Life Lately

We’ve been working diligently to finish our school year, even though we plan to continue some work throughout the summer.  It’s been such a great school year for us for many reasons, but mostly because the boys have been working hard and keeping *mostly* good attitudes.  I’ve learned a lot over the years and I’m sure that helps, too.  I’m finally understanding the benefit of giving long breaks and not being a slave to the work if the temperaments aren’t lending themselves to it.  We do much better after our hearts are in the right place. =)

Our home has been filled with music.  Micah is enjoying playing the bongos along with Ethan’s piano practice, but he also just started using an app called “Piano Maestro” which has motivated him (and me) to play the piano!  Now we have three people trying to get time on the piano!  Ethan is also working on the computer to notate his own song, a version of Heart and Soul.  Ethan has a virtual piano recital next Friday.  We will send a link to you to watch and vote for his pieces.  It will be called, “Some Good Piano.” (Yes, that intentionally looks like Some Good News on YouTube).

The boys are very into birds and now like to go for walks and bike rides in order to make more pictures of them.  They also are starting to use a photo editing program to fix up some of their pictures.  And, Wingspan continues to be a favorite pastime for Ethan and me.

Ethan needed to wear crazy hair for one of his piano lessons, but didn’t want me to show anyone.  Ever since, Micah has been wearing his hair in a ponytail on the top of his head randomly throughout the day.  I’m sure you’ve spotted a few pictures already with his new hairstyle. =)

The boys have also continued keeping up with their buddies via FaceTime chats.

And we’ve been taking daily walks.  Often this means that Mike and Ethan are throwing the frisbee and Micah is riding his scooter, but every now and then we all just walk and talk!  Those are my favorites. =)

Mike ordered something fun for us – a slack block.  We use it to improve our balance.  It’s a lot harder than it looks!

Other updates include finishing a puzzle, reading a book with Daddio most nights, ordering (and mostly enjoying) Indian food take out, doing coins, and Daddy fixing Ethan’s bike!

And finally, we’ve had a couple more LEGO Master competitions.

1. Mom and Dad conceded to the boys on the first one because theirs was WAY cooler than ours.  Mom and Dad built a frog on a lily pad, while the boys built a parrot in a tree and had a shining sun floating in the background.

2. We had to build bigger versions of mini-figs.  Mom and Dad built the ice queen; Ethan and Micah built a soldier, complete with a rifle shooting a bullet, a canon and a tree.  Technically, Mom and Dad may have come away with a win on this one, but the votes were more sporadic.

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!

Celebrating Micah

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?!

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Rounding Out November

This will be the remaining pictures I have for November, excluding Thanksgiving as that will have its own post!

Here are some pictures from life at CC:

And some pictures from a field trip to the orchestra:

Life around our house:

Side note about the above pic of Ethan doing math – GRAPH PAPER CHANGED OUR LIFE. =)

Enjoying the snow on “our” hill.  We invited friends to join us for one afternoon, too.

Micah loves to try new fruit.  And he prefers to be the one to cut it for us, too. Eek.

Also, Ethan got injured while wrestling at our friends’ house.  We had the neat experience of Ethan getting stitches at our own home because our friends’ dad is a doctor!  I’m also happy to report that I didn’t pass out, despite being the only parent home!  Thanking the Lord for this whole experience!

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Next up: Thanksgiving!

Mama Retreats

My dear friend and I got to sneak away yet again for our refreshing semi-annual retreat. This is something we both cherish oh-so-much and is encouraging for our souls.  We retreated to Lake Dillon this time and enjoyed lots of time chatting and hiking and eating good food.  One of the biggest highlights for me was having delicious tea and watching the sunset behind the mountains and chatting the whole time.  As you know we don’t take a lot of pictures, but here’s what I got:

Meanwhile at home, Mike knows how to spoil these boys:

Calen Comes to Visit

My childhood bestie *finally* came out for a visit after years of us talking about it.  She had never been to Colorado before, so I encouraged (AKA nagged) her to come out while Mikey was traveling.  We hadn’t seen each other much in the past few years, but friendships that started in infancy are likely to last forever if you’ve made it this far. =) We picked up right where we left off and the boys LOVED hearing stories about our childhood and getting to know her.

We had a great time showing her around Denver and taking her into the mountains.  It was so much fun to experience Colorado through her eyes.  Also, we naturally bought matching t-shirts since this was a theme from childhood and needed to be replicated. =)

The first day we hung closer to home, but ventured out to Red Rocks.

The next day we went to Breckenridge for a beautiful hike, had pizza at Beau Jo’s and ice cream at Little Man’s.  While we were shopping in Idaho Springs we heard Mmmbop on the radio – a song we especially loved growing up.  It was awesome. (or, epic, as the boys would say)

34 years of friendship with this lady.  Pretty special.

Early September

September was the month Mike did the Whole 30 challenge.  He began it with a nasty meal which we all rated a D- or below.  Thankfully things improved as the month went on.  I agreed to make 3-4 Whole 30 compliant dinners each week and he committed to doing the rest.  We were all so impressed with his diligence and discipline.  One of the meals I made for us was beef kabobs with a chimichurri sauce.  I even snapped a picture since it was my first time making any kabobs as far as I could recall.  We all rated this one much higher. =D

The boys had a really fun playdate over here during the school day.  We loved doing school with this buddy and also just enjoying the beautiful weather at the park.

Here are some fun shots from homeschooling, both at home, on the road and at CC.  Micah continues to LOVE drawing and Ethan loves playing board slam.  Micah started a reading program called “All About Reading” and is enjoying that, while Ethan is reading lots of books and discussing them with me.  Lots of fun!

Other happenings in the early part of this month include Micah’s new way of “picking” flowers for me:

Ethan wearing my old Packers t-shirt because we can almost share clothes and shoes already.  What?!

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And a crazy rain storm led to lots of fun at the park:

The boys also started playing soccer for the fall season.  Ethan continues to love playing defense, while Micah likes playing center-mid and doing a little of both offense and defense.

Grandpa’s Visit

Mike had another two weeks of travel at the beginning of our school year, so we flew my Dad out to help again.  I was so thankful to have his company and help.  And the boys LOVE spending time with him. We had a softer start to the school year, but still got a lot done in that first week.

We also did some homeschooling on the road – a bike ride and a field trip to Hudson Gardens.

On Saturday, we jogged/walked in a 5k run that our friends put on each year in honor of their daughter who was adopted from China, had congenital heart problems, and died after surgery. It’s a fundraiser for third world orphans with medical problems.  Three kids, in three different countries, will get operations because of the money raised in this run.

Our church service was held in the mountains on Sunday.  We enjoyed the service there, a picnic, and then had some time to play.

Monday was our second week of CC and Mike was back home.  We did our family presentation during opening assembly and then my Dad got to go back and forth between Ethan and Micah’s classes.  That evening Micah had his soccer practice and we all went to watch.

Here are a couple other pictures from throughout his visit and of Mike and his buddies on his trip:

My Dad left on Tuesday morning after a wonderful trip.  We sure loved having him for the week!  When we dropped him off at the airport the boys both said they wished he (and grandma, obviously) lived out here by us. =D

First days of school

We started our school year on August 19th this year, starting with a full day at CC.  Both of the boys had new tutors this year and I am the Director for our community for the first time.  Ethan has most of the same kids he was in class with last year, but has a couple new ones.  Micah has mostly new kids in his class.  And I’m feeling a good mix of emotions about my new role, but mostly I’m feeling thankful for the opportunity to serve these families. We’ll be studying about the medieval period during CC this year and reading a lot of good books set in that timeframe.  Here are some CC pictures from day 1:

And on Tuesday we had a more laid back start to the school year.  We began with French toast, went for a bike ride, and ended the day with ice cream.  Don’t worry, there was some learning in there, too. =)  Ethan is in 4th grade; Micah is in 2nd.

We also took bi-yearly measurements for both boys:  Ethan is now 4’10” (and has almost the same size feet and hands as me).  Micah is 4’3″.

Micah also had his first soccer practice after CC.  (Ethan started the week after.)

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The weeks before school started…

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.