Yearly Letters

Another tradition (that actually pre-dates our written trip reports) is the writing of a yearly letter, updating friends and family on all the events of our year. Many of the trips detailed here are mentioned in the letters, plus smaller adventures and milestones as well. Since the purpose of this site is to document important memories, I thought it appropriate to include the letters here. Unlike the Trip Report Index, I decided to list these in Chronological order, oldest to newest, so that if you read them in order, it makes sense.

The Delaney Family Christmas Update – 2003

Well as most of you can imagine, 2003 was a very big year for us. The year started off with a bang as we found out at the beginning of January that a new family member was on the way. We were a little disconcerted to hear that Baby Delaney was due on 9/11, but then again, babies never come on their due date anyway, right?? Or so we were told….Slowly, we began to adjust to the thought of a baby entering our lives.

In March, Brian took a trip to Toronto for a company meeting, where he spent some time sightseeing and going to the top of the CN tower. Shortly after he returned, it was time for our Spring Break trip to Destin, FL. Despite some cool and rainy weather, we enjoyed a few days on the beach and golf courses. When we got back, the day everyone had been waiting for arrived, the day that we would see our little sprout on an ultrasound and find out if we were expecting a Lily or a Xavier. (I’m guessing by now everyone knows what the result was…) But the traveling wasn’t over yet. The very next day Brian had to set out for a 2 week trip to India to help some of his company’s developers in their Hyderabad office. While he was away, Jaime took the opportunity to visit her friend Abbye who was in Washington DC, going to Law school.

It was also during this time that we got serious about finding Brian another job, as we wanted to feel a little more secure with the baby coming and all. Fortunately, with a little help from his Dad, he landed a job with BAE Systems working on a project with Lockheed Martin here in Colorado Springs. The timing worked out perfect as the move was set for the day after Jaime would finish out the school year and her teaching job in Atlanta. Jaime’s family came to Atlanta to help us load up the UHaul with all of our wordly belongings, and we set out on the 2 day adventure cross country that would lead us to our new home. We made good time, especially considering we had a caravan consisting of  a car, a UHaul pulling another car, a 6-month pregnant woman, and a dog 🙂 Once we arrived at our new apartment, unloading took almost no time at all. It would of course take a bit longer to get unpacked and settled in.

Brian began his new job, and things seemed to be going smoothly. In July, we gained a new neice when Jenny and Chad welcomed their new daughter, Emily. Later in July, Jaime flew to Memphis for a Collins family gathering and a baby shower. A recent storm had knocked out most of the power in the city, so we had to face 95-degree temperatures the old fashioned way. August was saddened by the loss of Brian’s grandfather, and we headed to Nunn, Co to say our final goodbyes. Once home, we had a second baby shower here  with the Delaney side of the family. Chad and Jenny were visiting, so we got to meet our new neice, and get a glimpse of what our own life would be like in a few weeks!

Near the end of August, Jaime’s mom arrived to help us await the arrival of Lily. Despite the fact that Jaime was now 9 months pregnant (and hoping to pop everyday!) we still managed to take in many of the local attractions including Garden of the Gods and Seven Falls, and even attended the Colorado Springs Hot Air Balloon Festival. The days began to feel like weeks, and it seemed the baby would never come. At long last, Jaime’s due date, the infamous 9/11, arrived and greeted us very early in the morning with rather unpleasant (well for Jaime anyway) labor contractions. Who says babies never come on their due dates??? So off to the hospital we went, and Lily made her grand appearance at 6:40 that evening, after a long but uneventful labor. Brian, and both Moms were there to witness the big event. She was pronounced very healthy, weighing in at 8 lbs, 10 ounces, and had a headfull of dark hair!

The next day, Jaime’s dad and sister (Ashley) arrived from Florida to meet Lily, but were only able to stay for a couple of days. Brian’s dad didn’t get to meet Lily until the day we came home from the hospital, as he had been out of town.  Jaime’s Mom stayed with us for a week to help us get settled in and used to life with a newborn. A week after she went home, Jaime’s sister arrived again, this time for a longer visit. While she was here we took Lily on her first road trip to Estes Park where we drove through the scenic Rocky Mountain National Park. Shortly after Ashley went home, Jaime’s brother and sister-in-law (Mike and Tina) came for a visit, and Lily got to meet her cousins Cassidy and Cameron.

By the middle of October the company had all come and gone, and it was just us, trying to adapt to life as a family. Lily was growing by the day and doing very well, even started sleeping through the night when she was about 6 weeks old. November brought Thanksgiving, and we were off to Florida to spend it with Jaime’s family. Lily had her first airplane ride, and first trip to the beach, both of which she seemed to enjoy. With Thanksgiving behind us, it was now time to think about getting ready for Christmas, and up went Lily’s first Christmas tree.

Our last news this year is good news, just last week Jaime secured a position with Falcon High School to teach Physics and Astronomy starting in January.

As we are writing this, we are anxiously awaiting Lily’s first Christmas, and our first Christmas “at home” together. We hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits, and we send our best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2004!

Love,

Brian, Jaime, Lily & Nala Delaney

P.S. Sorry if this gets to you late, we are waiting on the portraits from Sears!

The Delaney Family 2004 Christmas Update

Greetings! We hope 2004 has brought good fortune to you as it has to us. It was another very busy year in the Delaney household. Starting in January, Jaime returned to the ranks of the employed with a job at Falcon High School teaching physics and astronomy. We had been wanting to get Lily into the Primrose Preschool across the street from our apartment, and the timing worked out perfectly! So off went Jaime and Lily, each to their first day of school, so to speak.  Brian at this point had to acquire the new responsibility of getting Lily ready and dropped off at school in the mornings, but he handled it like a champ! Jaime’s job kept her very busy, but was going well and it seemed we had fallen into the perfect situation, as Lily was also doing wonderfully at school.

Now that we were feeling a little more settled, but also a bit more cramped, we began to look for a new house. We ended up signing a contract to have one built in Stetson Hills, on the east side of town. When we signed the contract in mid January, they told us it would probably be less than 3 months to closing – not a lot of time! During this month, Jaime also took a quick weekend trip to Macon, Ga to meet up with the family there at Mike and Tina’s house. The next couple of months passed quickly, and we watched our house materialize out of thin air in record time.

In March Jaime left on a Spring Break adventure with Lily in tow. First stop was Harrisburg, Ar to catch up with the Collins side of the family, then on to Macon to visit Mike and Tina. Finally, she headed on down to Naples, Florida for a week in the sun with Mom and Dad. Then, the long (well not very long) awaited day had come – closing day! The whole process was very quick – signed our name a few times, grabbed the keys, and the house was ours! The next few days were spent painting and hanging blinds and curtains, we didn’t officially “move” until the next weekend, despite the snow and Jaime’s strep throat…Settling in this time would be slow, however, with both of us working full time and a now mobile (crawling) Lily underfoot!

The end of May brought the end of school, and a much needed break for Jaime, but we didn’t rest long before starting out on our longest road trip yet with Lily – to Harrisburg, Ar for Jaime’s cousin Steven’s wedding. Jaime’s parents came up as well, and it was good to have everyone together for a few days. Once home, a summer routine was quickly established. Lily still went to school two days a week so that Jaime could get some work done for school, the other 3 days were spent playing, cleaning, playing, cleaning some more… with Lily growing ever closer to taking those first steps each day.

During the summer, Brian and his Dad spent several weekends digging up the front yard to install a sprinkler system. Unfortunately an underestimation of how much soil amendment we needed meant that we were not able to get a watering permit once our grass arrived. So we were stuck on the normal 2 day/week watering restrictions during the crucial first dew weeks while the grass was taking root. Somehow, though it survived, and the sprinkler system works great… now that we are allowed to use it!

In July, Jaime’s sister Ashley came to visit, and we took the train up to the top of Pikes Peak. Ashley (the Florida girl) was amazed by the fact that there was snow in July!  Just before school was to start up again, Jaime took a short trip to Florida to see the rest of the family, including Mike and Tina who has since moved down there. Then it was back to the grind, as classes started at the beginning of August. By now Lily was walking like a champ and soon ready to move up to the young toddler class at school!

Within just a few weeks, a momentous occasion was upon us – Lily’s 1st birthday! We can’t believe how quickly she is growing up.  Unfortunately her birthday will always have a dark stigma attached to it, but for us Sept. 11 will always be a day of celebration above all else. It wasn’t a big party, but Lily had fun – mostly playing with the balloons! Grandpa D had to leave early for a business trip, but got help her open presents at least. Later that month, Brian took his first business trip since moving here, to Norfolk, Va. Fortunately it was a short one, and he even got to come home earlier than expected.

In October, Jaime had a two week fall break from school, and her parents came out for a few days to visit. We also went to Pikes Peak, but the elements were somewhat less than cooperative at the top of the mountain, so we mostly stayed in the shelter of the Summit House. Once Brian was off work for the weekend, we rented a van and headed into the mountains. Seeing the mountains from the van was nice, but gave Brian and Jaime the bug to get out and do some hiking, so for the next few weeks we slipped away to the refuge of nature as often as we could, hiking at Waldo Canyon and North Cheyenne Mountain as well as others.

The end of October brought Halloween, and though we decided Lily was too little for trick-or-treating, we got her a tiger costume and she played in the front yard while trick-or-treaters came by. It was our year to stay home for Thanksgiving, and we had a wonderful dinner at Brian’s parents’ house. Brian’s Aunt Diane, Uncle Rob, and Grandma were there as well. Thanksgiving means its time to put up the Christmas tree and get Christmas portraits done… the first was easy…but Lily has an aversion to sitting still these days and made the second quite a challenge!

December was upon us, and Brian realized it was time to go skiing! So he headed up to Keystone with a friend from work to enjoy a day on the slopes. We will be spending Christmas this year in Florida, water-duck Lily will no doubt have a blast, especially now that she is old enough to chase her cousins Cassie and Cam! Who knows what the next year will bring us, Lily keeps getting older, we seem to keep getting busier, but all in all life just keeps getting better! We hope it does the same for you, and wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

The Delaney Family 2005 Christmas Letter

Greetings everyone! It has been another busy year for us, but a good one. As  we were writing last year’s letter, we were just about to head down to Florida for Christmas to visit Jaime’s family. After the minor matter of a 13 hour delay at the Colorado Springs airport (mechanical problems on the plane – THAT was a long day!), we finally arrived in Naples about 22 hours later than scheduled. Once there, however, we had a great time enjoying the weather, and Lily got to go to the beach!

January and February were relatively uneventful as usual, although we did take Lily on some of her first hikes around town, and snuck off to go skiing a couple of times! March brought spring break, and with it Jaime and Lily’s trip to Florida to see the family. While there Lily had a great time going to the zoo and Teddy Bear Museum, and of course she always loves playing with her cousins Cassie and Cam. Once back in Colorado, Brian and Jaime spent a few days hiking at North Cheyenne Canyon and going skiing again.

April started out with lovely weather, which we took advantage of by making several outings to the park and zoo. However, in typical Colorado fashion it went from sunny and warm to a full scale spring blizzard in a matter of days. Brian’s trip to Virginia for work had to be delayed a bit since we couldn’t even get off of our own street! But as quickly as it came, it melted and we were back to enjoying the beautiful spring weather in no time. At the end of the month Brian had to travel again for work, this time to San Diego. May brought more outdoor fun, with more hiking – this time at Waldo Canyon. (Lily was becoming quite a little hiker!) Brian’s birthday also came and was celebrated with a rather large family gathering at TGI Friday’s, including Brian’s grandmother, Aunt Diane, Uncle Rob, and Uncle Bill.

The highlight of our year definitely came in June, with our vacation to Hawaii. We spent one week on the beautiful island of Kauai, where we had quite an adventure! From snorkeling, to hiking, to swimming in waterfalls and flying off of rope swings and ziplines (oh and kayaking too!), it was a truly amazing experience that words cannot begin to describe. Definitely memories to last a lifetime, though hopefully we won’t have to wait that long to go back! Lily had an adventure of her own during this time, as she stayed with “Colorado Springs” Grandma and Grandpa for a few days, and then with “Florida” Grandma and Grandpa for the rest of the week, who flew out to spend some one on one time with their favorite Colorado granddaughter! After we returned from paradise, but while Jaime’s parents were still here, we also took in the aquarium in Denver and went to Helen Hunt Falls. During the rest of the month, we enjoyed the summer with yet more hiking at Garden of the Gods.

During July, we went to a free concert in the park, and then went downtown to see the 4th of July fireworks! Lily was a bit scared of them at the time, but later said she liked them. We also went on our first “camping” trip – the camp site was our own backyard! Lily had a blast, we actually had a hard time getting her to go to sleep she was so excited about sleeping outside. We also finally put the rocks (8 tons of them) in our backyard, that was a day of hard work – mostly for Brian and his Dad! But Lily did try to help. There were also more trips to the zoo, and another trip for Jaime and Lily to Florida.

August brought the start of school. Jaime had taken a new job at a middle school teaching eighth grade science – two blocks from our house! So things were busy, but good. Near the end of the month, most of Jaime’s family came out to move her sister Ashley to Denver, where she would be attending art college. The weather was still nice, so we took several hiking trips, one to Rocky Mountain National Park where we hiked to Emerald Lake, and one to The “Craggs”.

September began with the annual Balloon Festival here in Colorado Springs, and Lily had a great time watching the balloons launch, and some even landed in the water! Soon after, it was time for the much anticipated event – Lily’s second birthday party! All of her grandparents, plus her Aunt Ashley and great-Aunt Ovon from Michigan were in attendance for the occasion. We also took another trip to the newly renovated Denver Aquarium, and once again Lily was fascinated by the fish! Later in the month, we took Lily on the Farrish Folk’s March so she could try out her new hiking boots – she was hiking like a champ now! At the end of the month, Brian and Jaime met Ashley in Denver to go to Six Flags. And even dared to go on the giant-drop-you-from-the-sky-swing! (Hey after our Hawaii adventure, nothing should scare us, right?)

In the beginning of October, we did some more hiking at Red Rock’s Canyon on a very warm, summer-ish day. Lily continued to impress us with her mad hiking skills.  The next weekend we had several inches of snow. Brian and Lily got to build a snowman! The weekend after that we went on our first real camping trip with Lily at Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a bit cold, but we still had a good time, and Lily got to see lots of elk! The end of October brought Halloween, and Lily got her first trick-or-treating experience dressed as a pumpkin. Although she agreed to trade in all of her candy for a new baby doll.

November was fairly uneventful until Thanksgiving, when we traveled to Florida to visit Jaime’s family. Lily got some more swimming and beach time, and we even went to her cousin Cassidy’s birthday party. The start of December means it’s almost time for Christmas, and sure enough the Christmas parade and Tuba Christmas were upon us. It was a chilly, snowy evening, but Lily loved the music and Christmas lights. It was followed by a week of unusually cold weather and yet more snow – winter must have come early… Just this last weekend we attended a family get-together at Brian’s Aunt Arline’s house in Ft. Collins, visited Ashley in Denver, and went skiing at Copper Mountain. A busy but fun two days. We will be staying home for Christmas this year, our first Christmas spent in our new house! And of course Lily is already excited about Santa coming, although she isn’t so sure about going to see him at the mall!

Well that wraps up our year, so far anyway. We continue to be amazed by how fast Lily is growing up. Her intellect, imagination, and vocabulary seem to increase everyday! She can spin some pretty interesting stories these days, and we are certain she will be ready for algebra soon…of course she has already inherited Jaime’s love for astronomy and can tell you all about the stars!  This next year will certainly bring about more adventures, and hopefully lots more fun. We wish the same for you, and a very Happy Holiday season!

Love,
Brian, Jaime & Lily Delaney
(and Nala too!)

The Delaney Family 2006 Christmas Letter

Greetings family and friends! We hope this holiday season finds you in good health and spirits. It’s been another busy year as usual for us.  Let’s see, when we left off with last year’s letter we were preparing to spend our first Christmas at home in our (relatively) new house. Just before Christmas we got enough snow for Lily to have her first sledding experience, and we went to the Electric Safari at the zoo – very cool!

January and February always seem slow and uneventful, and this year was no exception. We did take a couple of hikes, though. The first was actually a Volksmarch around our part of town – and Lily got a medal for her participation! The second was at Waldo Canyon – one of our favorites. Jaime’s sister Ashley (who was living in Denver) unfortunately got very sick and Jaime’s parents came out for a few days to help her begin the move back to Florida.

As always, things start to get busy in March. Brian and Jaime snuck off once at the beginning of the month to go skiing at Winter Park, and then we began major work on our Garden and Compost Bin in the backyard. Building the garden bed sure was a lot of work – but rewarding nonetheless. The end of the month started Jaime’s spring break – and among other things she took some time for a solitary hike in Garden of the Gods – very peaceful!

Spring Break was over at the beginning of April – but it was not back to work yet for Jaime, whose mom (in Florida) was having surgery to remove a brain tumor. So she headed down to spend the week. The surgery went about as well as could be expected, and it was good to have everyone together for the time. Jaime’s Uncle James who was also visiting from Arkansas had a heart attack while there, but fortunately he recovered as well.

For Easter, Lily got to decorate Easter eggs for the first time, and we spend part of the afternoon at Green Mountain Falls. A hard lesson of behavior and consequences was soon to follow, however and we missed out on the Easter Bunny this year.  Near the end of April we did a bit of redecorating in Lily’s room – converting the baby-ish theme into a very colorful Winnie the Pooh one! (The orange and purple walls stayed, though)

In May we took part in the Annual Arthritis Walk at Sky Sox Stadium. Jaime had recently been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and this was a great way to get some exercise as well as support the Arthritis Foundation. It was pretty cool – we even got to walk around the warning track of the baseball field while the players were warming up for their game! The next few weeks we full of outings to the park, more work on the garden, and several hiking trips including the Craggs and Garden of the Gods.

As part of the Arthritis Walk we had gotten some free tickets to a Sky Sox game so we took Lily to her first Baseball outing in June. We didn’t stay for the whole thing but she had a good time and even got to meet Sox the Fox! Summer was fully upon us now and we decided that Lily had not spend nearly enough time in the water. So we began making regular visits to Wilson Ranch Pool (a really cool public pool here in town) She became quite a water duck pretty quickly, though she was still a little intimidated by the water slide J Near the end of the month we went to the North Pole. Okay, not THAT North Pole! It is an amusement park here in town with (you guessed it) a Christmas theme. They have some pretty wild rides that Lily could go on and we had a blast! At last, it was time to pick the first harvest from our garden – the snow peas were ready! Nice to see the fruits of our labor…

We did some more hiking at the beginning of July and then it was time for the second annual 3rd or July camp-out in the backyard! Brian’s parents decided to join us this time so we had quite a tent city set up! The net day we did some more hiking before heading downtown to see the fireworks.

July was a busy month – soon Jaime and Lily were headed down to Florida for another visit with the family. As soon as they returned, it was time to set off for our yearly summer vacation – this year’s destination was Yellowstone and Grand Teton national Parks. We stayed at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and filled our days with hiking and sightseeing. We also went to Jackson Hole, WY and took an arial tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. Then we gave Lily her first experience on the chair lifts – getting ready for ski season already!

The busy month was not over yet – at least not for Jaime who was immediately headed out again – this time to Estes Park for a Leadership School through our church. It was at a very peaceful retreat and an overall good experience. And Brian and Lily survived the week alone!

August brought the beginning of school for Jaime, and carrot picking time in the garden! At the beginning of September, Jaime’s family came out to celebrate Lily’s birthday (a little early) While they were here went to the Balloon Festival and took the train up Pike’s Peak. Almost as soon as they left, Brian’s sister Jennifer and her three kids (Abby, Emily and Jake) came to visit. This was the first time Lily had met these cousins and she had several fun weeks getting to know them. We went to the zoo, a life size Thomas the Train event, and had another birthday party for Lily.

October brought more hiking – Lily’s first trip to North Cheyenne Canyon. We also drove down to Albuquerque to see the Balloon Festival and camped there in our tent. We also took the tram up Sandia Peak while we were there, and visited the Natural history Museum and Zoo. Soon the first snow was upon us, and Lily took advantage of it to go sledding – in an attempt to prove to us that she was ready for skiing! It turned out that snow was literally just the tip of the iceberg, as within a couple of weeks we were in the middle of a full scale blizzard! We hunkered down warm in our house (except for the few hours when we lost power…) and watched the snow pile up.  Halloween was next – it had warmed up some but was still quite chilly. Lily did go out trick-or treating, however. This year she was a fairy (and talked mom and dad into wearing costumes as well!)

In November we took a few more hiking trips, one to Waldo Canyon where Lily did an impressive hike of over 3 miles. During the next few weeks Brian was swamped at work and staying late most nights, so Jaime took the extra “alone time” to create a make-shift playroom in the basement. It has cheap rugs for a floor and sheets for a wall, but it is a nice and rather cozy space to have. We celebrated Thanksgiving at Brian’s parents house with his Grandmother, Aunt Diane and Uncle Rob.

The coming of December always brings Christmas preparations along with Tuba Christmas and the Parade, as well as the annual family gathering at Aunt Arline’s house in Fort Collins. And both were lots of fun, as usual! We are preparing to head down to Florida for Christmas this year, and hope to celebrate the Solstice here at home before we go. Every year is a new adventure for us, as Lily grows and takes on new challenges and responsibilities. Of course this year had its “challenging” moments (what year with a pre-schooler doesn’t J ) but is finding us all happy, in good health and great spirits at its end. We hope that the year as been as good to you as it has been to us, and wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and New Year filled with life, love and laughter!

The Delaney Family 2007 Christmas Letter

Greetings family and friends! Another year has passed, and as always there is so much to tell you about. Many of you have shared some of these exciting adventures with us, but for those of you who we don’t get to see as much as we would like, know that you are often in our thoughts, and we wish the very best for you this holiday season.

When we left off with last years letter we were preparing to head to Florida for Christmas. ADecember Blizzard threatened to impact our travel plans, but fortune smiled on us and the weather cleared just in time. We escaped the snow and spent Christmas playing in “Florida Grandma and Grandpa’s” new swimming pool!

The new year started off with Lily becoming a “real soccer player” (as she says), when she began taking classes at Soccer Buddies, an indoor soccer program here for kids. It was her first “extra-curricular activity”, and Jaime says she is now a Soccer Mom. Later in the year we would add Dancing class to our weekly schedule – that one was a hit too!

In March, our church (High Plains Unitarian Universalist) began the exciting but arduous task of converting the Mountasia Family Fun Center into our new church home. There was painting to be done, carpet and tile to be laid, and many other tasks beyond our comprehension. We spent many weekends laboring away, but it would all be worth it to not be a “church in a box” anymore, as we had been meeting in a school cafeteria. In March we also took a weekend getaway to Breckenridge, where we met up with Jaime’s parents and sister Ashley from Florida. Lily spent a day at Kids Ski School, and we also enjoyed some time on the slopes, as well as trying out cross-country skiing and snow-mobiling.

In April our family grew by two when we took on two new pets – the Guinea Pigs “Heffalump” and “Woozle”. Yes, someone has been reading too much Winnie the Pooh! They are a pretty skittish little pair, but do enjoy attention and are very vocal when they don’t get what they want. As the weather warmed up, we were able to get out more often to go hiking at some of our favorite places, such as Garden of the Gods and North Cheyenne Canyon. In May, it was time to plant the garden. Last year Nala ate most of the vegetables we grew, so this year (with the help of Brian’s Dad), we managed to put up a short fence around that part of the yard.

June is Summer Vacation time – and this year’s destination was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! We spent 5 days relaxing in the pool or on the beach, and generally enjoying the benefits of an All-Inclusive Resort. (i.e. – lots of food!) We even went on a Pirate Ship adventure, which took us to a secret, uncivilized beach, where the kids got to dig for buried treasure! It was awesome to get the chance to expose Lily to the different culture and language – and I don’t think we will ever see her with such a tan again!

But the month wasn’t even over yet – we also went hiking at the Cheyenne Mountain State Park – where we saw a rattlesnake in our path! And later in the month we made a trip down to Naples, Fl to visit Jaime’s family for Father’s Day. Lily was very glad to see that Grandma and Grandpa’s swimming pool was still there

We have made it a tradition now to camp out in our back yard the night before the 4th ofJuly, so this was our “3rd Annual 3rd of July Campout in the Backyard”. Brian’s parent’s joined us again, and we went on the traditional morning after hike. Later in July we joined many others from our church in the Annual Pride Fest Parade downtown. Marching in the parade was very exciting, and there was lots of fun to be had afterwards. Near the end of the month we explored Castlewood Canyon State Park (near Castle Rock.) Brian and Lily even waded in the creek to cool off.

August brought the start of school for Jaime (and of course with it the end of much free time!) We did sneak up to Green Mountain Falls one weekend though – even with as many times as we had been there before, we had never taken the hike to see the actual Falls. It was a pretty strenuous walk up a very steep hill just to get to the trailhead, but Lily seemed to have a will of steel and was practically leaving us in the dust most of the time! We couldn’t do the whole trail (got a little too treacherous for our comfort) but it is a very pretty area.

Also in August, the long awaited Sunday arrived – our new church building was finally ready! There was a major delay with the installation of the portable buildings for the children’s classes though, so the excitement over the move was mixed with a bit of nervous anticipation over how we would accommodate the kids for the next few months. It took some creativity and persistence, but week by week we would plunge ahead as best we could, with kids in the kitchen, in the office, in the nursery, and even at nearby buildings!  We hadn’t managed to make our summer hiking trip to Rocky Mountain National Park yet, so we went on a Saturday at the end of the month, just in time to collect water for the church’s water ceremony. It is always such a breathtaking adventure – a place we could never tire of for sure!

In September we went to the Colorado Springs Balloon Classic, another beautiful and successful launch! September also brings Lily’s Birthday, and this year she had her party at the park, along with 12 of her friends! All 4 of her grandparents and Aunt Ashley were there for the event as well. Any outdoor party brings some nervous moments worrying if the weather will cooperate, but we were fortunate to have a beautiful day, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Lily was also very excited at getting promoted at school to “4K”, where she even gets to wear a uniform! She thinks she is so big now…

In October we continued another recently started tradition with our trip to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. We stayed at the same campground as last year, and also went to the Zoo and Botanical Gardens while we were there. The weather forecast did not look promising before the weekend, but again we lucked out and had two wonderful sunny days and a beautiful balloon launch! Once home, we set about redoing Lily’s room. She decided to paint her walls light blue and light green to match her new rug, and got her long wanted “ladder bed”, which she decided to have painted yellow. It actually came out really cute, and now she has a cozy little “library” underneath her bed. And she hasn’t fallen out yet J.

At the end of the month we went on a Night Hike (guided of course) at the Bear Creek Nature Center. It is amazing the things you don’t notice when your sight has taken over. In the dark we could hear and smell so much more! Definitely do one of these sometime if you get the chance. The slightly spooky night hike was just in time for Halloween – Lily was torn between a costume that would scare her friends, and her “true identity” as a fairy, so she compromised with a Spider Fairy costume.

We spent Thanksgiving in Florida with Jaime’s Family, and Lily got over her fear of swimming in the ocean! Once she was out there she thought it was very cool. We also went to the Cole Brothers Circus that was in town – a memorable experience for sure!

We will be home for Christmas this year. Two years ago we commented on how the next time we had Christmas at home, Lily would be FOUR!!! We couldn’t even imagine her being that old – it seemed so far away. And now, after what seems like only a few blinks of the eye, here we are. Time sure does fly when you are having fun! And we certainly have a year filled with fun and adventure.

Well this brings us to the end of our letter, we hope your year has been filled with as many memories as ours has been.  Who knows what next year will bring, but we will be sending warm thoughts and lots of love all the way through! Have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year!

P.S Don’t forget to check out our website http://www.delaneyweb.com for Photos and Updates!

Delaney’s 2008 Holiday Letter

Greetings family and friends! We hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits. It has been another busy but wonderful year for our family. First a quick update on each of us…

Brian is still working for BAE Systems writing computer software, though he did have to move to a different office on the other end of town just before the start of the year. He still loves to spend his free time outdoors – doing as much hiking and camping as possible, as well as flying his kite. And has recently gotten into the art of breadmaking! It makes quite a mess of the kitchen, but we are always rewarded with some delicious fresh bread.

Jaime is still teaching at Skyview Middle School, but is teaching math in addition to science now. She also moved to the 7th grade after being in 8th grade for several years. It has brought many new challenges but overall has been a good experience. She still enjoys dabbling a bit in photography (especially since getting her new Canon G9 camera in February!), and is a digital scrapbooking fanatic. We both enjoy playing board games and enjoy a “game night” each week, often with friends.

We still have our dog Nala. She is 8 years old now but doing pretty well. She had to get some procedures done earlier in the year – veterinary surgeries are sure expensive!!! But she is part of the family, and she knows it J. We also still have Woozle, one of the guinea pigs we got last year. Sadly, Heffalump died in February after a short illness.

And now the one you are all most interested in… Lily started Kindergarten this fall! In May, it was the “end of an era” when she left Primrose School, where she had been since she was just 3 months old. We had intended to keep her there for kindergarten, but with Brian’s work being moved, the location had become very inconvenient. It was a difficult decision, but we ended up moving her to a Kindercare school closer to home. It soon became apparent that we had made a mistake though, and in October she moved again – this time to the brand new Young Scholars Academy. She is doing well there so far – the benefit of a new school is a smaller class (only 7 kids!) so she gets a lot of individualized instruction. She is reading now –level 1 and 2 readers with no difficulty, and her math skills are quite impressive as well. At her recent doctor’s appointment, she was declared to be in the 90th percentile for growth, so she is doing well all around!

She is still very much into Princesses and Fairies, but has recently become completely obsessed with “Wall-E”. She also spends a lot of time working on various creative projects that usually involve lots of paper and tape, and has made some pretty amazing things…

In March we visited the optometrist and she got her first pair of glasses, which she had apparently needed quite badly. We were a little surprised when she picked out a pair of teal frames, but later realized that she had wanted them to match the glasses of her favorite “Little Einstein’s” character J She became a “real soccer player” this year when she joined the local Pride Soccer League – she played both the Spring and Fall Seasons on the “Fire Angels” team and scored several goals in both. In the fall her team was undefeated! She has also taken up Ice Skating, and plans to continue that next year as well. She celebrated her 5th birthday in September with a party at a place called “My Gym” with 14 of her friends. Her Florida grandparents came to visit as well.

The highlight of our year was definitely our long awaited vacation to Disney World in June! We spent 9 days at the Disney Polynesian Resort and had a truly magical time. We went to 10 character meals (including Dinner and a Princess Make-Over in Cinderella’s Castle!) in addition to many other unique dining experiences. And of course we spent a lot of time at each of the parks riding rides and seeing shows. We went at a rather relaxed pace, spending the afternoons at the resort for naps and swimming breaks, then heading back to the parks in the evening for dinners and special events, including the Pirate and Princess Party which we all attended in costume! Memories to last a lifetime, for sure.

Earlier in the spring we took a ski trip to Winter Park – Lily spent a day at Kid’s Ski School for the second year and we all enjoyed our time on the slopes. During the summer we did two different backpacking trips – Lily’s first ever! We didn’t hike too far in before setting up camp – but it was fun to give Lily a taste of the true wilderness. We also did several other day hikes, our longest being about 8 miles roundtrip. Lily’s endurance almost matches ours these days! Other summer excursions included day trips to Water World (in Denver), Rocky Mountain National Park, and Bishop Castle / San Isabel Lake in Rye, CO. During the summer, Jaime and Lily also took a trip to Naples to visit Jaime’s family. Lily wasn’t in school for most of the summer since we were transitioning between them, so she got to do several of the classes offered by the Nature Centers in town, and participated in the Library’s Summer Reading Program. We also spent a day at the “North Pole” (an amusement park near Pike’s Peak) where she got to meet Santa for the first time without being scared! Never mind the fact that it was July…

In the fall we took two KOA camping trips – the first was to Canon City in September. We spent a day at the Royal Gorge Park and rode the train through the bottom of the canyon! We also did some hiking in the area. In October we spent several days in Moab, UT where we toured Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. We couldn’t come close to seeing it all, so are hoping to go back again next fall.

It has already turned into a busy holiday season for us. We ended up having several different Halloween events (including our first trip to “Boo at the Zoo”), and Lily got to make use of 4 Princess costumes! In November we were in charge of the Annual Church Auction. The weeks leading up to it were a stressful time, but overall it was a success and we got lots of positive feedback from it. We had Thanksgiving with Brian’s family, and are headed to Florida to spend Christmas with Jaime’s family. We are planning our traditional family Solstice Celebration as well.

So that has been our year in a nutshell… another good one filled with lots of love and wonderful memories. You can always read about our adventures athttp://delaneyweb.blogspot.com/ You will also find links to our Photo Album there. We wish you all the best this holiday season, and always love hearing from you throughout the year!

Lots of Love,
Brian, Jaime & Lily

2009 Holiday Letter

It’s been another great year for the Delaney Family, and we hope your year has been filled with just as much love and happiness! A quick update on each of us…

Brian is still working for BAE Systems, writing computer software. Jaime is still teaching – same school, different grade level and subjects though (6th grade Science and Ancient Civilizations). Not a lot of excitement in the work arena for either of us, but I suppose that is mostly a good thing.

Lily started 1st grade this year! She is going to The Imagine Classical Academy, a new charter school that opened up just down the road from us. It has been a big adjustment from the daycare setting she had been in for over 5 years (including Kindergarten), but overall is going pretty well. She is into all sorts of extra-curricular activities, including soccer, art, dance, and swimming. She is a busy kid for sure, but loves all of it. We still have our pets Nala and Woozle (a Lhaso Apso, and guinea pig).

Now for an update on the major events of our year…

We splurged a bit this year and took 3 vacations. The first was our annual Skiing Trip in January. We did it up right this year and stayed 4 days at Keystone, CO in a slopeside condo. Lily did ski school again, we had a great time on the slopes and enjoying the surrounding activities. It was a beautiful week, and not crowded at all. Couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

In March, we took a 6 day trip to Chicago on the Amtrak train! It was tons of fun. A Spring blizzard threatened to keep us home, but we made it out of town just in time. We stayed at the Essex Inn on Michigan Avenue, and went to all the big museums – Science and Industry, Field, Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. And of course we went to the top of the Sears Tower. Also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat at the Rainforest and Hard Rock Cafes! Lily loved it so much that she constantly asks to go back, and is already dreaming of going off to college there.

Our big summer vacation this year was in July – to Glacier National Park (in northern Montana). We spent 11 days touring and hiking some of the most amazing scenery in the country. Nothing else will ever quite compare to it. The highlight of the trip was hiking the famous Highline Trail, a 7 mile trail that hovers on the edge of a cliff face, crossing waterfalls and snowfields, and has the most dramatic views you will find anywhere. We used it as our return path from the Granite Park Chalet, a backcountry overnight chalet only accessible to hikers. Saw bears a few times from a distance during the trip, but thankfully never encountered any on a trail. We did have a bit of an encounter with a moose, but fortunately we emerged unscathed. Lily earned her Junior Ranger badge while we were there, an accomplishment she was very proud of. During our trip, we also ventured north into Canada to see Waterton Lakes National Park. We stayed at this historic Prince of Wales Hotel. Finally, on the way home, we stopped by Yellowstone / Grand Teton National Parks (where we had vacationed 3 years ago) Saw some familiar sights, and tried out some new ones as well. All total, Lily and Jaime hiked about 28 miles during the trip, Brian hiked something closer to 50. Lots of great family memories of course, which is what vacations are all about ☺

We have also made several trips to Naples, FL during the year to see Jaime’s family. At the end of 2008, we joined them for Christmas, spending a day at Sea World and Magic Kingdom while we were there. We ate breakfast with the princesses in Cinderella’s Castle, and met the famous Shamu. It was a really great time for everyone. Jaime and Lily went back in June – and the whole gang went on a tour of central Florida. We saw the Circus Museum, Downtown Disney, and WeekiWachee Springs where we got to see and meet real mermaids! Finally, all of us were just there for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. We went to Cassidy’s cheerleading competition, and as always, the cousins had a great time together. Lily even got to meet Santa with them!

The summer was a busy one. Lily did several summer camps, she spent a week at each of the following: Nature Camp, Zoo Camp, Art Camp, and Space Camp (at the museum in Denver). She had a blast at all of them and wants a repeat next year. Also during the summer we spent a day at the North Pole Amusement Park, and took a weekend trip to Denver for the 4th of July, where we watched fireworks, went to Lakeside Amusement Park, and Waterworld! Other short trips to Denver included a trip to the Botanical Gardens for their special Dinosaur display, and back to Union Station to see Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” promotional train. We also took a backpacking trip to the Lost Creek Wilderness one weekend.

Near the end of summer, Lily had her 6th birthday party at the Bear Creek Nature Center. She had about 20 friends attend, including her cousins Abby, Emily, and Jake who had recently moved here from New York! Her Florida grandparents came as well, and later that weekend we spent 2 days at Estes Park, staying in the Stanley Hotel. She managed to earn another Junior Ranger Badge – this time at Rocky Mountain National Park – two in one year!

Most of our weekends seem filled with fun of some sort. Many of them, of course are filled with Soccer games. (Lily’s team was undefeated for the second time this fall!) We also have season tickets now to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, which performs once a month. We have seen two Disney on Ice shows this year, made several trips to the Zoo, and of course spent many Saturdays hiking around the beautiful area that we live in. We joined a gym this fall, and spend quite a bit of time there, especially on the weekends so that Lily can enjoy the large indoor pool. There is hardly ever a free moment, but rarely a dull one either.

We have enjoyed spending time with many of our family and friends this year, and hope to keep in touch even more next year (hint- Facebook has made that a LOT easier!) Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, and happy and safe 2010!

Love,
Brian, Jaime, and Lily

P.S. Trip Reports, Major updates, and links to our Photo Album can be found athttp://delaneyweb.blogspot.com/

The Delaney Family Holiday Letter 2010

As most of you know, 2010 was a very momentous year for us in several ways. Changes in the job area for both of us, as well as a new addition to the family!

The year started off much like it did 7 years ago, with the news that we were expecting a child! It would be a few months before we learned it was a boy on the way, and picked the name Owen Everest. He was due on Sep 7, just 4 days before Lily’s birthday! She was worried that he would be late and they would end up having to share their big day, but of course he had different plans, and arrived almost two weeks early instead on August 26. He was born with a full head of hair, just like his sister, and is doing very well. He is a sweetheart, and adds much joy to our lives everyday!

Lily is still going to school at Imagine Classical Academy and is in 2nd grade now. She has been involved in many extracurricular activities during the year including: soccer, swimming, dance, art, violin, and tumbling. Her soccer team was undefeated in the Fall for their 3rd season in a row! And of course, she is loving being a big sister and is a great help with her baby brother these days.

We still have our dog Nala, she turned 10 this year! And our little guinea pig Woozle is still hanging in there as well.

Brian has taken a new job recently. After 7 years working with BAE Systems writing military software, he decided it was time for a change, and is working for Context Optional, a small company based in San Francisco that writes social marketing applications. The Colorado Springs office is still very small, but he is enjoying the work a lot so far, and it seems to have been a good change for him.

Jaime has also very recently decided to make a rather dramatic career change – from a full-time 6th grade science teacher to a Stay-at-Home-Mom! After returning briefly to work from maternity leave, it became clear that the demands of being a mom of two were intense, and the sacrifice of working full time simply wasn’t worth it. So this will be a new adventure starting in January, but hopefully a good change for the whole family.

Now for some of the highlights of our year. In January we took our annual ski vacation – to Copper Mountain. We stayed in nearby Leadville, CO and also spent a day skiing at the nearby Ski Cooper. Jaime and Lily even did some tubing and ice skating while we were there. Lily has gotten to be quite a skier, and can handle many of the “real slopes” now!

In March we spent a few days in Santa Fe, NM. Several of our planned activities got cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control (weather, mechanical problems, etc) But we ended up having a fun and relaxing trip anyway. We visited Bandalier National Monument, did a little bit of hiking, went to the children’s museum, and even went to see Capulin Volcano on the way home. Plus we spent some fun evenings in our condo cooking and playing games. It was a great Spring Getaway!

June brought our long anticipated return trip to Disney World! Brian’s family came along too, and we stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort this time. We returned to many of our favorite rides, shows, restaurants, and characters, plus tried out some new ones as well. Of course we hadn’t known when we planned the trip that Jaime would be 6 months pregnant at the time, but we didn’t let that stop us from having a lot of fun!

We also made another trip in the summer to Florida to visit Jaime’s family. Then our traveling had to come to a halt for a while as we waited for Owen’s arrival. Brian and Lily did do quite a bit of hiking, camping, and backpacking in the later part of summer though. And Lily once again participated in several day camps including cooking and Zoo camp!

Jaime’s parents came to town a few days after Owen was born and stayed for a week, and her sister Ashley came for a few days later on as well.

Lily decided that instead of a birthday party this year, she wanted to go to the aquarium and Denver and swim with the fish! She talked Brian into doing the adventure with her, and they got to snorkel in one of the main tanks with the sea turtles, nurse sharks, and several types of fish. They both enjoyed it a lot.

Thanksgiving was spent in town with Brian’s family, and we will be flying down to Florida to spend Christmas with Jaime’s family. It will be Owen’s first traveling experience!

So it has been quite a year for us. It is amazing to think how different our lives were this time last year. But we are blessed with a wonderful family, and will continue to enjoy the journey no matter where it takes us!

The Delaney Family Holiday Letter 2011

As 2011 is coming to a close, we hope the year has brought all of you much joy and adventure! We have had another wonderful year filled with love, laughter, and lots of memories. Here is a quick update on each of us.

When we wrote last year’s letter, Brian had just started a new job with Context Optional, a small social-media marketing company. His job is still going very well – in fact the company was acquired by Efficient Frontier in May, which led to much excitement (and a bit of partying) at the headquarters in San Francisco! Recently, we have just learned that they will now be bought again, this time by software giant Adobe (makers of Acrobat, Photoshop, Flash etc). Hopefully this will be a positive move and ensure even greater long term potential. But for the moment we are just grateful that he has a steady job!

Jaime became a stay-at-home mom in January and has been greatly enjoying the chance to focus more on the family. Life never stands still for a moment and it now seems unbelievable that we were ever able to function at all with both of us working outside the home!

Lily’s year did not start off on such a positive note unfortunately, as she had been struggling for a few months in school, due to some stressful social situations. So with Jaime at home for the time-being, we decided to pull her out in March and have been homeschooling her since. It is going well for the most part, and she does attend “school” (a homeschool enrichment program offered by the school district) once a week. The most exciting part of her year however, was during the summer when she got into doing youthtriathlons! She competed in 4 different events around the state, ending with the IronKids Triathlon in Boulder. The progress she made throughout the summer was outstanding, and she is looking forward to the season starting up again. During the offseason, she is focusing on her swimming and has joined the Falfins Swim Team here in town. Her first meet in October went very well – she won first place in the 25m freestyle! She is also progressing very well on the Violin, and takes tumbling classes at the gym.

Owen sure has grown a lot this year! He has gone from being a little bundle in our arms in January to a crawling, then walking, and now running toddler who loves to climb on everything and figure out any way possible to get places he isn’t supposed to be! Lily still just adores him, and the two of them are best buddies. With her now able to be home all day with him, they have become very close. He has his own extra-curricular activity now with a class at MyGym! He is learning how to sit and listen to a story at circle time, and loves climbing all over their fun equipment. He is really turning into his own person now, and we are enjoying getting to know him better every day.

And of course we can’t forget the pets. Sadly, we said goodbye to our dear little guinea pigWoozle this year. He lived almost 5 years though, so it was not a huge shock to finally lose him to old age. Lily was heartbroken, but remembers him fondly. Our dog Nala is also getting up there in years, she turned 11 in November! She is still in good health as far as we know, so hopefully we still have some years left with her. She is a little calmer these days, and so lovable with both of the kids.

Now for some of the highlights of our year! In January, we spent a long weekend at Copper Mountain. We stayed in a condo on-site, and decided that it was the only way to do it from now on! Brian and Lily enjoyed a great few days on the slopes (she is getting to be quite a skier!) and Jaime spent one day skiing while Owen went to daycare. We also went tubing and skating, and enjoyed playing in the snow!

February was busy with many smaller events. Lily played in the gym’s basketball league, and Owen did swimming lessons. He was too young to really learn much, but enjoyed his time in the water nonetheless. Brian and Lily also went to a Father-Daughter dance, and Brian and Jaime had a rare “date-night” at a Peter Mayer concert! The rest of spring was dotted with classes and events for Lily at the Science Museum and Zoo, as well as rock climbing classes. We did several hikes, and Brian even climbed Mt. Rosa! He  had a couple of routine trips to San Francisco for work too. We saw a Disney on Ice show (and another one in December) plus a Disney Live stage show. So far Owen seems to be a big fan of theater!

In May, we decided that something had to be done about the bedroom situation in our house. Two bedrooms and 4 people just wasn’t really working out. So after weighing several different options, we decided to have our basement finished! We hired Craftsmen Basement Company, and they gave us two more bedrooms plus a bathroom and storage closet down there, all in just over a month! It was very exciting, but involved a lot of work moving stuff out, then back in. And I am ashamed to say that even as I am writing this now in December, we are still not completely unpacked and settled in. But Lily is enjoying have a bigger and more private bedroom, and the other new room is Brian’s office that he uses on work-at-home days.

In June, (while the basement –finish was still going on) we escaped the sawdust and pounding to spend a week in Jamaica at the Beaches Negril Resort! The weather wasn’t exactly perfect, but we still got in a lot of beach and pool time, and Lily declared it her favorite vacation ever! I think she enjoyed the unusual amount of freedom that we were able to give her there due to the nature of the all-inclusive resort. Owen had a great time as well – they had free childcare, and he stole the hearts of all his caregivers. We got several chances to meet some of their favorite Sesame Street pals, who have apparently grown tired of their city-abode and relocated to the Caribbean Islands, Ha! Elmo came to our room one night to read them a bedtime story – Owen thought that was the best thing ever! I wish I had gotten a video of his reaction but it is a memory I will never forget.

For the rest of the summer, when Lily wasn’t racing in triathlons, she did 3 differentsummer camps and spent many fun afternoons at park play dates. She went on a few more hikes with Brian, and later in the summer Brian even climbed Pike’s Peak with a friend! We also spent a hot but fun day at WaterWorld, an afternoon swimming at the Boulder Reservoir, and later a day at Elitch’s Amusement Park to celebrate Lily’s 8th birthday. A few weeks later we had a small family celebration to mark Owen’s 1st birthday.

In August, we took another trip to Copper Mountain, this time for Brian to compete in theWarrior Dash! We stayed onsite again, and enjoyed the summer activities in the area such as biking, alpine sliding, and even a trip to the Florissant Fossil Beds. And Brian had a great time in the adventure race, got very muddy too! Earlier in the month, Jaime, Lily and Owen took a short trip to Florida for her sister’s wedding. Lily got to be the flower girl, and Jaime was the Maiden-of-honor! Lily also had some fun cousin-time at the beach.

Fall was busy, with Lily starting swimming, as well as running with the Landsharks Running Club. She did a sleepover at the museum with Brian, and had her first violin recital! And we visited the pumpkin patch (with a group of friends from church) just before Halloween, which was a big hit with both kids.

In November, we spent a very nice week in Florida again (all of us this time) forThanksgiving. In addition to a lot of time catching up with family, we got to swim, go to the beach, the waterpark, and play paintball! We also saw a Sesame Street Live show while we were there that Owen just loved. On Thanksgiving Day, we ran in the Gobble-Gobble 4 Miler – it was a great race for all of us (even Owen in the stroller!)

Now were are busy getting ready for the winter holidays, and are hoping to get in several fun events like Breakfast with Santa, and maybe a Christmas Concert or trip to the North Pole (an amusement park here in town, not the “real” one). We just ran in the Jingle Bell 5K– it seems the whole family is getting the running bug! We are signed up for another race in February and hope to do several more throughout the year.

The next year will hopefully be just as full of adventure, friends, and fun as this year was! We are so grateful to have all of you in our lives, and wish you a wonderful and joyous holiday season                                                                       Brian, Jaime, Lily, and Owen

 

Delaney Family Yearly Update Letter – 2012

Dear Family & Friends,

We hope that 2013 is treating you well so far. As we reflect back on 2012, it has admittedly been a challenging year for us. It seems to have dealt more than its fair share of grief and stress, but there have certainly been many wonderful times too. And perhaps the hard times have reminded us more than ever to not take a single blessing for granted, and to make every moment count.

First, a quick update on each of us. Near the beginning of the year, Brian’s company was acquired by Adobe Systems. We feared at first that we would have to move to California, but for now they seem content to let us (and the rest of his small office) remain in Colorado. He writes software for their social marketing suite, and is enjoying both his job and the perks of being an Adobe employee. In his spare time, he still loves to go hiking, and often takes off on long solo hikes. Some of his solo hikes this year included Pikes Peak, Mt. Rosa, and Almagre. He was training to do his first triathlon last summer, but unfortunately a nagging hip injury forced him to put it off another year.

Jaime is busy being a tutor, babysitter, taxi driver, maid, cook, bookkeeper, travel agent… oh wait, that’s just being a wife and mom, ha! In what little spare time she finds, she tries to do a little reading, blogging, and scrapbooking. Overahauling the family website was a major project this fall. She enjoys running, and even completed a “Marathon Week” at the gym recently. The whole family ran in several 5K races last winter and spring, but with Brian’s injury we have all put them on hold for a while. Hopefully we can get back into it this year.

Lily, now 9 years old, has been having a very successful year. We tried something a little different for school this year – she is enrolled in Falcon Virtual Academy. All of her courses are provided by the school district (online). She spends 2 days/week in the building doing classes and activities with her teachers, and the other 3 days working on her assignments at home. So far it seems to be the “best of both worlds”, and we are happy to have found a situation that is working for her.  She competed in several triathlons this summer, and is now on a new swim team! They practice 5 days a week and have meets about once per month, so our lives tend to revolve around swimming quite a bit. She loves it though, and it has been very good for her. She is also still taking violin lessons, though she had to give up her other activities for swimming.

Owen, now 2 years old, is nothing but BOY! He loves to play, and climb, and jump, and generally be wild, as little boys should. He is really starting to communicate well now, and speaking in longer and more complex sentences every day. He is taking two different gymnastics classes, which he loves, a great way to build some skills and burn off all that energy! He has also done a session of swim lessons and loves the water almost as much as his sister. Who, by the way, is his best buddy. They enjoy each other immensely, and it is so much fun to watch them play together. The 7-year gap between them does not stop them from liking many of the same games!

And last, we still have our now 12-year old dog, Nala. She is really showing her age these days, but seems to be healthy overall. Both of the kids just adore her, and she appreciates the attention, and table scraps, that they give her.

So, now for some highlights of our year. In January, we took our usual winter vacation to Copper Mountain. We have gotten so spoiled to staying in a slopeside condo there! Brian and Lily skied all over the mountain, and Jaime did some snowshoeing.

In March, we took another winter trip, this time to Estes Park. For Christmas, Brian’s parents had given us a private snowshoe tour in Rocky Mountain National Park, so they came up to Estes with us for the weekend to take care of Owen while we were out playing in the snow. We had a nice couple of days in a quiet cabin, and the trip would soon become a bittersweet, but very cherished memory, of the time we spent together.

Later in March, Jaime, Lily, and Owen made a trip down to Florida to visit her family. They spent a couple of nights at Disney World! No theme parks this time, but we had a lot of fun at Downtown Disney and even went to dinner with Cinderella. And we got to meet the newest cousin – baby Aiden who was only a few weeks old!

In April, the tone of the year changed. Rather unexpectedly, Brian’s dad passed away due to complications from a recent brain surgery. It was a devastating loss for the whole family, and we are all still trying to adjust to this new reality without him. It has been hard, to say the least.

The next few months would seem to be filled with minor stresses and problems. Jaime was in a small car accident in the Scion. Shortly after, we traded it for a new Subaru Outback. Within a few weeks, we were caught on the interstate in a hailstorm. Over $7000 of damage, while it still had the dealer tags on it. The same storm caused our newly finished basement to flood, a problem we would deal with several more times throughout the summer.

And speaking of summer, it was a hot one. The month of June shattered every temperature record and officially went down in history as the hottest month ever for Colorado Springs. It would have been more bearable if our air conditioner hadn’t chosen that exact time to die. We spent many sweltering afternoons hiding in the basement. And are wondering if we can manage another summer without it.

The heat wasn’t the worst of it though. Later in June, the Waldo Canyon fire roared to life, scorching one of our beloved hiking areas. Then one hot afternoon, it stormed over the ridge and into town. Brian’s mom was evacuated, and for several tense days we feared her house had been lost. It was a terrifying time, and the memory of it haunts us still. Even here on the east side of town, we had ash falling in our yard, and a house full of smoke and soot for weeks.

The summer wasn’t all bad though. We did take a really awesome vacation to Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. We hiked and explored, and Brian and Lily even did a 2-night backpacking adventure! It was beautiful country for sure, and we made a lot of wonderful memories.

Almost immediately after getting home, Lily was taking off again. This time to her first away-camp! She spent a week at the YMCA Camp Shady Brook (about 2 hours away, up in the mountains). She loved it so much she didn’t want to come home, and is excited to go again next summer. While she was there, she met a friend who lives in Durango. Later in the summer, she flew down to spend a week with her as well. She also climbed Pikes Peak with Brian one weekend! She is growing up, I suppose.

In August, we returned to Copper for the Warrior Dash, and Jaime even competed this time! Brian’s hip was still bothering him, but he didn’t let it slow him down. Climbing walls, mud pits, and fire were only a few of the obstacles we faced on the 3-mile run. We had a great time and are happy to have made this an end-of-summer tradition.

In October, we squeezed one more vacation with a return trip to Moab, Ut. We went many years ago, intending to come back soon but never made it. We visited Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and as always we enjoyed our time outdoors and the spectacular scenery.

And finally, just a few days ago we returned from our Christmas trip to Florida to visit Jaime’s family. We spent a day at Legoland, and even snuck over to Disney World one night for dinner. And the cousins got to enjoy lots of time together. Back in September, Jaime’s mom had surgery to remove a brain tumor. Recovery has been difficult, and while we were there, she unfortunately had to be hospitalized again. We had a nice visit though.

So, that has been our year, both the good and the bad. Hopefully 2013 will be filled with more of the “good” though J. Don’t forget to check out our newly-remolded website http://www.delaneyweb.com, and find us on Facebook if you haven’t already!

Love,

Brian, Jaime, Lily and Owen

The Delaney Family 2013 Update

 

Greeting Friends & Family! As 2013 is drawing to a close, (in a matter of hours actually, as I write this), we are reminded of the many great memories and accomplishments of our year. It was a year that brought about many changes and challenges for our family, but many wonderful adventures as well. As always, a quick update on each of us first…

Brian is still enjoying his job at Adobe Systems, writing social marketing software. We were again threatened with the possibility of needing to move this year, but so far his office here in Colorado Springs is still managing to hang on. In his spare time, he still enjoys hiking and skiing, and has been taking climbing classes and group led expeditions as well. The backcountry continues to beckon him.

Jaime started teaching again this fall, at the same school which Lily now attends. The transition to full time school and work has been challenging for the family at times, though. And certainly hasn’t left much free time in which to pursue hobbies, most afternoon are filled with taxiing Lily to swim practice. And trying to keep up with the various secretarial and managerial tasks of the household.

Lily, as well as starting a new school this fall, has been continuing her swimming achievements.Even violin lessons eventually had to succumb to the intense daily swim-practice schedule. She is very motivated though, and has already qualified in a couple of events for the Silver State Championships in March! She also did a few triathlons over the summer, and even qualified for the IronKids NationalChampionships, though we opted not to go this year. In what little free time she finds, she still enjoys playing with her brother, reading, drawing, and writing stories. Overall, her new school is going well for her, though we are still conflicted about what to do next year, as she will be entering middle school. (She turned 10 in September)

Owen just keeps getting bigger, and stronger, and faster. He started pre-school this fall (atPrimrose, the same daycare he briefly attended as a baby) He has been thriving there, and is learning so much. But between work and school, there sadly was no more time for his gymnastics classes after the summer, though he has recently started swim lessons, hoping to follow in his sister’s footsteps. He is still all-boy, always full of energy, and has developed a very witty and unique sense of humor. He still loves cars, and has a fascination with firefighters – says he wants to be one when he grows up! (He turned 3 in August)

And our dog Nala is still hanging in there, 13 years old and despite being a little slower in her old age, not showing any signs of ill health. The kids adore her, though the adults are starting to look forward to the day when we can replace the carpet…

Now for some highlights of our year:

In January, we made our annual ski trip to Copper Mountain. We love staying in aslope-side condo and making it a true winter vacation! Brian and Lily were allover the mountain skiing of course, and Jaime did a little snowshoeing.

The early months of the year were otherwise uneventful,except for a few weekend trips toswim meets. Lily was still doing school through Falcon Virtual Academy, so she worked at home most days, and we carefully juggled her school-work time with Owen’s extracurricular classes. Life was busy, but good and rarely stressful.

In April, we took our big vacation of the year, to Disney World! It was our 3rd week-long trip there, though we’ve slipped in a few mini-trips as well. Owen had a blast meeting lots of his favorite characters. He was a little nervous on the rides, but found a few that he fell in love with, like Small World and Dumbo. Lily of course, is all about the thrill rides now – nothing can scare her! It was a great week filled with lots of adventures, both familiar and new. Definitely memories to last a lifetime.

Jaime and the kids made another short trip to Florida in May to visit her family for Mother’s Day.And then summer was upon us! Which would mostly be filled with swim practice and meets. Sadly, our city was once again plagued with wildfires in June, destroying homes in nearby communities, as well as the Royal Gorge Bridge Park, which we had just visited the previous year.

We did get away to RockyMountain National Park for a long camping trip late in June. Lily did a couple of kid-only guided adventures, and Brian explored some new areas as well. We had a great tent site, and hope to be able to go back sometime.

Later in the summer, Lily did another week-long stay at Camp Shady Brook and again did not want to come home. Then summer was coming to an end, and school was starting, for 3of us anyway! We made one last summer getaway to Copper Mountain again, this time forWarrior Dash. Brian andJaime both competed – climbing obstacles, crawling through mud, and jumping fire. Always an adventure!

In September, Jaime’s parents came to visit and we rode the train through the Royal Gorge.Unfortunately, it was during this time that the city was being devastated by floods, partly caused by the fire damage of the past 2 years.

The early fall passed in a blur of work, school, and swimming,leaving little time for anything exciting. For Thanksgiving, we flew to Florida to spend it with Jaime’s family,and stayed in a beach-side condo. The kids enjoyed some cousin time on the beach, the best of both worlds!

We had a pretty low-key Christmas at home, and are getting ready for school to start again soon. Our daily schedule for the next couple of months looks daunting, so hopefully the break will leave us all refreshed and recharged!

We enjoy staying in touch with many of you through Facebook,and hope to see and hear more from you this year. Wishing you a wonderful start to 2014!!