Monday, August 25, 2014

Dykhouse Weekend!

We were SO happy to have the Dykhouse family visit us for the weekend as a stop on their cross country trip from California to Michigan! It had been a couple of years since we had seen them, but when we saw each other again, we picked up right where we left off! Friendships like that are just treasures! Pure gifts from God! We had the best time with them, relaxing around the house, playing, swimming, and just doing life together! 
5 boys age 6 and under is an insane amount of energy, but SO, SO good! 

We had the Krauths over one night for a little cook out! We were so blessed to make life long friends at Calvin. We pray that our boys will one day choose to go to Calvin as well. Our pocket books may not appreciate that choice, but the relationships that we pray that they will build there will be priceless! We'll see where God leads them! 

The kiddos eating dinner! 

Movie time while the adults socialize! 

I absolutely LOVED getting to meet miss Elleen Dykhouse! I did a lot of just holding her and snuggling her over the weekend! She is absolutely precious! And I treasure my girly time with my little "nieces"! 

Boys will be boys! They found rolly pollys and were feeding them apples! 

Betsy let me accessorize sweet Elle. After a few different bow options, I settled on this one. I have to choose the PINK when I can! 

Nolan loving on little Elle! I hope that he will always be sweet, kind, and gentle with the women in his life! 

Arie and Heath being silly little monkeys! 

Jack and Heath definitely hit it off! They both have a little bit of a mischievous side! But at the same time are as sweet as can be! Nolan chose to ride with Auntie Betsy and Uncle Ben and Arie on this ride! He loved their mini van and of course, their company! 

This girl. She is simply the best. So kind, so generous, so thoughtful, so fun. Love her! 

And these two. Teammates and buddies. 

Dinner at IHOP with 6 kiddos! A wild ride but OH SO FUN! Funny Face pancakes all around! 

I think they liked it! Thanks Dykhouses for treating us to a yummy dinner! 

We played a lot of ball this weekend. That's what happens with a house full of boys. Even the big boys NEEDED to get in on the action. A little Sonic and front yard football to end our last night together. 

6 kids are loud…throw in Hungry, Hungry Hippos, and the noise level is through the roof! Ha! 

Our attempt at getting a photo of our 5 boys...
Heath was not having it. And Brooks would not stand still for the photo. So these are the best we got. Silly, silly, silly! 

They were attempting to show how old they were. 6 (Nolan), 5 (Jack), 4 (Heath), 3 (Arie), 2 (Brooks), and less than 1 (Elle). That's a lot of kiddos! A lot of fun! And a lot of LOVE! 

Thanks Dykhouse family for stopping and staying with us for a few days! We sure love you a lot and wish we could see you more often! Lots and lots of LOVE to you friends! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The North Pole

Whenever my Mom is in town we are always looking for fun activities to do. We L-O-V-E doing touristy things in Colorado. But after 11 years of living here we were feeling tapped out of fresh, fun ideas. But then I saw my friend Gwen had recommended an amusement park in Colorado Springs called The North Pole. She even went so far as to say it was better than Disney World for her family! So I knew that we would HAVE to check it out! My boys love rides and of course they love Santa so I hoped it would be a WIN, WIN! And it WAS! 

First of all, I got a coupon for buy one, get one free from Mark's Mom's Entertainment book. Then their website had $3 off coupons and my Mom was FREE! Her first perk of being 60! So I think we only spent about $50 for the five of us for a day FULL of fun! Gwen also informed me that The North Pole does weekly give aways on their Facebook page. I entered, but did not win. But if you are planning to go, I would suggest liking them on FB and entering their weekly ticket give aways. Maybe one week you'll win and you can use the free tickets whenever you would like! I'm going to keep entering in hopes of going back again with Mark sometime. The boys loved it that much and we probably only have about 1 more year where ALL of the rides would appeal to Nolan…and fit his long legs! Ha! 

So we headed down to the Springs one morning for some Christmasy fun! The park is old and kind of cheesy looking, but the kids don't notice that. 
We hit up the train ride first. The park is set in the foothills and the scenery is gorgeous! The boys wanted to ride in the caboose! 

After the train ride we walked around to check things out a bit. And we found the NORTH POLE! 
It was frosty and freezing and so cool! The boys ran to touch it a few times during the day! Nolan is holding the map. He loves to look at where we are and where we want to go on the map. 

Next up was a stretch of about 10 rides that were perfect for little boys...

and dizzy...

and fast! 

Then we checked out Santa's Carousel...
Heath chose to ride on Comet. 

And Nolan rode on Rudolf! 

We loved suckering Grandma into the fun! 
She's such a good sport! 

After some rides we watched a Magic Show. The boys had never seen a magic show and didn't know what to expect. They kept expecting the magician to make Santa appear. Ha! The magician and his assistant looked like they had been doing the same act for 50 years! But they were actually pretty good. We were all impressed. Especially when they did their last act and magically switched places when strapped into a guillotine type frame. Pretty cool!  

Next up, we went to see SANTA! 
There was no line and the boys got to sit and talk with him for awhile. 
I think they were somewhat confused as to why Santa was here in Colorado in the middle of July. And I think they really had NO IDEA what they want for Christmas yet. But Nolan said he wanted some Ninja Turtle thing and Heath asked for Legos. 
Santa even showed him pictures in his wallet. He told them that Mrs. Claus was shoe shopping for the day and that he rode Dasher that day. He was a jolly old man and it was a neat experience for the boys. Of course Brooks was freaked the heck out and would go no where near old Kris Kringle. 

Off to more rides...

Brooks liked the rides too, especially anything that looked like a car. 

The next two rides the boys needed to ride with an adult because they weren't tall enough yet. So I rode this one two times in a row. 

Can you tell how high and fast it goes? 

My boys were fearless and loved every second of it! 
I was actually a little bit scared and held on to them tightly! But I didn't let them know that for one second! I was a BRAVE, BRAVE Mommy! 

Then we went straight to the Tilt-o-Whirl! Which again, the worker suggested that I ride with them. So Nolan, Heath, and I jumped on in. 
The boys thought it was awesome. But this Mommy...not so much! I felt so sick when I got off! I think after three, fast, spinny rides in a row, this old lady couldn't hang anymore! It was also close to lunch so I think that I was hungry and dehydrated. So I sat the next few out and then got lunch and felt much better! 
The lines were never long and we never had to wait for more than one ride to end to get on. Which is really great when you have three busy, anxious, excited boys with you! 

You can bring in your own food which was so nice. We had a picnic lunch and then went right back at it. 
Another perk of the park is that a pop is only $2 and you can get free refills all day! So my Mom and I bought one and shared for the day! Great deal! 

After lunch we went on the Sky Ride. 
That's my Mom taking off with Heath. 
Nolan, Brooks, and I rode together. 
We crossed paths with Grandma & Heath while they were on their way back. 

They were surprised to see us! 
It was such a gorgeous day! 

The boys laughed all day long. 

This was a cute little ride I had never seen before. Brooks loved ringing the bell! 

Grandma bought the boys each a $1 cup of feed to feed the "reindeer in training". 

Then we rode the "World's highest" Ferris Wheel. I guess you win that title when you put a Ferris Wheel at the top of a mountain. 
Nolan rode with Grandma. 

And the three of us took off next. 

The view from the top! 
We were really high and it was super windy at the top. 

Grandma snapped this picture of us as we came down and prepared to get off. 

A few last rides before we headed home for the day...

This ornament ride was one of the boys favorites of the day! They could control it going higher and lower which they loved. 

Nolan wanted me to take his picture by a few of the fun decorations...
This one is for Grandpa…they both love penguins! 

Then Heath wanted to get in on the action too! 

It was definitely a FUN FUN FUN day! Worth every penny. I only wish I would have known about this gem sooner! I foresee a few more trips to the North Pole in our future!