The Great Midwestern Tour, Pt 4 continued

We had lots of fun in Wisconsin.  One day we painted pottery all together.  Another day was spent mostly opening gifts and playing games.  I think the pictures tell the tale better than I ever can, so I’ll just go with those:

There was a whole lotta books and pajamas happening:

grandchildren, 8555

And a lot of snuggling/reading:

And also a lot of gaming/puzzling:

And eating:

And general merriment:

Next up: Missouri!

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 3 Michigan

The next stop on our tour was Michigan, where we met up with the extended family (even from as far away as New Zealand!).  This was our first year staying at cabins on Lake Michigan and I think we all loved it!  It was wonderful to see everyone and spend time hiking, eating, playing games and opening gifts together.  Lots of fun memories were made, as usual.

My Dad took some lovely family portraits:

img_5399

Hiking the sand dunes by Lake Michigan:

General Michigan merriment:

Photo cred for all of the nicest shots goes to my Dad, as usual. =)

Next up: Wisconsin

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 2 Wisconsin (the first time)

The boys and I spent a couple days in Wisconsin before heading to the next destination of Michigan for the extended family gathering.  We enjoyed lots of time with family – baking, building block creations, teaching drawing lessons, building creations out of wood, bird-watching, reading books, playing piano…and probably plenty of other things that we didn’t capture in pictures. =)

img_5263

Also, Micah really enjoyed feeding Salina her bottle and did so at most opportunities.  They have a special connection.  After we left, Jennie told me that Salina was looking at her book with family pictures in it and she saw Micah’s picture and kissed it!

Among the very top of our highlights was  meeting Eddie for the first time!

Next up: Michigan!

Family Updates

Great Granny A suffered a stroke the week of Thanksgiving and has been in our prayers. We were able to talk to her on Skype on Thanksgiving day – technology is such a gift!  We are feeling thankful that she is alive and healing!

Thanksgiving Day was my Grandpa’s birthday.  I appreciated getting pictures of him enjoying his special day with the family in Michigan:

The following day our newest member of the family was born in Wisconsin: Edwin (Eddie) Richard!  He’s darling and I can hardly wait to meet him.  It was really fun to get to see pictures from everyone meeting him for the first time – so I thought I’d share some of my favorite shots!

That sweet little girl making everyone laugh finally needs a proper intro on the site, too.  That’s our niece, Salina Jean, and she is just a bundle of joy!  Thought I’d post my three current favs of her and also a few pictures from when we met her back at 6 weeks old now that I can show off that darling face!

Micah is anxious to hold his baby cousin, Eddie, at Christmas and the newest baby boy, Joshua (Ashley’s due on Christmas day!), when he comes, too!  He recently told me that our house is too boring and we either need a pet or a baby. *insert big eye smiley face here *

Side note: this may be one of my all-time favorite pictures:

IMG_4873

It reminded me of these pictures from Florida back in 2012 when Ethan was about 2.5 years old.

Thankful for the gift of family, near and far!

Random November Updates

Two quick pictures of family to begin the month – 1) we sent our beloved Packers helmet onward and got a picture of Abe enjoying it! and 2) we celebrated Caleb’s 2nd birthday!

Mike was in India for work for a good chunk of November.  He had a great trip and really enjoyed being there.  We were so thankful that, while he came back feeling exhausted, he did not get sick!  He and one of the founders of phData had a layover in Paris for a day while waiting for their Visas to come through, so they enjoyed walking the city a bit!  Also, Mike bowled really well at their team-building activity and everyone was pretty proud of him for getting on the leader board for the month. =)

Meanwhile, at home…I did get sick for a couple days while he was gone.  The boys handled things incredibly well.  We had a little church service at home and even had Chipotle delivered to the house for the boys.  Ha!  Ethan still was able to go to see cousin Matthew’s play that day, but Micah wanted to stay home to make sure I’d be okay.

Thankfully whatever that sickness was didn’t last long!  We had a play date, went out for dinner with Reggie, and I did some painting.  We also re-instituted rest time for weeks when Mike is out of town and that really saved my sanity.  I just need little breaks so that I can be patient and joyful and not irritable and annoyed.  The boys have been rocking these rest times with paint by stickers, listening to story of the world, doing sudoku, etc..

Other updates for the month include both boys still enjoying their instruments:

IMG_4741

Sometimes the boys want to “play school” and I always find it very humorous.  Micah loves to be the teacher and Ethan absolutely LOVES spelling tests and asks for lots of words.

Hanson’s new CD came out and it’s great.  😉 And we continue to enjoy family night at church – Ethan does Cadets and I teach the kids club for the younger kiddos.  Micah has opted to stay in there with me and is my little helper.  And the guys love doing battles.

When Daddio comes back home from a trip, we often put pictures from our weeks up on the TV and tell stories to each other.

IMG_4779

Birthday Video

So, cousin Abe had his 2nd birthday on Sunday.  We sent him a little video to wish him a very happy birthday.  Lauren sent this video back of the boys enjoying it!  Apparently they really got a kick out of the video.  Ivan, as you can tell, thought it was a video chat and kept trying to show the boys his super cool snake.  And Abe clearly wanted to watch it over and over.  So funny!!

Try this link to see my favorite video.  I’m not sure if that one will work since it was a shared video, but I thought I’d try!

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:

Pajamas-3

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!  =)