It was a Sunday when I got the text saying that my Grandpa Don had passed away. He was the only grandpa I have ever known. Grandpa Don married my grandmother a little less than 50 years ago. He was 89 years old and lived such a full life. I have so many happy memories visiting Don and Grandma and doing things like riding the horses, driving up to the cabin, teasing the cats, going snowmobiling, riding on the boat, feeding the baby deer he was nurturing and many more moments during the time he worked for the Division of Wildlife in southern Utah. He was adventurous and caring. When my grandmother passed away in 1995, he was so lonely until he met JoJo who has taken such good care of him these last 20 years. The last time my older kids saw Don was 6 years ago. I just can’t believe it was that long ago. Madeline and I flew out to attend the funeral. Death is a hard conversation to have with a 4-year-old. As much as she didn’t understand what I told her about dying, she definitely understood that all JoJo needed was lots of love. My Madeline is such a sensitive soul. It warmed my heart to see her give JoJo the love she needed. Death is hard. But more than that is the regret of not having visited more these past 5-10 years. All we have when our loved ones leave are the memories we made together. I was really glad I was able to attend the funeral.
It was so fun to watch Abby in her swim meet with her new swim club, Pikes Peak Athletics. Due to the new restrictions with COVID we weren't able to watch from inside the building but rather watched from the windows on the side of the building. Abby has had such a good experience swimming with Group 3 at PPA, partially because her friends are in that group but mostly because she has been challenged and had to swim up a little bit. She comes home from practice exhausted but so happy. Abby loves to swim and although she isn't the fastest swimmer, she has pretty good form and is a hard worker. At this meet she swam in the 200 IM, 50Y Butterfly (52.79) and the 50 Backstroke (47.67). I missed her 200 IM but was able to see both of her other events and was so proud of her for pushing hard even when she wasn't having the best swim day. Abby's best event is definitely freestyle, but those events were only being held on Sunday. Hopefully next meet she will be able to swim in the freestyle events.
CRESTED BUTTE WEEKEND . DAY 1 . OHIO PASS (OCTOBER 3)
CRESTED BUTTE WEEKEND . DAY 1 . THREE LAKES HIKE (OCTOBER 3)
CRESTED BUTTE WEEKEND . DAY 2 . UPPER LOOP TRAIL (OCTOBER 4)
PETER'S SENIOR PHOTOS (OCTOBER 5)
PETER'S XC SEASON (OCTOBER 8)
EMMA'S XC SEASON (OCTOBER 17)
MADELINE'S PUMPKIN PATCH FIELD TRIP (OCTOBER 21)
RUNNING AND BIKING IN OCTOBER (OCTOBER 1-24)
SNOW DAY (OCTOBER 25)
ANDREW'S MISSION . WEEKS 2-5 (OCTOBER 30) - not posted yet
HALLOWEEN (OCTOBER 31)
SLICES OF LIFE (OCTOBER 31) - not yet posted
Halloween 2020 is definitely one we will all remember. It was about halfway through the month of October when I realized I had no plan for costumes. Our original idea wasn't going to work since we had anticipated buying those costumes in Germany earlier in the year. When that trip got canceled so did our fun family costume. Since Madeline still wanted to do Halloween, I knew I had to think fast so I headed on over to Etsy and found the perfect costume. One of her favorite nursery tales is Little Red Riding Hood. Naturally, it was a good fit and fun for us to dress up with her. Mike was the woodcutter, I was the old granny, Emma was the wolf and Madeline was Little Red Riding Hood. Abby dressed up as a witch this year and Peter agreed to be in the family photo, so I bought him something to match Mike. Instead of trick or treating we spread candy along the trail at Fox Run Park and let her at it. It was much easier and safer than going to stranger's homes this year. Madeline loved it so much we might have to include that as part of our Halloween tradition before heading out to people's homes next year.
In typical Colorado fashion we finally got our October snowstorm. Madeline was so excited to go out in the snow even though there wasn’t a whole lot that accumulated on the grass and it was freezing outside. I went out with her, but my hands got so cold I could only stay out for 10 min. Mike and Emma took Madeline back out for some more backyard fun. They pulled her on the sled and just had a good time playing with her in the snow. She is one lucky little girl to have family that loves her enough to play outside when the temperature is in the single digits!
This month was filled with lots of biking and running adventures and a fun hike up the Incline. The weather was so nice this month and although I had to pull out the long sleeve shirts, I was able to get by with wearing shorts for most of the month. I ran a few times at Garden of the Gods and a run at Bear Creek Park with Striders. I even had an amazing brick workout day with Mike. We ran 10 miles from home down to Costco, then got on our bikes and rode 21 miles around Garden of the Gods and downtown back to Costco. Mike and I had some fun mountain bike rides around the Falcon Trail and the Pineries loop. I had fun hiking the Incline with Caryn and her friend and then took it easy on the run down Barr Trail. It was a fun and successful month of exercise.
Madeline’s first field trip in Pre-School was to the Colorado Pumpkin Patch only 15 minutes from our house. We met her class at 10am, stood in line to get our tickets and then headed first to the bounce pillows for some bouncing fun. The bounce pillows were basically like jumping in a bounce house without walls or a ceiling. Madeline had so much fun bouncing and flipping. Oh boy did she master the flip. She spent several minutes flipping all the way across the length of the bounce pillow and then kept telling the kids, “Watch me. Look what I can do.” After Madeline was done bouncing, we headed over to feed the farm animals. We spent a few dollars feeding the llamas, sheep, and ponies. Madeline loved it. Then we spent some time at the big slides. We grabbed our sack mats and headed up to the top. We went down a few times together, went back to the bounce pillows for a little bit and then went back to the slides. Madeline was so excited to see her friend Jack that she immediately picked up her sack and headed up to the slide alone with Jack. I was so excited to see her be so brave and go by herself down the slide. The first time I could tell she was shocked by how fast she went. But then it was back up to the slide she went. She literally ran back to the line after every slide. We spent a good deal of time there and she probably went down at least 10-15 times all by herself. By this point, it was time to eat lunch, so we headed over to the stacked hay tower and ate lunch with her classmates and then took a group photo. On our way out of the pumpkin patch, Madeline got to pick out her little pumpkin and then we headed home. It was a great first field trip for Madeline.
Emma was super excited that she would be able to run in her very first HS XC season. She came into the season with stomach issues and some Achilles pain, but she was able to push through some of it and still made the varsity team. She also struggled during the time trial and so we gave her an inhaler to use during the course of the season. Emma's first meet of her high school career was a very difficult meet at Doherty HS. The course was unfamiliar, had a creek crossing, and the air quality was so bad. Even still, she was excited to race. She came in 3rd for her team which was awesome. Her time was definitely not where she thought it would be, but it just wasn't a course for stellar times. Emma didn't race the 2nd meet to let her Achilles rest and did about the same as the first race during the 3rd and 4th meets. Just as her achilles was getting better, her stomach seemed to be getting worse. It wasn't until the 5th meet at Fountain Creek Regional Park that we started to see Emma improve. She improved her time into the mid 20's and was looking stronger. She maintained that level of performance for the 6th meet as well. The highlight of Emma's season was definitely the 7th meet which was the League Championships. I was so impressed with how Emma ran and finished her race. She was in wave 2 which starts 3 min after the first wave. Emma looked strong the entire race. It was like watching her when she ran at Nationals last year. No Achilles pain and no stomach pain to slow her down. She came in with many of the first wave girls, placed 3rd overall in the League and got a new high-altitude PR of 19:45. 7 out of the top 10 were also girls from her team which was awesome. Her team grabbed the League title this year! Emma tried hard to repeat that race the following week at Regionals, but the weather was so hot, she had just found out that she had asthma for real, and her stomach was in poor shape. It was all she could do to hold on and finish the race. Even though she didn't PR at Regionals, it was the race I was most proud of because of how much heart she had while she was running. She was struggling and she didn't give up. Her team grabbed the title of Regional champions which meant those 6 girls that ran at Regionals qualified for the XC State Championship race. Emma was really hoping to break 20 minutes at State. It was so fun to watch her run with all the best runners at the 5A division in Colorado. She ran a good race on a really tough course. Her team placed 6th overall which is better than their seeded place of 9th. Emma finished in 20:34. This season has definitely had its ups and downs and challenges with stomach problems, Achilles pain and most recently, asthma. But, through all of it Emma persevered and ran incredibly well. As the only Freshman on her team she learned so much from her teammates who are now her good friends!
Meet 1 (Doherty HS) - 21:40.62
Meet 3 (Rampart HS) - 21:50.80
Meet 4 (Norris Penrose Events Center) - 21:00.20
Meet 5 (Fountain Creek Regional Park) - 20:43.75
Meet 6 (Greeley, CO) - 20:28.80
Meet 7 (MVP - League) - 19:45.20
Meet 8 (MVP - Regionals) - 21:17.56
Meet 9 (Norris Penrose Events Center - State) - 20:34.20
MEET #1 - DOHERTY HS
MEET #3 - RAMPART HS
MEET #4 - CHEYENNE MTN STAMPEDE (NORRIS PENROSE EVENTS CENTER)
MEET #5 - FOUNTAIN CREEK REGIONAL PARK
This is what it looks like when you are hurting so bad but keeping pushing anyways. She is my hero.
MEET #7 - LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS (MVP)
MEET #8 - REGIONALS (MVP)
MEET #9 - STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS (NORRIS PENROSE EVENTS CENTER)
After training with Kokopelli's during COVID, Peter was a little nervous that his last XC season wouldn't happen. Peter was so excited when he finally found out the beginning of August that cross country was a go. Even with all of the new guidelines and the cancelled invitational meets, Peter was just happy that he would be able to compete his senior year. It wasn't until the time trial that we realized Peter was going to have a rocky season. With all of the smoke from the various fires in the west, Peter really had a hard time breathing. It was then that we knew he had to start using his inhaler that he never really had to use before. The very first meet of the season was at Doherty HS. It was delayed by one day due to some torrential rain and flooding the day prior. Peter forgot to use his inhaler and had the worst meet ever. Not able to break 19 minutes and no kick at the end, I knew Peter would be so disappointed. He decided to take the next meet off to recoup and wait for better air quality. Meets 3 and 4 were also disappointing races for Peter and he couldn't seem to get his time below 19 minutes. With hot weather and bad air quality and lungs that were inflamed, Peter struggled to run at the pace he ran last season. It wasn't until the 5th meet at Fountain Creek Regional Park where Peter finally had a great race. He looked focused and after using his inhaler and being able to run in good weather, he destroyed it on the course. He came in at 17:52.94, cutting more than a minute off of his previous times and beating out some of his teammates that were in the first wave. I couldn’t have been more excited for Peter and everyone on the team heard it as he rounded the last few corners and passed an opponent he had been trailing the entire race! This race would turn out to be the highlight of his season. The last three races of the season went ok. He was able to knock out times in the low to mid 18's but was never able to break into that 17 minute time again. If there is anything Peter learned from this season it was to never give up and keep working hard. Peter did work hard the entire season, even when he was down emotionally and physically. He had awesome teammates who helped him along the way. This may not have been the season Peter had hoped for, but he should be proud of himself for what he accomplished with all of his physical problems and during a time when things were not normal during COVID. This will definitely be a season he will never forget.
Meet 1 (Doherty HS) - 19:02.12
Meet 3 (Rampart HS) - 19:03.5
Meet 4 (Norris Penrose Events Center) - 19:07.80
Meet 5 (Fountain Creek Regional Park) - 17:52.94
Meet 6 (Greeley, CO) - 18:39.50
Meet 7 (MVP - League) - 18:41.24
Meet 8 (MVP - Regionals) - 18:16.68
MEET #1 - DOHERTY HS
I love how they pray before they race. What a great tradition they started two years ago.
MEET #3 - RAMPART HS
MEET #4 - CHEYENNE MTN STAMPEDE (NORRIS PENROSE EVENTS CENTER)
Warming up with masks...COVID rules
Most of the races took the top 7 but the Cheyenne Mtn. Stampede and Regionals only took 6 runners. Since there were really 8 boys on Varsity sometimes some of the boys had to sit out of the race. It was a tough season like that.
MEET #5 - FOUNTAIN CREEK REGIONAL PARK
This was the fire I waited for all season long. This was his best race of the season. He rounded the last few corners like his life was on the line. It was such a cool moment.
MEET #7 - LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS (MVP)
MEET #8 - REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (MVP)
I still can't believe that Peter is a Senior this year. He changed so much over COVID...his hair got longer, he grew taller, and he became a little more confident. He is driven, focused, sweet, extremely talented and so incredibly fun to be around. I get sad thinking about him leaving next year. So I will soak up all of his humor and awesome personality while I can.
Photo Credit: Bryan Rasmussen
We spent the morning sleeping in and eating a good breakfast before packing all of our stuff in the car and heading off on our last fun day in Crested Butte. We had initially planned on hiking Snodgrass Mountain just north of the ski areas, but as we were driving along Gothic road, we saw a sign that said it was closed. We decided to just drive for a bit to see what was more north along the road. The views were great but eventually we turned around to see if we could access Snodgrass Mountain from the western side of the mountain. We didn't have much luck on that side but enjoyed exploring the views from Washington Gulch Rd. We probably spent an hour in the car just enjoying the different areas of Crested Butte. Then we headed back into town and decided to hike the Upper Loop Trail system right on the mountainside of Mt. Crested Butte. We headed on the main trail for a little over a mile and then decided to stop along a pleasant part of the trail, hidden in the aspens, and eat our lunch. We saw a couple of different mountain bikers on this part of our hike. I would definitely like to come back and ride my mountain bike here. After turning around and heading back on the trail, we made it back to the intersection of Upper Loop Trail and Happy Hour Trail. We decided to head up on the Happy Hour Trail to see what the views would be in that direction. I am so glad we decided to do this trail because after hiking several switchbacks, we eventually popped out of the aspens and when we turned around further along the trail we could see how far and deep and wide the aspens stood. We didn't stay on the open trail that long since it was getting a little too hot outside, but we made it far enough along the trail to be happy about adventuring that far. By this point, everyone was ready to turn around and head back to the car. Emma did a great job being Madeline's buddy on this hike and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their conversations as we headed back down the trail. We really got lucky this weekend with the amazing fall colors that we saw. I had always heard that Crested Butte was amazing in the fall and now I know exactly why people claim Crested Butte as one of the best places to visit to see the fall colors! We will definitely be coming back here for another fall adventure!
We woke up to a beautiful crisp morning in Crested Butte and got all ready to do some hiking and enjoy the beautiful fall leaves. We ventured out of the town of Crested Butte on Rt. 12 towards Kebler Pass. On the way towards Kebler Pass Mike decided to venture off on S. Plains Gulch Rd (12F) towards the West Elk Wilderness. At first the road was nothing special and we were amongst a million pine trees. There really wasn't a whole lot of aspen trees or any colorful trees for that matter. It was at the point where we thought maybe we should turn around and then we popped out at the top of this amazing view of aspen trees. We continued on the road as it wound down towards the West Elk Wilderness. Just the drive alone was worth the detour and we took full advantage of the beauty of it all. All the windows were rolled down and I was standing in the front with my head up out of the sunroof so I could take photos while Mike drove really slowly. I'm sure people thought we were crazy. We made it to the trailhead for the Beaver Pond hike and were lucky enough to grab the last parking spot. This was a short hike, maybe 2 miles total, but it was the most beautiful fall hike ever. There were just so many aspens it was unreal and although the leaves had already started to fall off the trees, there was still plenty of yellow left on the trees. Every time a little breeze would blow through the trail it would rain down yellow aspen leaves. Between that and the sun shining through the trees, it was pretty magical. When we finally made it out of the single track trail to Beaver Pond, the views were equally impressive. We walked around the lake and enjoyed the mountainside view of the colors as well as the impressive beaver dams. As we made our way back, the kids had fun running on dead logs, having duels with big broken branches, and for a few minutes we even sat quietly just listening to the sound of the aspen leaves rustling in the wind. It truly was the perfect way to start our fall day in Crested Butte.
After leaving the West Elk Wilderness we headed back on Rt. 12 towards Kebler Pass. It was no surprise when we got to the most prominent part of Kebler Pass because there were more people and the aspens seemed to go on forever. It was quite a sight to behold as this area hosts one of the world's largest aspen groves in the world, with the biggest being Utah's Pando grove. After taking in the views mostly by car, and a quick stop for me to take an epic panorama of this area, we continued on Rt. 12 towards Lost Lake Campground. We parked the car near some picnic tables, ate our lunch, and then headed on the Three Lakes Trail. This trail was a 3.5-mile loop, passing three different lakes, plenty of aspens, and some amazing views. We made sure to spend time at the lakes skipping rocks and just enjoying the beautiful day. After viewing the last lake (Dollar Lake) and making our way back to the trail to make the loop back to the campground, we noticed a small trail that veered off from the main trail. It looked promising for some good views and so we followed it. What we saw was remarkable. We saw the entire main range of Kebler Pass that we had been to earlier that day. Since we were the only ones at this little overlook it was quiet and so we sat down for a few minutes and enjoyed the stillness. Although I took a ton of photos on our hike, nothing quite does justice to seeing the fall colors in person.
MADELINE'S 4TH BIRTHDAY (SEPTEMBER 6)
MADELINE - 4 YEARS OLD (SEPTEMBER 6)
SNOW DAY IN SEPTEMBER (SEPTEMBER 8)
MADELINE'S FIRST WEEK OF PRESCHOOL (SEPTEMBER 9)
SARA'S PIKES PEAK BIKING ADVENTURE (SEPTEMBER 12)
LOST CREEK WILDERNESS HIKE (SEPTEMBER 19)
MADELINE'S SWIMMING LESSONS (SEPTEMBER 3-24)
RUNNING AND BIKING (SEPTEMBER 1-25) - not yet posted
NEW HOME GYM (SEPTEMBER 26)
ANDREW'S FIRST TEMPLE EXPERIENCE (SEPTEMBER 26)
ANDREW LEAVES FOR HIS MISSION TO FT. WORTH, TX (SEPTEMBER 29)
SLICES OF LIFE (SEPTEMBER 29) - not yet posted
It was a bittersweet morning as we said goodbye to Andrew at the Colorado Springs airport where he was boarding a plane to head to Ft. Worth, TX for his first missionary assignment. He was pretty calm and collected but I could tell that he was nervous about what he was heading into. Since I had already said goodbye last month this goodbye was much easier, even though I knew that it would be the last time I would see him in 2 years. I am so proud of Andrew for his commitment to share the gospel with the people of Texas and eventually the people of Germany. I know serving a mission will bless his life.
While Andrew was home for a few days between online MTC and leaving for his first missionary assignment, we had the opportunity to go through the Denver LDS temple with him and it was amazing. My parents were able to drive up from Utah so that they could be there for Andrew. We also invited Michelle Watabe and Tex and Anne Johnson. It was so nice to have a small gathering of friends and family for Andrew. The session was awesome and although I am sure Andrew had many questions about the Endowment, we spent some time talking with him the night before, the car ride to the temple and in the celestial room. We were all so blessed that the Denver LDS temple opened back up right before his mission so that we could have this experience with Andrew. I feel so blessed to have a son who is willing to give up 2 years of his life to spread the Hope of Christ to others. I can’t think of a better time to help others find hope in a time where it seems like all hope is lost and men and women’s hearts are failing. I know Elder Wilhelm will be a force for good in the world and will do great things!
As with other times in my life and especially during COVID I have had to relearn and practice being ok with not being able to control every aspect of my life. The one thing I hold onto is the fact that I can control some things.
I can control my attitude
I can control my behavior
I can control my health and fitness
I can control my ability to be kind to everyone
I can control my ability to help others
I’m not always good at doing all of these things but at least I’m trying. We have a poster in our home gym of One Punch Man and on it, it says:
HUMAN BEINGS ARE STRONG BECAUSE WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE OURSELVES
This is such a good reminder and one I am happy to see every time I leave my house.
I loved every minute of biking and running this month. Some of the highlights this month was mountain biking with Mike at Pineries, biking up Cheyenne Canyon Rd with Caryn and some fun people from USATF, and finally meeting the Striders for some group runs. I’m lucky I had great running buddies during the worst of COVID, but it was great to see people I hadn't seen in a while and to feel the desire to not slack in the group workout. I loved our track workout of 5x1000s with 200m recoveries and the tempo run up Section 16. Both were solid workouts. Exercise is such an integral part of my life and I'm so blessed I have great people to exercise with every month.
With all the new restrictions with COVID I decided it was best to not take Madeline back to ballet. I knew that she still needed a fun activity to participate in so I signed her up for private swim lessons at PPA. Her instructor, Carolyn, is simply the best. She is so good with Madeline. Madeline has improved so quickly. She can lay on her back and float without any problems, kick with straight legs, blow bubbles in the water, put her face sideways in the water, go under the water, and can scale across the wall on the side of the pool. She loves her new purple goggles and she can put them on all by herself. When we get to her lessons, she is like a maniac trying to get her clothes off so fast so that she can go swim. She looks forward to her lessons every week. I'm so excited that we found something that Madeline absolutely loves. I hope she will continue to love swim like her older siblings do.
Mike and I ventured up past Woodland Park towards the Lost Creek Wilderness to do a hike we had never done before. We hiked on the Bison Peak Trail which ended being about a 12-mile hike round trip. The Lost Creek Wilderness is one of the most unique wildernesses in Colorado simply because of its terrain. Above tree line on the Bison Peak Trail, there were some of the most bizarre rock formations you will ever see. Much of the Lost Creek Wilderness, which spans 120,000 acres, is dominated by these incredible rock formations, including massive polished granite domes and towering spires. There weren’t a ton of people on the trail and part of that is because this trail is not in a super convenient location to Denver. Also, the trail was incredibly steep just to get to the top plateau areas where you can view the amazing rock formations. Once at the first plateau the trail wasn’t clear, so we just wandered in the correct direction until we found sections that looked like trail. It’s a good thing that Mike had already hiked this trail because he knew generally where we were going. Once the wind started to pick up, we stopped to put on more layers and got a random Facebook call from Andrew. It was awesome to be able to talk with him up on the mountain. Our reception was that great once we started hiking again, so we had to say goodbye and continue onwards. We hiked for another 1-2 miles until we finally reached the summit. At the top, Mike immediately found the Geocache box and found the journal that he had signed several years ago when he hiked this with Peter and the rest of the Boy Scouts. I was just happy I made it to the top because I had been tired all morning and the steepness of the trail really tried me physically and mentally. I can honestly say that the views from the top and the many plateaus of unique rock formations was well worth the hike. Since the weather looked like it could be getting iffy, we didn’t waste any time heading back down the mountain. We hiked so fast going down. One thing is for sure, I always have a great time when I am hiking with Mike.