August 2011

Casa Bonita

August 28, 2011

We ended up at Casa Bonita tonight, the "King of big restaurants" according to Andrew.

The kids love this place, so we keep coming back as often as we can.

Watching the show

Taking a picture in the empty magic show room

First Day of Preschool

August 23, 2011

Today was our girls' turn to start preschool, and they could not have been more excited.

Their first day of preschool was a night-and-day difference from Drew's first day several years ago. Drew was carried into the classroom screaming (and came out ready to go to college). The girls were as happy as can be to be going to school.

Lexi is ready for school

Brie is ready too!

School Sisters

Heading in to preschool

First Day of First Grade

August 18, 2011

Our big little boy had his first day of first grade today.

It was quite uneventful as all five of us went to school to see him off.

He sure is growing up quickly. Soon, we won't go with him to school at all!

Drew and Jack getting ready for school

About to get in the car to head to school

Waiting for class to begin

Big First Grader

Back-to-School Night

August 16, 2011

It can't be here already! Back-to-School Night was tonight at Alpine Elementary School.

Drew loved to find his desk and set up his school supplies.

It's going to be a great year!

Drew at his first grade desk

Candyland Birthday Party

August 14, 2011

We headed up to Fort Collins today for a Candyland birthday party at the Williams house.

Drew, Brie and lots of other kids grabbing candy out of the grass

Camping!

August 12-13, 2011

We embarked on our first-ever family camping experience, and it turned out to be a LOT of fun!

Not knowing quite what to expect, we stayed close to home and went to Union Reservoir, which we know very well.

Of course, Toby joined us as we packed the six of us into the tent.

The first day was set-up, exploring, Drew catching his very first fish ever, and a wonderful camp fire.

The next day was pack-up and fishing. What a wonderful time!

Roasting Marshmallows

Having fun at the campsite

Daddy with Lexi and Drew by the tent

Fishing Fun

Mmmmm. Breakfast.

Road Trip: Colorado Springs - Day 2

August 7, 2011

While not nearly as action-packed as yesterday, our low-key second day of our weekend road trip was great!

We started the day slowly because we had such a big day yesterday. We enjoyed the hot breakfast provided by the hotel, then we came back upstairs to pack up and get ready for the day.

We checked out at noon, and headed out, not sure exacty what we planned to do. We knew we were heading toward Manitou Springs, so we decided to drive through the Garden of the Gods.

After a quick stop at the Visitors Center (only Tracy got out here) for a map, we drove slowly through. We were shocked at how interested the kids were. They loved to look for the various rock formations.

We were VERY lucky to find a parking spot at Balanced Rock, so we got out, climed up to it and took some pictures and video. It was a VERY hot day, so we didn't go too far from the air conditioned minivan.

Next we drove a few minutes to Manitou Springs, where we headed over to the famous penny arcade. Mommy not only thought enough ahead to take our rolls of coins we don't know what to do with, but she even thought ahead enough to bring two of our collapsible stools so the girls could play the games!

After we had our fill of fun at the arcade, we spent some time walking through the town, visiting shops and buying trinkets and saying "no" over and over again to all the other things we didn't buy the kids.

Very soon it was time to head down the street to Castaways restaurant in Manitou. This is a pirate-themed restaurant that the kids found quite amusing.

By the time dinner was done, it was almost 7pm and time to head back home. The kids loved Garden of the Gods so much that we took another slow, meandering drive through the park on the way back to the Interstate. We arrived back home a bit after 9pm.

We were very glad to have the chance to take a short trip like this. The kids are a bit older and can "take it" to be in the car for a couple of hours at a stretch now, which makes these quick trips possible.

We certainly have a wonderful family, and trips like this are a great reminder to us of the fun times we have together.

Lexi and Drew in our hotel room on the sofa

Lexi holding up Balanced Rock so it doesn't tip over with her brother and sister sitting on it

Another view of Balanced Rock with our kids perched perilously on it

Mommy and her kiddos

Daddy and his Boy

Brie loves her Daddy

Brie riding an airplane at the Manitou arcade

Lexi was intent on riding the Tom and Jerry ride at the Manitou arcade

Drew absolutely LOVED the pirate ship wheel at Castaways restaurant

Jamie the Pirate at the restaurant

Our whole family at the very end of our weekend road trip

Road Trip: Colorado Springs - Day 1

August 6, 2011

We have been trying to take a quick, weekend road trip to Colorado Springs for a while, and we finally made it happen this weekend.

We are only staying one night, so we got up bright and early to leave our house in time to be at the North Pole amusement park when it opened.

This place is perfect for our kids at this age. The rides have no lines, the kids aren't scared to ride most anything, and everything is geared for kids this age.

We arrived when it opened, and we left when the North Pole closed. It was a very long day, but the kids were great the whole time.

After leaving the North Pole, we headed back to the Springs to check in to our hotel (Homewood Suites - third time at this hotel, and no plans to ever stay anywhere else).

It was pretty quick to unload and get settled in, because we are only staying one night. Soon we were back in the car headed toward Fargo's Pizza in the heart of the city.

Tracy has many fond memories of this place as a kid, and it was the first time for the rest of us. The kids loved it for sure. Your pizza is ready when your number appears in the "magic mirrors" on the walls of the restaurant. When our number appeared, Drew yelled it out and ran down the stairs without a second thought that he should wait for Mommy or Daddy. He just couldn't contain himself!

After dinner we planned to just head back to the hotel for a family night in, and that's just what we did. We had some snacks we brought for this time, and we put together a Mickey Mouse puzzle.

All too soon it was bedtime, and the kids were asleep before their heads hit their pillows. Mommy and Daddy were not too far behind.

Lexi as we arrived at the North Pole and applied sunscreen

Drew riding the Ladybugs ride
(which he thought was boring)

Mommy and Lexity riding a ladybug

Lexi on a reindeer on the carousel

Drew on Rudolph

Brie riding the yellow car driven by her brother

The kids loved the Cowboy ride which just moves up and down really bouncily

Drew and Daddy getting on the ferris wheel

The view from the ferris wheel
(which a picture really can't come close to showing)

Mommy and Daddy taking a picture of themselves

The kids got to meet Santa to get their requests in early

The Candy Cane roller coaster was a BIG hit with our kids

Lexi loved "driving" her own old-style car around the track

Brie had a blast driving her own car

Drew still really enjoys this ride

Mommy and her boy on the Tilt-a-Whirl

Daddy and Drew having a great time

Drew and Daddy on the Sky Ride

Daddy with Lexi and Drew before the magic show

Lexi enjoying her ice cream cone

Brie and her Daddy on the Teacups ride

Our kids looking out from the 2nd floor of Fargo's Pizza

Mommy and Lexi at Fargo's Pizza

Random Pictures

August 5, 2011

Today, Jamie noticed that the light was "just right" outside for taking pictures, and that Mommy had dressed them up really nice.

Why not snap some pictures for no reason at all?

Brielle Lorraine

Andrew Kaden

Alexia Jean

Lost Another Tooth

August 2, 2011

Drew lost his fifth tooth today. This time it was the front-left tooth on the top of his mouth.

The tooth simply fell out after several valient attempts by Drew over the past week or so of pulling it out.

Lookin' Good!