Celebrating Ethan

This big guy turned 12 at the beginning of this month. He is such a delight. He wanted to eat special food, go birding twice, have ice cream cake, get vaccinated, and play at the park with our friends. We did our best to make each of his wishes come true! Throughout the day/week, he received lots of cards, phone calls and videos which all served to make him feel very loved!

As usual, we took our annual mama-and-me picture the night before he turned 12.

And then the day of celebrating began:

In the Meantime…

Some pictures and updates from life at home since it went back down to the four of us.

Ethan and Micah began joint piano lessons. Ethan had been doing them via Zoom all year, but we opted for in-person lessons for their joint lessons for the summer. This was Micah’s first piano lesson and he seems to really enjoy playing! I went walking in a nearby open space.

Sword fighting in the back yard, reading in the living room, and getting excited about our new gear for the upcoming trip!

We’ve been playing with Whole30 as a family (mostly this means bumping up our veggie game and nixing the rice/bread):

We worked on our garden box:

And the boys began Krav Maga classes:

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!

Life Lately

We reached some Covid-related milestones recently, as I’m sure have many of you. We’ve officially spent a full year without any in-person time with Grandma Cleve or my parents. This past Friday marked the year anniversary of when I flew home from Florida with the boys. Mike also has now gone over 365 days without getting on a plane for the first time in…18 years!! We snapped a picture of Mike to remember that day. =D And I reached a full year of reading for at least 10 minutes a day! (this is a big deal for me; I’m well-aware that many of you have such beautiful reading lives that this is nothing…but it’s a habit I’ve been working to build and have enjoyed every minute of it!)

We also celebrated some holidays – Pi day (with chicken potpie and chocolate pie) and St. Patty’s Day (with corned beef and cabbage):

Just days before a big winter storm, we had a gorgeous backyard community day with CC. We’re busy painting like the great artists right now and that’s been extra fun. Below you’ll see Micah’s version of a Picasso painting. Ethan was pretty bummed to have to cut up his beautiful bird to make it appear more like a Picasso piece.

I took Ethan out for a quick birding adventure after dropping off some food to folks from church before the snow arrived.

And then the storm hit us! We got almost 2 feet of snow! Lots of fun!

Other happenings as of late include celebrating Salina’s birthday via Zoom and her subsequent thank you note (SO funny!), writing on our gratitude frames, working on March madness brackets, enjoying the sunshine, and another tiny snowstorm:

And lastly some pictures of school today (Ethan is making the CC yearbook for us this year, with help from yours truly):

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)!