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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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. =)

February Stories & Pics

The boys and I spent Valentine’s Day together (Mikey was traveling), doing fun and tasty experiments, making homemade beer bread (had to grab something at the store, first) and listening to a good book.  Ethan saved his Valentine’s candy from Grandma Cleve’s visit to eat on the actual day.  His self-control is very impressive to me!!

That evening some of the fam sent pictures back and forth to show how we were celebrating. =) Look at my cutie nephews and niece!  The boys liked seeing pictures of the others, so we sent our own, too.

We had quite a bit of snow this month.  One day, Micah said, “I think you’re going to say, ‘no’, but do you wanna have tea and watch the snow fall with me on the porch?”  Obviously that was a moment I wasn’t going to let pass me by!

And here are some other school pictures throughout the month.  A couple of exciting updates: Micah is now going to kids club (rather than sitting by E and I in Essentials) and attended his first night of cadets.

Mike surprised us by stopping home for an hour in between two flights.  Micah spent the time reading out loud to him while he packed his bag. =)

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The boys have been doing some ninja training at the park:

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Here are some various pictures from around the house lately:

Mike is big on getting the boys outside in the cold to build up strength.  There’s a fancy word for this, but alas, I’ve forgotten it!  Cold thermo-something.  Anyway, here are some crazy sightings of boys in the cold!

Music fills the air often.  E is teaching Micah little bits and pieces and also working hard on getting ready for Federation in March.

We went on a family date to a movie theater that serves dinner during the movie for a super special treat.  It was pretty exciting.  We were all especially thrilled because this was another big step for Micah.  He usually avoids theaters at all costs, but he was all in for this one (as long as he had his earplugs!).

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I’ve requested some help from the boys with meal planning…because maybe I’ve gotten tired of hearing complaints from nameless somebodies in the home.  I really needed to have Mike go through the cookbooks, too, but that will come another day!  =)  We’ve tried a few of their ideas and it definitely helps to have their buy-in.

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And finally, a quick picture from Ethan’s Essentials class at CC.  They were working on answers for English grammar and vocab.

Grandma Cleve in CO!

Grandma Cleve came out for a visit at the end of January.  This was her first time to meet baby Joshua and the last time spending time with all her grandchildren living in the same state (at least for a while…).  We loved having her in town again!  She split her time between both homes; her time with us being the bookends.  Grandma Cleve came in on Friday night late and spent all day Saturday with us – we opted to have breakfast out at our favorite place, go on a Focus on the Family tour and then drive through Garden of the Gods (we were all shocked that we hadn’t taken her to Garden of the Gods on any of her previous visits!).  And we finished our evening reading books and playing games.

On Sunday we went to church together, got in some snuggles and coin talk, played a game and then had Ashley and her family over for dinner.  It was lovely to have everyone together!  And, of course, we snapped a picture of Grandma Cleve with her four grand babies.  She went home with them and spent the week there – including some time babysitting Caleb while the others checked out their new home town in Atlanta.

We joined back up on Saturday morning for breakfast and a tour of Hammond’s candy (something Mike and I did when we were dating, but hadn’t been back since!).  Grandma Cleve spent the remainder of that afternoon with us before Mikey brought her back to the airport.

And, yes, that is a cricket in Micah’s sucker.  He ate its head and then said he had had enough.  His verdict – that was gross!

It’s always a gift to have family in town!  Thanks for visiting, Grandma Cleve!!