Tea Time

My dear friend, Amy, and I had the opportunity to go to Glen Eyrie for a post-Christmas tea and it was simply lovely.  She and I got down there early enough to go for a hike around the premises…

and then changed into our dresses (and the hats they allow you to wear!) for our tea.

It was a wonderful tiny retreat after our weeks of travel and truly refreshed my spirit immensely.  SO thankful for this woman and for these fun opportunities.

Home again!

One of the things I most enjoy about being home again after such a long, fun vacation is just getting into our routine.  Routine and rhythm do my soul good and I love getting back into it again.  Part of our rhythm is me making oatmeal (or some other breakfast) in the morning.  Another part is updating our calendar (it was so fun to see all the days not crossed off and to start a fresh new month).  The boys enjoy routine, too.  Part of their rhythm is playing piano and doing art projects – they were eager to get back into it!  Micah also enjoys making snacks for everybody and Ethan enjoys writing his own music.  Another thing we so enjoy is getting back to our church.  This particular Sunday we were talking about “Ebenezers” – you may remember my post about this recently – and Micah wanted to put up a stone representing how much he’s grown in his courage, thanks to the Lord. =)

The biggest part of our routine and daily rhythm is, of course, homeschool.  We eased our way back into this, since it’s a hard transition for the boys.  I think they enjoyed getting back into it, too!  We also started something new – essentially we have a goal to fill up the jar with the bow on it by doing good things such as putting away dishes or books, going to bed without a fuss, responding when they have been spoken to, finishing an assignment without complaining, etc., etc..  They can also lose beads for negative behavior or attitudes.  Anyway, it’s been a fun system and the boys seem very motivated by it!  It’s a whole lotta work to be consistent with it, but it’s been an easy and calm way to keep us all on track. =)

Part of our homeschool rhythm is going to Classical Conversations.  The boys were mostly excited to get back.  We are doing a new unit in Fine Arts – studying great artists!  I love this unit because it means creative and beautiful artwork!  Both boys did presentations on our recent travels and their highlights.

Being home again also means the boys are back to playing legos, dressing up with Daddio for battle, and going for bike rides with Mom.

It also means I am back to trying new recipes.  We got the new Nom Nom cookbook and I made my first ever egg drop soup.  Everyone loved it! Yay for a new recipe!

We also took down Christmas decorations and put up some new every day “art”:

It’s good to be back in our home and doing the things that make us settle into being at home again!

Sixth Stop: Missouri

Our final destination of Christmas 2017 was Missouri.  We always look forward to spending some time with Grandpa Russ on our way back home.  We spent a few days together there, spending much of the time playing games, playing with the dogs and playing darts.  Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures, but I did catch a couple of each of our favorite pastimes with Grandpa Russ. =)

Thank you for hosting us again!  We sure love our time with you and Duke and Calvin! =)

Here are some shots of the guys on the final leg of our trip back home:

p.s. Mikey wasn’t actually angry.  He doesn’t believe me that his confused look often looks angry. ;D

Celebrating with Cass and Adam

Every year we go back to Wisconsin for Christmas we make sure to find time to spend with Cass and Adam and their family.  We usually do something with the whole family during the day and then we go on a double date that evening.  This year, the only shift in that plan was that Mike ended up being swamped with work and needed to opt out of the day date.  So, I took the boys to their home and we enjoyed a few hours of playing and eating dinner together.

The kids have a lovely friendship.  They played and played as if this was something they do all the time.  There was very little hesitancy this time around and it was such a treat for us to see their home and to play with their toys.

Later that evening, Mike joined us (after we got the kiddos in bed) and we enjoyed our annual double date.  This was our third year in a row going to the same restaurant/bar – why mess with something so fun??  We SO enjoy their company!

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Thanks for maintaining such a great friendship over the years, guys!  We are blessed by your friendship and look forward to many more years of meeting up for dinner and late-night laughing!

Fifth Stop: Wisconsin

After Michigan and our brief stop in Illinois, we settled down in Wisconsin again.  Here we celebrated Christmas with opening presents, ate lots of good food, played games and read books and rung in the New Year.  (We also spent time with Cass and Adam and their family, but I’ll do a separate post on that!)

Opening presents:

Working on Grandpa’s new shirt:

Playing games, putting together presents, reading books, etc:

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Lunch at Gerrit and Lauren’s home:

Christmas, 2017

New Year’s Eve (the boys made it until 11 and then fell asleep watching home videos):

Obviously, we had a fantastic time in Wisconsin with our family!  Thanks for hosting, Mom and Dad, even without a working kitchen!  =)

Fourth Stop: Illinois

On our way back to Wisconsin, we made our annual stop in Illinois.  We stop there for dinner most years and to celebrate Lauren’s birthday!!  Jennie had just moved her warehouse to a location closer to her home, so we all wanted to stop in and see that before heading to their home for pizza and dessert.

Thanks for hosting another fun evening at your home, Jen and J!

Third Stop: Michigan

In Michigan, we celebrated Christmas with our extended family from my Mom’s side.  This is a big, fun group of about 30 people and is such a special time for us!  We opened presents after a delicious feast at my aunt and uncle’s home.  Two big highlights for the boys: Ethan got a ukulele and Micah got a djembe!!  Thanks, Great Grandpa! =)  Other highlights included playing ping pong, going sledding, Ethan doing piano recitals and radio shows with cousin Matthew, our annual cousins movie night out at the theater (we saw the new Star Wars!), and lots of time to chat with family.

Grandkids and great-grandkids with Grandpa (aka Great Grandpa):

Grandchildren

Sledding:

We had a lovely time in Michigan, as always!  Such a fun group of people to spend a few days with every Christmas!

Picture Cred mostly goes to my Dad again. Thanks for capturing the fun!