Advent activities for the past couple weeks included breakfast by the fire, making Christmas cookies, ice cream sundaes (on a Sunday, of course ;)), a family sleepover, making Christmas cards, watching a virtual performance of The Nutcracker, going for a winter hike, a drive to see Christmas lights, a family wrestling match (Ethan won), and a white winter breakfast for the first day of winter:

Other activities in December (fun in the snow, pics from various walks, virtual church with our very own Advent “wreath” (thanks, Auntie Mel!!), time by the fire, timeline lessons with Auntie Sal and Grandpa and Grandma (look closely and you’ll see I’m sporting a mustache), piano-playing, watching Ivan and Abe in their virtual choir performance for their church, playing with LEGO, our Hope sign (another thanks to Auntie Mel), and watching “The Grinch” over Zoom with the family:

We hope your December is filled with much cheer and good memories! It may not look the way it looks most years, but there is still lots of joy to be found.

Fall is here!

I’ll post some pictures from the final weeks in September and the first week or so of October in this post.

Our backyard community for CC continues to go well. The days usually start off fairly chilly, but we end feeling plenty warm by the end of the day. We’ve been meeting on Tuesdays at 8 am, but I suspect we will push it back to 9 am as the weather turns. =) The first day of fall our tutor brought in pumpkins for everyone and we did our review work by striking various poses while holding the pumpkins. Presentations have varied from talking about our homemade library or pictures we’ve drawn, to paragraphs about Scott Joplin and best places to take pictures. We are very thankful for this community!

Here are some pics from school, including Ethan’s virtual piano lessons, reading and playing in the treehouse, tracing the states while learning the capitals, Micah finishing another level in his reading program, and a LEGO rendering of our latest history sentence about the Louisiana Purchase and others about the signing of the Declaration of Independence:

We’ve gone on walks to the Cherry Creek Reservoir a couple of times in the last few weeks. One of the times we saw a Golden Eagle, which was incredibly exciting for our crew! Ethan brings his camera and occasionally even captures pictures of the fam!

We’re in full fall celebration mode around here. No heat or AC on for over a month – a ridiculous game I like to play during this season. It means bundling up in the mornings when it’s in the low 60s or high 50s in the house, but then enjoying the warmer afternoons. We’ve also been enjoying pumpkin and fall-themed foods and scents. Our friends even brought by some decorations they had found on a walk. And I’m including a picture of my favorite view from the park up the street.

Other fun happenings include two back-to-back Packer picnics (I found Packers jerseys for each boy on thredup – can you imagine my excitement?!):

And some pictures from around the house, including LEGO builds, coin trading via Zoom and amongst brothers, Micah’s dentist appt, Ethan’s darling pic of Micah biking, boys enjoying grandma reading Farmer Boy to us over Zoom (while building LEGO), the arrival of our new books, and shots of the boys enjoying their early Christmas present from Uncle David (thank you!!):

It’s a beautiful season and we are making the most of it!

Early July

Mikey and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on the first of this month. When we took a selfie at the top of the mountain we climbed as a family that day, it reminded us both of the selfie we took on one of our 14ers that we used on our wedding day for people to sign. We’ve been climbing mountains and having other fun adventures together for 18 years already!

We hiked Chief Mountain – a 3 mile hike with spectacular views about 45 minutes from our house I think. It was absolutely fabulous – enough work that felt good, but not exhausting. =)

That night, we had sushi take out as a family. Later, Mikey and I enjoyed Cherry Wine from Door County, WI (which I bought at Mars Cheese Castle last June when we stayed in Wisconsin for the month) on our deck.

We celebrated the 4th with a challenging, but fun 1776 workout. This meant that we worked together to complete various movements that totaled up to 1776. It was a lot of fun. Micah led us in the hand stands, as that is his speciality and the rest of us can barely do a donkey kick. =D Later we had our annual 4th of July dessert of fruit and homemade whipped cream. And we took two nights to watch Hamilton together. What an incredible show! Ethan had already seen it LIVE, but he liked seeing it again and said he picked up on more of the story the second time around. We also enjoyed “butterscotch on the rocks”, which we learned about from a fun book series (Royal Rabbits of London). We used stevia droppers with butterscotch flavor and Ethan used chocolate, since he doesn’t like butterscotch.

We also all finally have working bikes, so we’ve done some family bike rides, including a ride around Cherry Creek Reservoir.

Other snapshots of life in early July include a lot of piano-playing, drawing, eating at Micah’s home restaurant, and listening to Daddio read to 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.

On Fathers’ Day we headed to the mountains for a drive and a little birding walk. We grabbed some shakes to go along the way.

And one of the recent sprint workouts we took a snapshot before and after it.