Steamboat Gondola Ride

Another must do activity while in Steamboat is the Gondola ride to the top of Mount Werner. The view is breath taking. One of these trips the kids will be old enough to take mountain bikes along. That is my kind of riding. Take the Gondola up and enjoy the ride down. :0) For now, we are happy taking a mile hike at the top with the kids.
WHOA! Hank kept saying WHOA! I think he may have a fear of heights. On the flight to California he wanted the window shade down and got nervous when he could see the ground. A boy after my own heart.
The older kids loved the ride.
When I grow up, I want to move here.
My sister Chrysti and her family joined us for the Gondola ride and hike.
The boys were not to thrilled with the idea of hiking at first but once we got going, the kids had a blast looking for animals and tracks.
Max got his work out carrying the Misters. It was close to nap time and Hank was pooped out.
Our little explorers.
We came upon a make shift fort.
I'm, the king of the world!
The kids spotted the rare track of the Nike tennis shoe. They were sure it was an elk.

Steamboat Springs Fishing

We have made Steamboat Springs our summer vacation spot for many summers. We haven't been able to go the last two years and were so excited when my Mom and Snork decided to renew their vows in Steamboat this summer. We tried to pack as much in as we could over the three days. Among the top priorities was fishing.
There is a great little pond for the kids to fish in near the hotel. We have had great success here in all the years before. However, this year I think we were a little late in the day to find hungry fish.
They waited.
And waited.
And goofed around. And tied up a bunch of line.
Daddy thought maybe the fish would like flies.
Mommy thought worms were the way to go.
Grammy decided it was time she took matters into her own hands and showed the girls what real fishing was all about. Karlie was more than happy to rip the worms in half for Grammy. Kaitlin on the other hand wanted nothing to do with the worms.
Finally with Grammy's help we caught a fish. A fish. As in one. Karlie thought she got to keep it for a pet and was very upset when we let it go.
But the bucket of slimy worms soon cheered her up.

I have so many pictures, I will have to do several post over the next few days!

Family Photos

For my parents' 25th wedding anniversary my sisters and their families got together for a photo shoot in Boulder. My parents have a picture wall that still has each of our graduation pictures from high school on it. It was time for an update! :0)
The crew.
Scott, Chrysti, Maximus and Titus.
Mel, Colin, and Corrin,
Getting all the kids to look and smile only took 28 shots! LOL
Kerrie, RJ and Rayah.
Soul sisters.

Unfortunately the day we picked was one of those 90 degree, high altitude, fry your skin off in 5 minutes kind of days and we were all sweating. Add a little jaunt up a hill in jeans and you really want to smile for pictures. Max and Chrysti did an excellent job in such difficult working conditions and managed to get some really nice shots. I would have loved to get individual shots of the kids too. The backdrop is unbeatable. Maybe we will shoot for a fall session where the jeans will be welcomed.

Hooray for VBACS!

My friend and fellow Labor and Delivery nurse, Courtney, sent me this link about the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist rewriting an older policy that in part has led to 1 in 3 babies being born via Cesarean. The World Health Organization recommends between 5 and 10% is optimal. The National Institute for Health strongly urged ACOG to reverse their stance on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) because 1/3 of hospitals would not allow them and 1/2 off all OBs would not allow them.
I was pregnant at the height of the original policy ACOG wrote, making VBACs seem very dangerous. I was encourage to have a repeat Cesarean with Karlie because at that time the risk of uterine rupture, which is less than 1%, was thought to be too high. As a labor and delivery nurse and as a woman, I wanted nothing more than to experience birth and not have another painful recovery from a Cesarean.

However, just 6 months before Karlie was due, one of our most beloved OBs lost her baby due to a uterine rupture while attempting a VBAC. After being on bed rest for 5 weeks with Karlie and knowing a doctor that this had happened to and my own OB strongly recommending a repeat Cesarean, I had one. It seemed the best option at the time and I resigned myself that I would never have the experience of a vaginal birth.
Working on the labor deck, you come to know all the OBs and get to pick the best. I had high risk pregnancies, which allowed me to see Maternal Fetal Medicine OBs. The best of the best. Dr. Gallan saw me for all the babies and tried to arrange to deliver each of them. That is another story. :0)

At one appointment I saw a different MFM and she asked me what my plans for delivery were. I was puzzled. She then told me about the possibility of having a VBAC. I thought she had lost her mind! A VBAC after 2 Cesareans! That was like third world medicine. She told me that under the ACOG guidelines, you could VBAC2 at a hospital like ours with an OB constantly available for an emergency delivery. She had planted a seed.
I devoured every piece of literature available on VBAC2. I read everything I could about the signs of uterine rupture and what factors increased it. After months of research and discussing it with Max over and over and over. We agreed that under certain conditions, I would attempt it. Those factors were that I would go into labor naturally, not use pitocin and delay and epidural as long as possible. When I told my fellow nurses my plans, they told me I was insane.
My water broke after working an 12 hour over night shift. I had not slept in 24 hours. Not the best way to start your "risky" VBAC. We waited and waited for labor to start. 12 hours later, we had to decide to do a Cesarean or start pitocin for the risk of infection. I just could not give up on a vaginal birth. So we talked it over extensively with my doc and agreed to do only low dose pitocin. But he really wanted me to consider having the epidural early just in case we needed to rush to the operating room. I really wanted to experience labor. So stubborn. After a few hours of contractions with pitocin, I was fully ready to accept the docs recommendation for an epidural!
As we waited for things to progress, Max and I watched Kaitlin's heart rate closely for any signs of something going wrong. Finally it was time to push. I prayed that my uterus would hold up. I had the most amazing birth experience and will be forever grateful that I was able to birth one of my babies. It is truly a spiritual moment, watching a life come into the world. I can't articulate how different it is to give birth compared to being delivered.

It was such a huge deal just 4 years ago, that when I returned to work, I had nurses and doctors from the postpartum and NICU asking me if I was the one who VBACed after two?! One doctor told me I was a legend on the floor and that I gave her hope to try for a VBAC2. I hope women across the country will now have the opportunity to attempt a VBAC without feeling like they are compromising themselves or their babies.

Job Security


Sunshine Cupcakes

I made sunshine cupcakes for a party we went to on Sat. The theme was Fun in the Sun and I thought these guys would brighten up the kids' day.
I had been wanting to try Wilton's edible markers. It made adding a smile so easy. I will have to try them again. I am wondering if they work well on sugar cookies. You could make some fun and detailed designs on Christmas cookies this way. Could I really be thinking about Christmas in July?

Karlie's Day at the Park

In a large family it can be challenging to be able to give each of the kids one on one time. We try to do something special with them as individuals as much as possible. They just thrive off having mom or dad's undivided attention. Rarely do they get both of us to themselves. Max was given some tickets to the Rockies and we ended up being able to take Karlie. She dressed in her best outfit and packed her purse with a fan.
She really wanted to get on TV and wanted to know "why the TV hadn't found her yet!" At the 7th inning stretch they began to throw T-shirts. Max and I waved and jumped as much as we could to no avail. However, the man behind us caught one and gave it to Karlie. She was so excited! It has become her official night gown.
The best part was spoiling her with treats. We had ice cream and soda and pretzels. We enjoyed dotting on our girl and I am pretty sure she did too. It was a really great day at the park with Kark.

Baaaad Sheep Cake

I made this sheep cake for one of Max's colleagues baby's 1st birthday. The baby has an infatuation with sheep. When I originally agreed to do the cake, I didn't think through that the prior weekend I would be doing Hailey's cake and party. I was a bit burnt out on cakes when Monday came and I had to start making this little guy.
The dad requested lemon cake with a black faced sheep. I had never used lemon cake for a sculpted cake. Lesson number one from this baaaad sheep: always test your idea. The lemon cake is from the Barefoot Contessa and is to die for. However, it is so moist it doesn't stand up well under pounds of cake, buttercream and fondant.

As I began to apply the layers of buttercream, the base of the cake buckled and the whole thing started looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Lesson number two: with more than two tiers,cake boards and dowels are a necessity!

I began madly spearing the little lamb with cake dowels in an attempt to save a days worth of baking. The base was literally falling to pieces. Luckily I had a lot of left over fondant from Hailey's cake and created lift that I shoved under the back to support the cake. After adding the bright orange fondant band aid, and 5 wooden spears, the cake seemed stable but was looking more like a Halloween cake than a lamb.

I continued to make his fur. Denver has had some very hot days this week and my buttercream soon began to melt and began sliding down the sheep! This was turning out very baaaaaaaad! It was 9 pm and the cake was going to work with Max in the morning. Not to mention I made the girls skip gymnastics and became a bit of a raving lunatic as the panic set in. I began to calculate the working hours I would have if I started over right then.

Max got home and was able to take care of the kids so I could go full throttle on the cake. After frosting him, I quickly put him the fridge and prayed to the cake gods to have pity on me. It was a little boys first birthday! Why did it have to be a cake for someone else that was such a disaster?! They could have punished me with Hailey's cake instead! I could deal with hidden orange fondant supports and enough wooden spears to grill a sheep. But not strangers! They just won't understand.

The cake gods were kind and the sheep made it through the night, the car ride to work, and through the next day. The Dad was happy with how he looked. I had to tell him of all the surprises he would find under the fur. At least you can't see someone blush through email. While he looks so sweet, don't let those big eyes fool you. He is a baaaaaad little lamb!

Hailey's Hawaiian Luau

The invitations.On Saturday we celebrated Hailey's Birthday with friends and family. It has been such a wild and action packed summer that it wasn't until three weeks after her real birthday that we could have her party. I begged her to have it at one of those inflatable jump places, or a water park, or anywhere. She insisted on having a party at home "where we could have games and stay as long as we wanted." We settled on a Hawaiian luau theme with a slumber party to follow. I must have sipped one too many Mai Tais when I agreed to this plan.
Her Hawaiian cake. The bottom layer was white with buttercream icing, the middle was eggless chocolate with chocolate buttercream icing, and the top was strawberry with buttercream icing. We had around 50 people coming so I had to make a lot of cake. While the vision I had was totally different, it turned out pretty cute.
I made tropical delights for the kids since they couldn't have any tropical drinks.
We had many games as the Hawaiian Princess requested.
Slip N Slide races.

Many of the Hawaiian sporting events revolve around strength and water. So we tried to incorporate that into our games.
Hank thought these tough guys needed a little help against a bunch of girls.
The real women stepped up to help out.
Clayton thought he was strong enough to take us. Wrong!
We ended up with a battle of the sexes. The boys won, but they were on the downhill. :)
Hula hooping.

Beach ball relay race. They had to run through an obstacle course with the beach ball between their legs.
No luau would be complete without a limbo. I refrained from participating this time since I couldn't walk for two days after my last limbo adventure.
Pinata time! This was one of the main reasons Hailey wanted to do the party at home. You can't have a pinata at the jump house.

This is always a crowd pleaser.
Karlie collected quite a bit.
Kaitlin found a safe spot to count her loot.
Hank couldn't believe his luck! Unlimited suckers! They were falling from the sky!
Happy birthday to my lovely lady.
Her most prized gift, a novel.
Her girlfriends sang her a special song after she opened all her gifts. It was so sweet. It must be a school birthday song for none of the adults had heard it.
Slumber party time! Hot tub! Our friends took the K buddies to their house for a slumber party too. It was great to just have Hank and the giggling girls.
After playing in the hot tub they watched a movie and had popcorn. I went down and helped them all get situated for bed on mattresses and futons. The girls were still up screaming and giggling past midnight. I told them I was going to bed and they could find me sleeping in my bed if they needed anything. They continued to dance and goof around until the wee hours. Some of the girls got tired and jumped ship.
When we got up with Hank at 6:30 we found girls sprawled all over the house.
One was even sleeping on our kitchen bench! Ouch!

To finish off the slumber party we had doughnuts and manicures and pedicures. I am sure the girls' parents were really pleased with the wild nails and exhausted kids that came home.

It was a really fun evening. But, I am so glad the MKHKKH birthdays are over for another year!