Just the Three of Us

Playing Jude's new table baseball game

Playing Jude’s new table baseball game

For the first time in at least five years Marcy went away for the weekend. She attended a health and fitness conference in Austin. So, Thursday night she left and spent a long weekend away. So, it was just the three of us this weekend.

To top this all off Anna was sick on Thursday and had to come home from school. There was strep throat going around her class and sure enough she awoke on Friday morning feeling lousy with a really sore throat. She obviously didn’t go to school, so I took her to the doctor and sure enough she had strep. So, we had a pretty low key day Friday which was good considering the weather – it was a cold and snowy day.

Enjoying chocolate sorbet at Glacier

Enjoying chocolate sorbet at Glacier

Saturday Anna was feeling much better so after a quiet morning playing Jude’s new table baseball game we all ventured off on a bike ride. First to Chipotle for lunch and then to their favorite ice cream place, Glacier. It was quite the ride, probably 6-8 miles in all and Anna was pooped afterwards.

Marcy had recently bought a foosball table that was on sale and it arrived this weekend. So, Anna and I spent several hours putting it all together and it was ready to go on Sunday morning. We played several games on that today. We walked down to lunch at the Gaylord block and then we bought a baseball glove for Anna. We bought Jude one a couple of weeks ago so Anna really wanted one to. We then went to the park to play catch.

Our final fun part of the weekend was a visit to the local putt-putt golf place – we took one of the neighbor kids who was playing with Anna and Jude today. Overall, we had a nice weekend although the kids missed Marcy a lot.

Mother’s Day and Two School Field Trips

Jude and one of his school friends at Bent's Fort

Jude and one of his school friends at Bent’s Fort

This was an unusual week. Jude had a two night field trip with his class to Bent’s Fort, on the Santa Fe Trail, the oldest fort in Colorado dating back to 1833. Jude’s class has been studying Colorado history and they have read about this fort. So, the class took a field trip down to La Junta in southeast Colorado which is the closest town to this fort. Marcy accompanied Jude along with several other parents. They all slept at the Koshare Indian Museum in La Junta, and with 24 kids and 10 adults in one large space, both Marcy and Jude arrived home a little worn out. Thankfully we had a quiet weekend to recover.

Anna on the class field trip to White Ranch in Golden

Anna on the class field trip to White Ranch Park in Golden

So, I was at home with Anna, it was just the two of us. Coincidentally, Anna had a field trip on Thursday of this week and I accompanied her class – the first time I had been on a field trip with her class. The class went on a hike to White Ranch Park which is near Golden. We did a solid 4-mile hike and then had lunch back at the trailhead. Anna did great, she even ran some of the hike both up and down.

Playing tennis on Mother's Day

Playing tennis on Mother’s Day

Today was Mother’s Day and it was a gorgeous weather. We did a ton of yard work – weeding, mowing, pulling dandelions and just spending time outside. I bought Jude a baseball mitt this weekend so we spent a lot of time throwing the baseball as well. Then this afternoon we went on a bike ride around the park and we played another family tennis match at the local courts. It ended with a lovely sushi dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.

MayFest and The Last Soccer Weekend

Jude walking around the Maypole at the school MayFest celebration

Jude walking around the Maypole at the school MayFest celebration

Friday was a big afternoon at school. It started at 2pm with the school assembly where the kids all performed for the parents. There was a variety of performances, from reciting poetry to singing and dancing. Then there was MayFest from 3pm – 6pm with lots of fun activities for the kids including walking around the Maypole.

Anna made herself a floral headband at MayFest

Anna made herself a floral headband at MayFest

I missed both the afternoon festivities because I was flying back from London but I did get to the main event which was the high school concert. This started at 6pm and involved the 3rd through 5th graders as well as the high school performing with their string instruments. Jude’s class got to participate in Ode to Joy with the high schoolers and they did a great job.

I bought Jude a genuine Arsenal jersey in England

I brought a genuine Arsenal jersey back from England for Jude

This weekend was mostly about soccer. Jude had two matches on Saturday and one on Sunday. They won all three quite easily – the team has really come together well and they are now in first place in their division. This marked the last weekend of their games and they will find out the final standings after next weekend. Anna had one game on Saturday morning and she still has a couple of weeks to go.

I bought Jude an Arsenal jersey on this trip – he wanted Mesud Ozil, No. 11 for Arsenal and I had to go to the stadium in North London to get it. Anna wanted a book on the Queen which I got from a local bookstore.

A Spring Storm and Ninja Warriors

Anna in her hyena outfit for her school play

Anna in her hyena outfit for her school play

On Friday afternoon I left work early to head to school for Anna’s second grade play. It was called, “Who’s in Rabbit’s House?” and the kids were all excited about performing it for the parents. They had already done several performances for other grades in the school and this was their finale. Anna did really well and enjoyed acting as a hyena on the prowl.

Anna showing her snowboarding skills on the sledding hill by our house

Anna showing her snowboarding skills on the sledding hill by our house

They had been talking about this Saturday snow storm all week here in Denver. On Friday night we had a parents night with the fourth grade. It had started snowing by the time we left the party and it continued to come down all night and throughout the day on Saturday. Soccer was obviously canceled so we spent most of the day at home.

As happens most of the time after a snowstorm here we awoke on Sunday to beautiful clear skies. Many of the neighborhood kids had gathered at the sledding hill by our house and had sleds and snowboards out. Anna put her ski pants on over her nice dress and joined them for about an hour. Jude decided to stay home to watch the Arsenal game on TV, and save his energy for the main event of the day: ninjas.

Jude and David enjoying themselves on the obstacle course

Jude and David enjoying themselves on the obstacle course

Sunday afternoon was spent at DU in their main area. The Wolfpack Ninja Warriors were in town and they had lessons, demonstrations and a competition. Basically, it is an obstacle course with all kinds of challenging exercises. Marcy signed up Jude and Anna for the kids program and some of their classmates joined in as well. We all walked over from our house to the arena. They all had a great time doing the obstacles. Jude was particularly obsessed with this one climbing wall where you had to run and jump to try and get to the top. He spent literally an hour non stop on this exercise.

Jude focused on making it up the wall

Jude focused on making it up the wall

Anna had two friends from school there who actually watched the TV show and who knew many of the pro athletes. They recognized many people and all the stars were gracious enough to pose for photos with the girls. Anna also saw the person she met when she went to a demonstration about a year ago.

Anna showing her strength and skill on the climbing log

Anna showing her strength and skill on the climbing log

Baking Class and the Cotillion Finale

Anna and Riley go to their first baking class

Anna and Riley go to their first baking class

The kids went back to school on Wednesday with just over five weeks left until summer break. Both kids were happy to be returning to school.

We had a pretty busy weekend. Saturday morning we had a meeting with the 4th grade parents at school. Then Jude had a soccer game about an hour’s drive north in Longmont. Anna was supposed to have a soccer game in Denver but it was canceled after we had a bit of rain Friday night. Then we went to Marcy’s gym to workout and then it was out to dinner at a local burger place.

On the roof of Marcy's work with beautiful views of the mountains

On the roof of Marcy’s work with beautiful views of the mountains

Sunday morning Anna had a baking class with one of her friends from school. Marcy and Anna rode their bikes to the class while Jude and I stayed home to watch the FA Cup semi final with Arsenal and Manchester City (Arsenal won 2-1). Anna made some cupcakes and a delicious apple strudel. And she tried her hand at chocolate cake when she arrived home.

Sunday afternoon Jude had his final cotillion class for the year. This was a special event downtown at the Brown Palace Hotel. All the family was invited except for younger siblings which was disappointing for Anna although she ended up having a makeup soccer game so it worked out ok.

At the Brown Palace Hotel about to start the final cotillion class

At the Brown Palace Hotel about to start the final cotillion class

Jude has not loved cotillion but he has been a good sport about it for the most part. The final cotillion class was a dance. The kids all danced together for a while showing off the moves they have learned during the class. Then the parents were invited to join in and Jude danced with Marcy for a while. Jude did not really love the dancing part, even with Marcy, but he did everything just the same, and by the last dance they were laughing and having fun.

Jude and Marcy on the Cotillion dance floor

Jude and Marcy on the Cotillion dance floor

Spring Break and Easter 2017

Hiking at Mt. Falcon during Spring Break

Hiking at Mt. Falcon during Spring Break

The kids were off school this week on Spring Break. Marcy planned very little for the week, as we were all looking forward to slowing down for a while. There was a hike up Mt. Falcon, and a couple sleepovers, Anna went to a birthday party and of course, there was the usual week time activity of soccer practice (twice a week for both kids) and gymnastics and sewing classes for Anna. I was home on Tuesday so I hung out with them a bit and took them to lunch while Marcy went to work.

The annual ritual of dyeing Easter Eggs

The annual ritual of dyeing Easter Eggs…with Jude being goofy

Then, of course, there was Easter. Both kids were as excited as ever for Easter. Anna made some presents for all of us and on Saturday they got out all the dye and spent the morning decorating Easter eggs.

On an Anna and Daddy date at Red Rocks

On an Anna and Daddy date at Red Rocks

Saturday afternoon I took Anna on one of our “Anna and Daddy” dates. It had been a long time and Anna decided that she wanted to go hike at Red Rocks and then go to Casa Bonita for dinner. This was the same thing we did a couple of years ago when Anna first went to Casa Bonita – this is the restaurant where they have the cliff divers. We got there early (around 5pm) to avoid the long lines and Anna had a blast as always.

Jude focused on filling his basket in our backyard Easter Eggs hunt

Jude focused on filling his basket in our backyard Easter Eggs hunt

Easter morning arrived and the kids were quite excited. They had a full Easter basket by the fireplace with all kinds of goodies Marcy had picked up. After a wholesome breakfast it was time for the Easter Egg hunt in the backyard. There were dozens of eggs in the backyard, enough for several baskets full. Both kids were focused on filling their baskets as quickly as they could.

All the Easter Eggs lay open on the dining room table

All the Easter Eggs lay open on the dining room table – chocolate and cash abounds

The rest of Easter Sunday was spent playing in the park and working in the yard. While Jude and I played Frisbee with the neighbors Marcy and Anna went to the store to get some plants. We didn’t really like what the builder had done and many of our shrubs were dead and dying. So we ripped them up and planted some new ones.

Soccer, Golf and The Annual Car Show

Jude on the attack

Jude on the attack

Today marked the official beginning of the Spring soccer season with both kids having multiple games this weekend. Jude had a game each on Saturday and Sunday while Anna had two games yesterday. Jude’s drew one game and lost the other while Anna’s team lost one and won the other. But more importantly they both had a blast. Anna particularly is enjoying soccer much more this year. She is on a new team with some of the girls in her class and loves it.

Anna playing her first game of the season

Anna playing her first game of the season

Jude and Anna have been playing soccer in the backyard quite a bit the last couple of weeks. Jude has even been giving Anna some instructions which she really appreciates. It makes a nice change from the bickering that has become a big part of their interactions lately.

On the big blue bear's paw outside the convention center

On the big blue bear’s paw outside the convention center

This morning we went to the annual Denver Car Show. This has become an annual tradition where I take the kids to see all the cars. Jude loves the sports cars while Anna likes to sit in pretty much any new car. We were only able to stay for a an hour and a half because we had to get Jude to his soccer game.

Sitting in the back of a new Ford F-150 pickup

Sitting in the back of a new Ford F-150 pickup

This afternoon I watched my favorite TV show of the year – the Masters golf tournament. I had to watch the recording because of Jude’s soccer match but it was a fantastic day. I even got Jude all excited about it, he watched many hours of golf with me this weekend. We were all rooting for Sergio and Jude got so nervous at the end that he kept pacing around the room. Even Marcy and Anna watched the final holes and we all cheered when Sergio got it done.

A Trip to Garden of the Gods

At Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

At Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

We have never been as a family to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. In fact, in 25 years in Colorado I had never been at all. Jude and Marcy went on a field trip earlier in the school year so today it was a crisp Spring day and so we decided to do an afternoon road trip. It is only an hour’s drive from our place.

Jude and Anna love to climb on the rocks

Jude and Anna love to climb on the rocks

It really is a spectacular place, many of the rock formations are stunning. The only drawback is there is very limited places for climbing. You need ropes and a permit if you want to climb most of the rocks. We did find one area where the kids could climb a bit which was moderately satisfying for them. But they really wanted to just try to climb up the steep rock faces.

Jude really wanted to climb this rock

Jude really wanted to climb this rock

We spent a couple of hours just wandering around one of the main areas of the park on a paved path and then it was back home in time for dinner.

Anna liked jumping off the rocks

Anna liked jumping off the rocks

Not much else happened this weekend. Anna had a birthday party on Saturday and we went to see the senior project presentations at the school on Saturday night. And then Jude received one of his favorite books in an Amazon delivery today. He had been looking forward to it immensely. It is a Big Nate graphic novel and I have never seen Jude laugh so much while reading a book, so Marcy had to snap this photo.

Jude laughs out loud hysterically at this graphic novel

Jude laughs out loud hysterically at this graphic novel

A Birthday and a New Couch

We gathered at Ocean Prime on Friday for my birthday

We gathered at Ocean Prime on Friday for my birthday

Another birthday has come and gone for me – there are too many to count now… Anyway, we celebrated with a lovely dinner downtown at Ocean Prime. The food is truly exceptional and this year we were downstairs where there was a band playing. Anna took an immediate liking to this and popped herself on one of the stools to chat with the band.

Anna is with the band...

Anna is with the band…

The band took requests and Anna requested Piano Man on our behalf. I couldn’t resist to have a dance with my girl.

Dancing with my special girl on my birthday

Dancing with my special girl on my birthday

The green couch has been a constant in our family since before Jude was born. We have all spent literally hundreds of hours on this couch over the past decade or more. But it is old, stained and doesn’t really suit our new house. We tried to move it to the basement but we couldn’t get it down the stairs. So, it is now an outdoor couch, undercover of course.

Anna still loves the green couch even when it is outside

Anna still loves the green couch even when it is outside

We ordered the new couch right after we moved in and we finally got it delivered this past week.

The kids eating ice cream on the new couch. No stains yet.

The kids eating ice cream on the new couch. No stains yet.

Today was something of a milestone in our family. After talking about this on and off for months we finally told Jude and Anna about Santa Claus. We took them out to lunch separately and delivered the news to them. They both took it well, having had their suspicions for some time. So, this marks an end of an era. We said the spirit of Santa Claus is very much real and that they could now become Santas themselves for other people.

Soccer, Skiing and Sickness

Jude holding the winners trophy in the season opener

Jude holding the winners trophy in the season opener

It has been a busy three weeks. I had our 5th annual LendIt USA conference in New York on March 6-7. It was a huge undertaking, the hardest I have ever worked, but we pulled it off and it was a successful event. I was in NYC for eight days and then 24 hours after I got home Marcy and I went on a trip to Steamboat with just the two of us.

Being away so much means I miss some special moments. One such moment was Jude’s opening soccer weekend. They opened the season with a mini-tournament and his team did really well and won the tournament. It was apparently a thrilling finish, they won the final 5-4.

A picture perfect ski day in Steamboat

A picture perfect ski day in Steamboat – just the two of us

Since Marcy and I met we have only ever skied at Keystone, but for one Beaver Creek/Vail weekend before kids. Obviously, having a place in Keystone makes it easier, but this year we wanted to go further afield. So, Marcy’s parents stopped in at our place on the way back from Mexico to stay for a few days and we headed to Steamboat. We skied on Saturday on a picture perfect day – warm and not a cloud in the sky. There hadn’t been fresh snow for a while but it was warm enough to make the snow nice and soft. We had an absolutely fantastic ski day doing trees, bumps and cruisers. Sunday we took it easy, walked around town and had a long lunch at a Mexican place. This involved multiple margaritas and a tequila flight. We ended the day enjoying the hot springs just outside town. It was a wonderful weekend.

Anna enjoying the fountains at Beaver Creek

Anna enjoying the fountains at Beaver Creek

We have had a great winter when it comes to sickness. Both kids had hardly missed a day of school all year and then it hit us. First Anna, who started to get sick as we were leaving for Steamboat and didn’t return to school until Wednesday. Then, Jude got it right after and was off school all last week. School was off for a day and half starting Thursday lunch time so long ago we planned a ski trip to Beaver Creek. I cashed in the remainder of my Hyatt points and we booked three nights at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (to pay for this room would have been $1,100/night).

Anna enjoying the snow at Beaver Creek

Anna enjoying the snow at Beaver Creek

It is a beautiful hotel set right at the base of the mountain. You literally walk out the door and you are on the slopes. We woke up on Friday and Jude was still feeling lousy. So, I stayed with him and Marcy spent the day on the slopes with Anna. Yesterday, it was my turn. I took both kids out in the morning but Anna decided to take a break after just one run (it was pretty icy early). So, Jude and I spent the morning together. At lunch time, he was tired and Anna was ready to go so I had the afternoon with her.

Jude feeling good enough to ski on Saturday

Jude feeling good enough to ski on Saturday

Every afternoon we would all go the hot tubs. They have five hot tubs as well as a heated pool. It was very therapeutic after a day on the slopes. This morning we packed the car and headed back. I am heading to New York again for work and Jude had to get back for his cotillion classes. It was great to go somewhere other than Keystone and the Park Hyatt is such a beautiful hotel. No more trips planned now until after the school year ends.

A cookie and a Sprite is perfect apres ski combo

A cookie and a Sprite is a perfect apres ski combo