This morning, Benjamin got excited about reading me a book, and since it’s President’s Day (no school), we had time. Here’s the video!
This year, my dear friend Karen Williams flew out from California to go to Ouray with us. She arrived on Wednesday while we were attending Phoebe’s learning fair, so her friend Zazou picked her up from the airport and drove her to our house. She survived a night on our futon, and in the morning she was cheerful about watching terrible cartoons with the children. I got up early and went for a run before packing up the car for the trip. Dave had a work phone meeting, so he went to the coffee shop, and we all piled into Cherry Blaze to go and meet him. Alas, when I pressed the starter button, the engine wouldn’t turn over. Dave came back and disassembled the battery while we watched some more terrible cartoons. He went out to the auto parts store, bought a new battery, and installed it. Then we all piled back into the car and went to get some burritos for breakfast. It was snowing like the dickens when we headed out, which meant it was going to be a long drive. Hero Dave drove the whole way, often in blowing snow, and it only took us 7.5 hours, including stops.
We unloaded the car at Alpenglow Condo #6 and went out for dinner—Karen stayed behind because she hadn’t been feeling well throughout the car ride. Poor thing! The Gribbles enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Ouray Brewery. I had something called the loaded bowl: quinoa tossed with sauteed spinach and mushrooms and topped with sweet potato crisps, house-made romesco sauce, fresh avacado, and a fried egg. Yum! We all went to bed pretty early that night, worn out from the drive.
In the morning on Friday, Dave and I went out reasonably early to find a climb. We got a cup of coffee at Mouse’s and walked up the hill. After checking out a few things at the tents, we hiked up to South Park and were actually able to find a spot a few showerheads from the downclimb. One of the things I love best about the climbing in Ouray is the walk from town up to the climbs. It’s so strenuous and familiar, thudding through the snow in my heavy plastic books. I’ve seen the same scenery so many times, and it’s so beautiful every time. I know where all the little hills are, and the new outhouse, and the ladder over the pipe. Our climb was fairly easy, which was a nice reintroduction to waterfall ice. Dave and I each climbed twice, and then we packed up; we had promised to be back at the condo for lunch.
Karen and I went to the grocery store to get some lunch food and supplies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the next day. We made some sandwiches and had a few chips and vegetables.
That afternoon, we went down to the hot springs pool for a couple of hours. They did quite a bit of work on it during the past year; it was wonderful before, but now it’s just amazing. After the hot springs, we had dinner at the Outlaw; I look forward to it all year, but Phoebe always complains that it’s creepy in there. I managed to enjoy my 6-oz. filet despite her disapproval. (The kids ate spaghetti.) We went back to the room for a little while before Karen, Phoebe, and I went to hear a DJ and then a roundtable being given by four women climbers and mountaineers to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the climbing school Chicks with Picks.
The next morning, Dave and I left about half an hour earlier to try to get an even better climb than the day before. We took the bus that runs during the festival and hiked straight up to South Park. We were indeed early enough, and we got a terrific climb; there was a good place to stand to belay, and we could attempt a couple of different routes on the same rope. Being earlier, it was a bit colder, but when a couple of guys asked if they could hop on our rope, of course we said sure. I assumed they’d be very good climbers and sprint up, but they took their time while I froze. I was starting to feel somewhat miserable when, lo and behold! The sun came out. My temperature and my mood both warmed right up, and we had a great morning of climbing.
We got back to the condo at noon and had some lunch with Karen and the kids. Then we all bundled up and took the school bus up to the lower bridge. We watched some of the climbing competition, checked out the gear tents, and moseyed up to the upper bridge, but Phoebe decided she wasn’t up for climbing with the Kids Climbing School this year. It was a great day to be out, and we saw some incredible climbing in the competition!
Back at the condo, we made spaghetti for dinner and Karen and I took the kids to the hot springs pool while Dave went to hear Marcus Garcia and Nick Bullock give presentations. We spent one more night in town and headed home in the morning. The drive was easy, and we got Karen back to Zazou’s house in Boulder just as it was getting dark. Another amazing Ouray Ice Festival in the books!
Phoebe promised to put together a presentation for her class, so I helped with the slide show while she wrote an account of the trip, which follows.
The Lafayette Oatmeal Festival, which was called off by Quaker Oats but re-negotiated by some folks in Lafaytte, was January 12. Dave dislikes both oatmeal and running, so he stays away, but the kids and I love the festival, and we’ve been joining up with my friend Karen Maye for a few years now. This year (like last), Phoebe’s friend Fritz came along. It was the day after the first real snowfall of the year and pretty cold, so we bundled up. Karen brought one of her dogs, Biscuit, and Benjamin couldn’t have been more delighted. All three kids ran quite a bit, and we filled up on oatmeal (so many toppings!), oatmeal muffins, and oatcakes.
It’s a small group for Sunday school, but the kids always enjoy it.
Phoebe and Benjamin doing push-ups in the living room.
Phoebe decided to read to Benjamin, as she occasionally does.
It’s almost always lovely to run in Colorado, even when the trail is full of snow.
Phoebe brought this home in her backpack.
Here’s a photo from one of Phoebe’s gymnastics classes.
Phoebe invited us to the third-grade learning fair, and of course we were delighted to watch her sing songs and show off some of the work she’s been doing this year in class. She’s very interested in Greek mythology, so she’s been writing many reports about that, and she and a team of other students put together a news video on the state of Utah.
Here’s a snippet of a pretty one called “Winter Walk.”
Phoebe practiced and practiced to learn “Fifty Nifty United States.” She got to be one of the announcers, too.
A month of 2019 has already gone by, but the year is still relatively young. We had a wonderful holiday and hope the same is true for all of you.
(Quick note: Phoebe wrote some of the photo captions. She identifies herself with this cat symbol: ^_^ )
We traveled to Ohio and Pennsylvania to see as many relatives as we could. Fortunately, the cheapest plane tickets were for travel on Sunday, December 23, so we had that Saturday to get ready for the trip. You know how it is—you hardly have any space when you travel by plane, but somehow it still takes the whole day to pack. Our flight was at 6:00 a.m., so we left the house at 3:15 with the kids in pajamas. The airport was already reasonably busy, but we waited a few minutes for the walking bridge to Terminal A to open at 4:30 a.m. and breezed through security. We got McDonald’s and sat on the floor by one of the big posts to eat breakfast. I took the kids to the bathroom right around boarding time, and when we got back, it turned out that our gate had moved all the way across the airport, so we had to hustle. We still got on the flight with no problems, and the kids slept almost two of the three hours.
Grandpa met us at the Cleveland airport, and we stuffed his trunk full of huge bags. We drove to Sagamore Hills to eat lunch, and Dave and I had to wrap a few presents we’d shipped to Ohio. The kids played with Grandma and Grandpa. In the early afternoon, we took temporary possession of my dad’s old car and drove the couple of hours to West Mifflin to Grandma and Grandpa Gribble’s house. Unfortunately, Dave and I had come down with a bug, so neither one of us was really up for dinner. We spent an unpleasant night, but it was just a 24-hour illness, and we were able to go over to Erika and Heidi’s for the day on Monday. Grammie and Pappy were visiting too. The kids were delighted to see their cousins, and we had plenty of time to talk with the grownups. We opened a few presents and ate a delicious dinner: Heidi stuffed a pork loin, and we had cheesy potatoes, broccoli, and deviled eggs. All too soon, it was time to drive up to Allison Park for Christmas Eve worship at my brother N and sister-in-law Laura’s church. My parents were there too; N, Mom, and Dad sang in the choir. I really enjoyed worshiping with my folks. Afterward, we drove back to the Gribbles’ and managed to get everyone to bed after writing the obligatory note to leave with Santa’s cookies and Rudolph’s carrot. Benjamin was so excited about Santa Claus, he woke up at about 3:45 and shouted in my face (we were sharing a bed), “Mom, is it wake-up time?” I told him it was dark out and went back to sleep—until the next time, and the next, and the next, until it was finally morning.
The kids were delighted to find that Santa had come, even to Grandma and Grandpa Gribble’s house. Stockings were quickly dispatched, and we had plenty of time to play before the whole crew arrived at 2:00 p.m. (“Not a minute before!” they were instructed.) Santa had brought Phoebe a fox cross-stitch, but the instructions were limited, so we found a few YouTube videos to fill in the gaps. Without media, she stayed focused and almost finished the cross-stitch in a few hours. (Like so many crafts, even though it was a heartbeat from being complete, it’s still not done.)
In the afternoon, Dave’s sister Erika and her wife Heidi arrived with the cousins, Genevieve and Cordelia. Sandy’s daughter Megan and her husband Jeff brought their four kids, Darren, Grace, Sarah, and Jessa. Megan’s brother Aaron and his wife Lisa were there too. Sandy made spaghetti for the whole crew, and it was delicious. A very nice change from the usual holiday roast! We had a lovely time visiting with everyone, culminating in a hilarious game of Funemployment, which Santa had brought for Sandy, and a few online Nintendo Switch contests.
The day after Christmas we’d planned to go back to Erika and Heidi’s for some more time with the cousins and Grammie and Pappy, but Erika had fallen ill with the bug Dave and I must’ve brought with us. We ended up meeting Grammie and Pappy for breakfast at Eat N Park before they started the drive back to Ephrata. After breakfast, we grabbed some coffee and took the kids to a playground for a game of Benjamin’s new ninja ribbons and some obstacle courses. It was pretty great weather for late December in PA! Heidi dropped off the girls, and the cousins played all afternoon. They hated to say goodbye that night!
On Thursday morning, we packed up Grandpa Hazelton’s car and left Grandma Gribble taking care of a very sick Grandpa Gribble. That stomach bug was no fun! The drive to Cleveland was easy, and we spent the rest of the day hanging out with Grandpa and Grandma. Grandpa whipped up a pair of stilts for Phoebe, and Benjamin ended up watching some afternoon TV in his pajamas with Grandpa.
Friday we went bowling in the afternoon before Dave and the kids and I went over to the Otts’ for a Christmas party they were throwing for their dance-parent friends. We’d never seen their real house!
On Saturday at 1:00 p.m., the relatives joined us at Mom and Dad’s for another Christmas celebration. We had snacks, presents, and a lovely time. I actually had time to talk to almost everyone and really enjoyed myself!
On Sunday the 30th, we flew home. Naturally, no one could wait to open even more presents, so we opened gifts from friends and relatives who had sent them to the house. We had a couple of days before we had to go back to work and daycare (the kids still had a week of vacation left), so we had time to relax and get used to being back in Colorado. It was a wonderful holiday!
In November, I like to participate in National Novel Writing Month by writing for half an hour every day.
The kids like to participate by going to the public library, which hosts writing time with help from teen buddies for an hour each Tuesday.
Their stories were both featured on our library’s blog!