This past week has brought some new changes to our world. Ethan purchased a used camera (we chipped in a little bit, too, but mostly this was his endeavor) and is now going out most mornings to take pictures of birds. He has been emailing with Grandpa and even did a FaceTime to gather more information about photography. Perhaps this will be a class for this upcoming school year. =D

We thought it was only right to help Micah with a big purchase, too. He opted to get a standing desk because he’s really into all things related to having an office and being fit. He’s pretty jazzed about this whole thing.

We started doing our one-on-ones again this past week and Ethan opted to go to Bluff Lake with me to do some birding. Meanwhile, Mike and Micah stuck closer to home, but also did some birding. I can’t tell you how much this solo time breathes life back into our daily living.

Micah has been taking more and more of an interest in cooking and putting food together for people. He’s been working on his restaurant “A Side of Fruit” (coined as such because he always serves a piece of fruit on the side of everything), but he also cooked dinner for us (sloppy Jos) and had us all order salads from him another day. We also were pumped to have the first two tomatoes of the season!

Here’s a little mama milestone – I made hollandaise sauce for the first time ever and we all LOVED it! =)

Other happenings this week included Micah getting his own email address in order to edit his pictures (and send emails to family members). He’s been loving this and is even more motivated to learn to read more fluidly so that he can read all of your emails on his own!

We’ve also started doing solo audiobooks this week. Both boys really enjoy listening to books and usually we do this all together. Micah finished the “The Green Ember” already and started “The Last Archer”. Ethan is about an hour away from finishing “Monster in the Hollows”. It’s amazing how quiet the house can get.

We’ve done a few LEGO masters. Micah and I competed against each other in a challenge to build “a scene from Star Wars”. Ethan was the judge and ultimately voted for Micah’s, I think, but said mine (when Anakin fell into the lava pit while fighting Obi Wan) was pretty awesome. And then we did a challenge to make a robot. Ethan and I made a pretty classic robot, with a programmer controlling it in the background. Mike and Micah made a big robot who creates minifigs.

Other updates include a functioning sliding glass door with blinds and a canopy for shade; outdoor army battles on the front porch; Mike started going for walks with 30 lbs on his back because he’s a crazy, wonderful man; lots of piano playing; and bike rides to the pond:

One of my favorite things that has come out of the opportunities COVID19 has provided our family with is having Mikey home consistently. He now reads to us (mostly from the iPad as that is his preferred means) almost every night and it’s amazing. We’ve finished at least two books with him during this season – The Forest and The Magician’s Nephew. I think we’ll continue reading all of The Chronicles of Narnia together as it’s been a really sweet experience for us.

Mike’s Birthday

We really enjoyed celebrating Mikey’s birthday. Micah started the celebrations by having Mike’s morning drink ready with a birthday sign waiting for him when he woke up. It was a work day, so he took the second half of the day off so that we could celebrate more with opening presents, special food, and eventually an evening our at Cherry Creek Reservoir.

Each of the boys bought Mike a gift with their own money. Micah also put in some silly gifts, like a pair of socks he found lying around their room (one which had a hole in the toe). And I got him bike shorts, since he’s hoping to start biking more. We also enjoyed a yummy ice cream cake.

This guy is very special to us!

The week in review

We are getting more use out of our new deck. Often Mike takes work calls from out there. Sometimes the boys sit out there to read. And Mike and I spend many nights chatting once the boys are down for bed. (Yes, the healing in our family has been SO great that I can be outside now while they fall asleep – so thankful!) One evening this week I let the boys stay up late to watch for bats – they were thrilled, but it did take a long time before they showed up. Thankfully we had a good audiobook going while we waited. =)

We also started going to the Reservoir by our house for some stand up paddle boarding. We went one evening when it was a little choppy and then we went on a weekend morning before it got too busy and the water was very calm. We are hoping this becomes a regular part of our weekly routines, just like our Saturday morning sprint workouts have become.

Our first night out:

Morning 2:

Other happenings include a lot of piano playing and walks. The family shot is a picture Ethan took with his tripod and timer a few weeks ago – he emailed it to me this week. And the boys do not like Mike’s reading/computer glasses, but I think they’re cute. And I especially love when both of those guys wear them at the same time!

Early July

Mikey and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on the first of this month. When we took a selfie at the top of the mountain we climbed as a family that day, it reminded us both of the selfie we took on one of our 14ers that we used on our wedding day for people to sign. We’ve been climbing mountains and having other fun adventures together for 18 years already!

We hiked Chief Mountain – a 3 mile hike with spectacular views about 45 minutes from our house I think. It was absolutely fabulous – enough work that felt good, but not exhausting. =)

That night, we had sushi take out as a family. Later, Mikey and I enjoyed Cherry Wine from Door County, WI (which I bought at Mars Cheese Castle last June when we stayed in Wisconsin for the month) on our deck.

We celebrated the 4th with a challenging, but fun 1776 workout. This meant that we worked together to complete various movements that totaled up to 1776. It was a lot of fun. Micah led us in the hand stands, as that is his speciality and the rest of us can barely do a donkey kick. =D Later we had our annual 4th of July dessert of fruit and homemade whipped cream. And we took two nights to watch Hamilton together. What an incredible show! Ethan had already seen it LIVE, but he liked seeing it again and said he picked up on more of the story the second time around. We also enjoyed “butterscotch on the rocks”, which we learned about from a fun book series (Royal Rabbits of London). We used stevia droppers with butterscotch flavor and Ethan used chocolate, since he doesn’t like butterscotch.

We also all finally have working bikes, so we’ve done some family bike rides, including a ride around Cherry Creek Reservoir.

Other snapshots of life in early July include a lot of piano-playing, drawing, eating at Micah’s home restaurant, and listening to Daddio read to us.

Rounding out June

Our neighbor brought over her old pool for Mallory and she went in it a couple times. We had hoped she’d want to swim around more, but she usually just went in for the corn and came back out again. Sadly, it’s now been a couple weeks since we’ve seen her. We’re missing our little pet. =(

I haven’t shared any pictures of the backyard on here, yet, because I was hoping to make a dramatic unveiling of all of the progress. That will come in a later post, when it’s all finished. The work has been slow and steady and we officially have a deck with railings now. We’ve had a couple meals out there. Mike starts most mornings from there and Micah read his first book solo out there. We are going to love this new space!

We’ve been keeping busy with much of the same activities – walks, books, biking, hiking, playing piano and checking out birds. Micah also learned how to do Sudoku, so that’s been fun! And they play hangman together occasionally, too.

Other happenings include the boys’ attempt at starting a weeding lawn care business. We haven’t had any calls, yet, but they enjoyed making their flyer and delivering them to the houses in our neighborhood. Ethan and I took down the storm doors in the front while we still had the dumpster available. Micah wanted to take a pic of him enjoying the coconut water Auntie Mel brought over for us. Both boys played a little piano for Grandma Cleve over FaceTime. And Mike snapped this shot of Micah as a soldier. Micah also learned about graphs and made a creative one to capture his mini-fig collection.

On Fathers’ Day we headed to the mountains for a drive and a little birding walk. We grabbed some shakes to go along the way.

And one of the recent sprint workouts we took a snapshot before and after it.

More of June

We are spending much of our time playing LEGO (as proved by my last post), listening to books, going for walks (mostly for the boys to take pictures or for me to get some solo time, depending on the day and circumstances) or bike rides (the boys have been doing loops on their own now) and playing games. While we listen to books, however, we often play solitaire or color in Querkles (and Micah has been making some of his own). Ethan is getting pretty good at fast scrabble. We prefer to play that way than the traditional way as it keeps us moving and thinking differently (read: we don’t get bored when we play this way).

We also play a lot of piano – even doing silly things for Ethan’s piano practice like playing with a roll of toilet paper on his head or blindfolded.

Mallory continues to visit, although we learned that her eggs had been eaten by a fox last week.

On Saturdays the family walks over to the track nearby to do our sprint workout. We all love this new tradition!

The boys also come up with other unique ways to spend their time, like building parachutes to go out the window or making crafts.

And the three guys made homemade arugula pesto the other night. (I am not a fan of pesto, so I wasn’t involved in this one). They were very proud of how it turned out.

Also, Micah let me cut his hair and we all love it so much. (Actually, I can’t tell if Micah loves it as much as the rest of us…but I think he likes it)

Happy 11th Birthday!

This is almost impossible for me to believe – Ethan turned 11 at the start of this month!  We teased him a lot about turning 10 instead, since 11 just feels too old.  Micah even went so far as to write “Happy 10th Birthday” all over his gifts for Ethan.

I always try to sneak in a final picture with my boys before they turn the next year older, so this is my final picture with my 10 year old.

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One of our family birthday traditions is to let the birthday person choose all of the meals for the day. Ethan chose pancakes and bacon for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and Greek turkey burgers, homemade applesauce and sweet potato fries for dinner. He also had a delicious ice cream cake.

We also try to do something special with our birthday guy. This year had a lot of limitations, obviously, but it didn’t really phase him.  In typical Ethan-fashion, he wrote out a list of things he wanted to do for the day. He was happy to play frisbee golf in the park with the family, put together an 11-themed work out, and go for a nature walk to take pictures together at night (we had given him the tripod – the one thing he requested multiple times throughout the year – as our big gift to him).