Roughing It

We kept the Colorado exploration rolling by taking the kids on our first overnight camping trip. We intended to include camping on our road trip, but storms and cold weather were in the forecast and Eric and I decided we didn't want the kids' first camping experience to be a bad one.

With only so many summer weekends left, Eric looked up a nearby campsite which lead us to Columbine Campgrounds. He also threw in a little fishing expedition for the kids. We went to Mt. Evans Lake, where they fish were practically begging to be caught, which made for a great time for the kids.

Connor caught a 14-incher

Can you see the pure joy on her face?

Riley helped gather fire wood

Proud of their dinner

Sleeping cozy in the tent

Somebody slept in

A successful first camping trip
The kids did great! Riley was so intrigued by everything (no surprise there-- she's always been our nature girl). I'll be the first to admit that I am not a camping enthusiast, but I can say with all honesty that I loved this trip. Getting to see how much the kids enjoyed every moment of this made it pretty awesome for me too.


CO Road Trip

We wanted to spend this summer exploring Colorado. We've lived here for two years now and there is still so much for us to see and experience.

Eric carefully planned and plotted out a road trip for us. Weather cut the entire trip short, but you wouldn't know it, seeing how much we did get to do.

Went rafting in Canon City

Drove through the continental divide

spent quality time with Aunt Sue

hiked to the top of Mt Crested Butte

Riley got to visit JoJo

Crossed the Royal Gorge Bridge


Spelling Bee Champion

This year Riley started her pre-kindergarten class. She spent the summer transitioning into the new class with her former teacher. The teachers decided to challenge the kiddos and put on a spelling bee.

We received a list of words for Riley to practice. And practice she did-- we made flashcards, we placed them into stacks to know which words she knew and which words needed more work. She studied right until the morning of the spelling bee.

The teachers did an awesome job setting up the spelling bee in its true format. The class full of 4-5 year-olds sat in two rows, and one by one, each child was called up to the front and given a word to spell. We watched Riley breeze through words like "bat" and "frog" until it was down to her and one other child. The other child was given the word "star," a word that was also one of Riley's more challenging words. The other child misspelled it, and in true spelling bee form, Riley had to correctly spell "star" to clench the spelling bee championship. And that she did!

I have suspicions that the teachers skewed the contest to favor Riley, seeing as Eric and I were two of three parents who arrived to witness it in action. That does not at all take away from how proud I am of our baby girl. She stood and spoke with confidence. She worked hard, and her hard work paid off. And what may seem to most as a silly little spelling bee will remain one of my most favorite memories of Riley.


Words To Live By

One thing I always seem to hear when I talk to others about my young children is "they grow up fast." And lately, that has felt like an understatement. In a few months, my first-born will be five years old. I have no idea how that is even possible.

One of my favorite things about having young children is the way they pronounce certain words. They eventually grow out of these mispronunciations but I never want to forget them. I find it so sweet and adorable, and I hope to document as many of these words as possible.

Connor calls his sister "Rally"
One of their favorite things to eat for breakfast is "shaw-shig"
When we go to the pool, Riley wants to put on her "bay-bing suit"
Connor came home and told me his school had a practice "potato drill" (tornado)
When racing, Connor wants to "beep" the other person (beat)
"milkshakes" are currently "shake milk"


Walk This Way

This year was the first year that both kids were of age to attend Vacation Bible School, so we made it a family affair. We signed both kids up and Eric and I volunteered to be small group leaders.

In our awesome shirts with this year's theme
VBS is for kids ages preschool through 5th grade. The driving message this year was to walk God's way. This was a 5 day production that involved a dance team, a drama team, crafts, snacks, games and lessons.

I had the privilege to lead a group of five kindergarteners. They were engaged and inquisitive. They worshiped with song and dance. They asked a ton of questions. And as exhausting as the week was, I found myself sentimental about it coming to an end. The sweet, innocent hearts of my five kids were filled to capacity with love for Jesus, and I am so honored to be a part of the journey to grow in their faith.

Meanwhile, my own children were involved in the preschool curriculum. They came home everyday with an awesome craft, singing new songs and showing off their new knowledge about God.
Shirts they made during VBS
This week was unlike anything I've ever been a part of. I am so humbled by the entire experience and it is my hope that this becomes an annual event for our family.


Biker Chick

My first born is officially riding a bicycle. I cannot even tell you what kind of emotions this has me feeling. I cannot believe she is big enough to be doing this. But above all else, I am so so incredibly proud of her.

Bought this bike with her own money
When Riley was just a little over a year old, we got her a push tricycle. It has no pedals and converts to a balance bike. We had spoken to a lot of seasoned parents about it and they suggested this learning method with high praises. And after our experience with it and Riley, I completely share those praises.

Riley transitioned to a Schwinn balance bike last year and by the end of the summer, she was riding pretty confidently.

When sunshine finally approached this year, she hopped on and we knew she was about ready for a pedal bike. 

I flashed back to when I learned how to ride a bike. I vividly remembered my dad pushing me off to a start and holding on to my seat and running along side me as I pedaled. I was fully prepared to do the same for Riley, but to our surprise, her transition to a pedal bike was completely independent. She hopped on and figured it out right away. 

Here is a video of what is probably her third or fourth ride on a bicycle:

I wish I could described in words how much determination was exuding from my little girl. We could tell that the day would not come to an end until she was comfortably riding a bicycle-- and that she was. She's been on a bike every day since, always with the biggest smile on her face. 

That joy in its purest form is the ultimate reward for any parent. 


You Are My Sunshine

This year, Connor man had his first End-Of-Year program. We knew he was excited about it because he was practicing on his own every day. He was singing songs I had no idea he knew (in places people probably shouldn't sing) and I could tell this was going to mean a lot to him.

We took him to Riley's most recent program so he could get a glimpse of what is involved and shake any nerves he might have. But our guy had no nerves to shake. He was excited, confident, and sang loud and clear, just as we would expect our extroverted child to.

So proud of my son!

Here he is, singing "the Phonics song" with his classmates:

Here are some videos of him practicing at home:

I am so proud of our little dude. He truly is our sunshine.