Friday, October 28, 2011

Let it Snow!

The first big snow storm of the season hit us on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I guess this is what happens when an Alberta clipper meets Southern moisture crashes with up-sloping westerly winds. Either way it made for a lot of  very wet heavy snow. I put Sophia's coat and boots on so we could go get the mail and she had fun for 2 minutes until she lost her balance and got all wet from falling into a snow bank. She loved running around on the deck and trying to eat the snow off the deck chairs.

Tuesday night before I went to bed it was really starting to accumulate

Sophia checking out the white world outside through her window!

This stuff is cold!

So pretty when the sun came up.

Paul got a ton of show up in the mountain! He was at a training summit in Evergreen, and I am glad he didn't have to come back down the mountain until most of it had been cleared. A lot of people lost power because the trees were breaking branches under all the weight of the leaves and heavy, wet snow. It sure was pretty though.

A visit from Grandpa and Grandma Wilburn

At the end of October, G&G Wilburn drove down from Montana to visit for a few days. We had fun playing in empty boxes from Costco, making mango pie, and we even took a drive up to Boulder, CO to go to Flagstaff. It was nice to have a relaxing few days with family to recharge after Paul had been gone for several days for work in Fargo, ND. Sophia even had her first experience with BRAIN FREEZE when she tried to eat her soft serve ice cream too fast!
Trying on winter boots, she has a little sass!

Oh how fun is a box!

What do you mean I have to sit in the stroller, I have my own exploring to do!

Sophia running up the path, eating dirt and pine cones.

Look at me go!

Ahh, family photo in front of the mountains. 

Grandpa and Grandma with Sophia

Such a pretty girl!

On Badgers!

We made a return trip to Madison, WI at the beginning of October, and it was so nice to see everyone that we had grown to know during our 3 years there. We stayed with 3 different families, and are so grateful for their hospitality! Sophia had a rough time with some of the flights and did great with others, so we know how to schedule things in the future!
Playing in the leaves!

Chris helping Sophia go down the slide!

Paul playing football with the Galvin boys

We took Sophia to the Children's Museum. She loved all the hands on play, especially this neat walkway that looked like a rib cage.  

She also loves slides, and kept wanting to go down.

They also had these neat huts and a sheep thing pulling a wagon. She loved the sheep.

Finally we went up to go to the gardens to see the plants and feed the chickens.

She loved them and they loved the food she was offering.

We made it home safely, and after about a week of catching up on sleep, we were all good as new!

Game Day!!!

Every year FOCUS headquarters plays a game of flag football against the Augustine Institute and brings all the families together to have lunch and some fun. This game was in September and it is funny since many of the people double their time at both places. Needless to say the AI outnumbered FOCUS like 3 to 1! We ended up winning though, and Sophia had a lot of fun running around trying to take other little kids snacks and water bottles. 
 Paul making a sweet catch!

Sophia with our friends Lisa(R) and Michelle(M) watching for a score

My cutie

Sophia was all to happy to hang with Da Da when he was resting.

Paul making one more awesome catch!

To Hike a Mountain!

Paul and I decided that one things we really wanted to do before leaving Colorado was hike one of the peaks here. We were able to find a family to take Sophia in September at 6:30 in the morning so that we could drive up to Estes Park to go and hike the Twin Sisters. We had a great time and even met up with this hiking group who hikes every Saturday. I thought I was going to die for lack of O2, but I did make it (even all the way to the higher eastern summit, but only because Paul made me do it). I am glad I went all the way up even though I was sure I was going to fall off. I guess I am not an adrenalin seeker! 
Mandie in front of Long's Peak on the hike up Twin Sisters

Paul looking out

Mandie huffing and puffing.... we made it past the tree line!

Paul climbed up a bunch of rocks...this older guy on the trail kept calling him bumblebee (I wonder why?)

We made it to the summit... it was a beautiful day! 

On our way back down, which was 3 times faster than the way up.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Such a busy Summer!

With the exception of August, we were pretty much on the road all summer. To begin, we started in June which saw us to Champaign, IL for summer training with FOCUS.

Summer Training!
June was ushered in by my first solo 4 hour drive to go meet Paul down in Urbana/Champaign, IL at the U of I. It was a challenge keeping Sophia happy for the whole 4 hours, but since we were driving the Scort (our little white escort Paul has had since high school) I could easily reach back and hand her a drink or snack with out being distracted too much from the road! I was excited when we got there to learn that we had a small suit of rooms so Sophia could have her own small room since she doesn't sleep well (meaning she screams all night) when she is in our room. I was so excited to see my friend Kjersti and her little girl Olivia. Kjersti and I met when I was in college at NDSU, and we have enjoyed living only 1 1/2 hours apart way out in Wisconsin. Olivia is only 6 days younger than Sophia, and they have so much fun together! We also took in the FOCUS marriage retreat and learned some valuable things. We have been working on budgeting better since we live on a variable salary, so that can be challenging from month to month, but they also discussed living the family rule. This was taught by Kevin and Lisa Cotter  , and had a lot to do with deciding what mission it is your family is called to and ordering your life around that mission. We have yet to decide on our family mission statement, but we are working on it (update to follow :).

The BIG Move
The next two weeks we frantically packed to get ready for the movers who came June 23rd. We left a few too many things to pack back up into our own cars, but with a lot of pushing and cramming, we got most of it to fit. To my complete relief, they didn't ask me to repaint our little apartment kitchen which I had painted a lovely brick red to offset the complete stark whiteness of the floors, walls, cupboards, and appliances. That would have been a nightmare! We then drove from Madison, WI to Omaha, NE for the night to stay with Paul's friend from college and his family. That is one great thing about being a missionary family, you know so many people across the country and it is so fun to visit them when you are traveling. The next day we completed our trek and pulled into Denver around 4:00pm. We unpacked one of the cars and the valuables and headed to my aunt Carmie's down in Parker, CO for the night.

The really unfortunate part of the whole deal was that the day the moving company loaded up all our stuff in Madison, they called to say that there would be a major delay with our things and that we wouldn't receive our things for at least 2-3 weeks, dependent on whether they could find another truck to take our things. Normally this wouldn't have been such a big deal, but we had planned to be leaving for Glendive, MT on our way to Fargo, ND for 3-4 weeks a few days after our things arrived. So we scrapped our plans, and went to MT right away with Paul's parents for a week since we had no things!

We spent the 4th of July lighting off a few fireworks at Paul's parents, and it was a perfect night! I even got to go shooting with Colette at the newly renovated shooting range they just finished to help test out the air handling system. I love shooting old cowboy/cowgirl pistols, and I even had some good clustering on the targets. I almost got knocked of my feet shooting the .45 though.

Finally, the second week in July we got the call that our things were going to be delivered. Only, we were still in MT, because we were supposed to get a 24 hour notice before our stuff came. It was Thursday evening and our truck was supposed to arrive at 10:00 am the next morning (we are only 9 hours away). I managed to get a hold of the driver who was having some "truck" troubles, and he said that delivering our stuff on Sat. morning instead would take a great deal of stress off as he was having troubles getting there in time. It all worked out in the end, but the looks on our neighbors faces when this HUGE semi pulled into our apartment complex was priceless (it wasn't all ours!).  

The moving truck trying to take the turns to get to our building in Thornton, CO. The movers were great and none of our things were really damaged. SO relieved to have that over with.

On to Fargo!
We then drove back through Glendive, MT on our way to Fargo. While we had no troubles with Sophia or the Hass, we did manage to get stuck behind two huge houses being moved on highway 59 just north of Gillette in Wyoming. Anyone who has traveled Hwy 59 knows that there is nowhere to detour for miles and miles. After dogging these houses for over an hour going 20-40mph (which is like torture to me), we decided to get cute and try to take this really long gravel road to see if we could get past the houses. We had to go 27 miles, the houses had to go 13. Needless to say after almost hitting a herd of cows on the road and driving like crazy on this super winding, back country gravel road we came up on Hwy 59 just as the houses past us. AND, while we were taking our little detour, they had let all of the cars piled up behind them pass. I was furious!!!! It was Paul's idea by the way. We were then stuck behind the houses all the way to Broadus, MT where they finally turned off, and we were in need of gas. I thought we were going to go crazy, but we made it safely.

Once in Fargo, we spent the week meeting with many of Paul's mission partners, old friends and spending time with my parents and siblings. We were even able to make a trip up to seen my grandparents up in Walhalla and Langdon, ND.

We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, and my parents watched Sophia sleep while we went out for dinner at our favorite little Italian restaurant in Fargo formerly known as Isabella's

Sophia at Great-Grandpa and Grandma Gapp's house.

We picked lots of vegetables and berries at Great-Grandma Sauer's

Mandie, Mom, and the DeMaria's shelling peas

Sophia loved running around chasing the kitties (actually they were chasing her!)

Eating rhubarb

Four generations: Angela Marie, Mandie Marie, Sophia Marie, & Alfreda Marie

Beautiful sunset in Montana

Sitting in her favorite rocking chair at Grandpa Wilburn's on the way back to Denver.

A Little Vacation
For our last excursion of the summer, we two days and went up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park for some mountain sight seeing and hiking. It is such a beautiful little town and we enjoyed exploring.

Walking in downtown Estes Park

Playing by the water

The drive into Estes Park with a view of Rocky Mountain National Park

Hiking to the waterfall!

We made it, even carrying Sophia!

One last little stop by Bear Lake before we headed for home.