Advent Activities 1-4

You may recall that this season of preparation and waiting is my favorite.  I love it.  And I love making each day filled with little activities keeping our hearts and minds focused on the real meaning of Christmas.  I’m feeling a little stretched thin this year, so the planning isn’t what I would like it to be…but I’m just trying to move forward without the pressure of doing everything memorably. =)  If the boys have a general joy-filled sense that the Christmas season is about celebrating Jesus’ first coming and anticipating His second one, I’ll be pleased.

We are using Advent Calendar workbooks given by Grandma Cleve this year as our study (thank you, Grandma Cleve!!!). And Micah is coloring a picture for each day from his CBS teacher (Side note – CBS is his favorite day of the week now!  How far we’ve come by the grace of God!!).

Day 1 – make snowflakes and hang them from the ceiling in the boys’ room:

Day 2 – watch a Christmas movie:

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Day 3 – breakfast for dinner (Micah’s birthday): WAFFLES (thanks, Amy, for the waffle-maker!)

Day 4 – Red and green dinner (one of my personal favorites!):

 

Grandpa Russ’ Visit!

Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year.  We are loving this tradition and really enjoy having him in town for the holiday.  This year he arrived on Wednesday afternoon and left on Sunday morning.  We squeezed a lot of casual fun in that time.  We spent a lot of time outside, going for walks, and playing various games.

We also celebrated Thanksgiving twice.  We had two smaller feasts – one on Thursday and another on Saturday, when Ashley, Zach and Caleb were back in town.  Micah was my big helper in the kitchen. =)  It was a great way to celebrate!  (And in between the two celebrations, I got to decorate the house for Christmas while listening to the new Hanson Christmas CD!)

Feast #1:

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Feast #2:

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We’ve got lots for which to be thankful!  Thanks, Grandpa Russ, for coming out for another fun visit!

Christmas Blankets

So back when my parents were in town, my Mom and I started working on Christmas/winter pillow covers.  This project got me super jazzed!  So when the boys and I were at the fabric store for something unrelated and I saw fleece on sale 50% off…I decided to make Christmas blankets with the boys.  Don’t even get me started at how much I ended up spending on this endeavor…my word…but we had fun working on them together and I am hopeful that we will find them adorable and cuddly for years to come!

And the pillows that got this whole thing started…

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I sent this picture (below) to my Mom to “guilt” her into finishing the final two pillows.

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Doesn’t she do wonderful work?!

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Halloween

The boys wore their costumes all day in honor of Halloween.  I enjoyed teaching two Chewies all day. =)

We headed to Chipotle for a discounted dinner – my favorite part about Halloween. =)

And that evening I took the boys out trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  We just went up and down our street and then the boys were ready to head home.  I was geared up for an evening of lots of walking, but they cut us off pretty quickly.  We saw this dino while we were out and had to take a picture of it for Ivan and Abe, who were dressed as dinos this year, too.

They loved handing out candy when we got home.  Micah even crawled out of bed once to do it. =)

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And I loved spending the later evening getting ready for a fresh new month. =)  Out with the old calendar, in with the new.

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As you wish

The Princess Bride has long been my favorite movie.  I first saw it when I was about 6 years old at my friend’s house and I have loved it ever since.  “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”  It’s got it all.  I’ve got most of it memorized, had a poster of it in my room growing up, even did a presentation for my Religion class in high school using the scene from Buttercup and Humperdinck’s wedding.  I probably should own a shirt that says, “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”  It’s classic.  So anyway, when we were invited to an 80s Halloween party, I double checked my date (it was came out in ’87! Phew!) and got to work.  There were a couple other ideas thrown around, but I quickly settled on my favs.  (Unfortunately, Micah didn’t want to join in the fun or we would have had the whole family in The Princess Bride costumes!)

Mike got to play the part of my true love, Westley.  And I, as you might have guessed, was Buttercup.  We listened, briefly, to our love song so that we could really get into character on our way to the party. 😉

Party time:

Micah, AKA Chewie, really enjoyed playing darts.  Ethan spent most of his time running around with some of the other kiddos there.

“This is true love – you think that happens every day?”

Dream come true. =)  So much fun.

I’ll leave you with one of the best lines of the movie: “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.”

Sweden, continued

The final days of our trip were spent on the island of Lokholmen, which was about a two-hour ferry ride outside of Stockholm.  This was a very neat experience for us!  The island was a fairly secluded spot and we absolutely loved the rustic, adventurous experience.  Our friends planned a really fun evening for us – a crayfish party!  (Check this out to get an idea of what we were going for: https://www.thelocal.se/20140807/swedish-crayfish-party)  It was a blast!  We also enjoyed the saunas and jumping into the Baltic Sea.  We loved getting the privilege to have such unique and fun experiences.  It was a true blessing to us to have these guys host us so well.

Also, super cool, check out who joined us for our crayfish party: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kjell_Oscarius

The following day was our final day and my birthday!  I had the longest birthday ever, since it started in Sweden and ended in Denver…it lasted extra long!  Mike and I had a breakfast date that morning (boys went to our friends’ house) and then we all enjoyed time at the park, my birthday cake (thanks, E, for making it for us!) before saying goodbyes and heading to the airport.  Such a fun way to celebrate my birthday!  Thanks, friends, for making it such a memorable one!!

We really enjoyed our time on the Scandinavian peninsula.  Seeing our friends made it extra special for us and we were so thankful for that opportunity!  Mike did a fantastic job planning it from start to finish and I am SO thankful for him!

4th of July

After Mike returned from a CrossFit workout at his gym, Ethan led the family in his own CrossFit workout at the park.  This was the second workout he led us in that week; it seems to be a new favorite family activity.  He wanted to make this work out really hard and he definitely succeeded.  We walked down the huge sledding hill and then ran up it, did 10 push ups, 15 squats, 20 mountain climbers and then 10 pull ups…3 times.  Then, we ran a mile.  It was a great hard work out for us.  Micah didn’t do much of this work out, but he did bike the mile with our music hanging on his bike – super helpful and fun!

We took some post-work out pictures in the park.  Please excuse the red hot faces…it was 90 degrees out.

I am a major sucker for traditions.  I love them.  If I did something last year…and even the year before that…you better believe I’m keeping that going!  So, we made our usual homemade whipped cream, angel food cake, blueberries and strawberries dessert to celebrate the 4th again this year. =)

That evening was probably the highlight, but I don’t have any pictures to show for it.  We grilled out with cousins (and some others) at their house and watched fireworks from the golf course behind their house.  Our boys absolutely adore our cousins and they are so kind to our boys.  It’s a huge blessing and one that makes me grin just to think of it!  So thankful for family.