Thursday, September 23, 2010

First day of school

First day of school this year at Martinez Elementary....Lexi's now a second grader & Tyler's a big Kindergartner.  I'm so glad Lexi has a sibling at school now.  Tyler really likes being able to see her in the halls too. 

They were excited because Daddy walked them to school that day (not boring ol' mommy).

Here's Lexi wasting no time chatting away with some old & new friends.  Apparently Nate tried really hard to embarass her infront of all her friends, but it didn't seem to phase her too much.  We'll see in a couple years :)

" Oh yeah...I've now arrived!!"

Tyler on the rug with all his new excited and timid classmates.  (That's him with the super cool spiderman backpack)

Puttin' then right to work :)  Tyler actually has the same teacher Lexi had in Kindergarten, so they're excited to share that.  He really loves school and so far is turning out to be an excellent student, but apparently he's even more social than our resident social butterfly - Lexi.  This might get interesting :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A whole lotta camping!

As I said from the previous post, our first camping trip with McKinley & the camper was a success, so we thought we'd quite possibly press our luck and go camping twice more (2 weekends in a row). The first was a ward campout. We met at the site of our stake's girls' camp - Camp Joseph in Rye , CO. In the morning we all participated in a big service project to help improve the camp. For some reason (we still don't know why) Nate was unofficially put in charge of arranging most of this ward camp out, so he was a little relieved when it was over. It was a fun time as well though. Unfortunately this was the only picture we got of that campout b/c our camera battery died right after...oops :)

Our next adventure was at Jellystone Park in Estes Park on Labor day weekend. This was actually where we were trying to go on our first camping trip, but it was totally booked. So we reserved a spot weeks in advance this time. We were told to watch out for bears....well we sure found them and discovered they were quite cute and photogenic :)

Our kids didn't know who Yogi bear was (guess he was of generations past) before this trip. Now, Yogi, Cindy and Boo Boo bear are their best pals. They even have tatoos of them on their arms (which they apparently wore proudly on picture day at school -nice!)

This camp ground was really fun in the fact that they had activites going on almost all the time. Things like candy bar bingo, karaoke night, big dance (all of which we participated in), crafts and horseshoe & mini-golf tournaments. They had a mini-golf course, arcade, 2 playgrounds and a pool as well. The down-side is that the lay-out of the camp ground was disappointing. There was very little shade/ trees and the sites were all really clsoe together. There was also only one bathroom for the whole camp ground (2 stalls) and it was a MAJOR hike down and uphill to get to it. We might normally get more "creative" in finding places to go to the bathroom, but being so close to our neighbors with hardly any trees made that plan impossible. The only place you could get water was also at the bathroom, there were no other water spickets any where. These things were a bit frustrating, but overall we had a good time!

Jellystone is just a couple minutes outside of Estes Park, so we went into town a few times and had a lot of fun. We went out to eat a couple times, walked around the arts & crafts festival, and drove around the Stanley Hotel (famous from "The Shining"). While we were doing that we ran into quite the gang....

This fella had no problem strolling in front of our car and others. Guess he knows who's boss :) It was pretty neat b/c we got within a foot of him. There were atleast 10 or more females with him. It was funny b/c the home owners were just doing their gardening or whatever, not really paying any attnetion to the "visitors", obviously very used to it.

Anyway, the kids were lovin' it and we're tight now!

Estes has such a lovely riverwalk through the downtown with litte waterfalls everywhere.

In one of the shop windows we encountered this triceratops fossil that was supposedly discovered in Colorado. It was blowing Colton & Tyler's minds!

Later we stopped and had a little picnic on the river's edge - so lovely.

Kinners enjoying herself - like usual :)

Taking another little break by the river and playground the kids all enjoyed...

...even McKinley

We found some great climbing trees (and yummy sticks, I guess)

"What? I'm not posing!"

McKinley taking a little rest on her napping daddy

Tyler got pretty high shimmying his way up

We also came across a unique little group of shops in the shape of an ark.

Now whenver we were actually at our camp site, Colton's favorite (and maybe ONLY) passtime was quite literally showering himself with fistfuls of dirt. He'd lay down and make dirt angels, even cake his face with as much dirt as possible to make some pretty neat masks. At one point he thought it'd be fun to have a big dirt fight ...... not so fun for anyone else!!

Luckily, we were able to rinse offin the pool a couple times. It was McKinley's first time in the pool and she was loving it. We also bought this float suit for Colton so that he wouldn't totally drown if we couldn't have our hands on him the whole time. He was NOT liking the idea at first and had a little stand-off, but then a few minutes later, he was like a little water baby having a ball. He loved jumping in over and over and having daddy propel him far in the air. It worked out just great!

It was nice the pool was heated.

We took a nice hike on the mountain

We also made time to take a ride on the giant wavy slide in town. Nate and I found this a few years ago with my parents, when Lexi was just a little toddler and thought it was quite fun for $1. This time Tyler, Lexi and I raced.... you can see Tyler won that heat.

Then Nate took Colton

On our trip home, we stopped at Palmer Lake to have another picnic and the kids played on yet another playground. We've never actually spent anytime here before and we've lived so close.

Overall, there was a lot of adventure, dirt, work, tiredness and fun! We decided 3 nights camping is plenty long enough (especially if some of those nights are frigid). Also we learned that an infant isn't the hard one when you're's definitely the Colton-ator!! We had a good time, but we might just take a break from camping for while. Us old people need to rest :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our camper's maiden voyage

We found a weekend in July and decided to take our trailer out for a spin. We wanted to go camping for two nights (for the first time). We hoped to go to somewhere like Estes Park or Breckenridge, but were naive and thought we could just find a camp site in one of those places without making a reservation. Luckily, we decided to just check right as we were about to walk out the door and came to find out that almost EVERY camp site in the whole state was full. I don't exactly understand why, it wasn't a holiday weekend or anything. Regardless, I'm glad we checked before we drove 2+ hours just to find out later . We figured we'd go to Woodland Park (just 1/2 hr. away) instead and drive around and hope we could eventually find one spot. We did and it ended up being quite nice, right next to a little lake we didn't know existed. Here was our little set up.

Nate got the kids each a headlight (flashlight you wear on your head) and they were thrilled!

Our camper sleeps 6 snuggly, but we weren't sure where we'd put the baby since I was nervous sleeping with her with all the sleeping bags etc. So Nate with all his ingenuity whipped up a little cradle that could be attached to the little counter (as you see above). Despite it looking precariously perched there, it is actually quite stable because it's bolted with big brackets to the side and back. Nate also made it collapsable with hinges so we could lay it flat when the camper is collapsed. I was really quite impressed, then he painted it white no less so it would be prettier. We just put the mattress from her cradle in it and it worked lovely.

Here's Nate and Kinners enjoying the tin foil dinners we made on the first night. We had a few more "hiccups" the first night as we discovered that the battery in the trailer was dead and that our lantern batteries were dead as well, but with a couple trips back and forth into town, things worked out.

Tyler and (a tired) Colton hanging out by the fire waiting for daddy to come back.

The next day we took a little hike to the nearby lake. This is Colton towards the end of the hike, pouting and "putting his foot down" that he was DONE!

We also drove to the Rampart Resevoir and while the kids and Nate played a bit in the water, McKinley had other plans.......

The resevoir isn't really for swimming, but there were a lot of other people playing in the water so the older kids were anxious to join the fun as well.

Tyler with the lake we discovered in the background

I love Colorado, always such lovely scenery every where you look, like this beautiful meadow...and a cute girl :)

There was this little hut type thing with fire places in it by the lake

McKinley's face summarizes how the whole trip went overall. Everyone had fun and she was an angel! We're crossing our fingers that our next two camping trips go as well. I'll let you know....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Random July pics

Here's just a little of our July.... starting with McKinley's first 4th of July (hence the shirt - that her brothers have worn in the past).

We celebrated starting with our annual 4th of July breakfast at our church. Later in the afternoon we went to our friends the VanWagoners' home and cooked some foil dinners and had s'mores and had our own little version of a fireworks show. Here's Colton enjoying his first s'mores, I believe. This was before the mess! He enjoyed a few more after this:)

Tyler and his buddies Isaiah and Elijah also enjoying the gooey goodness.

Lex and Ty had their faces painted at the breakfast. Ferocious tigers aren't they?

OK, so one of Nate's new hobbies is to see just how "creative" he can make Tyler's hair as he cuts it. I told him he needs to find another outlet for this "creativity" - like play-doh or something and not our child's head! Anyway, his latest creation: devil horns, nice! This lasted an hour or so, then I could stand it no longer. Nate settled for making"sports stripes" on one side of Ty's hair instead (yeah, you know from the late 80's). Luckily, they just grew out right before he started kindergarten.

Here are some photos of Kinners as she turned 3 months...Colton was happy tp help with the celebration.

Isn't this the best expression?! Love it~

These were before her hair turned crazy wavy!

Like her hair here after a bath. Don't let the pictures fool you...she loved it!