A Visit from Grandpa and Grandma

My parents and Grandpa drove out to visit us (and my Auntie) last week.  We had a lovely visit with them!

Here are some pictures from around the house.  Grandma gave us her football helmets and the boys each arranged them in order of their favorite teams.  Micah loved playing a newly invented game called, “Stinky Socks” with Grandma.

And Grandpa made the boys a tree house in the backyard!  This was incredibly exciting!  The boys have been playing in it every day since.

The boys also rode their bikes with Grandpa and jumped in the leaves.

They got to be around for a lot of fun weekly activities.  Grandpa and Daddio were at Micah’s harvest program.

And Grandma and Grandpa sat in during our Classical Conversations class.

And everyone enjoyed the morning at PE plus.  Afterwards, Great Grandpa and the Jonker clan came over for lunch.

We spent some fun time at the Jonker’s house over the weekend, too.

We loved having these guys visit!  Thanks for coming!

Our Backyard

When we moved in to our home, the backyard was pretty overgrown.  We don’t have a master plan in place for the space, but we knew we wanted to get rid of a lot of the bushes that had been neglected over the years.  Not only were they overgrown, the bushes were falling over because of all of the snow we had this early spring.  Anyway, we rented an electric chainsaw and went to work!  It’s definitely a work in progress and we’re not sure how much more work we’ll do on it this year, but we’re pleased with the progress thus far.

As you can see, it really opened up that area.  But, as many of you know, the boys’ hideout was exposed when we removed all of those overgrown bushes.  They were, thankfully, perfectly happy to move their fort to a different spot in the yard.

Their fort is behind the big tree in the garden section of the yard shown here.  I spent quite a bit of time weeding and pruning this area.  It’s still pretty overgrown and whatnot, but I think it looks very much improved!

And here is where I am debating building some garden boxes to have a little veggie/herb garden.  This whole section is a crazy mess, but it gets a fair amount of sun so it could work.  We’ll see.  And maybe a new fence.  Haha!  Yikes! =D


I don’t know whether Mike would say he enjoyed doing all of the work back there, but I thought it was a blast! =)

More to come on our efforts back there.


One of the biggest (and probably silliest) highlights of moving for me is the chance to make a new place into our home…it involves moving furniture around to different places in different rooms, putting up pictures, getting different furniture, and refurbishing the old!  I’ve spent a lot of time at Goodwill and other consignment shops…and Ikea.  =)  Here are a couple of the projects we’ve done since our move.

Painting bookshelf and dining room table to match our canvases:

Purchase barstools (Ikea) and chairs for dining room table (Goodwill  – incredible find for $4.50 each! – will get painted white eventually):

Our former couches of 8+ years were too big (and pretty beat up, too) for this home, so we didn’t even move them.  We purchased an L-shaped couch for the living room downstairs instead:

Sadly, two of our three dressers were badly damaged during our move…to the point of no return.  SO, Mike and I got our very first bed frame that has four storage drawers under the bed and that will work as our dresser.  We are loving it.  We bought Ethan a new dresser from Ikea and he helped to put it together.

Our final purchase was a chaise for the upstairs living room.  We really aren’t sure quite what to do with this space, but I have always wanted to have a bay window / prayer area / reading nook.  So, we got this chaise today and are really pleased with it.  The rest of the room is a mystery to me, but that suits us just fine! =) Also, it snowed today and that was beautiful.  You’ll see that I hung up my first things in the house…and they match wonderfully with our table. Woot! =D

Mike also took down part of our fence and I caught him on camera, so it gets to be posted on here, too. =)

Hopefully I’ll get some pictures of our rooms set up soon.  The school room is fairly organized, which has been super helpful, and we are officially ready to host guests.  We’re still a work in progress, but it is definitely starting to feel more like home.


So, when you are doing some remodeling to your new home, you spend a lot of time at Lowe’s and The Home Depot.  We also have spent time at IKEA, American Furniture Warehouse, Goodwill and other consignment shops.  The boys have been excellent sports about all of these little outings…most of the time. =)  They were cracking us up at IKEA a couple weeks ago.  They had maps of the store and were checking off each place we had been with their pencils.

I’m not even sure how to post about the progress of our home thus far (my word, it has come a long way!), although it will be fun to do before and after pics.  We have loads of pictures, as you can imagine, but posting all of them would be just plain boring to most of you.  So, I’ll just post a couple to give you an idea. =)

In the midst of all of this, the boys have been eating outside, on the ground, on the go and being completely flexible.  They spend a lot of time outside playing in our backyard and were VERY happy to finally see their toys again this week.

More updates to come.  But for now suffice it to say that we are living in our new home and loving it thus far.


On Wednesday, I drove the 9 hours to Denver, CO.  Mike worked in the car, which worked out perfectly.  The boys spent most of the time reading books and listening to audiobooks. We started The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, which they seemed to enjoy quite a bit.  The Chronicles of Narnia are some of my very favorite novels, so I am really excited to start sharing them with the boys.  The boys were each given a whole roll of quarters by Ms. Mary Alyce and Mr. Charles at church to spend on snacks on the drive.  Here’s what they bought and they were both SO excited and proud to be spending their own money on special treats!  What a wonderful idea!  Thank you!!

The snow from the big storm was still on the roads for part of our drive, but it didn’t slow us down much.  The boys were excited to see all of that snow!  It had been a while for us!  Here’s our first family picture in Colorado:

That evening, we headed right over to our new home to see it!


The indoors looked (and still does) like a construction zone, so it was exciting, but didn’t look like home.  We have some really wonderful connections out here, so we were able to do some bigger updates/fixes throughout the house at a fraction of the cost – a HUGE blessing, for sure!  It’s been a fun and humbling project.

After a stop at our new home, we went by my aunt and uncle’s to pick up my car.  They were out for the evening, but our cousin, Ike, was home so we took him out for dinner with us before we headed to our friends’ house for the night.  I didn’t get a good picture, but I did snap this one quickly so that I could remember it. =)


We will get into our home this coming weekend.  In the meantime, we’ve been staying with our generous friends.  I’ll post more about that soon.

Grandma Cleve’s Visit!

We loved spending a week with Grandma Cleve this month – what fun we had with her! We enjoyed a few special outings with her, but also spent a good amount of time just living life…reading books, playing games, learning German, studying Presidents, etc.  All four of us went to pick her up from the airport.  Our intention was to surprise her when she came up the escalator, but her flight was very early!  We surprised her at baggage claim instead.

IMG_5053 IMG_5056 IMG_5057

Then we went out for lunch downtown and explored the city a bit.  We wanted to go to Centennial Olympic Park and show her the inside of the CNN building.  Unfortunately there was a big conference downtown so there were tons of people everywhere…that, combined with the heat, made for a shorter afternoon there than we had planned. IMG_5063 IMG_5065 IMG_5072 IMG_5075 IMG_4552 IMG_4558

The whole thing exhausted Micah… He slept on the couch for a while after we got home. IMG_5078

We spent the rest of that evening (Saturday) at the house.  Grandma Cleve came with lots of gifts for the boys and she happily surprised them with little things throughout her visit with us.  We also celebrated Mike’s birthday that evening.  His Aunt Sandy sent him a Rodgers jersey – awesome!!

IMG_4567 IMG_4569 IMG_5079 IMG_5083 IMG_5084 (1)

We went to church on Sunday and then went to Ikea that evening so that Mike could go with us.  We took apart Ethan’s bed, so the boys each got a dresser.

IMG_5086 IMG_5087 IMG_5089 IMG_5090 IMG_5091 IMG_5094 (1) IMG_5097 IMG_5099 IMG_5102 IMG_5104

Monday we spent mostly at the house, though I think we also went to Webb Bridge Park for a bit.  That evening we continued the birthday celebration and went to the Dodgers game!  We were given free tickets and the seats could not be beat – so much fun!!

IMG_5106 IMG_5107 IMG_5110 IMG_5113 IMG_5122 IMG_4599 IMG_4600 IMG_4602 IMG_4612 IMG_4616 IMG_4657 IMG_4678  IMG_5115IMG_4683

Tuesday we went to Kid to Kid – boys picked out gifts from Grandma Cleve (please note, we did not purchase the sunglasses!) and then we worked hard on building the other dresser:

IMG_5125 IMG_5126 IMG_5127 IMG_5129 IMG_5154

On Wednesday, Grandma Cleve and I took the boys to their very first movie at the movie theater.  We saw “Muppets Most Wanted” for $1 each person!  The boys didn’t love the movie – “there was too much stealing.  Stealing is bad.” – but the experience was a blast.  We also got a little treat at Luv-a-Bowl afterwards.

IMG_5131 IMG_5135 IMG_5137 IMG_5139

We went back to work on the dresser and finished it!  Micah insisted that I wear a construction hat, too.

IMG_5145 IMG_5148 IMG_5151 IMG_5155 IMG_5156

On Thursday we went to the aquarium.  Grandma Cleve had never been before, so this was an especially sweet treat for her.

IMG_5159 IMG_5160 IMG_5165 IMG_5167 IMG_5173 IMG_5174 IMG_5175 IMG_5172

Mike stayed home from work on Friday, but he was sick.  Micah was sick, too.  I don’t remember much about this day and I can’t find any pictures from it, so I guess it was pretty laid back.  On Saturday everyone was feeling a bit better so we headed over to Autrey Mill.

IMG_4697 IMG_4712 IMG_4719 IMG_4723 IMG_4729 IMG_4731 IMG_4733 IMG_4735

Sunday the boys were sick…big time.  It turns out that they had hand, foot, mouth disease.  What?!  So Grandma Cleve stayed with the boys while Mike and I went to church – thank you!! – and they spent some time playing games and some time sleeping.  That was our last day with Grandma Cleve.

IMG_5181 IMG_5184 IMG_5185 IMG_5186

We had such a great time with her!!  Can’t you tell?

Playing catch up

It seems a few weeks have passed since I last updated…so this will be a random post of playing catch up!

The park at the school by our house is STILL under construction, but a little bit of progress has been made.  We are hoping it’s finished by this summer!  We stopped over one afternoon and found our neighbors there.  Fun!  The boys didn’t even want to go because they were worried they would miss out on playing with their friends!

IMG_2216 IMG_2217 IMG_2218 IMG_2220 IMG_2221 IMG_2222

We had some pretty warm weather a couple weeks ago, so we decided to try to “run” to Chipotle again.  It was lots of fun, but we need to keep practicing….we’ll be running 2.7 miles to benefit “Out of Darkness” with our church in May.  =)


Here’s Micah, looking so grown up, leaving Bible Study a couple weeks ago:


And here’s E putting stars by all the books he wants to get: IMG_2229

Reading quietly at the library, while I search for new books:


Playing construction at the house:

IMG_2234 IMG_2233 IMG_2232

Micah has been working on his ABCs a bit more intentionally lately:

IMG_2241 IMG_2243 IMG_2246 IMG_2247

He may or may not have been bribed with a scone. 😉

IMG_2244 IMG_2245

And E lost his 4th tooth!  Unreal!  He was SO excited to tell his Daddio!

IMG_2254 IMG_2251 IMG_2260

Our Yard

We are SO happy to report that our yard has officially been transformed.  We have been taking baby steps since we moved here in January of 2013, but the last month has brought about new life to this place and we are so excited to show it to you.  My apologies for the over-abundance of pictures.

January 2013:

IMG_4608 IMG_4496 IMG_4602 IMG_5201 IMG_5239

Here’s the side of the house, sometime in March of 2013 (I believe):IMG_9610 yard detail

Here’s the other side of the house:


Last summer, we worked with our friend from church to build a beautiful patio.  We are SO grateful to him for all of his hard work and for showing us how to do everything!

IMG_5864 IMG_5871IMG_5873IMG_6954IMG_7154

We took out the big bushes in the front by ourselves and planted new bushes/plants sometime last fall:

IMG_6567  IMG_2923

We also took this beast out and worked with our neighbor to build a retaining wall and plant roses there instead.

IMG_2587 IMG_2588 IMG_2682  IMG_2919

Here’s what our place looked like in early June:

IMG_7085IMG_0650IMG_1315IMG_1343 IMG_1296 IMG_1310IMG_1346  IMG_1322 IMG_1328 IMG_1330

And here’s what it looks like now:

IMG_1784 IMG_7289 IMG_1787 IMG_1794 IMG_1793 IMG_1809 IMG_7803 IMG_7804 IMG_7805 IMG_7806 IMG_7807 IMG_7808 IMG_7809


We still have some more to do, but my word, for right now we are going to enjoy this!!

More Landscaping…

Well, the front of our house is close to being completed.  We spent much of our weekend doing the landscaping to the other side of the front of our house.  We also helped our sweet neighbors move their rose bushes over to the area in between our houses.  They have been SO helpful, knowledgeable, and encouraging through all of these updates.  Such wonderful neighbors!  Always willing to lend a helping hand to us…or to allow us to borrow their tools. =)

IMG_2923 IMG_2925 IMG_2927 IMG_2928