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.

A New Year

Before I post a couple of pictures from our New Year’s celebrations, I thought I’d put in a few of pictures taken from the other side of our Zoom gatherings with the fam.

On New Year’s Eve, we stayed up (thanks for Micah for keeping us awake!) until midnight when we all toasted the new year with sparkling cider. We had crepes for dinner, as we often do, and spent the rest of the evening playing games and reading books. Mike had set a goal for us to finish all of The Chronicles of Narnia books during 2020/covid, so we had a few chapters to finish in order to check that one off our “list”. I finished the puzzle Ethan had made for us for Christmas. It was VERY hard! And I set some reading challenges for myself for the year.

On New Year’s Day, we had a virtual murder mystery activity with the fam. LOTS of fun! It is something that has been on my bucket list, so that was extra fun for me! Still can’t believe Uncle Jason was the murderer or that all three guys in my fam guessed it correctly!

Thankful for 2020 and all the ways we’ve grown through it and excited for the new year!

Advent activities for the past couple weeks included breakfast by the fire, making Christmas cookies, ice cream sundaes (on a Sunday, of course ;)), a family sleepover, making Christmas cards, watching a virtual performance of The Nutcracker, going for a winter hike, a drive to see Christmas lights, a family wrestling match (Ethan won), and a white winter breakfast for the first day of winter:

Other activities in December (fun in the snow, pics from various walks, virtual church with our very own Advent “wreath” (thanks, Auntie Mel!!), time by the fire, timeline lessons with Auntie Sal and Grandpa and Grandma (look closely and you’ll see I’m sporting a mustache), piano-playing, watching Ivan and Abe in their virtual choir performance for their church, playing with LEGO, our Hope sign (another thanks to Auntie Mel), and watching “The Grinch” over Zoom with the family:

We hope your December is filled with much cheer and good memories! It may not look the way it looks most years, but there is still lots of joy to be found.

Celebrating Micah

On Micah’s Birthday Eve, we took our usual mama and me picture and he shared some of his special homemade cookies. Our friend didn’t realize he was turning 9, so we used the ‘8’ cookies on his final day of being 8. =) Aren’t they beautiful?

Obviously we were lying low for the birthday celebrations, but that suited Micah just fine. He had two surprise *outside* visits from friends bearing gifts, which was more than enough for him! He was thrilled. And we ate lots of good food – waffles for breakfast, take out breakfast burritos for lunch, and Cuba Cuba sandwiches for dinner. Plus an ice cream cake. He loved it and appreciated all of the love he got via zoom calls, videos, cards, and gifts. Thanks for helping us spoil him! =)

The start of the holiday season!

As is our tradition, Grandpa Russ came out to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. He actually needed to be out here in order to pursue some help regarding his health, but we were thrilled that the timing worked out that we could host him over the holiday and help him get some health insights. This was honestly one of the moments in 2020 that felt the most normal, even though it was filled with hospital visits and whatnot. Hosting, getting hugs and being close to a person outside of our little crew of four has not happened since March, so this was a treat for all of us! We always love having him, but it was especially meaningful for all of us this year.

We didn’t take a lot of pictures together, so I’m sad to show very little from our time together. Here are a couple I snagged from hanging out around the house:

Thanksgiving Eve brought exciting news from the Bertilsons – they are having a girl! She is due in April and we’re all excited!

Thanksgiving day was filled with lots of food and things written down for which we give thanks. It was an absolutely lovely day together. We filled that poster with loads of blessings!

The day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year – decoration day! It’s the first day I allow myself to listen to Christmas music and it’s the day we get all of our decorations up! We have Christmas lights outside for the first time ever – it felt like the year we needed to do a little spoiling. =)

My mom made all the grandkids Christmas pillowcases! It was a very special gift and everyone was thrilled with them! They opened them on our weekly zoom after a day filled with clues to try to help us guess the gift.

These pics come from during the time period that Grandpa Russ was with us, but generally happened on days he was at the hospital. We got in some schooling (there’s a very big difference between the way Ethan does math and Micah does it), some walks, some artwork, time with Daddio, a CC Christmas celebration, time at the piano, virtual church with our advent candles, etc.

On our last night with Grandpa Russ here our Advent activity was to have a red and green meal together – lasagna! We loved celebrating with him!!

We were so thankful for this time with Grandpa Russ and look forward to our next visit in February!

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):