Grandpa and Grandma’s Fall Visit

Most years my parents make the trip out to Colorado during the fall. It started back when I was in high school and we would drive out to see my aunt and uncle for the elk rut. Now it’s been years since we’ve gone to Rocky Mountain National Park for the rut, but we may try another visit there next fall. Micah doesn’t even remember ever doing it!

We sure enjoyed our time with them! We did a lot of normal life stuff – both parties getting work/school done. They even joined us for a day at CC. E and Grandpa went birding most mornings. Micah and Grandma did some more work on sewing projects – I think Micah has about 20 camo rice/sand bags. We spent time with Mel, Joel, and the others. Grandpa and Micah did some work in the yard preparing for winter. We also played a lot of games, made a lot of music, and enjoyed some pretty great meals. One night Mike and my parents made various seafood dishes. Another time Micah made peach cobbler for everyone. My mom made my wreath into a fall wreath, sewed some more Packer napkins, and also made me fall pillow cases! I don’t think I took a picture of the finished product, yet, but will add them when I do.

We had one Sunday all together and had a pretty fun Packer picnic. The following Sunday, after my dad had driven home solo (to get back in time to teach his Sunday School lesson), we went to the Packers/Broncos game. This was the first NFL regular season game the boys had ever attended. (Years ago Aunt Jen and I took them to a Packers/Broncos pre-season game.) We had great seats (two touchdowns scored in our end zone – only one we cared about!) and a wonderful time (but, obviously we were sad about the result).

We snapped this picture before Dad left. We wondered whether E would be taller than them by Christmas or next summer. He’s gaining quickly and we wanted to capture this *maybe* last time that they are taller. =) Micah is growing quickly, too, but we should still have a couple years with him. His hands and feet are about my size, though!

Thanks for always making the trip out to see us! We look forward to it every time and are sad to see you go!

The rest of September

When we got back from our trip to Minnesota for the company picnic, my aunt Sal, Uncle Brad, and Creed were in town! We had them over for a Packer picnic and Creed even got to come inside for a bit. They visited CC for a bit the next day, we had dinner with Aunt Mel, Uncle Joel and their kiddos on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we met up at the Reservoir for some time on the SUP and to see their campsite and camper. We made sure to snap a picture of my new life vest for Grandpa since I purchased it with birthday money from him. We loved having them out for a visit!

The rest of September and early October can be combined into these pictures. The first few feature pictures from school-related things (CC day with some friends; school at the library; homeschool band jam session; and school outside). Ethan was working on making some costumes out of clothes they were given. Then we’ve got some pictures of things the boys do together (piano duets and cooking scrumptious meals!). Lots of walks were taken – some by myself, one with Reggie. And Micah enjoyed the fruits (literally) of his labor. He grew this watermelon from a seed.

And Mike took the boys to their first Colorado Rapids game. Sounds like they had a great time!

Other Updates

The weekend before our first day back in community at CC we went to Long Scraggy for our first overnight. We really enjoy spending time there for church activities, but had never stayed the night with church before. It was sparsely attended this year, but we sure had a good time! I took an amazing nap in the hammock – totally a highlight for me. We also did some hiking and enjoyed our annual worship service in the mountains.

Other photos from the last several weeks: 1) the boys and I enjoyed dinner at friends’ house before they moved away, 2) cleaning up the house next to church, 3) piano lessons started again!, 4) we all participated in our friends’ annual 5k run -this one was taken because folks were commenting on how much taller E is than me these days, 5) our first Packer picnic of the season (woohoo!!) and 6) on Labor Day, we went for a decent hike and then played disc golf. It was pretty hot for these activities, but we enjoyed spending time together.

And, lastly, we just got back from a trip to Minneapolis for Mike’s company picnic. It’s been a long time since we were there and it was nice to get back and to see how much the company has grown! Their office space is SO cool – it used to be the trading floor for grain. It’s simply gorgeous. The boys enjoyed getting to hear their Dad give a brief talk on leadership – mostly he was introducing their principles and introducing other people to talk about them. He did a great job!

And Micah was sweet to go do a little re-do of a picture we snapped while exploring in the tunnels back in 2018 (I think).

First Weeks of School

We’ve already gotten a few weeks under our belt for this school year and it’s been a great start!

Ethan is now 14; he weighs just over 120 lbs and is 5’8″. He is definitely still growing and looks well past my height. He’s in Challenge I this year (which is the equivalent of a Freshman in high school). I’m his director again this year, along with four other really kind, smart students. These are his first day of school pictures – breakfast, outside our home, and at CC.

Micah is 11 years old. He weighs in at a little over 80 lbs and is 4’11”. He is in his final year of Foundations and Essentials and is THRILLED to have some friends his age in there. It’s looking like he will move up to Challenge A next year with a class of at least 4! This is an answer to prayer for us, as back in early August it was looking like he would be solo. These are Micah’s first day of school pictures – breakfast, outside our home, and at CC.

And here are other pictures from our first weeks of school. Micah is using a paper planner for the first time this year and he is loving it! Both boys felt the need to clean their room for a better start. Ethan at CC helping with Latin. My first day of CC pic for the yearbook. Boys reading for fun while eating popcorn (something I want to do regularly this year). Micah leading a science experiment and showing his bro and dad. Ethan and a friend at a jam session at our church.

Early August

The boys participated in a LARPing camp through our Krav Maga studio at the beginning of the month. They were helpers, but they also just got to play. They really enjoyed it and hope to be able to participate again next year. It was nice to see them take on some leadership roles there.

We celebrated my birthday in early August, too. This meant having Santiago’s breakfast burritos – one of my favorites! Auntie Mel came over to make scotchies with Micah for me. He called her earlier in the week to arrange this, knowing that they are some of my favorite treats!

I had a meeting at church while Mike was out of town and one of our friends offered to take the boys to the Wings over the Rockies museum where they participate in a pretty cool program. She sent lots of pictures of the boys. =)

We enjoyed a super fun night out in Boulder to watch Much Ado About Nothing with Mel and Joel and a friend from church. It was a delightfully hilarious play.

E and I play games most days during the summer. We finally took out our new game from Christmas: Trekking through History. Grandma Cleve had purchased Trekking through National Parks for us years and years ago and we loved it so much. So when I saw that there was another game similar to that one, I jumped at it. It’s pretty fun! E keeps track of our games and is basically killing me in everything except Nertz, when played with the two of us. (And trust me, we’ve never been the sort to just let them win…I’m getting a little annoyed at this tracker that continuously shows me my supreme inferiority at game-playing) The three of us play Nertz most afternoons for a bit, too, but that doesn’t get tracked.

After doing a few months of light therapy with Micah to strengthen his eyes (which will allow him to be able to hold his place while reading better), we were encouraged to do a little reading test. We were to sit and read for as long as he could before his eyes were tired or he was too bored to go on. Ideally he would read a chapter book, rather than multiple shorter books. SO, the three of us decided to do this together. We made some homemade buttered popcorn, grabbed some sparkling ice drinks, and found comfy places to read our piles of books. I wanted everyone to have options that morning and to have good suggestions for future reading times. Micah lasted an hour and ten minutes before wanting to do something else – this is a HUGE improvement as previously he only ever wanted to read for about twenty minutes at a time. He chose to read “Kensuke’s Kingdom” and I’ve since seen him reading more of it in his free time. Ethan chose to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and I read “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. It was SO much fun and we plan to do this more regularly. One of the main reasons I love homeschooling is the chance to do a lot of reading (together and separately) and to instill in these boys a love of reading.

After four hours of intense workouts and testing (and a lot of work done prior to that day, too), the boys earned their brown belts last Saturday. Pretty intense. They requested burgers from Bad Daddy’s and we spoiled them with milkshakes, too.

As the school year kicked off again, we had our CC kickoff picnic at our park. We enjoyed lots of ice blocking and a game of kickball, besides just chatting and getting to know the new peeps. The following evening (after our first day of school), we hosted a middle school youth group event at our park for some more ice blocking and kickball. This was the last time our newly turned high schoolers would be joining, and it was fun to play with them. I am happy to report that the parents won again! =)

Up next: first weeks of school pictures (I’ll probably wait to do this until after our first day of CC on Monday).

Canada through Ethan’s Lens

This post is all pictures taken with Ethan’s camera. Clearly there are a few that I took in his stead below. =)

Pictures taken by me with his camera:

And, speaking of E, he was recently sent an email from Audubon:

We’d like to inform you that your photo, selected for the final review of the Female Bird gallery in the 2023 Audubon Photography Awards, did make it to the final round.

You can see the selected images here

We wish you the best of luck in your bird photography and hope you’ll consider entering our contest again in 2024.

Pretty fun! =)

Alberta, Canada!

We spent a week traveling within Alberta, Canada (just north of us here) and saw some of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen. The trip was lovely, other than some sickness that I so generously (frustratingly) shared during it. It consisted of three main parts: Jasper, Banff, and Canmore.

We flew into Calgary, where we stayed for a night. The stampede was going on while we were there, so we walked to the grounds and enjoyed seeing lots of cowboys and girls on the streets.

We took our time making the 4-hour drive up to Jasper. This meant making a few stops along the way. It’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world and I think it would have been, but there was a lot of haze from the nearby forest fires. Thankfully we got to enjoy the views more on our drive back through to Banff and Canmore.

We had a very relaxing stay in Jasper. We loved our accommodations here and enjoyed walking the grounds, going around the lake, and the guys all played on the water a bit, too. We also took an amazing boat tour to Spirit Islands and I can say that this was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. It was stunning.

On our way back down to Banff, we stopped at another gorgeous lake. This was Mike’s 40th birthday so he lovingly accommodated my desire to have him in a special birthday year shirt all day. Banff was lovely, but much busier than Jasper (we expected this). We enjoyed staying right downtown and walking everywhere. We went to see Lake Louise (bucket list item for me!) and also enjoyed a nice hike and a couple quicker walks.

The last place we stayed was Canmore. This city was gorgeous – seeing mountains over the buildings was unreal. We had our best meal of the trip, thanks to a recommendation from our friends from church. We did a hike with my dad up to the most beautiful turquoise lake there.

I’ll do another post (or two) with pictures from my Dad and also from Ethan, but I won’t say more about the trip. Suffice it to say, this was a great trip!

My Parents in Town

My parents drove out to spend some time with us in the middle of July, as they often do. We were thrilled! This year, however, we took a vacation to Canada together during their visit. This post, however, will just show some of the highlights from their time in Colorado. (Sadly, I was sick for a good portion of their visit and I was kind enough to share it with my mom and Mike, too. So, if you notice my swollen eyes…that’s what’s going on).

Projects around the house:

Making music:

Shower for Baby Matt:

Time with extended family, including seeing cousin Matthew in Newsies:

Micah also treated the family to Mo’s Diner and we got in a game: