Giving Gifts

We did our family gift exchange a night or two before heading out on our Midwestern tour.  And, honestly, the giving was so much better than the receiving for our crew this year.  It was lovely to see the generosity of the boys – they both made and bought gifts for everyone in the family with mostly their own money.  I had always heard about others doing this and that the kids enjoyed watching people open their gifts, but this was the first year it felt really, really true for our own family.  They enjoyed opening their gifts, but I think they were more excited about watching each person open the gift they had purchased and picked.

Ethan bought me a necklace and charm (from my sister’s company), a Colorado shirt for Mike (from the Global Bazaar) and a heart for Micah (from my sister’s company).

Micah got me soap (from the Global Bazaar), a couple used books and coupons for Mike, and various crafts/pictures for Ethan.

We got the boys each a game, a yo-yo, and some art supplies.  Later, we gave them each a book and book pajamas (more on that in another post).

That evening we also had some time to Skype with Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A.  The boys gave them a little show, too! =)

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Thanksgiving

Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year.  We love this tradition and enjoy having him with us so much.  The boys especially enjoy spending time outside with him, looking at and sorting through coins, and eating ice cream!  We went out for breakfast at the Original Pancake House one of the mornings he was here, too!  Here are some pictures from our time with him around our house:

Before he even arrived, we started our lists of things we for which we give thanks.  Micah’s first item was drum lessons.  Ethan’s was piano lessons.  They also did an acrostic and came up with another nice list.  Ethan worked on his first and then Micah joined in later…and when Micah got to “G” he shouted GOD!  Next thing I see, Ethan’s crossing off whatever he had written in the “G” and wrote God, too.  Ha!  Very cute to see him copying his younger brother for once. =)

We spent Thanksgiving day at Ashley and Zach’s place.  It was fun to spend the day all together.  We split the food up between the two of us and had a pretty fantastic feast, although some were heard “grumbling” about having ham instead of turkey this year.  Lots of sibling banter ensued.  The boys helped me with various parts of our half of the meal: cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and green bean casseroles.

That evening, E and I went for a walk around the park in the dark.  We got to talk to my Grandpa for his birthday and I snapped a few pictures of the lights.  I’ve been walking with this guy to see Christmas lights since he was 6 months old. =)

They came over to our place on Saturday for lasagna and more time together.  Our boys put on a very silly play for everyone.  It was lots of fun being together again before Grandpa Russ headed home the following morning.

Thanks for coming out, Grandpa Russ!  We sure loved having you!

Random November Updates

Two quick pictures of family to begin the month – 1) we sent our beloved Packers helmet onward and got a picture of Abe enjoying it! and 2) we celebrated Caleb’s 2nd birthday!

Mike was in India for work for a good chunk of November.  He had a great trip and really enjoyed being there.  We were so thankful that, while he came back feeling exhausted, he did not get sick!  He and one of the founders of phData had a layover in Paris for a day while waiting for their Visas to come through, so they enjoyed walking the city a bit!  Also, Mike bowled really well at their team-building activity and everyone was pretty proud of him for getting on the leader board for the month. =)

Meanwhile, at home…I did get sick for a couple days while he was gone.  The boys handled things incredibly well.  We had a little church service at home and even had Chipotle delivered to the house for the boys.  Ha!  Ethan still was able to go to see cousin Matthew’s play that day, but Micah wanted to stay home to make sure I’d be okay.

Thankfully whatever that sickness was didn’t last long!  We had a play date, went out for dinner with Reggie, and I did some painting.  We also re-instituted rest time for weeks when Mike is out of town and that really saved my sanity.  I just need little breaks so that I can be patient and joyful and not irritable and annoyed.  The boys have been rocking these rest times with paint by stickers, listening to story of the world, doing sudoku, etc..

Other updates for the month include both boys still enjoying their instruments:

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Sometimes the boys want to “play school” and I always find it very humorous.  Micah loves to be the teacher and Ethan absolutely LOVES spelling tests and asks for lots of words.

Hanson’s new CD came out and it’s great.  😉 And we continue to enjoy family night at church – Ethan does Cadets and I teach the kids club for the younger kiddos.  Micah has opted to stay in there with me and is my little helper.  And the guys love doing battles.

When Daddio comes back home from a trip, we often put pictures from our weeks up on the TV and tell stories to each other.

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Homeschool Updates

Just wanted to try to lump some of the updates together, so this post will be centered around pictures from CC, home, and field trips from the past month.  I am sure I say this often, our emotions around homeschooling run high.  When things are going smoothly and we have the time and energy to put forth the attitude and effort necessary, we are on top of the world.  But for every week of loving it, we definitely have moments of big struggles.

Recently we examined owl pellets at CC (I’m so very grateful to do this kind of thing in community!!!):

Here are some other shots from community day at CC:

We missed one day when I was out sick, so I tried to do it at home…we definitely missed our community!!

We’ve been going on some more field trips with our CC peeps, which has been a lot of fun.  We visited the Colorado History Museum downtown and really LOVED it!!  We had a tour guide take us through a few of the exhibits and that really enhanced the experience.

And then this week we went to “Drums of the World” at the Denver Center for Performing Arts.  We loved it.  But I’m happy to say that Micah told me he enjoyed seeing Hanson there better. =)

I think their favorite piece of memory work thus far in Cycle 1 is singing their preposition song.  They both like to impress me with it most days of the week.  This particular day they asked to videotape it.

And, finally, here are some shots I took around the house:

They had their first “out of this world” day a couple weeks ago, while Mikey was in India!  Had to snap a picture for him because it’s quite a difficult feat. =)

Currently reading two books: Mattimeo (a sequel to Redwall – a fun audiobook with various accents and some exciting adventures/battles) and Detectives in Togas (a fun story taking place in ancient Rome).

Random

This will just be a random post getting us close to caught up on normal life.

I took the boys trick-or-treating.  Micah was still King Peter, but Ethan opted for his Chewy costume from last year.  We actually walked the block with neighbors we just met that night – I guess there are some nice things about that holiday. 😉

The boys are super helpful around the house.  They worked on raking and cleaning up the front yard the other day while I read a book!  Amazing.

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We checked out owl pellets this week in the science portion of CC.  It was a little stinky and kind of gross, but it was pretty awesome at the same time!!  Both boys seemed to enjoy finding remains of various rodents the owl had eaten.

CC brings out a lot of joys in our world.  The boys have been playing a lot of tin whistle music this week.  Ethan even copied down some music so that he doesn’t have to borrow my book when he wants to play.  Also, Ethan LOVES diagramming sentences for Essentials.  Who knew?!

We got to celebrate cousin Caleb’s 2nd birthday recently.  Such a blessing to live by family and celebrate this little guy together!!  Apparently we only took a picture of half of the table.  Oops.

Lastly, I took a video of Micah’s most recent drum lesson.  He seems to be enjoying it!

Grandma Cleve / Breckenridge

Grandma Cleve came for another visit at the beginning of this month.  She had never stayed in the mountains before, so we wanted to spoil her with some family time in Breckenridge.  She spent the night and morning with us before heading west where we met up with Ashley, Zach and Caleb!  Highlights of our time with her in Denver included teaching Ethan how to play sudoku and eating identical breakfast/lunch at the French Press.  Micah and I slipped out for a matching walk around the park before loading up the car.

We rented a lovely mountain house for the whole family to enjoy.  We had a great mix of time inside with snowy views, time outside with beautiful weather and lots of time just being together.

Highlights included the playhouse and playground in the backyard:

S’mores at the fire pit:

Playing pool:

Time in the hot tub:

And dozens of games played, books read, and lots of yummy food to eat:

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Before we went our separate ways, we enjoyed breakfast in Breckenridge and snapped a couple group shots!

Loved spending time with our family in the mountains!!

One-on-One Weekend, Part 2

Meanwhile, Micah and I enjoyed a long weekend at home.  We spent most of our time playing at the house together, but we ran a few errands, enjoyed some special treats, and had a very special date out on Saturday night.  We went to the Denver Center of Performing Arts to see Hanson play with the Colorado Symphony!  This was a birthday gift from my parents and my grandpa and it was so much fun!

Here are a few pictures I took from our time doing school at the park and playing at the house.  I wasn’t even going to do school on Friday with Ethan being gone, but Micah was pretty motivated and wanted to do lots of writing and reading while we were at the park!

The only other pictures/videos I took of our weekend together was on our date.  Micah was pretty nervous about the whole thing so I was holding to the idea of staying for the whole concert very, very loosely in my mind.  We tried to go to the Cheesecake Factory before the concert, but the wait was too long.  Micah was pretty pumped to get grilled cheese and Sprite at a burger pace next door instead.

We arrived plenty early and ended up staying until the very end!!  We even got to see them perform for the standing ovation the crowd gave them.  I was so pleased!!  It was really a unique concert and lots of fun.  Micah knew a few of the songs, but I would say they played a good 50% of totally new songs they wrote for this tour.  He took most of our videos, particularly if he knew the song. =)  Micah called them the “boon dot kids” (aka mmmbop kids) all night, which had me laughing so hard.

We had to get a video of “boondot” and also “Tragic Symphony” (which he had listened to on repeat for weeks now…):

Micah took a brief “nap” during intermission (aka halftime) and was excited to hear one of our favorite songs, “I was born”.

We made it to the very end and he was clearly not tired at all. =)

Love this guy!!  It was so special to get to enjoy a weekend with just him!!