Phoebe and I are taking piano lessons. Which means practicing. After work, dinner, and putting the kids to bed. The blog is a casualty, and yes, I know! Thanksgiving, a trip to Ohio, Christmas, a trip to Ouray… All will eventually be revealed. In the meantime, I’m learning a very easy transcription of Shostakovich’s Waltz No. 2 by heart.
Benjamin got these really cool walking wheels for Christmas, and the kids use them all sorts of different ways, including as a platform for stuffies.
Benjamin’s pediatrician recommended that he do a three-hour pediatric development assessment. It was really interesting! He was assessed for an hour by a physical therapist; for another hour by an occupational therapist, speech therapist, and psychologist; and for a final hour by a pediatrician. I’ve never seen so many details about a person amassed in one place before. Through it all, he was focused and friendly. It was really a valuable experience.
Fritz came over to play, so the kids rode bikes over to Peak to Peak. I came along on foot.
The kids and I love to run the Oatmeal Festival race in January, followed by eating Oatmeal at Pioneer Elementary and stopping by what used to be a health fair. (This year it was a ninja warrior course, but we got there too late to participate, probably due to all the whining and walking during the run.) Fritz came along, and we met my friend Karen Maye there, as we’ve done for a few years now. Dave doesn’t like running or oatmeal, so he sits this one out.
We were delighted to have my parents fly out from Ohio to accompany us on our annual trek to the Ouray Ice Festival. We rented a condo and made a vacation out of it, visiting the hot springs twice, Mouse’s Chocolates several times, and the Outlaw Steakhouse once. The kids got to spend some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa (not least in the rental car; it’s a 7–8 hour drive with a big group), and Dave and I got to climb on one perfect sunny day. Phoebe tried climbing for the first time, too; we were so proud of her for being brave! They didn’t have any boots and crampons available, so she climbed a snow slope in her snow boots, using ice axes to steady herself. Pretty cool!
I’ve been patiently watering this pink orchid at work, wondering why it wasn’t happy enough to bloom, when my other orchid blooms almost continually. I idly wondered this for months before one day looking up and noticing that it had several blooms! Somehow it had grown a new shoot and budded without me noticing.
Phoebe and I went to see Annie at the Boulder Dinner Theater with her friend Julia Philpott, Julia’s mom Kate and sister Audrey, and their girl scout troop. It was very fun to go to a show together!
Benjamin’s kindergarten class had a concert on Dave’s birthday. Happily, we were able to attend before rushing down to Denver to see the CU jazz band play the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite at Dazzle. The concert was great, although Benjamin spent a lot of time watching his classmates singing. He sings “Jingle Bells” at home all the time, though! Phoebe was our videographer for the evening.
Phoebe and her classmates worked hard to get ready for the second-grade learning fair! Not only was there a concert, but the kids got to show all the work they did on their family history projects. Phoebe studied the Czech Republic, because there weren’t enough books on Slovakia. All the kids brought dishes from the country they studied, so the families got to attend a potluck.
With my brothers and their wives, we planned a surprise anniversary party for my mom and dad’s 45th anniversary. We told them we got good tickets to fly to Cleveland, which was also true. We had a lovely time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and the party was a wonderful surprise!
Mom and Dad’s anniversary. The party was at Simon’s Restaurant and Delicatessen. The buffet food was excellent, and it was lovely to have so many family members and friends there.
The kids like to dance on my bed while I put my clothes away, a chore I dislike. It’s more fun with them in the background—at least until they start getting into each other’s space and arguing.
Benjamin’s school photos didn’t turn out all that well—there was a bad reflection in his glasses from the balloon lights. We took him to JC Penney’s to get new ones taken. The photographer was wonderful—she worked hard to get Benjamin to participate, and the photos turned out great. It was probably the last time this adorable vest will fit.
Thanksgiving arrived, warm and sunny. We had plans to run the Louisville Turkey Trot, and when we decided to celebrate the holiday with the Gawenuses, they asked if Fritz could run with us. Of course we were delighted to have a friend along for Phoebe. Later in the day, Kevin and Lisa brought Fritz over for dinner; we had enough food for fifteen people, but I can’t resist making all my favorites.
The floor in our front room was a disaster; the vinyl tiles were cracked, broken, and extremely faded. We finally got around to replacing them. We still used vinyl tiles, but we grouted them, so they look much fancier.
I invited Phoebe along for my Saturday morning run. I always enjoy going with her, and she likes to get our on her bike.
We really like to participate in Cranksgiving, a bike race/scavenger hunt for charity that starts at Boulder Cycle Sport. You gather at the bike shop, and they give you a list of items to buy at several grocery stores in the area. It’s a race if you want it to be. We all start out together, but after a couple of grocery stores, Dave splits off to ride to the farther locations while the kids and I ride to one final shop. Benjamin rides in the Chariot, but Phoebe puts about 5 miles on her bike! The scavenger hunt part of it turns kind of cutthroat; the kids and I stood there watching as two adults grabbed the last two bags of pinto beans from under our noses at Alfalfa’s. Still, it’s a fun event, and it’s a great way to give food to those who need it without just throwing money at the problem. Afterward, Dave had to race off to jazz rehearsal, but the kids and I went to Southern Sun for beer/root beer and French fries.
Just one example of the Friday folder reports Phoebe brings home each week. They’re usually stellar!
On October 6, I flew out to Southern California to see my good friend Karen. We drove from the John Wayne airport to Carpinteria because we were going to meet a new friend, Cleta, for the Avocado Festival.
In the morning on Saturday, I went for a run and wound up on this lovely path that ended overlooking the ocean. I don’t seem to have taken any photos at the festival, but we had a good time. Wandered around and ate some amazing guacamole.
After the festival, we drove to Ojai to see where Cleta lives. After stumbling on a Shooter Jennings concert in the park, Karen and I spent the night in the guest room of the assisted living home where Cleta’s mom lives; the accommodations were excellent, and it was comparatively inexpensive. They have a beautiful rose garden. In the morning, we went to the farmer’s market, and Cleta drove us up to Meditation Mount, where there’s a peaceful retreat center with an amazing view. Then Karen and I drove to Santa Barbara.
While I was away, the kids did their annual painting of a window on a downtown Lafayette business. We always paint with Phoebe’s friend Fritz and his family. This was the first year Benjamin was old enough for his own painting!
Karen and I found the East Beach Grill for breakfast; I can’t imagine a better place to sit by the beach and eat!
I attended CALCON, the Colorado Association of Libraries conference, up in Loveland, for the second year in a row. I really enjoy spending time with librarians!
My sister-in-law Erin had a conference in Broomfield, so she spent two nights with us. It was so fun to see her! I haven’t spent much time with her without my brother Matt around, so I enjoyed getting to do some “girl talk.” Dave was busy playing sax for the Longmont Theater Company production of Rocky Horror Show.
A big day! After two weeks of instruction in Sunday School, Phoebe and four other Mount Calvary kids were ready to take their first communion. Dave and I are so proud of our big girl—getting more mature every day!
We like to occasionally get together with some friends Phoebe made at Take-A-Break before they all went their separate ways for kindergarten. Sunflower Farm in Longmont turned out to be a lovely place to meet up for the afternoon.
For dinner, I made a beef stew from the vegetables Phoebe brought home from a Take-A-Break field trip to Miller Farms.
October is Halloween costume month, and Dave offered to buy me a new sewing machine to make this labor of love easier. Wow; even this fairly inexpensive machine is impressive! (It’s nowhere near as beautiful or classy as the lovely old Singer I’ve been using until now.)
Weather has rolled in and out all month so far; just right for fall.
Grammie and Pappy left after a really nice visit. Apparently, we were having so much fun, we didn’t take any photos!
My coworkers always come up with a theme for Halloween, and several of us dress up in order to win the company costume contest (we’re a shoo-in).
The kids had Halloween parties at school; after school, we joined the Brinkmans for pizza, beer, and trick-or-treating, as has become a family tradition. We went up and down a new street this time, and there were so many kids and parents out to experience a street full of fabulous and scary decorations!