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We had the wonderful opportunity of having Jo Julia Photography do a family photo shoot for us.  We were able to snag some time while the leaves were still really pretty!

 

Enjoy the video highlighting our favorites: https://vimeo.com/195339554.

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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

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

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We were able to have a visit with Nick’s dad and aunt from TX. They came up to help Abby and we went over to hang out quite a bit. The trip ended with a day visit to the Denver Zoo.  Ivan is at a great stage where he really enjoyed seeing the animals that he knows by picture and in books. Nick’s brother has moved to CO so we are now able to enjoy short visits more often. The other weekend he came up and we went on a hike together.  Last of all my request for Mother’s day was a photo shoot with Ivan in the park.  Here’s some pictures of all these events.

https://vimeo.com/167832947

Mother’s Day weekend was, as usual snowy here in Denver. The gardening rule in Denver is you cannot plant anything with a frost danger until after Mother’s day weekend.  I have tried in the past and often times the snow wins.  This year was no exception.  At our house we got maybe 8 inches of snow that morning, and of course it was completely gone by evening.  Nick made it a special Mother’s day by letting me sleep in, letting me pick dinner and movie, cutting some delicious smelling irises and giving me very special new earrings made of Ivan’s birthstone.  Here’s a few pictures of the day!

Memorial Day Weekend is usually a weekend we spend camping, often with our church.  With the rain, cooler weather, and Ivan I was not sure if I wanted to have our first camping experience with him be cold and wet. So instead we stayed around Denver and enjoyed some family time.  We went on a hike at South Valley Open Space park, and grilled a delicious lunch. The other momentous thing we did was to dress Ivan up in some clothes that Nick wore as a baby and do a photo shoot.  I think he had fun!  We also had a crazy storm that evening, but it resulted in a beautiful rainbow.

A long-time friend of ours, Hannah P., graciously did some pre-baby photos of us.  Enjoy!

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This year we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary by taking an extended weekend in Crested Butte and surrounding area.  We took a couple of days off work and headed out on a Thursday morning.  We were anticipating seeing some Aspen leaves changing, but it was a bit early.  We enjoyed driving over Kebler Pass and into Paonia where we found a delicious farm to table cafe. We also tested 4 local wineries: Black Bridge, Stone Cottage Cellars, Terror Creek Winery, and Azura Cellars. Paonia is the “Palasade” of the east side of the Grand Mesa, so the fruit is abundant; however they tend to make their wines in a smaller more “European” style (so we were told).  We really enjoyed visiting with the wine makers. We then drove down along the eastern edge of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and back up to CB. The next day we decided to drive another road called Ohio Pass with better fall colors and paused for a short hike up to Beaver Ponds. We ended the day with dinner at Garlic Mike’s right outside of Gunnison.  This was the same restaurant we had dinner the evening we got married!  The food was delicious!!! When we left it was rainy which provided some different scenery for photos and we decided to drive a different route up to Taylor  Park Reservoir and Cottonwood Pass to Cottonwood Lake. It was a great weekend to get away and relax.

 

Or watch video directly on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/108081874