Grandpa and Grandma in Colorado

We were thrilled to host my parents for almost two weeks at the end of October/beginning of November. We had a great mix of just living normal life and doing some projects around the house.

Each morning Ethan and my Dad went out birding. Micah joined for one morning, but he decided it was more enjoyable (and warm) playing piano or reading with Grandma at the house. Also, while my parents were here, this memory popped up on my phone from 9 years ago when I remember thinking, “wow, my Dad as Grandpa is different than my Dad as Dad.” What on earth is that little pipsqueak doing holding a big expensive camera?! =D

My folks always ask about what kinds of things we might like them to do for the house, so we knocked out a few of those projects! Yay! The two most exciting things done were our laundry room and new address numbers for outside. They did other things, too, but these were big undertakings and I was so thankful to have them completed. The boys, especially Ethan, loved working on the laundry room. We decided this was a different kind of homeschooling. =)

We each did some sewing projects with my Mom. Ethan and Micah both made camera bean bags (not sure how else to describe them) and Micah made two decorative pillow covers. Turns out, Micah LOVES to sew and is looking for new projects. =) My Mom sewed us some Packer napkins and I finally finished my rice heating pad.

We enjoyed having Mel and Joel over for lunch over the weekend. We had our inaugural meal on our new deck table with them.

Much music was made throughout the week. My mom has recently begun learning to play the cello (one of the many things I admire about my folks is their belief that they are never too old to try something new), so she had a couple of Zoom lessons while here and showed the boys how to play a bit. She and Ethan worked on a little piano-cello duet. And Micah played a lot of piano duets with Grandma.

Other highlights that don’t fit as neatly into a photo gallery include baking together, Grandpa and Micah biking, visiting the Audubon Center all together, Krav Maga, reading books, playing games, editing pictures and doing *some* schooling, playing football in the park, having a picnic with some members of our Zoom book club (they also happen to be dear friends from CC), attending cousin Matthew’s awesome play, and having a Packer picnic.

Our time together was delightful. The boys both said afterwards, “I wish they lived with us or at least by us.” What a gift!

A short, but sweet visit

Jen, Jason and Salina came out to visit us this past weekend for the first time since Salina was about 6 weeks old. This trip was supposed to happen last fall, but their concert was cancelled (reasons obvious) and rescheduled for this past weekend. It was a delight to host them, but it sure was a whirlwind!

Some highlights included ukulele-playing, puzzle-finishing, zucchini bread-making, Watermelon Run-participating (both boys ran really well and Jen was very sweet to keep me and my wretched knees company), ice cream-eating, Packer picnicking and watching Salina (and snuggling with her) while her mom and dad *finally* attended their much-anticipated concert at Red Rocks!

We also enjoyed a delicious breakfast at our Auntie and Uncle’s house. Salina was exceptionally excited about seeing Matthew.

On Monday we rushed out the door to get to our CC community day and they enjoyed one of my favorite easy hikes!

Thanks for coming out to see us again! It was such a pleasure to have you!

a short, but sweet visit

My brother and his darling family road tripped out to California for Lauren’s sister’s backyard wedding and we were able to host them for a couple of days before they finished their trek back home. It was such a delight! We loved having them around and soaked up time together (games, nerf wars, LEGO, etc.). I will not forget the long hugs or the bouncing-with-joy that greeted me when we *finally* saw them again. It was particularly emotional because they hit two deer (or were hit by two deer…the details are fuzzy) on their drive to see us and we all knew things could have turned out much worse than dents and a missing side mirror!

They were with us for Independence Day so we all enjoyed an outdoor picnic at Aunt Mel and Uncle Joel’s – a fantastic tradition that we missed last year – followed by a walk on the golf course for some fireworks and sprinkler drama (will we get soaked? will we not?).

We loved having their crew in town and are excited to spend more time with them in Wisconsin soon!

Utah’s National Parks

The idea to visit each of Utah’s National Parks with my parents and Grandpa was born a few years ago now. At the time, the drive to Utah would have been treacherous with the potential of a lot of snow. In fact, one of the roads may have been closed for the season or something. The details are fuzzy. At any rate, this trip has been a long time coming and I was exceptionally thrilled to get to do this with my Grandpa, who I used to travel with as a kid. The idea that my 94-year-old Grandpa could make a trip like this with our kids was just too good to be true! We all had a delightful time together.

Little caveat to this trip – I can’t remember which day goes with which picture anymore. Yikes! So, take my journal entries with a grain of salt. The main idea is this: we had an amazing time every day. =D

Here’s a cute little shot of Ethan and his Great-Grandpa shooting the breeze at a rest stop on the way:

We started with Arches National Park. Visiting the parks in the late afternoon is definitely the way to see the most with the fewest other visitors nearby. Plus, the weather is much cooler and more enjoyable in the evening hours!

Here’s a fun comparison from the last time our family was in Arches:

The following day Mike and my Dad went for an early morning hike to see Delicate Arch. Later that morning, we were unable to get back into Arches, so we headed over to Canyonlands.

We spent two nights in Moab and then drove over to Bryce. This may have been my favorite of the four National Parks we visited.

I especially enjoyed the 3-mile hike through the canyons with my dad and the three Cleve Crew boys. Gorgeous.