Dec 31, 2018

Christmas Break

12/31/2018 — cori
We have all been looking forward to this time of relaxation and rest. The kids had 2 weeks off, Chuck got the whole week of Christmas off, I have a month off, and Gavin had 3 weeks off. Excitement and anticipation of Christmas filled the air.

The fun began when we went to the airport to pick up this stranger. I almost didn't recognize him. I can't believe how grown-up and manly he looks. He had spent the previous week visiting his friend Pranav in Dallas/Austin. It's always good to have him home.

On Christmas morning, Chuck took it upon himself to make homemade cinnamon rolls, we didn't protest too much. It's so nice having teenagers because Christmas morning no longer begins at 6am. We had a nice leisurely start to the day since everyone slept in.

This was the first year the kids were all super excited to give us their gifts. They actually insisted that we open our gifts first. It was very special. They each put so much thought into what they bought us - with their own money, nonetheless. We got the kids ski helmets and goggles this year. Chloe spent a large majority of the morning with hers on.

We bought Gavin an SNES (a classic nintendo game system) which he promptly went downstairs to plug and play. 

The day after Christmas, we drove to Snowy Range in Wyoming to ski in the Medicine Bow forest. 

It is so beautiful and serene. There were not a lot of people around and we feel we lucked out with good weather as well (the day after we went the high only got into the single digits and it was super windy).

Chair lift photo op. Every time I took a picture on the ski lift I was terrified of dropping my phone. Luckily, none of us fell while disembarking the lift...we saved our falls for the slopes.

I think each of us fell a minimum of twice. Fortunately, no one broke anything. Unfortunately, I almost went down the wrong run twice. Once I skied into a tree to keep from going down the scary blue slope. The second time I was going too fast because I was going down the wrong slope and Chloe called after me to stop. I did. 50 yards down the mountain. I couldn't get my skis off because of the way I landed. It took like 20 minutes to get them off and walk back up the steep slope carrying my skis to where Chloe was waiting. Then it took an eternity to get them on again. I was a mess. 

The boys had their own adventures in skiing. Chuck skied right into a snow bank one time to avoid hitting a kid. He also accidentally dropped a ski pole twice - while riding the chair lift. They even dared to go down the super steep blue runs. They estimated their speed to be somewhere in the 70-80 mile an hour range. I'm sure that number is not an exaggeration.

We also celebrated Gavin's 20th birthday early while we were still all together. It was so surreal. We still are having a hard time believing he's actually 20. We did the appropriate amount of reminiscing about what we were doing 20 years ago and how it seems like it was maybe only 5 years ago.

To cap off the birthday fun, we went to see Aquaman at the theater that evening. This was definitely the year of the Superhero movies!

We also found this fun game called Puzzling Adventures that we did. It's part scavenger hunt, part sight-seeing, part Amazing Race. That combo definitely piqued our interest. We had so much fun following the clues and walking all around Old Town Fort Collins. 

And finally to celebrate New Year's Eve, we thought there could be no better way than to jump it up at a trampoline park.

I tell ya, this family is the best. Crazy, loud, goofy, smiley. I just love all the fun we have together!

Obviously, that was not a complete list of activities for the entire 2 weeks. Those were just the highlights. We watched a movie every night, I think. Tons of Brawl was played on the Wii. Lots of games were interspersed here and there. We even ate out at Taco Bell one day. Also, Gavin cooked his famous fare for us...kielbasa and mac'n'cheese. We made a couple of trips to the library, shopped alot, and read alot. Overall, it was just the way we like it.  

Dec 9, 2018

My Baby Drives

12/09/2018 — cori

I know this has happened twice before, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when yet, one more kid in our house wants to learn to drive. But it still seems to early. She's only 5. So, technically, she shouldn't be allowed to drive - ever. But alas, time has not stood still and she is no longer my baby. She's a very adept, smart, mature 14.8 year old who is beyond ready for her chance at the wheel. Afterall, she's been in the car as both her brothers were learning. She's heard the schpeel 2 times already. She's ready to put what she already knows into action.

And it probably comes as no surprise...but she is very good at driving. She still has all the first-timer struggles, to be sure, but she doesn't lack for confidence. I think this comes in part because a car is similar to a horse. She's been learning how to navigate a horse and get it to do what you want for years now. In a way, a car is much easier than an animal with a mind of its own.

There is a new phase of our neighborhood opening up which already has all the streets and stop signs already in place and not a house or soul in sight. The perfect place to learn how to navigate these scary streets. 

But just because she's confident, doesn't mean she's not nervous. She's scared to death of other she should be at this stage. This whole driving thing is a huge lesson in trust for both father and daughter. Chuck had already been driving around with Chloe for a while when he thought she was doing good enough to come pick Bennett and me up and drive back to the empty neighborhood. 

Thankfully, she still has well over a year to practice. But then like the boys...she'll be off. And life will be full of excitement and freedom that having your license brings. If she's at all like her mother, she'll spend all that newfound freedom driving up to the library and the grocery store. 

Dec 6, 2018

Love Notes

12/06/2018 — cori

The other day I walked into my bathroom and saw these post-it-notes above my sink. Bennett decided I needed to know this. My heart melted. To get these little love notes at 5 or 10 years old is sweet. But for your 17 year old son to still encourage you and show you love using this medium humbles me and makes me so grateful for such an amazing son. Another way he is just like his father.

Here's Chuck's version of the same thing. All the sticky notes lined up on the right side, Chuck left with the kids to put on my mirror once a day while he was away on a trip. Next, he upgraded to writing notes in dry erase marker.  Why does he love me so much?! I'm forever in awe of him. I can only hope I return his love in ways equally special to him that make him feel just as loved as do.

Dec 5, 2018

Like Father, Like Son

12/05/2018 — cori

This is a candid shot I took of Chuck and Bennett the other night at the dinner table. This happens All. The. Time. They both usually have either one or both hands on or dangling over their heads every time they sit down. Be it at the table, a chair, the sofa. It's incredulous. Genes are amazing!

Nov 26, 2018

The Return of Thanksgiv

11/26/2018 — cori

Our very dear friends for the past 13 years joined us this year in celebrating Thanksgiv. This is the first time since 2005 that we've gotten the chance to celebrate together again. It was everything good, wonderful, happy, and fun! Laughter filled the house for days on end.

Gavin came home from North Dakota and John and Karen drove up from Parker to complete the largest Thanksgiving dinner we've ever hosted...15 people in all! The best part was, there was no stress, no worries, no running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Everything just sort of flowed, fell into place and turned out beautifully - not perfect, but wonderful none-the-less. We weren't aiming for perfection so there was nothing to be nervous about. Everyone had a job to do and everyone contributed something beautiful to benefit the whole. It was such a lovely snapshot of the larger picture of life.

We had the kids' table

And the big people table. Gavin even ended up laughing so hard at something Bennett said that he shot up out of his chair in the middle of the feast to puke in the sink right behind him because he was laughing so hard. See...not even close to perfect. Also, notice how the tablecloth is 2 inches too short. 

We took crazy family photos,

which happen to be more real-life than the posed ones.

We played the annual football game (in which we lost and had a concussed person as a quarterback).

This team was literally stacked against us. Everyone was tall, healthy and fast. 

The girls carried on the tradition by making the Thanksgiv cake for all to enjoy.

Wes and Logan became the best of friends for the day.

The arrival of the bird by two of the best bird watchers.

As the week progressed, we enjoyed ice skating outdoors at night.

Lucy even asked Chuck, "Is this the best day of your life? I've never seen you so happy before." 

Gavin and boys bonded over Minecraft.

Chuck and Wes playing cards. We played soooo many games together this weekend. 
It's awesome to have friends who love to play as much as we do.

We had a cheese ball eating contest.

We all tried to see how many we could fit in our mouths without gagging.

I only fit 5. The same as Wes. Chuck and John tied with 15!

Penny and Ninja got LOTS of playtime in. It was adorable to watch this puppy with this old lady.

And it wouldn't be a proper visit if we didn't have a night of nertz. Apparently the guys were so stressed by loosing that they both needed massages from their daughters to ease the tension.

Katie introduced us to Around The World Ping Pong. So. Much. Fun. We kept playing and playing and playing. It didn't get old. 

So the moral to the story is...when you find best friends who are willing to celebrate Thanksgiv with you, you hold on for life. You call and invite yourself over as many times and as often as possible over the years. Even when they move to different states and different houses. You don't just tell them they're important and special, you show them. 

Nov 15, 2018


11/15/2018 — cori
Growing up, I always wished for a sister. Chloe did too. It has been such a joy watching her friendship blossom and grow with Brooke...her new sister. A neighbor had asked us if Chloe met the new girl in the neighborhood yet; of which, she hadn't. She had just been lamenting how there was no one her age in our neighborhood like there had been in Minnesota. And then Providence bestowed Brooke upon us. The timing was perfect.

These two spend every waking moment together on the weekends. They go to the same school. Are in the same grade. Have 2 classes together. And ride the bus home together. 

Brooke just moved here from Tennessee. She speaks with the cutest little southern drawl. She has the funniest sayings such as, "Sweet Baby Jesus!" when she's nervous, scared, or worried. She is a cartoon. She makes us laugh hysterically. She immediately started calling herself "Bennett's sister." We're still not sure why.

She is always like this - bubbly, smiley, happy.

And Chloe is thankful she can be herself around her. They bring out the best in each other.

They actually go out like this and don't even care.

They both LOVE makeup and adorning themselves.

Having a friend to still go trick-or-treating with is the best.

They spend ooodles of time riding around the neighborhood, exploring, while riding their bikes....

...dressed as a lion and penguin who also wear ski goggles for some reason. Sometimes the mode of transportation changes to scooters.

Having a sister to do all the goofy, fun, unimportant, mundane, exciting, scary, new things with is THE BEST! Brooke has made herself completely at home; from not taking any scruff from Chloe and telling her like it is, to plopping down on our bed at 10pm to say goodnight, to calling Chloe - Chlo, (the name of endearment from only her family), to playing games with us and not being scared by our loudness and competitiveness. She eats with us, plays with us, cooks with us, sits and talks with us....she's one of us. And I couldn't be happier with our new addition.  

Nov 12, 2018

The Greek Freak and Bennett

11/12/2018 — cori
After watching this interview on Giannis Antetokounmpo, we knew we had to see him live, in action.

What better way than give the Greek Freak to Bennett for his birthday?! So last night the three of us braved a snowstorm to go watch the evenly matched Denver Nuggets play the Milwaukee Bucks.

We could only afford nose-bleed seats, but the view was still great.

Our party of three. 

Giannis in action! The bested the Nuggets 121 to 114.

Can I just say how awesome this kid is?! I absolutely love spending time with him! He has the kindest heart, a crazy hard work-out ethic, he's driven, he's sensitive, he has gone through some pretty hard times and come out the other side a better person and as if that wasn't enough - he is HILARIOUS! He does the best impersonation of me. He knows every Michael Scott quote there is and uses them at the perfect moment. He starts every morning out with a hug for me and never lets the day end without a good-night hug. I'm so proud to be his mom!

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