Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Elizabeth found a deal for the National Stock Show's Rodeo and asked if Luke and I would like to join Charlie and her on a double date. That was an easy decision, of course! We had a great night on our double date. The stock show comes every year to Denver, but this was our first time going. It looked massive. Lots of vendors, buildings, parking, shows, etc. I would like to go back during the day one of these years to explore more. Luke was excited to watch the cowboys wrestle steers and the mutton busters. He was convinced he could stay on as long, if not longer, than the participants we watched. Unfortunately, he is too big now and we may never get to test out his confidence with his mutton bustin. As we were walking out of the arena after the rodeo, Luke's eyes were so big as he took everything in. He told me several times, "Thanks for bringing me to the rodeo. This is the best night ever! I like just me and you time, Mom."

Luke was very impressed with how tough Cowboys can be.

It was a tight squeeze on the shuttle back to our parking lot!

Such a fun date night with my little man. Thanks again to Cramers for the invite!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Grandma and Grandpa Kotter

My parents came for a visit last week and we were all thrilled to see them! It has been almost 2 years since my kiddos last saw them. Myles was only 2-months-old and we were living in California when they left for their mission in Japan! I attempted to surprise the kids, but Luke caught on to my sneaky-ness. It was so fun to have them. I'm already scheming for when we can see them next.

Saturday night they made their "surprise" arrival. We hung around the house that night and Sunday. It was helpful having two extra sets of hands with the kids at church on Sunday.  We played lots of games. Sleeping Queens continues to be the popular one. Grandma taught the kids "Garbage" which has also become a favorite. 

Monday, I let Luke skip school and we took my parents on a tour of Hammond's Candy Factory. They were cranking out a lot of candy compared to the last time I visited. We were all entertained and enjoyed this stop. 

Making candy canes.

Luke's reaction to seeing all of the chocolate and candy being made.

We attempted a group shot...

Like I said, we attempted. :)

Next, we headed to Casa Bonita for lunch. After several friends told me how much their kids enjoy this restaurant, we decided this was the perfect excuse to try it out. The food was sub-par and the acting horrible, but the kids LOVED it, which made all of us truly enjoy it. 

The gun fight really startled the kids and they wouldn't take their hands down until this part was over.

Luke and Emma pulling their gorilla faces (why yes, a gorilla was part of the acting crew). 

On Tuesday, my mom and I squeezed in some shopping while my dad started cranking out a project for me in our laundry room. I wanted a board with hooks to hang our swim stuff from when we get home from swimming. 

I loved how it turned out and I think our laundry room is officially the nicest room in our home. Thanks Dad! I do spend a decent amount of time in here, so I greatly appreciate it!

On the last day of their visit, we caught Luke for school lunch and recess. It was a bit of a zoo, but he was still teary-eyed when I left. This Luke, he is my goofy and tender-hearted boy!

Thanks for coming Mom and Dad! We love you and are so happy you are home!

Date Night for Emma

As part of our goals for the New Year, Bryan and I want to take the kids on a one-on-one date each month. Our intention is to spend quality time with each child. We explained the plan to Luke and Emma and they were both excited about the goal. Emma was up first to go with Bryan. She picked out her favorite dress, wore her stick-on earrings, put on her make-up that Santa Claus brought her and requested her hair be done "just-so." When Bryan caught a glimpse of the effort Emma was making, he stepped up his plans for the night. We couldn't have her all dressed up and no where to go! :) It was pretty adorable to watch this unfold. Luke was a good sport about Emma going first. On their way out the door, he said, "I hope you have a good time, Emma!"

A visit to the library and Chili's for dessert was the perfect date night. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ice Skating

Southwest sponsors an ice skating rink in downtown Denver that is free admission with $2 skate rentals. That price is hard to beat! Luke and Emma were excited to go ice skating again. We thought we might try to baby swap Myles and leave him with friends, but ended up taking him and I think he was the easiest of the three kids! Luke was pretty discouraged he couldn't go as fast as he wanted. Emma needed a food/recharge break, but then went back on the ice with Bryan and ended on a good note. We decided the next time we do this, if it's close to lunch that we need to eat first and then go ice skating. Despite some frustration levels, it was a still a good time and GORGEOUS weather. 60 degrees at the end of December?!? Amazing.

It was ironic to me that Luke was frustrated he wasn't going fast enough because this is the only picture I snagged of him on the ice! He didn't want to stop and was doing laps around Emma and me. 

Fans and support crew on the sidelines.
Since we couldn't take Myles on the ice Bryan stayed with him and I went out with Luke and Emma. 

The climax of the frustration. 

Bryan is mid "woot-woot!"

We ate at Smashburger after ice skating. As we were ordering, Luke got stuck on the handicap elevator. It was hilarious and embarrassing all at the same time. Making great memories. The kids devoured their food and both said they wanted to try ice skating again. Bryan and I agreed to it, but we'll stick with the annual tradition for now. :)

Cleaning and Tying

The day after Christmas, we were assigned to clean our church with a few other families. Bryan was under the weather so he stayed home with Myles. Luke and Emma were hard workers and it was a good thing, because we made up 3/4 of the cleaning crew! It was a good morning and the kids liked doing service.


That afternoon, I took Luke shopping for new shoes with part of the money that his grandma and grandpa Nielson sent for Christmas . Luke genuinely appreciates one-on-one time and we had a great time shopping for new shoes together. Prior to Luke picking out his shoes, we set a goal with him to help him learn how to tie his shoes over Christmas break. Bryan grabbed the bull by the horns and in one afternoon Luke was tying his own shoes.

Apparently, it was an exhausting day for Luke. Not sure he ever made it into bed. :)