#10 Everyday Family Fun
It was interesting that although we had some big adventures this year, some of the ones that the boys mentioned as being the best were the everyday activities, like baking cookies or reading books or having a Roman Feast at the end of the school year or watching Daddy grow a beard and helping him shave it. It is always good to be reminded that adventures happen not just in the big events, but in the mundane as well.
|We actually don't do this very often, I guess we will have to do it more.|
|We studied ancient history this year, so it this was a fun way to wrap it up.|
#9 All Things Squishy
It seems that many of our favorite things this year were either slimy, scaly, or had antennae. The boys adopted several new pets including fire-bellied toads, a salamander and a hermit crab as well as enjoying the annual spring-time ritual of catching as many tadpoles and froglets as they could, topped off by experiencing banana slugs, starfish, jellyfish, and sea anemone (but more about that later).
|Ulysses the Hermit Crab|
|Baby moon jellies washed up on the beach- no stings!|
|One of many, many frogs caught at the creek.|
#8 A Newer, Larger Camper
This was a great investment for us. We used it to take trips to Moab, the Sand Dunes and Steamboat camping this year. Since it has a working heater, water pump and fridge it should make it more comfortable for those long trips we like to take where we bring our own hotel room behind us. We had a few adjustments to make to figure it all out, but it seems like it will definitely make it more economical for a family of five to travel. If only we could float it to Hawaii....
|Putting Nate to work... set it up, take it down, repeat.|
|Somewhere in Montana|
#7 Graduation! (Finally!)
Jeff graduated from Colorado School of Mines this year with his Masters Degree in Geological Engineering. It was a long six years, but he was able to complete it while working full time and without too much stress on our family time. We are so proud of him. Not only did he get his Masters degree this year, but he also turned 40 and grew a beard. And shaved it. And grew it back. Sigh...
|Jeff with his proud Mom and "The Beard"|
|Jeff's birthday 14er - Mt. Democrat|
|The Beard is back, a little more tame this time.|
#6 Old Friends, New Friends and Moved Friends
We got to spend time with visiting friends from Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin this year and were so glad to get to hang out with them after not seeing them for so long. The boys have been making new friends at their new homeschool enrichment program as well and we continue to enjoy great times of fellowship with our church family at church picnics, fall festivals and through music team. One of our least favorite, but probably most significant events involving friends was saying goodbye to our good friends and neighbors as they moved overseas for their own new adventures.
|With the Richesons in Breckenridge in July|
|Jennifer and Tracie in Breck|
|The Nordlies in September|
|Jennifer and Sarah|
|The best neighbors, daily playmates, we miss you tons!|
#5 "The Prairie Dog Incident"
We have a wonderful open field behind our house filled with grasses, rocks, and a creek. It also has plenty of critters, but many of the usual pests are kept under control by our cat, Grizzly, as well as the foxes and coyotes that keep our number of household cats to a minimum as well. My usual worry when the boys head out to the field is that they will stumble upon a rattlesnake, so when Trevor came running back from the field one day screaming hysterically "It bit me!" and dripping blood from his hand, I was sure I would soon be calling 911 for anti-venom. When I was able to understand that it wasn't a snake but a prairie dog that bit him, several questions came to mind. "We've never seen prairie dogs before, are you sure?" (Mom, I know what a prairie dog looks like.) "How did you get close enough to a prairie dog?" (I scooped it up in a net because it was swimming in the creek.) "Why did it bite you?" (Because I was trying to make it stay in my 5-gallon bucket.) "Why did you pick it up?" (You never told me not to!) And the question everyone is now wondering, "Do we need to worry about tetanus, rabies, THE PLAGUE???" (The doctor and health department declared that everything was OK, and so far we haven't seen any foaming at the mouth, so we think he is all good.)
As usual, we had plenty of biking adventures this year. We started with a biking vacation in Moab. Everyone was riding for this one and we enjoyed the scenery and the fun slick rock. We will definitely be going back. Ethan raced in his first bike race this year, a 5 mile race called the Ridgeline Rampage. He was first place... coming off the starting line. Next year, he thinks he will pace himself a little more. Jeff also rode the Rampage - 20 miles for him, which prepared him for his first year to ride as part of a team for the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge.
|#3025 - that's our boy!|
|Firecracker 50 (Divided by 2= 25) Go Jeff!|
#3 Boating Adventures
One of our new favorites this year was river sports. We purchased some cheap river tubes and Jeff has an inflatable kayak and we did a couple of trips hoping no one would fall out and drown. Only one person fell out, and the only thing that got drowned was Jeff's wedding ring, which must have slipped off in the cold South Platte. Next summer we are planning a new hobby... gold panning in the South Platte.
|Ready to go!|
|The South Platte|
#2 Adventures with Guns
Well, it had to happen sooner or later, I suppose. Boys like to shoot guns. Jeff purchased a couple and took the boys target shooting. One thing led to another, a couple of hunter safety courses and a few Duck Dynasty episodes later and we ended up with this...
|Mom was at a women's retreat while this occurred.|
And our #1 favorite adventure was....
#1 A Two-Week Road Trip to the Northwest
Our faithful minivan carried us through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and back again, hauling our newer, larger, HEAVIER camper (see #8 above) on our first ever epic road trip. We did 5 National Parks, an island, a lava tube, a beach, tide pools, ferries, kayaks, rainforests, prairies and active volcanos. We had a fantastic time and hope to do it again this summer (all bugs and kinks being hopefully worked out). Destination is undetermined at this time, so we are taking suggestions. For lots of pictures of those adventures, you can check out our previous post, which contains our scrapbook.
|The Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, Washington State|
To all our friends and family: Have an Adventurous 2014!
We would love to have friends join us on our adventures, too. Give us a call if you are up for a camping trip to the Sand Dunes or Moab, a little tubing on the river, or maybe a hunting trip (especially if you know what you are doing).