Life Lately

I’m thankful to say that many days include boys sitting and reading books.

The boys are really enjoying Krav Maga and have both now earned their first stripe on their yellow belts. I think they also really enjoy having extra time to play games or do school work together while their siblings are in class.

They are also participating in NFL flag football with our dear friends. Both boys have been QB and wide receivers. Micah scored a TD in his first game, receiving a handoff and running it into the end zone from about ten yards out. It seems like they are really enjoying themselves. Mike is an assistant coach for both teams. Uncle Joel came to cheer them on this past weekend – a big treat! Grandpa and Grandma asked to Zoom after their latest games to hear how they went.

We’ve had a few more Packer picnics. Micah and I started one without E while he enjoyed his first night of (outdoor) middle school youth group (which was a blast!). Micah loved getting to play Guess Who while watching the game. =D

School has been off to a great start this year! (It only took us 7 years to really get the hang of things!) The boys are really enjoying doing CC outdoors again and enjoying time with even more friends. We’ve also started doing monthly field trips with our crew – we went for another “hike” in September.

The boys are enjoying piano lessons (and I’m loving my beautiful walks). Ethan recently discovered that he can use Piano Maestro to play songs on the ukulele. We’ve done a few duets together and Micah was trying to do one with him, too.

Uncle David sent Mikey home with a coconut earlier this month, which the boys loved!

We did some birding at Cherry Creek and then the boys edited pictures together.

And we celebrated the first day of fall with a new pumpkin chai scent in the kitchen from the diffuser, pumpkin cinnamon rolls and shepherd’s pie for dinner.

Other updates include: still loving ping pong, temps are dropping and our house is around 60 degrees in the mornings which means we are wearing layers!!, our garden is really producing some great tomatoes!

Other Updates

We play a lot of ping pong these days. Ethan keeps a score sheet of every game he plays against anyone else in the family. He certainly plays the most games (and usually against me), but we spend a couple hours each weekend out there together and play during school breaks, too. We are very thankful we made this purchase!

Archery is another favorite pastime of the boys.

We’ve gotten back into the routine of doing a workout together every Saturday morning. Mike led us the first weekend (sprints around the park with some push ups thrown in) and I took this past one (a YouTube video of a gal I really enjoy working out with). Ethan is up for next weekend, followed by Micah. It certainly keeps things interesting. (No pictures for these…) Another weekend tradition is to enjoy decaf coffee with chocolate stevia drops and whipping cream. The boys and I indulge in this every Saturday and Sunday morning together.

The boys are signed up to play flag football this season. Nobody gets to play on the Packers, but I also saw that neither of them will be playing against the Packers (phew!) so that will work out just fine. Mike will be an assistant coach for both teams. We’re looking forward to it!

We officially started piano lessons for the fall last week and the boys got new bags!

Micah loves to build LEGO and listen to audiobooks. I think he finished two or three shorter books over this long weekend, in fact. Often he’s building a city scene or a knights scene. This week, though, he built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (Pharos’ Lighthouse in Alexandria) in honor of CC memory work. I also worked on one, but was not pleased with it. The boys still decided to take a picture of it to commemorate it.

We’ve been enjoying the veggies of our labor. Fresh tomatoes are incredible! And Micah just plucked this bad boy this evening (after getting a fresh new buzz).

Apparently I like taking pictures of food as I have a few more for ya. I splurged last week and got us lemon cupcakes because one of the stories Micah was reading mentioned lemon cake multiple times and it made us really want to have one! And Mike had us all making our own pizzas the other night! Yum and fun!

Lastly, this book is so much fun. I really love it! It’s especially fun to pair with the Louie Giglio video about how big the universe really is.

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:

Lifelong Learners

Wanted to give you another glimpse into homeschool life for us.  It’s definitely not perfect and we have a lot of heart-to-hearts in which I tell them that homeschool is not for everyone and we may decide it’s not for us if we can’t learn a few things, have a healthy, respectful relationship and still enjoy each other at the end of the day. =D

When I’m not busy telling the boys falsehoods like Houston is the capital of Texas, we spend our days learning lots of interesting facts, practicing handwriting (including cursive for E), and doing math problems.  We read a lot of great books, too.  We are finishing up “Poppy Returns” by one of our favorite authors, Avi, and we’re listening to the audiobook of “Anne of Green Gables”.  Micah is making progress in learning how to read and Ethan continues to enjoy reading lots of different chapter books.  His current favorite is “The One and Only Ivan”, but he’d grab a Magic Tree House or Boxcar Children book up to read any day!  We do things like art, cooking, gardening and fitness when we want to change things up a bit.  Overall, we hope it’s a well-rounded and enjoyable education…teaching the boys how to learn, rather than focusing on the what.

Check out Micah’s cucumber!  Woot!  And, yes, I realized too late that he had picked it…but we still enjoyed the little guy.

IMG_4377

The boys were together in my class for Classical Conversations again today.  I snapped a quick picture of each giving their presentations.  Micah shared his new Lego set that he purchased with his own money.  Ethan talked about his harmonica and played “Hot Cross Buns” for everyone.

What am I learning?  I am getting practice in patience every day.  I am learning what recharges me after a long day.  And I am learning all kinds of historical facts and how they fit with other pieces of knowledge I’ve acquired over the years.  I’m also reading books on my own – trying to lead by example – which teach me all kinds of interesting things and prove to be a great way for me to recharge, too. =)  And I am learning to rest in the Lord and trust the process.  This is a hard, but joy-filled life I live.

Here are the books currently on our nook:

IMG_4456

Home Again, Home Again

We’ve had two delightfully chill weeks since our return from Minnesota.  We’ve spent a couple days literally inside, soaking up each other’s company ALL DAY LONG.  Micah is usually the one who requests a day “to just stay home the whole time”.  While we can’t always oblige him, it’s nice to give us all some quiet, close-to-home days.

I’ve recently been convicted of the need to raise independent young men and not spend so much time serving them that I fail to raise them to be strong, capable and responsible guys.  We’ve always had “opportunities” for them to do during the week to earn money, but I’ve been also trying to be more intentional with little “basic” ways that they can help me around the house – planning meals, cleaning up condiments and pot holders, etc.  It takes more time to instruct them on how to do everything, but I’m hoping it’s serving them well for their future lives. =)  Micah is particularly interested in learning how to cook, so I got a kids’ cookbook from the library for him to look through and pick out recipes for us to try. =)

Some opportunity (AKA chores) pics and basic help-around-the-house / cooking pics:

With an 8 year old and a 5.5 year old, naps by mom are rare.  Micah was sick for about 3 hours one day and spent a good chunk of that time sleeping on me.  And on the 4th of July, he and Ethan both napped for an hour – E by Daddio and Micah by me.  Love these times with all my heart.

Our garden is doing pretty well.  We’ve had some baby tomatoes – boys say they are delicious! – and some radishes.  The radishes are a little “spicy” but it feels SO exciting to know that they grew from a tiny seed in our backyard!  I’m hopeful that I’ll gain some confidence and knowledge and that eventually I’ll be a bigger gardener!

 

Daily Life Pics, round 2

A couple of weeks ago, one of my dear friends from Georgia came out to Colorado to visit her sister.  We were thankful to get some time together, too.  We met up at the museum and then brought her to the airport.

Ethan has been spending a lot of time looking at potential ways to spend his birthday money.  He has had so much fun picking out various lego sets and playmobil guys.  We also had a ton of fun at Timbuk Toys – we think that Ivan and Abe might like that store and took some pics to show them.  Thanks, everyone!

This is a glimpse into every day life at our house:

We snuck in the opportunity to see Aunt Ashley and Caleb (and Grace – their dog) for a lunch and pool day.  So fun to live close enough to have random visits!

IMG_3164

We also bought a couple plants with our big coupons – mint and raspberry.  Here’s to hoping they do as well as they are rumored to do.

IMG_3198

Daddy went to a concert a week ago, so we had some extra fun at the house.  I love themes because I’m a big nerd.  Sharks were our theme for the night…shark jammies, shark movie and eating a shark snack – goldfish!

IMG_3187

Next up…Fathers Day!

Summer Fun!

Summer has only just begun around here, but we’ve been having a blast.  Summer means lots of bike riding, playing at the park, homemade popsicles, play dates, gardening (thanks for the seeds to plant, Grandpa Russ!) and walks as a family.  Here’s a glimpse at our fun thus far:

Summer also means fun indoors with legos (sans shirts more often than not) and movie nights.  We absolutely LOVED listening to the audiobook of “The Tale of Despereaux” and enjoyed watching the movie of it afterwards.  Again, book is better than movie.  (Disclaimer: book is a bit dark, but beautifully written and with a good overall message)

Our boys have formed a band called, “Cleveland Brothers” and they sing hits like, “When I was in Indonesia” and “Dancing in the bathroom” and “Pants in the Playroom”.  For their sakes, I will only include a couple pictures of their cute concert:

We also got to celebrate a very special graduate, cousin Caleb!  We love this guy so much!

Memorial Day pics to come…

Grandpa and Grandma’s Visit

About a month ago, Micah called Grandpa and Grandma and asked them to “please come to our home as soon as you get back from Florida!”  They were all too happy to oblige and scheduled a visit soon thereafter.  We were excited to host them again!

Grandma made the boys new royal capes.  I still haven’t snapped a picture of Ethan in his, but here’s Micah in his!  Thanks, Grandma!

We had typical Colorado weather – 80s one day, snowstorm the next.  Unfortunately that meant the soccer games were rescheduled and we had a couple of mostly indoors days.  That didn’t stop the fun, though!  We read books, played games, built creations and played computer games.  And my Dad did various projects around the house – such a blessing!

We spent one day at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge with some of our cousins.  We loved it!

It was a lovely day and we saw lots of animals – various birds, bison, coyote, deer, prairie dogs and a bull snake.  Pictures of said animals are clearly taken by my Dad (as are all of the extremely well focused, sharp pics in this post)!

We spent a whole lot of time outside doing yard work.  My parents definitely did the brunt of it and made such huge improvements in the space!  We are so thankful for all of the work they did and for making it so much fun!!