Thursday, August 25, 2011

Colorado part 4...4 wheeling trip

One of the highlights of our trip for the boys is our trip to the mountains for some 4 wheelings. The weather proved to be gorgeous as normal and it was a very relaxing trip.
Its quite the feat to get 4 4-wheelers and 2 dirtbikes up in one load. But clever as ever, all those boys figured it out.
Isn't she a cutie! I really enjoyed getting to spend some quality time with her.
These 2 were so proud to be sitting up there, waiting to get going to the trails.
I'm one cool dude.
N rode almost the entire time with Poppi and LOVED it. I couldn't believe that Poppi could ride with Noah on some of the rockiest trails, but the harness we use for the boys are very helpful!
We went out on the trails on Wednesday as a whole family (minus Flip who had to work) and that was something we've never had a chance to do before. E spent the whole trip sandwiched between her parents and slept through the better part of the ride. N rode with Poppi, B rode with me and Lolli had her own 4-wheeler (I've never seen her drive on the trails before). He wasn't too fond of spending the trip with a HEAVY helmet on, taking the brunt of the wind and bumps on the front of my 4-wheeler. I think he was actually screaming for a whole hour of the trip.
We finally took his helmet off and he rode with Poppi while N rode with Daddy and that did the trick. Poppi said their ride together was great.
"Yeah, my Dad's pretty awesome"
We rode the same trail we rode last year, but we were finally able to complete the whole loop, which included a quick side trip to the Alpine tunnel and turntable. Its quite amazing that these men were able to accomplish so much with the resources available to them. The boys had fun walking the tracks and even getting to switch the tracks.
Someone I was talking to said they couldn't imagine why riding rocky terrain without being able to talk to each other seemed boring, but I say...How could you pass up these views? Creation at its best!
We had to take our annual stop for pie. Having all three kids along this time made it so much more fun.
The second day, Chicku decided she had had enough and would be staying back with Esha. BUt much to her chagrin, Esha insisted on riding again! Uncle Flip was able to join us and we had a great 1/2 day trip with the entire family. One of the highlights for the kids was being able to throw rocks into the lake. And man were there a lot of rocks right on hand!
Our second full day of riding was even better after making some much needed changes. We moved B in between Aaron and Lolli and he was so much happier. He slept more than 3/4 of the trip, but he was happy when he was awake. And I think Lolli enjoyed all the snuggle time:) And N even took a nap with Poppi on the dirt bike! I thought just riding with N was hard enough, but apparently, N wanted to test Poppi's skills!
Our last day is our relaxing day. We have to get out of the cabin, but after all the work of packing up, we get to spend some time in the pool. And the pool has a slide...kid paradise.
The rest of our trip was spent in a blur, trying to see everyone we could and packing up. But we were able to spend some couple time with our friends J & Mary. And let me tell you...if you ever have a chance to check out the Broadmoor's Sunday Brunch, I highly recommend it!
The trip home was uneventful (thankfully!!) and B even slept through most of the second flight. Which was a nice break for me to rest a bit before jumping back in to normal life.
Colorado is definitely a love our family shares. It helps that all of our family is there, we have tons of friends and extended family there, the mountains are there, the 4 wheelers are there, the dry air is there...
But we are also very thankful for the home God has provided for us here. While we LOVED our time visiting, we are thankful to be home.
And it took them all of 5 minutes home to fully acquaint themselves with their toys again!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Colorado part 3

I love that the boys have cousins now. And that they are getting to ages where they can really interact and play together. We spent a great morning at the zoo with some of Aaron's family and had a ball. Have I mentioned how much I love that zoo yet?!?:)
I can't explain why, but this picture just cracked me up...
The kids got a chance to see a couple of Hippos up close and personal. And man are they bigger than Gloria from Madagascar!
Lolli treated everyone to a couple of rides on the carousel and the kids loved it. After 2 rounds, we had 2 more punches left on our card to use up and since we couldn't let just 2 of the three kids go, Lolli made an executive decision...
...the 2 Mama's would ride. And man, did it feel weird to ride without holding onto a child. I loved the little audience we had in our kids and the love we felt as with each rotation of the carousel, we heard many "Hi, Mama!"'s and "I love you!"'s coming from our audience.
The Lolli makes a much more comfortable seat than any other.
Noah enjoyed having his face painted (as an elephant) but sadly, it didn't last long as shortly after this picture, he got lost. I've never experienced a 'lost child' episode before and I'd rather not go through it again.
He loves to exercise his independence and will often go ahead of us with me having to call him back and remind him to stay close. After one such time of having him walk ahead, I stopped for a few minutes to get a drink. As I turned around, I heard my mom-in-love say "Hey, where's Noah" at the same time as I'm thinking it.
I make a quick scan of the area and start to back track through the zoo. And sure enough, there's Noah, fat crocodile tears ruining his face painting with a large crowd surrounding him. (That kid knows how to draw a crowd!) Sufficed to say, he stayed pretty close to me for the rest of our trip!
Another day, the boys got to experience a whole land of bounce houses with our friends Steph and Beau. N was in heaven, B not so much. As I watched B spend a minute or two in the bounce house, and then spend the next 10 minutes next to me, I realized that I have a true introvert in B. He'd rather be away from the crowd and explore when no one else is around. After having Mr. Social himself, having an introvert is a whole new mindset. Just another way in which my boys are COMPLETE opposites.:)
Noah couldn't get enough. I couldn't keep track of him for all the running between bouncers.
B found a friend in Beau. I love that they are only a couple months apart. Here's hoping their friendship will blossom in the years ahead!
We had these boys running, but thankfully, alot of it was fun stuff they enjoyed doing:) Nonni took Noah and I to Whit's End for a morning of exploring. We've just discovered Adventures in Odyssey and Noah can't get enough. So he loved exploring where they make the episodes.
"Look Uncle Danny. I can play the harmonica just like you. Too bad you couldn't be here too, we could have had a harmonica band!"
I'm bummed this is the only picture of my friend Steph, but I'm glad that she enjoyed spending time with the boys. I love that my friends in CO can have a relationship with my kids.
We had a couple of days with a sick N. Thankfully, they happened during a break in our schedule, but being sick on vacation is such a bummer!
I have really enjoyed watching my brother and his wife as they take on the role of parents. There is no doubt this little girl is loved!
And a cuddle moment with my boy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Colorado part 2

...when you're on vacation as a parent, all rules and schedules and routines go out the window. And this trip was no exception. My boys did pretty well, I do have to give them credit for that. But you can tell when they've about reached their brink, and we reached that several times in the weeks we were there. I would love to tell you they were perfect angels. I'd also love to paint a picture of my "perfect children" who did the right thing the whole time. But who would I be fooling, and something tells me that years down the road when I go back to relive their little years, I'll need a chance to laugh at how easy these problems were compared to the ones I will be facing :)
All that to say, as one of the first of all our friends and family to have children, the prideful side of me had a hard time letting everyone see that I didn't have it all together. That my children weren't perfect; respectful, kind and obedient at every turn. But God was good at reminding me that people don't need to see someone completely put together. They really need to see someone touched by His grace and mercy. What I really need to be portraying is someone who is allowing God to mold her through the parenting process and dealing with each new situation with patience and love.
Deep thoughts for a vacation blog, but can't choose where you learn your lessons:) So, let's get back to some of those pictures...
While we only got a small chance to catch up with my youngest brother and his wife, I was thankful for a chance to remember how much I love them:)
I was also thankful for my older brother who made an effort to give us lots of time with Lily.
A chance for them to the park:)
Has anyone seen Noah? He was just here with us and now I seem to have lost him.
Oh, my how I love this girl. It didn't take her long to win a special place in this Aunties heart. Now, if only she'd actually let me hold her without all the screaming:)
Ah, the pure joy a child can find in a simple slide.
Breven is so much different than Noah in that he doesn't jump into anything with both feet. He's a sit, watch, contemplate and then maybe go for it, but only in the conditions are right kind of guy. Every ride on the slide is a new opportunity to think it through.
My parents have saved a lot of the toys from when we were growing up. And we discovered the motherlode of Legos. We spent an entire morning here on the front porch in the shade playing with all the new Lego creations. Lily was even introduced to the boys current passion.
And I successfully helped my mom cut off 24 inches of hair. Thats right...24 INCHES! I was so proud of her and she has seriously gained a minimum of 10 years back with her new 'do. Lily was wondering what it would be like to have so much hair, but decided it was just to hot to really handle.
We spent some much needed relaxation time one afternoon at a park that happens to be very special to Aaron and I. Its the same park where we celebrated our first anniversary of being a couple. And its also the park where he proposed.
The park is huge with lots of area to run and paths to walk on and even some ponds perfect for throwing rocks into.
We stopped off for lunch at a pond that seemed to have become a dog heaven. They were swimming all over in the water, going after toys and cooling off which provided perfect entertainment for the boys as they ate. And just before we left the pond, someone brought in a remote control boat. I must be a mom of boys because even I thought that looked like fun:) I really enjoy seeing all the love the boys get from all the family and friends in CO.
There is no doubt that these boys are cared for!
Who knew 10 years ago, when we started our biblestudy, we'd still be getting together!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Colorado part 1

Colorado was so much fun. We just got back from an extended stay and wow, did we pack alot in! But I think we got it all done and now we're thankful for home, familiarity and schedules (this Mama's definitely thankful for the routine and schedule again!!)
Would you like to see what we were up to out there?
One of the first stops the boys make is to the gravel backyard at my parents house. They have so much fun being little supervisors and drivers with all that construction equipment. And this year, my dad had done a complete overhaul of all the equipment. It all looks brand new! Thanks Dad for all your hard work. I only wish it wouldn't have rained quite so much so that we could have played more back there.
The equipment last year...what a difference a coat of paint can make!
The love of Papa runs deep.
Noah...for once, could you please take a normal picture?!?!
A visit in to see Grandma Langness (she's 90!!) I love that Esha (the boys' cousin) is giving us a great view into her eyeball.:)
We went and spent the night with my brother and his family. Lily just turned one and it was so much fun to see her do more than sleep this year:) We had so much fun but the highlight for the boys was the ride on the lightrail and trip into the Lego store. You would have thought they had just won the lottery:)
Robb, this one's for breaking my hippo!!:)
We were able to make several trips to the fantastic zoo and we loved seeing one of my favorite animals....the elephant! Noah really wanted to show you what noise an elephant makes.
Between Aaron's best friend's family, his college roommates family and ours we are a crowd of boys. Hopefully the 2 babies due in the next few months will help even the numbers a little. (and no, we are not adding to that number)
Mama, if only I could get this close to a real one!
One of my biggest accomplishments (and my Moms too) was the organization of her room. We spent the better part of a week working on it and I was in 7th heaven helping her find a place for all of her many crafts.
(Just don't ask me when she's ever going to have time to get to them all!)
We also had a chance to have 2 out of my three brothers down for a weekend to hang out all together and really enjoyed that. I loved seeing Noah being so sweet to Lily, wanting to play with her and wanting to teach her how to pass the ball.
I will always remember this as bathtime at my parents house. My dad was sweet enough to volunteer to give them baths every night while we were with them. One night it was just a little too quiet for me so I went to check out what was going on. B was contentedly playing while Papa took a quick nap on the floor:)
And this is most definitely going into his "will be using this for his senior year book photo collection". He decided to do this all by himself! Thankfully, he was still in good spirits at this point of the trip...