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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Our slow 4th of July weekend

  Sometimes life just calls us into a slower pace - a time of rest and restoration.  We've been in that place here lately.  Maybe it is summer that has opened the window to a slower life?  I'm not sure what has led us here, but it is good to be in a place of rest for a while.

If you've read any of our blogs or have seen my posts on Instagram, you know that our family likes to explore and go on adventures.  But when the Independence Day weekend rolled around, we just decided to lay low.  (That rest thing again.)



First, on Friday Family night, we did what a good portion of the USA has probably already done...we watched the most recent Star Wars movie.  Our kids have been adamant that they did not want to want to jump on the Jedi train.  But we finally persuaded them to watch the movie.  And at the end of the movie what did we hear?  "You know, that was a pretty good movie."

Um, yeah.  I so wanted to say I told you so.  But I refrained.  We've been trying for months to get the kids on board with us to watch the movie - to just give it a chance.  And it really was a good movie.  I'm glad they finally wanted to watch it with us.

 I also did not take one picture of our family night.  Oops.  But despite the lack of pictures, it was a fun night.  I really love that family night is a part of our weekly routine.

Saturday was normal, not so blog worthy stuff...gymnastics, grocery shopping, decluttering of books and papers in the basement.  I did find this while working:



On the left is our oldest son many years ago, and on the right is our youngest son a few years back.  Is it just me, or do they look alike?  I never realized the resemblance between the two.

And I almost forgot:  our neighbors invited us over for hamburgers on Saturday night, which was a nice break after a day of sorting books and paper.  Again, no pictures of our time with them.  But we have some great neighbors.

After church on Sunday, we headed over to the Littleton Living History Museum.  This museum (which is completely free, by the way) show life during pioneer times complete with animals, a pioneer house, a one room school house, gardens, a blacksmith and an early 1900s home.

David and the kids have visited the museum a few times.  They knew I would love it...and they were right.  It was so cool!  And I only took one picture of the whole trip:



That's from the garden beside the early 1900's home.  I wanted to remember their raised beds in that area.

So I failed at the picture thing again, but my oldest daughter made a little video about our trip that she shared on Youtube.  You can see it here:

Emma's video about visiting the farm.

On Monday, we did things like:  Grilling (of course).  The kids swam in the backyard pool.  And we watched all of the illegal fireworks that the neighbors were shooting.  Yes, fireworks are illegal here in most parts of Colorado, except those set off by the cities.  We decided to not fight the crowds on that one.  But we enjoyed many of our neighbors firing off fireworks.  We just decided to forgo it ourselves!  ;-)



And that concludes our very quiet...well, maybe not so quiet with the fireworks.  But it concludes our very low key, slow Independence Day weekend!



I hope yours was great as well! 


Monday, June 13, 2016

Homeschool year in review {part one} and books I've been reading

Good morning!

I'm not writing here on the journal blog today.  (Unless I get time later...who knows? smile)

But I wanted to share a few things from the other blog:



Last week I shared a few books I read in April and May.  Two of the books listed there are what I would consider life changing.  If you like to talk books, you can check out that post {here}



I'm also sharing our homeschool year in review which will be a multi-part post.  Today's post shared about graduating our oldest, the Options program, and finding a daily schedule that actually worked for us!  If those sounds like topics of interest to you, you can find that post {here}

I'll see you soon with more updates from our family!


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Abby turns ten


There's something special about that first double digit birthday.  It just seems like the new ten year old turns a corner from childhood to becoming a teenager.


Even though Abby's birth was my fourth pregnancy, I remember well when I was pregnant with her.  It was during this time that my brother passed away.  I remember worrying that Abby would be a sad child because I cried all the time.  (Not sure why I thought that, but when you are grieving, things don't always make sense.)



But I could not have been more wrong!  I don't know that there is a child who smiles more, laughs more, or embraces joy more than Abby.

Abby turned ten in April and we celebrated big! 

In our home, the birthday child gets to set the schedule for the day.  So on Abby's birthday we went to an indoor pool.

The whole crew went with us to enjoy some swimming time.




After we got cleaned up, we went out to eat at Cracker Barrel.  It's also a tradition around here that when a young lady turns ten, she can get her ears pierced if she so pleases.  So Abby got her ears pierced and we did some accessory shopping.



Since the birthday child determines the menu for the day, Abby choose ice cream sandwiches for her birthday "cake".



It was a simple but busy day of celebrating our ten year old Abby!



Monday, June 6, 2016

What we did this weekend {June}

Hey y'all!  It's been a while since I updated the blog here.  There's been so much going on here lately!  I just had to let the blog go for a while.  But that means there is a whole lot of catching up to do which means a lot of blog posts! 

So my plan is to share what we did this weekend, and then I will back track a bit and share the big things that have happened over the last month or so. 

However, over on my home blog, I plan to give a "Month of May" catch up post, and then I'll be doing some talking about homeschooling since I have much to share about that...especially now that we've graduated our first homeschool graduate!  I will be sharing more than just homeschooling stuff, but that's one thing I will for sure be talking about this week.  So you can jump on over there if you'd like to see a quick catch up type post and some homeschool talk this week.  (And books and summer planning & activities)

But first things first, let me start with our weekend...



The weekend started on Friday for us.  We spent the whole day running errands and making preparations for Emma's party; so when we arrived at home, the kids asked to have a water balloon fight in the backyard.  I would have thought they'd be too tired for that after running errands all day.  I know I was!  But obviously, they weren't.  I wish I had their energy!



Our oldest daughter, Emma, turned 13 at the beginning of last week, and she really wanted a party with her friends.  We did have a friend party, but we kept things very simple.  Our decor was mainly Dollar Tree beach & luau decorations.  I made a strawberry pie which has been a birthday tradition for Emma's birthday for years. 



For our party fun, we had the girls paint some wooden frames from Michaels.   We also took a few pictures of the girls so that they can put them in their newly painted frames.  Then the girls settled in to watch a little of The Princess Bride before their parents picked them up. 



Like I said, it was a super simple (but fun) party; however, I was so busy that I got very few pictures of the decor and activities.  Oops!

We also had a little birthday party for our family on Emma's actual birthday which I will share in a separate post soon.

Since the cold season and snow kept us from exploring much of Colorado these past few months, we've been itching to get out and do some adventuring.  So on Sunday after church, we ate a quick lunch, packed up snacks & sandwiches for our supper, and headed out to the mountains!

I plan to share more about that trip in a different post, but look at a few of these pictures from our trip into the Rocky Mountains.





 I'll write more about that trip soon.  We explored some very neat things on our trip, and we encountered a lot of Colorado wildlife. This morning, the kids are still talking about the funny little chipmunk we saw.  (However, there are no pictures because that little critter was FAST!)

I hope your weekend was great and your Monday is off to a great start!  I'll see you tomorrow as I share more of what we've been up to lately. 






Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Last weekend of April update {the one with snow, gymnastics, a musical, and sewing}

Hi friends!

It's been a while since I've updated the family blog. Between some health issues I've been dealing with and then a few of the kiddos getting sick themselves, I haven't had much left in me to update the blog. However, we are all on the mend so I'm back at it...still trying to get on a consistent schedule, but back at it, for sure!

 To catch up, here are a few things that we did this last weekend:

Even though our kids are homeschooled, they participate once a week in the Options program.  This program is offered through the public school system here in Colorado for homeschoolers.  Our younger children mainly take enrichment type classes, and our older kids have a mix of academic and elective classes.



Our youngest son has taken music/drama class this year, and on Friday, they shared a musical production of Jack and the Beanstalk.  It was very cute, and we were all impressed with how well the children sang and performed!

That same Friday was also a snowy day here in Colorado.  While most of the country welcomed the month of May with spring like weather, we in CO welcomed May with snow.  That's Colorado for you!



We knocked snow off of the grill and grilled some hamburgers anyway!

Saturday morning was the usual of gymnastics for Abby.  Then we pretty much puttered around the house all day.  I've been wanting to make some cloth napkins to replace the worn out ones we used previously.  I made about three until the thread on my bobbin messed up, and I walked away for a while.  I'll probably share about these napkins on my other blog soon.  They are double sided and super thick.  And very easy to make.



Sunday morning was church with a lot of jokes by everyone about the cold, gloomy, snowy weather on May 1st.  Coloradans aren't surprised by such weather, but we transplants sure are!

That afternoon Abby had a a gymnastics expo.  She is currently on the gymnastics pre-team which is the team getting her ready for the team.  She's doing very well.  Her best events are the floor routine and the bars.



She loves gymnastics and I love being able to see her do her thing.



When we returned home on Sunday, we were tired!  David and I settled in for a viewing of the second Hunger Games.  (So good!  Now we need to see the last two.)  And we all just spent time around the house doing a little this and that.

Life is good here in Colorado.  How about where you are?

Be sure to check in the next few days...we've got a birthday...and a field trip to share!



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Catching up {life lately}

Life has been a little crazy this last week and has kept me away from the blog.  But here's a little of what we've been up to lately:

Our kids participate in Colorado's Options program on Fridays.  The Options program is a program for homeschoolers through the public school system.  It is a pretty cool program and we have really enjoyed being a part of it.
 

This past Friday our two younger children, who are in 2nd and 4th grades, had a science fair.  We did the experiments and made the presentation boards at home.  Then on Friday, David and I were able to be a part of their presentations.  It was their first times doing anything like this, and they both did a really good job.  But they were so nervous!



Abby's science fair project was about bubbles.  Which do you think would fall the ground the fastest...large bubbles or small bubbles?

(The answer is the small bubbles fall to the ground the fastest.)



Evan made a solar oven and we (sort of) made some s'mores in it.  We did his experiment outside on a sunny, warm day; however, I think his oven will yield better results when it is a little hotter here in Colorado.

After their day at Options, we headed over to the mall to see the art work of two of our kids.  All of our children take art classes at Options.  And two of them had their artwork chosen for an art show in the mall.



We had Bryce's collage masterpiece called "Truck Trash" which is very appropriate considering most of this trash came from his truck. 

And Abby's teacher entered her cute, little turtle sculpture. 



Friday nights are usually our family nights around here.  So we ate some pizza and watched a few movies.   These three really wanted to have a camp out in the living room. So...



Then the next morning we awoke to snow which fell all day on Saturday...



and it snowed most of the day on Sunday too.  I'm not sure how many inches we got, but it was somewhere between a foot to a foot & a half.  The little dug out path is what we have to do for our dog once the snow gets too high for him to walk through.  





This Louisiana girl still struggles to get used to snow in April (and May)!  I don't mind the snow during the winter months, but by spring, I am over it!  However, it is Colorado, so we deal with it.  Summer will be worth it!



 We pretty much kept ourselves inside all day long on Saturday except for the kiddos who ran out here and there to play.  I went down to the basement area and did a little crafting and took a super long nap that afternoon.  Snow days make me sleepy like rainy days do!



Monday began another week of school for us.  We're in the home stretch now with only three and a half weeks left. We can do it!

I hope your week is going well and that you're getting to enjoy some nice spring weather in your neck of the woods! 





Thursday, April 14, 2016

{Colorado Adventures} Mt. Falcon

We never really thought we'd live around mountains.  Being born in the deep south with its hot summers and densely thick woods, we always thought we'd be there.  If we could chose another place to live besides the woods and the country, we'd choose the beach.  (I think we like the hot weather!)



But 20 months ago, God led us here to the mountainous region of Colorado.  We actually live on the high plains side of the Denver metro, but the mountains are about a 30 to 45 minute drive away.  Well, the 7,000ish feet above sea level mountains are.  If we want to get to one of the 14ers (14,000+ feet above sea level) we need to drive over an hour.  Those high mountains are worth the drive!

There are things we enjoy about the mountains.  For one, the aspen trees.  That's all I need to say...the aspens.  Man, they are gorgeous.  People laugh about others for driving to see trees.  They say this makes one "old".  Well, I think the aspens would even change the minds of the cynics.  However, the aspens are only truly spectacular in the fall.



A lot of people enjoy going to the mountains for the snow skiing.  For our family, that's not an option.  Skiing is an expensive hobby.  Then multiply that times seven...no thank you.

But we really do enjoy the hiking found here in Colorado.  When the weather is nice, we try to make it somewhere to hike at least once a month.  Even in the middle of the snowy winter, there are some really nice days where we can make a drive to a place to hike.



Recently, we made a drive to a very close mountain in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Mt. Falcon is a little over 7,000 feet above sea level and only about a 30 minute drive from our house.  {Shown above are the Red Rocks which are easily seen from Mt. Falcon.}

Loaded up with snacks and drinks on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we began the trek up the mountain.  Boy, the trip up is tough those first ten minutes as we all adjust to the altitude changes.  But after a few minutes, our bodies get used to the oxygen level differences and our breathing becomes more regular.  (Well, this if for the older ones of us.  Not sure if it affects the little ones this way so much.  But I did take some solace in the fact that even our active 16 year old son was breathing a little heavily at first.)


 The higher we got on Mt. Falcon, the more snow there was.  I could see where snow shoes and some hiking sticks (whatever they are called) would be very useful.  When we started the descent on the snowy path, it became super easy to slip around and slide down.  One of the kids had a stick and they let me use it to keep me from just sliding down the mountain.  (Because I did  lose footing twice and landed in snow!)


 There was a point on the mountain where the wind was so strong as it came through a valley.  You could lean into it and it would hold your body up.  I even got some video of the girls leaning into it.  It was some mighty strong wind.

If you go hiking, you need to take a few things with you.  Water, for sure.  And enough water for everyone and  some energizing snacks.  We had accidentally left our snacks in the van down below, and at some point I really needed a little boost of energy.  One expends a lot of energy hiking at these levels, especially going up hill.  I was kicking myself for leaving those snacks in the van!

Also, be sure to dress in layers.  We always dress for warm and colder weather on the hike. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes.  Some of my kiddos learned that the hard way on this trip.  If they had just listened to Mom.

One of the coolest things about the hike on Mt. Falcon was that we could see the city of Denver from the mountain. 


We want to head back to Mt. Falcon for another hike soon.  But this time we will enter another entrance because there are some ruins of a house that was built before one of the world wars.  It's fun to explore those ruins.

I know as long as we are in Colorado that we will take advantage of the hiking here and soaking in a climate that is very different from what we have known most of our lives. 



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