Grandma Cleve / Breckenridge

Grandma Cleve came for another visit at the beginning of this month.  She had never stayed in the mountains before, so we wanted to spoil her with some family time in Breckenridge.  She spent the night and morning with us before heading west where we met up with Ashley, Zach and Caleb!  Highlights of our time with her in Denver included teaching Ethan how to play sudoku and eating identical breakfast/lunch at the French Press.  Micah and I slipped out for a matching walk around the park before loading up the car.

We rented a lovely mountain house for the whole family to enjoy.  We had a great mix of time inside with snowy views, time outside with beautiful weather and lots of time just being together.

Highlights included the playhouse and playground in the backyard:

S’mores at the fire pit:

Playing pool:

Time in the hot tub:

And dozens of games played, books read, and lots of yummy food to eat:

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Before we went our separate ways, we enjoyed breakfast in Breckenridge and snapped a couple group shots!

Loved spending time with our family in the mountains!!

Last Days of Summer

We filled our last days of summer with lots of activity.  We had a few playdates, a few injuries, a bit of reading and biking, some babysitting, and exploring the creek near piano lessons!

I’ve learned that Ethan is very motivated – like me – by charts and goals.  He was pretty eager to reach his 50 mile biking goal before school started.  So on Saturday, we biked around Cherry Creek Reservoir (and Ethan biked over a huge bull snake in the process EEK).  We spent over two hours out there and biked over 12 miles.  But he was pumped to reach that goal!  He’d like to ride 100 miles over the school year. =)  Micah is more motivated by prizes, so he was also pretty eager to finish his reading chart for the year so that he could get the prize I had promised.  We were super proud of both of them!

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And in preparation for the new CC school year, I had a bunch of the tutors over to our home for training and dinner.  Mikey was out of town, so the boys had to tuck themselves in bed that night all by themselves.  Milestone.  And adorable. =)

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Time with the “Grands”

We had the fun opportunity to see two of the boys’ grandparents recently.  Grandma Cleve came out for a long weekend (she split her time, as usual, between us and Ashley/Zach/Caleb’s home) and then we stayed at Grandpa Russ’ home for a few days before our annual trip with Cass and Adam’s family.  What a treat!

We made a few attempts at a picture of Grandma Cleve with all of her grandsons (one more grandson to be added around Christmas!!) after having a yummy breakfast all together.  And then we just spent time together at our home enjoying each other’s company!  Mike and Grandma Cleve stopped in to have dinner with Great Aunt Terry on their way to the airport.  We’re already looking forward to her next trip in October!

A couple days after saying goodbye to her, we got to say hello to Grandpa Russ and stay at his home for a bit.  We especially enjoy visiting him in the summer –> pool, ping pong, dogs = so much fun!  And I always take home a new idea for a crockpot meal!!  It was wonderful to see Grandpa Russ (and Duke and Calvin) again!

We sure enjoy our time with our parents/grandparents!

Home, Sweet Home

We had a fantastic road trip, but we were all definitely glad to be home again.  I especially loved updating our various charts and changing our calendars.  Simple pleasures.  It doesn’t take much over here. =)

We listened to 8 audiobooks on the trip.  I’ve included a list here with some thoughts since I know some of you like that. =)

  1. Penderwicks (LOVE this book! It’s sweet and probably more geared towards girls, but it’s lots of fun)
  2. Stuart Little
  3. Alvin Ho Book 1 (the audiobooks are extra funny)
  4. Alvin Ho Book 2
  5. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (Book 2: The Hidden Gallery) (LOVE this series, but it’s best to do the audiobook…I think the boys would like it even more in a few years, but they are really laughing hard throughout it and the mystery is lots of fun)
  6. The Horse and His Boy (CS Lewis – can’t go wrong!  It’s a good stand alone book)
  7. The Secret School
  8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

We also added our miles from the bike ride through Yosemite:

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We really got into doing paint-by-stickers, something I had heard about at CC and also in the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, on our trip.  The boys LOVE doing them, especially when I read to them or they are listening to a book.  I am buying as many of these books as possible.  I would say that Micah started these with SO much frustration that he almost gave up, but now he can’t get enough of them.  So maybe start them at age 6 or 7…

We’ve caught up with some of our buddies – I don’t always get pictures, but I did snap a couple during some of the more recent ones.

Aunt Ashley and I started date night swaps, finally!  I had the pleasure of watching Caleb at their place  and she watched the boys here another night.  This is such a gift to all of us!!

And we were able to go to another concert for cousin, Matthew.  It rained at this one, so I didn’t end up taking any pics while we were there…but I did get this one of us walking  to it.  It was lots of fun to hear his band playing at a beautiful park.

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CA Road Trip, Pt 1: Reunion

Aunt Ticia (Grandpa Russ’ sister) organized the Cleveland Reunion and hosted us graciously for the weekend.  We stayed with Mike’s Dad and siblings (and their families) at a hotel near her home, but spent most of our days and evenings at her home for food, fellowship and lots of pool time!  It was so much fun! The boys absolutely loved getting to know their cousins (technically second cousins once removed or something?!  I can’t remember the term) and playing in the pool.  And I met some people I had never met before, too, so that was a treat!!

Some of the boys enjoyed giving performances on their various instruments.  E played a few songs on the piano and T played some on the saxophone.  It was fun to allow them all to do a little showing off for us. =)  E also was making up some songs with AJ, who plays the guitar.

And we took a few posed pictures of various groups:

We were so glad to join in on the fun this weekend.  It was great!  Thanks, Aunt Ticia, for organizing and hosting us all.  We sure loved being with you again!!

Early April

This has been a pretty fun month.  I really enjoy spring in Colorado because you never know what the weather will bring and it means we’re closing in on the last bit of school so things start relaxing around here.  It’s a lot of fun.

One weekend in early April when Mike was in Canada for work, the boys and I joined Aunt Ashley and her family at their new place for dinner.  The boys especially enjoyed seeing their dog, Gracey, and getting to play Wii (I think that’s what it was…) games with Uncle Zach.  This was Micah’s first video game ever and he was beaming with pride!  Thanks, Zach, for patiently walking them through it and keeping it fun for them!

That Sunday evening we went to a birthday party for a kiddo in Micah’s CC class.  The boys especially enjoyed trying rock climbing for the first time (milestone alert!).  I think both would enjoy it more if they had longer to try it and get the hang of it.  Ethan was especially nervous about the height, but he kept getting higher the more attempts he made.  And Micah used his arms a lot more than his legs, so he’d benefit from a little more coaching.  But, seriously, they loved it and did great!

A few nights later, I went out with my dear friend for some rock climbing at a rock climbing gym we enjoy.  It had been a good year+ since we had gone, so it was fun to get back out there again…even if I was pretty rusty/weak.  The boys asked for a picture of me reaching the top – so we made an awesome video of my whole climb up one of the easier runs.  It’s a good 2 minutes long, so I trimmed it for your benefit.  Now you can just laugh with me at my ridiculous attempts to impress the boys…by running into the wall:

While I was out rock-climbing, the guys were busy welcoming our new-to-us piano into our home.  Ethan was especially excited about this and said it was “one of the best days of his life”.  He snapped lots of pictures.  Micah attempted to snap a bunch, too, but sadly his camera ran out of batteries.  He was pretty devastated about it.

We had our final day of CC on April 5th and then had our end of year party/celebration on the 12th in the evening.  Each class does a little presentation in front of everyone (about 80 people were in attendance this evening) about something we’ve been learning. Micah’s class sang the preamble to the US Constitution – thus the patriotic theme.  Sweet Micah told me that evening when getting tucked in for bed that he accomplished one of his goals – he sang up in front of everyone without needing to have me next to him!  The Lord has done so much healing on his sweet heart and mind!  We are thankful!!!  Ethan (and my) class sang the first 12 elements in the periodic table.  Then all of the classes did an orchestra song in a round together.  We have videos of all three, but they won’t upload because they are pretty long!  We’ll be glad to share them in person or through email sometime as per your requests. =D

We also had a really lovely weekend with Daddio back in town.  We played a lot of games and just relaxed together, which was so nice!!  Milestone alert: Micah learned how to play chess!

 

The Js in town!

We were thrilled with the timing and location of the Fair Trade Conference this year – the week before Easter and in Westminster, CO.  This is a conference that Aunt Jennie often attends.  Naturally, we were pretty vocal in our desires to have her out for the conference and for the weekend afterwards.  The best part of this was when Jen and J became parents through the beautiful and arduous process of adoption just 5 weeks prior…which meant that all three of them could come out and we’d have to chance to meet Baby Girl and enjoy their company over Easter!  It was wonderful and we were SO thankful that they were brave first-time parents flying across the country with our sweet niece/cousin!

We saw them briefly for dinner on Monday night at our home before they headed north for the conference.  Then we drove up to see the fair trade expo, to help out a bit and to grab dinner with them on Wednesday evening.  And by Thursday night, they were back by us for the long weekend!

I would simply LOVE to show you Baby Girl’s darling face, but that will have to wait for a few more months… Suffice it to say, she’s beautiful and loves to be snuggled!!  Micah and I took turns snuggling her a whole bunch – I think I may have even finished a book during their visit. =)

Monday Night dinner and hang out:

Wednesday at the fair trade conference (we did the butterfly pavilion while we were up there, but I’ll save that for another post):

On Thursday night, we enjoyed merging our two sides of the family together.  Grandma Cleve was in town helping Ashley and Zach to move so we were thrilled to get to have dinner all together (sadly, minus Zach)!

Other highlights from the weekend together included some workouts in the park, walks, bike rides, making paper airplanes, playing memory/matching, reading books, going to church and out for ice cream, enjoying Easter dinner at the Jonker home, and Jen, J and Mike floating (*milestone for Jen and J) while I got the chance to babysit Baby Girl!  Oh, and I can’t forget laughing while the boys fed Aunt Jennie her Good Friday meal while holding Baby Girl!  We sure had a lot of fun hosting these guys!

Thanks for honoring us by having your first flight with Baby Girl be out to Colorado to see us!  We were so excited to have you all with us again!  Both boys expressed their desire to have you live in town after you left.  =)