Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Red Rocks and Dinosaur Ridge

On Wednesday we went to visit Red Rocks Amphitheater and Dinosaur Ridge. The amphitheater is gorgeous and has great natural acoustics—they have concerts there. We walked all the way down to the bottom to the stage and the view from there is pretty cool too. Of course, Drew had no trouble getting down to the bottom, but needed a little help on the way back up. We took lots of neat pictures—I’m still having fun with my camera.
View from the top

View from the bottom

Ava and Drew

Drew gets a little help from Dad

Uncle Scott and Daddy


Ron and Kelley

Drew with a T-rex jaw

Drew and Ava

Ava with Uncle Scott

After the amphitheater we headed over to Dinosaur Ridge to check out real fossils. It was pretty cool, although I couldn’t tell you exactly what we were looking at. Thank goodness for the signs with arrows pointing out all the important things!

A fossil at Dinosaur Ridge
Dino Footprint

Ava and Drew with a stegosaurus


We flew out to Denver, CO to be with Dan’s side of the family the week after Christmas. We had such a great time there! Rob & Laura had enough space for all of us to stay with them—there were 18 of us total! They had an awesome finished basement too, with two extra bedrooms and a bathroom. I have basement envy now.

The first full day in Denver, we went up to the mountains to go skiing/snowboarding. It was a good effort, but just not our day. Drew had a hard time adjusting to the altitude and when we got to the resort he was too exhausted to even walk from the car to the lodge. :( He wasn’t able to snowboard at all. He ended up staying with Aunt Connie, Uncle Bill and cousin Daniel in the lodge. The rest of us rented equipment and bought half day tickets. We took Ava up on the easiest lift—she loved riding the chairlift, she didn’t love trying to ski back down. It was the longest run of my life! She cried, pouted, whined, etc. It probably reminded Dan a lot of how I acted when he was teaching me how to snowboard. After about thirty minutes of that he just took her skis off and handed them to me, then she stood on his board and they both rode down the rest of the way together. We dropped her off at the lodge too. That left us with enough time to do 3-4 runs on our own. Not our best day on the slopes, but we were just excited to get a couple of runs in.

Daniel, Drew and Ava ready for the snow

Mountain View

Kids enjoying the snow

That night after our family dinner, all the kids were begging to open presents. We agreed to open some that night, and the rest in the morning. The five kids got along so well, it was wonderful to see them playing and having a great time together. They had a lot of fun opening their presents and then much more fun playing with everything together over the next few days.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day

Later on Christmas Day, Grandpa Mark arrived. And of course, there were more presents to open! We had fun just playing together and relaxing at home and eating some more lasagna and ham. We made a birthday cake for Jesus and sang Happy Birthday to him. And I got to play with my new toy, a new SLR camera! I took some pictures of us with Grandpa Mark. I think they turned out pretty good. :) I look forward to learning more about photography and how to take nice pictures with my new camera.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas!

Christmas morning came around 7:15 at our house. Drew came and woke us up, then he woke Ava up and we all wandered into the living room together to see if Santa had come. He had and he even ate the cookies! He brought each child just what they wanted! Drew got his Star Wars General Greivous light saber and Ava got her Mulan princess. We all opened up our stockings while our breakfast pastry baked. Once it was ready, we took a break to eat something and Drew read the story of Jesus’s birth from the Bible. Afterwards we opened our presents to and from each other and the rest of our family. It was such a nice, relaxing morning, with no rushing around having to be somewhere. We opened our presents, enjoyed each other’s company and played together. It was the best Christmas ever!

Drew opening his stocking

Ava with her stocking

Drew with his light saber from Santa

Ava with her Mulan doll from Santa

Happy Family

Santa ate our cookies!

Drew with his new skateboard

Ava with some her new Rapunzel toys

Drew's new basketball hoop

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

This year we spent Christmas at home as a family. Dan and I have decided that it is important for us to establish our own Christmas traditions with our children and part of that is having Christmas Eve at home so that we can wake up in our own beds on Christmas morning. We started off the day by going to Sky High so the kids could jump some of their energy out. What a fun place! The kids loved it and I had a great time doing flips into the foam pit too! After a fun morning we went home to prepare our Christmas Eve dinner-lasagna in honor of my Italian heritage and ham because Dan loves it. I made enough so that we’d have leftovers for dinner on Christmas Day-one less thing to do! We all enjoyed our meal and then it was time to get ready for church. The kids each got to open one present before we went-they couldn’t wait! Poor Drew had been asking to open presents since the first wrapped present appeared under the tree! Then we went to celebrate the birth of Christ, the greatest gift of all, with our church family. It was a nice service, complete with candlelight. Afterwards we headed home to get ready for bed, put out Santa’s cookies and spread the reindeer food on the front lawn. The last thing we did before bed was check Santa’s position on NORAD. The kids went to bed easily, excited to wake up and see if Santa had come.

Ready for Christmas Eve dinner
Dan and Andrea

Ready to open one present!

At Christmas Eve service

Leaving cookies and milk for Santa and an apple for the reindeer

Tracking Santa before bed

Christmas Cheer

It’s been a year or two since we make goodies for our neighbors and this year we decided to do it in the spirit of Christmas. I think Jesus would bring gifts to his neighbors. :) So we made goodie baskets for each one of our surrounding neighbors, even the not-so-nice ones. We made carmel pretzel twists, peppermint bark, rumballs and chocolate chip cookies and packaged them all up nicely. Then, as a family, we delivered each package to our neighbors. What an experience that was! I was struck by how much these people appreciated a visit from us. We don’t know any of our neighbors very well and we’ve lived here for 5 years! Part of that is because they are all older people, there are no young kids near us—and that is usually an easy way to befriend your neighbors. But part of it is just laziness and the natural impulse to just stick close to home. At each home we visited we spent time talking to our neighbors. They invited us in and gave us treats and shared a little of what is going on in their lives. Many of them invited us to come back again and visit with them, and one even came the next day with treats for us. And the not-so-nice neighbors. Guess what they did? They came over the next day and offered to watch our dogs for us while we were gone! I guess they just needed us to be nice first. After seeing how much joy we can bring to some of our elderly neighbors with just a simple visit, I plan to take the kids around to say hi more often. What an easy way to show people that we care about them.