Updates from May

Ethan had his first virtual piano recital.  We were asked to make videos and post them on our YouTube channel and then E’s piano teacher put together a playlist of everyone’s pieces, along with a scavenger hunt and chance to vote for the pieces we liked best in each category.  Here are the links for E’s pieces:

I wanted to post a video from my nephews – they were dancing all around while listening to Ethan play piano.  It was darling.  I can’t figure out how to post it, so ask Lauren if you want to see. =D

We’ve also done a lot of playing piano through the Piano Maestro app as a family.  We are competing against one another – the boys are in the lead by a whole lot so far!  It’s been lots of fun to challenge ourselves in this way and fun for the boys to have such a big lead.

We’ve gone for lots of walks, both as a family, individually and in pairs.  I don’t think I’ve missed a day since early May (whenever my hives finally left for good) and Mike walked for over 10 miles one day. The boys go for walks to take pictures of flowers and birds. E and I even went for a walk in the rain one evening.

We’ve also started doing some track workouts as a family.  Our first work out at the track was a sprint work out – 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 2 minutes of rest for 6 rounds. We are trying to do this every week (2 down so far!). On Memorial Day we did a modified Murph work out.  Micah started out running one lap and then doing hand stands and squats and then ran another lap (and then he did 2 more for fun!) to finish his workout.  Meanwhile, Ethan and I both ran 3 laps and then did 70 push ups and 100 squats before running another 3 laps.  Daddio did the same, except with 4 laps and maybe 100 push ups (I can’t remember for sure).  It’s a fun new challenge for us and something we can do all together.  We hadn’t hit a track since back in our Georgia days!

Another thing we do to keep busy is play frisbee golf in the park by our house.  We do this a couple times every week.

Mallory, our mallard, keeps us busy, too.  She visits every day and is fed by Micah at least twice each day.  She likes to fly up to our roof to say hello and also peeks in at us in the playroom, too.  She even flew around the house and watched me do laundry one week. And we found her in the park during one of our frisbee golf rounds – she didn’t shy away from Micah, so we knew it was her.

Lots of outside time (I’ll update another day regarding the backyard project when I have more “after” pictures to post) is happening around here.  Ethan is our outdoor maintenance guy; he even changes the wire on the weed eater on his own now.

We’ve got a couple new games for this season of life, too:

We also finished up the school year in early May.  Micah will continue working on reading and math this summer and Ethan will continue to read each day and do some other school-related things throughout the summer. We celebrated with French Toast on their final day and took some end of the year pictures, too.

Both boys had paying jobs for part of May, too.  Ethan typed up documents for Reggie for a class he will be teaching later this year.  He was very responsible and motivated.  He completed the tasks a day early and Reggie said he handled everything very maturely.  Micah had a scanning job for Mikey – scanning documents.  He did a great job, too!

We celebrated Mother’s Day in May, too.  My guys spoiled me with lots of loving notes and doing all of my favorite things – we went for a long, frisbee-free walk, we played Kubb in the park, and we ate good food.  Mikey made Dutch Babies for breakfast and ordered sushi for dinner.

Final pictures worth mentioning…the boys and I got our homemade masks from my Mom (THANKS, Mom!!).  Mike has been reading us all a book at night and sometimes Micah uses his book light to see in order to do paint by sticker or to draw.  I picked some weeds from our backyard to decorate the house because they are pretty weeds!  My aunties threw a fabulous virtual wedding shower for my cousin.  And Mel and Joel stopped by with Pentecost decorations (they were way prettier before the rain got to them) and treats since we couldn’t attend the annual Pentecost party at their home. =D

Next up…a boy we all love turns 11!

Easter 2020

We certainly won’t soon forget Easter 2020.  We enjoyed a church service at home (decorated by Micah, complete with a LEGO band), participated in the Lord’s Supper (complete with Aunt Mel’s homemade sourdough) with Reggie via FaceTime, had a tasty breakfast and lunch, watched Andrea Bocelli’s live concert (with no audience), had lots of competitive egg hunts and spent a lot of time together.

The following day was our final CC day.  It’s been an interesting first year as the Director, but our community is such a strong, close-knit group that it was lots of fun for me, despite all of the challenges.  I was spoiled with all kinds of lovely thank you gifts and notes of appreciation.  It was a very humbling experience for me.

I thought I’d include pictures of them looking over their yearbooks and participating in our zoom class.  I’m also including their final presentations – really short, silly ones to conclude an awesome year!

The rest of February

Our family slept at church again for the awesome ministry our church does called, “Family Promise,” which houses homeless families for a week.  We are thrilled that we get to volunteer as a family in this way.  And the boys love sleep overs at church and eating breakfast there in the morning.

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This guy got reading glasses!

We celebrated Valentine’s Day.  Micah wanted each person to take a turn in the circle of love while we gave gifts to them.  It was very sweet.  He had saved a magnet he made for me in cadets for over a month in order to give it to me that day.  I cried.

Grandma Cleve came out that weekend for a visit!!  She snapped that top picture of our family while we read together one of the nights.  She got to experience a bit of snow again and played snow baseball with Ethan in it!  We also hosted her aunt (who lives nearby) for lunch on Sunday, which was special.  We were glad to get this time with her!

We continue to enjoy listening to books and doing puzzles.  I am still in PT trying to figure out my knee pains.  Sometimes the boys come along and do school work.  Weather is still crazy – some days we are outside in t-shirts, other days it snows.  Sometimes the boys ride scooters in the snow because…why not?  Ethan loves editing sentences and diagramming them.  And when Daddio is home, we embrace every moment with him!

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!