Friday, January 12, 2018

Happy New Year

We spent the week of Christmas and New Year relaxing and being lazy with a few ski days here and there. We hosted a NYE party with our friends from college and neighbors. We watched the UK basketball game, ate chili and counted down at ten with 12 kids in the house! It was organized chaos and a lot of fun. My friend Katrina was also in town randomly so we added some excitement to her single life! She loved on Miss M and stayed up with her until midnight painting her nails. 2017 has brought a lot of change and I anticipate more for 2018 as we continue to make a life in Colorado. I am excited to see what God has for our family. We are growing, learning and leaning on Jesus to get us through the good and bad. I still miss Japan and our community there. I think we always will, but I know we are where we are supposed to be for right now. So we will continue to make memories and form the foundation for our kids that will hopefully build a legacy of loving Jesus and loving others well. I kind of got behind on this blog this year and found it hard to catch up. You can see my scrapbook days kind of went to pop towards the end. But my hope this year is to have a renewed commitment to writing in the blog and keeping our family life updated so our kids can read this one day and learn more about our family. So here is to 2018 - may it bring joy, peace and a love that is beyond human understanding.


We went to church on Christmas Eve and did a reading for part of the lessons and carols service. We were so excited that our neighbors joined us. We enjoyed Christmas Eve appetizers with our friends from college who also live here and did a fun favorite things exchange among adults along with a kid exchange. The kids were very excited for Christmas! They set out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer and tracked him on the google tracker. They actually went to bed relatively well and we watched our annual showing of Christmas Vacation after they went to bed. Christmas morning started at 7:30 with lots of shrills of excitement. They loved seeing ALL of the presents and were quite persistent in opening straight away but we held them off a bit with breakfast and stockings. Then the fun began and wrapping was everywhere. We spent the day relaxing at home and enjoyed steak and lobster dinner with another family. It was a lot of fun and the kids overall had a great time. I also started a kindness mission this year rather than elf on the shelf. Stuffies would give us kindness missions each day in December. At first Miss M was not a fan of it because she wanted presents and the elf on the shelf but eventually she looked forward to finding her mission for the day from Gary the Gift Giving Giraffe. We also read our advent every day and the big kids are old enough now to dialogue about it which was super fun. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

December Fun

December brought with it loads of fun! We kicked off the season with a trip to Santa's Village. The kids read books with Mrs. Clause, made a craft to take home, sat with Santa, saw live reindeer, and sent their lists to the North Pole. It was a nice family afternoon/evening in the beginning of December to get in the Christmas spirit. We also did some gingerbread house building and eating lots of candy that goes along with that. We took advantage of the tickets through our Botanical Gardens membership for the Blossoms of Lights with our friends from church. Afterwards we enjoyed crepes for dinner at a local restaurant near the gardens with our friends. We wrapped up our pre-Christmas activities with a progressive light tour with our neighbors. They had a hot cocoa bar for one of our tailgating stops and we served a Christmas trail mix snack. It was so much fun. The kids voted on houses we saw and had a fabulous time. The kids did not get out of school until December 22nd which gave me plenty of time to wrap presents and prepare food for the Christmas weekend. I had fun attending their Christmas parties at school. I love being in their classrooms and getting a glimpse into their day and the people they are with.

Thanksgiving 2017

For Thanksgiving we traveled to Kentucky and Tennessee to see family and friends. We spent four nights in Lexington and four nights in Knoxville. The kids loved seeing grandparents and playing with them. Tractor rides and games with Grandma and Pawpa in Kentucky are always a favorite along with bonfires and the zoo in Knoxville with Nana and Opah. The husband and I enjoyed catching up with several friends in Lexington. I especially enjoyed running at sea level and feeling like a rock star. The food was amazing and we came back a few pounds heavier. And of course it was so nice to see family. We had a great Thanksgiving and the kids were amazing travelers. I hope they continue to love traveling and be comfortable in airports!

Miss M Turns 9!

In November, the highlight was Miss M turning 9. I cannot believe we only have nine more years until she flies the coop! We celebrated her actual birthday with chaperoning a field trip which was fun. I loved seeing her in school and with her classmates. But man was I tired! Thankfully after piercing her ears after school she opted for pizza in and watching the Wizard of Oz. For her birthday party, we had a paint party at our house. It was so much fun and I loved meeting her friends from school. They all painted owls and we did an owl theme. I think she felt loved and encouraged which is the purpose of the party. She has done so well transitioning to public school. We definitely have our moments, like anyone does, but she loves her teachers, is learning a lot and seems to really care for her peers in her classroom. She is a bit too smart for her parents and constantly keeps us on our toes. Her love right now is penguins and American Girl doll. She is also taking ski lessons and is still learning some Japanese. She loves books and to read, and she is quite sensitive and aware of people around her who may be hurting. We are so proud of the young lady she is turning into. And we look forward to seeing God grow in her in beautiful ways to be who He wants her to be and take her where He wants to take her. Sweet girl, we love you!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fall Fun- Halloween, Corn Maze at Chatfield Farm, and Sunflower Farm

I am combining a lot of posts simply because I am trying to catch up before a new year comes. Hopefully I will be more faithful in 2018 to keep up with our blog. For fall fun this year we ventured to a HUGE corn maze at Chatfield farms with the Dunlap family. We only did half of the maze and had to use the map on our phones to get out, but it was fun. The kids then enjoyed bounce fun, a train ride, and some awesome gelato to cool off since it was a very hot October Saturday. We also went to Sunflower farms, a local farm of magic, one Friday evening with our neighbors. They made a huge bonfire and we roasted marshmallows, climbed on hay bales, watched a beautiful sunset, and drank apple cider. We have grown to love our neighbors across the street and spend a lot of time with them. For Halloween the kids went trick or treating and enjoyed their first public school Halloween school party. I attended both kids parties and had fun being the room mom for K and helping more with his party. It was fun to watch the kids in their classrooms and meet some of their friends. Trick or treat was a huge success. Our neighborhood goes all out and is full of young families. I think each kid got about 5 pounds of candy. Not kidding! We donated half of our candy to soldiers serving in the military overseas. Miss M gave up most of her chocolate and the K Man gave up his gummy candy. You can see their taste bud differences. Miss M was the Mad Hatter, K was a red ninja, and J was Pooh Bear. I love fall and everything pumpkin. We had lots of pumpkin muffins for breakfast and I even bought some fall decor to make the house a bit more festive this year.

Tiny Town and Botanical Gardens with the Dunlaps

We enjoyed some more summer fun with the Dunlap family. We love the Dunlaps. They moved to Colorado a few years before us from Georgia and we have connected on many levels. Our kids love their kids and they are simply an easy family to spend time with. This summer we went to Tiny Town with them. It is this cute little play area with tiny houses and a tiny city for kids to play in. I figured this is the last year that Miss m would enjoy it, so we took advantage and went together. We also visited the Botanical Gardens in Denver with them. Our kids LOVED it. They explored, played, got wet and simply had so much fun that we got a family membership. Dunlaps, we love you! We are so thankful our paths crossed here in Colorado.