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.

Quick updates

Before I get to weekend updates, I wanted to do a quick update on life from last week.

Ethan competed in his first pinewood derby race.  His car didn’t do all that well, so he was a bit disappointed.  We had some good chats about trying something new, learning from the past, asking people for their guidance in the future, etc. etc.  Anyway, I think it was a great experience and it was lots of fun to see all of the cars!

We finished week 22 of CC (only 2 weeks left!!).  Ethan gave a presentation on “The Hobbit” – our most recent read-aloud book.  It’s not his most flattering picture, but I really like his outfit and can’t get over how old he looks!

Micah gave his presentation on some of his Legos.  I received this email from his tutor afterwards: “His presentation made my day yesterday.  It went on for at least ten minutes and his face was completely lit up the whole time.  My favorite part was his explanation of the ninja warriors fighting the city people (one of whom was in a wheelchair).  :)”

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Micah sometimes wears these glasses for school because they make everything look prettier:

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Last Friday, Aunt Ashley and Caleb came over for a little picnic and time at the park!  Caleb went down the slide by himself and had Ethan to catch him.  He was cracking us up with all of his, “uh oh!” remarks anytime the boys fell or pretended to fall.

Next up…my retreat!

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…

As you wish

The Princess Bride has long been my favorite movie.  I first saw it when I was about 6 years old at my friend’s house and I have loved it ever since.  “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”  It’s got it all.  I’ve got most of it memorized, had a poster of it in my room growing up, even did a presentation for my Religion class in high school using the scene from Buttercup and Humperdinck’s wedding.  I probably should own a shirt that says, “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”  It’s classic.  So anyway, when we were invited to an 80s Halloween party, I double checked my date (it was came out in ’87! Phew!) and got to work.  There were a couple other ideas thrown around, but I quickly settled on my favs.  (Unfortunately, Micah didn’t want to join in the fun or we would have had the whole family in The Princess Bride costumes!)

Mike got to play the part of my true love, Westley.  And I, as you might have guessed, was Buttercup.  We listened, briefly, to our love song so that we could really get into character on our way to the party. 😉

Party time:

Micah, AKA Chewie, really enjoyed playing darts.  Ethan spent most of his time running around with some of the other kiddos there.

“This is true love – you think that happens every day?”

Dream come true. =)  So much fun.

I’ll leave you with one of the best lines of the movie: “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.”

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

So, I do not want to boast about our homeschool life, but because so many days are filled with struggles and frustrations…when things start clicking, it’s time to stop and express some serious gratitude.  We have come a long way in our homeschooling journey, so this post is an “ebenezer” of sorts for me.*

We have moved from regular complaints and frustrations to asking to do extra worksheets for fun.  Micah, who previously hated learning how to read and tried to avoid it at all costs, asked to read his book twice in a row and was beaming with pride at every word he recognized and said out loud.  This is huge for us.  Ethan, who used to complain about writing and found cursive to be such a drag (albeit briefly), LOVES writing in cursive now and even writes his CBS lesson and various thank you notes mostly in cursive.  He can’t get enough of it!  Micah used to get angry about math and spent a lot of mornings running to his room out of frustration, but he is now busy saying, “this is too easy, Mom.”  Ethan, who previously hated telling me about the books he finished, now writes a couple of sentences about each book he finishes or seeks me out to tell me about them.  The boys had also been begrudgingly listening to my audiobooks or read-alouds, but now they are asking for “just one more chapter, please?!”

(I fully expect, by the way, that each season and various subjects will bring out some of those old patterns of whining and goofing around, but I am currently enjoying the fruit of a whole lot of prayer and perseverance on my part to keep on keeping on!)

Micah has been going to CBS without any tears or any anxiety for a couple weeks now and today he went to his own class for most of his CC day.  I am so thankful for his growth and bravery and for the time and patience people have granted us as we work through his fears.  It’s felt like a very long road, but in truth, we’ve only endured for a short while.  Needless to say, we celebrated today!  =)

Observations from the past few weeks:

#1 Micah is his own person.  Don’t tell him to color hearts purple.  He wants them pink.  We’ll just change the whole color key around to accommodate his artistic flair.  Oh, and you want him to circle the pictures that start with a certain letter?  No, thank you.  He prefers to color it.  And if he is supposed to color it, he’ll circle it instead.  He’s got a mind of his own, that boy!  Oh my word.

#2 Ethan is not interested in my opinion of his hair and feels it is his way to express himself and his style.  He is not in any way, shape or form interested in a trim to clean up the curly crazy stuff happening in the back or on the sides.  (The hair will be cut by Thanksgiving!!)

Thankful for this season in our homeschooling life.  The hard ones help me to praise the Lord for our growth in the easy ones. =)

*Ebenezer means “stone of help.” It’s talked about in 1 Samuel 7, in the Bible.  The Israelites used stones to mark the spot where their enemy had been stopped and God kept His promise to bless His repentant people.  Each time an Israelite saw the stone erected by Samuel, he would have a tangible reminder of the Lord’s power and protection.

Daily Life Pics

In the interest of keeping up to date on our day to day life, this post is devoted to the random pictures I took over the past two weeks that don’t fit neatly into categories. =)

Outside time:

Classical Conversations Practicum:

^ this is basically a training on how to homeschool classically.  I love going to these 3-day trainings.  Micah didn’t want to go to his class, so he stayed silently by my side for 7 hours each day.  One afternoon he took a brief nap on my lap.  I couldn’t complain because he truly kept quiet and let me do my thing.  He got lots of compliments on his crazy outfits and his ability to sit still for so long. =D

Fun at the house:

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^ Micah now calls me “my darling” all.the.time.  I laughed hysterically the first time he said, “you don’t have to apologize, my darling” and he hasn’t quit since!

^^ Ethan made a bucket list.  I’m super impressed with his ideas: go to China, go to Washington, D.C., go to Kenya (with Aunt Jen to see his foster elephant – from Jen and J – Esampu and Evan – our Compassion kiddo), and build a tree fort he can live in in Germany. =D

And last, but not least, picking up an ice cream cake:

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Spotlight on Ethan

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All About Ethan

Interviewed by Mom during a one-on-one

April 24, 2017

Favorite color: blue and black

Favorite food: turkey burgers

Favorite animal: cheetah

Favorite CC song: French Revolution

Best Friend: *long pause* “Well, one of them is Harrison.”  (later when I mentioned Micah, he said, “oh yeah!  of course, Micah!”)

Favorite thing to play: Narnia

Favorite toy: legos

Favorite book: Magic Tree House World War II story

Best thing about you: *long pause* “My hands…wanna know why?  Because I can do all the things I like to play and build and such with my hands.”

Spotlight on Micah

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All About Micah

Interviewed by Mom during a one-on-one

April 17, 2017

Favorite color: Red

Favorite food: Cake

Favorite animal: Owl

Favorite CC song: “World War II leaders” AND “Fall of Communism”

Best Friend: Ethan

Favorite thing to play: “Them” (which means anything he and Ethan play with various figures, rather than as themselves being the characters)

Favorite toy: my storm trooper bionicle

Favorite book: the battle book about the knights

Best thing about you: “that God made me!”

Our week at a glance

Colorado weather was stunningly warm this past week.  The boys and I took homeschooling outside at the park on Monday.  We ate our lunch, read a bunch, and then the boys played on the playground for a while.  I finished another novel – go me!

The favored thing to play this week has been school.  Yes, this might seem odd to you for us to “pretend to be at school”…while we are at home…doing homeschool.  I raised a lot of questions about this game myself, but we have different names when we “play school” so it’s really very different than homeschooling.

Micah has a lot of characters; he vacillates between Reepicheep (Chronicles of Narnia), Liam (made up boy who is pretty naughty), Luke Skywalker (the Jedi), and Yoda.  Occasionally he takes a turn at being the teacher, Mr. John (who is sometimes called Mr. J for short).

Ethan likes to be Alexander (a very smart kid), Chewie (from Star Wars – thankfully he speaks so that we can understand him), or Mr. John (the teacher).

When I am not playing the part of the teacher (umm…), with the lovely title of Miss Amedala (Star Wars), I get to be Charlotte (made up girl who is pretty smart) or Leah (Charlotte’s little sister), or Melissa, the cafeteria worker who makes lunch for everyone.  OH.MY.WORD.

Today we took turns (for an hour) giving various presentations for our various characters.  Luke spoke about his light saver he got from Obi Won that used to be his father’s weapon.  Yoda (the character that is on his knees, due to his stature) showed his favorite marble.  And Chewie showed off the Lego set of…Chewie. =D  Charlotte explained how to play a game her parents brought back from Belize last year and Leah read a poem.  All were big hits.

Sometimes I sneak actual homeschooling into our “day at school”.  Miss Amedala did a whole lesson on week 22 of Classical Conversations today.  Ethan/Alexander made a lovely video:

In actual CC/homeschooling news, Micah joined my class this week.  It wasn’t an expected visit, but it ended up being a special treat.  It was nice to get to watch his presentation!  He said he loved having me as his tutor. =)  Also, check out my crab…looks just like Costa Rica, right??  Ha!

We also got a surprise package from Grandma Cleve!  So much fun.  Thanks, Grandma Cleve! =D   It was a fun week!

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Life as we live it

Mike and I had the pleasure of taking our cousin out for his first real sushi experience.  He was incredibly adventurous and *mostly* enjoyed what he tried.  I think the main exception to that was the massive chunk of octopus – it was not a favorite for either guy (and this girl did not even try it!).  Anyway, it was so much fun to get to expose him to something we enjoy so much.

We tried out a new-to-us place for lunch this weekend.  Micah took the liberty of capturing some pictures after I took the first one of him.   Micah would like a camera that can “take selfies”.  We had a little chat about the importance of focusing on other people rather than self. =D

We *finally* got to see Baby Caleb and his parents again.  It had been almost 2 months, which is half of his life already, since we saw him.  Micah enjoyed showing him his toys.

Snapped these shots of Ethan looking grown up…busy emailing his “best friend, Hana.”  When asked during a devotional this week who his best friends were, he listed all of the members of his immediate family and “Hana and Ellie…and Harrison…and Christopher.” Anyway, the two of them email back and forth every couple of weeks and it’s incredibly sweet.