Canada through Ethan’s Lens

This post is all pictures taken with Ethan’s camera. Clearly there are a few that I took in his stead below. =)

Pictures taken by me with his camera:

And, speaking of E, he was recently sent an email from Audubon:

We’d like to inform you that your photo, selected for the final review of the Female Bird gallery in the 2023 Audubon Photography Awards, did make it to the final round.

You can see the selected images here

We wish you the best of luck in your bird photography and hope you’ll consider entering our contest again in 2024.

Pretty fun! =)

Every day life in the month of July

We took a big family trip in the middle of July, but this post will be about the every day happenings during that month. Next post will be for the big trip. =)

A couple of Ethan’s friends requested to go birding with him. He was happy to oblige! While birding with one friend, he came close to trampling over this guy. Eek.

On the 4th of July we headed out on our favorite hike in the front range: Chief Mountain. We’ve done this one before and loved it again. We also had our traditional strawberries, blueberries and homemade whipped cream. And we spent some time playing ping pong.

You might have noticed in one the above picture that E got his haircut. He was definitely bribed by his Dad with some ice cream, but I’m pretty sure he’s very glad he chopped it off.

The boys were asked to help with a LARPing camp that their Krav Maga coach was putting on. Friends from church heard about it and gave them some weapons. Camp started this morning and they were definitely busy helping!

I had the opportunity to attend the funeral of my former boss from back in my Heritage House days. She was an incredible woman and I was thankful to celebrate her life with some friends.

Micah got Invisalign! He is already doing an excellent job taking care of it. He will have brackets for about three months and then will get the top teeth in Invisalign, too.

Other happenings include a lot of music-making and various food creations by Micah.

Ethan’s One-on-One Trip

E and Mike headed to Texas for his yearly one-on-one adventure. The aim was to do some great birding in the southern part of Texas whenever lots of the birds would be there and to enjoy time together. They had a lot of success, despite the many bugs (see photos below of trails that were literally covered in spiders) and high humidity. I’ll try to get him to send me a few of his favorite pictures to include in the next post. For now, here are some shots Mike took.

They had a great time together and got home right in time to start the school year on Monday. =D

Camping at Brainard Lake

Every January we attempt to book a campsite at Brainard Lake the following July (around here you have to book six months in advance for some of the better spots). After many attempts, Mike was finally able to secure a couple nights! Later we found out that our friends had also booked nights at a nearby site which overlapped us. It was so much fun to get to do some camping with them.

Life at our site:

Hiking to Blue Lake (which included a jump by all except me into the frigid waters):

Video of Mike and Micah and Ethan jumping into Blue Lake after about 3 miles of hiking.

Another highlight is all of the fishing the guys did (including from off of the stand up paddle board). Micah caught two tiny fish and loved the experience so much. We saw a moose swim across Brainard Lake while some of the guys were out on the water. It was pretty incredible.

Other pics from the trip:

This is easily one of our favorite places to camp. It’s not far and is just so very beautiful. We’ll be back next year, as long as we can get a site in January. =D

Mikey’s Birthday

We celebrated Mikey’s birthday with a yummy breakfast, a meaningful church service, a short and hot walk through the Farmer’s Market by church, delicious sushi burritos, and then a drive up Mt. Evans where we did a little hiking (and then got us altitude-sickness-prone-people down the mountain). It was a lovely day.

The following day he opened his gifts from us.

We sure love this guy!

Alaska Adventures, Pt. 2

We were only in Valdez for a quick evening before getting on the ferry to Seward. Our crew ate at “The Fat Mermaid” and loved watching bald eagles and baby bunnies all evening. I’m hopeful I can show some of Ethan’s pictures from that spot because they were pretty remarkable.

On Ethan’s special outing, he enjoyed another boat ride. He, Mike and Grandpa enjoyed birding from this boat for seven hours on Father’s Day.

We spent most of this trip out and about, but I did snap a few pictures at various homes we stayed in.

Other highlights included walking part of the first mile of the Iditarod trail, checking out the salmon run, exploring the wildlife sanctuary (and finally seeing bear!), playing at parks, going for a few different hikes, and (on our final day) taking a trolley ride. Our crew also especially liked breakfast out at a place we heard about from Diners, Dives and Drive-ins.

Pictures don’t do this State justice. It’s simply beautiful and worth a visit! We were very thankful to have this opportunity and to spend time with people we love while doing it.

We celebrated Earth Day by doing some work in our yard. The boys planted some seeds for attracting birds. We are feeling hopeful that we didn’t do it too early in the season…but we shall see. Over the weekend when I had other plans, the boys all went to the park to pick up trash.

The boys are still enjoying Krav Maga twice weekly. I grabbed a video (I think you need an instagram account to see it) and pic from their Krav Maga instagram site to share here. And thought this one was cute of the guys waiting for the teen class to be over so that they could join in. And one of the days some of our friends came over afterwards and they made videos of themselves fighting. This is them watching the video together on Ethan’s camera.

Since the last post, Ethan has officially finished his seventh grade year – Challenge A. We had our last community day (we dressed up as book characters again for fun) and now he has one final math lesson to do and testing to complete. Micah finished his CC a few weeks ago, but is still working on finishing his math lessons. He will read his paper on William Wallace at our end of the year party this coming weekend and has been practicing over the past couple of weeks. He practiced reading it to Grandma on Zoom. We are also doing lots of reading and spelling and various other things that I just never have time to teach during the bulk of the school year. He will also do testing this year (we’re doing it yearly, although it’s not technically required). Micah enjoys playing school while we do our regular work load – this involves me sitting at my desk and waiting for him to raise his hand to answer my questions.

Ethan has gotten out a few more times for birding with me. I go walking and he takes pictures of birds. It’s been working well. =D

E had his final youth group event for the school year – the families got to go up to Long Scraggy for an afternoon and eat and play. E and Micah even got to learn how to shoot guns. We stopped by to say hey to Reggie on our way back down the mountain and he snapped this picture of us by his tree.

And lastly, we hosted a little Lego Masters birthday celebration for one of Micah’s buddies in lieu of giving him a gift, since he didn’t want one. =) It worked out wonderfully, especially since the weather wasn’t conducive that day for his original plan of playing at the park together. We shifted plans and decided to host the experience that same day instead of just telling him about it and scheduling it later.

And, lastly, we had the joy of watching cousin Matthew perform in “Hello, Dolly”. He did SUCH an amazing job. I am blown away by his talent. He had a super fun solo, did all kinds of dancing and even had to think on his feet when they had a prop break in the middle of the play. It was lots of fun to be there to support him!

You may recall that I enjoy pulling food pranks on the boys on April Fools Day. This year we had friends over for our monthly Challenge A study hall, so I tricked them instead. I gave them “meatballs” in a crockpot (really just oatmeal balls with chocolate powder), “juice” (jell-o in a cup), and “carrots” (cheese dip in the shape of carrots with a little parsley on top – you’ve seen this one many times before). But for just the boys, I told them I had made donuts. Ethan was on to me from the beginning and was not impressed. Micah loved them. They are just apples with vanilla yogurt and cinnamon sugar on top.

Micah has been loving reading on his own lately. I often catch him reading books while lying on the ground. He especially loves books about dogs or castles. And Ethan does his school outside any day that feels decent. They have also been working together to write an informational essay and a persuasive essay about getting a Boxer.

Micah finished up his last day in CC community last week. E and I still have two weeks to go. One of my very favorite parts about this community is these ladies right here. It’s a gift to walk this journey together each week. Another thing I enjoy is how seen each child is by everyone else – Ethan had lunch with our youngest student and another Foundations/Essentials kiddo. E also took pictures of everyone for our yearbook. And I snapped this one of him while we played Headbandz with various fallacies.