Ethan’s One-on-One Trip

E and Mike headed to Texas for his yearly one-on-one adventure. The aim was to do some great birding in the southern part of Texas whenever lots of the birds would be there and to enjoy time together. They had a lot of success, despite the many bugs (see photos below of trails that were literally covered in spiders) and high humidity. I’ll try to get him to send me a few of his favorite pictures to include in the next post. For now, here are some shots Mike took.

They had a great time together and got home right in time to start the school year on Monday. =D

Grandpa and Grandma in Colorado

We were thrilled to host my parents for almost two weeks at the end of October/beginning of November. We had a great mix of just living normal life and doing some projects around the house.

Each morning Ethan and my Dad went out birding. Micah joined for one morning, but he decided it was more enjoyable (and warm) playing piano or reading with Grandma at the house. Also, while my parents were here, this memory popped up on my phone from 9 years ago when I remember thinking, “wow, my Dad as Grandpa is different than my Dad as Dad.” What on earth is that little pipsqueak doing holding a big expensive camera?! =D

My folks always ask about what kinds of things we might like them to do for the house, so we knocked out a few of those projects! Yay! The two most exciting things done were our laundry room and new address numbers for outside. They did other things, too, but these were big undertakings and I was so thankful to have them completed. The boys, especially Ethan, loved working on the laundry room. We decided this was a different kind of homeschooling. =)

We each did some sewing projects with my Mom. Ethan and Micah both made camera bean bags (not sure how else to describe them) and Micah made two decorative pillow covers. Turns out, Micah LOVES to sew and is looking for new projects. =) My Mom sewed us some Packer napkins and I finally finished my rice heating pad.

We enjoyed having Mel and Joel over for lunch over the weekend. We had our inaugural meal on our new deck table with them.

Much music was made throughout the week. My mom has recently begun learning to play the cello (one of the many things I admire about my folks is their belief that they are never too old to try something new), so she had a couple of Zoom lessons while here and showed the boys how to play a bit. She and Ethan worked on a little piano-cello duet. And Micah played a lot of piano duets with Grandma.

Other highlights that don’t fit as neatly into a photo gallery include baking together, Grandpa and Micah biking, visiting the Audubon Center all together, Krav Maga, reading books, playing games, editing pictures and doing *some* schooling, playing football in the park, having a picnic with some members of our Zoom book club (they also happen to be dear friends from CC), attending cousin Matthew’s awesome play, and having a Packer picnic.

Our time together was delightful. The boys both said afterwards, “I wish they lived with us or at least by us.” What a gift!

Home Again!

We’ve hit the ground running since we returned home. We got in a birding trip soon after we arrived. The boys had another piano lesson (we officially decided Micah will take them during the fall!) which means I had another peaceful morning walk nearby. Thanks to Lauren and Jason we are now popping our own popcorn at home and loving it!

The boys were excited to get back into Krav Maga. Their coach posted this video of the “teen” class recently. Ethan is featured in it.

We celebrated my birthday – starting with homemade crepes on our special plate. =D

And we spent an evening at the Chatfield Reservoir reconnecting with some dear friends we haven’t seen in a long time.

Week 2

I’ll start with some pics from our second week of CC outside. Micah’s presentation was on his scooter and scooter tricks. Ethan’s was on various places he enjoys going birding. And then in Essentials, Micah and I read his first paper this week, which was a big milestone.

Here are some pics from around the house doing school, including writing outside in the beautiful weather, teaching the Timeline to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Sal, working on their Essentials papers, LEGO history sentence of signing the Mayflower Compact:

The boys did some birding in the park nearby and then spent some time snuggled up while editing their pictures. Later during the week we drove up to Loveland to check out a birding hotspot there that our dear friends told us about. It was awesome!

Other pictures from the week include lots of piano playing (the boys are potentially working on a Christmas duet), using the rower outside, a day full of ping pong, and Mike mowing the backyard with a mask on due to the smoke and ashes in the air from the wildfires,

Finally the boys were seriously spoiled this week by various gifts sent their way. Each gift was sent out of the blue and we were blown away by the thoughtfulness and generosity. My favorite story from these gifts was when Ethan was able to make an educated guess about who was featured in his new Star Wars shirt – Emiliano Zapata! He said later, “well, I was trying to think of who I know who is important to Mexican history and that’s the only name I could remember.” Anyway, thank you to all our thoughtful friends and family who like to send gifts to spoil us!

Oh, and here’s the first day of picture of the boys together from the week before:

First Week of School

Ethan: 5th grade; 11 years old; 5′ and 89.2 lbs. He’s starting his 6th year of homeschooling through CC. This is his final year in Foundations and Essentials.

Micah: 3rd grade; 8 years old; 4’4.5″ and 64.8 lbs. He is starting his 5th year of homeschooling through CC. He’s got 3 more years in Foundations/Essentials after this one.

We started the 2020-2021 school year on Monday of this week. We had two other like-minded families join us in our backyard for our community day. Our plan is to meet outside every week to do CC together. I’ll try to snap a picture this week before anyone arrives so you can see the layout.

Our first day was an answer to prayer. And, as is often the case, the Lord went above and beyond in providing such lovely blessing – grass was laid on Friday, so we didn’t have mud and dirt everywhere; we had ample shade; every detail went smoothly and we all were relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company! SO thankful to have something practical for which to use all this beautiful new space! But first, a couple of prep pictures from the weekend before:

Ethan took first day of school photos for everyone in our group (I snapped one of Ethan) and he may even do some work on a yearbook for everyone throughout the year. Our boys each gave a presentation introducing themselves and the things by which they are interested. Micah even included a little description of what our backyard looked like at the beginning of the summer. Micah is participating in Essentials loosely and diagrammed his first sentence – he was super pumped about it!

The rest of the week was equally successful. I came up with a schedule that feels good to all of us for now. We’ll see if it continues to be a good fit, but we liked how it felt for this week! Here are some pictures::

Some highlights included our new weekly assignment of teaching the timeline to Grandpa and Grandma and Auntie Sal over Zoom; lessons taught one-on-one by Dad with each boy (Micah wanted to learn more about how to have a good conversation and Ethan wanted to learn more about stocks and mutual funds); art class online. (We did not get a dog – that’s the dog of our friend who is doing all of the backyard projects!)

We also went to Cherry Creek Reservoir for some paddle boarding to celebrate a great start to the school year. We intended to go on Monday night, but we were pretty wiped and hot after a full day outside, so we went on Tuesday instead. I did some paddle boarding and then spent the rest of the evening working on finishing my book for my virtual CC book club: Walden! Good setting for that book. =)

Finally, at the end of the week, two exciting packages were delivered: the long-promised ping pong table and a rower. We are loving having an outdoor ping pong table and have already used it for some schooling and just some regular ol’ fun! And the rower is lots of fun, too. Feeling very spoiled in life right now. Very spoiled and very thankful.