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
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.)
When each of their grandchildren turn ten, my parents hope to take them on a solo trip of their dreams. Ethan is the first grandchild to get this privilege and he had a wonderful time! He didn’t have to think for long about where he’d like to go with them; he opted for Philadelphia as soon as he learned about the trip. He wanted to see the Liberty Bell, the Mint, Gettysburg, and Falling Waters. He did all of that and more! He and Grandpa kept journals for the trip, but pictures will tell the stories best on the blog. He had a blast! =)
Here are some pictures from our brief morning in Wisconsin before heading back to home.
We are SO thankful that the boys have opportunities to see the world with people they adore. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking Ethan on this trip of a lifetime! He will cherish these memories always.
We’ve had a sort of bizarre wrap up to our school year. We still have a few things to finish before I can officially say we’re on summer break, but we’ve definitely lowered the intensity of our workload already. We had to hit it pretty hard in April, so May has been a slower pace. We also often do various school-related things throughout the summer, so I’m okay with a more calm ending to the school year. But I haven’t taken any official final day of school pics. haha!
Ethan had his first standardized tests and did really well on them. He took them with a bunch of other CC peeps at our church, so that helped to make it a good first experience for him. Meanwhile, Micah and I went over to a nearby rec center and did school there. Afterwards they all played basketball and ate lunch together.
We had our final day at CBS and Micah “sang” with the kids at the opening. We also had our final lunch with cousin Matthew before he starts school at DC in the fall. They had their final piano lesson together recently, too. It’s been SO much fun being with them every week.
The boys earned two new books for their read aloud challenge – they read EVERY day of the month of April for at least ten minutes each.
And we had our end of the year party with CC. We celebrated all that they learned and did a little showing off by singing the timeline. This was also the evening that my new role as the Director at CC began – pretty overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. Mike wasn’t in town, so I only got the picture of the memory master gang (featured in a previous post) and this one of Micah’s class.
Ethan’s been loving playing soccer this season. He’s found his favorite position – stopper! He absolutely loves playing defense and has even managed to score a few goals from back there because he’s got quite the kick! And Micah is a fun fan. =)
Micah started playing flag football through the rec centers here. He’s loved it and definitely improved over the few weeks that the season ran. I was out of town for his first game, but Mike took lots of pictures and videos. They watched some game footage to help teach him about the game before his second night of games. And then his final games were cancelled due to weather, so we’ll see if he gets to make those up later. He prefers to play center, but he did get a couple running plays called for him and snagged at least one flag! Woot!
Ethan worked SO hard on his Memory Master challenge this year and was able to get the official title. This meant he had to memorize every fact for all 24 weeks of 7 subjects. He had to recall this information 3 different times. We opted to do one with Auntie Mel (SO thankful to live by these guys again!!). Then he was quizzed by a tutor at CC and then by the director. It was a pretty arduous process, but he loved it and was super excited by the challenge!
Micah began going to Speech therapy and is making great strides there already. He seems to enjoy it okay and is pretty determined to do his homework!
And Ethan played the prelude in church again – In Christ Alone. Another fun bonus to going to the same church as family, Aunt Mel took a video! =)
He also had his final piano recital of the year – he played two pieces (In the Hall of the Mountain King and something about pirates).
And Micah is wrapping up drum lessons for the year. Here’s one of the latest pictures I took when one of his friends from church wanted to sit in and listen.
I have apparently lagged WAY behind in my posting. I’ll have to do a broad sweep of a few post updates so that we can get caught up again!
Kiwi Crates (I’m getting to the point of being over these, but every time they arrive the boys are thrilled! I just want to enjoy them for a month and then not have boxes lying around the house…sigh):
We had our dear missionary friends over for dinner while they were in town. You’ll recognize them as friends we stayed with when we were in Germany. It was SO good to catch up with them again and to hear how the Lord is on the move in their lives. It was also lots of fun to recall funny memories from our early days of dating and marriage as they were mentors of ours from the beginning of our dating lives. =)
Here are some shots from every day life around here. They include quite a few pictures of boys reading out loud (still doing their Read Aloud Challenge every month this year) to various people.
And a few from homeschooling, including pictures of Ethan working on his big Faces and Places presentation about Alexander the Great. He had to read his 5 paragraph essay in front of the community and he did a great job! You’ll also see some pictures of the boys either reading or listening to books because we’ve started a new habit of reading for 20 minutes any day that Daddio is out of town. It gives me a little break and shows them that reading is an important and fun part of all of our days. =)
More to come in this whirlwind update of the past two months.
One of the things we have been enjoying this year has been being a part of the Read Aloud Revival group. It means we’ve had access to various author interviews and drawing classes – both things we’ve enjoyed immensely. We listened to Jonathan Rogers (author of my fav series – The Wilderking Series) talk about Narnia (because he wrote a book about exploring the world through Narnia) and then enjoyed our very own dinner with the beavers (recommended by RAR).
Here are some pictures from one of the art workshops the RAR put on this week:
The RAR is also the reason we are participating in a year-long challenge to have each boy read out loud for 10 minutes most days of the year. It’s been remarkable to see how much they have both improved in 3 short months. Mostly Micah has been doing Piggie and Gerald books (a lot by memory), but he’s also started reading some other books! Ethan has been reading both of the Ninja Warrior books.
Occasionally I give little rewards for their efforts. They read out loud even when they are tired and would rather just go to bed and I want to encourage their perseverance. So every now and then I give them a new/used book or take them to a book store to pick out something. Micah asks me to take pictures of various things he would like to “put on his list” every time we go someplace. He has his eyes closed in the one picture because he was “pleading” with me to get it for him someday. This time he ended up getting a coin book so he can start his own collection. He’s pretty jazzed about it.
Here are some pictures from around the house. Ethan is rocking it with diagramming sentences these days and it’s really fun to watch. He’s also still an avid reader and is always anxious to start new books. Micah has started multiplication and is doing super well, which is exciting.
It’s been a great year of homeschooling and we’ve officially signed up for another year. Eek! =)
Side note: Micah is a very unique thinker and it always shines through during his workbook assignments. He doesn’t like to just do a problem; he likes to draw elaborate pictures to go along with them. Here are just a few examples of what schooling is like with this free spirit. (1) He made a lot of adjustments to the math worksheet. (2) He added the “ooooh” that comes at the end of that song about helping verbs. (3) He drew a picture representing his History sentence.
Doing schoolwork (reading fun books and books for Ethan’s big Faces and Places in Ancient History project, doing a mega brief art study on Durer, diagramming sentences – we sent this one to Aunt Mel to get it corrected!, and Micah admiring his schoolwork thus far for the year:
Ethan went to his first drop-and-go birthday party while Micah and Daddio had eye appointments. I was thanking the Lord for all of the growth we’ve seen in both boys this year. Ethan was a-okay with someone else driving him around and playing at Dart Warz solo and Micah was able to use the letters for his eye exam, rather than the pictures. Woot!
And, finally…this is a little glimpse of parenting boys. They throw snowballs at the kitchen window to get my attention.
Both Mike and I did some solo-parenting already this month. As I already mentioned, I traveled to Atlanta to help my sister with the trade show there. I left on Wednesday afternoon and was back on Sunday early evening. Micah and I made some overnight oats ahead of time so that their breakfasts would be easy! I also assigned the boys various homeschool assignments and they spent both days finishing their lists. One day I even got a text from Mike saying that the boys finished their assignments before their snack at 10 am! They spent much of the rest of that day building legos while listening to an audiobook. They also had a snowstorm and a lot of food delivered to the house! LOL. I was glad to see that the boys had all gone sledding in the snow.
Here are a few fun pictures from my time in Atlanta!
We spent Sunday evening with Ashley and Zach so that we could *finally* meet Baby Joshua. And then soaked up some Daddio time before his trip.
The following evening, Mike traveled to Minnesota. The boys and I had a busy week! We started the week with CC. Then, Ethan got his eyes and teeth checked. I got my eyes checked and my hair cut. Both boys had lessons in piano and drums. We had cadets and kids club and CBS. And we had lots of school and fun in the meantime (especially drawing pictures).
While Mikey was out of town, we hosted cousin, Meredith from Michigan. The boys were literally jumping up and down at the prospect of having her over and have been asking every day since if she could come back. =)
We hit the ground running! We arrived home just in time for me to turn around and get to a tutor meeting for CC. Then we spent the weekend unpacking, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, going to church and potluck, and preparing to start school on Monday. But before I get into pictures from our first two weeks back from vacation, I wanted to mention two really important things that happened in our family:
The first is that we welcomed a new baby boy into our family – Joshua James was born a couple days before Christmas! We weren’t able to meet him until a week after we got home since we were a little congested upon arrival home. We’ve since met him and, of course, are madly in love with the little sweetie.
The second is that we spent much of the New Year praying for our other baby nephew, Eddie. He was in the ICU for over a week! We are so very thankful that he’s home now and healing well. It brought tears to my eyes to finally see pictures of him in his mama’s arms!!
As far as every day life at our home…
One of the first things we did was put up Micah’s bird feeder. After sending pictures of it to my Dad, we raised it so that the squirrels wouldn’t get in! =)
We’ve also been playing lots of games, doing new puzzles and reading out loud a lot: