First days of school

We started our school year on August 19th this year, starting with a full day at CC.  Both of the boys had new tutors this year and I am the Director for our community for the first time.  Ethan has most of the same kids he was in class with last year, but has a couple new ones.  Micah has mostly new kids in his class.  And I’m feeling a good mix of emotions about my new role, but mostly I’m feeling thankful for the opportunity to serve these families. We’ll be studying about the medieval period during CC this year and reading a lot of good books set in that timeframe.  Here are some CC pictures from day 1:

And on Tuesday we had a more laid back start to the school year.  We began with French toast, went for a bike ride, and ended the day with ice cream.  Don’t worry, there was some learning in there, too. =)  Ethan is in 4th grade; Micah is in 2nd.

We also took bi-yearly measurements for both boys:  Ethan is now 4’10” (and has almost the same size feet and hands as me).  Micah is 4’3″.

Micah also had his first soccer practice after CC.  (Ethan started the week after.)

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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!

Ethan in Philadelphia

When each of their grandchildren turn ten, my parents hope to take them on a solo trip of their dreams.  Ethan is the first grandchild to get this privilege and he had a wonderful time!  He didn’t have to think for long about where he’d like to go with them; he opted for Philadelphia as soon as he learned about the trip.  He wanted to see the Liberty Bell, the Mint, Gettysburg, and Falling Waters.  He did all of that and more!  He and Grandpa kept journals for the trip, but pictures will tell the stories best on the blog.  He had a blast! =)

Here are some pictures from our brief morning in Wisconsin before heading back to home.

We are SO thankful that the boys have opportunities to see the world with people they adore.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking Ethan on this trip of a lifetime!  He will cherish these memories always.

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.

Random Catch All Post

And finally, in an attempt to officially catch up to this past week when my Dad was in town, a post of random updates.

My aunt Sally was in town visiting her sister (and us) and the boys were thrilled.  They could not get enough of her!  She came over for dinner one evening and the boys were asking all.day.long “when will she get here?!?”

This was Micah making some apple dip before her visit:

On Mother’s Day we went to church and then headed over to see Matthew as Simba in The Lion King.  SO cool!  This was our favorite of his plays thus far.  He did a great job!  That evening we headed out to one of my favorite spots for a picnic, but we found that it was quite changed now that there are fences everywhere.  It was still beautiful and I was thrilled to have some pictures of me and those sweet boys of ours.

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Music

Ethan participated in Federation for the first time.  This is a piano competition of sorts with judges giving feedback on your performance.  We weren’t really sure what to expect, but his teacher encouraged us to give it a try.  I think Ethan ended up liking it a lot – it was fun to have something specific for which to practice.  His teacher sent a video from his practice right before Federation.

We snapped a few pictures before he played his two songs (Circle Dance and Cool Cats) in front of three judges and about six other kids and their families.  He did a great job!  We were especially proud of him for stopping when he was playing the one song and asking to start over because he had made a mistake and you could tell it was affecting the rest of the song.  He is not always one to speak up and advocate for himself and he did so very well in this setting.

He ended up getting a Superior rating, so that made him especially proud of his accomplishment.  We focused on doing the perseverance and courage he showed in doing something that made him so nervous.  We went out for ice cream and walked through a fun bookstore downtown.  Afterwards we met Reggie for dinner downtown – always a treat!

Meanwhile, Micah is still taking weekly drum lessons.  He’s enjoying himself and has already surpassed his mama’s ability to keep a beat. =)

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