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!
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.
On Monday night we had an evening free, so we carved pumpkins.
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!
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.
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).
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.
*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.
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.
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.
Benjamin is now enrolled in three therapies. Here he’s working with his physical therapist.
Phoebe won an individual and team medal in the Noetic Math Contest!
Phoebe took a video of Benjamin’s first soccer practice:
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.
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.
Rock ‘N Roll Band
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
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.
During Dave’s last performance of Gypsy with the Longmont Theater Company, he took a time-lapse video of all of his instrument changes.
After Dave’s Longmont Concert Band concert, he played in a saxophone quartet.
I caught only a few seconds on video:
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.
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.
Benjamin had a fever and stayed home from school.
Now Phoebe’s home from school.
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.
Some work friends and I got together to bake Mittens the Cat Cake, an incredibly complicated recipe Jane discovered on NPR around Thanksgiving.
Phoebe fell in love with Harry Potter and read it over and over.
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.)
I interviewed the kids about their plans for being a grown-up.
Benjamin was working on a melty bead project and singing a song from his school concert.
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.
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.
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.
Still, we had a good time dyeing Easter eggs.
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).
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:
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.
We didn’t seem to take any photos in February except for on Valentine’s Day, and those are already posted. Here’s one video (sort of) from the last day of February; I was driving the kids to school, and they were laughing. I wanted to capture it, so I turned on the video recorder on my phone at a stop sign. Feel free to ignore the video of the steering wheel and just enjoy their giggles.
On the first day of March, I went on a wonderful field trip with Benjamin’s kindergarten class to the Dairy Performing Arts Center in Boulder. The whole class moved as a group, which meant I didn’t have a small group of kids to repeatedly count and keep an eye on; I could just go from station to station with them and enjoy the arts. First we heard a cellist play a traditional and then a carbon-fiber cello. Next we did an art project about drawing maps. Then we heard a guitarist sing a book called Lost Dog; he talked about the two truly American types of music, country and blues. He’d set the words of Lost Dog to those types of chords. It was really cool. Finally, we all gathered for a concert performed by the cellist and guitarist, who together make up a group called Acoustic Eidolon.
Lost Dog in the blues style
Lost Dog in the country style
The whole family passed around a stomach bug for a couple of weeks. Phoebe stayed home sick on March 2, and I fell ill later that evening.
Still, she managed one important project: writing invitations to her birthday party.
We ran out to get some dinner.
Benjamin reading us Lost Dog.
Benjamin working on sight words.
We went with Lisa and Fritz Gawenus to a really neat free concert put on by the Boulder Philharmonic at Mackey Hall at CU. It was called Reach for the Stars: “Join Michael Butterman, the Boulder Phil and guest LASP scientist Dr. David Brain for this free family-friendly concert. Featuring a space exploration theme in honor of NASA’s–and the Boulder Phil’s–60th Anniversary, the program explores concepts of history, courage, and innovation while featuring some of the most engaging orchestral music ever written. The concert will also feature an instrument petting zoo, provided by HB Woodsongs.”
The programming was terrific, and Fritz got to try out a saxophone. Watch out, Dave! I really liked the Mason Bates piece and the John Ireland march.
GUSTAV HOLST The Planets: I. Mars
MASON BATES The B-Sides: III. Gemini in the Solar Wind
GEORGE WALKER Lyric for Strings
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C minor—
I. Allegro con brio
JOHN IRELAND Epic March
JOHN WILLIAMS Star Wars Suite—Main Theme
I’m publishing a really cool book called Storytime and Beyond: Having Fun with Early Literacy. I told the kids about how one of the authors, Kathy Barco, uses anything at hand to create alphabet letters, and while we were at Mom and Dad’s in December, I took some photos of the kids making letters with Jenga blocks in the hopes that they might be included in the book. It worked!
Phoebe has been allowed to walk over to the Peak to Peak Charter School playground by herself for a while now. As I picked the kids up at Take-A-Break, she asked what she could do when she got home. I said, “why not go over to the playground?” She asked, “Can I take Ben?” I told her I’d have to think about it on the drive home. When we got home I said she could, and we set up a system in which she’d use the timer on my phone to have an alarm ring every five minutes, at which point she’d call home. I made sure Benjamin understood that Phoebe was in charge, and I reminded her that she’d have to watch him every second. As they marched off, I called out, “Phoebe, do you know how to call 911?” She shouted that she did. They were completely responsible and called home each time the timer went off. They ended up staying for 20 minutes, and I was able to cook dinner with no one else in the kitchen. It was a milestone!
Phoebe and Benjamin at Peak to Peak playground.
Rob and Rachel hosted a “YABS in the city.” We love their townhome, and it’s always fun to get into Denver! Plus, it was a great excuse to make “The Last Word” cocktails and catch up with Susan and Nick, who also came over.
Sunday afternoon trip to the Wow! Children’s Museum.
Phoebe playing “Minuet in G” at Wow. Piano lessons are already paying off!
Phoebe playing a song on the Illumitune.
Benjamin balancing at Wow.
Benjamin is doing physical therapy at KidSPOT in Lousiville once a week. He enjoys the time with Miss Lindsay, and we can already see progress. Here he’s drinking his after-therapy hot chocolate—Vics coffee shop is upstairs.
Phoebe spelled her way into the first-and-second grade spelling bee at Lafayette Elementary! I didn’t write down her round 1 word, but after that I started keeping notes. In round 2 she spelled “south,” round 3 was “hire,” round 4 “return,” round 5 “purse,” and she got out in round 6 by spelling “fauct” instead of “faucet.” We were so proud of her!
Yes, sure, it was Saint Patrick’s Day and my birthday, but the kids had swimming lessons (I got to sit in the steam room for a while) and Whit’s karate birthday party. Plus, I had to make the cake for Phoebe’s party the next day! It was actually a very nice day.
We went to church and then did some door knocking in the neighborhood to invite people to Easter worship. Phoebe’s birthday party was at the CU Museum of Natural History. She chose a bird theme (out of 4 options). It was a wonderful party. Our hostess, Sydney, was terrific, and the kids really enjoyed the hour of crafts. It was quiet enough that the grownups could chat, and we had our own room for cake and rice krispie treats.
On March 19, I left for the Public Library Association conference in Philadelphia. I was there all week, flying home the morning of Phoebe’s birthday.
Happy, happy birthday, Phoebe! We had a wonderful day culminating in dinner at Benihana and scores of presents.
Benjamin’s 5 1/2 birthday!
Phoebe and I went to the Boulder Dinner Theater as a joint birthday present—two of the members of the a capella group Face were performing a show they call “Broadway, Billboard, and Beyond.” We had a lovely time! Phoebe preferred the “Broadway” half of the show, during which I heard songs from Hamilton for the first time.