Part 2: Wisconsin

We stayed in Wisconsin at my parents’ house (most of that time they were off gallivanting with my sister and her family in Europe, so you won’t see many pictures of any of them) for the next two and a half weeks.  Part of that time Mike was in Minneapolis, but most of it he was also in Wisconsin working from home.  The highlights are too many to count on this portion of the trip, but I especially loved being near my brother and his family to spend every-day-life time with them.

We’ll start with pictures from the first few days while my parents were still in town:

Jen and J gave Ethan the birthday gift of going to Hamilton in Chicago with them.  He did a little preparing for it.  And then I drove down and babysat Salina while they went to the show.  We left the following morning after a little time with the family.  Ethan had a great time and now added two songs from the show to his playlist.

Meanwhile:

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We had a lot of FUN hang out time with the cousins (time at the house, walks, zoo, baseball game, lots of games, and bike races – “Go, Bikes, Go!!!”) :

And we did a few things on our own as a family, like golfing and biking (family met us at the beach after one such ride).  Micah and I also went on a hike on our own one day.  And we visited the lighthouse where Mike’s grandpa used to live and work:

I took the boys on a couple little excursions – Jelly Belly tour and Mars Cheese Castle – and also went on a number of bike rides:

We also really enjoyed getting to see our extended family.  We spent a day at Petrifying Springs with Uncle Brad, Aunt Sal, and cousin Luke (along with my brother’s family, of course!!).  It was fabulous!  Aunt Sal also came by another day to let Micah take Eli for a walk!

Each year we plan a trip with the Maurer clan and this summer was no different, except that they had just had their third sweet baby girl, so we opted for something a little easier.  We spent two days with them at my parents’ house, just soaking up time together and catching up.  It was really fun to see the kids connecting again!  Sadly, we forgot to take a whole group shot!!

We LOVED our time in Wisconsin!  So thankful that we got to spend so much time with the people that we love!

Before the big trip…

Just thought I’d do a quick “catch all” post from before our midwestern tour during the month of June.

Brothers hanging around the house together.

We had a random snow storm right after my Dad left, so we had to have some hot chocolate and treats since it was May and snowing! =)

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We finished another year of school and I managed to take end of year pictures to compare. Woot.

I went to my cousin’s graduation from High School (he was 10 months old, I think, when I first came out to Colorado for college!) and got some pictures of some of the brothers celebrating. =).

Family bike ride to a favorite park a couple miles away:

A couple birthday parties and a play date during which I got in some snuggle time:

Next up: travels to the midwest.

Grandpa’s Visit

Mikey had a long business trip in India back in May, so we requested to have my parents come out to help and keep us company.  My Mom was busy with a wedding shower and some family time, but my Dad was up for it!  The boys and I were SO thankful to have him.  He was a great help, but also just fun to have around!

We spent most of our time outside doing various activities (biking, scootering, playing sports, etc.).  We can thank my Dad for sparking a biking fire in Micah.  Now that he feels confident, he can’t get enough of it:

We did spend some time playing games, looking at my Dad’s pictures, and eating yummy food:

We visited the Rocky Mountain Arsenal:

Grandpa got to watch a soccer game of Ethan’s and took some great shots of that.  Those of you from my side of the family may have seen those in a dropbox email recently, so I’m just posting a few.  (Sadly, Micah’s football game was cancelled due to rain.)

We also got out for a nice hike:

Thanks, Dad, for coming out!!  We sure loved having you!  You are a gift.

More Attempts to Catch Up

Other happenings from the past months include our very first opportunity to provide respite care.  I can’t give details here or show any pictures of our sweetie pie’s face, but suffice it to say, we had a wonderful time.  I’m including some pictures from what we did that weekend (we had him with us for four days), as a reminder to myself.  As soon as he left our home, Micah commented on how much he missed him and how our home didn’t feel normal anymore.  Having three boys was lovely and we were thankful for the opportunity and looking forward to more to come in the future!

Here are some other pictures from various adventures over the months of April and May.  My friend and I were discussing diagramming sentences after church and Mike thought it was hilarious.  The boys are VERY into all things related to coins these days.  We’ve been intentional to make sure the boys have quality time with Daddio during his time at home, so we had an adventure at Top Golf and also have been going for walks and playing at the park.

Attempts to Catch Up

I have apparently lagged WAY behind in my posting.  I’ll have to do a broad sweep of a few post updates so that we can get caught up again!

Kiwi Crates (I’m getting to the point of being over these, but every time they arrive the boys are thrilled!  I just want to enjoy them for a month and then not have boxes lying around the house…sigh):

We had our dear missionary friends over for dinner while they were in town.  You’ll recognize them as friends we stayed with when we were in Germany.  It was SO good to catch up with them again and to hear how the Lord is on the move in their lives.  It was also lots of fun to recall funny memories from our early days of dating and marriage as they were mentors of ours from the beginning of our dating lives. =)

Here are some shots from every day life around here.  They include quite a few pictures of boys reading out loud (still doing their Read Aloud Challenge every month this year) to various people.

And a few from homeschooling, including pictures of Ethan working on his big Faces and Places presentation about Alexander the Great.  He had to read his 5 paragraph essay in front of the community and he did a great job!  You’ll also see some pictures of the boys either reading or listening to books because we’ve started a new habit of reading for 20 minutes any day that Daddio is out of town.  It gives me a little break and shows them that reading is an important and fun part of all of our days. =)

More to come in this whirlwind update of the past two months.

Guess what I don’t like.  Coming up with titles for every post I write.  I just don’t have any clever way of saying, “here’s what we have been doing lately”.  So maybe I’ll just quit having titles. =)

Here are some every day shots from around the house:

A couple weekends ago, I was able to get away on my bi-annual retreat with my dear friend, Amy.  Time with her is time well-spent and I don’t get much of it, so we really treasure these get aways.  We spent the weekend in Glen Eyrie again and were glad we chose to do so because there was another big storm that weekend and traveling into the mountains would not have been much fun.  We spent some time hiking and a lot of time sitting by the fire chatting and reading good books.  We both went home feeling thankful and refreshed!

The night before I left on my retreat I hosted the tutors from CC for our final tutor training session.  The boys went out for dinner with Daddio and were discovered snuggled up when I went to check on them after my friends had left.

Ethan and Mike spent a morning together this past weekend.  They had breakfast together and then met our friends’ new baby boy after getting cleats for soccer.

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We also soaked up some family time (sadly missing Zach due to a cold) this weekend.  Love having these guys in town…even if it is only for a couple more months.

Other recent happenings include (1) Ethan starting his soccer season.  We are trying a new league and he’s playing with a bunch of kids who go to the same school and have played together before.  We were thrilled to discover another guy who is also homeschooled (AND in CC at a different community) joined the team this season, too.  They didn’t even know about their connection until after the practice was done when we mamas shared the news to them. And (2) Micah had a play date with a friend from CC and he was thrilled when she arrived.

As you know, Denver experiences extremes in weather.  We had beautiful weather for time at the park playing soccer, tennis, playing at the playground and having a chilly picnic.

And not long after, we had a winter storm!  The boys and I spent hours outside building forts.  I fed them their lunch and hot chocolate in their forts.  They also listened to our read-aloud from their forts.  Lots of fun!

Also, we celebrated Pi day. =)

Solo-parenting in January

Both Mike and I did some solo-parenting already this month.  As I already mentioned, I traveled to Atlanta to help my sister with the trade show there.  I left on Wednesday afternoon and was back on Sunday early evening.  Micah and I made some overnight oats ahead of time so that their breakfasts would be easy!  I also assigned the boys various homeschool assignments and they spent both days finishing their lists.  One day I even got a text from Mike saying that the boys finished their assignments before their snack at 10 am!  They spent much of the rest of that day building legos while listening to an audiobook.  They also had a snowstorm and a lot of food delivered to the house! LOL.  I was glad to see that the boys had all gone sledding in the snow.

Here are a few fun pictures from my time in Atlanta!

We spent Sunday evening with Ashley and Zach so that we could *finally* meet Baby Joshua.  And then soaked up some Daddio time before his trip.

The following evening, Mike traveled to Minnesota.  The boys and I had a busy week!  We started the week with CC.  Then, Ethan got his eyes and teeth checked.  I got my eyes checked and my hair cut.  Both boys had lessons in piano and drums.  We had cadets and kids club and CBS.  And we had lots of school and fun in the meantime (especially drawing pictures).

While Mikey was out of town, we hosted cousin, Meredith from Michigan.  The boys were literally jumping up and down at the prospect of having her over and have been asking every day since if she could come back. =)