Other Updates

Thought I would do a quick post on other things that have been happening since my folks left and Ethan became a teenager.

E played piano both in church and at Long Scraggy in the weeks that followed my parents’ visit. Long Scraggy came first. I didn’t take any pictures during the service, of course, but I have a few of Micah afterwards as we enjoyed the area. These were his first times playing along with a band for anything other than a couple jam sessions with folks from church. He did a great job for both. Mikey snapped a picture of E after the service when they were playing the final song as people left/chatted. You could also find it on YouTube here.

Mike and Micah have been doing a lot of workouts together. They seems to have a great time and often take pics to send to Mike’s online fitness instructor.

Other happenings include playing games as a fam, doing castle research, enjoying our home-grown strawberries, and going birding at Bluff Lake while Micah plays at a friend’s house.

Ethan becomes a teenager

As we often (but not always, as you’ll see below) do, we snapped a mama-and-me picture of Ethan’s final night as a twelve-year-old. I thought it might be fun to show each year leading up to this one. These start in 2009 and lead up to the present year.

Much of Ethan’s birthday wishes involved outdoor things (birding) and good food. We had a mostly rainy day that day, so we ended up doing a lot of ping pong in the garage. Later in the afternoon Ethan and I biked over to the pond for some birding and basketball.

Ethan was incredibly grateful for all of the calls, cards, videos and gifts that were showered upon him. Our highlight was watching his grateful and overwhelmed face when he opened his gift from us – a new camera. Lots of tears were shed, by more than just me.

This guy is incredibly sweet and intelligent. He’s got a passion for birds and photography. He also seems to love learning new things (particularly about places in the world), playing outside, and doing Krav Maga. We’re really proud of the young man he already is and who he is becoming. It’s been a gift to have the opportunity to raise him.

Goodbye, Grandpa and Grandma

Our final day with Grandpa and Grandma was filled with projects like painting our dining room table (something I’ve wanted to do since I messed it up the first time I did it 6 years ago) and painting our front door. I’m incredibly happy with how things turned out! (I ended up painting my bench to match, too, after they left)

Other final day happenings included some piano playing and eating dinner on the deck. Micah also wanted to try to convince them to stay longer by making a really good breakfast on the morning they were planning to leave. It didn’t work, but we did enjoy the waffles. =)

And, because there isn’t a better place to include this, Ethan and I enjoyed some quality gaming and birding time together while Micah was gone with grandparents. We played about 15 games that day (he loves when I take pictures of him) and kept track of who was winning and by how much. Later we went for a bike ride to Cherry Creek to see some birds.

Thanks for coming out for another great visit, Mom and Dad. We sure love when you do!!

Micah’s 10 Year Trip

A few years ago my parents came up with an idea to take each of their grandchildren on a special trip when they are 10 years old. Each grandchild will have the chance to come up with their dream trip. (Ethan chose Philadelphia). Micah chose to stay a lot closer to home by exploring castles in Colorado. He knew that they wouldn’t be like the medieval castles in Europe, but he was pretty excited to get to see them. He was a little more apprehensive about this trip and made a couple calls to check in with us over his time, but overall he had a wonderful time and he was SO thankful for the opportunity.

Hopefully I can do another post sometime with the pictures he took (which were many!), but this is what we got from Grandpa. They visited three castles together, including staying on the grounds at Glen Eyrie. His favorite castle was Bishop castle – a very unique spot!

Miramont Castle was probably the least exciting to Micah, although he enjoyed dressing up like a firefighter.

And lastly, here’s Glen Eyrie, where they did a guided tour of the castle, did a scavenger hunt, and saw wild turkeys (among other things):

When he returned home after his night away, we enjoyed hearing all about it and seeing all of his pictures. He got a big kick out of two tourists at Glen Eyrie who were taking lots of selfies. He laughed so much telling us about it and then wanted to take some of his own (thus the pictures that follow).

The following night E and I got to join the three of them on one final stop at a “castle” in North Denver. We arrived at sunset and enjoyed walking around the grounds outside.

We are SO thankful that the boys have opportunities like this one with people they love.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking Micah on this trip!

Grandpa and Grandma in town

The following day, my parents drove into town to spend the next *almost* two weeks with us. Mike traveled to Minnesota twice during that time, but we all got to spend some time together over their trip. Additionally, Micah went on his 10-year-old-adventure-trip while they were here (more on that in the next post). They experienced some typical Colorado weather – we had 82 degrees on one day and then got about 6 inches of snow. We enjoyed spending time together, E and Grandpa (primarily – although I think Micah may have ventured out once and I did as well) did a lot of birding, and we did various projects around the house (including planting a tree from my neighbor, painting the laundry room, my dining room table again, and the front door!) We ate lots of yummy food, including having Mel and Joel over for dinner once and my parents making us fish reubens.

Pictures below feature getting a tree from our neighbor, art time, reading, and playing LEGO.

Most days included some amount of computer time to edit pictures:

We played a few games, enjoyed tasty meals (indoors and outdoors), and got out for walks:

We experienced a big snow storm which took down lots of branches. Some people enjoyed this more than others. And the following day required quite a bit of clean up.

We also had a little phData fashion show. Mikey brought home many shirts for us, including one sweater which would be promptly returned.

I got hives after my retreat and dealt with them while my folks were here. I’m thinking they were a result of lots of hiking in tighter clothes in the sunshine and heat, but it’s hard to say anything for sure. They were miserable, but I was thankful to have the distraction of my parents around so I wouldn’t dwell on them too much. This meant I preferred to keep things pretty low key. We were able to do the boys’ final piano lesson online (followed by playing with Grandma – Ethan was getting ready for playing at Long Scraggy – our church camp in the mountains – and Micah enjoyed learning Heart and Soul – see video here) and had Krav Maga in the park that week.

Coming up next: Micah goes on a castle adventure in Colorado with his grandparents to celebrate being 10!

Mama Retreat / Guys Weekend at Home

My dear friend, Amy, and I have been going on weekend getaways for the past 6 years now. Usually we sneak away twice a year. It’s a time of refreshment and lots of hiking, praying, and reflecting on the year past and the year to come. It’s also a time of much laughter. We cherish this time together. We held off during the height of COVID and finally got away this month for our typical retreat (you may recall that we did an all day hiking trip once in there, too, and nearly got killed by a rattlesnake). Amy drove us down to Glen Eyrie where we spent a lovely weekend away together. We discovered a new hike on Saturday night – yes, it got a little late and nerve-wracking – which we completed the following morning. Gorgeous!

Meanwhile, closer to home, the guys had a fun weekend together. The boys had their end of the year recital in the backyard. Sweet Auntie Mel went in my stead and Mike captured it on video. But be warned, these videos should not be watched if you need to go to the bathroom. =D Ethan was very excited to get to go first when another kiddo didn’t show up. He wanted to be done with the pressure as soon as possible. Here’s his video. =) Micah was happy to play his two songs right after him. I love that Ms. Leila picked up on Micah’s vocabulary, because it definitely IS one of his strengths. Micah’s first and second song. Based on Mike’s pictures, it appears they also did a workout together and had some yummy food. After church on Sunday I heard that Ethan had a jam session with friends/adults at our church while the two Ms headed to a Farmers Market up the street from church (or maybe they got special drinks…I’m not sure which actually happened).

SO thankful for a hubby who prioritizes my time away and makes the experience fun and carefree for everyone. It’s a gift. =)

Occasionally both boys ask to do a little birding excursion. This day was particularly fun for them as they did some birding together while I took a walk nearby. We set a meet up time and they honored it wonderfully.

I snapped this one while Micah was preparing for his Faces and Places presentation. He just looked so old! And then here’s some pictures of him actually doing it in the park at our end of the year party. And here’s our little Foundations class from this year. Such a sweet group of kids!

The following day was Mother’s Day. We enjoyed a beautiful worship service, had bagel breakfast sandwiches on the deck, and then headed out for a new hike. That evening we played some basketball at a nearby park and ordered some take out for dinner. It was a great day!