March 2018

February 28

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.

Kids laughing

March 1

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.

Benjamin and Alejandro on the bus to the Dairy Center.
Joe Scott from Acoustic Eidolon playing his two-necked guitar.
Joe Scott playing with his wife, cellist Hannah Elkire.
Kindergarteners (and Miss Theresa) eating lunch.

Lost Dog in the blues style

Lost Dog in the country style

March 2

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.

Sick kid.

Still, she managed one important project: writing invitations to her birthday party.

Phoebe created her own birthday party invitations to mail to her friends.

We ran out to get some dinner.

Benjamin shows that he knows how to carry a pizza.

Benjamin reading us Lost Dog.

Benjamin working on sight words.

March 4

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 WILLIAMS Star Wars Suite—Main Theme

Fritz trying out a saxophone before the Boulder Philharmonic Reach for the Stars concert in Macky Auditorium.

March 5

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!

A form giving permission for the kids to have their photos included in one of the books I’m publishing!

March 8

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 went to the playground together, found a piece of chalk, and wrote letters. Phoebe took photos for me.

Phoebe and Benjamin at Peak to Peak playground.

March 10

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.

Reading and puzzling in Rob and Rachel’s living room.

March 11

Sunday afternoon trip to the Wow! Children’s Museum.

Benjamin working on his balance at Wow! Children’s Museum.
Pretty good, little boy! (And check out the Cleveland Orchestra t-shirt he’s wearing.)
Phoebe made this neat pattern during her time at Wow!

Phoebe playing “Minuet in G” at Wow. Piano lessons are already paying off!

Phoebe playing a song on the Illumitune.

Benjamin balancing at Wow.

March 12

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.

Hot chocolate after a physical therapy session with Miss Lindsay.
If there’s something better than coming home to a clean kitchen counter, I don’t know what it is.

March 13

Just happened to see this out the car window driving home from work one day. The horse and rider are right in front of Take-A-Break.

March 14

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!

Phoebe turning around before the first-and-second-grade spelling bee. We weren’t allowed to take photos during the event.

March 17

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.

Whitman’s karate birthday party.
Benjamin sprinting back from punching one of the dummies.
Sit in a line, kids! And…Benjamin, be Benjamin.
Green selfie on my birthday.
Phoebe working on her birthday party cake.
Lovely birthday flowers from my dear friend Karen W.

March 18

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.

Phoebe had a bird-themed birthday part at the CU Museum of Natural History. Her cake is a pun.
Party and photographer; we agreed to have a professional photographer from the college take photos to use in the museum’s marketing materials. Phoebe, Kylie, Isabelle, Calae, Benjamin, Sydney (leader), Tilley, Whitman, James.
Benjamin works on his owl mask.
The kids do some quiet coloring while the moms chat.

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.

A peek at the Pennsylvania Convention Center before the opening of PLA.
The ABC-CLIO booth being assembled.
I’d never think of this, but I’m glad someone does!
The tower is coming together. You can see my old employer (Rowman & Littlefield) in the background.
It’s so cool to have a job where you can work in the middle of a pile of boxes in another city!
The two guys working on my booth (Frank and Dominic).
Getting the computers out of the case.
I’m a big fan of this new world!
Tom and Frank from Renaissance helping the tech guy tear up the carpet to repair the Internet—at 11:00 a.m. before a noon setup closing! TV guys in the back. You can’t see the lighting guys, but they’re around.
Sally Yates gave the opening speech.
During the opening reception, a jazz band marched around the hall! It was so cool.
A lovely church near the hotel.
Elizabeth Gilbert gave one of the “Big Idea” morning talks.
A view of the Reading Terminal Market from one of the convention center hallways.
The booth looks pretty good all set up!
Really neat building out my hotel window.
Fabulous details in the architecture!
Freshly made Amish donuts. The mocha (center top) was amazing.
Signs I made to help direct librarians to our books.
The other side of the shelving.
Our books and table.
The woman in the bottom left corner drew this whole graffiti wall. I love it! (And I can’t help but think it seems really fun to try that.)
Face-on view.
Teardown begins.
I love this clever solution for keeping the screws with the brackets.
This photo was for Phoebe: sunrise at the Philadelphia airport on her birthday!

March 24

Happy, happy birthday, Phoebe! We had a wonderful day culminating in dinner at Benihana and scores of presents.

Phoebe explaining the layout of Sushi Zanmai during her birthday dinner at Benihana. (We all had a great time!)
Phoebe put up her own birthday number (equation). She didn’t want to take down my “41” after just a week. (To be frank, it was actually Dave’s 41, and it had been up since early December!)

March 26

Benjamin’s 5 1/2 birthday!

Benjamin asleep but still clutching his 5.5-year birthday book.

March 27

This is a bus, and the yellow lettering says “Ben” and “Mom.”

March 28

Building a big puzzle from Grammie. Phoebe loves these puzzles.

March 29

Frost on the car windshield.

March 30

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.

Cody Qualls and Stephen Ross (2 members of the a capella group Face) singing “Lean on Me” with Hazel Miller.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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.

There were many pieces of red and pink construction paper missing hearts when this project was done!
Look at that fancy handwriting!
Benjamin wrote a “B” (or sometimes an “E”) on all of his valentines, and he woke up early to add stickers.

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.