Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Outing

We took the family on a little mountain-biking experience on Monday.  This was a single-track trail and my kids hadn't really done something like that before.  It was a little hard for the girls - on the way out there were lots of falls, hoping off their bikes, screams, and cries.  But coming back the girls did so much better!  They might have even liked it?!  The boys were totally fine.  We found this creek that was beautiful and a lovely meadow where we ate our lunch.  It was a good outing.

 Everyone ready to go - including, and probably especially, Brigham!

 The meadow.  I love the Brigham can "stay" so we can get him in our photos.  :)  Where's Emmy?  Oh, she was just mad at the world at this point.

 Crossing on gigantic logs is always fun.

So is crossing little logs.  :)

The Great Sand Dunes Videos!

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

So within an hour of the kids being all done with school (30 minutes for Miles!) we were on the road.  We were going to the Great Sand Dunes for a couple of days.  It was just me (minus a tooth that was pulled the day before and so my mouth didn't feel so great . . .) and the kids.  I had reserved a campsite for two nights months ahead - as it fills up like a year before!  I was lucky to get the nights I did.  I wasn't planning on going the day school was out, but that was the only available slots and so I took it.  It worked out perfectly that it wasn't on the weekend because by Friday, that place was packed!

Anyways, we had a good drive listening to a great kids' book.  When we got to the Dunes, the kids got out and explored!  It was windy and Lucy did not like it at all.  Wind + pelting sand + Lucy = lots and lots of crying.  But she did have moments where she enjoyed it.

After we played around for a bit, we went to our campsite and set up camp and cooked our dinner and the kids explored the little creek in our campground area, and then we went to bed.  Lucy woke up screaming at 1:40am about her nightmare and spiders.  She was screaming so much and so loudly that I was scared she would wake up the entire campground.  I placed my hand around her mouth several times!  Finally I just held her and then she slept in my bag for a while.  It was crazy.

On Thursday we went and rented some sand-boards and sleds.  It was pretty fun, except that the wind was even worse on Thursday!  It was insane!  Poor Emmy rode the sled down once and got a bucket-load of sand in her eyes.  She couldn't open them for like 10 minutes.  It was sad.

After playing in the sand, we went back to our campsite and ate lunch.  Then back to the dunes to play in the creek - which only runs until like mid-June.  It was fun - but chilly as it was still super, super windy.  The wind and crying Lucy were frazzling my nerves and I might have lost all patience on Jonas at one point in time.  But we'll try and forget about that.

Finally we found a spot on the creek that was down river, out of the crowds (not that there was much) and out of the gusty wind.  There was a breeze, but I wouldn't even call it wind.  It was such a needed break out of that wind.  The kids just played for hours at that spot.  It was lovely.

Again, that night we cooked our dinner, ate s'mores, Miles made crazy flames with pinon needles (from branches that had fallen) and we put in the color-flame stuff and that was awesome, we played the Murder game, then went to bed.  Luckily no one had nightmares that night!

On Friday we just ate our breakfast and packed up camp.  One of our good friends was coming up that day and was hoping to find a campsite at the first-come, first-serve loop (our loop was the reservations loop).  I had walked around the night before and counted 16 sites that were vacating on Friday and so I told Heather (my friend who was coming) that it looked good for her to find something.  But as we were packing, the rangers came to our site and placed a 2-night open sign on it - someone had canceled!  I nagged it for my friend and we waited until they came.  The rangers then told Heather that the campgrounds had filled by 7am that morning and so it was just lucky that it worked out how it did!  Our kids played around the campsite for a bit, then we all ate lunch, then we went to the Dunes all together.  Heather's little kids couldn't quite handle the wind and so she found a different spot to hang out at.  But my 3 oldest and Holly (Heather's oldest) played on the Dunes for a bit.  Lucy and Lila played in the water.

Then I was ready to go and so we left - stopping by the cool Visitor's center on our way out.  We had a good drive home and drove in to our drive-way right as Ben was coming home from work.

It was fun camping, but that wind at the dunes was kind of hard to deal with.  Yes, I know that the dunes are there because of the wind.  But still.  :)

Pictures galore:
 On our way out, we stopped by the Morrow Point Dam.  This is about 30 minutes from our home, and basically on the way.  All four flood-gates were opened and gushing.  I guess this (opening of all four because of water levels) has only happened twice in the past 32 years.  It was our mini-Niagra Falls.  As you can tell by looking at the kids, it was chilly - and misty!  Pretty neat.  :)

 The boys ventured further down the road while the girls were scared the boys were going to drown and die.  Poor girls have their mother's worry-genes.  :)

 The Sand Dunes - so cool!

 Running on sand is the worst!  :)

 But jumping is the best!

 This was Miles' favorite activity - just jumping on the sand hills.

 The kids all climbing back up . . .

 Cute Lucy with Medano creek in the back.

 The boys were pretty great helpers in setting up the tent. (The girls then set up the inside - pads, bags, etc.)  The boys can do it all except for the last, crucial step.  :)

 Jonas was excited to get our fire going!

 Haha, this was lunch on Thursday afternoon.  The kids had bagels and yogurt.  Each yogurt lid had something different on it - perfectly, Miles' lid showed him how to make it in to an origami-like spoon.  Awesome.  (P.S.  Miles got a trim - not cut - on Saturday, in case you were wondering.)

 The girls had fun playing in the water!  The boys had fun, too, exploring all over!

 But then the girls would get too cold and have to come to the hot, hot sand.

 Ah, finally, a place in the dunes where we could escape the wind.  Lucy worked on this creation for hours it seemed.  She was really proud of herself and actually said, "I am really proud of myself."  :)

 Jonas found those sunglasses buried deep in the sand!  He also created what looked like a mini-Goblin Valley out of the sand!

 Emmy spent lots of time doing cartwheels in the sand.

 Miles made some pretty great sand creations, too.

S'more time!

 Miles and his smoke!  He took a box, filled it with pine needles, then turned it over and put it on the fire.  It was actually pretty cool.  :)

 The kids climbing a tree on our campsite!

Our last time at the Dunes - Emmy, Holly, Jonas, and a small Miles in the background.

It was a pretty great way to start out the summer, I think!

School's out for Summer!

The last day of school:
 Jonas finishes up 5th grade, Emmy 3rd, Miles 7th, and Lucy Kindergarten.  Wahoo!

What a great year!

Those last few weeks of school were super busy for me - PAC stuff, etc., etc.  It was good I didn't have to work in May!

My 3rd (I think) year of end-of-school candy-grams:

Camp Cedaredge . . . that almost wasn't

So the fifth-graders worked all year (in fundraising and in being good students) for the chance to go on the overnight field trip to Camp Cedaredge.  It was scheduled for a Thursday and Friday in May.  Unfortunately, we got about 3 inches of snow here on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  So the field trip ended up getting canceled!  It was such a bummer.  But the kids wouldn't have been able to do anything with all that wet, wet, snow.  So it made sense.  Luckily, though, they were able to reschedule it for the following Monday - but only for a day-trip.  Still, Jonas had a fantastic time.  Here are some of the pictures he got with his camera:

The "Screamer."  An obvious favorite of the kids.  :)

 This was . . . oh, I can't remember the name.  But you climb a tall tree, stand up, and try to jump to the trapeze bar.  Apparently only one kid even touched the bar.

 There goes Jonas!


A picture of some of the kids in Jonas' group.

At least Monday was a beautiful and dry day!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Jonas "graduates" from Elementary School!

Jonas finished up his 6 years at Northside.  They had a little ceremony one evening and it was nice.  Our camera's battery was dead and so we got some pictures from Patty's phone . . .

 Jonas standing next to his best-friend Ivan.  I think they maybe had one or two years where they weren't in the same classroom.  They'll miss each other at middle school as they are each going to a different one.  :(

 Jonas and his teacher, Mrs. Kohout.

 All done!

 Both all done!

 Two Northside grads and two future Northside grads.  :)

 Having fun and being silly.

Crazy boys.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

School class pictures, 2016-17

 Lucy's kindergarten class with teacher Mrs. Arrechea (back right, the other ladies are "helpers").  Lucy loves Mrs. Arrechea - just like Emmy did when she had her in kindergarten!

We didn't order any single prints, but they took one of Lucy (and Jonas).  This was just a thumbprint sample, but it was pretty cute.  They put the sample thumbprints on a coffee mug and Lucy exclaimed, "What the?!  I'm on a coffee mug!"  Awesome.

 Emmy's 3rd grade class with Mrs. Latham - whom she adores!

 Jonas' thumbprint sample (I just scanned it and enlarged it).  Handsome kid.

Jonas' gigantic 5th grade class with Mrs. Kohout.  Ben stated that Jonas looked good, but a little "nerdy."  It's not his typical attire, but I think it's cute.  I just don't get why my boys have to button the top button?!

It's been another good year at Northside!  Jonas' last!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This Old Dog

Well on May 17th, Wilson turned 15.  15!  He'll be getting his driving learner's permit any day.  Ha.  Honestly, I can't believe he is still around.  But I've been saying that for the past couple of years.  Overall, he's doing okay.  He has some bad days, but they are not the norm.

I mean, he sometimes has a hard time getting up off the slippery, wooden floor.  He can't hear very well at all.  I'm not sure his vision is all that great.  But he still enjoys a walk - a slow walk, but a walk nonetheless.  He can still "jog" for a second or two as he chases Brigham in the backyard.  And he can still be cranky!  So I'd say he's doing okay for being "105."

Here are some pictures:
 Wilson doing what he loves best:  lounging.

 Wilson was excited about the "pupcakes" I had made for him!

 Oh yeah, he loved it.

 Emmy was brave and wanted to try a pupcake!

 Uh, she thought it was disgusting.  Haha.

And Brigham got one too - and he loved it.  He loved it so much that he ate it in one bite.

Happy birthday Old Man Wilson!