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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Since We’ve Been Gone…

We hit the ground running!  We arrived home just in time for me to turn around and get to a tutor meeting for CC.  Then we spent the weekend unpacking, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, going to church and potluck, and preparing to start school on Monday.  But before I get into pictures from our first two weeks back from vacation, I wanted to mention two really important things that happened in our family:

The first is that we welcomed a new baby boy into our family – Joshua James was born a couple days before Christmas!  We weren’t able to meet him until a week after we got home since we were a little congested upon arrival home.  We’ve since met him and, of course, are madly in love with the little sweetie.

The second is that we spent much of the New Year praying for our other baby nephew, Eddie.  He was in the ICU for over a week!  We are so very thankful that he’s home now and healing well.  It brought tears to my eyes to finally see pictures of him in his mama’s arms!!

As far as every day life at our home…

One of the first things we did was put up Micah’s bird feeder.  After sending pictures of it to my Dad, we raised it so that the squirrels wouldn’t get in! =)

We’ve also been playing lots of games, doing new puzzles and reading out loud a lot:

Our first week of school was interrupted by my travels to Atlanta to help my sister with her trade show, but I understand they did lots of hard work while I was away.  Here are some pictures from while I was in town and I’ll do another post with photos from the trip/boys at home.

I also took a couple of pictures of Micah’s homework just to give you a little glimpse into the way that sweet guy thinks!  If the math problem asks him to cross out a leaf in order to figure out the subtraction problem, he will have caterpillars attack and eat the leaf instead.  And if the math problem tells you to cross out a jar, he will make it break into little shards of glass.  And if the problem asks you to draw a line from the problem to the answer, he will make sure the line has loops in it because that’s what a balloon string would do. =)

Micah now knows how to blow bubbles and does so very well.  The boys have discovered that sometimes Micah will be able to do things that Ethan can’t do very well, and vice versa.  Ethan can whistle; Micah can blow bubbles.

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And lastly, sometimes we get pictures of cute family members with their book pajamas and it makes us smile.

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 5 Missouri

The boys and I drove to Missouri on New Year’s day.  We met Mike at his dad’s house as he had flown to Minnesota for a wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Again, our travels were smooth and we enjoyed some audiobooks (Matilda and the second book in the Wilderking Series that we loved so much).  We loved spending time with Grandpa Russ (and his two dogs) for a few days before heading home.  Some highlights included shooting BB guns for the first time, taking the dogs on recons with Grandpa Russ and playing lots of games.  The boys also started their January challenge of reading out loud every day for 10 minutes – it’s been a huge success and lots of fun!

We loved our annual tour of the Midwest.  It was wonderful to spend time with our family and friends.  What a gift to vacation/mostly-vacation for 20 days over the holidays!  Hopefully it’s not something we take for granted!!  Thanks for celebrating with us, all you Midwesterners. =)

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 1 Minnesota

We drove to Minnesota in two days, stopping over night in Nebraska.  You know it’s not a road trip without mentioning our audiobooks!  We enjoyed listening to “The Last Battle” all together on that drive and also finished a Magic Tree House book.  We started a fantastic series called, “The Wilderking Series” – in fact, it was probably my favorite read of the year!

The boys and I spent only a couple days there before continuing on to Wisconsin and then to Michigan on our own. Mike stayed in Minnesota for work until Friday when he met us in Michigan.  We spent our time exploring the “tubes”, coloring at Mike’s office, playing games and working out at the hotel.

Next Up: a brief layover in Wisconsin

Giving Gifts

We did our family gift exchange a night or two before heading out on our Midwestern tour.  And, honestly, the giving was so much better than the receiving for our crew this year.  It was lovely to see the generosity of the boys – they both made and bought gifts for everyone in the family with mostly their own money.  I had always heard about others doing this and that the kids enjoyed watching people open their gifts, but this was the first year it felt really, really true for our own family.  They enjoyed opening their gifts, but I think they were more excited about watching each person open the gift they had purchased and picked.

Ethan bought me a necklace and charm (from my sister’s company), a Colorado shirt for Mike (from the Global Bazaar) and a heart for Micah (from my sister’s company).

Micah got me soap (from the Global Bazaar), a couple used books and coupons for Mike, and various crafts/pictures for Ethan.

We got the boys each a game, a yo-yo, and some art supplies.  Later, we gave them each a book and book pajamas (more on that in another post).

That evening we also had some time to Skype with Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A.  The boys gave them a little show, too! =)

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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: