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!

IMG_2578

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

IMG_2581

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

IMG_2574

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.

IMG_2576

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.  =)

Third Stop: Michigan

In Michigan, we celebrated Christmas with our extended family from my Mom’s side.  This is a big, fun group of about 30 people and is such a special time for us!  We opened presents after a delicious feast at my aunt and uncle’s home.  Two big highlights for the boys: Ethan got a ukulele and Micah got a djembe!!  Thanks, Great Grandpa! =)  Other highlights included playing ping pong, going sledding, Ethan doing piano recitals and radio shows with cousin Matthew, our annual cousins movie night out at the theater (we saw the new Star Wars!), and lots of time to chat with family.

Grandkids and great-grandkids with Grandpa (aka Great Grandpa):

Grandchildren

Sledding:

We had a lovely time in Michigan, as always!  Such a fun group of people to spend a few days with every Christmas!

Picture Cred mostly goes to my Dad again. Thanks for capturing the fun!

First Stop: Minnesota

We drove to Minneapolis the week before Christmas and spent a few days there.  The boys are fantastic travelers, thankfully.  They keep themselves busy with coloring, looking at books, and listening to audiobooks.  And, of course, having tic tacs or gum all day long. =)

IMG_0355

Mike worked while we were there, of course, so the boys and I kept ourselves occupied throughout the day.  One day we spent exploring the “tubes”.  We made it all the way to Mike’s office and had some kombucha on tap there and also grabbed some lunch with our guy.

Most of the rest of the time we hung around the hotel and played a lot of billiards. =)  We also got in some “work outs”, drank hot chocolate, did some school and played some games.  In retrospect, I would have scheduled another outing (like a children’s museum or something!), but the boys had seemed so content to hang at the hotel so we did that this time around.  We also always had dinner with Mikey when he was done at the office.

The main reason we went to Minneapolis was to attend the family Christmas party.  It was pretty fun and a really unique location!  Ethan played at least 3 games of mini-golf on a cool course designed by various artists.  Micah and I played a whole lot of arcade games from the 60s, like bowling and foos ball.

We had a great time in Minneapolis, but by Friday afternoon we were headed to Wisconsin for some family time!

Halloween

The boys wore their costumes all day in honor of Halloween.  I enjoyed teaching two Chewies all day. =)

We headed to Chipotle for a discounted dinner – my favorite part about Halloween. =)

And that evening I took the boys out trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  We just went up and down our street and then the boys were ready to head home.  I was geared up for an evening of lots of walking, but they cut us off pretty quickly.  We saw this dino while we were out and had to take a picture of it for Ivan and Abe, who were dressed as dinos this year, too.

They loved handing out candy when we got home.  Micah even crawled out of bed once to do it. =)

IMG_5305

And I loved spending the later evening getting ready for a fresh new month. =)  Out with the old calendar, in with the new.

IMG_5306

As you wish

The Princess Bride has long been my favorite movie.  I first saw it when I was about 6 years old at my friend’s house and I have loved it ever since.  “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”  It’s got it all.  I’ve got most of it memorized, had a poster of it in my room growing up, even did a presentation for my Religion class in high school using the scene from Buttercup and Humperdinck’s wedding.  I probably should own a shirt that says, “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”  It’s classic.  So anyway, when we were invited to an 80s Halloween party, I double checked my date (it was came out in ’87! Phew!) and got to work.  There were a couple other ideas thrown around, but I quickly settled on my favs.  (Unfortunately, Micah didn’t want to join in the fun or we would have had the whole family in The Princess Bride costumes!)

Mike got to play the part of my true love, Westley.  And I, as you might have guessed, was Buttercup.  We listened, briefly, to our love song so that we could really get into character on our way to the party. 😉

Party time:

Micah, AKA Chewie, really enjoyed playing darts.  Ethan spent most of his time running around with some of the other kiddos there.

“This is true love – you think that happens every day?”

Dream come true. =)  So much fun.

I’ll leave you with one of the best lines of the movie: “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.”

Sweden, continued

The final days of our trip were spent on the island of Lokholmen, which was about a two-hour ferry ride outside of Stockholm.  This was a very neat experience for us!  The island was a fairly secluded spot and we absolutely loved the rustic, adventurous experience.  Our friends planned a really fun evening for us – a crayfish party!  (Check this out to get an idea of what we were going for: https://www.thelocal.se/20140807/swedish-crayfish-party)  It was a blast!  We also enjoyed the saunas and jumping into the Baltic Sea.  We loved getting the privilege to have such unique and fun experiences.  It was a true blessing to us to have these guys host us so well.

Also, super cool, check out who joined us for our crayfish party: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kjell_Oscarius

The following day was our final day and my birthday!  I had the longest birthday ever, since it started in Sweden and ended in Denver…it lasted extra long!  Mike and I had a breakfast date that morning (boys went to our friends’ house) and then we all enjoyed time at the park, my birthday cake (thanks, E, for making it for us!) before saying goodbyes and heading to the airport.  Such a fun way to celebrate my birthday!  Thanks, friends, for making it such a memorable one!!

We really enjoyed our time on the Scandinavian peninsula.  Seeing our friends made it extra special for us and we were so thankful for that opportunity!  Mike did a fantastic job planning it from start to finish and I am SO thankful for him!