Birding and more…

The new tripod and bird books have brought new life to our regular walks.  We spent the first morning after his birthday at the marsh area in the park by our house.  Ethan just did some bird watching and picture-taking; Micah did that as well as his Math.  Ethan has now joined me on my daily walks to the pond a couple times, too – always with his tripod and camera and asks me to record each bird we see on my phone so that he can update his bird book when we get back.

All four of us drove in the car for the first time in 2.5 months. We drove out to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal to do some more picture-taking and bird-watching. Mike spotted a Bald Eagle (and also some very exotic airplanes) and a coyote for us! Obviously the Bald Eagle was pretty exciting, but the coyote turned out to be pretty fun, too. He was hunting and dug up a snake (rather than a prairie dog) and was quite surprised. We also got to hear him howling to his friends somewhere in the distance.

Playing the piano, reading books and listening to books (including Farmer Boy which is being read by Grandma over FaceTime) are also fun ways we spend our days.

Life Lately

We’ve been working diligently to finish our school year, even though we plan to continue some work throughout the summer.  It’s been such a great school year for us for many reasons, but mostly because the boys have been working hard and keeping *mostly* good attitudes.  I’ve learned a lot over the years and I’m sure that helps, too.  I’m finally understanding the benefit of giving long breaks and not being a slave to the work if the temperaments aren’t lending themselves to it.  We do much better after our hearts are in the right place. =)

Our home has been filled with music.  Micah is enjoying playing the bongos along with Ethan’s piano practice, but he also just started using an app called “Piano Maestro” which has motivated him (and me) to play the piano!  Now we have three people trying to get time on the piano!  Ethan is also working on the computer to notate his own song, a version of Heart and Soul.  Ethan has a virtual piano recital next Friday.  We will send a link to you to watch and vote for his pieces.  It will be called, “Some Good Piano.” (Yes, that intentionally looks like Some Good News on YouTube).

The boys are very into birds and now like to go for walks and bike rides in order to make more pictures of them.  They also are starting to use a photo editing program to fix up some of their pictures.  And, Wingspan continues to be a favorite pastime for Ethan and me.

Ethan needed to wear crazy hair for one of his piano lessons, but didn’t want me to show anyone.  Ever since, Micah has been wearing his hair in a ponytail on the top of his head randomly throughout the day.  I’m sure you’ve spotted a few pictures already with his new hairstyle. =)

The boys have also continued keeping up with their buddies via FaceTime chats.

And we’ve been taking daily walks.  Often this means that Mike and Ethan are throwing the frisbee and Micah is riding his scooter, but every now and then we all just walk and talk!  Those are my favorites. =)

Mike ordered something fun for us – a slack block.  We use it to improve our balance.  It’s a lot harder than it looks!

Other updates include finishing a puzzle, reading a book with Daddio most nights, ordering (and mostly enjoying) Indian food take out, doing coins, and Daddy fixing Ethan’s bike!

And finally, we’ve had a couple more LEGO Master competitions.

1. Mom and Dad conceded to the boys on the first one because theirs was WAY cooler than ours.  Mom and Dad built a frog on a lily pad, while the boys built a parrot in a tree and had a shining sun floating in the background.

2. We had to build bigger versions of mini-figs.  Mom and Dad built the ice queen; Ethan and Micah built a soldier, complete with a rifle shooting a bullet, a canon and a tree.  Technically, Mom and Dad may have come away with a win on this one, but the votes were more sporadic.

Shelter in Place

After the boys and I arrived back home from Florida, our state issued a shelter in place order.  We already knew that CC community day would be going virtual and everything else was cancelled (or made virtual) soon thereafter, too.  I spent most of the past month battling a mysterious illness that left me with a headache and a low fever most days, followed by two weeks of hives.  I am happy to report that I seem to be back to good health now, but that sickness certainly colored much of our first month of quarantined life as I was in bed early most nights and also took lots of naps throughout the day, too.

When we first got home, we had some snow.  Micah was outside playing with army guys in the snow.  Later, we had warm weather and the boys were busy digging a trench in the backyard or going for walks/scooter rides around our park.  The weather sure does keep us on our toes!

Virtual CC, church services, birthday party, playdates, and family zoom/FaceTime calls:

The boys have been finishing this school year incredibly well.  They are motivated and really seem to enjoy learning together.  It’s been a blessing to have such responsible boys, especially while I was so under the weather.

Ethan has been doing editing, typing, and various writing projects.  He read his Faces and Places essay (on Judy, the POW WWII dog) and completed the Memory Master challenge for his second year.

Micah is working hard on math and reading, but prefers listening to good books and drawing.  He has completed the first level in his reading program and plans to continue working throughout the summer on the next levels.

Ethan’s been playing a lot of piano and is doing lessons via zoom.  He’s tracking his practice through an app his piano teacher wanted him to use and it’s motivating him to beat out the other students taking lessons from her by practicing more.  That’s been fun to see.  She’s also had him doing various piano-related bingo activities, like playing on his knees or playing with his eyes shut.

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Other happenings include giving Micah a haircut, playing various games, and teaching Micah how to play solitaire with physical cards.

And lots and lots of time with our Daddio!

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Early March

Well, I borrowed Mike’s noise-cancelling headphones and my life was changed.  Mike snapped this picture of me, drinking tea, reading a book on being an introverted mom while blocking out all extra noise. =D

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Mikey has had a pretty significant travel schedule.  The boys are always ecstatic when he gets home and have loads of stories to tell him.  Most evenings end on the nook with books, talking, or looking things up together.  He always makes us smile.

We’ve had gorgeous weather here and have started doing some of our schooling outside. It breathes new life into our days!  The boys also do quite a bit of schooling at my PT office while I try to figure out the connection between my weak abs and my knee pain.

The boys and I went on a long bike ride – our first for the season.  We met our new friends in the state park by our house and rode all the way around the reservoir.  Sadly, both my bike and Ethan’s had flat tires when we were about 2 miles from home.  Thankfully, a kind gentleman came to our aid so that we didn’t have to walk the whole way home!  Don’t worry, I now purchased a tire pump to take with us on our adventures.

Next up: Florida!

January and the first part of February

We’ve had such fun weather over the past two months.  We’ve had big snow storms and also temps in the 60s.  We’ve tried to make the most of both!

Schooling has been going really well this year, for the most part.  There are always days that are hard, but overall we’ve found a nice groove and have really enjoyed learning together.  Micah has been working hard on solidifying his reading skills with a new program – “All About Reading” – and it has saved us!  We also went on a field trip with some friends called “Inside the Orchestra.”  Ethan has been enjoying typing his paragraphs about various dog breeds.  This is something he’s super interested in right now and, thus, every presentation at CC has become him reading a research paragraph he wrote about these various dog breeds.  It’s pretty cool to see him finding interests and making up his own projects to work on.

Other happenings include: Drinking hot cocoa or tea when the weather was cold.  Micah had an AWFUL 24-hour bug.  Ethan was a major trooper in taking care of him and dealing with an exhausted mama.  We enjoyed the Super Bowl and any time Daddio has been in town.  The boys latch on to him as soon as he’s home and spend as much time right next to him as possible. =D. Ethan now sells his candy to Mike, rather than eating it.  He’s motivated by being healthy and earning some money.  Micah finished speech when his teacher moved back to Minnesota.  We didn’t technically finish all that we had set out to do, but I am taking over from here since we only had one sound to work on anymore.

Home again, Home again!

We flew back home on New Year’s Eve.

We had some friends stay in our home while we were gone and were blessed with sweet notes and lots of treats.  Micah stayed up with Mike and I to ring in the New Year.  Ethan stayed up for a while, but was ready to turn in by 10:30 (he was still living on WI time, so he almost made it!).

Getting back home meant getting back into our rhythms.  We started praying for specific people at dinner and then talking about a question (both the name of a person and a question to ask is on these popsicle sticks).  Ethan got back to his piano as soon as he woke up.  We took down Christmas decorations, started reading some books together, played our new game, and spent some time outside.

We also got back into the swing of things for school and CC.

Mike and his co-worker/buddy took the boys to Casa Bonita for their first time.  The food was not impressive, as you might guess, but they had a good time watching the entertainment.

And we’ve had two Packer picnics.  One ended with a victory; the other with defeat.  The boys watched both games all the way through, which is something new for them. What a fun season!

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.