Grandpa and Grandma here (part 3)

Mike and I got home late Sunday night.  The following day was CC community day.  As I already alluded, it was dress-up-like-your-favorite-book-character day!  Ethan was Reepicheep and Micah was King Peter, both from The Chronicles of Narnia.  My parents joined us for the day and, thus, my dad took all kinds of fun pictures!  And we happened to be dissecting crayfish!

There was more work done on bird houses and lots of bird watching/recording.  Sadly, Micah’s birdhouse broke after it snowed and he’s still not sure if he wants to make a different kind of bird house.

Mikey and I had the opportunity to go out for my birthday gift – the Josh Groban concert! It was a really good concert!  The last time we saw him was when we were dating in college and we saw him perform at Red Rocks.

Meanwhile, the boys enjoyed carving pumpkins!  Milestone!  We’ve never done it before.

We did end up seeing them one more night after their trip to Taos (which they recommended highly, by the way), but it was brief and none of us took any pictures.  We LOVED having them in town with us.  They blessed us beyond words by their presence.  Thanks for coming out again, Mom and Dad!

Grandpa and Grandma here (part 2)

I flew to Phoenix on Friday morning and came back home again on Sunday with Mikey.  I’ll include a few pictures we took from our time there at the end of this one, but I’ll keep the focus on the fun the boys had with Grandpa and Grandma in town.  And they really did have a whole lotta fun together!

The boys taught them a new game and played a whole tournament of it:

They also worked on Halloween costumes for CC.  I had ordered some things for the book characters they were going to dress up as, but the box didn’t arrive until I was already gone.  So I tasked my parents with making sure everything fit and making the necessary additions – like a red feather for Reepicheep’s ear.  Thank you!!  Parts of Micah’s costume (King Peter) came in handy for playing “Queen” with Grandma.  I understand this may have been my mom’s favorite game to play – she got to order people around and get served by the knights/servants. =D

Ethan and Grandpa spent some time making a bird feeder (more pictures to come in the next post).

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And they also went down to the park a couple times to rake the leaves and jump in them, sometimes while catching the football.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix…we were eating lots of good food, playing pickle ball, and hiking.  Mike spent a whole lotta time playing PIG and I enjoyed reading my book.  We were SO glad to get to spend much of Sunday with Grandma Cleve, with quick little visits with both grandparents, as well!

Next up…a couple final days all together in Denver.

CA Roadtrip, Pt 3: Yosemite

After Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno as a staging time before we camped for 3 nights in Yosemite.  The boys enjoyed playing Legos and going shopping for some of the last minute purchases we needed to make.

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Then on Wednesday morning we headed to Yosemite.  It’s absolutely breath-taking.  It was much busier than Sequoia, but the crowds didn’t overwhelm us until we saw what the weekends were like, so by Saturday morning, we were ready to head out.  =)   The tunnel view – the first view of the valley – was stunning.

Highlights here included:

Camping and having s’mores every night,

hiking to Sentinel Dome (seriously, we highly recommend this!  It’s the second highest spot in the valley and the views are spectacular and it’s not too busy),

ice cream at Glacier Point,

biking through the valley (would highly recommend this, too, but wished we had our own bikes),

various little hikes to see beautiful spots in Yosemite,

and rafting down the river (also, have some grace, this was after 3 nights of camping and no showers…. :P).

Yosemite was lovely.  We will definitely return some day!!

CA Road Trip, Pt 2: Sequoia National Park

On Sunday afternoon, we said our goodbyes and headed to Sequoia National Park until Wednesday.  This part of the world is so beautiful and unlike any other place we’ve been. We were in awe of the huge trees and enjoyed some lovely hikes in the area.  Pictures tell more about the experience than words can, but pictures do not do it justice.

Moro Rock Trail was incredible.  Some of us went further on the hike than others of us, thus more pictures of said somebodies. =)

Here are some more shots from Sequoia, including a super lovely hike we did to a waterfall.

Before moving onward to Yosemite, we explored a bit of Kings Canyon National Park.  You really can’t grasp how large these trees are unless you walk among them.  They are so out-of-this-world.

We especially enjoyed the views, teeny hike and snack at Panoramic Point:

Up Next: After Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno to prepare for our camping adventure in Yosemite.

Fifth Stop: Wisconsin

After Michigan and our brief stop in Illinois, we settled down in Wisconsin again.  Here we celebrated Christmas with opening presents, ate lots of good food, played games and read books and rung in the New Year.  (We also spent time with Cass and Adam and their family, but I’ll do a separate post on that!)

Opening presents:

Working on Grandpa’s new shirt:

Playing games, putting together presents, reading books, etc:

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Lunch at Gerrit and Lauren’s home:

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New Year’s Eve (the boys made it until 11 and then fell asleep watching home videos):

Obviously, we had a fantastic time in Wisconsin with our family!  Thanks for hosting, Mom and Dad, even without a working kitchen!  =)

Advent Activities 15-18

Warning…our advent activities went downhill at this point.  We left on our trip on the 18th, so much of my life revolved around packing and laundry and making sure we ate the last of our food, etc.

Day 15: Snowmen pancakes and going to cousins’ house for banket-making.  Aunt Mel and I were the only ones actually participating in the banket-making, but it was an exciting event for us to get to spend some time over there!  And E and Matthew worked on their recital piece for a bit, too.

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Day 16: Ethan’s Christmas piano recital!  It was held at a nursing home, which I loved!  Mom and Dad went out for our annual CC Christmas party that evening…and Ike came to babysit.

Here are some Christmas pictures of the boys after the recital:

And we got a picture of the two of us at the CC party! Yay!

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Day 17: I have no idea…I had high hopes of doing really great things this Sunday, but as far as I can tell, Micah was sick in the morning so Mike and Ethan went to church and I stayed home with him.  =/  SO thankful that sicknesses often only last a couple hours around our house!

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Day 18: Start our trip to the Midwest.  We drove to Omaha this evening… future posts will tell about the rest of our traveling adventures.  No more Advent Activities at this point. =/

Grandma Cleve’s Visit, Part 2

We spent the afternoon/evening on Wednesday with Ashley and Caleb.  We got our usual picture of GC and the grandkids.  It’s such a fun tradition!  We’ve got at least 3 now. =)

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On Thursday, GC joined us at Classical Conversations.  It was such a treat for us to have her with us!  She sat in on both of the classes for a bit.  Unfortunately with all the moving around between classrooms, she didn’t end up seeing either presentation.  I believe Micah presented on the first line of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the tin whistle and Ethan did a presentation on various coins / money.

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We spent the afternoon playing Dominos, among other things.  Thanks for bringing this new game out to us and teaching us!

Grandma Cleve joined us at PE+ on Friday.  The boys played football afterwards again.  Ethan began learning division with remainders – a difficult task!  And that evening I had the pleasure of going to see Jen Hatmaker and Nichole Nordeman at their Moxie Matters tour.  It was absolutely lovely!  She’s such a treat to hear speak and she had so many important insights to make.  I was so thankful for the opportunity.

Saturday was our final day with GC.  We spent it opening an early birthday present for Micah (yay!) and driving through the mountains.  We had lunch in Boulder and walked through a cool bookstore there.  We stopped in Nederland to show GC where Mike proposed and took a quick sand-in-the-mouth-from-the-crazy-wind picture and then headed back in the car for more exploring.  We also took her to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal where we saw a lot of deer and some buffalo far in the distance.  It got too dark, too quickly for pictures, but it was nice to show her (and Mike) the arsenal since they had never been.

Thanks for making the trip again, Grandma Cleve!  We sure enjoyed having you!!