When we got back from our Spring Break, Ellen had a fun package in the mail from Grandpa Wayne. This is basically her spirit animal.
It was April Fool’s Day. We aren’t pranksters, so April Fools isn’t really our thing, but the kids were really excited about it this year. Someone posted about how they were doing a coded dinner where everything on the menu represents a food dish or utensil. I googled it and found these guidelines and made a Harry Potter menu. The kids loved watching Noel lick ice cream off his “place mat” (I put down silpat mats to protect the table). It was a silly way to celebrate.
Noel and I went back to work the next day. One of my clients cancelled and I had an extra couple of hours so I swung by a new local donut shop. Super fancy (a bit pricey), but delicious.
That weekend, we took our kayaks out on a lake at Chatfield Reservoir. It was such a lovely, warm day. No wind. Perfect kayaking weather.
The next day was Easter. The kids are getting bigger, but they still wanted us to hide all their eggs. We also listened to General Conference. Keeping my faith has been a little difficult this last year with all the political stuff going on. Regular people in my faith often make me question whether I’m in the right place, but when I hear my church’s leaders speak those doubts mostly wash away.
The next day, we were all pretty bummed about returning to the sameness of our work/school life. We decided we needed something to look forward to that evening and had a fire and made s’mores. I’ve never been a huge fan of s’mores. I just didn’t like putting a gloriously toasted mallow on top of a cold, hard piece of chocolate. It just seemed wrong. While backpacking, Noel and I were talking about this and inspiration hit: Nutella. It’s creamy, delicious, and doesn’t require any melting. I am sold. I don’t think I can do s’mores any other way.
We made it through the next week with a few highlights.
The weekend was a busy one. Ellen had another play date with a good friend (and her dog). We went back to church for the first time in months. (Noel and I had partial immunity at this point.) It was a little hard for my anxiety level to be back and see people not distancing well, but people were smart enough to give me space – ha, ha. We revived our family Sunday hikes which also felt good.
The weather took a turn after the beautiful Easter, but we kept busy. We got together with some good friends from church and let the kids ride bikes and play in cattails to their heart’s content. I was asked to participate in a career fair for the youth at my church. No one was really interested in going into my field, but had a lot of questions to ask me about their personal goals – ha, ha. We did mother/son and father/daughter dates. Noel and Ellen played games in the basement, while Cooper and I made pistachio ice cream upstairs.
The crummy weather continued into the weekend. Noel and I went on a snowy/muddy run. Cooper worked on a science fair project. The mom in charge of the science fair took the whole thing virtual this year. I appreciated that she still made it possible. Noel and I also got our second COVID shot! Getting the vaccine has been such a relief for me. It helps me to basically function at a regular person’s anxiety level. Noel and I both had mild reactions to the second dose – mostly just tired and a low fever. Totally worth it to me and it magically disappeared after 24 hours. I went and taught an exercise class the next morning and saw a client. I wasn’t disappointed though when my next two clients cancelled due to the weather.
The crummy weather persisted through the week. We celebrated Earth Day, tried another new donut shop in Golden. (We went from having no donut shops to two!) We also learned that Cooper had won the “Techy award” from the science fair. He tested different types of glasses to see how much sunlight they kept out using an app on Noel’s phone. He also made some pretty nifty charts and spreadsheets with the data. (He has inherited Noel’s tech savviness.)
Over the weekend, Noel and I went on a long run on bike paths since the whole world was a mud fest. We brought the kids along to ride their bikes. They totally schooled us. Afterwards, Noel and I were starved and we got takeout. The kids also did an experiment with solar paper (thanks to Noel’s work).
Ellen loves milk. We have to limit how much she drinks and joke sometimes that she was never weaned. When we discovered our milk company was having a poetry contest it seemed like the perfect thing for her to work on. Her poem didn’t win one of the cash prizes, but she did get some free chocolate milk that she was pretty excited about. Here’s her poem
Milk Powered Ellen
Milk is my favorite
I jump and say hooray
I feel like I can fly
when I am on the swings
love the feeling of my hair flying behind me
Flying makes me feel happy
nobody can take that away from me
The rest of the week was filled with work, school, etc.
The last weekend, we went on a mini backpacking trip. This was at one of the local Open Space parks and was only a 1/2 mile hike to our campsite. We all loved how easy it was. In the morning, Noel and I went for a trail run and then we all went on a little hike. It was so good to be in the woods, but not have it be a really hard trip (other than that trail run). Our souls really needed that. If you can’t tell, nature + exercise is our best defense against anxiety and depression (I’m more prone to the former and Noel to the latter).