We had the privilege of being invited to go on vacation with a Nick’s uncle (who was celebrating turning 50) and some of his friends. It was over Thanksgiving which is a holiday we usually try to stay home for, however this was a great opportunity. I flew down with Ivan the day before his birthday to squeeze in one final free flight and Nick joined 2 days later.

We stayed in Playa Del Carmen at a resort.  I felt very pampered staying at a resort. I didn’t have to cook, clean, drive or really entertain Ivan for 12 days!!  He loved the beach, so all we really had to do was take him and he would dig and dig and play for so long.  We of course enjoyed playing with him, but it was also such a joy to just watch him having fun. Nick really challenged him to get in the water with the waves as well as conquer the “big slides” at the Aqua Center. Ivan also loved all the animals that we found on the resort: monkeys, donkeys, chickens, roosters, bunnies, ducks, birds, raccoons, macaws, peacocks, and coatis.

Ivan was such a blessing to others with his smile and pleasant demeanor.  We made quite a few friends of the staff from cleaning to building to restaurant workers. The resort had different evenings with shows telling about the Mayan culture, and legends. Ivan saw parts of some of the shows and really enjoyed the “dancing owl”.

We were able to do a day excursion to Tulum, a Mayan Ruin site discovered in the 80’s.  We had a private tour for our group which was nice. It included free time to walk around and shop as well.  We also had a terrific day on a private boat that we all pitched in together to rent.  So Thanksgiving was spent on the water! We swam in the ocean, ate on the beach at Isla Mujeres, snorkeled at some reefs, held (photo opportunity) a shark, and just relaxed in the sun on the boat while it coasted along!  What a great way to celebrate and be thankful for our so many blessings.

Here is a video of our highlights!

https://vimeo.com/193652365

wp_20161116_16_14_23_proWe are so excited to celebrate Ivan’s 2nd birthday today, November 16th.  While everything with him is really a highlight, some memorable moments of the past year of his life include the 2015 holidays with Reimer family in Michigan and Hostetler family in CO.  We traveled to see other family including Great grandparents in Washington and Kansas.  The summer time saw us thoroughly enjoying hiking with Ivan and camping (both as car camping and backpacking).

In all, Ivan has stretched us; but we have enjoyed watching him grow physically (walking and talking), mentally (understanding and communication), emotionally (loves for mom/dad, trucks, kitty), and spiritually (bible stories at night, praying at meals, our church family). He is a happy, social, joyful, good son.  We love you Ivan, thank you Lord for giving him to us.

Below is a video montage showcasing some highlights of this year!

https://vimeo.com/191677771

img_0042This fall has been the 5th warmest in CO history.  We have taken full advantage by getting outdoors and enjoying all the parks and playgrounds near by.  Ivan would still be swimming if it were up to him.  He loves the pool and water.  Thankfully we have indoor ones to enjoy. Anyway, we were able to take a trip up to Bellingham, WA to see my parents and grandparents for a week the end of September. We enjoyed mostly sunny days up there.  We also went to the CO Mennonite Central Committee Sale in La Junta, CO to see Nicolas’ family.  Nick had a great idea of carving a pumpkin so Ivan could sit in it.  It turned out really cute, then it got a happy face, thanks to our neighbor.  Finally I took him trick or treating with some friends in their neighborhood for Halloween. He enjoyed the idea of collecting treats, even though he doesn’t know what candy is and didn’t get to eat any of it.  ;-)  I can still control that, for now!

Check out the video below for some fun pictures.

Or Click here to see the Video at Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/189885440

This September 17th we celebrated 10 years married. Our tradition is to have a weekend excursion to a new-to-us Colorado town. This was Kara’s year to plan, but before we show you that, here’s a trip down memory lane.

2006 Wedding/Honeymoon in Gunnison, CO

2007 Breckenridge

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2008 Frisco

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2009 Florence/Canyon City

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2010 Salida

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2011 Red Feather Lakes

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2012 Boulder

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2013 Palisade/Grand Junction

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2014 Crested Butte

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2015 Avon (Vail Valley)

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2016 Ridgeway/Ouray

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See our video below for a full look at our adventures in Ridgeway/Ouray or click here: https://vimeo.com/183595649

 

p1270148We have thoroughly enjoyed our summer in CO!  We have spent so many weekends out camping or hiking that it is hard to keep track of all the places we’ve gone.  Ivan has also enjoyed helping water in the garden.  On cooler days we bake and cook together. We enjoyed a baseball game and concert by Crowder with some of our church friends.

I found a small bicycle that he can walk around until he is big enough to sit on it.  We also enjoyed a visit downtown Denver on the train with a visit to the fountains in front of Union Station. Here’s a video to show the pictures of our adventures.

 https://vimeo.com/183425358

 

P1260065While camping this summer, Nicolas made a comment that he wanted to do a backpacking trip while Ivan was still little enough to carry.  We planned it for his birthday weekend. We decided to go on a trail off a 4*4 road that looked pretty secluded on the map we had. We packed up Saturday morning early and got on the trail about 11am.  We were hiking beside a creek and up in elevation.  We knew after a while we would loose our water source, so we had to decide if we were going back down or continue up.  Nicolas was by then carrying Ivan and he felt good, so we kept going.  The view from the top was beautiful and we enjoyed it. We then needed to find water to set up camp, so we went down the other side of the mountain and pretty much hiked the whole 11.5 mile trail before we found water and a place to tent. We set up tent exhausted and hungry.  We slept reasonably well and packed up in the morning and headed back out knowing we had a long hike back to the car.  We had some great time talking together, listening to Ivan chat and thinking quietly as well.

Here’s a fun picture of Kara and Ivan from our first backpacking trip side by side with this trip. IMG_0359

Check out the video of our adventures below: https://vimeo.com/179750804

We started the month off with celebrating 4th of July in Buena Vista, Co with Nick’s immediate family. We camped in the backyard and Ivan even got to be in the parade with Nick. I think he enjoyed watching it more, but it was fun seeing him in it.  We then camped and attempted to summit Torrey’s Peak one of the 54 14’ners in Colorado. We didn’t make it to the top due to some health safety concerns, but we were close at 13,600 feet. Ivan was a trooper: being carried for a long hike and still he asks and desires to hike.  Ivan and Kara had a rare opportunity to meet up with Grandma Reimer in Pennsylvania to visit family and friends from elementary school and college.  It was fun to meet their kids and watch Ivan play together.  We took a day trip to the shore and visited Point Pleasant Beach. Ivan loved the sand and liked the water, until he got a bit too wet.  It has been a fun filled month all over the country but we are glad to be back home together.

Check out the video of pictures at https://vimeo.com/177501806.