I went out for an early run and stumbled on a deer that didn’t mind me being there at all.
Benjamin took an evening golf lesson at the Broadlands course where Phoebe takes lessons every summer.
Dave had to pack for a two-week work trip to China, so we tucked a few things into his suitcase.
Phoebe took a final four days of golf for the summer.
We cat-sit for Brenda and Michael’s trip to Maryland.
The kids practiced every other Monday all summer for a talent show at Take-A-Break. Phoebe and several of her cohort refused to do it, but Benjamin played along.
Benjamin was SO excited to start first grade; he woke up in the middle of the night, all ready to go!
Phoebe’s school started a few days after Benjamin’s because of summer construction, but she got to go meet her teacher on Friday before her school started on Monday. She had taken an after-school class with Mrs. Watson last year, so they already knew one another a bit.
We took our annual camping trip to Hermit Park (near Estes Park) with the Wilensky and Berzanskis family, including Andrew’s parents. It was a great weekend. The kids climbed a tree, rode bikes, and played in the tents. We went to a talk about bears Saturday evening and on a short hike (2 miles round trip) on Sunday morning. Dave got back from China on Saturday and went home to sleep, so we didn’t see him till we arrived home on Sunday afternoon.
I went over to Sanchez to meet with the new principal, Joel Rivera, about the reorganization of the kindergarten classes (they lost a teacher to kindergarten and had to combine two classes into three, but there are still only 21 kids in Benjamin’s class.)
We went on our annual camping trip with the Gawenuses, this time to South Meadows Campground near Woodland Park. It was a great campground, and it was 2 miles away from Manitou Park Lake with a bike path connecting them. We had a really nice ride on Saturday—I pulled Benjamin on the Tagalong—and on Sunday I ran back to the lake in the morning. Once again, no Dave; he was in Pittsburgh for work.
Phoebe doing gymnastics.
Our piano teacher, Walt, who has been Mount Calvary’s accompanist for a couple of years, gave some summer concerts. This was his last one.
Back to School Night barbecue at Benjamin’s school, Alicia Sanchez International Elementary School. The teachers give a talk about what the classroom time is like, and then the Rotary Club cooks us hotdogs and we enjoy a potluck.
The city threw a dinner party for people who volunteered on a city board or commission during the year. I’m on the library board, so the kids and I went to Isabelle Farm for dinner and icees.
We went to the library in the afternoon.
In the evening, we went to play at Sanchez; here Benjamin is scootering home. He’s getting pretty good at gliding!
Phoebe and I took Fritz with us to a Face Vocal Band concert at Red Rocks. We love to see Face together, and Phoebe was impressed with Red Rocks. She and Fritz spent a good amount of time running up and down the stairs. It’s a great place to take a kid who can’t sit still through more than one song (Fritz). Phoebe eventually got sleepy, and she even sat on my lap for a little while—that hasn’t happened in a long time! I had forgotten how much time the opening bands take; we got there at 5:30 and sat through at least 2 hours of opening acts. It was worth it, though; the weather was perfect, and the concert included all the adorable things about Face: Cody rapping, Forest dropping his voice into the basement, Stephen plugging the Face Musical Academy. They brought 300 singers from their academy up on stage with them for a couple of songs, which was really cool.
Emily and I gave Benjamin and Sarah first communion classes on Friday night during dinner at the Brinkmans’ house. It’s lovely to reach milestones with old, dear friends.
Benjamin tested at karate in the morning.
Then the kids and I met an author of mine and his family at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We were able to check out 7 tickets from the Lafayette Public Library! We had a lovely time catching up; they live in Rhode Island, and my author’s daughter was playing a soccer tournament in Colorado.
Phoebe read the lesson at church in the morning and Benjamin and Sarah Brinkman took their first communion!
Speaking of milestones, after church we drove Phoebe up to Sky Ranch for her first week of sleep-away camp! Obviously, we don’t have any photos of that week except this one we took of her back as we drove away. Being Phoebe, she didn’t even wave goodbye; she was already settling in.
Loud rain! It was a very wet first half of the summer.
Phoebe at gymnastics class.
I pass an alpaca farm when I ride my bike to work. I love living half in town and half in the country!
In the evening, we met Elaina’s sister Laura and her kids, Logan and Leah, at a marching band competition. It’s always fun to catch up with them, and Logan has always been great with Benjamin.
We flew out to Ohio for our annual vacation with the Otts. It was our year to visit their lake house, which means a very relaxing week. We spent most of it at the house; Dave and Lee went into town once, and so did Jennifer and I. Mostly we swam, boated, tubed, and ate. We did get a chance to see Matt and Erin’s new farm, which is just an hour and fifteen minutes from Lake Buckhorn. We got to spend a little time with my parents in Sagamore Hills, too. Benjamin really loves basketball, and he couldn’t wait to play with his funny grandpa.
Benjamin and Kaitlynn played basketball.
Phoebe and Kaitlynn made deviled eggs.
Phoebe and I got up early (6:30 a.m.) to go on our biannual kayak trip to the beach/dock on the dam side of the lake.
We got to Matt and Erin’s in time for lunch and spent a couple of happy hours in their lake.
We went up on the Friday After the 4th of July directly after breakfast. By the time we got to Estes Park it was lunch time I had a mini pizza and so did Ben. Mom had a club sandwich with sweet potato fries and dad had a burger. Then we drove to the parks pass box office and then on Trail Ridge road until we got to Onahu creek trail head. We got on our packs and sunscreened then hit the trail the whole time it was very mosquito-y so we tried to move quickly. When we got to the campsite we realized it was no better so we had to were jackets all the time so we didn’t get bitten. Me and Ben helped set up the tent then we made and eat dinner fast and got in the tent to play games away from the bugs. The next morning we eat a quick breakfast and tore down camp then got back on the trail. later we got back to the car and drove to find a different campsite. we ate dinner in town then came back to Meeker campsite and camped one more night. then in the morning we woke up tore down camp once more and came home to watch the woman’s soccer game signing off -Phoebe
Phoebe mostly said it all in her post, but I have the pictures! For the long-winded version of our 4th of July weekend’s adventure (and the photos I know you’re looking for), please read on.
Independence Day was on a Thursday this year, and my work let us celebrate by being independent of it on Thursday and Friday. A 4-day weekend is a rare gift! Back in March or early April, when we were planning our summer far too late, we decided to try a backpacking trip this year, the kids’ first one. We reserved a site in Rocky Mountain National Park—the closest site to a trailhead we could find.
On Thursday, I went for my usual early-morning run and then picked Phoebe up for an additional mile. Dave went to work at the coffee shop in the morning, so the kids and I hung out at home until noon, when I took Phoebe to a promised mother-daughter lunch at our favorite ramen restaurant, Udon Kaisha. (Dave took Benjamin to Noodles.) She and I stopped by Sprouts to get trail mix for our hiking trip; we couldn’t believe how many varieties they have! We ended up choosing a different kind for each of us. When we met back up with Dave and Benjamin, who had stopped at REI to get a bear canister, the kids and I finished up our shopping for the trip at King Soopers. We had a late dinner of hamburgers, homemade French fries, and baked beans. (I would’ve liked potato salad, but fries are preferred in this group.) We left for the fireworks at about 8:30 and met up with the Wilensky Berzanskis family and Maggie’s mom and dad at Mount Calvary, where you can see the Folsom Field (CU) fireworks from the parking lot. Maybe because it had been raining, it wasn’t as crowded as usual. The kids played with glow bracelets we’d picked up at the Dollar Tree. The fireworks were a big hit, and they didn’t seem as long as usual, which was kind of nice. We were home by 10:30.
In the morning, as Phoebe said, we finished up our packing and drove up to Estes Park. It’s so easy to load up the car when everything is in 4 backpacks! We picked up our backpacking permit and parked in town for an early lunch. Then we drove over Trail Ridge Road to get to the west side of the park, where our trailhead was.
We arrived at the Onahu Creek Trailhead around 3 in the afternoon. Our phones didn’t work, so I left mine in the car. We put on our backpacks and the kids each found a hiking stick. We were off!
The trail was fairly steeply uphill in places, but for the most part it was gentle. There were plenty of flowers out, and we crossed the river a few times on fun bridges. Some folks coming down pointed out a couple of moose just off the trail, sitting down and munching lunch.
We weren’t paying too much attention to the time, but I think it took less than 2 hours to hike to our campsite. First we found the sign, then followed the trail to a nice flat site. Phoebe went exploring for a kitchen area; because of the threat of bears, we needed to cook 200 feet from our tent. She found a big rock that would work well. We quickly discovered that once we stopped moving, we were in a thick cloud of mosquitoes. We all put on our jackets (three of us were lucky to have hoods) and long pants, and Dave put up the tent so we could pop the kids inside. He and I cooked dinner while swatting frantically. The mosquitoes were so thick that when I flailed my arms, trying to create a bug-free bubble, I could feel my hands hitting mosquitoes every time I moved them.
The most exciting thing that happened that evening was that Benjamin’s first loose tooth, which had been hanging on by a thread for what seemed like weeks, was ready to come out. I was afraid that he might swallow it in his sleep, so I gave him a paper towel and told him to wiggle it vigorously with the paper towel in his grip. He practiced some of the courage he’s been learning about in karate and twisted and yanked that tooth until it came out! He was terribly proud of himself for losing his first tooth, and he doesn’t even have to wait for the grown-up tooth to come in, because it came in behind and pushed the other one out. The tooth fairy managed to find him, even in the tent in the woods, and left him $2 and a very cute note.
We managed to keep the mosquitoes out of the tent, so we went to bed after dinner and had a good night’s sleep. In the morning we discussed the possibilities; the kids weren’t going to be able to keep moving all day to escape the mosquitoes, and we couldn’t stay in the tent all day. It would be too hot after 10:30 or so. We decided to pack up and head out; Dave and I were kind of keen to complete the hike’s loop, but it would’ve been about twice as much hiking, and the kids didn’t think they could manage it, so we went back the way we came.
We ended up stopping at Holzwarth Historic Site, which we’d seen on the way in. It was a dude ranch back in the early 1920s, and many of the buildings remain. The Holzwarths moved on after a while and opened Never Summer Ranch. We enjoyed imagining how hard it would be to get to a ranch in the middle of nowhere back then!
We drove back over Trail Ridge Road and stopped at a lovely overlook.
Dave had promised Benjamin that on the way home, we’d stop to play in the snow banked along the road.
We found a campsite at Meeker Campground on the Peak to Peak Highway, paid for our spot, and drove the half hour into Nederland to get dinner at the BBQ restaurant. We considered going straight home, but we ended up having enough energy to go back to the campground and stay overnight. We were all a little grumpy in the morning, ready to get home and watch the World Cup, but we felt a lot happier when a mama and baby moose walked straight through the campground!
It turned out to be a wonderful weekend. The kids were tough, we were all flexible, and we had no electronic devices to distract us. Just good old family togetherness. I’m already looking forward to our next backpacking trip! (I figure it’s only another 3 summers until the kids can out-hike me.)
We went biking over at Peak to Peak. Benjamin did a great job on his upsized Strider. (Dave took the pedals and crank arms off Phoebe’s old bike.)
This was frankly astonishing!
The kids came home from Take-A-Break having discovered the joys of hair chalk.
Take-A-Break has scooter days in the summer, so the kids asked for scooters. We tested them out in the parking lot at Peak to Peak.
Each summer Phoebe takes golf lessons.
ALA Annual was in Washington DC this year.
My friend and author Nichole decided to go on a cruise with her extended family and sent me her tickets to the Coretta Scott King Awards 50th Anniversary Celebration. My friend and colleague Kristen and I had a banner evening!
I got up early for a run. Pretty cool to see so many famous landmarks within five miles or so!