Retreat

My dear friend, Amy, and I snuck away for another retreat; this time we headed to Glenwood Springs.  Micah was feeling a little concerned about it, so he made me promise to take a lot of pictures.  He did not hold up his end of the bargain – these are the only three pictures I saw from the guys’ weekend:

They had a lovely weekend together and I am SO thankful that Mike gives me these weekends away.  They are a time of refreshment for me and it’s so great to know that the boys are enjoying special time with Daddio.

Meanwhile. because I told Micah I would take a lot of pictures, Amy and I took a few extra pics this retreat. =)  (Please observe with me how often we had people walking in the background…it’s cracking me up!!)  Thus, we took pictures at Whole Foods where we stopped on the way out for dinner:

We loved the location and all of the fall colors and beautiful weather.  It took a bit over 3 hours to get there, but the views and all of the fun was definitely worth it!  On Saturday, we rode our bikes (from the hotel) through Glenwood Canyon all the way to the Hanging Lake trail.  Hanging Lake was beautiful!  We loved the hike, although it was definitely a challenge for me!  It was a pretty epic day – a good 6 hours of biking, hiking, and biking again.  SO thankful that we enjoy so many of the same things!

The ride out:

Hanging Lake Trail:

Our ride back / my final picture from our trip:

IMG_4260

There is probably more to be said about our time, but let’s just suffice it to say that I am SO thankful for this bi-annual retreat!!

Life

We are really excited about fall around here.  We made pumpkin muffins and brought out all of our fall decorations!  And I finally got to wear jeans again!  My fav.

Fall also means football season has begun!  Mike and Reggie went to see the Chiefs beat the Broncos recently.

IMG_3756

And with fall comes the beginning of other activities.  I am teaching our Kids Club at church (which Micah attends with me) while Ethan participates in Cadets.

Other things not related to fall…Micah wanted to send some letters and chose to keep his hat on for his correspondence-writing.  He also chose to sleep in it.  Speaking of sleep, his is often riddled with fear.  Things vary from night to night, but that particular night he fell asleep on the floor so that he could be near me.  More often, though, I wake up to evidence that he slept on my floor during the night.  He tells me he wakes up at about 4 in the morning and camps out on my floor until morning.  He’s very stealthy.  This is what he brings with him every time. =D

Milestone alert – Micah read the Bible story for us after dinner for the first time!!

IMG_4201

Here are some drum pictures from his lessons.  I wish I could show you pictures of Ethan’s lessons, too.  He is LOVING piano and really enjoys taking lessons with our cousin.

It wouldn’t be an every day life post if I didn’t include pictures of us playing games and listening to audiobooks.  We are minutes away from finishing Redwall – it’s been loved by all of us!

Homeschool

Our first two months of homeschool was anything but pretty.  It’s starting to feel like we are finding our groove now.  Our main focus each day is attitude and effort and just saying those two words has become a good reminder to all of us.  Anyway, feeling thankful and wanted to post some pictures from the last couple weeks:

Here’s what the table looks like before we get going for the day.  I hope and pray that it feels inviting to the boys!  And a close up of some of the systems we put into place that have really helped!

Here are some shots I took at home:

And some shots out at the parks nearby:

Pictures can be deceiving, yes?  It looks like we were having joy-filled days out doing school at the park…in truth, we had meltdowns on two out of those three days and I may or may not have said I didn’t want to go to the park again for a long time. =/

Here are some pictures of gym class – PE +, free homeschool hours at Top Golf, and playing tennis.  Pretty fun!

We also got together with a friend from CC to go on a field trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  We really enjoyed doing their new exhibit – brain games or something like that.  I was very impressed to see everyone participating and not wanting to cheat AT ALL.  It took a whole lotta perseverance!  After our friends left, we hung around and searched for all of the hidden gnomes throughout the museum.  Lots of fun!

One of the problems was really tough, but we brought it home with us and E and I figured it out!!

IMG_4151

And here are some pictures from CC over the past couple weeks.  Ethan did not want to participate in “chubby bunnies” / review during Essentials. =)

More on every day life happenings to come.

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!!