Life

We are really excited about fall around here.  We made pumpkin muffins and brought out all of our fall decorations!  And I finally got to wear jeans again!  My fav.

Fall also means football season has begun!  Mike and Reggie went to see the Chiefs beat the Broncos recently.

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And with fall comes the beginning of other activities.  I am teaching our Kids Club at church (which Micah attends with me) while Ethan participates in Cadets.

Other things not related to fall…Micah wanted to send some letters and chose to keep his hat on for his correspondence-writing.  He also chose to sleep in it.  Speaking of sleep, his is often riddled with fear.  Things vary from night to night, but that particular night he fell asleep on the floor so that he could be near me.  More often, though, I wake up to evidence that he slept on my floor during the night.  He tells me he wakes up at about 4 in the morning and camps out on my floor until morning.  He’s very stealthy.  This is what he brings with him every time. =D

Milestone alert – Micah read the Bible story for us after dinner for the first time!!

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Here are some drum pictures from his lessons.  I wish I could show you pictures of Ethan’s lessons, too.  He is LOVING piano and really enjoys taking lessons with our cousin.

It wouldn’t be an every day life post if I didn’t include pictures of us playing games and listening to audiobooks.  We are minutes away from finishing Redwall – it’s been loved by all of us!

Homeschool

Our first two months of homeschool was anything but pretty.  It’s starting to feel like we are finding our groove now.  Our main focus each day is attitude and effort and just saying those two words has become a good reminder to all of us.  Anyway, feeling thankful and wanted to post some pictures from the last couple weeks:

Here’s what the table looks like before we get going for the day.  I hope and pray that it feels inviting to the boys!  And a close up of some of the systems we put into place that have really helped!

Here are some shots I took at home:

And some shots out at the parks nearby:

Pictures can be deceiving, yes?  It looks like we were having joy-filled days out doing school at the park…in truth, we had meltdowns on two out of those three days and I may or may not have said I didn’t want to go to the park again for a long time. =/

Here are some pictures of gym class – PE +, free homeschool hours at Top Golf, and playing tennis.  Pretty fun!

We also got together with a friend from CC to go on a field trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  We really enjoyed doing their new exhibit – brain games or something like that.  I was very impressed to see everyone participating and not wanting to cheat AT ALL.  It took a whole lotta perseverance!  After our friends left, we hung around and searched for all of the hidden gnomes throughout the museum.  Lots of fun!

One of the problems was really tough, but we brought it home with us and E and I figured it out!!

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And here are some pictures from CC over the past couple weeks.  Ethan did not want to participate in “chubby bunnies” / review during Essentials. =)

More on every day life happenings to come.

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. =)

First Two Weeks of School

The first two weeks of school were a bit of a whirlwind, as these pics might attest.  Our first day of school was actually on Monday, August 20th (not the 22nd like I accidentally wrote on our super rushed “first day of school” pics).  And I didn’t weigh the boys until today and still haven’t measured them for their height.  Our first day was also our first of Classical Conversations community day and we had a lot to pack in order to get out the door (thus the picture of our list).

Micah sat in my class for the first week of CC and has chosen to stay with us during Essentials (the afternoon program focused on English grammar, math facts, and writing).  Ethan gave his presentation on our big summer trip – he just highlighted Yosemite for this one.  Micah, since he wasn’t in his class, gave a presentation to our family about his shark tooth and getting it removed at the dentist this summer.  He may use that presentation again when he’s in his real class.

My mom was here for a field trip visit – she arrived in the middle of CC and spent some time with her sister until we were ready.  I’ll include more pictures from her visit and our field trip in another post.  But here are a couple fun ones from around the house (before and after the Mesa Verde field trip):

Mesa Verde occupied most of our first week of school.  This week, however, we had a more typical school week.  Micah went to his CC class and had SO much fun.  His tutor said that he was “GREAT!” in class.  He now calls CC days the “fun day” of the week and plans to attend his class every week.  Ethan, meanwhile, has been an all-star in our class.  I’ve been really impressed with his quiet leadership and kindness.  He’s been participating well, taking chances in Essentials even when he feels way out of his comfort zone, and being a very good example to others around him.  What a treat!  Speaking of treats, we treated the boys to ice cream after such a wonderful second day at CC!  And then I even had the energy to *finally* get them their rewards for all of the books they read over the summer.

And here are some shots I took from around the house during our homeschool days.  Ethan is doing 4th grade math this year and Micah is starting his first Singapore Math book with 1st grade work.  I’ve discovered that he really likes to be artistic during math, so he will never just circle when he could color. =)  Just today Micah asked if we could do harder math…which was such an encouragement to me because he’s not always one to want to be challenged.  I assured him that this book would get more tricky in the coming weeks and that he should just enjoy the easy lessons while he has them.  We also are taking advantage of borrowing “Code Names” from my Mom and playing variations of it with vocab and sight words.

Lastly, here are the current weights of the guys:

Last Days of Summer

We filled our last days of summer with lots of activity.  We had a few playdates, a few injuries, a bit of reading and biking, some babysitting, and exploring the creek near piano lessons!

I’ve learned that Ethan is very motivated – like me – by charts and goals.  He was pretty eager to reach his 50 mile biking goal before school started.  So on Saturday, we biked around Cherry Creek Reservoir (and Ethan biked over a huge bull snake in the process EEK).  We spent over two hours out there and biked over 12 miles.  But he was pumped to reach that goal!  He’d like to ride 100 miles over the school year. =)  Micah is more motivated by prizes, so he was also pretty eager to finish his reading chart for the year so that he could get the prize I had promised.  We were super proud of both of them!

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And in preparation for the new CC school year, I had a bunch of the tutors over to our home for training and dinner.  Mikey was out of town, so the boys had to tuck themselves in bed that night all by themselves.  Milestone.  And adorable. =)

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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:

 

Summer Updates

I’m going to lump a bunch of summer pictures/stories into this post in an effort to catch up to present day updates quickly.

The boys each ended up getting much-needed (in my opinion, as Micah likes to remind me often) hair cuts.  Ethan went first and then after a day of seeing how great he looked, Micah was ready to cut his, too. =)

The day Micah got his haircut was a pretty big day for him.  He also had his front tooth pulled out and sealants put on two other teeth (that part was the least comfortable for him).  I had it in my head that he was going to be unconscious for all of this, which scared him plenty, but then it turned out that he just had the laughing gas and was perfectly wide awake and aware the whole time.  He was incredibly brave and held my hand the whole time (except apparently when I gave my phone to Ethan to take a picture), with little tears running down his cheeks for part of it.

We love spending time at our park.  The sprinklers are loads of fun to run through, the hills are fun to scooter, and it’s fascinating to see how much the big storms transform the whole park.

We’ve had some fun playdates – most don’t have pictures.

We’ve been reading lots of books and finishing lots of paint-by-stickers.

We attended the annual CC Practicum.  Micah went to one day of his Geo Draw class, but then opted to pay me back for the other day of classes, rather than attending any more. Sigh.  Last year, you may recall, he didn’t attend any days…so I guess that’s progress. 😉  Thankfully, he sits quietly for hours and hours while I attend the trainings so I really can’t complain.  Ethan participated in his first Latin camp with the older class and seemed to have lots of fun!  We saw him for lunch, but he sat with friends and played sports with them the whole break!  It was fun to watch him running around with the guys.

We built a Lego display bookshelf for the boys’ room:

Ethan had a summer piano lesson and Micah and I enjoyed exploring in a creek nearby:

And the boys “built” a table outside for snacks and “poison-making”.