Drum Lessons

Micah has officially started drum lessons from a guy at our church who leads worship.  He’s primarily playing the djembe right now and is already supposed to be thinking about whether he might like to play for church!  He has high hopes that some day we will buy him his own drum set.  We’ve said we’ll think about it and consider it after we see how much he enjoys playing and practicing, just like we did with Ethan and the piano.

I get to sit in during his lessons each week.  It’s pretty fun to watch him playing and I think he has a pretty good feel for rhythm.

Here’s a video of the song they are working on currently:

The school year thus far…

We’ve been having a very hot-and-cold school year thus far.  Some days are loads of fun and we are feeling on top of the world.  Other days we battle with effort and attitude in every moment of the day!  The smiles you see in these pictures are the result of a whole lotta prayer and perseverance on some days and on other days they are just shining through the whole day!

Thought I would highlight some CC stuff we’ve been doing.  Ethan started Essentials this year and it’s been going really well.  It’s definitely challenging, but he’s been reading his papers in front of the class, working on diagramming sentences, learning to speed up his math skills and is loving playing “board slam”.  Micah sits in during Essentials and he’s been picking up on little things here and there, too, which is super fun!

Micah has been going to his CC Foundations class regularly now and he loves it!  And I am really enjoying the class I am tutoring this year, too.  Here are some pictures from this past week.  We were doing abstract art!

Here are some pictures from around the house.  Ethan started keeping a reading journal.  We have one as a family, too, for our bigger read aloud books.  And I started one in August as well.  We just finished “The Bronze Bow” – we all loved it.  We also watched an author interview online, but it didn’t thrill the boys.  We’ll give it a go another time. =)

Sometimes we play school…during our homeschooling day.  It makes me laugh.

We also had the opportunity to play at Top Golf for free with a bunch of other homeschoolers in the area – many of them our friends!  This happens every month, so we’ll be taking advantage of the opportunity again!!

If you know our family well, you may know that our highs are high and our lows feel pretty low.  There’s not a whole lotta big trials, but the little day-to-day difficulties take their toll on our moods.  So, our emotions seem to run pretty deep around here.  There are not a lot of just plain good days. 😉  Our school year follows suit.  One moment we are LOVING homeschooling with all of our hearts, but the next we are wishing the boys went to school.  I was going a little insane – trying the same things over and over and expecting different results.  Then, finally, we implemented some new techniques.  One day we spent time making a poster to keep nearby highlighting the benefits of homeschooling.  I also made to-do lists that I can fill out and they can check off as we go.  I really think the Lord gave me a little rhyme to keep nearby for my own attitude check – “quick to sit, not to quit” – it reminds me to sit with or lean into the annoyances and frustrations and to not be so quick to quit and look for a way out.  And, lastly, I made an attitude/effort chart.  We’ve seen a lot of improvement in all of us. =)

One-on-One Weekend, Part 2

Meanwhile, Micah and I enjoyed a long weekend at home.  We spent most of our time playing at the house together, but we ran a few errands, enjoyed some special treats, and had a very special date out on Saturday night.  We went to the Denver Center of Performing Arts to see Hanson play with the Colorado Symphony!  This was a birthday gift from my parents and my grandpa and it was so much fun!

Here are a few pictures I took from our time doing school at the park and playing at the house.  I wasn’t even going to do school on Friday with Ethan being gone, but Micah was pretty motivated and wanted to do lots of writing and reading while we were at the park!

The only other pictures/videos I took of our weekend together was on our date.  Micah was pretty nervous about the whole thing so I was holding to the idea of staying for the whole concert very, very loosely in my mind.  We tried to go to the Cheesecake Factory before the concert, but the wait was too long.  Micah was pretty pumped to get grilled cheese and Sprite at a burger pace next door instead.

We arrived plenty early and ended up staying until the very end!!  We even got to see them perform for the standing ovation the crowd gave them.  I was so pleased!!  It was really a unique concert and lots of fun.  Micah knew a few of the songs, but I would say they played a good 50% of totally new songs they wrote for this tour.  He took most of our videos, particularly if he knew the song. =)  Micah called them the “boon dot kids” (aka mmmbop kids) all night, which had me laughing so hard.

We had to get a video of “boondot” and also “Tragic Symphony” (which he had listened to on repeat for weeks now…):

Micah took a brief “nap” during intermission (aka halftime) and was excited to hear one of our favorite songs, “I was born”.

We made it to the very end and he was clearly not tired at all. =)

Love this guy!!  It was so special to get to enjoy a weekend with just him!!

One-on-One Weekend, Part 1

Not long ago, Ethan and Mike went on their first weekend trip away for some special bonding.  (Micah has been invited to go on a trip with his Daddio in November and thus far seems super excited for it, too!)  They opted for San Diego and spent Friday-Sunday together.  From all the stories, it sounds like it was an excellent trip!  Highlights included touring the USS Midway, playing on the beach, seeing seals, riding around in a convertible, and playing a piano in public.  They also apparently had “the best burgers ever” while there.  I love all of the pictures Mike captured over the weekend!!

USS Midway:

Time at the beach (they built sand castles and spent a lot of time catching clams):

Other trip pics:

Playing the piano:

I’m so thankful that Mike takes the opportunity to have special time with the boys and to spoil them a bit.  This will not soon be forgotten!!

Playing a little catch up

We’ve got plenty of updates to make to the site since it’s been about a month since my last entry, but I’m thinking I’ll just split them up into one random post, one about the school year thus far, and one about a recent one-on-one weekend we had (Mike and E in San Diego, Micah and Mom in Colorado).

This one will be all the random pictures I have from the past month that don’t fit into nice, neat categories.  =)

Here are a few pictures from the final day we had with my Mom in town.  She was here for our Mesa Verde field trip and we so enjoyed having her!  We had lunch at Mel and Joel’s after church – we brought homemade cream puffs.  Yum!   We had to snap a final group picture of those of us who traveled to Mesa Verde together, but then we noticed a lot of fun coordinating pictures that were necessary, too. =D

We’ve been having some really lovely weekends together as a family lately.  One weekend we spent a good amount of time at Cherry Creek Reservoir.  I went for a run while the guys spent time on the water.  We have also been playing some tennis all together (and Mikey and I played some the other night on our date, but we didn’t snap any pics) and did so on that particular weekend, as well.  That same weekend I was able to go hiking with my auntie for a while after church.

We also spent some time working on our front yard as a family – trying to plant seeds for grass.  That evening we had a hail storm, so sadly, I’m not sure how much good all of that work was.  As of right now, there’s not a whole lotta growth happening, but we will wait and see.

IMG_3929

The boys made Mikey some breakfast one morning all by themselves:

IMG_3357

While I was out at book club, the boys enjoyed a new-to-us hot dog place in the area.  I believe these are hotdogs wrapped in bacon and cheese.  =)

IMG_3372

This past weekend we enjoyed a nice hike in the mountains (Conifer area).  Hiking with these guys is one of my favorite things in the world!

And, finally, we got a flat tire after church and I am feeling just so thankful that it was while Mike was in town and that we were able to get off the highway and all the way to a place where they could fix it before it was dangerous for us.  The Lord was kind to us and we are so thankful.  I didn’t want to forget His beautiful provision for us in all those sweet ways, so I snapped pictures of both boys looking cute while we waited for the car to be ready. =)

Mesa Verde

We began our school year with a really fun field trip.  My Aunt Melanie is homeschooling her youngest son and is studying Colorado history this year and she asked if we would be interested in going to Mesa Verde with them.  We jumped at the opportunity since we are studying ancient history!  And we were even more thrilled when my Mom agreed to fly out and join us!

The park wasn’t too busy or too hot, so this season was awesome for our trip.  (We also planned it around Mike’s trip to Phoenix where he saw his family and also spent time with his friends for his fantasy football draft.)  We listened to Fablehaven on the drive there and back; it received mixed reviews but we all agreed that it helped to pass the time!  We stayed at the Fair View Lodge within the park and ate all of our meals inside the park, too.  Here are some pics from the trip and at our lodge:

We spent two full days exploring the cliff dwellings, which were beautiful! It’s hard to imagine that they have stood there for over 800 years already!  Here are some pictures of the dwellings and our hikes in and around them:

On the way out, Micah and Matthew completed their Jr Ranger’s program and then we had an incredible breakfast at Absolute Bakery – highly recommend – in Mancos.  The boys each enjoyed a can of Sprite – milestone! – on the drive back to Denver.

We LOVED this opportunity to travel with family and explore our distant backyard.  Thanks to my Auntie for driving us and organizing everything.  And thanks to my Mom for making the trip out to join us!  Let’s do it again!!

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from Mikey’s trip to Phoenix.  He tells me he had a great time!  It’s a lovely gift that the draft takes place where he can also have some special time with his Mom (and grandparents, too!).

First Two Weeks of School

The first two weeks of school were a bit of a whirlwind, as these pics might attest.  Our first day of school was actually on Monday, August 20th (not the 22nd like I accidentally wrote on our super rushed “first day of school” pics).  And I didn’t weigh the boys until today and still haven’t measured them for their height.  Our first day was also our first of Classical Conversations community day and we had a lot to pack in order to get out the door (thus the picture of our list).

Micah sat in my class for the first week of CC and has chosen to stay with us during Essentials (the afternoon program focused on English grammar, math facts, and writing).  Ethan gave his presentation on our big summer trip – he just highlighted Yosemite for this one.  Micah, since he wasn’t in his class, gave a presentation to our family about his shark tooth and getting it removed at the dentist this summer.  He may use that presentation again when he’s in his real class.

My mom was here for a field trip visit – she arrived in the middle of CC and spent some time with her sister until we were ready.  I’ll include more pictures from her visit and our field trip in another post.  But here are a couple fun ones from around the house (before and after the Mesa Verde field trip):

Mesa Verde occupied most of our first week of school.  This week, however, we had a more typical school week.  Micah went to his CC class and had SO much fun.  His tutor said that he was “GREAT!” in class.  He now calls CC days the “fun day” of the week and plans to attend his class every week.  Ethan, meanwhile, has been an all-star in our class.  I’ve been really impressed with his quiet leadership and kindness.  He’s been participating well, taking chances in Essentials even when he feels way out of his comfort zone, and being a very good example to others around him.  What a treat!  Speaking of treats, we treated the boys to ice cream after such a wonderful second day at CC!  And then I even had the energy to *finally* get them their rewards for all of the books they read over the summer.

And here are some shots I took from around the house during our homeschool days.  Ethan is doing 4th grade math this year and Micah is starting his first Singapore Math book with 1st grade work.  I’ve discovered that he really likes to be artistic during math, so he will never just circle when he could color. =)  Just today Micah asked if we could do harder math…which was such an encouragement to me because he’s not always one to want to be challenged.  I assured him that this book would get more tricky in the coming weeks and that he should just enjoy the easy lessons while he has them.  We also are taking advantage of borrowing “Code Names” from my Mom and playing variations of it with vocab and sight words.

Lastly, here are the current weights of the guys: