Monday, January 21, 2013

Camping at Lake Granby

Just after school started, we decided to have a last hurrah and go camping with some great friends.  Tirsa got a great group site up next to Lake Granby.  The weather was gorgeous and the kids played a ton with their friends.  We all had fun sitting around the campfire and enjoying s'mores.  There was a group hike (sadly, my foot had been really bothering me, so I stayed behind so Cooper could nap) and Blaine brought his repelling gear and we went repelling.  The gals of the group got in a great walk and several of the guys got in a bike ride.  Overall, it was delightful way to wrap up the summer vacation!

Dangit!  We forgot to take a group picture.  We went with the Allens, Lindhardts, McFaddens, Wasdens, and Lyons.

View driving into Estes Park
Fall is coming!!! (Rocky Mountain National Park)
Morgan's turn repelling.
Trevor giving it a try.
Ken's turn!
Peyton had NO FEAR!

Hiking with a beautiful view

Love these gals!

Friday, January 11, 2013

If you blink, you might miss it.

My baby, turning three.  He is becoming so grown up.  I certainly have mixed feelings about not really having a baby at home anymore.  We potty trained him in August right after we got home from all our trips.  I am always amazed at his big vocabulary and I love having conversations with this kid.  I'm grateful that he still loves to "nuggle" (snuggle) with me and read stories.  I'm glad he's not too big yet to say really cute things.  "Kaden and Avery are my savorite sends."  Can't say his f's in words yet.  I love it and just about everything about this boy.  He is just a happy, happy soul and I'm so glad he is in our family and keeps me company!

He loves doing funny faces in pictures

For his birthday we kept it simple, having another family over for cake and ice cream.  He really wanted a Spiderman cake.  I don't do cakes.  But he appreciated it all the same.  And he LOVED his Lighting McQueen pillow pet.  Happy birthday Cooper!

New beginnings

 For me there is always something special about the end of summer spent purchasing new school supplies and organizing them.  We attended the kids "back to school" nights and met their teachers.  Peyton has Mrs. Zamudio for first grade (Trevor also had her for first grade) and Trevor has Mrs. Olsen for third grade.

I can't believe that Morgan is starting middle school.  Where has the time flown?!?  She qualified for the advanced core classes and is going to learn the French horn in band.  I'm so excited for her!

Cooper is also going to "preschool" with a group of friends.  It is mostly a playgroup where we spent a few minutes doing an activity with the letter of the day.  The moms take turns teaching for 3 weeks at a time.  He is so excited to be going to school just like the big kids!



The added bonus of traveling out to Lake Tahoe was visiting good friends along the way.  Our dear friends the Garrards had been asking us to come stay and we always have such a good time with them, playing games and making beautiful music.  We got in late Friday night and of course stayed up way too late talking and laughing.  I am always impressed with their parenting and how they are such fierce advocates for their children.  Two of their boys have autism and they handle everything that is thrown at them with such love an grace.

On Saturday morning Stephen had arranged to have a masterclass for his voice students where I would work with them and Ken would accompany.  It was really fun working with new singers and helping them.  Afterward Stephen and I worked on a duet to sing in church the next day. 

After lunch we pack up the kids and headed for a water park in Tooele.  We had a fabulous afternoon playing in the pools and going down the slides.  The kids were burning off a ton of energy and the sunshine felt glorious.  We had to leave in a hurry though when a quick thunderstorm rolled through. :)

Cooper LOVED going down the giant water slide with dad!

Stephen and Ashlyn our generous hosts!

On Sunday we called our friends the Komers. When we first moved to Colorado they lived only a few blocks away from us and we quickly became friends. Makayla and Morgan were born only weeks of each other and Julie and I worked on figuring out the "new mom" thing together.  The second year I taught at Ute Creek, Julie was kind enough to watch Morgan for me during my classes.

It had been quite a few years since we had seen them and it was such a treat to spend a couple of hours with them.   Morgan and Makayla picked right up where they had left off and had a ton in common.  It didn't take Trevor and Colin to bond over building with legos. We are thankful for their friendship and it was a delightful afternoon.


We had one more fun night of talking and playing games before taking off early the next morning for Lake Tahoe.

Friday morning, after saying many goodbyes, we took off from Lake Tahoe and headed for Reno.  We wanted to show our kids Grandpa Christiansen's grave.  He passed away from a heart attack before I was even born, but I have always felt a special connection with him.  It had been many years since I had been to his grave too and I was grateful that Grandma, Beverly, and my parents could join us.  There was a special feeling there as Grandma told the kids more about their great grandfather.

Of course we had to stop for a little In-and-Out on our way out of Reno.  It was fun to have that little extra time with Grandma.  It is always hard for me to say goodbye to her and of course I started balling right there in the parking lot.  I love her so much and with her health not so great, I always worry it will be the last time I get to be with her in this life.

Our drive across Nevada was uneventful.  I swear I've done that drive a million times and it never seems to get any prettier.  However, as we were getting close to Salt Lake the sunset was shining off the mountains.  It was stunning!  One of those times when I truly wished that my camera could capture the beauty and gorgeous warmth of the light!

We spent the next few days at the Allreds.  The kids played and played.  We took them bowling on campus and our to dinner at the Brick Oven.  We went to the park and let the kids play in the water and then stopped for snocones on the way home.  You know, all those wonderful moments of summer!

I was at complete peace being with my dear friend Rochelle.  We even got some fun shopping in one day!  We also took the opportunity to go on a double date one night and saw the new Batman movie and then went to Tucanno's for dinner.  I wasn't sure if my stomach hurt from eating too much or laughing too much.  :)  Being with them is like being with family and we couldn't ask for better friends!

One last visit before we left Utah.  I took an hour or two to go see my gorgeous friend Kacy.  We were great friends in high school and I am glad we are still in touch.  It was so fun to be with her and our time together flew by much too quickly.

Yay for fantastic friends!

With Kacy at her beautiful home

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reunion at Lake Tahoe

We look forward to it every other year.  Christiansen Family Reunion at Lake Tahoe.  Time to relax, enjoy being with family, and laughing.  A lot.  We arrived to the Cedar Glen Lodge on the north side of the Lake just before dinner on Monday and got checked into our rooms.  It was hard to even unpack the car because I just wanted to run around hugging everyone.  Being a rather large family, we just about fill up the joint. :)

We are lucky that they let us set up tables on the lovely common area between the cabins and we do a big dinner each night.  Not an easy task cooking for 50 or so, but the families take turns and the food is always delicious. We talked late into the night and the kids played and played while getting to know their cousins again.

This year, we had a theme each night for the entertainment.  Our first night, we had a slide show of tons of pictures.  I had everyone send pictures and then I went through all my pictures from past years and even scans of our growing up years and Grandma and Grandpa.  So fun to have it projected on the big screen after dark.  One night we did a whole evening family history, telling stories and showing pictures from generations past.  Another night we played silly games with lots of prizes for the kids.  And the big finale on the last night was the Christiansen talent show.  The kids, especially, had lots of fun with that.  Cooper even went right up to the mic and sang the Spiderman theme song.  Quite impressive for a two year old. :)

We spent lots of time at the pool and the beach.  Did a hike up to the top of an old fire lookout.  It was a gorgeous view of the Lake from up there!  We also went to a ropes and zipline course.  It was super fun, but also really tough.  (Especially when I gauged zipling into a platform wrong and I whacked my ankle so hard it was swollen in seconds.  I wasn't quite sure how I would get down.  We we about 30 feet up in the trees and had lots of climbing ahead of us.  I finished the course despite the throbbing pain and was proud of myself for toughing it out.)  Everything was great fun and the kids as well as Ken and I went to bed exhausted each night.

My favorite part though, was spending time in wonderful conversation with my parents, sister and brother, and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I love my family so much and I treasure the time am with them.  I can't wait for two more years!

Adair part of the clan

We all took turns on the paddleboard.  Everyone loved it, even Cooper when he went on it with me.

All geared up to go...

Cooper was so upset when they wouldn't let him on the ropes course, but he felt a little better when they allowed him to wear a helmet. :)

Cyle, Athena, and Kingston right after he was blessed.