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.  =)

Valentine’s Day

So, Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday and we rarely do much to celebrate it.  But, in general, I am a big fan of traditions and in celebrating.  I also seem to really like themes (who knew?!) and decorations.  I didn’t do much for this one, but I changed out our normal boxes for hearts on our homeschool to-do list and we made some heart decorations for around the house.  Ethan copied down each part of the definition of love from 1 Cor. 13.  Micah made a heart paper chain.  The cool Jesus watch was from CBS (which everyone is loving btw!).  Also, I got a pretty amazing card for tutoring for CC – isn’t that so clever??  We had the pleasure of hosting Grandpa Russ and Aunt Ashley and Caleb for dinner on Valentine’s Day.  I made Grandma Cleve’s lasagna recipe – a hit with everyone, of course.  Plus – lasagna is red.  Win!

Grandpa Russ was in town only briefly on his way to Mexico for Mike’s brother’s wedding.  Mike flew out with him the day after Valentine’s Day and Ashley joined them the following day.  It sounds like everyone had a lovely time.

Meanwhile, Micah reached a milestone: he competed the whole monkey bar set at the park by our house.  I didn’t get a video of him actually completing it, but he did it a bunch of times that day.  Did I mention that the weather here that weekend was amazing?!  We had 70 degree weather on Sunday.  The next day…3 inches of snow!  We love Colorado! =)  I didn’t snap any pictures of E because he was busy playing football with neighborhood kids.

Also, we made cookies and put ice cream in them…yum!  And we watched Fantastia – the old one – and were not incredibly impressed.  It was okay, but pretty dull. =)

IMG_0989

Grandpa Russ’ Visit!

Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year.  We are loving this tradition and really enjoy having him in town for the holiday.  This year he arrived on Wednesday afternoon and left on Sunday morning.  We squeezed a lot of casual fun in that time.  We spent a lot of time outside, going for walks, and playing various games.

We also celebrated Thanksgiving twice.  We had two smaller feasts – one on Thursday and another on Saturday, when Ashley, Zach and Caleb were back in town.  Micah was my big helper in the kitchen. =)  It was a great way to celebrate!  (And in between the two celebrations, I got to decorate the house for Christmas while listening to the new Hanson Christmas CD!)

Feast #1:

IMG_6930

Feast #2:

IMG_0058

We’ve got lots for which to be thankful!  Thanks, Grandpa Russ, for coming out for another fun visit!

Grandma Cleve’s Visit, Part 2

We spent the afternoon/evening on Wednesday with Ashley and Caleb.  We got our usual picture of GC and the grandkids.  It’s such a fun tradition!  We’ve got at least 3 now. =)

IMG_5405

On Thursday, GC joined us at Classical Conversations.  It was such a treat for us to have her with us!  She sat in on both of the classes for a bit.  Unfortunately with all the moving around between classrooms, she didn’t end up seeing either presentation.  I believe Micah presented on the first line of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the tin whistle and Ethan did a presentation on various coins / money.

IMG_5408

We spent the afternoon playing Dominos, among other things.  Thanks for bringing this new game out to us and teaching us!

Grandma Cleve joined us at PE+ on Friday.  The boys played football afterwards again.  Ethan began learning division with remainders – a difficult task!  And that evening I had the pleasure of going to see Jen Hatmaker and Nichole Nordeman at their Moxie Matters tour.  It was absolutely lovely!  She’s such a treat to hear speak and she had so many important insights to make.  I was so thankful for the opportunity.

Saturday was our final day with GC.  We spent it opening an early birthday present for Micah (yay!) and driving through the mountains.  We had lunch in Boulder and walked through a cool bookstore there.  We stopped in Nederland to show GC where Mike proposed and took a quick sand-in-the-mouth-from-the-crazy-wind picture and then headed back in the car for more exploring.  We also took her to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal where we saw a lot of deer and some buffalo far in the distance.  It got too dark, too quickly for pictures, but it was nice to show her (and Mike) the arsenal since they had never been.

Thanks for making the trip again, Grandma Cleve!  We sure enjoyed having you!!

Grandma Cleve’s Visit, Part 1

Grandma Cleve came for another visit last week – splitting her time at Ashley and Zach’s and our house!  We had her for a day and a half at the beginning of her trip and then she finished her time at our house, too.

On Saturday, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion.  We had never been before and she spoiled us with a membership so we’ll be going there a few more times before the year is done. =D  Micah was our brave guy who held Rosie, the tarantula!  It was lots of fun to see all of the butterflies, to dig for worms and to look at their little aquarium.  It’s a really neat place and we’re excited to go back again!  Grandma Cleve almost became a part of the exhibit there when a gorgeous butterfly landed on her leg and stayed with her for the next 10+ minutes! =)

That afternoon we went to Ikea to start a super big project…switch the boys’s room and the school room.  We got the boys bunk beds and Grandma Cleve and Mike worked on that for much of the rest of Saturday.  Thankful that GC is so helpful with assembling Ikea furniture.  She’s helped us with quite a few projects like this one over the years.  Such an exciting time!  Although, I would be lying if I said I never shed any tears over this.  How did the boys get so big?!

After church on Sunday, we had a relaxing afternoon at our house and then headed over to Ashley and Zach’s to celebrate Caleb’s first birthday!  SO much fun!

Can’t believe he’s already one!  It feels like just yesterday that we were celebrating our own little boys’ first birthdays… The days are long, but the years are SHORT.

Grandma Cleve stayed with Caleb and his parents until Wednesday afternoon when she came back to stay with us until Saturday night.  I’ll do a separate post for that and for the things we did in the meantime. =)

Grandpa’s Pictures

And now you can see the visit from my Dad’s point of view. =)

Living History Field Trip:

Making initials:

Homeschooling:

Micah on the butterfly hunt:

Making marshmallow “guns”:

Yardwork / Tree-trimming:

The pretty macarons:

macarons

Thanks for capturing the fun, Dad!  We sure loved having you guys here. =)

Grandpa and Grandma’s Visit

We were so thankful to have Grandpa and Grandma here for a visit this past week!  Mike had been in India for work, so the timing was perfect for me.  Mike was bummed to miss them, but we all agreed that it was a blessing for me to have help and company!  Plus we got to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with him since he was here for it!  They arrived on the same day that Mike left for India and we had the chance to watch the Packers game together and to impress them with piano skills.

On Friday we went to PE+ and then had a field trip to “Living History”.  We’re studying this time period in US history this year in CC, so it was perfect timing!  The boys made candles and candle holders, enjoyed learning about guns and participated in part of a school day for colonial pilgrims, among other things.

Saturday was my Dad’s birthday.  We celebrated by having cinnamon rolls and then leaving him with the boys while my Mom, Aunt and I went to a cooking class for learning to make macarons. =D  That evening we went to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner.

On Tuesday we had another field trip.  This time we went downtown to watch “The Snowy Day” play.  Naturally we took in the sites a bit and enjoyed some Little Man Ice cream while we were so close. =)

It wouldn’t be a visit from my parents without various projects getting done around the house.  My Mom worked on pillow covers for me and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am about them! =)  My Dad got rid of the rose bushes and another spiky bush in the backyard (beware – next year I’ll be a real gardener!).  He also put up curtain holder things (there’s probably a real name for this…), helped reinforce the tree fort, and put up a new shelf for the boys’ capes and the letters the boys made with them.  It was a week of random projects and I’m so impressed with how everything turned out!  Thank you, guys!!

In between these projects and runs to the fabric store and Home Depot, we did some school work, read books, and played games.  Ethan went on a couple bike rides with Grandpa.  Micah joined Grandma and me at the yarn store – wearing two different shoes as I am told I did regularly as a child – and took pictures of butterflies with Grandpa in the backyard.  And the boys did a lot of yard work outside, too.

It was great to have you here again, Mom and Dad!  Thanks for coming!!  You’ll see another post of this trip with photos from my Dad. =)