Grandpa Russ’ Visit!

Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year.  We are loving this tradition and really enjoy having him in town for the holiday.  This year he arrived on Wednesday afternoon and left on Sunday morning.  We squeezed a lot of casual fun in that time.  We spent a lot of time outside, going for walks, and playing various games.

We also celebrated Thanksgiving twice.  We had two smaller feasts – one on Thursday and another on Saturday, when Ashley, Zach and Caleb were back in town.  Micah was my big helper in the kitchen. =)  It was a great way to celebrate!  (And in between the two celebrations, I got to decorate the house for Christmas while listening to the new Hanson Christmas CD!)

Feast #1:

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Feast #2:

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We’ve got lots for which to be thankful!  Thanks, Grandpa Russ, for coming out for another fun visit!

Grandma Cleve’s Visit, Part 2

We spent the afternoon/evening on Wednesday with Ashley and Caleb.  We got our usual picture of GC and the grandkids.  It’s such a fun tradition!  We’ve got at least 3 now. =)

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On Thursday, GC joined us at Classical Conversations.  It was such a treat for us to have her with us!  She sat in on both of the classes for a bit.  Unfortunately with all the moving around between classrooms, she didn’t end up seeing either presentation.  I believe Micah presented on the first line of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the tin whistle and Ethan did a presentation on various coins / money.

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We spent the afternoon playing Dominos, among other things.  Thanks for bringing this new game out to us and teaching us!

Grandma Cleve joined us at PE+ on Friday.  The boys played football afterwards again.  Ethan began learning division with remainders – a difficult task!  And that evening I had the pleasure of going to see Jen Hatmaker and Nichole Nordeman at their Moxie Matters tour.  It was absolutely lovely!  She’s such a treat to hear speak and she had so many important insights to make.  I was so thankful for the opportunity.

Saturday was our final day with GC.  We spent it opening an early birthday present for Micah (yay!) and driving through the mountains.  We had lunch in Boulder and walked through a cool bookstore there.  We stopped in Nederland to show GC where Mike proposed and took a quick sand-in-the-mouth-from-the-crazy-wind picture and then headed back in the car for more exploring.  We also took her to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal where we saw a lot of deer and some buffalo far in the distance.  It got too dark, too quickly for pictures, but it was nice to show her (and Mike) the arsenal since they had never been.

Thanks for making the trip again, Grandma Cleve!  We sure enjoyed having you!!

Grandma Cleve’s Visit, Part 1

Grandma Cleve came for another visit last week – splitting her time at Ashley and Zach’s and our house!  We had her for a day and a half at the beginning of her trip and then she finished her time at our house, too.

On Saturday, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion.  We had never been before and she spoiled us with a membership so we’ll be going there a few more times before the year is done. =D  Micah was our brave guy who held Rosie, the tarantula!  It was lots of fun to see all of the butterflies, to dig for worms and to look at their little aquarium.  It’s a really neat place and we’re excited to go back again!  Grandma Cleve almost became a part of the exhibit there when a gorgeous butterfly landed on her leg and stayed with her for the next 10+ minutes! =)

That afternoon we went to Ikea to start a super big project…switch the boys’s room and the school room.  We got the boys bunk beds and Grandma Cleve and Mike worked on that for much of the rest of Saturday.  Thankful that GC is so helpful with assembling Ikea furniture.  She’s helped us with quite a few projects like this one over the years.  Such an exciting time!  Although, I would be lying if I said I never shed any tears over this.  How did the boys get so big?!

After church on Sunday, we had a relaxing afternoon at our house and then headed over to Ashley and Zach’s to celebrate Caleb’s first birthday!  SO much fun!

Can’t believe he’s already one!  It feels like just yesterday that we were celebrating our own little boys’ first birthdays… The days are long, but the years are SHORT.

Grandma Cleve stayed with Caleb and his parents until Wednesday afternoon when she came back to stay with us until Saturday night.  I’ll do a separate post for that and for the things we did in the meantime. =)

Ethan’s Piano Recital

Ethan played in his first piano recital this weekend at Whole Foods.  He played two songs: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as a duet with his piano teacher and “Ode to Joy”.  He did a great job!  Matthew played right before him and did a wonderful job, too.  He’s quite talented and fun to listen to!  Ethan was incredibly nervous for his performance, but we were SO proud of him for persevering through it and doing a great job!

Here are a couple of “before” pictures from the days before the recital when he got sick with worry and I played endless games with him to keep his mind off of it! =)  He’s such a trooper.  Really, I could not be more proud of him for dealing with the stress, talking through it and having a great first recital.  He’ll have another one at Christmas and I suspect he won’t have many of the same jitters – he is usually most nervous about something when he doesn’t know what to expect.  (Yes, you may be thinking, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, it’s true)

The recital:

The video:

So proud of this guy!

And, exciting news, Micah has decided he’d like to take piano lessons now, too. =)  I give Ethan a lot of credit for that because he makes piano look fun and easy!

Our Life

I’ve got some fun updates to make this week, but I’ll start with the basic life as we live it type post.

We made it to week 9 in Classical Conversations, Cycle 3.  Micah again participated in his own class last week!  I got a few hugs throughout the morning, but he participated well and had a great time!  He did a presentation on his hand-me-down camera and a couple of the girls in the class proclaimed that they are putting it on their Christmas list now. =)  Ethan did his presentation on a Lego creation he made.  We’re learning about the human body and will be putting some muscles, bones, organs and other parts of the body on our traced bodies at the end of the 12 weeks.  So, I snapped a picture of Ethan getting traced.  You’ll see the finished product in a few weeks.

We stopped in at Joann Fabrics for *one thing* I wanted for my Halloween costume…and we left with enough fleece to make two massive Christmas blankets for the boys!  Oops.  I had a coupon and there was a buy-one-get-one deal going on…and they picked such darling fabrics…that will match our Christmas pillows my mom made for us!  Anyway, we’ll be working on those in the coming weeks.  Micah, in particular, loved this store.

We enjoyed celebrating pumpkin day…it was a good excuse for a special pumpkin treat.

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I went to my very first book club.  It was a lot of fun!  I had missed the first one because Mike was out of town, but this time I just decided to ask Ike to come watch the boys so I could still attend.  We were discussing “The Scarlet Letter”, a book the boys will have to read when they get into the Challenge program (that’s high school in CC language).  I tried to take good notes while reading it and discussing it so that I will be more prepared for those daunting years!  How awesome is my cousin, Ike??  He came dressed as Chewie to surprise my two excited Chewies.

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Micah continues to love building with MagnaTiles and setting up battles.

Both guys are doing great in school.  E is learning more about multiplication and solving problems like 46×3.  He really enjoys Math.  Micah is still working on addition and is showing some improvements in his reading, too.  He enjoys writing quite a bit and often asks to do extra sheets for that.  Today he even made his own extra worksheets.  I am not in the stage of correcting his writing, so I think he finds it to be a small risk with great reward. =)

Daddio is home for a good stretch now, so we are soaking up time with him!  The guys worked in the yard…and on our roof (eek!!!) this weekend.  Good to have him back!

And we’ve been really enjoying our church.  I am the helper in Micah’s Sunday School class and I’m super impressed with their intentionality in teaching the Bible to these kids.  We’re building a really firm foundation and that’s so great to see.

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Still to come…Ethan’s first piano recital and the Halloween party.

Daily Life

Just wanted to post about some of the regular occurrences around our home.

You can find the boys writing letters to cousins (and others) or working on codes together often.  Mike and I received lots of such letters, including some money for “being such great parents”.  Ike and Matthew are also common recipients of their notes.

Ethan is obsessed with playing the piano.  He cannot get enough of it.  He asks to play “Piano Maestro” every single day and plays through his various songs randomly throughout the day.  He can even be found teaching Micah how to play “Hot Cross Buns” on occasion, a sight that warms my heart!  Micah has pretty good rhythm and has requested a bongo or other type drum for his birthday this year.  We’re thinking this could be a fun instrument to add to our house full of music, so he just might get this wish. =)

You can also find the boys doing various “opportunities” around the house.  Some weeks they are all about this.  Others, not so much.  Micah is pretty good at unloading the dishwasher for me in the mornings. =)

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You’ll find us enjoying the great outdoors often around here.  We moved back to Colorado in part due to the incredible weather.  I absolutely LOVE that we can have snow one day and then 76 degree temperatures the same week!  We take our homeschooling outside as often as we can – reading outside or going for bike rides.  I went for a Packers victory walk and snapped some pictures of the green and gold on Sunday…and on Monday we had inches of snow on the ground and a bunch of tree branches falling down around the neighborhood.

Naturally we had hot chocolate after the boys played in the snow.  We enjoyed a special Indian treat Mike had brought home from his work trip – delicious!

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We’ve got loads of books we are reading and want to be reading in the future!  We are listening to a super fun audiobook, “By the Great Horn Spoon” (about the Gold Rush) and reading the Imagination Station 3-part series on the Revolutionary War.  I’m personally reading “The Scarlet Letter” and “Of Mess and Moxie” and enjoying both immensely.

We discovered a new series we’d like to try: Dear America Books.  The library only has a couple of them, so they might be fun Christmas gifts (for those of you who ask about ideas – they are on thriftbooks.com and we are particularly interested in the Underground Railroad books).  I mention it on here also because a lot of us share book recommendations and this seemed to be an easy place to record it.  =)

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And here are a couple pictures from CC this week.  Ethan did his presentation on the “Living History” field trip we did.  Micah was in his own classroom for his presentation, but he brought with him the things he made with Grandpa – the blowgun and the boat.  I hear he did a very nice job talking about both.

Recent Happenings

Here are some more pictures from school these days.  You’ll notice that the boys are still loving to paint and we spent most of our time indoors (we had a very cool, rainy week so we didn’t get to head to the park at all).  One of the pictures features our homemade “Memory Master” game which we use to review our memory work for CC.  Another picture shows what happens to Ivory soap after you microwave it for 1 minute – it’s a fun, short “experiment”!  Also, Ethan is growing his hair out – he prefers it long and a little “puffy”. =D

Piano continues to go well.  One week Eeyore was playing piano at Ethan’s practice (for those who can’t tell, that’s our cousin who has practice with him every week).  Micah and I discovered a new library a couple weeks ago during Ethan’s piano practice.

I had the opportunity for a retreat with ladies from our church a couple weekends ago.  It was at Glen Eyrie near Colorado Springs – a beautiful setting!!  This was a nice chance for me to get to know some of the ladies at our new-ish church.  I did a few hikes in the area, enjoyed listening to our speaker, did some yoga and worshipped with these ladies.  And, sort of a milestone alert: Aunt Mel and I won 1st place on the not-so-competitive corn hole tournament. =D It was a great restful retreat before our crazy schedule for the next couple of months!

We had a scary accident happen at our house the following week.  Ethan hit Micah in the face with a baseball bat.  Thankfully, besides a fat lip and a little cut, no other injuries were sustained!

Micah presented on the whole incident at CC that week.  Ethan talked about Roman gods – a subject he had learned about from a book he read that week.

 

Next up – Grandpa and Grandma come for a visit, while Mike heads to India!