Christmas Week in Wisconsin

After our long weekend in Michigan (Monday), we headed back to Wisconsin for a quieter week with my parents. (By Friday, the whole family spent the remainder of our time together – that will be in a separate post)

On Monday night, we all decorated cookies.

We celebrated Christmas Eve with another Shepherd’s Meal outside by the fire.

On Christmas morning, Ethan played the prelude at church with Grandma and then played the postlude solo.  Then we had a yummy lunch with Brad and Sal.  The Misner crew surprised us with an earlier arrival that day, so we were excited to spend the day with them, too!  We decorated even more cookies with Aunt Sal.  These ones were very tasty.  =)

Other activities from that week included playing games, playing with Uncle Ger’s game pieces, and practicing piano.

^ Uncle David sent some awesome Legos to my parents house for Christmas, which also kept the boys very busy all week! ^

Christmas in Michigan

We flew to Wisconsin, rather than driving, this year.  The boys and I weren’t thrilled about it, as we cherish road trips, audiobooks, and we especially love getting to stop in to see Grandpa Russ on our way home.  On the day of our flight, my mom asked if we had left for the airport yet and this was my response from our uber:

Micah was my seat partner on the plane.  We spent some time listening to our separate audiobooks, but mostly talked and looked out the window.

We landed just in time to get to see Ivan’s Christmas program!  SO thankful we were there in time.  It was precious!

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The following day (well, it ended up being night due to drama with our rental car), we drove to Michigan to spend the weekend with our extended family.

Michigan was filled with enjoying time with our family at the retreat cabins.  It’s such a fun spot and allows for games, sports, hikes, good conversations and lots of yummy food.  I count on my Dad to capture our time together, so I didn’t take a lot of pictures.  But here’s what I took:

That picture of a bunch of people was from a hike I went on and we were laughing so hard about the “views”.  Let’s just say this hike was done for the company, not the views.  More pictures to come from my Dad’s camera.  Those will be much better. =D

December

Here are some more things that happened throughout December, besides the big trip to see family in the midwest.

Mikey and I went to a Hanson Wintery Mix concert and it was awesome! =D

The boys and I worked at our church’s Global Bazaar selling Jennie’s products again.  Hard to imagine that 8 years ago I was helping Jennie set up while having contractions with Micah!  Time flies.  The boys were big helps!

Ethan played a prelude in church.

We went to the Museum of Nature and Science for a field trip with a bunch of our CC buddies.  I was struck by how much growth we’ve seen in the boys’ lives while there.  Micah roamed exhibits with his friends, never once asking where I would be or even looking around to find me.  It brought me to tears to think of how much the Lord has healed his little heart.

Random pictures from around our home:

And pictures from the evening we opened our gifts as a family.  Each boy got a camera and a couple books, as well as some gifts from the Global Bazaar from each other.  Ethan bought a gift for Mike and Micah bought a gift for me.  Mikey and I also exchanged a couple gifts…and Mike wrapped them in style…which meant I was very confused about what on earth I was actually receiving from him. =D I always use a code when putting gifts under the tree, so that first picture is of my guys trying to figure out who each present is for based on my code. =)

Next up: traveling for the holidays!

Advent Activities

We enjoyed another fun and reflective Advent season.  This year we read “Ishtar’s Odyssey” which is a fictionalized story of what the magi may have experienced on their quest to find the newborn king.

Some of our favorite activities/activities that I took pictures of included:

  • Drinking hot cocoa while reading the Christmas story from the Bible
  • Family sleepover and Christmas movie
  • Christmas art class
  • Christmas lights drive
  • Picnic by the tree
  • Red and green meal
  • Darkest night meal by candlelight
  • White winter breakfast
  • Put up snowflakes
  • Sing in nursing home
  • Ice cream sundaes on Sunday
  • Decorate Christmas cookies
  • Shepherds Meal

For unto YOU a child is born!

Thanksgiving

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving this year.  As usual, Grandpa Russ drove out to spend the week with us!  A new addition, however, was Uncle David.  This was a real treat to all of us and we hope it will become the new tradition.  The house was full of Cleveland guys playing games, shooting army soldiers with rubber bands, and looking at coins.

Thanksgiving Day brought more game-playing, eating good food and we rounded off the afternoon with some sledding. It was very relaxing and lots of fun.

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Uncle David left the morning after Thanksgiving, but we still got a couple extra days with Grandpa Russ.  This included going out for breakfast and me decorating the house for Christmas, another tradition of all of ours.

We were missing our former Colorado family, of course, so we sent some pictures back and forth.  Loved seeing these guys getting ready for Christmas, too. =)

Family in town, part 2

What originally was going to be a trip to Utah or Wyoming, turned into a really fun day spent in the Springs.  We visited Garden of the Gods (or, as Micah calls it, “God’s Garden”), the Olympic Training Center and the World War II Aviator Museum.

It was a really fun day and allowed for the boys to get home in time to trick or treat around the neighborhood for a bit.  The boys were dressed as characters from one of our favorite series, Green Ember.  My mom did an amazing job making these costumes for the boys!

Other activities with my parents included carving pumpkins and spending time at my Aunt and Uncle’s house.

We LOVE having everyone in town to visit.  We make such fun memories.

Home again, home again

We loved all of the traveling and seeing people, but it’s always good to get back home.  On our drive back I saw this sign in a gas station and it sums up our feelings about travel so well:

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We soaked up time together for the next two weeks or so before we were all back to traveling.  In this time, the boys did a lot of playing with legos, Mike and I celebrated our 13 year anniversary, we did some biking and charting of our miles from the previous month, and the boys read books outside.

We also celebrated the 4th of July with our longest family bike ride yet.  We rode on the Cherry Creek Trail and I was so full of joy!  Dream come true right there.  There was a lot of hail that evening, so we didn’t see too many fireworks.

Finally, we had the privilege of providing respite care for two sweet little guys.  Can’t show you any pictures here, but suffice it to say we had a busy weekend with them!