Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring break 2019 - Beaver Creek.

Having never been to Beaver Creek in the winter, I wasn't completely sure what to expect. I grew up skiing the Summit County mountains and have been to a few of the other Colorado ski resorts. And, we've been to Beaver Creek in the Summer and Fall. But, skiing at Beaver Creek was new to me. I knew it'd be nice but I had no idea. We stayed in the Village at the Beaver Creek Lodge. It's a property that Marriott recently acquired and it's just an escalator ride up from the front door to the lifts. Awesome! 

Also, can I tell you how much of a fan I am of the escalators versus the steps? Steps are, generally, no problem in shoes but ski boots - game off. Escalators? Yes, please.

We arrived on Saturday just in time for 3P cookies and FunFest. FunFest is a Saturday afternoon activity designed for kids. There are games set up all around the Village where kids can earn tokens for playing and can redeem the tokens for a Beaver Creek themed souvenir. Madelyn and Sawyer are not one to walk away from games and free stuff. So, after a few pictures with their favorite statues, games were played. Each kid ended up winning enough tokens to earn a pair of Beaver Creek touchscreen gloves. Cool!

Sunday was ski school day for the kids and a play day for Griff and I. The kids weren't super stoked to be going to ski school but we thought it was important for all of us. And, it was only for one day.

Griff and I had a fun day exploring and playing. We found the Candy Cabin but didn't venture inside. Griff tried his skills at the race course. While he didn't "medal", it was still fun to watch. I like to turn too much to want to ever do the races. Nice, big turns. Side to side.

Monday was family ski day. Yes, there was still some complaining, from someone who shall not be named. However, I think we're moving out of that phase. We didn't ski as much on Monday as Griff and I did on Sunday but it was so. much. fun. to be skiing with the whole family, all together. The weather could not have been more perfect. Even though it's Spring, the snow was still in great condition. The only slush we saw was at the very bottom.

We had a great day. Now, we're not perfect and our skiing wasn't perfect. There was Madelyn's dramatic tuck exit from the lift. We thought she was falling but then she just tucked into a little ball and rode it out. So fancy. There was also the jump in the trees that caught her by surprise and took all our breath away. I'm thankful she got stopped and didn't head off out of bounds, down the hill through the rest of the trees. I don't even want to talk about Assay, the shortcut run I took Madelyn and I down where she fell and I almost did, that was the worst little shortcut ever. She forgave me and I thought nothing of her yelling at me because that run stunk. But, before lunch, we all skied from the very top to the very bottom. And, Sawyer led us across some fun little bridges and along a skiway through a condo complex. I was so proud of our little people!

Monday nights, from 6-9P, there's complimentary ice skating in the Village. So after dinner, Madelyn and Griff skated while Sawyer and I sat rink side by a fire.

Photo by Sawyer
All in all, Beaver Creek was a blast. All the little touches - cookies at 3P and the after ski activities that are included in your visit - make it such a unique and memorable experience. I feel very grateful that we're able to do trips like these. And, I'm also grateful for my little family with whom I get to make these memories.

So long and thanks, Beaver Creek. See you next time!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Ski bunnies

The kids took ski lessons this December and January at Snobahn in Southglenn. It's an indoor ski and snowboard facility and is a really cool concept. We weren't sure how the skills they acquired skiing on a giant treadmill inside would translate to actual ski slopes but at least they wouldn't be cold or standing around in lines.

Our first venture out on the slopes as a family this year was to Loveland Valley. We drove up on the Sunday over President's Day weekend. It was small and we didn't stay all day. But, it was a good way to get some snow under our skis, so to speak.

Later that week, we joined Uncle Jerky, Aunt Sandi, Emery, and Camden at Breckenridge for some family skiing on Friday. The cousins had been in Breckenridge all week skiing. On a fun note, we also got to see Uncle Lee and Aunt Brittany at Breckenridge Brewery when we went in for dinner on Thursday night. Emery had hung up her skis the day before we arrived so she wouldn't be skiing with us. Her plan was to hold down a table in the Maggie so that when we needed a break, we'd have a place to sit.

Uncle Jerky, Camden, and Aunt Sandi. I guess the weather earlier in the week had been pretty darn cold. Fortunately for us, we brought warm weather because it was beautiful on Friday. Clear and sunny in the morning gave way to big, fat snowflakes in the afternoon. (I will say that the big, fat snowflakes caused an eastbound closure on I-70 at Silverthorne for a few hours during our drive home on Friday. So, that wasn't great but we did finally get home safely on Friday night.)

The Dude and I. I'm not sure if he's actually smiling underneath his face mask.

Kerkhoves and Andersons at the top of the Quicksilver chair. Missing Emery.

Three of four cousins stopped for a picture before heading into Ripperoo's Forest aka Ding-Dong Forest or was it THE Ding-Dong Forest? I think this one was lovingly renamed Ding-Dong Forest.

Some bunnies around here like skiing more than others. And, that's fair. One bunny likes to borrow her mother's poles in the lift line and if she's going to do moguls. The other bunny tends to complain. But, when that bunny is skiing, he is a really good skier and seems to have fun. At one point on Friday, that bunny skied past me and yelled out, "Hi, Mama!" in his sweet, silly voice as he went by.

All in all, I think we've made major strides on the skiing front. And, I definitely think the skills they learned and practiced at Snobahn translated to the actual ski slopes. Money well spent.

We're going to Beaver Creek for a few days over Spring break later this month. We've visited there as a family in the Summer/Fall but Griff's the only one who's skied there before. Our hotel/condo is ski in - ski out so that should be great. I'm looking forward to some more ski fun with the bunnies. Let's hope for a bluebird day and no I-70 closures!

Friday, January 11, 2019

O-f-f-a-l is just plain awful.

Spellcheck's got nothing on Madelyn.

11 students out of almost 550 students were selected to participate in yesterday's spelling bee. Two from each grade (4th thru 8th) plus one additional. There must have been a tie in one of the grades. Anyway, dear Madelyn, who wasn't even going to try out for the spelling bee was one of the two students from 4th grade selected to represent their classmates. The pre-test was given during afternoon carpool in December on a day where I was volunteering during carpool. Since she was still there, her teacher said, "Madelyn, go take the test." Lo and behold, or whoopsie, she was one of the top two.

Yesterday was the annual spelling bee at school. I hadn't planned on attending. But, the night before, Griff and I heard her sweet voice call down from upstairs asking if we would please come to her spelling bee. So, of course, we said yes. Who could say no to such a request?!

The first word out of the gate was "cage" and Madelyn's classmate got it right. Madelyn was the second student up. I can't remember all of Madelyn's words but she made it to the 9th (?) round and beat out two or three other students. Here are a few of her words that I do remember -

  • object 
  • apprehend 
  • procession 
  • impregnable 
  • offal 

That last word is the one that did her in. When she stepped up to the microphone, the teacher said, "Your word is a homonym and its definition is 'the entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food'," and then she announced the word. After hearing the definition, the teacher didn't even have to announce the word before I knew I would have been out. Not one to go down without a fight, Madelyn, "I probably won't get this right," and spelled the version she knew - "awful" - and was told she was incorrect.

Holy cow, Madelyn did great. I received so many compliments from teachers and the principals on how well she'd done and how her word was tough. I know she received many compliments, too. All of 4th grade was cheering and clapping for her all along. Her BFF was in the front row giving her thumbs up and encouraging smiles. And, when she got out, she did it with grace and poise. I couldn't have been more proud. (Perhaps in two years, we can have two Anderson kiddos in the spelling bee...)

This morning, Mrs Simpson, the school principal, saw Madelyn at morning drop off and I heard her tell Madelyn, again, what a great job she'd done yesterday.

Before we got to school though, Madelyn said, "Oh, I forgot to show you this!" and handed me a bunch of papers. Sometime before the spelling bee, her teacher and classmates made encouraging cards and notes of support and gave them to her. I found myself a little teary at how kind her classmates are, how well they know her, and how much they care about Madelyn.

She may not have won the spelling bee and that's okay. But, she did such a great job. I hope she's proud of herself and knows how proud we are of her for just trying. I'm so glad she asked us to come to her spelling bee.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Zinnias, marigolds, and pumpkins - Oh my!

We inherited a garden box when we bought our new house last February. It wasn't a pretty garden box by any means and we're actually going to rebuild it in the Fall. This year, just for kicks, I threw down some seeds to see what would grow.

* Wildflowers
* Pumpkins
* Zinnias and Giant Marigolds (started from seeds inside and then transplanted)

I even had a beautiful blue hydrangea plant next to Sadie's tombstone. But, TruGreen sprayed it and killed it. Wah wah... I've got a new cone flower temporarily in a pot until after we rebuild the garden box.

Surprisingly, almost all the seeds took. The tomatoes and volunteer tomatillo plant did not take. But, that's ok. This garden box was all about experimenting and playing this Summer.

The most pleasant surprise of all to me has been the zinnias. It's taken them a while to get to this but I love looking out or walking by and seeing their colorful flowers. I hardly have a green thumb so I enjoy these that much more.

Post garden box rebuild, I may have to sneak some zinnia flowers into the garden each Spring.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


This t-shirt was Madelyn's souvenir from our trip to Seattle. Yes, there is absolutely nothing about it that screams Seattle. But, looking at it reminds me of our walks back from Pikes Market, under the monorail, and the little mall we'd go past each time. Also, that's where we saw the woman "sleeping" in the street. So, I guess it does remind me of Seattle after all.

Now, for those of you muggles who are unfamiliar with Harry Potter, the picture pays homage to the time Hermione turned herself into her cat. My kids tell me it was in "Chamber of Secrets" and the polyjuice potion. (I'm no muggle. I just couldn't remember which book.) AND it's a fantastic play on words and we all know someone who likes a good pun and/or play on words. **Cough, cough. Honey.**

Last week, we met some of my friends and their kids at "the good" Jumpstreet in Ken Caryl for an afternoon of fun. Between my friends and I, we had six kids and our six kids were just about the only kids in the place. They let the kids jump well beyond what we paid for which was awesome. Happy, tired kids + happy mamas = Summer win for everyone.

Now, at Jumpstreet, this shirt made Madelyn a new friend. My friend's daughter who is a year younger than Madelyn came up to Madelyn and said, "You like Harry Potter and cats? I like Harry Potter and cats. Let's be friends." And, that's where it all started.

I wish we could all find friends who like Harry Potter and cats or whatever simple thing it is in life that makes us happy.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Road trip to Kansas City and beyond.

FINALLY posting pictures from our road trip to Kansas City and Lincoln in June. Yep, it's been almost two months but here we are...better late than never!

We took our first non-mountain, long road trip with the kids this past June. Our destinations were Kansas City to see friends and family and Lincoln, of course. The kids declared road tripping awesome. McDonald's in the car plus snacks plus movies equals a good time for sure!

We stayed in Lawrence with Don and Susan on Saturday night. They were gracious enough to tolerate our late arrival and made us feel incredibly welcome in their home. Sarah, Joe, and the boys came over Sunday morning for a delicious brunch. The Noltemeyers are old friends but they always treat us like family. It's so nice to having people like that in your life.

Speaking of Noltemeyers, our next stop was Olathe to see Matt, Sally, and the girls as well as their new home!

Love the Noltes and love these kiddos. They are all so sweet and are all so sweet together. Must because they have awesome parents. (Tee hee.)

Fireflies. Madelyn and Sawyer were beside themselves with the fireflies.

Brunch on Monday before heading to the Plaza. Let's do this again soon, Noltes!

Monday we moved to the Sheraton in the Plaza. We walked around some and did a little window shopping.

Met the cousins, Aunt Judi and Uncle Elvin, and everyone else at the Kansas City Country Club for night swimming and a picnic. It's been too long since we saw everyone but we had a blast. The kids loved the high dive and swimming. (Our joke was to see how many different pools we could swim in on this trip. As of this point, we were only at two.)

What a sweet group. Aunt Judi and Alasdair recruited us to help plan the Knight family reunion in the Fall and we're happy to help. Looking forward to seeing everyone again sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, we went to Oceans of Fun and had an ocean of fun. The weather was perfect and we got to the park early enough that we got to do multiple rides on all the really popular, really fun rides.

You'll never believe it but in the park, there was a trio of men playing drums and they were wearing tank tops with cats surfing on slices of pizzas. You should ask Madelyn if she saw it. (Also, wink.)

Hey, it's Ben Franklin!

After dinner treat on Tuesday - The Waffle Bar. Mine was good but I should have stayed simple.

Wednesday was an important day for our family. It was Sawyer's 7th birthday. Happy birthday, little brother! It was also the day we left Kansas City to go to Lincoln. GO BIG RED!

Stopped at the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City. Took a tour and picked up our free baby trees.

Ate lunch at Valentino's also in Nebraska City. Madelyn has declared their spaghetti to be the best. I'm not even sure what to say about that.! I know she's mine but sometimes her food choices make no sense. Either way, thumbs up all around for Valentino's.

After arriving in Lincoln and checking in at the Cornhusker, we drove over to campus. There really is no place like Nebraska. I got all sorts of nostalgic walking around campus. For real, it's been TOO LONG since we visited.

It was also really hot but that didn't cut my campus tour short.

Memorial Stadium. This was as close as we could get to the field on short notice. Also, one of my little campers was quickly running out of steam and any interest in doing anything else besides having some birthday dinner and swimming, again.

Birthday dinner at Shogun. He was intrigued but a little nervous. Griff caught the shrimp in his mouth and while Sawyer wasn't interested in catching shrimp, he did realize that he really likes shrimp. Happy birthday, Sawyer!

We had birthday cake back at the Cornhusker. I think it was a molten lava chocolate cake in a cast iron skillet with ice cream although I don't have any pictures of the treat. But, we did get a picture of this tiny boot of beer. How cute is that?

We headed back to Colorado the next day and it was good to be home.

This trip made me realize I miss the midwest, humidity, mosquitoes, and all. I loved getting to see our family and friends and getting to share Lincoln with my family. Bonus: I may have sold both kids on going to the University of Nebraska, too, so I think the trip was a win all around.

Oh, and our final pool count is below:

1 - Matt and Sally's neighborhood pool
2 - Swimming with the cousins at Kansas City Country Club
3 - After KCCC, swimming back at the Sheraton KC Plaza
4 - Oceans of Fun
5 - Swimming at the Cornhusker

Seattle, Yo.

There's been a lot of flossing, "yo", and "bro" at our house this Summer. As you can imagine, it's been delightful and very mentally stimulating. (Insert eye roll.) Naturally, when I think about our trip to Seattle, the first thought that comes to mind is "Seattle, yo." 

Thought I'd share a few pictures from our trip this week to Seattle. The weather was terrific. After having been above 90 degrees for I don't know how long in Colorado, Pacific Northwest temperatures in the 60s and 70s was a welcome relief.

The Gum Wall. It's more like gum alley. I've heard that they clean it off at least once per year and it quickly gets re-gummed. (Is that a word?) And, in case you forgot your gum, there are a few stores close by that thankfully sell gum. We had our own.

When in Rome, you stick your gum on the wall. Sawyer didn't want to part with his gum so Griff added his to the collection.

Day 1. On Wednesday, Griff had a meeting with a client so the three of us were on our own for the day. Madelyn really wanted to visit the Seattle Aquarium. It is such a neat place and a really good aquarium. You can even ride on the back of an orca. (Wink, wink.)

We happened upon the sea otters' feeding time. Aren't otters the cutest?! Then, I found this brother and sister otter pair frolicking and generally having a good time. They're pretty cute, too. 

We visited the harbor seals a few times including once during their feeding and toothbrushing time. Each seal has their own Sonicare toothbrush that the keepers use on them to keep the seals' teeth clean.  Who knew?! And, on our second visit to the harbor seals, we watched as the "Madelyn" and "Sawyer" seals fought over who got to lay in the sun with "Mama" harbor seal. In the end, "Mama" let both of them stay with her in the sun.

After lunch, we took a break from the aquarium and ventured down to Ye Olde Curiosity much stuff and so many weird things. Definitely saw a lot of curiosities! We saw the mummies and shrunken heads and gawked at the Harry Potter wands. We sampled fudge and picked up a little to share with Papa later in the day. Madelyn found some shades she liked. Isn't she the prettiest?

My favorite was possibly the antique Wurlitzer (player) organ outside on the pier.

After walking around the waterfront, the kids wanted to go back to the aquarium which was fine with me. This time, we spent about an hour at the touch tanks getting sea urchin "hugs" and touching the tube worms and anemones. On our first visit, Sawyer didn't want to touch anything. On our second visit, he couldn't get enough. At one point, he was two-handed touching two different sea urchins and I swear I heard him exclaim "Madelyn! I'm touching two urchins!"

The volunteers at the aquarium are terrific. We learned so much through casual conversations with them. We still would have had a fun experience without the volunteers but thanks to their knowledge and accessibility, we learned so much more and had such a neat experience. I highly recommend the Seattle Aquarium.

Day 2. Griff was done with his client meetings so all four of us did some excellent sightseeing.

Fortunately, the kids arrived just in time to catch this piece of public art and hold it up. It surely would have fallen without them.

We did a duck tour and quacked our way throughout Seattle.

We watched a float plane take off past us in Lake Union.

And, while we enjoyed our duck tour, the events in Branson, Missouri, have been on my mind. I realize thousands of other duck boat tours, including ours, have had no troubles. I'm thankful for that. However, it hit a little close to home and I'm so sorry for all those people affected.

Back on land and done with our duck tour, it was time for the Space Needle. Here we come!

After we bought our Space Needle tickets, we had about thirty minutes to kill before getting in line. We found an awesome playground in Seattle Center. Madelyn climbed, Sawyer and Griff did the maze on the ground, and I solved the rebus puzzle.

What a view from the top of the space needle. I don't have a fear of heights but a sheet of plexiglass between the ground 600+ feet down and me is a little unnerving.

The rainforest Sphere at Amazon's headquarters in downtown Seattle.

Day 3. Back to Pikes Place Market. We only had the morning as we were flying home in the afternoon. Nonetheless, we arrived at the market around 8:30A. The shops open at 9:00A. But, the kids and I knew from walking around on Wednesday that there's a little window where you can buy the best looking pastries around - Three Girls Bakery.

What the kids and I speculated from our scouting on Wednesday was correct. Their pastries were THE BEST. I don't even have other words to describe it. I had a spinach and feta croissant, Griff had a ham and cheese croissant, Sawyer had a blueberry scone, and Madelyn had a cherry turnover. But, that's not all. Someone in our group (who shall remain nameless) suggested we get a second set of pastries and try some other things. The rest of the group consented and we ended up with two cheese danishes, a s'mores danish, and a raspberry cream danish. None of them went to waste and none of them lasted very long.

Bellies filled with goodies, we walked through the rest of the market. 

Bought some pickled herring at Pike Place Fish Market for our favorite Scandinavian fellow. Yes, they threw the jar of herring. And, while I paid for it, someone else in the market ordered two salmon which promptly flew right of them was juicy.

Poppie reported that this pickled herring tasted different from the pickled herring at Costco. Neither he nor Griff could elaborate on how it was different.

And, Billie the Pig. We found him. His "sister" Rachel the Pig is in front of Pike Place Fish Market. He's less busy so we could get a good picture.

I'm happy to have visited Seattle. It was so nice of Griff to let us tag along on his work trip and I'm glad we could make it happen.

And, so much for cooler temps in Seattle. It's still hot back here in Colorado.