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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Thursday
Mar232017

Throw it all out there Thursday

So. I've been quiet here, I know. Sorry. I stop and think about finding a clever way to tie things together or make them more interesting to read about. But I just don't seem to have the time or energy for that, lol. Instead, then, for the sake of catching folks up, I'm just going to throw it all out there. Here's what's going on:

NOAH

  • Got his drivers license today! (He did, btw, let me take a picture of him getting his photo taken for the license...but I had to promise not to post it, lol.)

  • Has his advising appointment to register for fall classes next week.
  • Will be taking the SAT in a few weeks (having already taken the ACT twice, the PSAT twice and two SAT subject tests...so he's not hugely worried).
  • Has three college campus visits lined up in mid-April.
  • Has one more JOAD tournament for the season (just after all the campus visits). It's the state tournament and he's switched from shooting compound bow to barebow, which has actually been a nice change of pace and beneficial to his shooting.

ASHER

  • Continues to enjoy learning to play the violin.
  • Is finishing some repairs and tweaking to their Wright Stuff glider for the state Science Olympiad competition in a few weeks (along with some other prep/review in the other events he does).
  • Intends to continue homeschooling through high school, and we've been working at coming up with our plan...which has involved going to an annual homeschool convention/used book sale and finding some fun things along with starting to make wish lists and doing lots of thinking and reading. 

MICAH

  • Like Asher, continues to prep/review for the state Science Olympiad competition.
  • Recently started his own black belt testing...which means increased time at karate along with some cardio training (swimming) between now and the end of July. Rather than explain the process all again, I'm lazy and will just direct you to my posts about Asher's testing here and here. Differences this time around include the fact that I don't have to go looking for a practice partner, as Asher fits the bill and they've agreed to work together. (This is good as, like with Asher, there just aren't that many small black belts around to ask, lol. It also means I don't need to coordinate with someone else to make sure they have availability and will show up at the right times.) Also, Micah actually does need more work in the cardio department, as he doesn't do gymnastics like Asher and is younger and smaller than Asher was. (I was just re-reading that second post...and Asher actually really has gotten bigger since his training. In the one year after earning his black belt, he shot up a good number of inches and added about 20 pounds!) In any case, it'll be a number of months of hard work on Micah's part, but he says he's ready for it.
  • Has developed a keen interest in oceanography and is looking forward to a Marine Biologist for a Day program down at the Denver Aquarium next week. 
  • Has landed the role of Pirate King for his Options drama class spring production. He's pretty excited about the costume. :)

NATHAN & I

  • Are, obviously, keeping busy with all that stuff for the boys (and planning all that stuff and getting boys to all that stuff), lol.
  • Nathan has some meetings with clients in NY so has been working extra getting that ready and all...and not getting enough sleep and needing to buy more business casual type clothes. :)
  • I got into the City Works 101 program here in Fort Collins and am pretty excited about it. You can read more about it here. Last night was the first session and I've already learned great stuff. I figured this is a great chance to get involved and learn more...given that my degrees are actually in political science, law and public policy...and that our current political climate particularly encourages more participation...and that these boys are going to get older and that means I'll probably re-enter the work force at some point. (Plus, it's fun taking a class for me!)

  • Incidentally, Asher, Micah and I went on a homeschool group field trip to City Hall back at the beginning of March. We listened to the mayor speak and explain Fort Collins government. I forgot to take a picture, though, so then forgot to post about it. :)

And that's why I haven't been blogging much lately. ;) 

ETA: I forgot to mention in my list that during the month I've also added a nephew, gone out with a bestie for an awesome afternoon of eating and chatting and shopping, tried a trial fitness class at the gym for a week, met up with a friend at the gym for our own working out weekly, continued going to boot camp three days a week, started having Noah write practice college application essays weekly, gotten a haircut (trim) and cut all my guys' hair...among other things.

Wednesday
Mar152017

25 years

Yesterday was Pi Day...3.14. Yes, we had some pie. :) 

Yesterday was also the 25 year anniversary of the day Nathan and I met. Twenty five years. Twenty five pretty darn good years. :) To celebrate, we went to dinner and a movie:

Yay, us! So very blessed to have met this man and even more fortunate to call him mine. 

Also, btw, we realized that Noah is now the same age that we were when we met. And now we feel old. ;) 

Sunday
Mar052017

Science Olympiad Regionals

Remember a little over a month ago when Asher and Micah participated in a Science Olympiad Invitational with their little homeschool team? Well, the Regional competition was yesterday. (Colorado hosts two Regional competitions. This was the Northern Regional event. From here, teams that qualify move on to the State competition.)

Differences between the Invitational and the Regional events?

1) They actually ran all of the 23 events. At the Invitational, none of the build events were run (to save the various contraptions from possible damage and to maintain their design "secrecy"). This means that the Wright Stuff event, that Asher (and another teammate) have been working on, happened. Here's our team just before the event:

The event involves making, testing, and flying an airplane powered by a twisted rubber band, with the goal of achieving the longest flight duration. (There were also a number of restrictions and requirements regarding what they could use and how big/small things could be.) Each team got two flights...longest time counts.

Our first flight went decently. Unfortunately, the plane landed in the bleachers instead of the open gym. It sustained some damage that the boys didn't notice before the second flight...meaning that the second flight didn't go well. (Coaches/parents weren't allowed to be on the floor with the boys or discuss anything with them once they'd begun. Technically, the boys could have taken the time to repair their plane before the second flight had they noticed the damage. Then again, they were both quite pressed for time, as things were running a bit behind and they were both needed in other events mere minutes from then. (Asher ended up sprinting to his next event and made it *just* before they shut the door.))

Still. Even with all that, their plane ended up in fourth place! With some adjustments, they think/hope that they'll do even better at the State competition. :)

2) Since all of the build events were being run (at various times throughout the day), there was much less time for the kids for just sitting together at our "base" area. (We parents still ended up doing our fair share of sitting...between making sure the kids got to the right areas.) We were fortunate, too, that one of our coaches staked out a table for us away from most of the loudness in the cafeteria, where most of the other teams were set up. 

3) At the Invitational, there were 16 teams altogether in the building. At Regionals, there were 46 middle school teams and 29 high school teams altogether in the building. Yeah. It was crazy crowded. (Originally, the middle school teams were supposed to be competing elsewhere but scheduling fell through or something and they decided to put both events in the same place.) 

I have to admit, I was skeptical. But, with the exception of a few small things, the event ran pretty smoothly. I was impressed. 

So. Here are some other pictures from yesterday:

Clockwise from the top left: a better picture of our team shirts, complete with their chosen mascot--Steve, the Pessimistic Cow (which Micah drew)...our team "area"...watching the Wright Stuff event...Asher prepping their plane...Micah enjoying ice cream at Coldstone after all the events were over and before the awards ceremony started. (Our entire team ended up there...yum!)

Just before the ice cream, we made the kids let us take a group picture:

We did get a few before this, but getting them all to look at the same time wasn't really working. ;)

And then they did the awards ceremony. 

And our little nine kid homeschool team rocked. 

They took home medals (top three) in nine events...which was the second highest medal count for a team!

Beyond the individual event medals, scoring worked such that you got points for your placement in each event...so first place got one point, last place or no shows got 45 points (because of the number of teams registered). (This was part of my boys' goals in being on the team...to contribute such that the team didn't have to accept the maximum points for failure to have people in all events.)

They then added points for all of the events to get your team total...lowest score wins. And, out of those 46 registered teams, our team came in FOURTH.

Seriously.

I'm so impressed by these kids. Our two third graders took third in Invasive Species. Third! That means those two 8-9 year old boys beat 43 other teams of middle schoolers in that event. One of the boys on our team medaled in six of the events he competed in (when most kids there were only competing in two events...as I mentioned before, because our team is smaller, our kids each had to compete in more events). Wow.

This was also a good lesson for my boys about setting goals and expectations. Micah was a little disappointed at not having gotten an individual medal. It was a good opportunity to discuss how that hadn't been his goal and how, relatedly, we had chosen not to put in as much time/effort as the others. (He and Asher didn't do poorly, by any means. Honestly, in most of their events, they did better than they should have compared to how much work they put in.) So. Good lesson in choices and priorities and effort. :) And now Micah's thinking he'd like to put in more work going forward to try to improve his contribution to the team.

Speaking of which...their team placement means that they get to advance to the State competition. (Advancement to State is based on the team overall score, not individual event placements...so you really do need a strong team rather than just a few star individuals.) That'll be in about six weeks. Wish us luck!

Sunday
Feb262017

Karate Intramural

On Friday night, Micah participated in Karate West's Intramural tournament for the sixth time. (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015...in 2016, neither boy competed, though Asher helped with scorekeeping)

This time around, he competed in the weapons forms and musical forms divisions. He got first place in weapons forms and second in musical:

Asher opted not to compete this year either and, instead, helped with the judging (though he excused himself from judging either of Micah's events, lol). 

Ta da! :)

Friday
Feb242017

Four on Friday

Just random schtuff that's been sitting in my brain...

1. My husband's good at taking hints. ;) For Christmas and our anniversary, he added to my ring collection. The top one pictured here was for our 20th anniversary (white topaz and beautifully sparkly). Under that is a ring he got me for our anniversary three years ago...then a ring he got me for Christmas either in 2002 or 2003...then my word of the year ring that I picked up for this year. And the bottom ring was one of my Christmas gifts this year. 

Happy. Just fyi, also, I generally either wear the top one or the bottom four, not all five together. Because, apparently, all of my rings (other than my wedding ring) only fit on that one finger. ;)

2. Back in January, Nathan also brought me this lovely floral arrangement. It graced our table for more than a week, and I think I may have enjoyed how it looked toward the end (so dramatic and rich) more than when he first brought it home.

3. Last weekend, Noah participated in yet another JOAD tournament. He set a new personal best! His specific division is perhaps the most competitive of all the divisions...which means that even with commendable scores, he's rarely toward the top of his group. (There are 30 divisions when you break it down by age, gender and type of bow. In his, the scores are always very tight.) For his next tournament, he's considering switching divisions...shooting barebow instead of compound bow. Fortunately, I already have a barebow set-up that he can use (it's not ideal, but it's better than not). If it goes well, he's thinking about getting his own set-up for next year's season. Personally, I think the change of pace is refreshing.

4. Asher's violin lessons continue to go well. His instructor pretty much loves him...and is delighted to be teaching a beginning violin student who doesn't need lessons on how to read music. :)

The boy sounds good. :) (And I definitely prefer listening to violin practice over recorder practice or the occasional off clarinet note, lol.)

And that's that for now. If I owe you an email or other response, I apologize. Just lots of balls in the air here...not big, bad balls by any means...just lots. ;)