HELLO

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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Tuesday
Sep302014

Ten on Tuesday (update on homeschooling edition)

This week is our first "off" week of homeschooling this school year, so I thought I'd do a bit of an update...

1. Our homeschooling is going so much smoother with just the two younger boys. :) We're finishing sooner and with less conflict and more fun. Reflecting on this, I don't feel like things were horrible with Noah home. But. I'd be lying if I didn't acknowledge that I spent more time than I'd have liked on Noah's case trying to get him to finish his work or trying to convince him of why it was necessary or batting down his excuses. Working now with just Asher and Micah, I can see that it was not an insubstantial amount of time and energy. It's refreshing to leave that behind us and renew our enthusiasm for homeschooling. :)

2. It's liberating being able to use more "kid" materials and stories in our homeschooling. Unsurprisingly, Noah objected to some of this in the last few years. Asher and Micah enjoy almost identical things, so this has been lovely.

3. I think Asher, in particular, is benefiting from Noah being in school. He's able to be who he is without having Noah on his case about little things...without feeling like he should try to be more mature than he really wanted to be. It's truly wonderful to watch. 

4. In terms of specific subjects, things are mostly going as planned and nicely. The basic subjects like math, history, and language arts are going well. Both boys continue, too, to read up a storm.

5. Art is going surprisingly well. Micah's LOVING the book we're using and practicing on his own time. If I let him, he'd just work through all the lessons right now. ;)

6. Cursive is a work in progress. Neither boy enjoys learning it but both are progressing okay and finally learning to recognize more of the letters when they see them. (For what it's worth, this is the book I've been using.)

7. World geography may be a bust this year. I tried out Mapping the World with Art (by Ellen McHenry). The first week went pretty well and the boys thought it was cool that they drew Mesopotamia. Since then, though, it's a bit too intricate for their liking. I'm going to hold onto it for another year or two, as I think they may appreciate it more when they're a bit older. For now, I think I'll probably switch to some other approach...

8. US geography, though, is much better. Using 50 States & Where to Find Them is working great. The curriculum has some supplementary children's books that involve travels through the US. Both younger boys love the stories and I'm hoping it helps with holding the state locations in their heads.

9. I slacked on science. I got a book and even a practice lock but didn't manage to actually do any lockpicking. Sigh. I still really want to do that "unit" but haven't figured out a good way to approach it. I'm going to put it on the backburner for the time being and tackle some SparkFun tutorials next session. 

10. All our "extra-curriculars" continue to go well...with both boys thoroughly enjoying Options, gymnastics, karate and karate demo team. Micah's JOAD/archery season officially starts up this weekend.

And that's how homeschooling's been going. ;) 

Monday
Sep292014

Autumn

To celebrate autumn, we took an impromptu trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday. Apparently, lots of other folks had the same idea, as it was pretty crowded. :) 

We stopped first at the Alluvial Fan area, hoping to get out and just walk a bit and enjoy the fall colors. Sadly, we discovered that the Alluvial Fan area was mostly washed away by last year's flood. :( So. We ended up driving up Trail Ridge Road, instead. We stopped to walk a bit at about 11,700 feet and take a couple pictures:

We had to head back to the car when Asher's lips started turning blue. ;) But look at the beautiful view...

Then we continued on to the Alpine Visitor Center at the top of the road (around 12,000 feet above sea level). The boys thought the gusts of wind were awesome (and cold!)...

...though Micah wasn't thrilled with Noah for using Micah's jacket for his wind testing, lol. After playing a bit and getting a snack in the gift store, Nathan and Noah climbed the stairs a bit to walk in the clouds while the younger two and I took a quick selfie then got out of the wind. 

Along the way (below the tundra), we did enjoy the gorgeous fall colors...so vibrant. Sadly, though, I didn't actually take any pictures of them or of us in them. Drat.

And then we all drove back out of the park and had a fabulous late lunch at Ed's Cantina with ice cream at Hayley's as per tradition. We hurried back to the car in the rain and made it home for a lazy afternoon.

Happy autumn! 

Friday
Sep262014

Five on Friday

Things that make me smile:

1. I'd been looking for a particular liquid soap, scented with the almond cherry smell. I wasn't finding any locally so kept ending up with our boring milk & honey. I even tried ordering some online, but it turned out not to be the scent I was looking for (too florally). But. The other day I found some!! At the Dollar Store! Sweet. You may laugh at me and my ten extra containers that I nabbed (I hate running out of stuff, lol), but the scent makes me happy.

2. Watching Noah make his lunches entertains me. In true Noah fashion, he's decided on a specific lunch and has yet to vary from it (now more than 30 lunches in). One would think that might get boring, but this is the boy who wore almost exactly the same outfit for years...who insists on simply buying the exact same jeans and shoes in the next size up. :) Anyhow. Watching him meticulously fold the lunch meat and strategically place the slice of cheese onto his sandwich cracks me up. ;)

3. I didn't draw a heap of attention to it, but I didn't end up running that Equinox Half Marathon on my list. And that makes me happy. ;) I still really enjoy boot camp (though I might not be able to walk later today, lol) and was finding it just too difficult to get motivated to also get up and run in the mornings. 

4. I love that my younger two got together with a friend recently and one of the first things they all talked about was what books they were reading and what their all time favorites were. Happy sigh.

5. This week, I have a greater than normal number of women on my prayer list...women I love who could use a boost with one thing or another. I was thinking about how many hopes I have for all of them...for safe recoveries and graceful aging and family wishes...and it was making me a little sad that there wasn't more I could do for each of them. But, rather than be sad (or at least rather than only being sad), I'm choosing to be thankful...I'm simply so blessed to have these women in my life

Happy Friday, y'all!!

Wednesday
Sep242014

SparkFun

Last Friday and Saturday I was privileged to attend the SparkFun & Intel Professional Development workshop here in Fort Collins. I can't even remember the last time I took a class like this...where I was learning stuff completely new to me. It was kind of wonderful. ;)

I learned some about how to write code, how to wire circuits...

...and even how to solder! (Look! Doesn't my soldering look pretty?!)

Look! I did that! I wired and coded those pieces to read and display the temperature...

SparkFun, btw, is freakin' awesome. They really make this stuff accessible. I feel like I can actually lead my boys in the tutorials SparkFun has on their website (which you should totally check out!) and now can follow along better when the boys talk about this sort of material. ;) 

Don't get me wrong. I'm still highly unlikely to really figure this all out like my coding husband (who was totally jealous of the class and geeks out about all this stuff), lol. But. I'm not scared of it any more, and that's huge.

Tuesday
Sep232014

Gymnastics

So. A couple weeks ago we started taking gymnastics. By "we" I mean Asher and Micah, obviously. ;) They LOVE it. LOVE. 

Here's Asher earlier today on the rings:

And Micah on the trampoline (learning, incrementally, about front handsprings):

And here's what I love about gymnastics:

  • The class is a homeschool class...during the school day and for ages 5-15. This is fabulous for us. I'd been looking into a class for Asher (at his request) but the existing classes didn't seem like a good fit. After school classes were all by age, meaning Asher would be with 12 and ups...and none of those were beginner classes. This way, also, both boys can take the class together (they'd otherwise be split by age). Whew.
  • (There are currently about 9 kids in the class (5 boys/4 girls). It meets once a week.)
  • The boys sleep well on Tuesdays. ;) After gymnastics (which is an hour and 15 minutes), we go home to tackle afternoon schoolwork then back out to karate (45 minutes on Tuesdays). 
  • (Both boys are realizing, though, that they need to remember to switch gears for rolls...in karate, they roll over their shoulders...in gymnastics, they have to remember to roll straight over, which helps eventually lead into handsprings.)
  • It fits well with Asher's current career path/goal of being a stunt double, lol. (Micah, for what it's worth, isn't as committed. He just enjoys doing whatever everyone else is doing.) Seriously, though, if that's the trajectory Asher thinks he's on, I'm glad we're able to provide this.
  • Already it's been worth every penny...I've decidedly heard the boys receive specific instruction on how to fall so as not to injure themselves. ;) 

Ta da! :) Here's to happy, happy boys!