Early April

This has been a pretty fun month.  I really enjoy spring in Colorado because you never know what the weather will bring and it means we’re closing in on the last bit of school so things start relaxing around here.  It’s a lot of fun.

One weekend in early April when Mike was in Canada for work, the boys and I joined Aunt Ashley and her family at their new place for dinner.  The boys especially enjoyed seeing their dog, Gracey, and getting to play Wii (I think that’s what it was…) games with Uncle Zach.  This was Micah’s first video game ever and he was beaming with pride!  Thanks, Zach, for patiently walking them through it and keeping it fun for them!

That Sunday evening we went to a birthday party for a kiddo in Micah’s CC class.  The boys especially enjoyed trying rock climbing for the first time (milestone alert!).  I think both would enjoy it more if they had longer to try it and get the hang of it.  Ethan was especially nervous about the height, but he kept getting higher the more attempts he made.  And Micah used his arms a lot more than his legs, so he’d benefit from a little more coaching.  But, seriously, they loved it and did great!

A few nights later, I went out with my dear friend for some rock climbing at a rock climbing gym we enjoy.  It had been a good year+ since we had gone, so it was fun to get back out there again…even if I was pretty rusty/weak.  The boys asked for a picture of me reaching the top – so we made an awesome video of my whole climb up one of the easier runs.  It’s a good 2 minutes long, so I trimmed it for your benefit.  Now you can just laugh with me at my ridiculous attempts to impress the boys…by running into the wall:

While I was out rock-climbing, the guys were busy welcoming our new-to-us piano into our home.  Ethan was especially excited about this and said it was “one of the best days of his life”.  He snapped lots of pictures.  Micah attempted to snap a bunch, too, but sadly his camera ran out of batteries.  He was pretty devastated about it.

We had our final day of CC on April 5th and then had our end of year party/celebration on the 12th in the evening.  Each class does a little presentation in front of everyone (about 80 people were in attendance this evening) about something we’ve been learning. Micah’s class sang the preamble to the US Constitution – thus the patriotic theme.  Sweet Micah told me that evening when getting tucked in for bed that he accomplished one of his goals – he sang up in front of everyone without needing to have me next to him!  The Lord has done so much healing on his sweet heart and mind!  We are thankful!!!  Ethan (and my) class sang the first 12 elements in the periodic table.  Then all of the classes did an orchestra song in a round together.  We have videos of all three, but they won’t upload because they are pretty long!  We’ll be glad to share them in person or through email sometime as per your requests. =D

We also had a really lovely weekend with Daddio back in town.  We played a lot of games and just relaxed together, which was so nice!!  Milestone alert: Micah learned how to play chess!

 

The Js in town!

We were thrilled with the timing and location of the Fair Trade Conference this year – the week before Easter and in Westminster, CO.  This is a conference that Aunt Jennie often attends.  Naturally, we were pretty vocal in our desires to have her out for the conference and for the weekend afterwards.  The best part of this was when Jen and J became parents through the beautiful and arduous process of adoption just 5 weeks prior…which meant that all three of them could come out and we’d have to chance to meet Baby Girl and enjoy their company over Easter!  It was wonderful and we were SO thankful that they were brave first-time parents flying across the country with our sweet niece/cousin!

We saw them briefly for dinner on Monday night at our home before they headed north for the conference.  Then we drove up to see the fair trade expo, to help out a bit and to grab dinner with them on Wednesday evening.  And by Thursday night, they were back by us for the long weekend!

I would simply LOVE to show you Baby Girl’s darling face, but that will have to wait for a few more months… Suffice it to say, she’s beautiful and loves to be snuggled!!  Micah and I took turns snuggling her a whole bunch – I think I may have even finished a book during their visit. =)

Monday Night dinner and hang out:

Wednesday at the fair trade conference (we did the butterfly pavilion while we were up there, but I’ll save that for another post):

On Thursday night, we enjoyed merging our two sides of the family together.  Grandma Cleve was in town helping Ashley and Zach to move so we were thrilled to get to have dinner all together (sadly, minus Zach)!

Other highlights from the weekend together included some workouts in the park, walks, bike rides, making paper airplanes, playing memory/matching, reading books, going to church and out for ice cream, enjoying Easter dinner at the Jonker home, and Jen, J and Mike floating (*milestone for Jen and J) while I got the chance to babysit Baby Girl!  Oh, and I can’t forget laughing while the boys fed Aunt Jennie her Good Friday meal while holding Baby Girl!  We sure had a lot of fun hosting these guys!

Thanks for honoring us by having your first flight with Baby Girl be out to Colorado to see us!  We were so excited to have you all with us again!  Both boys expressed their desire to have you live in town after you left.  =)

Quick updates

Before I get to weekend updates, I wanted to do a quick update on life from last week.

Ethan competed in his first pinewood derby race.  His car didn’t do all that well, so he was a bit disappointed.  We had some good chats about trying something new, learning from the past, asking people for their guidance in the future, etc. etc.  Anyway, I think it was a great experience and it was lots of fun to see all of the cars!

We finished week 22 of CC (only 2 weeks left!!).  Ethan gave a presentation on “The Hobbit” – our most recent read-aloud book.  It’s not his most flattering picture, but I really like his outfit and can’t get over how old he looks!

Micah gave his presentation on some of his Legos.  I received this email from his tutor afterwards: “His presentation made my day yesterday.  It went on for at least ten minutes and his face was completely lit up the whole time.  My favorite part was his explanation of the ninja warriors fighting the city people (one of whom was in a wheelchair).  :)”

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Micah sometimes wears these glasses for school because they make everything look prettier:

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Last Friday, Aunt Ashley and Caleb came over for a little picnic and time at the park!  Caleb went down the slide by himself and had Ethan to catch him.  He was cracking us up with all of his, “uh oh!” remarks anytime the boys fell or pretended to fall.

Next up…my retreat!

A Week with Colds

When we got back from our weekend away, we battled colds while Mike traveled.  Micah got the worst of it, but even his cold only lasted about a week.  He’s still coughing now, but so much improved.  We still plunged away at school, but we took it easy.  Listening to “The Hobbit” motivated Ethan to begin a new book.  He really loves a good story and starts writing every few months.  It’s fun to see how much his stories have evolved over the last year.  He was a very helpful big brother during the worst days – he played concerts for us and snuggled Micah.  He also just spent a lot of time reading or writing to keep things extra easy for me.  I was super thankful!!

Meanwhile I started writing a book, too, with ideas and pictures from Micah!

We celebrated Pi Day with a pie from the grocery store. =)

Both boys were in my class at CC this week since Micah was still under the weather and coughing a bunch.  He gave a presentation on two of his Lego creations and E told us about JRR Tolkien.

There was a lot of Lego building…and I also got the boys haircuts!!

We ended the week babysitting cousin Caleb, the younger.  He loves listening to music, so he was having a grand ol’ time dancing to our CC songs and other music.  He wasn’t so sure about playing knights, but we gave it a go. =)  And he asked his auntie if she would start homeschooling him along with the boys. 😉

Updates

A few Saturdays ago Mike was out of town.  It’s been a pretty busy couple of months for us with a lot of solo parenting going on.  I am so thankful that we have FaceTime for the days he’s gone and intentional time when he’s in town!  Anyway, I was sure to schedule a nice day for us that Saturday.  We spent the morning at church so that E could work on his pinewood derby car.  For those that don’t know, this is an annual tradition within the CRC and is something that I did as a kid, too. =)  Uncle Joel worked patiently with a bunch of kids, including Ethan, that morning.  He’s such a blessing!!  Meanwhile, Micah and I worked on his pigeon activity book throughout the morning.

That afternoon, we headed to the library to make dinosaur dioramas.

Other updates include…we still like Legos around here:

And we love to read.  I’ve finished something like 18 books already this year (keep in mind that a lot of them are young adult books and/or books I’m reading with boys).  I discovered a new series that I LOVE and can’t wait to introduce to the boys – The Green Ember.  I highly recommend them – fun, action-packed reads.

We finished another good read-aloud book recently called, “The Prairie Thief”.  It was a fun story and both boys enjoyed it.  A lot of the time I have them color or do puzzles while listening.

E has a love for good stories and has pretty good taste, in my opinion. =)  He’s read a bunch of just silly, fun books (i.e. Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and he still tends to like books with a little more plot (i.e. The Hobbit – his current favorite that we are listening to and almost done with already!!).

We also recently learned more about a series called, “Who Was…” about various famous people (there are also books about living people and places), so I’ve been collecting them from thrift books.com whenever I have a coupon. =)

And the boys have lots of fun picking out their free monthly book at the Book Rack after a day at CC.

The boys reached their reading goal for February so we got to celebrate with pizza hut again.

We just started our final 6 weeks of CC this month.  I hosted all of the tutors for our final planning session.  Mike took the boys out for dinner so we could have less distractions. =)

We still sometimes play school:

And we’re busy finishing this school year strong:

Again, I can’t recall what the boys’ present on during CC without pictures…and I only have pictures of Ethan since I’m his tutor.  He gave one presentation about a lego creation of his and one about…we don’t know because it doesn’t have a prop. Haha!

We had dinner with Reggie sometime in the last month and then he and Mike headed out to float. =)

We’ve spent quite a bit of time in the park.  One day we invited cousin Matthew to join us for some parkour.

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And we got a new game – Life – from Grandma Cleve.  I had only played it once as a kid, so we had to spend some serious time getting re-aquainted with it.  I accidentally made up some rules the first time around. =)

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And lastly, I started doing a little more decorating in the office.  =)  Thanks for the canvas idea, Dad!

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Life Lately

We go through phases around here with toys/games/activities.  Last week the boys were really into making homemade board games and playing the ones we had made a few years ago.  It was pretty fun!  And some games made a lot more sense than others…

Playing with cars is another cyclical thing around here.  They can go months without even touching them and then they will start playing with them every day.  We’re in a car stage right now.  The boys are doing lots of races and building various tracks.

Here are some shots from the last couple of weeks of homeschooling.  In honor of the olympics/par core they were doing with their cousins, we made an obstacle course and answered memory work questions from CC after they completed a run.  We’ve been reading a bunch of good books lately – we finished “Johnny Tremain” and then watched the movie (book > movie) and the “Orphan of Ellis Island”.  E and I are reading “The Princess and the Goblin” currently.  Micah continues to read Bob books and loves watching his preschool prep videos (especially if E watches with him).

The boys spent a couple of Saturdays with cousins (and aunt and uncle) recently.  We sure love living by these guys!  Auntie sent me some pictures of the boys playing and helping out:

Reggie joined us at church a couple weeks ago.  It was such a treat to have him there with us.  He married us in that church almost 12 years ago, so we grabbed a picture of the three of us again!  He’s a big blessing to us.

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The boys are still enjoying playing Risk with their Daddio.  Lots of new things have been happening in this game, so for those of you who played back at Christmas…just you wait! =)

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And we’ve been enjoying watching the Olympics most nights.  Sometimes they watch in costume.

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Life Outside of the Home

Here are a few glimpses into life outside of our home life.

Classical Conversations Community day:

I had the opportunity to babysit this little sweetie last week!  He was such a pleasure.  I think he had a pretty good time, too. =)

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And this past weekend we spent a little time in the mountains.  The boys all skied!  I found a great deal on snow pants at ARC for $10 so I sat outside and read my book and hung out with Micah when he asked for a brief break.  It’s looking like I might need to start skiing if I want to hang with these guys…