The other special aspects of the weekend

Grandma also came out for a visit for this weekend. Micah and I enjoyed having her all to ourselves for the evening the other guys were in the mountains. We invited Auntie Mel over for dinner that night, too. We played some games and did some artwork. Micah wasn’t quite feeling himself for the weekend, but we still had a good time. His sweet friend brought over homemade soup for him after he heard about Micah’s injury.

We spent the rest of the weekend all together. Ethan played the keyboard in church again. We got busy talking about hosting in our home and how a change might be needed. Couches were moved around to give us a feel for what it would be like to have seating upstairs for a change. =)

We have since made some purchases and donations to switch up our seating at home, but these pictures show the process as we thought about things throughout the weekend. (Pictures to come in future posts)

We loved having this quick visit with my folks. Super thankful for the time together!

Goodbye, Grandpa and Grandma

Our final day with Grandpa and Grandma was filled with projects like painting our dining room table (something I’ve wanted to do since I messed it up the first time I did it 6 years ago) and painting our front door. I’m incredibly happy with how things turned out! (I ended up painting my bench to match, too, after they left)

Other final day happenings included some piano playing and eating dinner on the deck. Micah also wanted to try to convince them to stay longer by making a really good breakfast on the morning they were planning to leave. It didn’t work, but we did enjoy the waffles. =)

And, because there isn’t a better place to include this, Ethan and I enjoyed some quality gaming and birding time together while Micah was gone with grandparents. We played about 15 games that day (he loves when I take pictures of him) and kept track of who was winning and by how much. Later we went for a bike ride to Cherry Creek to see some birds.

Thanks for coming out for another great visit, Mom and Dad. We sure love when you do!!

Micah’s 10 Year Trip

A few years ago my parents came up with an idea to take each of their grandchildren on a special trip when they are 10 years old. Each grandchild will have the chance to come up with their dream trip. (Ethan chose Philadelphia). Micah chose to stay a lot closer to home by exploring castles in Colorado. He knew that they wouldn’t be like the medieval castles in Europe, but he was pretty excited to get to see them. He was a little more apprehensive about this trip and made a couple calls to check in with us over his time, but overall he had a wonderful time and he was SO thankful for the opportunity.

Hopefully I can do another post sometime with the pictures he took (which were many!), but this is what we got from Grandpa. They visited three castles together, including staying on the grounds at Glen Eyrie. His favorite castle was Bishop castle – a very unique spot!

Miramont Castle was probably the least exciting to Micah, although he enjoyed dressing up like a firefighter.

And lastly, here’s Glen Eyrie, where they did a guided tour of the castle, did a scavenger hunt, and saw wild turkeys (among other things):

When he returned home after his night away, we enjoyed hearing all about it and seeing all of his pictures. He got a big kick out of two tourists at Glen Eyrie who were taking lots of selfies. He laughed so much telling us about it and then wanted to take some of his own (thus the pictures that follow).

The following night E and I got to join the three of them on one final stop at a “castle” in North Denver. We arrived at sunset and enjoyed walking around the grounds outside.

We are SO thankful that the boys have opportunities like this one with people they love.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking Micah on this trip!

Grandpa and Grandma in town

The following day, my parents drove into town to spend the next *almost* two weeks with us. Mike traveled to Minnesota twice during that time, but we all got to spend some time together over their trip. Additionally, Micah went on his 10-year-old-adventure-trip while they were here (more on that in the next post). They experienced some typical Colorado weather – we had 82 degrees on one day and then got about 6 inches of snow. We enjoyed spending time together, E and Grandpa (primarily – although I think Micah may have ventured out once and I did as well) did a lot of birding, and we did various projects around the house (including planting a tree from my neighbor, painting the laundry room, my dining room table again, and the front door!) We ate lots of yummy food, including having Mel and Joel over for dinner once and my parents making us fish reubens.

Pictures below feature getting a tree from our neighbor, art time, reading, and playing LEGO.

Most days included some amount of computer time to edit pictures:

We played a few games, enjoyed tasty meals (indoors and outdoors), and got out for walks:

We experienced a big snow storm which took down lots of branches. Some people enjoyed this more than others. And the following day required quite a bit of clean up.

We also had a little phData fashion show. Mikey brought home many shirts for us, including one sweater which would be promptly returned.

I got hives after my retreat and dealt with them while my folks were here. I’m thinking they were a result of lots of hiking in tighter clothes in the sunshine and heat, but it’s hard to say anything for sure. They were miserable, but I was thankful to have the distraction of my parents around so I wouldn’t dwell on them too much. This meant I preferred to keep things pretty low key. We were able to do the boys’ final piano lesson online (followed by playing with Grandma – Ethan was getting ready for playing at Long Scraggy – our church camp in the mountains – and Micah enjoyed learning Heart and Soul – see video here) and had Krav Maga in the park that week.

Coming up next: Micah goes on a castle adventure in Colorado with his grandparents to celebrate being 10!

Passover and Easter

Years ago I participated in a Passover Seder with my old church and loved it so much. I decided to give it a go with our family this year. It feels especially meaningful because of the high population of Jewish neighbors we have. It took a bit of preparation to pull this evening off well, but we all learned a lot and really enjoyed the experience. Micah made one part of the Seder all by himself and had a couple of important roles to fill throughout – he loved it! Next time, I will print off more copies of everything so that I am not reading the whole night. I will also make an appetizer. We were all very hungry by the time we started the actual meal.

I went for a solo sunrise walk on Easter morning. The timing was perfect and was a great way to start the day. It was such a gift to be worshipping with our church family later that morning. We had done the last two years of Easter services online, so we all felt such joy at being with our people on such a special day of celebration. And afterwards we had Easter dinner at my Auntie and Uncle’s home, along with my Great Aunt and second cousin (I think that’s the term, but I still get it confused) and her family. We had a lovely time and feasted merrily, while having delightful conversation.

Two weekends ago we had the opportunity to host Aunt Ashley for a night. She was here for a friend’s baby shower (I think it was her first trip back here since they moved away over 3 years ago) without kids, so the visit was brief. There was enough time to have a couple of yummy meals together and for Mikey to give her a little help. And we decided that E will be taller than her next time they see each other. =P

That weekend the weather was pretty beautiful, so we did our family workout outside at the park and spent a good amount of time playing ping pong outside.

And on Sunday night Ethan had middle school youth group. They did some work getting garden beds ready for a local church and then played a ping pong tournament. At the end of the kids’ tournament, E got to play against our pastor for an added bonus.

Micah has been working more this year with geography and maps. He was feeling hopeful that Grandpa and Grandma could stop by Colorado on their drive home from Florida to Wisconsin… Hmm…

Other happenings include trying to convince Daddio that we should have a pond in the backyard; me sitting in the car while E went birding at the reservoir by our house; schooling on the ball; a pretty tulip in my new-ish vase; and lots of archery in the backyard.

And, lastly, we’ve got another purple belt in the house! Micah participated in a 2-hour test to earn his belt last weekend. He was pretty pooped but very proud. It was a lot of work and passing this seems to have given him a little more motivation to keep going!

Pics taken by Coach Mike:

And a comparison that brings me so much laughter and joy:

Our life has been very full in the recent weeks. I wouldn’t qualify it as busy. I’m not a fan of busyness. But it has felt joyfully full lately.

I’ll start this post with a couple pictures taken by E during our weekend in Aspen.

Next I’ll share a few pics demonstrating the craziness of March in Colorado, including snuggling by the fire, heading off to their job to shovel at our neighbors’ home, enjoying homemade bread (thanks, Amy!!) and hot cocoa, and a comparison shot 18 hours apart.

And I’ll give you a few snapshots into homeschool and music life, including a lot of uke-playing, FaceTime concert for Grandma Cleve’s birthday, hosting Challlenge A at our home on Pi day, and the many locations that Micah does he work:

And I manage to get prep work done in various locations throughout the week.

Purple belt testing for Ethan was a 3-hour affair on Saturday. The intent was to wear the kids out with a whole lot of cardio work and then test their reactions to various weapons and attacks by other members in the class, including the instructor. It was very impressive and very intense. Click here to see a video. Afterward the coach took some pics of each kid.

Lest you think E’s the only stud, be warned that Micah is so disciplined he does a workout on his own most days. And he often joins his dad in a workout, too.

He’s also our veggie lover. He will nearly always opt to eat extra veggies with every meal and if he’s got the time to make lunches for us, he will fill them with veggies. He also sometimes wears noise-cancelling headphones so as to block out the sound of Ethan’s nearly constant uke-playing. =D

And, lastly, we had the pleasure of hosting Grandpa Russ for a few days on his drive back home. This was a lovely and unexpected treat for all of us! I didn’t get very many pictures of anything all that fun, but thankfully I snapped a few of life around the house and on our drive to the mountains.