Grandpa and Grandma here (part 1)

My parents have been coming out to Colorado in the fall every year since before I went to college.  In fact, it was probably those trips in high school that gave me a taste for Denver and prompted me to move out here for college.  Anyway, this year was no different except that they scheduled their trip to coincide with a trip Mike and I took for his work so that they could watch the boys.  AND, my grandpa made the trek as well!  We are SO grateful for time with our family!

We hit the ground running the moment they arrived.  My mom whisked off with Micah and I to his drum lesson, while Ethan and my dad and grandpa stayed back at the house.

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The boys’ kiwi crates arrived that night so there was much creating to be done that evening and the next morning.  Doing those projects also often makes Micah interested in other science experiments so he told a Bible story and shared how the Midianites (aka the pepper) ran away from the Israelites (aka the soap) in the story about Gideon.

One of my silly favorite parts of having my parents in town is listening to my Mom read the boys stories.  They love it, too!  We were on a big “George and Martha” kick that week – those are some of my favorite children’s stories of all time.

The next morning we snuck in some school work, puzzles, concerts and a tour to Celestial Seasonings (followed by a dessert my Dad brought home and baked with Ethan).

Next up – I join Mike in Phoenix and my parents take over watching the boys.

**Photo cred for all of the sharp pictures in this and future posts goes to my Dad.  Thanks for always capturing the fun!!**

First Two Weeks of School

The first two weeks of school were a bit of a whirlwind, as these pics might attest.  Our first day of school was actually on Monday, August 20th (not the 22nd like I accidentally wrote on our super rushed “first day of school” pics).  And I didn’t weigh the boys until today and still haven’t measured them for their height.  Our first day was also our first of Classical Conversations community day and we had a lot to pack in order to get out the door (thus the picture of our list).

Micah sat in my class for the first week of CC and has chosen to stay with us during Essentials (the afternoon program focused on English grammar, math facts, and writing).  Ethan gave his presentation on our big summer trip – he just highlighted Yosemite for this one.  Micah, since he wasn’t in his class, gave a presentation to our family about his shark tooth and getting it removed at the dentist this summer.  He may use that presentation again when he’s in his real class.

My mom was here for a field trip visit – she arrived in the middle of CC and spent some time with her sister until we were ready.  I’ll include more pictures from her visit and our field trip in another post.  But here are a couple fun ones from around the house (before and after the Mesa Verde field trip):

Mesa Verde occupied most of our first week of school.  This week, however, we had a more typical school week.  Micah went to his CC class and had SO much fun.  His tutor said that he was “GREAT!” in class.  He now calls CC days the “fun day” of the week and plans to attend his class every week.  Ethan, meanwhile, has been an all-star in our class.  I’ve been really impressed with his quiet leadership and kindness.  He’s been participating well, taking chances in Essentials even when he feels way out of his comfort zone, and being a very good example to others around him.  What a treat!  Speaking of treats, we treated the boys to ice cream after such a wonderful second day at CC!  And then I even had the energy to *finally* get them their rewards for all of the books they read over the summer.

And here are some shots I took from around the house during our homeschool days.  Ethan is doing 4th grade math this year and Micah is starting his first Singapore Math book with 1st grade work.  I’ve discovered that he really likes to be artistic during math, so he will never just circle when he could color. =)  Just today Micah asked if we could do harder math…which was such an encouragement to me because he’s not always one to want to be challenged.  I assured him that this book would get more tricky in the coming weeks and that he should just enjoy the easy lessons while he has them.  We also are taking advantage of borrowing “Code Names” from my Mom and playing variations of it with vocab and sight words.

Lastly, here are the current weights of the guys:

Summer Life

I think it was only last week that we had some sewer/pipes/draining work done at the house.  This was not the most fun way to spend money, but it was necessary.  The boys had a blast watching it all and we’re glad to have the problem behind us.  Now to get some grass…

A more fun way to spend some money was in preparation for our upcoming camping trips. We’ve been spending some time looking for sales on our gear.  Each boy now has a sleeping bag and we have some pots/pans/dishes and a camping stove!  Snapped these rock-climbing pictures outside of REI downtown and another of Micah testing out his sleeping bag at home.

It’s been a pretty hot summer thus far, especially without any mean of cooling the house currently.  Rest in peace, swamp cooler.  You were good while you lasted.  I still try to get us outside for bike rides and time at the park, but it’s hard to go get extra hot when we don’t have a good way to cool down afterwards.

Micah lost another tooth (that brings his total to 3, I believe).  And he went to the dentist. One of his front teeth has been dead since an epic fall back in our Georgia days; it’s on its way out this month by our hands or it will need to get pulled.  We’re working on it!

Ethan still spends time every day playing the piano.  He can’t get enough of it.

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And we played game 15 of Risk as a family.  I thought my chances to win were good…until everyone wanted me eliminated.  But, I’m glad to say that I held on.  Ethan won the game and now no one gets to write their name on the board anymore…alas, my name will never be on it.

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Piano Recital, etc.

Ethan and our cousin, Matthew, take piano lessons together and have so much fun doing it!  They both played beautifully at their final recital of the year.  Ethan played a duet with Miss Viss and Hurry Scurry on his own.  Matthew played one jazzy song and also a song he had made up on his own.  Very impressive!!

After their recital, the guys played for fun together:

That weekend my Auntie hosted a Pentecost party.  For those not familiar, Pentecost is when we, as believers, celebrate when the Holy Spirit was first given to the disciples of Jesus after He returned to heaven.  The Holy Spirit was described as coming like tongues of fire on the disciples’ heads, so it only made sense to have lots of red, orange, and yellow foods and decorations.  Mostly, we were just having fun with the theme and thanking the Lord for the encouragement and direction the Holy Spirit provides in our lives on a regular basis. =)

And right before my parents headed back home, we stopped by their house to meet their new puppy: Bailey!  She’s absolutely darling.

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We sure love having family in town nearby!  And we absolutely loved having my parents in town for a visit!  Thanks for spending time with us again!

Other Happenings

The boys did a great workout with Daddio.  They don’t do this all that often, but it’s really sweet to see them all working out together.

Micah really loved his kiwico box this past month – a solar system!  He painted while we listened to The Secret Garden.  Great Granny A gave us the Focus on the Family audiobook of that story and it was a super fun way to listen to it.

We are all getting in on the piano-playing around here.  I have been loving to play a couple times each week.  E plays anytime he walks past the piano.  And Micah does a little playing here and there, too.  E is also teaching Mike a bit of piano, so that’s fun!  I caught E teaching Micah the other day and it made me smile.

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Here are some homeschooling shots from around the house.  The first is what the table looks like just before I call them up from their lego-playing to begin our school day.  It makes me smile and I wanted to post it here to remind me what this season in life looked like for Jess in later years. =)  The second is our daily board…with some additions from the boys.  Ethan added his snack and to “right” to Hana.  (Guess what word will be on his spelling test tomorrow?!) Micah changed his name to Doggie and added “winey” which means…he wanted to whine during his day.

Sometimes the board gets nice messages on it, like this one from Micah:

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Ethan still makes the best “people’s eyebrow”, but my little niece is going to give him a run for his money.  I can’t wait until I can show you her version!

Micah got his very first library card and he was beaming!  He’s not into being in pictures or videos these days so he usually tries to hide his face.  His first books?  A book about Canada, a book about castles and a Star Wars book.

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Speaking of that guy, he still loves to build with magnatiles and makes a pretty awesome castle.

And speaking of the library, the boys discovered the Lego Star Wars shows and have been watching an episode or two every few days…with the massive beanbag chair on top of them like so:

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And, lastly, we had the opportunity to watch Micah’s friend in his play “The Aristocats”.  We had a lot of fun and were so glad to get to encourage him!  I promise we had fun!

Next up…Spartan Races!

Mid-April

We had a very exciting visitor to our backyard.  Ethan actually captured the best picture of it, but I haven’t snagged it off of his camera, yet.  This big guy hung out in our yard for a good 5 minutes, scrounging around for worms!  He also visited our neighbors’ backyard, which is when the boys were allowed outside for pictures.  A couple of days later, we saw a duck in the yard.  Fun!

Micah sang in front of our CBS class with his class.  It was pretty darling.  I only made one short video of it, but I’d be happy to share it with you if you’d like to see him singing, “I Wanna Walk, Walk like Jesus”.  His buddy (and my friend’s kid) is on the far right and Micah is on the far left.

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Here are some shots from homeschooling:

Most days we drink tea and read a book out loud.  This last picture was taken during one of our little meetings to decide what book to read next.  I’ve gotta say, though, “The Wind in the Willows” has been a hard one for us to get into…I’m hoping the coloring books I got last week will help.  =/

Mike was also out of town for work in the middle of the month, so I made sure to take walks at the park each day.  The boys just played in the trees or around the middle of the park while I walked around.  It was lovely.  And Mikey sent flowers to let me know he was thinking of me – and they have lasted over a week!!

Lastly, a quick video of Ethan playing some piano:

My Retreat

This past weekend my dear friend, Amy, and I went on our third retreat to the mountains.  We laughed a lot, prayed a lot, and hiked even more!  In total, we probably hiked a good 6+ hours throughout the weekend.  We hiked for at least 4 hours on Saturday before it was even time to eat lunch!  =)  It’s refreshing to spend time with a dear friend in a beautiful place doing some of the things I most enjoy – hiking, reading, journaling and painting!

This year, we spent our retreat at Glen Eyrie.  You’ve heard me mention this place before – Amy and I went to a tea there in January and I went to our church women’s retreat there before that!  It’s a beautiful spot and you’re almost sure to see big horn sheep, deer and wild turkeys.  From there, we even hiked into the Garden of the Gods park, but we found that being around people after hiking for hours without seeing anyone was really not for us. =)

Here are some pictures from our lovely retreat:

Meanwhile at home, Ethan gave piano lessons and the guys did a whole lotta wrestling.  I also hear they played another game of Risk Legacy and now we have mutants with which to contend.  E said, “I can’t wait to play this with Uncle Ger – he’s going to be so surprised at all of the changes in the game!”

HUGE thanks to Mikey for being so gracious.  He was supportive and encouraging of this which helped me to have a guilt-free vacation away to refresh!!