I’m not sure whether we are just optimistic parents or just plain nuts because we decided to take Peter, Emma, Abby, and Madeline on a 14er up to the summit of Mt. Huron. Mike and I hiked this last summer and thought it was one of the easiest 14er's so we figured our kids would have no problems. Emma and Peter really didn’t struggle at all during our hike while Abby and Madeline definitely had their moments of dislike for us on the trail. The weather was a little cooler when we started and since it was the fall with no worry about afternoon thunderstorms, we knew we could leave later in the morning. We were on the trail by 9:30am and started our adventure with Madeline out of the pack and walking right with us. We put her in the backpack to begin with but she was quick to tell us that she wanted to walk. She hiked for the first ¾ of a mile up the trail and just had the best time. We didn’t stop that much the first mile. It was uphill, of course, but the trail was mostly straight. By the time we made it to the switchbacks we put Madeline in the backpack and Mike carried her through the 16+ switchbacks. We did stop a few times for snacks and to remind the kids to be drinking plenty of water and to just rest our legs from the mildly rocky and steep switchbacks. Mike was really good about letting Abby know when we would be done with the switchbacks. It was important to give her updates about the upcoming sections of the trail. Up until this point most everyone was pretty happy and doing quite well on the trail. Madeline had a few moments of sadness, but it was probably because she wasn’t used to sitting in the pack for long periods of time. We tried to entertain her by singing songs and at one point I turned on some kid songs from my iPhone to keep her spirits up. That lasted until we popped out up and onto the meadow area of the hike.
The meadow section is such a fun part of the trail. It’s not steep and it levels out quite a bit. We told Abby it was flat, to which she replied, “This is not flat AT ALL.” I replied, “This is as flat as you get climbing up a mountain.” I’m not sure she loved that response, but it was true. It was flat enough that you didn’t feel like you had to work very hard. Peter, Emma, and Mike went ahead while I walked with Abby across the “flat” meadow trail. We only stopped a few times to rest our legs for only a few seconds before continuing on. We finally made it to the end of the meadow where we met the others at a large rock at the bottom of the next big push up the mountain. We stopped there for a good 10-15 minutes to actually sit down and have some snacks and hunker down out of the wind. We ate grapes, various cheeses and crackers. It felt good to eat and to sit. At this point it was either turn around and head back or push it to the top. We decided to keep on pushing. Mike continued to carry Madeline, for which I was super grateful. The wind started to pick up and so we decided to grab the bigger blanket we had brought in our packs and put it over Madeline’s pack so we could cover up her legs. Her pants kept riding up and so there was a small section of her leg that was exposed. As strong as Mike is, I could tell that this was taking a toll on him. With the extra weight from carrying her coupled with the ridiculous wind it made our journey quite hard. Madeline was not a happy camper by this point. We had her all bundled up in the pack, but I could tell she was tired and a bit cold. At one point we took her out of the pack and took turns just carrying her in our arms. I could literally only do it for 20 ft at a time. It became frustrating that we were not moving very fast. Where once our hands were nice and warm, the wind started to turn our hands numb and cold. I’m not going to lie; this was a much harder ascent this time around. Between Madeline and Abby, Mike and I were struggling to keep their spirits up and our own. We let Peter climb ahead since he is such a fast hiker and Emma even took off. She ended up coming back down the trail several times because she didn’t want to get that far ahead. Other travelers along the way told her, “You will have hiked more than anyone else as you go up and down and up and down the trail.” She got a chuckle out of that. Once we made it to the cathedral spires, it was the last rocky scramble to the summit. With only 400 ft of rocky scramble we were too close to quit. I think we all cried a little bit as we made our way to the top. Abby had several melt downs and Madeline had fallen somewhat asleep from all the trauma from the wind. I kept checking on her and calling her name just to make sure she was conscious. She was ok; just tired and a little cold. At one-point Abby refused to go any further. Another hiker was making his way down and stopped to give her some of his oxygen. She immediately perked right up. She and Mike took turns getting some more oxygen in their lungs before continuing on. That sweet traveler let Abby keep the remainder of the oxygen to use on her way up. It was really sweet. We all did make it to the top and stopped very quickly for a quick photo. Peter had been sitting there for an hour by the time we arrived. He was pretty cold, but he hunkered down behind some rocks to wait for us. He is pretty experienced with climbing 14ers so we knew he would be ok. The views from the top were pretty remarkable. It was too bad it was so windy because we really couldn’t spend very much time up there.
The rocky scramble back down to the cathedral spires was probably the worst part of the hike. It was hard to find the path we had come up and we got a little off the beaten path at the beginning. Tempers flared a bit, but we did make it back to the real trail. All I could think of was poor Mike. He had carried Madeline in a pack with the wind blowing him all around. I couldn’t have done what he did. I wanted to get down this next section back to the meadow fast and the only way to do that was if Abby hiked at the same pace as the rest of us. I linked arms with her, and we just flew down the mountain. Every time we turned on the trail, we switched positions so that she was closer to the mountain. That made her more comfortable and she was able to keep up a good pace. It was so crazy how our hands started to unthaw the further down the trail we climbed. As we neared the last section of this part of the hike, I noticed Mike was slowing down, so I let Abby and Peter go ahead while I waited for Mike. Emma had already made her way into the meadow by that point. Later Mike told me that his legs were starting to shake uncontrollably so he had to stop more. By the time we made it to the meadow we all met up at the same rock as before and ate our lunch. We should have eaten earlier but it was way too cold at the top so this was the first place we could eat. Mike took off the pack and laid down on the ground. Madeline finally perked up but didn’t eat a lot of her sandwich but was happy to eat tons of fruit snacks. After a good period of resting I took the backpack and carried Madeline down most of the way down. She was quite the chatterbox on the way down and her spirits were pretty good. I think she was happy to be warmer and out of the wind. Just when I was about ready to be done carrying Madeline, she wanted to get out and walk. Thank goodness. She walked the last ¾ of a mile back to the trailhead. It was so cute listening to her little conversations with me. She talked about all sorts of funny things. It made the last part of our hike rather enjoyable. By the time we all made it back to the car we were so relieved and proud that we had made it together to the top of Mt. Huron. Did we push ourselves past our limits…maybe? But what could be better than teaching our kids that they can do hard things. Afterall, there are always life lessons when hiking in the mountains together!
Our first adventure on our mountain getaway was going for a hike on the Willis Gulch Trail right next to Twin Lakes. The trail was only a 10 min drive from the cabin. The weather was pretty great and although we started out with coats, we quickly shed those as we warmed up on the beginning of our hike. The most amazing thing about this hike were the views of all the aspen trees and their brightly colored leaves. It was like walking in a wonderland of yellow and orange. We hiked along the Willis Gulch Cutoff trail until for about a mile until it ran right into the main part of the Big Willis Gulch Trail. Madeline walked a good portion of this trail and had the best time in her new hiking shoes. She was quite the chatterbox while she was hiking. It really was quite impressive that she could hold a steady pace while hiking uphill. Along the trail we had great views of the Twin Lakes, a sweet waterfall, and yellow line pathways full of fall aspen leaves. As we neared the junction where our trail met up with the main trail, we had a few options. We could have kept on hiking upward towards Willis Lake, but it was another couple of miles and we thought it was better to keep today’s hike shorter since we planned on doing a bigger hike the next day. That turned out to be the wise choice. We cut down on the main Willis Gulch trail back down the mountain to make one big loop. We found a few good spots to stop and eat lunch but every time we sat down to eat our lunch, a few bees quickly smelled our sweet sandwiches and swarmed us. To say that Madeline is scared of bees, flies and pretty much anything that buzzes is an understatement. She literally freaked out, so we packed up our lunch and ate it on the move. The last beautiful section was 100 yards long of the most beautiful yellow wooded area. It was magical. We could have spent all day playing there.
Sometimes it is quite necessary to get out of town and just go to the mountains. Lucky for us we live relatively close to a plethora of mountain ranges. We thought it would be fun to spend the long weekend at a cabin up near Twin Lakes, CO. We rented the coolest cabin on VRBO that was tucked nicely up nicely along a mountainside and only a 5 min drive from Twin Lakes and 20 min from Leadville. Since the kids didn’t have school on Friday, we headed up on Thursday evening and stopped at Rudy’s to eat dinner. We drove the Sienna and the 4Runner so we could do some off roading in Mike’s car. We got to the cabin a little after 9pm and although it was dark, we could tell that this would be a ton of fun for the weekend. It was an actual wood cabin with all the amenities for a comfortable stay. Peter got his own room on the main level while all the girls joined us up in the loft. In the loft there was a bunkbed for the girls, a fun living area, a giant bed for me and Mike and a spacious bathroom area. Madeline slept in her little pack-n-play. The rest of the cabin was cozy and spacious. In the basement was a pool table and a foosball table with another set of bunkbeds. It wasn’t until morning that we saw how amazing the views were from the cabin. We woke up to the most amazing sunset and we didn’t even have to get out of bed to enjoy it because we could see it from the tall windows outlining the back of the cabin. The girls had fun in the morning grabbing their coats and exploring outside the cabin. There was a fun little firepit and lots of rocks to play on. We had a lazy morning and enjoyed stuffing our faces full of Mike’s amazing French toast before heading off on our first adventure!
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.
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.
Run for Rwanda
August 3, 2019
Peter jumped in on the Run for Rwanda 5K with his friend Josh to support their cross- country coach who hosts this run every year. Peter didn't plan on racing it but used it as a hard tempo effort run. There was a pretty good turn out for this relatively flat 5K through Cottonwood Creek Park. He ended up running it around 21 min.
August 7, 2019
It is not uncommon for us to see Andrew playing games on his new laptop all situated in the dining room. To my dismay, he plays online games with his friends quite a bit. Having too much free time can sometimes not be a good thing for a new 18 year old.
Tornado in Colorado Springs
August 8, 2019
As Mike and I were on our way up to Denver to see the Billy Joel concert we got a FaceTime call from our kids who informed us that there was a tornado in the area. We had passed through some heavy rain on our way through Larkspur, but we didn't think anything of it. We were so glad my parents were staying with the kids. It passed quickly but the kids were pretty scared.
Ft. Collins Temple
August 9, 2019
Since Mike and I were already up in Denver from watching the Billy Joel concert the night before, we decided to take advantage of a shorter drive to Ft. Collins so that we could go to the temple since the Denver temple was still closed. The session was packed. It was a bit longer than we had anticipated but hopefully we will be blessed for our efforts.
August 10, 2019
We were so lucky to have my parents stay with us for a few short days before heading to Greg and Ruby's house in Texas. My kids always love it when they can spend time with their grandparents.
August 11 , 2019
These evenings have been so pleasant, and the girls have enjoyed spending time on the porch in the early evening just hanging out or reading their books. It was so cute watching Emma read to Madeline. Oh, how I wish these summer nights would not end.
Finding New Glasses
August 12, 2019
I took Peter and Emma to look for new glasses to use as a backup to their contacts. Peter had quite a fun time trying on all sorts of crazy glasses. It was hard to not laugh.
Abby and Madeline
August 12, 2019
I took the girls shopping for some new school clothes and we found this adorable sweater shawl for Abby and a cute pink dress for Madeline. They were both so excited to wear them when they got home.
Andrew's New Glasses
August 13, 2019
Andrew picked out frames totally different than what he has been wearing his whole life and they finally arrived. He was so surprised at how much better he saw through a really good quality lens. I must say he looks pretty good in his new glasses.
Emma Finishes 8th Grade Math via BYU Independent Study
August 14, 2019
Emma spent the summer working through both semesters of 8th grade math through BYU Independent Study so that she could move up to Algebra 1 as an 8th grader. She relied on Peter a little bit at first to help tutor her but by the time she got to the second semester she did it completely on her own. She finished the course and passed her final the day before school started. In only 7 weeks Emma finished an entire year's worth of math. Way to go girl!
The A-team on the First Day of School
August 15, 2019
Abby and her friends call themselves the A-team because their names all start with the letter A. There are 5 of them and they have become the best of friends over the last 2 years. This year they have a new addition, Olivia, who doesn't start with A but nevertheless a great addition to their friend group. On the first day of school they all met up and got popsicles at the snack shack after school.
Riding the Moped with Madeline
August 17, 2019
Madeline just LOVES riding the moped and will usually ask Emma or Abby to take her for a ride. Now that the girls are back in school, I am the one she asks. It's a good thing I also love riding the moped because it's so easy to say yes to her. We always have a great time.
Peter's Last 8 hours of Driving
August 17, 2019
Peter has been working hard this summer to get the rest of his 50 hrs of driving completed so that he can get his driver's license. He only has 8 hrs left and we are just starting school. It's so much work to go out driving with these teenagers but the rewards of having them drive themselves is totally worth it.
Sara's 1st Run after a Month Off
August 19, 2019
I went out for my first run after taking a solid 4 weeks off of exercise. It was a great time to let my body heal and recover. It was a super slow and short run, but I was proud of myself for the effort.
Andrew Instagram's about Peter
August 22, 2019
Sometimes brothers don't always get along but every once in a while, one of them will do something pretty great for the other. Andrew instagramed about Peter and how fast he is becoming in his running. It was pretty great.
Andrew's Internship with Telluride Biomedical
Andrew spent 2 weeks in Phoenix as an intern for Kelvin who works for a biomedical engineering company. He spent the first week moving some of their new biomedical equipment specs onto a new software program. It was supposed to take him the entire two weeks, but it only took him 4-5 days. He spent the rest of the time helping them get ready for an upcoming project. He had a great time spending time learning the biomedical world, eating at In-n-Out, and hanging out with Kelvin and his family.
It's amazing how time flies so fast when the kids are little. It was almost like I woke up one day and Madeline was a little girl and not really a toddler anymore. Madeline had lots of FIRSTS this month. At the beginning of the month she had her very first dentist appointment. She did really well sitting in the chair at first. Then she wanted me to sit with her so I held her on my lap. She let Dr. Patterson count all of her teeth and she let the tech brush her teeth.
Right before the kids went back to school, we decided to transition Madeline from a crib to a toddler bed. I knew that she could stay in bed all night since she slept in a toddler bed during our family reunion over the summer. Mike and Andrew worked together to take the front railing off and replace it with a toddle rail. Madeline was so excited. She actually did really well transitioning to a bed with more freedom. At night she never got out of her bed but during nap time she will still occasionally play in and around her bed before she finally falls asleep. I feel like it's a win because she doesn't come out of her room when it's time to sleep.
One of the things we are trying to focus on more is potty time. Madeline really doesn't have any desire to potty train but that is not to say we aren't trying. I bought her some pull up diapers so that she could learn how to take them on and off by herself. That was step number one. Step two was learning how to get on and off the potty by herself. She can actually do it without using a stool. I'm not sure how she swings her leg all the way around but she somehow manages to get on toilet by herself. Finally, she learned how to wash her hands by herself. The most important piece now was actually sitting on the potty long enough to actually go. We tried reading books, singing songs, and eating snacks but none of those things really helped. The only thing that got her to sit on the potty by herself was knowing that she had to go and not having her pull up or diaper on. I let her roam around naked and I went about my business in the kitchen. I noticed that she walked back in the bathroom and got on the potty and was bracing herself against the wall. Oh boy...she was doing something. She did actually go in the potty but it kind of scared her and she started to cry. I'm not sure if I will be able to convince her to do it again but at least she did it once.
Since Madeline is almost 3 years old, we figured it was time to give her an activity that she could participate in. Since I did ballet and tap with the other girls it seemed like the natural thing to do for Madeline. I found out from a friend about a good ballet/tap program and we did a trial class to see how she would respond. I was so surprised at how well she listened to her teacher and how well behaved she was in the class. When the class was finished, she was so happy.
Even though Madeline had lots of FIRSTS this month, she also had lots of repeated cuteness from things she does all the time. Some of my favorite moments this month from her was her love of playing in the grass, mopping the floor with me, talking on her pretend phone and actually pausing as if she were actually talking to someone, using her own resistant band when I was doing my PT exercises, playing with puzzles and telling me the numbers as she put them in the puzzle, and having a blast during bath time. There is never a dull moment when Madeline is around.
I really do think there is nothing quite like doing something fun with your spouse. Mike and I both love many of the same things. One of the things we love to do that is easy and pretty accessible from home is biking together. We have really tried to take advantage of this great weather to be outside together. We decided to head out on our road bikes to bike from our house all the way to Costco via the Cottonwood Creek trail and the Santa Fe trail. The only major roads we had to cross were Briargate and Union Blvd. We road Royal Pine from our house across Briargate and once we popped out onto Austin Bluffs, we got right onto the wide sidewalk which turned into the trail at Woodmen. We biked all the way through the new section (which is AWESOME) and stopped at the Crit Café at the Criterium bike store. It was so amazing to sit outside on the patio sharing a burger together. I couldn’t think of anywhere I would rather be than spending quality time with Mike. Thank you, Mike, for lighting up my life with adventure and your amazing presence.
Ever since the last high school swim season, Peter has had some workouts that put his heart rate over 200 and sometimes as close as 210. Although it never seemed to effect his performance, it was a little concerning going into this year's cross-country season. His pediatrician ordered a exercise stress test and echo cardio exam. Everything looked good on his EKG and his ultrasound. The next piece was the exercise stress test which he passed with flying colors. It was pretty spectacular watching him run his heart out on that treadmill as the speed and incline increased. Turns out his VO2 max is 65!!! That is at the superior level for someone his age. The only thing the doctor noticed was his oxygen output was a little restricted when blowing out which meant that he could benefit from an inhaler before racing or swimming really hard. We are so grateful that there was nothing wrong with his heart and comforted to know that his HR going above 200 is ok.
We took the kids shooting up in Woodland Park this evening. We left later than we wanted and so we only had about an hour to shoot before the sun went down. We went to the Pikes Peak public range and found a great spot to set up. This was the first time the girls had been shooting and they were both really excited. I didn't grow up with guns so this would be my first-time shooting rifles and shotguns. Peter and Mike set everything up while the girls and I hung out in the car eating our fabulous Sonic burgers. Mike took each of the girls and taught them about the parts of the gun they were shooting and gave them some safety advice. Emma wasn't all that nervous and had Mike help her with the first shot. After that she did it on her own. She LOVED it. Emma mostly shot grandma Candace's 22 bolt action rifle. She only needed a little bit of help pulling back the bolt. After shooting that a bunch she tried the over under 410-22 rifle/shotgun. She was a bit shocked with the kick she got from the shotgun setting but she still loved it. Abby, on the other hand, was extremely nervous when Mike finally put the gun in her hand. She actually put the gun down and ran away until I convinced her to just try it once. At first Mike helped her hold the gun and shoot. Eventually she was comfortable enough to try it on her own. The thrill put a smile on her face, and she was no longer scared to hold the gun by herself.
As for Peter, well he was a pro at shooting. It was fun to watch him shoot the 12-gauge semi auto. Both Peter and Mike spent most of their turns shooting the semi auto gun. I tried both the 22-bolt action and the over under 410-22. I actually managed to shoot down a can and the cardboard wall with the shotgun setting. It was such a thrill. We all can't wait to go back and shoot together again. Next time I will try the 12-gauge semi auto!!
The kids had a pretty fun summer filled with various camps and a big family reunion on the Kelsch side of the family. After all the adventures, the kids were actually ready to head back to school just to see their friends again and to be social. This year will be challenging for each one of the kids but for different reasons. One thing is for sure, I know they will all rise to the occasion and be successful this school year!
Abby was excited to finally join the ranks of the older kids by joining Emma at Challenger Middle School. She was the most excited to be starting this adventure with her A-team friends: Addy, Avery, August, Anna, and Olivia and to be on a team with some pretty great teachers. On the first day of school she was not interested in Mike and I walking her to the bus stop. She quickly sped down the sidewalk and waved without looking back. Abby started school the day before the other kids.
6th grade, Team 614, Cross-Country Team, Rapids Swim Team, Voice Lessons, Piano, Make-up wearer, Social Butterfly, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Pre-Algebra A, PE, Gateway I, Drama, World Language, and Music.
Excited about going on High Trails.
Most concerned about doing math and having Ms. Murray.
Favorite class is PE.
Emma was excited to finally be at the top of her school as an 8th grader, get straight A’s, and to gear up for cross-country season.
8th grade, Team 814, Cross-Country Team, Kokopelli JOXC, Rapids Swim Team, Violin, Piano, Saxophone, HS Orchestra, Silver Tones Choir Group, Advanced Art, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Algebra 1, and PE.
Excited about her science class and participating in the HS Orchestra.
Most concerned about getting straight A’s.
Favorite class is social studies and language arts because the teachers are great.
Peter was excited to see his friends and be on the cross-country team again but he wasn’t that thrilled for his hardest year at Pine Creek HS. As a Junior, Peter will be taking tough classes and preparing himself for the ACT and SAT.
11th grade, Cross-Country Team, State Running Team, Rapids Swim Team, Varsity Swim Team, Advanced Jazz Ensemble, Seminary, H Pre-Calculs, US History, AP Physics, American Lit & Comp, Weights & Fitness, H German 4, and Programming 2.
Excited about Cross-Country and Swim Seasons
Most concerned about doing well on the ACT and SAT and his AP Physics class
Favorite class is H German 4
After a week of three snow days and two canceled meets, the boys were finally ready to compete in their first swim meet against Palmer HS. They knew there wasn't much competition agains Palmer but they were still pumped to swim their hardest. Peter swam in the 200 medley relay (butterfly), 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, and the 400 freestyle relay. He swam strong in all his events but his 500 freestyle was his best event of the day, landing him a new PR of 6:14.56. This is the event Peter will focus on this season to try and get as close as he can to the state qualifying time.
200 medley relay - no individual time. Team time of 2:45.01
200 freestyle - 2:23.48
500 freestyle - 6:14.56
400 freestyle relay - 31.49, 35.51
Andrew also had a pretty good meet. He swam in the 200 medley relay (breaststroke), 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, and the 100 breastroke. With only 1 sec away from his best time in both the 50 freestyle and the 100 breastroke he did well for his first meet. His 200 freestyle relay team actually got a State qualifying time so that is exciting! After this meet Andrew is even more determined to work hard on breastroke this season so that he can try and get a state qualifying time.
200 medley relay (breaststroke) - no individual time. Team time of 1:56.82
50 freestyle - 26.45
200 freestyle relay - 26.31
100 breastroke - 1:17.16
Madeline has changed so much since she turned 2 years old back in September. She is now 25 lbs. and 36 inches tall at 2 1/2 years old. Her hair is still super curly and adorable. She will still wear baby headbands and will usually want to pick them out herself. One of her favorite headbands is the hot pink flower. Sometimes when I try and fix her headband she will say, "No, I fix it." She is becoming very independent. We tried pigtails for the first time and she was able to sit still long enough for me to put them in. She just looks so cute in pigtails. She will sometimes ask specifically for pigtails now. Even though she is moving away from the baby stages, she still sucks her thumb when she is tired or nervous and loves to do so while holding one of her
favorite pink blankets. She has two pink crocheted blankets that she loves because she can poke her fingers in the edge and wrap her fingers in and out of the tiny holes.
Madeline talks so much now. Madeline is simply the smartest little 2-year-old ever. Her vocabulary is so extensive. She talks in simple sentences and she knows exactly how to communicate what she wants. Lately, she has been trying to talk to Alexa on our Amazon Echo Dot to tell her to play Madeline's playlist. Alexa doesn't quite understand Madeline just yet. Madeline loves to tell us stories and sometimes it is just jibber jabber but most of the time we can understand what she is saying. Sometimes her stories consist of random thoughts one after another. I think it is her way of telling us about what she is experiencing. Madeline loves to talk on FaceTime with Grandma Anne and Grandpa Franz. Every time Grandma picks up, she always asks for Grandpa too. Her favorite time to talk to them is before she goes to bed. She loves to go and cook in her little kitchen and then bring the food to the iPad so that they can pretend to eat it. It's hilarious. Madeline will often copy things we say and loves to call us "sweetie" or "sweetheart." She loves to say hi to people in the store and waves goodbye to people when we leave. When we change her diaper and it's a stinky one, she will often say, "I know, I know..." Back in December she had the worst diaper rash that lasted for 4 days. It was bad enough that for quite some time she would get nervous when we would change a dirty diaper. She would calm herself by saying, "No diaper rash." Poor girl.
Madeline is still a great eater. She loves breakfast and lunch but is not the best eater at dinnertime. Her favorite breakfast is cereal and fruit. She loves LIFE, Cheerios, and my homemade
granola, which she calls, "grabola." She loves peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch. She loves the circle babybel cheese and fruit leathers most as snacks during the day. Madeline's
favorite treats are lollipops and cookies. We just introduced her to lollipops but only give them to her as special treats. Madeline still prefers to drink milk over any other drink and will willingly drink water. Overall, she is a pretty good eater and will eat all fruits, peas, carrots, corn, broccoli, yellow peppers, some pastas, chicken, pork, and salmon but doesn't usually like beef or hot dogs. Madeline is great at using her spoon and fork and still uses her hands for some things. I'm not sure where she learned it but one day I saw her eating her blueberries by sucking them up with only her mouth like an elephant would with its trunk. It was kind of hilarious. Sometimes when we are eating together Madeline will knock my cup with her cup and say, "cheers." Emma taught her how to do that. It doesn't just stop with cups though. Sometimes she does cheers with her bowl or plate as well. At dinnertime, which isn't really her favorite meal, she always tries to be done way before her food is actually gone. She loves to tell me..."All done. I want to take a bath, brush teeth, get jammies on, and go to bed." She is such a smart girl.
Madeline has really taken an interest in coloring. She loves to color with crayons, pencils, markers and colorful pens. She is often found stealing the girl's erasable pens from their desk drawer. Sometimes she will draw in a coloring book but her favorite thing to do is to draw on a blank piece of paper. She mostly draws scribbles and repeating circles. Madeline loves all kind of toys. She loves stuffed animals and usually has quite a few in bed with her when she sleeps. She also loves playing with the Little People and the Lego Duplos. Her favorite Little People characters are the princess ones. She carries them around everywhere she goes. Her latest favorite toys are the mini princess clip dolls. She usually asks to sleep with one when she goes to bed. Of course, she still loves her Little Einstein dolls and was so excited when we found Quincy who had been lost for over a month.
Madeline loves to play. She begs us to either pull her across the floor on the blanket or play duck duck goose with her. She also loves it when we chase her around the house. She will say, "chase me." It is surprising how fast she is. Madeline loves to play in the nursery at church but went through a month where she hated it and cried when we took her. Once I started being more consistent with church nursery and the club daycare she quickly became ok playing with the other kids until I returned.
Of all the things Madeline knows how to do, she amazes me with how well she can sing the songs I have sung to her since she was a baby. She doesn't just know some of the words...she knows all the words. She can sing so many songs all the way through. Now when we are getting ready for bed sometimes I will start to sing to her and she will put her finger up to my mouth and say, "Shhh..." because she wants to sing to me. It is cute and kind of funny.
Madeline still loves books. Her favorite books are: Bear Hunt, Little Blue Truck books, Mr. Gumpy, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Pig a Party, Eric Carle's Head to Toe book, Pinkalicious, Goldalicious, Curious George and the Chocolate Factory, Curious George Feeds the Animals, Curious George and the Dinosaur Museum, and the Mother Goose book.
Living in a house full of technology, Madeline falls right in line with the other kids and not only knows how to work the iPad but she loves it all too much. She loves to watch movies on her iPad and on the big TV in the basement. Her favorite movies are: The Heffalump Movie, Mary Poppins, Boss Baby, and Incredibles 2. When she is in the basement she will take all the pillows off the couch and make a big pile on the floor and jump from the couch to the floor. She reminds me of how fun life can be from the eyes of a 2 year old.
There’s only one Boy Scout Camp that has Ice Climbing in the World, and it happens to be in our neck of the woods. After one of the coldest nights camping, the conditions were perfect for ice climbing. Peter and his friend Josh were able to get into a session and roped up for some hard work and scary climbing! While it doesn’t look steep or hard, ice climbing is incredibly difficult. It requires upper body strength, lower body strength, and a keen sense of adventure. At first, it was really hard to learn how to dig into the ice with the ax and the crampons. After a couple of goes at the wall, Peter was able to climb up some pretty challenging walls of ice. It was a lot of fun and crazy to see. This was definitely a cool experience at the Scout Freezerie.
Emma, Peter, and Andrew swam in their second meet of the club season at the CMA Valentines meet at Cheyenne Mountain High School. Since Emma turned 13 last month she was bumped up to swim with the older kids this time. One of the things about the older kids events are the elimination of many of the smaller 50 yd events. There weren't too many options in the 100yd events for today and so Emma only swam in the 100 freestyle race. She was way more confident during this meet than she was during the last meet. She did well, swimming the first 50 yards extremely well. Her second 50 yards was a bit slower because she swallowed some water on the second lap. Still, she was able to knock out a time of 1:35.73. Way to go Emma!
Peter swam the 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle. He went out too fast for the first lap and ended up losing a bit of steam on the second lap. That's usually how it goes with the butterfly. It's just a tough event. His time was 1:15.31. He did really well, however, on his 100 freestyle. He got a new PR with a time of 1:05.21. It was so fun to see Peter PR in the freestyle and to also try the butterfly event. Most kids don't volunteer to swim in that event.
Andrew swam the 100 freestyle and the 200 breaststroke. He wasn't feeling well at all today and his back was bothering him. His times were still decent though. He swam the 100 freestyle in 58.81 and the 200 breaststroke in 2:54.83. I'm so proud of Andrew for pushing through it.
This year Emma decided that she wanted me to make her a fancy cake like I did for Madeline's birthday. She looked at a couple of ideas and came up with a Paris themed cake. I went to work trying to figure out what I would need and spent 2 days prepping and decorating the cake. It definitely was a team effort to make this cake. I did all the prep work and when it was time to finally decorate the cake, Mike helped with the actual drawing on the fondant pieces. We all think it turned out so cute. It was not just a cute cake but it was also extremely delicious. Everyone just loves the marshmallow fondant. The kids finished the cake by the next day. Wow!
For gifts Emma wanted some more clothes as well as a yoga mat and weights. I found some adorable new outfits for her Emma at Athleta this year. She got a new pair of black warm up pants, two fun shirts, and a cozy sweatshirt. I also found an adorable necklace with a little runner girl. She LOVED that. From her grandparents she got a reversable yoga mat and weights. She was beyond thrilled with all of her fun gifts. Even though it was only a family birthday this year Emma got some fun things from some of her best friends. Natalie gave her a pink fuzzy pillow and Ava gave her a cute little dog stuffed animal. Emma is so lucky to have such nice friends.
I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. We checked into a small hotel where our entire floor smelled like weed. After unpacking, we went shopping and then ate at KFC. Needless to say, it was an odd first night. The first day, we went to ski at Breckenridge, which is one of my favorite ski areas in the state. I decided to take everybody on a small hike, which gives you access to some of the peaks, where you can drop into untouched powder and rocket down the side of a bowl. It was a hard hike, but easily rewarding as we were greeted with an amazing view and endless selection of possible lines to ski. I really enjoyed skiing all day with some of my friends. That night, we basically sat at the hotel and ate snacks for dinner until we went down to the "pool" which was a 2ft baby pool, and we messed around for almost an hour. The next day we went to Copper Mountain and spent the first half of the day skiing some blues and blacks, as well as many tree runs. We eventually went to the CAT runs, which are only accessible by taking a CAT up the mountain, then hiking 2 miles to the peaks. It was a really easy hike, believe it or not, and we made it up the mountain in no time. The view from the peak was one of the best views I had ever seen in my life, and the narrow EX run was a dream of powder and trees, making it seem like the perfect winter wonderland. I really enjoyed skiing with some good friends of mine. It was an unforgettable weekend.