A quick catch-up for posterity, family, or whoever takes the time to read this post.
In October, we went on a San Juan river trip. A college friend invited us and it matched up perfectly with our fall break. We rafted the San Juan before and really enjoyed it. This trip had 7 kids, 5 parents, and 3 grandparents. Ellen in particular was in heaven having so many playmates. We floated, ate good food, hiked to ruins, laughed around the campfire, and just enjoyed being outdoors.
As fall wound down, Cooper finished his cross-country season. He really made improvements in both speed and endurance. We hiked and enjoyed Colorado’s beautiful fall colors.
For Halloween, Ellen and her friends all dressed up as cats. Cooper dressed up as Captain America. They’re all getting older and I don’t think we have many more years of trick or treating left. I dressed up as an 80s aerobics instructor and had a lot of fun at work.
In November, the kids were finally able to get vaccinated! It was a very exciting day for us. We took them to a teens and tots clinic a few days after the vaccine was authorized for emergency use. The volunteers and staff really tried to make it a good experience. The kids got swag and treats and were cheered on for helping their community as they left the building. When I made the appointment for them, I literally broke down sobbing with relief. The pandemic has been rough for everyone, but it’s been really rough for parents. I have had so much anxiety and had so much doubt about whether the choices we’ve made the last two years are the right ones. The vaccines felt like a really good step towards finding normal.
We went to Austin, Texas for Thanksgiving to spend the week with Noel’s sister Danielle. We drove, which was long and mostly boring. We tried to break it up with stops at Capulin Volcano and Cadillac Ranch.
In Austin, Danielle showed us all the best sites and fed us all the best food. The kids really enjoyed the horseback riding adventure we went on. We saw all the trendy murals, kayaked Zilker lake, ate barbecue, and saw the sites in San Antonio.
On the way home, we stopped in Carslbad and Roswell, NM. Carlsbad Caverns was pretty awesome. The cavern was HUGE! I still can’t get over how big it was. All the stalagmite and stalactite formations were cool. Roswell was so quirky. We went to the alien museum and almost became believers, almost . . . It was also my birthday and when we got home Noel made sure we celebrated me.
In December, the kids got their 2nd dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. We did a short get-away to Estes Park for Noel’s birthday. The weather was fairly awful, so we didn’t spend a lot of time exploring. We tried to go on a winter hike and it was super windy and cold so we didn’t last long. But our vacation rental had a hot tub and fireplace that we made good use of. It was nice to chill. We also met up with some of Noel’s extended family to celebrate his cousin’s daughter’s birthday. It was really good to get together with people.
We spent Christmas in Colorado. We did our traditional tour of Golden’s lights and got matching sweatsuits on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, we took rapid COVID tests because some people from the fun family get together had tested positive. We were fortunately negative. Ellen was really excited about her squishamallow and Cooper was really excited to get some video game controllers that made it so we could play Mario Kart. We also went on a lovely hike to Golden Gate Canyon. Up to that point we’d hardly had any snow, so it was very much a hike.
For New Years, we stayed in. I’m not an evening person so staying up till midnight is a challenge. We made it though with the help of yummy appetizers, a movie, and a challenging puzzle. 2021 was a year I wouldn’t like to repeat, but at the end of it we really were feeling hopeful that life might be close to getting back to “normal.”