We had lots of fun celebrating my birthday this year. I can’t actually remember the last time I received so many gifts! Micah got me a fruit bowl, Ethan got me a bike helmet, and Mike bought me two hats and a new backpack. Plus I got some yummy goats’ milk soap and new earrings! I was feeling the love all day from texts and phone calls to cards and birthday videos. We intended to go hiking, but the weather was a bit hot for our liking. So, we stayed closer to home instead.
Our favorite memory from the day was when I opened by ice cream cake and saw that they had written, “Happy Birthday, Jeff”. We haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. I think it was made funnier still by the fact that I had said earlier that morning while Mikey was ordering it, “wouldn’t it be funny if they misheard you and wrote Jeff on my cake instead?” And then they did. Awesome.
I had purchased some headbands with birthday money and decided to get some that could work for my boys, too. =D Love these guys!
We really enjoyed celebrating Mikey’s birthday. Micah started the celebrations by having Mike’s morning drink ready with a birthday sign waiting for him when he woke up. It was a work day, so he took the second half of the day off so that we could celebrate more with opening presents, special food, and eventually an evening our at Cherry Creek Reservoir.
Each of the boys bought Mike a gift with their own money. Micah also put in some silly gifts, like a pair of socks he found lying around their room (one which had a hole in the toe). And I got him bike shorts, since he’s hoping to start biking more. We also enjoyed a yummy ice cream cake.
This is almost impossible for me to believe – Ethan turned 11 at the start of this month! We teased him a lot about turning 10 instead, since 11 just feels too old. Micah even went so far as to write “Happy 10th Birthday” all over his gifts for Ethan.
I always try to sneak in a final picture with my boys before they turn the next year older, so this is my final picture with my 10 year old.
One of our family birthday traditions is to let the birthday person choose all of the meals for the day. Ethan chose pancakes and bacon for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and Greek turkey burgers, homemade applesauce and sweet potato fries for dinner. He also had a delicious ice cream cake.
We also try to do something special with our birthday guy. This year had a lot of limitations, obviously, but it didn’t really phase him. In typical Ethan-fashion, he wrote out a list of things he wanted to do for the day. He was happy to play frisbee golf in the park with the family, put together an 11-themed work out, and go for a nature walk to take pictures together at night (we had given him the tripod – the one thing he requested multiple times throughout the year – as our big gift to him).
He received lots of cards, emails, FaceTime chats, gifts, and videos (see the videos below from some of his cousins) throughout the week. Thanks for making him feel so special!
This guy is something special. He is kind and smart. He is disciplined and motivated. And he loves the Lord and people. We are super proud of this 5’0″ young man. He’s a treat to parent and always has been!
Micah turned 8 in early December and loved every minute of all that attention. =D We celebrated early with a Skype call with Grandma Cleve to open his present and then just kept right on celebrating. We had waffles in the morning for breakfast, opened presents (he’s a total ham and appreciated all of the cards, gifts, and videos he received throughout the day), had a friend over for cake and playing and then finished the night with dinner out at the Melting Pot. He was pretty jazzed all.day.long.
Here was the final picture we took of Micah as a 7 year old! How is this happening so fast?!
We really tried to soak up some family time before the rush of the school year began. Here are some pictures from around the house/neighborhood.
We also did a timed mile run at the park. Micah and Mike ran a half mile together and then Mike finished his mile while Micah rested. Micah ran without stopping, which impressed us all. Then Ethan and I headed out for our mile run and he beat me by a good minute – such a stud!
We took the boys to Red Rocks for their first concert. We got to see Chris Tomlin, which was a fun treat.
We attended our second Practicum. As the Director for our CC community, I needed to attend trainings on both Foundations tutoring and Essentials tutoring. Micah absolutely loved this – he wore matching shirts with some guys in his little gang for most, if not all, of the days. One of my dearest friends joined our CC community this year, so we attended Practicum together!
We went on a family bike ride out towards Mel and Joel’s house. The hope is that we will do it again and make it all the way there. As it turns out, biking with my family is one of my very favorite things to do. The boys knocked off quite a few more miles towards their summer biking goal that day.
Also, I celebrated my 35th birthday! My hope had been to ride 35 miles that day, so I started the day with a long ride with the boys around the Cherry Creek Reservoir. Both boys reached their 100 mile for the summer goal on this ride. Then later that evening I went out alone and raced the sun and rain, losing my battle and requiring a pick up by Mike and Micah.
We celebrated a friend’s birthday at a cool Ninja gym:
Mike and the boys played golf one of the weekends and I walked along.
The boys got bank accounts, played a lot of legos, took some more bike rides, and brought in their Bookies summer reading contest. Micah wrote me a sweet encouraging note when I was having a rough day, so I had to include that in here.
Meagen graduated with her Masters in engineering (or something like that) and invited me to her graduation. SO proud of her!!!
Mike and I snuck away for a date to see Mumford and Sons at Fiddlers Green again.
And, finally, I had an idea to put some rewards in a jar that I could use throughout the year whenever I needed to motivate the boys. We are all pretty jazzed about it. =)
We spent the majority of June on the road visiting various midwest favorites: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri. We started by driving to Michigan for my cousins’ wedding.
We’ve found our rhythm for road trips: I drive and listen to audiobooks with the boys (finished Penderwicks in Spring and Hatchet on this portion), while Mike works (and apparently sometimes naps when his schedule allows). He does all the directions, getting gas, and deciding on food. It works well!
We arrived in Michigan before the rest of the family, so we enjoyed a quiet evening with my grandpa which was definitely a highlight for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever had hours of chatting with only him like that. Such a gift. This was Ethan’s last night as a 9 year old, so I took some pictures of our evening. The boys are still working towards their goal of reading aloud for ten minutes for 275 days of the year (I think that’s the goal…I should have written it down somewhere!!).
The following day we celebrated Ethan’s birthday a bit and went to the wedding. I have a few favorite memories from that day: Eddie dancing with Ger at dinner, Abe and Ivan crushing the dance floor with their moves, and Ivan calling Aunt Dawn a princess when he saw her waiting to greet us, Salina giving kisses to Micah, all the boys teasing Uncle Brad, etc. etc. It was a fun day!
The following day we went to church and then had a picnic in the park.
After the fun, we drove to Wisconsin for the next part of our trip. Michigan was short, but very sweet!
We really enjoyed celebrating Micah’s 7th birthday. He is probably the most generous (and the most stubborn) kid I’ve ever known. But because of his generosity, he’s pretty fun to spoil! He was ecstatic to get to go out for dinner at The Melting Pot – something we did a couple nights before his actual birthday because of scheduling.
This was the final picture of our 6 year old!
We had cousin Matthew over for his actual birthday, which also happened to be a school day. We opened presents throughout the day and had waffles for dinner. He also invited a couple friends (all brothers) over to play at the park during the afternoon. He wanted purple decorations (for royalty) and seven 7s around the house.
He had the joy of spreading his birthday cheer a little longer, too, with gifts and cards coming in after his special day. He LOVED it!
He was spoiled by and oh-so-grateful to SO many of you. Thanks for loving on this little spitfire of a guy. He prays very specifically (especially for people who are sad, mad or homeless) and has an uncanny read on others’ emotions. He’s going to be a great leader someday and he is certainly not going to be following the crowd since he’s not a people-pleaser. 😉 We love him something fierce and are eager to see how the Lord uses him in his life.
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:
It reminded me of these pictures from Florida back in 2012 when Ethan was about 2.5 years old.
They say the days are long, but the years are short. That’s exactly how this season of my life has been. Feels like Ethan was born only days ago, but the lego Micah put on his ice cream cake says he’s 9! Because he left on his birthday for his first cadet campout, we celebrated a bit the day before and a bit the morning of his special day. He requested Greek-style turkey burgers for dinner, ham and cheese buns for lunch, and pancakes for breakfast. He also wanted an ice cream cake.
He loved all of his awesome birthday gifts, videos, and cards. He was pretty thrilled by everything, as you can see:
Micah gets VERY excited to give gifts to people. He was the one asking if it was time for Ethan to open a present every other day. E preferred to wait until his birthday, but Micah could hardly contain his excitement about giving his gifts: lego sets (one that had previously been a share set, and now he wanted to give it to just Ethan; one that we bought at the store for him); pictures and gum.
We’re super proud of the young man Ethan is becoming. He’s kind, smart and super hard-working. We appreciate the leader he is around the house and what a good big brother he is. And I especially love to play games with him! Love this guy so much! =D
We had the opportunity to celebrate Micah’s 6th birthday this weekend. We try to cater our celebrations to each kid’s personality and wishes. Micah is our little home body. His greatest wish was to spend time with the family at our home. So we decorated the house to make it extra special for him and spent the day eating his favorite foods and playing the things he most enjoys: legos!
Breakfast before church – cinnamon rolls!
We spread out the opening of presents throughout the day and in the days to follow. He was pretty jazzed about all of the gifts and money he received and is always quick to say, “thank you!” and talk about how much he always wanted something like that. A couple different people at church surprised us with their thoughtful generosity to him – one giving him money and another a lego set. We are so thankful that each of us is seen and acknowledged at our church – this community is a beautiful thing.
Gotta take a second to brag on our eldest…he purchased Micah a birthday present *with his own money* without even a second thought. He had hoped to buy something for himself, too, but didn’t have enough money so he quickly put back the thing he wanted to buy for himself and decided to spend his money on Micah instead!
Micah also got a few Skype calls and some videos, too! Each one made him feel so special. He’s my guy who will get tears in his eyes when he realizes someone else was thinking of him from far away. It’s pretty sweet. Thank you, everyone, for making him feel so special!
That evening we celebrated with homemade waffles and whipped cream. Earlier we enjoyed chipotle (at home) and cupcakes.
Quick facts about Micah:
He weighs 43.6 lbs. He has lost 2 teeth. He prefers time at home and Ethan is by far his very best friend. Micah loves creating things and drawing pictures. He chews gum all.the.time but is also willing to share every piece of it with others, even if he spent his own money on it. His generosity knows no bounds. I find him lending or giving away his toys on a regular basis and gives bites of his special treats to those around him without hesitation. We’re so thankful to have a guy like him to love and raise in our home!