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. =)

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

Grandpa and Grandma here (part 2)

I flew to Phoenix on Friday morning and came back home again on Sunday with Mikey.  I’ll include a few pictures we took from our time there at the end of this one, but I’ll keep the focus on the fun the boys had with Grandpa and Grandma in town.  And they really did have a whole lotta fun together!

The boys taught them a new game and played a whole tournament of it:

They also worked on Halloween costumes for CC.  I had ordered some things for the book characters they were going to dress up as, but the box didn’t arrive until I was already gone.  So I tasked my parents with making sure everything fit and making the necessary additions – like a red feather for Reepicheep’s ear.  Thank you!!  Parts of Micah’s costume (King Peter) came in handy for playing “Queen” with Grandma.  I understand this may have been my mom’s favorite game to play – she got to order people around and get served by the knights/servants. =D

Ethan and Grandpa spent some time making a bird feeder (more pictures to come in the next post).

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And they also went down to the park a couple times to rake the leaves and jump in them, sometimes while catching the football.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix…we were eating lots of good food, playing pickle ball, and hiking.  Mike spent a whole lotta time playing PIG and I enjoyed reading my book.  We were SO glad to get to spend much of Sunday with Grandma Cleve, with quick little visits with both grandparents, as well!

Next up…a couple final days all together in Denver.

Festivus

Mikey competed in his second Festivus for Crossfit a few weekends ago.  This was a partner event and he competed with a friend from back in our college days.  In fact, Grant was in our wedding!  Love how Mikey stays in touch with people over the years!!  Anyway, it was fun to watch them compete together, especially because they both came to love crossfit separately.

Afterwards (and after cleaning up), we went out for dinner at an awesome hotdog spot.  Seriously.  I’m still dreaming about this place. =)

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Every Day Life

When we returned home from Breckenridge and our fun family trip, the heat wasn’t working in our house.  It had gotten pretty cold by then, so what better to do than make s’mores in the oven?! =)  Thankfully, we had the heat fixed before too long.

That week we went on a field trip with our dear friends to pick veggies at Miller Farm.  It was a chilly day, but we sure had a fun time!

The boys (mostly Micah) have started sending letters and pictures with our sweet cousins in Wisconsin.  Ethan is also writing letters with a friend from CC.  So much fun!

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Micah finished his favorite writing workbook.  He has requested that I buy it all over again because he thought it was so much fun.

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Ethan is our primary lawn-caretaker.  We had a massive amount of mushrooms in the front yard recently, so he took care of them (along with his Daddio!).

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Here are some pictures of our community day at CC.  Ethan’s doing a great job in the afternoon essentials program – the one I was so nervous about earlier. =)  We also took a nature walk one week and Ethan brought us a class pet.  Lastly, I was so pleased to see the high schoolers playing with all of the younger classes during the lunch break recently!  So much fun for everyone.

I was down for the count with a cold recently while Mike was out of town.  Mamas don’t really get days off.  But the boys did an awesome job doing school while I laid low on the nook.

Ethan recently decided to participate in a research study.  It’s a study of the brains of young people with autism and those who don’t have it.  E was pretty nervous about getting the MRI done and almost quit a couple times, but he persevered and then was really pleased he had done it.  I was so proud of him!  He earned himself $20 and got a picture of his brain scan.

Weekends are cherished times around here.  We love biking and playing tennis and just spending time as a family.

And, last update for now, is from when the boys and I babysat Caleb recently.  We sure love spending time with that sweetie and he’s starting to play alongside them.