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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Yesterday, (admittedly more than a couple weeks after his actual birthday, lol) Asher had a birthday party. Looking back, it's actually been six years since he's had a party of his own. And, apparently, this may only be the second time he's had a party of his own. ;) 

(Micah and Asher tend to have joint parties or no parties at all. Our birthday policy is that each boy gets to choose either to have a party or get a "bigger" gift from us...so often, we end up with gifts instead of parties. And, given that both boys' birthdays are in July and that both boys tend to want to invite the same people anyhow, their parties...when they choose a party...are generally joint.)

So. Asher was pretty excited. :) He chose to go to Loveland Laser Tag. And after much deliberation, he opted to invite just his karate demo team. They had a blast...more than four hours of laser tag, laser mazes, climbing wall, ropes course, bumper cars, 3D simulator ride thing, arcade, pizza and cookie cake!

A few notes about this picture...

1) Sophia would have stood closer to the boys but was warned that, while Micah might not smell as bad as the teens, he has been known to bite, lol. Yes, this is true. 

2) Sadly, we were missing two demo team members. One had to work and the other's vacation plans changed. 

3) I love this picture and think it does a good job of representing how fabulously this demo team interacts. Half of the boys have been together for four years now. The girls (Sophia and one more who unfortunately couldn't make it yesterday) joined recently but we've known them for a good while. Everyone but two of the boys on the team has or is homeschooled...which, I think, definitely helps them all be at ease with each other despite the range in age (from 10-17, I think).

Yup, happy party...happy boy. Yay!


Status report

Yup. It's been quiet here. I know. :) We've just been hanging out...watching Olympic trials, enjoying the summer, savoring sitting at home. Some specifics (many of which have already been shared over on Facebook but I'll repeat them for the sake of recording it)...

Last weekend, Micah decided to make donuts with his deep fryer:

He added chocolate frosting, too! (Um, these did not last long at all, and I had to go for an extra run the next morning to ease my conscience, lol.) 

He's also made baked Denver omelettes and chicken parmesan in the past week-ish. Serious yum!

Noah's been busy still using his 3D printer...printing custom trays for HeroClix nights (he's been getting requests from other players and has sold a number of them) and working on designing some technical stuff with Nathan.

Nathan, incidentally, released the first launch of his new start up yesterday. It's a slow launch but it's definite progress and we're pretty excited. Nathan's also really happy that he got to sleep more than a few hours last night. ;) 

Asher's keeping busy with gymnastics and karate. And I've decided he's in a weird "in between" stage. He's smack dab in between kid and adult sizes for shirts and shoes. (Argh!! Especially the shoes...why the heck don't more stores carry the top end of the kid sizes and the bottom end of the men's sizes?! So frustrating! I had this with Noah also and no one has corrected it yet, lol. Suppose they'll get it fixed by the time Micah gets there?)

And he's in between reading lists...as in, his reading level is definitely high school or higher but his interests are definitely middle school or lower. (And don't even get me started on how disproportionate reading lists are for teens...sooo many more books geared toward girls than boys!) Many thanks to all those who gave suggestions over on Facebook! I've compiled a list that will hopefully at least get us till Christmas. :) 

As for me...I've just been lying low (laying low? I can never get those right, lol) and enjoying the time with my boys. We've done some reading aloud together and I'm starting to think about and plan for next school year. 

So that's what's been going on here. All good. :)



Happy, happy birthday to my sweet Asher! I greeted him this morning and asked him if he felt fourteen. His response, I kid you not, was "meow." Really. :) 

Here's an "official" birthday photo:

And the now obligatory height comparisons:

And just a sampling of the outtakes when I asked the boy to smile for a photo:

Yup. That's what my Asher is like, folks. :)  

Asher has three different karate things today (and Nathan's working) so we're not really celebrating today. We'll probably do a little something tomorrow. In the meantime, I just need to thank this beautiful second born son of mine...for teaching me (quickly) that every child is different...for challenging me to step outside my comfort zone and change my perspective on a somewhat regular basis...for still happily holding my hand and generously giving me hugs...for not being in any sort of hurry to grow up...for enriching my life with his quirky self. Love this boy!


Saturday: Turret Arch

So, my recap from our road trip is pretty much done. I had some extra pictures from Moab, though. I loved these shots I took at Turret Arch. First up was Asher:

...then Micah...

...then I got Noah to take this pic of me...

...then of Nathan and me together...

Noah opted not to jump and says "thank you very much." ;) 

Random thoughts from our trip...

  • We drove 2296 miles and replaced one car battery. Other than the battery, we were pleased with how well our van managed with the altitude changes and the heat.
  • Noah suggested playing the "no talking" game within minutes of starting our trip. Asher decided to take him up on it and managed to not speak in the van for the first two days. Really. It was pretty impressive...and was assisted by the fact that Micah volunteered to act as Asher's interpreter--relaying things Asher used sign language to convey or used his iPod to type out.
  • We're so glad to be past the infant and toddler stage...so much easier to do this type of trip with older boys. :) Nathan and I nudged each other numerous times, thankful to not be carrying a kid or trying to convince one to eat/drink or chasing one down and trying to instruct him to stay on the trail. 
  • People watching at national parks is entertaining. ;) We saw lots of inappropriate footwear and unprepared folks...along with the over-prepared. Tour buses full of people are particularly fun. (And I'm rather impressed with the bus drivers' skills...negotiating through some of those park roads can't be easy!)
  • Yes, we picked up a new magnet at each of the parks. (We have at least one from each of these parks already but got new ones since it was a new trip.) 
  • Happy to report that we made it through the week without any sunburn. 
  • I'm going to need to get Asher (and maybe Micah) a bigger CamelBak. Having one for each of us, though, continues to be very handy.
  • Our boys really were terrific ages for this trip...old enough to remember this and carry their own stuff and understand the relationship between food and grumpiness and recognize the need to avoid dehydration.
  • Also, not to jinx anything, but they were awesomely fun to spend time with. I truly appreciated how cooperative and happy they each were. So blessed!

I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff. ;) But. That's that for our road trip. Back now to finishing laundry and catching up. I'll leave you with these final two pictures...snapped on our way out of Moab...

They had a new museum there that, under other circumstances, would have been fun to stop at. But. We were all tired and ready to be home...so posing with the dinosaur by the sign had to be sufficient. :)


Saturday: Windows Hike

So. We've been to Moab before. Nathan and I were there before kids and then boys have been there twice, I think (once in March 2010 and once in April 2011). Each time, we've been sure to visit Arches National Park. This time was no different. :) 

Once again, we were up and out early, in our efforts to beat the heat. We made it into Arches and to the Windows area to do the hikes there. First, though, we stopped at Balancing Rock:

Then we hiked to North Window...

...and Turret Arch...

...and South Window. (I have more pictures, especially from Turret Arch. Wait for the next post.)

After that, the younger two hiked with Nathan along the slightly longer primitive trail to meet up with Noah and me at Double Arch:

Asher and Micah had lots of climbing to get out of their systems, apparently. ;) I took advantage of the situation to get another picture with my 15 year old:

...while the others did some more climbing:

And then we headed back to the van. And discovered it was again dead (no lights left on this time). Fortunately, again, a lovely family from Texas was parked next to us and able to help us jump start the van.

We then drove back into Moab to a local auto parts store where Nathan proceeded to instruct boys on how to replace a battery. ;) Whew.

And then we got lunch at the Moab Diner, stopped for gas and snacks at a grocery store, and headed for home. (We'd originally planned to spend longer in Arches and maybe hit Canyonlands again and come home the following day but decided that we were hiked out (particularly with the heat) and that sleeping in our own beds sounded better.) We pulled in around 8:30, had a late dinner, unloaded everything, watched Kung Fu Panda 3 and went to bed. Happy.