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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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Sunday
Jul232017

Promotion Day!

Whew. Yesterday was the big day...that we've been working toward since March. Micah officially earned and received his black belt!!

Technically, the belt was earned during the two testing nights so the promotion was an opportunity to show off what the candidates know for family and friends...which means, for Micah at least, it was considerably more fun. :) 

Here are some pictures...(I haven't gotten through all of them yet)...

Throughout the promotion, they ran through a sampling of everything the candidates tested on. This was Micah doing his musical form.

Between things, the demo team also performed. (Here are Asher and Micah doing the universal bo form.)

I don't have pictures (yet) of the forms and combinations and one steps and grab defenses. But here's Asher and Micah sparring. (They did five one minute rounds during the promotion (rotating so that each boy got a break every so often) instead of the six two minute rounds during the testing (without a break). Micah says it was considerably more fun, lol.)

And, at the end, they had simultaneous matches of each candidate spar against his older, black belt sibling...which was quite entertaining:

And, finally, new uniforms and belts were awarded:

Hugging Mrs. Yee:

...and, as he moved down the line of black belts to be congratulated, getting lifted and hugged by Asher:

(I have to interject here that I'm so delighted by the bond these two boys have...such good brothers and true friends!)

A quick family picture:

And a very smiley Micah once we got home (having immediately tried on the pants to go with the rest of the uniform):

Ta da!!

A giant thank you to all who've helped and encouraged along the way!!

(In case you're wondering, we're in no way done with karate. Both Asher & Micah will continue to go on a regular basis...now learning the black belt forms and whatnot and working toward that second degree black belt down the road. So very appreciative of all we have gained and continue to gain through our experience at Karate West!)

Saturday
Jul222017

Thursday and Friday

Blarg. I'm falling behind because things happened quickly. ;P So, I'll try to add this before I need to go finish other stuff for this afternoon (which will get its own blog post).

Thursday night, Micah had his second (final) testing day for black belt. It was the big one...going through all of their one step and grab defenses (Asher got thrown around and punched and kicked a lot, lol) multiple times...and then sparring. The sparring is the part that gets to all black belt candidates. Each candidate must spar 6 two minute rounds consecutively, without breaks. They typically bring in other black belts (and higher degree black belts) to do the sparring. Given the age and size of Micah and one of the other boys testing, there was a need for smaller people, so some high brown belts (just lower than black belt) and brown belts were brought in as well.

When it was Micah's turn (and remember, this is all after an hour of throwing their partners and going through all their other self defense stuff), he ended up sparring a high brown belt, one of the other black belt candidates, and Asher (who's a black belt). (Coincidentally, each of the candidates this time around had at least one older sibling who is already a black belt...and each of them got to spar that sibling, lol. I think Micah actually got the best end of that deal, as he and Asher are such good friends and closer in size than the other sibling sets.)

The fourth round for each candidate was a two-on-one situation, and Micah was up against a black belt and a second degree black belt. Then Micah had another round against a black belt and a final round against a second degree black belt. Whew.

So proud of my boy for surviving! :) In all seriousness, he did a superb job of overcoming his inner little voices of doubt and really getting a handle on self control for this whole testing process. 

Here are all three boys after the testing was finished:

Yeah, a little (incredibly) sweaty. ;) (This is why I buzzed Micah's hair last weekend, lol.)

Normally, after the testing, candidates would have a little over a week to recuperate before the promotion, but circumstances this time around were such that the promotion got moved to today...meaning they only had yesterday (Friday) off. But...Micah had wanted to take the others to Loveland Laser Tag to celebrate being done with testing (which we'd originally planned for next week before one of the family's schedules changed everything) so we did that yesterday. They may not have been moving as quickly as normal, but they had a blast:

(Asher and friend, both in the "back" above were partners during the testing process...the ones who got thrown and punched and kicked and sparred. Plus four of these five are all on demo team together.) I love how much they enjoy spending time together and how truly well behaved they are.

And, after more than four hours doing that, everyone had a couple hours break before they met up again for the 6pm class at karate so that they could find out whether or not they passed the testing. (Again, this is something that wouldn't normally have happened so soon but it was the only class between the testing and the rescheduled promotion.) 

Fortunately, all three passed! Here's Micah after receiving his white stripe (wrapped on his belt to indicate that he's promoting):

Much happiness all around!

After class, my guys (and most of the others in the above picture) stayed another hour and a half for demo team practice, as they had to figure out which routines to do today since they're short two members (who had planned to be back in time for the promotion before the promotion got moved).

And now I must go finish getting ready for the promotion! More soon!!

Wednesday
Jul192017

Here

Still here. ;) Just keeping busy with stuff like...

- Noah building steps for our back patio.

 
(I had Noah take the picture for me since the stairs weren't screwed down and I didn't feel like going out the front and walking around to the back yard.) It's coming right along and will hopefully be done by the end of the month. :)

- Planning the coming school year. Just lots of looking at stuff and hemming and hawing and purging and reorganizing, lol. I'm getting closer... ;) Will definitely be posting more about that in the coming month.

- Micah testing for his black belt. This one's been the main focus of late. He's been training specifically since March, but the last couple weeks have been stepped up a bit...with extra swimming sessions for cardio, finishing up his required essay, and rearranging things on the calendar to fit everything in. (The actual promotion date got moved up due to one of the other families, which has meant shuffling a number of things.)

And then, last night, he had his first night of testing. They split the testing up into two nights. On the first night, they do: 

  • all of their forms (I think 10 forms each with roughly 20-30 steps...they do each of them at least twice and about half of them another time or two or three)
  • all 24 of their combinations (five times each on each side, so 240 repetitions...and each combination involves multiple parts...for instance, one combination is double punch, turn round kick, spin crescent kick, touch round kick, tornado kick, spin hook kick)
  • and an individual weapons or musical form (each boy did a different form, Micah's is a musical form)

It takes a bit. ;) 

(Micah is the one at the far end, with the red stripe down his pants.) All three boys have been doing this together for years, generally promoting at the same time, and are good friends. They all did a truly fantastic job!

They've been instructed to rest today. :) Tomorrow will be the second day of testing...with all of their one-steps, grab defenses and sparring. It'll take longer and be more physically taxing. Fingers crossed! :)

So. That's mostly what we're up to around here.

Tuesday
Jul112017

Types...take two

So, about four years ago, I posted this. A few days ago, Noah and Micah happened upon a personality quiz site and we all ended up taking it. We're kinda geeks like that. :) Given that, I figured I'd share how things changed ever so slightly...

Nathan: was INTP (Architect)...now is INTP-A (The Logician)

Me: was ISTJ (Inspector)...now am ISFJ-A (The Defender)

Noah: was INTJ (Mastermind)...now is INTP-A (The Logician)

Asher: was ISFJ (Protector)...now is ISTJ-A (The Logistician)

Micah: was ENFJ (Teacher)...now is ENFP-T (The Campaigner)

You'll notice that Nathan didn't change...and now Noah and Nathan are the same...and Asher and I switched...and Micah continues to be the only extrovert. :)

For the sake of thoroughness, I also enjoyed the explanations of the categories this time. The main ones were all described as IDENTITY groups...

Introverted vs Extraverted (I or E): This one remains pretty self explanatory. The write up talked about this being the category that determines how we approach the outside world...with extroverts seeking out the external world for stimuli and recharging, while introverts prefer to rely on themselves and are more generally comfortable alone. We all tended to be rather strong as either an introvert or extrovert...not near the middle. 

Intuitive vs Observant (N or S): This one deals with how you see the world and what kind of information you focus on. Those in the Intuitive camp are more interested in ideas and possibilities, while those in the Observant camp focus more on observable things and the present. Here, Nathan and I were a bit stronger along our respective sides of the scale (72%ish) while the boys were all pretty close to the middle.

Thinking vs Feeling (T or F): This one deals with how we make decisions and cope with emotions. Those in the Thinking category seek logic and rational arguments, doing their best to shield their emotions from the outside world. People with the Feeling trait, meanwhile, follow their emotions and would rather cooperate than compete, though they'll fight for what they believe in. In this category, all of us were very close to the middle except for Micah. :)

Judging vs Prospecting (J or P): This one determines how we approach planning and available options...our attitude toward certainty and structure. People with the Judging trait prefer clarity and closure, as if having a mental checklist, and emphasize work ethic and responsibility. Prospecting types are more relaxed and always scanning for opportunities and options, focusing on what makes them happy or interested over what might be expected of them. I scored very strongly in this category, while everyone else was closer to the middle (with Nathan being the furthest from me on the spectrum). 

You'll notice that the test we took most recently had one more letter on the end...an A or a T...Assertive vs Turbulent. This was an extra category dealing with how confident we are in our abilities and decisions. In the description, Assertives are more self-assured and resistant to stress...less likely to spend time dwelling on the past. Turbulent individuals are more self-conscious and emotional...perfectonistic and eager to improve.

Beyond all of that, the test broke down groups with shared traits into four role groups and four strategy groups. 

ROLES: (in a nutshell)

  • Analysts (-NT-): These types embrace rationality and impartiality, being fiercely independent and utilitarian. Nathan and Noah both are analysts. ;) 
  • Diplomats (-NF-): Diplomats focus on empathy and cooperation, often playing the role of harmonizers. Micah is a diplomat.
  • Sentinels (-S-J): Sentinels are cooperative and highly practical, embracing order and willing to take on difficult tasks. Asher and I are sentinels. 
  • Explorers (-S-P): These are the most spontaneous group, being utilitarian and practical and quick to think and react. None of us fell in this category.

STRATEGIES: (again in a nutshell)

  • Confident individualism (I---A): These types prefer doing things alone, believe in personal responsibility and have high self-confidence.
  • People mastery (E---A): These types seek social contact, are confident in their abilities and have good communication skills.
  • Constant improvement (I---T): Constant improvers are quiet, individualistic types who tend to be perfectionistic and to worry about their performance.
  • Social engagement (E---T): This last type tends to be restless, perfectionistic and emotional, placing a lot of importance on other people's opinions and eager to succeed in everything they do.

Micah fell into the last category while all of the rest of us were in the first.

So. That's us. It's pretty spot on. ;) I've read through all of the descriptions and am finding that it's useful insight into these boys of mine...working now on how to incorporate that knowledge into our lives and school year...

Wednesday
Jul052017

Our Fourth

Just some pics from our lovely, low-key Fourth of July yesterday...

We gave the boys a few different choices about how to celebrate. They chose staying home. :) So, we stayed home. Nathan worked to finish building us a corn hole set while the boys and I watched "Independence Day" (of course, lol). We enjoyed hamburgers, watermelon and chips for lunch...played some corn hole...and lit up our fire pit.

Yeah, Asher and I may not have taken it quite as seriously as others, lol. 

For dinner, we roasted hot dogs...then played more corn hole...then made s'mores. Because s'mores. ;) 

We didn't even completely miss the fireworks...as we watched some on tv and also were able to see some that were launched nearby. (We don't know where they were coming from, but they seemed close by. We were able to see them out the upstairs windows.) 

Yup, it was a pretty darn nice day. 

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