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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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Friday
Sep132019

For What It's Worth...

Things here have been quiet...just getting things done. :) In case I'm looking back later and trying to remember...

Yard/house work. We're still waiting for the schedule to open up for some exterior house painting and replacement of gutters from the hail storm at the start of July. In the meantime, the sprinkler system in the backyard has been lovely.

Mid-summer we noticed a leak in the backyard. We've had the same issue before so knew where the valve was. Got someone out to look at it and discovered that it wasn't the valve it had been before but instead was a leak probably under our paver patio (which had previously been a wooden deck). Awesome. Rather than have them dig around under the patio to try to find the leak or re-routing the lines around that (which was estimated to cost more than $1000), we opted to have them install a master valve so that it only leaked when the sprinkler system was running. (We'd basically been doing that anyhow by shutting the system completely off manually between times when the sprinklers were going...but, because we water in the middle of the night, it was still leaking more than we wanted.) Got that done and all seemed good.

Then. A few weeks ago I realized that the sprinklers weren't actually running when they said they were running. After some investigation, Nathan determined that the leak under the patio had sprung such that all the water was coming out there when the system was running. Not good. 

On the plus side, the leak turned out to be just at the edge of the patio, not all the way under it. Whew! But the weight of the patio was definitely contributing to the leak, meaning that the valves and pipes had to be rearranged. So. After numerous trips to Home Depot and Lowe's and lots of measuring and remeasuring, Nathan is now more familiar with our sprinkler system than he'd like and our leak is finally gone. Hooray!

Horsetooth Reservoir. Surprisingly, though we've lived here for seventeen years, we'd never been to Horsetooth Reservoir (beyond just driving by). Over Labor Day weekend, Micah and the demo team organized themselves a water gathering and we finally visited the swim area. The teens had a fabulous time and even let me take a quick picture at the start of the day. One of them brought a bunch of fun water "toys"...kayaks and paddle boards and such...and they had a blast. 

That first picture might as well be a poster for how karate and demo team will keep you fit, lol. The second picture shows Micah and Naomi having a balance battle on the inflatable kayak. Micah didn't win. ;) 

(Incidentally, that big umbrella in the backyard picture came in very handy at the reservoir. Yay for remembering that we even had it...we got it back in the days when boys were playing soccer and hadn't used it in ages.)

Jury duty. So. Noah got a jury summons last week. :D

(I've only ever been called for jury duty once. We were living in Eugene at the time and I was almost immediately excused on account of being a nursing mom and working for the City Attorney's office at the time, lol. Nathan's actually served on a jury here in Fort Collins. The trial lasted a few days.) 

Fortunately for Noah...given the timing of the summons and of midterms...he was able to get it postponed until during winter break. 

Climbing. Yup, we're still climbing here. Micah and I get to Ascent about three times a week, though now that the school year is going we only actually climb together one of those times. Micah has class two nights a week that he's been enjoying and learning from. Last weekend, we convinced Nathan to climb with us for a bit, as he hadn't been in awhile. :) 

Children's Hospital. Yesterday, Micah had another follow up appointment down in Denver. Everything's going pretty well! We've managed to get the arthritis under control over the summer and have stopped medication altogether in the past week. The pediatric rheumatologist recommends we just keep doing what we're doing. (For those who are curious, mostly we've switched to a gluten and sugar free diet with limited dairy and added some specific supplements.) So, we're just sticking with how things are for the time being. Micah will have another follow up in about six months. Whew.

And that's some of what's been going on around here... :) Happy Friday the 13th to you!

Saturday
Sep072019

40 Before 40...revisited

So. I've been re-reading my blog of late (working on a list of my homeschooling favorites...more on that later) and came across the list I made back before my 40th birthday. By the time I hit the big 4-0, I'd finished 21 of the items. I'm realizing, though, that I've actually finished more since then so thought I'd update.

The first bit, then, is the original list set a year before I turned 40. The italicized comments after each list item are the updates once I turned 40. The underlined comments at the end of each entry are my comments today.

****************

40 Before 40. So, here's my update on the list I shared last year...the ones in bold are done. :)

1. Complete the Equinox half marathon (I officially blame Deanna if I live to regret this, lol.) -- Nope. And I don't regret it at all, lol. ;) Still good with not having done this, lol.
2. Read 40 books (Shouldn't be a problem) -- Done! I actually read 80 books between birthdays, so I'm good. I'll share some of my favorites sometime...All good. I read a lot. Finished that year and have done so in subsequent years, though I find I do less lately now that I don't have to drive boys places and sit and wait, lol.
3. Volunteer (I'm deliberately leaving this vague and will see what opportunities arise...) -- I didn't really manage this to my satisfaction. Going to work on it! DONE. I've volunteered with Habitat for Humanity numerous times now! I'm also a volunteer on a community action committee with the city. 
4. Update this blog (new header and organization and maybe an actual plan?) -- Will get to this someday...Um, in progress?
5. Get a good family portrait taken -- We've actually managed a few that I really like...not professional or anything, but I like 'em. :) We've gotten pretty good at taking group selfies, lol.
6. Try a new recipe monthly -- Nope. Well, not monthly, but I have done a better job of trying new recipes. Does that count?
7. Pay for a stranger's meal -- Yup. I should do this more often.
8. Try yoga -- Nathan and I took an introductory class last week! Haven't done more yoga really, but did try it.
9. Do a pull up unassisted -- No. But, to be fair, I haven't actually tried. Will work on that. DONE! Woohoo! All the rock climbing this past summer seems to have helped, and I can now do this.
10. Go to high tea with Molly -- Molly tells me that going to the Cartier exhibit doesn't count and that we still need to go to high tea. It's in the works. DONE? Molly, does afternoon tea at the Boulder Tea House count?
11. Draw more -- Check! Thanks to Micah's enthusiasm, we've actually made it most of the way through a drawing curriculum this year...with me working on the assignments alongside the boys. Haven't done much lately, though...
12. Throw a party -- I don't think I did anything that would count for this. DONE. Yup, boys have had black belt promotion parties and graduation parties.
13. Splurge on a "good" bra (that's not a sports bra and isn't designed only for comfort, lol) -- Done. 
14. Update my passport (and get some for boys) -- Sadly, no. Will remedy this. DONE! And used it. ;) 
15. Create a family portrait collage for the hallway (I've had the frame and the spot ready for ages...) -- Dude. I really should do this. DONE. Whew.
16. Read at least 5 books out loud with the boys -- Done.
17. Archive all my photos -- Nope. In progress. DONE.
18. Watch Casablanca (because I never have) -- Done.
19. Get my wisdom teeth out (not exciting, I know, but it would be nice to have done and off my list, lol) -- Okay, I didn't do this. I did, though, get one of Noah's wisdom teeth removed. Does that count? ;) DONE. Plus, Noah had the rest of his extracted also.
20. Hand make Christmas cards again -- Do photo cards that I created count? Hmm. Unless photo cards count, this is still not done.
21. Run 400 miles -- Well, I stopped keeping track after last summer. I've definitely, definitely walked more miles than that, though, so I'm counting this. (Thank you, FitBit! According to my FitBit, I've walked over 800 miles just since getting it in December.) :) I don't log miles any more but have definitely been keeping active with boot camp and rock climbing. I try to get some running in at least once a week also.
22. Dress up for Comic Con -- Done! We've been more than once.
23. Write a letter once a month (using actual stationery and stamps) -- Technically, not really. But. I've been sending a note to my mom once a week this year as part of her birthday gift. Does that count? Let's say that counts. ;)
24. Go to a drive in movie with the boys -- Didn't manage this. Maybe this summer? I really should do this!
25. Take the boys to a baseball game -- I had plans, honest, to take boys to the local minor league baseball game on Saturday (just under the deadline, lol). Didn't happen. Thanks to Nathan's parents, though, they did get to go to a football game. I'm totally counting that, since the spirit of the goal was met.
26. Take an art class (for me!) -- No. But. I took a class about arduinos and a couple classes about curling. Again, the spirit of the goal was met. :)
27. Grow cucamelons -- I tried!! I did. Sadly, they did not cooperate. :( Nope.
28. Find my perfect pair of jeans (I hate shopping for jeans but love the convenience of jeans, so this would be huge) -- I've found a couple, but they're definitely not perfect. The hunt continues...DONE. I actually have jeans I like pretty darn well...not sure they're "perfect" but I'm not looking any more.
29. Visit a national park I've not been to before -- Done. 
30. Update my will and emergency family documents -- Definitely need to work on this! DONE earlier this year.
31. Make it all the way through a 30 day hula hooping challenge -- Done.
32. Try a different hair color -- Done. And DONE again, lol.
33. Finish my unfinished projects for others -- Done.
34. Go ice skating (haven't been in decades) -- Done.
35. Use our new local MAX system at least once -- Hanging my head. DONE, more than once.
36. Declutter at least 40 items from my stuff -- Done, easily. I love purging! DONE some more!
37. Shoot my bow with the boys more regularly and score at least one 30 -- Hmm. Not really. Well, I did shoot some with Noah over the summer. I don't know that I've scored a 30 though in the last four years.
38. Establish regular date nights...once a month with each of my guys -- Done.
39. Buy more shoes (because I figure I should have at least one item on here that's a given, lol) -- Done. :)
40. Make a bucket list for the coming decade (so that I can put some bigger items on the list and have enough time to have a shot at accomplishing them) ;) -- I'm more than half way done with this list...still working on it...I have no idea what was on this partial list I mentioned or where it is. Guess I'll need to start over, lol.

***************

By my count, then, since turning 40, I've finished eleven more of these items...bringing my total to 32! Yay, me! Guess I'll get to work on number 40 there... ;)  

Tuesday
Sep032019

Clearing things out...part 2

**UPDATE: Thanks, all! Everything's spoken for!**

...continued from the previous post...to recap:

So. I've been purging regularly...with a heavy round earlier this year. And now that we're no longer homeschooling, I've got a number of things we're no longer using. Whew. Given time and space constraints and such, I'm just going to list them all here. Please email me (use that "contact me" link up above) with item number(s) you want and we can arrange local pick up. First come, first served. I'll try to update here as things are spoken for. 

(At this point, I'm not wanting to ship things so am really only looking for local folks. If, though, you really, really want something and are willing to cover the shipping cost, contact me and we can talk.)

25. Discovering Mathematics 7A set. Includes main text, teaching notes & solutions book, two copies of the student workbook (I had two boys using this simultaneously and they both did all their work in separate notebooks), and workbook solutions book. All in very good to like new condition. Altogether retails for more than $80, asking $20.

26. Discovering Mathematics 7B set. Includes main text, teaching notes & solutions book, two copies of the student workbook, and workbook solutions book. All in very good to like new condition. Altogether retails for more than $80, asking $20.

27. Discovering Mathematics 8A set. Includes main text, two copies of the student workbook, and workbook solutions book. All in very good to like new condition. Altogether retails for more than $50, asking $15.

28. Discovering Mathematics 8B set. Includes main text, two copies of the student workbook, and workbook solutions book. All in very good to like new condition. Altogether retails for more than $50, asking $15.

29. Key to Fractions workbooks 1 and 4. Used these randomly for review. These are the unused or duplicate workbooks (recycled all the used ones). Very good condition. Retail for about $5/each, asking $2 for the both of them together.

30. A-Plus Notes for Beginning Algebra: Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1. Purchased used and used it for review. It's a bit beat up around the edges but otherwise good. Retails for about $20, asking $3.

31. Key to Algebra workbooks 1, 5, 8, 9 and 10 along with answer books for workbooks 1-10. Again, used these randomly for review. These are the unused or duplicate workbooks (recycled all the used ones). Pretty good condition. Retails altogether for more than $50, asking $5 for everything.

32. TEXTBOOK & TEACHER GUIDE SOLD. Harold Jacobs Elementary Algebra. Includes hardcover textbook, teacher's guide and solutions manual. Purchased everything used and they remain in good condition. Retail altogether for about $65, asking $25.

33. SOLD. Forester Algebra & Trigonometry. Includes hardcover textbook and solutions manual. Got these from another homeschool family and they're still in pretty good condition. Retail right now for about $150 (hard to find), asking $30.

Okay, whew. That's it for now. Help me clear out my front room, people! :) 

Tuesday
Sep032019

Clearing things out...Part 1

**UPDATE: Thanks, all! Everything's spoken for (except for the scanner)!**

So. I've been purging regularly...with a heavy round earlier this year. And now that we're no longer homeschooling, I've got a number of things we're no longer using. Whew. Given time and space constraints and such, I'm just going to list them all here (and in the next post). Please email me (use that "contact me" link up above) with item number(s) you want and we can arrange local pick up. First come, first served. I'll try to update here as things are spoken for. 

(At this point, I'm not wanting to ship things so am really only looking for local folks. If, though, you really, really want something and are willing to cover the shipping cost, contact me and we can talk.)

1. SOLD Professor Noggins Earth Science card game. Like new condition, though it's an older edition. Retails for about $10, asking $2. (Great for earth science review!)

2. SOLD Prime Pak card game. Like new condition. Retails for about $15 (though hard to find), asking $3.

3. SOLD Quick Pix Not Just a Geography Game. Like new condition. Retails for about $10, asking $3.

4. SOLD Box set of 20 Horrible Histories paperback books. The box lid is a little banged up and the books are in like new condition with the exception of some minor corner bending on a few of the books. Set retails for about $50, asking $25. (I found these books fascinating and highly entertaining but my boys weren't as taken with them.)

5. TEACHER BOOK SOLD. Minimus Starting out in Latin set. Includes the Teacher's Resource book, the Pupil's book and the audio CD. New. Altogether retails for about $130, asking $40. (We ended up using a different Latin program so I can't speak to how these are.)

6. Writing & Rhetoric Book 8: Teacher's Edition. Very good condition. Used this but had my son write his answers elsewhere. The cover and first few pages have a slash in the middle for some reason (it came that way but wasn't worth it to me to return it) but it really doesn't affect anything. Retails for $23, asking $3.

7. The Middle School Writing Toolkit. Like new. Retails for about $20, asking $3.

8. SOLD Caught Ya Grammar With a Giggle. Like new. Retails for about $15, asking $3.

9. Wordsmith Craftsman. Very good condition. Used with my boys but had them write in separate notebooks. Have two copies of this...only difference is the color of duct tape I labeled them with on the cover. Retails for $15-20, asking $3/each.

10. SOLD Sentence Composing for Middle School. Like new. Retails for about $24, asking $3.

11. SOLD Learning Language Arts through Literature: Gold Book plus accompanying World Literature Anthology. Good condition. Had my son write his answers in a separate notebook but did circle question numbers in pencil. Together, these retail for about $50, asking $8 for the set.

12. SOLD The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Like new paperback. Retails for $8, asking $1.

13. SOLD The Westing Game. Like new paperback. Retails for about $4, asking $1.

14. SOLD Tales from Shakespeare. Like new paperback. Retails for about $6, asking $1.

15. SOLD How to Read Literature Like a Professor for Kids. Like new paperback. Retails for $7, asking $0.50.

16. SOLD From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler. Like new paperback. Retails for $9, asking $0.50.

17. SOLD Eddie Bauer's History of Flight 15 paper airplane set. I honestly have no idea where this came from and haven't looked at it closely. It looks intact and complete. Yours for $2. 

18. Aristotle Leads the Way student guide. This accompanies Joy Hakim's The Story of Science text. It was a bit too young for my boys by the time I used the text but seems really fun. Like new. Retails for $13, asking $2.

19. SOLD Binder with print outs for Elemental Science: Earth Science & Astronomy for the Logic Stage. It's been a good while but I think this was the ebook edition. Retails for $26, asking $2 (heck, you'd pay that just for the binder, which is in great condition).

20. SOLD The Book of Time timeline spiral bound books (I have three copies). I thought this was a terrific plan but we didn't end up following through. All three books are written in...but very minimally. I've photographed an example page where a boy made an entry. Each book has only a handful of entries. Retail new for $27/each, asking $2/each.

21. SOLD More Word Winks. New. My boys loved these but this was an extra. Retails for $13, asking $1.

22. SOLD History Pockets: Explorers of North America. New. From the days of old when I thought I was going to do more activities, lol. Retails for $14, asking $1.

23. Epson Perfection V500 Office scanner. Gently used. Being sold "as is"...bought this years ago, used it sparingly, and it's been sitting quietly on a desk since then. Asking $35 OBO.

24. TAKEN Set of six plastic drawers. Used and in decent condition (some warping and should be wiped down but I haven't done that because I'm feeling lazy, lol...will wipe them down before you pick them up). Free if you buy anything else and can pick them up.

Okey-dokey. Back in a minute with a post full of math stuff...

Thursday
Aug222019

Year Two

Okay, folks, Noah's back on the CSU campus and ready for year two! He's living in the same dorm group (different building, though). Yesterday, he and I moved him in. Unlike last year, it wasn't all five of us. I went to boot camp, Nathan left for work, and I saw brothers off to school. Then, Noah and I loaded the van.

This was the pile before loading up:

It's really not too much stuff, though I was surprised at how easily it all fit in the van. (And this pile was non-existent just 24 hours before this, lol.) We managed everything in just two trips. First, we took most everything...he checked in and got keys and such...and he and I loaded everything into his room. (Once again, we didn't have the assistance of the many students on hand to help lug stuff. They were there. And I'm sure they'd have been happy to help if I'd flagged them down. But I guess we just looked like we had things covered, because no one offered any help...which turned out fine.)

Between the two of us, we parked at the sidewalk and unloaded from the van to his room in 10 minutes. Yup. Ten. (I know because I started a timer since they told me I could only stay parked there for 30 minutes.) One, I'm definitely stronger this year than last. :) Two, the boy really didn't have that much stuff. Three, SOOOOO thankful that he's on the first floor this year instead of the fourth, lol. 

After reparking the van, we unpacked his room (well, mostly him...I helped with a couple things and then sat while he did stuff) then got lunch. Then he had a quick job interview (fingers crossed!) before we made a Target run and returned home to pick up the fridge and his bike. Took all that back to campus and unloaded, and I managed to make it home again before Asher & Micah got home from school. 

But not before I made him take a picture with me:

Sorry there aren't pictures from his room and all. It wasn't very exciting, lol. It looks pretty much like last year except that the window faces a different direction so the light was different. 

Anyhow. After all that, later that evening, I picked Nathan up from the bus stop, grabbed Asher & Micah from karate and got Noah from campus. We all went to dinner then went back to see Noah's space. (He's been assigned a roommate, btw, but he didn't move in yesterday so we haven't met him.) While we were there, both brothers wanted to leave Noah with a little gift...

Yup, they drew fun faces on his closet door (with dry erase markers, after we got the Sharpie away from Micah, lol) so that he could stand there and see himself with them. :) Sadly, Noah erased them all as we were leaving, lol.

So. Classes start Monday. Officially, he's a junior or senior based on credits but this is still his second year and it will take him four altogether. (If he had a different major, having his Associate degree already would have shaved time off. But, mechanical engineering is set up such that he has to take certain classes in a certain order so it will take all four years still. But, having all the general ed stuff out of the way means that his schedule has more room/flexibility than most of his classmates.) 

Here's to the 2019-2020 school year!