A Climbing Wall and Winter Mini Golf

Anna on her school field trip to the indoor farm

Anna on her school field trip to the indoor farm

Once a year I go on one of the kid’s school field trips. On Tuesday, I joined Anna’s third grade class on their trip to the Growhaus, an indoor farm in North Denver. It was a fascinating place where they grow a ton of vegetables indoors and they introduced the kids to concepts such as hydroponics and indoor gardening. I think I got more out of it than Anna did, I thought the place was great.

Jude and Anna tackle the climbing wall at REI

Jude and Anna tackle the climbing wall at REI

This weekend I had class so Marcy took the kids to REI to do the climbing wall. They also did a bit of shopping there.

A game of putt putt on a mid-February day in Denver

A game of mini golf in shorts and a t-shirt on a mid-February day in Denver

Today, was the warmest day of the year so far, almost hitting 70 degrees. So, I left my class a little early and took Jude out to play some mini golf and then we went to the park to kick the soccer ball around. It was a little windy but apart from that it was a beautiful day.

Anna Gets Her First Library Card

Anna shows off her new library card

Anna shows off her new library card

There has been a lot of sickness floating around the school and Anna came down with a bad cough on Wednesday morning. She didn’t feel that had but we decided to keep her home from school for the rest of the week. And she missed ski team this weekend.

On a positive note Marcy and Anna used the time to go to the library and get Anna her very own library card. She was SO excited about this. She took out three books and since she had a lot of time on her hands she read them all in one day.

Early in the week Anna tried out stilts at school

Early in the week Anna tried out stilts at school

Jude managed to stay well although he complained of a bit of a sore throat. So far, this school year he has not missed a day of school for illness.

We had some snow on Saturday and it was a bitterly cold day. I had to go to work to get caught up on some things and the kids spent most of the day at home. Jude worked on his school project on the state of Mississippi. We spent a bit of time watching the Olympics and we saw the USA get their first gold medal in the snowboarding.

Cheering on the US team as we watch the Olympics

Cheering on the US team as we watch the Olympics

Today was a bit warmer and sunny which was nice. Jude had a birthday party downtown and then we went to our neighbor’s guitar recital which coincidentally was at the Waldorf School. Jude had a short kick of the soccer ball in the backyard but for the most part we stayed inside.

Catching a little outside time on this cold weekend

Catching a little outside time on this cold weekend

Finally, the kids bought these tiny little Pacman games out of their own money. They played with them obsessively for a couple of days and now the novelty looks like it has worn off. Below is a picture of Anna with her new game sitting in a special chair.

Anna sitting on the chair that was made for hew grandma (Baba) when she was a little girl

Anna sitting on the chair that was made for her grandma (Baba) when she was a little girl

A Recital and Superbowl Sunday

Anna playing her cello during her school recital

Anna playing her cello with her teacher during her school recital

I spent a few days in New York City this week but I was back late Thursday night. This time Marcy took Anna up for ski team and I stayed home with Jude. We got take out Italian and watched The Waterboy. Jude laughed hysterically at parts of it but overall he said it was only average.

On Saturday, Jude went to a playdate at our old neighbors house so I was able to get caught up on some work. Marcy and Anna came home late afternoon and we started preparing for our annual Superbowl Party.

With the Superbowl I am in charge of cooking and I make three different chilis. Before the Superbowl Anna had a cello recital at her school. Thankfully, she was one of the early ones on so we made it home in time for me to finish cooking and to get ready for the big game.

And what a game it was. The entire house was cheering for the Eagles and were so happy to see them win. It was one of the best games I have ever seen.

It was pretty loud at our house throughout the game so Pickles spent the evening under our bed.

Anna giving Pickles some love this week

Anna giving Pickles some love this week

Anna Has a Big Role in Her Third Grade Play

Anna in her Noah outfit celebrating the end of the play

Anna in her Noah outfit celebrating the end of the play

This week was Anna’s third grade play. This was a big deal because for the first time ever they were on the big stage in the festival hall. Anna took this all very seriously. The play was the story of Noah’s Ark and Anna was given the role of Noah. She practiced her lines every evening until she had it completely down. But she was still nervous when Friday rolled around.

We went to watch the play at 5pm on Friday evening. There was a role (or two) for every kid but Anna had by far the largest part. She acted her part beautifully, not stumbling on any lines and of course, I am biased, but I think she was the star of the show. Many of the parents came up afterwards to tell her how amazing she was. She was so pleased because she had worked so hard for it.

Anna after the play with some roses Marcy bought for her

Anna after the play with some roses Marcy bought for her

After the play we kept our regular routine with Anna and I heading up to Keystone. Anna slept well on Friday night, getting almost 11 hours. She was happy to get to ski team and from what her coach said she had her best day on the slopes yet. She is definitely becoming a more accomplished skier as the season goes on.

We drove back to Denver on Saturday night and today we had another lazy Sunday. Anna didn’t get out of her pajamas until 3pm while Jude spent a lot of the day playing with the neighbor kids. The big project of the day was setting up my old computer for Jude so he can use it for school work. He has a major report on Mississippi and will be typing it on the computer. We are even going to try to use Siri so he can speak the words into the computer rather than typing them.

Pickles in her new bed

Pickles in her new bed

Finally, we have had Pickles two weeks now and she is already part of the family. She has a new bed and she spends most nights (we think) sleeping on it downstairs. The kids especially love having a kitty around the house – they are constantly giving her attention. And they are doing well on their chores of feeding her (Anna) and cleaning up after her and grooming (Jude).

First Big Snowstorm and Night Skiing

Anna goes night skiing for the first time

Anna goes night skiing for the first time

On Friday night Anna and I went up for our regular trip to the mountains for Anna’s ski team. This time, though, we decided to go night skiing at Keystone. It was a nice warm night and there was hardly anyone on the slopes so we had a good time.

Then on Saturday Anna had ski team in A-Basin for the first time. She had what sounded like the worst fall she has ever had hitting her head on a tree. She was ok (thank god for helmets) but she was a little shaken up. After a relaxing bath we drove back to Denver where there was a winter storm coming.

Anna sleeping with Pickles in our bed on a lazy Sunday

Anna sleeping with Pickles in our bed on a lazy Sunday

We awoke on Sunday to a blanket of snow. It continued snowing throughout the day and it was windy so we did not venture out much. Anna laid low as she was not feeling 100% after her fall on Saturday. Jude was full of energy, though, and went sledding with the neighbor kids for a couple of hours.

Jude shows his style over a jump they made sledding at the park

Jude shows his style over a jump they made sledding at the park

It was nice to have a low key Sunday where we could relax at home and watch some football.

We Have a New Cat!

Our new arrival, Pickles, explores her new home

Our new arrival, Pickles, explores her new home

Our weekend began on Friday as I arrived home from my work trip to San Francisco at 6pm. Then it was off with Anna to the mountains for Saturday’s ski team. I looked at the weather and there was supposed to be snow by 10pm so I thought leaving at 7pm we would be fine. I was wrong. It was a nightmare drive with two major accidents and we didn’t arrive until just after 10pm. When Anna awoke on Saturday morning she was exhausted and didn’t feel up for ski team. So, we hung out in the morning and then drove home Saturday afternoon.

Anna trying out Pickles at the pet store

Anna trying out Pickles at the pet store

But the big news of the weekend was our new cat. We have been thinking about it seriously since the New Year and then Marcy and Jude went to the pet store (they are a satellite adoption location from the Denver Dumb Friends League) on Saturday and discovered Pickles. Then this afternoon Marcy took Anna to the store to see if she would react because of her allergies. But she was fine. So, we brought home our new cat. The kids are both beside themselves with excitement.

Jude loves Pickles

Jude loves Pickles

Anna’s First Ski Race and Jude Shadows at a New School

Ice skating in front of the huge Christmas tree on Keystone Lake

Ice skating in front of the huge Christmas tree on Keystone Lake

This week actually began in Des Moines, Iowa where we awoke on New Years Day to the coldest temperature I think I have ever experienced: -17 degrees. That’s fahrenheit (it would actually be -27 celsius). We packed up the car and drove back to Denver. The temperature slowly climbed as we drove west and when we arrived in Denver it was a relatively balmy 20 degrees.

The kids did not have school this week so the kids had various play dates with school friends during the week. Then on Thursday Jude spent the day at a new school, The International School of Denver, shadowing their sixth grade class. It is very different to Waldorf but Jude reported it was a positive experience. We are looking at various options for Jude for next year as he enters sixth grade, which is the middle school years.

This weekend I drove up on Friday afternoon with Anna in preparation for her ski team on Saturday. We had renters staying at our condo so we had to book a resort room. It was by Keystone Lake and Anna loved it. We went out for dinner and then ice skated on the lake. Then we were up bright and early for ski team on Saturday morning.

Marcy served Jude breakfast in bed for the first time

Marcy served Jude breakfast in bed for the first time

Meanwhile back in Denver it was just Jude and Marcy. She spoiled him on Saturday morning by giving him breakfast in bed. It looks like he enjoyed it. They also had a fun time with one of the neighbor kids who often comes over. They played this game where you had to see how many marshmallows you could put in your mouth and still say “fluffy bunny”. The answer for both kids was four.

Jude and our neighbor stuffing marshmallows in their mouth

Jude and our neighbor stuffing marshmallows in their mouth

Marcy and Jude came up late on Saturday and we moved back to our condo. Then today Anna and I were up bright and early for her first ever ski race meet. I was the volunteer starter so I was able to see Anna at the start of both her races. She had giant slalom in the morning and slalom in the afternoon. I thought she did really well, she was certainly one of the faster kids for her age but she was disappointed not to get a medal (there were 30 girls in her age group). Still, she enjoyed the experience and is keen to keep racing.

At the medal presentation for the ski race

At the medal presentation for the ski race

Celebrating New Year’s in Des Moines

A belated birthday celebration for Jude and Anna

A belated birthday celebration for Jude and Anna

The day after Christmas, Boxing Day as I refer to it, we were up early and off on the 10-hour drive for the annual New Year’s trip to Iowa. It was a chilly day to say the least with the temperature not getting into double figures the entire way. So, there was no outside time possible on this trip. We arrived around 7:30pm Iowa time and were greeted by Baba at the bottom of the street in festive gear.

The next day the cousins all came up and as we do every year, we celebrated Jude and Anna’s birthdays. Baba had baked birthday cakes with their age and we all enjoyed singing happy birthday again.

Lily, Anna and Ella horsing around in the living room

Lily, Anna and Ella horsing around in the living room

As usual the week was full of fun activities. It was very, very cold so there was not much outside time although the kids did go sledding in the front yard a couple of times. There were lots of card games with Baba, plenty of great food, other games and a couple of outings.

The regular cousins trip to Perkins for breakfast

The regular cousins trip to Perkins for breakfast…look at those yummy pancakes

The cousins all played together well for the most part with the occasional fight of course. They did best when it was not all five together. The twins loved playing with Anna and Jude did ok one on one with Lily. One morning Lily and Jude went down to help Uncle Nathan build a ramp for their old dog Buddy.

Jude and Lily helped Uncle Nathan make a ramp for their dog Buddy

Jude and Lily helped Uncle Nathan make a ramp for their dog Buddy

We also had our regular boys night although this time it was a boys lunch. Jude, Uncle Nathan, Grandpa and I went to watch the Iowa State football team play their bowl game yesterday at a local sports bar. It was a fun game and a great time, Jude really likes his time away from all the girls.

Doing the kids countdown for New Year's at around 6pm

Doing the kids countdown for New Year’s at around 6pm as we get ready for dinner

We had the annual New Year’s celebration with party hats, shakers, balloons, streamers, confetti poppers and some great food. The confetti poppers were the biggest hit.

The celebrate New Year with some confetti poppers

The kids celebrate New Year with some confetti poppers

Happy New Year!

Confetti everywhere

Confetti everywhere

Merry Christmas 2017

First afternoon of winter break was spent decorating gingerbread houses

The first afternoon of winter break was spent decorating gingerbread houses

The kids ended the school term on Thursday at 12 noon. Marcy took them to Chipotle and then it was home where they were greeted with their first present of the season: gingerbread houses. They proceeded to spend the afternoon decorating their new houses. By 4pm I was home and it was off to see the new Star Wars movie. We all absolutely loved the movie.

At the Brown Palace Christmas tea

At the Brown Palace celebrating Christmas tea

On Friday we had a lovely Christmas dinner at the Briere’s house and then Saturday we had the long awaited Brown Palace Christmas tea. Anna decided to forego ski team to visit the Brown Palace for a special Christmas tea. We went for the first time last year and we all loved it. They do a fantastic job with special tea, sandwiches, scones and an assortment of sumptuous desserts.

A couple of inches of snow was just enough for some fun sledding

A couple of inches of snow was just enough for some fun sledding on the hill by our house

On Saturday night we went to the Mile High Church for their Christmas service. It was pretty impressive. It is a big church and they gave everyone a candle as we came in. There was lots of music and singing and at the end everyone in church (probably over 2,000 people) got to light their candle and with the lights dimmed it was an amazing spectacle. It was a lovely service and we will be going back again. On the way home it started snowing and we woke up on Christmas Eve to about 2″ of fresh snow, our first significant snow of the season. So, the kids put on their snow gear and went out for some sledding on the hill by our house.

Gathering by the tree before the opening of presents on Christmas morning

Gathering by the tree before the opening of presents on Christmas morning

Christmas Day finally arrived and the kids were super excited. Even though this was our first year the kids knew about Santa it didn’t reduce their excitement for the day. We started at sunrise with both kids ready to go downstairs and discover what presents they had.

Anna with her beautiful new red coat she got for Christmas

Anna with her beautiful new red coat she got for Christmas

We had our traditional Indian lunch as we went to our local Indian restaurant for their lunch buffet. And I made fruit salad and whipped cream for dessert, just like I used to have at Christmas when I was a kid. We went for a family walk around the park in the brisk winter air and we finished off the day with Star Wars: Rogue One since the kids had never seen it.

Jude reading his Big Nate book, taking a break from playing soccer in the basement

Jude reading his Big Nate book, taking a break from playing soccer in the basement

 

A Christmas Concert and Marcy’s Birthday

Anna about to start her first school concert playing the cello

Anna about to start her first school concert playing the cello

Every year the Waldorf School has a Christmas concert. All the kids from Grades 3-8 participate. So, this was Anna’s first and she did great. The third grade all use string instruments, Anna chose the cello at the start of the school year. They have been practicing for a while and they played three songs well.

Jude having a blast after playing in his 5th grade Christmas concert

Jude having a blast after playing clarinet in his 5th grade Christmas concert

Friday was Marcy’s birthday. We met for lunch downtown at a great new restaurant Marcy has been wanting to try. We had left over Indian food for dinner and then we went out to buy a Christmas tree.

Marcy with her birthday dessert assortment

Marcy and the kids celebrate her birthday dessert assortment

This weekend Anna had ski team again and Jude didn’t want to go so I took Anna, we drove up early Saturday morning and then stayed the night in Keystone. She had another great day on the slopes with more terrain open and then at the end of the day Anna went for a few extra runs with me. Jude stayed home with Marcy and went to a synagogue, something he has been wanting to do for a while. He and Marcy both enjoyed it and want to try again there, as well as other places of worship. Jude has been wanting to watch more movies that are not appropriate for Anna, so Marcy indulged him with Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. Jude was excited to share Pirates with Anna (after he and Marcy decided it wouldn’t be too scary), so Anna got to watch that one on Sunday.