Saturday, August 23, 2014

Our First month in Colorado, Part 1

Our first two weeks, we mainly lived at the public library, since we did not yet have Internet access at home. :)
Colorado Spring's library system was amazing, and blew us away.
The librarians were friendly and approachable, there were rows & rows of books, a game center, plenty of computers ... we were overwhelmed with its awesomeness (we were used to the Belleville Public Library in Illinois).
Ashlyn & Antonin signed up for their reading program with only two weeks left, and finished well. They were focused enough to receive all their prizes, just in time! :)
 See the machine in the photo below? It's a check-out system where you can check out your own books and unlock your own movies. When you pick up items on hold, you find them yourself in a "holds" shelving area. Librarians are available to help, but one can find their items in alphabetical order (by last name) and check them out themselves.  :)
We made plans to check out Colorado Springs 4-H Fair, and were surprisingly disappointed. The Fair was much, much smaller than anticipated, and the attendance did not reflect the population of Colorado Springs at all. It appeared that only nearby farmers & rural residents were there- we felt slightly out of place.
 It had taken us 45 minutes to get to the El Paso County Fair, so we made the most of it once there (we're thinking this might be why more residents don't bother coming).
We browsed the 4-H animals & displays, then let the children choose one ride each.
 Can you tell there were no crowds?
We also watched some roping competitions, which were interesting.
We saw the entire Fair in about 30-45 minutes.

 I soon discovered that Colorado Spring residents must not go to County Fairs ...  but instead attend Public Library Parties!!
I took the kids to a Summer Library Party to celebrate the end of the Summer Reading Program, and was amazed at the crowds of people. There were 3 times more people at the Library's Summer Party then at the County Fair.
I didn't have the camera with me when we were in the midst of the tents/booths, and this photo was taken from the parking lot. This picture was only a small portion of the tents and outdoor activities. You'll just have to take my word that it was crowded!!   lol!
 Long lines of children & adults waited to win games for food coupons, prizes, or free snow cones.
Both Wendy's Restaurant & Chick fil' A were there, and the Air Force Academy handed out pom poms! Police let children climb onto their motorcycles, and a helicopter was nearby for curious onlookers as well.
 The library party had a carnival atmosphere, and Ashlyn & I enjoyed going from booth to booth, to see what fun was available.  The boys were inside the library, claiming the party was too "kiddish".  lol!
Ashlyn's loved her ladybug face paint, and her purple glittery hairspray, which you can't see because of her dark hair.
A Charter school had a booth, and handed out goodies with information about their school.
I considered it for Ashlyn .... but it was on the South side of Colorado Springs, and we live on the North-East side.  I will talk about Colorado schools in a later post.
We went on hikes every weekend.  :) What fun, and what views!!

These photos were taken our first hike at Pulpit Rock!

School activities forced me out of the house while we were still unpacking (& cleaning).
Since Antonin was not here for 6th grade band last year, we signed him up for Summer band, so he could more "easily" catch up during 7th grade band this fall.
We couldn't sign him up for summer band until after registering him for school, and there was just a weekend between registering him for 7th grade, and summer band starting!!  I was grateful for a computer at the library- and signed him up in the nick of time.  Whew!
Driving to and from summer band for two weeks helped me learn more streets in the area, although I relied on TomTom the first three or four days. :)
We had our little routine: we'd take Antonin to summer band which lasted 45 min., visit the post office to check for mail (we were waiting on community mailbox keys), pick Antonin up from band, then visit the library. Like I said, we visited the library almost daily.   :)
As for Caleb, he had a High School related workshop to attend the evening we moved into our new home. Placement testing and student advising soon followed, pushing me to learn more around Colorado Springs. 
I was thankful to learn the area fairly quickly!
I still faithfully use TomTom , but at least I know how to get to the boys' schools, the library, post office, Target, and back home again.   :)

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