Second Stop: Wisconsin

We spent Friday night through Monday morning in Wisconsin for this first visit.  We enjoyed catching up with family, playing games, worshipping together, playing piano and the ukulele, building paper airplanes, playing outside with Grandpa and cousins, and running around with walkie talkies.  I’m sure the list could go on and on.  We had a fantastic time and my parents were fabulous hosts despite not having kitchen counters or a dishwasher/sink to wash dishes.

Next up…we drove on Christmas day to Michigan!

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Photo cred goes to my dad for all of the good pics you see from Wisconsin, Illinois or Michigan. =)

Advent Activities 15-18

Warning…our advent activities went downhill at this point.  We left on our trip on the 18th, so much of my life revolved around packing and laundry and making sure we ate the last of our food, etc.

Day 15: Snowmen pancakes and going to cousins’ house for banket-making.  Aunt Mel and I were the only ones actually participating in the banket-making, but it was an exciting event for us to get to spend some time over there!  And E and Matthew worked on their recital piece for a bit, too.

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Day 16: Ethan’s Christmas piano recital!  It was held at a nursing home, which I loved!  Mom and Dad went out for our annual CC Christmas party that evening…and Ike came to babysit.

Here are some Christmas pictures of the boys after the recital:

And we got a picture of the two of us at the CC party! Yay!

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Day 17: I have no idea…I had high hopes of doing really great things this Sunday, but as far as I can tell, Micah was sick in the morning so Mike and Ethan went to church and I stayed home with him.  =/  SO thankful that sicknesses often only last a couple hours around our house!

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Day 18: Start our trip to the Midwest.  We drove to Omaha this evening… future posts will tell about the rest of our traveling adventures.  No more Advent Activities at this point. =/

Homeschooling

December homeschool life is a little more relaxed, but we’re still getting lots of things done around here.  Here’s what it has looked like the past couple weeks:

Mostly you are seeing pictures of writing, reading and math.  I have a couple posted above of Classical Conversations memory work review (the one with the dates on the notecards).  Each boy can tell you what happened on each of those dates using one of our history songs.  Also, you’ll see the dry erase board with a list of things they needed to accomplish throughout the day…including a little tally spot for the character problem areas where we all need a little work. =)

For fun, the boys traced and made up maps.  They have decided to live in Canada when they are old enough, FYI.

And Micah now loves to play hot cross buns:

Advent Activities 5-10

Day 5: No picture proof, but we went through toys and clothes to make some donations.  This would probably be more meaningful if it wasn’t already a kind of basic part of our rhythm.  But, it’s still a good practice, so we did it anyway. =)

Day 6: Secret acts of kindness day in honor of St. Nicholas.  Can’t tell you about them, they are secrets!  This is the only secret we allow in our home. =)

Day 7: Go to a different library and pick out Christmas books!  Micah was not interested in this activity, so E and I did it by ourselves.  But Micah joined in the drinking of egg nog and reading a TON of Christmas books.

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Day 8: go out for dinner.  We did this up in Breckenridge, but I didn’t snap any pictures.  We had Italian food and “enjoyed” the freezing weather being in the mountains brings.

Day 9: family skiing day!  I stayed in my boots, snapped pictures, handed out snacks, did bathroom runs, and helped boys with the lift or standing back up after falling (and, let’s be honest, a whole lot of morale boosting and comforting when things were hard and frustrating).  Some of our church friends joined us for part of the day – they’ve got boys the same age as ours (and same skill level) and that added to the fun!  Milestone alert: Micah did a full run down the mountain!

Day 10: watch home videos from 2016 (this is one of my favorite advent activities!) and go see cousin Matthew in the “Madagascar” play.  Loads of fun!!  Matthew did a wonderful job!

Life

Can you tell I’m over coming up with the titles for each blog post?  I just don’t have anything catchy to call every day life anymore (not sure I ever did…).

E and I have been playing a lot of Dominoes since GC went back home.  We’re really enjoying it.  In fact, today while Micah had a super fun play date over, E and I played a full game of Dominoes.  He won. =)

I measured the boys this week for our health insurance stuff. =)  They are growing up so fast!  E is usually closer to 70 pounds, but he hasn’t crossed that threshold, yet.

Homeschool Updates:

It wouldn’t be a blog post about life if I didn’t give a little schooling update.  Some days are super hard and I question a whole lot about what we are doing, but those days are, thankfully, few and far between.  I did have one such day on Monday when we had to have a lot of chats about doing hard things, what it looks like to actually learn new material that challenges your brain, and how attitude matters so much more to me than getting answers right or problems done.  I am happy to say that the talks sunk in because the rest of the week the boys would ask me every afternoon, “Mom, how was my attitude today?” “Mom, do you think I had a good attitude today?”  And that explains the big smiles they are giving me when I snuck some pictures. =)  And sometimes I get to reward them for having a great attitude!

Ethan started doing difficult division problems with remainders.  Micah finished his first writing notebook and most of his math notebook.  E loved reading the classic start of “Anne of Green Gables” and thought it was very similar to the actual book which we had listened to through audiobooks.  We have also since finished “Anne of Avonlea” and started watching the movie…which really features more stories from the next few books, so we ordered those through the library so we can listen to them!  I can tell that Micah is picking up a lot from these books because when he hears a phrase we heard in the book being said on the movie, he perks up and says he knew that part!

Here’s a short little video of the boys outlining the US while listening to a fun states and capitals CD we got from Auntie!  E usually outlines right along with the music, but apparently I didn’t catch that in this video. =)

Classical Conversations Updates:

We just finished week 12 of CC which means we are on break until the new year.  We will be doing all of our normal homeschooling, still, but we won’t have CC to attend for over a month.  Our final day at CC (besides the party in a couple weeks) was a good one.  We put our bodies together after learning about the different parts while coloring them over the past 6 weeks.  Micah joined my class for that part and when his class went downstairs to put their bodies together, so I got to see his presentation this week and help him with putting the body together.

Ethan presented on Robert E. Lee after reading a book about him that morning.  Micah presented on his birthday gift from Grandma Cleve.

We hung their bodies up on the office closet doors and are working on writing science sentences around it…such as “what are some parts of the excretory system?” which E and I decided should be placed near…well, you know. =)

Other Updates:

I painted the easel that Auntie gave us this week and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out!

We played at the park and went for a walk together this week.

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Micah was briefly sick.  And I love when he sleeps on me in the middle of the day.

The boys did some raking.

E played football with his buddies after PE+.  Micah played tag with his.

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A shot of their bunk beds during a brief window when their room looked clean:

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Big milestone news for Micah – he lost his first tooth tonight!

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…in between visits…

Here are some pics and videos from our homeschool week last week.  We use the easel from Auntie Mel every single day.  Micah is always practicing the alphabet or drawing pictures based on the books we are reading (one of the pictures features Micah’s version of “Anne of Avonlea”, the audiobook we are currently finishing).  I use it to write some writing assignments for the boys and to explain math to Ethan, among other things.

Micah is now playing Piano Maestro on the iPad, too.  Ethan has been such a patient teacher to Micah and Micah has really been enjoying playing.  In fact, he was the ‘star student’ on Monday.  I guess I gave him a little more time on the iPad than Ethan. 😉

Other updates include that Ethan can now complete this:

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And Micah has his very first loose tooth / adult tooth growing:

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And the office is on its way to being organized:

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Next up: Grandma Cleve is back!

Ethan’s Piano Recital

Ethan played in his first piano recital this weekend at Whole Foods.  He played two songs: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as a duet with his piano teacher and “Ode to Joy”.  He did a great job!  Matthew played right before him and did a wonderful job, too.  He’s quite talented and fun to listen to!  Ethan was incredibly nervous for his performance, but we were SO proud of him for persevering through it and doing a great job!

Here are a couple of “before” pictures from the days before the recital when he got sick with worry and I played endless games with him to keep his mind off of it! =)  He’s such a trooper.  Really, I could not be more proud of him for dealing with the stress, talking through it and having a great first recital.  He’ll have another one at Christmas and I suspect he won’t have many of the same jitters – he is usually most nervous about something when he doesn’t know what to expect.  (Yes, you may be thinking, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, it’s true)

The recital:

The video:

So proud of this guy!

And, exciting news, Micah has decided he’d like to take piano lessons now, too. =)  I give Ethan a lot of credit for that because he makes piano look fun and easy!