Merry Christmas!

If you read my blog, our annual holiday newsletter is old news to you. But I assure you, Fat Kitty has never looked better.

Merry Christmas!

If 2014 could be summed up quickly, it would be non-stop travels for the first six months and the other six were spent recovering with little/no travels. We’re so grateful for both and most importantly that we have had minimal health crises this year and no hospital visits (wood is currently being knocked).

Our year was unprecedented for travel and will likely never be repeated but what a blast we had! I attended a media event in Denver for the Maui Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and was thrilled when I won a trip for two! The coincidence? The only other time I’ve been to Hawaii was when my dad won a trip for two to Hawaii through work. Fortunately for my siblings and our kids, we let them tag along and truly fell in love with that island paradise as it was our favorite trip ever (see all the fun here)and I’m now moderately obsessed with buying a cabin there someday.

Just as we were recovering from Maui, I was asked to attend the Disney Social Media Moms, an invite-only, highly-sought-after conference at Disneyland so we decided to splurge. And Disneyland isn’t the same without family so we surprised the kids by waking them up the morning of our departure. For once, they did not complain about being woken up early.

One of our favorite ways to play is skiing and this past year we’ve been to Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte, Copper Mountain and Park City Mountain Resort...and have many more ski trips planned for 2015. One of our favorite experiences was dog sledding for the first time in Breck!

And, of course, the kids and I spent our month-long vacation in Canada and the Western United States. Jamie joined us for a week at the lake with my family in Vernon, B.C. and we had a fantastic time boating. Usually our Canadian adventures are a reprieve from Denver’s searing heat so we won’t comment how it was actually cooler in Denver during our lake retreat.

Now, onto family matters.

Hadley (age 10, fifth grade)

Hadley grew leaps and bounds this year…literally. Her huge growth spurt over the summer launched her to the top of the class in height and continues to send us scrambling to replace all her clothes, which is challenging because she hates 99% of what she sees in the store. She has a wicked sense of humor and a large group of friends at church and school. She hates math and piano and enjoys handwork, travel, art, violin, pumpkin growing (hers weighed 401 pounds), Minecraft and crafts. Her favorite class trip ever was a three-day class camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park where she was the second-fastest kid to summit the highest dune in North America (a bit perplexing because she’s always the first-slowest when it comes to leaving the house). For volleyball, we bumped her up to play with the 6-8 graders and she has had no problems keeping up the big girls. She’s a mountain goat hiker and is ready to be challenged on the big peaks (we just need to get our act together to take her), is moderately obsessed with bouldering and is constantly heckling the rest of us to keep up with her during her crazy traverses. She’s a great skier, is learning to tackle the moguls and we had a fabulous mother-daughter trip to the slopes in February during her school break. She loves the water and, despite her protests to try wakeboarding, popped up on her first try and now does it like a champ. Though she and Bode would never admit it, they’re besties and play wonderfully together 93 percent of the time; no comment on the other 7 percent nor who is the instigator for the fall-outs.

Bode (age 8, 3rd grade)

Bode’s big news is he got baptized in August surrounded by both sets of grandparents. He’s a happy, kind and thoughtful kid who has two emotions: joyful (most of the time) and sensitive (usually during the aforementioned fall-outs). He’s a whiz at math and a regular receiver of “Star Awards” at school yet has barely legible handwriting. He is recovering from an addiction to Calvin and Hobbes and Clash of Clans and he thrives on being responsible–he even sets his alarm early for school so he can be “extra-prepared.” For his eighth birthday, we threw him a surprise party where we hired Rolling Video Games Denver to come to the house and we invited all his friends for a two-hour video game marathon that was deemed “the best party ever.” He’s intrinsically more cautious than his sister but battled his fears and did an awesome job wakeboarding, cross-country skiing and a high-ropes course for the first time. Named after Bode Miller, he continues to rock the ski slopes and went on one of his first mogul run last week. When I asked him it was terrifying, he confessed, “A little bit,” and I can’t blame him because I sometimes feel the same way. He plays the piano non-stop, enjoyed growing his 325-pound pumpkin, loves Cub Scouts and is gearing up for his first Pinewood Derby where it will be revealed just how competitive his father really is. Bode went on his first six-day overnight camp to Camp Chief Ouray with Hadley last summer and had the time of his life. As smart as he is, he still puts his shirt on backwards but loves to snuggle up so I’m relieved he’s not growing up too fast, even if he sometimes acts like a responsible 40-year-old man in an 8-year-old body.


The Pumpkin Man had his his worst pumpkin-growing year ever and lost both of his plants to yellow vine disease in August. Despite that setback, he was able to preserve one of them long enough to make it to the scale and it topped 500 pounds. We were sad we wouldn’t have a real giant pumpkin to display so rescued his buddy Joe’s from being axed and it just happened to be the biggest grown in Colorado this year. Jamie had a blast taking the pumpkins around to the area schools and had a ton of media interviews–he was even featured front page on The Denver Post’s YourHub. But his most memorable pumpkin moment was when he decided it would be fun to dress up as The Pumpkin Man, hide inside the pumpkin, and terrorize trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Fortunately no law suits were filed and we only had one casualty when he made Spiderman cry (watch the hilarious video here). His web development business continues to add more people to the team and we’re grateful business is growing (unfortunately so do his stress levels). At church, he’s the Stake Technology Clerk and the Priest’s Quorum Adviser but most importantly, a wonderful husband, father and mortal enemy to superheroes.


As for me, I continue to juggle trips, kid’s activities and working from home. I’ve taken over the business/advertising side of Mile High Mamas, which has confirmed I’d much rather be writing. And traveling. And hiking or skiing. But unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to make much money from those exploits so in the interim I’ll just dream of more playtime. I’ve become more of a regular contributor on 9News and have done segments on everything from travel tips to Halloween treats to their ugly sweater Christmas party on Friday. I was released as the Primary pianist at church and am on my way out the door for Public Affairs as I’ve been called as an Akela of the Cub Scout Bear Den. I am also an aspiring dodgeball player and if this writing gig doesn’t work out, I hope to go pro in the future.

Fat Kitty

Fat Kitty is the only serious one in the family. In addition to napping for 23 hours a day, he enjoys decapitating the occasional mouse, eating grass until he pukes and annoying Jamie. He also decided to get in shape this year and his favorite exercise is a cross between a lunch and a crunch.

Some people call it lunch.

Christmas Wishes

This time of year, we’re especially grateful for our many friends, family and for our our Savior. Have the happiest of Christmases is our Christmas wish and gift to you!



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