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!

While Mom is away…

…the boys get to play!  But before I get to my bi-annual trip to Atlanta to help my sister with her trade show, I wanted to show a couple pictures from our pseudo one-on-one we squeezed in between our arrival back home and my trip to ATL.  Mike and Ethan went to the dentist and then joined up with some of Mike’s friends for golf league.  E kept score and hit a few balls here and there, too.  He had a great time and we were reminded, again, how sweet our friends are and what a blessing they are to our whole family.

While they were out, Micah and I enjoyed playing Legos and played a bunch of games.

The following day, I headed to Atlanta.  It’s always such a pleasure to go there and help Jennie.  I’m super proud of her and her company and the work she does in Kenya, so it’s a “cause” I like to support.  But it’s also fun just to spend time with her and interact with her friends.  AND, I get the added bonus of seeing some of my friends, too, although this time I only was able to get together with my former neighbor and didn’t even take a picture. =/  Check out that de-licious veggie plate I ordered…it was incredible and I’m pretty sure corn is the main ingredient in fritos.  Also, there was chili on top of my fritos because AWESOME!!!

I compiled this from all of the previous trade shows I’ve attended with Jen:

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Meanwhile, the boys had a lot of fun at home with Daddio.  Milestone alert: they had their first sleepover at cousins’ house!  They had a great time over there and were definitely tired when they were back home again.  It was excellent timing – super helpful for Mike to get good days of work in without disruption!  They also went to a Rockies game with Reggie and his grandson and then to the Rapids game (discounted tickets due to the reading program at the library) the following evening.  AND, they managed to get Micah a new hat (recall that his former hat is at the bottom of Lake Tahoe), a new/used bike for him (recall the bike accident that ruined his previous bike), and new/used clubs for Ethan.  Whew!  What a week!

This guy…we sure love him!!

Where in the World…?

Feel like you haven’t seen Mr. Cleve in a while?  Me too! 😉  He’s been traveling – both for work and for pleasure – quite a bit lately.  And he’s been having a lot of fun doing it.  We are really thankful for his job and the flexibility it provides and also the challenge and excitement of doing something important and enjoyable.  It’s been a big blessing in our life and we are thankful.

Two notable destinations –

San Diego for his annual guys’ trip…

…and the top of another 14er: Mount Huron.

Love this hard-working guy!

Side note – this girl wants to get in another 14er, too! =D

Sick

Daddio got home in time for Valentine’s Day…the same day that Micah got sick.  I remember the date because we were hoping to go roller skating that evening for Valentine’s Day, but had to cancel because of Micah’s fever.  He spent the next week (ish) not feeling super well.  It started off with his head hurting like crazy, with a fever coming and going.  Then it moved into a cough (which is still just barely lingering) and a very brief ear ache.  Anyway, we didn’t realize how icky he was feeling still on Thursday when we went out to go golfing on a beautiful evening.  He was a trooper, but he was absolutely miserable. =/  I got LOTS of snuggle time with this boy over the week and he slept with Mommy during the nights to ensure that he got as many snuggles as he needed while he was in so much pain.

I thought I was going to avoid getting sick when it didn’t hit me in the first few days/nights.  Unfortunately, I caught it.  And so did Ethan.  Thankfully it hasn’t been horrible, although that head pain was no joke!!  I got a lot of snuggles and naps in with this boy, too.


Homeschooling has been very minimal the past two weeks. We have read a lot of books and watched a few movies. I have been thankful that I haven’t needed to quantify how sick the boys are…if they can’t play with toys because they keep stopping for snuggles and naps, they can’t do school. It’s been refreshing to know we can get to it all later and not stress about sickness slowing us down!

Huge thanks to Grandma Cleve for the Chronicles of Narnia movies! The boys and I loved getting to see them again!!

When Daddy’s away, we play all day!

Mike had a fun opportunity to play golf in Arizona with his golf league buddies.  This has become a new tradition for them and it seems like such a fantastic trip!  He spends time with his friends, sees some members of his family and golfs every day.  We couldn’t be happier that he has the freedom to do it.  And…we had a whole lotta fun at home while he was gone.

On Wednesday evening, the boys and I just played in the basement.  The boys fought one another, impressing their queen.

Thursday the weather started turning beautiful, so we spent some time at the park after our day at CC.

That evening we watched “Finding Winnie” which was a super short film of the children’s book we had read for school.

Friday…unbelievably lovely weather.  We reached a high of 79 degrees.  We spent PE plus at the park and stayed there for another hour+ afterwards, just enjoying the sunshine and our friends.  Later we played some cornhole and took a walk to get FroYo. =D

The weather cooled off a bit by Saturday.  But the boys and I still spent a good amount of time outside.  In fact, I am SO proud of them…we went for about a 2 mile bike ride!  I walked next to Micah (who had previously only rode his bike about 800 yards) to help him up the hills.  It was incredible!  We went all the way to our little free library and played at the “rock park”.  I also read them a book we found there – a book on Degas who happens to be the artist we learned about on Thursday!  How cool!  Then we biked to our fav pizza place for some yummy lunch.

Interspersed throughout our weekend were skype chats with various members of our family and lots of games of Machi Koro.  We especially enjoyed chatting with Uncle Brad while he was with Grandma and Grandpa in Florida and seeing their cousins, Abey Baby and Ivan.  Micah showed everyone lots of pictures from various books.

My favorite story from these chats come to you from Ivan.  He was playing with his t-rex and kept saying, “you bit my finger!”  When I asked him what his t-rex’s name was, he told me it was “Char-lie” said JUST like: Charlie bit me.  He’s hilarious.

Meanwhile, here’s Mike with his buddies:

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Golf

Mike took the boys golfing before his big golf league kickoff trip.  The boys absolutely loved it, even though it ended up being a colder afternoon than they had anticipated.  Ethan seemed to pick up right where he left off.  This was one of the first times (if not the first time…) Micah played on a real course with real clubs.  He borrowed Ethan’s this time, but you know we’ll be out looking for some for him to own, too.

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Part of the way through their outing, some dear friends of ours joined them for a couple holes.  How cute are they??

Meanwhile…Belize! (part 1)

Mike and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary at the beginning of the month.  The plan originally had been to drive up the coast of California and stop for various hikes and sight-seeing along the way.  Mikey changed up the plans (with enough warning for me…as you all know that I dislike surprises a LOT) and we flew to Belize instead!  Such an incredible treat for us!

I’m not even sure how to describe Belize or our feelings about this country.  It was beautiful.  Very beautiful.  And we absolutely loved our experience there.  It’s considered a developing country and was definitely very poor.  I’m not sure that we ever saw a building taller than about 4 stories and we drove from nearly top to bottom and side to side…in 4 incredible days!

I think what stood out to me the most about Belize was how small it is.  There are four major roads in the country and very little that could not be seen from one of them.  I LOVED this!  We didn’t need to go off-roading to explore or try to find places (with one exception as you will see soon), nearly everything we had researched or heard about we saw on one of those roads with very little effort.  At one point we saw a truck with a sign talking about some kind of ministry and that same day we drove right by the ministry.  And you could ask someone in a village about a place you were trying to find and with no exception, they knew where it was and could point you in the right direction.

Our 4.5 days in Belize (part 1):

Sunday: arrival and drive through Belize City and to the only golf course in the country.  Played a little golf before sunset:

Monday: breakfast in the clubhouse and then golf (got caught in the rain):

Awesome moments caught on video (having a hard time getting them both to load, so we may have to try to do a YouTube link at some point):

That afternoon we went to Xunantunich, an awesome Mayan ruin.  This was incredible!  We were rained on again, briefly, but still made it to the top.  It was rainy season in Belize, so we were prepared!  But I believe this was the only other time (besides golf) that we got caught in the rain!  In order to get to the ruins we had to take a hand-cranked ferry over the river.  They required that I get out of the car so that if the car accidentally went into the river they would only have to save Mike.

This is the part of our trip when things got interesting…. We attempted to find a Mennonite community, but the signs were very sparse.  We saw a road that went directly to the river, and forgetting our previous experience on a hand-cranked ferry, we assumed that was surely not the right way.  SO, we went down a super muddy hill instead…and also dead end-ed at the river.  Thankfully Jr. was there fishing.  He spent the next hour (maybe more??) helping us push our supposed-to-be-4-wheel-drive-vehicle into someone’s yard and eventually out of the mud pit.  WOW.  He was using his machete to cut down weeds and tree branches and whatnot.  He was awesome and we truly could not have done it without him.

We made it back to the golf resort for steak dinner with a bunch of people from the US and British Embassies.  Phew!  It was a wonderful first full day in Belize.