More of June

We are spending much of our time playing LEGO (as proved by my last post), listening to books, going for walks (mostly for the boys to take pictures or for me to get some solo time, depending on the day and circumstances) or bike rides (the boys have been doing loops on their own now) and playing games. While we listen to books, however, we often play solitaire or color in Querkles (and Micah has been making some of his own). Ethan is getting pretty good at fast scrabble. We prefer to play that way than the traditional way as it keeps us moving and thinking differently (read: we don’t get bored when we play this way).

We also play a lot of piano – even doing silly things for Ethan’s piano practice like playing with a roll of toilet paper on his head or blindfolded.

Mallory continues to visit, although we learned that her eggs had been eaten by a fox last week.

On Saturdays the family walks over to the track nearby to do our sprint workout. We all love this new tradition!

The boys also come up with other unique ways to spend their time, like building parachutes to go out the window or making crafts.

And the three guys made homemade arugula pesto the other night. (I am not a fan of pesto, so I wasn’t involved in this one). They were very proud of how it turned out.

Also, Micah let me cut his hair and we all love it so much. (Actually, I can’t tell if Micah loves it as much as the rest of us…but I think he likes it)

LEGO Masters

As you already know, we are big fans of having LEGO competitions as a family. We’ve continued to do these throughout this summer, varying the teams and the themes.

This was an individual competition with the boys and Mom, building a place you’d like to visit. Micah did England and France depicted in his bakery with a constable; Ethan did Greece and I did Cinque Terre, Italy (also depicted in our puzzle). Dad voted for Ethan’s build. He was not impressed with mine. =(

This was also an individual competition with the boys and Mom, building a scene from a book. Micah did Robo-Sauce, Ethan did Wings of Fire and I did The Secret Garden. I believe Micah won this one.

Next we did a National Park build, Ethan against Mom. Micah was the judge and he liked Ethan’s build of Fort Sumter, more than my build of Arches National Park. Dad also agreed. No one really appreciated my river and waterfall, since we aren’t sure they are actual present in the park. Oops.

Micah and I competed in a restaurant build. Micah made a pretty sweet pizza shop, but my smoothie stand on the beach won.

Micah likes being the judge, so he had Ethan and I do another build against each other: a scene from a movie. We tied, I think, because everyone was very impressed with our ideas. I built Up and Ethan built The Great Escape.

Can you tell that this is one of our favorite pastimes?

Next, Micah and I were assigned to build a room in a house. Micah chose to do a kitchen, while I built the boys’ bedroom (complete with coin labs). Micah won this build.

Lastly, the boys competed against the parents in a task to build a fun family memory. We had lots of votes during one of our weekly Zoom chats and the boys took the victory. The parents were highly criticized for primarily using pieces that were already put together in our depiction of Yosemite. Meanwhile, the boys created everything from scratch to show the fun we had in Florida looking for birds. Look closely and you’ll find Grandpa and the boys taking pictures with cameras while Mom is on the stairs taking pictures with her phone. =)

I imagine this will not be the end of our LEGO masters builds. Stay tuned for more. =D

LEGO Masters

We really enjoyed watching our first tv show as a family over this time: LEGO Masters.  The boys got all kinds of inspiration from the builds and wanted to do their own version of LEGO Masters at home.  Thus, competition between parents and kids began.

Build #1: Fairytale story (parents did turtle and hare; boys did 3 billy goats gruff)

The boys won this one.  I don’t think any of our judges (we send text messages to people to judge our creations, without telling them who did which one) voted for the parents on this one, but I may be forgetting one kind judge having pity on us.

Build #2: Restaurants (parents built Castle Bonita; boys built Sushi River)

The parents came away with a win on this one, although the voting was very close.

Build #3: A point in history (parents built the Alamo; boys built the building of Stonehenge)

The parents won again and are feeling really confident going forward.

Build #4: Mini-fig battle (teams were switched for this one – Ethan and Mom worked on a battle scene of sand guy against the ice queen; Micah and Dad worked on programmer lady and her droids against banana guy)

It looks like this build is ending in a tie. =)

They have also spent a lot of time building new and creative builds, including a few bridges that we tested with weights.  I believe their best bridge could hold 23 pounds.  It’s been so much fun to watch them!

And, for the record, we were VERY unhappy about how LEGO Masters ended with the wrong team winning.  Micah was somewhat happy, but we think he just wanted to go against the grain of the family votes.  =)

Micah and Mom Weekend

Micah and I had the opportunity to spend a whole weekend together and let me tell you, he had some plans for us!  We decided to make a list of the things we’d like to do one the weekend while the other guys were camping with a church group.  We crossed everything off our list by the end of the weekend!

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There is one draw back to making a list with my guy.  He didn’t want to do anything unless it was written on the list, so we really had to tread carefully all weekend to be sure we were only doing things listed.  And, after something was off the list, but we still had time to spare, we were in a bit of a predicament.

Here are some pictures from our weekend around the house:

And here are a few from our 4 mile bike ride.   The bike ride was quite exciting and I know some of you have already heard about it.  Let’s suffice it to say that he had a few falls (always jumping right back up again) and one of them ended poorly with a very, very flat tire.

Loved spending time with this guy for our weekend solo!  We were both glad to have the other guys back again, but I sure enjoy Micah’s company!

Other Happenings

The boys did a great workout with Daddio.  They don’t do this all that often, but it’s really sweet to see them all working out together.

Micah really loved his kiwico box this past month – a solar system!  He painted while we listened to The Secret Garden.  Great Granny A gave us the Focus on the Family audiobook of that story and it was a super fun way to listen to it.

We are all getting in on the piano-playing around here.  I have been loving to play a couple times each week.  E plays anytime he walks past the piano.  And Micah does a little playing here and there, too.  E is also teaching Mike a bit of piano, so that’s fun!  I caught E teaching Micah the other day and it made me smile.

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Here are some homeschooling shots from around the house.  The first is what the table looks like just before I call them up from their lego-playing to begin our school day.  It makes me smile and I wanted to post it here to remind me what this season in life looked like for Jess in later years. =)  The second is our daily board…with some additions from the boys.  Ethan added his snack and to “right” to Hana.  (Guess what word will be on his spelling test tomorrow?!) Micah changed his name to Doggie and added “winey” which means…he wanted to whine during his day.

Sometimes the board gets nice messages on it, like this one from Micah:

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Ethan still makes the best “people’s eyebrow”, but my little niece is going to give him a run for his money.  I can’t wait until I can show you her version!

Micah got his very first library card and he was beaming!  He’s not into being in pictures or videos these days so he usually tries to hide his face.  His first books?  A book about Canada, a book about castles and a Star Wars book.

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Speaking of that guy, he still loves to build with magnatiles and makes a pretty awesome castle.

And speaking of the library, the boys discovered the Lego Star Wars shows and have been watching an episode or two every few days…with the massive beanbag chair on top of them like so:

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And, lastly, we had the opportunity to watch Micah’s friend in his play “The Aristocats”.  We had a lot of fun and were so glad to get to encourage him!  I promise we had fun!

Next up…Spartan Races!

Field Trips

You know we are nearing the end of the school year when you see lots of field trips popping up!  We actually completed our state requirements a couple weeks ago already, but I have a few things we want to finish before the end of our school year next week.  So these field trips have just been chances to get together with other families or to see/do things that seemed like fun. =)

We went with a bunch of CC families to see the Dead Sea Scrolls a couple weeks ago.  I think I got the most out of this one, but I took a very casual approach to this day – allowing them to explore the things that most interested them and not forcing too much reading.  It’s a cool exhibit, for sure, but it’s a lot of reading and that’s not very attention-grabbing for our boys right now. 😉

Over the weekend, Daddio joined us at Living History.  We had done this with my parents at the beginning of the year, too, but this time the boys got to build their own muskets.  They were pretty thrilled about doing that.

The next week, we celebrated reaching our reading goals for the month with cheese-in-the-crust pizza at the library.  We love stopping at pizza hut before heading over for a library visit and just eating outside.  And I told the boys about how I remember when cheese-in-the-crust commercials started and how they always showed the kids eating from the crust first.  So we took some pictures to recreate that. =D

We also went to the Celestial Seasonings tour in Boulder with some CC friends.  Sadly, they were in the middle of inventory, so we didn’t get to see the machines working on the tour, but it was still really interesting!  The boys mostly enjoyed seeing friends and drinking lots of tea.

 

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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Other Updates

Thanksgiving week pics – writing down things for which we are thankful and sending birthday cards to Great Grandpa:

Various creation pictures:

We all had a visit to the dentist and we have no cavities!  Phew!

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Micah and Daddio worked on ridding our roof/gutters of leaves:

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I went for a bike ride with Ethan:

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And we continue to love playing Dominoes:

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I’m sure you’ve noticed the family wearing shorts…the weather has been very warm this season!  I’m hoping that the cold is coming…along with some snow…but for now we are sure enjoying the warm temperatures and sunny days!

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.