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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Just a few more pictures from our leaf walk over the weekend...

Nathan goofing off and Micah worming his way into our picture:

Adorable nine year old:

A brief moment of being still and actually smiling rather than making a Pikachu face and sound: (don't ask me why...really, lol)

A single instant amid a series of attempts...ha!

And I did manage one of Nathan and me:

Happy fall, y'all! 



On Saturday we upheld tradition and went on our 10th annual leaf walk. (To see all of our previous years, look here and here.)

In consideration of Noah's teenage angst and a general non-cooperation amid the trees and leaves in our neighborhood (leaves changing color too quickly, falling and then being too promptly collected by our lovely neighborhood groundskeepers), I did offer up the option of simply taking some pictures. The younger two boys promptly and pointedly nixed that idea, as our leaf walks are something they love and look forward to. :)

So. After we'd all reconvened following various errands, we headed out. The younger two and I had scoped out a few trees that had very recently dropped some leaves...where the groundskeepers hadn't already scooped them up. We raked up a modest pile and let the younger two loose...

Can't you just feel the joy?! :) After a few rounds of that, we had our obligatory "throw leaves at each other now" session...

(I didn't manage any better pictures of Noah than this since the younger two kept ganging up to throw leaves at him, such that he wasn't really visible, lol.)

...and then we continued to the park where we played some kickball...enjoying the gorgeous fall weather as Noah totally cheated and tackled me to keep me from advancing the bases. ;) But. I got to document another year of leaf walk happiness, so we're all winners. :) 


JOAD tournament number 18...

So, last weekend, Noah and Micah had their first JOAD tournament of the season...number 18 for us all told, as this is our fourth season now. As tournaments go, it wasn't horrible. ;) Here's a recap:

For NOAH...he continues to shoot in a very popular division so has steep competition. Over the summer, he upgraded most all of his equipment and is generally shooting better than ever. He hasn't, though, spent very much time practicing with this new set up (and I should get new boots for not screaming "I told you so" on Saturday, lol). Regardless, he shot decently and *almost* set a new personal record and *almost* earned a new award pin for six 10s in a row. (Yeah, he was a ray of sunshine after those *almosts* lol.) In the end, his score was the fourth highest, which he's familiar with. He recently wrote a paper for his English class about the value of practice. Let's all wait and see how long it takes for him to make the connection. ;)

For MICAH...after wrapping up the state title in his division last spring, Micah decided to move up to the next division (though he's not required to do so until January). The new division means that he's now shooting from 18 meters instead of 9, which is kind of a big difference. :) (For the record, I tried to talk him out of this as I'd prefer he stop being in such a hurry to grow up, but he was adamant. He wants/needs the new challenge of the longer distance and actual competition and is now eligible to earn new awards pins, as he'd reached the end of those available at the shorter distance.)

I digress. So, he arrived at the tournament fully ready to treat this as practice (well, more practice...he's been doing an okay job of actually practicing), knowing that he hasn't shot the scores to be competitive in this division yet. His mood took a downswing when we learned that he was assigned an upper target (which he can't reach to retrieve his arrows...it doesn't affect his shooting, though, just meant that he had to ask for help pulling his arrows after every end...all 20 times) and the tournament folks wouldn't let us switch (though Noah had a lower target so it would have been a simple matter and one we've done before). On top of that, the other three shooters with him on his bale (they score in groups of four) were all new. As in, they'd never kept score before. Fortunately, Micah is Micah and has scored aplenty at team practices and other tournaments when they didn't have enough parent volunteers at the shorter distance. But. One has to question the logic of assigning the absolutely youngest kid on the main line to the target butt with the three new people.

Anyhow, despite the lucky dime that his coach gave him in an effort to help turn his mood, Micah didn't shoot well his first round (a tournament is two rounds of ten ends each...three arrows for each end). During the break in between, he returned the "unlucky" dime to his coach. :) And then the kid managed to shoot decently during the second round and somehow pulled out a first place finish! He fully understands that this was somewhat of a fluke, as two of his teammates missed this tournament and regularly shoot much higher scores in this division, but he'll take it. ;) 

So. That was our first tournament for the season.

(PS With Micah shooting at the longer distance, I now find myself with nothing to do during tournaments. At the shorter distance, they always needed parent volunteers to help the youngsters with scoring and such. At the longer distance, it's all on the archers. Suggestions? We were there for about five hours. I tried to do some reading but was also trying to watch how the boys were doing. No, Deanna, I don't think I'm ready to learn how to knit just yet, lol.)


Maker Faire

On Saturday, we spent more than a few hours at the NoCo Maker Faire. It was pretty awesome. ;) We went last year (their first year here), and this year was even better!

Here's a sampling of what we saw/did/enjoyed...

After Micah and I separated from the others to make LED badges using conductive thread at the way-cool SparkFun booth, Micah was impressed by the pinball machinery and rotary phone displays...

...and then someone let him shoot an air cannon...(he had to pedal to increase the air pressure first (which took him a bit, lol) before launching...)

...and we also saw loads of lego creations that made him jealous and a paint-a-pult and life size R2D2's and laser cutters and 3D printers...

...and then we reconnected with Nathan and the older two boys, who had made it outside to the rocket launching area. Micah promptly made a rocket and they set about "racing"...

(Our rockets went past that food truck back there. Yeah. We've maybe done this before, lol.)

...and then the older two ended up making chainmail bracelets, which was fabulous though time-consuming...

...and we ate lunch and saw sculptures and drones and such...

...and we roasted flavored marshmallows (yum!!!)...

...and we enjoyed the giant flame breathing and throwing robot sculpture...

...and we wandered some more before finally calling it a day. Whew. :) 


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. ;)