The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 3 Michigan

The next stop on our tour was Michigan, where we met up with the extended family (even from as far away as New Zealand!).  This was our first year staying at cabins on Lake Michigan and I think we all loved it!  It was wonderful to see everyone and spend time hiking, eating, playing games and opening gifts together.  Lots of fun memories were made, as usual.

My Dad took some lovely family portraits:

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Hiking the sand dunes by Lake Michigan:

General Michigan merriment:

Photo cred for all of the nicest shots goes to my Dad, as usual. =)

Next up: Wisconsin

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 1 Minnesota

We drove to Minnesota in two days, stopping over night in Nebraska.  You know it’s not a road trip without mentioning our audiobooks!  We enjoyed listening to “The Last Battle” all together on that drive and also finished a Magic Tree House book.  We started a fantastic series called, “The Wilderking Series” – in fact, it was probably my favorite read of the year!

The boys and I spent only a couple days there before continuing on to Wisconsin and then to Michigan on our own. Mike stayed in Minnesota for work until Friday when he met us in Michigan.  We spent our time exploring the “tubes”, coloring at Mike’s office, playing games and working out at the hotel.

Next Up: a brief layover in Wisconsin

Advent Activities

We celebrated Advent again this year by doing various activities each day.  We didn’t get a chance to do a few of my favorites and I definitely didn’t snap a picture of everything we did.  But here’s a glimpse into the festivities for Advent 2018.  Activities included, but were not limited to: watching a Christmas movie, enjoying ice cream ‘sundaes’ for a meal, red and green meal, making Christmas snacks, Christmas art class online, decorating gingerbread houses, and painting Christmas canvases.

We definitely enjoyed the anticipatory season of Advent.  Meanwhile, we also read Ann Voscamp’s “Greatest Gift” Advent book.  We really enjoyed that.  And I read a book called, “Keeping Holiday” which I liked a whole lot and will read to the boys in the coming years.

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Micah Turns 7!

We really enjoyed celebrating Micah’s 7th birthday.  He is probably the most generous (and the most stubborn) kid I’ve ever known.  But because of his generosity, he’s pretty fun to spoil!  He was ecstatic to get to go out for dinner at The Melting Pot – something we did a couple nights before his actual birthday because of scheduling.

This was the final picture of our 6 year old!

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We had cousin Matthew over for his actual birthday, which also happened to be a school day.  We opened presents throughout the day and had waffles for dinner.  He also invited a couple friends (all brothers) over to play at the park during the afternoon.  He wanted purple decorations (for royalty) and seven 7s around the house.

He had the joy of spreading his birthday cheer a little longer, too, with gifts and cards coming in after his special day.  He LOVED it!

He was spoiled by and oh-so-grateful to SO many of you.  Thanks for loving on this little spitfire of a guy.  He prays very specifically (especially for people who are sad, mad or homeless) and has an uncanny read on others’ emotions.  He’s going to be a great leader someday and he is certainly not going to be following the crowd since he’s not a people-pleaser. 😉 We love him something fierce and are eager to see how the Lord uses him in his life.

Life Lately

These pictures don’t really fit into a category but were taken over the past month.  They give a glimpse into every day life around here.

Some of us were really hoping that a Packer picnic would help revitalize the Packer’s season this year.  One of us just likes to be contrary…

Micah wanted to try split pea soup in honor of one of his favorite book series, George and Martha.  He asked to take a picture for Grandma since she read some many of those stories to him the last time she was here.

Sometimes when we FaceTime with Daddio while he’s away, things get a little bit silly…

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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. =)