Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Every year Oliver gets more and more involved with carving pumpkins.
With an Engineer as a Daddy and an engineer structured brain on Oliver, even carving pumpkins is a serious  matter.
Daddy showing Oliver how to poke the pattern on the pumpkin.
Oliver going to work poking his cat-bat pattern.
Two engineering brains hard at work.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Kellan is throwing out his critiques of the pumpkin carving process.
Kellan exploring the insides of pumpkins.
Kellan throwing out a few more opinions while the pumpkin goo flew off of his fingers.
The final product ready for Halloween the following evening!
Keith got a new iPad from work and it has become a family focal point.
Plus, did you know that little brothers are good for many things, including resting your arm?
The three boys checking out the latest gadget in the Hamilton house.
Halloween was on a Monday evening so we came home from work a bit early to enjoy the festivities.  Spider Man and Sock Monkey were ready to rock the neighborhood.
Ahhh  Even Spider Man and Sock Monkey love each other like brothers.
We have spent the last couple of years with the neighbors prior to trick-or-treating.  We have a pizza party and then hit the streets after a quick photo of the kids.  When I mean quick, I mean quick.  We placed Kellan, took the picture and then he was off.
Joel (front) Brady, Brock, Oliver, Anika, Brooklyn and Kellan.
Fun fact:  Brooklyn's parents moved in a few months before she was born and she is two months older than Kellan.  The fun fact?  If we were having a girl she would have been named Brooklyn.
Kellan demonstrating his walking skills for the neighbors.
Now that Oliver is four, he is able to keep up with the bigger kids.  Plus, the bigger kids were great at keeping track of Oliver along the way.  They are the best neighbor kids ever!
It cracks me up how much shorter Oliver is but he's right there in the mix, ready to get candy.
Spider Man Oliver inspecting his loot.
Hey, this house looks familiar.
It was SO familiar that Oliver stayed back a bit and picked out his own candy.  Maybe because that is Daddy  handing out candy.
Not much later Oliver called it quits and headed home to inspect his loot.  How does Spider Man eat if he has no mouth?  He rests his mask on his forehead and enjoys his first treat, a box of Dots.
WHOA!  Oliver was SO excited to have fruit snacks in his bag.
Check this out!  The neighbor lady gave him a great new set of eyes.
Kellan wasn't shy to inspect the loot.  Maybe he was building up energy for his Halloween Trick.
Kellan's Halloween Trick.
(Huge Thanks to Theresa for teaching me how to use iMovie!)
YAY!!  Kellan stood up and shook his groove thang.
Just before we turned out the lights, we got one last look at the pumpkins.
Oliver had a yogurt smoothie snack and it gave him big muscles and a moo-stache.

Happy Halloween from the Hamiltons!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Date Night - Over Night

Keith and I have yet to leave the boys over night.  The only time we have left any of our kids over night was in 2009 to go to Las Vegas and we flew Grandma Garner in to stay with Oliver.  Thanks to our amazing friends the Hess', they inspire us as parents.  We took the plunge and asked the baby sitter to stay over night.  If Geoff and Stephanie can do it with three kids, surely we can manage leaving two kids.  So... we did it.  She arrived at 5:00 so that she could feed the boys dinner.  We jumped in the car and headed downtown.  First up, we went our for an amazing bruchetta appetizer and a drink.
After our happy hour, we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.  We were staying at the Grand Hyatt in Downtown Denver.
After sprucing up a bit we were ready to hit the town.  Carrie is ready to roll.
Keith is quite handsome and ready to hit the town as well.
On our stroll down 16th street we noticed a significant sign at the top of a building.
This may sound familiar.
Keith Ashford
Oliver Ashford
It's a family name that Keith got from his Grandfather.
We made it to Larimer Square.
We opted to go to dinner at Rioja since we had been wanting to try it.  We called and they said if we were there in 30 minutes they might be able to squeeze us in.
Ahh... the happy couple on Date Night - Over Night.
We settled in at the bar while we waited for our table.  They had a kitchen bar seat that they were waiting to open up.  It over looked the kitchen and we could watch them prepare the meals.
After a short wait the waiter came to us with a top secret proposal.  He had a booth open up and we could have it if we wanted it.  Well... since it was so top secret, we jumped on it!
The food at Rioja was A-MAZE-ING!
We started off with this appetizer that was like a Lays potato chip.  You couldn't eat just one bit.
But the question was... how do we take the first bite?
Keith dove into it with a knife and fork and we made it into bite size pieces.  It was So Delish!
 For the main course Keith opted for pork chops and I had salmon.  The salmon was sushi grade.  The pork chop was tender.  The best part of the whole thing was Keith's side dish, cheese tater tots with a sour cream and chive sauce.  Of course, all of the food had much fancier titles than I just described but this is my interpretation. The tater tots were so amazing that we drooled over the though of them for days to come.
For dessert, we couldn't decide between the cheesecake (left) and the chocolate mouse (right).  We finally opted for the mouse.  The waitress was so great that she brought us both.  Oh yeah... she knew she would be greatly rewarded!
For a second (or third) dessert, they brought us sugar crystallized mint leaves.  It was an odd concept but actually quite refreshing.
When we got back to the room, Keith has surprised me by ordering wine and strawberries (Champagne was another option but it was not my first option.  He knows I'm more of a red wine girl.  Ahhh!!  What a sweetie!)  We expected big juicy strawberries.  Instead, we got strawberry compost.  Maybe it would have been good in the champagne but with wine, it wasn't the same.  We just laughed and took a picture.
The next morning we texted the baby sitter and she said everything was great, so we went to breakfast.
Before we headed out we took a photo of our room with a view from the 24th floor.
We thought we were staying at a different Hyatt that has amazing views of the mountains.  Since we were confused on our location, we asked for a mountain view.  This is the mountain view from this Hyatt.
Let me zoom in for you!
It would have been a great day for a view of the mountains.  Next time, we'll get the right location.
We had a great 17 hours without the direct responsibilities of kids.  Kellan struggles to sleep through the night and we finally got a night of undisturbed sleep.  (Fortunately, he chose this to be a great night to sleep all night just for the baby sitter.  We were quite relieved.)  We had such a nice time and the baby sitter enjoyed it as well so we decided that we'll have to do it again sometime.  Maybe, sometime soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Fun

October also marks the day that Oliver's friend Owen has a birthday on the 24th.  Oliver went to Owen's house to celebrate the big year of four and enjoy a pizza party.
Charlie, Oliver (Mr "I'm not going to smile for the camera") Owen's two neighbors and Owen the Batman Birthday Boy.
Owen had a great jumpy castle in his back yard for the big day.
The three budies: Charlie, Owen and Oliver jump jump jumping.
Owen and Oliver going for a jump.
A quick moment of stillness.
Batman arrived to surpise the boys, courtesy of Owen't uncle.  The boys seemed less than impressed and didn't want to come out of the jumpy castle to greet him.  Or, maybe they were being shy and the jumpy castle was a safety net.
Happy Fourth Birthday Owen.
Charlie and Oliver: I wonder if we'll ever get to the part where we eat the cake?
After pizza, jumping, Batman and cake, there was presents to be opened!  The kids were very excited to see what kind of cool stuff Owen got for his birthday.

Oliver was keeping a close eye on the gift he had brought for Owen since he was dying to try it out.
Oliver was eager to tell Owen all about the cool airplane launcher that he and his Daddy picked out special for him.
Later that day we took the boys outside to enjoy the nice fall day.  Oliver thought that it was great fun to ride his Stryder through the leaves in the front yard.  You can also see the bare spot from where we lost our limb in the last snow storm.  Be tough tree, we want to see you bloom next spring!

We have been practicing walking with Kellan since he just stood up unassisted the night before.
Even Oliver helped his brother out by giving him a supportive hand.  No unassisted steps by Kellan yet.
Kellan made his way to the sidewalk and quickly found himself in a cold puddle of water.
Ahhh... what a brother!
Lucky for Kellan, Oliver was there to offer a helping hand out of the puddle.
These two are so close and we love watching them blossom as friends.
It wouldn't be fall without a leaf fight!
Oliver and Daddy had quite a great time tossing leaves at each other.
Kellan was impressed enough to practice standing and climbing over everything in sight.
Kellan as the human canon ball.
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