{10} Happy Birthday Alice.

A decade.

Hard to believe.

Time flies when you are keeping kids alive.

Alice is celebrating her 10th birthday today.  We went canoeing on Lake Dillon and had a picnic on one of the small islands out in Frisco Bay, which is now renamed Wescott Island. The first island we stopped at had a lot of great skipping stones but 100 times more ants and spiders so we left there and deemed that small spot of land, Spider Island.  Not a great place for a picnic.  As we were headed in from our morning of paddling around the lake, Alice sits back, puts her paddle aside, looks at her arms and says…Workin’ on the gun show.  Well, let me tell you, with the amount of paddling she really did, there isn’t going to be much of a show:)

We all enjoyed the morning out on the water.  A beautiful day for a birthday.

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Happy Birthday to our little ladybug. She is sweet, thoughtful and has beauty beyond measure inside and out.  We love you Alice!

Jennifer, Scott, Sam, Paige and Mason

This Hike is Not Ugly

Today we took a break from chores around the house and got out for a hike in McCullough Gulch.  The hike was about 3 miles round trip so not too long for the kids but super strenuous. The trail went up:)  We hiked up to the falls, had a quick lunch and then hiked up a bit further until we needed to turn around (Paige had dance camp).  There is a glacier lake further up the trail so we have to go back and find it.  Definitely one of our most favorite hikes. This hike is absolutely gorgeous, views in every direction.  We were all sad to head back to the car, for sure.

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Happy Father’s Day

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I really wanted a group shot of Scott and the kids but that was easier said than done.  As you can see below, they couldn’t stand still without squirting someone and then the craziness would ensue.

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I hope you all had a very nice Father’s Day.  As you can see, we are having a blast:)

Happy Father’s Day to Scott, my dad, Scott’s dad and our brothers and brothers in-laws……

Jennifer

Running Buddies

Right now, I have three of them; Running buddies that is….

Today was the Frisco Bacon Burner 6K.  It was a gorgeous morning for a run by the lake. The kids love this race because a slice of bacon is served at the halfway aid station.  Since we don’t normally eat bacon, or any meat for that matter, it is a huge treat and an even bigger reason to get up early and run a race.  This race is part of the BBQ Challenge weekend in Frisco.  All weekend the streets are closed off and filled with bbqers of all kinds.  Bands are playing continuously throughout the weekend and it really is a fun kickoff to summer.  The pig races might be our favorite event of the weekend.

Sam and I headed out in the first wave and Alice and Paige ran in the third wave of the race.  Everyone ran really well today.  Sam was still hurting a bit from a fall on his mountain bike a week ago (scrapes, bruises, sore ankle) and he was pretty disappointed with his finish.  He really wanted to be the first kid to finish and another little boy passed him near the end and Sam was really mad (and tired) so he walked in to the finish.  Alice has been running with me early every morning so she was really ready.  Don’t tell her I told you but she finished first in her wave. Not just first out of all the kids but first out of all the women she was running with.  Can you say crazy proud parents.  I don’t think I will be wiping this grin off my face for quite some time:)  Paige ran well too.  She ran and walked a bit and had a boost from Daddy right at the end.  She is a fast little thing and with a bit of training she will be on the heels of her sister in no time.

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It was a super fun day.  I love my little running buddies.  I am pretty sure that they are all going to pass me up really soon!

Jennifer

Road Trip

Every summer the kids and I create a family bucket list of things that we want to accomplish or places to visit before school starts in the fall.  This summer when I asked the kids where they wanted to go, they decided that Mt. Rushmore was at the top of the list.  Sam’s dream vacation is to visit the Redwoods but that wasn’t in the cards this summer.   We are headed to Michigan at the end of July for a class reunion so we couldn’t add another super long road trip to our summer plans.  Unfortunately, Scott was unable to join us so the kids and I packed up the car last Wednesday and hit the road very early on Thursday morning.  Almost exactly seven hours later we pulled into the campground which sits just six miles down the road from the Mt. Rushmore National Monument.

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Normally I would have prefered to stay in a public campground but since this was our one vacation for the summer (and I had left my backup at home) I decided to splurge and take the kids to the KOA where the facilities would be a bit more predictable and there would be plenty of activities for the kids. We stayed in a camping cabin which is basically a shelter with a locking door and bunk beds.   We hit the kid jackpot. There were two pools, a water slide, a climbing wall, bounce houses, playground, miniature golf, paddle boats and horses.  I know.  Serious kid fun zone.  

Apart from a trip to the Custer Hospital and a nifty set of stitches for Alice, our trip was a blast.  We were sad that Scott wasn’t there to enjoy it all with us but we know that we will go back someday.

Mt. Rushmore was so awesome that we actually made two trips to the monument.  It was pretty cool because Sam and Alice had both studied government in school so they were pretty familiar with the history and information on Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.  If you get a chance to visit, the nightly lighting ceremony of the faces is totally worth it.

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We also checked out Rushmore Caves while we were in the area.  We were all super excited for the tour but about 25 feet into the cave, Sam realized that he had a bit of claustrophobia and needed to leave the cave. I encouraged him to stick with it but after about 200 feet of a very thin route through the cave, he was in full panic mode. Alice and Paige continued on for the hour-long tour but Mason, Sam and I headed up and out as quickly as Sam’s little legs could go:)  I am pretty sure that mining won’t be in his future!

DSC_2818The Black Hills area is so cool and we had a ton of fun just exploring the areas around our campground.  One day we pulled off the road and had a picnic and a quick hike to check out the views.  Gorgeous.

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And this is what Sam did, every time we stopped.  He loves to read.  He has read this book 5 times.  Oh well:)

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The trip was so much fun and we will definitely be taking more road trips.  The kids traveled really well and we only stopped a couple of times each way.  I was really proud of all of them. We have officially become road warriors:)  Here are few more shots from the trip, mostly of our fun at the campground.

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The view from our campsite.  Beautiful.  This is actually the back side of Mt. Rushmore.

 

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We arrived home yesterday just in time for a neighborhood bbq.  We have really wonderful neighbors and it was exactly what I needed after a long drive…..someone else to cook.  

Jennifer

P.S. Check back for a post written by Alice.  She is going to give you the nitty-gritty on how she ended up with five stitches in her chin:)

Hiking with Kids

One of my favorite things to do is to take my kiddos on a hike.  Usually when I mention it, they all kind of grumble, but once we get out there, they are in heaven.  They love running up and down the trail and usually log about twice as many miles as I do.  We turn over logs and check out bugs, we find springs and dam them up to see how the run off adapts (and then take it apart), they skip rocks if we are near water and we always have our eyes peeled for wildlife or at least signs of animals (poop).

We started hiking with Sam when he was just a few weeks old.  It really is so calming to me. I love the wind through the trees, the birds chirping and the lack of civilization all together.

Now, hiking with four kids does not always equal calm but we do our best to get away and just enjoy nature.  HEY MOM!!!!!  CHECK OUT THIS ANIMAL LEG BONE……SOMETHING BIG MUST HAVE GNAWED ON IT!!!!!  

Through the years, as our kiddos have progressed from the baby front pack to the back pack to walking alone, we have definitely learned some valuable lessons when it comes to hiking.  We have had some serious fails and a whole lot of wins so we are learning what works.

Always take lots of water.  Up here in the Colorado mountains, we lack oxygen and moisture.  You can get dehydrated very quickly.  All of our kids have hydration packs (backpack with water reservoir).  The packs are also super awesome for hauling all their gear and then you don’t have to carry it.  Super rad.

Always take lots of snacks.  Even if you just ate a seven course meal, your kids will claim to be famished about 1/4 mile into any hike.  Trust me, I have learned this the hard way.  And they don’t forget that they are hungry.  Nope. Never.

Along with snacks, never ever EVER overlook a meal.  If you are hiking over the lunch hour, bring sandwiches.  Just sayin’.  Been there, done that. Won’t do it again.

Everyone must wear a hat with a brim.  Hats are not only important to keep the sun off your noggin but also are great when a rain cloud opens up.  When that happens it doesn’t usually come with some sprinkles.  Think cold soaking rain for about 10 minutes.  Every afternoon up here.  It only takes getting caught once and then you remember the gear.

Layers.  Layers. Layers.  Whenever you see pictures of my kids hiking they usually have a sweatshirt or coat on or tied around their waist.  Depending on the time of day and length of your hike, take packable rain coats.

Reasonable hiking shoes.  Our kids usually wear their running shoes or hiking boots.  Be prepared for mud.  Kids are mud magnets.  They will find it, trust me.  We have embraced the mud but if you aren’t prepared for it, wet feet can ruin any hike. In our greener years, we may have been persuaded into letting our kids hike in other footwear (flip-flops, chucks, clogs, sandals, crocs, etc.).  Don’t let them wear you down.  I can guarantee one thing; it will end with a child on your back.

Try to make your jaunt in the woods a destination hike.  We mostly hike to lakes or waterfalls or at least places that will thrill our kids.  We want them to go again.

I could strap on my camera and head out into the woods for hours.  I am never in a hurry to head back to the car.  My kids don’t always feel that way and neither do their little legs:)  Remember to keep track of the length especially if you are hiking out and back.  My kids are super-duper hikers but it took awhile for them to build up to a few miles.  If you are just starting out, try to keep it fun and just go for a mile or so.

Well, the grandmas and papas have probably scrolled down to the pictures by now:) so I will stop rambling and give you the visual of our most recent hike.  We love our hikes to Lilypad Lake so this past weekend we tried a new way in.  We all loved the change of scenery, so to speak, with the same destination.

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Beginning our hike through a decimated pine beetle kill forest but a beautiful view of Buffalo  Mountain. Daddy showed us the route he took skiing.  Crazy daddy.

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A gorgeous view of Lake Dillon.

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Hat, sweatshirt, hiking shoes, snack.  She is prepared:)

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Daddy and kids checking out a spring just off the trail.  Soon to be a dammed up spring:)

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Sam taking time for another well deserved snack!

I hope you are all loving this warm spring weather (finally!!!!) and getting outside.  We are super excited to be able to hike and bike and camp and……well, you get the picture.

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Biking

There is only one thing better than being out in nature, riding your bike, enjoying the thrills of the downs and the victories of the uphill.

Watching your kids do it.

Today, Scott and I were down a couple of kids (parties) so we took Sam and Paige out riding on the Frisco Peninsula.  Since it was their first ride of the season we took a safe, three-mile loop.  They both did great.  Paige got a bit frustrated but I think she will feel better when her legs stop yelling:)  She really has no meat on her tiny legs and they were working hard!  There is nothing cuter than Paige in bike shorts:)

When we finished our loop, we headed downtown for some lunch.  After lunch, Scott and Sam (and another friend) headed back to the peninsula for one more loop.  Paige and I were getting tired so we headed for home.

It was a fantastic day to be outside.  We have been cursed blessed with a very long winter this year.  It snowed yesterday, in case you were wondering.  So it seems that Mother Nature has granted us some warmer spring weather and I do believe that we will be taking advantage of it for as long as it lasts.

DSC_2725_edited-1 DSC_2728_edited-1 DSC_2729_edited-1My new bike.  Isn’t she pretty.  I really like her.  She is bad@!#.

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Happy Saturday. Enjoy the day. And if you complain about it being too hot, I might punch you in the face.

Jennifer