Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Camera!

We went up to Fort Collins yesterday to watch Heidi compete at the stadium at CSU. The stadium was pretty impressive and Heidi said it was fun to compete there.

The band came in fifth out of six bands in their level, but their score improved from the last competition, and they competed against bands who won and placed in State Finals last year. So their band leader was really pleased overall. They played really well, and now that we have heard the songs over and over, they are familiar and we like them better. And every competition they add a little something extra to it, so we always wonder what we will see next! lol

As Ben lives in Fort Collins, we met up with him and his girlfriend Jessica for lunch. We also got a tour of a bit of the city and Ben & Jessica's apartment, which is bright and sunny and very nice.

Rich surprised me with a new camera on Friday. It has a huge lens on it and I was able to take so many cool photos of Heidi at the competition. I read the manual in the car on the way to Fort Collins and it apparently takes video too. I am going to have to play with this baby- and I am thinking of taking a photography class to learn how to use it to its full capacity.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE taking photos, how much I love scrapbooking with them, how much I love hanging them all over my walls! Rich is definitely the master of surprises! What a sweetie.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another competition

Heidi had another competition last night, the Jefferson County Marching Invitational.

I can't say that I am very fond of school night competitions... she wasn't ready for me to pick her up until after 11 pm!!! The poor girl hardly had time to get any homework done and was really worn out this morning. I don't know why they couldn't do it on a Wednesday night, when most kids have a late day on Thursday...

Anyway, this time the bands were competing in their own class. The Rebels are a 4A band. 

We watched 4 out of the seven bands in their level. Columbine was so great! They came in second place out of the seven. 

One thing I have noticed here is that the kids (and the parents!) take their school pride very seriously, much more so than back in Canada. They are fiercely proud of where they go to school, and are very vocal about it!

Another thing I have noticed is that I often hear kids talking about politics. Politics is a BIG thing here, much more so than in Canada. I watched a lot of the Democratic Convention from here in Denver, and we did listen to some of the Republican stuff after it was done. I have my opinions, of course, but I am not allowed to vote in this election. Next time, though...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The start of fall colour

We outdid ourselves on the weekend, going for a 20 mile/32 kilometre bike ride.  

We stopped at the 8.75 mile mark, intending to turn around, then thought, why not go the extra measley 1.25 miles and make it an even 20? Did we even remember that we had to go ALL the way back to where we parked???? I think not. lol

Boy howdy, were we exhausted! However, we did it, and that is something.

We had been so busy with going to Boulder and band stuff, we hadn't gotten out on our bikes at all on the weekend yet. The trees are turning and it is just so beautiful now, we wanted to enjoy the nice weather and take some photos.

So here are a few photos we took on the South Platte trail. I thought I was going to miss the Ontario colours, but it turns out we have the full palette here too. YAY!

Happy Autumn everyone!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Band Extravaganza!

Last weekend marked our foray into the Marching Band era- with great gusto!

Friday night, the Rebels played the National Anthem and a halftime show at a football game between the Rebels and their biggest rivals, the Chargers. (we won, 17-14).

Rich, Chloe, and I helped the Pit Crew and that was fun. The band was fantastic! The only problem is that at a football game, not many people care about the band playing, and the crowd was pretty loud. But we enjoyed it.

Saturday was a big competition, the Arapahoe Invitational, and there were 25 bands from within the State. There were out of state judges, but I don't believe there were any out of state bands (though it is quite possible I am wrong, we weren't there for the whole day).

Columbine made the finals and placed 8th out of 25! I felt so sorry for them; about a minute or so after they started playing we got a huge downpour and they had to play in that! But Heidi said they all felt that they performed the best to date, and I have to agree. They were awesome!

Heidi earned an award from her band leader for all of her hard work, and she came home beaming from ear to ear, even though she had been away for 14 hours, played twice, got wet and cold, and must have been exhausted. She loves the band and says it is like a family. 

I am so happy that she likes it!

The photos here show the band marching to the field, the flute section (Heidi is right in the middle of the front row, third from the left), and the whole band in formation on the field. It is really quite something to see.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Busy week

It is another Monday and I am thinking back on last week and how busy it was. 

My neighbor gave me some plants that they were splitting and today I will be planting a wheelbarrow full of peonies and irises. YAY!!! I love them both and can't wait to get them into the ground. Of course, first I need to take off all of the mulch and the landscaper's cloth (which I hate and will be putting in the shed- just in case I change my mind! lol)

My neighbor was kind enough to come over for an afternoon last week to walk around our yard and identify the trees and plants and shrubs we have. Though I may not keep everything, I won't dig anything up until at least spring so that I can see what it all looks like through every season- I would hate to get rid of something that looks lovely in the winter like the Red Twig Dogwood. (Don't I just sound like I know what I am talking about??? LOL)

Last Friday,I went on a school trip with Chloe and her class to the Denver Gem & Mineral Show. I could have stayed a lot longer and all I can say is that it was a good thing I had five girls to watch or I would have spent some serious money! I have never quite outgrown my little-girl love of rocks and sparkly things! The one photo here shows the girls panning for gold.

I also went to a library training at the elementary school; I will be volunteering in there one afternoon a week, starting this week. There is a real friendly bunch up there and I am looking forward to it. Even though I am always the "oldie"... lol  Most school volunteers tend to be mothers/fathers of real little kids, very few seem to have older kids like I do. Oh well.

Chloe had her birthday sleepover on Friday night too. She and two friends went to the movies and then spent the night playing video games and watching movies. It's great to see her having fun and making friends.

Our sofa for the living room came and now all we are missing is the chair for the sitting room and the furniture is done. We have bought a couple of things for the walls and it is looking more homey every day! Now we just have to fill in the gaps; hang things on the wall, add the little finishing touches. Before long, we will be all settled. It feels so good here!

We got tickets for Canadian Thanksgiving for Holly & Ben, and things are all set. 

Heidi is keeping busy with school and marching band; they play at their first football game this Friday and they have their first competition on Saturday. I can't wait to see how it all comes together, they have been working so hard!

Chloe has joined the band at school, and isn't enjoying it too much yet. She also joined the Bell Choir which she loves and I am looking forward to going to see that too. She goes to a sports club Monday before school, and French class Friday before school. We have yet to find her a barn to take riding lessons at, that has been a real job so far. But she still really wants to go and so we persevere! 

Now that I write this stuff down, it doesn't seem like so much... lol! 

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Day at the Park

Yesterday the four of us went to Elitch Gardens Theme Park. Rich's company rented the whole place for their employees and families, so while the lines were still long enough, it was not nearly as bad as it could have been had the park been open to the public.

The girls went their own way in the morning and so Rich and I decided to wander. Rich had said he wasn't much into thrill rides, which was fine by me.

But something changed and I am still not sure what... the first ride Rich suggested we go on was MindEraser. What a ride! Then we went on the Twister II, this huge wooden roller coaster. It was great. We had quite a while yet before the time we were to meet the girls for lunch, so the next stop was Shipwreck Falls- I hesitated, noting that we would get wet (it wasn't all that hot out), and Rich said we would only get "a little wet". Famous last words. Of course, he led me to the front seat- and the boat wasn't even full, surprise, surprise... lol We got absolutely drenched!

The next stop was the Boomerang- what had gotten into this man, anyway??? And he wanted the FRONT seat. So, off we went. It is a totally different experience being at the front. When that ride starts, it backs you up first and you are kind of suspended for a few seconds- pretty weird and scary feeling to be at the front of that one! 

After that, we were both a little dizzy and decided to opt for the Ferris Wheel, partly to calm ourselves (LOL) and partly to get a view of the park from high up, which was pretty cool. 

We met the girls for lunch and they wanted to hang out with us for a bit. We went on the Turn of the Century (swings) first and then we took them to the Mind Eraser. And Rich wanted to go in front again! I was wondering what on earth was going through his mind. And when I was strapped into that front position, I wondered again what I had been thinking to agree! lol I forced myself to keep my eyes open, and it was scary but exhilarating. 

We had pretty much had it by then, but Chloe wanted to go to the water park. She did a big slide with a tube and loved it. But she didn't want to go alone again (Heidi wasn't feeling so well by then) and it wasn't that warm, so she got dressed and she and I did the swings again. On the way out, Chloe, Rich, and I took a ride on the carousel. Chloe was hilarious. I took a photo of her on my phone, I just haven't figured out how to get it onto my computer yet.

We took the light rail into Denver and back and that was an adventure in itself. It is pretty cheap overall and nicer than driving in and out of the city.

Boy howdy!!! It was a great day!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Our biking adventures

Rich has been off on holidays this week and we have taken advantage of that to take some long bike rides. 

We went on Monday, and boy did we pick a hard trail! There were a lot of sharp inclines, the trail was up and down so much we had to ride our brakes a lot, and we totaled an incline of over 220 feet! Add to that the fact that due to other obligations and such, we hadn't been out in a couple of weeks... let's just say we were plenty worn out when we finally dragged our sorry behinds back to the car (we often drive to a park so we can start at a certain point in a bike trail and explore from there). 

Today we went in the morning and we were feeling in much better shape than the other day! lol
We went along the south Platte River and tried out some new pathways there- it is a whole labyrinth of trails. It was sunny but cooler than it has been, a perfect day for riding. We had a glorious time!

The first photo shows the kind of stunning scenery that we ride alongside on this trail. The second photo shows the deck of the place we stopped for lunch; there is actually a little trail built from the bike trail to the Platte Canyon Grill- and they have excellent hamburgers! There were many bikers from the trail there for lunch, it was very cool.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Baby of the Family is 11!

Today is Chloe's 11th birthday. Pity it is a school day; it's rough to have to stand on your chair at school so your classmates can sing Happy Birthday to you, it's a horrible thing to have to withstand a whole bunch of teachers smiling at you and giving you candies...

We actually let Chloe open her gifts on Monday so that she could have the holiday to enjoy her gifts. Heidi gave her a stuffed Squirt (from Finding Nemo) and a Wall*E journal, both of which she just loved.

We will have cards and cake tonight, we don't have a lot of time considering it is a school night.

This weekend we are heading to Elitch Gardens, the amusement park. Rich's company has booked the park for their family day. It should be lots of fun!

The following weekend, Chloe will have a sleepover party for her birthday. We haven't finalized any plans, just the date... lol

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