Week 2

I’ll start with some pics from our second week of CC outside. Micah’s presentation was on his scooter and scooter tricks. Ethan’s was on various places he enjoys going birding. And then in Essentials, Micah and I read his first paper this week, which was a big milestone.

Here are some pics from around the house doing school, including writing outside in the beautiful weather, teaching the Timeline to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Sal, working on their Essentials papers, LEGO history sentence of signing the Mayflower Compact:

The boys did some birding in the park nearby and then spent some time snuggled up while editing their pictures. Later during the week we drove up to Loveland to check out a birding hotspot there that our dear friends told us about. It was awesome!

Other pictures from the week include lots of piano playing (the boys are potentially working on a Christmas duet), using the rower outside, a day full of ping pong, and Mike mowing the backyard with a mask on due to the smoke and ashes in the air from the wildfires,

Finally the boys were seriously spoiled this week by various gifts sent their way. Each gift was sent out of the blue and we were blown away by the thoughtfulness and generosity. My favorite story from these gifts was when Ethan was able to make an educated guess about who was featured in his new Star Wars shirt – Emiliano Zapata! He said later, “well, I was trying to think of who I know who is important to Mexican history and that’s the only name I could remember.” Anyway, thank you to all our thoughtful friends and family who like to send gifts to spoil us!

Oh, and here’s the first day of picture of the boys together from the week before:

First Week of School

Ethan: 5th grade; 11 years old; 5′ and 89.2 lbs. He’s starting his 6th year of homeschooling through CC. This is his final year in Foundations and Essentials.

Micah: 3rd grade; 8 years old; 4’4.5″ and 64.8 lbs. He is starting his 5th year of homeschooling through CC. He’s got 3 more years in Foundations/Essentials after this one.

We started the 2020-2021 school year on Monday of this week. We had two other like-minded families join us in our backyard for our community day. Our plan is to meet outside every week to do CC together. I’ll try to snap a picture this week before anyone arrives so you can see the layout.

Our first day was an answer to prayer. And, as is often the case, the Lord went above and beyond in providing such lovely blessing – grass was laid on Friday, so we didn’t have mud and dirt everywhere; we had ample shade; every detail went smoothly and we all were relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company! SO thankful to have something practical for which to use all this beautiful new space! But first, a couple of prep pictures from the weekend before:

Ethan took first day of school photos for everyone in our group (I snapped one of Ethan) and he may even do some work on a yearbook for everyone throughout the year. Our boys each gave a presentation introducing themselves and the things by which they are interested. Micah even included a little description of what our backyard looked like at the beginning of the summer. Micah is participating in Essentials loosely and diagrammed his first sentence – he was super pumped about it!

The rest of the week was equally successful. I came up with a schedule that feels good to all of us for now. We’ll see if it continues to be a good fit, but we liked how it felt for this week! Here are some pictures::

Some highlights included our new weekly assignment of teaching the timeline to Grandpa and Grandma and Auntie Sal over Zoom; lessons taught one-on-one by Dad with each boy (Micah wanted to learn more about how to have a good conversation and Ethan wanted to learn more about stocks and mutual funds); art class online. (We did not get a dog – that’s the dog of our friend who is doing all of the backyard projects!)

We also went to Cherry Creek Reservoir for some paddle boarding to celebrate a great start to the school year. We intended to go on Monday night, but we were pretty wiped and hot after a full day outside, so we went on Tuesday instead. I did some paddle boarding and then spent the rest of the evening working on finishing my book for my virtual CC book club: Walden! Good setting for that book. =)

Finally, at the end of the week, two exciting packages were delivered: the long-promised ping pong table and a rower. We are loving having an outdoor ping pong table and have already used it for some schooling and just some regular ol’ fun! And the rower is lots of fun, too. Feeling very spoiled in life right now. Very spoiled and very thankful.

Finishing up the Summer

Our summer is coming to a close and I think it’s the first summer we’ve not done any traveling or had any visitors since Mikey and I got married. Still, we’ve had a lovely break from schooling and have done a lot to enjoy the local scene. =)

We’ve done some birding – at Bluff Lake, at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, the pond nearby and also just in our neighborhood park.

One Sunday afternoon after virtual church we spent the afternoon camped out at our park. We played yard games, listened to books, played frisbee and ate our lunch there. It was lots of fun!

While we were there, Micah reenacted a photo I took of him about 8 years ago!

Other happenings include constantly listening to audiobooks, Saturday morning sprint workouts at the track, playing games, watching birding webinars (especially fun to do when Grandpa and Grandma are also watching), determining the species of our LEGO birds, cooking, reading with Daddio, lots of yard work (I still intend to do a before and after post at some point…but we are still in the midst of getting things completed!), and doing some things to get ready for the school year (Ethan did a math test to make sure we are doing the right level of Math for him this year as we are switching over to Saxon math for the first time) and reading Farmer Boy with Grandma over Zoom.

We also did another spur of the moment one-on-one. Ethan and Mike rode their bikes downtown to pick up my birthday present – a new bike helmet!! This was Ethan’s longest bike ride to date – 30 miles, I believe. Meanwhile, Micah and I finished George’s Marvelous Medicine and made our own slightly more edible version of medicine.

Mike’s Birthday

We really enjoyed celebrating Mikey’s birthday. Micah started the celebrations by having Mike’s morning drink ready with a birthday sign waiting for him when he woke up. It was a work day, so he took the second half of the day off so that we could celebrate more with opening presents, special food, and eventually an evening our at Cherry Creek Reservoir.

Each of the boys bought Mike a gift with their own money. Micah also put in some silly gifts, like a pair of socks he found lying around their room (one which had a hole in the toe). And I got him bike shorts, since he’s hoping to start biking more. We also enjoyed a yummy ice cream cake.

This guy is very special to us!

Early July

Mikey and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on the first of this month. When we took a selfie at the top of the mountain we climbed as a family that day, it reminded us both of the selfie we took on one of our 14ers that we used on our wedding day for people to sign. We’ve been climbing mountains and having other fun adventures together for 18 years already!

We hiked Chief Mountain – a 3 mile hike with spectacular views about 45 minutes from our house I think. It was absolutely fabulous – enough work that felt good, but not exhausting. =)

That night, we had sushi take out as a family. Later, Mikey and I enjoyed Cherry Wine from Door County, WI (which I bought at Mars Cheese Castle last June when we stayed in Wisconsin for the month) on our deck.

We celebrated the 4th with a challenging, but fun 1776 workout. This meant that we worked together to complete various movements that totaled up to 1776. It was a lot of fun. Micah led us in the hand stands, as that is his speciality and the rest of us can barely do a donkey kick. =D Later we had our annual 4th of July dessert of fruit and homemade whipped cream. And we took two nights to watch Hamilton together. What an incredible show! Ethan had already seen it LIVE, but he liked seeing it again and said he picked up on more of the story the second time around. We also enjoyed “butterscotch on the rocks”, which we learned about from a fun book series (Royal Rabbits of London). We used stevia droppers with butterscotch flavor and Ethan used chocolate, since he doesn’t like butterscotch.

We also all finally have working bikes, so we’ve done some family bike rides, including a ride around Cherry Creek Reservoir.

Other snapshots of life in early July include a lot of piano-playing, drawing, eating at Micah’s home restaurant, and listening to Daddio read to us.

Rounding out June

Our neighbor brought over her old pool for Mallory and she went in it a couple times. We had hoped she’d want to swim around more, but she usually just went in for the corn and came back out again. Sadly, it’s now been a couple weeks since we’ve seen her. We’re missing our little pet. =(

I haven’t shared any pictures of the backyard on here, yet, because I was hoping to make a dramatic unveiling of all of the progress. That will come in a later post, when it’s all finished. The work has been slow and steady and we officially have a deck with railings now. We’ve had a couple meals out there. Mike starts most mornings from there and Micah read his first book solo out there. We are going to love this new space!

We’ve been keeping busy with much of the same activities – walks, books, biking, hiking, playing piano and checking out birds. Micah also learned how to do Sudoku, so that’s been fun! And they play hangman together occasionally, too.