Catching Up

Let me spend a little time catching us up to the present. Mid-January brought some cold weather which meant evenings by the fire. It also brought a little school and work by the fire one day, too.

I’m not sure I can say we enjoyed watching the Packers playoff game as it ended in a very sorrowful defeat, but we did have a nice party up until the final minutes. Micah and I made monkey bread (including making our own dough) for the occasion. The following afternoon I got out for 6 miles (that’s Cherry Creek State Park) before enjoying the Chiefs game and dinner with Reggie. That game kept folks on the edge of their seats…or standing up.

We’ve had a fair amount of snow this month, which has been fun. It usually means we have some hot chocolate while it’s coming down. Krav Maga forgot to call our family to let us know that class was cancelled due to inclement weather one day, but we showed up and our instructor was still there, so he taught the boys a private class. The boys enjoy their job of shoveling one of our neighbor’s sidewalks since they don’t live here during the winter. And they had a couple hours long spontaneous snowball fight with our dear friends one of the days.

We had so much snow this week that we opted to do piano lessons via Zoom again. Very convenient! E had just watched a really cool video of someone playing the piano wearing a fedora, so he gave it a go for his lesson.

Other highlights from the last couple of weeks include moving Micah’s desk upstairs where we can use it for school more easily and Ethan’s science fair presentation. He did an excellent job up there – we were all very proud of his poise and all of the work that went into this experiment. He also taught a little bit of Latin to our class on Monday and did SUCH a good job of it.

Final updates include some cute pics I snapped throughout the week when people were unaware, including a shot of my first homemade pizza (crust included, that is) – Mike and the boys making smoothies for breakfast before we have our weekly family meeting on Saturday mornings; Ethan playing piano while I read a book; Mike and Ethan discussing business plans one evening; Ethan watching a picture slideshow from Grandpa; Micah playing LEGO while I read-aloud or quiz him on memory work; the boys made an epic LEGO castle; and finally Micah and I visiting France to learn some French words during one of our final reading lessons in All About Reading.

Also, this month we watched a very interesting/inspiring/encouraging documentary about what a year of COVID did in terms of helping our beautiful planet. Super cool! I can’t remember the exact name or which streaming service we used to watch it, but it was something like “The Year Earth Changed”. It was delightful and I highly recommend it. Nice to see the beauty amidst all the yuck. =D

Starting the school year

The school year is just around the corner and we’ve given ourselves a light start this week. Monday will mark the first day of Challenge A for Ethan (and me) and the following Monday will be the first day of Foundations/Essentials for Micah.

We had a really fun park orientation day with our CC community last weekend. We’ll be meeting outdoors for class again this year, but we’ve got more families joining us this time around. This is SUCH a sweet group! I’m very excited about the intentional and beautiful community we have around us as we homeschool for our 7th official year.

As usual, we’ve recorded heights and weights for the boys. I expect they will grow quite a bit over this school year.

Ethan: nearly 5’2″ and 103 lbs; he is starting his 7th grade year, which is called Challenge A in our CC world.

Micah: 4’8″ and 70 lbs; he is a 4th grader this year.

And here are a few pictures I snapped during our first *light* week of school. One boy likes pictures a lot more than the other.

And I’m pretty excited about our schedule for the year. I am CERTAIN this will shift and change as we figure out how much time each subject actually takes, but it’s fun to have something to shoot for in the meantime! (I’m posting it here so that I don’t forget to do this in the years to come! You don’t even need to pay any attention to it.)

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!

Fall in Colorado

Fall is my favorite season! It’s been my favorite season everywhere I’ve lived. Wisconsin, Georgia, and Colorado. I especially love fall in Colorado because you really never know what kind of weather you’re going to experience from one day to the next. One day you are wearing shorts and t-shirts and the next day you are sledding, sometimes literally. The weather swings will be very evident in this post. =)

Summer weather…reading in the sunshine while the boys play football with Daddio:

Winter weather…snow, sledding and days of fires (even on school days)!

Summer weather…windows wide open while the boys send messages and snacks back and forth and then later play snow baseball.

Other happenings unrelated to the weather, but related to school instead: Micah reading his paragraph to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Sal; various pics of schoolwork at the house; and CC dress like a book character day.