Birding and more…

The new tripod and bird books have brought new life to our regular walks.  We spent the first morning after his birthday at the marsh area in the park by our house.  Ethan just did some bird watching and picture-taking; Micah did that as well as his Math.  Ethan has now joined me on my daily walks to the pond a couple times, too – always with his tripod and camera and asks me to record each bird we see on my phone so that he can update his bird book when we get back.

All four of us drove in the car for the first time in 2.5 months. We drove out to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal to do some more picture-taking and bird-watching. Mike spotted a Bald Eagle (and also some very exotic airplanes) and a coyote for us! Obviously the Bald Eagle was pretty exciting, but the coyote turned out to be pretty fun, too. He was hunting and dug up a snake (rather than a prairie dog) and was quite surprised. We also got to hear him howling to his friends somewhere in the distance.

Playing the piano, reading books and listening to books (including Farmer Boy which is being read by Grandma over FaceTime) are also fun ways we spend our days.

Updates from May

Ethan had his first virtual piano recital.  We were asked to make videos and post them on our YouTube channel and then E’s piano teacher put together a playlist of everyone’s pieces, along with a scavenger hunt and chance to vote for the pieces we liked best in each category.  Here are the links for E’s pieces:

I wanted to post a video from my nephews – they were dancing all around while listening to Ethan play piano.  It was darling.  I can’t figure out how to post it, so ask Lauren if you want to see. =D

We’ve also done a lot of playing piano through the Piano Maestro app as a family.  We are competing against one another – the boys are in the lead by a whole lot so far!  It’s been lots of fun to challenge ourselves in this way and fun for the boys to have such a big lead.

We’ve gone for lots of walks, both as a family, individually and in pairs.  I don’t think I’ve missed a day since early May (whenever my hives finally left for good) and Mike walked for over 10 miles one day. The boys go for walks to take pictures of flowers and birds. E and I even went for a walk in the rain one evening.

We’ve also started doing some track workouts as a family.  Our first work out at the track was a sprint work out – 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 2 minutes of rest for 6 rounds. We are trying to do this every week (2 down so far!). On Memorial Day we did a modified Murph work out.  Micah started out running one lap and then doing hand stands and squats and then ran another lap (and then he did 2 more for fun!) to finish his workout.  Meanwhile, Ethan and I both ran 3 laps and then did 70 push ups and 100 squats before running another 3 laps.  Daddio did the same, except with 4 laps and maybe 100 push ups (I can’t remember for sure).  It’s a fun new challenge for us and something we can do all together.  We hadn’t hit a track since back in our Georgia days!

Another thing we do to keep busy is play frisbee golf in the park by our house.  We do this a couple times every week.

Mallory, our mallard, keeps us busy, too.  She visits every day and is fed by Micah at least twice each day.  She likes to fly up to our roof to say hello and also peeks in at us in the playroom, too.  She even flew around the house and watched me do laundry one week. And we found her in the park during one of our frisbee golf rounds – she didn’t shy away from Micah, so we knew it was her.

Lots of outside time (I’ll update another day regarding the backyard project when I have more “after” pictures to post) is happening around here.  Ethan is our outdoor maintenance guy; he even changes the wire on the weed eater on his own now.

We’ve got a couple new games for this season of life, too:

We also finished up the school year in early May.  Micah will continue working on reading and math this summer and Ethan will continue to read each day and do some other school-related things throughout the summer. We celebrated with French Toast on their final day and took some end of the year pictures, too.

Both boys had paying jobs for part of May, too.  Ethan typed up documents for Reggie for a class he will be teaching later this year.  He was very responsible and motivated.  He completed the tasks a day early and Reggie said he handled everything very maturely.  Micah had a scanning job for Mikey – scanning documents.  He did a great job, too!

We celebrated Mother’s Day in May, too.  My guys spoiled me with lots of loving notes and doing all of my favorite things – we went for a long, frisbee-free walk, we played Kubb in the park, and we ate good food.  Mikey made Dutch Babies for breakfast and ordered sushi for dinner.

Final pictures worth mentioning…the boys and I got our homemade masks from my Mom (THANKS, Mom!!).  Mike has been reading us all a book at night and sometimes Micah uses his book light to see in order to do paint by sticker or to draw.  I picked some weeds from our backyard to decorate the house because they are pretty weeds!  My aunties threw a fabulous virtual wedding shower for my cousin.  And Mel and Joel stopped by with Pentecost decorations (they were way prettier before the rain got to them) and treats since we couldn’t attend the annual Pentecost party at their home. =D

Next up…a boy we all love turns 11!

Our Pets

We are all pretty enamored with our new “pet” mallards.  Mallory and Fred have been frequenting our front and back yards for over a week and a half now.  The boys have been faithfully feeding them corn and seeds, even managing to lead them all the way to the backyard when we started noticing poop all over our porch and sidewalk.  If they hear the window open, they look up expectantly and have even eaten out of Micah’s hand directly.

Grandpa’s Visit

Mike had another two weeks of travel at the beginning of our school year, so we flew my Dad out to help again.  I was so thankful to have his company and help.  And the boys LOVE spending time with him. We had a softer start to the school year, but still got a lot done in that first week.

We also did some homeschooling on the road – a bike ride and a field trip to Hudson Gardens.

On Saturday, we jogged/walked in a 5k run that our friends put on each year in honor of their daughter who was adopted from China, had congenital heart problems, and died after surgery. It’s a fundraiser for third world orphans with medical problems.  Three kids, in three different countries, will get operations because of the money raised in this run.

Our church service was held in the mountains on Sunday.  We enjoyed the service there, a picnic, and then had some time to play.

Monday was our second week of CC and Mike was back home.  We did our family presentation during opening assembly and then my Dad got to go back and forth between Ethan and Micah’s classes.  That evening Micah had his soccer practice and we all went to watch.

Here are a couple other pictures from throughout his visit and of Mike and his buddies on his trip:

My Dad left on Tuesday morning after a wonderful trip.  We sure loved having him for the week!  When we dropped him off at the airport the boys both said they wished he (and grandma, obviously) lived out here by us. =D

Mike & Micah’s One-on-One Trip

Not long after we returned home, it was time for each of us to head in different directions.  Ethan went on his 10-year-old-trip-with-grandpa-and-grandma to Philadelphia.  I traveled to Atlanta to help my sister at her trade show and got to see family and friends there, too.  Meanwhile, Mike and Micah had their one-on-one trip for the year.

They had one day at home before heading out:

They first flew down to Phoenix so that Micah could spend a day with Grandma Cleve.  Since Ethan and I were gone for such a long time, Mike wanted to make sure Micah had some extra fun, even though a one-on-one trip with him is typically only a long weekend.  Micah had developed an awful rash prior to the trip, but it sadly grew worse over time.  Apparently, though, he was not one to complain about it even though it looked pretty miserable.  He loved his special day with Grandma Cleve, particularly going mini-golfing in the dark!

The following morning, the guys grabbed breakfast with Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A and then were off on their adventure to San Diego.

Day 1 – traveling to San Diego and enjoying the hotel, cool car, and the beach:

Day 2 – Sea World

These two had a wonderful time together.  It was remarkable to me to see how much growth Micah experienced when comparing this trip to the one he took last year with Mike.  Such a difference a year can make!

Part 4: Missouri

Our final stop for our month-long trip was Missouri to visit Mike’s Dad.  We had a great time there, as usual, and especially loved getting to spend time with Mike’s brother for part of the time.

The boys loved the pool!  They rescued frogs/toads from it every morning and spent much of the day swimming.

They also loved shooting guns, playing ping pong, being with the dogs, and catching fireflies.

Overall, it was a very relaxing part of our vacation and we were so glad to get to spend time with Grandpa Russ again.

Pacific Coast Highway, Part 2

Day 4: We spent most of this day driving the beautiful coastline and making various stops to gawk and take pictures.

Day 5: We needed a day at the park and at the beach after our day of driving.  Ethan tried hollandaise sauce for the first time and I committed to trying to make some this year!

Day 6:  We spent this day doing a little more driving and then visiting my cousin, Caleb, at college.  Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures.  Oops.  We were engaged in good conversation and sight seeing at Biola.  So much fun to see him there!

Thankful for the gift of vacations with this crew, even when attitudes don’t match the beautiful scenery all the time. 😉

Pacific Coast Highway, Part 1

Over our Spring Break we opted for a 5 day trip to drive the Pacific Coast Highway – starting in Santa Cruz and ending in LA.  I had no idea what to expect as Mike is our trip advisor, planner, and researcher and I do very little prep for these excursions other than to pack everyone. =). Anyway,  he did a wonderful job organizing another fun trip for us.  We will want to do more of this drive someday – the sights were unreal!

Day One: early morning flight, a stop at Apple (where Micah lost another tooth) and Google and then a late night swim with Daddio