May 2019

May 3

As I walked out of the rec center after swimming, I thought “I bet we have the prettiest view of any rec center in the country.”

May 4

Phoebe’s best friends wrote her this note to congratulate her for making the Battle of the Books team; they’re very mature third-graders!

Phoebe’s friends wrote her a note when she made the final Battle of the Books team.
Pint-sized sports fans!

The Battle of the Books competition was held at Monarch High School. It was high-pressure for the kids, but maybe even more for the parents! The kids had to confer silently because all the competing teams were in the same room, so we could see the questions, but not what the kids were answering.

Battle of the Books team before the start of competition.
Working hard on a question.
Ta-da! Finished the PJ Masks puzzle.

Phoebe’s 3rd-grade team from Lafayette Elementary ended up in a tiebreaker round with Ryan Elementary, another Lafayette school, so talk about drama! This time the teams had a spokesperson, who was the only one who could speak to give an answer. Lafayette won the tiebreaker and came in 2nd place overall for third graders!

During the tiebreaker round. High tension!
Lafayette Elementary wins the tiebreaker against fellow Lafayette elementary school Ryan!

May 6

Our amazing babysitter Alejandro invited us to his wedding, which happened to be at an event center just a couple of miles away in Lafayette. Dave was on a work trip to Canton, Ohio, so the kids and I went by ourselves. It was a lovely wedding, and we had a wonderful time! The woman he married, Sarah, has a big family, so she has a sister Phoebe’s age, and the two of them enjoyed each others’ company. The Mexican food was delicious, I had fun meeting some of Alejandro’s relatives, and Benjamin and I did some dancing.

I told Benjamin to stand at attention for this photo.
Now at attention, but smiling.
Alejandro works out some details before his wedding.
We clean up pretty well.
This is a great idea!
Beautiful stained glass in the reception hall.
Tie off, shirttails untucked…must be after the ceremony.
Benjamin found a chicken on our walk.
Showing Phoebe the chicken.
Dinner was delicious Mexican food, including cactus burritos.

May 8

I went to Benjamin’s school for an on-premises morning field trip with the kindergartners. Thorne Nature Experience came to talk about birds and habitats, and we walked around the grounds looking for birds and clues that birds might live nearby.

Hard to believe these are the daily discoveries in kindergarten!
Miss Renda instructs the kindergartners before the field trip.
Thorne Nature Experience workers tell the class what we’ll be looking for.
Benjamin’s kindergarten class.
Lying down next to the nest he built.
I spent the afternoon scrapbooking, and I made a good amount of progress.

Benjamin’s karate class

A valiant try at reading a hard book.

May 9

The Christmas cactus made this lovely bloom for Aunt Nancy’s birthday in early May.
Snow on Aunt Nancy’s birthday!

May 11

View at the high point of a run in early May.

May 16

Dave and I had to take the kids to our concert band rehearsal.

Babysitting fell through, and this is how I found the kids after rehearsal.

May 17

Benjamin’s kindergarten circus was held in the morning at Sanchez. It was even more adorable than last year! He was an elephant.

Elephants crossing the stage.
Benjamin’s red shoes look pretty fly with his elephant costume.
Following the trainer’s directions.
Benjamin is on the left in the red shoes.
The musical portion of the evening.
Hanging out at the edge while the other kids do the motions.
Well, he’s participating at last!

It was a busy day; Xtreme Altitude also held an evening gymnastics show that Phoebe participated in.

Getting ready to do cartwheels at the gymnastics show.
Staying on the line pretty well.
Phoebe is upside down on the bar.
Balance beam exercise.
Everyone won a trophy and got to stand on the podium.

May 18

Grandma sent a box of books; Phoebe sat right down to start reading.

Benjamin had karate testing; each kid has to go up alone and show the form he or she has learned. It could be scary, but Benjamin always takes on the challenge with aplomb.

Benjamin’s certificate and new belt. The kids test once every two months.
Orange stripe!

May 21

Pretty decent snow for May 21!

May 22

The mountains on my way to work.

May 24

More karate photos. It’s so fun to watch!

Benjamin is learning how to punch the target.
A small class that day—just Benjamin, Hersh, and Sensei Milliken.

May 25

First camping trip of the season over Memorial Day weekend. We went out to Fruita, in the desert, so we could be sure it would be warm enough. We brought our bikes, and Dave and I were looking forward to mountain biking on Fruita’s awesome trails. BK (before kids) we used to go several times a year. This time, the biking was a highlight for me, but I think the kids were more excited about the icee shack in town.

Colorado National Monument.
Dave is cooking breakfast while the kids read.
Poster in the bathroom at Over the Edge Sports in Fruita, CO.

May 26

It was a hard run, but the scenery was worth it!
The formations called the coke ovens.
The desert in bloom.

Phoebe and I rode Rustler’s Loop, which is an easy mountain bike loop with interpretive signs that teach you how to deal with things like sand or rocks while you’re biking. She made all kinds of good decisions—good lines, good power when she needed it pedaling—but she moaned loudly the whole time, and it took us about 2 hours to go 4 miles!

The Colorado River.
Phoebe on our longest water break.
Reading the sport beans package.
It was a long few miles, and she did great, despite moaning loudly throughout.

May 27

In the coffee shop, still in pajamas and a little dazed.
Phoebe took this photo of the setting sun.

Mother’s Day and the Flatirons Jazz Orchestra

Happy Mother’s Day! We had a lovely day, beginning with a brunch at church (cooked by the men and kids) and ending with a very fun Flatirons Jazz Orchestra concert at the Buffalo Rose in Golden.

As always, Phoebe spent most of the night reading a book.

Here are a few fuzzy photos of the band, focused on Dave.

It was getting close to bedtime, and Benjamin was getting a bit worn out.

Here’s a video of Dave playing his clarinet solo:

We found a river park nearby and enjoyed the slide before heading home. Phoebe thought it was hilarious that I was scolding Benjamin while interviewing her. Mother’s Day has a lot in common with every other day!

April 2019

April 1

A big piece of our fence blew down, so it was finally time to call in the professionals. An across-the-street neighbor of ours owns a small business called A&B Quality Fencing, and we were delighted to hire him to build an entirely new backyard fence and gate. Sometimes paying to have someone else do the work is the way to go!

Pieces of the old fence waiting to be taken away.
No fence between us and the neighbors.
Coming down in pieces.
The back is gone too.
Installing new fence posts.

April 2

Benjamin stayed home sick from school with what the doctor said was the flu, and because he has asthma, he got a prescription for Tamiflu and got better very quickly.

This guy is so sick. We didn’t know he had the flu!
First food in a while: a bowl of peas.
Munching on some light veggies.

Phoebe loves to make this veggie owl, but I can’t remember if it was for an occasion.

Phoebe’s vegetable owl. You can just see her toes underneath the coffee table.

April 3

The demolition of our downstairs bathroom felt complete once the toilet was sitting outside on the deck.

Deconstruction of our downstairs bathroom.
Deconstruction of our downstairs bathroom.

April 4

Despite having gotten a flu shot in October, I got the flu from Benjamin, and they wouldn’t give me Tamiflu because I”m not in the risk groups. I don’t think I’ve ever been sicker as an adult. I woke up feeling a bit crummy, went to work, and determined by 11 a.m. that I needed to be home in bed. Alas, not only did I have the normal work to do, I had promised Phoebe I’d go on her field trip to Union Station in Denver the next day. I spent the rest of the day in bed, including joining a conference call while lying down. In the morning, I figured I could make it through half a day, though I felt a little guilty about bringing my germs on a bus with a bunch of second-graders. I washed my hands and kept my Kleenexes to myself and had just enough energy to enjoy the trip and make it home before collapsing into bed for the next couple of days. We learned all kinds of interesting things about the architecture around the station; the guide presented it as a historical mystery, and it was fascinating to discover things we never would’ve noticed on our own, like the fancy doors on the second level of a couple of buildings that used to have an overpass in front of them.

Field trip with Phoebe’s class: a walking tour of the few blocks surrounding Union Station in Denver.
Train tracks at Union Station.
Phoebe poses during the field trip.

April 5

The fence is finished!

New fence: the long side.

April 7

The kids hardly ever play in the yard, but the new fence drew Benjamin and Dave outside.

Benjamin and Dave playing catch with the football.

April 9

I recovered from the flu just in time to attend the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) conference in Cleveland, which I’d been looking forward to for two full years—ever since I found out it was going to be there! Not only was it professionally very useful, I got to stay with Mom and Dad. I drove home from work to find my favorite meals on the table. Pretty luxurious!

Setting up for ACRL.
I was pretty worried about the state of that banner (wrinkled).
The view of Lake Erie from the convention center.

April 10

We had a great location right near the entrance.
Work clothes! Ready to roll.
Opening reception in the exhibit hall.

April 14

Benjamin goes to an old-school barber in town when he needs a haircut. (His dad, on the other hand, goes to a cheap, quick place.)

Barber Dan uses a 4 on the sides, scissors on the top. Benjamin loves having his hair cut.
New dress from Grandma; Phoebe isn’t too eager to show it off.

We had time to go over to the Wow! Children’s Museum just a mile from our house.

Can you guess which kid that is?
Bigger kid.
Benjamin from the back. Pretty cool how well you can see his hood.
They’re putting on a play.

April 16

Karate is so fun to watch; I can’t help but take too many pictures and videos.

April 17

Grammie sent kites, so we went out on an essentially windless day and ran around the field at Peak to Peak.

Grammie sent kites, so the kids are learning to fly them on a fairly still day.
Having a bit of luck!
Every game ends in chase.

April 19

The weather was nice enough to play outside.

Evening trip to the playground.
Who knew he could manage that?

Benjamin doing some good work on his homemade Strider. (Dave took the pedals and crank arms off Phoebe’s old bike.)

April 23

Benjamin had a kindergarten- and first-grade concert at school.

Now take a silly one!

April 25

This year the kids took turns joining me at work for Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day.

Phoebe hanging out in Tessa’s cubicle.
Phoebe and Tessa worked hard on transforming one of our manuscripts. (The sillier, the better!)
Phoebe and Tessa working together.
Phoebe moved to an extra cubicle so Tessa could get some real work done.
The customary ABC-CLIO logo photo.
So cute when she smiles!
Benjamin spreads out his puzzles, art, and snacks in the small conference room.
Checking out the snacks (peanuts and pretzels) in the kitchen.
Playing Silly Street in the conference room.
Borrowing my orange highlighter.
Another selfie.

With Easter coming, we had to get our eggs dyed!

A couple of Easter eggs.

April 26

Benjamin wrote me a notecard for my lunch all by himself!

Benjamin wrote this all by himself with no spelling help!

In the evening, I took a new friend (one of the teachers at Sanchez) to the Boulder Dinner Theater to see Motones vs. The Jerseys. It was terrific, and I wished my parents had been there to see it!

The Jerseys with the Motones in the background.

April 29

Snow at the very end of April!

April 30

Waneka Lake snowy and steamy.

Happy Easter!

We wish you a very happy Easter! The Easter bunny brought baskets, the kids were terrific at church, and the Easter egg hunt and brunch went well. Dave and I played music at church this morning, so the kids sat with friends. It was sad to know we were celebrating the last Easter worship service at Mount Calvary, but the pews were full, and the music was wonderful.

March 2019

March 1

Benjamin went to Children’s Hospital for a developmental review. Good news; while he still experiences a developmental delay, they didn’t see any learning disabilities, and he’s not on the autism spectrum.

Playing while we wait for the doctors to confer.

March 5

Phoebe and I treated ourselves to an early birthday present: a Face concert at the Boulder Dinner Theater. I don’t know if she loves Face as much as I do, but we both love the dinner theater, and we always have a great time. This time we got really lucky: the marimba group that studies in Boulder, Kutandara, was the opening act. It was hard to decide which group was better!



March 9

Reading at the main branch of the Denver Public Library. Lisa Gawenus and I took the kids to Denver for the day.
This is such a cool piece of art.
Sweep up the kids!
Earth sculpture at the Wings over the Rockies museum.

Huge Navy airplane.
That stealth plane is totally cool.
In the play area.
Wing painting. Benjamin liked that it was a cougar.
They’re being monsters.
Monster slice.
The pizza was great.

March 10

Benjamin and Milam, cute as a button.

March 13

Dragging them over to Peak to Peak on the sled.
She said she doesn’t like playing in the snow, but we had a good time.

March 16

Phoebe invited her friends to a Greek mythology costume birthday party. They came in all kinds of outfits and had a homemade Olympics over at Peak to Peak. We’ve always been lucky to have her birthday party on a beautiful day!

Marble cake with chocolate icing.
I made that dress! She’s Demeter.

Kylie, Julia, and Phoebe.
The kids went over to Peak to Peak to play.
Greek mythology birthday party.

March 17

I cooked myself a delicious dinner for my birthday, and Dave brought home a bottle of wine.

Birthday dinner: Julia Child’s beef and mushrooms with homemade noodles.

March 18

Phoebe started gymnastics class at Xtreme Altitude back in early March. I signed her up for a ninja class, but it turned out to be for little kids, so she moved into Gym Stars 1 after the first class.

Practicing form.
Phoebe keeping her balance.

March 20

Big moon.

March 22

My author Jaclyn Schildkraut published a book called Columbine, 20 Years Later and Beyond: Lessons from Tragedy. We helped set up a book launch and signing at the Barnes & Noble in Littleton—academic authors don’t do a lot of book launches, so it was my first one. Before the event, Jackie took me over to the Columbine Memorial. I hadn’t really wanted to go, but it was a moving tribute to the many lives lost.

My first author signing with an author of mine.
Jackie Schildkraut speaking about her Columbine book.

Benjamin continues to work hard in karate, and he’s done well in testing, moving up from belt to belt.

Yay! Yellow stripe!

March 24

I ended up making my birthday cake on Phoebe’s birthday because she’d had her cake for her birthday party on my birthday weekend. (Catch all that?)

That’s my cake: hazelnut from a Bronski recipe.

Phoebe wanted to have dinner at Benihana again this year. It’s still fun!

Hey, she accidentally looks happy!
No photos! Even on my birthday!
Ah, the erstwhile Mario jacket.
Selfie with hats.
Phoebe loves Benihana!
Birthday presents!
Phoebe’s American Girl doll in her new tent.

March 26

Sunrise on Benjamin’s half birthday.

March 30

The trip we had planned for Steamboat in December fell through, so we headed out in March. We had a great time!