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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Second & Third Day of School pictures

So. Technically, Noah's classes at Front Range started on Monday. Fortunately, since we spent the day in Wyoming, his actual class schedule was such that he doesn't have classes on Mondays. Therefore, yesterday was his first day...

He made it to his three classes on campus just fine. (He has one online class also but apparently that doesn't start until next Monday.)

Yesterday, also, I started "official" school work with Asher. (I'm still counting Monday as our first day because total solar eclipses are educational and because I subjected them all to listening to me explain how our school year was going to work while we were in Wyoming, lol.) More details soon, but the morning went really well and he's honestly such a diligent student...

This morning, then, I started schoolwork with both Micah and Asher (Micah was gone yesterday morning--more on that later)...and got this when we started geometry...

...but also made them all go outside for some "official" start of school year pictures...

Yeah, they're all barefoot. We aren't actually going anywhere today. (Noah only has classes Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.) 

And I took individual pictures...

We're calling Micah a 7th grader this year.

Asher's starting high school (homeschooling), so is 9th grade.

And my Noah is starting his SENIOR year!

I don't have a kindergarten picture (for comparison, as I'm seeing others do online with their seniors)...because I didn't take first day of school pictures until we started Options. So, here's a picture from August 2008, starting second grade at Options:

Awww. ;)

And now I'm all nostalgic. Sigh. Happy back to school to everyone else, too!

(Will be back with homeschooling plan/details...)


Path of Totality

Yup. We did it. We joined the throngs headed into Wyoming to be in the path of totality for yesterday's total eclipse. :) Given that we're fortunate enough to live just a couple hours from the path, we opted not to stay overnight there but to just get up early and drive. We left home just after 6am...

We made a mental note that perhaps we should have driven through town before getting onto I-25 with the eclipse traffic but stuck it out...averaging about 25-30 mph from home to the Wyoming border. Just inside the border, we stopped at the first rest area as a precaution. I must comment here that it was a bit surreal...all of the women I saw agreed with me. We walked in and there was a long line--for the MEN'S room! No waiting at all for the women's. Weird stuff but lots of happy, if confused, women. :) 

After that, we got back on the road...

(Some boys were maybe more awake than others, lol.) It was a pretty quiet and uneventful drive. We pulled off again at the rest area just north of Wheatland, WY. I wish I would have taken a picture, but you'd really have needed an aerial view to understand the scope of how crowded it was. It took us completely by surprise (you couldn't see it from I-25, so you just got off the exit and were amazed). Apparently, that was one of the first areas within the path of totality and people had decided that was close enough. Cars were everywhere (well past just the parking lot--lining the road on both sides and in fields all around)...the lines for the actual bathrooms at the rest area were out longer than the parking lot (we opted not to stop, obviously)...but everyone seemed happy. We kept going...

Rather than head into Glendo, WY (which was our original plan along with thousands of others), we turned off on some back roads and ended up just SE of town...

It was a pretty nice spot...not crowded at all...quiet...almost in the middle of the path of totality. And, we even had our own hawk family...

We parked around 10am (yes, it took about 4 hours to make a normally 2 hour drive and we were delighted that it was that short) and proceeded to play some games and talk about the upcoming school year and eat an early lunch. We also kept regular tabs on the progress of the eclipse...

Yeah. Some of my crew may have been annoyed by my wanting pictures and decided to ham it up, lol. 

I'm sad we didn't really do much prep for the event...didn't do any of the fun activities I saw people posting online with shadows and Moon Pies and such. But. I did take a picture of our shadows...

...and I got our eclipse glasses weeks and weeks ago. So there's that. :) 

Anyhow, finally the totality was upon us:

And it was lovely. And totally worth the day. 

Again, we're sad we didn't plan ahead to bring better equipment for taking photos (we even have a telescope and DSLR camera and tripods and all that), but we experienced it together and enjoyed it. It got eerily dark...the bugs all suddenly came out...it got cooler...we could see stars. Happy sigh.

After that, we got back on the road fairly quickly. When we finally made it back to I-25, we saw this:

So we decided not to get on the interstate and managed to follow back roads for a good while, getting back on the freeway somewhere south of Wheatland and north of Chugwater, ahead of the bulk of the traffic returning from Glendo and Casper. (Must interject here that Apple Maps really should have a way to distinguish between dirt roads and paved roads and that it would be awesome if they could include exit numbers, at least for the freeways.)

Overall, I'm so impressed by how cooperative and pleasant everyone was and how prepared Wyoming seemed to be. At the Chugwater rest area on the way home, I even noticed that someone had lined the top of the stalls with rolls of toilet paper so that they wouldn't have to keep coming in to restock. ;)

We made it home (after just a few stops) at 5pm. (Yes, the return trip took about an hour longer than getting there.) We feel like we did pretty darn well, as I've been seeing pictures of some of the traffic in Wyoming that we managed to miss.

Pretty awesome way to start our school year... :)


Four on Friday

Gearing up for the new school year around here...given that, here are some of the things (aside from those already mentioned here) that have been happening in the week-ish since we got home from our trip to Washington...

1. Asher & Micah had their annual well checks. They're both dandy. Asher's definitely had a growth spurt this past year and Micah's itching for his to start, lol. Fortunately, no one needed any shots this time around, so I didn't have to sit on Micah. :)

2. We had to do some back to school shopping for shirts and jeans, as apparently Noah and Asher outgrew everything over the summer. I'm totally not even complaining about it, though, because I've been back to school shopping with sisters and know that I get off easy with three boys who pretty much only wear jeans and tee shirts, lol. Also, while shopping, Micah spotted these sweet shoes, misplaced from the girls' department, which I promptly bought for myself:

(They were $5. I'm pretty happy.)

3. Asher & Micah enjoyed time with the Karate West demo team...at New West Fest and at a pool birthday party for one of them. (Continually thankful for how well this particular group of kids works and plays together!)

4. All of us had our annual eye appointments. Nathan and I stayed the same, and all the boys had slight to moderate increases in their prescriptions. For the time being, the younger two want to stick with glasses but may eventually switch to contacts like Noah. After our appointments, the boys and I spotted a Baskin Robbins we hadn't noticed before and decided we needed to stop...

Strangely, we all ended up with pink ice cream or sorbets or milkshakes (strawberry, cherry and watermelon)...yummy!

And that's what's been going on around here. Plus, I've been busily trying to get everything ready for homeschooling the younger two (which includes some last minute changes to my curricula plans, lol) and driving boys to make-up karate classes for those we missed while we were gone.

Next...we'll experience the solar eclipse, start our school year (both homeschooling and Noah's community college classes), have the boys' semi-annual dentist appointments, get Micah to the orthodontist, and watch the younger two perform with the demo team again at this month's Karate West promotions. 

And then it will be September. Oy. ;) 


Ten Years 

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the day my dad died. Most of my family got together last week to celebrate his life and do some remembering. My sister tried to get us all to write down some favorite memories. I didn't do a good job of contributing to that. It was too overwhelming. 

So, Cas, instead, I'll post here ten of my favorite layouts that I've done about dad.

(All but the first one can be clicked on to make it larger...and I've included links to when I originally shared the layout if you want to read more about it. They're in no particular order.)

One of Those Moments

Word Association

What They Remember



Dylan for Dad

Brought to you by the Letter F

24 Hours

Don't Ask

Ten Little Things 

Love you, Dad



It often gets glossed over here due to the busyness of the month but we celebrated Nathan's birthday yesterday. :) It wasn't a big celebration this year...just went out to dinner at Cacciatore...

...ate a fabulous dinner (yum!!!) and then shared four delicious desserts...

They were ridiculously good. Really. ;)

And then we hung out by the firepit just outside...

...until it started raining. So we went home. :)

Also, Nathan ordered himself a hammock for the backyard...after enjoying and admiring the hammock at Cassy & Charlie's last weekend. ;)

Yup. We're exciting like that. 

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