We’ve been VERY busy this past week.  Warning: I did not realize how long this post would be.  I’ll be surprised if anyone other than our mothers make it all the way to the end.

Last weekend, CAMPING 3our sweet big boy turned 10!  Double digits!  I’m not quite sure how that happened.   We are still in the process of making connections and building relationships, so I knew we needed to try to have a family celebration for his big day.  I asked him if he wanted a big present or a family outing.  James chose a family outing, more specifically, a camping trip!CAMPING 1  We drove over to Fort Custer State Park the day that our power was out and picked out a good camping site.  It was a surprisingly fun camping trip even if it was a little cold and rained.  It didn’t start to rain until we were all tucked in for the night, so we were able to cook hotdogs and make s’mores.  It was a great time, and we are already looking forward to another camping trip. CAMPING 2 I’m thinking in the spring when it’s “warm” again!  ;-)

I feel like we have finally settled into a good routine for our school work.  We haven’t been starting very early which is what I prefer.  The boys have always enjoyed getting in a little video game time before school.  They enjoy being able to play with their friends from NOLA online too.  Since we now live in the Eastern time zone, that has been more difficult because their friends are just getting online when we are starting school.  I’ve been enjoying an extra hour of sleep in the morning, and they’ve been able to play with their friends.  I figure it’s a win-win for all of us.

James is enjoying his performing arts group.  He didn’t get a speaking part in the production, but I am incredibly proud of him.  He had to sing a solo, dance, and say a line in front of all the other kids for the auditions. (There are about 42 kids in the group ages 8-12.) Considering he has little to no experience in singing solos or dancing, I thought he did great.  He didn’t act nervous even if he was.  This experience is much different from the dramas we have done in the past, so I figured this semester would be a learning experience for him.  I think he’ll be better prepared for the next audition and do even better.

We also added a co-op group to our homeschool line up.  I was already excited about connecting with this group because they go on field trips even without being a part of the co-op classes.  Then I found out that they had an opening for a couple more families.  Thanks to a generous donation to the Milstead Academy from a certain Nana (we’re still on a graduate student budget!), we were able to join.  Our first co-op class is this Friday, and the boys are very excited about it even Jonathan, who originally told me he only wanted me to teach him this year.

We went on our first field trip this past Friday to a local fire station.  It was the most informative fire station field trip we’ve ever been on.  It got a little long for the really small kiddos, but my boys loved it!  FIRE STATIONThey learned about the truck, got a tour of the living quarters, took turns shooting water from the hose, and got an in-depth lesson about the fire suits and oxygen tanks.  After the fire station, we went to a local park to hang out with some of the other families.  That was probably my favorite part because I have truly missed getting to talk to other homeschool moms.  I have prayed for God to help lead us the direction he wanted for us to meet other families, and I feel like this group is the answer to my prayers.  We have another field trip this week as well as our first co-op class, so I’m sure I’ll have more on this next week.

As many of you know, we got two gerbils shortly after we moved to New Orleans.  A childhood friend of mine was looking to get rid of her classroom gerbils at the same time that we were looking for a pet for the boys.  James’ gerbil, Flash, died last year, and it was rough for the boys.  Well, Jonathan’s gerbil, Thomas, finally died this past week.  I say finally because he was an o-l-d gerbil at this point.  THOMAS THE GERBILWe had him for a little over three years, and he had been a classroom gerbil for one year before that.  Not to mention, he had to travel 7 hours to come live with us and recently traveled 16 hours with us to Michigan.  I knew something was going on because he had stopped knocking on his cage in the evenings for a treat.  It was sad, but the boys recovered well and are looking forward to new pets.

Finally, (I told you we had been busy this week! Congratulations on making it this far!) we went to our first Western Michigan football game last night.  Go Broncos!  BOYS AT GAMEThe boys had a good time and made it all the way to the end of the 3rd quarter before we decided to leave.  It was starting to get late, and we needed to get some sleep so we wouldn’t be tired for church.  The boys favorite part of the game was half-time.  They enjoyed watching the band and the fireworks.  I’m hoping we can talk Zach into one more game with us before it gets so cold that even I don’t want to go.

So, who made it all the way to the end?  :-)

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(I feel like I should share that I wore boots to church today without sweating. I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to wear boots in September unless it was in an I-don’t-care-if-I-sweat-to-death-it’s-supposed-to-be-fall kind of way.  I am so excited we get to experience a real fall!)