Discovering Lily Pad Lake and More Lost Teeth

Jude trying to catch something in his net at Lily Pad Lake

Jude trying to catch something in his net at Lily Pad Lake

After two previous attempts we finally made it to Lily Pad Lake. It was a simple one hour hike to the lake from the correct trailhead. What a place. The kids loved the lake we came to because it had thousands and thousands of lily pads. The main Lily Pad Lake had far fewer lily pads but was great for swimming. Both Jude and Anna gave it a try.

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Jude and Anna take a dip in Lily Pad Lake

Jude and Anna had their second week of camp this past week and they both loved it. They seemed to enjoy it even more than their first week of camp. They both asked if they could go to camp again this week. The Keystone Science School, where the camp is located, do a great job and there were never any complaints about going in the mornings.

The tooth fairy was busy this week. Anna lost her second tooth one day at camp, she proudly came home one afternoon clutching it in a little baggie. Then nonchalantly at dinner on Friday night Jude announced that he lost a tooth that day. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to save it but we could see the gap in his mouth as plain as day.

Anna loses her second tooth, just two weeks after losing her first

It has been months since the last Anna and Daddy date. So, I decided to do something about it this weekend and took Anna on a date to Breckenridge. They have a great kids area there, more extensive than Keystone’s, and being Sunday afternoon it was not crowded at all. Anna did the bounce house, the maze, the climbing wall and the bungee, but the highlight was definitely the roller coaster. It is a pretty cool ride – you can go in pairs and you get to control how fast you want to go. Of course, Anna wanted to go as fast as possible. We topped the afternoon off with a lovely dinner at Seven’s at the base of Peak Seven.

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Going up the hill on the roller coaster at Breckenridge on an Anna and Daddy date

A Sporting Week in Keystone and Denver

Anna in the sandbox at the Mexican restaurant - buried by her cousins

Anna in the sandbox at the Mexican restaurant – buried by her cousins

This week started off with the Dahlens still in Keystone. Nathan and I squeezed in one last round of golf and then it was off to the Mexican restaurant for the final dinner before they headed back to Des Moines. This place is great in summer because they have an outdoor area for the grownups to sit and chat while all the kids play in the sandbox.

Anna and Chloe both just fit under the counter in the kitchen still

Anna and Chloe both just fit under the counter in the kitchen still

When the Dahlens left on Tuesday morning it was back to our normal Keystone routine. This means tennis lessons on Tuesday, golf lessons on Wednesday and then tennis lessons again on Thursday. Then, of course, there was the world cup soccer happening on TV. Jude is so into sports these days – we spent some time every day playing with the soccer ball. We have made a goal in the driveway and we have these epic “World Cup” matches where he chooses a team to play for and I usually play for Australia.

Keeping with the sports theme this week we came down to Denver on Thursday afternoon to check on the house (not much progress unfortunately). I worked all day Friday and then Friday night we all went to a Rockies game. Jude wanted to stay to the very end and he was delighted that the Rockies won.

At the Rockies baseball game

At the Rockies baseball game

We made it back up to Keystone on Saturday afternoon. Marcy and I both commented about how glad we were to get back up here. It is so nice and relaxing here in summer, and Denver felt hot and dirty, particularly staying downtown. It is cool, clear, uncrowded and quiet up here. We have resolved to spend as much time as we can up here every summer.

It gets dark so late we decided to light the sparklers even though it was still light out

It gets dark so late we decided to light the sparklers even though it was still light out

The Des Moines Family Visits Keystone and Anna Loses Her First Tooth

The kids love driving around in the Mini with Grandpa

The kids love driving around in the Mini with Grandpa

We have had quite the full week here in Keystone. Jude, Anna and Lily had camp this week at the Keystone Science School. It was a gold mining theme at camp and all three kids enjoyed it. Anna was a little disappointed because Jude and Lily were in the same camp group and she had to go by herself with people she did not know. But she didn’t complain after the first day and was happy going off to camp each day.

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Anna, Jude and Lily on their last day of camp at the Keystone Science School

We had a major milestone occur this week that none of us were quite expecting. Anna lost her first tooth. She was opening something for Lily with her teeth when it just fell out. She was so excited and proud, particularly having her extended family there. Anna carried her tooth around everywhere that evening and unfortunately lost it somewhere in the thick carpet of our bedroom. We looked and looked but couldn’t find it. Lily had the great idea of replacing it with a little pebble about the same size and then writing a letter to the Tooth Fairy explaining what happened. And sure enough there was $2 on Anna’s bedside table in the morning.

Anna losing her first tooth

Anna losing her first tooth

This week, of course, was July 4th and we did the usual kids bike parade at River Run at Keystone. We all rode our bikes over and got them decorated in red, white and blue. The kids were raring to go by 11am and they did many laps of the bike circuit.

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Lily and Jude ready to go in the July 4th bike parade at Keystone

Before the bike parade Marcy took the kids down to the Dillon Farmer’s Market for some yummy crepes.

Anna and Chloe enjoy their strawberry and cream crepe

Anna and Chloe enjoy their strawberry and cream crepe

One of the themes of this week as far as Jude is concerned was soccer. He is really into the World Cup and he watched a couple of games with me in their entirety. Then every morning he would ask who was playing that day. And he would ask for scoring updates throughout the day. Then we would go outside and play our own game of soccer. We would use the garage as one goal and then we placed two stones at the end of the driveway to mark the other goal.

Jude showing his style and focus during our driveway soccer match

Jude showing his style and focus during our driveway soccer match

We also took advantage of some of the Colorado outdoors this week. Nathan and I played several rounds of golf and we also enjoyed some hiking in the mountains.

Hiking on the Lily Pad Lake trail near Keystone

Hiking on the Lily Pad Lake trail near Keystone

It has been quite the busy week and the kids have all gotten along really well for the most part, so it was good to end the week with a quiet movie.

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Anna, Chloe, Lily, Ella and Jude enjoy a movie in bed

Fishing & Hiking in Keystone

Probably the most scenic kids playground in Colorado - by Lake Dillon

Probably the most scenic kids playground in Colorado – by Lake Dillon

We have settled in now to Keystone. We have been here two weeks and we are all enjoying the extended stay in the mountains. This past week Jude and Anna did tennis lessons and golf lessons which they both enjoyed. They had a couple more visits to the kids area for some bungee jumping on the trampoline and mining for minerals. We have been riding our bikes around, we also did some hiking and Jude and Anna tried their hand at fishing.

Jude trying his luck fishing in Lake Dillon but the fish weren't biting

Jude trying his luck fishing in Lake Dillon but the fish weren’t biting

Yesterday we went on a long family hike. After watching some World Cup soccer in the morning we had a hearty lunch before heading up Angler Mountain. This was a 5-mile hike up and back with 1,200 feet of elevation gain – it was rated moderate. Jude and Anna did great, making it past the two-mile mark up the mountain before we turned back. They were both troopers, particularly Jude who ran the last mile back to the car with Marcy.

Anna looking good on our hike yesterday

Anna looking good on our hike yesterday

Halfway up the Angler Mountain hike near Silverthorne

Halfway up the Angler Mountain hike near Silverthorne

Yesterday was very exciting for Jude and Anna. They had been talking about it for weeks. It was the day that Grandpa, Baba and Lily arrived in Keystone. By the time we arrived back from our hike they were already in our driveway having just arrived before us. All three kids were thrilled to see each other and have been playing together almost nonstop since then. Lily came out early with Baba and Grandpa so all three kids can go to the Keystone Science School camp next week.

Jude and Anna were very enamored with Lily's iPad

Jude and Anna were very enamored with Lily’s iPad

Transitioning to Summer in Keystone

On Father's Day we went for a hike along Cherry Creek - an urban jungle

On Father’s Day we went for a hike along Cherry Creek – a jungle in the heart of the city

It has been a busy last two weeks. We are getting some major renovations done on our house, so in the last two weeks we have moved most of our furniture out of the house and into a storage unit. We spent two nights in a hotel in Denver before heading up to our place in Keystone where we will be spending most of our time this summer.

One of the kids’ favorite things to do in Keystone is the bungee trampoline. We have bought them a season pass for all the activities and we have probably already got our money’s worth. Jude is now doing triple back flips on the bungee and Anna has mastered the single back flip.

Anna and Jude on the bungee trampoline in Keystone

Anna and Jude on the bungee trampoline in Keystone

Every Friday afternoon Keystone provides free gondola rides to the top of the mountain where they have a live band, games and dinner. It was a glorious afternoon this past Friday so we took advantage of it. Jude and Anna were not into the band or the games – they loved playing on the snow despite the fact that Jude was wearing his crocs and Anna her flip flops.

Anna and Jude on the top of a snow bank at the top of Keystone mountain

Anna and Jude on the top of a snow bank at the top of Keystone mountain

One of the things that both Marcy and I like to do is go for hikes. We both intend to take advantage of this a lot while we are in Keystone this summer. We have a great short hike directly behind the condo which we will be taking turns to do on many days. Then we also want to get the kids out hiking as well. Marcy took them on a 5-mile hike this past week and both kids were strong the whole way, with snacks along the way, of course.

Jude stopping for a a berry snack wile on a hike this past week

Jude stopping for a a berry snack wile on a hike this past week

This weekend we had the Fergusons visiting us in Keystone. The kids had a blast together, it was a good break from hanging out with just the two of them. All four kids were very sad to say goodbye this evening.

The Ferguson and Renton kids playing by the lake in Keystone Village

The Ferguson and Renton kids playing by the lake in Keystone Village

School’s Out for Summer

Anna outside her school on the last day before summer vacation

Anna outside her school on the last day before summer vacation

Summer vacation has officially started. Anna had her last day of school on Thursday and Jude on Friday. The whole family went to the school Rose Ceremony on Friday that marks the last day of the school year.

First grade has been a big year for Jude. For the most part he has loved his school and his teacher and he has made some fantastic progress this year. To mark the end of this big year the first grade play a major role in a Rose Ceremony that is attended by the entire school.

At the beginning of the school year every first grader is paired up with an eighth grader to help them navigate this new world. The eighth grader presents their first grade buddy with a rose. They have a sit down lunch together every week and form quite a bond over the course of the year. Then on the last day the first grader presents their eighth grader with a rose as a thank you for all they have done this past year, and to send the eighth grader off to high school. It was a cute but also a moving ceremony with lots of tears flowing.

Jude playing in the new kids area at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Jude playing in the new kids area at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

We have been going to the Museum of Nature & Science for over five years now. Both kids still love the place and they have just opened a new wing with a great new kids area. They had a member preview earlier this week so Marcy took both Jude and Anna along to check it out.

Anna getting some pink highlights in her hair

Anna getting some pink highlights in her hair

Anna had a haircut this week, going to Marcy’s regular hairdresser Shannon. She felt so grown up going there particularly with some pink highlights Shannon put in her hair. And then the next day Marcy reapplied the pink highlights for a birthday party Anna attended.

Speaking of being grown up Anna really wanted to get some regular shoes with laces. These are her new favorite shoes now, wearing them everywhere. She loves to tie her shoe laces now, she even showed Jude how to do it. Although he still shows little interest in such things.

This is the last week in our house before the builders come to do some major renovations. We are moving out on Saturday as the movers come to put all our furniture into storage. We will stay in a hotel in Denver for a couple of nights before heading up to Keystone.

Feeding the Rainbow Lorikeets at the Zoo

Anna feeding the rainbow lorikeets at the Denver zoo

Anna feeding the rainbow lorikeets at the Denver zoo

When we were living in Sydney in 2012 we had rainbow lorikeets visit our balcony all the time. Jude often enjoyed feeding them. Being native to Australia we don’t see these birds in Denver….except at the zoo. So, in our trip to the zoo yesterday both Anna and Jude spent a lot of time feeding these beautiful birds.

Jude, partially hidden under his new hat, giving the lorikeets some lunch

Jude, partially hidden under his new hat, giving the lorikeets some lunch

After all the rain of the past couple of weeks it was great to have a fine and sunny weekend. And we had quite the busy weekend. After tooling around the house on Saturday morning Jude said he would really like to go to the zoo. It was such a beautiful day we decided to ride our bikes spending several hours there. Then in the afternoon there was an end of school party at a friend of Anna’s house so we all went to that. They had an inflatable water slide and a trampoline so both kids went non-stop the whole time we were there.

Today Jude had football at noon (one hour practice then a game) so we decided to head out for Sunday brunch. Again, we rode our bikes to Solera, just six blocks away, and had a delicious meal. Then it was off to football, still on bikes. Jude is still loving it so much. And today, he scored on a pass play for a two-point conversion – he caught the ball from the quarterback and had to evade two defenders to score. He was thrilled.

Then, as has become customary after football, we went to the museum. The field is directly across the street so it makes it a very easy trip. Then it was back home to fire up the grill and, of course, more football. Not to be left out I played some softball with Anna and then after dinner we went riding around the block.

A big weekend – they should sleep soundly tonight.

Last Monday, being Memorial Day, we went to Elitch’s for the first time this year. It was crowded but the kids enjoyed the rides and were so well behaved they earned themselves some ice cream.

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Enjoying their ice cream at Elitch’s

Our New MINI

Anna just loves our new MINI convertible

Anna just loves our new MINI convertible

 

We have loved our Audi TT Convertible but having only two seats meant it was incredibly impractical. So, we decided it was time to trade the car in on a new fun car but one with four seats. So, yesterday we became the proud owner of a MINI convertible – a 2007 Mini Cooper.

Anna laying in her tent in the backyard

Anna laying in her tent in the backyard

We have been cleaning out our garage in preparation for our house renovations over the summer. During this process Anna has discovered a few things including her old tent. She was so thrilled to find it that she had Marcy put it up and find her sleeping bag so she could take “naps” in there. While she hasn’t slept the night in it she has been spending time there at every opportunity.

Anna with her new "clothes" she made - a paper vest and paper shoes

Anna with her new “clothes” she made – a paper vest and paper shoes

This morning Anna decided spontaneously that she would make some shoes out of paper and tape. She diligently cut out shapes and put them together. After making shoes she also made a vest, a hat as well as some glasses. Although the latter two did not last very long.

Jude working the weed whacker in the backyard

Jude working the weed whacker in the backyard

Today was spent around the house all day. In fact, we didn’t venture out in either car all day. We did some work around the house, went for a bike ride to the playground and watched the second Harry Potter movie. It was a lovely family day.

Our First Cookout of the Year

The first meal outside in our yard this year

The first meal outside in our yard this year

What a difference a week makes. On Mother’s Day last weekend it was cold and snowy. Today, just seven days later it was in the 80’s. So, we took advantage of the summer like weather and had our first cookout of the year.  Marcy bought some delicious steaks and I cooked them on our charcoal grill.

Roasting marshmallows on the grill

Roasting marshmallows on the grill

But what the kids were most excited about was roasting marshmallows for dessert. It was the first time we had done this since moving in to our house late last summer. Marshmallows are pretty much Jude’s favorite food and Anna is a big fan as well.

Jude enjoying his Smores tonight

Jude enjoying his S’mores tonight

The kids spent a lot of time outside this weekend. They both had their team sports – Anna with soccer on Saturday and Jude with flag football on Sunday. And they were in our backyard a ton. Marcy did a lot of yard work this weekend which always involves playing with the kids some as well.

Anna pretended she owned one of the places in Harry Potter. She was the owner of The Three Broomsticks, and she served butterbeer and gillywater to all comers. She also had some delicious chocolate cockroach clusters and bertie bott’s every flavor beans – these are all items from Harry Potter. She was very proud of her store as you can see below. The best part was that, after listening to hours of Harry Potter recordings, she serves these items with a distinct British accent.

Anna manning her store, The Three Broomsticks in our backyard

Anna staffing her store, The Three Broomsticks, in our backyard

The big news this weekend was an email from our contractor. We are planning some pretty major renovations to our house over the summer – so major that we are packing everything in storage and moving out for a couple of months. Well, we received an email from our contractor last night that said they are running behind and will not be able to start on time.

This was a major setback and Marcy was particularly upset because she has been doing a ton of work getting our house ready to be packed up. We are going to look at other options but right now our plans are up in the air. We will see what this week brings.

Mud, Mother’s Day and a Conference in San Francisco

Spartan Race

Marcy and her mud-covered friends after the Spartan Race in Colorado Springs

This past week Marcy and I went our separate ways. I left for San Francisco for a week to put on the annual LendIt Conference. It was a big success with 950 people in attendance and it was an exhausting but rewarding experience. Meanwhile Marcy completed her first ever Spartan Race, which is basically a 4 mile run over an obstacle course covered in mud, and I mean completely covered in many places. I love the juxtaposition of these two photos here.

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My friends and fellow organizers of the LendIt Conference after it wrapped up in San Francisco

Marcy’s parents drove out from Iowa to be here so that Marcy could compete in the race while I was away. Jude and Anna loved having their grandparents in town – they took them to a school walkathon and watched Jude play football. They also went and saw Marcy’s great aunt and cousin who live south of Denver.

Marcy's family with her Aunt Jean and cousin Shari

Marcy’s family with her Aunt Jeanne and cousin Shari

On Friday Anna went to her friend Reed’s birthday party at Cheeseman Park and they flew kites. Anna loved it so much that on Saturday Marcy went out and bought kites for both kids. Jude’s kite was challenging getting going but Anna’s flew easily and she loved it – particularly the fact it was a Hello Kitty kite (this was not Marcy’s first choice but Costco did not have much of a selection).

Anna flying her new kite at the park in Stapleton

Anna flying her new kite at the park in Stapleton

Today was Mother’s Day and it was a cold and snowy day here in Denver. I made pancakes for breakfast and then Marcy wanted to go to a family yoga class which was great. Then it was back home to watch the first Harry Potter movie while Marcy baked cookies. We had a lazy afternoon with some chess. Then it was Indian takeout for dinner. Marcy had a nice day, I think, despite the weather.

Playing some chess by the fire on a cold and snowy Mother's Day

Playing some chess by the fire on a cold and snowy Mother’s Day

Finally, I just want to mention my mother. She passed away three weeks ago so this was obviously my first Mother’s Day without her. She was never far from my thoughts today and I often felt her sweet and loving presence. I told the kids that this Mother’s Day would be a difficult one for me and they have been great about it. At dinner tonight Jude proposed a toast to my mum and I just loved that he was that thoughtful. Happy Mother’s Day to you mum, I really miss you.