Monday, May 8, 2017

May Moments

Who doesn't love maxing and relaxing in a hammock on a gorgeous spring day?? We hung up Jon's birthday hammock and the kids have loved playing outside with it.
Lucy and Lizzie took a nice little break outside in it last Sunday.
We decided to sell our old couches on Craiglist, which we did successfully (hooray!), and then purchase a new couch that fit the room a little better. The four separate pieces were always being pushed around by the kids, and having that many pieces of furniture for that small of a room just made it feel so cluttered! We decided on a sectional, which is microfiber (not leather so I hope I don't end up regretting that!), but so far we LOVE how it changes the room!
And speaking of changes, it was finally time to get rid of our downstairs "sauna" and remodel it into a shower. The builders came Monday and had all of the demo work done by that morning.
By Friday morning everything was tiled, installed, caulked, and ready to go! Yay! It looks fabulous, and although Lucy is the only one to have used it yet-- we are so thrilled our visitors will have their own shower to use downstairs! Now, onto the kitchen remodel....
The kids' school held a "Muffins with Moms" one morning and since Jon had the morning off I got to go with them. Zach was so excited, he woke up at 6:30 a.m. ready to take me (or maybe it was just the promise of a chocolate Costco muffin?).
This little thing had "Muffins with Moms/ Donuts with Dad" the following week, but I forgot to get a picture. Doesn't she just have the most gorgeous hazel eyes???
I finally made good on my resolution to take pictures of some of Zach's artwork. He is really, really a talented little artist, and his drawings remind me of cartoon illustrations. Maybe there's a future there? I find little drawings EVERYWHERE-- all of our notebooks are filled, scrap paper, church programs, all of his schoolwork that comes home, etc. I love that he does religious drawings (First Vision; Crucifixion at the top) as well as super heroes and Angry Birds, or whatever it is he's interested in.
Two more "materpieces" as he calls them-- the Leaning Tower of Pizza (Pisa), and the Statue of Ice Cream, complete with a waffle cone crown. LOVE the creativity there!
Last weekend we got a spring blizzard that just dumped snow on us. All in all it was about 10 inches of heavy, wet, spring snow which is so terrible for the trees and flowers, but I guess nature knows what it's doing. It broke off tons of branches, flattened our rhubarb and strawberry plants, and killed our tulips which were just beginning to come up.
Yay! Who doesn't want all this snow so close to summer??? Me!! That's who. The ironic thing is it was for sure our biggest storm of the winter. Wouldn't have minded it so much in January. At least it was melted and gone by Monday...
And last but not least, here is Elizabeth's epic marshmallow meltdown! I gave her three marshmallows on our drive home from Trader Joe's (about 25 minutes away, near the temple in Littleton), and by the time we made it home she was COVERED in gooey, sticky, marshmallow mess. 
She's not finding it so fun to have her eyes and fingers stuck shut because of her naughtiness! What a stinker! She literally had it everywhere all over her carseat, hair, face, clothes, socks, etc.
This is her pouty face because I made her get in the tub to wash it all off. Ha ha! She felt SO sorry for herself!
Her little lobster claw stuck shut. I couldn't stop laughing at her.
Do you think she learned her lesson?? Probably not, so it's a good thing we all think she's super cute!

April Adventures

As the end of April quickly arrived, Jon and the kids decided to celebrate their mutual Friday off (teacher workday) by checking out the zip-line at the MAC in Castle Rock. The weather wasn't super great-- kind of windy and cold, but it wasn't raining or snowing so in Colorado you learn to just go with it.
Here they are, all geared up! There are 10 zip-lines total, scattered throughout the foothills. Even on this gray day, you can tell the views and scenery were pretty beautiful.
Look at these brave kids! They just went for it. Jon said they weren't even nervous. They did a few of them tandem with the instructors, and then a few of them by themselves.
Zach getting ready to follow Lucy down the zip-line.
Lucy getting hooked up for another ride. Looks so fun! I think my kids are adrenaline junkies.
It took them about three hours to complete all 10 zip-lines, just in time for me to finish teaching my Friday BP class and meet them for lunch at Cafe Rio. Cousin Eva sent them her "Flat Stanley" project, so Lucy took him on the zip-lines and then to lunch with us, so she had an adventure to send him back to Boise with.
Saturday was Earth Day (4/22), and although it literally snowed all morning, by early afternoon it had cleared up and we decided the best way to honor Mother Nature was by going on a family hike. We headed north to the Rockies and found the Lair 'O the Bear park. It's not unusual for it to be snowing and 27 degrees, and then a few hours later be sunny and 75. Spring is one heck of a roller coaster ride here.
We saw lots of beautiful wild flowers everywhere-- spring in the Rockies is gorgeous. This is Colorado's state flower, Colorado columbine. 
I couldn't ever find out what this little white flower was, but it was everywhere, and it reminded me of the edelweiss we saw in the Alps. 
Somehow in all of our meandering we came across a river and no bridge to cross over it. We could see the trail across the river-- but we must have missed something because I'm sure there was an easier way to cross it than wading through melted-snow-water. It was FREEZING.
Here goes Lucy first, because she is impervious to cold anyway. She did just fine of course and could have waded in there all day. 
Jon ended up having to ferry Zach across because it was so slippery the poor kid about fell 10 times when he tried it on his own, so here he is with Lizzie on his back and Zach in front. What a manly mans! Next he came and got Leah. He said the whole time she was encouraging him, saying, "Steady Daddy! Steady! Almost there! Steady!" Ha ha. I didn't make Jon carry me across but I really wanted to. I HATE cold water and although I almost broke my neck because I was trying to sprint across that dang river I made it in one piece.
Thankfully the Colorado sun was out in full force and dried us all off for the rest of the hike. What a beautiful day!
Our kids sure love being outside and hiking, so maybe this is our Colorado replacement for all those glorious "beach days" we had in North Carolina. As long as it gets me out of the house, I'll take it!
By the time we finished our hike it was time for dinner. We decided to head to Beau Jeau's in Idaho Springs where they have amazing pizza. On our way, we literally ran into this random herd of rocky mountain big horn sheep. I've never seen them out in the wild-- so it was so crazy to see them so close to town and then within touching distance!

We counted about a dozen, just scampering down the hillside looking for food. The kids watched them for a good 5 minutes totally mesmerized.
This guy was right in the road and Jon was worried about it ramming his truck if we startled it by driving by him, so we just waited until he decided to go back up the mountain. I love all the wildlife we've had close encounters with (minus the snakes, of course) while living here!
Pizza time! It's stuffed pizza with a whole wheat crust and we love it! You save your crust until the end and then drizzle it with Colorado honey. Yum.
Thanks Mother Nature for truly being in rare form by giving us all the seasons and some wildlife, and for helping us celebrate Earth Day in style!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Easter Weekend (+ Where Did April Go?)

Time sure flies when you're having fun! I can't believe that April is almost over, and May will soon be here, which means only one more month of school left! Whoa! Lucy's music class put on a choir concert about all things H-A-W-A-I-I, which they've been studying about all year.  
Here's our beautiful hula girl ready to perform some of the sounds and songs of Hawaii!
She and some other girls came in early and stayed late in order to learn a Hawaiian hula. She was so nervous beforehand, but they did a beautiful job. Yay Lucy!
Here's Leah at her preschool egg hunt on Thursday morning. She had a blast, and I think those look like some pretty happy faces. Some of those little smiles crack me up!
Friday morning we picked up Whitney who had flown in the night before from Phoenix. We took her to the gym with us, and then got fish tacos for lunch at Wahoo's. The weather was phenomenal-- 75 degrees and sunny, and we even got to sit outside on the patio. Woohoo! This is springtime at its best. That afternoon we dyed Easter eggs with the kids once Lucy and Zach were home from school, and they were so happy to see Whitney!
Jon had to work Saturday, so Whitney and I ended up taking the kids to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. This is probably the 50th time I've said it, but man, I love that zoo! There are so many cool hands-on exhibits, and the layout is so picturesque, and I feel like the animals are happy. Probably not, but at least it makes me feel better...
Lucy giving that lioness in the background a number one.
Lizzie had a blast with the animals again, although she got knocked over by a hungry herd of goats running for food, so she wasn't as keen on petting them this time. She loved watching the orangutans play outside though. 
After the zoo and once Jon got back from work, we hired a babysitter and took Whitney to the shooting range. She wanted to try shooting some bigger guns, so we brought the rifle and the shot gun, as well as our hand guns. We're amassing quite an arsenal.
Look at that! I think it's safe to say we took that bad guy's head off with the shot gun. Exercising our 2nd amendment rights to bear arms for another exciting date night.
Next I'd really been wanting to check out this new dessert place featured on Shark Tank. It's called Cinnaholic, and is a completely vegan cinnamon roll shop, where you select your frostings and toppings etc.
It was yummy! This is the "Cookie Monster" with vegan cream cheese frosting, cookie dough chunks, and chocolate topping. We also got a plain cinnamon roll with mango frosting and it was delicious too. I honestly couldn't even tell it was all vegan-- it's amazing their frostings and dough are so delish without any eggs or dairy!
Sunday morning was Easter, and the kids woke up at the crack of dawn (literally), so I let them find their baskets and go back to bed. I told them they could eat as much candy as they wanted as long as they didn't come back out until 8 a.m.
We are not morning people, and usually my kids sleep in-- but of course since it was Easter they made an exception. Ha ha.

Here are the obligatory Easter Sunday pictures:
Lizzie, age 15 months
Zachary, age 8
Leah, age 4
Lucy, age 10 (going on 20)
Happy Easter 2017
That afternoon we had an amazing Easter dinner of ham loaf, funeral potatoes, lemon jello, salad, and no-bake cheesecake for dessert. It was so fun having Whitney here to help us celebrate Easter (and be our game warden with lots of rounds of Bohnanza and Cover Your Assets)! 
We did a quick Easter egg hunt with the eggs we'd dyed on Friday, and thankfully we found them all! No rotten eggs to uncover this summer.
I love springtime, and Easter is hands-down one of my favorite days of the year.
And this sweet little bunny would agree! She loved all the candy! We are so thankful we even have a reason to celebrate-- and feel eternally grateful for our Savior's life and sacrifices that make it possible for families to be together forever, and that we can live with Him again someday. Happy Easter!