Wrapping up December

I listened to a lovely book recently that talked about the belief when World War I began that it would “be done by Christmas” and realized that I had held that belief about Covid, too. World War I wasn’t done by that first Christmas, or by the next one. And Covid isn’t done either. So, our Christmas this year looked very different than it has every other year. As I was reflecting on the sadness I felt to be far from my family for the first time in 8 years over Christmas (we didn’t travel when Micah was first born), a dear friend of mine pointed out the blessing I have in my family. I had told her that I was accustomed to being so rejuvenated over the holidays because of all of my time with them and I wasn’t experiencing it this year. I am still feeling fatigued and in need of rejuvenation. God has blessed me a lot through them – what a gift that I didn’t even fully realize I had! It’s good to take stock and count those blessings, even the ones that seem so obvious. I always knew I had fun over the holidays, but I didn’t realize how much that time prepared me for the next months of life, too.

Anyway, enough musings. We really did have a lovely Christmas season! So many beautiful memories were made! I’ll start with some fun, non-Advent/Christmas-related pictures:

The first is a little snapshot that I took for my bro – he and I used to snag the very best cookies (similar to these, although green) when our family got our box of cookies from family friends each year. I decided to make them with the leftover cornflakes from the sweet potato casserole. Great plan! We also attempted to see the “Christmas Star” of Jupiter and Saturn – awesome experience! Thanks, Grandma Cleve, for reminding me about this!! Much of our day is filled with listening to books and… the ‘and’ is followed by LEGO, coins, marble run, drawing, etc. Micah chose to do some painting one day. We played a few games another night.

Some Advent activities leading up to Christmas day included a “choose your favorite and re-do it” event which was a great hit. The boys chose to have another sleepover and watch a Christmas movie. We also had our Christmas Recital – thank you to all of our audience members who made it SO much fun! Mike started us off with a little portion of a Coldplay song which brought much merriment to all. And on Christmas Eve we zoomed with Grandma Cleve and then had our annual Shepherds meal where we eat by the fire and pretend to be shepherds on the night the angels came with the Good News of Jesus.

We had a very relaxing, but enjoyable Christmas Day. Each boy opened a present and then I set to work on a breakfast “feast”. Then we opened some more presents, including one that Mike included a scavenger hunt around the house in order to find for the boys (great fun!). We ate a late lunch of ham, tasty sides, and sparkling cider. We zoomed with Grandpa Russ and Uncle David and did a little recital for them. And then we played some more games and read books and just enjoyed the peace of the season. =)

The following morning we opened presents with my fam in Wisconsin over Zoom. We were thrilled that after each person did a full quarantine for 2 weeks, they could all be together for a couple weeks at my folks’ house. It brought tears to my eyes just to see those sweet cousins hugging each other again after 9 long months! (they get together regularly, but have always been distanced and outside, so this was BIG!) Ornaments made me cry. Ethan had a zoom session with Grandpa to get tips on his new photo-editing software. Lots of fun.

That afternoon we drove up to Longmont for some birding and we saw our first Great Horned Owl. It was pretty incredible! It happened to be very busy there that day, but the views are spectacular.

Other highlights included presents from cadet leaders at church for the boys (how thoughtful!!), a special recital with Reggie, playing our new game from the Hengevelds (thrice!), and Micah teaching an art class for his cousins (and then being taught one from them, too!). There were more zooms thrown in there, too, but I apparently didn’t take any pictures of them. :/

Next up…ringing in a New Year! =D

Advent Activities, etc.

The boys and I were feeling pretty sad after Daddio and Grandpa Russ left. Mike stayed in Missouri for another five days to help get things settled there, so we spent some time solo again for the first time in a very long time! That first day we wanted to do something a little special – so we went birding at Cherry Creek Reservoir. Couldn’t have asked for a more lovely way to spend some hours to lighten our heavy hearts.

Advent activities while Dad was out included making homemade egg nog (yum!!), secret acts of kindness day (no pictures of that, obviously!), breakfast for dinner, picking up trash around our park with friends (followed by a snowball fight), and a Christmas art class.

And here are some other pics from throughout that week (virtual church, workouts during memory work review, Ethan reading in a tree, Grandma reading to us, snow on one of my walks, and my favorite cozy spot after a long day of parenting solo):

Before the Holidays…

School continues to go well this year. Sometimes they work from on top of the bean bag, sometimes at the table, sometimes in Micah’s office. Micah is especially enjoying the challenge of Essentials, which he is doing for the first time this year.

We finished 12 weeks of CC and only had to do part of one of those weeks virtually. We were thrilled! It’s been such a fun year in our backyard. This year they made life-size posters of their bodies, which turned out pretty cool.

The boys got a job taking care of our neighbors’ cats for a week in November. They went over twice a day to feed the cats, take care of the litter boxes and to play with them. They were incredibly responsible and earned some serious spending money from the gig. (Don’t worry, the spelling of “business” is now mastered.)

A couple of quick little snapshots of virtual life – a birthday celebration for my grandpa (who turned 94!!!), church, and working with grandpa to make Ethan’s photo book.

Other highlights include playing games and drinking hot cocoa, sharing recipes with my bro-in-law, sending color by numbers with cousins, piano-duet playing, and mama’s solo walks (including a lovely picture the boys captured when checking in via FaceTime while I walked)

Fall in Colorado

Fall is my favorite season! It’s been my favorite season everywhere I’ve lived. Wisconsin, Georgia, and Colorado. I especially love fall in Colorado because you really never know what kind of weather you’re going to experience from one day to the next. One day you are wearing shorts and t-shirts and the next day you are sledding, sometimes literally. The weather swings will be very evident in this post. =)

Summer weather…reading in the sunshine while the boys play football with Daddio:

Winter weather…snow, sledding and days of fires (even on school days)!

Summer weather…windows wide open while the boys send messages and snacks back and forth and then later play snow baseball.

Other happenings unrelated to the weather, but related to school instead: Micah reading his paragraph to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Sal; various pics of schoolwork at the house; and CC dress like a book character day.

More happenings, this time related to various ‘celebrations’ within our home (Dodgers winning, my virtual book club – I finished a fantastic, but long book about the Great Migration, Packers picnics, our democracy and a new president):

Other happenings from life in general (working on balance; a fun comparison pic of Ethan 6 years ago in preschool as a pirate and Ethan now trying to figure out how to keep his hair out of his eyes; Micah’s ship; the boys reading at night before sleeping; Micah playing piano for Grandma Cleve; boys wrestling with Daddio; and more relaxation by the fire):

It’s a good life we’re living. Lots of things that bring us joy. Some days we have to look harder to find the light, but it’s always there.

Mid-October

Family fun pictures include a ping pong tournament (which Micah won), LEGO masters of a water park, Ethan mowing the lawn barefoot (as always), cutting paper into shreds while Mikey reads to us, biking to the tennis courts, spying on birds in our neighbors’ yard (yikes!), Mikey and Ethan going head to head in the countries game on the iPad (Mike won by 1, I believe – E has been playing this game since he was TINY *but hasn’t done so in years* and has a fabulous memory), and playing LEGO.