Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and swim team practices, scrapbooker and founder of the Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.




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Teen number two

Today's the day! We officially have TWO teenagers now! Yup, Asher turned the big thirteen today. Crazy. ;) When he woke up this morning, the first thing he said to me (after I'd wished him a happy birthday, of course) was, "Thank you for making me!" Awwww. :)

Asher opted to not have a party this year, so we're just celebrating at home. We started with some pictures this morning...here's Asher and me (so that I have a pre-growth spurt picture--I missed that step with Noah, lol):

...and Micah didn't want to be left out...

After pictures, we headed inside to open gifts. Here's Asher enthusiastically thanking Noah after opening the gift from him:

(Noah's thrilled, can you tell?)

And here's the "big gift" that Asher got from us (in lieu of a party):

It's a "brick" of HeroClix figures...50 altogether. I don't really get it at all, but the boys very much enjoy playing HeroClix and this made Asher pretty darn happy.

And, unlike his much more serious big brother, Asher couldn't decide on just one expression for his "official" birthday picture:

(That second from the top on the right is Asher trying to channel his inner Noah and act like a teenager. It lasted about 1.3 seconds, lol.) 

As for thirteen things about my Asher, my list from two years ago still holds true. I think the only thing that isn't true is that he didn't request devil's food cake this year. :) Oh, and he's more likely to be found playing the piano on his own than drums or guitar on his own. I'd add to the list that he's crazy about Minecraft, gymnastics, HeroClix and disturbing his brothers with his wackadoodle antics. Also, he's pretty interested lately in world records...he'd really like to set one.

So. That's that. We'll be going out in a bit for a birthday lunch and all three boys will be headed to their weekly HeroClix tournament thing later tonight. That will be followed by a cookie cake and bed. Easy-peasy.

And that's my Asher!


Master Drive

So. We're now done with our week of driver's ed! Noah completed the four classroom days then had two days of Drive Camp. We dropped him off yesterday morning...

He's in that last car in line, waiting to check in. Then Nathan and I drove home and left our car in the hands of our boy in the hands of the Master Drive instructors. Sniff. :) I was only a wee bit emotional. One, because my baby is growing up. Two, because the sum total of his actual driving experience consisted of less than an hour behind the wheel in a private parking lot with Nathan a week ago.

But. It's all good. :) When we picked him up after the first day, he was practically giddy...or as giddy as Noah gets, lol. You could tell he'd had a fantastic time. And he got to do it all again today. 

And, at the end of camp today, Nathan and I got to ride along during the "recital"...where the students drove part of the course a couple times, showing off many of their newly learned skills...crash avoidance, braking, and a slalom course. (Beforehand, an instructor talked to all of us parents about what the kids had learned and how we can help them continue practicing and what skills wouldn't be included in the recital. It was really quite thorough and well-run. Btw, there were 12 students in the two day Drive Camp and I counted six instructors, so those are pretty awesome numbers.)

And then each student received a certificate (a "masters degree," lol) and a round of applause:

Truly, we're very impressed by this program and are definitely glad we went this route. You can clearly see that Noah has so much more confidence behind the wheel, and I love how the instruction explained skills and the reasons behind them (which really is so much more effective for Noah). (Plus, *I* didn't have to try to teach him all of that.) During the recital, I honestly felt perfectly at ease with Noah at the wheel, and that's worth plenty. :)

Both Nathan and I left wishing that we'd had a drivers ed experience more like this. And, Nathan couldn't resist running the slalom part of the course, himself, on our way out, lol.

And now we wait until Noah's old enough to actually get his permit. :) 


More boxes

So. Noah's off at drivers ed and Asher's not allowed to really go many places (still trying to keep him mostly off his feet). What to do on this Wednesday morning? 

Well. Having finished up most all of our homeschool curricula for the year, I simply instructed Asher and Micah to go select a box from the front room. I've been stockpiling both the Tinker Crate and Doodle Crate boxes because I didn't get around to them the first couple months after I'd started (though we have managed to do this one and this one). The boys couldn't agree on just one so each grabbed a box and set to work...

Micah did this robot art Tinker Crate:

And Asher tackled the trebuchet Tinker Crate:

I love how nice and easy the instructions are, and the kits are so well put together! I had to help a bit with some knot tying and cutting of velcro but, otherwise, each boy completed his kit all by himself in record time. :) Then, we set about playing:

And, then, obviously, they ended up combining the two...

Micah did a few more robot runs, this time with paper that didn't have creases (as the creases kept hanging the robot up a bit):

And now they're actually still messing with the trebuchet together...learning how to adjust various aspects and seeing what they can hit (including, of course, each other). Good times!


Ten on Tuesday: Random Stuff Happening Here

1. My Noah started drivers ed today! Drivers ed, people!! How the heck did that happen? Sigh. Technically, he's not old enough to get his permit yet but we opted to do the classroom time during the summer so as not to have to fit that into our schedule during the school year. So. He has four days of classroom instruction and then will do two days of "Drive Camp" where they'll teach him skills like skidding and crash avoidance and crisis braking. He can't do his on-street instruction (6 hours worth) until the fall, once he has his permit. And then he'll have to wait a full year from when he gets the permit...and put in 50 hours of driving with one of us...and then he can get his license. He's not actually in any hurry. And we're not in any rush to insure a teenage boy driver. But. Having an extra driver may come in handy... ;)

2. Micah went to a demo team performance this morning for Karate West. (They perform for groups at the local elementary schools during the summer. Kids and their parents come to the schools to check out books and such and the demo team performs and lets the kids try some moves.) Today's was performance four out of six, I believe.

Here are some pics from the previous three performances:

(Micah's the short one in the back pair and Asher's got a red stripe on his pants.)

3. Where was Asher for today's performance, you ask? Well, the pediatrician's office informs me that they've been busier since school got out...with a definite increase in injury appointments as opposed to sickness appointments. We, of course, added to those statistics last week. ;) Asher somehow managed to scrape the skin off the tops of his toes (8 out of 10) by sliding down the water slide into the gym pool (feet first, standard sitting position) and hitting the bottom of the pool. (Yeah, I can't really figure it out either. I wasn't there, but that's what Nathan says happened.) Most of them are now starting to scab over just fine, but the pinky toes are somewhat gaping wounds. We ended up at the doctor's office to see whether stitches might be in order but apparently so much of the skin is gone that there wasn't enough to stitch together. So. Steri-strips and non-stick pads and medical tape and socks are our friends. Mostly, everything's all fine. But keeping Asher from jumping around and running and everything else is not easy. And we want things to heal without him constantly breaking them open again. Fun times.

(Btw, this incident came two weeks after Micah fell from his bike and scraped up his hand. He's totally fine now, but there was definitely more wailing and complaint out of that one than out of Asher. Drama much? ;) Micah ended up missing that night's demo team practice but then was fine, whereas Asher's going to need to sit out from karate class and practice and performances for at least this week, maybe more.)

4. I had my first mammogram just after my birthday. All good. :)

5. Asher just informed me that if you get swallowed by an octopus, you end up in Candyland. Just so you know.

6. Our homeschool group had a curriculum sale recently. I managed to score a few things and catch up with some friends, which was lovely. I'm pretty proud of myself for not buying a bunch of stuff that'll end up on the shelves and even managed to give away some of our extras. (We don't have as many extras lately, I find. I'm thinking that's a good thing, as it means that I'm getting better at actually buying what we'll use and using what we buy, lol.)

7. If you haven't seen the movies "McFarland, USA" and "Spare Parts," I recommend them. Micah and I went to the cheap theater to watch the first one and we all watched the second one on dvd recently. 

8. We also went to see "Jurassic World" not long ago. I was actually a bit surprised that Micah was the one asking to go, as he previously declared "Jurassic Park" to be "the worst movie EVER" (based on his fear of dinosaurs and scary things in general, lol). (Mind you, this was just last year...*maybe* the year before that.) Apparently, having the actor who also starred in "Guardians of the Galaxy" was enough to offset his fears. :)

9. Last Saturday, our lovely orthodontist invited her clients to a special showing of "Inside Out," complete with free popcorn and soda for each person. It was actually rather impressive...more than 450 clients and their family & friends. We took up two screens. Obviously, the braces business is good. ;)

The movie, btw, was pretty good. It's even been useful in helping certain youngest sons talk about their emotions, lol.

10. Lest you think we just watch a heap of movies (which we do, lol)...I mentioned before that I've been getting these monthly subscription boxes. Finally got around to tackling our first Doodle Crate. We did a sculpting one, and I got some extra supplies so we could all participate:

Noah made a Smash Ball. It's a video game thing. He went mostly two dimensional...very simple. ;) (I don't have a finished picture because he put his on paper clip risers and covered it with a tin foil tent afterward, when we were letting them dry. (It's air dry clay...fun stuff!) He wouldn't let me move the tin foil, which is apparently protecting everything from dust, lol.) 

Asher made the Avengers "A" (happy coincidence that it also works for Asher, eh?). He also made a little leopard, or so he tells me. 

Micah, comparatively, went a bit more ambitious. ;) 

He decided to make the face of Saruman (the evil wizard in Lord of the Rings) given that the actor recently died and Micah wanted to commemorate him. 

It got a little messy, lol. And, in case you're wondering, a giant Easter egg makes the perfect base for a Saruman head. 

Meanwhile, I joined in and made a little dragon...

And that's some of what's been happening here. ;) 


My guy

Though we're really not celebrating at all here (keeping it low-key like Mother's Day as the two of us have fun summer plans next month), I wanted to wish my dear husband...my partner in this parenting journey...a very happy Father's Day. I so appreciate the man that he is and the example that he's setting for our sons.

As per tradition, I took our annual boys-playing-miniature-golf-with-Nathan photo when we were up in Estes recently:

And now back to other things. ;)

Love you, Nathan!