Grandpa and Grandma in Colorado

We were thrilled to host my parents for almost two weeks at the end of October/beginning of November. We had a great mix of just living normal life and doing some projects around the house.

Each morning Ethan and my Dad went out birding. Micah joined for one morning, but he decided it was more enjoyable (and warm) playing piano or reading with Grandma at the house. Also, while my parents were here, this memory popped up on my phone from 9 years ago when I remember thinking, “wow, my Dad as Grandpa is different than my Dad as Dad.” What on earth is that little pipsqueak doing holding a big expensive camera?! =D

My folks always ask about what kinds of things we might like them to do for the house, so we knocked out a few of those projects! Yay! The two most exciting things done were our laundry room and new address numbers for outside. They did other things, too, but these were big undertakings and I was so thankful to have them completed. The boys, especially Ethan, loved working on the laundry room. We decided this was a different kind of homeschooling. =)

We each did some sewing projects with my Mom. Ethan and Micah both made camera bean bags (not sure how else to describe them) and Micah made two decorative pillow covers. Turns out, Micah LOVES to sew and is looking for new projects. =) My Mom sewed us some Packer napkins and I finally finished my rice heating pad.

We enjoyed having Mel and Joel over for lunch over the weekend. We had our inaugural meal on our new deck table with them.

Much music was made throughout the week. My mom has recently begun learning to play the cello (one of the many things I admire about my folks is their belief that they are never too old to try something new), so she had a couple of Zoom lessons while here and showed the boys how to play a bit. She and Ethan worked on a little piano-cello duet. And Micah played a lot of piano duets with Grandma.

Other highlights that don’t fit as neatly into a photo gallery include baking together, Grandpa and Micah biking, visiting the Audubon Center all together, Krav Maga, reading books, playing games, editing pictures and doing *some* schooling, playing football in the park, having a picnic with some members of our Zoom book club (they also happen to be dear friends from CC), attending cousin Matthew’s awesome play, and having a Packer picnic.

Our time together was delightful. The boys both said afterwards, “I wish they lived with us or at least by us.” What a gift!

Grandpa, Grandma and GGpa’s Trip

My parents drove out here with my Grandpa last week. Then we all drove out to Utah to experience four of the “big five” National Parks there. We bookended (is that a true verb? Hmm…) that trip with time at our home (Grandpa at Auntie Mel’s). This post will highlight the time in Colorado.

As you can imagine, not seeing them in person since COVID began (we were in Florida visiting them when things went south very quickly) made for a very sweet reunion. Highlights included catching up and hanging out at the house, a lot of Ethan and Grandpa birding trips (including one with me and one with Micah), lots of yard work in our backyard (yay for bird houses, planting grasses and flowers, and hanging lights!), and piano duets.

Hanging at the house:

Birding:

Yardwork:

Piano Duets (including one that I played with Ethan at his outdoor recital – I was way more nervous than he was and totally messed up more than once! Eek!):

Here’s a link for a Grandma and Micah duet. He’s starting piano lessons tomorrow! (although he will tell you that he’d rather just do lessons with Grandma over Zoom)

Coming up next will be highlights from our time in Utah!

This past week has brought some new changes to our world. Ethan purchased a used camera (we chipped in a little bit, too, but mostly this was his endeavor) and is now going out most mornings to take pictures of birds. He has been emailing with Grandpa and even did a FaceTime to gather more information about photography. Perhaps this will be a class for this upcoming school year. =D

We thought it was only right to help Micah with a big purchase, too. He opted to get a standing desk because he’s really into all things related to having an office and being fit. He’s pretty jazzed about this whole thing.

We started doing our one-on-ones again this past week and Ethan opted to go to Bluff Lake with me to do some birding. Meanwhile, Mike and Micah stuck closer to home, but also did some birding. I can’t tell you how much this solo time breathes life back into our daily living.

Micah has been taking more and more of an interest in cooking and putting food together for people. He’s been working on his restaurant “A Side of Fruit” (coined as such because he always serves a piece of fruit on the side of everything), but he also cooked dinner for us (sloppy Jos) and had us all order salads from him another day. We also were pumped to have the first two tomatoes of the season!

Here’s a little mama milestone – I made hollandaise sauce for the first time ever and we all LOVED it! =)

Other happenings this week included Micah getting his own email address in order to edit his pictures (and send emails to family members). He’s been loving this and is even more motivated to learn to read more fluidly so that he can read all of your emails on his own!

We’ve also started doing solo audiobooks this week. Both boys really enjoy listening to books and usually we do this all together. Micah finished the “The Green Ember” already and started “The Last Archer”. Ethan is about an hour away from finishing “Monster in the Hollows”. It’s amazing how quiet the house can get.

We’ve done a few LEGO masters. Micah and I competed against each other in a challenge to build “a scene from Star Wars”. Ethan was the judge and ultimately voted for Micah’s, I think, but said mine (when Anakin fell into the lava pit while fighting Obi Wan) was pretty awesome. And then we did a challenge to make a robot. Ethan and I made a pretty classic robot, with a programmer controlling it in the background. Mike and Micah made a big robot who creates minifigs.

Other updates include a functioning sliding glass door with blinds and a canopy for shade; outdoor army battles on the front porch; Mike started going for walks with 30 lbs on his back because he’s a crazy, wonderful man; lots of piano playing; and bike rides to the pond:

One of my favorite things that has come out of the opportunities COVID19 has provided our family with is having Mikey home consistently. He now reads to us (mostly from the iPad as that is his preferred means) almost every night and it’s amazing. We’ve finished at least two books with him during this season – The Forest and The Magician’s Nephew. I think we’ll continue reading all of The Chronicles of Narnia together as it’s been a really sweet experience for us.

Rounding out June

Our neighbor brought over her old pool for Mallory and she went in it a couple times. We had hoped she’d want to swim around more, but she usually just went in for the corn and came back out again. Sadly, it’s now been a couple weeks since we’ve seen her. We’re missing our little pet. =(

I haven’t shared any pictures of the backyard on here, yet, because I was hoping to make a dramatic unveiling of all of the progress. That will come in a later post, when it’s all finished. The work has been slow and steady and we officially have a deck with railings now. We’ve had a couple meals out there. Mike starts most mornings from there and Micah read his first book solo out there. We are going to love this new space!

We’ve been keeping busy with much of the same activities – walks, books, biking, hiking, playing piano and checking out birds. Micah also learned how to do Sudoku, so that’s been fun! And they play hangman together occasionally, too.

Other happenings include the boys’ attempt at starting a weeding lawn care business. We haven’t had any calls, yet, but they enjoyed making their flyer and delivering them to the houses in our neighborhood. Ethan and I took down the storm doors in the front while we still had the dumpster available. Micah wanted to take a pic of him enjoying the coconut water Auntie Mel brought over for us. Both boys played a little piano for Grandma Cleve over FaceTime. And Mike snapped this shot of Micah as a soldier. Micah also learned about graphs and made a creative one to capture his mini-fig collection.