Monday, July 30, 2012

Behind the Scenes at Coors Field

Oliver has had a chance to go on many great and exciting field trips this summer with school.  One was the behind the scenes tour of Coors Field and Keith joined him.
The kids got to be in the stadium and behind the scenes without the crowds.
The kids gather in the shade wherever they can find it in the heat of summer, including under bridges.
They got to walk through the stadium and peer out at the field where the Colorado Rockies play.

Then, they got to go down into the dugout and onto the field.
The kids did their best to stay off of the grass but you know they were dying to sprint across it.  

The whole class in the foul zone of Coors field.

After the tour they all went to a nearby park to eat lunch and play.  They swang from the monkey bars and then a group of them gathered to built a castle of sticks and stones.  These are the Future Engineers of America.
That night, there was a surprise in the mailbox for Oliver and Kellan from Nana and Papa.  The boys LOVE mail suprises.  This one was sealed with a kiss.  A Wax Kiss!

Ham Fam Out Takes

As referenced in the previous post, here are the out takes to get one family photos.
The set up.
The discussion and wrangle.
The 50/50 split.
Ready to Go / Still Needing Convincing.

The Bribery (Kellan now has a sucker).

The bribery is in the way.

We're losing Oliver.
Sucker on the neck.
Keith in mid-word.
Whew!  Finally a photo of the family.  We'll just have to accept that Kellan isn't flashing his big smile.  At least everyone is looking and nobody is crying.

Let the Spoiling Begin!

Grandma and Grandpa came to visit from Washington!!
Between us, we had three cameras going.  Hold on to your seat (or as Nana would say... get a cup of tea) this is going to be a long one.
Keith picked them up from the airport and on my way to pick up the boys from school I stopped to pick up Grandma to go along for the ride.  In Grandma fashion, she brought her camera into the school.  Oliver had been on a field trip that day and all of the boys had green vampire teeth.  They were quite thrilled with them.
We even noticed that Oliver had a star on his wall of fame, so Grandma took his picture in front of it.  She should have asked him for an autograph too!
After picking up Oliver, we went to get Kellan.  They were just serving up the late afternoon snacks of graham crackers and Kellan was kind enough to share with his big brother.
Kellan was happy to see his Mama and he was curiously shy of Grandma.
After dinner we went for a walk.  Kellan decided to walk instead of ride.  So Mama jumped in for an escort from her Main Man.
The spoiling started right away as Oliver hitched a ride from Grandma.
Kellan learned quickly from Oliver and jumped a ride from Grandpa.
After our walk through the hood we stopped by the neighborhood playground.
Oliver was like a mountain lion climbing on the rocks.
Kellan and Mommy went down the slide, but I think he preferred to throw rocks down in it.
Sometimes at the park, Kellan just likes to chill on a bench, for a split second.

Out little guy is looking so grown up these days.

Grandma usually takes a few photos of Grandpa relaxing and I had to share this one as I thought it was a great showcase of our living room view.  We love it!
Our first full day together Keith had to work but the rest of us went to the zoo.  Up front, the lions were just lounging around but we noticed that the tortoises were out and moving about.
We thought they were heading for the water but then the drama began to build.  The big one stopped just short of the water and the second one stopped beside the first one.  Then, #2 started moving toward #1 and oddly enough, he started pawing at #1.  Then... right before our eyes, we saw #2 give #1 a back  hug.  Hmm....  not what we had anticipated.  We were in full anticipation of some cute little tortoises going to a drink of water, not a hug. 
Then, as Oliver watched the events unfold he asked what they were doing.  Well... hugging... I guess.
Whew... we were out of there and didn't see anymore hugging that day but there was plenty more to see.
Our primary reason for going to the zoo was to see the new Elephant Passage exhibit.  
We got there just in time to see Groucho do a show.  They warned us in advance that due to the heat and the newness of everything he may not perform.  We were in luck, Groucho put on a great show.
He walked right up, said hello and opened wide for a cold drink of water and quick hose down.  Cooling him down helped his mood for performing.
After a few turns on the cat walk, he was off to the side of his beach.
Kellan was quite content watching the elephant show from a Mama perch.
Groucho entered the water with his tail held high.  They said all of the males take a few moments before they let their tails get wet.
Then he took the plunge into the 10' pool and swam a few strokes.  Maybe he is preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Then, it was time for him to really perform.
From several parts of the pool he perched on the edge and struck a pose for the crowd (and for an apple reward).
After the performance, we watched Groucho swim around a bit while zookeepers were answering questions. Then... he pulled a Kellan.  Look closely, there are brown patties floating in the water.  Yes, the elephant pooped in the water.  EWW!!!!!  We had to laugh because when Kellan was first bathing with Oliver, he pooed in the tub more times than we care to remember.  It always resulted in abandoning ship!  Since Groucho was a lone swimmer, he didn't seem to mind.  Again, I say EWWW!!!
Further down the exhibit, we came across some monkeys swinging over head.
Or, maybe I should say they came across us.
Then, they convened in a cubby on the other side of the ropes for a quick bug pick.

This guy (or is it a gal?) just liked hanging around watching the tourists go by.
Before we knew it, a rhino popped up behind the monkeys.  One had been swimming in the pool and the other was headed for a role in the mud.
It is SO great seeing the Rhinos, Elephants and their new Monkey pals in such a great living space.  It is SO much better than their old stomping grounds.  We didn't find the Hippos and the Tapir lounge was empty.  Hopefully we see them on our next visit.  The hippos are always a crowd pleaser for this family.
After the elephant passage, we found a shady spot for lunch.  Kellan was one thirsty dude.
Grandma and Oliver had a self portrait. 
After lunch, Kellan found a burst of muscle and he insisted on pulling Oliver and his lunch full belly to the sea lions.
Oliver liked this option as he was able to relax and read the map to plan our next destination and what we would see along the way.  Kellan is stubborn and strong.  Oliver is a planner.  What a great combination.
Kellan was entertaining to all we passed and he hauled his load up the slight hill of the zoo.
Eventually the hill got to be too much so Oliver jumped out.

We finally made it to the sea lions.  It was such a hot day that they were busy swimming beneath the water.
Oliver also requested a visit to the snakes.  EWW!!!!
Most of the animals out in the heat were either sleeping or swimming.  On the other hand, the snakes were quite active.  (Again... EWWW!!!)  It was much more exciting to see the snakes maneuvering around other than sleeping, like usual.  The boys loved it!

Mama wasn't too thrilled with the creepy crawlies but some things you just have to endure with two boys.
Out of nowhere the boys sat on this rock, so we took a picture.  It was almost like they planned it and we took full advantage.  
This snake was quite fascinating.  I don't remember exactly what kind it is, but I remember it is from Louisiana   I was going to ask our Louisiana family if snakes really hang out with their head poking out of a hole or if this was just a zoo snake maneuver.  The captions I could put above his head in a bubble are endless.
The whole hole snake.  See his head to the left and his body is the hole.
This turtle was a dinosaur turtle, according to the sign.  According to his outward appearance, that was a good description.  Kellan liked watching him dig around.  Again, this guy is usually sitting still when we go to the zoo but this day he was up and active.
These bugs were blood sucking bugs.  EWWW!!!  They were quite the busy bugs and interesting to watch.
This big python was laying right next to the glass and Kellan reached up to give it a kiss.  He's a quick kisser so I didn't quite get the pucker.
The day was wearing on, nap time was upon us and the boys had one last request to ride the train and carousel, that were on the OTHER side of the zoo.  So, they hopped in their ride, Kellan mapped out the route and they watched the other animals go by as we hoofed it to the last attraction for the day.
Grandpa and Oliver on the train.  Chugga Chugga CHOO CHOO!!
Grandma and Kellan on the train.  All Aboard!!
(Kellan reaching for my camera.  Sometimes he thinks what I have is his.)
Mama on the train, as a lone rider between the Grandparent and the Boys.  If Keith was here we could have had a 3 minute date.
This was Kellan's first time to sit by himself (next to Grandma).  He is getting to be such a big boy.
You know he's in deep concentration when he tongue is out.
The next stop was the carousel.  Of course, we took Grandma and Grandpa along for this ride as well.  Grandkids are always good at bringing the inner kid out in you.
Oliver is such a cautious boy.  At first he wanted Grandma's arms wrapped tightly around him. After he got comfortable he was proud to ride by himself, but always kept his eyes on the road ahead.
After the rides were over, Mama couldn't resist an Icee treat.  Not only are the cool and refreshing but they are mess free as well.  YAY!  Oliver got to pick his flavor and he picked THREE!
Kellan's first Icee went down ice and cold.  (He was also sharing with Mama so he got a single flavor of blue raspberry.)
All aboard and ready to head for the door.
That night, Mama and Grandma went to see Neil Diamond in concert.  WAHOO!!!  A mother and daughter date night that we bought tickets for during their last visit in December.  We were SO excited!!!  We are both huge fans.
Waiting in line for a t-shirt purchase.  All money from t-shirt purchases (and other stuff) went to the Aurora shooting fund.  What a great cause. What a great reason to spend WAY TO MUCH money on a t-shirt! 
The concert was at the First Bank Center, which is a great size venue and much smaller than the last time I saw him at the Pepsi Center.  The show was great and we loved it.  I'm not sure how many 71 year olds could rock a place like Neil did.  

A full view from our seats.  They look really far away but it really wasn't bad.
Sing to us Neil!
We hope he comes back again soon (who knows how many more years of performing he has) and when he does, we'll be there too!
The next morning we fired up some blueberry pancakes and enjoyed breakfast in the back yard.  We are still in need of building a great patio, but mornings are still shady and comfortable.
OOOoooooo Snake Attack!!
The boys each got one treat from the zoo and Oliver picked out this rubber snake.
That morning we took the family to Target and Grandma and Grandpa picked up an early birthday gift for Oliver.
A Hex Nano Bug Track!  The boys LOVE it!! Yes, both boys.
They set it up in a race track formation at first and it was so fun to see which bug would wiggle it's way to the finish line first.

Wahoo!!!  Grandma won!!
That night we propped up the third row in the X5, loaded the kids in the "way back" and headed to White Fence Farm.  They thought it was quite awesome to ride in the "way back".
The farm animals are always a big hit with the kids.  Kellan was mesmerized with the chickens.

Then they were off to see a few other animals.
Time to feed the sheep, goats and cow.
You would think these guys never eat as hungry as they act.
Taking one for the team, Mama let the cow's big slimy tongue eat out of her hand.  EWW!!  I turned around and told Keith, "you didn't marry a farm girl."  He just laughed and said "ya, I know." 
The sheep were a little bit more my style with less slime.

While we were waiting for our table Keith entertained us with a hat show.
We all took our turns trying on our favorite red and purple hats.
Once at dinner, we dove into the yummy sides that come out first.  Kidney bean salad, cole slaw, beats, cottage cheese and corn fritters.  YUMM!!!
We like to take pictures of our kids loving dinner.
This is usually what it looks like from afar.  Keith and I desperately trying to keep the kids happy, entertained and using their manners.  Many times dinner is a marathon of activity.  We look forward to dinning with Kellan when he's a bit older.  In the meantime, check out that HUGE plate of fried chicken!!
On our way out we stopped to feed the ducks.  It isn't very often that we get photos of all four of us spending time together.

Grandpa joined us on the dock to feed the ducks.

On the way back to the car we found this tortoise statue under a tree.  Giddy Up.

Back at home, we had a relaxing evening of racing bugs.  It was nice to be cozy on the floor with our boys.  What a great way to end the day.

Then, morning came again and it was time to monkey around.
Rarely will you see photos of me in the morning but this one was too funny to pass up.  Keith's true feelings of photos shine bright first thing in the morning.
With Saturday came the Buffalo Bill parade in Golden.  We parked at the brewery and strolled down the path by Clear Creek just in time to see that parade begin.
Everyone loves a parade, especially the boys.  How can you not like the parade when you have a birds eye view.
The parade is full of all kinds of exhibits, including people dressed up from Buffalo Bill days.

A parade would not be complete without some John Deere tractors.
Nothing runs like a Deere.
Oliver was content to get cozy on Grandpa's head.
We were wishing we had this umbrella while we baked in the sun.
The biggest tractor of all had a woman driver and a breast cancer awareness ribbon on the side.
You Go Girl!

It didn't take long for Oliver to figure out they were giving out candy at the parade and by the time we left his pockets, hands and checks were full of sweetness.
Of course, Coors was represented in the parade since Golden is the home of the original Coors Brewing Company.
It was fun to watch Kellan's bottom slide further and further down Keith's back as the parade moved on.

Once the parade was complete (Yes, we watched the whole thing!) we headed off to the carnival where each kid got to pick one thing to do.  Kellan picked a rubber duck game and Oliver went on the jumpy castle. 
Kellan walked up, didn't wait his turn and picked a ducky.  He handed the guy his tickets for the ducky and to our HUGE surprise, he won the JUMBO prize.  I have Always wanted to win the Jumbo prize and in all of my years I never have.  Kellan takes one shot at it and he hit the Jack Pot!
I think Mommy was WAY more excited about the Jumbo prize than Kellan was.
Kellan was the talk of the park.  Everywhere he waddled with his duck, people commented about his Jumbo prize!  Other kids were envious that they didn't have the Jumbo prize and some of them headed to the duck game after seeing that a little guy could do it, so surely they could too.     
Suck a Tough Duck Guy
As expected, once Oliver was done in the bouncy castle and he realized that he didn't have anything but 3 minutes of memories and he wanted a prize too.  Lucky for him, Grandma and Grandpa were there to bridge his gap from the one ticket he had to the three he needed and he was off to the duck pond.  We explained that the odds of getting a jumbo prize were very small and he would likely get a small prize but any prize is a good prize.  He is very logical and he understood what this meant.  He walked away with a small prize, which he had jumbo love for.
We read the signs that it was time to get out of the heat and crowds and head home for lunch.
It was time to saddle up and stroll down the creek to the car.
I hope Oliver and Kellan grow to be big and strong so that they can give their Mom and Dad a shoulder ride someday.  
That Saturday morning I woke up to Grandma saying saying "You and Keith should go out tonight and we'll stay home with the kids."  She thought I was awake.  I thought I was dreaming.  She didn't have to ask twice and we went out.  We had no idea where we were going or what we were doing, we just knew we were going dinner without anyone to entertain or talk to about eating their dinner or proper manners.
We ended up at one of our old favorites, McCormick's.  We had an amazing sea food dinner on the patio.  We followed that with an impromptu trip to Comedy Works where we snuck in on the 7 PM show.  That was followed by dessert and coffee.  We had a great time!!!!  Then... we were home by 10:30.  When we walked in, Grandma and Grandpa asked why were were home so early.  So early???  We left at 5 PM.  Hmm... we later thought we could have stayed out longer but it didn't really cross our minds.  Maybe we need to go out more without having to pay for the sitter so we aren't counting the hours that we're gone.
Thanks for staying with the boys Grandma and Grandpa!!!
I'm not sure who had more fun... Mommy and Daddy on date night or Oliver and Kellan alone at home with Grandma and Grandpa.
At White Fence Farm Grandma and Grandpa bought the boys some long gummy snakes in celebration of their love for snakes.  (EWW!! ICK!!!)

Come to find out... the were a bit hard to chew.
This didn't stop Oliver's brain from pondering how to gnaw through them.  He went for the head.
Kellan went for the mid section.

Then they went to the park.  Lucky for us, the park is practically in the back yard.  The new zoo snake went along for the adventure.

Kellan was flying high with Grandma and Grandpa in town.

The snake was going for a ride too.  Welcome to the Ham Fam Mr Snake.
Someday, this guy is going to be breaking hearts on the playground with this smile.
Oliver enjoyed monkeying around at the park.
The park was followed by dinner and another photo session that brought out Kellan and Oliver's baby blues.  We heard later that it was left over night and Oliver kept Grandma informed on all of their likes and dislikes.  It's a good thing we have Oliver to keep everyone in line when we aren't around.

Sunday morning was a momentous occasion.  It really deserves it's own blog post but since it landed in the middle of the Grandma and Grandpa visit, it will reside here.

What would that momentous occasion be?
A hint: These are the before photos.
Keith had been drooling all week to fire up the lawn mower.  Realistically, it's probably been all summer.  
Four weeks after planting grass in our back yard, Keith was mowing.  If it wasn't so sunny you would have see him beaming with happiness.  Half way through mowing the lawn he ran out of gas.  With a big smile, he walked away and said "I've never had a lawn in Colorado big enough to run out of gas."
From upstairs, Grandma got a few birds eye shots.  I'm sure Grandma wasn't the only one who was curious about who was mowing at 7:30 in the morning.  Hello Table Rock!  The Hamiltons have moved in and have grass to mow.  Yes, we know it's 7:30 but we're burning daylight!
You can see a few of the bare patches but they will grow in.

Keith was SO happy he was jumping for joy.
Yippee Kay Yay!!!
The only ones that weren't happy about this momentous occasion were the bunnies who were wondering where their breakfast was going.

Low and behold our grass after a trim to make it nice and even.
Great job Keith.  The grass is amazing.  I knew you could do it!  Even if our neighbors and friends doubted it.  What do they know anyway?  HA HA!! :)
The boys love running in it.
I love running my toes through it.
Pure Perfection!
As the boys waited for the day to begin, they played in their matching Christmas PJ's on the back patio.
Quarterback or Receiver in the making.  With this photo it could be either.
Keith and Oliver spent some time mastering Oliver's Trans-Former.
We have lived in our house for three months and we have yet to send out our Change of Address announcements so we took a family photo.  You may see this again.  You may also see a blog post with the out takes.  Getting us all together in one photo is never an easy task...
...especially when Mother Nature provided puddles that Kellan would have preferred to have been in.  Maybe we all should have just stood in the puddles.  Next Time!

We had a great visit with Grandma and Grandpa, the boys were spoiled rotten and thanks to our paparazzi tendencies we have a blog post that is a mile long to prove it.
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