Meg, Spencer, and I went sledding today. It was a great day for sledding, with pretty good packing snow, and temperatures right around freezing. Spencer learned how to “snowboard” on a sled down the hill. He convinced me to try it as well, and I made it all the way down once, but mostly just fell. Falling as an adult hurts more than a kid, so I only did it a couple times, and stuck to sitting down mostly. Here’s a video of some of our runs
Meg and I went to the scarecrow festival today in Olde Towne Arvada. We saw giant pumpkins, did a maze, went on a hay ride, bought a pumpkin, and finished with some ice cream from Scrumptious, which Meg and I think is the best in the whole world. We also saw lots of cool scarecrows. Meg really liked the Minion scarecrows. Autumn is Meg’s favorite season.
While in Michigan last week, we spent some time giving the kids a bit of a tour of Ann Arbor, including some of our favorite places. We stopped by our old house on 1st St., which is still there, and mostly the same. There appear to be some upgrades, like central air conditioning, which we did not have while we lived there. We also visited Cafe Verde, where we had our first date, and the Kuenzel Room in the Michigan Union, where we got married. The kids whined for awhile, but we pushed through. It was fun to reminisce.
Spencer and Meg checking out our old house on First St.
This past weekend we went camping. At first it was just going to be our family and the Ichneumons. Then 2 other families joined as well. We ended up with 8 adults and 5 kids, ranging in age from one to seven. The original plan was to camp in a campground at St. Louis Creek. Mekayla and Eva went up early, but it was already full. They ended up finding a spot in the national forest near Lake Granby for dispersed camping, which turned out to be even better. There was a few tense moments, when our car got stuck on a rock right by the campground, but luckily Greg, Mike, and Nick helped me dig out the rock, and jack up the car to get it free.
The kids had a great time playing with each other, especially the first night with the glow sticks that Eva brought.
On the way home, Meg and Spencer were talking about writing about all the things we did, and I suggested that they help me write a blog post, so they are.
We saw columbines at the end of the road at the campsite we were camping at. We had a fun time partying in our tent. On the way back home, we walked up the tundra.
I had a fun time playing with the kids, and there was a beautiful view hiking there.
Good times with good friends are hard to beat.
I love getting out in nature. It allows me to clear my mind from everyday worries and concerns. We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and have great friends with whom we can enjoy it.
Yesterday we marched in the PrideFest parade as part of the contingent from Jefferson Unitarian Church, along with 5 or 6 other Unitarian Universalist congregations from the Denver/Boulder area. Each congregation wore a different color of the rainbow – we were orange. It was close to 100 degrees and very sunny, and we were near the end of the parade, meaning that we ended up waiting around for a very long time to get going, but we made it. In spite of the heat, most people were in very good spirits, and we took the opportunity to try to teach the kids to be accepting of all people no matter what color of the rainbow they represent, and as we like to say in the UU church, stand on the side of love
Meg had a great time looking at the floats and all the rainbow costumes and boys in their underwear. She was very outgoing and asked several people if she could get her picture with them. We ended up ducking out of the parade just a bit before the end. After complaining for awhile about wanting to go home, Spencer was sad we didn’t finish the parade.
Spencer had Field Day today at school. Last year it was so rainy that they moved it several times, and then ended up having it in the gym anyways. Today turned out to be a perfect day. We had quite a bit of cold and rain Saturday through Tuesday, but the sun came out today, and it was about 65 degrees. Activities included shoe-kicking, water balloon tossing, giant parachutes, plus some standards like a 400 meter dash, and some hurdles.
This year for Thanksgiving we traveled out East. The ultimate goal was Clinton, NY, but it is kind of hard to get there, so we decided to fly into Philadelphia, and take the opportunity to visit some friends from grad school – Wendy and Craig. Wendy is now living with Pete, and Craig is living with Felicia. We stayed with Craig and Felicia, but got to hang out with Wendy and Pete too, as well as their children – Isaac, Aaron, and Vera. On Saturday, we went downtown and saw the Liberty Bell, which the kids and I had not seen before. It was a bit smaller than I expected, but it was still really cool to see. I also thought that the signs at the Liberty Bell about slavery were very interesting. Other than the Liberty Bell, we mostly just let the kids play, and the adults got to catch up. We did do a movie night – Happy Gilmore, which Spencer and Meg really enjoyed. We also went to a bounce house, which is always fun. Meg really loved playing with Craig – he spent quite a bit of time pretending to be a monster and chasing all the kids around.
On the last day of the reunion, several of us went on a 2-3 mile hike right from the cabin. That was nice because we didn’t have to worry about parking or shuttles in the park. After lunch, we headed back to the gokart place for some repeat gokart rides, batting cages, and bumper boats. Then we headed over to the mini-golf place to use up my free token. We got back to the cabin around 4 to make fajitas for dinner. Spencer passed out for several hours; we tried to rouse him to eat dinner, but we were unsuccessful.
With the exception of it being difficult to get the kids to go to sleep, it was a very fun reunion. Here’s hoping we can do it again in 5 years.
Spencer by a creek in Rocky Mountatin National Park
On the fourth day of the reunion, Spencer and I joined Dave, Ellen, Jackie, Grant, Jean Ann, James and Cecilia to tour an historic ranch in Estes Park. Spencer had a great time finding all the things in the little treasure hunt they had for kids. It was also neat to see lots of old farm machinery. The main thing I kept thinking was that it would be hard to concentrate on ranching, with such beautiful views as a distraction.
After lunch I took Meg into town. We got some tomatoes and kettle corn from the farmer’s market, then Meg got a manicure and pedicure.
We finished up the day with a trip to the cheap mini-golf place. I got a hole in one on the 19th hole, so we got a free game voucher!
For the third day of the family reunion, we woke up early and started our trek toward the Alpine Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is at almost 12,000 feet. We decided to go up the one-way dirt road on Old Fall River road, which was really beautiful. Getting a change to stop at Chasm falls was worth it. We took a guided nature walk with a park ranger, who told us all about the delicate ecosystem of the tundra, including fun facts like how it can take some plants up to 5 years to produce blossoms, and that some plants are furry, to help protect them from the harsh wind. It was pretty cold up there, and the kids were ready to go after about an hour, which was okay.
After the nature walk, we headed west a bit, and found a nice place to have a little picnic, by Lake Irene. We took a short walk, then started heading back down to Estes Park. We missed out on actually seeing Beaver Lake on Monday due to whiny children, so we decided to stop their on the way back. The kids actually fell asleep just before we got there, so Clare and I took turns admiring the view.
After we got back to the cabin, we took some family photos, and enjoyed some fun activities like football, horseshoes, and making s’mores.