Well, we’ve officially made the shift from summer weather to fall. It’s typical Colorado, though, so we’ve got days in the high 70s followed by days in the 50s. We managed to go a long time without using any AC or heat, but we finally had to heat up the place when we were doing school in hats and lots of layers just to stay warm. I think the house got down to 60 degrees and that’s just a wee bit chilly for us. =D We also had to pick all of our tomatoes after it dropped to below freezing for a few nights and that means we have a lot of green tomatoes gracing our counters.

Our friends snapped some pictures of the boys playing flag football up the street and I’m finally remembering to post them. We’ve got the final games happening this weekend!

Other happenings include celebrating Mike’s company acquiring another company with root beer floats. We found it hilarious that Ethan was wearing a disciple equals freedom shirt while drinking a massive root beer float. =)

Ethan finished invisalign and now just has to wear a retainer for 10 weeks (I think we’re down to 8 already; then he’ll wear it only at night). We celebrated with ice cream.

Most weekends we do a family workout on Saturday mornings. We each take turns leading the group in a workout. The pictures from this one were from a workout led by Micah.

A couple of weekends ago, we went for a nearby hike and then enjoyed some time in Golden with our favorite treats – açaí bowls!

This past weekend we spent a day in the mountains with our church family. The weather was lovely! E went on a solo hike with one of his buddies. Mike and Micah did a lot of archery competitions. (and E and I found out we are both dominant in our left eyes and had to figure out how to shoot left handed) We all learned how to play shuffleboard. We had a great time!

And here are some pictures from around the house over the past couple of weeks: Micah trying new vegetarian recipes (since he might like to become a vegetarian), playing football in their jammies, reading books, LEGO master competition (make something featuring water and a battle – Micah’s won), Ethan showing Micah some ukulele chords, Micah diagraming sentences and also listening to his book while playing Colorku.

Other Updates

We play a lot of ping pong these days. Ethan keeps a score sheet of every game he plays against anyone else in the family. He certainly plays the most games (and usually against me), but we spend a couple hours each weekend out there together and play during school breaks, too. We are very thankful we made this purchase!

Archery is another favorite pastime of the boys.

We’ve gotten back into the routine of doing a workout together every Saturday morning. Mike led us the first weekend (sprints around the park with some push ups thrown in) and I took this past one (a YouTube video of a gal I really enjoy working out with). Ethan is up for next weekend, followed by Micah. It certainly keeps things interesting. (No pictures for these…) Another weekend tradition is to enjoy decaf coffee with chocolate stevia drops and whipping cream. The boys and I indulge in this every Saturday and Sunday morning together.

The boys are signed up to play flag football this season. Nobody gets to play on the Packers, but I also saw that neither of them will be playing against the Packers (phew!) so that will work out just fine. Mike will be an assistant coach for both teams. We’re looking forward to it!

We officially started piano lessons for the fall last week and the boys got new bags!

Micah loves to build LEGO and listen to audiobooks. I think he finished two or three shorter books over this long weekend, in fact. Often he’s building a city scene or a knights scene. This week, though, he built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (Pharos’ Lighthouse in Alexandria) in honor of CC memory work. I also worked on one, but was not pleased with it. The boys still decided to take a picture of it to commemorate it.

We’ve been enjoying the veggies of our labor. Fresh tomatoes are incredible! And Micah just plucked this bad boy this evening (after getting a fresh new buzz).

Apparently I like taking pictures of food as I have a few more for ya. I splurged last week and got us lemon cupcakes because one of the stories Micah was reading mentioned lemon cake multiple times and it made us really want to have one! And Mike had us all making our own pizzas the other night! Yum and fun!

Lastly, this book is so much fun. I really love it! It’s especially fun to pair with the Louie Giglio video about how big the universe really is.

Life in the New Year

Here are some pictures from life around the house. Ethan got a photo editing program for Christmas and spends a lot of time editing his pictures and sending emails to his buddies. We started our usual January challenge of reading out loud for 10 minutes every day. Micah likes to teach art classes to whoever will participate. He got to teach Daddio this weekend and was thrilled. You can see his art wall behind his office. We went for a long walk/bike ride (boys ride with one walkie talkie and the parents walk with the other one) this past weekend while the temps were nice and warm. And Micah loves to play the piano and is considering taking lessons in the fall.

We are back to meeting in our backyard for CC community days. So far we’ve had pretty decent weather, although the mornings are pretty chilly. One morning Micah wanted to impress everyone with his ability to handle the cold by wearing short sleeves. Others joined in until it really got unbearable and everyone needed to put on their layers.

We’ve also been getting back into our regular schooling routine around the house. Micah is learning division with remainders, so there are some pics of him decorating our whiteboard as he figures those problems out! And Ethan has begun keeping track of his goals and work on a weekly planner. He’s also resumed his virtual piano lessons.

The boys are working on keeping their snow fort for as long as possible. It’s become a bit of a science project for them. They’ve made lots of updates over the weeks, and it’s still standing strong!

And we’ve been enjoying Packer picnics while cheering on our team to the Super Bowl! This past weekend found way too much joy in making cheese carrots to trick the boys.

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

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.