Monday, July 13, 2009


I am the oldest of thirteen cousins on my dad's side of the family. Finally one of my cousins had a baby, who is now almost 10 months old. So, with my three kids, my grandparents have 4 great-grandchildren. When Reese visited last week, we were able to try and get a few pictures of all of them together!
Here's Mum & Pappy with all four of the angels!

Here's Pappy showing the kids the amazing pictures in National Geographic.

Alright - that's the end of my blogging catching up marathon!!! The rest of our summer will be much less eventful with no travel planned. So, hopefully I can stay caught up on blogging! Most of our days are spent swimming, trying to stay cool and having fun together! Happy Summer to you all!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

10th Anniversary

June 26, 2009 we celebrated our 10th anniversary! We had a great night out... without the kids. We had a delicious dinner with some yummy sushi and then came back home to a surprise I planned for Dan in our backyard. I cleaned up the area behind our pool and with a little help from our babysitter had music playing when we arrived. We each got an hour massage next to each other as the sun was going down. After the massage we jumped into the pool I had warmed up to hot tub temperatures! Thankfully our anniversary evening was rain-free! The very next night we had a downpour! Here's a few pictures:
When it finally calmed down a bit, the kids had a great time floating their pirate ships they made that morning at the Lowe's Build and Grow.

Estes Park, CO

We spent the 3rd week of June in Estes Park, Colorado for our yearly family trip. My grandparents began vacationing in the area over 50 years ago! So, it's a fun tradition to continue with so many memories. This year my mom, brother, and one sister were able to come with me and my three kids for the week. After an evening stay in Denver we journeyed up to the YMCA Camp of the Rockies. It is an amazing place to stay for families! They have putt-putt golf (pronounced hut-hut golf by Isaiah), basketball, tennis, hiking trails into the Rocky Mountain National Park, library, children's day camp, livery, arts & craft, and many daily activities available!

We began our week with a hike into the park to Alberta Falls. When I worked at the YMCA in the day camp the summer of 1998, we would take the Kindergarteners and 1st graders on this hike. So, I knew it should be doable for our crew! Thankfully John was there to carry Isaiah in the backpack for the 0.8 mile walk to the falls. Colby did great and Abigail got tired during the last bit walking back to the car. It's a beautiful little falls with plenty of rocks to climb around on!

I'm looking forward to returning next year and am already planning a few bigger hikes to take Colby on. He really enjoyed hiking and had plenty of energy to accomplish them without any problems!

The next day we began with pony rides for Abigail and Isaiah, which they loved! Then we drove up on Highway 7 to Lily Lake. It's a nice walk around the lake with a gorgeous view of Mt. Meeker & Longs Peak. After our walk we went across the street to have a yummy lunch at The Baldpate Inn. This is one of our yearly traditions! They have a delicious salad bar, 2 soups, and quite a few homemade breads.

The next morning we drove up Highway 7 to the Wild Basin area of the Rocky Mountain National Park. For as long as I can remember going to Estes Park, I recall going to "throw rocks in the river" in the Wild Basin. We stop at a specific place off the road where there's a huge rock overlooking the river running down. So, below is this year's pictures from the visit! It was a bit cold when we arrived that we all needed jackets and didn't stay as long as usual!

The next day we took an hour long trail ride with the Jackson Stables on the YMCA property. Growing up our family always stayed at The Wind River Ranch, but in 1997 it changed hands so we began going to the YMCA. Some of my favorite memories from Wind River was going horse back riding. We pretty much did it every day, sometimes twice a day. So, this year for our horseback ride since he was 6, Colby had to ride solo. As a child, lots of fun, as a mom - a bit scary! It was nerveracking to be behind him on a horse! But, Colby did great & had fun! Abigail rode with me and Lisa also went with us. It was a nice relaxing ride!

We had dinner at the Crags Lodge up on the hill overlooking Estes Park. I don't think I would ever want to stay anywhere else, but Crag Lodge would be a nice relaxing option!

A trip to Estes isn't complete until we visit the go-carts and big slide. To ride the slide you must first climb 4 flights of stairs, which in the higher elevation is a bit challenging! Colby and Isaiah especially loved this. But, it meant that either Lisa or I had to walk up the stairs to ride with Isaiah each time! I believe he went five times and I had Isaiah walk up by himself - pretty impressive! In the past Abigail had also enjoyed the slide, but after one time down, she was finished. Thankfully Aunt Lisa took Abigail on the bumper cars a few times. After finishing at the slide, we went over to the go-carts. Their double carts have a steering wheel for the younger rider to use, which is great! It was quite a bumpy ride, but lots of fun!

While we weren't out hiking, go-carting, riding horses, playing hut-hut golf, we made great use of the rest of our time. We all did some glass mosaic projects, made rock people with googely eyes, painted ceramics at the arts & craft center, played cards into the wee hours of the night, and had some wonderful tv-free days relaxing in the cool mountain air!

Early June in Oklahoma

We made a trip to Oklahoma the first of June. Our first stop was Oklahoma City. We were able to meet up with one of my friends from college for a few days! Since we have both had families, we have tried to see each other every year or two. Somehow it's been longer than that this time because we each hadn't met our youngest child! We had a blast together braving Oklahoma City with 5 kids! We stayed in a Hyatt Place, which is my new favorite hotel chain. They have two beds and then a partition to a roomy living area with a pullout couch. So, we were all able to fit comfortably! They also have free breakfast. The first day we went to the Oklahoma City Zoo. It was a pretty hot day, but the kids had a great time seeing all the animals! We went to a small sprayground later that afternoon to cool off, and then brought pizza back to the hotel for dinner. Somehow going out for dinner with a 6 year old, 2 4 year olds & 2 2 year olds just didn't sound too appealing!

The next morning we went to the Science Museum. Since we are members at our local science museum, we were able to get in for free here, which was great! It makes our membership so worth it when we are out of town.
Here's Colby at the top of the indoor tree house where you come down a very twirly slide.
They have a great fenced in play area for the younger children. Here's Abigail in the tractor.
After saying goodbye to my friend, we journeyed to Tulsa to meet Dan, who was playing in a golf tournament with his best friend from grade school. While he was golfing, we went to Kaleidoscope Children's Museum. I'd have to say the kids didn't know the difference, but this was not the greatest display for a self proclaimed children's museum. But, they had fun anyway!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 7-8 at Disneyworld - The End!

Day 7: Back at Magic Kingdom

I don't think you can spend enough days at Magic Kingdom! So, thankfully we got to return to ride the rest of the rides and repeat a few favorites. If you've noticed a pattern by now in my photos, yes I like to color coordinate our clothes on family trips. Growing up my mom also did this and I didn't think it was such a keen idea sometimes. But, now as a mom, I completely understand! It's so much easier trying to locate kids and make sure everyone stays together. Another thing I like to do before going on a Disney vacation - I order Disney shirts from their online outlet. I ordered shirts this year for $3.99 each compared to $20-30 at the parks. I just pack the new clothes and then the kids are excited to get them on the trip & we can save quite a bit of money not buying them there!

This was the hottest day of the trip besides the 4 hours at the beach. The only hot day at the parks for us because of the crazy amount of rain. But, I'd have to say the rain was challenging at times, but I'm very thankful it made it cooler. Colby & Abigail did so much better in the rain compared to this day of heat!

Day 8: Back at Hollywood Studios

Since we only spent a few late hours at Hollywood Studios our first night, we decided to visit there again on our last day. I think my favorite ride of the whole week was at Hollywood Studios - Toy Story Mania. I highly recommend it if you go to Disneyworld or Disneyland anytime soon! Though the wait in line at times was long, it really was worth it. A lot of our pictures are in the line waiting. They have decorated it with life-size children's games, like Candy Land, Crazy Eights, cards, Mr. Potato Head and so many more!

In the pictures from the Bugs Life playground, Abigail is in quite a few posed pictures. This was completely her idea, she asked me to follow her around and take pictures of her. Pretty funny! I had a special experience while in the playground too - they had music playing by Ray Lynch. My grandmother, who passed away almost 6 years ago loved his music. She especially loved to play it when we had our yearly family trip to Estes Park, Colorado in the mountains. Such amazing memories.

So, that's our Disneyworld trip! During the week we were there, Orlando received record amounts of rain, I think totally 25 inches! I was very thankful that Dan's brother and wife were able to keep Isaiah at home. It would have been a great challenge with the stroller in the rain. We don't have another Disney vacation planned right now, but I know we'll make it back there in a few years & Isaiah can enjoy it with his siblings!