Jude in his Harry Potter Gryffindor Quidditch robes along with his Firebolt broom
The title of this post is not from another book in the Harry Potter series, it was Jude this past week. A couple of months ago we started reading the Harry Potter series (we are now halfway through book 4) and Jude is really into it. He likes to talk about magical powers, Quidditch (a game in the book), going to Hogwarts and many other Harry Potter related topics.
While in Mexico Anna got a special dress and her hair braided and Jude didn’t get anything. To be fair we told Jude we could find something special for him. He chose the outfit and broom you see above.
As for the scorpion, that is from this weekend. We were up in the mountains and after skiing yesterday Jude and Anna decided they wanted to get their faces painted, Jude chose the scorpion you see below and Anna the butterfly.
The Scorpion – from face painting in Keystone
Anna with her colorful butterfly and very pink lips
We had a family ski day on Saturday at Keystone. There was another overnight blizzard and so it was another great day for skiing. On our first run we skied from the top of the mountain to the bottom. Halfway down we accidentally found ourselves on a bump run. Both Jude and Anna were game, they have been asking when they can try a black run, although I don’t think they realized what they were in for. It was slow going with lots of falling but they were both troopers and didn’t complain. We decided after this one-run long run that it was time for our lunch break.
In the afternoon Anna wanted to go ice skating and Jude decided he wanted more skiing, so he want off with Marcy while Anna and I ice skated. Although, Anna was clearly exhausted after her monster ski run, she only spent a few minutes ice skating before taking a long break. On Sunday there was more ice skating.
Jude being a trooper skiing down his first ever bump run
Anna likes it when I lift her up over the waves
We had a glorious week in Cabo San Lucas. The weather was unseasonably warm – with the temperature creeping towards 90 degrees on a couple of occasions.
We were lucky on this trip because Baba and Grandpa were also in Cabo for their annual trip away from the Iowa winter. We were not staying at the same resort but they were just a few miles down the road. The kids were so excited to have their grandparents there that they were very happy to go and stay at their place for a couple of nights. This worked out well for everyone as Marcy and I got to have an extended date and the grandparents and kids had some special time together.
We all got together for dinner at the marina in Cabo one night
Most days we headed down to the beach. It was far less crowded than the pool and the kids preferred playing and swimming in the ocean anyway. And by the ocean there were many Mexicans selling the typical tourist wares. But one thing that caught Anna’s attention was a lady who could braid hair. She also sold colorful dresses that Anna fell in love with. So, we got a combo deal.
Anna getting her braids put in
They had plenty of beach activities as well. You could go horse back riding, jet skiing and kayaking. The kids decided they really wanted to go kayaking. So, on our last day there we rented a kayak and went out into the ocean. It was actually the biggest swell we had all week so we had to be careful. We had all four of us in the one kayak but we managed to get through the breakers and into deep water quite easily. The kids had a blast. We would take it in turns with the boys then the girls paddling. Before we knew it two hours had past and all four of us could easily have gone longer.
Getting ready to launch our kayak with our resort in the background
Yesterday, sadly our beach vacation came to an end. This was our fourth trip to Mexico and Marcy and I decided that we want to make this an annual event. We have been using Marcy’s parent time share weeks for every visit but we thought it was time to get our own. So, we went online and were surprised at how inexpensive the timeshare resales were. We connected with a reseller office in Cabo and ended up buying a one week timeshare at the Pueblo Bonito Rose for just $1,500. We will be staying there next year and every year for the foreseeable future.
Today, we stayed around the house all day. Jude and Anna were happy to be home and didn’t leave the house once except to play in the backyard. Jude and I ended up playing a marathon game of touch football (almost two hours) with Anna joining in from time to time.
Jude practicing his punting in the backyard
Marcy helping the kids look for fish in Cabo, Mexico
This week started off at Keystone after a huge snowstorm hit the Colorado mountains. We decided to drive back Monday morning to avoid the Sunday afternoon rush and boy are we glad we did. The drive is normally about an hour and a half in decent weather but we heard stories of 5+ hour drives on Sunday. On Monday morning the roads were still a little treacherous but there was not much traffic and we made it back to Denver in two hours – just in time for school.
It was a short week at school because on Friday morning we flew to Mexico for our annual winter beach trip. This year it was Cabo and we have been really looking forward to this trip after what has been an unusually cold and snowy winter in Denver. When the flight touched down in Cabo and the pilot announced it was 85 degrees in Cabo everyone was happy.
Jude loves playing in the sand and the water
While we have quite a decent pool at the hotel the kids prefer to spend their time on the beach. Jude in particular loves playing in the waves. And we have a good setup here where there is the ocean beach with waves, although it is too rough to swim there, and also a little inlet where the water is calm and it is perfect for swimming. And snorkeling. The kids put on their goggles today and discovered all the fish swimming around in the little bay.
Anna enjoys the waves too
The weather has been fantastic since we got here on Friday. Sunny and mid-80′s every day. This has mean lot of beach time so far. We have our little spot down on the beach where it is not crowded and we can easily walk to the inlet and the ocean beach.
Anna is doing her best to stay healthy in Mexico
Anna has been fighting off a cough since we arrived. We actually noticed her coughing on the way to the airport on Friday and we thought, “Oh great, here we go again.” Last year in Mexico Anna was really sick for about half the trip. This time she is managing ok and not getting any worse. I think her daily inhaler helps and she has also been sleeping well. Fingers crossed for the rest of the week.
Anna skiing Keystone mountain on a powder day
We spent this weekend up in Keystone where Jude and Anna had another all day ski lesson. This time they spent the entire day on blue runs. How quickly they progress beyond the beginner phase. Whereas last time Anna was scared of blue runs, by the end of this weekend she was disappointed if we had to stick to green runs. She is already a fast skier and she skies with good control. And most importantly, she loves it.
Jude skiing down a blue run at Keystone with Marcy right behind him
Jude also loved skiing this weekend. Today was a family ski day after both kids were in ski school yesterday. We skied a couple of long runs before lunch and both kids skied really well. Jude is good at getting back in control once he starts to go too fast and he is definitely the more careful of the two. What is great is that both Jude and Anna ski at the same pace – this makes for a much easier family ski day. By the end of the day Jude wanted more so he and I went up for a final run while Marcy and Anna walked back to our condo.
On the lift heading up the mountain on our family ski day
It was quite an amazing weekend at Keystone. We had 11″ of snow yesterday and probably close to the same today. We decided to delay our drive back to Denver until tomorrow morning because the roads were bad and the traffic was awful. It was probably a 3-4 hour drive heading back tonight. Much better to have a nice relaxing evening here and head back in the morning.
Jude after a hard day on the slopes
Today was the annual Superbowl party at our house. I have been hosting these parties since before I met Marcy and today was a special day because the Broncos were playing in the big game. We had a full house and were all very excited when it came time to kickoff. But for the Denver fans it soon turned ugly.
Jude, on the other hand, was rooting for Seattle and he was joined by a couple of Seattle natives in the crowd. Jude is learning more about the game every time he watches and he asked questions throughout the game. But most of all he was just very happy that Seattle was doing well.
Anna watched some of the game with us but Jude watched the entire game and by the end of it he was the only kid left watching. He celebrated with Melissa, who is from Seattle.
Yesterday when I was running errands for the game I stopped in to Target. Anna really wanted to try on shoes so I let her loose in the kids shoes area. I had to drag her away after half an hour of trying on virtually every kids shoe in her size.
Anna doing her favorite pastime – shopping for shoes at Target
Marcy goofing around with the kids in Keystone
This past week began in Keystone with the Martin Luther King long weekend. I had to leave early but Marcy and kids stayed around and went ice skating. And they had this fantastic train ice sculpture at River Run that Jude thought was really cool.
Riding the ice train at River Run, Keystone
Ice skating at the rink in River Run at Keystone
Then this past weekend the kids had ski school again and the instructor took them on their first blue run ever. Already they are venturing beyond the beginner slopes. Anna said it was pretty scary going down the steeper run but she did it.
This morning we gave the kids the option – they could go skiing again or ice skating – they chose ice skating. But this time we decided to go down to Keystone Village and skate on the big lake there. We all strapped on skates and by the end of the day the kids and I were all skating well (Marcy is already a good skater).
Jude all bundled up skating on Keystone Lake.
Anna is always styling – even as she skates on Keystone Lake.
Anna getting a little tired after two solid days of skiing
Both kids were feeling much better by the end of the week so it was up to Keystone for the next ski school lesson. We dropped Jude and Anna off bright and early on Saturday morning. Normally, then Marcy and I head up to the slopes for the day but this time Marcy went solo. I ended up catching whatever the kids had and was a coughing and sneezing mess so I had to lay low.
Jude and Anna did great on their lesson and were worn out. No wonder. When I asked the instructor how they did he said they skied really well and that they had down “at least” four top to bottom runs. These runs are over three miles so Jude and Anna skied over 12 miles that day. Needless to say they slept well that night.
Sunday morning we had a family ski with all four of us heading up the mountain for a few runs. I was still feeling pretty bad but decided to give it a try. But with the Bronco game starting at 1pm Marcy knew I wanted to be off the mountain by 12:30pm. It just so happened that we didn’t time things exactly right and at 12:25pm we were all at the top of the mountain. So, I skied down by myself while Marcy stayed with the kids. They were pretty worn out by this stage but still in reasonable spirits when they got to the bottom.
Anna and Jude celebrate after a hard weekend of skiing
Marcy promised them a burger after their hard exercise so they stopped in at a sports bar and watched a bit of the Bronco game. It was Jude and Anna’s first exposure to Broncomania and they thought it was pretty cool.
Enjoying a post ski burger
Meanwhile back at the condo I was enjoying a great football game albeit by myself. Although I was texting with several friends during the game which was nice. But I was really happy to watch the end of the game with my two little munchkins by my side.
Watching the Bronco game with my two favorite kids
Anna huddles with her best friend, Reed, after school one day this week
It was back to school this week after two weeks off and everyone was happy to be back. But after being really health for the first half of the school year both kids came down with a fever this week.
First, Jude woke up on Friday morning feeling awful and coughing a lot. Needless to say he didn’t go to school and he spent most of the day lying on the couch or his bed. His fever hit 103.5 degrees so he had absolutely no energy and wasn’t eating much either. Anna was feeling fine on Friday, in fact I took her out downtown on an Anna and Daddy date to her favorite restaurant that night.
Saturday, she was starting to feel lousy and Jude wasn’t much better. So, there was nothing much happening. Jude and I watched some football and that was the most activity he had all day. Marcy took this opportunity to introduce Jude to the wonders of Harry Potter as we started reading the first book.
Marcy reading Harry Potter to Jude & Anna with both kids not feeling well
Today, Anna was hit hard. She was like Jude was on Friday, just going from the couch to the bed. She still wanted to put on her Peyton Manning jersey and watch the Bronco game. Jude was really into the game – in fact he watched more football this weekend than he ever has before. It is fun (for me at least) to watch Jude learn and enjoy the game.
Anna paints her nails and then takes a photo of them on Marcy’s phone
There is a bit of a story to the photo above. Anna painted her toenails by herself and was very proud of them. But that is not the interesting part. What she did, unbeknownst to Marcy, was take Marcy’s phone and go upstairs to our bedroom and proceed to take around 80 photos of her feet, our bed, our closet and many other parts of our bedroom. There was even an 18 minute video that she obviously didn’t know she was taking. She even caused Marcy’s phone to run out of backup storage. Sneaky girl.
The five cousins with Jude, Lily and Anna featuring various cats on their faces
All five cousins were together to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Des Moines. One of the reasons we make the effort to visit so regularly is that they really do love each other and get along so well. And now the twins are three they are starting to play more together. Although for outings it is usually just Lily, Jude and Anna – as was the case with the Science Center celebration where the kids all got their faces painted.
The kids toasting in the New Year at 6pm on December 31.
The highlight of the trip was definitely New Year’s Eve. We did an early celebration so the kids could all do a countdown and then a toast to the New Year. They get quite into the spirit of the evening. We even did a balloon drop that was very exciting – see the video below.
There was not much outside time on this trip, it was too cold and unfortunately not enough snow for sledding. And the five days were over too soon and then it was back to Denver. Where we had one night at home before heading up to the mountains to Keystone.
Marcy and Chloe sharing some quality time
Jude and Anna are booked in for ski school every Saturday in January. It was bitterly cold on Saturday – Marcy and I skied a couple of runs and decided to call it quits but Jude and Anna did great. They tooled around on the kids slopes in the morning and in the afternoon went up the mountain to ski down. The instructor said there were no tears and no tantrums and all the kids did great. They are already looking forward to doing it again next weekend.
Anna and Jude all bundled up and ready for ski school.
Christmas Eve Fondue Dinner at home
We had a wonderful family Christmas at home in Denver. The kids were so excited about the whole Christmas celebration this year, especially Santa and the presents of course. It started on Christmas Eve where we had a special dinner in the living room. We had a yummy cheese fondue and we cracked open a bottle of champagne.
On Christmas morning, surprisingly the kids slept in until their typical wake up time but were super excited to come downstairs to see what Santa and the family had brought them.
Anna jumps up and down when she sees her Hello Kitty gloves and hat
The weather was beautiful on Christmas Day and so we took advantage. One of Jude’s presents was a soccer ball so we all went up to the park to play some soccer. Anna is not normally that into soccer but she enjoyed it this day and Jude couldn’t get enough of it. We stayed on and kept playing after Marcy took Anna home.
We had our traditional Indian food Christmas dinner but this time instead of getting takeout we decided to go to the restaurant to eat. It was delicious. After we got home Jude and Anna got out their bows and arrows and practiced in the backyard. Jude actually received his for his birthday, for Anna it was a Christmas present.
Jude and Anna line up their bow and arrows in the backyard
The day after Christmas we had to run some errands during the day (getting Anna’s passport for our Mexico trip) and we started getting ready for our trip to Iowa. Then on Friday night we did our annual trip to see the Zoo Lights. It was a beautiful warm day which meant a warm evening and thousands of people in line. The kids really enjoyed seeing all the lights and Anna especially was sad to go home.
Riding the carousel at Zoo Lights
Yesterday morning we loaded up the car bright and early and drove to Iowa where we will be until after New Year. More on this trip next week.