Every year since I have known Nick we have returned to Kansas in April to volunteer at the Mennonite Central Committee relief sale. It is fun to reconnect with more distant family and family friends. We have in the past talked friends into coming with us as well.  This year some friends of ours who have come in the past were able to make it again.  It is always a fun time of eating great food and giving to a good cause.

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We sell: hats, yardsticks, snacks, books, magazines and whatever else we can find.

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Nick’s niece, Alexa.

 

 

 

 

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Grandma catching up with friends and family.

 

 

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The Lehr family.

 

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Kansas Scenery

In March, Nicolas’s family came to Colorado to visit for Spring Break.  His mom, Karen; brother, Alex and new girlfriend, Kayle all came out for a few days.  We worked it out to go to Breckenridge for the weekend to get everyone into the mountains, then enjoyed a couple days back in Denver together.  We all splurged and enjoyed a dinner at the Melting Pot in downtown Littleton!

 

 

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After Nick finished with his presentation, FINALLY, we headed out for the weekend. Our plans changed last minute, so we ended up in Glenwood Springs and decided to snow shoe up to Hanging Lake.  We hiked the short but intense hike in September, and wanted to see the frozen lake this time of year. We then went and stayed with some friends in Silt, CO.  We had a blast playing games and hanging out with their family.  Saturday, after a lazy morning with coffee and crepes, we headed out to Rifle Falls State Park. We met up with some other house church people in New Castle to find out how their ministry was going, and then ended the day with dinner and drinks at the Glenwood Canyon Brewery. Even I found a beer I liked here. Sunday we headed home so we could be back at church in time for the Super Bowl.

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Check our our video of Hanging Lake.

While I was away in WA, helping my grandparents, Nick was busy working on finishing the back splash of our kitchen. After finishing most of the remodel we just could not make any decisions about back splash, so we didn’t. This fall, I brought home every possible tile out there for back splash, and we finally asked around, got some advise, picked and purchased our tile.  Nick used the time to finish. Thanks to a friend, Nick got for help with the cuts around the outlets.  I came home to a terrific surprise and together we finished grouting and sealing the tile.  We are pleased to be finished with remodeling for a while. 

 

After the busy fun with family for Christmas, we decided the last minute to invite neighbors and friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us.  My parents ended up getting stranded in Denver with a cancelled flight, so they were staying with us. I cooked up some yummy lasagna, and friends brought appetizers and drinks.  We had about 15 people and 2 kids. It was fun to hang out, relax and play games.  We made it till midnight then started cleaning up as everyone left.

New Year’s Day we woke and with one other overnight guest made french toast for everyone.  My parents got a ride to the airport, and we headed out to pick up a friend to go snow shoeing. We headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park and did a 3.6 mile hike up and across 3 lakes.  It was fun to be out with others on the trails in the snow.  We ended the day with seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It is a fun, clean and entertaining movie.

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This year we were blessed to celebrate Christmas with the Reimer family.  Kara’s mom and dad flew in from AZ and brother with family from MI.  We made two airport runs on Christmas eve to get everyone.  Christmas day we spent playing games, hanging out and eating fondue!  We then took a day to go skiing and enjoy Dillon Dam Brewery. Even 8 year old Silas did great skiing Loveland Slopes.  Then we spent a beautiful sunny day in downtown Denver ice skating and playing in Wash Park. That evening my brother and his wife and Nick and I went out to discover some more CO beer.  We discovered Black Sky Brewery and ate at Vine Street with a happy hour check at Jake‘s in downtown Littleton. Saturday we headed up to check out the Celestial Seasonings Tea room and factory.  It was fun to see the factory in production and hang out a little in Boulder.  We finished off our last evening together with homemade pizza, chocolate fondue and dominoes.

2013 was an adventurous year for us!  We have exceedingly and richly blessed to have had shared so many good memories and times of joy.  In reflection of the last 12 months, our top 10 events were as follows:

#10 – Completion of our kitchen!  The backsplash was the last remaining item to finish our remodel project from 2012.

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#9 – Hostetler family reunion.  It was good to connect with Nicolas’ extended family on his grandfather’s side.

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#8 – LK10 conference for equipping house/simple churches.

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#7 – September’s excursions and travels which included the following photo at the Colorado Mountain Wine Festival in Palisade.

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#6 – Hiking the 14′er of Gray’s Peak. - Kara’s first ever

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#5 – Off-roading in “Fern” (our newer jeep).  The below photo was from Hancock pass around the Independence holiday.

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#4 – Lots of camping!  With the fire bans in 2102 and little camping because of it, we took full advantage to camp as much as possible, especially being able to do good off-roading in Fern.  The below photo was camping with the 2 oldest Girard girls, Eva and Elise, near Rocky Mountain National Park. Other camping excursions included Deer Creek Campground and Tunnel Campground.

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#3 – Being able to help our grandparents at Thanksgiving.

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#2 – Our vacation adventure in New Mexico which included the ABQ Balloon Fiesta.

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#1 – Family visits from Girards (August) and Reimers (December).

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