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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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Thanks to the gift of tickets from a friend, we recently spent a happy afternoon at the ballpark.  Katya wasn’t too sure she would like it, but eventually even she was won over by shady seats, several home runs, a Rockies win, and milkshakes afterwards.  Classic summer!

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A Visit to the Pridelands

A Visit to the Pridelands

As one more part of Than’s birthday celebration, we were given tickets to see the Lion King musical in the big theater downtown.  This is a show that Than has been wanting to see for years, and it was a treat to be able to share the experience with family.

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The plot and the music are fun and familiar, but the best part of the evening was seeing the many creative ways used to convey the story.  People turned into animal characters through costumes, puppetry, marionettes, dance, and a lot of carefully choreographed movement.  It was a late night for the kids, but worth it to be part of such rich artistry.

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Thanks for the gift!

Someone Snuck in a Birthday

Someone Snuck in a Birthday

Now that the day is long past, I’ll get around to sharing a few pictures from Than’s birthday.  When we were first dating he was very secretive about when the actual day was, so by sharing this post more than a month away I will protect his crucial secret!

Because the actual was on a Friday, Than and I were able to spend the whole day together while the kids were at school.  We started with breakfast at our favorite spot where we made a list of Than’s favorite places.  The rest of the day involved trying to visit (and photograph) as many of those places as we could!  Can you guess where we went?

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We certainly didn’t make it everywhere, but it was a great way to enjoy being together.  Besides, we can work on getting through the rest of the list anytime before his next birthday!

The kids contributed this fun birthday banner, and we enjoyed dinner out with Than’s parents as well.
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I am so grateful to be celebrating with this wonderful man who has been God’s gift to me for many years.  He is a hard man to get a picture of, but a very easy man to love.  We celebrate his integrity, his spontaneous fun ideas, his deep care for many, and his deep love for the God who motivates him.  Happy Birthday!

Only a Month…

Only a Month…

Last Christmas, our family purchased tickets to go see The Piano Guys at Red Rocks Amphitheater.  Knowing it was a group we loved at an amazing venue, we went out on a limb and got a ticket for my brother and for his as-yet-unidentified date.  Who could have guessed that, eight months later, we’d be there not just with my brother and a girl, but with my brother and his fiancee!

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It is a blurry picture to be sure, but the evening was a wonderful one of great music and a big group of family–10 of us, all together, since my parents and Than’s parents also came.

Since everyone was in town for the concert, we seized the weekend and did lots of other fun things together too.  I was having too much fun to be a very good photographer, but here is a shot from the White Fence Farm where my grandpa hosted a celebration dinner to recognize the happy couple.  (Notice my son, photo bombing in the bright blue shirt!)

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We also spent a morning together at the Denver Zoo, which is currently displaying huge Lego animals set around the grounds.  We’ll have to go back, since we didn’t get to see them all!

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I love that impish wink from Kerry while Nate tries to take a selfie…

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So much silliness, and so much anticipation of good times yet to come.

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Thanks, everybody, for visiting.  Thanks, God, for continuing to grow our family both in numbers and in love for You.  I am grateful!

 

My Valentines

My Valentines

Since Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday, we got to celebrate extra this year!  I suppose technically we’ve been celebrating for almost a month now, since it was several weeks ago that Than surprised me with a night away at a beautiful spot in Estes Park.  It was fun to have our special time together, and I was glad we still had the 14th to be with the kids as well.

The tradition at school is that everyone can dress up in fancy clothes instead of wearing uniforms.  This is particularly popular with a certain daughter of mine…

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Both kids also enjoyed handing out Valentines to their classmates and came home with a wide variety of cards and treats from all their friends.

Since the actual Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday, and since we didn’t get out to see our neighbors at Christmas, we took the morning to go around with plates of Valentine’s treats.  I just love making cookie plates!!  It was a nice time to visit with the people we live near.

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Also that morning, my family surprised me with some thoughtfully chosen little gifts (my favorite kind, small little “this and that” things, purchased from my favorite store!) and some hand written Valentines.  Than is so good at helping the kids with that kind of thing, and I felt loved.

After we finished our home celebrations, we headed out for an adventure.  Since many of our favorite attractions were unusually crowded, our trip to the zoo morphed into a trip to the museum of nature and science, then turned into a trip to the botanic gardens, and finally ended up being a trip to the museum of miniatures, dolls, and toys.  It was fun for everyone to explore someplace new, and nice to find a spot that wasn’t crawling with hundreds of other people!

We ended the day with a special family dinner at home.  I am one happy Valentine!
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Butterfly Visit

Butterfly Visit

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Thanks to a free Saturday morning, some tickets gifted by a good friend, and a request from Grandpa Train, we took a visit to the Butterfly Pavilion.  We were quite impressed with all sorts of invertebrates on display.  Daddy even held Rosie, the tarantula!

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Of course the highlight was the actual butterfly part.  There were SO many winged beauties fluttering around, and very few people visiting, so we had plenty of time and space to enjoy them.  Katya even had her wish come true–a butterfly landed on her skirt, and ended up slowly making its way all the way up her shirt and eventually crawled onto her hand.  She was thrilled!

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It was a treat to be able to enjoy God’s creation in such an up-close way.  It was also a special time to share with Grandpa Train, and we got to enjoy lunch later with Grandma Sweetie too.  Good memories!

Thomas, Round 8!

Thomas, Round 8!

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Since it’s September, that means it’s time for our annual trip to the Colorado Railroad Museum to ride on Thomas the Tank Engine.  We enjoyed all of our favorite “Day Out with Thomas” traditions–the company of Grandpa Train, collecting stamps for a prize, checking out the garden railroad, climbing into old engines and cars, munching on kettle corn, and choosing a toy to take home at the end.

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There were a few new things this year, much to our surprise.  The train went the opposite way around the circle (amazing, I know!!), there were some new cars including a restored passenger car, and the best part was that it was pulled by a real steam engine, not the diesel from years past.

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Who knows how many more times we will enjoy this outing, but I am thankful for each year that we add to our store of memories.  Here’s a look back, one year at a time, to the very first visit in 2007.  Thanks, Grandpa Train, for making this part of the story of childhood for my kids.

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2013

2012

2011

2010 (2)

2009

2008 (2)

2007

What Are They Doing?!!

What Are They Doing?!!

Interspersed with the Shaw Men’s Retreat in Rocky Mountain National Park, my dad (and brother and cousins and uncle too, briefly) came to visit us.  Can you figure out where we are and what we were doing in the following photos?  Guess first, then peek below the pictures for the answers.

 

“Little Lady at the Wheel”

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“Lean Into the Wind”

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“What’s Under the Barrel?!”

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“Bubble Garden”

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“Holding the Sun”

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“Purple Shirt, Purple Spires”

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“Little Lady at the Wheel”–Katya drives the old-fashioned car simulator at History Colorado

“Lean Into the Wind”–Grandpa helps Nathan with the ski jumping simulation (sorry, they fell down into the snow anyway) at History Colorado

“What’s Under the Barrel?!”–Grandpa tests out the infamous “Barrel Man” Denver Bronco gear, although Nathan refused to join him.  (History Colorado)

“Bubble Garden”–One of many unique installations we explored at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Lucky us, it was “Penny Saturday” so we got to roam around the unusual displays for less than a quarter!

“Holding the Sun” and “Purple Shirt, Purple Spires”–Of course, what visit to Denver would be complete this summer without a visit to the Botanic Gardens to see the Chihuly glass display.  I’ve been there a bunch, and still haven’t tired of seeing it and sharing it with others.

Not pictured are the men’s afternoon at the Manchester United soccer game, our jaunt to the newly refurbished Union Station downtown and our delicious Italian dinner at Cafe Jordano.  Not too bad for a quick pass-through visit!  Thanks, dad, for coming (and for bringing us other guests as well, even if they couldn’t stay for all the fun!)

North Pole, Then and Now

North Pole, Then and Now

Several weeks ago we enjoyed a fun outing to the North Pole.  We were able to get together with some family we hadn’t seen in a long time, enjoy cousin time, and even finish our day with playtime and dinner at Uncle Matt and Aunt Kimi’s.  Here’s a little peek…

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And now, for those of you with a historical bent, here are some vintage photos showing not me, but my MOM at the North Pole!!  Wow!

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Oh, Happy Day!

Oh, Happy Day!

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Look at what I found in my front window last week!  A pile of bright green presents, with a card to match, all for me!  Wow.

And that’s not all, either.  There were cards in the mail, a gift stuck in the door, boxes from Amazon.com, gift cards to some of my favorite places, and even a vase of lavender roses.  Thanks to so many of you for making my birthday special.

On my actual birthday, I was well celebrated indeed.  We spent the day together as a family.  We enjoyed breakfast from the Taste of Denmark bakery, visited the butterfly display at the Chatfield Arboretum, took a leisurely drive through the foothills, ate my favorite sub from Jimmy John’s, played mini golf at Colorado Journey, created some art with my new birthday crayons and markers, relished the steak at Texas Roadhouse, and finished off the day with phone calls and a bowl of Blue Bell ice cream.  Add in presents throughout the day, and a trip to a castle for tea on the following afternoon, and you have pretty much a perfect birthday!

Oh, and let’s not forget the biggest birthday card ever–check it out!!

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Here are some favorite details from my super-huge birthday card mural.

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Thanks, everyone, for making me feel loved!