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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Word of the year

It's come to my attention that some people missed my post about my word of the year for 2017...it's PUSH. Here's last year's post...last year's word was COUNT. If you just want to read the relevant part of my post about this year's word, here it is (I originally posted this back in November shortly after the election):

To those who are trying to make sense of this all by trying to figure out who is to blame…I understand. When faced with something this big and confusing, it seems natural to want an explanation. I’ve seen many different theories. Perhaps it’s the fault of white, female voters. Relatedly, perhaps it’s actually wealthy white men going back centuries. Perhaps it’s one-sided media and false equivalency and Facebook. Perhaps it’s the neglect of all those living in rural areas. Perhaps it’s the decades of negative PR against Hillary Clinton.

Personally, I think it’s a combination of all these things along with a failing from Hillary’s campaign to adequately address some of these more straight on. Mostly, I think it’s a failure to get outside our personal “bubbles”…a failure to experience different view points and learn that the world is not black and white but, instead, is many shades of grey. To that end, here’s what I’m going to do:

I realize that 2017 hasn’t started yet but I feel compelled to announce my word of the year now. I hadn’t been actively thinking about it, but this is what’s strongly coming through as the right word. That word is PUSH. I want to push myself to expand my bubble and that of my sons. I will do that by challenging myself each week to push myself beyond my comfort zone at least once. Here are some specific ways I will try to do that:

  • I will not unfriend people on Facebook but will continue to use it as an opportunity to see more sides of each story. I will try to offer my view point where appropriate to broaden the discussion.
  • I will do my best not to avoid conflict because I assume I can't change the other person's mind. Doing so is denying them the benefit of the doubt and missing an opportunity to help them see something outside of their own bubble as well as missing the opportunity to learn something outside of my own bubble.
  • I will continue teaching my kids the value of critical thinking and questioning sources.
  • I will do a better job of educating myself on the issues and hold the media to higher standards by not blindly following single sources.
  • I will try to start up actual conversations with people, which is asking a lot of this introvert, lol. 
  • I will work to expose my sons to more cultures.
  • I will support organizations that promote tolerance and inclusion.
  • I will volunteer. As a start, I plan to contact Habitat for Humanity tomorrow (because I've just always wanted to help there but have never taken the next step, not because I necessarily think that's a better place than anywhere else to volunteer).

I invite/challenge you to join me in pushing yourself outside of your bubble in whatever way works best for you.


Bensen Sculpture Garden

Did you know there's a sculpture garden in Loveland? I didn't. But, in looking for somewhere to walk yesterday, Molly and I discovered the Bensen Sculpture Garden and truly enjoyed it. There were so many fabulous works; and, even though it was chilly, the paths were clear and lovely. We walked and talked for about 90 minutes...(we made more than one loop)...

These were just a sampling of the sculptures we liked best. 

And here are some pictures of us posing with the sculptures...

It's always so nice to get together with one of your best friends and just chat...and even get some exercise in while we were at it. Happy. :) 


Four on Friday again

1. Asher started violin lessons yesterday. (Technically, we're still shopping instructors. I personally know or have had referred to me a couple other violin instructors (who would be terrific, I'm sure), but we're shopping instructors because it's considerably more convenient for me if he takes lessons with an instructor who operates out of the music shop building next door to karate. I didn't have any information about any of them, but he seemed to really like the one he met with yesterday. Regardless, we've rented the violin and are starting lessons.) About a month ago, he decided he'd like to take up instrument lessons again and expressed a specific interest in the violin.

Actually, when he was little, he loved the violin and I always thought that would be one of the first instruments he learned. Here's a picture of him at a music "zoo" back in February 2005:

He was two and a half and adorable. :) 

2. We picked up Micah's glasses today. Here's what he looks like:

He's still adjusting and trying to get over being mad about the whole thing. ;) But he looks great, don't you think? 

(Do you think he fulfilled his list of glasses requirements?)

3. After picking up the glasses, Asher wanted to use the giftcard Noah got him for Christmas to buy a new hat. You may remember that he's been sporting this one for a few months. He's now got two more. Here's one of them:

4. Yes, while Asher was trying on many of the hats at the store, Micah found this one and decided he simply *had* to have it (and had some Christmas money burning a hole in his pocket, lol). He's now also talking about growing out his hair or looking into extensions and needed to watch Shanghai Noon when he got home.

And that's some of what's been going on here in the last twenty four hours. We're also finally de-Christmasifying and working on getting back on track so that we can start schoolwork again next week. Back on track is good, right? ;) (I'm working up the energy to feel that getting back on track is good. I'm also really wanting to just curl up in bed and read a book, lol.)


On Sunday...

Nathan's parents just left to fly back home to Washington. They arrived last Saturday and we had a lovely visit. :) Sadly, I didn't take very many pictures on most of the days. We were busy playing card games and getting boys to various activities and just generally enjoying each other's company. 

But. On Sunday, we went down to Denver. On Sunday, I took pictures. :) 

First, we went to the Denver Art Museum to see the special Star Wars Costume exhibit. It was fabulous! They had these fun audio tour devices where you would type in the exhibit number and the dealio would tell you about it...which worked great for learning lots without having to jostle to see and read placards. We all loved it!

There were so very many other cool things that I didn't take pictures of, and allow me to just say that I would really love to have Queen Amidala's wardrobe...gorgeous. ;) (That top right picture shows the evolution of the storm troopers and the bottom left is the view from inside Darth Vader's mask.) 

Beyond the special exhibit, the boys and I explored a bit of the rest of the museum (such an interesting building!). We saw some works being installed (top right), climbed the many stairs, enjoyed the outside angles, and found a unique statue/sculpture in a flower bed...

After that, we grabbed some lunch then headed to the Downtown Aquarium. Noah and Asher have been there before...years ago...but Micah hadn't been and was giving us a hard time about it, lol. So. We went to the aquarium...and Micah was happy:

Clockwise from top left...Micah was pointing out the tiger (difficult to see but up on the ledge)...inside a bubble...touching a sea star...petting a stingray...and standing in the tunnel thing. I think you can tell that he was pretty happy. :) (Incidentally, he's sporting some of the swag he decided he had to buy himself at the Star Wars exhibit, lol.) 

The rest of us had a pretty good time, too...

(I especially like that bottom right photo of my three boys.) :) I sadly didn't get any pictures (low light) of the flash flood area, which we enjoyed, or of the moment when Nathan leaned in to look at something and bonked his head on the glass, which was hilarious. But I did take some pictures of critters:

And some final random photos...

And after all that we headed home...a tired but happy bunch. :) 


Four on Friday

Just checking in as we're finishing up this first week of 2017...

1. Checking plenty of things off the to do list this week...things like thank you notes, scheduling our annual appointment with the accountant, labeling this year's ornaments before they get put away (probably next week), and other pesky household things. Among our household things, Nathan helped me reorganize our entry area (from the garage into the house). We moved the hooks, put up some shelves, and rearranged where we keep things. It's still not ideal, but it makes me feel so much better. (Seriously, my next house is going to have a whole different entry way situation...one that actually makes sense and doesn't cause everyone to trip over each other coming through the door.)

2. Another thing I did was finally start and finish a Christmas scrapbook/album I've been wanting to put together for years. (A couple years ago I even sketched out exactly what would go on each page and gathered all the materials. And then it sat on my desk for years, lol.) It's nothing fancy (at all!) but it's a single place with our holiday cards, letters, family photos and Santa photos for each year since we got married. Whew.

3. Over the weekend, we started noticing that Micah was squinting a bit at the computer screen. After some informal "tests" on our part (including trying out all the different glasses in the house, lol), we decided Micah probably needs glasses. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of a cancellation and get him in to see our optometrist on Wednesday morning. And it turns out that Micah wasn't able to escape the "eleven year old curse" (so named by him because the other four of us here all began wearing glasses at about age eleven). ;) When Micah got a pass at his eye appointment in August, he thought he'd made it, lol. 

Anyhow, his glasses are ordered...should be here next week-ish. 

In case you're curious, the decision making process for Micah is entertaining and distinctly different from his brothers...and takes a good bit longer, lol. He wanted frames 

  • that weren't like either of his brothers (whose frames, for the record, are fairly similar in shape and style)...
  • didn't want blue or black (for the same reasons)...
  • wanted the frames to be either hardly visible or very noticeable...
  • was perturbed to discover that he can't wear a good portion of frames because he needs the nose pieces...
  • was more perturbed to discover that color choices for boys/men are distinctly lacking compared to the color choices for girls/women...
  • and stubbornly refused to believe me when I tried to explain that there's a reason both of his brothers have frames that are the same shape and that that same reason held true for him, being as he kinda looks like his brothers, lol. 

In the end, after trying on most of the frames in the office, he picked a pair. (Each brother tried on maybe two pairs of glasses before picking, since I know you were wondering, lol.) I'll post a picture when they're here and you can tell me if he succeeded in his wish list. ;) 

4. Yesterday, Micah had three friends over. They had a fabulous time playing and talking and playing some more. Bravely, for about an hour, they bundled up and headed outside to make snow forts and have a snowball fight:

It was probably about 10 degrees. They assured me they were fine...as I pressed extra hats and gloves on them...and they seemed to have a grand time. They also, though, came back inside declaring that they couldn't feel certain body parts, lol, but warmed right up with some hot cocoa. :) 

(On the plus side, 10 degrees is warmer than it was this morning. When I headed to boot camp, it was about -20.)

And that's some of what's been happening around here...