Feathered Aspen


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Week of 1/18 & 1/25

4:51 Am – Hell yes!  Snow day!

The girls are still sleeping away and likely will be for the next few hours.  I’ve got my coffee and bananas here.  Outside, the world is covered in a blanket of snow. All night I kept looking out the window thinking to myself and pumping my fists “snow day, snow day, snow day.”

Time to write a bit.

The past two weeks have had their ups and downs.  The biggest down was getting hit with yet another stomach flu bug last Tuesday.  I barely made it out of my classroom before filling a trashcan with chunks.  Ugh.  I spent the next two days knocked out again.  Both Ellie and Lu got it again too.  Lily, the only one in the family to get her flu shot, escaped again. (How’s that for anecdotal evidence?!)  We spent the rest of the week recovering and getting our GI tracks back in order.

Last week also marked the beginning of Lily attending her new school.  She was a bit anxious the first two days and would cry about not wanting to go.  Really, I think she was worried about not getting to spend time with Ellie and Lu.  InIMG_1697 terms of the school though, she loved it.  This was her when she came home on Monday and I asked her how school went.

In the welcome and orientation packet to her school, they warn not to expect (or really ask) your child to talk at length about their day and what they did.  That impulse is a grown up response.  Kids, especially, three and four year olds tend to live in the present.  Their minds are on whats in front of them.  They don’t have the same capacity and desire as we do to recount what they’ve been doing.  Instead, the school asks parents to be attuned to the ways that school emerges during unexpected times like when a child might sing a school song in the bath tub or talk about an art project when drawing.

This totally makes sense.  Last fall we sent Lily to a lackluster ECE school in DPS. At the time, I didn’t think about it this way and would pepper her with questions which she’d never answer.  As you may recall, we ended up pulling her out of that school after two weeks or so.  Upon reflection now, its interesting that those “moments” of school, as her new school calls them, never really emerged at home.  What she was doing there, never really seemed to affect or influence her actions or thoughts at home.  In the end, we pulled her out because the driving was a bit much, the food they gave her was wretched, and they often sent her home with branded corporate material.  At the time, we decided that she was still young, and the sacrifices weren’t worth sending her to a mediocre DPS school.  Plus Ellie is home.

Its striking now to seem how much of an impact her new school is now having only after four days!  She was generally in a great mood all week.  At home, her creative play has been off the charts.  She spent all week drawing, cutting paper, gluing, painting, and putting up art installations (seriously, she took almost an hour on Saturday to create an art work on our refrigerator that went way beyond just hanging a picture.)  At school yesterday, I opened my backpack to find another piece she wanted me to take to work.  She has also been singing a lot too.  She hums or rambles words to herself.  She will also sing to me if I ask here.  “Lily, can you sing me a song?”  “Sure daddy-o, which one do you want.  I have 6 mermaid songs.”

Part of the school’s no media policy encourages families to cut out the radio and music in addition to screens.  At first, I was a bit saddened.  I always have music playing in our home.  However, with music playing, it discourages you from making your own and using your own creative outlets.  And, now seeing how much she has been singing in the past week, I get it.  I’ve set the goal to not play the radio in the car with her (that’s also nice too so we can talk.)  I’m going to try to reduce the music I play at home too. I don’t think I can give it up entirely though.  And, it has me thinking that maybe I should pick up the guitar again soon too.

On a final note about Lily’s school, we’ve learned and been thinking a bit more about story telling.  Ellie went to the parent meeting on Monday.  There, the teacher told parents not worry much about reading to their kids, but instead to focus on story telling.  Similar to music, books and stories can limit you to one thread or idea.  They are also not created from within.  Reading when older is essential to expanding our world and thus our creativity. At this age, the teacher argued, oral story telling is more impactful and age appropriate.  Reading, she claimed, is better suited for older children.

Again, I had the same reaction as I did with the music.  But, as I thought about it some more, and noticed this week how Lily, of her own accord, told me multiple stories, I think there is something to this as well. (Side note: when I was sick and laying in bed again this week, Lily didn’t want to come with in three feet of me.  Instead, she pulled up at chair at the end of my bed and told me a story about mountains and fuzzy animals for almost thirty minutes.)  Humans are story tellers.  Prior to written records, and I would argue still today, much of our culture is passed through oral tradition.  Much of what we know about our families, how to cook, etc… we didn’t learn by reading, but instead through spoken word.  Lily’s teacher encouraged parents to pick up and embrace this tradition.  She urged parents to tell stories rather than read stories.  She also encouraged those stories to be personal and based upon truth.  Rather than begin a story with “once upon a time…” begin with “I remember when…”  So, this week, we’ve been telling more stories and trying to create more of an oral tradition in our house.  (I must also admit, the oral tradition strikes a nerve with that repressed Classics major in me. I nearly majored in Classics in college because I’m in love with and fascinated by ancient Greek culture, which was deeply imbued with and driven by oral traditions.  I think I am going to start telling Lily some greek myths soon too.)

So yeah, we’re loving Lily’s new school.  Another boon this week, Ellie was able to already switch around Lily’s schedule so she is going two days a week instead of four.   This was always our preference for this age.  It saves a big chunk of change and gives Lily more time with mom and sister.  She’ll be full time soon enough (and when the school is free.)

So what else?  In the past two weeks, we’ve continued to work on our home updates.  The new table for the eating area is complete.  I built it.  Ellie finished it.  This weekend, I also started building a bench for the eating area.  This bench will be built into the half wall that divides our kitchen and living room.  I’m building it to have lots of storage underneath and behind for all of our arts and crafts supplies.  We’re hoping to have it finished this weekend.  I’ll try to post some pictures then.

In other crafting news, Ellie has been inspired to start sewing children’s dolls.  There’s a bit of an experiential and learning curve, but she’s really getting the knack for it.  See what I mean?  Its fun for me to see her excitedly crafting away.  The girls love it too and have been helping out.

Work.  Ugh.  This year has really been a tough one.  I just can’t seem to figure out the group of students that I have.  So many of them constantly complain “this boring” or “I don’t want to do this.”  At first, I always think its me.  Is my lesson not engaging?  Is it not relevant?  Teach For America drilled the adage “what teacher actions led to those student actions” down our throats, and it still resonates with me.  So, I’ve done A LOT this year to make sure what I’m teaching is relevant and engaging as well as student centered.  Yet, a large portion of my students, and not just in my class, refuse to do any work.  They are adverse to reading or asking questions.  When I probe deeper as to what would not be boring, they don’t really have an answer.  When I ask what they do outside of school, they say video games, Facebook, snapchat.  Ugh.  It kills me how plugged in my students are.  My bias is obvious, but I feel like media is stupefying my students.  They want flash and bang and ephemeral selfies.  They don’t care about the war in Syria.  Or the migration crisis. They had no clue what was happening in Iowa yesterday. They want to sit at home and play Fifa or shoot zombies.

I’m ranting I know.  The truth is not all of my students are this way.  In fact, I have many students who are doing very very well.  I think its likely, that a good portion of my AP students will pass the test, and some may even earn 5’s (the highest score possible).  I have many, many gems, but the ones I’m not reaching are the ones plaguing my thoughts.  I posted grades yesterday.  That’s why I’m feeling this way. For the ones plaguing me, its bleak.

This year, my school moved to an “incomplete” policy.  In a nutshell, students don’t earn zeroes for work they don’t complete or turn in.  Instead, they get an “incomplete.” They then have until the end of the year to make up or turn in that work.  Yup.  This means, I must accept and give full credit to an assignment from October that I receive in May.  Ugh.   The idea behind the policy was to give students more opportunity to pass their classes.  There was concern that hard deadlines were the reason so many students were not on track to graduate.  In general, I agree with this policy, and I have seen a good number of students use it to make up crucial assignments and keep on track to earn credit for first semester.  However, the result that I am seeing now at the start of the second semester, particularly with my unmotivated freshman, is that they see no reason to do their work on time.  I assigned a big research project on an ethnic conflict of students’ choosing.  We worked for two weeks.  The report was supposed to culminate in a presentation to the class on their findings.  Out of nearly forty groups, only 8 presented.  The rest told me they would make it up.  Ugh.

Additionally, we’ve been encouraged not assign homework.  Apparently in this day and age, students should not be expected to work outside of class.  This is just one policy with which I really disagree.  Colleges will give students boatloads of work to do on their own. I understand that the school day is long and students have lots on their plates at home.  However, students should work and read on their own.  Homework should be manageable and flexible.  Our students are not in college yet, but at some point they need to figure out how to work and read on their own.  Thats how you learn!  That’s what life is!  That’s what happens in college!  How can we be college preparatory and not expect students to work outside of class?

With these policies, there is now a culture amongst some of my students that it is unacceptable for a teacher to ask you to do homework.  You shouldn’t have to do it.  And hey, with the incomplete policy, we’ll I’ll just make it up another day.

Lately, I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall with these students and these policies.  I really don’t know what to do.  I wish administrators would examine the root of the problems stemming from the culture in which we live in.  Our struggling students are checked out and tuned out.  No new grading policy is going to fix it.  We need to address the larger issues of why students check out.  Why don’t they want to engage with the world?

So when I’m stressing about school, I’ve been running.  I had a good stretch the week of 1/18.  Last week the flu set me back a bit.  Tappering down now this week and next to rest my legs up for my first race of the year.  Over President’s day weekend we’ll be traveling out to Moab with our friends John and Kelsey and their kids.  John and I will be running the Moab Red Hot 55k.  I’m feeling pretty good lately and am looking forward to the early season race to test my fitness level (and the strength of my always troublesome IT bands).

Week of 1/18 – 11h 26m  59.2mi  7,818ft

Mon – 12.4mi  MLK day family jogger slogger and Tempo workout

Tues – Off running.  Strength training in gym (hips)

Wed – 5.8mi Easy commute home

Thur – 10.5mi Commute to work & Temp workout on track

Fri – 5.6mi Date run with Ellie

Sat – 24.7mi – Morrison Triple Crown:  Linked up the summits of Green Mt., Mt. Morrison, and Mt. Falcon.  Felt really good. I’ve been trying to adapt my body to burn fat on long runs, so I completed the entire run on a single zucchini muffin.

Sun – XT – Family Bike ride (10mi)

 

Week of 1/25 – 8h 17m  42.4mi   ~4500ft

Mon – Morning strength training (hips), then 5.1mi Sloan’s – Felt like crap.  Think the flu was coming

Tue & Wed – off Flu

Thur – 6.1mi family jogger slogger

Fri – 8.0mi 6x Zenobia Hill repeats

Sat – 15.5 Green/Winters/Dino ridge with Will

Sun – 7.6mi – Snowy family jogger slogger (with eagle sighting!)

 

I wrapped up January then with 213 miles on the month. I was just shy of climbing 20,000ft.  And, I spent roughly 38hrs running.  I good start to the year!

What I’m reading and listening to.

51fn0md37nl-_sy344_bo1204203200_I finally finished listening to Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall.  While I didn’t enjoy it as much as Born to Run, I thought the story was intriguing.  McDougall
chronicles the Cretan resistance movement to the Nazi occupation during WWII.  Throughout it he explores how the fighters we able to move and survive in the Cretan mountains while being starved out by the Germans.   I found his portions on adapting one’s body to fat burning over carb burning to be the most interesting.  He recounts numerous studies and stories of how fat is superior energy source to carbs a51wynjumagl-_sx354_bo1204203200_nd that conventional running wisdom has been out of touch for a very long time.  In my experience this is definitely true.  When I can keep my exertion level below an aerobic threshold, I can go for a long time.  I’m curious to read more about the Maffetone method, read Tim Noakes The Lore of Running, and really experiment on myself with how I can adapt my body as I train for another 100 miler.

 

Well, that’s the news from our little corner of Colorado, where all the women are crafty, all the men run far, and all the children are playing in the snow.

The past two weeks in pictures

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Our MLK day adventure searching for the magic tree that makes colors swirl.

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Daddy-o taking mama’s work out seriously

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Our own bedroom!  (Plus, great gifts from Ecuador.  Thank you Pietaris!)

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Bike riding

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Hot mama

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Snuggles with Grandma.

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Drawing with Nana

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Green Mountain in the pre-dawn light

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Running Dino Ridge

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Summit of Mt. Morrison

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Summit of Mt. Falcon

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What to do with short hair?

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Family day fun

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“I’m nursing my cat.  mmmhaahaheee”

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And, then this one was weaned.  Sad mama.

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Lily’s emoji drawing

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Lily took these last two.  Very artistic shots huh?

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Eagle at Crown Hill

A call for comments:

Tell us one of your oral traditions.  Start with “I remember when…”

What’s your opinion on media and education?  Are screens stupefying today’s children?

 


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Every Last Drop of Summer

Papa and Granny drove into town for Labor Day weekend.  It was great to see them, and we fit in quite a bit while they were here.

I’ve developed an instagram crush on @dramapothecary.  There’s this comedy sketch that Joshua watched last year where a couple are in their car.  They have kids in the backseat, and the wife says, “oh look! A new restuarant.”  They make meaningful eye contact and deadpan, “we will NEVER go there.”  Anyway, it’s become a bit of a saying for Joshua and myself, and in the case of Dram Apothecary, I hope it’s not true, but thus far, it has been.  The 21+ rule, while understandable, is a bit prohibitive.  Oh and the location.  Silver Plume?  You’d blink and miss it, just past Georgetown.

Anyway again, I knew they were in town for a little tea workshop at the DAM, so I convinced the family to make an outing.  It wasn’t much of a workshop, really.  Just a make-and-take sort of craft, but it was fun to creep on my instagram crush and get a back of tea.

Inside the art museum, when went to see the flower exhibit.  WHY I have not yet gone through that exhibit is beyond me.  It closes in October, and I MUST see it again at least once.  The paintings are absolutely stunning, and the one above was my favorite.  Perhaps because of this little explanation right next to it:

Mmmmm…  So lovely.

On Saturday, we drove up past Silver Plume to the trail head for Herman Lake.  It was a stiff uphill hike for about three miles, but when we got to the top, it was well worth it.  Above treeline, we got a generous view of mountain tops and this here lovely lake, which made an excellent backdrop for a rare family photo.

If you’ve ever tried to take a photo with little ones in the mix, you know just how many photos have to be taken in order to get everyone looking/with a half-smile on their face.  Really, if you’ve ever done this, you know the half-smile is really asking too much.

Which makes me wonder, really, why there are so few photos of this here man and me.  They’re a relative breeze to take, and he don’t hurt the eyes, if you know what I mean.

Lily and mommy.

This guy.  What a dad.  I really love him.  Did ya know he’s running 100 miles this weekend?  Yeah.  That’s what I said.

Lily was a good sport.  She got out and hiked quite a bit, and then she took a little snooze in the Poco.

This picture pretty much captures it all.  Lu follows Lily everywhere and tries to do whatever she’s doing.  Cuties.

Grr.  I’m just now realizing that someone never sent me the photo of all of us (Papa, Granny, Sarah, and the four of us), but just so you know, we all did that hike, and I was particularly amazed by Joette, who is a bit of a miracle woman.  She’s conquering her Lyme’s naturally, with plant-derived anti-biotics and a strictly Whole 30 diet since this past January.  For a woman who has battled pretty severe pain for the past three years, she was a rock star on that hike!

On Sunday, we knocked out a few projects around the house, taking advantage of a couple of extra hands with the kiddos.  The dresser you see above was a castoff from the previous owners at Sarah’s new house, so I nabbed it painted it pink, and soaked the gold handles in turpentine (which smells, but did the trick).

We moved things around and I can finally say that our home feels a bit more moved into 🙂

I found this super tall bookshelf at the thrift store for $10.  Once I painted it yellow (with much help from David’s fiance/my future super awesome sister-in-law, Melanie – yeah, that’s a whole ‘nother story), it made the perfect storage spot for toys.

We played a game of musical couches and moved this one in the photo above from the porch to the kid’s room, the one from the living room into the porch (pictured below), and the futon from the back porch into the living room.  Cuz we like to make things complicated.

Porch is still probably my favorite room in the house 🙂

We had been making do with one toilet since we moved in, and then on Friday our other toilet broke, so Joshua and Tim took out the old ones and installed the new ones…  For $23 each?!  I guess with a rebate, that’s what they came out to?  How is that possible?  Anyway, I thought this photo above was hysterical #menandcoffee

Mischief.

Here’s the futon in the living room.  And our hopelessly dirty rug.

We decided to go small with the futon in the living room so that we could fit in a small dining area.  And we finally managed to get a “W” up on the wall for little Lu.

This is a better pic of the dresser.

Mommy, take a picture of my white pigtails.  Yes ma’am.  On another note, this was the same morning after we had gone to the “soft” opening of Coda Coffee in Edgewater.  I got a FREE cold brew, and my mom got a FREE chai, and it was spicy and not too sweet, so pretty much the BEST MORNING EVER.

On another note, (drumroll) we withdrew Lily from preschool.  Yup.  After all that fanfare…  BUT I have to say that I have a lot of peace about the decision.  We debated for a good long while before we enrolled her and then decided to have a trial period.  After two weeks, we debated some more, and although it was a tough debate initially, I think we all arrived at a good decision.  We included Lily in the decision making process, and surprisingly (?), she seems to be pretty content with the decision too.  I’ll give you the deets some other time.

I guess the theme of September is squeezing out every last drop of Summer.  This past weekend, we drove up past Buena Vista and Mt Princeton Hot Springs to camp at Cascade Campground, just below the trail head for Mt Antero.  It was super beautiful and the aspens were just starting to turn.

Mt Antero is an old mining spot, and the summit is even known for having aquamarine and topaz just under the surface.  There are tons of old roads criss-crossing this high alpine area, and there were plenty of ATVs taking advantage of the trail.  Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous hike.

Sadly, I’m a total wimp when it comes to old forest service roads, so rather than encouraging Sarah to take her SUV up 2.6 miles of rough road, I made her chicken out and park at the bottom…  Which meant that a round trip to the top would be 15+ miles.  In addition, I had to keep a close watch on the time.  I figured that, at maximum, I had eight hours before my breasts would explode into massively painful mountains of mastitis (too much information????).

So we hiked our tails off.  And so did Ollie and Oscar.  And we hiked and we hiked and we hiked.  And then, less from a mile from the top, at roughly 13200 ft of elevation, I had to call it.  We weren’t going to make it.  Not if my boobs were going to make it back intact.  So we turned around 😦  I mean, we could TASTE the summit 😦 But I guess 13.5 miles and 3,400 ft of elevation gain round trip is nothing too shabby?

Joshua had some good bonding time with the girls while we were gone.  Doesn’t even look like they missed me, snots. When I got back to camp, we went for another little walk and then stopped to build a fairy castle with sticks and rocks and pinecones.  Lily finally forgave me for leaving her behind.  She asked me, “mommy, some day can I have a date with you and we can go up a mountain?”  Um, sure.  I mean, definitely.  I mean, thank you, dear child, for making all of my dreams come true.

Went for a run yesterday after the long hike on Saturday.  I was feeling pretty good after the hike but then my run humbled me.  It wasn’t pretty, folks.  No better than a fully pregnant slog, really.  But I saw these pretty puppies up there and decided to take a little break and smell the roses (harhar).

Would you just look at her?  I mean.

 

Today Lily drew a picture with two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and legs.  She also wrote “Hoil.”  Because, apparently, she can do that?  Who is this child?!

On the way home from the Children’s Museum, these two fell asleep holding hands.  Pshaw.  So cute.  Now if only they hadn’t fallen asleep on the bike ride home, they would have napped (which quite possibly would have been even cuter).


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Salida

I’ll start by saying there is a way for me to put all of these photos in order, but ain’t nobody got time for that, so here’s our little weekend getaway in reverse-order:

Playing dress up

Playing dress up

Lily and Lu were fabulous in the car on the way there and back.  Some iPad George came to the rescue for the last half hour or so on each trip, but otherwise, they were just great.  Lu, especially, is a dream car rider.

Happy to be home.  Playing dress up.

Happy to be home. Playing dress up.

Our friend, Val, coordinated everything, and we’re so lucky she did!  We rented a cabin at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, and it was SO.AMAZING.  Really just the best treat ever.  Thanks, Val!  You can see our cabin in the photo below.  We packed the place with eight adults and two little kiddos, but we had a blast (hope everyone else felt the same….  The kiddos are ours, after all.).  There was a loft with two fulls, a pull out, and a bedroom with a king.  Plus a kitchen, bathroom, and gorgeous little gas fireplace.  And?!  Only 97$ per adult for the two nights, total 🙂 🙂

On the drive up to Salida, we went through Leadville, stopping over at one of our favorite coffee shops and walking zig-zags through the residential streets, fantasizing about owning one of the old little Victorians that are crammed in side by side.  But after a while, Lily got tired of walking, so we got back in the car and headed south.

View of the bridge back to the cabin (in upper left corner).

View of the bridge back to the cabin (in upper left corner).

The first day, we got there early and used the pools, complementary with our nights’ stay.  Our first trip, is was snowing a bit and we used the two conventional pools above the river.  One was warmish, but actually a bit too chilly for 30ish degrees, and the other was a bit too warm to stay in for longer than 15 minutes or so.  Both were very nice and large.

Lu LOVED the springs.

Lu LOVED the springs.

After an hour or so, we packed up to meet up with the rest of our group and get settled in the cabin.  Will and I went for a run, and then we all went down to the river.  Which was the best part, really.  Of the whole weekend/this year so far (do I overstate?).

The river pools were so gorgeous because they could be adjusted by moving rocks.  Heat bubbles up from the sand beneath, and little rivulets of ice-fed water runs over the rocks.  I especially loved finding that sweet spot that was mostly warm but with a little stream of cool for relief.

Snack break.

Snack break.

Lily enjoyed the river, but I think she was just a bit out of sorts all weekend.  On both Friday and Saturday night, she woke up puking, and she’s been battling diarrhea for a week.  We went into the doctor on Thursday, but they recommended it just run its course…  Whatever “it” is.  We’re concerned “it” might be anything that contains or even grazes garlic.

Lu and Daddy (and Lily in the back).

Lu and Daddy (and Lily in the back).

So, that wasn’t pleasant, but really it wasn’t as nearly as bad as it could have been.  At least Lily wasn’t miserable.  She’d puke and then feel fine.  I just felt bad for Joshua.  Not really the way you want to spend the night before the big race.

So content :)

So content 🙂

So yeah.  Lu adored the pools.  I adored the pools.  Joshua liked them a lot (but generally doesn’t like getting too hot), and Lily liked them a lot too, but didn’t love them as much as I’d hoped she would.  I do think she had fun though.  Joshua thinks it was because there weren’t any other kids, and while I think that could certainly be true, I also hope that she kind of gets over it.  Sorry, girl.  Your parents just don’t have many friends with kiddos.  I’m trying, but it is what it is.  Our friends without kids are pretty amazing, and our friends with kids all live almost exactly half a continent away.  Se la vie.  I told Joshua that I think my childhood was somewhat similar.  Apart from my cousins, I was used to being the oldest or just hanging out with adults.  I’d love for more playmates for Lily, but I’m also hopeful that she can learn to enjoy the company of adults and younger kids, too.

Just bliss.  Me, the girls, the springs.

Just bliss. Me, the girls, the springs.

Lu, though.  Lu was just happy as a little river clam.  If that’s a thing.

Perfect

Perfect

On the day of the race, we went into town last and poked around the little shops.  Salida is a pretty darn cute mountain town, so I love that this is becoming an annual thing.  It’s our second year making a family trip out of it, and it’s Joshua’s third year running it.

Love this shot of Lily in Salida

Love this shot of Lily in Salida

Joshua had high hopes for his race this year.  He’s put in a lot more miles training for this race than he had in years before, but as fate would have it, the course was just a bit sloppier than usual.  (Some parts were even postholing?!)  Anyway.  He did PR on the course by about 3 minutes, even though the course was pretty rough, and he felt good afterwards, which is great.

Daddy finishes his marathon.

Daddy finishes his marathon.

Of the people in our cabin, three ran the 1/2 and Will and Joshua ran the full.  They all finished within about an hour of each other.  While we waited, we hung out by the river and watched super hard core ultramarathoners swagger about, reminiscing over building ice caves to escape hypothermia and those races where lightening threatened to pull them off the course indefinitely.

Throwing rocks in the river while we wait for daddy.

Throwing rocks in the river while we wait for daddy.

Lily vacillated between crabbiness and enjoyment.  I’m beginning to think this is what three is like.

Exploring shops in Salida

Exploring shops in Salida

#instagrambackground

#instagrambackground

Totally sacked

Totally sacked

Breakfast on the go:  "Let's go to Salida!"  (ps this photo kinda freaks me out bc she looks like a teenager).

Breakfast on the go: “Let’s go to Salida!” (ps this photo kinda freaks me out bc she looks like a teenager).

After the race, we had lunch at The Fritz and then we headed back to the cabin.  While Lily took a nap, I went out for a nice seven mile run in the valley, and afterwards, we went out to the pools.  For dinner, we had tacos, and then we turned in early.

This morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast, said goodbye to our cabin mates, and snuck in another little wallow in the river.  The sunshine was glorious, and we fantasized about making this a vacation staple.  Hey, guys!  Wanna go to the hot springs?


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8 mos/35 mos

Hello World!  The sun is shining, Stacy and Ellison* are in town, and this coming weekend we’re off to Salida!  Life is so good, especially now that February or as I like to call it, the longest shortest month of the year, is done.  There are many things I love about winter, but without some nicely groomed ski trails nearby, the cold and the ice can be a huge drag.  Especially with kiddos.  Plus, there’s something about those dark months of January and February after the bustle and cocoa of the holidays that’s just plain lonely.

But right now, we’re feeling great! Nothing like friends and a little Vitamin D to give you a whole new perspective.

So, in those 10 minutes when both of my daughters are sleeping, I thought I’d share a few brief updates:

Lu:  Eating more and more these days.  After a slow start (she really wasn’t interested until a couple of weeks ago), she’s now grabbing for my food, reaching to intercept spoons, and getting frustrated when she doesn’t get a little of what we’re having.  She’s had pureed tortellini with pesto, egg, purreed rice with kale and mushrooms, broccoli, potato, polenta with ragu, apple, carrot, and a bunch of other little nibbles of anything we’re eating.  She’s got a pretty strong gag reflex, so we’re trying to blend everything or give it to her in tiny grain-sized bites, but I’m looking forward to when I can just hand her an apple to gnaw on.

In terms of movement, she’s leaning over and grabbing things, scooting on her butt, and traversing quite a distance that way.  She’s pulled herself up onto her knees a few times, and she also has gotten onto her hands and knees and rocked, but no crawling yet.  She loves picking up small objects, and I like letting her do that while I watch because she’s so graceful and focused on coordinating her fingers.  Right now, she’s loving anything that’s paper, and I’m constantly removing choke-sized bits of paper from her fists, much to her dismay.  She also loves plastic bags, so I let her play with little sandwich sized ones sometimes.

In terms of interaction, she’s smiling so much these days, fooling people into thinking that she might want to be held by them 😉 She’s so easy going, but it’s rare that she’ll tolerate someone other than her mama holding her.  Joshua definitely has the most luck (though I’m afraid it doesn’t feel like it to him).  She also is giving snuggles that look and feel more and more like hugs, and the other day, she even played a little peekaboo with my scarf and then leaned her face into my chest every time I asked for a hug.

Lily:  Is potty trained!!!!  Hurrah!  Sure, it may have taken almost exactly a year, but when it really happened, it happened fast.  One day we were in diapers, and the next, we were only in diapers for nap and night.  We had two accidents in the first couple of days, and now, I’ll sometimes ask her if she needs to go, but usually, she just takes care of it herself or let’s me know when we’re out and about.  I’m so proud of her.  In the end, it took the push of me saying, “no more diapers” and her crying a little bit, but the transition was so quick that I think she really was completely ready.  I know there’s lots of kids out there that have been potty trained for ages and Lily’s might seem late, but it doesn’t diminish how proud I feel of this independent little girl.  You go Lily!

This past week, we had another rough patch.  Lily tried something new:  an insult.  I’d like to be that confident woman who is not even phased, but even after years as a middle school teacher, it still hurt, aaaaand as usual, my wounded response just made things worse.  God, I can be such a mope sometimes.  I texted Brittaney, and she was just great.  She’s so encouraging, and I come away from those exchanges feeling like this is normal! Keep on! Show her love and be firm!  It’ll be ok!  There’s nothing wrong with you or her!  And it’s that last one that really gives me the strength to go back and set the tone.  To show her that it’s not ok to treat others poorly, but even when she does, I’m not going away and I’m strong enough to be there through it all.

And then, like any other almost three year old, she can also be so sweet.  “I love you SOOO much, Ellison!”  Kissing my “lonely” cheek, and curling up on my lap for stories.  The other morning, I was at my wits end trying to get out the door, but once we were outside, she grabbed my hand (unsolicited) and announced cheekily, “Mama, I’m a monkey.  I’m a green monkey!”  (She had dressed herself from head to toe entirely in kelly green.)

I was asking my mom about myself as a little girl, curious about how Lily and I were similar or different.  I think our intensity and affinity for order and schedule are very similar.  (For example, whenever we move furniture, Lily breaks down in sobs.)  Although both my mom and dad say that I was a little more serious and quiet.  I do see some of myself in her in social situations where she’s clearly fascinated by watching other people and seeing them interact, but often too shy to go and join in.  And, like me, when she is comfortable with a group, she has no problem talking up a storm and being in the thick of it.

That’s all for now.  Spring is in the air, and even though I’m sure it will snow again, our little seedlings are coming up and the sun feels warm on our bare arms.  I feel like singing 🙂

*Yeah.  That’s my name.  Yeah.  That’s this little one’s middle name.


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10.7.14

 

Happy October!  We’re enjoying a warm streak this week with temperatures in the seventies and eighties, and it’s just gorgeous.  The leaves are changing, it’s just cool enough to wear long sleeves, and I’m dabbling in warm drinks.  Life is good, and I’m feeling particularly thankful for my little family and this wonderful time of year.  Lu is such a cuddle-bug, and Lily just told me she loves me to the moon and back when I put her down for nap, sooooo.   Yeah.  I’m one lucky duck.

Joshua took his eighth day of paternity leave yesterday and let me study up for my nutrition exam.  It’s been so nice to have a few three day weekends and little more time with him.  I sure am grateful for paternity leave.  The rest of the country should hurry up and see the wisdom in offering fathers time to take care of and enjoy their newborns.  It’s just so crazy to me how we don’t have better legal provisions for moms, dads, and babies.  For all of the conservative focus on the family pandering, I hear mum about making it more financially and professionally feasible for parents to take time off and usher their little ones into this world.  My heart just goes out to those moms who get no time or just a week to three weeks off, unpaid.  And for all those dads, too.  And babies!  Imagine being swaddled in amniotic fluid one week and then dropped off at a stranger’s the next!

On a completely separate note, you may have noticed a couple of name changes going on around here.  We’ve decided to slowly phase out our girls’ real names and bring in Lily for the eldest and Lu for the youngest.  I’m done going back and changing to Lu, but it’s going to take me a while to change everything to Lily.  Anyway, we decided to take a little more precaution with our girls’ internet footprint, so that’s why you’ll be hearing a lot more about Lily and Lu.

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One of the things I’m thankful for these days is being able to nurse.  It’s such a nice thing Lu and I share, and I know firsthand that it can be such a struggle for so many people.  Recently, I’ve encountered mommies who have been quite militant about nursing and other mommies who have talked openly about their struggles with nursing, using formula, and then successes nursing with their subsequent children.  Sometimes, I’m amazed at the self-righteous judgement people are willing to cast upon other parents.  So while I’m thankful for this gift I’ve been given, and I do like that nursing in public is becoming more and more acceptable, I’m also hopeful that we can be more open and loving to all of the wonderful ways in which babies are cared for and fed.

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Just a glimpse into my micro lab.  I kind of love it?!

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Just amazed by the changes in this little one’s face.  Two months (bottom) to three months (top).

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Lu!

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Soooo…  You know how lots of parents say, “you can be whatever you want to be.  You can be an artist!  An astronaut!  A ballerina!”

Yeah.  We’re trying something different.  We’re brainwashing Lily, and she’s going to be a scientist.  She can be an artist too, but I’m thinking I’ll just encourage her to be an artist or a poet or a writer – what have you – in her free time.  I will not be encouraging her to be a ballerina.  Anywho.  I’m sort of joking and sort of not.  It’s kind of like with my students.  I told them they were going to college.  Are there other valid life choices?  Of course.  But there’s something to be said for positive messaging and high expectations, you know?  A lot of people might assume that students from families with low incomes won’t go to college, so I thought it was important to have someone saying – rather adamantly – that they would.  In the same way, I had people telling me I could be whatever I wanted to be, but I don’t think I took them seriously because it was almost too abstract.  The narrative that girls didn’t make good mathematicians and scientists was less abstract.  Even though I felt confident that I was smart and I could go to college, I never ever considered being pre-med because I was “bad” at and didn’t “like” math and science.  Which is ridiculous really, because I never got anything less than an A in high school, and I think I didn’t “like” math and science because I couldn’t see myself as a mathematician or a scientist and the classes were harder for me.

So I’m telling Lily that she’d be a great scientist, and we’ll see where it goes.  Should she decide that she wants to be a teacher or a lawyer or a mechanic, I’ll get behind that, too 🙂

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More brainwashing, of course.

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I hope they are good friends someday.  For now, I’ll settle for Lily keeping her fingers out of Lu’s orifices.

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Oh, Lu.

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The pregnancy hair hasn’t vanished quite yet.  Maybe it will stay forever?

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Lily and I went on a walk around the neighborhood the other night.  It was a date, just the two of us.  When we got to the park, I asked Lily if she wanted to get down and play, but she said, “no mommy.  Lily, mommy walking.  Cuddle, talk.”

As you might surmise, I was more than ok with that.

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More mommy and Lily time on the front porch.  Love this girl.

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Is that….  A BABY in the laundry?!

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Cha-cha-cha-chocolate face!

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Mommy and Lily hiking at Guanella Pass.

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Friends that wear your baby are the best sort of friends 🙂 🙂  This morning was so great, you guys.  We got into the car at 645, got up to Guanella Pass by 8, and Joshua and Will ran together while Val, Lu, Lilly and I walked together.  It was gorgeous!  Afterwards, we had lunch and then Joshua, the girls and I walked around Georgetown.  It was a good day 🙂

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Cuddle bug!

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Fort building later that day!

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Miss Lu and me.

 

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It feels like such a win when you pull off a meal with zero groceries that actually tastes good 🙂

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I won’t go on with all the details, but I’ve been learning about fluids, etc in nutrition, and guys.  Drink up.  Seriously.

Lotsa Love,

E