Our Pets

We are all pretty enamored with our new “pet” mallards.  Mallory and Fred have been frequenting our front and back yards for over a week and a half now.  The boys have been faithfully feeding them corn and seeds, even managing to lead them all the way to the backyard when we started noticing poop all over our porch and sidewalk.  If they hear the window open, they look up expectantly and have even eaten out of Micah’s hand directly.

Life Lately

We’ve been working diligently to finish our school year, even though we plan to continue some work throughout the summer.  It’s been such a great school year for us for many reasons, but mostly because the boys have been working hard and keeping *mostly* good attitudes.  I’ve learned a lot over the years and I’m sure that helps, too.  I’m finally understanding the benefit of giving long breaks and not being a slave to the work if the temperaments aren’t lending themselves to it.  We do much better after our hearts are in the right place. =)

Our home has been filled with music.  Micah is enjoying playing the bongos along with Ethan’s piano practice, but he also just started using an app called “Piano Maestro” which has motivated him (and me) to play the piano!  Now we have three people trying to get time on the piano!  Ethan is also working on the computer to notate his own song, a version of Heart and Soul.  Ethan has a virtual piano recital next Friday.  We will send a link to you to watch and vote for his pieces.  It will be called, “Some Good Piano.” (Yes, that intentionally looks like Some Good News on YouTube).

The boys are very into birds and now like to go for walks and bike rides in order to make more pictures of them.  They also are starting to use a photo editing program to fix up some of their pictures.  And, Wingspan continues to be a favorite pastime for Ethan and me.

Ethan needed to wear crazy hair for one of his piano lessons, but didn’t want me to show anyone.  Ever since, Micah has been wearing his hair in a ponytail on the top of his head randomly throughout the day.  I’m sure you’ve spotted a few pictures already with his new hairstyle. =)

The boys have also continued keeping up with their buddies via FaceTime chats.

And we’ve been taking daily walks.  Often this means that Mike and Ethan are throwing the frisbee and Micah is riding his scooter, but every now and then we all just walk and talk!  Those are my favorites. =)

Mike ordered something fun for us – a slack block.  We use it to improve our balance.  It’s a lot harder than it looks!

Other updates include finishing a puzzle, reading a book with Daddio most nights, ordering (and mostly enjoying) Indian food take out, doing coins, and Daddy fixing Ethan’s bike!

And finally, we’ve had a couple more LEGO Master competitions.

1. Mom and Dad conceded to the boys on the first one because theirs was WAY cooler than ours.  Mom and Dad built a frog on a lily pad, while the boys built a parrot in a tree and had a shining sun floating in the background.

2. We had to build bigger versions of mini-figs.  Mom and Dad built the ice queen; Ethan and Micah built a soldier, complete with a rifle shooting a bullet, a canon and a tree.  Technically, Mom and Dad may have come away with a win on this one, but the votes were more sporadic.

LEGO Masters

We really enjoyed watching our first tv show as a family over this time: LEGO Masters.  The boys got all kinds of inspiration from the builds and wanted to do their own version of LEGO Masters at home.  Thus, competition between parents and kids began.

Build #1: Fairytale story (parents did turtle and hare; boys did 3 billy goats gruff)

The boys won this one.  I don’t think any of our judges (we send text messages to people to judge our creations, without telling them who did which one) voted for the parents on this one, but I may be forgetting one kind judge having pity on us.

Build #2: Restaurants (parents built Castle Bonita; boys built Sushi River)

The parents came away with a win on this one, although the voting was very close.

Build #3: A point in history (parents built the Alamo; boys built the building of Stonehenge)

The parents won again and are feeling really confident going forward.

Build #4: Mini-fig battle (teams were switched for this one – Ethan and Mom worked on a battle scene of sand guy against the ice queen; Micah and Dad worked on programmer lady and her droids against banana guy)

It looks like this build is ending in a tie. =)

They have also spent a lot of time building new and creative builds, including a few bridges that we tested with weights.  I believe their best bridge could hold 23 pounds.  It’s been so much fun to watch them!

And, for the record, we were VERY unhappy about how LEGO Masters ended with the wrong team winning.  Micah was somewhat happy, but we think he just wanted to go against the grain of the family votes.  =)

Easter 2020

We certainly won’t soon forget Easter 2020.  We enjoyed a church service at home (decorated by Micah, complete with a LEGO band), participated in the Lord’s Supper (complete with Aunt Mel’s homemade sourdough) with Reggie via FaceTime, had a tasty breakfast and lunch, watched Andrea Bocelli’s live concert (with no audience), had lots of competitive egg hunts and spent a lot of time together.

The following day was our final CC day.  It’s been an interesting first year as the Director, but our community is such a strong, close-knit group that it was lots of fun for me, despite all of the challenges.  I was spoiled with all kinds of lovely thank you gifts and notes of appreciation.  It was a very humbling experience for me.

I thought I’d include pictures of them looking over their yearbooks and participating in our zoom class.  I’m also including their final presentations – really short, silly ones to conclude an awesome year!

Shelter in Place

After the boys and I arrived back home from Florida, our state issued a shelter in place order.  We already knew that CC community day would be going virtual and everything else was cancelled (or made virtual) soon thereafter, too.  I spent most of the past month battling a mysterious illness that left me with a headache and a low fever most days, followed by two weeks of hives.  I am happy to report that I seem to be back to good health now, but that sickness certainly colored much of our first month of quarantined life as I was in bed early most nights and also took lots of naps throughout the day, too.

When we first got home, we had some snow.  Micah was outside playing with army guys in the snow.  Later, we had warm weather and the boys were busy digging a trench in the backyard or going for walks/scooter rides around our park.  The weather sure does keep us on our toes!

Virtual CC, church services, birthday party, playdates, and family zoom/FaceTime calls:

The boys have been finishing this school year incredibly well.  They are motivated and really seem to enjoy learning together.  It’s been a blessing to have such responsible boys, especially while I was so under the weather.

Ethan has been doing editing, typing, and various writing projects.  He read his Faces and Places essay (on Judy, the POW WWII dog) and completed the Memory Master challenge for his second year.

Micah is working hard on math and reading, but prefers listening to good books and drawing.  He has completed the first level in his reading program and plans to continue working throughout the summer on the next levels.

Ethan’s been playing a lot of piano and is doing lessons via zoom.  He’s tracking his practice through an app his piano teacher wanted him to use and it’s motivating him to beat out the other students taking lessons from her by practicing more.  That’s been fun to see.  She’s also had him doing various piano-related bingo activities, like playing on his knees or playing with his eyes shut.

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Other happenings include giving Micah a haircut, playing various games, and teaching Micah how to play solitaire with physical cards.

And lots and lots of time with our Daddio!

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Florida

Mike needed to spend a week in India, so we scheduled his trip to coincide with our Spring Break from CC so that the boys and I could fly to Florida.  Obviously, much changed since the day we made our plans.  Mike flew to London (without any wi-fi on his flight) and found out when he arrived that India had closed its borders and he would need to fly back to Denver.  Meanwhile, the boys and I had already landed in Florida to spend time with my parents.

Our week there started much like we had hoped, with various plans in place, but we slowly took more activities off our agenda when it became apparent that we needed to practice social distancing.

We had a wonderful time there.  It had been years since our last trip to Florida and we hadn’t seen their condo, yet.  Micah was struck by how much Florida was like a jungle/rain forest.  Ethan was enamored with the opportunities to take lots of pictures with his Grandpa.

Some condo highlights included lots of time reading, scootering, and playing in the pool, as well as piano-playing, game-playing (milestone alert – Ethan and I played our first games of scrabble), worksheet-making, and picture-editing.

Some outside of the condo highlights included the rodeo, the beach, a boys’ only kayak trip, my Dad’s band concert, and lots of walks to see wildlife.  The boys took a bunch of great pictures, which we will hopefully eventually do a post about on here.  My dad taught them how to edit them, which was a fun new skill for them.

Obviously, time with our family (and the fun overlap with Mr. Rick!) are the things we cherished the most.  Thanks for hosting us so graciously during a strange and uncertain time!!

Early March

Well, I borrowed Mike’s noise-cancelling headphones and my life was changed.  Mike snapped this picture of me, drinking tea, reading a book on being an introverted mom while blocking out all extra noise. =D

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Mikey has had a pretty significant travel schedule.  The boys are always ecstatic when he gets home and have loads of stories to tell him.  Most evenings end on the nook with books, talking, or looking things up together.  He always makes us smile.

We’ve had gorgeous weather here and have started doing some of our schooling outside. It breathes new life into our days!  The boys also do quite a bit of schooling at my PT office while I try to figure out the connection between my weak abs and my knee pain.

The boys and I went on a long bike ride – our first for the season.  We met our new friends in the state park by our house and rode all the way around the reservoir.  Sadly, both my bike and Ethan’s had flat tires when we were about 2 miles from home.  Thankfully, a kind gentleman came to our aid so that we didn’t have to walk the whole way home!  Don’t worry, I now purchased a tire pump to take with us on our adventures.

Next up: Florida!

The rest of February

Our family slept at church again for the awesome ministry our church does called, “Family Promise,” which houses homeless families for a week.  We are thrilled that we get to volunteer as a family in this way.  And the boys love sleep overs at church and eating breakfast there in the morning.

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This guy got reading glasses!

We celebrated Valentine’s Day.  Micah wanted each person to take a turn in the circle of love while we gave gifts to them.  It was very sweet.  He had saved a magnet he made for me in cadets for over a month in order to give it to me that day.  I cried.

Grandma Cleve came out that weekend for a visit!!  She snapped that top picture of our family while we read together one of the nights.  She got to experience a bit of snow again and played snow baseball with Ethan in it!  We also hosted her aunt (who lives nearby) for lunch on Sunday, which was special.  We were glad to get this time with her!

We continue to enjoy listening to books and doing puzzles.  I am still in PT trying to figure out my knee pains.  Sometimes the boys come along and do school work.  Weather is still crazy – some days we are outside in t-shirts, other days it snows.  Sometimes the boys ride scooters in the snow because…why not?  Ethan loves editing sentences and diagramming them.  And when Daddio is home, we embrace every moment with him!

January and the first part of February

We’ve had such fun weather over the past two months.  We’ve had big snow storms and also temps in the 60s.  We’ve tried to make the most of both!

Schooling has been going really well this year, for the most part.  There are always days that are hard, but overall we’ve found a nice groove and have really enjoyed learning together.  Micah has been working hard on solidifying his reading skills with a new program – “All About Reading” – and it has saved us!  We also went on a field trip with some friends called “Inside the Orchestra.”  Ethan has been enjoying typing his paragraphs about various dog breeds.  This is something he’s super interested in right now and, thus, every presentation at CC has become him reading a research paragraph he wrote about these various dog breeds.  It’s pretty cool to see him finding interests and making up his own projects to work on.

Other happenings include: Drinking hot cocoa or tea when the weather was cold.  Micah had an AWFUL 24-hour bug.  Ethan was a major trooper in taking care of him and dealing with an exhausted mama.  We enjoyed the Super Bowl and any time Daddio has been in town.  The boys latch on to him as soon as he’s home and spend as much time right next to him as possible. =D. Ethan now sells his candy to Mike, rather than eating it.  He’s motivated by being healthy and earning some money.  Micah finished speech when his teacher moved back to Minnesota.  We didn’t technically finish all that we had set out to do, but I am taking over from here since we only had one sound to work on anymore.

Home again, Home again!

We flew back home on New Year’s Eve.

We had some friends stay in our home while we were gone and were blessed with sweet notes and lots of treats.  Micah stayed up with Mike and I to ring in the New Year.  Ethan stayed up for a while, but was ready to turn in by 10:30 (he was still living on WI time, so he almost made it!).

Getting back home meant getting back into our rhythms.  We started praying for specific people at dinner and then talking about a question (both the name of a person and a question to ask is on these popsicle sticks).  Ethan got back to his piano as soon as he woke up.  We took down Christmas decorations, started reading some books together, played our new game, and spent some time outside.

We also got back into the swing of things for school and CC.