Advent Activities

We celebrated Advent again this year by doing various activities each day.  We didn’t get a chance to do a few of my favorites and I definitely didn’t snap a picture of everything we did.  But here’s a glimpse into the festivities for Advent 2018.  Activities included, but were not limited to: watching a Christmas movie, enjoying ice cream ‘sundaes’ for a meal, red and green meal, making Christmas snacks, Christmas art class online, decorating gingerbread houses, and painting Christmas canvases.

We definitely enjoyed the anticipatory season of Advent.  Meanwhile, we also read Ann Voscamp’s “Greatest Gift” Advent book.  We really enjoyed that.  And I read a book called, “Keeping Holiday” which I liked a whole lot and will read to the boys in the coming years.

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Other December Updates

These are pictures/stories – unrelated to Micah’s birthday, Advent or Christmas – that happened in December.

A few more pics I snapped from the cousin sleepover at our house:

 

Playing Micah’s new game:

Drum and piano lessons are still well-loved by the boys.  Ethan had a piano recital at a retirement community and he did a great job playing Carol of the Bells, Angels We Have Heard on High and Deck the Halls (I think!).

Micah gave us all art lessons.

Homeschooling for 2018 finished strong:

And these boys continue to be best friends:

Life Lately

These pictures don’t really fit into a category but were taken over the past month.  They give a glimpse into every day life around here.

Some of us were really hoping that a Packer picnic would help revitalize the Packer’s season this year.  One of us just likes to be contrary…

Micah wanted to try split pea soup in honor of one of his favorite book series, George and Martha.  He asked to take a picture for Grandma since she read some many of those stories to him the last time she was here.

Sometimes when we FaceTime with Daddio while he’s away, things get a little bit silly…

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Random November Updates

Two quick pictures of family to begin the month – 1) we sent our beloved Packers helmet onward and got a picture of Abe enjoying it! and 2) we celebrated Caleb’s 2nd birthday!

Mike was in India for work for a good chunk of November.  He had a great trip and really enjoyed being there.  We were so thankful that, while he came back feeling exhausted, he did not get sick!  He and one of the founders of phData had a layover in Paris for a day while waiting for their Visas to come through, so they enjoyed walking the city a bit!  Also, Mike bowled really well at their team-building activity and everyone was pretty proud of him for getting on the leader board for the month. =)

Meanwhile, at home…I did get sick for a couple days while he was gone.  The boys handled things incredibly well.  We had a little church service at home and even had Chipotle delivered to the house for the boys.  Ha!  Ethan still was able to go to see cousin Matthew’s play that day, but Micah wanted to stay home to make sure I’d be okay.

Thankfully whatever that sickness was didn’t last long!  We had a play date, went out for dinner with Reggie, and I did some painting.  We also re-instituted rest time for weeks when Mike is out of town and that really saved my sanity.  I just need little breaks so that I can be patient and joyful and not irritable and annoyed.  The boys have been rocking these rest times with paint by stickers, listening to story of the world, doing sudoku, etc..

Other updates for the month include both boys still enjoying their instruments:

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Sometimes the boys want to “play school” and I always find it very humorous.  Micah loves to be the teacher and Ethan absolutely LOVES spelling tests and asks for lots of words.

Hanson’s new CD came out and it’s great.  😉 And we continue to enjoy family night at church – Ethan does Cadets and I teach the kids club for the younger kiddos.  Micah has opted to stay in there with me and is my little helper.  And the guys love doing battles.

When Daddio comes back home from a trip, we often put pictures from our weeks up on the TV and tell stories to each other.

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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. =)

6th Annual Trip

For our 6th annual trip with the Maurer family, we spent the weekend in Kansas City.  We are nearing (if we haven’t already reached it) the point when we will need to do some repeat locations, but this year was a new spot for us again.  We all enjoy spending time together and it’s been such a special treat to watch our children grow up together.

We usually spend a fair amount of time at the hotel just talking and playing.  We also all like parks and legos, so we fit in both of those activities this year.  A hike is often on all of our lists to do, but it was way too hot to spend much time outside that weekend.  We spent Friday night grabbing dinner out and playing at the hotel, Saturday out and about and Sunday back at the hotel before going our separate ways.

Here are some shots from around the hotel, including a few selfies the kids took (as requested) from their explorations around the hotel on their own.  Favorite memories include watching various plays of Piggie and Gerald books, watching all the kids try to catch the football with their elbows, sending messages/emojis/pictures with Ellie (mostly Mike and Ellie/Adam), and how sweet those girls are to my boys who want to show them their paint-by-sticker books and Legos.  Lots and lots of laughter!

Mute the video if you don’t want to hear my crazy loud laugh:

Pics from our dinners out:

Pics from the park, Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium:

All too soon it was time to say goodbye.  The kids hugged too quickly, so we missed any cute pics of that…but I snapped a couple of Mikey saying goodbye to some of his favorite girls!  We parents left exhausted, having stayed up until midnight or WAY later both evenings we had together.  We sure enjoyed spending time with this crew again!

Quick throwback of our group from just last summer and a link to all the previous years:

 

Home, Sweet Home

We had a fantastic road trip, but we were all definitely glad to be home again.  I especially loved updating our various charts and changing our calendars.  Simple pleasures.  It doesn’t take much over here. =)

We listened to 8 audiobooks on the trip.  I’ve included a list here with some thoughts since I know some of you like that. =)

  1. Penderwicks (LOVE this book! It’s sweet and probably more geared towards girls, but it’s lots of fun)
  2. Stuart Little
  3. Alvin Ho Book 1 (the audiobooks are extra funny)
  4. Alvin Ho Book 2
  5. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (Book 2: The Hidden Gallery) (LOVE this series, but it’s best to do the audiobook…I think the boys would like it even more in a few years, but they are really laughing hard throughout it and the mystery is lots of fun)
  6. The Horse and His Boy (CS Lewis – can’t go wrong!  It’s a good stand alone book)
  7. The Secret School
  8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

We also added our miles from the bike ride through Yosemite:

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We really got into doing paint-by-stickers, something I had heard about at CC and also in the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, on our trip.  The boys LOVE doing them, especially when I read to them or they are listening to a book.  I am buying as many of these books as possible.  I would say that Micah started these with SO much frustration that he almost gave up, but now he can’t get enough of them.  So maybe start them at age 6 or 7…

We’ve caught up with some of our buddies – I don’t always get pictures, but I did snap a couple during some of the more recent ones.

Aunt Ashley and I started date night swaps, finally!  I had the pleasure of watching Caleb at their place  and she watched the boys here another night.  This is such a gift to all of us!!

And we were able to go to another concert for cousin, Matthew.  It rained at this one, so I didn’t end up taking any pics while we were there…but I did get this one of us walking  to it.  It was lots of fun to hear his band playing at a beautiful park.

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