Part 3: Minnesota

Mike had a meeting in Minnesota early Tuesday morning, so I opted to stay in Wisconsin for one more night and then drive solo with the boys the following day.  We had an uneventful trip and finished another book or two.

We spent under a week in Minnesota.  The main attraction was to see the wedding of Mike’s friend and co-worker on Saturday.  One day, per the boys’ request, we explored the skyways.  This included going to the library and participating in their reading challenges. We also spent some time at the pool and visiting Daddio’s work.  Another day, we had the chance to go for a bike ride around one of the beautiful lakes there.  A pending storm really ruined the atmosphere for the boys who really didn’t like the idea of being caught in the rain.

On Saturday, we spent time exploring an outdoor art museum and then went to the wedding celebration.

We really enjoy Minneapolis so much.  Short, but oh so sweet.

Part 1: Michigan

We spent the majority of June on the road visiting various midwest favorites: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri.  We started by driving to Michigan for my cousins’ wedding.

We’ve found our rhythm for road trips: I drive and listen to audiobooks with the boys (finished Penderwicks in Spring and Hatchet on this portion), while Mike works (and apparently sometimes naps when his schedule allows).  He does all the directions, getting gas, and deciding on food.  It works well!

We arrived in Michigan before the rest of the family, so we enjoyed a quiet evening with my grandpa which was definitely a highlight for me.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had hours of chatting with only him like that.  Such a gift.  This was Ethan’s last night as a 9 year old, so I took some pictures of our evening.  The boys are still working towards their goal of reading aloud for ten minutes for 275 days of the year (I think that’s the goal…I should have written it down somewhere!!).

The following day we celebrated Ethan’s birthday a bit and went to the wedding.  I have a few favorite memories from that day: Eddie dancing with Ger at dinner, Abe and Ivan crushing the dance floor with their moves, and Ivan calling Aunt Dawn a princess when he saw her waiting to greet us, Salina giving kisses to Micah, all the boys teasing Uncle Brad, etc. etc. It was a fun day!

The following day we went to church and then had a picnic in the park.

After the fun, we drove to Wisconsin for the next part of our trip.  Michigan was short, but very sweet!

Wrapping up the school year

We’ve had a sort of bizarre wrap up to our school year.  We still have a few things to finish before I can officially say we’re on summer break, but we’ve definitely lowered the intensity of our workload already.  We had to hit it pretty hard in April, so May has been a slower pace.  We also often do various school-related things throughout the summer, so I’m okay with a more calm ending to the school year.  But I haven’t taken any official final day of school pics. haha!

Ethan had his first standardized tests and did really well on them.  He took them with a bunch of other CC peeps at our church, so that helped to make it a good first experience for him.  Meanwhile, Micah and I went over to a nearby rec center and did school there. Afterwards they all played basketball and ate lunch together.

We had our final day at CBS and Micah “sang” with the kids at the opening.  We also had our final lunch with cousin Matthew before he starts school at DC in the fall.  They had their final piano lesson together recently, too. It’s been SO much fun being with them every week.

The boys earned two new books for their read aloud challenge – they read EVERY day of the month of April for at least ten minutes each.

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And we had our end of the year party with CC.  We celebrated all that they learned and did a little showing off by singing the timeline.  This was also the evening that my new role as the Director at CC began – pretty overwhelming and exciting all at the same time.  Mike wasn’t in town, so I only got the picture of the memory master gang (featured in a previous post) and this one of Micah’s class.

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Attempts to Catch Up

I have apparently lagged WAY behind in my posting.  I’ll have to do a broad sweep of a few post updates so that we can get caught up again!

Kiwi Crates (I’m getting to the point of being over these, but every time they arrive the boys are thrilled!  I just want to enjoy them for a month and then not have boxes lying around the house…sigh):

We had our dear missionary friends over for dinner while they were in town.  You’ll recognize them as friends we stayed with when we were in Germany.  It was SO good to catch up with them again and to hear how the Lord is on the move in their lives.  It was also lots of fun to recall funny memories from our early days of dating and marriage as they were mentors of ours from the beginning of our dating lives. =)

Here are some shots from every day life around here.  They include quite a few pictures of boys reading out loud (still doing their Read Aloud Challenge every month this year) to various people.

And a few from homeschooling, including pictures of Ethan working on his big Faces and Places presentation about Alexander the Great.  He had to read his 5 paragraph essay in front of the community and he did a great job!  You’ll also see some pictures of the boys either reading or listening to books because we’ve started a new habit of reading for 20 minutes any day that Daddio is out of town.  It gives me a little break and shows them that reading is an important and fun part of all of our days. =)

More to come in this whirlwind update of the past two months.

Learning Lately

One of the things we have been enjoying this year has been being a part of the Read Aloud Revival group.  It means we’ve had access to various author interviews and drawing classes – both things we’ve enjoyed immensely.  We listened to Jonathan Rogers (author of my fav series – The Wilderking Series) talk about Narnia (because he wrote a book about exploring the world through Narnia) and then enjoyed our very own dinner with the beavers (recommended by RAR).

Here are some pictures from one of the art workshops the RAR put on this week:

The RAR is also the reason we are participating in a year-long challenge to have each boy read out loud for 10 minutes most days of the year.  It’s been remarkable to see how much they have both improved in 3 short months.  Mostly Micah has been doing Piggie and Gerald books (a lot by memory), but he’s also started reading some other books!  Ethan has been reading both of the Ninja Warrior books.

Occasionally I give little rewards for their efforts.  They read out loud even when they are tired and would rather just go to bed and I want to encourage their perseverance.  So every now and then I give them a new/used book or take them to a book store to pick out something.  Micah asks me to take pictures of various things he would like to “put on his list” every time we go someplace.  He has his eyes closed in the one picture because he was “pleading” with me to get it for him someday.  This time he ended up getting a coin book so he can start his own collection.  He’s pretty jazzed about it.

Here are some pictures from around the house.  Ethan is rocking it with diagramming sentences these days and it’s really fun to watch.  He’s also still an avid reader and is always anxious to start new books.  Micah has started multiplication and is doing super well, which is exciting.

It’s been a great year of homeschooling and we’ve officially signed up for another year.  Eek! =)

Side note: Micah is a very unique thinker and it always shines through during his workbook assignments.  He doesn’t like to just do a problem; he likes to draw elaborate pictures to go along with them.  Here are just a few examples of what schooling is like with this free spirit.  (1) He made a lot of adjustments to the math worksheet. (2) He added the “ooooh” that comes at the end of that song about helping verbs. (3) He drew a picture representing his History sentence.

The Start of February

Playing games:

Doing schoolwork (reading fun books and books for Ethan’s big Faces and Places in Ancient History project, doing a mega brief art study on Durer, diagramming sentences – we sent this one to Aunt Mel to get it corrected!, and Micah admiring his schoolwork thus far for the year:

Ethan went to his first drop-and-go birthday party while Micah and Daddio had eye appointments.  I was thanking the Lord for all of the growth we’ve seen in both boys this year.  Ethan was a-okay with someone else driving him around and playing at Dart Warz solo and Micah was able to use the letters for his eye exam, rather than the pictures.  Woot!

And, finally…this is a little glimpse of parenting boys.  They throw snowballs at the kitchen window to get my attention.

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The week bookended by GC

Just wanted to fill in the gaps from my previous post.  While Grandma Cleve was with the Bertilson family, we had a busy week at home.  Mike was in Minnesota, enjoying a balmy -48 degrees or something.  It was pretty crazy.  I saw a meme that indicated it was colder in Minneapolis than Antarctica that day!  Meanwhile, we enjoyed a snow day on Monday.  And my cousin, Meredith, came over to play in the snow.  It was a HUGE treat to all of us!

Check out how awesome she is:

Tuesday was a rough day.  But no one wants to hear the woes of homeschool life.  Micah did have the chance to take Bailey on a walk in the snow that afternoon – he’s getting ready for his potential job this summer of walking neighborhood dogs.

On Wednesday we had our usual day, except that cousin Matthew invited Ethan over after piano lessons.  So Micah and I had the afternoon to ourselves until we picked him up before drum lessons.  It was pretty fun.  I snapped this picture of my red bush tea because I bought it on Amazon to drink while I listen to the audiobooks of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency…and then I found out that one of my favorite “celebrity-ish” people did the same thing!!  (Sarah McKenzie from the Read Aloud Revival podcast, if you must know =D) Great minds…

On Thursday and Friday evenings we were able to celebrate the boys’ reading out loud accomplishments for January.  They both read 25+ days out loud for 10 minutes!  Their self-selected rewards were a movie night with special snacks (Micah) and game night with special snacks (Ethan).  Lots of fun!  I guess we only took a picture of the movie night – we watched Prince Caspian.

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