Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to two of the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and all sorts of other activities, former scrapbooker and founder of the 
Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.



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Yellow Jackets

So, to avoid telling my tale repeatedly, I'm just going to post it here...

A couple weeks ago we started noticing a yellow jacket or two in the house. We didn't know at the time that they were yellow jackets but figured they were trying to get away from the cold. We dealt with them...either killing them or relocating them as the opportunity arose. Altogether, we had maybe a dozen over the couple weeks.

This past Wednesday, things escalated. In the morning, I had to vacuum up almost a dozen at once. The boys and I were not happy. We called Nathan...who was in Boulder for the day. He called some local exterminators, but no one was available to come until next week. We ended up having dealt with 16 that day and decided to try to just be patient and wait for the cold weather to end things. We tried to block off any place we thought they might be getting in. 

Thursday was a repeat of Wednesday in terms of numbers. We blocked off a few more spots and hoped for the best.

Friday was crazy. We had lots going on, and Nathan was again working in Boulder for the day. By 10 in the morning, I'd killed 9 yellow jackets. At that point, I had to drive Micah up to CSU to talk with an expert for his First Lego League team project (which went great! more on that later). We left Asher at home to finish his schoolwork and eat before 12:30 when I would be back to take him to CEC. When we got back (with just enough time to switch boys), Asher was rather frazzled...having killed 40 more while we were gone. 

Yes. Forty.

Obviously, that's not good. 

So. I hurried Asher to class at CEC, left Micah at home to battle the yellow jackets alone (I tried to see if he'd just come with me but he had things he needed/wanted to do and insisted he'd be okay), and called Nathan to insist that he find someone who could come *today*. I then proceeded back up to CSU because it's homecoming weekend and there was a parent informational session I wanted to go to, and I needed to get a few things to Noah and finish up the submission of his annual FAFSA stuff. 

While sitting in the session, I was texting with Nathan (who finally found someone to come out but the time was such that I wouldn't be back yet so then he worked out leaving work early to be there, himself) and Micah (who'd been killing them left and right and had started deciding it hadn't been such a good idea to stay home but was willing to go over to the neighbor's house...but ended up just going for a walk to a neighborhood smoothie place with Asher once Asher had walked home from class). I offered to change my plans with Noah (who I was also texting with, as he had an advisor meeting and we were trying to figure out where to meet) and go home to get Asher and Micah, but they decided the smoothie place was safe enough, lol. 

(Sidenote here to say that I feel awful that Asher and Micah each had to deal with any of this solo. Huge kudos to them for staying on top of things and being brave...can you imagine if we'd all just come home and walked in to dozens of yellow jackets swarming about the house? Yikes!)

So. I then met up with Noah and delivered some Halloween goodies and his winter hat (which he'd asked for earlier in the week when it was snowing a bit). We went over the FAFSA and his spring registration stuff. All good.

Meanwhile, Nathan got home and the Orkin guy got there. They found a yellow jacket nest in the siding of our house and figured out that they'd been getting in through the ceiling lights and had apparently managed to make a bigger opening or something, hence the escalation. Oy. 

Anyhow, they sprayed them and closed up the openings/lights. The Orkin guy will be back to spray again and then to seal up the nest. Friday's total count in the house was NINETY, but we haven't seen any since then. Whew. Seriously not a fan of yellow jackets.



So, to celebrate Micah and I getting home from Spokane and the fact that we didn't want to participate in all the hoopla of next week's CSU Homecoming weekend (too many crowds for our likes, lol), we picked up Noah from his dorm and spent a day together yesterday. We'd initially planned to head up to Estes Park for our somewhat annual fall trek there, but the weather forecast (40s, rain/snow, overcast) had us changing plans and heading to Denver for Aurora's Punkin Chunkin Festival.

As it turned out, the wind made it colder than anticipated and less fun (but at least there was occasional sunshine!). We enjoyed the food truck foods and watched some of the pumpkin launching:

There were a number of categories of machines...from human powered (in kilts) to air cannons. (There was also chain saw wood carving and a corvette show and live music, for what it's worth.) We huddled together for warmth:

But we ended up leaving early and headed to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for some indoor time, enjoying tackling all the puzzles in the temporary Mindbenders Mansion exhibit:

And, we managed a group shot in our CSU shirts:

(I'd envisioned a nice shot in the fall colors up in Estes, but that didn't pan out, so we'll go with this. :) Many thanks to the stranger who took the shot for us.)

After the museum, we headed home for some family game time and visiting before taking Noah back to his dorm. Happy sigh.



My sister, Cas, flew Micah and I out to Washington state last week to stay with my sweet nephews while she went on a business trip with her husband. We were there almost six days and kept plenty busy. :) We played at home, visited the trampoline park, took boys to their ninja class, took boys to their preschool classes, did some shopping, and played at a park...

Micah was such a great help! Having two sets of eyes and hands definitely made a difference; my nephews are 2 and 4 years old and significantly busier than any of mine ever were, lol. Fortunately, the boys love their cousin (and vice versa). 

I'm totally kicking myself because we didn't get pictures with my mom (she drove up for an evening at the start) and didn't manage more with Blaze (the older of the two) since getting him to stand still wasn't easy, lol.

On Wednesday, Cassy got home and we enjoyed some time outside (since it was the nicest weather we'd had the whole time; fall is definitely here!). Kicking myself, too, for not getting pictures of Micah pulling the boys down the yard/hill in sleds. Oh well. You'll just have to imagine their delight. :) 

And on Thursday, after getting boys to their respective preschool classes, Micah and I flew home. :) Asher and Nathan met us at the airport and (after getting a little help from parking services since the keys got locked in the van, lol) we grabbed dinner, got Asher to parkour, and finally made it home. Whew.


Ten on Tuesday: Catch up edition

As promised, here's some of what's been going on since we moved Noah into his dorm room at CSU back in August...

1) Classes started at CSU for Noah on August 20. By all accounts, that seems to be going fine. Since he's been taking college classes already for the last three years, the academic side of college isn't too much of a transition for him. :) He probably needs a bit more to do, lol.

2) Asher tested for his third band for parkour on August 25. He handily earned his Nova band and continues to thoroughly enjoy going to parkour regularly.

3) Both Asher & Micah attended a special hand trapping class with MJ on September 14. They loved learning something new and seeing MJ again and are planning to incorporate some of the new techniques into some of their demo team performances.

4) Classes at CEC are going well for Asher, too. He's been in classes since August 9 and is adjusting to actually being at CEC every weekday (though only for 2-3 hours each day) and is doing great at learning study skills and time management. 

5) Both Asher & Micah are homeschooling with me, too. I've updated our curricula lists over on the left. Things seem to be going fine. :) 

6) Micah decided to add a Tribe Teen fitness class to his schedule and started that on September 18. It's a class at the same gym where I do boot camp...and happens to have a couple of his good friends in it. ;) (That's Micah on the bottom left. This was at the end of class, after stretching.)

7) Micah's First Lego League team is off and running. This year's theme is space so the team headed to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on September 20 to visit the space exhibition and ask some specific questions. 

8) While at the museum, Micah and I popped in on one of their new, temporary exhibits (Mindbender Mansion) and definitely want to spend more time there. Hoping to get back there with the rest of the family before the exhibit leaves! (This is another of those instances, btw, where I realized that--though I *feel* like I've spent a lot of time at the museum--it's actually been a long while and Micah has few memories of going, lol.)

9) Micah's also been teaching himself animation on the new laptop he bought and is really enjoying it. He got himself a book and a digital drawing pad and is already creating short animations. (Gotta love self-directed learning!)

10) To that end, we also found this site called Outschool with a variety of online classes. So far, Asher's taken a one time algebra refresher and Micah's taken a one time class on learning to draw comic faces:

Micah's signed up for another one time class about realistic faces and is thinking about doing a longer class after that on drawing the human body. He figures the drawing skills will help his animation. 

Okay, that's some of what's been going on here. Sorry I haven't been posting more. Now that we're getting into more of a routine and finding our way, maybe I'll do better. :)



Howdy! Yes. Still here. :) I'll do some catching up shortly...promise. Before that, though, here are some pictures from yesterday. It was Martial Arts Day at Elitches in Denver. Asher & Micah's demo team was invited to perform, so we spent the day. The boys were pretty excited, particularly as the last time Nathan and I went to Elitches was fifteen years ago, lol. 

We started the day picking up three of the other demo team boys and getting to the park at opening. (The conversations on the ride down were highly entertaining and random.) Once there, we met up with all six of the girls on demo team and the kids all took off together. They started right off riding the carousel then proceeded around the park together. Meanwhile, Nathan and I wandered and rode the MindEraser roller coaster:

(I snapped this as we were getting set then quickly zipped my phone back in my pocket, lol.)

After a bit, the boys all met up with us as planned so they could eat and change. Everyone met up together at the performance area, the team warmed up (in the almost 90 degree weather, lol), and then they finally did their thing:

After that (yay, team!), the kids all scurried over to the Shipwreck Falls area to stand on the bridge and get blasted by the ride:

Yup, they got pretty darn soaked, lol. But. At least they'd thought it through and did this before changing back into their (dry) street clothes. :) Then, the whole gang took off again to ride more rides until closing. Occasionally, Nathan and I spotted them and managed some photos:

(Asher & Marshall were on that one. It's the MindEraser.)

(Micah, Jacob & Jonathan were on the one after them.)

Later, we spotted them on the tea cups:

Wow, they got spinning super fast! ;)

Anyhow...they had a blast. Nathan and I enjoyed the people watching and hanging out together. And all of us parents were impressed by what a great, nice group of kids this is. And after closing, most of us met up again for dinner on the drive home:

And then we got into our (at this point) three separate cars and headed for Fort Collins. Again, our van was full of crazy conversation. (Seriously. You literally cannot imagine, lol.) 

After dropping off the other three boys, we made it home about 9:30. Whew. And that was yesterday.