JANUARY 1, 2017
For the last few years we have gotten the most beautiful sunset on New Year's Day. I don't think I will ever get used to how beautiful the view is from the living room of our house. It is rare to get an unobstructed view of Pike's Peak. Thank goodness for the horse farm across the street to block any new homes from being built.
SKIING AT COPPER
JANUARY 3, 2017
Before the kids headed back to school we wanted to go skiing together one last time over our Christmas break. We headed to Copper Mountain and did our normal swap with the baby. Mike took the kids out first while I stayed in the car with Madeline. Apparently they didn't get to do as many runs as they would have liked since Abby struggled getting down one of the runs. By the time they met me for lunch, half of our crew was done for the day. Abby was not having a great ski day and Andrew didn't feel well so those two headed back to the car with Mike while I took Peter and Emma back up the mountain. We headed up the American Flyer lift and do the American Flyer run twice and Windsong twice. I finally felt like I was getting my grove back since having Madeline. Peter and Emma were quite the skiers and I found it hard to keep up with them. Their little legs were in better shape than mine.
ANDREW SKIES WITH FRIENDS
JANUARY 7, 2017
Andrew headed back up to Copper Mountain this weekend to ski with his friends Caden and Corbin. Caden and Corbin snowboard and Andrew skis. They had such a blast together and even stopped to eat a warm waffle at the top of the American Flyer lift.
JANUARY 11, 2017
In preparation for Andrew's upcoming Eagle Court of Honor I made invitations and had them printed at Copy It. I was so impressed with how well they turned out and how much cheaper it was to do it at Copy It then it would have been to have them printed somewhere else.
SHOPPING WITH GRANDPA AL
JANUARY 19, 2017
As part of his gift to Emma, Grandpa Al took Emma shopping at Kohls so that she could pick out a few outfits for her birthday. I tagged along as the advisor. It was so much fun watching Emma pick out some fun shirts and modeling them for us. I think Grandpa had the most fun watching the utter joy on Emma's face.
JANUARY 20, 2017
Mike has been on such a great health kick since the beginning of the year and it has really motivated me to push myself to eat better. He makes the greatest salads. I was lucky enough to enjoy one of his creations today. It was a simple salad but tasted oh so yummy. There really is nothing like a soft boiled egg to top off a fantastic salad.
JANUARY 21, 2017
The girls made valentines aprons with Grandma Anne. They used a square oven mitt and a hand towel. Genius! The girls love spending time with their Grandma, especially when they get to do a fun project.
SWIMMING IN THE EARLY MORNING
JANUARY 25, 2017
It has been a work in process trying to come up with the best times to fit in all of my exercise without having to put Madeline in day care or rely on friends to watch her. I have finally given into the fact that I won't ever be sleeping in past 5am on school days. Twice a week I get up and head to Flying Horse to swim when it is dark outside. So far that plan has worked out nicely. It has been so peaceful to swim in the early morning and to be showered by the time my kids are getting up for school. Hopefully my body can keep it up.
WINTER SERIES RACE 2
JANUARY 28, 2017
Peter and I decided to jump in on the winter race series being held by my running group, The Sunrise Striders. Since Peter hasn't really been running since the fall and I haven't raced in over a year we decided to stick to the short series. Today's race was 4 miles in Bear Creek Park. There were plenty of rolling hills to keep this course tough. Peter did well coming in at 35:38. I was able to finish the coarse in @32 min. One thing is for sure....we totally overdressed for this race. It was so cold in the morning but warmed up literally while we were running. Peter and I both placed 6th in our age groups. I was 19th female overall and 94th runner overall. Peter was 112th male overall and 150th runner overall. We thoroughly enjoyed the donuts and water afterwards and Peter even got to meet a few of the people I run with every week. We look forward to our next race in a few weeks.
ANDREW HITS 7 HRS OF DRIVING
JANUARY 29, 2017
It's been a challenge to get driving hours in for Andrew. Ever since having the baby I have been limited in how often I am able to take him out driving without the baby. Mike has actually taken Andrew driving way more than I have. Since we don't let him drive with any of the other kids in the car while he only has his permit we have to make an honest effort even when it's not extremely convenient for us. It may take longer for him to get all of his hours in by the summer but at least we will all feel better that he is following the rules of not driving siblings before he actually gets his real drivers license.
Madeline weighed 10lbs 3 oz at the beginning of this month right when she turned 4 months old. Because she fell to 0% for weight and was suffering from a major spitting up problem the doctor recommended that I try to give her a special formula once a day. So far she doesn't love it. It takes a lot of work to get her to take the formula from the bottle but eventually she takes it. She takes my milk from the bottle really well so I'm thinking it is the formula that she is opposing. I have also cut out cows milk again to see if that helps with the spit up problem. I finally had to order special drool bibs to help in not changing outfits multiple times a day. Thank goodness they are cute. By the end of the month she weighed 10lbs 12 oz. She is gaining weight but not enough to bump her out of the 0% for weight.
Even with the difficulty in the spit up problem, Madeline continues to be as fun as ever. We all love it when we get a few giggles out of her. She has also started to grab her legs and toes when she is laying on her back. It is the cutest thing ever. She is such a mover and has started to roll from side to side. At first I was so excited for this new development until I realized that I couldn't put her in her papoose sleeper at night. It made me sad to put her to bed at night without any blankets so I bought her a blanket sleeper and she loves it. She continues to be a great sleeper sleeping 9-10 hrs and then another 2 after I feed her in the early morning before waking up for the day. Instead of waking up crying she actually wakes up happy. The other kids love it when they can go into her room to "wake her up."
Madeline continues to grow and change all the time. She LOVES to suck on her fingers and has discovered her thumbs. She is definitely teething and has finally taken an interest in her pink teething ring. Sometimes when she is tired I will find that she spits out the pacifier and sucks on her thumb instead. She usually favors the right thumb. It is cute. I will still encourage the pacifier over the thumb but for now I'm thankful she can self soothe with her thumb if she doesn't have the pacifier.
Madeline finally figured out how to roll onto her tummy and back over to her back this month. She sleeps primarily on her side and tummy now. At first it made me nervous to let her sleep on her tummy but after realizing she could roll back onto her back I was somewhat relieved. She is a GREAT sleeper and naps so well during the day. I am so glad that I have been diligent about getting her into a good routine because now all I do to put her to bed is give her a big hug, lay her down, give her the pacifier, play her music bunny, and walk out. It really has been that simple.
The hanging toys have become a new adventure for Madeline. She loves to swat at the toys on the bar above the LEAF and the animals hanging on her play mat. Her favorite animal to grab is the whale. She will play laying flat on her mat but she definitely prefers to sit up and play. Since she can't sit up on her own I will either hold her up or lean her against the poppy pillow so she is propped up and can play.
Madeline is such a joy and we just can't get enough of her cuteness. There isn't a day that goes by that the kids don't say, "She is just the cutest thing ever." We were looking at everyone's baby photos and videos and everyone concluded that Madeline is the cutest baby of them all (their words, not mine).
This month's FIRSTS:
Sleeping on her tummy
Our little Madeline is just that...little. She is like a little doll baby and with every new change she gets that much cuter. But, she is pretty tiny even for her age. Her height continues to steadily increase and she is currently at the 35% mark. Her weight, however, is hovering at the 0% range. I am not that worried, though, as I know that she will catch up with the start of new foods. We decided not to wait until 6 months to introduce foods but instead started rice cereal a week before she turns 5 months old. Today was Day 1 of rice cereal and it went better than expected. She gave me the usual face that said, "What the heck are you putting in my mouth?" After a few tries she did in fact eat the rice cereal without too many problems. I had hoped to wait until her new seat and new baby spoons came but the opportunity presented itself today and so we went with it. I hate to see her growing up so fast but just like the other kids, every stage is more fun than the last. She truly is such a joy. I can't get over how adorable those big blue eyes are and that stinking cute face.
Emma was lucky enough to be able to celebrate her birthday while both of her grandparents were in town visiting for Andrew's Eagle Court of Honor. She spent Friday evening going shopping with Grandpa Al at Kohls as part of her birthday present. She loved being able to pick out a few things to try on for Grandpa. She was so excited to wear her new clothes but had to wait until after she opened up them up because Grandpa wrapped them all for her to open. On Saturday afternoon Emma opened up her gifts from everyone. She received Athleta girl clothes from mom and dad, some more Athleta girl clothes and 3D pen filaments from Grandma Anne and Grandpa Franz, clothes and books from Grandpa Al (each book wrapped individually with specific instructions for me to give to her periodically so she didn't read them too fast), a pair of dolphin earrings from Andrew, and a pair of earrings from her cousin Annabelle. After all the gifts were opened Emma put on one of her new shirts and then we headed up to Denver to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse. The food was absolutely delicious and Emma even got her own free ice cream sundae for dessert.
On her actual birthday we celebrated with yummy steak fajitas for dinner and a fun cake Mike bought at the store for dessert. Just for fun we got her a new mug and journal for her to open on her real birthday. She also got to open the next book from Grandpa Al. Happy Birthday to my sweet 11 year old girl!
Grandma Anne, Grandpa Franz, and Grandpa Al flew in for the week to celebrate and participate in Andrew's Eagle Court of Honor. Grandpa Al had saved and brought all sorts of memorabilia items both from his days as a Boy Scout and Mike's journey as a Boy Scout. I was able to display those items on a separate table at the Court of Honor. Andrew really loved being able to see his dad and grandpa's merit badge sashes and other Boy Scout items. Andrew's display table consisted of his Cub Scout rank cards, shirt, hats, neckerchiefs, and belt loops, his Boys Scout merit badge cards, rank cards and patches, Order of the Arrow sash, a US flag that was flown over Washington DC from Mike's days as a Boy Scout, 2 letters from Generals in the military plus a coin, a variety of congratulatory letters, his Eagle Scout certificate, neckerchief, slide, Eagle Project binder, and a signature book.
As people started showing up for the Court of Honor I was impressed by how many people showed up to support Andrew. We had anticipated that maybe 20-30 people would attend and were pleasantly surprised when we had to keep bringing in chairs. There ended up being well over 50 people in attendance that night ranging from family and friends to ward members, Eagle Project participants, and previous Scout leaders and school teachers. Brig Asay, the Scout Committee Chair, conducted the ceremony. Mike spoke about Andrew's journey through Scouting program and Grandpa Al presented Andrew with his Eagle certificate and pins. Both Mike and Al had lots of great things to say about Andrew and gave him some good advice. After getting his certificate and pinning the mother's pin on me Andrew said a few words about his experience. At the end he gave me some flowers and a gift card to Athleta. I wasn't expecting that and was so moved that he was so thoughtful. Near the end of the Court of Honor we watched a slideshow that I had put together about Andrew's journey to Eagle. It was so fun to see how much he had grown and changed over the years. I cried many times as I put it together, realizing that time was moving too quickly. Everything about the Court of Honor was pretty great.. Even Madeline, who was a bit fussy, didn't detract too much from the nice spirit that was present during the program. We couldn't be prouder as parents of Andrew in all that he accomplished through the Scouting program.
Family and Friends who attended:
Mike, Sara, Andrew, Peter, Emma, Abby, Madeline Wilhelm (Parents and Siblings)
Alfred Wilhelm Jr. (Grandpa)
Franz and Anne Kelsch (Grandparents)
Karl Kelsch (2nd Cousin)
Clark Milner (YM President)
Caden McDowell and family (Andrew's friend)
Dave Barkdull (11 year old Scoutmaster)
Peter Rasmussen and family (Andrew's friend)
Bill Sampson (Merit Badge counselor and family friend)
Vint Atkinson (Eagle project participant and family friend)
Landon Perigo and family (Andrew's friend)
Corbin Gebski and family (Andrew's friend)
Brig Asay and family (Scout Committee Chair)
Herb and Susie Lawson (previous home teacher)
Alicia Low and Caden (Family friends)
Donald Spano (8th grade social studies teacher)
Chad Derosa (Dad's urologist work friend)
John Mancini (Dad's urologist work friend)
The Johnson family (Family friends)
Michelle and Nate Watabe and family (Family friends)
Grant Garlock and family (Andrew's friend)
Christian Seaquist and family (Andrew's friend)
Bishop McAllister (Bishop)
Jonathan Jackson (Bishopric 2nd counselor)
We LOVE it when the grandparents come to visit. During really special times we get both grandparents at the same time and when this happens the kids are in heaven. Most of the time I just enjoy watching the kids interact with their grandparents and I don't think to take photos of those moments. Luckily I was able to capture a few moments on this trip.
Through spiritual promptings and a caring brother, I was able to fly to Fresno, CA to be a part of Jeff's weekend of going through the LDS Temple and the baptism of his two boys. I flew on a Thursday afternoon with Madeline and the flight went better than expected with a small baby. It was so nice to be able to stay with Jeff and Jennifer and their boys and to be able to spend time with my parents who were also there. On Friday we spent the day just hanging out together and preparing for our time in the temple with Jeff. I was so impressed by how much he prepared himself throughout the day. From watching spiritual church movies to reading his scriptures, I could see such a marvelous change in my brother Jeff. It is amazing how our countenances do change when we are following the Savior. Jeff shined all day long. I just wanted to be close to him all day because of the wonderful spirit that radiated from his presence. We left around dinner time to head to the temple and left the baby and the boys with Jennifer's cousin's teenagers who watched the kids while we were gone. I was a little nervous to leave the baby but knew that things would probably be ok. After getting our temple clothes on and heading into the Endowment room I was so overcome with emotion. It took everything I had to not break down in tears before the session even started. I looked over at Jeff and he looked so peaceful and calm. This moment was one that all of us for many years had been praying for. It was so nice to be in the temple with my parents as well. It had been many years since we had been in the temple together. There were so many people from Jeff's ward that came to support him in the temple. They just kept bringing in additional chairs so that everyone could fit. I had never seen anything like it. The spirit that was in that room was SO STRONG. Everything about that session was awesome. It felt almost like I was experiencing the temple for the first time. I didn't want it to ever end. After our session was over we all waited in the Celestial room for Jeff to come through. It was truly a marvelous moment to be all together in the Celestial room. Families really can be together forever. I have a testimony of that. My testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ was strengthened so much through this experience. I think for the first time in my life I finally have a deeper understanding of the Atonement. I have never seen such a drastic change in someone I love because of the Atonement. I'm so grateful I was able to be there to witness firsthand the wonderful change that has taken place in Jeff's life.
The temple was wonderful and spiritual but our spiritual weekend didn't end with that. The next day was the baptism of Logan and Matthew. I loved being able to watch those sweet boys make their first covenants. Again, Jeff looked so calm and peaceful. As he laid his hands on those boys heads to confirm them members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, the blessings he bestowed on both of them were incredible. I found myself overcome with emotion again as the Spirit was really strong in that room. The Spirit bore witness to me that God truly loves all of his children and He has a special plan for each of us. The things I felt this weekend are ones I will never forget. The spiritual boost I felt was one that I needed so desperately at this point in my life. I am so grateful for the wonderful example that my brother is to me of perseverance, diligence, repentance, hope, and faith. I definitely want to be more like him.
Andrew has been 15 years old for a little over half a year now and I didn't want to forget all the wonderful things about what he is doing now in his life. He seems to change so much every year and I get sad when I think that I only have 2 1/2 years left to enjoy him everyday in our home. Andrew is so much more focused his Sophomore year. I am pleasantly surprised with how hard he is working in school and with his swimming. This year he is swimming with the Altitude Swim Club until the HS season starts in March. He has loved being able to swim with some of his friends and has really enjoyed being on the team with coach Mike. Andrew continues to love anything that has to do with the computer. His latest passion is programming. He is taking a Web Page Programming class at school and has to put in extra time to learn HTML on his own since. After spending 6-7 hours at the beginning of the semester learning HTML he found himself with more knowledge than he actually needed and was teaching some of the kids in his class things they didn't know. It continues to be one of his hardest classes but he enjoys it. Andrew has been taking an AP class in Human Geography and although it is a pretty rigorous class, he has enjoyed the challenge and learning from Mrs. Brown. She is a fantastic teacher. German remains one of his favorite classes. This year they got a new teacher who is actually teaching them how to speak the language. He has already improved so much this year in his speaking skills. He told me that he plans to take German all 4 years of high school.
When Andrew is not at school or swimming he loves to play games like Minecraft. He does love shooting games but we try and limit the amount of time he is doing those kinds of games. He recently went out shooting with Mike and Peter and the Milner boys and discovered that he is pretty darn good at Shotgun shooting. His aim was pretty spot on. Since then he has also taken an interest in Air soft guns and likes to go out with his friends and play when he can.
At church Andrew is currently 2nd counselor in the Teacher's Quorum and is one of my Sunday school students. It has been such a joy to teach Andrew in my class. He always has such great things to add to the class. His humor is 10/10. Andrew is so kind and loving even though he does get annoyed with his siblings. His heart is always in the right place. He adores baby Madeline and is never tired of holding her, picking her up, or playing with her. He is a great older brother.
When asked these questions, this is what Andrew wrote:
What is your favorite color? PURPLE OR AQUA
What is your favorite movie? THE DARK KNIGHT
What is the best part of school? JAZZ BAND
What is your favorite sport? SWIMMING...DUH
What is your favorite subject at school? GERMAN
What is your favorite animal? RED PANDA
What is your favorite song? LONE DIGGER BY CARAVAN PALACE
What is your favorite book? FABLE HAVEN
What is your favorite food? KATSUDON (WITH THE EGG)
What is your least favorite food? ASPARAGUS
What is your favorite thing to do with your family? SKIING
What is your favorite holiday? CHRISTMAS
What makes you happy? FOOD
What makes you sad? BEING VERY HUNGRY
What do you want to be when you grow up? I DO NOT KNOW
What scares you (makes you nervous)? DEATH OF A LOVE ONE
Where do you want to go on vacation? JAPAN