Thanksgiving

Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year.  We love this tradition and enjoy having him with us so much.  The boys especially enjoy spending time outside with him, looking at and sorting through coins, and eating ice cream!  We went out for breakfast at the Original Pancake House one of the mornings he was here, too!  Here are some pictures from our time with him around our house:

Before he even arrived, we started our lists of things we for which we give thanks.  Micah’s first item was drum lessons.  Ethan’s was piano lessons.  They also did an acrostic and came up with another nice list.  Ethan worked on his first and then Micah joined in later…and when Micah got to “G” he shouted GOD!  Next thing I see, Ethan’s crossing off whatever he had written in the “G” and wrote God, too.  Ha!  Very cute to see him copying his younger brother for once. =)

We spent Thanksgiving day at Ashley and Zach’s place.  It was fun to spend the day all together.  We split the food up between the two of us and had a pretty fantastic feast, although some were heard “grumbling” about having ham instead of turkey this year.  Lots of sibling banter ensued.  The boys helped me with various parts of our half of the meal: cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and green bean casseroles.

That evening, E and I went for a walk around the park in the dark.  We got to talk to my Grandpa for his birthday and I snapped a few pictures of the lights.  I’ve been walking with this guy to see Christmas lights since he was 6 months old. =)

They came over to our place on Saturday for lasagna and more time together.  Our boys put on a very silly play for everyone.  It was lots of fun being together again before Grandpa Russ headed home the following morning.

Thanks for coming out, Grandpa Russ!  We sure loved having you!

Grandpa and Grandma here (part 3)

Mike and I got home late Sunday night.  The following day was CC community day.  As I already alluded, it was dress-up-like-your-favorite-book-character day!  Ethan was Reepicheep and Micah was King Peter, both from The Chronicles of Narnia.  My parents joined us for the day and, thus, my dad took all kinds of fun pictures!  And we happened to be dissecting crayfish!

There was more work done on bird houses and lots of bird watching/recording.  Sadly, Micah’s birdhouse broke after it snowed and he’s still not sure if he wants to make a different kind of bird house.

Mikey and I had the opportunity to go out for my birthday gift – the Josh Groban concert! It was a really good concert!  The last time we saw him was when we were dating in college and we saw him perform at Red Rocks.

Meanwhile, the boys enjoyed carving pumpkins!  Milestone!  We’ve never done it before.

We did end up seeing them one more night after their trip to Taos (which they recommended highly, by the way), but it was brief and none of us took any pictures.  We LOVED having them in town with us.  They blessed us beyond words by their presence.  Thanks for coming out again, Mom and Dad!

Grandpa and Grandma here (part 2)

I flew to Phoenix on Friday morning and came back home again on Sunday with Mikey.  I’ll include a few pictures we took from our time there at the end of this one, but I’ll keep the focus on the fun the boys had with Grandpa and Grandma in town.  And they really did have a whole lotta fun together!

The boys taught them a new game and played a whole tournament of it:

They also worked on Halloween costumes for CC.  I had ordered some things for the book characters they were going to dress up as, but the box didn’t arrive until I was already gone.  So I tasked my parents with making sure everything fit and making the necessary additions – like a red feather for Reepicheep’s ear.  Thank you!!  Parts of Micah’s costume (King Peter) came in handy for playing “Queen” with Grandma.  I understand this may have been my mom’s favorite game to play – she got to order people around and get served by the knights/servants. =D

Ethan and Grandpa spent some time making a bird feeder (more pictures to come in the next post).

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And they also went down to the park a couple times to rake the leaves and jump in them, sometimes while catching the football.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix…we were eating lots of good food, playing pickle ball, and hiking.  Mike spent a whole lotta time playing PIG and I enjoyed reading my book.  We were SO glad to get to spend much of Sunday with Grandma Cleve, with quick little visits with both grandparents, as well!

Next up…a couple final days all together in Denver.

Grandpa and Grandma here (part 1)

My parents have been coming out to Colorado in the fall every year since before I went to college.  In fact, it was probably those trips in high school that gave me a taste for Denver and prompted me to move out here for college.  Anyway, this year was no different except that they scheduled their trip to coincide with a trip Mike and I took for his work so that they could watch the boys.  AND, my grandpa made the trek as well!  We are SO grateful for time with our family!

We hit the ground running the moment they arrived.  My mom whisked off with Micah and I to his drum lesson, while Ethan and my dad and grandpa stayed back at the house.

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The boys’ kiwi crates arrived that night so there was much creating to be done that evening and the next morning.  Doing those projects also often makes Micah interested in other science experiments so he told a Bible story and shared how the Midianites (aka the pepper) ran away from the Israelites (aka the soap) in the story about Gideon.

One of my silly favorite parts of having my parents in town is listening to my Mom read the boys stories.  They love it, too!  We were on a big “George and Martha” kick that week – those are some of my favorite children’s stories of all time.

The next morning we snuck in some school work, puzzles, concerts and a tour to Celestial Seasonings (followed by a dessert my Dad brought home and baked with Ethan).

Next up – I join Mike in Phoenix and my parents take over watching the boys.

**Photo cred for all of the sharp pictures in this and future posts goes to my Dad.  Thanks for always capturing the fun!!**

Grandma Cleve / Breckenridge

Grandma Cleve came for another visit at the beginning of this month.  She had never stayed in the mountains before, so we wanted to spoil her with some family time in Breckenridge.  She spent the night and morning with us before heading west where we met up with Ashley, Zach and Caleb!  Highlights of our time with her in Denver included teaching Ethan how to play sudoku and eating identical breakfast/lunch at the French Press.  Micah and I slipped out for a matching walk around the park before loading up the car.

We rented a lovely mountain house for the whole family to enjoy.  We had a great mix of time inside with snowy views, time outside with beautiful weather and lots of time just being together.

Highlights included the playhouse and playground in the backyard:

S’mores at the fire pit:

Playing pool:

Time in the hot tub:

And dozens of games played, books read, and lots of yummy food to eat:

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Before we went our separate ways, we enjoyed breakfast in Breckenridge and snapped a couple group shots!

Loved spending time with our family in the mountains!!

Playing a little catch up

We’ve got plenty of updates to make to the site since it’s been about a month since my last entry, but I’m thinking I’ll just split them up into one random post, one about the school year thus far, and one about a recent one-on-one weekend we had (Mike and E in San Diego, Micah and Mom in Colorado).

This one will be all the random pictures I have from the past month that don’t fit into nice, neat categories.  =)

Here are a few pictures from the final day we had with my Mom in town.  She was here for our Mesa Verde field trip and we so enjoyed having her!  We had lunch at Mel and Joel’s after church – we brought homemade cream puffs.  Yum!   We had to snap a final group picture of those of us who traveled to Mesa Verde together, but then we noticed a lot of fun coordinating pictures that were necessary, too. =D

We’ve been having some really lovely weekends together as a family lately.  One weekend we spent a good amount of time at Cherry Creek Reservoir.  I went for a run while the guys spent time on the water.  We have also been playing some tennis all together (and Mikey and I played some the other night on our date, but we didn’t snap any pics) and did so on that particular weekend, as well.  That same weekend I was able to go hiking with my auntie for a while after church.

We also spent some time working on our front yard as a family – trying to plant seeds for grass.  That evening we had a hail storm, so sadly, I’m not sure how much good all of that work was.  As of right now, there’s not a whole lotta growth happening, but we will wait and see.

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The boys made Mikey some breakfast one morning all by themselves:

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While I was out at book club, the boys enjoyed a new-to-us hot dog place in the area.  I believe these are hotdogs wrapped in bacon and cheese.  =)

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This past weekend we enjoyed a nice hike in the mountains (Conifer area).  Hiking with these guys is one of my favorite things in the world!

And, finally, we got a flat tire after church and I am feeling just so thankful that it was while Mike was in town and that we were able to get off the highway and all the way to a place where they could fix it before it was dangerous for us.  The Lord was kind to us and we are so thankful.  I didn’t want to forget His beautiful provision for us in all those sweet ways, so I snapped pictures of both boys looking cute while we waited for the car to be ready. =)

Mesa Verde

We began our school year with a really fun field trip.  My Aunt Melanie is homeschooling her youngest son and is studying Colorado history this year and she asked if we would be interested in going to Mesa Verde with them.  We jumped at the opportunity since we are studying ancient history!  And we were even more thrilled when my Mom agreed to fly out and join us!

The park wasn’t too busy or too hot, so this season was awesome for our trip.  (We also planned it around Mike’s trip to Phoenix where he saw his family and also spent time with his friends for his fantasy football draft.)  We listened to Fablehaven on the drive there and back; it received mixed reviews but we all agreed that it helped to pass the time!  We stayed at the Fair View Lodge within the park and ate all of our meals inside the park, too.  Here are some pics from the trip and at our lodge:

We spent two full days exploring the cliff dwellings, which were beautiful! It’s hard to imagine that they have stood there for over 800 years already!  Here are some pictures of the dwellings and our hikes in and around them:

On the way out, Micah and Matthew completed their Jr Ranger’s program and then we had an incredible breakfast at Absolute Bakery – highly recommend – in Mancos.  The boys each enjoyed a can of Sprite – milestone! – on the drive back to Denver.

We LOVED this opportunity to travel with family and explore our distant backyard.  Thanks to my Auntie for driving us and organizing everything.  And thanks to my Mom for making the trip out to join us!  Let’s do it again!!

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from Mikey’s trip to Phoenix.  He tells me he had a great time!  It’s a lovely gift that the draft takes place where he can also have some special time with his Mom (and grandparents, too!).