MADELINE IN FRONT OF TREE
DECEMBER 3, 2019
Madeline just loves our Christmas tree and she spends time every day playing with her favorite ornaments. Her favorites are the silver train, the red truck, and the silver key.
EMMA’S RUNNING BOARD FOR YW IN EXCELLENCE
DECEMBER 3, 2019
For Young Women in Excellence Emma decided to put together a memory board of her JOXC running season. So many people were impressed with how fast she became this season.
EAGLE MASCOT HEAD
DECEMBER 4, 2019
At one of the HS girls swim meets Emma decided to come with me and she got to wear the Eagle mascot head for a little bit. It was fun to see coach Ramon and Matt there.
DECEMBER 5 & 10, 2019
GRANDMA AND MADELINE
DECEMBER 6, 2019
KOKOPELLI KIDS HEADING TO NATIONALS
DECEMBER 7, 2019
Before we headed off to Nationals with Emma, her Kokopelli team met at coach Lisa’s house and did a long, steady hill run up High Drive. Then we stayed after for a pancake breakfast.
ABBY EARNS MONEY FROM CHORE BOARD
DECEMBER 7, 2019
Abby earned money from the board for teaching Mike how to do flip turns in the pool.
EMMA'S ORCHESTRA CONCERT
DECEMBER 11, 2019
Emma had a winter orchestra concert with the HS orchestra and did a great job. Even though she only gets to practice during the last 30 minutes of class, she has learned so much from this experience of being able to be part of the high school orchestra.
MADELINE AND MAKAY
DECEMBER 17, 2019
We watched Makay today and Madeline was so sweet with her. Since Makay is blind we tried to give her things that she might like to touch. It was a very humbling experience to watch Makay.
ANDREW COMES HOME
DECEMBER 18, 2019
It was so nice to have Andrew come home for Christmas break. Everyone was super excited to see him.
ANDREW AND MADELINE
DECEMBER 19, 2019
Andrew went with me to take Madeline to her ballet and tap class and he just loved being able to watch her perform.
ANDREW'S WISDOM TEETH
DECEMBER 19, 2019
Andrew got out 3 wisdom teeth and was quite the funny one as he was coming out of anesthesia. His face was pretty swollen on his right side.
MADELINE ALL COZY IN BED
DECEMBER 20, 2019
Madeline loves to sneak into my bed in the mornings before I have the chance to make the bed. She always says, “This is so cozy.”
ANDREW GETS PAMPERED
DECEMBER 23, 2019
After a week of recovery from getting his wisdom teeth out, I took Andrew to the nail salon with me so that I could pamper him, and he could get a manly pedicure. He actually liked it.
SARA AND DIONNE RUNNING
DECEMBER 26, 2019
The day after Christmas Dionne and I did a fun run at Garden of the Gods to work off all the calories we ate from the holidays.
ABBY AND MADELINE
DECEMBER 31, 2019
Abby and Madeline are quite the pair. Abby is so sweet with Madeline and loves to do her hair high ponytails. She always knows how to make Madeline so cute.
After a restful night staying at the Aspen Ridge Condominiums, we packed up all of our stuff, loaded the car, and headed over to Keystone for another fun day of skiing. This morning I took the older kids out first while Mike and Madeline had fun venturing around together. Mike put her in a little red wagon and walked over to the River Run Gondola where they both hopped on and headed up to the top of the mountain. They tried the magic carpet up at the top near the Summit House and then headed on over to Kidtopia which was a giant ice playground area. Meanwhile, the older kids and I headed up the Peru Express and then took the catwalk over to the Montezuma Express to get to the Summit House area. Abby and Andrew took the Outpost Gondola to get over to the Outpost lodge while Peter, Emma and I skied down Mozart and then took the Santiago Express to get there. That was a huge mistake as this relatively easy blue was super icy, making it a very difficult and not a very fun run. After meeting up we decided to venture over to the Outback Summit and skied many of the blues on that side of the mountain. We found some great runs and spent a good deal of time over there before heading back to the Outpost Lodge. We got in touch with Mike who told us that they were at Kidtopia. We all headed back on the Outpost Gondola and met up for lunch at the Summit House. We found a nice cozy spot next to the fireplace. It was probably the warmest we have ever been while eating our lunch. It was awesome. After lunch I took Madeline over to the magic carpet but after going down the hill and waiting in line at the bottom to go back up that I decided that maybe I would try taking her down an easy green run instead. I took her down the green Scout run and up the Ranger lift. She did fairly well in keeping the tips of her skis together to control her speed. All I had to tell her was triangle and she would push her skis out. She responded better to triangle than to pie. Since she didn’t really know how to turn, I would put her in between my legs when she needed to turn. She loved getting on the chairlift and riding that back up to the top. We did that run 3 times before she started to melt down. We sat on a bench up at the top and waited for the others to meet us. The girls were pretty tired, so they headed down the gondola with me and Madeline. At the bottom we waited too long for the shuttle to pick us up and take us over to the parking lot to meet the boys. Overall, it was another fun day of skiing!
After a few days of being lazy we decided we needed to head to the mountains to go skiing. We rented a condo through VRBO at Keystone so that we could ski two days. We headed up first to Breckenridge and skied there the first day. Mike took the older kids up the mountain first while I ventured over to the magic carpet with Madeline for her very first introduction to skiing. At first I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to go but she picked up on things rather quickly. She was walking in her skis and side stepping in no time. I spent the first few times walking alongside her as she learned how to get on and off the magic carpet. I used the clips to attach the tops of her skis together to help her as she learned how to ski down the little hill without crossing her skis and falling. She loved it. We only went down 3 or 4 times before she was ready to rest. We headed inside to get a treat and some hot chocolate. Before long, we were back out on the magic carpet but this time with my skis on as well. By this point she was able to go up the magic carpet ahead of me and get off all by herself. She could even go down the hill mostly by herself. Eventually Mike met up with us and we traded so that I could go off and ski with the older kids. I headed up Peak 9 towards the Overlook lodge where the girls were waiting for me. The boys had gone off exploring and weren’t back yet. We waited for a little bit but ended up leaving to go ski. The girls and I had a great time skiing together. The sun came out and warmed things up a bit and the wind died down, so the girls seemed to be happier than they were in the early morning. We ended up meeting up with Anna and her mom Lindsey who were also there skiing. We never did run into the boys up at the top but instead met up with them at the magic carpet at the end of the day. Everyone enjoyed watching Madeline show off her new skills and joined in with her in riding up the magic carpet and skiing down the little hill. I think it was safe to say that Madeline’s first day of skiing was a success.
We let Madeline dictate when we started our Christmas morning. Lucky for us she slept in until 7:00am. I made the kids sit on the top of the stairs like I do every year before coming down so I could get a quick photo. It really doesn’t matter how old you are because Christmas morning in our house is such a party. There were probably too many presents under the tree this year and some fun gifts that Santa left out for the kids that were scattered across the family room. This year from Santa Andrew got a ski backpack with all the safety tools he would need as well as a gift certificate to a 3-day Avalanche course. He also got a really nice suitcase for his mission. Santa brought Peter his Letterman jacket and both Emma and Abby got apple watches. Madeline was so excited to see that Santa brought her a brand-new doll with a doll stroller and a doll blanket to match her own blanket. The kids got a variety of other fun things such as new swim bags, games, extra apple watch bands, little Momiji dolls, stretch Armstrong, mini deck of Uno cards, books, new clothes and shoes, fun socks, stress balls, toys, Legos, sunglasses, and DNA kits. Probably the biggest surprise gift for the kids were their new AWAY suitcases and a surprise trip to Germany. They did not see that one coming. They were beyond excited. Of course, Mike outdid himself again and got me a fun big gift. He got me an American Beauty octagon barrel Henry repeating arms 22-gauge lever action rifle and a 9mm Ruger semi auto handgun. The rifle was absolutely gorgeous. I was so surprised and excited to try them both out. This year for Mike’s big gift I got him a turntable with some classic vinyl’s such as Pearl Jam, Weezer, AC/DC, and Queen. He absolutely loved it and was really surprised that I finally got him a clever and fun gift. We all had fun opening our many gifts, eating cinnamon rolls, and listening to Mike’s new vinyl records. It was a perfect Christmas morning!
Christmas Eve is always an exciting time and even though most of our kids are older they still enjoy the excitement of it all. Emma made the sugar cookie dough this year and it was so delicious. It was hard to not keeping eating the dough. Madeline loved picking out different cookie cutters and cutting out cookies to put on the pan. The girls got really creative this year with the icing and made some pretty cute cookies. With all the baking that was going on today it was a nice break to stop and let the kids have fun with the Christmas cookies. We had a fabulous dinner of ham, stuffing, deviled eggs, sweet potatoes, jello and rolls. After dinner I handed out everyone’s new Christmas pajamas. Madeline was so excited to put on her new Frozen nightgown. There is just something so fun about new pajamas on Christmas Eve. The kids turned in relatively early after some reading in the scriptures and family prayer. I’m glad that the anticipation and excitement is still there with the older kids. They still get excited for Christmas morning and that is a good thing.
This year Emma decided that she wanted to try the Junior Olympic XC series with the Kokopelli Running Club she has been part of the last 2 years. She took a week off after middle school season ended and started right back up with Kokopelli and some of her friends. Her goals this season was to do well in State so that she would qualify for Regionals and then Nationals. She had a rocky start at the Parker Invitational where she ran her first 4K ever and had to figure out pacing for a longer race. It was at this race we realized that would need spikes for future meets. For the Kokopelli Invitational Emma was more focused and prepared and ran and amazing race, cutting almost 40 seconds from her time the previous race. She ran through mud and snow but that didn’t stop her from running fast. At the JOXC State meet in Lyons, CO Emma didn’t PR, but she still held onto a good time and a great overall place. Emma’s best races of the season were at Regionals in Albuquerque and Nationals in Madison. Mike, Madeline and I drove with Emma to Albuquerque for the Regional meet. The weather and elevation were absolutely perfect. She PR’d by 16 seconds, with a time of 15:31 and an 11th place finish. out of 121 runners. Her team also came in first and they were all awarded with medals for that. The girls were so excited that all of them qualified for the National meet. We took the entire family to support Emma at her National meet in Madison, WI. The weather was extremely cold, with a high of 26F and a real feel of 13F during the race. It truly was an impressive race to watch as somehow her legs just moved faster than she had ever run before despite the cold. She PR’d again but this time by over 30 seconds, with a time of 14:55 and a 29th place finish out of 316 runners. Her pace was a flat 6:00 per mile! Her age group girls team took place once more. All of her hard work throughout the season paid off and we were all so glad we could be there to witness it, along with Aunt Kim, Uncle Al and cousin Haley.
4K - 16:33.79 (7th out of 54)
OCTOBER 12, 2019
This was Emma's first race longer than 1.5 miles and she was pretty nervous. It does help that she is now on the same team as some of her friends who are in different middle schools and with whom she was competing against during the middle school season. She loves being able to run with Bethany, Jade and Eliza. Those four girls are quite the strong group of runners. We got there quite early so that she could run part of the course with Bethany. It was so cold when we got there but luckily it warmed up before the 13-14 girls race which started at 11:00am. Emma's first half of the race was not her best. She was way behind Jade, who she is normally running right behind, and she was positioned in 12th place. I was a little worried until I saw her come down the last long stretch of the race. She had moved into 7th place. She looked strong and was right on the tail of the girl in 6th. Clearly, this was a great race to learn how to pace herself for a 4K. She finished the race in 16:33.79 which is a 6:39/mile pace. Not too shabby for her first race of the JOXC season.
FOUNTAIN REGIONAL PARK
4K - 15:47.75 (7th out of 48)
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Emma' second meet was at the Kokopelli Invitational down in Fountain. Earlier in the week it had snowed so the kids ran the course during the week in preparation for the race. Luckily some of the snow had melted by race day. Emma ran in cross country spikes for the very first time at this meet. She was definitely more prepared to run a better race than the Parker meet a few weeks prior. Mike, Peter, and I cheered her on for this race. I went to the backside loop and Peter and Mike stayed closer to the start and finish. I was so impressed by how much she improved in this race. You could just see her strength as she was running. It was pretty marvelous to see. She improved by 46 seconds bringing her average pace to 6:21/mile.
JOXC STATE MEET
4K - 15:56.86 (9th out of 68)
NOVEMBER 9, 2019
Mike, Madeline and I headed up to Lyons, CO to cheer on Emma at the JOXC State Meet. Emma was a little nervous for this meet and the weather was a lot warmer than the meet the previous week. She seemed to be more at ease when she was with her teammates. Mike and I divided and conquered the course. I went out further along the course and he stayed closer to the start and finish with Madeline. I could tell on the first loop of the course that this would be a tough course to PR on. Between the hilly switchbacks and the heat, it would be a tough race. She still ended up doing really well and finished only 9 second behind her PR. We couldn't have been prouder of Emma.
JOXC REGIONAL MEET
4K - 15:31 (11th out of 121)
Girls 13-14 Team - First Place
NOVEMBER 16, 2019
We had a great time traveling to Albuquerque for Emma's Regional meet. Mike booked us a hotel at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort which was less than 2 miles from the course. We drove straight to the course and made it just in time for her to do the course run through with her team. Mike, Madeline and I ran just the first stretch and then we explored the course a bit and planned out where we would watch her the following day. Then we headed to the hotel and ate dinner at the restaurant there. The food was delicious, and it made Emma really happy. Afterwards we walked around outside on the resort grounds and made our way to the smores pit and enjoyed a complimentary smores. It was a nice relaxing way to spend the evening with Emma. The next day we got to sleep in because Emma's race wasn't until mid-day. We all had a fantastic breakfast and then headed on over to the course. Emma was super pumped for this race. An hour or so before the race Jean and Katrina Meehan came over to say hi and wish Emma good luck. It was really great to see such good friends. The weather was perfect, the course was rolling, and the elevation was low. Emma placed 11th with a time of 15:31 (6:14 mile/avg) and her age group girls team took 1st place!!! We are so proud of Emma for working so hard to get to this point in her running. We can’t wait to see her run at Nationals in Wisconsin.
JOXC NATIONAL MEET
4K - 14:55 (29 out of 316)
Girls 13-14 Team - First Place
DECEMBER 14, 2019
We froze our little behinds watching Emma run at JOXC Nationals today in Madison, WI but we had the best time supporting our speedy little girl. Emma not only had her immediate family there but also her aunt Kim, Uncle Al, and cousin Haley and a family friend. Out of 316 total runners in the 13-14 girls age group, Emma came in 29th with a new PR of 14:55 for the 4K (6:00 avg mile split) OH MY GOSH how did she cut 36 seconds from her last time a few weeks ago? She amazes us. With a temp of 25F and a real feel of 14F Emma ran an extremely great race. Her Kokopelli girls 13-14 age group team came in 1st with their top girl coming in 1st individually. These girls are such a strong team and we have loved every minute watching them run this season. We are so excited to see how Emma's running progresses into HS next year. She is definitely a talented runner.
We decided to take the entire family to Madison, WI to support Emma at JOXC Nationals. It was a relatively quick flight to Chicago where we rented a big fat black SUV and drove to Madison. We got in rather late on Thursday evening. We let the kids sleep in the next morning and Mike and I snuck away for a bit to go running and exploring. We ran from our hotel along the lake and towards the Capital building. The run was beautiful and so easy since we were now running at sea level. The inside of the Capital building was pretty spectacular. It was decorated for the holidays with the biggest Christmas tree I had ever seen. After making our way back to the hotel, the kids were still in their pajamas. After getting everyone ready for the day, Mike dropped Emma and I off at the course so that she could do a run through with her team. While she was running, I stood in a very long line to grab some swag. Emma joined me after her run and we stood in line for a little bit longer. I ended up standing in line for almost 2 hours to grab some shirts and sweatshirts. That was so crazy. While Emma and I were at the course, Mike took the other kids to the Madison Zoo. They had a great time seeing the tigers, lemurs, turtles, birds, iguanas, alligators, and other animals at the zoo. They arrived at the course to pick us up right when we were checking out. We then headed back to the hotel to let Emma shower and change before meeting Kim, Al and Haley at a restaurant for dinner. It was so nice of them to come and support Emma for her big race.
Every year at the beginning of December the elves come to visit, and we celebrate by having our annual North Pole Breakfast. The kids still look forward to this fun tradition even though most of them are all older now. It was tempting to not do the elves this year since Madeline is the only small kid left in our family, but Abby insisted that we do it anyways. This year instead of doing it on the first Saturday of the month we decided to do it for dinner one night while Grandma Anne and Grandpa Franz were visiting. It was fun to share one of our traditions with them. Everyone had a great time stuffing their faces with Mike’s famous buttermilk pancakes, bacon, berries, and powdered donuts. There is never a shortage of powdered donuts during our North Pole breakfast. It is usually one of the only times during the year that we eat this white powdery goodness.