Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse


Here in Colorado we had 92% coverage of the sun. Our school had a voluntary virtual day in case the kids wanted to stay home and do eclipse activities with their families. Lots of people here drove up to Nebraska or Wyoming to see totality. I taught and sent my kids to school and gave M a pair of eclipse glasses so he could go out in the neighborhood and check it out.
At the school, we all took our students out (with waivers and glasses from home in hand) to see the eclipse. Our science teacher had brought out a telescope which was pretty neat. Only 9 students showed up for one of my classes and only 2 from another. Still, we had fun. The first graders charted the temps and it went down 10 degrees! We had clear skies and the weather was perfect for viewing.
It was a very exciting day.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

J-O-B


I have a job. A Job-job. Last year I volunteered at the kids' school and helped put on four productions there. At the end of the year, I interviewed for a position and was hired to be the head of the drama department and to help create the drama curriculum there. I accepted. It's a perfect job for me. It's at my children's school. I get to share my passion for theatre with kids every day. I work part time so my hours are 11-4. I get to be in charge of the content I am teaching. I love it.
It's been difficult to adjust. I've had to learn grading and PBL and essential questions and how to use Canvas. I've read the handbook and done PD and chatted and set up my classroom. I've enrolled the kids in after care and juggled afternoon schedules. The week where I had to go to school and the kids stayed home was so stressful for me as I lived in that weird state of overwhelm where you know just exactly how much you DON'T know.
I have a dedicated drama room at the school and over the summer I ordered some risers which will hopefully come on Monday. Last year, the school had two drama classes each semester and this year we have six! We even have a high school section which I am lucky enough to teach. There is another teacher with whom I share my room who teaches the morning drama classes and I teach the afternoon ones. She is very good at decorating and so our room looks great. It is a lot of work to figure out, but we are starting to get in the groove. I give the kids my all every day and I am utterly exhausted every evening.
Now things are settling down and I'm ready to report on it all. The kids started school last Wednesday and seem to be happy. We are doing block schedule this year with "gold" and "blue" days for middle school and high school. Davis is in 7th this year and Samuel is in 5th. Davis got all honors classes this year and his electives are Advanced Music Production, Spanish, Study Hall and Advanced Scientific Methods. He actually sits with five other boys at lunch this year and this is such a huge difference from his self enforced isolation last year. He feels more confident and I am happy for him. Samuel got the two teachers he really wanted and seems to be enjoying his classes. He is taking language arts, social studies (American history), sixth grade math, engineering, science, Chinese, music, PE and Art. He has his usual crew from school and they play and hang out. Samuel does not like his after care program, but I am going to sign him up for after school clubs so that he won't be miserable while I work.
I am so in love with our school the more I learn about it. I am so lucky our kids get to go here. I've heard from so many parents that it took years to get in. The learning model here is very different from traditional schools and it continues to evolve. The staff is innovative and there are some crazy amazing opportunities at the school that the kids can enjoy and explore. It is an AMAZING education that these kids are getting, ya'll. I'm drinking the kool-aid.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Doing Denver with the Liffords


It was a wonderful last two weeks of summer. Cheris and the kids were here for two and half weeks and it was awesome. After our trip to Taos and our last grown-up evening downtown, Rob had to fly home and I had to go to work. I went to teacher training all week and Cheris was my lifesaver. I was stressed and overwhelmed, but Cheris kept the kids under control and kept me sane. The kids had a great week playing in the neighborhood and going to the gym and dart wars. They fought some and shared space, but overall did great and still love each other to bits. Success! Then last weekend I was able to join in some fun again.
On Saturday we drove into downtown and went to the International festival at Civic Park and then down 16th Street and on to Union Station. We stopped at the beer garden and let the kids play foosball and they stopped at most of the blocks to play. They especially enjoyed the giant corn hole. It was such a great day. I really enjoy showing off our beautiful home and the weather was lovely and the kids had so much fun! Cheris shared her love of geo-cache and Davis is all in. I highly approve of this endeavor. We ended the day with happy, wet kids from the fountain and came home to drop them off with Michael while Cheris and I headed out for a little more fun. We went to Upstairs Circus and made string art! This was perfect for us as we got to re-connect without the stresses of home and work and children. I just love being with Cheris. And I actually loved crafting! I made a string art picture of my beloved mountains and drank wine and ate truffled popcorn. I really enjoyed Upstairs Circus.
The next day we drove up to Buffalo Ridge near Evergreen. Unfortunately, we saw no buffalo, but we did find a geocache and had a nice walk. I was obsessed with a raspberry bush that wasn't a raspberry. (What is it???) Then we drove on to Boulder and had a lovely day on Pearl Street. We got to see lots of street buskers (Graham especially loved those)and I bought a hula hoop. (Hula hoop disco is really fun!) We ate tacos for dinner and ducked into the kite store and had an all around lovely day. The weather was cool, but not raining that day and we enjoyed the sunset against thunder clouds as we drove home. Having visitors is such a good way to get you out and about and it was a perfect last weekend of summer.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Date Night in Denver


The night we got back from Taos, the Liffords and Michael and I left the children at home with a sitter and spent the night at the Hyatt in downtown Denver. We told them we were there for Michael's birthday and got upgraded to a huge suite. We went out for dinner at Linger and then went to 1up on Colfax to check out the pinball games. It was so fun! Then we may or may not have ended up on 16th street for fries and wings after midnight but I will neither confirm nor deny that scenario. Either way, the evening was fabulous and it was so fun to show off our city to our friends.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Taos with the Liffords 2017


We came home from NYC and had a week in Littleton. I shopped and cleaned and the kids had lessons and I enjoyed being home. Then the Liffords arrived and the party started all over again!
They arrived on Saturday and on Sunday morning, we hopped in the car and drove down to Taos. We picnicked in a sketchy park in Walsenburg and made our way to the high desert and the beauty of Taos.
We had so much fun while we were there! We went to Twirl twice, the new chocolate shop, Seconds and many more stores on the plaza. We hiked Italianos with the kids. The kids forgot their suitcase so we took a trip to Walmart and stopped at Leonel's for tamales. We took the scenic chairlift up the mountain and saw a groundhog and had a picnic and touched snow. We ate at KTAO and played volleyball and ran inside to hide from the afternoon monsoons. We walked with Valerie in Arroyo Seco. We played board games and drank wine and visited with Yvette Burks and her new husband. My mom arrived to join us! We hiked the south boundary trail. We hiked the Taos mountain with mom and picked fresh strawberries. We ate happy hour at Sabrosa. We went to Taos Mesa brewery to see the Wallflowers and Kit Carson park to see the Mavericks and Dwight Yoakum. We ate a fabulous lunch at Emma's. We got to see Marcie and her family. We played lots of ping pong and let the kids watch movies. We saw rainbow after rainbow. We went to the farmer's market and bought amazing fresh produce and flowers. We took Cheris on a walking tour of Taos and almost found a geocache. I fell in love with Taos all over again. I'm so glad we live so close now. I love it there.