October 2019

October 2019

The first Friday in October was a busy day.

The Healthy Schools committee (which I co-chair) was doing a big blacktop makeover project. We’d learned the year before, that the district has giant stencils you can check out to paint games and obstacle courses onto blacktop. We’d planned to do the makeover last spring, but then learned they would be repaving most of the blacktop over the summer. Several meetings and projects went into making this day happen. I took the day off work (just cancelled a few clients) since I was overseeing the project. We had a local business volunteer a bunch of their employees and their time and we also had several of our committee parents come help. The weather was really nice and we were able to get everything done we’d hoped to do by the end of our day. It was invigorating to see something materialize after so much talking and planning. The whole space looked so much brighter and more inviting.

My co-chair and friend, Allison, applied for a grant for recess equipment and ordered fun equipment including a bunch of frisbees and two disc golf targets. While all the painting was happening, we were also trying to get pictures of the kids playing with the new equipment. The kids were so excited to have new things to play with and also really curious about what we were working on.

In the afternoon, the students had an assembly. The Social Emotional Specialist, who Allison and I work with on the Healthy Schools committee kept telling us we needed to go to the assembly. The school is doing this program called “The Energy Bus.” It’s all about taking responsibility for your actions and emotions. Cooper was nominated by his teacher for a “You’re the Driver” award which meant he’d been exhibiting good behavior at school.

We were headed out of town in the evening for a weekend getaway, but hadn’t had time during the week to buy groceries for it. I wrapped up at the school around 4:30 and Noel wrapped up at work around the same time. We decided to grocery shop and eat dinner at home, then hit the road. This way we would probably miss traffic and even if we didn’t, we’d be less ornery because we’d at least be fed. The plan worked. Our getaway was in Winter Park. We’d camped with our friends the Lewises the week before to see fall colors and were a little disappointed because the colors were only 1/2 changed. After returning home we pretty much immediately made plans to go “leaf peeping” again the next weekend. The first weekend in October was our church’s General Conference which meant we didn’t have to physically go to church, making it an excellent time to leave town.

We stayed in a hotel this time and went on a hike our first morning. It was pretty chilly which made the children a bit whiny, but we all persevered. We hiked to a waterfall. The kids were starting to perk up as we neared our turn around point and then during a creek crossing, Cooper slipped on a frozen tree limb and plunged a foot, hand and portions of his limbs into the cold water. So, it wasn’t the most enjoyable hike ever, but the colors were pretty.

It was really nice that we had a warm room to go to and take warm showers and change into dry clothes. While we were there, we listened to some of the broadcast of General Conference and then went swimming. We listened to some more conference later, got dinner, and then had a family movie night where we watched Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse. We’d put off seeing it because Noel and I both thought it looked kind of dumb, and really how many spider-man movies can you make, but it was really good and funny.

The next day was Sunday. We checked out of our hotel and listened to another session of conference as we drove around taking in more fall colors.

Cooper’s class had a “Six Word Memoir Celebration” at school where they got to share some of the writing they’ve been working on.

Ellen’s hope and dream for 2nd grade is to climb to the top of the rope in gym. For comparison, other kids had put things like “learn multiplication” or “learn to read better.”

That week we also had parent teacher conferences and I helped first grade harvest EVERYTHING in the garden because we were going to get our first freeze of the season.

That Friday was another busy day. I helped the first graders with their final market. This involved lots of hauling of things – mostly tables, produce, and LOTS of pumpkins. Luckily, I had a good crew of parents helping me. I was also paid for my service in free tomatoes and pumpkins. That night, Noel and I had a date! We went to dinner at to the Banff Film Festival. This is the second year we’ve gone and it’s always fun and inspiring.

A trunk full of leftover produce.

That weekend, we had tickets through the library to go to the Colorado Railroad museum. Ellen brought her friend, Molly. Cooper kept bringing up that it had been a long time since we’d been to the train museum. (He’s kind of passive aggressive about asking for things he wants.) The kids had a blast and I think it was actually helpful that Ellen had a friend. Also, it was National Breakfast burrito day and we of course celebrated.

Below is a pic from one of our Sunday lessons. We were talking about the armor of God and created our own armor as we talked about the scriptures.

The next week we worked, went to school, scouts, taekwondo, grocery shopped on the bike, etc. On Friday, some friends helped me animal proof the shed at the school so critters can’t live under it. The help was SO very appreciated. A skunk had been repeatedly spraying in the garden and everyone loved to complain about it, but few people were willing to actually do anything helpful. I helped this couple start the project and then ran to work, by the time I cam back 90 minutes later they were almost done. The garden has smelled better since.

Ellen ready for church. Her outfits are always a negotiation.

The next week we had more of the usual, except the kids didn’t have school Friday or the following Monday. Noel and I had wanted to go to the desert, but there were two Halloween parties that weekend and the kids really didn’t want to miss them. So we stayed and installed a new patio door (really mostly watched some friends from church do it) and went to Halloween parties. The seal on our old patio door broke years ago and the glass was foggy. We put off ordering a new door for a long time and when we did order one we had a whole fiasco with Home Depot that was a month long saga that ended in us cancelling the order. We found the door we wanted at Lowe’s and a friend with a truck kindly helped us get it to our house, then another friend and his son helped us install it.

It began to snow over the weekend (for the 3rd time in October) and continued for a few days as we were “walloped by a winter storm” (NOAA’s words, not mine). The kids didn’t have school on Monday either (it was a teacher development day). I brought them to work with me and they swam for two hours while I worked. Ellen is finally tall enough to go down the slide by herself and she was so excited. I’m pretty sure she went down 20 times in a row.

The weather was pretty crummy the next few days as well. I had clients cancelling and school even had a late start one day. We tried to stay busy indoors carving pumpkins and baking.

It had stopped snowing by Halloween and the temperature even got above freezing. The kids had a blast at their school parties. That night we trick-or-treated in the neighborhood with one of Ellen’s good friends. No one slipped on ice (though there were a few close calls) and everyone got plenty of candy.

It snowed way more than I would have liked in October, but on the positive side we accomplished a lot (personally and at the school) thanks to lots of helping hands. I can’t control the weather (despite REALLY wanting to), but I can choose to surround myself with great people and we know some really good ones.

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