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 Photos

Realizing that I've got a wee backlog of photos to share so will do that now...

These first two were taken almost two weeks ago when Asher & Micah were invited to go on a birthday hike up Horsetooth Rock with a fellow demo team member. I hear the kids had a great time, and (fortunately) the weather cooperated grandly. Three of the dads (including Nathan) ended up hiking along with the group, which is how I have these pictures. :) 

Though we've lived in Fort Collins almost 16 years now, we surprisingly hadn't ever hiked Horsetooth. We'll work on rectifying that (for Noah and me) at some point...


On Wednesday, in preparation for seeing the next Marvel movie ("Infinity War"), the boys and I skipped out on afternoon schoolwork and went to the theater to re-watch "Black Panther." Yay! (There's been lots of speculation in our household about what's going to happen and which characters will die in the coming movie, lol.)

And finally: 

A neighbor recently tipped us off to a family of owls in our neighborhood, so Asher, Micah and I walked over yesterday to check them out. We think this is the mama owl. Our neighbor says there are three babies...one just about ready to fly and two more smaller than that.

That first picture was taken at the start of our walk. These next two were taken on the walk back home.

We're pretty sure the lower owl (on the left there) is the mama still and the one up high (on the right) is the dad (who we've also seen flying about the neighborhood lately). The nest is between the two...almost just below the dad. If you walk around the other side of the tree...

That's dad up on top and the nest below. If you look carefully, you can see the fluff of someone else in the nest.

And that was yesterday's walk. :)


Toothpick Bridges, take 2

So. Once upon a time, we made toothpick bridges (see here and here) and tested them (here). Since it's been seven years, we decided to do them again, lol.

As part of our architecture class, I've been assigning different structures and having the boys research the structure, find more information about examples around the world, and then build them or write papers about them. So far, we've covered cathedrals, columns, castles, domes, towers and now bridges. Some of the structures have been built in Minecraft (and got pretty elaborate), but for bridges we opted for actual construction using toothpicks.

(Noah, technically, hasn't been doing any of this but joined us for our bridge unit.)

I had specifications and rules and such, and the boys each took their own approach to the task. They had to start with the research then had a couple weeks to build. On Sunday, we tested. Here's what we ended up with...the top row is before we tested the bridges and the bottom row is after having tested:

To test them, I had Noah build a testing apparatus:

We added sand to the bucket hanging below the bridge and they were judged based on strength to weight ratio. Since Asher's weighed the most, we started with his and went in order from heaviest to lightest bridges. And in the end, Micah emerged triumphant!

He was pretty pleased and earned himself a shiny Pikachu keychain. ;) (I bought some silly prizes off a clearance rack and let them choose in order...which means Asher ended up with the pretty Elsa hat with attached blond braid, lol. Let's just say that Asher definitely prefers building in Minecraft.)

And thus ends our bridge unit. :) Tunnels are up next...


Over the weekend...

Just checking in to share a few pictures...

On Saturday, Nathan and I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. (It was Nathan's first time and my third.) Despite the snow still on the ground from the day before and the freezing temperatures, we had a pretty good time. We spent the day working together, building a couple of interior walls. The first one was already planned out; we just had to cut the pieces to length and assemble. The second one was a bit more work, as we had to figure out the "plan" and then cut everything and assemble. (We even used geometry, lol!)

See the wall behind us...between us and the stairs? That's the second one we built. Part of it was really straight-forward and easy, but there was also adding a doorway (it'll be a closet under the stairs), and working around that steel beam, and that extra little part at the far right that followed the stairs.

Not too shabby for amateurs who've never done that before. :) For what it's worth, the snow did start to melt by afternoon...which just meant that we were constantly being dripped on from the snow in the upstairs. (Did I mention that not all of the roof is on yet? lol) Still. A good day!

Sunday, then, aside from weekend chores, Noah had his JOAD end of season party...possibly his last. We all ate, and the coach handed out awards and such. Then, as we did last year, the kids and the parents had a shoot off...with everyone using rental recurve bows. 

Because of the number of kids/families, we had to break it into two groups. In the first group, the parents beat the kids. (Woohoo!) In the second group, the kids just narrowly beat out the parents (by five points). Noah and I were in the second group. But the two of us shot pretty evenly and definitely held our own compared to everyone else. :) 

And before we left, I made Noah let me take his picture with his coach:

Look how far he's come since he first started on the JOAD team!

This one was taken back in January of 2012 when Noah was first learning how to shoot his compound bow. Awww!


No fooling

Oy. Haven't posted lately. Here's a bit of catching up...

Since last I posted, we've enjoyed spring break...just a quiet week at home having friends over a couple times, going to friends' houses, watching the high school production of Peter Pan that Deanna brilliantly directed, and dentist appointments for all three boys.

Also, Micah started a five week preteen yoga class through the city rec program. He says it's not as much yoga as he'd expected but seems to enjoy it okay.

And spring break ended with Noah's last JOAD tournament for the season:

Not gonna lie, it wasn't great. ;P Not only did Noah not shoot as well as he'd have liked, but the tournament, itself, was just crazy bad (poorly organized and run). Alas, it's done. :) We'll wrap up the season with the team party in a week. Noah's not decided for sure whether he'll continue to compete next season once he's started college (though he's eligible to keep participating in JOAD for another 2-3 years), so this may have been his last JOAD tournament.

The following week, Micah asked to attend one of the CEC informational meetings and tours...so we did that. It was at least my fifth time doing it...my second time this year alone...but Micah enjoyed it. :) (The plan remains for him not to start there until fall 2019 for high school, but he was impatient to see what's going on.) 

Oh, and remember when I was so excited about being done with orthodontia for boys? Obviously I spoke too soon, lol. After the boys' dentist appointments, Noah and I ended up at an oral surgeon consult because wisdom teeth are needing to be removed. Yay? Maybe this summer...

I also enjoyed time with a couple of good friends (two separate occasions), and Nathan and I continued our weekly date nights. Hooray!!

And, Micah's First Lego League team started meeting informally again...just every other week for a bit to stay warmed up for next season. 

I think that brings us mostly up to today...

Happy Easter, everyone!

We celebrated quietly here with a few goodies for boys:

Instead of baskets this year, I used the day packs I just got for the boys for our Europe trip this summer. They pack down into a pocket and will hopefully work great. :)

And then we did our somewhat traditional egg hunt...where Nathan and I hid eggs all over the house and the boys had to try to find them. We stepped up our hiding spots this year and were entertained by the results. Plus, I saw this on Facebook a week or so ago:

So, I may have had a little fun including foil wrapped grapes in random eggs that were in the egg hunt. :) Noah discovered my joke first and was cool with it. Asher wasn't as happy, as he very much prefers chocolate over grapes, lol. And Micah felt a bit miffed that he somehow managed to only find eggs with actual chocolate in them. ;) 

As another somewhat unintended April Fools' joke, half of the eggs also had salt water taffy in them. And I may have selected "fun" flavors that looked like other (desired) flavors. Let's just say that a number of the taffies have been spit out, lol.

Beyond our goodies and egg hunt, we also went on a family walk to enjoy the brisk sunshine, and Nathan made more honeycomb:

Dude. I LOVE honeycomb and don't know how I went my whole life without knowing about it. :) 

Other than that, we played a number of games and just enjoyed the quiet day together. 

Happy day!


26 years and a day

Yesterday, March 14, was the 26th anniversary of the day Nathan and I met. :) We went out to dinner (just the two of us) on Tuesday but spent most of Wednesday apart, with Nathan at work and me taking boys to the dentist and karate. But. In honor of Pi Day and our anniversary, the boys and I met up with Nathan at Waltzing Kangaroo for some delicious meat pies and dessert.

I was rather hungry so didn't manage to get a picture of the meat pies, lol, but took this one of our desserts:

(two custard tarts, a profiterole, a salted caramel slice and a mini apple pie)

And that's how we celebrated. :) Yummy!