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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One little word

Yikes. It's the last day of January! Guess I'd better share my one little word for the year and get it on the record. :) 

Without further ado...my word for 2018 is BEYOND

Specifically, I want to focus on pushing beyond myself and modeling that to my boys...by volunteering and donating more regularly, by engaging in more random acts of kindness and by exposing myself and my family to more of the world (cultures, perspectives and the like). 

I also want to focus on pushing beyond where we're currently at...by not settling for what's been good enough but instead intentionally seeking better--for myself and in our homeschooling--by pushing beyond our comfort zones. 

(Yes, by the way, I'm aware that 2017's word was push. It still feels relevant. ;) I actually find that most of my past words continue to guide me. Starting back in 2007 (the first year I chose a word), my words have been create, small, be, home, quote, try, build, purpose, lighten, count, push and...now...beyond.)

With all of that in mind, then...here's to 2018!


Touching base...

I'm realizing it's been a couple weeks since I posted anything here. It's mostly been pretty quiet...which has been welcome. Here's some of what's been going on:

- Everyone's back to schoolwork. We're going to be changing some things up starting next month (more on that later), and historically this is about the time of year when I start thinking about what we'll tackle in the next school year. So. Lots of overthinking and indecision here, lol. This week is one of our "off" weeks, so hopefully I can nail things down more before February.

- Related to thinking about what we'll tackle next school year, I recently finished enrolling Asher for CEC (where Noah goes now) for the fall. He still wants to primarily homeschool through high school but has agreed to attend as a part-time sophomore next year and we'll see from there. Our thinking for this has two reasons...1) it would be useful to have Asher take at least some classes there (such as foreign language and chemistry) and potentially earn some free college credits down the road; and 2) CECFC has a sibling preference system where siblings of enrolled students have first crack at enrollment...given that we know Micah wants to attend CEC starting in fall 2019 and that Noah will no longer be a student there next year, having Asher take advantage of Noah's current sibling preference dealio means we'll be able to have Micah take advantage of Asher's enrollment when it's time for him to enroll. Whew.

- Asher's still thoroughly enjoying parkour and appreciates the challenge of working on new skills. (Within the first two weeks, he managed to earn the first two bands in their progressive band system (similar to belts in karate). We noticed on their calendar that they were going to be testing for the second band (which seems to happen about once a quarter??), and Asher already had those skills so was allowed to do a quick individual testing for the first band in time to test with others for the second.)

- All the sectional rearranging is finally done. Let's just say that a leak in the furnace room and the ensuing need to tear up some carpet and pad in the guest room necessitated more shuffling of things and that we'll eventually also be replacing our area rug in the family room. Ah, the joys of home ownership, lol.

Honestly there's not much else exciting going on here right now. :) We're enjoying that First Lego League is over and that Asher and Micah helping with black belt testing is done except for the actual promotion ceremony later this week...both have freed up our schedule and we're thankful. Hope your January is winding up nicely as well!


Ten on Tuesday

Random style...

1. Noah officially starts his final semester of high school today. I'm not sure if that should have an exclamation point or a sad face, lol. Regardless, it'll be good to get him back to having classes. He's been on break since December 12, and five weeks is a bit long.

2. I think we've finally got Asher situated in the right parkour class. He tried a couple of the "obstacle" classes to start but has now switched to the "acro" track and is happier. (He did enjoy the obstacle classes and was great at them, but they didn't offer him the same challenge as the acro classes where he gets to flip and spin, lol.) 

3. If you keep a calendar/planner, do you keep them from year to year? I've been cleaning out my office and have a stack of planners and binders full of planner pages. They're utilitarian, not scrapbooky, and I'm trying to convince myself it's fine to toss/recycle them. The only reason I might need to keep them, I'm thinking, is that they provide a record of our homeschooling. Technically, though, I also keep homeschooling records on the computer...they just aren't day-to-day sorts of records. 

4. We finally ordered a new sectional! Our present one has been pretty much dead for a couple of years. We were going to replace it two Januarys ago before Asher's black belt promotion, but that didn't pan out for various reasons, and then we just didn't get around to it because, honestly, this one is still fairly comfortable--just way ugly. By "dead" I mean that most of the "leather" has peeled completely off...leaving just the bare underlayer and spreading tiny bits of the couch all. over. the. house. Also, a couple of the sectional pieces have been broken for years. ;P In any case, the new one should be delivered tomorrow and is fairly close to what we're replacing...so nothing hugely exciting. (Another part of finally doing this was finally accepting that what we need is simply a replacement that fits most all the same criteria. We'll shelve our actual wish list and preferences for later...when boys are grown.)

5. Relatedly, we're debating whether to keep some of the sections of this old couch for the boys to use in the basement where they play video games and then will have our garbage providers pick up the rest. (FYI, if you're local, yes, your garbage providers will pick them up for a fee.)

6. Now that First Lego League is over, Micah is finding himself with extra time in his week. We're looking for things to help fill that and are going to start with learning some basic French before our trip this summer. Any recommendations for learning tools are welcome! (At this point, we're not really looking for a full course and all the trimmings...just conversational/travel French.)

7. In other homeschooly news, I've also been working on revising Asher's biology plans for the spring semester. We still very much like the biology curriculum we chose and its approach, but he's finding the subject matter for spring too detailed and not compelling to him. (It covers each phylum of the animal kingdom individually for most of the semester.) So, we'll go more broad but use the same approach...I'll just have to write up the questions and quizzes and such. Working on that.

8. Asher will also be switching one of his electives with the change in semester. He's finishing up History of Science and will start an elective on An Introduction to Architecture. Similarly to biology, I'll use that approach (of presenting him with questions that he then needs to research and report back on before being quizzed rather than presenting him with a textbook or specific lesson that's already put together) and just need to finish pulling that all together. For this one, there will also be more hands on projects and the writing of papers. (Last semester, the focus was note-taking so he had to summarize each chapter.)

9. Yes, I know I haven't posted my word of the year yet. I'm working on it. :) 

10. I finally took a first round of senior pictures of Noah over the weekend. We have a couple we really like. We'll be going again when we have more light/time. I have a decent camera and such so we're not bothering with professional portraits...which suits Noah just fine. ;) I remember senior pictures being such a big deal when I was in high school. I suppose it really shouldn't surprise me that they're definitely not a big deal to Noah, lol. 

How's your Tuesday going?


Last week

Between New Year's and this past weekend, then, Nathan's parents came to visit and we had a lovely time together. Highlights...

  • Each boy planned an individual outing with grandparents...Micah took them to paint some pottery, Asher took them to brunch and Noah took them to dinner.
  • We all went together to see Beauty and the Beast at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse (where they serve dinner ahead of time and dessert during the intermission)...which was awesome! Beyond the great show itself, the highlight of the show for the boys and me was when one of the "silly girls" who fawns over Gaston actually came into the crowd and hugged Noah! Plus, I got to clink mugs with one of the other silly girls (who was also our server for the night). 
  • Nathan and I enjoyed a delicious dinner out with John & Nancy, followed by some shopping and gelato.
  • Many, many games were played. :)
  • We took a lovely walk around the neighborhood to enjoy some sunshine.
  • And when the sunshine went away, we headed back to the pottery place altogether to paint some bowls for their Empty Bowls project (where people volunteer to paint bowls for the Food Bank)...

It was such a fun time and a great opportunity to practice with painting some pottery. The boys and I will probably go back and paint something for ourselves at some point. :) (If you're local, you should definitely go...lots of fun! It's called Flutterby.)

And then on Saturday, Nathan had to take John & Nancy back to the airport...

(I made them take a picture, as I realized we hadn't gotten one with Nathan in it during their visit.)

And then everyone had to get back to normal... ;)


Not last week but the week before...

Blarg! Got behind there, didn't I? ;) Here's a quick catching up from the week between Christmas and New Years...

1. Remember how I've been trying to get the boys shirts at Christmas each year (instead of pajamas)? Here were this year's shirts:

Asher's says "My Patronus is a Donut"...Noah's has the Batman equation...and Micah's is a purple dragon.

2. Between Christmas and now, we've been really enjoying our many new games. On New Year's Eve, we learned Ticket To Ride: Europe and had such a good time we almost missed midnight. :) 

3. Speaking of New Year's Eve, that was our 21st anniversary. As usual, we didn't celebrate that specific day. Nathan and I did, though, enjoy a lovely dinner out earlier that week...and neglected to take a single photo. 

4. Once upon a time, I mentioned that we replaced our master bathroom sinks and faucets and promised pictures. Unfortunately, I didn't take a good before picture. Here's one from 2014 (when we were redoing our whole bedroom and bathroom but didn't actually redo the sinks and faucets):

It's a poor picture...but they're beige sinks with ugly chrome faucets. Here's what they look like now:

The sinks are white now and the bronze faucets now finally go with the other fixtures that we changed out back in 2014. Yay!

5. Relatedly, as part of our anniversary stuff, we finally put stuff up on the bathroom wall...

6. And, I can't figure out why it took me so long but I finally started displaying the holiday cards we receive and am thrilled with the results:

And that's some of what happened between Christmas and New Years. Whew.

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