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):

Other Tidbits

Some pictures from school lately (including Micah teaching Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Sal an art class after timeline lesson):

Some pics from around the house (including reading together, enjoying hot chocolate bombs from our friends from CC, Micah teaching art to Daddio, Ethan resting his eyes while editing pictures, and cloth napkins!! the latest in our initiatives to be more green):

Lastly, some pictures from our family talent show – a little something new to spice up our weekly Zoom calls. Highlights included: cousins’ artwork, Ger and Grandma played a cello and ukulele duet, Ger’s solo ukulele and singing performance, Grandpa played a trombone solo, boys played piano, I recited a poem, and Mike balanced on the slack block. A great time was had by all. Micah was the MC and even read some jokes during it to keep folks entertained. And Ethan kept the right person spotlighted for their performance.

Life Lately

Here are some shots depicting homeschool life (Ethan is often up early and likes to start on school work right away – I caught him with his book light one morning around 6:15 already at work in the kitchen; Ethan reading out loud during the 10-min a day challenge in January; we teach the timeline from CC to my parents and Aunt Sal and afterwards Micah often likes to play a little piano for them; editing, diagramming, promises, promises curriculum from church; and Micah’s first chapter book read solo!).

Backyard CC Community (including one morning when we did the Essentials portion virtually to avoid those cold days):

Other fun happenings from over the last month include colorku/sudoku while listening to books, Micah working on an art project from Uncle Ger, finishing The Doldrums with Grandma via Zoom, a final Packer picnic for the year, a new joint ‘office’ for the boys, fun in the snow fort, lots of snuggles and book time, some rousing games of Throw Throw Burrito, and boys playing piano (Ethan looks like a teenager to me when he’s composing music on the computer by the piano!).

And, as you might expect, we’ve got lots of birding outings. Mostly the boys (sometimes just Ethan, sometimes both) head to our park down the street for some birding. But I took them to Barr Lake last week for something new and special. We saw quite a few Bald Eagles and a Kestral. Ethan could tell you what else we saw as I’m not as good with identifying or remembering birds. =D

Life in the New Year

Here are some pictures from life around the house. Ethan got a photo editing program for Christmas and spends a lot of time editing his pictures and sending emails to his buddies. We started our usual January challenge of reading out loud for 10 minutes every day. Micah likes to teach art classes to whoever will participate. He got to teach Daddio this weekend and was thrilled. You can see his art wall behind his office. We went for a long walk/bike ride (boys ride with one walkie talkie and the parents walk with the other one) this past weekend while the temps were nice and warm. And Micah loves to play the piano and is considering taking lessons in the fall.

We are back to meeting in our backyard for CC community days. So far we’ve had pretty decent weather, although the mornings are pretty chilly. One morning Micah wanted to impress everyone with his ability to handle the cold by wearing short sleeves. Others joined in until it really got unbearable and everyone needed to put on their layers.

We’ve also been getting back into our regular schooling routine around the house. Micah is learning division with remainders, so there are some pics of him decorating our whiteboard as he figures those problems out! And Ethan has begun keeping track of his goals and work on a weekly planner. He’s also resumed his virtual piano lessons.

The boys are working on keeping their snow fort for as long as possible. It’s become a bit of a science project for them. They’ve made lots of updates over the weeks, and it’s still standing strong!

And we’ve been enjoying Packer picnics while cheering on our team to the Super Bowl! This past weekend found way too much joy in making cheese carrots to trick the boys.

Wrapping up December

I listened to a lovely book recently that talked about the belief when World War I began that it would “be done by Christmas” and realized that I had held that belief about Covid, too. World War I wasn’t done by that first Christmas, or by the next one. And Covid isn’t done either. So, our Christmas this year looked very different than it has every other year. As I was reflecting on the sadness I felt to be far from my family for the first time in 8 years over Christmas (we didn’t travel when Micah was first born), a dear friend of mine pointed out the blessing I have in my family. I had told her that I was accustomed to being so rejuvenated over the holidays because of all of my time with them and I wasn’t experiencing it this year. I am still feeling fatigued and in need of rejuvenation. God has blessed me a lot through them – what a gift that I didn’t even fully realize I had! It’s good to take stock and count those blessings, even the ones that seem so obvious. I always knew I had fun over the holidays, but I didn’t realize how much that time prepared me for the next months of life, too.

Anyway, enough musings. We really did have a lovely Christmas season! So many beautiful memories were made! I’ll start with some fun, non-Advent/Christmas-related pictures:

The first is a little snapshot that I took for my bro – he and I used to snag the very best cookies (similar to these, although green) when our family got our box of cookies from family friends each year. I decided to make them with the leftover cornflakes from the sweet potato casserole. Great plan! We also attempted to see the “Christmas Star” of Jupiter and Saturn – awesome experience! Thanks, Grandma Cleve, for reminding me about this!! Much of our day is filled with listening to books and… the ‘and’ is followed by LEGO, coins, marble run, drawing, etc. Micah chose to do some painting one day. We played a few games another night.

Some Advent activities leading up to Christmas day included a “choose your favorite and re-do it” event which was a great hit. The boys chose to have another sleepover and watch a Christmas movie. We also had our Christmas Recital – thank you to all of our audience members who made it SO much fun! Mike started us off with a little portion of a Coldplay song which brought much merriment to all. And on Christmas Eve we zoomed with Grandma Cleve and then had our annual Shepherds meal where we eat by the fire and pretend to be shepherds on the night the angels came with the Good News of Jesus.