Tuesday, August 30, 2011

End of Summer

The end of summer brings about many changes for the Brandts...

-Justin heads back to school...teaching a new class (Physics)
-Justin does not have to do Link Crew this year (woohoo)
-Melinda is in full swing with XC (first meet Friday)
-Macklin gets to spend most of the day with mommy and the afternoons with daddy
-MOPS is starting back up soon (Pool Party next week, starts every other week in Oct)
-New routines come for Melinda and Macklin (hopefully working well, more to come)
-Melinda's birthday has passed and Justin's is coming up (Thursday)
-We look forward to the leaves changing to their beautiful yellow
-Visitors begin to come again (Grandma next week!!!, Grandpa and Mema in Nov, Kevin in Dec and we will go to STL in Oct for a wedding)

Here are a few recent pics.

Macklin eating at the opening of the Walking Mountains Science School in Avon.

I just couldn't pass up this shirt last week at Target!

Another yummy meal made by Carden - Eggs Scrambled with Home Squeezed Orange Juice!

Munching on some delicious corn tonight!

Playing at the park

Walking around in Daddy's shoes

EVXC Retreat

Our XC Retreat to Nathrop, CO this past weekend was a blast! There was not a minute of down time for me with 45 of us running around (39 kids, 4 adults, and one sweet baby boy). The kids were awesome the whole weekend, only one minor issue (where did Logan go?) that worked itself out just fine.

We arrived in Buena Vista, CO Thursday afternoon and went for a trail run. After that we headed to the house for one of three epic meals (feeding 45 takes five 9x13 yummy cassaroles pre-made by our awesome parents along with many sides and appetizers prepared by the kids). After dinner we just got to hang out and prepare for our hike.

Friday we got up at 4:45am (yes, it really happened!) and loaded up to go to the trailhead for Mount Princeton. After some shuttling, we started hiking around 7am. Most of us were on the top of the peak by 10:30am enjoying the views. This is the first year that not everyone made it up, but it was a challenging hike and weather pushed us off the top before we could wait on everyone. After 10 frantic minutes, the Good Lord kept the weather away and everyone hiked down without a problem. We ended our day with a trip the to Mount Princeton Hot Springs, which was very nice!

Saturday involved a little trip to Agnes Scott Falls up Rt 162 outside of Nathrop. It was a great little trip and we came back ready to outline our season with some goals. We established some preliminary team goals for the guys and gals and then had every runner meet one-on-one with a coach to discuss their individual goals. It was a great experience. After lunch, we packed up and headed home.

All I can do is praise my team for how cool they are! Great job EVHS XC!

The deer were so friendly here!

One meal = craziness!

The trail to the summit (on the right).

The highlight of my day:
One of our dads is a pilot at the High Altitude Training Center in Gypsum and he made a surprise fly by of the peak just to say hi to his daughter (like 30ft above us)!
I almost cried and Katie was SOOO proud to have her dad say hi!

Top of Mount Princeton

Team Brandt (Mack is out!)
FYI - Justin was gracious enough to stay with my back crew, hence Mack didn't summit his first 14er quite yet. It will happen soon!

Whole crew at Agnes Scott Falls

The most excited boy on our team, rocking the waterfall!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Demolition Derby

On Friday night we went to the 2nd Annual Demolition Derby at the Eagle Fairgrounds. It was quite the experience. Minus the obnoxious, inappropriate announcer and the guy that got pulled out of his truck with the jaws of life, the night was super fun! It was my first demo derby of my life and it was way more entertaining than I thought!

Below is a pic of the start of the limited weld division. This division was safe and fun to watch. The truck division was scary as there were less vehicles and harder hits.

Justin busted out the costume closet and the boys joined in!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Circus

First off, my new favorite picture of Macklin...such a serious look!

Tonight I drug all my boys to a circus so that Macklin could experience one for the first time. Well, I tagged this post as an "adventure" and it sure was that! We paid $12 a ticket (thankfully not for Mack) to see a super low budget circus...Ameican Crown Circus. Lesson learned and fun was had, but we will probably not need to go back. Here are a few of the acts!

Here is the whole deal. Check out all the people :) Anyway, we had the whole bleachers we were in filled because it was in the shade. This guy could balance on this board and even jumped rope while doing it! Definitely not something I could do!

This girl did 15 hoola hoops at once!

Same girl from above now riding a unicycle on a platform and then she jumps up these stairs!
Also very impressive!

This was seriously the best act....
This guy put out three stuffed animals inside the ring. He pretended to wind up the first two, and then proceeded to kick them out of the ring (for real, it was strange). So then he wound up the elephant and it started walking around the ring. We were like, "Wow, that is a sweet robot. It really looks real!"

Then it came back around and fell over like below. But it was just so real looking, we were confused. The man in the ring then propped it back up and it took another lap. At this point we realized that is was definitely something living, but it was weird. It would stand SOOO still while it was not moving. In the end, the man took off the suit and it was a little schnauzer dog! It was so well trained and we were totally impressed!

So that is the circus!
Thanks for reading about our adventures!

Mack's Playground

We picked up this awesome Little Tykes playground for Mack the other day from one of our fellow teachers (THANK YOU NICOLE!). She got it from another teacher and then handed it down to us to use! Macklin loves it and is already going down the slide by himself!

Check out that grass coming up!

Daniel brought his benches over from his house to share with us so now we
eat on the porch all the time!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday Mema!

Macklin would like to say...

Happy Birthday to my Mema!!!!

I am sorry we are a little late, but here are some of my favorite pictures with you!

This is when I first met you, I was so cozy in your arms!

This is when we got to cut down a Christmas tree together.

Here is when I was giving you kisses after dinner!

Here we are snuggling before I went to bed when I stayed at your house.

This was during my first Christmas!

This was 2 months ago when we got to see each other!
I love you Mema and I am excited to see you in November so I can eat your yummy cooking again soon! I hope you had a great day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cutest Baby Shoes

I just found the cutest baby shoes....

Tiny Toms!
(any color really, I just like these ones)

Soakin' It Up

We have been enjoying our last couple weeks of actual summer (meaning XC starts on Monday and Justin goes back to work in one week!). We had dinner on the deck on Thursday night (yes, we cleaned it off enough to eat out there!). Friday night we had the Smiley's and Rittmiller's over for games and a delicious homemade fancy pizza made by Carden. Tonight we got to celebrate one of my runners as she heads off to Hungary for the year after we spent the day climbing and hiking. It was been great weather for playing out here!

PS - We have baby grass sprouting!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Life

Our summer life has consisted of a ton of projects, as normal! I am so excited about some of the things that we have accomplished in the past month. Our most recent project was turning Justin's closest into our "garage." Justin calls it this because of our new storage system that he built with Daniel. We had so many bins that we didn't even have stuff to fill them all (which is clearly not a bad problem). I also organized our bathroom, my closest, and my craft items. Our house is getting more dialed by the day!

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday was a good one on Tuesday!

Here are some highlights...

-Blueberry pancakes in bed made by Justin
-Justin played with Mack in the morning so I could have my quite time and rest a bit more
-Park and pool date with Stephanie and Bethany and kids
-Date night in Vail Village with Justin (dinner, ice cream, and bowling!)
-Getting a new mix CD (from Mack) and 3 new running clothes items (go Justin!)
-Getting two sets of flowers (thank you Sabrina and Mom!)
-Getting tons of texts, cards, and FB messages!

I felt super duper loved!!!!
Thank you to everyone!
Praise God for 28 healthy years!

Awesome days at the park must include a whole bag of Doritos!

Check out this big win! Best 2 out of 3 for me!

Sleeping Update

Mack is still having trouble with the naps and such, but we did make a breakthrough yesterday! He (of course) didn't want to sleep in the morning (and is doing better about being less crabby) so I put him down at 1245ish for his nap. He went down fine but then woke up at 1:35!!! That is totally not ok for Mack or mommy! It really seemed like he was still tired though. So we just sat in his chair in his room, lights still off, and just snuggled (a rare feet for my active boy). I ended up singing to him, rubbing his back, and just rocking him and then took the risk of putting him back to be 20 minutes later. And....IT WORKED! He was still tired! He then slept until 4:15!!!! So, I think there is the possibility to sleep longer in the afternoon, which I could be ok with! Progress, that is all I am asking for!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sleeping Transitions

I have to make a post about Macklin's sleeping habits so that I can rejoice over the progression in a few weeks (God, are you listening to this right now?).

Macklin has decided in the last week that he is no longer a fan of the morning nap. While this saddens his momma very much, I am doing my best to embrace the change. He just cried through a nap early next week, and before we knew it, 4 days in a row went by where he didn't take his morning nap. To add to the tiredness, he only slept for an hour and a half in the afternoon.

Let's do the math...
previous 8 months of life = 5 hours of sleep during the day
previous week of life = average of 1.5 hours a day.
Tiredness for all.

We are trying to find a new rhyme to get into. We have tried the early lunch and to bed at 11:45am...no good. We have tried to stick to the normal afternoon nap at 2pm...way to tired at that point..no good. Today we tried to put him down between 12:30-1pm an he went down and slept for 2.5 hours! Yah! So, I think we will continue with this for the week and see what happens. I hear crazy stories about kiddos sleeping 3-4 hours in the afternoon, but I don't believe that yet....hopefully soon!

Keep you posted and say a prayer for our baby boy and his confused parents ;)

41 Meals

As Daniel lives with us for this year, he is determined to share with us his favorite 41 meals. Homemade sushi rolls (really California rolls I think) were the first awesome meal that he has made us...and I learned how to make them! He is all about the presentation! He is a rock star. The second meal that he made us was delicious mango fajitas! I am looking forward to the other 39!

Saturday Blessings

What a busy and full day Saturday was! Good thing God has my number and made sure I was around town for all of this (FYI-I found out at 12:30am Friday morning that my conference for the weekend was actually NEXT week! Silly me!)

It started off great as I shared a special breakfast with some of my favorite high school friends. Two of the girls decided that they wanted to have a sleepover with all the upperclassmen girls that went to Castaway to talk about how to be leaders this fall at school --- what an awesome idea! They pulled it off in incredible fashion! They spent the night encouraging one another through compliment/admiration cards (write what you love about everyone on a card that they can take home) and personalized notes to each other. Then they made goals for the year based on various Bible verses that focus on creating an "Unshakable Kingdom" for Jesus! What sweet hearts these girls have and how I do love them! They ended the event with a delicious breakfast prepared by one of the girls grandmas! It was a night that I could not have ever dreamed of when we started our ministry out here 4 years ago. I have always said I wanted to get better at empowering girls to lead as I feel like I am not good in that area. Good thing God has got it under control. This is going to be a good year!

Pray for this group of young women please!
(included are us 3 leaders who were invited for breakfast)

Little goodies they made to take home!

Our day continued in awesome fashion as we went to Ben 1st birthday party! Justin and I taught with Ben's mom, Amberly, at EVHS for a year. Now our babies are close in age! Macklin had a blast getting super wet and eating everything!

Look at that cake! It's a huge 1 if you can't tell!
Cutie pie Ben eating his melon-blueberry cake!

Our day ended by having dinner with an old colleague of mine in Edwards. Jana (and her son and daughter) came out for a family wedding in Vail and did a great job communicating with me so we could get together. I had such a great first year of teaching at Jefferson City High School in Missouri and continue to be grateful for the relationships that formed that year in the math department!