Life at Home

This guy officially finished his Vex robotic thing:

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And both boys reached their reading goals for January!  This meant personal pan pizzas for everyone!  I failed to fill out the forms this year…so we didn’t get to use the awesome free bookit program.  I’ll figure this homeschooling thing out one of these days. =)

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Below are some pics from our homeschooling life.  As you can see, it involves a lot of reading.  Sometimes the boys just sit and listen, but other times they color, do puzzles or paint.  One day I even had them draw comics to the story I was reading.  Micah started using a new handwriting book and seems to enjoy it.  Ethan has started tracking his Magic Tree House books on the website again.  He’s read all of the books and enjoys re-reading them in the mornings before he’s allowed to start playing.  I warned him that he’ll need to start reading more challenging books soon, but for now I love that he enjoys a good story! =)

The boys have a lot of fun using their headphones.  Sometimes they listen to their CC memory work music; sometimes they are listening to picture books being read to them.  I love to see them enjoying the headphones!

As promised, here’s a video of Ethan singing part of our Latin song for memorizing John 1.  We also are learning it in English.  It’s a super fun song, so that helps!

We ended up watching the Super Bowl at home this year.  We made sure to eat some fun snacks and had a really nice afternoon/evening.  It helped that the team we *all* wanted desperately to win won!  Oh my word, these two were cracking me up! =)

Also, throwback to 5 years ago…I took this picture of the boys and put the caption, “The boys just found out the Packers aren’t in the Super Bowl”. =)

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Speaking of long ago…we took out a game I made for the boys years ago for the first time in a long time again tonight.  We enjoyed playing the game of “Action” together. It involves things like push ups and squats and running up and down stairs.  =)

Grandma Cleve’s Visit, Part 1

Grandma Cleve came for another visit last week – splitting her time at Ashley and Zach’s and our house!  We had her for a day and a half at the beginning of her trip and then she finished her time at our house, too.

On Saturday, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion.  We had never been before and she spoiled us with a membership so we’ll be going there a few more times before the year is done. =D  Micah was our brave guy who held Rosie, the tarantula!  It was lots of fun to see all of the butterflies, to dig for worms and to look at their little aquarium.  It’s a really neat place and we’re excited to go back again!  Grandma Cleve almost became a part of the exhibit there when a gorgeous butterfly landed on her leg and stayed with her for the next 10+ minutes! =)

That afternoon we went to Ikea to start a super big project…switch the boys’s room and the school room.  We got the boys bunk beds and Grandma Cleve and Mike worked on that for much of the rest of Saturday.  Thankful that GC is so helpful with assembling Ikea furniture.  She’s helped us with quite a few projects like this one over the years.  Such an exciting time!  Although, I would be lying if I said I never shed any tears over this.  How did the boys get so big?!

After church on Sunday, we had a relaxing afternoon at our house and then headed over to Ashley and Zach’s to celebrate Caleb’s first birthday!  SO much fun!

Can’t believe he’s already one!  It feels like just yesterday that we were celebrating our own little boys’ first birthdays… The days are long, but the years are SHORT.

Grandma Cleve stayed with Caleb and his parents until Wednesday afternoon when she came back to stay with us until Saturday night.  I’ll do a separate post for that and for the things we did in the meantime. =)

Yard Update

I’d like to give you a little Cleve Crew yard update.  As you know, we love doing yard work and fixing super out-of-control backyard spaces.  It’s our thing.  Wait, you don’t know that?!  That’s because we don’t actually love it, but we’ve done it twice now….  Please take a moment to recall with me our yard in Georgia at it’s worst and best in this throwback post.

Now, let me take you to the present home and the process we’ve been undergoing here over the past *almost* two years.

This is what the backyard looked like in January 2015 when we moved here:

This is what it looked like that summer:

You might recall that Mike and I spent a day chopping things down that summer:

It was a long ways from good after that…but it was an improvement to us.

This past week we had a crew out to take down some more trees, bushes, and to do some stump grinding.  So the boys and I went out and snapped a few pictures before they arrived.  And then snuck pictures from the house while they were here.

We still need a plan for back there, but we’re pleased to say most of the junkie looking stuff is officially removed at this point. =)

Before and after shots thus far:

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We’re a work in progress around here, but we’re liking the improvements! =)

Life Lately

Wanted to spend a minute to upload some pics from recent weeks.  I’ll start with some homeschool shots:

Some explanations: Micah bought that huge pencil with his own money when we were in Norway.  We listen to Story of the World at least once a week and draw pictures of whatever we are learning about that day.  Any folks interested in history, I highly recommend these audiobooks, but I do so with a word of caution: listen with your kids because some things may need some explaining (i.e. when they talk about other religions or ways of viewing the world – these are great times to explain your family’s beliefs and explain differences, otherwise, they may walk away thinking that everything described in there is truth).  Ethan loves working on his cursive and asks daily if he can use the iPad to do some piano lesson practice.  He loves it!

I live only 10 minutes away from one of my dear friends, but see her only every couple of months. =/  We walked to dinner this night and she snapped a pic.  I’ve known her since college days (picture #1) and now we both have two children!

Ethan started the Cadets program at our church this past week.  I didn’t get a picture of him that evening, but I ran across this picture of Mikey and me from when I was a GEMS leader (the girls version of the cadets program) at our church.  We went to a father-daughter barn dance together. =)  (Side note: one of the girls I used to teach is now engaged and working as a pediatric nurse at children’s hospital.  What?!)  I just wanted to include this as a milestone marker for the week that Ethan began Cadets.  He liked it a lot the first week. =)

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Our family spent some time at the reservoir on Labor Day kayaking and renting a stand up paddle board.  We had a blast and it has renewed our passion for getting out there more often!

The boys and I have officially begun Community Bible Study (aka CBS)!  We are doing this Bible study during the day with friends from various places (church, CC, and my dear friend, Amy) and so far it’s been great.  Micah met his sweet teacher the weekend before so that she could help him feel more comfortable with the transition.  He had a super hard time still, but she’s wonderful and makes the struggle worth it!

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Speaking of CC, here’s what the boys and I learned this week:

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The picture of all the kiddos features our upside down drawings we made of the Mayflower.  I was so impressed with their tenacity – it was a really hard art project!  Ethan presented his bottle cap collection; Micah sort of presented on our most recent field trip (more on that in the next blog).

Thankful for the phenomenal people the Lord has put in my life.

Annual Trip!

We are now officially five years into a wonderful tradition that I begged to have created: a long weekend trip with the Maurer clan.  We started this back in 2013 with a meet-us-in-the-middle trip to Louisville, KY.  In 2014, we headed to Indianapolis.  We celebrated the 4th of July together in 2015 in Nashville.  Last year, we were in Omaha.  And for the big 5 year trip, we spent the long weekend together in Minneapolis.

We’ve had a whole lot of fun over the years and are so thankful for this family.  We have had approximately two “fights” between our children (I’m rounding up…I can’t even think of anything that really would qualify as a fight) and maybe one we’re-super-tired/hungry meltdown (again, nothing that stands out…but it seems like it had to happen sometime when we were together) and hundreds of sweet moments captured in our hearts, if not also on camera.  More than anything else, there have been laughs and fun memories.

Here’s a review of the past 5 years (because it’s fun to see those kiddos growing up together) –

I’ll do a separate post on the actual 5 year annual trip.  If we had been on our game in year one, we would have come up with some sort of tradition to go along with our trips… like incredible matching t-shirts or postcard souvenirs or something.  Alas, we just take loads of pictures and have a good time. =D

Dart Wars in the Park

The main thing Ethan wanted for his birthday was to get his cousins and some friends to the park for a big game of dart wars.  We had SO much fun.  I envision gathering people together for dart wars in the park often – it was easy and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.  Ethan could not have been happier! =D

Milestone alert: Ethan went ice blocking for the first time ever.  I went for my second (and third and fourth and fifth) time.  My first attempt was the night before our wedding.

Anyway, it was epic and very reminiscent of my 7th birthday party – the super soaker party!

Grandma Cleve’s Visit!

Grandma Cleve left us late Saturday night after a whirlwind of activity.  We squeezed a whole lot into her week with us and I’m guessing she spent today sleeping and recuperating from her trip. =D We love that she is always up for an adventure!

We had the pleasure of hosting her for the first couple of nights, then she stayed by Ashley and her family for the next couple and finished her trip with us.  We spent a whole lot of time on the soccer fields, something Grandma Cleve has spent decades doing with her children.  The boys each had two games on the first weekend and played in their final games of the season the following weekend.

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We also spent some time with Aunt Ashley, Uncle Zach and cousin Caleb.  They came over for dinner and we also went over there to swim.  Thought it would be fun for you to see the progression of the boys with Grandma Cleve over the last 7 months:

We also had the chance to meet Grandma Cleve’s aunt, who happens to live 10 minutes away from us.

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Grandma Cleve also took two things off of her bucket list and had SO much fun!  She was beaming from ear to ear when she told the boys and me about her adventures with Ashley and Mike (and Caleb, too).  Mike took her white water rafting in the Royal Gorge and she and Ashley went zip-lining!  Happy to report that no one sustained any injuries (although Mike was injured before going…) and everyone stayed in the raft! =D

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Thanks for another awesome visit, Grandma Cleve!  We enjoyed having you. =)

Side note: I’ll do a separate post about our dart wars party in the park….