Pacific Coast Highway, Part 1

Over our Spring Break we opted for a 5 day trip to drive the Pacific Coast Highway – starting in Santa Cruz and ending in LA.  I had no idea what to expect as Mike is our trip advisor, planner, and researcher and I do very little prep for these excursions other than to pack everyone. =). Anyway,  he did a wonderful job organizing another fun trip for us.  We will want to do more of this drive someday – the sights were unreal!

Day One: early morning flight, a stop at Apple (where Micah lost another tooth) and Google and then a late night swim with Daddio

Day Two: we took a walk to the beach in Santa Cruz and explored that pier and saw seals before heading onward to Monterey where we played at the beach and then had the very best clam chowder ever for dinner.  We also saw otters at dinner!

Day Three: Monterey Aquarium, 17 Mile Drive and Pebble Beach

I’ll do the final two days in a separate post.  There are a lot of beautiful pictures of this coastline. =)

Music

Ethan participated in Federation for the first time.  This is a piano competition of sorts with judges giving feedback on your performance.  We weren’t really sure what to expect, but his teacher encouraged us to give it a try.  I think Ethan ended up liking it a lot – it was fun to have something specific for which to practice.  His teacher sent a video from his practice right before Federation.

We snapped a few pictures before he played his two songs (Circle Dance and Cool Cats) in front of three judges and about six other kids and their families.  He did a great job!  We were especially proud of him for stopping when he was playing the one song and asking to start over because he had made a mistake and you could tell it was affecting the rest of the song.  He is not always one to speak up and advocate for himself and he did so very well in this setting.

He ended up getting a Superior rating, so that made him especially proud of his accomplishment.  We focused on doing the perseverance and courage he showed in doing something that made him so nervous.  We went out for ice cream and walked through a fun bookstore downtown.  Afterwards we met Reggie for dinner downtown – always a treat!

Meanwhile, Micah is still taking weekly drum lessons.  He’s enjoying himself and has already surpassed his mama’s ability to keep a beat. =)

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February Stories & Pics

The boys and I spent Valentine’s Day together (Mikey was traveling), doing fun and tasty experiments, making homemade beer bread (had to grab something at the store, first) and listening to a good book.  Ethan saved his Valentine’s candy from Grandma Cleve’s visit to eat on the actual day.  His self-control is very impressive to me!!

That evening some of the fam sent pictures back and forth to show how we were celebrating. =) Look at my cutie nephews and niece!  The boys liked seeing pictures of the others, so we sent our own, too.

We had quite a bit of snow this month.  One day, Micah said, “I think you’re going to say, ‘no’, but do you wanna have tea and watch the snow fall with me on the porch?”  Obviously that was a moment I wasn’t going to let pass me by!

And here are some other school pictures throughout the month.  A couple of exciting updates: Micah is now going to kids club (rather than sitting by E and I in Essentials) and attended his first night of cadets.

Mike surprised us by stopping home for an hour in between two flights.  Micah spent the time reading out loud to him while he packed his bag. =)

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The boys have been doing some ninja training at the park:

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Here are some various pictures from around the house lately:

Mike is big on getting the boys outside in the cold to build up strength.  There’s a fancy word for this, but alas, I’ve forgotten it!  Cold thermo-something.  Anyway, here are some crazy sightings of boys in the cold!

Music fills the air often.  E is teaching Micah little bits and pieces and also working hard on getting ready for Federation in March.

We went on a family date to a movie theater that serves dinner during the movie for a super special treat.  It was pretty exciting.  We were all especially thrilled because this was another big step for Micah.  He usually avoids theaters at all costs, but he was all in for this one (as long as he had his earplugs!).

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I’ve requested some help from the boys with meal planning…because maybe I’ve gotten tired of hearing complaints from nameless somebodies in the home.  I really needed to have Mike go through the cookbooks, too, but that will come another day!  =)  We’ve tried a few of their ideas and it definitely helps to have their buy-in.

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And finally, a quick picture from Ethan’s Essentials class at CC.  They were working on answers for English grammar and vocab.

The week bookended by GC

Just wanted to fill in the gaps from my previous post.  While Grandma Cleve was with the Bertilson family, we had a busy week at home.  Mike was in Minnesota, enjoying a balmy -48 degrees or something.  It was pretty crazy.  I saw a meme that indicated it was colder in Minneapolis than Antarctica that day!  Meanwhile, we enjoyed a snow day on Monday.  And my cousin, Meredith, came over to play in the snow.  It was a HUGE treat to all of us!

Check out how awesome she is:

Tuesday was a rough day.  But no one wants to hear the woes of homeschool life.  Micah did have the chance to take Bailey on a walk in the snow that afternoon – he’s getting ready for his potential job this summer of walking neighborhood dogs.

On Wednesday we had our usual day, except that cousin Matthew invited Ethan over after piano lessons.  So Micah and I had the afternoon to ourselves until we picked him up before drum lessons.  It was pretty fun.  I snapped this picture of my red bush tea because I bought it on Amazon to drink while I listen to the audiobooks of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency…and then I found out that one of my favorite “celebrity-ish” people did the same thing!!  (Sarah McKenzie from the Read Aloud Revival podcast, if you must know =D) Great minds…

On Thursday and Friday evenings we were able to celebrate the boys’ reading out loud accomplishments for January.  They both read 25+ days out loud for 10 minutes!  Their self-selected rewards were a movie night with special snacks (Micah) and game night with special snacks (Ethan).  Lots of fun!  I guess we only took a picture of the movie night – we watched Prince Caspian.

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January Updates

This year we had one of the talented mamas in our CC community take pictures of each kiddo for our year book.  She also took class pictures.  These pictures were taken a while ago, but I just noticed them in our shared folder recently.

I also found this gem of the boys in Essentials (the afternoon part of our CC day):

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On MLK day, we went downtown to see our first hockey game.  This was a Christmas gift from Grandpa Russ – thank you, again!!

Here are some pictures from schooling at home.  It’s tough to get back into the swing of things after a long break, but we padded the month with lots of good books and plenty o’ breaks. =) Mike joined us for an art class one morning – Micah was the teacher.

We also had a few snowstorms, so that meant some recesses were spent sledding.  One of those days Mike drove by on his way somewhere and snapped a picture – that’s why you see me featured in the one. =). Also, Ethan lost another tooth on the hill!

Other happenings include enjoying Christmas gifts – puzzles and 3D puzzles – and the purchase of Micah’s new favorite hat that will be featured in many pictures from now on it appears.

Since We’ve Been Gone…

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:

Our first week of school was interrupted by my travels to Atlanta to help my sister with her trade show, but I understand they did lots of hard work while I was away.  Here are some pictures from while I was in town and I’ll do another post with photos from the trip/boys at home.

I also took a couple of pictures of Micah’s homework just to give you a little glimpse into the way that sweet guy thinks!  If the math problem asks him to cross out a leaf in order to figure out the subtraction problem, he will have caterpillars attack and eat the leaf instead.  And if the math problem tells you to cross out a jar, he will make it break into little shards of glass.  And if the problem asks you to draw a line from the problem to the answer, he will make sure the line has loops in it because that’s what a balloon string would do. =)

Micah now knows how to blow bubbles and does so very well.  The boys have discovered that sometimes Micah will be able to do things that Ethan can’t do very well, and vice versa.  Ethan can whistle; Micah can blow bubbles.

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And lastly, sometimes we get pictures of cute family members with their book pajamas and it makes us smile.

Family Updates

Great Granny A suffered a stroke the week of Thanksgiving and has been in our prayers. We were able to talk to her on Skype on Thanksgiving day – technology is such a gift!  We are feeling thankful that she is alive and healing!

Thanksgiving Day was my Grandpa’s birthday.  I appreciated getting pictures of him enjoying his special day with the family in Michigan:

The following day our newest member of the family was born in Wisconsin: Edwin (Eddie) Richard!  He’s darling and I can hardly wait to meet him.  It was really fun to get to see pictures from everyone meeting him for the first time – so I thought I’d share some of my favorite shots!

That sweet little girl making everyone laugh finally needs a proper intro on the site, too.  That’s our niece, Salina Jean, and she is just a bundle of joy!  Thought I’d post my three current favs of her and also a few pictures from when we met her back at 6 weeks old now that I can show off that darling face!

Micah is anxious to hold his baby cousin, Eddie, at Christmas and the newest baby boy, Joshua (Ashley’s due on Christmas day!), when he comes, too!  He recently told me that our house is too boring and we either need a pet or a baby. *insert big eye smiley face here *

Side note: this may be one of my all-time favorite pictures:

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It reminded me of these pictures from Florida back in 2012 when Ethan was about 2.5 years old.

Thankful for the gift of family, near and far!