More Superbowls and Saturday Shopping

Valentine's Day shopping

Valentine’s Day shopping

Anna is very much into Valentine’s Day this year. She bought her best friend a friendship gift and she has been making Valentines all week it seems. They have to make two Valentines for school, one to give out to someone in the class and another to someone not in the class but who could really use some cheering up. Anna is very excited for Tuesday.

A spontaneous outfit Anna tried on before bed

A spontaneous outfit Anna tried on before bed

We had the warmest day of the year so far on Friday, it was almost 80 degrees here in Denver. It was so warm that we decided after dinner to go for a walk around the park. It was also a full moon which made for a beautiful evening outing.

Anna trying to climb a tree on our warm evening walk

Anna trying to climb a tree on our warm evening walk

Despite the fact that the Superbowl is behind us and football season is completely over, in Jude’s bedroom it lives on. He has played at least a dozen “Superbowls” with his football helmets this past week. This is an “eenie-meanie-minie-mo” game where he pits teams against each other in a modified playoff format. He will then record the Superbowl on a sheet of paper, drawing the logos of both teams and signifying who won. This game has provided literally hundreds of hours of entertainment for Jude over the past year and his interest in it shows no signs of waning.

Jude with his football helmets about to start a new "season"

Jude with his football helmets about to start a new “season”

On Saturday while Jude was playing at a friend’s house Marcy took Anna shopping. They only do this occasionally, but Anna just loves it. She loves trying on new clothes and accessories and this time Anna came home with a new outfit (not these sunglasses though).

Trying on matching sunglasses on a Saturday shopping excursion

Trying on matching sunglasses on their Saturday shopping excursion

The Annual Superbowl Party

Anna takes a selfie just before the Superbowl party starts

Anna takes a selfie just before the Superbowl party starts

The highlight of the week was our annual Superbowl Party. Jude was talking about it all week and he was so excited when the day finally came. He had some friends over from school and we had our regular crowd. I cooked chili most of Sunday and Marcy made the house look perfect as well as baking the best brownies in the world. Anna was in charge of decorations – she blew up about 20 balloon and put streamers all around the house.

While most of the party didn’t like the final outcome it was a great game and it was good to see an exciting finish. Not much else happened this week. The weather was beautiful this weekend so we spent a bit of time outside but the main focus for Marcy and I was getting everything ready for the Superbowl party.

Anna showing her fashion style

Anna showing her fashion style

Enjoying our New-Old Neighborhood

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Anna out selling her fresh baked bread rolls to our neighbors

While we have been living in our new house almost two months now the weather has been pretty cold so we have not had a weekend where we could spend much time outside. But this weekend was different – sunny and in the 50s we made the most of it. Marcy and I both acknowledged how good it feels to be back in the Washington Park neighborhood, where we began our relationship and then our family many years ago.

Anna woke up Saturday morning with a burning desire to bake some bread and offer it for sale to our neighbors. Marcy eventually convinced her to follow a recipe rather than throwing some ingredients in a bowl as was Anna’s first impulse. By 9am the house was smelling of freshly baked bread and Anna was off around the neighborhood selling her wares. It was 25 cents a roll and by the time she was done she had made about $4, a haul she was excited about.

On a sunset bike ride around Wash Park

On a sunset bike ride around Wash Park

Both kids were invited to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon which meant Marcy and I were able to workout and then have a lunch date which was nice. Later that day Marcy took Anna for a bike ride, the first of the year. They enjoyed the beautiful sunset over the lake in our local park.

Jude and I had front row seats to the DU hockey game

Jude and I had front row seats to the DU hockey game

Our neighbors had free tickets to the DU Pioneers hockey game that they couldn’t use and asked us Saturday morning if we wanted them. Jude had never been to a DU game (I had take Anna a couple of years ago) so he jumped at the chance. They were fantastic seats, in the front row not far from center ice. Jude got to experience the rough and tumble nature of a hockey game up close. He had a blast, not least because DU won the game easily 5-0. Best of all, we are within walking distance of the arena – a 15 minute walk door to door.

A beautiful January day in Wash Park

In shorts on a beautiful January day in Wash Park although you can tell it has been cold…

Today we sent to church for the first time in about a year. The kids were not keen on the idea and didn’t even want to do any of the kids activities. But Marcy and I enjoyed the service. Then afterwards we went for a family bike ride – the first one in many months. It was almost 60 degrees and it was warm in the sun. Jude and I kicked around a soccer ball while Anna tested out the ice in the creek. They also had fun throwing rocks on to the frozen lake.

Anna, a young lady of contrasts - in her boots as well as a pretty dress and sweater

Anna, a young lady of contrasts – in her boots as well as a pretty dress and sweater

The Women’s March and Football

Anna built a snowman in the backyard this week

Anna built a snowman in the backyard this week

We had another snowstorm this week and Anna decided it was time to build a snowman. She spend the afternoon and evening building not one but two snowmen in the backyard. She was very proud of her creations.

Marcy and Anna at the women's march in downtown Denver

Marcy and Anna at the women’s march in downtown Denver

This weekend Marcy and Anna went to the Women’s March in downtown Denver. It was a good civics lesson for Anna and an eye opening experience. Marcy had to explain what many of the signs and chants meant and some were certainly not G-rated. But it was a real positive experience for both of them and I was proud they went.

Jude had been gearing up all week for the big NFC Championship game today between the Packers and the Falcons. He put on his Packers jersey this morning and was counting down the minutes as soon as breakfast was over. I took him down to the park to run around to get some of the nervous energy out of his system.

A cold morning at the park was perfect for burning off some nervous energy playing football

A cold morning at the park was perfect for burning off some nervous energy playing football

Just before the big game started Jude had a surprise visit from Baba and Grandpa. They are on their way through to Mexico for their annual winter trip. Baba took the photo below as Jude opened the door to see who was ringing the doorbell.

Jude opening the doorbell to find Baba and Grandpa there

Jude opening the doorbell to find Baba and Grandpa there

It was not the Packers day today and Jude was bitterly disappointed. But I was impressed that by the time he went to bed he was in good spirits and had accepted the fact the Packers would not be playing in the Superbowl.

Anna taking a break from watching football showing off her new pants

Anna taking a break from watching football showing off her new pants she just made

Earlier today Anna went to her second sewing class. She went last week and loved it so today she was really excited to go and make her own pajama pants that she is modeling in the headstand photo above. She loves being creative and sewing is a newfound passion.

Star Wars, Football and the Stock Show

My name is Renton, Anna Renton

My name is Renton, Anna Renton

I spent much of the last week in China on business. The kids went back to school after the break, although that was delayed a day due to a significant snow storm in Denver. During this time Anna bought this nerf gun from Target out of her own money and Jude followed with a nerf crossbow. They have enjoyed having epic battles in the house over the last week or so.

Jude with his drawing of Yoda

Jude with his drawing of Yoda

The Art Museum have had this Star Wars exhibit of costumes worn in the movies, we went there before Christmas and the kids loved it. They went again on the recent snow day and Jude and Anna spent quite a bit of time there in their workshop room. Anna made some of her own costumes and Jude drew this fantastic picture of Yoda.

On a horse at the stock show

On a horse at the stock show

Today, we went to the Denver Stock Show. We haven’t been for a couple of years and the kids have certainly grown up since the times we used to go. All the little kid things like the train, petting zoo and pony rides were no longer interesting. Although they did want to sit on this horse briefly. We watched an animal show, checked out all the western shops and then Anna bought a fur coat. Yes, we went to a fur store where Anna saw this beautiful black coat for $100 and desperately wanted it. After a text with Marcy we decided that Anna could pay for half and we would pay half. She was thrilled.

Anna showing off her new fur coat

Anna showing off her new fur coat

Finally, I couldn’t do this post without talking about football. It is such a big part of Jude’s life with the playoffs happening right now and Green Bay in the thick of it. Jude has been nervous all weekend about the big game with Dallas today. One of the reasons we went to the stock show was to get him out of the house and his mind off football. It was an epic game and Jude was beside himself by the end of it. The Packers move on to the NFC Championship next weekend.

Yeeesssss! Packers win!!!

Yeeesssss! Packers win!!!

The Holiday Week in Des Moines

Celebrating their belated birthdays in Des Moines

Celebrating their belated birthdays in Des Moines

The day after Christmas we packed up the car and headed to Des Moines for our annual holiday trip with the Iowa family. As she does every year Baba baked birthday cakes for the kids shaped into their age: 8 for Anna, 10 for Jude. Although with Jude there was a little hiccup where Baba baked an 11 – it was easily fixed into an “X” the Roman numeral for 10. Jude didn’t mind, he still got to celebrate his birthday one more time.

All the cousins go bowling

All the cousins go bowling

As always there was a lot of fun activities planned for the kids during our stay. They played some card games, went to a museum to do butter sculptures, Jude played Glow Golf on an all boys night (with me, Nathan and Grandpa) and of course we watched some football. It was a bit too cold to play outside much but Jude and I get did a few minutes outside throwing the football most days. We had a big cousins outing to the local bowling alley. This was the parents treat for the kids instead of getting gifts this year – everyone seemed to have a good time.

Grandpa and Jude watching some football on New Year's Eve

Grandpa and Jude watching some football on New Year’s Eve

All the kids were excited for New Year’s Eve. We had some kiddie champagne, a countdown, party hats and even a small balloon drop. We did all this around 7:45pm so everyone could get to bed.

Anna and Lily enjoying a New Year's celebration

Lily and Anna enjoying some kids champagne on New Year’s Eve

Our week was over all too soon. This morning we said our goodbyes and we drove back to Denver. I am heading to China on Tuesday and the kids have another few days off school.

On New Year's morning celebrating once again

On New Year’s morning celebrating once again

Christmas Week Finally Arrives

High Tea at the Brown Palace

High Tea at the Brown Palace

Christmas break began on Wednesday afternoon with the kids really excited about their break and, of course, about Christmas. We got into the spirit of things by going to “High Tea” at the Brown Palace Hotel downtown. This is a big deal here with the hotel booked out for months in advance. Marcy booked a table for us last Christmas and it was great. Lots of nice sandwiches, scones and desserts. We are booked in again for next year.

Taking a break during a great Christmas Eve ski day in Keystone

Taking a break during a great Christmas Eve ski day in Keystone

On Christmas Eve we decided to head up to the mountains for a day of skiing. The mountains have had a good amount of snow these past few days and so we thought Keystone would be very popular on Christmas Eve. But we ended up having no traffic and no lift lines despite 40 degrees weather and good snow. The day ended a little prematurely with Anna hurting her knee on a bump run and we had to call the ski patrol to get her down the mountain. But she was fine when she got down.

Anna walking down the stairs on Christmas morning

Anna walking down the stairs on Christmas morning

The long awaited day finally arrived. Anna was up super early, just after 5am, although we told her she couldn’t actually get up until 6am. They both love Christmas but Anna seemed a little more excited than Jude this year. Santa was very generous with many presents for both kids. Anna received her “dolls diner” that she has been eyeing at Target all year as well as an Easy Bake Oven. Jude enjoyed a good pile of presents including Arsenal gear, some Star Wars gear and a Packers book.

Jude with his pile of presents

Jude with his pile of presents

We had our traditional Christmas lunch of Indian food but we spent most of the day at home with the kids very content to play with their toys. Tomorrow it is off to Iowa to visit Marcy’s family.

A Busy Week and the First Big Snowstorm of the Season

Anna leads her class in the Santa Lucia celebration

Anna leads her class in the Santa Lucia celebration

It was a busy week both at school and on the home front. On Tuesday, it was Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy) Day and the school has a celebration every year. The second grade go into every room in the school and sing a song as well as hand out bread. Anna was honored to be chosen as Santa Lucia and wore the elaborate candle headdress that is tradition in the celebration of this ancient Christian commemoration.

Jude playing viola at the school concert

Jude playing viola at the school concert

That night was the school concert and Jude played some Christmas songs with his class. He did really went and seemed to enjoy the three songs they did in front of the entire school as well as parents.

Marcy's birthday at Acorn

Marcy’s birthday at Acorn

Thursday was Marcy’s birthday. We went to see a Star Wars costume exhibit at the Art Museum and then went out for dinner. We tried a new restaurant called Acorn that has been getting great reviews. The food was spectacular and Marcy left very satisfied.

Anna decorating our Christmas tree

Anna decorating our Christmas tree

Friday night we went and bought a Christmas tree. We always like to wait until after Marcy’s birthday to begin our Christmas decorating. So the night after her birthday we went and bought our tree. Then on Saturday morning Anna and Marcy put up all the decorations on the tree.

Anna sledding on the hill right by our new house

Anna sledding on the hill right by our new house

A storm moved in on Friday night and it was bitterly cold. We woke up to -5 degrees (that’s fahrenheit) and 6″ of new snow. So, the kids decided it was time to get out their sleds and try the new hill right by our house. It was too cold to stay out long but both Jude and Anna enjoyed going down a few times. We had the annual Christmas Party at the Briere house on Saturday night where there were a lot of kids. It was a late night but everyone enjoyed it.

Marcy at her new job as a personal trainer

Marcy at her new job as a personal trainer

I have not mentioned this on the blog yet but Marcy has a new job as a personal trainer. She has been working out at this gym for much of this year and she liked it so much she decided to work there. She is also my personal trainer and we go in every weekend for a workout. It is a unique workout called Super Slow and it a very intense but relatively short workout. She is working there two days a week while the kids are in school and so far she loves it.

The First Week in our New House

Jude receives a cheesehead from Uncle Nathan

Jude receives a cheesehead from Uncle Nathan

We are settling in to our new house. Marcy has been a machine, spending 10 hour days unpacking and getting everything organized. So, here we sit just a week after we have moved in with the kitchen and living room all but settled. We still have to get blinds for all the windows and several other pieces like that but it is starting to feel like a home already.

We had a surprise visit this week from Uncle Nathan who was in Colorado on business. Well, it was a surprise for the kids, we had known about it for some time. Unfortunately, I was in New York so I missed hm but the kids were delighted to see their Iowa uncle. And he came bearing late birthday gifts. Jude received the Cheesehead as you can see here (he wore it today while watching the Packers game and he believes that is why they won) and Anna received a “club box” which is basically a craft box for the little club that Anna has set up with her cousins Ella and Chloe.

Anna in our new kitchen

Anna in our new kitchen

This weekend we didn’t have much on which was nice. So, Saturday we ran some errands and then Jude had a friend over to play. We watched a movie in the afternoon, A Christmas Carol, and then went over to a friend’s house for dinner.

Jude lit up by Christmas lights outside a friend's house

Jude lit up by Christmas lights outside a friend’s house

Sunday both Jude and Anna had friends over to play. Jude and his friend watched a lot of the football with me while Anna and her friend played outside and had a little tea party. It was a nice relaxing weekend after a very hectic last few weeks for all of us.

Jude and our old neighbor playing in our basement

Jude and our old neighbor playing in our basement

We Move Into a New House….Again

Anna and Jude roasting marshmallows on our last night in our old house

Anna and Jude roasting marshmallows on our last night in our old house

Our friends think we are funny. Since Marcy and I got married in 2004 we have lived in a total of seven houses. Now, one of those was in Australia where we went for six months in 2012 and then we rented for a year after we got back. Still, that is a lot of houses. And now we have moved again – back to the Wash Park neighborhood where we lived from 2004-08.

In some ways we will miss our old house. We did some great renovations to it in 2014 and we loved a lot about it. But it was too far from school and the tiny garage was an issue. Our new house has a big yard, a two car garage and most importantly, is just a few minutes from the kids school. At least with Denver’s hot real estate market we got all our money back we put into our old house and more.

Jude discovered a little window nook in the basement of our new house

Jude discovered a little window nook in the basement of our new house

It has been a busy week. We closed on our old house on Monday, our new house on Tuesday. I was in New York on Wednesday and Thursday and then we moved on Friday and Saturday. Needless to say Marcy has done 99% of the work with the move and she pulled everything together really well. She was a workhorse and by Sunday night most of our main floor was packed away.

Anna showing off her star shaped candle that she made at the school Holiday Fair

Anna showing off her star shaped candle that she made at the school Holiday Fair

Saturday was the annual Denver Waldorf School Holiday Fair. This a highlight of the calendar for the kids and we arrived at 8:30am even before the fair opened. I volunteered in candle making as well as the balance challenge but the kids, particularly Jude, wanted to be off with their friends a lot of the day. Anna still did all the crafts but Jude played “an epic game of tag” that lasted for several hours. He and his two friends at least stopped to get a caricature of themselves done at one point.

Jude and his two best school friends with their caricature

Jude and his two best school friends with their caricature

Sunday was spent unpacking and watching football of course. We walked up to our new local sports bar to watch the Broncos as well as the Packers game. We have a couple of neighbor boys who are Jude’s age and they played together in our basement for a while today. We have met some of the neighbors and they seem nice – and there are quite a few kids on our block which is great.