January 2018

January 2

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.

Little Lion and a bunny on Benjamin’s new walking wheels.

January 4

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.

Playing with the speech therapists while the psychologist takes notes.

January 6

Fritz came over to play, so the kids rode bikes over to Peak to Peak. I came along on foot.

Fritz, Phoebe, and Benjamin heading over to Peak to Peak on their bikes.

January 13

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.

Finishing up the 5K race at the Oatmeal Festival.
Phoebe didn’t want her photo taken.
Karen and the kids after the run.
All of us after the run.
We had a great time!
Oatmeal, berries, orange juice.
Karen with her bowl of breakfast.

January 15

Wrapped up after a bath.

January 19

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!

In the condo in Ouray, wearing his new shirt from Renee’s trip to Cancun.
Dave getting set up at the top of the gorge.
A beautiful sunny day; no wonder the flamingo is so comfortable!
Our rope and climb.
Looking down the gorge.
Dave starts messing around on a mixed climb with a new acquaintance belaying.
Looking good!
Phoebe getting fitted for a harness.
Phoebe heading up a steep snow slope.
Swinging her ice axe.
Benjamin watching Phoebe climb.
A broader view of Phoebe’s climb.

Ice carving in Ouray.
Grandpa reading to the kids.
Almost to the top of the rock climb.
The whole mixed competition route.
Having a drink at Mouse’s.
Espresso whipped cream. Worth driving six hours.
Stirring his hot chocolate.
Climbing the top of the elite mixed competition route.
The vendor tents across the gorge with the viewing platform in the foreground.
Concentrating on the competition.
A wide view of the tents and gorge.
Nearing the top!
That’s a crazy move!
Reading on one of the beds in the condo.

January 24

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.

An orchid I rescued from King Soopers.
My two orchids together.

January 24

Phoebe and her friend Rebecca completed this puzzle at Take-A-Break.

January 28

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!

Phoebe and Julia before watching Annie at the Boulder Dinner Theater.

December 2017

December 2

Yes, folks, she’s actually reading to him!

December 5

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.

There’s our little free spirit!
Guess whose mom didn’t get the memo about dressing in black and white?

The interior of Dazzle, a jazz supper club in Denver, where we saw Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s version of The Nutcracker Suite.

December 9

A beanie boo peeking out of Cherry Blaze’s window.

December 11

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.

The loksha Phoebe and I made for her learning fair. (A Slovak dish with homemade bread, poppy seeds, and honey.)
The second-graders getting ready for their learning fair concert.
Posing in front of her Aztec sun during the learning fair.

December 13

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!

Flying to Cleveland on a very early flight.
The kids wore pajamas and took a nap on the way to Cleveland.

December 14

Playing blocks with Grandpa.
Something must be funny about those dominoes!

December 15

Grandma reading Where the Wild Things Are.
Phoebe made a straw “U”!
Benjamin made something too!

December 16

Looking at his “H.”
Nice job spelling her name.
Fish face.
Pointing at his “E.”
A 3-D “E”!
Nice job…only missed one letter.

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.

Mom and Dad’s neighbors, me, and Melissa Canowitz.
Rita Winker, Dave, and Sandy.
Evers, Linda, Ashe, Aunt Mary Ellen, and Uncle Andrew.
The cake had a hump!
N cutting the cake.
Lee and Matt.
Matt smiles for the camera.
Mom and Dad.
Primarily Sarah.
N, Mom, Jess, Dad
Jess, Mom, N, Erin, Dad
Ashe, Linda, Matt, Evers, Lee, Uncle Andrew, Aunt Mary Ellen
Cindy, Uncle Bob, Sarah, Kathleen, Cindy Howard, Martha

December 17

Benjamin helps out with the tree.
Grandma and the kids add ornaments.
The kids and I squeeze into one chair.

December 20

Interim Principal Becky Escamilla and two emergency workers judging the Alicia Sanchez International spelling bee.
Mr. Sanchez emceeing the bee.
Great job, Noah, grade four!
When I left the school, Santa and a couple of elves were on the roof…scaring a few preschoolers into nervous breakdowns.

December 24

Merry Christmas, little guy!
A happy girl in a lovely dress!

December 25

Our budding photographer…the photo she took was probably better than the one I did.
Playing with Benjamin’s new marble run.
The kids using the snow-brick maker Santa brought.

December 26

Phoebe getting ready to cook something from her new cookbook that Grammie made.

December 27

Painting a picture of Catboy from PJ Masks.

December 30

Frost-encrusted foliage.
Frost-encrusted facial hair! I went for a run on a cold but damp morning.
Braving the cold to spend a little time at the playground.

November 2018

November 10

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.

Y-M-C-A! It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!
Dancing to “Jock Jams” during a clothes-putting-away-dance party.

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.

Handsome lad!
“Look at my mustache!”
Having a drink after suffering through a long photo session.

November 12

I peeked in the door of the nursery at church to see the kids reading to themselves just a foot apart!
Benjamin checks out a new display at Wow.

November 17

Asleep clutching a favorite library book.

November 23

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.

Getting ready to run the Louisville Turkey Trot with Fritz. Dave and Fritz are in shorts, and I’m in capri pants! On Thanksgiving!
Phoebe and Fritz mess around on my motorcycle.
Fritz takes a turn “driving.”

November 24

Hang in there!
He’s getting to be such a big boy!
All the way to the top.
“Watch this, Mom!”
Swinging down from the ladder onto the bar.
Benjamin and I got to play on the playground by ourselves, an unusual occurrance.
Shoes off, playing the game in which he climbs up the slide, climbs down the ladder, and gets piggybacked to the bottom of the slide.
What a handsome fellow!
Having fun with Mom!
Nope…not going to sit next to you, Dad!
Got you anyway!

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.

Phoebe and Fritz playing soldiers on our new floor!

November 25

I invited Phoebe along for my Saturday morning run. I always enjoy going with her, and she likes to get our on her bike.

Phoebe and I went on a run/bike ride up to Waneka Lake.
Doing a few exercises before we head home.
Yay for mother-daughter exercise!

November 26

Silly guy.
No, silly guys!
Gentlemen reading in bed.

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.

Selfie in Southern Sun after Cranksgiving.

November 27

Just one example of the Friday folder reports Phoebe brings home each week. They’re usually stellar!

This is one of the less fabulous of Phoebe’s weekly reports. (I wonder where she gets all of this from?)

October: Halloween and First Communion

October 1

Grammie sent a French chalet, and Phoebe built it.

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.

Ah, this is the life.
Waves rolling in.
Karen beating me at pool in a fun Irish bar in Carpinteria.

October 7

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.

I’ve always loved hens and chicks…and this is outside aloe!
My brother N works at PPG.
Not a bad midpoint to a run!
The trail I found.

Karen with the huge pine.
This is what it’s like to walk down the street in California.
Even in October.

October 8

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.

The kids and I love eggplant, and these colors are just stunning.
I’ve always loved these multicolored flowers.
The view from Meditation Mount in Ojai.
Karen enjoying the view and the sunny day.
Cleta didn’t want me to take her picture.
Interesting to see the agriculture below.

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!

Phoebe painted herself as the daughter of the goddess of light.
Benjamin painted a waterslide.
I think I heard that Fritz painted a haunted house. I love that ghost, center right.

October 9

Karen and I found the East Beach Grill for breakfast; I can’t imagine a better place to sit by the beach and eat!

Karen and I went to the East Beach Grill in Santa Barbara for breakfast after learning that it will soon close. The bathhouse was built in 1926.
The food was good, too!
Huevos rancheros.

October 11

The kids help make lemon poppyseed waffles.

October 12

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 conference idea. Cute, but it didn’t work.

October 14

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.

Aunt Erin reads with Benjamin.
Books, tickling, and relatives make for happy kids!

October 15

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!

Look! Our kiddo is welcomed to take communion.
Here’s her certificate.

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.

Phoebe, Kylie, Calae
Old Take-A-Break friends: Benjamin, Cole, Kylie, Phoebe, Elaina, Isabelle, Calae
Phoebe said this photo looks like a postcard!
A view of the mountains from Sunflower Farm.
Just being a goofy kid.
Friends at the farm!

For dinner, I made a beef stew from the vegetables Phoebe brought home from a Take-A-Break field trip to Miller Farms.

Take-A-Break took the kids to Miller’s Farm, and Phoebe came home with the makings of an excellent stew.
The finished stew. It was delicious. (Thanks for the recipe, Mom!)

October 27

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.)

My new sewing machine, promptly named “Comrade.”

Weather has rolled in and out all month so far; just right for fall.

Low-hanging fog in the foothills.

October 31

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).

Without James, our graphic designer, we’d be nothing. (Nothing but a woman in a wig with eight babies and an ex-husband).
At work, we dressed up as reality TV stars.
Back row: Deadliest Catch, The Apprentice, Bob Ross
Middle row: The Amazing Race, Jon and Kate Plus Eight, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
Front row: Dancing with the Stars

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!

And here she is! The daughter of the goddess of light!
See him sneaking around the corner like a stealthy ninja?
He’s not crying, I promise. I asked him to smile!
I know; it’s terribly fuzzy, but it’s such a cute photo of that smile!
I’m not sure, but this might’ve been a ninja move.
Phoebe’s vegetable skeleton.
Trick-or-Treating on a new street with the Brinkmans. There were hundreds of kids!
Benjamin looking after another trick-or-treater.