Family in town, Part 1

At the end of October, my parents and my grandpa came out to Colorado for a visit.  It had been a year since my mom and grandpa were in town (my dad came out twice in that time), so we were especially glad to have them back again!  Over the span of 10 days, we had shorts weather and a winter storm that cancelled CC for the day.  It was pretty wild, but that’s part of the fun of fall in Denver. =)

My grandpa and aunt and uncle got to watch Ethan’s final soccer game on a cold, windy evening.  And over one of the weekends, they and my parents watched Micah play!

Time at the house included doing various house projects (thanks, Dad!) and sewing projects (thanks, Mom!), playing piano, looking at coins (thanks, Brad and Sal!), playing outside in the snow, reading books and working on school, eating pancakes and dressing as twins (an accidental, but super fun experience for me to witness).

One highlight at the beginning of their trip was hosting dinner at our church for homeless families through a neat organization called Family Promise.  We did this as a family (my parents and our family of 4) and then Micah, my dad and I all stayed overnight at church.

Another highlight was the wintery treasure hunt my uncle sent the boys on around the park by our house.  It was pretty awesome!

And the hot chocolate party afterwards:

We also drove down to Castle Rock the first weekend for Micah’s soccer game, only to find out there was still snow on the fields down there.  We opted for yummy burgers instead.

Side note:  Mike was gone over both of the weekends, in case you are wondering why he isn’t featured more.  The first weekend was his scheduled one-on-one trip with Ethan (I’ll write about that in another post) and the other was his make-up trip with Reggie from way back in December when their trip was cancelled on short notice.

Since then…

Some school pictures from last week:

The boys are getting more interested in running these days.  They each did a run during the day – Ethan 1 mile and Micah .5 miles.  It was really sweet to see them riding alongside each other on their bikes shouting words of encouragement.

We take quite a few walks as a family in the evenings.  If you know Mike well, you’ll know that they always include a ball.

We went out to Conifer for a hike over the weekend.  It was a beautiful hike and required us to dig deep and push ourselves. =D

The weeks before school started…

We really tried to soak up some family time before the rush of the school year began.  Here are some pictures from around the house/neighborhood.

We also did a timed mile run at the park.  Micah and Mike ran a half mile together and then Mike finished his mile while Micah rested.  Micah ran without stopping, which impressed us all.  Then Ethan and I headed out for our mile run and he beat me by a good minute – such a stud!

We took the boys to Red Rocks for their first concert.  We got to see Chris Tomlin, which was a fun treat.

We attended our second Practicum.  As the Director for our CC community, I needed to attend trainings on both Foundations tutoring and Essentials tutoring.  Micah absolutely loved this – he wore matching shirts with some guys in his little gang for most, if not all, of the days.  One of my dearest friends joined our CC community this year, so we attended Practicum together!

We went on a family bike ride out towards Mel and Joel’s house.  The hope is that we will do it again and make it all the way there.  As it turns out, biking with my family is one of my very favorite things to do.  The boys knocked off quite a few more miles towards their summer biking goal that day.

Also, I celebrated my 35th birthday!  My hope had been to ride 35 miles that day, so I started the day with a long ride with the boys around the Cherry Creek Reservoir.  Both boys reached their 100 mile for the summer goal on this ride. Then later that evening I went out alone and raced the sun and rain, losing my battle and requiring a pick up by Mike and Micah.

We celebrated a friend’s birthday at a cool Ninja gym:

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Mike and the boys played golf one of the weekends and I walked along.

The boys got bank accounts, played a lot of legos, took some more bike rides, and brought in their Bookies summer reading contest.  Micah wrote me a sweet encouraging note when I was having a rough day, so I had to include that in here.

Meagen graduated with her Masters in engineering (or something like that) and invited me to her graduation.  SO proud of her!!!

Mike and I snuck away for a date to see Mumford and Sons at Fiddlers Green again.

And, finally, I had an idea to put some rewards in a jar that I could use throughout the year whenever I needed to motivate the boys.  We are all pretty jazzed about it. =)

Next up: the school year begins!

Home again!

We all got home from our various trips and had an evening together before Mike had to leave for Minnesota.  We spent some time looking at pictures, reading journals, and looking at souvenirs.

The boys and I had to attend our first Practicum of the summer to prepare for the CC school year and both opted to sit silently by me all three afternoons while I was trained.

We attended an outside concert with Auntie Mel and Uncle Joel.  The boys especially loved getting cooled off in the fountains nearby.

When Mike got back home, he started teaching the boys about stocks (a class he will be teaching this year) and I got to go for a little run solo!

Home again, home again

We loved all of the traveling and seeing people, but it’s always good to get back home.  On our drive back I saw this sign in a gas station and it sums up our feelings about travel so well:

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We soaked up time together for the next two weeks or so before we were all back to traveling.  In this time, the boys did a lot of playing with legos, Mike and I celebrated our 13 year anniversary, we did some biking and charting of our miles from the previous month, and the boys read books outside.

We also celebrated the 4th of July with our longest family bike ride yet.  We rode on the Cherry Creek Trail and I was so full of joy!  Dream come true right there.  There was a lot of hail that evening, so we didn’t see too many fireworks.

Finally, we had the privilege of providing respite care for two sweet little guys.  Can’t show you any pictures here, but suffice it to say we had a busy weekend with them!

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.