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Summer Tidbits

Summer Tidbits

School started and summer is officially over. Here is a dumping of photos from our adventures that didn’t make their own blog post.

Second First Day of Preschool

Second First Day of Preschool

I think preschool is really the only “grade” you don’t have to be embarrassed about doing more than once.  If anything, attending multiple years is bragworthy amongst the parents which makes for amusing chit-chat during pick-up and drop-off.

This year Cooper is at a new school, the one within walking distance of our house. It’s definitely a different crowd from last year as we’ve swapped parents smoking in their cars for parents that camped out overnight to get their kids registered. (I wish I was joking about this. For the record, I was able to just waltz in prior to open registration since Cooper was a transfer student. There are very few things I’m willing to wait in line overnight for.)

Cooper practically sprinted to preschool this morning, but then was his usual tentative self when we arrived.  Ellen was really sad to say goodbye to Cooper the preschool and burst into tears when we left. She wants to be a big kid so badly. Cooper gets to attend school for free due to his ASD, but I’m afraid we might need to save up or start a joy school so she can go to preschool next year. I won’t allow myself to dream about all the marvelous things I could do if they were both gone for a few hours.

After we picked Cooper up we met up with some friends to check out a new splash pad.

The kids weren’t actually interested in the water until I told them it was time to go, of course.

Hard life

On the way home both of the kids passed out. Apparently being a preschooler is exhausting.

Summer Lovin’

Summer Lovin’

Apparently, summer is over. I’m still not sure how that happened. Three months ago when preschool ended I made a master list of things I wanted to do. I even divided it into categories and made a master schedule for what days of the week I would attack different types of goals. Then I never looked at it until yesterday. Instead of feeling bummed that I didn’t successfully micromanage our summer, I’m doing a recap of the fun things we did do (and even without careful scheduling we did manage to do a few of the things on my list).

In addition to meeting our new cousin/nephew, camping, and hosting visitors we’ve also gone to weekly summer clubhouse movies,

had weekly park days with friends,

Park Day

attended art playdates hosted by my talented friend,

Art Playdate

splashed in the pool in the backyard,

Yard Poolvisited The Splash (Cooper is a water slide addict!),

The Splash enjoyed lots of rain (it has been such a mild summer here),

Rainjust chilled in the backyard,


considered starting a nudist colony repeatedly found Ellen wandering around in all sorts of outfits,  some more preferable to others,


Puddle jumpingVisited the Botanic Gardens with our friends Russell and Jessica,

Wading Climbingfound a few geocaches (the kids love it since it’s like treasure hunting),

Geocachingeaten ice cream,

Ice creamfinally taken a ride on the 1¢ horse at the grocery store, 

all over town Ride the horsey indulged in donuts after our last summer speech session,

donuts! and found Ellen sleeping all sorts of places since she fights naps, but still needs them now and again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOverall, I’d say summer wasn’t too shabby. Only a whole school year before we get another shot at it.

A Brief Camera History

A Brief Camera History

Noel and I don’t really have a great history with cameras. While we were dating, Noel ruined his camera when he left it in the pocket of his swim shorts and my camera decided to create abstract pictures instead of capturing reality. When we got married, we took a new camera with us on our honeymoon and left it on the roof of our car when we were leaving a trailhead parking lot at Bryce Canyon. That made for a fun first quarrel as newlyweds as we searched under people’s cars and bushwhacked weeds on the side of the road when we retraced our steps 30 minutes later. We never found the camera and no one returned it to the Visitor’s Center. (I just hope those awesome photos of “Just Married” written in red dirt on the back of the Honda are making someone feel very guilty.) After that, we were very careful to not leave cameras on top of the car (although computers are another story). Obsessively checking our roof didn’t keep someone from stealing our new camera out of our car though. The police of course never recovered it and we bought yet another. At that point we pretty much guarded camera #5 with our life (and still use it to this day). However, even though we had a trusty camera we discovered we aren’t actually very good at taking pictures.

Yesterday, was Ellen’s first Fourth of July and we didn’t take a single picture. Both of the kids were even decked out in cute patriotic outfits. We also had friends over that we hadn’t seen since we moved to Colorado. Somehow Cooper happily playing with their two cute little girls didn’t get us thinking about capturing the moment. So, our apologies, but there won’t be any cute Fourth of July photos this year. You’ll just have to take our word that the kids were cute, the company was hilarious, and we all had a great time even though all the fireworks shows were cancelled. We’ll try to do better at photo documentation. If we remember.

Utah Trip

Utah Trip

We found a killer deal on flights to Utah and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit family. I’m not very good at photo documentation (maybe you’ve noticed), but here are a few pics for your viewing pleasure. Among the undocumented adventures: a riveting high school cross-country meet, guest appearance in a high school English classroom, windy picnic with my good friend Emily, nostalgic visit to USU’s campus, and a free John Schmidt concert that was part of the Peach Days’ festivities.

Adventures in Babysitting

Adventures in Babysitting

Since moving, we’ve made friends with a handful of families with young kids. We’ve been able to be more social with park dates and family friendly parties, but best of all we’ve been able to swap kids and go on dates. We went on a date two weeks ago, so last weekend was our turn to babysit. Having two kids around definitely kept me on my toes more, but it was nice to have someone else for Cooper to follow around 🙂

Can you tell they're both really good at sharing?
Cooper sharing snacks (which he may have stolen from Ava previously)
Cooper and Ava exploring the yard together.
Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion

Last week Cooper and I went to the Butterfly Pavilion with our new friends Tiffany and Ava.

Cooper is getting to be much more fun to take places since he is taking more interest in his surroundings.

Even though the kids seemed to think the butterflies were fun, I think their favorite part was the indoor climbing park. (And I enjoyed it because it was air conditioned. Apparently butterflies like it hot and humid.)



Perhaps We Shall Permanently Go On Vacation

Perhaps We Shall Permanently Go On Vacation

We met up in the heartland (AKA Vernal, UT) with a couple of Noel’s high school buddies over the weekend. Despite a long car ride and weather that wasn’t the most hospitable for the night we camped, we had a really good time. Cooper slept better than he does at home both nights, which was extremely nice, albeit a tad bit perplexing.  We’re considering setting up our tent in the backyard with the pack-n-play as Cooper’s new permanent bedroom.

The boys were in heaven since Noel got plenty of nerd talk in with Brady and Devin and Cooper got to play with little boys his age. It was also good for me to be able to spend time around other young moms as I got to know Elisa and Becky.  I of course don’t have any pictures of the Caldwells  or all the little kids playing together, but we’ll just have to blame that on the insane amounts of fun we were having. The trip was shorter than we would have liked, but great times were had by all (or at least us).

Small World, Big Zoo

Small World, Big Zoo

When we first moved to Colorado we felt as if we were moving to a far away land where no one we’d ever known had gone before. We felt brave and adventurous, as well as a little lonely. As we’ve gone about our lives the past 5 months we’ve ran into a couple of people from our former life. These encounters always start the “It’s a small world” song looping annoyingly in my brain, but ultimately the experiences are a comforting reminder that we’re not alone. So far we’ve transported a bookcase for my Dad’s cousin, ran into some USU acquaintances at a Halloween party, had dinner with some wonderful church friends from Logan that now live in Boulder, and most recently met up with one of my friends from my single college days who is temporarily living in Fort Collins.

Saturday was a free day at the Denver Zoo, so we met up with Aubrey, Mike, and their little girl Madi. The zoo was packed even though it was pretty chilly. We overheard one mom herding her kids through the crowd saying, “Maybe we should just come back on a day we have to pay!” Generally I would concur, but all the free events we’ve attended have been perfect for our situation of having such a young child. I love that we can kind of get a taste of what’s available in Denver and not feel like we wasted our money when we have to make a hasty exit after only an hour or so. Plus, we can decide what we actually want to take Cooper to see when he’s a little older.

Madi and Cooper all bundled up and watching the birds.

We really enjoyed catching up with Aubrey and Mike.  Madi was so cute and friendly, but we realized that Cooper doesn’t spend enough time around kids his own age.

Madi really wanted to play, but Cooper wasn't so sure.

We’ll have to try and find him some friends. We wouldn’t mind if he stays that afraid of girls for the next 21 years though. (Aubrey and Mike posted a pretty funny movie of Cooper’s reaction for those interested.)

Looking Back

Looking Back

One of my professors once told us, “You know you’ve written something good when you read through it and it makes you cry.” While this might be a good measure for callous scholars, I’m not sure it’s a good check for a young mom who has oxytocin swimming around her bloodstream. I cry when certain songs come on the radio and when I can wrestle into my fitted pre-pregnancy clothes. So, here are some thoughts whether well penned or not, just humor me.

Monday was the first day of school here. It was also the first time in 19 years that I wasn’t donning a backpack and spending too much time picking out my outfit. Instead I watered the lawn and made the bed before doing aerobics in a church gym with other moms who all have at least one kid over the age of 10. As I did bicep curls using my fussy baby as a weight I couldn’t help but ask myself, “How did I get here?” Yet, in some ways it’s hard to imagine life ever being different.

At this time last year I wasn’t even pregnant. I’d just finished putting together an International conference for engineers and was trying to come up with ways to make The Scarlet Letter interesting to 17-year-olds. I taught aerobics every week day and dressed professionally 5 out of 7. I was arguably in the best shape of my life.  Life was a lot different then. Or was it?

As much as I sometimes try and chunk my life into eras, it’s fluid. I never end anything and then leave it behind, I just add to it. Events and people are all merging and helping me evolve. It’s amazing to think that once a memory has been lived it never goes away, even if you aren’t conscious of it, it’s always waiting with the ability to surface. While that ability to remember can be painful or traumatic in some cases, overall I find it comforting. Sometimes when I look at old pictures I wonder where that crazy dancing girl from my single days disappeared to, but then she makes an unexpected reappearance at a get together and I can’t help but smile. We’ve said a lot of goodbyes and “ended a lot of chapters” lately and though I’m glad to live in the present, it’s reassuring that in some way I get to bring a part of the past along with me. Here’s to everyone that’s donated a little part of themselves to me over the years.

Note: If you weren’t pictured above that doesn’t mean you haven’t made an impact. For example, I tried really hard to find a digital picture of me with any of my grandparents, but I guess I just don’t have one. I’m not always good at taking pictures.