A few pictures from Christmas this year.
We’ve gone to Tagawa Gardens every year to see Santa Claus. Beside being pretty positive this Santa is the real deal, he also brings his reindeer, carolers and sometimes even the Denver Bronco Cheerleaders. As the boys get older, I’m feeling like this part of Christmas will be going away soon (the Santa part…the Denver Broncos cheerleaders part is just starting…) Let’s reminisce, shall we?
I love that they’ve seen the same Santa (like I said, the real deal) every year since they were born. This year was another fun year at Tagawa. Because of basketball and karate, we were late getting there this time, but we had cheerleaders, reindeer and even Miles from the Denver Broncos to entertain us while we waited.
Wow…I’ve been sucking at updating our website. Here’s the boys at Halloween this year. They wanted to be a Peashooter and a Sunflower from Plants vs. Zombies. I went with the paper mache on a balloon technique again this year, since I could work with much smaller balloons than last year! The costumes were pretty easy to make this time. Henry insisted that his Sunflower costume be a mask, but he threw a wrench into our plans when he decided that the costume should NOT be a mask when he wore it to school for his Halloween party. We duct-taped it to the top of a bicycle helmet and called it good. We should have done the same thing with Steven’s, because his constantly fell, covering his face, while he was trick-or-treating. Our original plans were that I would also dress up as Crazy Dave and Chris would be a zombie, but we just ran out of time!
This past weekend we headed up to Summit County to attend a wedding. We decided to turn it into a fun little vacation while we were there. Our first stop on Friday morning was the Breck Summer Fun Park. It is pretty pricey, but so much fun! We parked in downtown Breckenridge and took the free gondola ride to the Fun Park. The boys LOVED the gondola ride. Seriously. LOVED. I think we could have headed back down the mountain and they would have thought the gondola ride *was* the fun park.
The Fun Park is really awesome. There is so much to do there! I don’t think there is a kid alive who wouldn’t love it. My advice, which we learned the hard way, is to get there early and hit the Gold Runner Coaster and the Alpine Slide first! Then take your time with all the other things. We did the maze, the bouncy house and the bungee trampolines and we were next in line for the Coaster when a storm rolled in and the park closed down for the rest of the day. Boooo! But we had lunch at the restaurant there, hoping for the rain to stop. One cool thing about the Park was that they refunded some of our money. Since we bought a day pass, they took off the attractions we had done and refunded the rest of the ticket pass. Pretty cool deal. We found ourselves stranded at the park (in the pouring rain) with another shuttle still 45 minutes away. The chef at the One Ski Hill Resort was setting up the restaurant for a wedding rehearsal and noticed us standing outside in the rain. He called for one of the resort shuttles to take us back to our car. Wow! Awesome customer service and we weren’t even customers!
After finally getting back to our car, we headed to our condo in Keystone which would be home for the next three days. We had an awesome condo with a great view of trees and nearby mountains. We were also close to a trail that ran along the Snake River, so once the rain stopped, we headed down there to do some exploring.
Saturday we had planned to go hiking. Since we were already in the mountains, we didn’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn, so we took advantage of it. We still had to leave early, as we had seen evidence of those mountain storms rolling in the day before! We did the Mayflower Gulch trail. Here are a few pictures, but you can see a lot more at our hiking blog Kids Hike Colorado.
After the hike, it was time to get ready for the wedding! My friend Heather was getting married at Arapahoe Basin at the top of Black Mountain. We arrived to find out we would be taking the ski lift up to the ceremony! That was kind of fun! Of course the weather held out just long enough for the guests to be seated before the skies opened up and started raining! The ceremony was quickly moved inside, but it was still a beautiful wedding and a great party!
Sunday morning we were heading back home, but not before heading back to the Breck Summer Fun Park to give that coaster a try! This time, we just bought tickets for the coaster. It was SO. MUCH. FUN! The boys loved it, and so did we! After that, we met some friends who live in the area for breakfast and headed home. What an awesome weekend! I’m ready to move to the mountains. Now I just have to convince my husband.
Nana was visiting from Canada, so we decided to take her to one of our favorite places in Colorado, Castlewood Canyon State Park. The park is near to us, and has been used many a time for our Christmas card pictures!
As soon as we got to the park, a huge storm cloud was rolling in. Since it looked like it was promising rain, we couldn’t complain. Colorado desperately needs some rain! We had a picnic in the now-chilly pavillons and let the boys play on the playground for awhile. We then drove over the the Bridge Canyon Overlook and walked the paved trail to gawk at the views. I never get tired of this place! I won’t mention how Nana’s walking cane tumbled over the side of the overlook down into the canyon and a certain someone had to rock climb down to the bottom to find the cane.
We finally decided it was time to get the boys on skis for the first time! A lot of people in Colorado get their kids on skis as soon as they are potty-trained, but for our boys, we knew they weren’t going to enjoy it, until it was their idea. So as soon as they asked, we booked it! We decided to try Ski Cooper, since it’s about 1/2 the cost of some of the bigger resorts. And we are all about saving money if we aren’t sure the boys are going to like it!
Ski Cooper was pretty nice. It’s a little farther away than some of the other resorts, but like I said…MUCH CHEAPER. Our adult lift tickets were $45/each (compared to $95 at Breckenridge) and the boys’ ski school was $85, including equipment and lunch (compared to $207 at Breck!) The mountain is small, but so were the crowds. There were times when we were doing runs and we were the only people around. Pretty nice, especially for someone like me who needs LOTS of room to make a turn!
As for ski school, Ski Cooper really needs to work on streamlining their check-in procedure. We got there at 8:45 for our 10:00 lesson, and the boys were just finished getting their equipment at that time. I don’t know if they were short-staffed or just confused, but that process was a big mess! But at 10:00 (ok, really 10:15…they started late) the boys went off with their instructors for the day and Chris and I headed for the chairlift.
OK, confession time…I haven’t been on a snowboard for about four years (and that experience was less than stellar!) and it was about 15 years since I had been on skis. For whatever reason, I’ve decided that I’m switching to skis, because it somehow seemed like it would be easier than boarding. It wasn’t. As soon as we got on the lift, I started to panic that I had no idea what I was getting into. My first run was pretty sketchy. And SSSSSSSSS-LLLLLLLLLLL-OOOOOOOOOO-WWWWWWWW. I felt bad for Chris who hadn’t lost any of his boarding skills, and was constantly waiting for me. But once I got the swing of things, I was OK. Mediocre. Average. Chris, on the other hand was awesome, and ended up lapping me a few times on runs.
I could barely make it down the mountain on the last run. My legs were DONE. Luckily, it was time to pick up the boys from Panda Patrol anyway. We were able to watch the boys take their last run down the slope before joining us. Steven seemed to really enjoy it and was doing pretty awesome. Henry seemed grumpy that he couldn’t go on the chairlift. He was also pretty grumpy that he couldn’t go snowboarding, but Cooper only offers kid’s boarding lessons on weekends, and we were there on a Tuesday. They both said that they had a great time and Steven says he’s definitely going skiing again, while Henry is determined to try boarding next!
It was a really fun, beautiful day, and I’m glad we finally did it!
We had a much needed Spring snow storm on Saturday, which left Sunday wide open for a sled day! Despite having about 10 inches of snow in our driveway, there wasn’t much snow on our sledding hill down the street, but we had fun anyway. Cosmo is a true snow dog! As soon as one of us starts sledding down the hill, she makes it her mission to beat us to the bottom, or to run daredevil drills in front of us on the way down. I’m not sure who had more fun!
Our oldest recently turned eight-years old! This is the age I’ve been dreading, as eight-year olds just seem to be to mouthy and full of attitude. But, there are some benefits of turning eight, like:
Your brother requesting you get a special pancake breakfast for your birthday:
You get to show off how much you’ve grown in the eight years since your parents brought you home from the hospital in this adorable outfit. *sniff*
You get to officially ride in the car with no booster seat!
You get presents, even if it’s not the really expensive set you really, really wanted.
Happy birthday, Steven!
Steven now has braces! He has quite the overbite, so his dentist and orthodontist really felt that he needed braces to pull back those “Beaver Teeth.” He was so excited to get them, and when I dropped him off at school this morning, he was swarmed by his classmates wanting to check them out. He’ll have these on for 6-9 months.
Oh, Halloween…how I love you. It’s the one time of year the boys gaze at me in wonder and amazement, because they know I am going to make them the BEST.COSTUMES.EVER. Let’s stroll down Memory Lane, shall we?
In 2005, Steven was 10 months old, and I made this scarecrow costume so he could be the most adorable scarecrow ever!
In 2006, I was admittedly a little lame. But in my defense, I had a two-month old infant Henry to deal with, and I was also planning a surprise wedding for my mom and her then-boyfriend, now-husband Terry. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the Halloween spirit that year. I did however, take the time to dress the boys in Halloween attire, so I could ohh and ahh at their cuteness, six years later.
I’m now realizing I was pretty lame in 2007 too, and the boys had (GASP!) store-bought costumes. But they were still the cutest clown and firefighter ever.
In 2008, I finally got my shit together and realized I was actually SUPER MOM. Steven was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, so he wanted to be Percy (the green train) and wanted Henry to be Thomas. Henry had just turned two, so he went along with whatever his brother said at the time. Grumpypants had just woken up from a nap, but, I swear, he was happier later.
After that incredi-costume, Steven realized I could DO ANYTHING! In 2009, Steven decided he wanted to be a tree! A freaking tree! Henry wanted to be a frog. Your requests are too easy for me, you mere mortals!
In 2010, Steven made up his own superhero and wanted to be SUPER SILVER for Halloween. Henry wanted to be a knight. I dub thee Sir Henry. They were relatively easy on me this year, but these were also homemade costumes. They still have these costumes and wear them all the time!
And along came 2011. Henry wants to be Pikachu and Steven wants to be an aquarium. The Pikachu costume started easily enough. I found a pattern for a Kangeroo costume and made it yellow. The ears were difficult, because they needed to be long and wide, and getting them to stand up was impossible! Chris finally gave me a roll of industrial telephone wire, so I was able to mold them into the shape I wanted and create a “crown” to rest on Henry’s head in the hood of the costume. The tail was a whole other issue, because Pikachu has a lightning bolt shaped tail, and they don’t really make a pattern for that! Once I finally got the tail figured out, I couldn’t figure out how to keep it from dragging on the floor. I finally accepted the fact that it was going to drag on the floor, but I wrapped the end in more yellow fleece, so at least we could take layers off as it got too filthy.
I had no idea where to even start with the aquarium costume, and would just stare at the box I planned on using. About two days before Halloween, it finally came to me. I spray painted bean bag fill bright pink (for the rocks, we couldn’t have anything too heavy for Steven to carry!) and bought plastic fish and plants. I hung everything from clear ribbon and covered the entire thing with black duct tape. We taped battery operated Christmas lights to the top of the tank and Voila! Aquarium complete!
And then came this year. The boys
warned informed me that they wanted to be Kirby and Waddle Dee. I had a vague idea that Kirby was a video game character whom Steven loved more than me. But I had no clue who Waddle Dee was, especially since they kept pronouncing it “Wild Dee”. We finally found him on Google, and Henry let me know it had to be the Wild Dee Waddle Dee with the blue Bandana.
How the heck was I supposed to make this? We thought about chicken wire (too heavy), foam (impossible to shape), fabric (couldn’t really achieve that round look). It finally occurred to me to use balloons and paper mache. I ordered 36″ diameter balloons off Amazon and our neighbors supplied us with their recycling bin for newspapers. Five layers (FIVE!) of paper mache later, I finally had the balloons covered. After deflating the balloons, I discovered there were some areas that needed more paper mache to firm up. Let’s just say I was covered with watered down glue for about two weeks. Then came the painting. Kirby is typically pink, but Steven wanted to be Yellow Kirby (apparently, that’s a thing.) But newspaper print is hard to cover, so each costume needed about four layers of paint! In total, the two costumes took me about three weeks to make, but I have to say, they are FREAKING AWESOME! I mean, look at these things! The boys were crazy about them!
They wore their costumes to school, which turned out fine. I could see that they were having trouble bumping into things, and couldn’t sit down, but the party was only an hour, so it was no big deal. After the party, I took the costumes home for safekeeping until Trick or Treating. After dinner, they were so excited for Trick or Treating, and it started out well enough.
We hit four houses before the UNTHINKABLE happened. In his eagerness to get to the next house, Henry ran ahead. And tripped. And with this costume, there was no way to break his fall. And I heard a sickening crunch. Not the crunch of bones on concrete. The crunch of five layers of paper mache being smashed to smithereens. I scooped up Henry and we were afraid to look. The costume was RUINED. Henry’s adorable face was ruined. Henry started sobbing. Steven started sobbing. Halloween became Hallowhoops! There was no consoling Henry, who knew the costume was destroyed. I wasn’t even going to mention the scrapes on his face. We staggered home where Chris attempted to duct tape the costume back together, but there was no saving it.
Wild Dee Waddle Dee was dead.
I was trying to get Henry interested in another costume, but he wasn’t having any of it until I said “How about a ghost?” There was a glimmer of interest in “ghost”, so I quickly ran upstairs, got the one white sheet we have, cut two eyeholes and armholes and Boom! Spooky ghost on the move! You know how sometimes you can just be amazed by kids? It took Henry about five minutes to recover from the disaster. He quickly decided he wasn’t just a ghost. He was the GHOST OF
WILD DEE WADDLE DEE! And he ended up saying this was his “BEST COSTUME EVER!”