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.

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 5 Missouri

The boys and I drove to Missouri on New Year’s day.  We met Mike at his dad’s house as he had flown to Minnesota for a wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Again, our travels were smooth and we enjoyed some audiobooks (Matilda and the second book in the Wilderking Series that we loved so much).  We loved spending time with Grandpa Russ (and his two dogs) for a few days before heading home.  Some highlights included shooting BB guns for the first time, taking the dogs on recons with Grandpa Russ and playing lots of games.  The boys also started their January challenge of reading out loud every day for 10 minutes – it’s been a huge success and lots of fun!

We loved our annual tour of the Midwest.  It was wonderful to spend time with our family and friends.  What a gift to vacation/mostly-vacation for 20 days over the holidays!  Hopefully it’s not something we take for granted!!  Thanks for celebrating with us, all you Midwesterners. =)

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 4 Wisconsin (the second time)

We were back in Wisconsin for Christmas Eve.  That night we pretended to be shepherds on the night that the angels came to tell them about the birth of Jesus.  We had a bonfire, roasted hotdogs/brats and ate meats, cheeses and figs.  Then we made s’mores! =).  It was so much fun to imagine what that night might have been like.

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The rest of that week was quite relaxing.  At first it was just the Cleve Crew and my parents, but by the following weekend, my siblings and their families were back in town.  We enjoyed “Narnia” at their church, ate lots of yummy food, and played lots of games.

Mike and I snuck away for our annual date with Cass and Adam, but we didn’t get a picture that evening.  The following day we got everyone together at the botanical gardens (that might not be the right name…) in Milwaukee.  Between the two of us, we snagged way too many cute pictures of Ethan and Hana together.  Their friendship is especially sweet!  It was great to be with them again!

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I’m going to have to split this post into two.  There are just too many cute pictures.  Next up – my siblings and their families are back in town!

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 1 Minnesota

We drove to Minnesota in two days, stopping over night in Nebraska.  You know it’s not a road trip without mentioning our audiobooks!  We enjoyed listening to “The Last Battle” all together on that drive and also finished a Magic Tree House book.  We started a fantastic series called, “The Wilderking Series” – in fact, it was probably my favorite read of the year!

The boys and I spent only a couple days there before continuing on to Wisconsin and then to Michigan on our own. Mike stayed in Minnesota for work until Friday when he met us in Michigan.  We spent our time exploring the “tubes”, coloring at Mike’s office, playing games and working out at the hotel.

Next Up: a brief layover in Wisconsin

Giving Gifts

We did our family gift exchange a night or two before heading out on our Midwestern tour.  And, honestly, the giving was so much better than the receiving for our crew this year.  It was lovely to see the generosity of the boys – they both made and bought gifts for everyone in the family with mostly their own money.  I had always heard about others doing this and that the kids enjoyed watching people open their gifts, but this was the first year it felt really, really true for our own family.  They enjoyed opening their gifts, but I think they were more excited about watching each person open the gift they had purchased and picked.

Ethan bought me a necklace and charm (from my sister’s company), a Colorado shirt for Mike (from the Global Bazaar) and a heart for Micah (from my sister’s company).

Micah got me soap (from the Global Bazaar), a couple used books and coupons for Mike, and various crafts/pictures for Ethan.

We got the boys each a game, a yo-yo, and some art supplies.  Later, we gave them each a book and book pajamas (more on that in another post).

That evening we also had some time to Skype with Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A.  The boys gave them a little show, too! =)

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Advent Activities

We celebrated Advent again this year by doing various activities each day.  We didn’t get a chance to do a few of my favorites and I definitely didn’t snap a picture of everything we did.  But here’s a glimpse into the festivities for Advent 2018.  Activities included, but were not limited to: watching a Christmas movie, enjoying ice cream ‘sundaes’ for a meal, red and green meal, making Christmas snacks, Christmas art class online, decorating gingerbread houses, and painting Christmas canvases.

We definitely enjoyed the anticipatory season of Advent.  Meanwhile, we also read Ann Voscamp’s “Greatest Gift” Advent book.  We really enjoyed that.  And I read a book called, “Keeping Holiday” which I liked a whole lot and will read to the boys in the coming years.

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Thanksgiving

Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year.  We love this tradition and enjoy having him with us so much.  The boys especially enjoy spending time outside with him, looking at and sorting through coins, and eating ice cream!  We went out for breakfast at the Original Pancake House one of the mornings he was here, too!  Here are some pictures from our time with him around our house:

Before he even arrived, we started our lists of things we for which we give thanks.  Micah’s first item was drum lessons.  Ethan’s was piano lessons.  They also did an acrostic and came up with another nice list.  Ethan worked on his first and then Micah joined in later…and when Micah got to “G” he shouted GOD!  Next thing I see, Ethan’s crossing off whatever he had written in the “G” and wrote God, too.  Ha!  Very cute to see him copying his younger brother for once. =)

We spent Thanksgiving day at Ashley and Zach’s place.  It was fun to spend the day all together.  We split the food up between the two of us and had a pretty fantastic feast, although some were heard “grumbling” about having ham instead of turkey this year.  Lots of sibling banter ensued.  The boys helped me with various parts of our half of the meal: cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and green bean casseroles.

That evening, E and I went for a walk around the park in the dark.  We got to talk to my Grandpa for his birthday and I snapped a few pictures of the lights.  I’ve been walking with this guy to see Christmas lights since he was 6 months old. =)

They came over to our place on Saturday for lasagna and more time together.  Our boys put on a very silly play for everyone.  It was lots of fun being together again before Grandpa Russ headed home the following morning.

Thanks for coming out, Grandpa Russ!  We sure loved having you!