Saturday, February 25, 2017

Family

For a long weekend we were able to get away to Southern California to visit family - including the newest member of the Etheridge clan:
Jenavieve Marie
(born February 8th)

It was so good to all be together. We only had three days... but it was just enough to spend a day at my brother's home playing games and visiting and hugging on my nephews and new niece!
 
 
 
 

And it was just enough to spend a day watching the four boys have a grand time at Legoland, building and laughing and riding rollercoasters!
 
 
 
 

And it was just enough to spend a whole day digging in the sand, jumping (cold) waves, playing on the beach and relaxing in the sun!
 
 
 

Most importantly, it was barely enough to spend time as a family.
And while our extended family is precious and fulfilling, it was pretty special to have a brief moment where my original family had time for a sunset selfie!
 

Three long days went by quickly, but we savored every moment cuddling sweet, new Jena; hugging and playing with cousins and Aunt & Uncle and grandparents; good, long conversations that simply don't happen over the phone; and for me, morning coffee & crossword in the San Diego sunshine!
 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Celebrating Hamp

We finally got a day to fulfill Hamp's birthday wish = a day at The Barn at Woodward in Copper Mountain. He had been talking about this indoor skate park and training center for months, but I still had no idea what to expect. Well wasn't I pleasantly surprised at just how awesome this place was indeed! I was also impressed with how excellently these four boys shredded the whole park!
(picked up a little lingo as the chaperone... shred = skate well)
 


Even better than the "shredding" was the fun that we all had that day - and everyday with Hamp in our lives. Now that he is officially a teenager, I try to respect his burgeoning maturity and allow him to be his true self. It's an incredibly blurry and wild space for us both - him as a 13-year old boy and me as his mother! But we are figuring out how to grow together and I am learning to love our relationship. He is still not much of a talker (definitely doesn't take after his father on that one!) but when he does I try to really listen. He still loves sports and skiing and friends and being outside - but as his time with Playmobil and Legos wanes, I find his time spent on the Xbox or on Instagram or Youtube fills the void. He has become particularly adept at binge-watching on Netflix! But when he's not 'on a screen' he is still funny and clever and sweet. And a little silly:

Saturday, January 28, 2017

January

 
Ahhhh..... we have been playing in the snow!

We have skied every weekend and we have experienced some real excellent days on the mountain. Sometimes there are a bunch of fun friends to take runs with, and sometimes it's just the three of us. Either way, it's good times. 
 
 
 
 
 

We have also spent a little time on the local sledding hill!
Between the cardboard sledding derby (check out the stellar creation below.... it didn't do too well on the hill but it sure looked interesting!) and getting new sleds for their birthdays, there have been plenty of good times there too!
 

 
 

  And of course there are the boys' birthdays!

Celebrations were limited this year to balloons, cake for breakfast, sweet cards and well-wishes from friends & family and a few really cool gifts.

I have managed to put off any major birthday event (skatepark? bowling? sleepover???) for now.... we'll see what February brings though!

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year

Happy New Year!!!!!!

We rang in 2017 the best way we three know how - on the slopes!
Looking forward to a good, long ski season this year. 
 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas cousins



We spent a week in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with the Hightower family for Christmas vacation this year - mostly to be introduced to the newest cousin: Charlotte Rose. She was born the Monday after Thanksgiving so this little 3-week old spent some time in my arms while the others slaved away in the kitchen or played with the kids! I dare say Miss Charlotte was very happy to meet her Aunt Moo and even wanted to come back to Colorado with me and her big boy cousins... but she couldn't manage to sneak away. There was much discussion about how much she will grow between now and the next time we see her... so I cherished these moments with my teeny-tiny niece! 
I wasn't the only one who thought she was pretty special!!!

As for all the big Hightower cousins, they resumed their sweet friendships - picking up right where they left off last time they were together. The 'littles' (in a month they will be 8, 9 and 10 years old) spent hours dreaming up plays and building a bamboo raft and making musical instruments and forming a band...
 


Meanwhile, the 'bigs' (in a month they will be 12 & 13.... yikes!) would only take enough time away from their video games or social media accounts to either play soccer, terrorize the littles, or chase me through the neighborhood in the golf cart!
 

These five have always been so fun to watch and such sweet friends...
 
 
 
 
ALL the Hightower grands!!!
Once the gifts were all appreciated and everyone was full on Christmas ham and we had seen the Broncos lose to the Chiefs, it was time to plan the trip home. This time we took a different route which was no more or less interesting or exhausting.
It just got us home...
 
 
 
 

... and it was good to be home!
 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Travel karma

We have all at some point in our lives been subject to some bad travel karma. Flight delays, bad weather, traffic, missed connections, obnoxious travel companions, etc. In fact, easy and effortless travel has become something many of us take for granted. So when travel plans go awry, I tend to respond with the the reaction of "oh well" and "it's an adventure!"  While this can be annoying to the adult who just wants to get mad and place blame on the nearest, under-paid service provider, when said to children it can set a tone for positive and grateful travel adventures to follow....

For example:

Our Christmas travels plans were originally pretty straight-forward: drive to Denver, fly to Mississippi. But to add a little excitement to the journey, we left early enough to visit the Denver Art Museum, where a special Star Wars Costume exhibit was showing! Soooooooooo cool.....
 
 
Paired with some time at Dave & Buster's for dinner and games - we were already enjoying a great travel experience!

We have flown in/out of Denver airport a million times. This was another ordinary day. All was well with the morning - shuttle on time, lines manageable, security easy - until it was time to board our flight. As the gate attendant picked up the microphone, I got ourselves ready to board..... except her spiel was a  little different than I had heard before. Instead of "now boarding zone 1" it sounded more like "your flight is cancelled". 

Huh. Oh well. It's an adventure!

So here's what we did:
We got our cancelled flight refunded.
We waited for our checked bag to be returned. 
We went ice skating at the Denver Airport:
 


And then, we got in the car and headed east. 
Through Kansas, Oklahoma (boys were sleeping!), Arkansas, and finally Mississippi!!!!!!
 
 
 

And the gaggle of cousins we found waiting for us (including a brand new one!!!!!) was worth all the adventure!