Camping at Brainard Lake

Every January we attempt to book a campsite at Brainard Lake the following July (around here you have to book six months in advance for some of the better spots). After many attempts, Mike was finally able to secure a couple nights! Later we found out that our friends had also booked nights at a nearby site which overlapped us. It was so much fun to get to do some camping with them.

Life at our site:

Hiking to Blue Lake (which included a jump by all except me into the frigid waters):

Video of Mike and Micah and Ethan jumping into Blue Lake after about 3 miles of hiking.

Another highlight is all of the fishing the guys did (including from off of the stand up paddle board). Micah caught two tiny fish and loved the experience so much. We saw a moose swim across Brainard Lake while some of the guys were out on the water. It was pretty incredible.

Other pics from the trip:

This is easily one of our favorite places to camp. It’s not far and is just so very beautiful. We’ll be back next year, as long as we can get a site in January. =D

Mikey’s Birthday

We celebrated Mikey’s birthday with a yummy breakfast, a meaningful church service, a short and hot walk through the Farmer’s Market by church, delicious sushi burritos, and then a drive up Mt. Evans where we did a little hiking (and then got us altitude-sickness-prone-people down the mountain). It was a lovely day.

The following day he opened his gifts from us.

We sure love this guy!

Other Updates

Thought I would do a quick post on other things that have been happening since my folks left and Ethan became a teenager.

E played piano both in church and at Long Scraggy in the weeks that followed my parents’ visit. Long Scraggy came first. I didn’t take any pictures during the service, of course, but I have a few of Micah afterwards as we enjoyed the area. These were his first times playing along with a band for anything other than a couple jam sessions with folks from church. He did a great job for both. Mikey snapped a picture of E after the service when they were playing the final song as people left/chatted. You could also find it on YouTube here.

Mike and Micah have been doing a lot of workouts together. They seems to have a great time and often take pics to send to Mike’s online fitness instructor.

Other happenings include playing games as a fam, doing castle research, enjoying our home-grown strawberries, and going birding at Bluff Lake while Micah plays at a friend’s house.

Micah’s 10 Year Trip

A few years ago my parents came up with an idea to take each of their grandchildren on a special trip when they are 10 years old. Each grandchild will have the chance to come up with their dream trip. (Ethan chose Philadelphia). Micah chose to stay a lot closer to home by exploring castles in Colorado. He knew that they wouldn’t be like the medieval castles in Europe, but he was pretty excited to get to see them. He was a little more apprehensive about this trip and made a couple calls to check in with us over his time, but overall he had a wonderful time and he was SO thankful for the opportunity.

Hopefully I can do another post sometime with the pictures he took (which were many!), but this is what we got from Grandpa. They visited three castles together, including staying on the grounds at Glen Eyrie. His favorite castle was Bishop castle – a very unique spot!

Miramont Castle was probably the least exciting to Micah, although he enjoyed dressing up like a firefighter.

And lastly, here’s Glen Eyrie, where they did a guided tour of the castle, did a scavenger hunt, and saw wild turkeys (among other things):

When he returned home after his night away, we enjoyed hearing all about it and seeing all of his pictures. He got a big kick out of two tourists at Glen Eyrie who were taking lots of selfies. He laughed so much telling us about it and then wanted to take some of his own (thus the pictures that follow).

The following night E and I got to join the three of them on one final stop at a “castle” in North Denver. We arrived at sunset and enjoyed walking around the grounds outside.

We are SO thankful that the boys have opportunities like this one with people they love.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking Micah on this trip!

Mama Retreat / Guys Weekend at Home

My dear friend, Amy, and I have been going on weekend getaways for the past 6 years now. Usually we sneak away twice a year. It’s a time of refreshment and lots of hiking, praying, and reflecting on the year past and the year to come. It’s also a time of much laughter. We cherish this time together. We held off during the height of COVID and finally got away this month for our typical retreat (you may recall that we did an all day hiking trip once in there, too, and nearly got killed by a rattlesnake). Amy drove us down to Glen Eyrie where we spent a lovely weekend away together. We discovered a new hike on Saturday night – yes, it got a little late and nerve-wracking – which we completed the following morning. Gorgeous!

Meanwhile, closer to home, the guys had a fun weekend together. The boys had their end of the year recital in the backyard. Sweet Auntie Mel went in my stead and Mike captured it on video. But be warned, these videos should not be watched if you need to go to the bathroom. =D Ethan was very excited to get to go first when another kiddo didn’t show up. He wanted to be done with the pressure as soon as possible. Here’s his video. =) Micah was happy to play his two songs right after him. I love that Ms. Leila picked up on Micah’s vocabulary, because it definitely IS one of his strengths. Micah’s first and second song. Based on Mike’s pictures, it appears they also did a workout together and had some yummy food. After church on Sunday I heard that Ethan had a jam session with friends/adults at our church while the two Ms headed to a Farmers Market up the street from church (or maybe they got special drinks…I’m not sure which actually happened).

SO thankful for a hubby who prioritizes my time away and makes the experience fun and carefree for everyone. It’s a gift. =)

Occasionally both boys ask to do a little birding excursion. This day was particularly fun for them as they did some birding together while I took a walk nearby. We set a meet up time and they honored it wonderfully.

I snapped this one while Micah was preparing for his Faces and Places presentation. He just looked so old! And then here’s some pictures of him actually doing it in the park at our end of the year party. And here’s our little Foundations class from this year. Such a sweet group of kids!

The following day was Mother’s Day. We enjoyed a beautiful worship service, had bagel breakfast sandwiches on the deck, and then headed out for a new hike. That evening we played some basketball at a nearby park and ordered some take out for dinner. It was a great day!

Ethan finished up his testing the following week and Micah did a few of his, too. (He still has a few more to go.)

Next up – this mama goes on a retreat and the boys have a weekend with Daddio.

You may recall that I enjoy pulling food pranks on the boys on April Fools Day. This year we had friends over for our monthly Challenge A study hall, so I tricked them instead. I gave them “meatballs” in a crockpot (really just oatmeal balls with chocolate powder), “juice” (jell-o in a cup), and “carrots” (cheese dip in the shape of carrots with a little parsley on top – you’ve seen this one many times before). But for just the boys, I told them I had made donuts. Ethan was on to me from the beginning and was not impressed. Micah loved them. They are just apples with vanilla yogurt and cinnamon sugar on top.

Micah has been loving reading on his own lately. I often catch him reading books while lying on the ground. He especially loves books about dogs or castles. And Ethan does his school outside any day that feels decent. They have also been working together to write an informational essay and a persuasive essay about getting a Boxer.

Micah finished up his last day in CC community last week. E and I still have two weeks to go. One of my very favorite parts about this community is these ladies right here. It’s a gift to walk this journey together each week. Another thing I enjoy is how seen each child is by everyone else – Ethan had lunch with our youngest student and another Foundations/Essentials kiddo. E also took pictures of everyone for our yearbook. And I snapped this one of him while we played Headbandz with various fallacies.

I’ve taken just Ethan to the reservoir for birding (while I go walk and we check in via the walkie-talkie), but now I’ve also taken both of the boys. They loved birding together and were both thrilled about the birds they had seen. Meanwhile, I had a lovely walk solo (a much-needed respite when the hubs travels). And while in Georgia, Mikey snuck in a very brief visit with his sister and her fam when in town there for work.

And, lastly, here are a few other pictures from this month. We went on a brief hike with one of Mikey’s co-workers in Boulder a couple weekends ago. And we enjoyed Masters Sunday with cucumber sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches. Micah got a geode at CC and is very proud of it. Mike occasionally teaches the boys lessons in finance or how businesses work. I can’t quite remember what this lesson was on, but it was adorable. Micah was taking notes. Mikey and I have been doing a bunch of workouts together. The boys join for some, but not all. We always do our family meeting on Saturday mornings (Micah draws during it because it tends to be too boring for him! haha).