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!!

The days that make up our life…

Each week holds some of the same things: homeschool at the house, piano lesson, CBS, Classical Conversations, and PE+.

Here’s a little glimpse of Classical Conversations this past session.  We were studying famous artists and trying to copy their work for art.  This is my favorite part of the year each year – it’s really neat to see their creativity and to learn about each artist.

E finally got to give his presentation on his Vex creation.  I can’t quite remember now what Micah chose to present on, but he’s been doing a nice job in his class, apparently.

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And this past week we stayed after our morning of Foundations in order to see what the Essentials program will be like.  Ethan will be in Essentials next year and we’re both a little intimidated by it!  There is a bigger focus on writing well, grammar, and learning a lot of vocabulary words.  I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but that’s the big focus as far as we can tell so far.  E was very tentative at first, but ended up really liking it and is already looking forward to starting it next year!  In fact, he had some tears at the beginning because everything seemed like a different language (they were diagramming sentences and labeling them with direct object, object of the preposition, etc.!), but everyone was so kind and encouraging to him.  And he was even able to play the review games along with them.  Also, Micah amazes me – he can sit for hours very quietly without interrupting or doing anything disruptive.  It’s kind of remarkable.

Homeschool pics:

On Fridays we head to PE+ where Ethan takes a gym class with other homeschoolers from around the city.  He absolutely loves it.  Micah will start next year; he currently just hangs with me and reads books or draws.

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And Ethan has piano lessons (with cousin Matthew) every week.  He LOVES playing piano and plays songs scattered throughout every single day.  He has already surpassed my playing ability, I think, and I took lessons for a couple years. =)  Here is the video he sent to his piano teacher this week, as per her request:

Sometimes we “play school” and Micah is the teacher.  He gives spelling tests…like this one:

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In case you are wondering, a peeologist is a person who studies pee.  Obviously.  Sometimes I have to embrace the grossness that comes with raising boys. 😉

We’ve been enjoying the Olympics, too.  The boys even did their own version of figure skating at the house the other night.  We awarded red, green, or yellow (which eventually turns to red or green upon further review) squares for their scores.  And sometimes we threw Pooh bear out on the rink.

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And I’ll leave you with a funny story… The boys are planning to live in Canada when they are older and would like to live in a camper, or maybe two.  (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…this was very similar to my plan as a child!)  When asked if they’d like to get married, they both respond, “NO!  If we get married we might have to deal with babies and their drool and stuff.”  I said, “well, just because you are married doesn’t mean you have to have children.”  Their response, “Yeah, but you never really know.  If you get married, you might have a kid.  We just don’t want to risk it.  There’s no way of knowing if you’ll have one or not.” Hmm…

Fifth Stop: Wisconsin

After Michigan and our brief stop in Illinois, we settled down in Wisconsin again.  Here we celebrated Christmas with opening presents, ate lots of good food, played games and read books and rung in the New Year.  (We also spent time with Cass and Adam and their family, but I’ll do a separate post on that!)

Opening presents:

Working on Grandpa’s new shirt:

Playing games, putting together presents, reading books, etc:

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Lunch at Gerrit and Lauren’s home:

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New Year’s Eve (the boys made it until 11 and then fell asleep watching home videos):

Obviously, we had a fantastic time in Wisconsin with our family!  Thanks for hosting, Mom and Dad, even without a working kitchen!  =)