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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Friday
May122017

Oops!

Went missing for a bit there, didn't I? We've been busy-ish. ;) I'll try to catch up briefly...

1. At the end of April, I participated in a Women's Self Defense class put on by Karate West. I've actually had some experience with these sorts of tips back as an undergrad (when I was volunteering in low income areas and working at a women's drop in center). But. It was really good to have the refresher and I learned some great pointers!

2. We've seen some movies...this picture was taken after watching the Lego Batman Movie (at the cheap theater, having seen it already when it first came out)...

3. Micah continues to train for his black belt testing. He's swimming 1-2 times a week, doing tabatas 3-4 times (tabatas are timed exercises), going to the weekly training sessions and also adding in the various scheduled checks. I think this picture was taken after the first one-step defense check...one of the ones where each candidate needs a partner to throw around and take down and such. Asher's Micah's partner. He's a good sport about it. :) (I love that all these boys have known each other for years and are getting to test and train together. They're great!)

4. We wrapped up the JOAD season with an ice cream social and then a parent/kid shoot off. ;) Everyone had to use rental bows (or your own if you had a barebow, like mine). I'd like to say I held my own...and I had at least a couple good ends...but Noah obviously was better than me (and Nathan, who switched out with me part way through). (You'd think he competed in barebow at the last tournament or something, lol.)

5. My irises are blooming (thanks in part, probably, to the rain earlier this week)...

6. Asher likes randomly taking selfies on my phone...usually when I'm not looking. Earlier this week, though, I got to be included. :) (And then I played around with it a bit, lol.)

7. We wrapped up our Science Olympiad season, too. We finished up the season strong but wanted to get together as a team just for some fun. The kids had a blast bowling and us moms had so much fun watching them...and their genuine delight when they managed to hit any pins. :) (Let's just say they should stick to science, lol...and, fortunately, they're all good with that.)

8. And last night, we had the honor of helping my good friend Deanna celebrate her graduation with her Masters from CSU. We got to go to the Cording Ceremony for the education department...where each graduate received department cords from a special person (or persons) in his/her life. Deanna had her three kids as her "corders" and we enjoyed hearing all the thanks and appreciation in the room. We're so very proud of all the hard work that's gone into this degree and couldn't be happier for her!

Okay. That's some of my catching up! Will be back with more soon... :) 

Wednesday
Apr262017

Fuzzy

In case you were wondering, Micah recently decided that his hair was simply too hot and troublesome and asked me to give him a buzz cut:

It might not be the most stylish haircut, but he's pretty happy. It's so much cooler (he gets sweaty fairly often and would literally drip all over) and he can't stop rubbing it...because it's so nice and fuzzy. ;) 

Personally, I kind of miss his "peacock feathers" (as he called them) in the back but can definitely see the practicality of the cut. 

Sunday
Apr232017

State JOAD

Remember how last Saturday we spent the day at the Science Olympiad State Tournament? Well, this Saturday, I spent the day at the Colorado JOAD State Tournament (technically, it's the Indoor Rotational Finals, but we all call it the state tournament, as it's the culmination of the JOAD season and was officially called the state tournament up until this year apparently).

Though the first line of shooters showed up at 7am, I arrived at 10 to be on hand for the day to help with scoring and verifying eligibility and winners for a couple different programs that I volunteer to keep stats for throughout the season...which meant (similar to last week) periods of sitting and chatting interspersed with periods of extreme busyness. ;) 

(Meanwhile, Nathan took Asher and Micah to demo team practice then Micah's black belt candidate weapons form check. After they got back home, he met with the sprinkler repair folks to dig up a valve in the backyard to fix one of our sprinkler system zones and also got the lawnmower tuned up for the season.)

Anyhow...there were three lines of shooters throughout the day. Noah's age group was assigned to the last line of the day, scheduled to start shooting at 4pm. Rather than make him sit with me all day there, Nathan graciously drove Noah down around 3:30 (before returning home, himself). Due to a build up of running a bit behind, Noah's line didn't start shooting until 5:20...and we finally left there at 9:30...getting home (after stopping briefly for food) around 11pm.

Here's a bit less than half of the shooters during Noah's time:

Noah's third-ish from the far end...in the bright blue jersey. You can probably tell that the groups assigned to this line were the older kids...which was truly a pleasure to watch. These kids have been doing this for years and just plain enjoy what they're doing and the people they're doing it with (for the most part). Also, after having watched the younger kids (who admittedly are cuter and more enthusiastic), it was just so nice to watch people who knew how to do their math, lol. (Don't get me started on the state of math in the United States these days...)

And. As I've mentioned before, Noah switched from shooting compound bow (which he's been competing in since we started JOAD back in January of 2012) to barebow for this tournament. The overall scores were lower but the change of pace was more than welcome.

And...he took home FIRST PLACE from the state tournament!

And even let me take his picture. :)

And, in the process, he also managed to set TWO NEW STATE RECORDS in the Junior Barebow Male division (both for a single round score and for the combined score--they shoot two rounds at each tournament).

Whew. 

Thus concluded our 2016-2017 JOAD season. :) We'll have a team wrap up/get together soon and then will be done until fall. Woohoo! 

Tuesday
Apr182017

Ten on Tuesday

Realizing I'm rather behind on keeping a record here. So, here are ten things going on here lately...

1. Since getting his license and becoming all official, Noah's been driving himself to class and to archery practice. It's lovely not having to take him. But I also kind of miss the time in the car with him. :(

2. I've made up for that recently with college campus visits. ;) He and I drove up to Laramie to visit the University of Wyoming last week (it's about 1 hour 20 minutes away):

It was a good visit and we learned lots of valuable information and appreciate the dedicated attention given. He could definitely see himself there. 

Two days later we were at the Colorado School of Mines for the Science Olympiad thing. We didn't do an organized tour/visit but did walk around the campus to get a feel for it.

Then, yesterday, we attended the CSU Honors Visit Day:

Given the event, it was less personal than the University of Wyoming visit but still full of useful information. (Plus, they fed us during this one, given that we were there over the lunch hour, lol.) CSU is also definitely a top pick at this point.

Oy. I'm getting tired already just thinking about all the application and scholarship paperwork in the coming months!

3. Relatedly, Noah also took the SATs and the required school science testing for juniors recently. He's anxiously awaiting results and hoping that the two ACTs, two PSATs and two SAT subject tests that he's taken in the past year paid off in terms of practice. (He feels like they did.)

4. Also not long ago, Asher and Micah and I went to see Anne of Avonlea at the Rialto Theater in Loveland. It was put on by a homeschool theater group, and one of the boys' friends was in it. Given the personal connection, they actually enjoyed it more than anticipated, and I thought it was very well done.

5. Nathan's work continues to be somewhat all consuming. They're a bit short staffed and pressed for time...which means Nathan's been working very long hours. It also means he's not been as available to us...and that he may have mentioned to them that perhaps they should send me flowers:

I appreciate the gesture and the recognition of the extra time and support I've been putting in. But I'd rather just have more time with my husband. ;)

6. Last week, we also had the pleasure of attending a friend's art show. This was one of our favorite pieces:

We were impressed by the diversity of work showcased and happy to have been able to share in the experience.

7. Both Noah and Micah have now been registered for fall classes (Noah at Front Range Community College again and Micah at Options). Noah's looking at calculus based physics, microeconomics, interpersonal communications and differential equations. (That last one is still a little up in the air...as it's an online course. We've been talking with colleges about whether they'd prefer to see an online course like that in his senior year or simply a year with no math classes and have gotten mixed responses. FRCC, though, is out of in person math classes for the boy unless we have him drive down to Denver.)

Micah will find out which Options classes he got in June, though we generally only use those for enrichment so aren't too worried about it.

And Asher will be strictly homeschooling with me, so I'll be finalizing his schedule over the summer.

8. I need to go get a new passport this week. I don't have any travel plans, sadly, but feel the need to update my identification since I don't have a birth certificate (being adopted from Korea) and most of my "official" documents all have different names on them, lol. (My parents changed my middle name when I was little and also I've gotten married.) Unfortunately, my old passport has been expired for too many years (it still has my maiden name on it) so the process requires a new passport. Bleh.

9. During our annual egg hunt on Sunday, I may have tried to sneak some life lessons in, lol. We had a very quiet Easter here at home (particularly given our very full Saturday, we didn't do much this year) but still hid 72 eggs around the house. Over the years, the hiding spots have become more difficult. This year, many of the hiding spots required boys to actually lift-things-up-and-look-under-them. LOL. Unsurprisingly, those were the last ones found. ;)

10. Amid all of that, these past couple of weeks have also been full with the normal karate, gymnastics, archery and school stuff...additional appointments for boys (like the orthodontist)...getting the sprinkler system turned back on for the season and having some repairs made...black belt testing stuff (the scheduled training sessions, check points, additional work for learning a different weapons form, and the added cardio and strength training)...updating and prepping the Colorado state JOAD statistics (I volunteer to track these for the season for the state as well as our local team...have had some corrections come in at the last minute that need updating before the state tournament this Saturday)...and continuing to attend and enjoy my City Works classes weekly. 

Have I mentioned that I'm really looking forward to May? :) (when most schoolwork, Science Olympiad, archery and City Works will be done...)

Monday
Apr172017

Science Olympiad State Tournament

I'll ask you first to go revisit this post about Regionals. (It explains a lot about how things work.)

Got it? Okay, good. So. Saturday was the State Tournament in Golden on the campus of Colorado School of Mines. We left the house about 5:45 in the morning and drove down, found a place to park and then found our team. We managed to snag an open classroom in one of the buildings to use as a home base (all of the teams had been given a list ahead of time of available places, but it was first come, first served and many teams ended up in hallways or lobbies instead of classrooms). We very much appreciated the quiet of our spot!

The competition day got off to a slightly rocky start with missing kids and miscommunications from the event coordinators and difficulty in finding event rooms. But. Between all of our parents, we were able to sort it all out and get our nine to their respective events. (Fortunately, too, Noah came with us--to get a look around the School of Mines campus--and was needed at times to hold down our home base while the rest of us ran kids to events.)

The day proceeded with lots of running kids between buildings and making sure everyone had the supplies they were supposed to have for each event. And we made it to all 23 events and the kids competed their hearts out. In between all that, we even managed to feed most of them, lol. 

After events were over, we reconvened in our classroom to await the results. Kids played some Hangman...

...and ran back and forth to the gym (a couple blocks away) to check as they started posting some of the results. (Asher thought this was great fun. The other kids were a bit more winded, lol. Did I mention that the School of Mines campus is a bit hilly?)

After all that, the teams finally met up in the gym for the awards. There were 36 teams that qualified for the State Tournament in our middle school division. There were also 27 high school teams competing. (Events were all run throughout the day but divisions were in different rooms. So, we're talking about probably about 800 students altogether, given that most teams had 15 students.) It was a lot of people...

(Our kids are the ones on the floor in the blue shirts.)

They started with individual medals for each of the events. Middle schoolers have 23 events. Each of our nine kids earned at least one medal! Three of them earned three each! Seriously. This is so impressive. We medaled in eight of the events. Only the first place team medaled in more events than that. And...in our events, our kids improved or maintained their placing (from how they placed at Regionals) in 12 of the events! Considering the tougher competition level, I think that's pretty darn awesome.

And after all that, they announced the top six teams in each division. And we came in FIFTH!

(Yes. It was rather tricky to get all nine kids to look the same direction when multiple parents had cameras out, lol.) 

Woohoo! So very proud of these kids...the time, the practice, and the effort...that they each put in. Plus, they just genuinely enjoyed and supported each other, and it was lovely to watch.

And then we all headed home. We stopped for dinner in Denver and finally made it home 15 hours from when we left that morning. Whew. :)

Asher and Micah were pretty darn happy with how the season wrapped up. Each of them improved their placing in ALL of their events, and each of them earned a first, a second and a third. The first and third place finishes were shared...they took third in Dynamic Planet (up from 8th at Regionals) and first in Optics (up from 21st at Regionals). (Remember that each event generally had two students from each team competing. For these events, Asher and Micah were the two from our team.) Micah then also earned second in Food Science (his favorite event), and Asher earned second in Wright Stuff (after hours of work with Nathan and his teammate to tweak their plane after Regionals). (In case you're wondering, then, yes, all of these medals were in events that they did not medal in at Regionals...events that they actually did work to improve after Regionals.)

It was good. Whew. :)