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.
That pretty much wraps up day 1 at Mesa Verde. Everyone had a blast and we hope you enjoy the photos.
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.
The kids had parties at school. Phoebe’s was a breakfast party at the beginning of the day, and Benjamin’s was combined with a 100th-day-of-school party in the afternoon. Both kids came home with tons of valentines. Benjamin was particularly smitten with the Paw Patrol cards. Phoebe handmade all 26 valentines for her teacher and classmates this year!
We wish you all abounding love, in the spirit of the day.