Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Uncle Ian's 54th And Final Fourteener....And a REALLY Good Excuse to Party!

Huge congratulations to my brother Ian for completing a monumental personal goal he set for himself 15 years ago! Last Saturday, Ian and 7 of his best friends summited Missouri Peak in horrible weather conditions - it was the 54th and final Colorado 14er on Ian's bucket list. Their determination and endurance amaze me. I'm so proud of my brother! Needless to say nearly 60 family and friends came out to camp and celebrate with him!  Kim prepared 3 types of chili for dinner the night of the big hike, breakfast burritos for all the campers the next morning, goody bags for the hikers and activity bags for all the kids.  It was perfectly planned out and executed - if only Mother Nature would have cooperated!
 My Cousin Gary flew out from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to surprise us!  It was so great to see him.  He and I formed the "B team" - hiking up to meet Ian and his buddies on their way down the trail.  We were heroes bringing the guys a well deserved beer.  They woke up at 4:30/5 o'clock to hike "misery peak" as Ian nicknamed it.  They were ready for a beer by noon when we caught up to them! 
 We are so lucky, Kim's best friend Nichole was with us - and had her professional camera with her!  She snapped several photos of the entire Hanou Clan together - and then delicately selected everyone's best pose to make one terrific family photo!
 And she caught this "cousin-ly love" photo!

 The 3 youngest cousins enjoyed throwing rocks in the river.  The crummy weather didn't bother them!
 The bigger cousins, hiked, played hide and seek, and explored the campground NON-stop for the whole weekend.
 Lillian and Jak sharing a toasted marshmallow.
 Lillian was proud of her Uncle Ian too.
 Mom and her girls

 Our only moose sighting...

 Ring around the Rosie is Carolyn's current favorite game...her parents got a reprieve from doing the dance with her while her big cousins filled in!
 Grammie & Opa came to the rescue on several occasions.  Their 34 foot RV they rented had a living room the size of ours at home!  We were able to take shelter in it when the wind, rain and damp weather got the best of us.  The kids loved the front dashboard the best. 

And though I hate to admit it, Mike and I introduced the kids to the portable DVD player on this vacation.  I'm proud to say we were able to hold off for their first 2-3 years! It really did make for a quieter, more relaxing drive for us!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Trip to the Dentist

Both kids thoroughly enjoyed their first trip to the dentist...thank god!  Lillian jumped right up in that dental chair and said "I'll go first, since I'm older Jak".  She listened and followed all her instructions like a pro and got to work "Mr. Thirsty", the air sucker.  Jak's exam was a little more basic for his age - they made sure his teeth were in good working order and counted them.  I was thrilled to hear he had 18 out of 20 already.  We're almost through teething in the Kerschen house!
I'm so glad my parents were visiting and could go with me to the dentist.  I was so fixated on listening to what the dental hygienist said (oh and taking pictures of course!), that I hadn't noticed Jak was climbing up the pole on the dentist chair like a fireman!  What a monkey he is!  Thank god Mom was there to help him!

We celebrated with a little playground time afterwards!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Jak-A-Roo Just Turned Two!

 Jak had a small "family only" 2nd birthday party, with our neighbors the Abotes as a last minute addition!  After experiencing the specific invite list from Lillian at her 3rd birthday - I'm afraid this may be the last "low-key" birthday party we'll have for a while!
 Thanks to Grammie Hanou we had enough costumes to go around for this fun impromptu dress up session. 
 Jak is in love with his new trucks, I didn't know Tonka trucks were considered "Ride-on" toys!  Thanks Grandpa Kerschen and Deni!

 And Grammie Kerschen is a hero for sending this guy a soccer ball and net.  Hours of outdoor fun are coming our way!
The kids had a pretend tea party, with water in their cups and gold fish on their plates.  Lillian insisted they say their prayers before they eat so this is them singing "God Is Great...". 

 I love this picture!  It reminds me of the semi-chaotic but all too realistic family shot at the end of the opening credits of "The Growing Pains" sit-com from the 80's.  Despite Lillian's infatuation with her Grandpa - at the end of Jak's birthday soiree (and a little too far past bedtime) - neither of my kids would let anyone but momma hold them! That's 60 pounds I'm hoisting right there!
 So much love here....
 Deni had a recent foot injury before their Colorado visit and her foot was in a boot.  We opted to keep things simple and have a picnic lunch up the street at Standley Lake. And boy am I glad we did!  We discovered a little bit of paradise in our neighborhood.  We'll explore this lake many, many more times in the next decade I'm sure!

Jak is still a little behind verbally but he has the sweetest little "mime"
 way of communicating with everyone.  We usually figure out what he's trying to tell us (and believe me if you guess wrong - he's really good at letting you know that too!!!).  Jak can dribble his new soccer ball like a four year old and several mornings this week, the Kerschens have begun their day with a game of kickball on Johnson Street at 7 AM.  Our neighbors all drive by and smile.  It's become the fastest way to get the kids out the door in the morning and we'll take all the help we can get!  Jak still has the best smile on any little boy I've ever met and he generously offers it to anyone who looks his way.  It melts your heart.  And he gives the biggest bear hugs lately!  The kind where he wraps his arms and legs fully around you and squeals.  He is a sweet boy through-and-through, but trust me he's learning how to push his sister's buttons, we're in for our share of sibling fights over the next few years!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sure Wish We Had Splash Parks When I was a Kid

Here are a few pictures from the Stapleton Splash Park by Aunt Casey & Uncle Robert's House:
 Holden sure is amazing at helping the little ones have fun.

 Surprise surpise, Lillian and Jak loved climbing the rubber mound.
All 5 cousins enjoyed climbing the concrete rock wall.
 Snack break!
And here are a few from the new splash park in Wheat Ridge: