Saturday, December 2, 2017
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.
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.
Another highlight of the summer, for me especially, was my girls weekend in June to San Fran/Napa Valley for my belated 40th birthday present. I went with two good girlfriends and it was a fabulous weekend. We walked miles and miles in San Francisco, taking in the scenery and eating some fabulous food. We enjoyed a Giants game ten rows behind home plate thanks to a neighbor giving us his season tickets. We visited Alcatraz, explored the fabulous farmers market, and ate some fabulous bread. We walked and walked and it was everything I thought it would be. I loved being back in a big city and experiencing the smells, tastes, sights and sounds. After two nights in the city we rented a car and drove to Napa for some wine tours. We visited Artesa, Peju and Conn Creek wineries. It was so much fun. I truly could not have asked for a better 40th birthday present/party. I am not a person who wants a big party so my husband knows me well...a weekend away in a big city was the perfect gift. And he did fabulous with the kids, but he is their father so I do not expect anything less. We had a sitter for him so he could work during the day and she prepared dinners for him. The kids had a fun filled weekend hanging out with daddy and I got a much needed break.
The highlight of our summer, and maybe even our year, was a visit with our Dutch friends who we met in Tokyo. They came on a 3 week vacation to America and spent four nights and five days with us. It was so encouraging to have them here. We took them to Rocky Mountain National Park and beat out a summer storm on our hike. We took them to Boulder and to Costco since they missed that from Tokyo (they are now back in the Netherlands). We took them to a Denver Rockies baseball game, and again beat out a summer storm. We went swimming in our neighborhood pool and took long walks on the trails nearby. But the best part of all was our sweet fellowship. We had not seen them in nearly 6 years and we literally picked up like no time had passed. I love those kinds of friends, who are family in the Lord. Our connection is much more than a friendship, but a deep spiritual union with our Savior. We dream of being with them again one day, maybe in Japan serving together. They are definitely a family we love and could do life with again together.
In July we had a lot of fun. The kids did some horse back riding camps with their friends from church for three days each. Both of them got very dirty, wore cowboy and cowgirl boots, and became comfortable with horses. They both seemed to really enjoy it and will most likely do it again next summer. We also went on a in state family vacation. We spent two nights in Colorado Springs at a fabulous hotel called The Broadmoor. K loved how everyone who worked there was "so nice, they even get our car for us." He did not understand that we tip those nice folks! It was in a beautiful setting and we enjoyed a fancy dinner with the kids. We also swam in the infinity pool, went on paddleboat rides, and visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo which is a beautiful zoo in the mountains with lots of natural habitats for the animals. From Colorado Springs we drove to Glenwood Springs and met Kans' American brother who lives in Utah for a few days. We had not visited with them in several years since moving to Tokyo and it was so nice to catch up with them in person and have some quality time together. We visited the hot springs in Glenwood Springs, which they are famous for, played games, grilled out, and enjoyed the fresh mountain air. It was a nice family vacation. Colorado has so much to offer and we have only seen a glimpse of the beauty here.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Scrapbook day for June fell on a Saturday of Fathers Day weekend. My roommate from college came to visit for the day and it was so fun connecting with her family. It felt like no time had passed at all and I am always encouraged to love the Lord more deeply after being with her and her husband. Their commitment to the Lord, to each other, and to their work is inspiring and it is a lot of fun to be in fellowship with them. We capped the evening with a birthday dinner for our friends in Colorado, who joined me on the girls weekend to San Francisco the weekend before. Overall it was a great day. The kids are loving summer, the lazy days, the pool, and simply being out of school mode.
As I write this, it is November, several months past since we went to the Denver Zoo at the end of our home school year last May. But we celebrated our last day of school at the Denver Zoo with our babysitter/friend who watched the kids during the year while I would work with them each in school. The Denver Zoo is quite a nice zoo and we had a fun day with our friends. Our transition to public school has gone well, for the most part. A lot came into our decision to switch from public school to home school. In a nut shell, mama needed a break, and we felt that they simply would do better responding to teachers with their academics than they were to me as mama and teacher. They are both thriving socially and academically. The biggest challenge has been at home. The school day is a much longer day than our home school day was so they come home pretty tired and worn out. Plus, we have a lot more to parent emotionally, especially with a nine year old girl in the house, so that takes a bit more energy than it did when we were schooling at home. I do not know if we will home school again. We are all open to it and depending on our circumstances it may be a better fit at a different season. But for this season in our lives I am grateful for a good school with a family community where we have felt cared for and treated well. Some people wonder what I do all day and surprisingly the time goes by quickly. Between taking care of J Man, prepping dinner before kids get home, BSF and leadership meetings, and trying to organize around the house occasionally, my time goes by quickly and before I know it we are walking to the bus to pick the kids up. With the husband traveling a lot, it is best for me to be home and provide some consistency for our family and the kids. I miss them during the day but I am grateful to be home when they come home, hear about their day, and watch them grow and develop.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Scrapbook day for May fell on a Tuesday. The big kids were at their co op for the day and I had the J Man. We went on a walk at a nearby trail with a friend and then took daddy to the airport! Not much exciting. We also went to community group that night with church. We were blessed to have visitors from Tokyo come to see us. One family still lives in Tokyo and the other family we met in Tokyo but currently reside in St. Louis. It was so fun to connect with them and enjoy being with people who shared that time of our lives with us. We went into Boulder one day, took a walk to a local park, visited Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and ate a lot of good food together. It was neat for us to hear our kids talk with their kids about things they miss from Japan and to have that connection as well for our kids. It is simply special. Here are some highlights from their trip to see us.
The K Man turned six on May 2nd. He is into all things Star Wars even though he has never seen the movies. So, we did a Star Wars themed birthday party with a few friends. I found these plastic light sabers at Walmart for $2 and recruited our neighbor friends' sons to come do a fight with the K Man and his friends. It was a very low key party and the K Man had a lot of fun. We had the cutest star wars cupcakes and such a good day. On his actual birthday he had his co op and they were performing their puppet shows so we got to watch the kids in action and take cup cakes. Then we went to our church community group and they celebrated him there with cupcakes again. K Man is such a sweet boy. He is all boy and loves to play but he also has a sensitive side to him. It takes him time to warm up to people and he likes smaller groups as opposed to large group events. He is learning to read and is doing great in school at home. He observes a lot and is careful to jump into things. I am so proud of the young man he is growing up to be and cannot wait to see what God does in his life.
During the April scrapbook day it fell on a Monday, which is the beginning of the work and school week. We did school and enjoyed a book club for homeschooling kids in the afternoon. Mama also turned 40 in April. It was a week of festivities including dinner out with girlfriends from church, dinner out with the husband and our friends from college who are now our neighbors, and seeing The Jungle Book at the Denver Childrens Theater followed with dessert at cheesecake factory. It was a great way to turn 40. The best gift is that the husband is sending me to San Francisco and Napa Valley for a long weekend in June with two girlfriends from Colorado. I am very excited for a weekend away from daily responsibilities. We hosted Culture club about Japan in April and I also attended a field trip with the kids to the Air Musuem in Denver. It reminded me a lot of Wright Patterson Air Force Base where I went several times growing up with my grandparents who lives in Dayton. It was fun to spend a day with them on a field trip and see them interact with their friends at their co op. Below are some highlights from the month of April.