Two Graduations and a Camping Trip

May 3

Photos from a bike trip over to Peak to Peak Charter School (about 100 yards from the house).

I want YOU…to go on a bike ride with me.
Phoebe is Mistress of the Monkey Bars.

May 5

Three orange cars. Three orange cars. Don’t they look great? Don’t they look great?

Benjamin wanted to ride his “new” green Strider (thanks, Brinkmans!) to Alicia Sanchez, and Phoebe, who had been scared off her bike by an accident at the Valmont Bike Park last year, suddenly decided she wanted to ride too. She got her legs back pretty fast!

Benjamin loves his hand-me-down green Strider!

Look, ma! No hands!
Phoebe finally has her “bike legs” back after an accident at the Valmont Bike Park last season.


May 8

Hey, there’s a top tooth missing!

May 11

Ready for the playground.
Getting so big, he can swing by himself.

May 12

I’m sure Mrs. Miller appreciated this note Phoebe wrote for teacher appreciation week!

May 13

We went shopping, played at the “train park” in Louisville, and worked in the garden.

May 17

It was kind of fun to have a late-season snowstorm with hail!

The back deck was covered in hail.
Benjamin was delighted to hold some of the hailstones.
Hail in the driveway.
It was really coming down for a while!
Winter in Lafayette, CO; summer in Sagamore Hills, OH.

May 19

Benjamin was only able to participate in Take-A-Break’s preschool program on Mondays, when he didn’t have BVSD preschool, but he spent the afternoon at daycare every day of the week. Take-A-Break always has a really cute graduation ceremony. It’s usually outdoors at a park, but we had snow!

Holding a “graduate” owl balloon.

Feeling bashful.
D’Arla, the director of Take-A-Break, announces the graduation proceedings.

The room was decorated for graduation.
The preschoolers, including Benjamin.

May 20

I tried a new route for my Saturday morning run; it was really good for my brain to do something novel, and the scenery was terrific.

I stopped partway through my Saturday morning run to take a photo of this gorgeous scene only a few miles from the house.
It’s not too bad to be a mama cow on an idyllic day like this.

In the afternoon, there was a Fairy Festival at Festival Plaza in Lafayette. Phoebe went on a fairy quest and participated in a unicorn race.

Getting ready for the unicorn races.

On your marks…
She’s on her way back.
Look at her hair flying in the wind!

We had friends over for dinner; you can hear the grownups chatting in the background while Phoebe makes these home videos.

May 20

And now the big one: Benjamin’s graduation from the school district preschool program! It’s hard to believe it, but our little guy has completed two years of preschool. It was held from 8–11 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at our neighborhood school, Alicia Sanchez, during the school year. He loved it, and he grew up a TON during that time! His teacher, Ms. Maxwell (Ms. Max), is exactly who you would want teaching preschool. She’s tough, fair, kind, and loving, and she treats the preschoolers like the diverse, interesting human beings they are. It was a wonderful two years, and we’ll miss preschool, but Benjamin is going to kindergarten next year! He’ll stay at Alicia Sanchez, which should be a great fit. His delayed development still slows him down a bit, but he’s the sweetest little boy (excuse me, BIG boy!) in the world, and we couldn’t be more proud of him.

Preschool graduation:

Still getting used to the crowd.
Benjamin and Chloe following directions: “Sit on the circle carpet!”
Dancing to “I’m Gonna Catch You.”

Patient and possibly a little overwhelmed.
Waiting for his turn.
Ms. Max choked up as she talked about Benjamin graduating.
What a sweet handshake!
Ms. Maxwell gives Benjamin his diploma.
Most of the kids needed a few stage directions.
Ms. Max wipes way a tear as Benjamin takes his scrapbook.
Ms. Katy hands over his preschool scrapbook.
Ms. Solé gives Benjamin his gift.
Benjamin and his new friend Xavier. “Xavier starts with an ‘X’!”
Ms. Max after two years of teaching Benjamin. Still smiling!
Benjamin wasn’t too sure about the photo op.

May 26

Last day of school.

Now the top 2 are missing!

May 27

Memorial Day weekend. Dave and I left work early so we could toss a few more things into Cherry Blaze (my car) and pick up the kids to head out of town. We were able to pack everything into the trunk and backseat without using the roof box, so that was kind of cool. We must be true suburbanites! By the time we got the kids and got going, it was already getting late. We stopped in Buena Vista at a pretty nice restaurant for dinner; the kids were ready to get out of the car. Somehow, what could’ve been a 6.5-hour trip was…more. We didn’t get to our campsite until 1 a.m. It’s always kind of fun to set up in the dark. (Well, Dave sets up in the dark while I hold a sleepy, grumpy Benjamin in the front seat and Phoebe looks around excitedly.)

When we woke up in the morning on Saturday, we discovered that we had a great site at a really nice campground! The campground was only 7 miles outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dave made pancakes for breakfast, and we discovered that the kids really like to play catch with their baseball mitts, so I was glad we had packed them. The kids played together really nicely, sometimes outdoors and sometimes in the tent. Dave and I wanted to go for a hike, so we walked to the end of the campground road and got on a little hiking trail. Benjamin gave up after a short walk, but Dave and Phoebe went for another 15 minutes or so. Then we drove down to Santa Fe, where there was a little art festival going on. They had put up some art boards with reproductions of famous artists’ work, so it was pretty neat to show Phoebe Caravaggio’s David and Goliath, for instance. We got some gelato and stopped at the grocery store for a few things before heading back up for dinner.

Reading the “Spot It” directions.
A view of our campsite from next to the car.
We had a really nice site right across the road from the campground hosts.
Heading out on a hike.
Let’s fill up with water for our hike.
This looks like a determined little hiker.
I hardly ever get to hold hands with both kiddos at once!
Who knows how Phoebe’s play cell phone ended up coming camping?
I’m chilly. Can I have my hat too?
I can put my hat on by myself!
Got it.
Reading in the tent is a favorite activity.
Building a fire.
Can you tell who organized the fire materials?
Kids checking out the fire together.

On Sunday morning, I went for a brutal run uphill 4 miles and then a jarring run downhill 4 miles. I just love running in new places, though, and the weather was perfect! We spent a bunch of time at the campsite, but we also went to town briefly. The kids had found a playground they really liked, so we played there again. When we got back to camp, we went on a great hike to a waterfall. Phoebe was a champ, and I got to spend some very snuggly time with Benjamin—he rode piggyback both ways. (We didn’t have room to pack the kid-carrier backpack.) We had tacos for dinner and got some good sleep—we were all warm enough that night.

Phoebe insisted on playing memory with all the Dr. Seuss memory cards.
Got her mid-smile!
Sometimes you just can’t hold back the chuckle!
This great photo sums up Phoebe’s attitude about having her picture taken.
A close-up really shows the distinguished gray hairs!
This outfit reminds something Uncle Matt would wear.
Tiger is looking tired.
Looking kind of tired after three nights of camping.
Phoebe practiced using the “good” camera by taking a ton of photos of Benjamin playing in the camping stuff.
Tucking in his beanie boo tiger.
Just resting!
Here, Mommy can help you.
We built a garage for Benjamin’s car.
Another in Phoebe’s series.
This is part of my series of individual photos of all the family members.
Phoebe took a sequence of photos of Dave putting on a different shirt.
Is that a yawn?
Whatever he’s sucking off his fingers is probably disgusting.

On Monday morning, we cleaned up camp and got on the road. We had lunch at KFC in Walsenberg and got home with enough time to settle in a little bit before we had to go back to work. What a great trip!

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!