Since we’ve been home…

We had a very quiet first week home from Wisconsin. We were under the weather (just the same colds we saw hit most of the fam on our trip) so we laid low. It was actually quite a delightful way to return. We did some schooling, but didn’t have CC until the following week. Teaching Micah is a whole different animal than teaching Ethan. E likes to check things off his list and has no need to do extra work on the side. Micah loves to do extra work (writing extra words, drawing connections in spelling, making his digital clocks look like real clocks, etc.) We also had piano lessons on Zoom (they did some work together on rhythm at the start).

Since then we’ve had CC twice at our home church (where we worship), which was fun. Mike even taught some stocks/finances for Challenge 1 this week.

We’ve also been getting some use out of Christmas presents.

We’ve had some beautifully warm days (high 50s and 60s) and some gorgeous snow days, too. I’ve been blown away at the beauty I see on my regular walks.

And, lastly, we’ve been playing quite a few games lately. Mike caught me snapping this one and gave us this really charming look. “Why are you taking a picture of us playing a game?” he asked. “So I can post this beauty on the website.” =D

The low-key first part of Wisconsin

On Sunday night, our crew drove back to Wisconsin to stay at my folks’ home. There we spent some delightful, low-key days, primarily just with Grandpa and Grandma (although we had some extra special days with Auntie Sal, too) We had a little bit of overlap time with the whole family the first part of that week, before my siblings headed out to spend time with their in-laws — in Michigan and in Chicago — for the Christmas weekend.

We played a lot of games – Codenames, Pinochle (which my mom used to play a lot and re-learned on the computer before teaching us), and Saboteur. It was funny to see how difficult it was for the boys to ever believe anyone could be bad in that game. Such sweet, trusting guys they are!

There was a lot of artwork done. Some cooking with Grandma. And lots of reading and relaxing.

On Christmas Eve, we worshipped together. Then we enjoyed our annual shepherd’s meal celebration. We did this inside this year since it was a little rainy. I think we’ve all decided inside is lovely. =D And then Mike and I watched “Scrooge” (aka A Christmas Carol) “with” my parents. This is a Christmas tradition (that Mike was apparently unaware of, despite being married to me for 15 years…). I grew up watching this black and white movie with my fam every year since it’s my dad’s favorite. The new tradition is to watch it while they sleep in the chairs surrounding us. Very memorable for all. =D

On Christmas morning we stayed in our jammies for a long time, ate delicious apple pancakes, and eventually watched the Packers game all snuggled up together.

Next up: more time in Wisconsin with the whole fam.

Advent Activities

As you probably know, Advent is one of my favorite seasons. I love the anticipation and the waiting. I love thinking about the long-expected Jesus’ birth and also His second-coming. I’m thankful for the intentional season to prepare for Christmas.

Throughout the Advent season we usually go through a book and do a little something fun each day leading up to Christmas Day. This year has felt a little disjointed (we’ve missed a few days or had to put a few activities all on one day), but we’ve had some fun nonetheless. We are reading “Prepare Him Room” by Marty Machowski this year. And we’ve done many of our usual activities including: making Christmas cookies, having a family sleep over (we did this on Micah’s birthday) in matching pjs (a ridiculous splurge I did this year that made us all laugh a lot), Christmas wrestling match, caroling with our church family, driving around to see Christmas lights, red and green dinner, breakfast for dinner, picking up trash in the park with friends, participating in their piano recital, and watching home videos from 2021 while enjoying ice cream sundaes (on a Sunday, of course).

Enjoy Ethan playing Breath of Heaven. Watch Micah play God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, his first piano recital piece. And enjoy Micah playing Rainbow Colors, too. You can also watch videos of them and other pianists recording at their piano teacher’s home.

Micah turns 10!

My mind can’t quite comprehend that our “baby” is already ten years old! This little spunky guy is such a joy. He definitely has his own mind and can’t be easily swayed or persuaded. He is also incredibly thoughtful and has the most generous heart. We enjoyed spoiling him with many of his favorite things over his birthday weekend.

Here’s our traditional final picture with mama before he turned 10:

And here are some shots from birthday weekend. He loved getting cards, calls, videos, poems, and gifts from his family and friends.

I think he would tell you that the highlight of his day was having some of his friends (siblings of students in ChA) over to play in the backyard while I hosted an outdoor Challenge A study hall. We all had cake and sang to him. He was pretty jazzed about the whole thing.

Grandpa and Grandma in Colorado

We were thrilled to host my parents for almost two weeks at the end of October/beginning of November. We had a great mix of just living normal life and doing some projects around the house.

Each morning Ethan and my Dad went out birding. Micah joined for one morning, but he decided it was more enjoyable (and warm) playing piano or reading with Grandma at the house. Also, while my parents were here, this memory popped up on my phone from 9 years ago when I remember thinking, “wow, my Dad as Grandpa is different than my Dad as Dad.” What on earth is that little pipsqueak doing holding a big expensive camera?! =D

My folks always ask about what kinds of things we might like them to do for the house, so we knocked out a few of those projects! Yay! The two most exciting things done were our laundry room and new address numbers for outside. They did other things, too, but these were big undertakings and I was so thankful to have them completed. The boys, especially Ethan, loved working on the laundry room. We decided this was a different kind of homeschooling. =)

We each did some sewing projects with my Mom. Ethan and Micah both made camera bean bags (not sure how else to describe them) and Micah made two decorative pillow covers. Turns out, Micah LOVES to sew and is looking for new projects. =) My Mom sewed us some Packer napkins and I finally finished my rice heating pad.

We enjoyed having Mel and Joel over for lunch over the weekend. We had our inaugural meal on our new deck table with them.

Much music was made throughout the week. My mom has recently begun learning to play the cello (one of the many things I admire about my folks is their belief that they are never too old to try something new), so she had a couple of Zoom lessons while here and showed the boys how to play a bit. She and Ethan worked on a little piano-cello duet. And Micah played a lot of piano duets with Grandma.

Other highlights that don’t fit as neatly into a photo gallery include baking together, Grandpa and Micah biking, visiting the Audubon Center all together, Krav Maga, reading books, playing games, editing pictures and doing *some* schooling, playing football in the park, having a picnic with some members of our Zoom book club (they also happen to be dear friends from CC), attending cousin Matthew’s awesome play, and having a Packer picnic.

Our time together was delightful. The boys both said afterwards, “I wish they lived with us or at least by us.” What a gift!

Well, we’ve officially made the shift from summer weather to fall. It’s typical Colorado, though, so we’ve got days in the high 70s followed by days in the 50s. We managed to go a long time without using any AC or heat, but we finally had to heat up the place when we were doing school in hats and lots of layers just to stay warm. I think the house got down to 60 degrees and that’s just a wee bit chilly for us. =D We also had to pick all of our tomatoes after it dropped to below freezing for a few nights and that means we have a lot of green tomatoes gracing our counters.

Our friends snapped some pictures of the boys playing flag football up the street and I’m finally remembering to post them. We’ve got the final games happening this weekend!