Life Lately

We’ve gotten back into our normal rhythm of life since our extended Christmas vacation.  We started homeschooling, CC, PE+, CBS, Cadets/Kids’ Club, and whatever else our weeks are made up of these days.  We’ve also had lots of time at home – a calming effect on all of us. =)

Ethan has spent some time working on his VEX thing from Grandpa and Grandma.  He discovered a missing piece, which delayed him, but the company promptly sent him a new one!  He’s still working on finishing the completed product, but it’s pretty cool right now!  He hopes to do a presentation at CC on it one of these days.

We’ve played a lot of games recently, too.  It’s pretty sunny in our home during certain hours of the afternoon.  E needed sunglasses!  Mike was being silly and refusing to turn his train so was playing from the kitchen. =)

It snowed quite a bit two weekends ago.  Ethan wanted to shovel as soon as he woke up, so we let him!  He’s a hard worker and really enjoys doing things like this for us!  We needed to do a little more shoveling after it snowed for a few more hours, so E and I did a bit and then headed to our big hill for some sledding.

I took the boys to the library for a cooking class last week.  We had a really nice time together.  We’ll be doing some more library activities this next month!

We did a little reorganizing of the playroom, again. =)

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My dear friend told me about Tinker Crates before Christmas, so we decided to give them a shot.  Essentially they have science and art projects in little boxes for kids based on their ages and the boxes come every month.  We’ve opened one for Christmas (a month late because I didn’t realize both of the boys’ crates were in the same big box) and one for January and have been really pleased with them.  The boys have thanked us every day for them since they opened them.  We’ll see if it continues to be a fun thing for them, but I definitely like that it teaches them things that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own!!  And you better believe this kind of thing gets to count towards homeschooling. =)  So far, we’ve gotten arcade games (i.e. making a catapult and a claw), a nightlight, and a my body kit (including a fun glow in the dark “X-ray”).  Pretty fun!

We also finally filled our first jar with beads!  This has been a fun and effective way to encourage habits like putting away dishes and school work, responding when you’ve been spoken to, doing your work with a positive attitude and going to bed well.  The boys were pretty jazzed when the jar was totally full!  This time we decided to get massive cones of ice-cream! Whoa.

Homeschool edition to follow… =)

Random Life

These pictures don’t all fit in a particular category, so we’re calling it a random post.

I’ll start with some pictures from homeschool life these days.  The boys have been loving working on writing their own stories.  A friend gave me a few small notebook/books and the boys LOVE them and have been working on stories in them, along with any notebook/paper they can find (note to self: get more plain notebooks for drawing and for writing! sheesh!).

Ethan is also starting to put his first novel, “The Man in the Woods” into print. =)

They also love playing store, which we do sometimes for a more fun math lesson.  These pictures feature Micah writing his price tags.

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Ethan had his last class of PE+ last Friday.  After that we enjoyed a free PE+ class so that we could share the fun with our dear friends who may want to join a class next semester.  Micah participated during this class and loved it.  He’s full of surprises, that one. =)  Thankful to report that our buddies loved it, too!

Micah built a cool castle and wanted a picture of it in case it was broken by accident during a play date. =D

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We had a crazy 6 inch snow storm this past weekend, so I took the boys to our sledding hill and enjoyed a couple hours out in it.  Naturally, we had hot chocolate when we got back home.  (I wish I would have taken a picture 24 hours later because the temperature went back up to the 60s and the snow was almost completely gone!  Crazy.)

It’s not the same as a before and after picture of the sledding hill, but just to give you an idea of the temperature shifts…today it was in the 80s (5 days after the snow storm) and we played at the park:

Home Sweet Home

We had a few days at home before Grandma Cleve came out for a visit.  In that time, we had a lovely snowstorm!  We love the weather around here.  It always keeps you on your toes; it is so varied and fun!  We just did a little sledding in the front yard that day.

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We followed that play time up with some delicious Dutch chocolate letters and hot chocolate.

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Back to just the 4 of us

We got to see the Super Moon this week!!  SO cool.  I saw it on my drive to BSF and called Mike to make sure he took those guys out to see it.  They went for a night walk and took a picture for me. =D  And I took a picture of the gorgeous lights just down the street from us to show the boys.

The boys spent one afternoon getting their fort “winterized”. Oh my word.

We’ve enjoyed some super low-key days this week.  We spent one evening doing our Operation Christmas Child boxes, which the boys thought was awesome!  We spent another evening playing games and one evening watching a little football.  These boys love being close. =D  We’ve also done a lot of book-reading.

And this describes life in Colorado like nothing else can: back to back days of what we were doing.  One day, Ethan was reading in the tree in 80 degree weather; the next day, the boys were playing in the snow.

Enjoying the first snow of the season and some hot chocolate and cookies afterwards:

The three of us were wearing stripes today, unintentionally.  Unfortunately, when I suggested to take a picture of it, someone thought they should change their clothes.  Sigh. I am adding these pictures because they just show real life “struggles” and some of the fun we have in the midst of it all.

Roadtrip Home

We planned to take a leisurely drive back home after our trip to Flagstaff so that we could stop at some more National Parks and other sites along the way.  It’s an absolutely beautiful part of our country and most of these stops were milestones for all of us.

Our first stop was the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert.  The boys primarily enjoyed the gift shop because it was the first time we had told them they could buy souvenirs and that was incredibly exciting!  They went back and forth on what to purchase.  Micah ended up with a pretend T-rex tooth and a prairie dog stuffed animal.  Ethan picked a beautiful stone and an arrowhead.  We also had lunch outside there.

Next, we went to Four Corners!  There really isn’t much to see there, but we all had a wonderful time.  We got out and ran a bit and took all the “necessary” pictures.

After Four Corners, we drove to Mesa Verde National Park (after stopping at Subway to get dinner to go).  We got there just before sunset, so we didn’t get to see a whole lot of this park, but we will definitely go back!  It was beautiful.  This was one of my favorite dinner spots. =)  We took some special pictures for my Grandpa because when I went on trips with our family when I was younger, I would always point out all of the Subways and try to get everyone to stop there for dinner.  It was my favorite spot!  See the throwback pic for proof. =)

We spent the night in Durango after Mesa Verde.  The following morning we made more stops along the way.  One such stop was brief so that Mike could do some work.  The boys and I just walked around a bit and even got to see a trout hatchery until the rain started.

We stopped in Ouray for lunch. YUM!  It was beautiful here, even in the rainy-ish weather.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was up next.  Unfortunately the weather was pretty wet throughout this day.  It was absolutely stunning and, as usual, pictures don’t do it justice!

We ran into a big snowstorm that evening, so we ended up staying in Fairplay and finished the last hour and a half the following day.  The boys were very glad to be home again, but this was an incredible trip!

Another Blizzard!

I forgot how much I LOVE the weather around here.  Apparently my moods are highly influenced by the weather.  I absolutely LOVE how often and quickly the temperature changes around here.  We had high 70s earlier in the week, but by the weekend we had another blizzard.  Awesome.  Here are some pictures of our time enjoying this blizzard!

Playing inside (lots of game-playing and wars) :

Playing outside:

Warming up after playing outside:

Non-Moving Related Updates

Before I continue with our moving activities (so similar to our Advent activities that the boys keep asking, “what’s our Advent activity today??” and I have to keep reminding them that this is for moving, not for Christmas), I wanted to give some updates on our life here for the past month.

The boys and I had an awesome time celebrating the first Packers playoff game.  We decorated the living room in green and gold and had a little Packers picnic.  Ethan even drew a picture to send to the Packers to encourage them (we sent it online)!  Mike was in Colorado…buying our house, I think! =)

Homeschooling and Classical Conversations continues to go well.  Ethan absolutely LOVED reading the first Boxcar Children book (and wants to read more of them) with me and is now enjoying “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.”  His handwriting has improved greatly (thankfully!) and so has his spelling.  Math is probably our most challenging subject, but he seems to grasp pretty tough concepts.  We are doing adding and subtracting within 20.  Anyway, here are some pictures of that this month:

Micah is working on his alphabet in preschool and we’re starting to talk about reading (he’s got to get the letters down first, don’t think we’re doing anything spectacular with a 4 year old reader or anything! ;)).  He loves to give pictures to me and asked to take a picture of it the other day.  He also loves to dress up in various outfits…sometimes extra pants, sometimes his tiger costume, and often his army or Packers clothes.  He keeps us laughing!

Ethan tested for his yellow belt in martial arts this month.  He had to write his first essay: what is respect?  We are happy to report that he passed the test and is officially a yellow belt!  He was very excited!!

Aunt Jennie was in town for her Atlanta Tradeshow and I had the pleasure of helping her for a few days.  This is always a fun thing for me; I love what she does and I like getting to spend time with her!  She also came to our house for a couple days afterwards to see the boys.  I’ll post more pictures of this later, when doing our moving activities post, but here are a few from that weekend:

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Also, we had a winter storm!! ;D

And we had lots of fun with an old toy of Grandma Cleve’s this weekend. =)