it looks like Kellen is done napping thanks to his acrobatic skills. He's now climbing out of his crib. Which, in a couple of weeks will be a moot point anyway since his big boy bed is scheduled to arrive. I was hoping because he's been such a great napper (2-3 hours on good days) he'd continue napping, but noooo, no such luck!

I knew my blissful, quiet afternoons would come to an end, but I didn't think it would end so abruptly. I'm now in mourning. I will post pictures of our Thanksgiving week with family soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Castle Rock Starlighting Event

In a previous post I mentioned that the town of Castle Rock was named after a large rock resting on top of a butte which the founders thought resembles a castle. Well, for 72 years the town of Castle Rock hosts a Starlighting event where a large star is lit on top of castle rock. Tonight was the night and it was really great to see the downtown streest closed off to cars and to witness a mass of fellow residents gather to watch the star light up and then to watch a fireworks display.

The town hosted quite a few events during the afternoon which we didn't get to participate in, such as carriage rides, hay rides, ornament decorating, and the downtown CR fire department hosted a chili supper. Following are some pictures I took, but unfortunately my flash isn't that strong so some of pictures didn't turn out as well as I would've liked.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Aidan's seeing orange....

As in an orange belt. Some of the kids from his TaeKwonDo class tested for their orange belt and he earned one too! He was very excited and proud of himself. We're proud of him too. Go Aidan!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

They're framing our house!

Our house is starting to take shape! They started framing last week so we stopped by after church to take some pictures! We can now tell where the front door is, all the windows on the first floor, the garage, etc. By next week, we hope the 2nd floor will be finished so they can put a roof on our house before the snow comes. Keep your fingers crossed that we have a mild winter so they can finish our house by the end of February!
Front of the house

Back of the house (all the spaces are where windows will go)

side of house

Saturday is a special day...

Saturday was another expedition day. I wanted to find out what the area had in the way of open preserves or state parks. It's exciting being in a new place and having the opportunity to discover new places, but it can be frustrating having to research a place everytime you want to go somewhere.

We decided to take the kids to Castlewood Canyon State Park which is actually pretty close to Castle Rock, but you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. We entered the park on the westside and I was hoping the main road connected to the east/main entrance so we could check out the visitors center and learn more about the area, but no such luck. Kind've frustrating and dumb if you ask me. Anyway, we still found some great trails and beautiful scenery. Aidan wanted to keep exploring, but poor little Kellen and his little legs could only go so far. He was pretty tired after we were done with our hike.

Castlewood Canyon is home to an old dam that broke back in the 30's and caused the 2nd worst flood disaster in Denver. They still have the ruins and you can see where the dam broke. You can also get a pretty good idea where the reservoir was. It's now a nice meadow for horses. There's also some homestead ruins, but I was surprised to find no information posted about the homestead so we didn't know how old they were or who lived there. I assume the ruins date back to the late 1800's or early 1900's.

Saturday evening a family from Aidan's kindergarten class hosted a "Happy Hour" at their house. Which gave all those who attended an opportunity to meet the parents and the children in Mrs. G's PM class. Mrs. G was also there and I think the kids kind've got a kick out of seeing their teacher outside of school.

Rick and I were surprised by how many families are new to Colorado. Most of the families have only lived in Colorado for about 2 years. I'm sure Coloradoans are getting tired of the influx of families from other states, but what else do you expect when your state is so beautiful and has so much to offer? We had a great time chatting with the parents and need I say the kids had a blast playing with each other?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I've been tagged...

Uh oh, I've been tagged. I knew I shouldn't have read my friend's blog today.

For those of you who don't know how this works, here are the rules:

A: Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.

B: At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and post their names.

#1 - I love the outdoors! I love hiking and camping with my family. I also love taking my kids outside to play. At the park, in our backyard (when we had one), to the beach (when we were near one) or to the mountains.

#2 - I'm a very emotional person. I hate it too. Almost anything can get me to cry. Although I have to say I handled our move to CO really well. I only cried once!

#3 - I love my family (immediate and extended) and being close to them. I love that I'm near my sister and dad and step-mom again. I love that my mother-in-law and my mom and step-dad will be moving to beautiful Colorado soon too. Anyone else want to join us??

#4 - I like to travel and check out new sights. Even though traveling with kids is a lot harder than just traveling with my husband, I still love to take them places and experience new things.

#5 - I'm a control freak/scheduler/anal retentive you name it. I need to know what to expect in my life. I think that's part of the reason why I had a such a hard time when Aidan was an infant (besides the fact he was colicky) I had no control over my life. I think I've gotten a little better since having kids, but I still like to keep my life in order.

#6 - I have a HUGE fear of heights. I have a goal to learn to ski/snowboard this year too. I know this doesn't seem like it coincides with having a fear of heights, but I am afraid of the thought of being on top of a mountain and having ski down it. But I will tackle this!

I tag...Tara, Lesa W., Lori W., Kristen T., Annie E., Chelsey G. (Is this enough enticement to keep you blogging?)

Friday, November 2, 2007

An awesome resource

For several years now I've had this heavy weight on my shoulders regarding our last will/living trust. Everytime Rick and I would travel without the kids I would worry that if something were to happen to us who would the court decide would be their guardians? I didn't want them to decide, but I also hated the idea of spending a couple thousand dollars in attorney fees getting our living trust set up. However, there is an easy and much cheaper way to do it. It's called Just log onto their website, answer some specific questions regarding guardians, beneficiaries, etc and they create the appropriate documents. Once you receive them you have them notarized, witnessed and funded (if creating a living trust). We saved a ton of money this way! And I can sleep better at night knowing my kids will go to appropriate family members in case of our demise. I know this sounds very morbid, but I just had to share. Yikes, that just sounded like an infomercial too.

Halloween part deux

The fun never ends on Haloween. (Neither does the candy...unfortunately.) My dad and Valentina called on Tuesday to say they wanted to come and spend the rest of the week with us and my sister. They arrived on Wednesday just as we were getting ready to head to downtown Castle Rock for some trick-or-treating on the street.

The kids had a great time and Aidan couldn't get us to move fast enough to get to the next balloon-decorated store giving out candy. I seriously think he thought he'd miss all the excitement (and the candy) if we didn't rush from store to store. I have to say downtown Castle Rock is really great. Trick-or-treating was a great way for me to see many of the unique stores in town. It's not quite at the caliber of downtown Los Gatos or Palo Alto. But I do think it was fairly comparable to downtown Willow Glen and bigger. There are two main streets (Perry and Wilcox) plus several side streets that make up downtown. However, I digress, back to Halloween.

It wouldn't be Halloween without bundling up in our heavy coats to go trick-or-treating in the neighborhoods in the evening. Unfortunately we only had 2 trick-or-treaters - Aidan and Kellen so we have a TON of candy I've got to get rid of and fast before Rick and I eat it all and gain about 50lbs. each! Thankfully I have a sister who works in an office so she'll be taking it with her next week.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween part one

We've had several days of non-stop Halloween fun! On Saturday we were invited to a Halloween party at one Aidan's taekwondo buddies house. The kids had a blast running around the house, terrorizing their pets and jumping on their trampoline. (Currently their trampoline is in their unfinished basement. A perfect location for younger kids and cold winters. Aidan thought this was especially cool.) They also had a scavenger hunt which was a huge hit. The kids were on overdrive by the time we came home. Us parents had a great time getting to know our soon to be extended neighbors (they all live in the Meadows, but not our particular development) and watching the Rockies game.

Yesterday was Aidan's school spooktacular event. They decided to create a fun-filled evening dedicated to everything Halloween so the kids and teachers could focus on the academics today. Aidan had a lot of fun going through the haunted house with his dad. Kellen just had fun running around doing whatever his big brother was doing...minus the haunted house.

Today, Halloween day, Kellen's preschool had a Harvest Festival. They had their school pictures taken and then got dressed up in their costumes, had a parade and ate some goodies.

Tonight is gearing up for another fun-filled, candy overloaded night. We'll be hitting the shops in downtown Castle Rock for trick-or-treating and then heading out the door to go trick-or-treating some more in the neighborhood. So stay tuned for part deux.....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mother of the Year....

...ain't gonna be me! I'm not sure if it's because we're just renting a house and I don't feel completely settled, but I just can't get into the holiday spirit. Halloween is just around the corner and I'm barely thinking about where I'm going to take the kids trick-or-treating. This morning I finally made myself sit down with the kids and put together our first Halloween craft. (The only thing besides the pumpkins sitting outside our door that reminds me it's even Halloween.) I usually have our house decorated fairly nicely for the holidays, although I'm not one of those moms who buys every cute crafty decoration for all the holidays, but you definitely know coming to my house that we're all set for Halloween. Not this year. I haven't failed miserably though, we did buy the kids their costumes in advance, even though they are the lovely Target costumes, they'll do. I refuse to spend a fortune on costumes after looking all over for the cutest Barney costume for Aidan 3 years ago and he barely wore it. However, I will get our family together to carve our pumpkins tonight so I can at least feel like I did something worthy this Halloween with the kids.

As for my other failure? Potty training! It sucks. I hate doing it and I know it must rub off on my kids. I had a HORRIFIC time getting Aidan potty trained so I have no desire to go through the same fiasco with Kellen. Although, I truly think once he gets the hang of it he will cooperate and go. I just keep forgetting to put him on the potty on a regular basis. I thought sending him to preschool would keep me motivated, but obviously not. We're no farther along than we were a month ago when I started. And I refuse to spend my day at home putting him on the potty every few minutes. I think I would go crazy and I'm sure Kellen would too.

Oh, and my last failure? Remembering to sit down with the kids to read everyday. We read a story at night, but I really wanted to have storytime. I love snuggling up with them and reading stories, but with school and after-school activities then coming home making dinner, baths, getting ready for bed... the list goes on and on. Oh and homework? Thankfully Aidan really doesn't have much of that yet, but I'm supposed to be helping him with his sight words and writing his numbers and letters. How does it all get done? Any supermoms out there???

Whew! I feel better now. This blogging thing is very theraputic. Maybe I'll feel like supermom again tomorrow or after I'm over my cold.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Colorado weather...what's the norm?

Sun is the norm! However, today was our first official snowfall of the season. We received about 5 inches of snow which isn't a big deal, but to truly explain Colorado weather let me just tell you it was in the mid-70's on Friday and Saturday! And tomorrow, once again it'll be sunny and by mid-week we'll be in the 70's again. As my friend once said of Colorado weather, it's neurotic. But that's one of the joys of's sunny most of the time and the snow doesn't usually last long.

Here are a few pictures of the kids playing in the snow:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fall Festival

On Saturday we had a nice surprise from Jose (Elva's husband) who drives a truck and since he ran out of hours (in Colorado no less) he spent the day with us.

I already had plans to take the kids to a Fall Festival at a local church/preschool and once again the kids had a blast. The Castle Rock fire department came and talked to the kids and showed off their truck and all their gadgets. An ambulance came (still gives me a shudder seeing one of those and thinking about Aidan's trip to the hospital in one), but the kids had fun breathing through the oxygen mask.

They had bouncy slides and obstacle courses, a pumpkin chucking catapult, and pony rides. Plus a bake sale...yum and a playground for the kids to wear off the rest of their energy.

Aidan's riding without training wheels!

I've been holding out on this post because I wanted my family to see Aidan's big accomplishment live, and now that my sister has seen it and my mom and step-dad are here I'm ready to release the news to the public.

Aidan is so proud of himself. I know he's been wanting to learn to ride without training wheels for so long, but he just needed the confidence to do it. Well now he does and he's riding all over the place. He wants to ride to school everyday and practice riding every chance he gets.

Go Aidan! We're so proud of you!

The Children's Museum

The kids didn't have school on Friday so I met my friend Theresa (whom I met while working at Adobe and then Ariba and who moved to Denver about 2 years ago) at The Children's Museum. I hate comparing places to their counterparts in SJ, but I guess it's inevitable, but this place was really cute. In some ways I like it more than SJ's Chilren's Museum (probably the lack of crowds), but in other ways I don't. It's definitely smaller and in about a year Aidan won't think the place is quite so great, but for now it's a great place to go and in a great city.

After leaving the museum Theresa took us to a really cute and yummy pizza joint! The surrounding area is really cool and I can't wait until I have time to wander some of the "hip" streets in downtown Denver.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Field Day at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School

Field Day nowadays are a heck of a lot better than when I was a kid. Aidan's looked like a blast. Each grade chose their theme (i.e. the kindie's were Power Rangers) and they had a select time to come out and enjoy the fun. They started at the bouncy house. One for boys and one for girls (probably a good idea with how rough boys usually play). They then headed out to the field and played a Darth Vader game. A huge black blow up ball was Darth and two kids at a time had a chance to push the ball into other kids. Just looking at the children they looked like they were having a blast. Then it was time for the "donut fight". Two kids at a time tried to knock each other down by pushing against the "donut" surrounding their bodies. Once again, it looked like a total blast. Unfortunately I needed to head back home to put Kellen down for a nap so I didn't see all the activities, but Aidan said there was an obstacle course, which was his favorite event. They also got to eat a popsicle after the event another highlight to the day.
fun! Can I be a kindergartener again?

Kellen's first day of preschool

Kellen started preschool yesterday! As expected he loves it and he's very excited to be going to school like a big boy. When we walked into his room and saw a train set was set up I knew he definitely wouldn't have any problems on his first day. His teacher, Ms. Gail seems really nice and the class size is small - only 7 kids including him. So far, mom and child are pretty happy with the school.
Big brother Aidan is pretty proud and excited for his little brother to be going to school too.