Colorado Springs: Garden of the gods

Next stop: Garden of the gods. Brian and I were most excited about this one.

CO Springs

CO Springs

 CO Springs

It was a cold, windy day, but we made the most of it!  CO Springs

They had a few different trails of varying abilities, so we appreciated that CO Springs

And it was beautiful and amazing!!  CO Springs

This may be my favorite picture of the whole trip! CO Springs

Co springs

The rocks were amazing. The only downside was that it felt a little commercialized. A lot of fences and concrete. It definitely felt like you were in a park, not in nature. CO Springs

But of course it was totally worth it still!

Co springs CO Springs

The kids were really convinced they could move this rock!  Co springs
Brian and I decided we’d love to do one of the harder trails, I think if you could pull that off it would be the coolest!!
CO Springs

Co springs

We also hit up the Colorado City Creamery, it was delish!

Sadie branched out and tried Sweet Cream (she ALWAYS gets vanilla)…and totally dug it!!

Colorado Springing it

Spring Break vacation with kids be like

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

We felt like we have lived in Kansas long enough, it was high time we made the notoriously boring drive to our neighboring state of Colorado and check it out.

We looked into Denver, but it was more museums, sports and tours. All of which we love, but we do those a lot. Our awesome spin instructor grew up in Colorado Springs and would mention it on occasion when she visited, it always sounded like so much fun, so I asked her what we needed to do. She gave me a list of what we needed to hit and we headed out of town!

We had to stop for headphones. I send Brian to that part of Target to grab some. He came back with these awesome ones! He’s good at reminding me they won’t be small long and before we know it she wouldn’t want to wear something like this.

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

The drive is due west and known for absolutely nothing. It’s why Kansas is known for being flat and boring. But we did see hundreds (not an exaggeration!) of those big new wind mills, which I later researched and they are windmill farms! Who knew?!

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

There’s also very few towns, so we definitely peed on the side of the road.

We stopped to get super yummy popcorn in some random town!

We drove straight to Denver to spend the next morning there before heading to CO Springs. We wanted to tour the US Mint, but you have to reserve that and they were full. Lucky for us, Celestial Tea was also on our list to tour…and they weren’t full (go figure!) 🙂

Free samples!

CO Springs Spring Break 2016  CO Springs Spring Break 2016

No pictures from inside the tour, but it was a little sad to see how few people worked in the factory. There were a lot of machines. We saw I think 3 people the whole time.

But we had our hair nets on so you won’t be finding our hair in your tea!

Driving to CO Springs from Denver we saw this.

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

Then we saw a sign for “Castle Rock next exit” and took it!

It was a fun little hike (reminded me of Runyon Canyon in LA that Carolyn and I have done), not too too hard, but a great view from the top.

“Berkley, what are you doing?”

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

This is our children’s life in a nutshell…

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

Girls climbing with their daddy is sweet!

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

We make the boy go at it himself! 🙂

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

Day one in CO Springs, first stop: Manitou Springs. They advertise their 8 naturally occurring springs that you can drink from.

So this is what we started out looking for

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

We assumed we were looking for natural looking springs coming out of the ground. When we finally asked a local, she pointed to the water fountain.

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

This is my “oh my, that’s not what I was expecting” face. It’s basically lightly carbonated water.

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

We went around town and found and drank from all 8

CO Springs SB 2016

There was a lot of this from the kids:

CO Springs SB 2016

CO Springs SB 2016

And a lot of this:

CO Springs SB 2016

But they tried them all.

CO Springs SB 2016

Each fountain was unique, so even though we weren’t drinking out of the ground like we thought, it was still fun to see them!

CO Springs SB 2016

CO Springs SB 2016

CO Springs SB 2016

We take them to another state and they have the best time at the playground…

CO Springs SB 2016

This one’s pretty great cause he looks like a dog licking it!!

CO Springs SB 2016

That’s Brian spitting it back out this time. This one had a VERY strong iron/metal taste.  CO Springs Spring Break 2016

It warranted some dramatic reactions….

CO Springs SB 2016

CO Springs Spring Break 2016

This spring was right outside the restaurant we ate lunch at…

CO Springs SB 2016

…and they use it to make “adult lemonade” which was fantastic! Mineral water springs redeemed!!!

CO Springs SB 2016

Then there was the Penny Arcade. No, it’s not really a penny to play, which was a let down, but let’s be honest, that’s unrealistic! 🙂

It was only $.25 for each game of Skee-Ball though!

CO Springs SB 2016

CO Springs SB 2016

And they had never played pin ball before, so now that they have we’ve redeemed ourselves as parents.

CO Springs SB 2016

Brian found this girl dressed as Marty Jr!! She dresses up just cause!

CO Springs SB 2016

Patsy’s Candy had funnel cakes!!

CO Springs SB 2016

All in all, a cute little hippy town that was for sure worth exploring! It’s also home to the train that takes you up to Pikes Peak, but we weren’t sure about altitude, so we skipped that one. I’ve only heard horror stories about altitude sickness and it wasn’t worth the risk. (And also I’m terrified of heights, but let’s stick to the altitude excuse…)

More to come…

This is a game changer.

There are a few things in life we just won’t try without a recommendation from someone we trust.

  1. Hole in the wall restaurants.
  2. Overpriced things that are worth paying extra for (Connie’s Cookies, pants, etc).
  3. A non-main line cell phone provider.

But once you tell us to try it, we will.

And also, I hated paying our cell phone bill. We were paying $117 for two of us with Sprint, which was already cheaper than anything else we could find. But that’s still A LOT of money.

So, when Christine told us they tried Ting and love it, we were game to try it out!

And it’s been the best ever! 

Here’s the deal: you bring your phone over, but since companies aren’t giving deals on them anymore anyways, that’s a non-issue. Also, you only pay for what you use. Here’s the pricing:

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 3.20.51 PM

Brian and I use our phones a lot. And we didn’t want to be paying for a phone we were afraid to use. We don’t want to not interact with someone cause we are thinking “that will cost me $x.” We really love unlimited things for that reason. But we also felt like we were getting taken to the cleaners paying $117 a month. So we switched over (knowing we could always switch back if it didn’t work for us)

Yeah, we aren’t switching back.

The first month we decided we were going to use our phones like normal and see what happened. You don’t pay for using wifi, so that’s great, since texting between iPhones uses that when it can and doesn’t count as anything!

Our bill was $46.28 (after taxes).

No limiting of our usage, no problem getting service, no problems at all.

And there’s an app you can even check your usage and it estimates what your bill will be!

April 2016

And honestly, it’s helped limit our phone use too. Cause if I know I’m going to pay (even a nominal amount) to look at instagram when I’m bored in line at the grocery store, I’m more likely to talk to the person behind me instead. And I’m happier when I choose that instead. So it’s been a win-win!

We’ve been using it for 4 months now and our highest bill was $64. That’s half of what we were paying before, for the SAME EXACT THING.

Ting. We love you.

 

So this happened…

So I left town one weekend and Brian got kittens!!

Feb 2016

Kidding. That’s not how it went down, but would anyone have been surprised?

I wish I could say that’s what happened cause then maybe I wouldn’t be the crazy girl who keeps getting animals. But alas. I cannot distance myself from this decision.

But let me show you why I am powerless over this:

It’s a boy and a girl. The girl we named Dory. The boy, Mr Nubbers. Cause he has a nub tail. It’s adorable. He wags it. Dory doesn’t have a full tail either! So random!

Here you can see their tails and Mr N wagging it!

Feb 2016

Berkley treats these cats just like she did Junie B. And they respond the same. They DON’T RUN. WHY NOT?!

And have dominion over the ...kittens? #genesis1

But I mean really, how cute is this?!

Mr Nubbers

They are super playful, and are stinking cute when they jump!

Feb 2016

And when they just lay there…

 Feb 2016

And when they sleep. They were 6 weeks old when we got them!

Feb 2016

This picture makes me laugh. It’s kind of a really accurate snap shot of my life: Amazon is pulled up, a sermon CD to edit, a receipt to reimburse, a to do list, books I’m reading, and now a cat.   Feb 2016

It’s a Valentine’s Tradition!

I love love love holiday traditions! This is one of our favs. The idea originally came from Julie Vos (who is the queen of event planning!) and now it’s our most anticipated meal of the year!

Feb 2016

On Valentines we have a Mystery Dinner. Here’s where I print the menus from, and it explains it as well. Basically you “order” but don’t know what you are ordering (cause the items are all in code). Then the meal comes out in four courses, two at a time. So for course one you may have ordered a fork and bread, or the main dish and dessert, but no fork to eat it with. You even have to order your cup!

Here’s what they got for course one!
Feb 2016

I think Italian is easiest to pull off: this year it was spaghetti and meatballs (usually it’s lasagna, recipe also from Julie!), garlic bread, caesar salad, mozzarella sticks, strawberries and ice cream.
Feb 2016

Feb 2016

 

Fake Patty’s Day

There’s a little party here in Manhattan every year called “Fake Patty’s.” It’s exactly that: Fake St Patrick’s day celebration. Since St Patty’s falls during Spring Break every year, the college kids are “robbed” of getting drunk on green beer. And that’s just plain unacceptable. So being the college-educated, problem solving people they are, they came up with the solution: let’s just pretend it’s St Patty’s and still get drunk on green beer. And so Fake Patty’s day came into being. And of course the bars didn’t object and hopped right on board!

FPD 2016

Before you think, oh, that’s so cute, here’s the deal: it’s huge. 10 different police departments are involved from across the state. The bars bank. People fly in to attend. The party starts first thing in the morning, because, as one shirt we saw said “You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning!”

But also, the Varsity Donut truck is open all day! Varsity has a stationary truck behind their store, but it doesn’t open until 10pm (it’s brilliant, feeding the people coming from the bars!) I’ve been asleep for an hour when it opens though, so we’ve only been once. But they serve a mac n cheese grilled cheese. Yep, as yummy as it sounds. AND HOT donuts. So that’s enough to lure us out to Fake Patty’s with our kids for lunch. (it’s not a family friendly event, but come on. Grilled mac n cheese.)

FPD 2016

We swapped green beer for green donuts for the kids!

FPD 2016

Here are our sandwiches!!
FPD 2016

We walked around some; this was noon, and definitely drunk people, but at this point there were all just super happy! I’m not usually paranoid about keeping an eye on our kids, but I was this day! Ha!

There are tables set up selling shirts and beads, and huge $.50 suckers! Can you believe they were only $.50?!

FPD 2016

Berkley was the only one to finish her’s

Ultimate Frisbee March 2016

Stopped by these boys’ house…FPD 2016

…and some how my son ended up on the roof.

FPD 2016
FPD 2016

Living in a college town, our kids have had more exposure to alcohol and its effects than we ever did in elementary school. But honestly, it’s been good for them. Case in point: When we were walking to lunch at the food truck, I gave everyone a water bottle and said it was for their lunch. Brian proceeded to drink his whole bottle on the 2 min walk from the car to lunch so he didn’t have it for when he was eating. Berkley looked at me and said “Dad must be drunk, he’s not making very good choices.”

And SP’s prayer at night after this day: “Dear God, thank you for Fake St Patty’s day and thank you that none of us got drunk. Amen”

 

 

Sadie Piper is 8

In our heads she’s kinda maxed out at 6.

Sadie Piper dance 2nd grade zoom

But if we are talking real years, yes, she’s 8!

She was very specific about what she wanted in cookies: green with a white 8

Jan 2016

Jan 2016

On your birthday week in our house you get to pick all the dinners. One of her meals was this cheese broccoli soup. Brian mentioned bread bowls (cause in his world he says “we should eat from bread bowls” and it “automatically” happens. To be fair I say “my phone isn’t working right” and it “automatically” fixes too, so we will call it even! 🙂 ), so we had bread bowls which they thought was super fun!

Sadie Piper birthday meal, broccoli cheese soup in bread bowl

Her and her BFFs re-preforming their music program from this year at her bday sleepover!
Jan 2016
Jan 2016

Can we talk about what a gimp mom I am? See her candle? It was all I had! Oops!
Jan 2016
Jan 2016

And then on her real b-day you would think I had gotten it together and bought candles. Nope. She was an awesome sport and figured out we could just add with the numbers we did have!

SP bday

She requested pumpkin pie for her cake

SP bday

At eight, Sadie Piper:

  • Has a massive girl crush on Taylor Swift. She can sing almost every word on her 1989 album, and not just the choruses, she knows all the verses too! To the point where we have her change the words to “…he’s so tall, and handsome as WELL…”
  • Is still up for anything, if you ask her if she wants to “(insert adventure or activity)” she’s in!
  • Her palette is still for vanilla. She likes plain stuff.
  • Extremely determined. If she sets her mind to something, she works until she get it.
  • Has this amazing way of making people feel loved. When you are with just her, she just makes you feel good!
  • Music is the language of her heart. Turn music on and she’s dancing around!
  • Still embraces being the “Middle-ist.” We call Brian, Beckham and Berkley the “Killer B’s” (old Astros reference) and SP and I, since we don’t share an initial letter decided we would find the “middle” between L and S (since we are both middle children) and came up with O. So we are the Owls.
  • Has a steel trap of a memory. (Comes in super handy for the rest of us too, “Hey Sadie, (insert thing you can’t remember)?”)

 

Flyin’ High

50 degrees + Friday after school + swings = jumping contest!

Jumping

Jumping

The girls were a little skeptical about being caught jumping off…  Jumping

Jumping

but Brian didn’t disappoint!

Jumping

We pictured ourselves looking much cooler than this:

Jumping

Jumping

Honestly, I wanted to look like this:

Jumping

Jumping