Finishing up March

March brought with it the arrival of Mallory, our beloved Mallard. We believe she’s got a new fella’ with her this spring, but we’re still calling him Fred. She’s back to her usual antics of peaking in the window and waiting on our step for corn and cooked rice. They have both ventured to the back on a couple of occasions.

March has also brought warmer weather – the kind where we spend hours outside: working, schooling, biking, playing ping pong, and going for hikes. Mike took the boys biking to Cherry Creek Reservoir recently while I did some CC work for next year.

The weekend before Easter we headed out to Upper Cheesman Reservoir for a really neat hike. I think it was about 4 miles total (out and back). Mike said it was one of his favorite hikes!

Other note-worthy events that I captured on camera from this month included another round of “cat business” (AKA watching the cats for our neighbors) – I snapped this picture of them coming home chatting, a birthday FaceTime with Grandpa Russ, Micah and Grandma having a business meeting about making cards, watching a Duck-umentary (twice), and art at the co

And, of course, some pictures from school life these days. The boys wrote a story together to do as their virtual presentation with our slightly broader CC community. It was hilarious.

We are down to only 2 weeks of backyard CC and we’re all kind of bummed to have it end. It’s been such a blast! Ethan painted a hummingbird, in the style (sort of) of Georgia O’Keeffe. The boys worked on vocabulary stories where they took a well-known fairy tale and re-wrote it using as many vocabulary words from Essentials as possible. I believe they both ended up using more than 50 of their vocabulary words. I snapped a picture of the words we were still trying to sneak into their stories with each boy so that I would remember which words needed to go with which boy. =D

And the last two pictures were to remind me to mention in passing that E and Micah do school in very different ways. Micah likes to include snacks and a stuffed animal and also always turns math problems into artistic masterpieces. =P

Life Lately

We reached some Covid-related milestones recently, as I’m sure have many of you. We’ve officially spent a full year without any in-person time with Grandma Cleve or my parents. This past Friday marked the year anniversary of when I flew home from Florida with the boys. Mike also has now gone over 365 days without getting on a plane for the first time in…18 years!! We snapped a picture of Mike to remember that day. =D And I reached a full year of reading for at least 10 minutes a day! (this is a big deal for me; I’m well-aware that many of you have such beautiful reading lives that this is nothing…but it’s a habit I’ve been working to build and have enjoyed every minute of it!)

We also celebrated some holidays – Pi day (with chicken potpie and chocolate pie) and St. Patty’s Day (with corned beef and cabbage):

Just days before a big winter storm, we had a gorgeous backyard community day with CC. We’re busy painting like the great artists right now and that’s been extra fun. Below you’ll see Micah’s version of a Picasso painting. Ethan was pretty bummed to have to cut up his beautiful bird to make it appear more like a Picasso piece.

I took Ethan out for a quick birding adventure after dropping off some food to folks from church before the snow arrived.

And then the storm hit us! We got almost 2 feet of snow! Lots of fun!

Other happenings as of late include celebrating Salina’s birthday via Zoom and her subsequent thank you note (SO funny!), writing on our gratitude frames, working on March madness brackets, enjoying the sunshine, and another tiny snowstorm:

And lastly some pictures of school today (Ethan is making the CC yearbook for us this year, with help from yours truly):

Life Lately

Here are some shots depicting homeschool life (Ethan is often up early and likes to start on school work right away – I caught him with his book light one morning around 6:15 already at work in the kitchen; Ethan reading out loud during the 10-min a day challenge in January; we teach the timeline from CC to my parents and Aunt Sal and afterwards Micah often likes to play a little piano for them; editing, diagramming, promises, promises curriculum from church; and Micah’s first chapter book read solo!).

Backyard CC Community (including one morning when we did the Essentials portion virtually to avoid those cold days):

Other fun happenings from over the last month include colorku/sudoku while listening to books, Micah working on an art project from Uncle Ger, finishing The Doldrums with Grandma via Zoom, a final Packer picnic for the year, a new joint ‘office’ for the boys, fun in the snow fort, lots of snuggles and book time, some rousing games of Throw Throw Burrito, and boys playing piano (Ethan looks like a teenager to me when he’s composing music on the computer by the piano!).

And, as you might expect, we’ve got lots of birding outings. Mostly the boys (sometimes just Ethan, sometimes both) head to our park down the street for some birding. But I took them to Barr Lake last week for something new and special. We saw quite a few Bald Eagles and a Kestral. Ethan could tell you what else we saw as I’m not as good with identifying or remembering birds. =D

Advent Activities, etc.

The boys and I were feeling pretty sad after Daddio and Grandpa Russ left. Mike stayed in Missouri for another five days to help get things settled there, so we spent some time solo again for the first time in a very long time! That first day we wanted to do something a little special – so we went birding at Cherry Creek Reservoir. Couldn’t have asked for a more lovely way to spend some hours to lighten our heavy hearts.

Advent activities while Dad was out included making homemade egg nog (yum!!), secret acts of kindness day (no pictures of that, obviously!), breakfast for dinner, picking up trash around our park with friends (followed by a snowball fight), and a Christmas art class.

And here are some other pics from throughout that week (virtual church, workouts during memory work review, Ethan reading in a tree, Grandma reading to us, snow on one of my walks, and my favorite cozy spot after a long day of parenting solo):

Early September

September was the month Mike did the Whole 30 challenge.  He began it with a nasty meal which we all rated a D- or below.  Thankfully things improved as the month went on.  I agreed to make 3-4 Whole 30 compliant dinners each week and he committed to doing the rest.  We were all so impressed with his diligence and discipline.  One of the meals I made for us was beef kabobs with a chimichurri sauce.  I even snapped a picture since it was my first time making any kabobs as far as I could recall.  We all rated this one much higher. =D

The boys had a really fun playdate over here during the school day.  We loved doing school with this buddy and also just enjoying the beautiful weather at the park.

Here are some fun shots from homeschooling, both at home, on the road and at CC.  Micah continues to LOVE drawing and Ethan loves playing board slam.  Micah started a reading program called “All About Reading” and is enjoying that, while Ethan is reading lots of books and discussing them with me.  Lots of fun!

Other happenings in the early part of this month include Micah’s new way of “picking” flowers for me: