Sunday, October 2, 2011

Independence Day 2010

We were able to travel to the San Luis Valley to celebrate Independence Day with Andrea's family. It was especially fun because in addition to the relatives who live in the area, we were joined by our nieces Tatiana and Savannah from St. Louis, and Andrea's cousin, Mariah, and her husband and children.

...which made for a LOT of kids.
The traditional festivities include a meal together, followed by a bingo game (played at a frantic pace and always ending up in a mad dash for prizes) and a piñata.

Playing with Grandad

Oh, yeah, piñata, you're going down
We celebrated on Friday, and the actual fourth of July was the following Sunday, the day we headed back to Greeley. We decided to make every effort to arrive in time to see the professional firework show at the local country club, for which we have front row seats in our front yard. We had never actually watched the show, since we were always out of town celebrating with Andrea's parents, so we were excited to actually be able to catch it. Unfortunately, the show was rained out, along with the other shows in the area.

The country club opted to cancel their show, but the fireworks show in Loveland was postponed until the following day, so we decided to drive over Monday night, brave the parking, and watch the show. With a bit of online planning, we were able to find a parking spot a few blocks from a park across the lake from the show. It worth the wait, and the kids had a lot of fun.

Have a great fifth of July, everyone!


A Visit from Annie & Ren

In mid-June of last year Andrea's brother Ren and his wife Annie came to visit us, and we decided to spend the day in Denver with them. The fun times began at the Natural History Museum, where the kids got to visit one of their favorite exhibits, Space Odyssey.

Four loud monsters

Space suits are one-size-fits-all
"What are you complaining about, Jayden? They're so roomy!"
After the museum, we decided to find a bowling alley, and after a comedy of errors involving one-way streets and GPS units, we finally found one and had a great game.

Ren and Annie, sizing up the competition
And then we all decided to head across the street to Gunther Toody's for dinner. We had a lot of fun, and miss Ren and Annie, who have since moved to Utah so Ren can attend graduate school. We hope to see them again soon!

Food, family and crayons

Swim Time

Summer 2010 brought another wonderful tradition in our family: swimming. The kids love anything that requires them to put on their swimming trunks, whether it is in our front yard or at the local pool.


Loving it
Sofie was able to join her brothers in swimming lessons; we enrolled her in a class where she and I were able to start her on the basics of being in the water. Needless to say, she had a blast!

Splashin' with Dad

Back to the Farm

As we had done the previous year, we decided in the summer of 2010 to take advantage of our church's program which allows each family a garden plot on the church farm. Watering and insect control is provided; we need only to plant, weed, and harvest.

The previous year, our schedule prevented us from weeding for the first week or two of the season, and we spend the rest of the summer fighting a losing battle against the weeds. This time, however, we were able to weed early on, and the difference was night and day: we could barely keep up with the harvest.

And, as before, we were happy to have eight little hands to help!

Green shirt and green thumb

Now, we wait...

Looking for peas


As the temperature raises and the lessons end, it's that time again: time for shorts, time for picnics, time for fun!

Jayden and Noah both rang in the summer months with their classmates with something they look forward to for weeks: Field Day!

Parachute + 25 kindergarteners = joy
Other end-of-year celebrations included musical programs and a picnic at the park.

Nothing cooler than chillin' with your friends and eating string cheese
Noah's class performance
We were also able to do a little beginning-of-summer celebration as a family by going to one of the kids' favorite places: Jumpin', a playground constructed entirely of inflatable bounce-houses and slides.

"Now this is how a PWINCESS jumps!"

"What's next, Mom and Dad?"

Super Noah

While in Kindergarten, Noah enrolled in a weekly after-school class at Chappelow that involved creating a superhero costume. The class culminated in a party with these masked wonders.

Noah (r) and his friend Ethan (l)

Even superheroes need to eat


Immediately after Jayden's baptism, I flew out to Fort Myers, Florida to participate in a job interview at Edison State College. The interview went well, though it didn't strike me as the perfect position for me... and, in fact, I did not end up being offered the job.

However, the trip was not a waste by a long shot: for one thing, the trip (as is always the case) was paid for by the college. Better yet, the college allowed me to postpone my return flight by a day, and fly out of Fort Lauderdale instead of Fort Myers. This made it possible for my brother, Eric, to drive to Fort Myers and pick me up after the interview, and spend the night with him and my sister-in-law Esther.

From the moment I changed out of my suit and tie after the interview, the trip was wonderful; I had never had the opportunity to visit Eric and Esther since they had moved to Florida. At the time, they lived, quite literally, across the street from the Atlantic Ocean; the view from their 14th-floor condo was breathtaking. They also took me to a fantastic seafood restaurant for dinner where we ate on a patio overlooking the harbor.

Eric and Esther's condo building from the street.
The incredible view from their balcony.

Having moved to Ohio, we're a little closer now than we were, and though they have since moved to a condo a little father inland, we are looking forward to visiting as a family next summer.

Jayden's Baptism

On April 10, 2010, I had the honor and privilege to baptize my oldest son. I am so proud of him. I love his always-cheerful attitude, his undying desire to help and teach, and his capability to live a Christ-like example, seemingly without even trying. I consider myself lucky to be his Dad.

I am also grateful that my parents were able to take the time and effort to join us on this special day; I know that it meant a lot to Jayden and Andrea as well.

Easter 2010

We celebrated Easter by keeping traditions which date back to Andrea's childhood: on Saturday evening, the kids made their "bunny bags" to leave for the Easter Bunny to fill before they awake.

Hard at work

Happy bunnies and happy kids
And, as in years past, the Easter Bunny came, laden heavily with gifts. Though Mom and Dad thought that the Hoppy and Whiskered One didn't really need anything to eat like his counterpart at the North Pole, the kids insisted that they should leave something for him, (again, at their suggestion), we left a bowl of shredded carrots, a small paper cup of water, and a plastic egg containing chocolate.

The haul

And, sure enough, it was all gone by morning! I know have a feeling that the Easter Bunny loved the chocolate most of all (he's probably a lot more like Mr. Kringle than we'd expect).

No second thought about how the Easter Bunny knows exactly what you want

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Scub Scouts

Jayden turned 8 years old last March, which made him eligible to participate in our church's Cub Scouts program, and he couldn't be more excited. We made the trip to the Scout store to get him the uniform and though he couldn't wait to try it on, we found out later that we had gotten the wrong type of neckerchief.

Scout spirit, personified

Needless to say, Jayden has taken to Cub Scouts like a fish to water; he loves to attend meetings, and even more fun are the outings; one morning, he and I got up early and went to a local lake for a picnic pancake breakfast and a few hours of fishing (no, we didn't catch anything—but no one got a hook caught in their hand or eye or anything so we considered it a success).

No, really, Dad, I think it was a real tug this time!

Toward the end of the summer, I was asked to be the Den Leader for Jayden and his friends, and the first time I put on my uniform to attend a Den meeting, Sofie saw me and scowled at me, saying, "Daddy! Don't be a scub scout!" Fortunately, she has come around and is fine with me participating in Scub Scouts, especially since she gets to come along to the monthly Pack meetings.

This patch goes around here somewhere...

Ancient Indians used this technique when their microwaves weren't working.

If you know Jayden at all, you know he's in heaven in this picture

Jayden will turn 9 in March, and will then get the rank of Bear (he's a Wolf now). If he gets too many more belt loop awards, he's going to need to increase his waist size to make room for them...