The rest of February

Our family slept at church again for the awesome ministry our church does called, “Family Promise,” which houses homeless families for a week.  We are thrilled that we get to volunteer as a family in this way.  And the boys love sleep overs at church and eating breakfast there in the morning.

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This guy got reading glasses!

We celebrated Valentine’s Day.  Micah wanted each person to take a turn in the circle of love while we gave gifts to them.  It was very sweet.  He had saved a magnet he made for me in cadets for over a month in order to give it to me that day.  I cried.

Grandma Cleve came out that weekend for a visit!!  She snapped that top picture of our family while we read together one of the nights.  She got to experience a bit of snow again and played snow baseball with Ethan in it!  We also hosted her aunt (who lives nearby) for lunch on Sunday, which was special.  We were glad to get this time with her!

We continue to enjoy listening to books and doing puzzles.  I am still in PT trying to figure out my knee pains.  Sometimes the boys come along and do school work.  Weather is still crazy – some days we are outside in t-shirts, other days it snows.  Sometimes the boys ride scooters in the snow because…why not?  Ethan loves editing sentences and diagramming them.  And when Daddio is home, we embrace every moment with him!

Education in October

Here are some pictures from early to mid October from our home-educating life:

We play a variety of games to keep reviewing our memory work exciting (rolling dice to find out what week and which subject to review and answering questions before throwing a bag in corn hole).  But we also do a whole lotta boring review days.

Micah likes to smile in every picture he notices me taking…

And here are two pictures of the guys playing the tin whistle at CC:

Early September

September was the month Mike did the Whole 30 challenge.  He began it with a nasty meal which we all rated a D- or below.  Thankfully things improved as the month went on.  I agreed to make 3-4 Whole 30 compliant dinners each week and he committed to doing the rest.  We were all so impressed with his diligence and discipline.  One of the meals I made for us was beef kabobs with a chimichurri sauce.  I even snapped a picture since it was my first time making any kabobs as far as I could recall.  We all rated this one much higher. =D

The boys had a really fun playdate over here during the school day.  We loved doing school with this buddy and also just enjoying the beautiful weather at the park.

Here are some fun shots from homeschooling, both at home, on the road and at CC.  Micah continues to LOVE drawing and Ethan loves playing board slam.  Micah started a reading program called “All About Reading” and is enjoying that, while Ethan is reading lots of books and discussing them with me.  Lots of fun!

Other happenings in the early part of this month include Micah’s new way of “picking” flowers for me:

Ethan wearing my old Packers t-shirt because we can almost share clothes and shoes already.  What?!

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And a crazy rain storm led to lots of fun at the park:

The boys also started playing soccer for the fall season.  Ethan continues to love playing defense, while Micah likes playing center-mid and doing a little of both offense and defense.

Grandpa’s Visit

Mike had another two weeks of travel at the beginning of our school year, so we flew my Dad out to help again.  I was so thankful to have his company and help.  And the boys LOVE spending time with him. We had a softer start to the school year, but still got a lot done in that first week.

We also did some homeschooling on the road – a bike ride and a field trip to Hudson Gardens.

On Saturday, we jogged/walked in a 5k run that our friends put on each year in honor of their daughter who was adopted from China, had congenital heart problems, and died after surgery. It’s a fundraiser for third world orphans with medical problems.  Three kids, in three different countries, will get operations because of the money raised in this run.

Our church service was held in the mountains on Sunday.  We enjoyed the service there, a picnic, and then had some time to play.

Monday was our second week of CC and Mike was back home.  We did our family presentation during opening assembly and then my Dad got to go back and forth between Ethan and Micah’s classes.  That evening Micah had his soccer practice and we all went to watch.

Here are a couple other pictures from throughout his visit and of Mike and his buddies on his trip:

My Dad left on Tuesday morning after a wonderful trip.  We sure loved having him for the week!  When we dropped him off at the airport the boys both said they wished he (and grandma, obviously) lived out here by us. =D

First days of school

We started our school year on August 19th this year, starting with a full day at CC.  Both of the boys had new tutors this year and I am the Director for our community for the first time.  Ethan has most of the same kids he was in class with last year, but has a couple new ones.  Micah has mostly new kids in his class.  And I’m feeling a good mix of emotions about my new role, but mostly I’m feeling thankful for the opportunity to serve these families. We’ll be studying about the medieval period during CC this year and reading a lot of good books set in that timeframe.  Here are some CC pictures from day 1:

And on Tuesday we had a more laid back start to the school year.  We began with French toast, went for a bike ride, and ended the day with ice cream.  Don’t worry, there was some learning in there, too. =)  Ethan is in 4th grade; Micah is in 2nd.

We also took bi-yearly measurements for both boys:  Ethan is now 4’10” (and has almost the same size feet and hands as me).  Micah is 4’3″.

Micah also had his first soccer practice after CC.  (Ethan started the week after.)

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Homeschool Updates

Just wanted to try to lump some of the updates together, so this post will be centered around pictures from CC, home, and field trips from the past month.  I am sure I say this often, our emotions around homeschooling run high.  When things are going smoothly and we have the time and energy to put forth the attitude and effort necessary, we are on top of the world.  But for every week of loving it, we definitely have moments of big struggles.

Recently we examined owl pellets at CC (I’m so very grateful to do this kind of thing in community!!!):

Here are some other shots from community day at CC:

We missed one day when I was out sick, so I tried to do it at home…we definitely missed our community!!

We’ve been going on some more field trips with our CC peeps, which has been a lot of fun.  We visited the Colorado History Museum downtown and really LOVED it!!  We had a tour guide take us through a few of the exhibits and that really enhanced the experience.

And then this week we went to “Drums of the World” at the Denver Center for Performing Arts.  We loved it.  But I’m happy to say that Micah told me he enjoyed seeing Hanson there better. =)

I think their favorite piece of memory work thus far in Cycle 1 is singing their preposition song.  They both like to impress me with it most days of the week.  This particular day they asked to videotape it.

And, finally, here are some shots I took around the house:

They had their first “out of this world” day a couple weeks ago, while Mikey was in India!  Had to snap a picture for him because it’s quite a difficult feat. =)

Currently reading two books: Mattimeo (a sequel to Redwall – a fun audiobook with various accents and some exciting adventures/battles) and Detectives in Togas (a fun story taking place in ancient Rome).

Homeschool

Our first two months of homeschool was anything but pretty.  It’s starting to feel like we are finding our groove now.  Our main focus each day is attitude and effort and just saying those two words has become a good reminder to all of us.  Anyway, feeling thankful and wanted to post some pictures from the last couple weeks:

Here’s what the table looks like before we get going for the day.  I hope and pray that it feels inviting to the boys!  And a close up of some of the systems we put into place that have really helped!

Here are some shots I took at home:

And some shots out at the parks nearby:

Pictures can be deceiving, yes?  It looks like we were having joy-filled days out doing school at the park…in truth, we had meltdowns on two out of those three days and I may or may not have said I didn’t want to go to the park again for a long time. =/

Here are some pictures of gym class – PE +, free homeschool hours at Top Golf, and playing tennis.  Pretty fun!

We also got together with a friend from CC to go on a field trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  We really enjoyed doing their new exhibit – brain games or something like that.  I was very impressed to see everyone participating and not wanting to cheat AT ALL.  It took a whole lotta perseverance!  After our friends left, we hung around and searched for all of the hidden gnomes throughout the museum.  Lots of fun!

One of the problems was really tough, but we brought it home with us and E and I figured it out!!

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And here are some pictures from CC over the past couple weeks.  Ethan did not want to participate in “chubby bunnies” / review during Essentials. =)

More on every day life happenings to come.

The school year thus far…

We’ve been having a very hot-and-cold school year thus far.  Some days are loads of fun and we are feeling on top of the world.  Other days we battle with effort and attitude in every moment of the day!  The smiles you see in these pictures are the result of a whole lotta prayer and perseverance on some days and on other days they are just shining through the whole day!

Thought I would highlight some CC stuff we’ve been doing.  Ethan started Essentials this year and it’s been going really well.  It’s definitely challenging, but he’s been reading his papers in front of the class, working on diagramming sentences, learning to speed up his math skills and is loving playing “board slam”.  Micah sits in during Essentials and he’s been picking up on little things here and there, too, which is super fun!

Micah has been going to his CC Foundations class regularly now and he loves it!  And I am really enjoying the class I am tutoring this year, too.  Here are some pictures from this past week.  We were doing abstract art!

Here are some pictures from around the house.  Ethan started keeping a reading journal.  We have one as a family, too, for our bigger read aloud books.  And I started one in August as well.  We just finished “The Bronze Bow” – we all loved it.  We also watched an author interview online, but it didn’t thrill the boys.  We’ll give it a go another time. =)

Sometimes we play school…during our homeschooling day.  It makes me laugh.

We also had the opportunity to play at Top Golf for free with a bunch of other homeschoolers in the area – many of them our friends!  This happens every month, so we’ll be taking advantage of the opportunity again!!

If you know our family well, you may know that our highs are high and our lows feel pretty low.  There’s not a whole lotta big trials, but the little day-to-day difficulties take their toll on our moods.  So, our emotions seem to run pretty deep around here.  There are not a lot of just plain good days. 😉  Our school year follows suit.  One moment we are LOVING homeschooling with all of our hearts, but the next we are wishing the boys went to school.  I was going a little insane – trying the same things over and over and expecting different results.  Then, finally, we implemented some new techniques.  One day we spent time making a poster to keep nearby highlighting the benefits of homeschooling.  I also made to-do lists that I can fill out and they can check off as we go.  I really think the Lord gave me a little rhyme to keep nearby for my own attitude check – “quick to sit, not to quit” – it reminds me to sit with or lean into the annoyances and frustrations and to not be so quick to quit and look for a way out.  And, lastly, I made an attitude/effort chart.  We’ve seen a lot of improvement in all of us. =)

Mesa Verde

We began our school year with a really fun field trip.  My Aunt Melanie is homeschooling her youngest son and is studying Colorado history this year and she asked if we would be interested in going to Mesa Verde with them.  We jumped at the opportunity since we are studying ancient history!  And we were even more thrilled when my Mom agreed to fly out and join us!

The park wasn’t too busy or too hot, so this season was awesome for our trip.  (We also planned it around Mike’s trip to Phoenix where he saw his family and also spent time with his friends for his fantasy football draft.)  We listened to Fablehaven on the drive there and back; it received mixed reviews but we all agreed that it helped to pass the time!  We stayed at the Fair View Lodge within the park and ate all of our meals inside the park, too.  Here are some pics from the trip and at our lodge:

We spent two full days exploring the cliff dwellings, which were beautiful! It’s hard to imagine that they have stood there for over 800 years already!  Here are some pictures of the dwellings and our hikes in and around them: