April Fool’s Day

I’m not sure whether we’ve ever done much to celebrate April Fool’s Day, but we had a blast this year! I can’t lie, so most of my tricks on the boys were discovered quite quickly, but the cleverness of each of them made us all laugh. (I didn’t come up with any of these ideas on my own – I had randomly found a website months ago with all of these ideas!)

For breakfast I served the boys “ostrich eggs”, which tasted a lot like vanilla yogurt, peaches and chia seeds.

For first snack I gave the boys “juice” to drink, which was jiggly like jello.

We had “sushi” for lunch:

And for second snack we had “carrots” – which taste great served on crackers (and on hot dogs as it turns out – we tried that with dinner!):

The boys were waiting for something to happen over dinner, but I didn’t have any great ideas left. But that was fun, too, as they tried everything very tentatively. =D

Weekend Hike

Mikey found us another awesome hike this past weekend. This time we drove up to the Boulder area and hiked “Benjamin’s Loop”. It was about 5 miles long and very lovely. The path had lots of snow in the parts in the shadows and was very dry and warm in the sunshine-y places. We really enjoyed this one.

Afterwards we stopped by downtown Golden to enjoy açaí bowls by the creek. I understand the water was very cold. =D

Early February

Micah loves to do art projects. He has the wall downstairs in his office filled with pictures. He has been painting a lot lately. Meanwhile, Ethan edits his pictures and sends emails.

Micah does art even while he’s technically doing math. Zoom in to see the drawings he does while working on math problems.

Here are some other pics from school these days:

Micah is also doing a lot of cooking (or at least picking out meals to try from his cookbook) lately. This weekend we probably tried 4 or 5 recipes! He always makes a note in his cookbook with the month and year we tried it along with his rating.

I have to be a little more sneaky to get pictures of Ethan as he’s reached the age when he doesn’t love posing. He is very much into all things birds. He may be playing football down at the park, but he’ll run back up the street to grab his camera if he spies anything new. He also loves to email his friends and family. This morning he beamed with pride to say that he had an email from both of his grandpas!

And speaking of grandpas, Micah choose to dress like my dad today (complete with pens in his pocket and jeans):

We celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with much relaxing. It was freezing outside, so we had a fire twice (including during church!). We played some games, read some books and just enjoyed each other’s company. Micah made gifts for everyone. I made strawberry syrup for our special Dutch Baby breakfast. The boys received sweet cards and also hot chocolate bombs to enjoy on the special day, too!

And lastly a quick throw back pic from a little ukulele concert done by Abe and Ivan over Zoom.

Life in the New Year

Here are some pictures from life around the house. Ethan got a photo editing program for Christmas and spends a lot of time editing his pictures and sending emails to his buddies. We started our usual January challenge of reading out loud for 10 minutes every day. Micah likes to teach art classes to whoever will participate. He got to teach Daddio this weekend and was thrilled. You can see his art wall behind his office. We went for a long walk/bike ride (boys ride with one walkie talkie and the parents walk with the other one) this past weekend while the temps were nice and warm. And Micah loves to play the piano and is considering taking lessons in the fall.

We are back to meeting in our backyard for CC community days. So far we’ve had pretty decent weather, although the mornings are pretty chilly. One morning Micah wanted to impress everyone with his ability to handle the cold by wearing short sleeves. Others joined in until it really got unbearable and everyone needed to put on their layers.

We’ve also been getting back into our regular schooling routine around the house. Micah is learning division with remainders, so there are some pics of him decorating our whiteboard as he figures those problems out! And Ethan has begun keeping track of his goals and work on a weekly planner. He’s also resumed his virtual piano lessons.

The boys are working on keeping their snow fort for as long as possible. It’s become a bit of a science project for them. They’ve made lots of updates over the weeks, and it’s still standing strong!

And we’ve been enjoying Packer picnics while cheering on our team to the Super Bowl! This past weekend found way too much joy in making cheese carrots to trick the boys.

Wrapping up December

I listened to a lovely book recently that talked about the belief when World War I began that it would “be done by Christmas” and realized that I had held that belief about Covid, too. World War I wasn’t done by that first Christmas, or by the next one. And Covid isn’t done either. So, our Christmas this year looked very different than it has every other year. As I was reflecting on the sadness I felt to be far from my family for the first time in 8 years over Christmas (we didn’t travel when Micah was first born), a dear friend of mine pointed out the blessing I have in my family. I had told her that I was accustomed to being so rejuvenated over the holidays because of all of my time with them and I wasn’t experiencing it this year. I am still feeling fatigued and in need of rejuvenation. God has blessed me a lot through them – what a gift that I didn’t even fully realize I had! It’s good to take stock and count those blessings, even the ones that seem so obvious. I always knew I had fun over the holidays, but I didn’t realize how much that time prepared me for the next months of life, too.

Anyway, enough musings. We really did have a lovely Christmas season! So many beautiful memories were made! I’ll start with some fun, non-Advent/Christmas-related pictures:

The first is a little snapshot that I took for my bro – he and I used to snag the very best cookies (similar to these, although green) when our family got our box of cookies from family friends each year. I decided to make them with the leftover cornflakes from the sweet potato casserole. Great plan! We also attempted to see the “Christmas Star” of Jupiter and Saturn – awesome experience! Thanks, Grandma Cleve, for reminding me about this!! Much of our day is filled with listening to books and… the ‘and’ is followed by LEGO, coins, marble run, drawing, etc. Micah chose to do some painting one day. We played a few games another night.

Some Advent activities leading up to Christmas day included a “choose your favorite and re-do it” event which was a great hit. The boys chose to have another sleepover and watch a Christmas movie. We also had our Christmas Recital – thank you to all of our audience members who made it SO much fun! Mike started us off with a little portion of a Coldplay song which brought much merriment to all. And on Christmas Eve we zoomed with Grandma Cleve and then had our annual Shepherds meal where we eat by the fire and pretend to be shepherds on the night the angels came with the Good News of Jesus.

We had a very relaxing, but enjoyable Christmas Day. Each boy opened a present and then I set to work on a breakfast “feast”. Then we opened some more presents, including one that Mike included a scavenger hunt around the house in order to find for the boys (great fun!). We ate a late lunch of ham, tasty sides, and sparkling cider. We zoomed with Grandpa Russ and Uncle David and did a little recital for them. And then we played some more games and read books and just enjoyed the peace of the season. =)

The following morning we opened presents with my fam in Wisconsin over Zoom. We were thrilled that after each person did a full quarantine for 2 weeks, they could all be together for a couple weeks at my folks’ house. It brought tears to my eyes just to see those sweet cousins hugging each other again after 9 long months! (they get together regularly, but have always been distanced and outside, so this was BIG!) Ornaments made me cry. Ethan had a zoom session with Grandpa to get tips on his new photo-editing software. Lots of fun.

That afternoon we drove up to Longmont for some birding and we saw our first Great Horned Owl. It was pretty incredible! It happened to be very busy there that day, but the views are spectacular.

Other highlights included presents from cadet leaders at church for the boys (how thoughtful!!), a special recital with Reggie, playing our new game from the Hengevelds (thrice!), and Micah teaching an art class for his cousins (and then being taught one from them, too!). There were more zooms thrown in there, too, but I apparently didn’t take any pictures of them. :/

Next up…ringing in a New Year! =D

Advent activities for the past couple weeks included breakfast by the fire, making Christmas cookies, ice cream sundaes (on a Sunday, of course ;)), a family sleepover, making Christmas cards, watching a virtual performance of The Nutcracker, going for a winter hike, a drive to see Christmas lights, a family wrestling match (Ethan won), and a white winter breakfast for the first day of winter:

Other activities in December (fun in the snow, pics from various walks, virtual church with our very own Advent “wreath” (thanks, Auntie Mel!!), time by the fire, timeline lessons with Auntie Sal and Grandpa and Grandma (look closely and you’ll see I’m sporting a mustache), piano-playing, watching Ivan and Abe in their virtual choir performance for their church, playing with LEGO, our Hope sign (another thanks to Auntie Mel), and watching “The Grinch” over Zoom with the family: