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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Vitamin D

I know it's been quiet here. We've been keeping busy, of course...just quiet. :) I'll catch things up soon.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from yesterday. It was so beautiful outside that I decided my guys and I needed to get out and soak up some sunshine. So, I took them to that sculpture garden Molly and I discovered last month. Micah, in particular, enjoyed having his photo taken with many of the sculptures:

(He liked the animal sculptures best.) The other boys were less thrilled at having their pictures taken but enjoyed the sculptures all the same. We were fascinated by the many different textures and impressed by the talent on display:

And that was yesterday. :)


Science Olympiad Invitational

On Saturday, Asher & Micah and their Science Olympiad team competed in our local Science Olympiad Invitational. They've been studying and practicing with their team since September, and this was basically a practice run with 16 other teams. (Regionals is next (in March), then State is after that (in April) in any events they qualify in.)

Most of the other teams were from local middle schools, some of which have dedicated classes specifically for Science Olympiad. Most of the other teams also had more than a dozen kids on each team, meaning each kid had 2-4 events. Our homeschool team has only 9 kids. Two of them are technically underage (not middle school) and each of those two only have two events. Which means that the rest of our kids each have more like 4-6 events to cover. Half of our team has done this once before (last year). Half is completely new. 

And, recognizing that not all of the Science Olympiad events that will be competed in at Regionals were run on Saturday and that the Invitational is run by team coaches so is not necessarily indicative of how Regionals will go, our team placed SECOND! 

Needless to say, we were a little delighted. :)

Here's a picture of Asher & Micah doing the Optics event. (Each event has 1-3 team members. This is one of two that Asher & Micah do together.) The Optics event is supposed to have two parts...one "lab" portion, where students use mirrors to direct a laser...and one "knowledge" portion, which is basically just a written test. In the picture, they're looking at the lab set up, but the team who was running Optics chose not to do the lab portion of the event. Which was unfortunate, since that was pretty much the only part that my guys had prepared for, lol. (Given the number of events and how the scoring worked, we were working off of the "just showing up earns us points and for some of our events that's what we're going to end up doing" premise.) Amazingly, Asher & Micah took third in this event. Weird. Either they're really good at guessing or some of the limited studying we did actually sank in.

Between events, there was a lot of sitting together at our "base." Here, some of the boys are trying to access the school's wifi, lol. 

And here's 8/9ths of our team:

(We only had a minute between events when they were all in the same place, but at the last minute we lost one, lol.)

We have two 3rd graders, three 6th graders, one 7th grader and three 8th graders. Their mascot is "Steve the Pessimistic Cow" and that's what's on their shirts. (I'll try to take a better picture when they do Regionals.) The kids came up with that on their own, lol. 

In any case, very proud of the team! Now that they have this practice under their belts, we'll be spending February getting ready for Regionals.


Micah's Christmas Gift

For Christmas, Micah gifted the rest of us with a lovely family experience. He wrote us a beautiful letter and explained that he wanted to take us all ice skating and then to dinner. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to do all that...and it was awesome:

None of us are good at ice skating at all. ;) (And it's been a couple years since we've been ice skating.) But we had fun.

It helped, too, that we had the rink pretty much to ourselves. (There was one other group when we got there (very entertaining to watch and I'm pretty sure at least one of them should consider going to the doctor, lol) and a family starting as we were finishing, but mostly we were on our own.)

I particularly enjoyed this picture:

From left to right, that's Noah, Micah, Nathan and Asher. ;) Yeah, the taller boys had some gravity issues and we played with the helper things for a short while, lol. 

And I managed to get all my guys together for another picture:

After all that, Micah took us to dinner and we warmed up. He even made sure we got some dessert. :) (We also appreciated that our timing was great...skating when the rink was mostly empty and the weather was still fairly warm. Snow and wind started on our way home.)

And that was Micah's Christmas gift to us. Love that kid! :)


Word of the year

It's come to my attention that some people missed my post about my word of the year for 2017...it's PUSH. Here's last year's post...last year's word was COUNT. If you just want to read the relevant part of my post about this year's word, here it is (I originally posted this back in November shortly after the election):

To those who are trying to make sense of this all by trying to figure out who is to blame…I understand. When faced with something this big and confusing, it seems natural to want an explanation. I’ve seen many different theories. Perhaps it’s the fault of white, female voters. Relatedly, perhaps it’s actually wealthy white men going back centuries. Perhaps it’s one-sided media and false equivalency and Facebook. Perhaps it’s the neglect of all those living in rural areas. Perhaps it’s the decades of negative PR against Hillary Clinton.

Personally, I think it’s a combination of all these things along with a failing from Hillary’s campaign to adequately address some of these more straight on. Mostly, I think it’s a failure to get outside our personal “bubbles”…a failure to experience different view points and learn that the world is not black and white but, instead, is many shades of grey. To that end, here’s what I’m going to do:

I realize that 2017 hasn’t started yet but I feel compelled to announce my word of the year now. I hadn’t been actively thinking about it, but this is what’s strongly coming through as the right word. That word is PUSH. I want to push myself to expand my bubble and that of my sons. I will do that by challenging myself each week to push myself beyond my comfort zone at least once. Here are some specific ways I will try to do that:

  • I will not unfriend people on Facebook but will continue to use it as an opportunity to see more sides of each story. I will try to offer my view point where appropriate to broaden the discussion.
  • I will do my best not to avoid conflict because I assume I can't change the other person's mind. Doing so is denying them the benefit of the doubt and missing an opportunity to help them see something outside of their own bubble as well as missing the opportunity to learn something outside of my own bubble.
  • I will continue teaching my kids the value of critical thinking and questioning sources.
  • I will do a better job of educating myself on the issues and hold the media to higher standards by not blindly following single sources.
  • I will try to start up actual conversations with people, which is asking a lot of this introvert, lol. 
  • I will work to expose my sons to more cultures.
  • I will support organizations that promote tolerance and inclusion.
  • I will volunteer. As a start, I plan to contact Habitat for Humanity tomorrow (because I've just always wanted to help there but have never taken the next step, not because I necessarily think that's a better place than anywhere else to volunteer).

I invite/challenge you to join me in pushing yourself outside of your bubble in whatever way works best for you.


Bensen Sculpture Garden

Did you know there's a sculpture garden in Loveland? I didn't. But, in looking for somewhere to walk yesterday, Molly and I discovered the Bensen Sculpture Garden and truly enjoyed it. There were so many fabulous works; and, even though it was chilly, the paths were clear and lovely. We walked and talked for about 90 minutes...(we made more than one loop)...

These were just a sampling of the sculptures we liked best. 

And here are some pictures of us posing with the sculptures...

It's always so nice to get together with one of your best friends and just chat...and even get some exercise in while we were at it. Happy. :) 

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