Thursday, December 31, 2015

So long, 2015

2015 was a great year for the Kaisers. We settled in a new groove, tried some new things, had some adventures, worked hard, and played hard. Here are some highlights (aka our Christmas letter--repurposing for the win!)

little moments: December

 a trip to see the live reindeer
Rhett's first sip of hot chocolate on a Rhett and Mom date to Starbucks
We found the junior Pope-mobile!
Artist in training
 Christmas parade in Golden
Santa round 2
Our mischievous Christmas monkeys were up to crazy antics all over the house
Just being silly during Christmas crafts
Rhett shocked us my riding in a dog cart by himself with no issues. He proudly showed off his dog trading cards for days afterwards.
Speaking of brave, this crazy kid found his favorite ride at the kiddie amusement park--the Whip. I was seriously concerned he was going to get whip lash or lose his lunch, but he loved it.
Carousel time. 
Celebrating Noon Years Eve at the library

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

christmas 2015

This Christmas was magical. Rhett is at such as fun age to understand a lot of what is going on and to get excited about all the festivities. We wanted to stay home and start our own family traditions, and luckily we convinced my parents to come to Boulder. We were in heaven with Nana and Poppy here and enjoyed a great weekend together. Highlights!
We had our first official Kaiser Shepherd's Dinner on Christmas Eve. We ate simple shepherd food on the floor (André nixed dressing up) and read the Christmas story. Rhett took good care of his plastic sheep, but it soon turned into a car driving session.
Christmas Eve Pajamas and toddler sass
Our proud parenting moment came from the play kitchen. We found the old hutch and then refinished it and added a sink, burners, and hooks. Basically, we're starting our DIY Network show soon.

Rhett was obsessed with the kitchen. We took a long break from opening presents so he could make food for everyone. 
We visited the Butterfly Pavilion, where Rhett loved the fish, bugs, and butterflies. 
Whenever we talked about Nana and Poppy coming, Rhett said all he wanted to do with them was play cars, read books, and take a nap. We definitely spent a lot of time doing all three things. 
A trip to the candy factory that ended with "candy cans" for everyone! 
We loved every minute of Christmas, even though we are still recovering. Now on to New Years!

Friday, December 11, 2015

pre-Christmas festivities

Between crazy work hours, law school finals, and a week of sickness, Christmas is definitely sneaking up on us. The good news is that Rhett totally gets Christmas this year--he is obsessed with Christmas trees, lights, and baby Jesus. Here's a little of the pre-holiday fun we've been able to sneak in:
Rhett was a champ for Santa. The kid will do anything "scary" if he's promised a cookie afterwards. It didn't hurt to have the nicest Santa, no line, and delicious treats at a random bank.
Taking advantage of the 60 degree weather this week with a stroll to see the Boulder lights.
We're always travelling for Christmas, so this is our first Christmas tree in five years of marriage. It was a blast from the past to see ornaments from my childhood. Rhett can't stop staring at the tree, especially his new Christmas Thomas ornament (to the right of his head).
Trying to teach Rhett the real meaning of the season--he's more into the animals, but at least we're trying?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

november highlights

it's december! the best time of the year (the best time of the year!) november was pretty great, too--here are some favorite little moments:
we stole Rhett's halloween chocolate to make deluxe brownies. verdict=good, but not as amazing as billed on pinterest
november--the month of stuffed animal obsession
sunny park days!
cold football game nights!
 I got to see my old roommate Juliet! She even got to witness the wonder of the primary program (this is my relieved face after it was over)
just a couple of budding musicians
some friends convinced me to try jamberry nails, so I went all in with the mixingest patterns I could find (while still being on my personal brand, no?)
leaves for dayssss
temple buddies
Rhett's glamorous thanksgiving meal
post-thanksgiving snow walk. we indoctrinated our friends from China on the way of American feasting and freezing
Rhett goes to a Nuggets game

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

triumphs and tragedies

I survived earnings season! It's always an accomplishment to make it through weeks of seemingly non-stop editing, but this time seemed to kick my butt more than before. It's nice to have my evenings back to focus on other freelance work.

The primary program went off without a hitch. People laughed, they cried, they cried because they were laughing. The kids were adorable and the spirit was strong. Definitely a win.

Rhett is teaching himself to Irish step dance, thanks to something he saw on Sesame Street. He's actually pretty good at it, but you don't want to be in close range when he does the kick.

Andre registered for his LAST SEMESTER of law school. The end is in sight, people!

We scored free tickets to the CU football game on Friday, and I experienced the wonder of seeing Ralphie the buffalo run in person. It was magical.
Sko Buffs, as they say
Someone puts a giant Christmas star on the mountains around Boulder and it's been one of my favorite Colorado Christmas things the last two years. It just went up for this year and we can see it from our house and I love it so so much.

Our electronics are dying at the same time--our TV and my car fob are super finicky, and my laptop has turned into a desktop because the screen glitches whenever I move it. Come quick, payday and Black Friday!

I'm surrounded by slightly sickies over here. Bring on the Airborne!

Our Christmas shopping is almost done (I realize this really should be a triumph, but I really love Christmas shopping and finding great things for great deals, so it's sad when there's nothing left to buy. #firstworldproblems, I know).
This is nap time at our house. I just found this picture from when I accidentally left my phone in Rhett's room and he did his ritual climbing out of bed instead of napping, and apparently had a photoshoot of his feet. There's also riveting video, but I'll spare you. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

book chat 3.0

Another round of books in the books. I've discovered the books I read basically fall into two categories: young adult or self help. So there you go.
Jennifer, Gwenyth, and Me  is basically "The Happiness Project" meets People magazine, so of course I loved it. Rachel Berthsche has a smart, witting writing style (I feel like we would be friends), and I identify with her life more than other writers (I'm looking at you, Gretchen Rubin). It was a charming, quick read about getting your life in order and being your best. Good choice.

This led to MWF Seeking BFF, Rachel Bertsche's first book. It was fun, slightly less applicable, but definitely underscored the importance of girlfriends. Still good, but not as good.

I read Matched for sister book club and zoomed right through it. It's a YA novel set in a futuristic dystopian society (imagine that), just like sooo many other books, but the difference is that it's actually a good book. It reminded me a lot of The Giver. The characters are well developed and the heroine is actually smart and nice and not totally irrational (unlike almost every other teen girl in every other teen novel). I started the second one but haven't gotten very into it yet. Maybe someday.

I'm so behind the times, but Wonder. Wow. I loved everything about it. Great characters, great story, great writing. It's already on my list of books I want to read with Rhett some day because it is so poignant and important. Everyone should read it and then cry. It's that good.

I binged a bunch of self-help books from the library and randomly ended up with Living Well, Spending Less. At first it seemed pretty typical, but I ended up really resonating with a lot of the things she said. I appreciated her emphasis on family and religion and following your dreams. The second part kind of fell apart for me, but the first section is worth at least a skim.

I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of Mindy Kaling's new book from the library, plus some time to read Crossed and maybe even an Alexander Hamilton biography, because why not? Any other suggestions?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

october snapshots

what a month! October seriously flew by between all of the work, school, church, and life happenings. It would be a shame to let all the fun we had this month go undocumented, so here is October in all it's glory. 

We started the month at our favorite pumpkin patch where Rhett was in total heaven. The tractors, the animals, the wagons, the hay maze--he loved it all!
He grabbed a wagon as soon as we got there and was off!
We enjoyed every minute of the perfect fall weather, including playing outside while we waited for Andre to come home from school. 
 Rhett started a new "class" at the rec center. I thought we were getting open-play gymnastics (ball pits, trampolines, etc.), but it's really just open-play big toys. Oh well, he still loves it. 
 Again, the perfect fall weather. Colorado was killing it this year and we soaked it all up!
 Andre and I finally cashed in our Groupon for a ropes course/amusement park in Golden. Sure, we were the only adults there without kids, but we had a blast! I even conquered the fear of heights I didn't know I had!
Ropes course machine
Me! On a slackline way in the air! And I'm smiling! This is big, people! 
We finally got to try those trampoline bouncers I envy at the fair, and they did not disappoint. Andre did lots of flips, much to the enjoyment of the tweens below.
Andre scored a (crazy hard to come by) ticket to the GOP Presidential Debate on campus, where he realized we aren't the only Republicans in Boulder. We didn't see him on TV, but it was still an awesome experience to be in "the room where it happens", and I got to bask in the protesters and political weirdness happening around town. 
Pumpkin patch round two because why not. Rhett could have run around that hay bale "maze" all day.
For our pre-Halloween festivities we made apple teeth. Don't let Rhett's face fool you--he really loved it

Rhett was a UPS man for Halloween not because his dad is a UPS man (so many people asked us that), but because he loves UPS and delivery trucks of all kinds. I knew he was super cute, but I didn't realize how big of a hit it would be. We went trick or treating on Pearl Street where Rhett was a total celebrity. We're talking tons of people taking his picture, not being able to walk five feet without someone saying something, lots of extra candy, and even a random woman doubling back to put 53 cents in Rhett's box because he was so cute. Mom (and toddler) win. 
It wasn't all fun and games--this is what happens when you party all day with almost no nap--a full-blown tantrum outside random people's apartments whilst trick or treating. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

the magic of thursdays

Life can get crazy and the days start to blur together after a while, but Thursdays? Well, Thursdays are special around here.

Thursday is library day, and as soon as I tell Rhett what day it is, he perks right up. This kid loves the library. We hustle to toddler time (Rhett is a total toddler time groupie. He sits in the front and basks in the toddler glory and talks about the teachers alll the time) and try to snag a good spot.

As soon as the goodbye song is over, Rhett yells "THOMAS BOOKS!" and makes a break for the children's section. He stocks up on books (seriously, like 30 books, mostly Thomas but I sneak in some variety too), walks to our reading cabana, and says "I'm so strong" as he muscles his way through. We cuddle and read for an hour before he sneaks off to grab more books.

On nice fall days, we check out our books and head down to the creek, where we throw rocks and watch the ducks before heading home for lunch.
Back home on Thursday, the reading continues (without pants, of course)

Our post-library creek view. 
It's simple but wonderful. Rhett, don't ever change. Thursdays, stay great.

Friday, October 16, 2015

friday favorites.

When I read Andre my list of favorite things, I realized how inconsequential these things are. Sure, there are bigger fish to fry, but these things just bring so much joy. Current favorites:

My new favorite podcast is Hidden Brain. 20 minutes on interesting physiological/social science is perfect. The student/teacher episode is particularly on point.

We're a little behind the times, but we just bought Pandemic and are obsessed. Every night after Rhett goes to bed, Andre and I look at each other and say "wanna play?" before we get swallowed up with work. But if we could play all day, we would.

We got flu shots this week, and Rhett looked at me afterwards and said "Thanks for being so brave Mom". It made my heart melt, but when did my two year old get mature enough to be a pseudo-therapist?

The Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride makes its way past our apartment every Thursday night--a herd of bikes with glow sticks, costumes, music, and people shouting "Happy Thursday". It's everything about Boulder at once and we love it.

We're getting a Cafe Rio within a five minute walk of our house. This is equally amazing and horrible news (for my tastebuds and my wallet, respectively).

Fall weather has been killing it lately. Crisp mornings, gorgeous afternoons, and sunlight streaming through the changing leaves. Perfection.

I bribed the kids in primary with these cookies and they were a serious hit. Skip the walnuts and add chocolate and white chocolate chips instead. You're welcome.

Also on repeat: The Vitamin String Quartet Pandora station (always), the Hamilton Soundtrack (be still my nerdy soul), and The Great American Food Truck Race on Netflix (the perfect background to cleaning the kitchen).

Saturday, October 3, 2015

little moments: september

It didn't seem like a huge month, but looking back, September was full of fun memories and simple moments. Here are some highlights:
Cashier in training
Rhett and Andre in a garbage truck--turns out Rhett was more enthusiastic in theory than in practice
Randomly bought a pack of PopTarts and this is what we found!
Highlight of Rhett's month=meeting George. Andre kept saying "Hey George, look over here!", but apparently gazing off in the distance with his arms awkwardly out is part of George's schtick.
 One last ride on the Pearl Street train before summer faded away
Growing up too fast and riding the big swing
Rhett's first hike! He was a champ.
Fire station story time. Heaven for toddler boys.
 A true Kaiser--he's a runner in the making
Andre earned Top Dog for winning the 5k!
Just a boy with his animals in a box.
Opened the window early one morning to find a deer wandering through our courtyard, just munching on the neighbors' garden like he's the boss.
Two year olds, just wanting to read the instructions instead of playing a game.
Pizza date night...soaking in the outdoor eating weather while we can.
We inherited a car-shaped tent from friends in the ward, and Rhett is obsessed. He's already moved in all of his blankets and books.
Perfect early fall weather--we spent lots of afternoons by the creek in our "backyard" throwing rocks and watching the ducks.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

five lists

good things from the week:

  1. rhett can't stop talking about his new cousin baby Scott
  2. i cleaned out our closets and sold/donated so many things at a yard sale
  3. pizza date night
  4. throwing rocks in the creek and watching the ducks
  5. general women's broadcast

words I can never spell correctly:

  1. maintenance
  2. rhythm
  3. license
  4. bureaucracy
  5. occurrence
things I dream of as I cruise real estate listings:
  1. a washer and dryer
  2. a yard
  3. air conditioning
  4. beautiful kitchens
  5. a garage
shows we've binged on netflix: (can you see a theme here? we just finished white collar and are in need of our next outlet)
  1. white collar
  2. psych
  3. chuck
  4. bones
  5. kimmy schmidt
delicious things i would love to eat right now:
  1. costco muffin
  2. pumpkin roll
  3. nutella
  4. fruit and yogurt parfait
  5. gelato 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

first timers

trying new things and taking names:

#1. Quandary Peak
I can't believe I never blogged about this (I think I was still recovering mentally), but for posterity, this experience definitely needs to be shared.

Colorado has 50+ mountains that are more than 14,000 feet tall--hence the name 14ers. It's a really big deal to climb them and people do it all the time and you're not really a true Coloradan until you've reach at least one summit. Andre and I wanted to hike one last summer but it never happened, so this year we put it on the calendar early and never looked back. When a freelance client paid me with a free hotel stay, it ended up being our anniversary getaway. Most people go somewhere relaxing for their anniversary, but we hiked for six hours!

Getting to the top was amazing and made everything worth it, be holy cow it was a hard hike. 6.5 miles, 3,500 feet elevation gain, and tons of rocks. It was crazy town, but Andre mountain goated himself up the mountain, carried my pack, and encouraged me to keep going. We made it and it was beautiful and I felt accomplished, but next year I'm voting for an anniversary on the beach!

#2. Rhett's first hike
We ventured to the top of Flagstaff Mountain on Labor Day expecting a short paved trail to the top. Turns out it was "rocky" and "steep" and Rhett was thrown into his first real hike. He loved it! He hopped along the trail like a bunny, picked up allll the rocks, and waved at fellow hikers. Our little nature boy!

#3. 5k
I've been talking about doing a 5k for years. The thing is, I'm super cheap and apparently not that dedicated. But when we found a great deal, we jumped on it and gave myself plenty of time to "train". I ran for weeks and Andre ran for one week and I was gassed and Andre got a prize, so there you go. But the feeling of accomplishment! and the free chocolate milk! the t-shirt! and the endorphins!

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