Home again, Home again!

We flew back home on New Year’s Eve.

We had some friends stay in our home while we were gone and were blessed with sweet notes and lots of treats.  Micah stayed up with Mike and I to ring in the New Year.  Ethan stayed up for a while, but was ready to turn in by 10:30 (he was still living on WI time, so he almost made it!).

Getting back home meant getting back into our rhythms.  We started praying for specific people at dinner and then talking about a question (both the name of a person and a question to ask is on these popsicle sticks).  Ethan got back to his piano as soon as he woke up.  We took down Christmas decorations, started reading some books together, played our new game, and spent some time outside.

We also got back into the swing of things for school and CC.

Mike and his co-worker/buddy took the boys to Casa Bonita for their first time.  The food was not impressive, as you might guess, but they had a good time watching the entertainment.

And we’ve had two Packer picnics.  One ended with a victory; the other with defeat.  The boys watched both games all the way through, which is something new for them. What a fun season!

Christmas in Wisconsin

The last bit of our trip was spent at my parents’ house with my siblings, their spouses, and their kiddos.  We had a great time!

Over those days and nights together, we cooked and ate a lot of yummy food, went out for dinner, and celebrated Lauren’s birthday with some cake:

Opened a few presents and played with legos:

Played a lot of games:

Read a lot of books:

Had general fun all together, including art projects, playing in the snow, learning about heaven with Grandma, watching the Packers game, playing piano, and taking little cat naps:

And, of course, took some group shots, including the annual picture of cousins.  This year they were all wearing shirts based on books.

It was wonderful. =D

 

 

Christmas in Chicago

We wanted to take the boys down to Chicago for a day since we hadn’t done that as a family.  It was uncharacteristically warm the day we went and it was absolutely lovely.  It’s such a cool city!  We were all glad we snuck away for the day and night – enjoyed yummy food, sight-seeing (Micah and Mike went to the top of the Sears – yes, in my head it’s still called that – tower), and playing color tag in the park.

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Mikey and I went to the top of the Sears Tower back in our dating days in 2003.  Such little babies we were! =D

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Christmas Week in Wisconsin

After our long weekend in Michigan (Monday), we headed back to Wisconsin for a quieter week with my parents. (By Friday, the whole family spent the remainder of our time together – that will be in a separate post)

On Monday night, we all decorated cookies.

We celebrated Christmas Eve with another Shepherd’s Meal outside by the fire.

On Christmas morning, Ethan played the prelude at church with Grandma and then played the postlude solo.  Then we had a yummy lunch with Brad and Sal.  The Misner crew surprised us with an earlier arrival that day, so we were excited to spend the day with them, too!  We decorated even more cookies with Aunt Sal.  These ones were very tasty.  =)

Other activities from that week included playing games, playing with Uncle Ger’s game pieces, and practicing piano.

^ Uncle David sent some awesome Legos to my parents house for Christmas, which also kept the boys very busy all week! ^

Christmas in Michigan

We flew to Wisconsin, rather than driving, this year.  The boys and I weren’t thrilled about it, as we cherish road trips, audiobooks, and we especially love getting to stop in to see Grandpa Russ on our way home.  On the day of our flight, my mom asked if we had left for the airport yet and this was my response from our uber:

Micah was my seat partner on the plane.  We spent some time listening to our separate audiobooks, but mostly talked and looked out the window.

We landed just in time to get to see Ivan’s Christmas program!  SO thankful we were there in time.  It was precious!

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The following day (well, it ended up being night due to drama with our rental car), we drove to Michigan to spend the weekend with our extended family.

Michigan was filled with enjoying time with our family at the retreat cabins.  It’s such a fun spot and allows for games, sports, hikes, good conversations and lots of yummy food.  I count on my Dad to capture our time together, so I didn’t take a lot of pictures.  But here’s what I took:

That picture of a bunch of people was from a hike I went on and we were laughing so hard about the “views”.  Let’s just say this hike was done for the company, not the views.  More pictures to come from my Dad’s camera.  Those will be much better. =D

December

Here are some more things that happened throughout December, besides the big trip to see family in the midwest.

Mikey and I went to a Hanson Wintery Mix concert and it was awesome! =D

The boys and I worked at our church’s Global Bazaar selling Jennie’s products again.  Hard to imagine that 8 years ago I was helping Jennie set up while having contractions with Micah!  Time flies.  The boys were big helps!

Ethan played a prelude in church.

We went to the Museum of Nature and Science for a field trip with a bunch of our CC buddies.  I was struck by how much growth we’ve seen in the boys’ lives while there.  Micah roamed exhibits with his friends, never once asking where I would be or even looking around to find me.  It brought me to tears to think of how much the Lord has healed his little heart.

Random pictures from around our home:

And pictures from the evening we opened our gifts as a family.  Each boy got a camera and a couple books, as well as some gifts from the Global Bazaar from each other.  Ethan bought a gift for Mike and Micah bought a gift for me.  Mikey and I also exchanged a couple gifts…and Mike wrapped them in style…which meant I was very confused about what on earth I was actually receiving from him. =D I always use a code when putting gifts under the tree, so that first picture is of my guys trying to figure out who each present is for based on my code. =)

Next up: traveling for the holidays!