Happy Easter! Plus April

Happy Easter from the Gribbles!

We couldn’t have had a nicer Easter. Phoebe woke up first and went downstairs to see if the Easter bunny had come—and came running back up to report, with delight, that not only had she come, she’d brought a particular Easter basket Phoebe had been eyeing in the grocery store! Plus the regular basket, which had a Beanie Boo in it! (I always thought the Easter bunny was male, but that possibility has never crossed Phoebe’s mind.) I climbed out of bed, took a shower, and made everyone eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage. We got all dressed up and made it to church a respectable five minutes early, where we enjoyed sitting with my dear friend Becki, her daughter Maya, and her mom, all of whom were joining us at Mount Calvary for the first time. The worship service was lovely, and afterward the kids had a great time at the annual Easter egg hunt. Phoebe stuck with Maya and found her friend Julia, and Julia’s big sister Maggie took Benjamin under her wing, as she always does. They came home with plenty more candy, stickers, and little toys.

After church, we cleaned house and did the final batch of cooking for Easter dinner. A week earlier, I’d gotten bummed about not living near family and started inviting everyone else I could think of who doesn’t live near their family. We had a terrific group for our 4 p.m. dinner: Jen and Varis; Katherine, Alex, and Ellie (Phoebe’s great friend from Lafayette Elementary); Renee and Ian; Janice; and Elijah. I got to make all my favorite Easter foods, and I tried a fancy cake recipe from Cook’s Illustrated: triple-chocolate mousse cake. It was as delicious as it sounds. Phoebe made 20 deviled eggs from scratch; she even peeled them all herself without complaining! She made half with paprika and half with capers. They were delicious. (She ate four herself!) We opened four bottles of wine and sat out on the deck in the perfect weather. Christ is risen! Alleluia!

April 2

Phoebe’s first-grade class been learning about Japan for half the school year, and she’s fascinated with it. She’s learned many Japanese words, holidays, and traditions. I offered to take her to a Japanese restaurant near our house, Udon Kaisha, for a mother-daughter birthday celebration lunch, but we didn’t get around to it until early April. We had such a good time! It’s fun to spend time with her separately, and she loved the food. She kept saying “This is delicious!” (I agree; I eat lunch there as often as I can fit it into my work schedule.)

Phoebe and Mommy had a lunch date!
Trying her first bite of a California roll.
Look at this amazing ramen!
Using the really big spoon to try the broth.
A taste of the noodles.
Mochi ice cream. We both liked the mango and green tea better than the strawberry.
Ready to dig in!
Selfie with a view of the restaurant in the back.
Selfie up close.

March 2017

March 5

My mom (aka Grandma) came to visit for a long weekend. Dave took the opportunity to go mountain biking in Sedona with our friend Dann, so I drafted Mom right away to watch the kids while I went to band on Thursday night. I took Friday off, and she and I spent a wonderful day shopping and eating lunch at the Japanese restaurant near our house, Udon Kaisha. Then we spent most of the afternoon and evening making a hazelnut cake (Kelli Bronski’s recipe), which we delighted in eating throughout the visit. We watched a movie every evening and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Mom got to spend a little bit of time alone with Phoebe while I took Benjamin to his friend David’s birthday party. (He and David were in preschool together last year.) I don’t seem to have taken a single photo of Mom, but here are a few from the party.

Climbing up the ladder in the bouncy house.
Benjamin didn’t seem to notice that all the other kids split up by sex to wash their hands before cake.
Benjamin eating his pizza.
David, the birthday boy.

March 11

One of the coffee shops near our house, Proper Grounds, moved locations, so we went to check out the new spot.

Strike a pose!
Benjamin brought a few Legos to entertain himself.

March 16

We decided to have Phoebe’s birthday party the weekend before her birthday, since her birthday started spring break, and we were worried some families might be out of town. I made a marble[d] cake and gluten-free marble[d] cupcakes, at Phoebe’s request.

The cake didn’t marble as well as I might have hoped!
Now it’s frosted! Phoebe did the decorations.
Those cupcakes look pretty good.

March 17

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I turned 40! The flowers are from my dear friend Karen.

March 18

Phoebe’s birthday party! She invited Take-A-Break friends Kylie, Isabelle, Calae, and Fritz; school friends Isabelle, Mazzy, and Ellie; kindergarten friend James; church friend Julia; and kid-of-parents’-friends Tilley. Only Calae couldn’t make it, so she got to celebrate with all her peeps. Unfortunately, Benjamin was feeling pretty horrendous the day before the party, and we were loath to invite a whole bunch of kids into our germy house. We finally decided to move the party to the park just half a mile away. (Dave and Phoebe went out the night before to make sure it had open bathrooms, and we were in luck.) It was the perfect weather, and the kids had a great time playing “groundies” and other games on their own. The grownups stood around and chatted. This might be the template for many birthday parties to come!

The girls are playing telephone (not posing for a photo).
Blowing out her candles. How did that kid get to be seven?

March 19

Another birthday party at a park! Our friend Whitman (Tilley’s younger brother) turned five. Phoebe was keen to read one of the books Tilley gave her for her birthday, so she brought it along.

A perfect day in the park.
Benjamin is making me eggplant and blueberries.
I love this photo of Phoebe and Tilley reading together.

March 21

Phoebe’s school had a first-grade learning fair. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but it turned out to be songs from many cultures and a classroom full of work the kids had done. We were impressed with the music teachers, Mrs. Miller’s hard work, and especially the hard work of the kids!

Phoebe pulled over a chair at Cannon Mine so she could pay for her snack.
Phoebe’s class singing. (She’s wearing a striped dress just behind the music teacher.)
Waving a ribbon.
Another song.

The art one of the first-grade teachers is painting on the wall at the school.
Happy kid dancing.

For a video made by her class, click Mrs. Miller’s first-grade class/Japan.

March 22–24

I had a work trip to Baltimore for the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference. Because I’ve started to acquire professional development books for academic librarians, ACRL is now an important conference for me. I’d never been to Baltimore, so I was looking forward to getting to know the city a little bit.

My friend Karen gave me this cool coat to wear to conferences. Much more stylish for the city than my puffy winter coat!
Passing an old building on my way from my hotel to the Baltimore Convention Center.
At first, I just loved these concrete waves; then I figured out that Baltimore is on the water!
This photo was for Phoebe; she loves to read Ripley’s Believe It or Not books.
Duck walking along by the inner harbor waterfront.
One evening I walked down to the inner harbor to see the sights. Here are the CHESSIE paddleboats.
The USS Constellation.
Looking out toward the Maryland Science Center.
The Chesapeake with Barnes and Noble and the Hard Rock Cafe in the background.
Friday morning, I ran from my hotel to Fort McHenry, now a national monument, which was closed until later in the day. This is where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The intersection of Benjamin with David streets.
Sunrise over the inner harbor.
Looking across the bay to the tourist attractions.
Lovely brick esplanade with the city in the background.

I left the conference early to fly back to Denver for a special occasion: a certain girl’s seventh birthday! Grammie was visiting, so I hadn’t been too much missed. I got home in time for dinner at Chipotle (Phoebe’s choice) and the opening of a million presents (at least!).

March 25

Dave and I left on Saturday morning to drive up to Beaver Creek for our friend John Friedberg’s wedding to Kimberly Zissler. It was a lovely drive. We reminisced about when we used to drive up into the mountains all the time for the weekend! We got to our very cute hotel (the Green Bridge Inn in Red Cliff) in plenty of time to sit down for a few minutes and then change for the wedding.

Time to read!
Bathroom door and dresser.
Closet nook.

We drove about 25 minutes to one of the parking lots John had recommended and got on the free shuttle. Everyone else was dressed in ski gear; we had on black tie. Kind of fun! It was only a block from the shuttle stop to the church. What a beautiful wedding! Kimberly looked happy and beautiful, and John was beaming.

Dave owns a tux for musical performances, and I still had my bridesmaid’s dress from N and Laura’s wedding.
Very pretty church—and we could see people skiing out the window!
John waiting for his bride.
Here she comes!

After the ceremony, the happy couple.

After the wedding, we got onto buses and were driven to the reception in a really cool facility. We were met at the door with glasses of wine and “new fashioneds.” It was such a fun night! We liked everyone we met and had a great time dancing. The food was terrific, too. What a treat to know that the kids were being cared for by Grammie and we could relax and enjoy ourselves.

The reception room before dark.
The reception after dark.
Our new friends, Jenny and Andy Hogle.
It snowed overnight, so this was on our drive home.

March 27

The kids having a clothing-put-away dance party. Phoebe likes my “jock jams” tape. Yes, an actual tape!

March 29

Dave was in Alabama for two (non-consecutive) weeks during March. Here he and Benjamin are saying goodnight. Neither one knows he’s being videotaped.

February 2017

February 11

We needed something to do, and it was a lovely day, so we took the kids to the Denver REI and then went for a walk along the river.

Checking out the play park they’re building for kayakers.

February 12

Some of my favorite times are when we get home from the library and both kids get utterly absorbed in their new books.

February 18

They might be big kids now, but I still love to watch them sleep.

February 24

I chaperoned Phoebe’s class trip to the Denver Art Museum. My group (Phoebe, Ellie, Hawk, and Dzenuvi) named itself “Team Spaghetti.” We had a really nice time; first-graders at a museum are far preferable to preschoolers at an indoor jumpy place! The class has been learning about Japan, so they spent some time taking a tour in the Asia section of the museum. They learned about ink-brush painting and the tea ceremony, and they got to pass a samurai sword from kid to kid. My group found a room with some big pieces of paper and colored pencils and spent a lot of their free-choice time creating a team picture.

I loved this sculpture!
Learning about ink-brush painting.
Learning about the tea ceremony.
Working on their self-imposed art project.

In February, Phoebe took Little Veterinarian School classes after school on Fridays. She loved it! She learned all about taking care of pet dogs, including checking them for ticks and doing stitches. When the class ended, Winter the stuffed puppy came home with us.

Vet school graduation.

Here’s a video of the kids repeating the oath her teacher wrote.

February 25

Before the haircut.
Almost done!

February 26

Phoebe asked for a pineapple upside-down cake to celebrate her graduation from vet school. Who am I to turn down cake?

Kid-friendly house with a happy kid about to eat a slice of cake!

January 2017

January 10

Dave went to Alabama for work several times at the beginning of the year. It’s always hard for us to picture what he’s doing, but in early January he took this great video!

January 20

Dave and I have been doing something we call “Alphabet School” with Benjamin. We do some one-on-one time and work on letters. In this video, Benjamin is doing a scavenger hunt looking for the letter C in every room of the house. Phoebe’s helping.

January 22

For a while, Benjamin was breaking into “Jingle Bells” all the time.

January 29

The kids and I walked over to Alicia Sanchez Elementary to play. We circumnavigated the building and discovered this amusing and disturbing dumpster.

Is this where they put the naughty children?

The kids were building an apartment in the living room. Here’s the tour.

January 30

My coworker Hsun races a Corvette, and offered me a ride back to the office after a Chinese New Year lunch at a nearby restaurant. Naturally, I agreed. I was practically sitting on the floor, and I had to set my purse next to a fire extinguisher, and it was AWESOME.

Hsun’s Corvette.
Sunset over the mountains.