Kelly and I flew to Denver while Christopher stayed home for the weekend with his friends Max and Adam, and Lindsey went to Houston with her friend, Becca, and her mom to celebrate her 16th birthday. Our first stop was to grab a quick bite to eat with some former Austin friends, Brook and Justin, at Paradise Bakery, a tasty bakery/sandwich shop, then we took Brook with us to visit the art exhibit she had recently blogged about. Their two kids, Emma and Max, were as cute as can be.
Justin took the kids with him after we ate so Brook could get some time away from them. We completely enjoyed visiting these amazing historical Biblical etchings by mainly Rembrandt, and several other Dutch and European artists from the Renaissance art collection. I felt extremely lucky and blessed to have been in Denver at the exact right time to be able to enjoy this event and was grateful for Brook's blog for telling us about it. It was very well done and I only regret that I didn't have more time to spend staring at the incredible talents. Thank you, Brook! Kelly and I loved this cultural night out on the town.
The following morning, we were able to witness the temple sealing of Kelly's sister, Brenda, to the two new additions to her family. Jade and Hailey's adoption was finalized in December, and the two little girls were united for eternity with their parents and brothers in this special event. Brenda had the kids dressed in a creamy ivory and they looked precious in the temple. This family unit was meant to be, it was rather evident that these two little sweet girls should be a part of this family.
Last January, these girls were placed with Brenda and Joel after unsuccessful fertility attempts, through the county's foster/adopt process. They had originally hoped to get just one little girl, preferably a baby. But when the call came that there were two little girls available for placement, Brenda and Joel gave it some thought, prayed about it, and felt like it was the right thing to do. Hailey and Jade were their only foster placement, which led smoothly to an adoption at the end of the year. It was truly a miracle.
The sun was shining, however the snowy, cold air made photo taking somewhat chilly for everyone, but the kids did well. They were so adorable. From left to right, below is Jade (2), Hailey (5), Calvin (7), and Oliver (4).
Oliver and Calvin were having a fun time posing for family and friends with our cameras.
The Denver temple is where our two adopted kids were sealed to us.
Here's Brenda with three of her four little children, Jade, Calvin, and Oliver.
Here's the whole family again. It was tough to get a decent picture of all of them because of the snow and another crowd standing nearby from a wedding that had just taken place, as they were trying to take pictures too.
Brenda's husband, Joel, had a typical supportive turnout from his family. The only sibling missing was Vicki. From the left, there's Cindi, from Jenks, Oklahoma; Gretchen and Brett (Joel's brother) from Chicago; Tami (Joel's sister) and Dave from Grassy Lake, Alberta, Canada; then Terry and Gloria (Joel's parents) from New Orleans; and Brenda and Joel from Longmont, Colorado. An interesting fact about this bunch is that Brett, Dave, and Terry are all currently bishops in their wards they live in and Joel was a bishop in his previous ward before moving from Golden to Longmont.
Kelly and I enjoyed being in the temple with family and friends for the special occasion.
After all of us dined at Cinzetti's all-you-can-eat buffet in Northglenn, we enjoyed an afternoon nap, then I went to watch Joel in his exciting performance as a singer and actor that night at Jester's, a local dinner theater.
The four men sang the night away in an entertaining performance of "Forever Plaid." Joel does this for fun and is an engineer for his profession. He did a super job in singing and acting, and I enjoyed seeing this side of my kids' Uncle Joel.
The four "Plaids" posed for us after the show. The two men on the ends are brothers and their stepdad is the other singer/actor.
(above) It was exciting to find out that Tami and Dave's son, Tyler, will be at the same EFY session as Lindsey in Provo (August 4 through 8). I hope that they will have the chance to meet each other and maybe dance together at one of the dances!
Deb's girls, Courtney, Aly, and Kasey enjoyed the show too.
Here's Marlene, Debbie, and Jeanette.
In addition to hopefully meeting up with Tami's son, Tyler, Lindsey will also be able to meet Gretchen and Brett's daughter, Mary, who will be at the same EFY session as Lindsey and her cousins Morgan and Nathaniel. Considering there are dozens of different Especially For Youth sessions that the kids could end up at, it's amazing that all of them will be at that particular one together. I hope they have a blast! I'm sure Lindsey will, she always does. This will be her first year to attend EFY outside of Texas. She's attended the last three years in San Antonio at Trinity College.
I sat next to Brenda and Cindi during Joel's performance. Cindi's husband, Alex, stayed in Oklahoma with their three kids.
Since we had all seen Joel's Forever Plaid schtick on New Year's Eve, Kelly went to Mike's house with his dad to play board games. Debbie and Mike are here snuggling for a quick pic just before bedtime and we went back to Kelly's parents' house.
Kelly and I left for the Denver airport the next morning from his parents' home in Loveland, while his mom, dad, and grandmother were going to church.
Kelly's 89-year-old grandmother, Mildred, was visiting from Idaho. Kelly is her oldest grandchild. She's scooting around with much less finesse these days, and her goal in life is to make it to her 90th birthday this summer and to her granddaughter, Sarah's, wedding in April. She hopes to live long enough to celebrate those events, but doesn't have any goals beyond that yet.
Below, here's Kelly with his mom and dad, Dee and Marlene. They always enjoy having their only son around. Who wouldn't? I completely agree with them and love every chance I have to spend time with my sweet husband of 21 years.
Marlene said I'm usually the one behind the camera, so she snapped this one of the two of us before we took our red Pontiac rental car back to the Enterprise counter at DIA.
Last night after we got home, we watched the Super Bowl and were cheering for the underdog, the New York Giants, and were so excited that Eli Manning did so well. We also cheered for the Patriots' Wes Welker, since he's an Okie, and because my niece, Jessica, wanted to cheer for him. And last but not least, we cheered for my friend Tina's former neighbor, the punter for the giants, #18 Jeff Feagles. It was just the right ending for us and we enjoyed the game and most of the commercials.
We enjoyed our brief 48 hours away, missed our kids, and were happy to come home safely. There's no place like home.