We had a fabulous Thanksgiving this year. As usual, Grandpa Russ drove out to spend the week with us! A new addition, however, was Uncle David. This was a real treat to all of us and we hope it will become the new tradition. The house was full of Cleveland guys playing games, shooting army soldiers with rubber bands, and looking at coins.
Thanksgiving Day brought more game-playing, eating good food and we rounded off the afternoon with some sledding. It was very relaxing and lots of fun.
Uncle David left the morning after Thanksgiving, but we still got a couple extra days with Grandpa Russ. This included going out for breakfast and me decorating the house for Christmas, another tradition of all of ours.
We were missing our former Colorado family, of course, so we sent some pictures back and forth. Loved seeing these guys getting ready for Christmas, too. =)
When Mike and I were chatting about summer plans, I was feeling overwhelmed at the many trips we wanted to cram into the three months. He brilliantly came up with the plan to combine some of the trips. So, while Mike and Micah enjoyed their one-on-one trip, I took Ethan to Milwaukee to meet up with my parents for their trip (more on that in a separate post) and I continued onward to Atlanta to help my sister at her trade show.
Jen and I had a great time together, as usual. And I helped with the take down of the booth, without Jennie for the first time.
I spent my evenings catching up with my friends and seeing Ashley and the boys (since they live there now)! That was a lovely treat! I also managed to get in a couple FaceTime visits with the boys to see how their trips were going.
Mike’s sister and her family moved to Georgia at the beginning of this month, so much of April was spent trying to soak up some time with them. We had a few dinners together and they were able to come watch one of Ethan’s soccer games. We also had Caleb sleep over so that Ashley could get a bunch of cleaning done more easily around their place. We loved all the time with them!
It was a pleasure to have a few years living in the same city and we were really bummed to see them go. But we’re hopeful and prayerful that they will really enjoy Atlanta and the adventures that await them there.
Grandma Cleve came out for a visit at the end of January. This was her first time to meet baby Joshua and the last time spending time with all her grandchildren living in the same state (at least for a while…). We loved having her in town again! She split her time between both homes; her time with us being the bookends. Grandma Cleve came in on Friday night late and spent all day Saturday with us – we opted to have breakfast out at our favorite place, go on a Focus on the Family tour and then drive through Garden of the Gods (we were all shocked that we hadn’t taken her to Garden of the Gods on any of her previous visits!). And we finished our evening reading books and playing games.
On Sunday we went to church together, got in some snuggles and coin talk, played a game and then had Ashley and her family over for dinner. It was lovely to have everyone together! And, of course, we snapped a picture of Grandma Cleve with her four grand babies. She went home with them and spent the week there – including some time babysitting Caleb while the others checked out their new home town in Atlanta.
We joined back up on Saturday morning for breakfast and a tour of Hammond’s candy (something Mike and I did when we were dating, but hadn’t been back since!). Grandma Cleve spent the remainder of that afternoon with us before Mikey brought her back to the airport.
And, yes, that is a cricket in Micah’s sucker. He ate its head and then said he had had enough. His verdict – that was gross!
It’s always a gift to have family in town! Thanks for visiting, Grandma Cleve!!
We hit the ground running! We arrived home just in time for me to turn around and get to a tutor meeting for CC. Then we spent the weekend unpacking, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, going to church and potluck, and preparing to start school on Monday. But before I get into pictures from our first two weeks back from vacation, I wanted to mention two really important things that happened in our family:
The first is that we welcomed a new baby boy into our family – Joshua James was born a couple days before Christmas! We weren’t able to meet him until a week after we got home since we were a little congested upon arrival home. We’ve since met him and, of course, are madly in love with the little sweetie.
The second is that we spent much of the New Year praying for our other baby nephew, Eddie. He was in the ICU for over a week! We are so very thankful that he’s home now and healing well. It brought tears to my eyes to finally see pictures of him in his mama’s arms!!
As far as every day life at our home…
One of the first things we did was put up Micah’s bird feeder. After sending pictures of it to my Dad, we raised it so that the squirrels wouldn’t get in! =)
We’ve also been playing lots of games, doing new puzzles and reading out loud a lot:
Our first week of school was interrupted by my travels to Atlanta to help my sister with her trade show, but I understand they did lots of hard work while I was away. Here are some pictures from while I was in town and I’ll do another post with photos from the trip/boys at home.
I also took a couple of pictures of Micah’s homework just to give you a little glimpse into the way that sweet guy thinks! If the math problem asks him to cross out a leaf in order to figure out the subtraction problem, he will have caterpillars attack and eat the leaf instead. And if the math problem tells you to cross out a jar, he will make it break into little shards of glass. And if the problem asks you to draw a line from the problem to the answer, he will make sure the line has loops in it because that’s what a balloon string would do. =)
Micah now knows how to blow bubbles and does so very well. The boys have discovered that sometimes Micah will be able to do things that Ethan can’t do very well, and vice versa. Ethan can whistle; Micah can blow bubbles.
And lastly, sometimes we get pictures of cute family members with their book pajamas and it makes us smile.
Before I post about specific events like Micah’s 7th birthday, how we celebrated Advent and our Christmas travels, I wanted to try to wrap up some pictures from around town at the end of November and beginning of December. My apologies if these pictures have already been posted.
We enjoyed a field trip with a bunch of kiddos from our CC group to see “Drums of the World” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It was lots of fun!
The boys and I sold Jennie’s products at our church’s Global Bazaar – something we’ve been doing with (and without) Jennie since before Micah was born. We sure enjoy helping her in this way!
Other happenings included Micah getting a bloody nose during the night and wanting to take a picture of how fierce he looked with blood on his face…
We’ve continued to trade date nights with Ashley and Zach. So here are a few pictures from various times we watched Caleb, including the night I got to have a little sleep over at his house. =)
Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year. We love this tradition and enjoy having him with us so much. The boys especially enjoy spending time outside with him, looking at and sorting through coins, and eating ice cream! We went out for breakfast at the Original Pancake House one of the mornings he was here, too! Here are some pictures from our time with him around our house:
Before he even arrived, we started our lists of things we for which we give thanks. Micah’s first item was drum lessons. Ethan’s was piano lessons. They also did an acrostic and came up with another nice list. Ethan worked on his first and then Micah joined in later…and when Micah got to “G” he shouted GOD! Next thing I see, Ethan’s crossing off whatever he had written in the “G” and wrote God, too. Ha! Very cute to see him copying his younger brother for once. =)
We spent Thanksgiving day at Ashley and Zach’s place. It was fun to spend the day all together. We split the food up between the two of us and had a pretty fantastic feast, although some were heard “grumbling” about having ham instead of turkey this year. Lots of sibling banter ensued. The boys helped me with various parts of our half of the meal: cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and green bean casseroles.
That evening, E and I went for a walk around the park in the dark. We got to talk to my Grandpa for his birthday and I snapped a few pictures of the lights. I’ve been walking with this guy to see Christmas lights since he was 6 months old. =)
They came over to our place on Saturday for lasagna and more time together. Our boys put on a very silly play for everyone. It was lots of fun being together again before Grandpa Russ headed home the following morning.
Thanks for coming out, Grandpa Russ! We sure loved having you!
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:
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.
This will just be a random post getting us close to caught up on normal life.
I took the boys trick-or-treating. Micah was still King Peter, but Ethan opted for his Chewy costume from last year. We actually walked the block with neighbors we just met that night – I guess there are some nice things about that holiday. 😉
The boys are super helpful around the house. They worked on raking and cleaning up the front yard the other day while I read a book! Amazing.
We checked out owl pellets this week in the science portion of CC. It was a little stinky and kind of gross, but it was pretty awesome at the same time!! Both boys seemed to enjoy finding remains of various rodents the owl had eaten.
CC brings out a lot of joys in our world. The boys have been playing a lot of tin whistle music this week. Ethan even copied down some music so that he doesn’t have to borrow my book when he wants to play. Also, Ethan LOVES diagramming sentences for Essentials. Who knew?!
We got to celebrate cousin Caleb’s 2nd birthday recently. Such a blessing to live by family and celebrate this little guy together!! Apparently we only took a picture of half of the table. Oops.
Lastly, I took a video of Micah’s most recent drum lesson. He seems to be enjoying it!
When we returned home from Breckenridge and our fun family trip, the heat wasn’t working in our house. It had gotten pretty cold by then, so what better to do than make s’mores in the oven?! =) Thankfully, we had the heat fixed before too long.
That week we went on a field trip with our dear friends to pick veggies at Miller Farm. It was a chilly day, but we sure had a fun time!
The boys (mostly Micah) have started sending letters and pictures with our sweet cousins in Wisconsin. Ethan is also writing letters with a friend from CC. So much fun!
Micah finished his favorite writing workbook. He has requested that I buy it all over again because he thought it was so much fun.
Ethan is our primary lawn-caretaker. We had a massive amount of mushrooms in the front yard recently, so he took care of them (along with his Daddio!).
Here are some pictures of our community day at CC. Ethan’s doing a great job in the afternoon essentials program – the one I was so nervous about earlier. =) We also took a nature walk one week and Ethan brought us a class pet. Lastly, I was so pleased to see the high schoolers playing with all of the younger classes during the lunch break recently! So much fun for everyone.
I was down for the count with a cold recently while Mike was out of town. Mamas don’t really get days off. But the boys did an awesome job doing school while I laid low on the nook.
Ethan recently decided to participate in a research study. It’s a study of the brains of young people with autism and those who don’t have it. E was pretty nervous about getting the MRI done and almost quit a couple times, but he persevered and then was really pleased he had done it. I was so proud of him! He earned himself $20 and got a picture of his brain scan.
Weekends are cherished times around here. We love biking and playing tennis and just spending time as a family.
And, last update for now, is from when the boys and I babysat Caleb recently. We sure love spending time with that sweetie and he’s starting to play alongside them.