Fall is here!

I’ll post some pictures from the final weeks in September and the first week or so of October in this post.

Our backyard community for CC continues to go well. The days usually start off fairly chilly, but we end feeling plenty warm by the end of the day. We’ve been meeting on Tuesdays at 8 am, but I suspect we will push it back to 9 am as the weather turns. =) The first day of fall our tutor brought in pumpkins for everyone and we did our review work by striking various poses while holding the pumpkins. Presentations have varied from talking about our homemade library or pictures we’ve drawn, to paragraphs about Scott Joplin and best places to take pictures. We are very thankful for this community!

Here are some pics from school, including Ethan’s virtual piano lessons, reading and playing in the treehouse, tracing the states while learning the capitals, Micah finishing another level in his reading program, and a LEGO rendering of our latest history sentence about the Louisiana Purchase and others about the signing of the Declaration of Independence:

We’ve gone on walks to the Cherry Creek Reservoir a couple of times in the last few weeks. One of the times we saw a Golden Eagle, which was incredibly exciting for our crew! Ethan brings his camera and occasionally even captures pictures of the fam!

We’re in full fall celebration mode around here. No heat or AC on for over a month – a ridiculous game I like to play during this season. It means bundling up in the mornings when it’s in the low 60s or high 50s in the house, but then enjoying the warmer afternoons. We’ve also been enjoying pumpkin and fall-themed foods and scents. Our friends even brought by some decorations they had found on a walk. And I’m including a picture of my favorite view from the park up the street.

Other fun happenings include two back-to-back Packer picnics (I found Packers jerseys for each boy on thredup – can you imagine my excitement?!):

And some pictures from around the house, including LEGO builds, coin trading via Zoom and amongst brothers, Micah’s dentist appt, Ethan’s darling pic of Micah biking, boys enjoying grandma reading Farmer Boy to us over Zoom (while building LEGO), the arrival of our new books, and shots of the boys enjoying their early Christmas present from Uncle David (thank you!!):

It’s a beautiful season and we are making the most of it!

Some updates from the first half of September.

Pictures from homeschooling – a visual representation of the differences between E and M being asked to write the same science question and answer; our math books were backordered (we finally got Ethan’s, but Micah’s is still not here) so I’ve been doing random workbooks for Math; Ethan is editing a Bible verse, then drawing a picture for our Essentials vocabulary game, and then working on a report for piano; Micah has started using the iPad for fun math games while waiting for his math book to arrive; and Micah watches art classes on YouTube with me while Daddio teaches Ethan something solo (E does typing when Micah has his lesson with Dad).

Pictures from our CC community day in the backyard – Ethan did a presentation on cold showers; Micah talked about the Rush Revere book we finished (thanks, Grandpa Russ!); I taught Fine Arts (drawing upside down); and Ethan made a grumpy face at me when he missed his shot from the review game:

Pictures from fun at home – Mike mowing the lawn in a mask because of all the smoke in the air; Micah looking a picture while listening to Grandma reading; the boys taking ice baths; playing ping pong on Sunday afternoons after church (photo credit goes to Ethan for that darling one of Micah); boys enjoying some special treats from friends and family who had heard we were under the weather; birding in the chilly mornings; working on books for our in-home library; and finally the two pictures of Mike and I are from the book reading event at our library (I read my book, “Alvin the Brave” in a British accent, much to the amusement of the fam):

This past weekend we went for a hike in Golden and then spent some time in the creek downtown. It was lovely!

I walk each morning and occasionally take pictures of the beautiful sites. =)

Sickness and Snow

The weekend/week of Labor Day brought about sickness and snow, both unexpected but relatively short-lived. Ethan was very tired, had a sore throat and a slight fever all weekend. By Monday, Micah had a fever and sore throat. I share our little story here only because I believe in giving glory and praise where it is due. As you’ve probably gathered from our lack of trips, visitors, or play dates, we’ve been living very close to home and keeping our own exposure and our potential spreading to a minimum. Obviously this sickness threw us for a bit of a loop. It didn’t ruffle us much until Micah’s fever spiked to 102.7 before bed on Monday night. We opted to have him sleep in bed by me and have Mike downstairs in the guest bedroom. I woke a little after 10 (don’t judge – I went to sleep with Micah at 8! =D) with Micah crying in pain and burning up. Here’s where I made my mistake – I jumped out of bed to check his temperature (something I can’t do with how quickly my blood pressure drops when I do so) and found that it had gotten up to 104.3. Knowing only that this was too high, I started praying and taking off blankets and trying to cool him down. Then I ran downstairs to get Mike and ran back upstairs to be with Micah. At this point, my body had had enough excitement and I could feel a faint coming on. Thankfully Mike caught me before I hit my head, but I did, indeed, pass out fully. By the time I came back to and was done with the initial throwing up, Mike was able to check Micah’s temperature again and found it had dropped back down to 101 something. Praise the Lord! I couldn’t have messed up that first reading as we’ve got a forehead thermometer, so I can only assume the Lord healed Micah swiftly!

Micah and I kept mumbling back and forth to each other that we were both fine and Mikey took watchful care over both of us. Sadly, after I faint I am basically useless for the next two days and have to stay lying down in bed. Our sweet boys took great care of me, getting me drinks of water, taking pictures of our first snow, and calling to check in on whether I needed anything.

Micah hates this story and was pretty traumatized again by my fainting, but we are trying to tell the story from the perspective of the Lord’s great care for us.

We ended up getting the boys tested for Covid-19 (even though we knew it was a long-shot) in an effort to protect anyone with whom we might come into contact over the next week or two. They handled the test bravely and we were grateful to find that it was NOT Covid. Originally we had wondered whether having it would give us more freedom or flexibility, but we’ve since thought about the potential long-term effects on their lungs and heart from having had it, and are thankful that we don’t have those with which to contend.

Anyway, we are grateful for health and strength (boys and I are back to full strength). We are grateful that the Lord is consistently with us. We are grateful that we are still able to walk in love for our neighbors by hanging close to home. This is a difficult season. We’re trying to choose thankfulness and kindness every day.

Also, snow in September. What fun! We had a massive temp swing from 91 to 26 in one day!

Week 2

I’ll start with some pics from our second week of CC outside. Micah’s presentation was on his scooter and scooter tricks. Ethan’s was on various places he enjoys going birding. And then in Essentials, Micah and I read his first paper this week, which was a big milestone.

Here are some pics from around the house doing school, including writing outside in the beautiful weather, teaching the Timeline to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Sal, working on their Essentials papers, LEGO history sentence of signing the Mayflower Compact:

The boys did some birding in the park nearby and then spent some time snuggled up while editing their pictures. Later during the week we drove up to Loveland to check out a birding hotspot there that our dear friends told us about. It was awesome!

Other pictures from the week include lots of piano playing (the boys are potentially working on a Christmas duet), using the rower outside, a day full of ping pong, and Mike mowing the backyard with a mask on due to the smoke and ashes in the air from the wildfires,

Finally the boys were seriously spoiled this week by various gifts sent their way. Each gift was sent out of the blue and we were blown away by the thoughtfulness and generosity. My favorite story from these gifts was when Ethan was able to make an educated guess about who was featured in his new Star Wars shirt – Emiliano Zapata! He said later, “well, I was trying to think of who I know who is important to Mexican history and that’s the only name I could remember.” Anyway, thank you to all our thoughtful friends and family who like to send gifts to spoil us!

Oh, and here’s the first day of picture of the boys together from the week before:

First Week of School

Ethan: 5th grade; 11 years old; 5′ and 89.2 lbs. He’s starting his 6th year of homeschooling through CC. This is his final year in Foundations and Essentials.

Micah: 3rd grade; 8 years old; 4’4.5″ and 64.8 lbs. He is starting his 5th year of homeschooling through CC. He’s got 3 more years in Foundations/Essentials after this one.

We started the 2020-2021 school year on Monday of this week. We had two other like-minded families join us in our backyard for our community day. Our plan is to meet outside every week to do CC together. I’ll try to snap a picture this week before anyone arrives so you can see the layout.

Our first day was an answer to prayer. And, as is often the case, the Lord went above and beyond in providing such lovely blessing – grass was laid on Friday, so we didn’t have mud and dirt everywhere; we had ample shade; every detail went smoothly and we all were relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company! SO thankful to have something practical for which to use all this beautiful new space! But first, a couple of prep pictures from the weekend before:

Ethan took first day of school photos for everyone in our group (I snapped one of Ethan) and he may even do some work on a yearbook for everyone throughout the year. Our boys each gave a presentation introducing themselves and the things by which they are interested. Micah even included a little description of what our backyard looked like at the beginning of the summer. Micah is participating in Essentials loosely and diagrammed his first sentence – he was super pumped about it!

The rest of the week was equally successful. I came up with a schedule that feels good to all of us for now. We’ll see if it continues to be a good fit, but we liked how it felt for this week! Here are some pictures::

Some highlights included our new weekly assignment of teaching the timeline to Grandpa and Grandma and Auntie Sal over Zoom; lessons taught one-on-one by Dad with each boy (Micah wanted to learn more about how to have a good conversation and Ethan wanted to learn more about stocks and mutual funds); art class online. (We did not get a dog – that’s the dog of our friend who is doing all of the backyard projects!)

We also went to Cherry Creek Reservoir for some paddle boarding to celebrate a great start to the school year. We intended to go on Monday night, but we were pretty wiped and hot after a full day outside, so we went on Tuesday instead. I did some paddle boarding and then spent the rest of the evening working on finishing my book for my virtual CC book club: Walden! Good setting for that book. =)

Finally, at the end of the week, two exciting packages were delivered: the long-promised ping pong table and a rower. We are loving having an outdoor ping pong table and have already used it for some schooling and just some regular ol’ fun! And the rower is lots of fun, too. Feeling very spoiled in life right now. Very spoiled and very thankful.