Anna’s First Soccer Match and a Trip to the Car Show

Anna in action on the field in her first soccer game

Anna in action on the field in her first soccer game

Anna played her first organized soccer match this weekend. Watching a bunch of five year olds chasing a ball around the field was a lot of fun. They play on a small field, with small goals and no goalie in 8-minute quarters. There are a lot of goals and a lot of near misses but interestingly no one keeps score – it is all about having fun. And Anna did seem to enjoy it.

It was supposed to be Jude’s turn on Sunday for his first flag football match but the weather did not cooperate. It rained all morning and turned to snow this afternoon so all matches were canceled. So, we went to the Denver Auto Show instead. It has been a couple of years since we were there and it was interesting to see the changes in the kids.

Enjoy each other's company in the back of a pickup truck at the Denver Auto Show

Enjoying each other’s company in the back of a pickup truck at the Denver Auto Show

They had a blast. They loved getting in and out of all the cars especially the pickup trucks that they thought were very cool. They wanted to climb up in the back of every pickup truck they saw (which was a lot). They liked sitting in the drivers seats and playing with the dials and Anna liked to climb in the trunk and have me close it.

What I liked most of all was seeing the Tesla Model S. That is one sweet car and one day I hope to own one. I was also looking at three row SUVs – we decided we needed a larger car to help haul other kids around. There were plenty of good options here with my favorite probably being the Toyota Highlander.

Anna went to a birthday party with Marcy on Saturday so Jude and I had a little “Jude and Daddy date” which was nice – it has been a while. I asked Jude what he wanted to do, thinking he would want to play football, but he surprised me by saying he wanted to go to the park to play frisbee. We played for over an hour as we both ran all over the park.

Marcy took Jude out of school early one day this week because Jude really wanted to have some Jude and Mommy time. They went to the museum, just like old times, and Marcy snapped this photo.

Jude at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Jude at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

A Sporting Weekend and a Half Birthday

Anna getting ready for her first soccer practice

Anna getting ready for her first soccer practice

This was the first weekend ever in the Renton family that either Jude or Anna had an organized team sport. The spring season opened for both of them this weekend.

Anna was first on Saturday. She has chosen to play soccer so we signed her up for a league through the local rec center. One of her favorite things that Anna liked about playing is that you get to buy new clothes and, of course, shoes. She loved her new outfit along with her shin guards and cleats.

Anna doing drills at her first soccer practice

Anna doing drills at her first soccer practice

It was not all about the outfit, though. She did seem to enjoy herself. She paid attention during the drills and at the end when they played a match she thought that was fun. And afterwards she said she loved it and can’t wait until next time.

I started playing soccer when I was five years old and like she has practice one evening a week and then a game on Saturday – the first one starts this coming weekend.

Jude playing quarterback on his flag football team

Jude throwing the ball during a drill on his first day of flag football

Next up was Jude. After really getting into the NFL this past season he decided that football was going to be his game. Today, his season began in the Broncos Flag Football league. I have volunteered to be an assistant coach on Jude’s team and that proved to be a lot of fun.

Jude playing quarterback during his first flag football practice

Jude playing quarterback during his first flag football practice

They are a good group of kids with varying abilities. But the emphasis in this league is on fun and inclusion. Everyone gets to play every position and it is not super competitive. Jude was obviously enjoying it, he liked running the ball more than throwing it, and he is looking forward to practicing in the back yard this week.

Tomorrow is Anna’s half birthday – she turns five and a half. But we celebrated it today because she really wanted to have donuts and that is not as easy to do on a school day. But this morning right after breakfast we all headed to a local donut shop. There we all sang Anna happy birthday and she blew out the five and a half candles on her donut. She was very happy.

Anna celebrating her five and a half birthday.

Anna celebrating her five and a half birthday.

My Birthday in Hawaii

Celebrating my birthday with the kids two early

Celebrating my birthday with the kids two days early and some pie!

This week I celebrated my 48th birthday. Well, we actually celebrated early because Marcy and I would be in Maui on my actual birthday. I had a conference with this new entrepreneurs group I joined and this year it was in Maui starting just two days after my birthday.

When I told Marcy this she thought it would be great if she could come along as well. So, she asked her mom and sure enough Baba was up for the task. She came out a few days early and learned the ropes with the kids and then Sunday morning Marcy and I took off.

The Andaz at Wailea - beautiful pools and beaches

The Andaz at Wailea – beautiful pools and beaches

We stayed at the Andaz at Wailea and it was a spectacular resort. Lots of pools, incredible restaurants and a beach better than any we experience in Mexico.

On my actual birthday Marcy and I took a long walk to a beach down south. We were looking for something that was not quite as crowded. We found it.

On the beach with Marcy on my birthday

On the beach with Marcy on my birthday

I couldn’t go to Maui without the kids and not take my clubs. So, one morning I headed out with a friend to the famed Plantation Course at Kapalua – the site of an annual PGA Tour event every January.

Getting ready to tee off on #5 at the Plantation Course, Kapalua

Getting ready to tee off on #5 at the Plantation Course, Kapalua

We arrived home on Saturday morning after taking the red eye out of Maui on Friday night. The kids were happy to see us and we were very happy to see them. Big thanks to Baba for making this all possible.

A Trip to London and The Running of the Green

In London on the pedestrian bridge over the Thames with  London Bridge in the background

In London on the pedestrian bridge over the Thames with London Bridge in the background

There was no blog post last weekend because I was on my way to London. I spoke at the AltFi conference on peer to peer lending in London on Tuesday and spent the rest of the week scouting out locations for a conference we will be putting on there in November.

I was away for the better part of five days and I missed Marcy and kids terribly, so it was very exciting to be back with everyone on Friday evening. Saturday we had nothing planned for a change which was great so we spent the morning going for a hike not far from our house and then just hung out around the house in the afternoon.

Braving the cold and the wind for a winter hike at Bluff Lake

Braving the cold and the wind for a winter hike at Bluff Lake

Today was a gorgeous day. Not a cloud in the sky, the sun was warm and the air was crisp. It was the perfect day for a run and Marcy entered her first run since the kids were born. And she did great, the kids and I were there to cheer her on.

Marcy right after she finished the "Running of the Green" 7K run

Marcy right after she finished the “Running of the Green” 7K run

Today ended up being quite the full day. After the run, it was home for a quick bite and then off to see the Rumpelstiltskin play at the JCC. The kids enjoyed that but then home and off to the zoo on our bikes. Then on to the playground on the way home and then off to dinner with Marcy’s friend Susan and her daughter Macy who are visiting from Iowa. I think everyone will sleep well tonight.

Anna proudly shoes off her new hat she bought at the zoo

Anna proudly shoes off her new hat she bought at the zoo

Harry Potter and the Deadly Scorpion

Jude is his Harry Potter Gryffendor Quidditch robes along with his Firebolt broom

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

The Scorpion – from face painting in Keystone

Anna with her colorful butterfly and very pink lips

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

Jude being a trooper skiing down his first ever bump run

A Week at the Beach in Mexico

Anna likes it when I lift her up over the waves

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

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.

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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

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

Jude practicing his punting in the backyard

From the Colorado Mountains to the Beaches of Mexico

Marcy helping the kids look for fish

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

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

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 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.

Powder Skiing in Keystone

Anna at Keystone on a powder day

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 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 ski lift heading up the mountain on our family ski day

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.

Jude after a hard day on the slopes

Superbowl Sunday

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

Anna doing her favorite pastime – shopping for shoes at Target

More Skiing and Ice Skating

Marcy goofing off with the kids in Keystone

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

Riding the ice train at River Run, Keystone

Ice skating at the rink in River Run at 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.

Jude all bundled up skating on Keystone Lake.

Anna is always styling - even as she skate on Keystone Lake.

Anna is always styling – even as she skates on Keystone Lake.