2nd Half of May

2nd Half of May

Now for the 2nd half of May which heralded in the end of the school year! I had my last Fit Family Fun class. I had been really excited about doing the class when everything shut down because of COVID. I thought it would be really helpful to parents and fun for kids. It had some positive moments, but mostly it was me trying not to lose my temper with my own children on camera. I was not terribly sad that it came to an end. That same day I got a card in the mail from one of the ladies that comes to my virtual classes. My adult classes on the other hand, have been my lifeline. They’ve given me something to plan and do which has been good on days/weeks that I’ve felt adrift.

I dragged the kids to the school garden to mess with sprinklers and leave seeds and instructions so people could help plant. It was really hot that day. When we got home, the kids got creative and turned the wheelbarrow into a swimming pool.

Tuesday was “field day” for the kids. The PE teacher sent out a link to National Field Day and families were supposed to complete events on their own. I thought a lot of the events were kind of lame, but also get that they were trying to create events that nearly any kid could do anywhere (people without yards, people in apartments, etc). The kids fortunately thought the whole thing was just fun.

After all their events, they cooled down in the wheelbarrow.

I went to the school garden again to meet up with the principal. The garden has long had weird sprinkler problems and he volunteered to help me look at them and see if he could help. I don’t know how many principals would go fix sprinklers. He fixed one of the big problems which I was very grateful for.

During the final few days of school, I felt Ellen’s teacher did a really good job of trying to make things fun. She had the kids create a movie of their talents and a movie of them creatively reading a book. Every day, they had Zoom meetings where they would watch a few of the videos and talk about them. Ellen’s talent was “obstacle courses” and Noel and I had a bit of fun making the video. At the beginning of the year, Ellen’s teacher had every kid write down their goal for 2nd grade. Many kids wrote academic goals (read better, learn math, etc) Ellen’s goal was “climb to the top of the rope in gym.” She did accomplish that and as you can see in the video is getting pretty good at climbing the rope in our backyard (which is harder).

Noel and I bought trail running shoes that week. I have been a trailer runner for a few decades, but have always just stuck with road shoes because that’s what I knew. The last few months one of my feet has been bothering me. I’ve been doing a few things to help it heal (exercises/stretches, getting rid of a pair of cheap shoes I think contributed to the problem) and new shoes were on the list. We went to a local running store (with mask as required, of course) and bought these beauts. This was our first non-essential shopping trip. (They’re Topos for anyone wondering.) My feet liked them immediately. The toebox is so roomy which is great for hills.

Thursday afternoon was our assigned day/time to pick up the kids stuff from the school. It was very organized. We wore masks, put our last name on the dashboard, and stayed in our car while a staff member opened the trunk and took anything we needed to return and deposited a garbage bag full of the kids’ belongings. It was a kind of a sad exchange in a way, but I appreciated the school’s caution.

On the last day of school, each of the kids had a final class meeting. Then we just hung out until the afternoon when the teachers and staff did another drive by parade through the neighborhood.

I’m really glad they did the parade. It gave the day a more positive feeling of closure than the virtual meetings. We took our unconventional last day of school pictures as we waited for the parade.

We had a celebratory dinner that night and my favorite ice cream – burnt almond fudge. Then we camped in the backyard.

Saturday we took it easy playing games in the backyard and watching The Princess Bride.

Monday was Memorial Day. We weren’t very celebratory. I think we were all kind of bummed because we usually go somewhere for Memorial Day. We worked on a few house projects like replacing the stair treads leading down to the basement.

We had a barbecue that evening and Cooper made homemade lemonade. When life gives you children, have them make you lemonade 😉

Cooper had been bugging me for days to buy a lego set with some birthday money. We were really trying to have him think about whether that was something he should actually use his money for. He was determined and wrote up this list of the reasons he wanted the lego set.

The next day, we enjoyed lounging and not having school work to do. I made dinner for the missionaries and Noel dropped it off like a bandit from the wild west.

That evening, we went on a hike on the mesa. We’ve been trying to go at off hours to avoid crowds. You also catch some gorgeous sunsets this way. The kids often drag their feet about going, but then have a blast. We’re all happier when we can go on outdoor adventures.

No pictures for this, but the next day we received word from the BLM (Bureau of Land Management, not Black Lives Matter – anyone else get confused by those acronyms sometimes?) that we would be allowed to use our permit for a river trip the next week. We’d scored a permit for a river trip on the San Juan River earlier in the year, but with COVID-19 we expected it to be cancelled. All trips up until that week had been cancelled. We had exactly a week to figure out all the details to make the trip happen. I was both excited and super nervous. We had stayed at home and social distanced for three months, so leaving the house to travel to another state and meet up with family members was a big deal.

Kids playing cards.

Now that the trip was on, the next several days were spent planning. I had to prerecord two exercises classes for the days I would be gone. (When we actually physically went to work I would have had to find a sub.) We also needed to rent a raft, figure out meals, where to stay, etc, etc. The kids kind of took care of themselves.

On Friday, a blow up pool I’d ordered arrived. All the local stores had sold out and I’m sure the price had been ratcheted up on this one, but we were going to need more than the wheelbarrow to get through a summer when the pools probably wouldn’t be open. (And even if they were, would we want to go?) The kids were super excited.

That night, Noel and I did a google meet date with two of our really good friends. My friend is usually a worrier and she was worrying less about Coronavirus than me, which made me think I needed to chill a bit, ha, ha. One of the things I was worried about with the trip was obviously whether it was reckless, but I was also worried that people would judge us and think we were reckless. Our friends were really positive about our trip and told us to have fun. I really respect them and felt a little better about our upcoming trip.

Saturday we went on a run. Usually the world is pretty quiet early on Saturdays, but we ran into SO many people. For the record, it is hard to run up hill and cover your mouth. Crossing that location off our list for now. We worked on some house projects we wanted to get done before leaving town. The big one was the sprinklers. A year or so ago, one of the sprinkler zones stopped working. We’d looked at fixing it a few times and realized the box probably just needed to be replaced. The system was pretty old. The controller box had pins that you put into holes and was triggered by turning gears. The box itself had a broken valve and some weird things with the electricity. We’d been chipping away at the project for weeks and thought we’d fixed it, but then one of the connections broke and leaked into the box. I think we finally fixed the whole thing that day.

We also finished replacing all the stair treads. As we worked on our projects my mind was preoccupied thinking about the protests that were happening sparked by George Floyd’s death. My heart felt heavy about all of it. One of my really good friends from high school has two adoptive black children. Generally this time of year, she comes to Denver for a transracial adoption camp and stays with us. She is so passionate about making a better world for her kids. I’ve never been a racist person, but she’s opened my eyes to some of the things I didn’t see regarding my privilege or how white-centric some of the things in my life were. I don’t understand the hate some people have in their hearts. I do understand why it’s important to acknowledge black lives matter. I don’t have answers or anything inspirational to say. I’m trying to diversify the voices I listen to/read and have conversations with my children, but I feel like that’s so small. Mostly, my heart just feels heavy on the subject.

Sacrament table on our new cooler.

The next day was Sunday. Another fine lesson and another uplifting discussion over Google Meet with some people from church. During these crazy times, Sundays are still a respite for me. That was the last day of May, I’ll leave you with some fun pictures of the kids in the backyard.

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