LABOR DAY AT FLYING HORSE
SEPTEMBER 2, 2019
We stayed in town for the long weekend, so we headed on over to Flying Horse for Labor Day. The kids had so much fun swimming and eating yummy food by the pool.
PACKING UP ANDREW FOR COLLEGE
SEPTEMBER 4-6, 2019
There was so much to organize and pack for Andrew’s adventure to college. I spent several weeks helping him gather supplies. We laid everything out in the dining room in all the IKEA bags that I could find and packed his suitcases and ski bag in the piano room. There was definitely more to think about since he would be staying in an apartment and cooking his own food.
SEPTEMBER 5, 2019
It was time for a pillow upgrade in the family room. Mike never loved the end pillows that I had chosen so I spent some time coming up with something I thought he and I would both like. I’m pretty happy with the way they look.
ABBY’S DERM LASER APT
SEPTEMBER 6, 2019
I took Abby up to the Air Force Academy dermatology clinic to get her red spot lasered off her face. It has been bugging her for quite some time. She was so nervous and almost decided against it, but we got her to be brave enough to do it.
BIKING WITH MIKE
SEPTEMBER 7, 2019
Mike and I have enjoyed being able to bike together at Section 16 in Black Forest. Since it is still light so late at night, we have found that a quick evening ride is really fun.
FIND MY FRIENDS
SEPTEMER 14, 2019
After we dropped off Andrew to college and Mike left for a conference in New Orleans, I went to Find My Friends and thought it was crazy that we were all over the US.
STRIDERS RUNNING FRIENDS
SEPTEMBER 10, 24&26, 2019
I love running with my Striders friends...especially Dionne and Caryn! This month we have been all over town running in different locations such as the Santa Fe trail downtown, the Shooks Run trail, and the track and Manitou Springs.
FACETIME WITH ANDREW
SEPTEMBER 22, 24-25, 2019
We frequently get to talk with Andrew on Facetime. Sometimes he calls when the other kids are home and they get to see and talk with him. He usually asks to see Madeline first. He even called when the girls were at their cross country meet so that he could tell them good job. Being able to video chat is the greatest thing ever!
Oh, how we just love everything that Madeline does. She has been working on potty training lately. She is not loving it, but she will sit on the toilet willingly even if she never ends up doing anything. Madeline just loves to play with her pretend kitchen and food, and she is always up for playing dress-up and putting on her pretend make-up. Madeline has been my buddy during the kid’s cross-country meets, and she loves it when she gets to play on the playground after the meets. Madeline was able to play with her friend Ella this month. Those two had a blast playing at the big playground together. She gets to see Ella every week before her ballet class since Ella also does ballet at the same place but in the 4 year old class. Madeline has loved going to her new ballet/tap class. She is such a good listener and has picked up some new skills rather quickly. She loves to give the ballerina statue a hug and kiss every time we leave ballet class. It is adorable.
Emma and Abby both had a great cross-country season and worked really hard to finish out this season stronger than they started. Of the 5 meets that were scheduled, only one was canceled due to bad weather. Abby choose to do cross country this year not because she loves to run but because she wanted to do something active with her friends. She worked hard in her practices and never gave up even when it was hard for her. Every race she ran she did it knowing that it would be hard, but she still finished strong. On the other hand, Emma was excited to run cross country this season because running is her best sport. She really started to turn up the heat in her running during track season in the spring. After a good experience at BYU cross country camp this summer she was ready to take on the challenge of pushing herself a little harder than last year.
ELIZABETH HS - MEET #1
1.5 miles, trail with hills
Abby - 19:30
Emma - 10:30 (2nd place)
Emma had a fantastic race at Elizabeth HS. It was an unusually hot day and the meet was about an hour away. I got there about 15 min before her race started and tried to look for the best spot to take photos. After walking off the beaten path Madeline and I found a spot right off the trail. As we watched the start of the race Emma had already pushed herself to the front of the pack and was sitting nicely in 3rdplace behind Bethany and Jade. As we waited for the girls to make their loop and come back, I was shocked when I saw Emma and Jade running down the trail not too far behind Bethany. Emma looked strong and I knew that she could grab 2ndplace if she pushed it at the end of the race. We cheered her on and I could see her starting to pass Jade and pick up the pace. I handed Madeline to a nice man over the chain link fence while I climbed up and over to hurry and make my way to the finish. Sure enough, Emma had pushed it hard enough to not only beat Jade by a sec or two but by 10-15 sec. Emma came in 2ndplace for 7thand 8thgrade girls.
Abby had a pretty good race considering the extremely unpleasant conditions. With her recent growth spurt and maturity, it has become harder for Abby to run fast like she was able to do in ES. However, there is nothing I like to see more than a kid who pushes themselves to their limit just to prove that they can do hard things. This was exactly what Abby did at this meet. She wasn’t in the front or even the middle of the pack when we saw her on the trail but was closer to the back of the pack of 6thgraders. As Madeline and I waited at the finish area for Abby, I was getting a little nervous when I didn’t see her come in. Eventually she made her way into the stadium and pushed hard that last 100m. She may not have had a top finishing time but in my book, she was a top finisher in how she persevered through a tough race. She was a bit emotional at the end because it was so hard for her. I couldn’t have been prouder of her for not stopping and just finishing the race.
CHINOOK MS – MEET #2
Just shy of 1.5 miles, flat and downhill paved course
Abby - 14:10
Emma - 8:40 (2nd place)
This was probably Emma’s most exciting race of the season. Since this was the first time the teams were running up near the new Chinook MS, no one really knew the course. Luckily, one of the coaches showed me a map of the course so I knew where to stand and cheer on the kids. I first saw Emma about halfway through the race. She was sitting in 4thplace behind Bethany, Jade, and some other blond-haired girl. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but she looked strong. As I made my way to the finish on the track, I was shocked to see Emma come into the track in 4thplace and slowly pick off the girls in front of her. By the first curve she made her way into 3rdplace and by the last 100m she battled for 2ndplace and won. Unfortunately, Jade also thought she had won and there was some debate for a bit about it. In the end, Emma’s name was moved to the 2ndplace finish. It was quite the finish. It was the first time I realized how awesome of a kick Emma has at the end of her races. She is very similar to her brother Peter.
Abby had a much better race running on the pavement and slightly downhill than she did on the hilly trail during the first meet. She was in much better spirits when she started the race. I saw her at the beginning of the run and at the end. She happily ran along near the last half of the pack and when she came into the track at the end, I could see how much she was struggling to keep running. I could see her stop for a few seconds on the track and then she started back up again. By the time she rounded the last corner something overtook her, and she turned up the heat and sprinted to the finish. It was pretty amazing to watch.
BLACK FOREST – MEET #3
1.5 miles, trail and hilly
Emma – 9:58 (3rd place)
Only the 7th and 8th graders ran in this race so Abby was off the hook for today’s race. Today was another unfamiliar course as this was the first time the kids were running at this venue. The race wasn’t well marked and not even the coaches really understood the course. That being said, Emma had a decent race today. She ran out and made her way right behind Jade. She kept a pretty close distance to Jade and I thought for sure that she would pick it up on the downhill so she could overtake her. However, she wasn’t quite sure how much further she had to run and so it was hard to know when to start picking up the pace. The moment she realized the finish was up ahead it was too late. There was no way she could catch up. She still ended up with a great time and a 3rdplace finish 10 sec behind Jade.
UTE VALLEY PARK – MEET #4
1.5 miles, trail and hilly
Abby – 16:05
Emma – 9:40 (3rd place)
It was hotter than expected at this meet and both girls were excited to run in the last meet of the season. Emma had been complaining of shin splints so I was a little unsure of how fast she could run today. All she wanted to do was beat Jade, but I told her to just run her best and that would be good enough. She started out so well. Halfway through the race I cheered her on the uphill portion. She looked strong and was right behind Jade. It was anyone’s game. After getting up and over the hill, she started to pick up the pace and actually passed Jade. Then, she tripped but luckily caught herself instead of falling on the ground. It threw her off her game a bit and she struggled to maintain a lead over Jade. As she came into the track for the finish, I could see that she was done. There was no strong kick at the end like she normally has. It was then I just hoped that she would be happy with her efforts and not disappointed in herself. When I saw her after the finish, she had a smile on her face. It was such a relief to me. She said she ran her best and that she was happy with her 3rdplace finish. I couldn’t have been prouder of her for being a good sport about not beating Jade. Afterall, not every race can be your best race. All that matters is that you do your very best under the circumstances.
It was fun watching Abby get ready for her race with her friends. They warmed up and stretched together. Even Madeline sat and stretched with them. As the 6thgraders were getting ready to line up I could tell she was not that excited to run. Bless her heart for finishing out this season. I was pleasantly surprised after the race started to see that Abby was not at the back of the pack coming up the hill like she normally is. She looked really strong. It made me excited for her. As I made my way towards the finish on the track, I was excited to see her finish. As she made her way into the track, she finished that race as strong as she had started. Her time compared to the first meet was 3 minutes quicker. With both courses similar in terrain, I was so proud of her for improving from the beginning to the end of the season. After the race she told me that she would not be running next year. I am totally ok with that.
It's that time of year again when the fall weather is just starting, and the leaves look like they might be thinking about changing colors. We had a pretty warm summer and that seemed to last through most of this month. The colors in town haven't really changed at all but up in the mountains some of the leaves have just started turning colors. We knew that we wouldn't really see the fall colors this weekend, but we decided to head back up to Mueller State Park anyways for our yearly fall hike with the kids. We did our usual easy hike/walk to our favorite lookout spot where we spread out our blanket and had a lunch of sandwiches, brie cheese, crackers, grapes, capri suns, and cookies. The weather couldn't have been better. It was warm enough to play with a slight breeze. Of course, the kids found great walking sticks along the way just like last year. We noticed that our teepee from last year was no longer there and so we decided to rebuild it but in a different location. The kids had fun exploring down from the lookout before grabbing big tree branches from the ground to help build the teepee. I'm not sure if the kids or Mike had more fun. Mike seemed to work the hardest on it. He found a dead tree and used that as a base for all the other branches. Mike is seriously the coolest dad ever. Peter and Emma played real life Minecraft and tried to mine for diamonds by hitting sticks against a big rock. Funny thing is Madeline went over and started copying them. It was too funny. It felt a little weird to do our annual hike without Andrew but we know that he is where he is supposed to be. We still miss him though.
After a great deal of time playing and just being in nature and away from life, we headed back to Woodland Park and over to the same spot we went last time to go shooting. The girls were especially excited this time, knowing a bit more how the rifles worked. We were a bit more prepared this time with headgear for everyone, so no one had to share. We even got pink ear protection for Madeline. The entire car ride over she kept telling us that she wanted to shoot because she is 3 years old. It was really kind of cute. As we were setting everything up, I got Madeline out of the car and gave her the pink headgear and we listened to the other shooters nearby. I'm not sure she liked that, or she was just plain tired from hiking, and asked to go back in the car. All three of the kids loved shooting today. The girls loaded their own guns today and only had some help when they couldn't quite cock the gun. It was pretty fun to see the girls have so much fun. Abby blew off the stem of a mini pumpkin and Emma actually got a bullseye. Peter, of course, had no problems hitting all the targets we set up. I was even able to shoot some targets. I'm so grateful Mike invested in some fun rifles and shotguns this summer so we could spend time together doing something pretty exhilarating.
Every year at the beginning of the school year the youth program at our church has a combined activity where they go ice blocking down the grassy hill at Cottonwood Creek Park. I decided to surprise Peter and Emma this year and snap a few photos. I loved watching their expressions as they flew down the hill on a tiny block of ice. They were both so excited to have their own block of ice this year. According to Peter and Emma, Andrew hogged the block of ice last year. It was easy enough to get them their own this year. The thing I loved most about watching Peter and Emma was their interactions with their friends. I love that they are two social butterflies. I hope this year brings them good friendships and good memories with their friends.
After 4 months of planning and preparing, it was finally time to send Andrew off to college. We spent the last month buying things for his apartment and checking things off our to-do-lists. We left Wednesday evening after the girls cross country meet and drove 3 hrs to Laramie, WY where we stayed the night. It was a little sad for the kids to say goodbye to Andrew. Madeline was pretty delirious when we got to the hotel. She had fun jumping up and down on the bed. It was pretty cute.
The next morning we got up early and left for our remaining 8 hr drive to Rexburg. The views before and after Jackson Hole were probably some of the prettiest of the entire trip. We stopped in Jackson Hole for some much needed lunch. We ate some pretty amazing burgers at Liberty Burger and then drove the last 1.5 hrs to Rexburg. We have never done this drive before and I think we were all a little surprised and impressed at how amazing the views of the Grand Tetons were from the drive. This made Andrew super excited for the upcoming ski season.
We made it to Rexburg by early afternoon and headed straight to the BYU-I campus. We explored the Manwaring student center first. This is where the food court, BYU bookstore, ID card center, mail center, small market, and the entrance to the library are. It definitely had a newer feel than the Wilkonson Center at BYU Provo. We headed straight to the bookstore and found some fun new shirts to buy. Madeline found a cute new puppy dog with a BYU-I scarf around its neck. Next we just walked around the campus to see the different buildings and then made our way to Andrew's apartments at Northpoint. We wanted to make the walk from campus to his apartment so he would be familiar with it.
After that we headed back to the car and saw a different side of campus on the way back. We also drove past the Rexburg LDS temple. Wow...what a sight to behold. It was way bigger than I thought it would be. These students sure are lucky to have a beautiful temple so close. We made our way down to Idaho Falls where we would be staying for the night. We checked into the Hilton Garden Inn and were stunned by the amazing room Mike had requested. Our balcony looked straight out to the Idaho Falls LDS temple. It was pretty spectacular. We dropped off our stuff and went out the back of the hotel through the patio area and made our way to the Idaho Falls River walk. It was such a fun trail that followed the river by the temple. We walked along until we came to a really neat Japanese Garden area. We played there for awhile and then walked back the same way we came to eat at a really yummy restaurant called the Copper Rill. We started outside on the patio but eventually moved inside because it got a little cold when the sun went down. It was a long last dinner with Andrew. We walked back to our hotel and headed to bed.
(found this cool aerial view of the campus online)
(a beautiful photo I found of the Rexburg temple at sunset)
The next morning we got up pretty early so we could be there shortly after the apartment check in started at 8am. As I was getting ready I looked outside and saw the most amazing sunrise right behind the temple. I quickly grabbed my camera and ran outside with my wet hair so I wouldn't miss the beautiful colors in the sky behind the temple. What a great way to start the day!
With a little bit of construction on the road back up to Rexburg, it still only took us 25 min to get there. There had been notices from BYU-I about the traffic but since we used to crazy traffic up to Denver it was kind of a joke to us that people were making such a big deal about it. By the time we got there the lines were pretty short for check-in. Because I had paid for everything before Sept 1 we were able to go into the express check-in lane. It was definitely a team effort. Mike dropped Andrew and I off and we got him checked into their Get Connected program where they are put into groups to tour the campus and be with others who are in their major. Then by the time we made it to his apartment building Mike had already gotten his check-in packet. Mike drove the car to the 5th floor of the building and we unloaded all of his stuff. It was pretty great that his apartment building is the one that is connect to the parking garage. It was kind of a shock when we looked around the apartment to see that the boys who stayed there last semester were kind of slobs. The rooms were completely empty but there was SO MUCH stuff left in the refrigerators, cupboards, and a few misc items in the living room. There was food and milk that had expired in July...yuck. So Mike quickly grabbed some cleaning supplies from the closest grocery store and we went to work cleaning up the place. Andrew and Mike worked on the kitchen and I worked on wiping down Andrew and Caden's bedroom. Mike and Andrew literally threw everything away...even utensils that had been left. It all went into the trash. It definitely took us a bit longer to get Andrew unpacked with the unanticipated cleaning but at least we knew that he would start out in a clean apartment. As I helped Andrew put his room together Mike continued to clean the first bathroom that Andrew would be using. A few hrs after we were there Caden and the McDowells showed up as well as one of the other roommates.
By lunch time all the roommates and their parents had made an appearance at the apartment. It was great to meet the other parents. They all seemed really nice and you could tell that their boys were pretty great too. By 1:30pm Andrew and Caden left to go up on campus to the Get Connected program while we walked to the Manwaring center with the McDowells to eat lunch at the food court. After that Mike and I headed to Walmart to pick up a few things we forgot, including pillows for Andrew's bed. I can't believe we forgot that. Then we headed back to the local grocery store to avoid the Walmart craziness to pick up some groceries for Andrew. Andrew met us back at the apartment at 3:30pm and by 4:00pm we had to say goodbye. I was pretty sad that I had to leave so soon. I could have used one more day with him but we needed to get back since Mike had an early flight out of Denver the next morning. We drove all the way to Loveland and didn't get to our hotel until 2 am. It was definitely a quick trip to drop Andrew off to college but I am glad that both Mike and I were able to go and be with him.
(these temple photos I actually did take myself...right place at the right time)
When I told Madeline that her birthday was coming up and asked her if she was excited to get presents, she said, "Is Santa coming to bring me presents?" I just chuckled because last Christmas she was finally old enough to understand that Santa equals presents. I had to tell her that presents this time would only be from mom and dad. Either way, it was pretty darn cute.
I decided to not do a full fondant cake this year and to simplify things a bit and just do cupcakes. I found the cutest examples of unicorn cupcakes and went in that direction for Madeline's 3rd birthday. Since the week was kind of busy we somehow managed to pull of a little party for Madeline with very little preparation. With some simple decorations and a few fun balloons and gifts, we had a very fun and exciting party for Madeline the day after her real birthday. This year she wasn't quite as scared of the candles but still wanted Peter to sit with her while we lit her candles on the cupcakes. She even piped in and sang Happy Birthday to herself while we were singing it to her. The cupcakes turned out really cute and they were actually really yummy. I tried a different fondant than I normally use and everyone gave it a thumbs up. Even Madeline loved eating the cupcakes. She also loved her chocolate dipped strawberries and lemonade.
Madeline loved her balloons and all the gifts she received. This year the kids gave her two new Little Blue Truck books. She was so happy to see her new books. Grandma and Grandpa Kelsch gave her the cutest castle card that lights up to go along with her fun gift. They gave her a pretend wooden makeup kit with a mirror, comb, two shades of lipstick, two shades of nail polish, eyeshadow, an eyeliner pencil, and a perfume bottle. She spent a good 10-20 minutes just playing with it on the couch before we gave her the last present to open. We gave her a pretend cash register and she just loved that too. We loved pushing the buttons, swiping her pretend credit card and playing with the pretend money in the cash drawer. It was definitely a perfect little party for our sweet little 3 year old Madeline!
Madeline weighs 27 lbs and is 37 inches (3 ft 1 inch) tall. Madeline is our spunky curly haired angel. She talks non-stop and we just love it. She definitely prefers to be outside playing and spent the remainder of the winter and most of the summer riding the moped with me or one of the girls. She LOVES going for rides on the moped or just taking walks around the neighborhood. She especially loves it when the kids will jump with her on the trampoline. She loves to draw with chalk on the sidewalk and play with the sparkly rocks out in front of our house.
Madeline loves to play with her toys just as much as she likes to be outside. Her favorite toys are her Little people, Little Einsteins, kitchen toys, and the Sylvania family animal people with the house and all the fun accessories. She is constantly asking Emma and Abby if they can get the Sylvania family out for her to play with. Since Abby still loves to play with those she is often seen playing with Madeline. Madeline also loves to play dress up and will usually ask us to help her put on one of her pretty dress up dresses.
When we let her Madeline LOVES to watch cartoons on the iPad. She loves being able to wear her pink wireless headphones when she listens to her movies. It's amazing how well she can maneuver around the different apps on the iPad. Her favorite movies are Mr. Incredibles 1 &2, Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns, Kung Fu Panda 3, and the Croods.
Madeline's favorite books are the Berenstain Bear books. Her favorite one of those is the Spooky Tree book. She also loves the Little Blue Truck books. Her favorite one of those is Little Blue Truck Christmas. She also likes Cat in the Hat, the Mother Goose book, and Go Dog Go.
Madeline is super smart. She can count all the way to 20 by herself and recognizes 95% of the letters in the alphabet. There are only a few she gets stuck on. She knows all of her colors and she can recognize most objects on our learning cards. Madeline can also sing really well and knows the words to so many songs...both primary songs and popular songs. The other day we were in the car driving to Denver and a song came on and she just started singing it. I couldn't believe she knew the words so well.
Madeline says a lot of cute things. She loves to copy the things we say to her. When I say things like, "I love you sweetheart," she will say the same thing back. She also calls us honey when we call her honey. Without a doubt she always tells me she loves me too after I have told her that I love her. We love it when she calls the elevator the "alligator." It cracks us up every time. She usually calls Peter Pete and sometimes she has called him boy. We laugh when she does that. She also loves to say, "what the heck..." If she hears a bad word she will be quick to say, "Don't say that word." She is such a good example to her older siblings.
When she wants to tell someone that it is hers she will say, "That is mines" or "Is that mines?" It is too cute so we don't try and correct her.
Madeline loves to do things by herself. If she is really adamant about not wanting help she will say, "Let me do it." She usually likes to try and take off her clothes by herself before her bath. She has learned how to put on her own pull up diaper. She can usually put on shorts or pants by herself but she still has trouble with shirts. We still help her with her shoes but she loves to do the velcro straps by herself.
Madeline loves all kinds of foods, especially chocolate chips which she has been known to sneak into in the pantry. Occasionally we stumble upon something she just doesn't want to eat. After taking one bite she will say, "No thank you," when I try and feed it to her. She just keeps repeating that until I can convince her to eat just three more bites. At least she is polite about it!
A month before she turned 3 we converted her crib into a toddler bed. She didn't have any problems staying in bed at night but will occasionally wake up a little too early. She has been known to go in and wake up the girls which they don't love.
Madeline started a ballet/tap class right before she turned 3 years old. She has only been to 2 classes but she already seems to love it. She is really good at following directions and being friendly with the other two girls in the class.