Happy Halloween!

I know, I know…we’re a little behind on blogging. (Okay, a lot.) I promise to catch up one of these days. But yesterday was a Very Important Day for children around the nation: Halloween! The Gribble kids had an extended holiday. We always start the season by painting windows at the businesses in downtown Lafaytte with Phoebe’s friend Fritz and his family. The kids got a spot at Eats and Sweets, a local ice-cream and sandwich shop, which meant that their paintings were probably seen by a lot of people!

Fritz’s window painting.
Phoebe’s half sun, half moon.
Benjamin drew all the characters from Paw Patrol. Or superheroes. You can see him inside the window.

The PTA at Benjamin’s school, Alicia Sanchez International Elementary, threw a Halloween bash last Saturday. There were art projects (Día de los Muertos skulls to color, Tootsie Pop ghosts to create, cookies and marshmallows to decorate); a costume contest; a photo booth; snacks; face painting; and dancing in the darkened, decorated gym. The kids were excited to try out their Halloween costumes!*

I insisted they be photographed before we could walk over to the party. Phoebe’s school friend Maggie Jane came along as a play date.

I asked him to do a superhero pose.

Turn around so we can see your cape! I’m so glad I decided to make the collar after all.
What a charming evil trickster pixie of stars!
Look evil!

This was the best photo I could get of the two of them together.
Waiting in line for face painting.
Frosting a sugar cookie. (Looks like she’s been eating the sprinkles, too!)
Irritation.
Whimsy.
Phoebe’s school friend Maggie Jane.
Two happy third graders!
Spider art. (He asked for Spider Man.)
Getting inked.
Checking out his face painting.
This play date concluded with the girls saying “let’s read!” and each picking up a Raina Telgemeier book.
Disrobing the Robin costume.

On Monday night we had an evening free, so we carved pumpkins.

Cutting off the top all by herself this year!
I love this photo with her nose just sticking out of all that hair.
She’s getting to be a pro with that sharp pumpkin knife!
The boys are working on opening up Benjamin’s pumpkin.
Dave is showing Benjamin all the pumpkin guts.
Chase pumpkin (from Paw Patrol).
I think I did a pretty good job free-handing it!
Phoebe’s moon pumpkin.
She did a great job on that star!
Mommy’s little white pumpkin with the boring old jack-o-lantern face.

On Tuesday night our piano teacher, Walt, did a recital with a soprano who’s been singing with our choir, Paige Sentianin. We only stayed for half of it, due to bedtimes, but dressing up was encouraged and the kids got to wear their costumes again.

On Halloween morning, Benjamin came home from school sick and was disconsolate about missing the parade. After a check-up, I decided to bring him over to school to process across the stage with his class. He was feeling a lot better and was annoyed when I dragged him home again—he missed some sort of decorating project—but I had a phone meeting. Working parenthood!

It started to get pretty noisy as all the classes filed into the gym for the Halloween parade.
Benjamin wasn’t at all afraid to be up on stage with his class.

My colleagues always comes up with a theme for Halloween costumes. This year, we were “zombies through the decades,” based on a series of books we’re publishing on pop music through the decades. I had to pick up Benjamin, so I didn’t make it into the group photo.

I was going to be a hippie zombie, but I had to go pick Benjamin up from school before I could get zombified.
My coworkers dressed as zombies from the decades.

We trick-or-treated with the Gawenuses this year; the Brinkmans have grown up, and they went out with individual friends. While we missed seeing them, it was nice to be close to home. We ate some pumpkin-shaped pepperoni pizzas and Phoebe’s vegetable owl, and I made chocolate-chip-Werther’s-caramel cookies. Phoebe and I really enjoyed smashing the Werther’s with a hammer on the garage floor (in a baggie, of course).

Phoebe’s vegetable owl.

The Gawenuses’ neighborhood was wonderful for trick-or-treating; the big kids (Phoebe and Fritz) stayed out for an hour. Benjamin and I went back early to warm up (it was pretty chilly) and help Lisa pass out candy. When the big kids got back, they dumped their prodigious bags on candy into one huge pile and shared it out evenly. Benjamin got every “odd” piece; the fifth Hershey’s bar, the third Whopper package (which Phoebe kept pronouncing “Whooper,” to my delight). The redistribution was their idea and gives me great hope for the future. Everyone managed to eat a disgusting amount of candy before we dragged the kids home for bed.

Benjamin, Fritz, and Phoebe are ready to head out trick-or-treating.
Fritz, Phoebe, and Benjamin at the first trick-or-treat stop.
Robin is ready for the next house!

*Note: This year, Phoebe wrote “start sewing costumes” on the school lunch calendar on October 1. I don’t think I started until October 8, but I was pretty pleased with the results. Now the sewing machine is back in the garage, to be resurrected on October 1, 2019, or when I need to fix a seam, whichever comes first.

May 2018

May 1

Spring in Colorado.

May 5

Benjamin trimming new growth in the Canada clump-form cherry.
Phoebe using the loppers.

May 6

As you know, Phoebe and I have been taking piano lessons from Walton Lott, the accompanist at church. He’s an amazing pianist, and he’s been challenging us to learn some music theory along with playing the music on the keyboard.

Our piano teacher, Walt, on Sunday morning.

The first third of life committe, of which I’m the chairwoman, planned a youth Sunday. It went really well! The kids did a great job, and the adults really enjoyed having them as part of the worship service.

Sophie, Sarah, Julia, and Phoebe greet parishoners.
Alyssa holds the door.
Benjamin dressed all in blue for his big debut as a concierge!
The children and Amelia leading worship.
Bill Renfer, our nonagenarian, still singing in the choir.
The choir and the altar cloth (made by the children out of paper) on Youth Sunday.
Last song…with instruments!
Ben Wirth was the cross bearer.
The big boys messing around in the back of the sanctuary.
We have new babies!
All the kiddos. First row: Sophia, Benjamin, Sarah. Second row: Annika, Audrey, Julia, Phoebe, Alyssa, Thomas, John. Third row: Ella, Maggie, Ben, Sienna
Climbing the chain web at Peak to Peak.
Splinter!
Having a drink after good work on youth Sunday.
Benjamin loves chocolate milk.
Definitely worthy of a Band-Aid.

May 7

Benjamin is now enrolled in three therapies. Here he’s working with his physical therapist.

Working hard on the swing with Miss Lindsey.

May 11

Phoebe won an individual and team medal in the Noetic Math Contest!

Phoebe won two medals in the Noetic Math Contest!

Phoebe took a video of Benjamin’s first soccer practice:

Working on his soccer moves.

May 13

Even on Mother’s Day, the kids and I make our weekendly trek to the grocery store, but it enabled me to make a delicious beef stew.

I just liked the visual of Phoebe reading a book (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) on the back of the horse at the grocery store. Plus, they’re sharing!
Mother’s Day feast: beef stew and homemade challah.

May 18

Dave and I took the morning off work to enjoy first Phoebe’s second-grade class “Shelebration,” at which the kids acted out and recited Shel Silverstein poems from memory. Next, we watched Benjamin’s kindergarten carnival, which was a celebration of the end of the kindergarten year.

Shelebration

Rock ‘N Roll Band

Imagine

Egg poem

Mirror poem

Kindergarten Carnival

Dressed up for his stint as a poodle. (Looks more like a rapper to me!)
Kindergarten portraits.
He must’ve been in his brown period.
There’s our little poodle!

Singing songs at the kindergarten carnival.

Poodle tricks

May 19

Phoebe and I were invited to Gwen and Bill Wharton’s house to watch the royal wedding with other church friends. We had to be there at 4 a.m., so we climbed out of bed and dr

Stretching during the royal weddingove into Boulder in the middle of the night. It was a great bonding experience—I think we’ll both remember it forever. And what a lovely wedding! Just as the eclipse turned us into eclipse chasers, this might’ve turned us into royal wedding junkies.
Jess, Phoebe, and Big Lion watching the royal wedding.
A scone and a digestive—fond reminders of England!
A few royal watchers: Gwen, her friend, Patricia, Elain, Phoebe, Tina, and Terry
Really cool Flatiron tiles in the Whartons’ bathroom!
This painting was in the bathroom too. I just love it.
Starting to wear out.
The inevitable consequence of the morning festivities!

Later that day, the kids and I joined the Gawenus family for Lafayette’s first Ninja Warrior festival. A Ninja Warrior gym just opened next to XTreme Altitude, the gymnastics facility. Lafayette is such a cool town! It was freezing that day.

Benjamin on the kiddo obstacle course.
Climbing.
Phoebe partway through the ninja warrior course.
Handling the web with no problem.
Crossing over to the Swiss cheese.
Scrambling as high as she can on the warped wall.

During Dave’s last performance of Gypsy with the Longmont Theater Company, he took a time-lapse video of all of his instrument changes.

May 20

After Dave’s Longmont Concert Band concert, he played in a saxophone quartet.

Saxophone quartet after the Longmont Concert Band concert.
Handsomest tenor player!

I caught only a few seconds on video:

May 21

This is Benjamin working with his occupational therapist. Mat man teaches kids to draw a body so they don’t draw arms and legs coming out of a head.

Drawing mat man.
Building mat man with Miss Brittany.

Mesa Verde Camping

It’s rare for us to have a camping trip with WiFi, so I thought I’d take advantage of the luxury to put up a quick blog post about our trip to Mesa Verde (still ongoing). So, the post will be pretty short on prose in favor or pics.

We left the front range after work and B’s soccer and a quick Chipotle dinner at around 7:30. Since it’s about 7 hours of driving to Mesa Verde we arrived around 2:30 in the morning. I think everyone was more than ready to climb into the tent which is precisely what we did as soon as I got everything setup.

Saturday morning we slept in a bit, made a yummy pancake breakfast (with sausage), and made our way back down to the visitor’s center to buy a new park pass and get tickets for one of the guided cliff-dwelling tours. The kiddos enjoyed learning about nature and making beaded necklaces and bracelets with some CU students while I waited in line for tickets. One of the dwellings (the Spruce Treehouse) is currently closed due to some recent rockfall, so that left just 3 options. While waiting in line, one of the volunteers gave a short description of the options and it was clear that the more adventurous Balcony House tour was perfect with its 32’ ladder and tunnel, so I got us tickets for the 5 o’clock tour.

Here’s a cactus we saw n the hike into Balcony House.
This is the big 32’ ladder you have to climb to get into the cliff dwelling. I was climbing behind Benjamin and both trying to keep up with a carefree 5-year old while simultaneously staying ready to catch said 5-yera old and maintain a sufficient grip to keep dad and son from falling. Needless to say I was happy to reach the top safely! Unfortunately I couldn’t get pics of the kiddos on the big ladder. They weren’t the least bit scared and thought it was great.
Here’s the first set of rooms you see after topping out from the ladder climb and the namesake feature for the site.
Benjamin really wanted to climb into the kiva. He asked some questions too like how did they get down there?
He’s such a cutie and a ham when he wants to be.
Here’s a smaller ladder at the exit. This time Jess was following B and came to fully understand just how terrifying that is. Again the kiddos both thought it was fun and easy which was not true of the other adults on the tour either!
Here’s Phoebe approaching the tunnel exit. I think the kiddos are ready for some caving.
Here’s a parting shot of the big ladder from the plaza of the Balcony House. This gives you a good feel for the exposure.

That pretty much wraps up day 1 at Mesa Verde. Everyone had a blast and we hope you enjoy the photos.

April 2018

April 3

I went on a field trip with Phoebe’s class to Sombrero Marsh in Boulder. I didn’t even know it was there! It was freezing that day, but we still had a marvelous time learning about birds, insects, plants, and animals.

Eating lunch at Sombrero Marsh on a cold, windy field trip.
Who packed that nice lunch?
Happy second-grader.
Really happy second-grader! (Or she’s waiting for a bug to fly in.)
Selfie at lunch.
Huge storytime.
Lovely view from the marsh.
Kids in the bird blind.
I can see Phoebe in the middle there.
Looking toward the north Boulder smokestacks.
Here’s the education building.

April 4

Benjamin had a fever and stayed home from school.

Sick kid.
Showing some sign of life.
Finally eating some crackers after 3 full days of sleep.
Matzo ball soup (left untouched, alas).

April 8

I’ve never seen him draw a mouth before, but this is one happy car.
Rocking the trike!
Phoebe wasn’t feeling well enough to read to a dog, so we took a photo for her. Benjamin got to pet him gently a couple of times.

April 9

Now Phoebe’s home from school.

Reading Harry Potter on a sick day.

April 12

The Alicia Sanchez kindergartners had a choir concert. This time, Benjamin was appropriately dressed! (More or less.) It’s early June now, and he’s still singing some of the songs from their performance. It was terrific.

Kindergarten concert. Who’s that nonchalant businessman right up front?
Check out the socks and Lightening McQueen sandals. Next tech billionaire? Or Big Lebowski?
We’re all done!

April 14

Some work friends and I got together to bake Mittens the Cat Cake, an incredibly complicated recipe Jane discovered on NPR around Thanksgiving.

Mittens the Cat Cake.
The chocolate and pumpkin mousse interior.

Phoebe fell in love with Harry Potter and read it over and over.

Final page, book 1, Harry Potter.
Hmm. This might actually be the final page.

April 17

This is the second of the two Mittens the Cat Cakes. This one also had gelatin issues, but it’s so pretty!

April 23

Benjamin did ten weeks of physical therapy at KidSPOT, which is owned by his first physical therapist, Jessica Fuentes! He worked hard, had fun, and progressed a lot. He earned his hot chocolates. (KidSPOT is located below Vic’s Coffee Shop in Louisville.)

Hot chocolate with a bendy straw after a physical therapy session with Miss Lindsey.

I interviewed the kids about their plans for being a grown-up.

April 24

Turns out, melty beads are very relaxing! I made this for my friend Jenn, who got a new job.

April 25

This must almost be the end of the snowy mountains for the year.

April 26

Benjamin was working on a melty bead project and singing a song from his school concert.

April 27

I tried to get Benjamin to come to Take Your Children to Work Day, but he declined. Phoebe came with me the day after the official day; BVSD schools were closed because so many teachers were marching in Denver for better pay and more money for schools.

Working on snap circuits in “her” cubicle.
Drinking hot chocolate and working on a puzzle.
Finally working! My colleague Robin asked Phoebe to open a bunch of envelopes from the Copyright Office.
Take Your Children to Work Day.
Now Robin has her unpacking books.

Third year in a row taking this photo in front of the ABC-CLIO logo!
What a cutie.

April 28

Phoebe won first place for second- and third-graders in the Lafayette Youth Poetry Awards! She was invited to a reception to read her poem, which was truly wonderful.

Phoebe reading her prize-winning poem.

The judge for the poetry in English explaining his thought process on Phoebe’s poem.
Benjamin and his apple sitting on a peacock sitting on a frog. Public art!

April 29

California rolls for lunch.
Pam’s apple tree in bloom.
Looking up through the branches of the apple tree.
Snapped this one at the library because Phoebe looks like a grownup with keys in one hand and a shopping bag in the other.
That little perch must’ve been made for kiddos!

Happy Easter!

We had such a lovely Easter this year. We didn’t worship much during Holy Week: on Maundy Thursday, Dave and I had band rehearsal, and on Good Friday, Phoebe and I went to see a show at the Boulder Dinner Theater (long-planned as a birthday present to ourselves). We like an a capella group from Boulder called Face, and two of its members were putting on a show (with musicians) called Broadway, Billboard, and Beyond. Phoebe ate spaghetti, and I had yellow curry. We shared a couple of desserts, and she enjoyed a Shirley Temple. It was a wonderful evening, but we didn’t get home until 10:20 p.m., which made for a grumpy Holy Saturday.

Cody Qualls and Stephen Ross (2 members of the a capella group Face) singing “Lean on Me” with Hazel Miller.

Still, we had a good time dyeing Easter eggs.

Preparing to dye eggs.
Having fun!
Phoebe arranged the ramekins in rainbow order.

Phoebe interviewed me at the end of the afternoon:

Saturday evening, we went to a potluck at church with the Seventh Day Adventists who use our building on Saturdays. It turned out that one of the boys there is in one of the other kindergarten classes at Benjamin’s school. And we later found out that three of the people at the potluck are DREAMers. We had a good time getting to know some of the other congregants. Then we went to a nice worship service and came home to get some sleep before our next worship service!

On Easter morning, Dave had to be at church early to get ready to play his sax, so the kids and I slept in a bit and picked up our friends Clint and Carolyn on the way. There was no Sunday school, and we got there in time to get a good seat. The church was full! The kids looked terrific in their new Easter clothes (thanks, Grammie and Grandma). After church the kids participated in the annual Easter egg hunt (their third of the holiday).

Gribble family photo. We look pretty good! It’s hard to tell, but Dave and Benjamin are wearing the same color shirt.
Coming down from the loft. He cleaned up on eggs this year!
Mom, I don’t like you taking my photo.
But she looks so lovely, even with the pout!
Growly.
Dave in his all-purpose suit.
Showing off his goods!
Phoebe and Julia Philpott.

Then we stopped by Barnes & Noble to spend a gift card Phoebe got for her birthday. I managed to wheedle the kids into this amazing photo:

Easter siblings.

At home, we spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for the big dinner I was cooking for friends. Eleven people came over to eat with us, and many of us watched a bit of the live performance of Jesus Christ Superstar afterward. Phoebe made her famous deviled eggs and helped with the pie. We had ham, lamb, and all my favorite side dishes, including scalloped potatoes, six-layer salad, three-bean salad, and roasted butternut squash.

Phoebe wove the lattice for the cherry pie.
This is how you know you had a fun party…
And this…
And this. It actually took less than an hour to clean up.

We hope you all had a blessed Easter too!