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”.

The Rockstar Band

Because Mike was out of town for his big 35th birthday, we sent him a birthday song video (see below) and that began a beautiful, although short-lived, thing in our home: The Rockstar Band.

The boys decided to form a band and play concerts for people over the next week.  We did an online concert, we invited some friends over for a couple, and we had two neighbor families over for an afternoon concert, too.  Their concert for our neighbors was the best, in my opinion, as they had to invite them over on their own and then they did an excellent job thanking them for coming, giving out treats and introducing each song.  They both had a lot of fun and showed great poise.  Fun to see!

Hopefully now that Micah will be starting drum lessons in the fall, this was just the first few of many concerts to come!!

Home, Sweet Home

We had a fantastic road trip, but we were all definitely glad to be home again.  I especially loved updating our various charts and changing our calendars.  Simple pleasures.  It doesn’t take much over here. =)

We listened to 8 audiobooks on the trip.  I’ve included a list here with some thoughts since I know some of you like that. =)

  1. Penderwicks (LOVE this book! It’s sweet and probably more geared towards girls, but it’s lots of fun)
  2. Stuart Little
  3. Alvin Ho Book 1 (the audiobooks are extra funny)
  4. Alvin Ho Book 2
  5. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (Book 2: The Hidden Gallery) (LOVE this series, but it’s best to do the audiobook…I think the boys would like it even more in a few years, but they are really laughing hard throughout it and the mystery is lots of fun)
  6. The Horse and His Boy (CS Lewis – can’t go wrong!  It’s a good stand alone book)
  7. The Secret School
  8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

We also added our miles from the bike ride through Yosemite:

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We really got into doing paint-by-stickers, something I had heard about at CC and also in the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, on our trip.  The boys LOVE doing them, especially when I read to them or they are listening to a book.  I am buying as many of these books as possible.  I would say that Micah started these with SO much frustration that he almost gave up, but now he can’t get enough of them.  So maybe start them at age 6 or 7…

We’ve caught up with some of our buddies – I don’t always get pictures, but I did snap a couple during some of the more recent ones.

Aunt Ashley and I started date night swaps, finally!  I had the pleasure of watching Caleb at their place  and she watched the boys here another night.  This is such a gift to all of us!!

And we were able to go to another concert for cousin, Matthew.  It rained at this one, so I didn’t end up taking any pics while we were there…but I did get this one of us walking  to it.  It was lots of fun to hear his band playing at a beautiful park.

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