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. =)

CA Road Trip, Pt 4: Lake Tahoe

By Saturday morning, we were ready to leave Yosemite.  The crowds really increased by then!  We drove about 6 hours to get to Lake Tahoe, although I think there may have been a shorter route.  In fact, we had told the boys that it would be about 3.5 hours.  Here’s how you know your kiddos like road trips…they didn’t even notice that we nearly doubled the trip.  They were more concerned with whether or not we’d finish another book before we arrived. =)  So much fun!

Anyway, Lake Tahoe is gorgeous.  We absolutely loved seeing mountains and a huge lake together.  It was a good mix of the two things Mikey and I love the most in our landscapes – water and mountains.  We celebrated our 12-year anniversary here with some tasty sushi and lots of time on the water.

One day all three guys spent many hours on our stand-up paddle board.  I spent most of that time reading “The Help” – a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while now and happened to be at the airbnb where we stayed.  They LOVED it!

The following day we spent the day on a motor boat.  We saw some marked differences in the boys – Ethan likes to take it slow and steady; Micah wants to go as fast as possible.  Both boys enjoyed driving the boat, under great supervision from Mikey.  They both attempted to go tubing, but ended up in the water before even getting a ride.  We lost one Dodger hat to the water and almost lost the other one.  All in all, though, we had a super lovely day.  Ethan later decided he not only has a fear of heights, he has a fear of depths (this has a technical name: thalassophobia).  The deep water of Lake Tahoe was enough to give some bad dreams, but we all still look back on this part of the trip with a lot of fondness!  We’d LOVE to go back again sometime!

And just when we started missing home, it was time to head that way.  We took two days to drive home – stopping in Salt Lake City for the overnight.  We enjoyed seeing one of the Olympic parks the following morning and then were thrilled to get back home again.

The fabulous road trip of Summer 2018 was a great success!!

CA Roadtrip, Pt 3: Yosemite

After Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno as a staging time before we camped for 3 nights in Yosemite.  The boys enjoyed playing Legos and going shopping for some of the last minute purchases we needed to make.

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Then on Wednesday morning we headed to Yosemite.  It’s absolutely breath-taking.  It was much busier than Sequoia, but the crowds didn’t overwhelm us until we saw what the weekends were like, so by Saturday morning, we were ready to head out.  =)   The tunnel view – the first view of the valley – was stunning.

Highlights here included:

Camping and having s’mores every night,

hiking to Sentinel Dome (seriously, we highly recommend this!  It’s the second highest spot in the valley and the views are spectacular and it’s not too busy),

ice cream at Glacier Point,

biking through the valley (would highly recommend this, too, but wished we had our own bikes),

various little hikes to see beautiful spots in Yosemite,

and rafting down the river (also, have some grace, this was after 3 nights of camping and no showers…. :P).

Yosemite was lovely.  We will definitely return some day!!

CA Road Trip, Pt 2: Sequoia National Park

On Sunday afternoon, we said our goodbyes and headed to Sequoia National Park until Wednesday.  This part of the world is so beautiful and unlike any other place we’ve been. We were in awe of the huge trees and enjoyed some lovely hikes in the area.  Pictures tell more about the experience than words can, but pictures do not do it justice.

Moro Rock Trail was incredible.  Some of us went further on the hike than others of us, thus more pictures of said somebodies. =)

Here are some more shots from Sequoia, including a super lovely hike we did to a waterfall.

Before moving onward to Yosemite, we explored a bit of Kings Canyon National Park.  You really can’t grasp how large these trees are unless you walk among them.  They are so out-of-this-world.

We especially enjoyed the views, teeny hike and snack at Panoramic Point:

Up Next: After Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno to prepare for our camping adventure in Yosemite.

CA Road Trip, Pt 1: Reunion

Aunt Ticia (Grandpa Russ’ sister) organized the Cleveland Reunion and hosted us graciously for the weekend.  We stayed with Mike’s Dad and siblings (and their families) at a hotel near her home, but spent most of our days and evenings at her home for food, fellowship and lots of pool time!  It was so much fun! The boys absolutely loved getting to know their cousins (technically second cousins once removed or something?!  I can’t remember the term) and playing in the pool.  And I met some people I had never met before, too, so that was a treat!!

Some of the boys enjoyed giving performances on their various instruments.  E played a few songs on the piano and T played some on the saxophone.  It was fun to allow them all to do a little showing off for us. =)  E also was making up some songs with AJ, who plays the guitar.

And we took a few posed pictures of various groups:

We were so glad to join in on the fun this weekend.  It was great!  Thanks, Aunt Ticia, for organizing and hosting us all.  We sure loved being with you again!!

Random Happenings

You know this family is all about the book reading by now, right?  This summer we are doing a few reading challenges.  Each boy is working on reading/listening to about 30 books for their at-home challenge.  For this one, they are coloring the posters I made for them.  Ethan is also working through a challenge given by a local bookstore.  Originally he was just going to do 5 books for that to fill out this bingo sheet, but he decided to try for every book to *hopefully* win a $50 gift card to the store.  This one is causing him to read some different books than he would normally pick out.  Also, both boys are doing a reading challenge put on by our library.  It’s basically reading at least 8 books and doing a few activities (i.e. making a creation, playing a new game).

Side note: I also included a mini picture of my goodreads goal for the year.  I had set it for 40 books (knowing that a lot would be kids novels), but I reached the goal in June.  So, I’ve made my new goal 75 by the end of the year! =)  This should make my parents feel really good since they have been hoping I would like to read one day… 😉

Mike and I are hoping that if we start doing lots of ridiculous dab moves, the boys will find it super weird and stop doing it.  It’s not working…

We had the opportunity to meet my friend’s new baby, Zion.  He’s absolutely darling and Micah LOVES to hold him.  Fun side note – my parents got to meet him a good week before we did because Gina stayed in their condo in Florida during the adoption process…waiting to be allowed back in Colorado. =)

I stained my table box and I love it.  Thanks again, Dad!

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Ethan got his staples removed on Sunday.  He was nervous, but it didn’t end up hurting too badly!

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And Micah circled all of our ages…and that’s whenI realized Mike is turning 35 this year!!

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Last, but not least, we have baby bunnies running around the neighborhood and I want one for my pet.  One got a little confused when we were outside watching it and it actually ran across my foot.  I restrained myself from grabbing it and taking it inside with us.

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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.  =)