While Mom is away…

…the boys get to play!  But before I get to my bi-annual trip to Atlanta to help my sister with her trade show, I wanted to show a couple pictures from our pseudo one-on-one we squeezed in between our arrival back home and my trip to ATL.  Mike and Ethan went to the dentist and then joined up with some of Mike’s friends for golf league.  E kept score and hit a few balls here and there, too.  He had a great time and we were reminded, again, how sweet our friends are and what a blessing they are to our whole family.

While they were out, Micah and I enjoyed playing Legos and played a bunch of games.

The following day, I headed to Atlanta.  It’s always such a pleasure to go there and help Jennie.  I’m super proud of her and her company and the work she does in Kenya, so it’s a “cause” I like to support.  But it’s also fun just to spend time with her and interact with her friends.  AND, I get the added bonus of seeing some of my friends, too, although this time I only was able to get together with my former neighbor and didn’t even take a picture. =/  Check out that de-licious veggie plate I ordered…it was incredible and I’m pretty sure corn is the main ingredient in fritos.  Also, there was chili on top of my fritos because AWESOME!!!

I compiled this from all of the previous trade shows I’ve attended with Jen:

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Meanwhile, the boys had a lot of fun at home with Daddio.  Milestone alert: they had their first sleepover at cousins’ house!  They had a great time over there and were definitely tired when they were back home again.  It was excellent timing – super helpful for Mike to get good days of work in without disruption!  They also went to a Rockies game with Reggie and his grandson and then to the Rapids game (discounted tickets due to the reading program at the library) the following evening.  AND, they managed to get Micah a new hat (recall that his former hat is at the bottom of Lake Tahoe), a new/used bike for him (recall the bike accident that ruined his previous bike), and new/used clubs for Ethan.  Whew!  What a week!

This guy…we sure love him!!

The Js in town!

We were thrilled with the timing and location of the Fair Trade Conference this year – the week before Easter and in Westminster, CO.  This is a conference that Aunt Jennie often attends.  Naturally, we were pretty vocal in our desires to have her out for the conference and for the weekend afterwards.  The best part of this was when Jen and J became parents through the beautiful and arduous process of adoption just 5 weeks prior…which meant that all three of them could come out and we’d have to chance to meet Baby Girl and enjoy their company over Easter!  It was wonderful and we were SO thankful that they were brave first-time parents flying across the country with our sweet niece/cousin!

We saw them briefly for dinner on Monday night at our home before they headed north for the conference.  Then we drove up to see the fair trade expo, to help out a bit and to grab dinner with them on Wednesday evening.  And by Thursday night, they were back by us for the long weekend!

I would simply LOVE to show you Baby Girl’s darling face, but that will have to wait for a few more months… Suffice it to say, she’s beautiful and loves to be snuggled!!  Micah and I took turns snuggling her a whole bunch – I think I may have even finished a book during their visit. =)

Monday Night dinner and hang out:

Wednesday at the fair trade conference (we did the butterfly pavilion while we were up there, but I’ll save that for another post):

On Thursday night, we enjoyed merging our two sides of the family together.  Grandma Cleve was in town helping Ashley and Zach to move so we were thrilled to get to have dinner all together (sadly, minus Zach)!

Other highlights from the weekend together included some workouts in the park, walks, bike rides, making paper airplanes, playing memory/matching, reading books, going to church and out for ice cream, enjoying Easter dinner at the Jonker home, and Jen, J and Mike floating (*milestone for Jen and J) while I got the chance to babysit Baby Girl!  Oh, and I can’t forget laughing while the boys fed Aunt Jennie her Good Friday meal while holding Baby Girl!  We sure had a lot of fun hosting these guys!

Thanks for honoring us by having your first flight with Baby Girl be out to Colorado to see us!  We were so excited to have you all with us again!  Both boys expressed their desire to have you live in town after you left.  =)

Boys’ Weekend/Sisters’ Weekend

Last weekend I flew to Atlanta to help my sister at her trade show.  I’ve been helping at this bi-annual show since we lived in Atlanta.  It’s always a lot of work and a whole lotta fun.  I enjoy getting to know Jennie’s friends and learning more about her business.  I also enjoy the chance to see my dear friends (no pictures this year) in the evenings for dinner.  This year I saw Patricia and Katie!  It’s such a pleasure to help Jennie and her company, Venture Imports.  We’re holding her hearts that say “sister” and “friend”!  =)

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While I’m away, the boys definitely play!  But first, they completed all of the tasks I assigned them for homeschool.  I’m pretty impressed with their ability to remain self-motivated and get things done.  Mike said they did a good job all Friday getting their work done so that they could play on Saturday and Monday.

Daddio is the braver parent and opted to take the boys skiing *twice* while I was gone.  They have now officially exceeded my skill level and the amount of times I’ve gone.  They had a great time skiing!

Saturday at Loveland:

Monday at Keystone (I believe!) with friends from church:

And here are some other highlights:

Milestones included Ethan going down a green all.by.himself and each boy winning Risk Legacy.  I imagine there are other milestones on the mountain, but I don’t know the stories well enough to re-tell them here. =)

Global Bazaar

The boys and I had the opportunity to sell Jennie’s products at the Global Bazaar at our church this past Saturday.  They both helped me set up the table (we had differing views of what looked good…) the night before:

And then we spent the whole day at church on Saturday.  I was surprised to see that Micah stayed the whole time and loved helping to wrap items!  He didn’t complain at all. Ethan was a little social butterfly and spent most of the day playing with various friends from church.  He also spent time looking for presents for people. =)

Thanks for trusting us to sell your beautiful product, Jen!!  We had a great time!

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

We have been wanting to see the Viking exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science ever since it arrived!  I finally had to put it in my calendar and just go, whether I was in the “museum mood” or not. =D  We knew this was something we wanted to experience before our big upcoming trip, so we *finally* made it happen.

As usual, we stopped by the gift shop to admire Aunt Jennie’s products.  It always makes me SO proud to see her beautiful animals and hearts on display.

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We ate lunch and then spent the rest of our time at the Viking exhibit.  We had a great time!  Ethan even took notes (for fun) throughout much of the exhibit.

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They loved getting to sit on the wolves outside before we drove home. =D

End of Classical Conversations

This week marked the end of the Classical Conversations school year.  It’s a 24 week program and it felt incredibly quick to me this year!  Ethan has now done 2 of the 3 cycles and Micah has gone through half of cycle 2.  We’ll be starting cycle 3 next fall which, I believe, has a focus on US geography and history.  I’m planning to be a tutor again next year, but I’m not sure which class I’ll be teaching.

Here are some pictures from our final day of CC.  I snapped a picture of each kiddo during their final presentations and one from our egg protector contest.  Our class (the second youngest) and the masters class (the oldest group) both created egg protectors that protected their eggs from breaking.  There may have been another class in there, too, that saved their egg from destruction, but I can’t remember which one.  It was pretty fun to see our hard work result in some success after our bridge kind of failed. =D

As a little parting gift, I gave each kiddo a homemade card, some candy, and a heart from my sister’s company (Venture Imports).  They were so appreciative and seemed to really enjoy it.  We had a big group hug at the end of class and I said, “oh man, I wish I had a parent in here to take a picture of us together.” And one of the kiddos said, “at least we know it happened.  We can just remember it without the picture.”  A good reminder that I don’t need a picture of every sweet moment in my life.  I will certainly remember that one.  Ethan told me later that evening that he really appreciated the note I wrote to him and thanked me for it.  Micah asked me to draw a picture for his tutor, too. That’s her card, along with an “inspire” heart. =)

On Friday evening, we had our big end of the year party.  I loved what our community did – each class presented some information they had learned over the year.  It was really fun to see everyone’s personality coming out.  My class sang a song about the 3 laws of thermodynamics.  I don’t have any videos of that one since I was up front during it.  Micah chose not to sing with his class – stage fright! – but I took some pictures and videos of them singing their songs because it was so stinkin’ cute.

While our CC class is over for the year, we are not quite done with our school year.  We are hoping to finish up by May 11, but we’ll see! =)

Global Bazaar

My Aunt and Uncle’s church (fun fact: it’s also the church where Mike and I tied the knot!) hosts a Global Bazaar.  Each year that we’ve lived in Denver, my sister has come out to sell her fair trade items!  The last time she sold at the Bazaar, though, was when Micah was born!  Unreal.  How’s that for a throwback?!

Walk down memory lane with me…I picked up Aunt Jennie from the airport that year (2011) and handed her my phone for tracking my contractions.  I remember her saying after a shorter contraction, “oh!  That one wasn’t too bad!” =D  We proceeded to set up the church for the sale, while I continued to have contractions.  They died down that evening, but the following morning they started up with a vengeance.  Needless to say, I was not helping at that sale as Micah was born around 10:30 that morning (I think)!  Jennie brought Ethan to the hospital to meet Micah for the first time on Sunday, the day after the show.  The pic on the bottom is the pic we snapped before Mike and I drove to the airport when Miss Gina came to watch Ethan for the day!  The family pic is the night we got home from the airport – Jen took it for us.

This year, Ethan joined Jen and me for the sale.  He helped all day long and was wonderful.  He spoke to a lot of people, telling them a little bit about the sculptures.  He also wrapped a lot of them for us.  He was such a blast to hang with for the day.

Comparison of 2011 and 2016 (my sister doesn’t age, but E sure does!!):

Thanks, Jen, for letting us help you!  We are very proud of Venture Imports and all that you do around the world!