It’s really become surreal just how much things change over the course of a week. Terms like “Social Distancing” and “Flattening the Curve” weren’t even on our radar, and now it’s all everyone is nervously thinking about. One week ago, lives seemed normal, our trials were relatively marginal, and we had no idea that our days would become so disrupted.
I just wanted to share insights from my little corner from the world. I don’t think that my perspective is really unique, nor do I have any wisdom to offer others, but as we look back on 2020 years from now, I can offer a snapshot of what we’re doing, how we’re feeling, and just how much we don’t know.
Right now there’s more we don’t know about COVID-19 than what we do know. We know that while it’s especially mild for most, those who are elder, infirm, and immutably compromised are especially vulnerable. Driven by efficiency, our medical system is not equipped to deal with a significant influx of ailments, and COVID-19 represents a threat to the capacity of our health systems. In order to stem the tide, we’re working to “flatten the curve” of viral infection. Large events of any kind have been canceled. Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and non-essential stores have been closed in order to prevent people from gathering. People have been asked to stay at home and avoid contact with others. “Social Distancing” is really just a term for staying at least 6 feet away from anyone that’s not in your family.
Luckily we’re still able to be outside and get some fresh air through activities like walking, running, and biking. However, people who love sports and gyms are having to find another form of exercise. All the while we’re washing our hands so thoroughly and often that my knuckles are drying up and cracking.
For our own family, the school has been canceled for at least three weeks (although right now it’s being treated as an extended spring break). It’s not clear whether or when we’ll be physically back at school if the school year will be extended out, rescheduled, or canceled altogether. This impacts both Bethany and Clara, but we’re lucky that Bethany gets to be home while the girls are home. At my workplace, people have been sent home, although I have not been personally impacted since I normally work from home. Mari’s in-home daycare isn’t officially closed, but most families have opted to keep their kids home as a precaution. We’re planning on it lasting at least 2-3 weeks.
As you can imagine, this level of isolation is catastrophic for a service-based economy, It’s not clear just how long this will last. Right now it seems to be at least three weeks, but it’s unclear whether schools or other businesses will open, while large gatherings remain banned. At this point, any sense of normalcy seems to be a long ways away.
Throughout all of this, we have many blessings to count. We’re lucky to all be presently healthy, and that COVID-19 doesn’t seem to seriously impact healthy children and youth. I’m lucky that I’m able to work throughout this time and that Bethany and I both have relative income stability. I’m lucky that Bethany’s schedule gets to mirror the girls’ school schedule, and that she’s able to care and entertain them during the day. I’m thankful that we still get to be outside when the weather permits, and that we can still find ways to exercise.
We’re buckling up and seeing where this roller coaster takes us.
… and just like that a decade went by. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, the passing of the decade seemed much more momentous, but it seems like the 2000’s and 2010’s just blew by.
The 2010’s have been a pretty transformative decade, marked by a lot of joy, but not without its share of sorrow.
We were celebrating our first year of marriage, living in Fort Collins. Bethany was in the midst of finishing her Master’s Degree in School Counseling and had to do a year of unpaid internship, making it a financial challenge. However our little family grew by 1 – adopting our kitty, Logan.
Traveling to Las Vegas (multiple times), Boston, Minneapolis for Joel & Katie’s Wedding.
Bethany started her counseling career at Northridge High School and celebrated my 30th birthday, receiving my first new drum set since I started playing the instrument back in 1996.
The Balderrama’s meeting up in Keystone, Colorado for a reunion
The birth of our nephew, Liam
If 2011 was a “calm before the storm year”, 2012 represented the storm that set in. It represented many changes, as well as enduring tragedy. In 2012 we decided to sell out town home in Fort Collins and move to Windsor, during the process we learned that Bethany’s brother, Rocky, had unexpectedly passed away. We learned the horrible news just hours before we were about to set on our Baby-moon Cruise to Alaska, setting a long and heavy shadow over the trip. When we returned from the trip we were in between moving out of our old house and had not yet moved into our new home. The house we moved into was not in the state we had expected and we ended up having to deal with a lot of unexpected hardships.
Despite the darkness during the year, we ended it on a positive note, with Bethany coming pregnant with Clara.
Selling our townhome in Fort Collins
Buying our single-family home in Windsor
Welcoming our niece, Sonia, into the world
Taking our 2 week Baby-Moon to Seattle and on an Alaskan Cruise
Mourning the loss of Bethany’s brother, Rocky
The year that changed it all, when God brought Clara into our lives. They weren’t kidding when they talked about how children change lives. We experienced all of it, but were very blessed to have a beautiful, healthy and happy little girl in our lives.
Work-wise, my company went through a split, which really increased my workload leading up to Clara’s birth. Clara’s birth also gave us incentive to invest in a DSLR camera, unlocking new talents. Aside from a quick trip to Kansas for a wedding, we did not travel anywhere for 2013.
The birth of Clara!
Experiencing a tornado in Windsor, causing damage to our house
The Broncos having a great season, making it to Super Bowl 48 (then losing to the Seahawks).
As transformational as 2013 was, 2014 continued to be a year of “firsts” for us – Clara would have her first real food, first crawl, first steps and continuing to experience the first holidays.
We started to venture out, making Clara’s first plane trip to Daytona for an SoB (Summer of Balderrama’s) trip, seeing Disneyland. We also road-tripped to Kansas to visit family, Taos to commemorate Rocky’s birthday, as well as a new year’s trip to Durango.
Clara being a flower girl at Shannon and Andrew’s wedding
Clara growing from an infant to a spunky toddler
Summer of Balderrama’s trip to Florida
Road trips to Taos, Durango and Kansas.
2015 was all about Mariana. We spent the entire year anticipating her arrival, which finally came on October 29. We then got all of the reminders of parenting a newborn, along with the challenges of a full-fledged toddler.
Clara continued to blossom and develop her own personality as a happy-go-lucky little girl. Looking back at this time, the 27-month span was perfect for the girls, as Clara was intrigued about having a little sister, but didn’t really develop the jealousy a new infant would bring.
Music-wise, I also joined Amy and the Peace Pipes and had an awesome year with them. We got selected to play at FoCoMX, released our first EP and played over a dozen shows throughout the year.
Traveling to Nashville for a long weekend trip
Road-tripping to Kansas to visit family
Introducing my mom to Durango
Welcoming Mariana into the world!
Broncos win the Super Bowl (it technically happened 2016, but it was the 2015 season)
In 2016 we watched the girls grow into being sisters, being witnesses to many of Mariana’s firsts, as well as learning how to be our family of four. We also had a very busy summer filled with weddings (and Clara being a flower girl), as well as a trip to New York to go meet our new niece, Elisia.
Our friends Brett and Joanna getting married
My sister Amanda and David getting married
Cousins Laura and Herrick getting married
Our niece, Elisia, being born
Our trip to New York to go see the city and visit our new cousin
Clara starting dance class
Now it’s Mariana’s turn to grow into the full-fledged toddler, while Clara grows into a little girl. Clara started preschool in the fall, while also going full-fledged into dance class and soccer. It was such a rewarding experience watching Clara being exposed to these activities, learning more each day.
Mariana also became pretty active as well and incurred our first major injury as a family, falling off the couch and fracturing her leg. It happened a few weeks before we were scheduled to go to Disneyland as well. Fortunately she was able to get her cast removed two days before we were set to head out, and got the full Disney experience.
Family trip to Disneyland, with Mema, Papa and nephew Liam
Clara starting pre-school in the fall, 3 hours each afternoon
Clara starting soccer in the fall
Clara continuing dance class
Mariana’s first cast
One of the coolest things to happen in 2018 was Bethany being recognized as the High School Counselor of the year by the Colorado School Counselors Association, which was so well-deserved and we were very proud of her!
Clara started all-day Kindergarten in the fall of 2018 and we were blown away by just how much she was learning each day. She was transforming into a little reader and writer, excited to read to her sister.
Mariana joined Clara at Just for Kix Dance Classes and was a natural to the stage. We also worked through the adjustment period after Ms. Amanda closed her daycare to finish her school counseling internships.
Oh , and through the generosity of Bethany’s mom and step-dad, we were able to see Hamilton at the Denver Center for Performing Arts!
Clara finishing pre-school and starting kindergarten
Mariana starting dance class
Clara continuing dance and soccer
Going on a beach vacation in North Carolina
Bethany winning School Counselor of the Year
Saying goodbye to Bethany’s grandmother
Being an active campaigner fo the new library in our town and ultimately losing that ballot initiative
Bethany completing her first sprint triathlon
Clara finished kindergarten and is now in first grade, continuing to amaze us with her growth. We’ve been really lucky to have great teachers working with her at her school, and outs been neat to see her come home excited to tell us about her day.
Mariana is in an incredible daycare and making her own educational strides as well, already working on writing. After going from an in-home to a center, then back to in-home, we’ve found that in-home works much better for Mari.
Work is going well for both Bethany and I. I am blessed to have my school drop off schedule accommodated and have some flexibility to be able to help out from time to time. Bethany is rocking it at her school and headed to Washington DC in early 2020 to be recognized for her counseling award.
We took some awesome road trips over the summer, first to South Dakota with the Miles-Hastings, then to Yellowstone with the Balderrama’s, experiencing a lot of the beauty of our country.
Amy and the Peace Pipes had a great year, capping it off with an opportunity to play Old Town Square in Fort Collins.
Road trip to Yellowstone
Road trip to South Dakota
Road trip to Durango
Clara starting 1st grade
Both girls performing in dance (Clara doing hip-hop)
Clara playing soccer (with Bethany coaching both the spring and fall teams)
Bethany running her first half-marathon!
Thus closes my forth decade on this earth. It’s definitely been the most transformational of my life, going doubling our family, moving to a new home and planting some roots within our lives. I’m anxious to see where our family will be ten years from now.
It’s that time of year again when the weather starts to cool, the leaves start to turn, the air grows brisk, and pumpkin spice becomes a thing. It’s that time of year that we take our annual family trip to the pumpkin patch. This year we made the trip to Tigges Farm and absolutely loved it!
Tigges farm got on my radar in my search for roasted green chiles, I was fearful that I was already too late to get them for my chili making this winter, but I was delighted to find that not did they have a wide variety for you to choose some, but they would roast them on the spot, or sell you ones they’ve already frozen.
The best part about the farm is all of the old equipment they have throughout the farm. By each piece of equipment, they had signs that described how it was used, providing history and context. Whether you’re aggie or fascinated by historical tools, it was deeply fascinating.
On weekends throughout the fall they’ve had different events and activities to entertain families. The day we attended included a covered wagon ride, as well as a visit from Princesses.
We however left with two regrets. 1) They don’t take cards, and we didn’t bring enough cash to get all the chiles I wanted. 2) The girls weren’t dressed up and Clara was coming off of a fall that banged up her face. We’re hoping to make another trip this fall to rectify those two regrets. You should definitely take the 5-minute drive east of Windsor.
Clara is a first grader and is absolutely loving it. On Friday, October 4, her school is hosting their large fund-raiser of the year, Laps for Learning. Clara is looking for sponsors that would be willing to make a flat-rate contribution towards her running of laps.
Any contribution, no matter how small would be appreciated. If you would be interested in giving, there are two ways you could contribute:
Update: 10/8 – Thank you to everyone that generously gave to Clara! She raised $175 for her school and are so grateful!
Thank you so much for your consideration and your help! Clara is excited to run for her school and for you!
If you know me personally, you know that I’ve spent the better part of my life making fun of soccer, from the faking injuries to the crowd riots to the orange slices & Capri Suns. So as fate would have it, Soccer is Clara’s first sport she took part in, just completing her first season in the 4-year-old’s Little Wizards team here in Windsor. All kidding about soccer aside, they’ve done a great job in making the sport accessible for little kids. Gone are the days of 4-year-olds playing 11-on-11 on a regulation field, watching grass grow. Now the fields are smaller, they play 4-on-4, don’t have a dedicated goalie, with the goal of giving kids as many opportunities to touch the ball as possible.
Clara had a really great season! She is so enthusiastic and became a very good teammate, always cheering on her friends and showing so much hustle. I was really surprised just how much she grasped the game, I was expecting a lot more chaos.
Below are some pictures of Clara’s first season, both her first game and last game. I was so happy to have my 70-200mm lens fixed by the time soccer season started. It really enabled me to capture some great shots.