More Soccer and We Have a Hammock Again

Anna's soccer team celebration

Anna’s soccer team celebration with their trophies

For the second Saturday in a row we had a conflict with the kids soccer. So, this time I went with Anna and Marcy went with Jude. Anna’s team had a hard-fought 1-0 win and then the team went out for a team lunch. The coaches of Anna’s team are awesome. They organized trophies and certificates for all the kids on the team and they had a lovely presentation where each kid was made to feel special.

Anna's soccer team playing on the DU soccer field

Anna’s soccer team playing on the DU soccer field

That night Anna’s team was invited to be ball girls at the DU Women’s soccer game. They were also able to have a short scrimmage on the field during half time. The girls all thought this was really cool and they enjoyed being part of the action. But in the end being a ball girl was not that much fun. It was cold and most of the time they just stood there as the action was elsewhere on the field.

Anna and Reed enjoy the resurrection of the hammock

Anna and Reed enjoy the resurrection of the hammock

Today, we did some work around the house. We organized the garage and then put the hammock up – it has been sitting in our garage since we moved in.

Jude riding the mechanical bull at Jumpstreet

Jude riding the mechanical bull at Jumpstreet

This afternoon I met up with my good friend Rich to watch the Broncos game while Marcy took the kids (including Reed who was over for a play date) to Jumpstreet where they have all kinds of fun activities for kids.

Climbing Castle Rock and the Start of Soccer Season

The top of Castle Rock

The top of Castle Rock

On Monday it was our 13th wedding anniversary. Given that it was Labor Day and therefore a public holiday we decided to go for a drive down to where our wedding was held – about 30 minutes south of home. The place was closed so we decided to drive on down to Castle Rock. We had never climbed the rock there despite having driven past in dozens of times.

It was a short hike to the base of the rock and then you had to climb up the rock to get to the flat top. They had a relatively easy route up the rock although it was for the faint of heart. You were really rock climbing for a portion of it. The kids did great and made it to the top easily. The view from the top wasn’t great because of multiple forest fires burning in the west, but we still enjoyed the climb.

Yesterday was the first soccer game for both Jude and Anna this season. Their games were on at the same times unfortunately so we had to split up. I took Jude to his soccer match which was, funnily enough, in Castle Rock, right next to the big rock we all climbed on Monday. Jude had a great game and scored the game winning goal for his team to win 3-2. Anna’s team also won and she had a good game too.

Today, we went to the Farmers Market on South Pearl street. The food there is fantastic and we stocked up on all kinds of things. Then this afternoon Marcy went for a long hike, Anna went on a play date at a friend’s house and Jude and I watched the Packers game. It was a nice relaxing day for all.

A Labor Day Weekend Camping Trip

The kids playing a game of telephone at the campsite

The kids playing a game of telephone at the campsite

As we did last year, this Labor Day weekend we went up into the mountains to go camping with some other school families. This time we had four families, eight adults and six kids: four fifth graders and two third graders. We went to Estes Park this year which is about 75 miles northwest of Denver and at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. We stayed at a campground just outside town.

Anna discovered a skeleton of what we think is an elk by the trail

Anna discovered a skeleton of what we think is an elk by the trail

We arrived Friday night around 6pm and put up our tents. Saturday, we went for a hike inside Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked to a place called Cub Lake which was about a 4.5 mile round roundtrip and almost 1,000 feet of climb. We chose this hike because it said it was lightly trafficked but still a pretty hike. The kids had a good time for the most part although Jude was upset when we said he had to throw back the leech he had caught at Cub Lake.

Hunting for leeches in Cub Lake

Hunting for leeches in Cub Lake

Saturday night the kids all went off exploring in the area around the campground. It was great to have some time to chat while the kids were out exploring nature. Today, we and another family had planned to return to Denver, mainly just to get home and a day to relax before school on Tuesday. Before we came home we all went to Lyons to do some tubing. We had never done it on a river before but it was a blast. The water was cold although not unbearably so and it felt great because it was a really hot day today.

Anna tubing along the North Saint Vrain Creek in Lyons

Anna tubing along the North Saint Vrain Creek in Lyons

Jude had a great time today, he much prefers tubing to hiking (unless he is doing a 14er) and it made a nice finish to the weekend. He is not a big fan of camping, though, and would prefer we not go again next year. But we want to keep exposing the kids to different experiences and we will continue to go camping.

Back to School, the Spartan Race and a Trip to the ER

Watching the eclipse in the local park

Watching the eclipse in the local park

The week began with the big solar eclipse. Anna was excited about it and made a little cardboard viewer and one of our neighbors had the special viewing glasses. The kids enjoyed looking at the sun for the first time and I think it is something they will remember for a long time.

The differing views on heading back to school are obvious

The differing views on heading back to school are obvious

The long summer break ended on Tuesday as the kids went back to school, Anna into third grade and Jude into fifth. Anna was so excited to get back to see her friends and to start the school year, Jude was the opposite. He wanted summer break to keep going. But by the end of the week he has back into the swing of things and quite happy to be back.

Anna playing her new cello for the first time

Anna playing her new cello for the first time

In third grade at the Waldorf school you have to choose a stringed instrument to play. Jude chose viola two years ago and Anna decided on the cello. She was very excited to be learning an instrument for the first time.

Our three competitors getting ready for their Spartan races

Our three competitors getting ready for their Spartan races

On Friday night we drove up to the mountains because on Saturday the kids and Marcy were doing the annual Spartan race at Breckenridge. Marcy was doing the Spartan Beast, this incredibly grueling 12.5-mile race held mostly above 10,000 feet with 33+ obstacles along the way. The kids did a one mile race, twice as far as they did last year. The kids did great for the most part both finishing their race well.

With their medals after their Spartan Race

With their medals after their Spartan Race

Afterwards, though, Anna was complaining that she couldn’t breathe so we took her to the first aid tent where they gave her an Albuterol treatment. I thought that would be it and we would go home but they strongly suggested we go to the ER. So Anna had what we think is her third ambulance ride of her life. Luckily, the respiratory doctor at the ER said that she was ok and so left after about an hour or so.

Anna receiving a nebulizer treatment in the ambulance

Anna receiving a nebulizer treatment in the ambulance

We made it back to Breckenridge just in time to meet Marcy after she finished. She did great, she was much quicker than last year and was in great spirits. We had been communicating through texts so she knew what was going on with Anna. Anna was in fact back to her normal self pretty quickly.

At the Broncos-Packer game

At the Broncos-Packer game

We got back to Denver on Saturday in time for Jude and I to head to the Broncos-Packer preseason game. I was able to get tickets from a friend and we had great seats. Jude was thrilled to see Aaron Rodgers play and he was even happy to see the Broncos.

It was a full week, that is for sure, and a bit of a crazy weekend.

A New Haircut and a Baseball Game

Anna showing off her new haircut

Anna showing off her new haircut

This was the last week of summer vacation so Anna decided she wanted a back to school haircut. She had an idea in mind and her hairdresser, who Marcy started using 15 years ago, made it a reality.

The kids did drop-in tennis lessons at Gates most of this week as we had credits that needed to be used up by Friday. They also went up to Keystone for a golf lesson on Wednesday because they enjoyed that too. When I asked them at the end of the week which they liked best, tennis of golf, they both said golf. I am not sure if they really meant that but that makes me happy nonetheless.

Anna and Reed share a paddle board

Anna and Reed share a paddle board at Bear Creek Lake

On Friday after their tennis lesson Marcy took the kids out to Bear Creek Lake. It was a hot day and it was good to be by the water. Stand up paddle boarding seems to have been the new pastime for this summer as they had another afternoon with it. Anna and Reed shared a paddle board for most of the day while Jude enjoyed fooling around on his own rental board.

Jude doing a cannonball off his paddle board

Jude doing a cannonball off his paddle board

Saturday we had meetings at the school as the new academic year starts on Tuesday. Then Sunday, Marcy got up bright and early to go for a long hike in the mountains and I took the kids to a Rockies game. This time we all rode our bikes because they had a special giveaway for the first 250 people to ride their bikes to the stadium. We got their early to make sure we made the cut and the kids got their free backpacks and they were also giving away free baseball caps too.

At the Rockies game with our new baseball caps

At the Rockies game with our new baseball caps

Marcy rode down to get Anna after 6 innings but Jude wanted to wait to the very end. We rode home at around 5pm. Jude did great on the ride back, he has really gotten a lot stronger as I rode about 90% of my normal pace and he was able to keep up just fine.

A Second Vacation Week in Keystone

Anna and Jude in a paddleboat on Keystone lake

Anna and Jude in a paddleboat on Keystone lake

We have had a great time up in Keystone. For our second vacation week the kids did all kinds of activities. There was more camp, hiking, tennis, a golf lesson, some time on the lake and just relaxing at the condo. It was a work week for me so Marcy spent time with the kids during the day. We put the kids in camp on Monday and Friday and to our surprise Jude liked it almost as much as Anna.

Anna showing her form after her golf lesson

Anna showing her form after her golf lesson

The golf lesson on Wednesday was a big hit and not just because of the donuts at the end (although that helped). When I arrived to pick them up they begged to stay and hit more balls. Jude went off to the putting green and Anna showed me what she had learned on the driving range.

Anna took a stand up paddle boarding lesson on Lake Dillon

Anna took a stand up paddle boarding lesson on Lake Dillon

Saturday was a big day at least for Jude and I. While Marcy and Anna had stand up paddle boarding lessons Jude and I decided to tackle two 14ers in one day. We got up early and were at the trail head at 7:20am. We hiked up the lightly traveled south route to Grays. This was Jude’s first 14er he did exactly two years ago but we did the very popular north route that time. This time we virtually had the trail to ourselves.

On the top of Grays Peak, the first time we summited

On the top of Grays Peak, the first time we summited

It was a tough climb to the top of Grays but we did it in 3 1/2 hours. Then it was on to Torreys. This 14er lies only 0.8 miles from the top of Grays and it is popular for people looking to do two 14ers in one day. Which is exactly what we did. We arrived at the top of Torreys at 11:50am. It was hard work but we were both doing ok. We sat down and had a quick lunch looking out over what seemed like hundreds of miles of mountains.

On top of Torreys Peak, our second 14er of the day

On top of Torreys Peak, our second 14er of the day

What I didn’t think about much was that to do Grays and Torreys by the south route, we had to summit Grays on the way back. This was hard. I was already pretty tired and it was a hard slog back up to the top of Grays. Jude on the other hand was doing great and he had to wait for me on the way back up Grays. It was slow going on the way down, particularly the steepest part near the summit. And then the last hour I was really hurting and we had to go slowly. We made it back to the car around 4:30pm and my watch said we had been hiking for 8 hours 45 minutes. I was completely exhausted but happy to have done it. Jude was fine although his feet were a little sore.

Anna during her record breaking 1,000 pogo stick jumps

Anna during her record breaking 1,000 pogo stick jumps

We were sad to leave when we packed everything up this morning. It was a great couple of weeks and we will miss the mild weather, the lack of traffic, the peace and quiet as well as the beautiful mountains. As I was packing the car Anna decided to get out her pogo stick and she made it to 1,000 jumps for the first time.

Jude teeing off at Harvard Gulch

Jude teeing off at Harvard Gulch

Jude and Anna have been really into golf after their lesson. They both wanted to play after we got home so I took them to our local par 3, Harvard Gulch, and they had some fun before a thunderstorm ended our round early. Then it was back home to watch the final major of the year.

A Week in Keystone With the Dahlens

All the kids outside our place in Keystone

All the kids outside our place in Keystone

We have had a great week in Keystone with the Dahlens visiting from Iowa. Nathan and I played golf most days and out of five rounds we only had one that did not get interrupted by rain or hail. The weather was not good at all but we made do and still had a good time.

Nathan teeing off amidst the hail at the River Course

Nathan teeing off amidst the hail at #15 at the River Course (he stuck it to 10 feet)

The kids were in camp all week. Anna, Lily, Ella and Chloe were at the Keystone Science School while Jude did another Challenger Sports soccer camp. Everyone enjoyed their camps but it did mean we only got one day for all us to hang out.

All the girl cousins rent a paddle boat on Keystone Lake

All the girl cousins get in a paddle boat on Keystone Lake

Saturday morning most of us went over to River Run for a little shopping and then in the afternoon we walked down to Keystone Lake. The kids played at the “beach” there and we rented paddle boats. Anna also decided she wanted to try stand up paddle boarding. She just scraped over the high limit and was very excited to give it a try on the lake. She did great and had to be dragged in after her time was up.

Anna trying stand up paddle boarding for the first time

Anna trying stand up paddle boarding for the first time

On the Dahlens last night we all went to the now traditional Mexican Dinner at Dos Locos which is right next door to the condo.

The kids enjoying their Mexican food

The kids enjoying their Mexican food

This morning we said our goodbyes to the Dahlens. It was a great week and everyone is already looking forward to next year. With just the four of us left we decided to do a hike. Anna had been wanting to try Revenue Mountain which is the first major hike that Jude did when he was 8. Anna also wanted to do the difficult way, the same way that Jude went, and it was tough. It consisted of a rocky scramble on hands and feet up a steep slope towards the end. After some challenges we all made it to the top. We also saw some amazing mining ruins along the way, and mountain goats on the trail on our way down.

Enjoying the view and a snack at the top of Revenue Mountain

Enjoying the view and a snack at the top of Revenue Mountain

A Triathlon and a Doctor

Jude racing towards the finish line in the 10-12 year triathlon

Jude racing towards the finish line in the 10-12 year old triathlon (photo taken by Anna)

Our weekend started bright and early. The kids had a triathlon down in Lone Tree and they had to be there to check in for their race by 6:45am. So, we were out the door around 6:25am.

The 10-12 year old age group went off first. Jude did really well. He loves to compete and the triathlon provides a great place to do that. He was towards the back of the pack out of the pool but he had a strong bike leg and by the end of the run he was in 6th place (out of 26 kids). A great effort considering most of the kids were older than he was.

Anna on the bike leg of the 8-9 year old triathlon

Anna on the bike leg of the 8-9 year old triathlon

Anna’s age group went in the race after Jude’s. Anna had a strong swim and a solid bike ride. She found the mile run a challenge and by the end was having some breathing issues. But she still finished strong and was the second girl across the line. Most importantly, Jude and Anna both loved it and want to do it again next year.

Marcy giving Jude a boost after his triathlon

Marcy giving Jude a boost after his triathlon

This past week Anna had bank camp and Jude had robotics camp. Jude loved his camp mostly because they got to play video games for a good chunk of the day. He said he learned a little about programming but he was clearly more interested in the fun aspects. Anna had bank camp and one of the thing she was most excited about was getting selected for a “job”. She wanted to be a doctor and this is what she was given after her interview. She had another great camp week.

Anna won a job as a doctor in her bank camp

Anna won a job as a doctor in her bank camp

We have just arrived up in Keystone with the Dahlens and we are looking forward to a nice week up here. The kids are all in camp and so we will have some time for golf and other fun things.

Hiking, Canoeing and Mini Golf

On a hike near Genessee

On a hike near Genessee

I had a long business trip these past couple of weeks. We had a conference in Shanghai and then I spent a week in London last week returning home late on Friday night. So, Marcy has been a single mom for most of the last two weeks. She organized lots of fun activities for the kids. They went hiking on this great hike by a river 30 minutes from home and the kids stopped to play in the water and check out the wildlife along the way. They also played mini golf with Anna’s school friend, Reed to celebrate his 9th birthday.

Playing mini golf with Reed

Playing mini golf with Reed

This weekend we had a quiet day yesterday. Anna and Marcy rode their bikes to the farmers market while I stayed home with Jude and watched the British Open golf. In the afternoon we went kayaking and canoeing in the Wash Park lake.

Canoeing and kayaking in Wash Park lake

Canoeing and kayaking in Wash Park lake

After dinner last night Anna decided to go skateboarding down our street in her pajamas.

Anna skateboarding in front of our house

Anna skateboarding in front of our house

Today we decided to go hiking again. We went down to a beautiful park southwest of Denver called Roxborough Park. We hiked to the top of Carpenter Peak, the highest point in the park. It was a solid hike, over six miles round trip and both kids did well.

Jude and me atop Carpenter Peak in Roxborough Park

Jude and me atop Carpenter Peak in Roxborough Park

Iowa, Copenhagen, Wales and England

An iconic canal in Copenhagen

An iconic canal in Copenhagen

It has been quite a busy three weeks in the Renton household. We drove to Iowa over two weeks ago right after the kids finished camp on Friday afternoon. Well, we actually spent the night in Kearney, Nebraska on our way. Then I was in Iowa less than a day because on Sunday morning I flew out to Copenhagen where I was attending a conference. I was there for three days and then flew to England where I met up with Marcy.

Near the summit of Mt Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales

Near the summit of Mt Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales

She flew out of Iowa on Tuesday and met up with me in Cambridge on Wednesday night. I had a conference at the University of Cambridge and we had a dinner there and then a conference on Thursday. On Thursday night we drove to Wales where we stayed at a B&B for a couple of nights. We hiked around the coast of Wales on Friday and then on Saturday we climbed Mt Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales at 3,400 feet. Given that you start the hike from close to sea level it was quite a challenging day.

Marcy outside Buckingham Palace

Marcy outside Buckingham Palace in London

After the hike we drove to London where we stayed right near Trafalgar Square for a couple of nights. Sunday we wandered all over London, visiting many of the major sights. We took in Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, Tower of London and we walked along the Thames for most of the afternoon. It was an unusually beautiful day in London, warm and sunny so we made the most of it.

Near Tower Bridge

Near Tower Bridge

Monday morning we flew back to Des Moines to rejoin the kids. While they had had a great time with their grandparents and cousins they were really happy to see us. The weather was warm so we spent a lot of time in the backyard by the pool as we normally do and the kids staged a serious water balloon fight one day.

A cousins water balloon fight

A cousins water balloon fight

I played some golf with Nathan on July 4 we had some sparklers in the backyard then we went and saw some of the local fireworks. On our last full day Baba and Grandpa took all five grandkids to Perkins for breakfast. This is a treat for Jude and Anna as they are order “Rainbow Pancakes” which is basically pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles.

The kids love to go to Perkins for breakfast

The kids love to go to Perkins for breakfast, look at those pancakes!

It was over all too quickly and on Thursday we were driving back home. After so much time away we had a pretty low key weekend here. We spent a lot of time at home but today we did venture up to the mountains for a hike which was fun. And this afternoon we all went to the local putt putt for some golf.

Hiking near Conifer, a solid 4+ mile hike

Hiking near Conifer, a solid 4+ mile hike