April was a jam-packed, roller coaster of a month. Here are the highlights.
Noel was in Chicago the first week of April for a conference.
I survived as a single parent and we both stayed on top of our running schedules.
That weekend was our church’s semi-annual General Conference. Before the broadcast started, Noel and I fit in a 12 mile run. The highlight was running into a pack of young coyotes.
That afternoon we had a lunch picnic in the backyard in between conference sessions. (When I was uploading pictures for this post Noel saw this picture and said, “Oh we must have had a picnic on one of the three nice days in April.)
At that point, the weather was making us feel like spring was coming. We got a few more good days in, but then it snowed. The snow was bad for morale. We’d thought about doing a sugar detox, but it lasted exactly two days. We just weren’t emotionally ready for it between the weather and all the running.
Our running schedule got thrown off that week because Noel had a sudden case of vertigo one day. We went to get up to run one morning and he almost fell over on his way to the bathroom. Instead of taking a day off for our long run that week, he took a day off to make the world stop spinning. That weekend we had to hire a babysitter so we could go on our long run.
Our long run that week was 22 miles. We strung together a combination of trails and paved paths around town. It was not my greatest run. The weather was crappy and I thought I was doing a great job of hydrating because I was taking frequent sips from my camelbak. Really, I was hardly drinking anything though (I would discover this when we got home and I looked at my almost full water bladder) and I really started to struggle around mile 15 probably due to dehydration. Noel pulled me along though and we finished the run.
I did some good hydrating afterward and started to feel less dead. I posted this on Instagram, but while I was stretching I heard Ellen messing with something in the kitchen. I asked what she was doing and she told me she was going to get a cookie, but realized there were only two left and decided to leave them for Noel and I since we’d run so far. Later, I told her that was really kind and she said, “I know. I was just amazed by you.”
That next week we were hustling to get science fair experiments done in between everything else going on. The kids stayed up way past their bedtime Tuesday evening finishing their experiment displays for the Science Fair. I was exhausted by the time I fell into bed, but didn’t sleep as well as I’d hoped. A little after midnight my phone rang. I was kind of disoriented and thought it was my alarm and first, but jolted awake when I realized it was my phone. I have a do-not-disturb alarm on my phone that doesn’t let calls through from 10:30am – 6am. The only way for calls to get through is if the caller calls more than once so I figured it must be someone having an emergency. I tumbled out of bed and took the phone with me into the bathroom. I was finally alert enough to read the caller ID and see that it was the school district message number. I had gotten several calls from the number earlier in the day so I guess my phone decided the call must have been important enough to let it ring. That day, several schools in the district had been on lock-down due to the FBI notifying the district that a young lady obsessed with Columbine was in the area. I had received several phone calls and emails from the district about it and while it was disturbing, I felt confident the authorities had it under control. The middle of the night call was letting me know that school was cancelled the next day due to an “ongoing safety concern.” I know part of it was the being woken in the middle of the night, but suddenly everything felt less safe and the sleep I got until my 5:15 alarm was pretty restless.
Wednesdays are my busiest work day, and this Wednesday was especially busy because I was doing a presentation at the monthly city employee “Lunch and Learn.” Having school be cancelled because of the potential of a school shooting was terribly inconvenient in addition to being emotional. All I wanted to do was stay home and snuggle my kids, but I had classes to teach, clients to train, and a presentation to give on re-energizing and refocusing in the workplace. Even though it was crazy busy, I felt the need to be as present as I could given the circumstances. It’s a little heartbreaking to have a conversation with your kids where you have to explain to them that school is cancelled because there’s a lady whose mind is sick and she might hurt kids, but Noel and I have always believed honesty is the best policy. (And maybe even more heartbreaking to explain suicide to them which we had the pleasure of doing later that day. Smarter gun laws and better mental health care anyone?) The kids accompanied me to one of my classes, a neighbor/friend kindly offered to watch the kids while I did my presentation for the city, and Noel came home from work early so I could teach my evening class and train a few clients. In between, we got ice cream cones at 10am and read lots of books. Some days your priorities are different.
The next day school resumed. To help everyone feel safe, schools had increased security. When I dropped the kids off at school there was a sheriff standing in front of the building. After school, they usually have two teachers on playground duty, but that day they had EVERY staff member outside. Honestly, all the increased security was almost more unsettling for me. It just felt weird. That day, Ellen had a field trip and I got to go along as a chaperone. The kids I had were exhausting. One of them kept running away, literally. Still, we had fun and saw a lot because of how quickly we got around.
That evening, was the science fair. This is the first year the kids have entered the science fair. Cooper did an experiment where we tested what type of sugar (white, brown, honey, corn syrup) grows the best crystals and Ellen tested which acid (vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid) makes the best volcano. In case you were wondering, white sugar made the best crystals and citric acid made the best volcanoes.
Friday, I led a planting of cool weather veggies with the first graders. They’re so enthusiastic, but lack a certain amount of caution. I’m pretty sure they planted 1,000 carrot seeds across three garden boxes. That night, Noel and I got away to go to dinner and visit one of our church’s temples. It was a nice way to bring perspective to a crazy week.
That Saturday we had our first enjoyable run in a long time. The trails were dry and we witnessed the most gorgeous sunrise. It was nice to enjoy running again.
The afternoon continued to be nice so we did some gardening and the kids did some sunbathing with a neighbor friend.
Easter was the next day so we did some egg dying in preparation.
On Easter morning we did an egg hunt in the backyard and then got ready for church.
Ellen let me do her hair special for Easter. I also negotiated to get her to wear a floral dress. She is very picky about the way things feel and comfort is her top priority. Last year, I made the mistake of making her an Easter dress, but she hated wearing it and the dress was just a huge source of contention. I learned my lesson. At church, the kids sang a beautiful medley of Easter songs and the speakers were thoughtful in their messages.
After church, I found Ellen watching church videos on her tablet and taking notes. She was trying to spell big words like commandments and baptism. She’s a deep thinker sometimes.
We’d been studying Holy Week in the week coming up to Easter. We hadn’t been 100% on hitting every day, so we caught up and then had a delightful ham and potato casserole dinner. Then, we ended the day with triple coconut cream pie.
The school week was another jam-packed week. In the middle of it, Ellen’s class had another writing celebration. Noel couldn’t make it, but Cooper was able to drop in which made Ellen happy. She shared the book she wrote about her favorite things about summer.
The kids have been doing an after school run club. Ellen tends to be more social than Cooper and typically doesn’t run as much as him due to hanging out with friends. One of the days this week I picked her up and the running coach seemed kind of annoyed. I guess Ellen and some friends were more interested in picking flowers that day than running. I was amused, but did have a talk about how if she wanted to reach her goal of running a half marathon over the course of the club she needed to be a bit more serious. We also did the math on how many laps she needed to do at each practice which really helped her.
Noel took that Thursday off work so we could run 25 miles. We ironically started from the “Big Easy” Trailhead.
The next trailhead we passed seemed more appropriate though – Mayhem Gulch. I read that ultra running is really just “an eating and drinking competition that takes place while running.” That aspect has been difficult for me to master as I find it difficult to eat while working out. But because you’re running so long it’s absolutely crucial. I really made an effort to eat something every 30 minutes and drink often and it made a huge difference in my energy level. Still, that doesn’t mean it was easy-breezy.
We rushed to grab some food and pick the kids up from school. After showers we crawled into bed and napped. Noel had a Dr. Pepper with his burger and I really didn’t think he would sleep, but he did. He joked that all the caffeine did was keep his heart pumping.
We emerged from our bedroom to check on the kids. Noel’s work sent out a text telling employees not to use one of the campus exits because there was a multiple car accident on the interstate. We wandered out to the backyard and could see a giant column of smoke. It was a really bad accident and we made national news, again for the 2nd time in two weeks. They closed that section of the interstate for 2 days for investigation and re pavement.
That weekend, we installed our new washer and dryer. We inherited a washer and dryer with the house. We’re not sure how long the previous owners had them, but they served us well for 8 years until the dryer started sounding like a steam locomotor. The kids were fascinated that you could see the laundry inside.
These two pictures do a good job of summing up April. Spring is cruel in Colorado, you just never know what kind of weather you’re going to get.