Other notable events of the past couple of weeks include haircuts for Ethan (his first in well over a year!) and Mike!

We’ve gone on quite a few birding excursions, including one on “Global Big Day” and another just today with some friends to see owls:

Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A flew out for a wedding and we were happy to spend a couple evenings outside with them! It, of course, wasn’t a typical trip with them but we were excited to *finally* see them again! Something is definitely better than nothing!

We celebrated Mother’s Day – sweet time back at our church for worship with my littlest guy, followed by sushi for lunch and Italian for dinner the following night. The boys also did a little coin trading while I napped. =D

Other highlights: Ethan and I enjoyed a native plant gardening class online. Mike was back in Missouri visiting his dad for a week and we enjoyed Skyping with them. And we did another variety show with the family over a Sunday afternoon zoom call. Ethan and I played our duet (we’ll be playing in an outdoor recital on Saturday, too!). Uncle Ger played “His Cheeseburger” on the ukulele. Ger and Grandma did a duet with the cello and uke and Grandma and Grandpa did a trombone/piano duet. Others showed LEGO creations. And I’m probably missing some other fun parts. So much fun!

And now we’re in summer mode. This means we are still doing some schooling, but are a lot more laid back. We’ve done some cleaning and organizing (including taking down a wall poster of the US), some math games, and the boys have their own version of slack where they write notes back and forth and make plans for how to use the playroom. =D

Finishing up the school year

We delayed our final community day by a couple weeks in hopes we’d have a beautiful, sunny day. It worked out wonderfully! We had a great last day in the backyard and then a couple of days later we had a field day together. So much fun! Fred and Mallory joined us in the middle of our memory work time. Micah showed off his new camera for his final presentation and Ethan played a song on the piano while the audience listened from the deck. And E enjoyed playing a “final” game of National Number Knockout during Essentials – a favorite of his!

We also had our final online presentation time with the other families who opted to do CC from home. This was such a unique, but really special experience. Ethan especially loved wow-ing his friends with his latest pictures of birds via the share screen option.

Later we had a really fun celebration outdoors with our friends. The students all read their Faces and Places papers (Ethan did Teddy Roosevelt; Micah did George Washington) and then enjoyed ice-blocking and a big game of kickball. One dear mom made birthday cookies for Ethan (and others with summer birthdays) since she had done so for the other students in our backyard group throughout the year. He was so impressed with her artistic talent making colorful birds for him!

The next week we finished up some schooling, including end of year testing and a geography overview. This was Micah’s first time doing any testing and he was not a big fan. We’ve learned that I never refuse to help them when something is confusing or hard for them and I can’t help during testing…so that was hard for both of us!

We celebrated with ice pops and a ping pong tournament.

Final day pictures of both boys:

Ethan will begin Challenge A (which is the equivalent of 7th grade) next year (thus the darling shirt about laying his Foundation and adding the Essentials before rising to the Challenge) and Micah will officially start Essentials and his final three years in Foundations. Hard to imagine we’ve just finished our 6th year already!

You’ll see more evidence of the crazy Colorado weather in this post. We’ve had warm enough temps to hang out in shorts and we’ve had more snow storms again. =)

Here are some schooling outside pics:

Spending time as a family outside (including our darling pet Mallards). The boys were working on plans for bird boxes to make when my parents get here and Ethan was doing research for his bird jeopardy game he was creating for us in that picture of us outside and him on the computer.

We’ve had birding excursions with various parties. I have gone out with just Ethan a couple of times and we’ve done some full family trips, too. We really enjoyed going to the Denver Audubon Nature Center for some hiking and photography. (Fun benefit of having two boys taking pictures – we get more pictures of just the two of us. Micah took the one below.)

More updates from around the house include Mallory watching the boys play LEGO and going on the roof to get our attention for more food; finishing up the timeline with Grandpa, Grandma and Auntie Sal; and watching a bird course from Great Courses. Micah has finished level 3 of his reading program and is working on the fourth and final level now! We are finishing up the school year officially on May 7, but may do some learning throughout the summer, too, as usual.

We’ve spent the last two weeks watching Jeopardy as a family after dinner because Aaron Rodgers was hosting it. Turns out we all really enjoyed doing it! And we’ve since made some jeopardy boards of our own. Ethan did one on birds and I did one with CC memory work.

We celebrated Masters Sunday for Mikey with egg salad sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and pimento cheese sandwiches. We all agreed that the pimento cheese in Denver is super lame. But we had a great time!

Our home is filled with music much of the time. Micah has decided to take 5 lessons over the summer to decide whether he might like to continue in the fall. Ethan and I are working on a fun duet for an upcoming recital. And Micah and E just came up with a little duet this morning! Here’s a link to a short video of it.

The boys went to the orthodontist (at our regular dentist office! yay!) and E will be getting invisaline (braces-ish) soon. Micah will get it when all of his adult teeth are in. Both will need to wear the invisaline for a year and then should be all set. We’ve reached that fun stage in reading when Micah just reads for enjoyment!! He read most of this chapter book at the orthodontist and then spent an evening reading an entire chapter book to me a few nights later by the fire! I started reading a book about the teenage brain by that same fire. Is it really possible that E is almost a teenager?!

We participated in our first town hall meeting on Zoom with our Senator. It was lots of fun. Ethan was invited to it since he has sent in a few emails to our Senator for various environmental causes he cares about. We got ice cream and made it a very exciting evening!

A final update is that we have a new member of the family – Eleanor Grace was born last week and is adored by her whole family!

Resurrection Weekend!

We had a lovely Resurrection weekend and hope you did, too. I spent the Lenten season reading, “Falling Into Goodness”. We are still worshipping virtually at this point and Ethan and I sent in videos for our Good Friday service. It was a very moving service, as usual. We ended the night with ice cream, a tradition we’ve done with our church family since we started going a few years ago. We missed the sweet time with friends (and family) at DQ, but enjoyed having a sweet treat together.

Mallory was very curious to worship with us on Resurrection Sunday, much to our delight! We had Reggie and his dear friend/mentor over for lunch in the backyard – so lovely! The boys got Easter baskets from an unknown friend. I was awestruck by how MANY people could have snuck over with treats for the boys. We have no idea who it was because we have too many wonderful people in our lives. Very humbling.

And we took some family pics! I was taking a pic of the boys and Mike wanted to know why he wasn’t included in the pic, so I told him he could only be in it if he was wearing teal. LOL. So he put on teal.

Sometimes the out-takes are more fun:

Finishing up March

March brought with it the arrival of Mallory, our beloved Mallard. We believe she’s got a new fella’ with her this spring, but we’re still calling him Fred. She’s back to her usual antics of peaking in the window and waiting on our step for corn and cooked rice. They have both ventured to the back on a couple of occasions.

March has also brought warmer weather – the kind where we spend hours outside: working, schooling, biking, playing ping pong, and going for hikes. Mike took the boys biking to Cherry Creek Reservoir recently while I did some CC work for next year.

The weekend before Easter we headed out to Upper Cheesman Reservoir for a really neat hike. I think it was about 4 miles total (out and back). Mike said it was one of his favorite hikes!

Other note-worthy events that I captured on camera from this month included another round of “cat business” (AKA watching the cats for our neighbors) – I snapped this picture of them coming home chatting, a birthday FaceTime with Grandpa Russ, Micah and Grandma having a business meeting about making cards, watching a Duck-umentary (twice), and art at the co

And, of course, some pictures from school life these days. The boys wrote a story together to do as their virtual presentation with our slightly broader CC community. It was hilarious.

We are down to only 2 weeks of backyard CC and we’re all kind of bummed to have it end. It’s been such a blast! Ethan painted a hummingbird, in the style (sort of) of Georgia O’Keeffe. The boys worked on vocabulary stories where they took a well-known fairy tale and re-wrote it using as many vocabulary words from Essentials as possible. I believe they both ended up using more than 50 of their vocabulary words. I snapped a picture of the words we were still trying to sneak into their stories with each boy so that I would remember which words needed to go with which boy. =D

And the last two pictures were to remind me to mention in passing that E and Micah do school in very different ways. Micah likes to include snacks and a stuffed animal and also always turns math problems into artistic masterpieces. =P

Weekend Hike

Mikey found us another awesome hike this past weekend. This time we drove up to the Boulder area and hiked “Benjamin’s Loop”. It was about 5 miles long and very lovely. The path had lots of snow in the parts in the shadows and was very dry and warm in the sunshine-y places. We really enjoyed this one.

Afterwards we stopped by downtown Golden to enjoy açaí bowls by the creek. I understand the water was very cold. =D