Tuesday happened, but once again without photographic evidence. Clare and Dave took Spencer, Meg, Wolfie, and Spencer’s friend Mason to a new trampoline place nearby, for which Ellen had gotten a GroupOn. Unfortunately Rob stayed home to research new property managers, as we decided we were no longer happy with our current property manager. Meg went to stay the night at Bailey’s house, and Dave, Rob, and Spencer enjoyed watching the water boy in the evening.
On Wednesday morning we woke up and had breakfast at a normal time, except for Meg, who had stayed the night at Bailey’s house. We got packed up and Dave drove us to the airport, fully prepared with sandwiches for lunch. By the time we arrived in Michigan, it was dinner time. We picked up Shish Gardens (and McDonald’s for those who don’t like fantastic middle eastern food). Sadie and Erika joined us soon after we arrived, and we had a nice meal and exchanged a few goodies we had gotten for each other, then fell into bed.
Thursday morning we all slept in, still getting used to the new time zone a bit, and enjoyed a relaxing morning, including playing the new Monopoly card game we just got from the Feltys, which was a bit hit the whole stay. In the afternoon we met Christine, Elliot and Marcel at the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum (Plan A was Wheeler Park, but that got rained out). After the museum we went to the Arbor Brewing Company for dinner, and enjoyed having a kids table and an adult table. We topped the day off with some Kilwin’s ice cream.
On Monday we continued a fairly busy schedule. We slept in a bit in the morning. Meg went with Clare and Haewon to get their haircut. Unfortunately they ran out of time to get Meg’s hair cut, but they treated her to a nail painting instead. Then we met Phil and Betty for lunch at the Schoolhouse in Olde Town Arvada. Clare and I tried the impossible burger, which is new since we moved to Germany. We were both not that impressed (it seemed fairly dry), but we are open to the possibility that it simply was not prepared well. Afterwards we went to Scrumptious for ice cream. Their portions are so big compared to what we are now used to from Germany that we could not finish it, though it was quite tasty. They still have the pig in front of the store, and continue to repaint it frequently. We picked up some taco seasoning at our favorite spice store, Penzey’s.
After a brief time of relaxing back at the house, it was time to leave for the back to school barbecue at Van Arsdale. We all had a great time catching up with old friends and teachers (but forgot to take pictures). Spencer then had another football practice, and soon thereafter it was time for bed.
8 a.m. We woke up with a full house again – Spencer, Tao, and Meg stayed in the RV. Alisa slept with Tanner in one bedroom; Rick got the master bedroom to himself, and Dave and Ellen slept at Drew and Haewon’s house. Fortunately we had quite a few breakfast leftovers, plus some scrambled eggs.
10 a.m. The Fedibbletys headed off to church while the Adams headed to BrickFest – a lego convention in Denver. We got to say hello to many people we hadn’t seen in a long time, enjoy thoughtful words about heroes, and sing some great songs.
12:30 p.m. After church we went to brunch at the Volkers’ house – more friends from church. They had spent a year in Germany the year before we left, so we were eager to swap stories.
2:30 p.m. Bailey and Braedon were anxiously awaiting our arrival at their house. Spencer and Braedon enjoyed playing football and on the trampoline while the girls played in the pool, and then surprised the boys with water balloons.
4:00 p.m. Clare and I headed back to Dave and Ellen’s house, and the Telks were already there for a barbecue organized by Sarah and Ellen. We enjoyed ribs slow cooked by Drew, plus a number of salads and other goodies. The kids enjoyed the trampoline, the minigolf, and the hot tub, while the adults enjoyed catching up. Unfortunately we didn’t take enough photographic evidence. Shortly after the barbecue we all collapsed into bed.
Clare mentioned recently that she has been trying in vain to capture the beauty of Colorado skies. Sunday she took a couple pictures from the berm behind her parents’ house, and I think she captured some really great shots. It is indeed a very beautiful place.
Saturday morning we made another big breakfast – this time Clare and Rob made german style pancakes, which are much more like crepes. They were also popular.
After breakfast we all split up for a bit. Clare dropped Spencer off at uncle Drew’s, Meg at Sarah’s, and then did some grocery shopping. Rob cleaned up from breakfast, then headed over to visit with our neighbor Keith to get the latest gossip.
Around noon, the Adams arrived from Salida. I mentioned it while they were here, and I’ll say it again – with some friends, you can pick up right where you left off, even if it has been several years since seeing them. We mostly just hung out, drank PBR and margaritas, grilled some veggies and steak, and unlike most of our barbecues back in the day, got to eat mostly uninterrupted and without kids on our laps. After dinner there was hot tubbing, and the women and children got frozen yogurt, while the men sat by the bonfire.
Friday proved to be just as busy as every other day. Dave made a big breakfast of pancakes, plus biscuits and gravy for the 10 of us (including Louis and Angie). Then Dave and Spencer went golfing in the morning, while Clare, Rob, Meg, and Wolfie met Sarah at the Splash pool in Golden. Again, little photo evidence of these activities. It’s hard to get pictures at the pool if you are also swimming. Wolfie really loved getting splashed by the gigantic bucket.
After a quick lunch the fun continued. Meg and Clare went to see Sophia and Liz, while Spencer played with Bruno at his house.
Wednesday happened, but apparently we forgot to take any pictures, so you will have to take our word for it. In the morning we met Sarah and her girls at the Apex for swimming. Clare and I went out to lunch, and then later the kids went to Skate City. Dave made tasty quiche for dinner.
By Thursday we were all starting to get a bit more used to the rocky mountain time zone, which meant that instead of waking up at 2 am and struggling to get back to sleep, we all woke up about 6 a.m. We had an early breakfast, and decided to do a few things around Arvada before heading up to Boulder to see Greg and Mekayla. The boys went to the driving range to hit some balls, and the girls went to Target to pick up a few items of clothing for which the American version seems to fit better than the German version.
Shortly after we got back, we got a surprise visit from Louie and Angie Fender, old friends of Dave and Ellen from Indiana. We chatted with them for awhile, then headed up to Boulder to meet the Ichneumons for lunch at a Mexican restaurant (we have really missed Mexican food). Centro is definitely much more of a hipster fusion Mexican style than Tequillenos, which was a nice contrast. The employees all wore t-shirts saying “build tacos not walls”. After lunch we walked around the Pearl St. mall some, enjoying the scenery, the street performers, and the splash pad. Meg really wanted a snow cone, but the rest of us held out for Sweet Cow ice cream, which was very tasty. Afterwards we hung out and Greg and Mekayla’s house, catching up on all the happenings of the last year. We worked together to make a simple yet tasty dinner of pasta with sautéed veggies and sauce. It reminded me that I haven’t really cooked with friends in a long time. It was really great to see them.
Tuesday morning we woke up treated to a breakfast of biscuits and gravy. We learned that morning that Meg’s old scout troop was making an outing to the art museum and that Meg was invited. Ellen took Clare and me to Walmart to get some temporary SIM cards for our phones so we could communicate better during our visit, and then she dropped off Meg and Clare at the new train station in downtown Arvada which finally opened recently. They had a great time.
While they were at the art museum, we got Spencer some football gloves and a new pair of shoes in preparation for an American football practice that evening with his old flag football team. I will never get tired of watching football with the sun setting behind the mountains.
Monday morning we left our apartment in Würselen at 8:15 in the morning. We arrived in Dave and Ellen’s house in Arvada about 22 hours at 10:15 in the evening, after a long trip of taxi, fast train (200 miles per hour), walking a mile in Frankfurt airport, a one hour flight to Zürich Switzerland, more walking and a short train, a 10.5 hour flight to Denver, more walking, customs (contrary to advice previously given to Clare, they do not allow you to bring sealed meats like sausage into the USA 🙂 ), and a 45 minute drive from the Denver airport to Arvada. When we arrived, Clare and I headed straight to bed. Meg headed straight to the hot tub. Meg and Spencer are really great travelers.
Our friends the Soule-Reeves visited us recently. We had a great time showing them around Aachen and Würselen. Highlights included:
- biking to the Burg Wilhelmstein in Bardenberg
- Ice cream taste testing at Peppone and Casal in Würselen
- Another bike trip to a different castle in Stolberg
- A trip to the thermal baths in Aachen
- Eating pancakes with the scouts in a 400 year old city gate (Ponttor)
- Standing in 3 countries at once at the 3-country point and labyrinth
- Scaling the Indemann sculpture to peek into a gigantic strip mine