Mike’s Birthday

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 guy is very special to us!

Early July

Mikey and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on the first of this month. When we took a selfie at the top of the mountain we climbed as a family that day, it reminded us both of the selfie we took on one of our 14ers that we used on our wedding day for people to sign. We’ve been climbing mountains and having other fun adventures together for 18 years already!

We hiked Chief Mountain – a 3 mile hike with spectacular views about 45 minutes from our house I think. It was absolutely fabulous – enough work that felt good, but not exhausting. =)

That night, we had sushi take out as a family. Later, Mikey and I enjoyed Cherry Wine from Door County, WI (which I bought at Mars Cheese Castle last June when we stayed in Wisconsin for the month) on our deck.

We celebrated the 4th with a challenging, but fun 1776 workout. This meant that we worked together to complete various movements that totaled up to 1776. It was a lot of fun. Micah led us in the hand stands, as that is his speciality and the rest of us can barely do a donkey kick. =D Later we had our annual 4th of July dessert of fruit and homemade whipped cream. And we took two nights to watch Hamilton together. What an incredible show! Ethan had already seen it LIVE, but he liked seeing it again and said he picked up on more of the story the second time around. We also enjoyed “butterscotch on the rocks”, which we learned about from a fun book series (Royal Rabbits of London). We used stevia droppers with butterscotch flavor and Ethan used chocolate, since he doesn’t like butterscotch.

We also all finally have working bikes, so we’ve done some family bike rides, including a ride around Cherry Creek Reservoir.

Other snapshots of life in early July include a lot of piano-playing, drawing, eating at Micah’s home restaurant, and listening to Daddio read to us.

Rounding out June

Our neighbor brought over her old pool for Mallory and she went in it a couple times. We had hoped she’d want to swim around more, but she usually just went in for the corn and came back out again. Sadly, it’s now been a couple weeks since we’ve seen her. We’re missing our little pet. =(

I haven’t shared any pictures of the backyard on here, yet, because I was hoping to make a dramatic unveiling of all of the progress. That will come in a later post, when it’s all finished. The work has been slow and steady and we officially have a deck with railings now. We’ve had a couple meals out there. Mike starts most mornings from there and Micah read his first book solo out there. We are going to love this new space!

We’ve been keeping busy with much of the same activities – walks, books, biking, hiking, playing piano and checking out birds. Micah also learned how to do Sudoku, so that’s been fun! And they play hangman together occasionally, too.

Other happenings include the boys’ attempt at starting a weeding lawn care business. We haven’t had any calls, yet, but they enjoyed making their flyer and delivering them to the houses in our neighborhood. Ethan and I took down the storm doors in the front while we still had the dumpster available. Micah wanted to take a pic of him enjoying the coconut water Auntie Mel brought over for us. Both boys played a little piano for Grandma Cleve over FaceTime. And Mike snapped this shot of Micah as a soldier. Micah also learned about graphs and made a creative one to capture his mini-fig collection.

On Fathers’ Day we headed to the mountains for a drive and a little birding walk. We grabbed some shakes to go along the way.

And one of the recent sprint workouts we took a snapshot before and after it.

Happy 11th Birthday!

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.

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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!

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Updates from May

Ethan had his first virtual piano recital.  We were asked to make videos and post them on our YouTube channel and then E’s piano teacher put together a playlist of everyone’s pieces, along with a scavenger hunt and chance to vote for the pieces we liked best in each category.  Here are the links for E’s pieces:

I wanted to post a video from my nephews – they were dancing all around while listening to Ethan play piano.  It was darling.  I can’t figure out how to post it, so ask Lauren if you want to see. =D

We’ve also done a lot of playing piano through the Piano Maestro app as a family.  We are competing against one another – the boys are in the lead by a whole lot so far!  It’s been lots of fun to challenge ourselves in this way and fun for the boys to have such a big lead.

We’ve gone for lots of walks, both as a family, individually and in pairs.  I don’t think I’ve missed a day since early May (whenever my hives finally left for good) and Mike walked for over 10 miles one day. The boys go for walks to take pictures of flowers and birds. E and I even went for a walk in the rain one evening.

We’ve also started doing some track workouts as a family.  Our first work out at the track was a sprint work out – 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 2 minutes of rest for 6 rounds. We are trying to do this every week (2 down so far!). On Memorial Day we did a modified Murph work out.  Micah started out running one lap and then doing hand stands and squats and then ran another lap (and then he did 2 more for fun!) to finish his workout.  Meanwhile, Ethan and I both ran 3 laps and then did 70 push ups and 100 squats before running another 3 laps.  Daddio did the same, except with 4 laps and maybe 100 push ups (I can’t remember for sure).  It’s a fun new challenge for us and something we can do all together.  We hadn’t hit a track since back in our Georgia days!

Another thing we do to keep busy is play frisbee golf in the park by our house.  We do this a couple times every week.

Mallory, our mallard, keeps us busy, too.  She visits every day and is fed by Micah at least twice each day.  She likes to fly up to our roof to say hello and also peeks in at us in the playroom, too.  She even flew around the house and watched me do laundry one week. And we found her in the park during one of our frisbee golf rounds – she didn’t shy away from Micah, so we knew it was her.

Lots of outside time (I’ll update another day regarding the backyard project when I have more “after” pictures to post) is happening around here.  Ethan is our outdoor maintenance guy; he even changes the wire on the weed eater on his own now.

We’ve got a couple new games for this season of life, too:

We also finished up the school year in early May.  Micah will continue working on reading and math this summer and Ethan will continue to read each day and do some other school-related things throughout the summer. We celebrated with French Toast on their final day and took some end of the year pictures, too.

Both boys had paying jobs for part of May, too.  Ethan typed up documents for Reggie for a class he will be teaching later this year.  He was very responsible and motivated.  He completed the tasks a day early and Reggie said he handled everything very maturely.  Micah had a scanning job for Mikey – scanning documents.  He did a great job, too!

We celebrated Mother’s Day in May, too.  My guys spoiled me with lots of loving notes and doing all of my favorite things – we went for a long, frisbee-free walk, we played Kubb in the park, and we ate good food.  Mikey made Dutch Babies for breakfast and ordered sushi for dinner.

Final pictures worth mentioning…the boys and I got our homemade masks from my Mom (THANKS, Mom!!).  Mike has been reading us all a book at night and sometimes Micah uses his book light to see in order to do paint by sticker or to draw.  I picked some weeds from our backyard to decorate the house because they are pretty weeds!  My aunties threw a fabulous virtual wedding shower for my cousin.  And Mel and Joel stopped by with Pentecost decorations (they were way prettier before the rain got to them) and treats since we couldn’t attend the annual Pentecost party at their home. =D

Next up…a boy we all love turns 11!

LEGO Masters

We really enjoyed watching our first tv show as a family over this time: LEGO Masters.  The boys got all kinds of inspiration from the builds and wanted to do their own version of LEGO Masters at home.  Thus, competition between parents and kids began.

Build #1: Fairytale story (parents did turtle and hare; boys did 3 billy goats gruff)

The boys won this one.  I don’t think any of our judges (we send text messages to people to judge our creations, without telling them who did which one) voted for the parents on this one, but I may be forgetting one kind judge having pity on us.

Build #2: Restaurants (parents built Castle Bonita; boys built Sushi River)

The parents came away with a win on this one, although the voting was very close.

Build #3: A point in history (parents built the Alamo; boys built the building of Stonehenge)

The parents won again and are feeling really confident going forward.

Build #4: Mini-fig battle (teams were switched for this one – Ethan and Mom worked on a battle scene of sand guy against the ice queen; Micah and Dad worked on programmer lady and her droids against banana guy)

It looks like this build is ending in a tie. =)

They have also spent a lot of time building new and creative builds, including a few bridges that we tested with weights.  I believe their best bridge could hold 23 pounds.  It’s been so much fun to watch them!

And, for the record, we were VERY unhappy about how LEGO Masters ended with the wrong team winning.  Micah was somewhat happy, but we think he just wanted to go against the grain of the family votes.  =)

Easter 2020

We certainly won’t soon forget Easter 2020.  We enjoyed a church service at home (decorated by Micah, complete with a LEGO band), participated in the Lord’s Supper (complete with Aunt Mel’s homemade sourdough) with Reggie via FaceTime, had a tasty breakfast and lunch, watched Andrea Bocelli’s live concert (with no audience), had lots of competitive egg hunts and spent a lot of time together.

The following day was our final CC day.  It’s been an interesting first year as the Director, but our community is such a strong, close-knit group that it was lots of fun for me, despite all of the challenges.  I was spoiled with all kinds of lovely thank you gifts and notes of appreciation.  It was a very humbling experience for me.

I thought I’d include pictures of them looking over their yearbooks and participating in our zoom class.  I’m also including their final presentations – really short, silly ones to conclude an awesome year!

Shelter in Place

After the boys and I arrived back home from Florida, our state issued a shelter in place order.  We already knew that CC community day would be going virtual and everything else was cancelled (or made virtual) soon thereafter, too.  I spent most of the past month battling a mysterious illness that left me with a headache and a low fever most days, followed by two weeks of hives.  I am happy to report that I seem to be back to good health now, but that sickness certainly colored much of our first month of quarantined life as I was in bed early most nights and also took lots of naps throughout the day, too.

When we first got home, we had some snow.  Micah was outside playing with army guys in the snow.  Later, we had warm weather and the boys were busy digging a trench in the backyard or going for walks/scooter rides around our park.  The weather sure does keep us on our toes!

Virtual CC, church services, birthday party, playdates, and family zoom/FaceTime calls: