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.

Home again, Home again!

We flew back home on New Year’s Eve.

We had some friends stay in our home while we were gone and were blessed with sweet notes and lots of treats.  Micah stayed up with Mike and I to ring in the New Year.  Ethan stayed up for a while, but was ready to turn in by 10:30 (he was still living on WI time, so he almost made it!).

Getting back home meant getting back into our rhythms.  We started praying for specific people at dinner and then talking about a question (both the name of a person and a question to ask is on these popsicle sticks).  Ethan got back to his piano as soon as he woke up.  We took down Christmas decorations, started reading some books together, played our new game, and spent some time outside.

We also got back into the swing of things for school and CC.

Mike and his co-worker/buddy took the boys to Casa Bonita for their first time.  The food was not impressive, as you might guess, but they had a good time watching the entertainment.

And we’ve had two Packer picnics.  One ended with a victory; the other with defeat.  The boys watched both games all the way through, which is something new for them. What a fun season!

Christmas in Chicago

We wanted to take the boys down to Chicago for a day since we hadn’t done that as a family.  It was uncharacteristically warm the day we went and it was absolutely lovely.  It’s such a cool city!  We were all glad we snuck away for the day and night – enjoyed yummy food, sight-seeing (Micah and Mike went to the top of the Sears – yes, in my head it’s still called that – tower), and playing color tag in the park.

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Mikey and I went to the top of the Sears Tower back in our dating days in 2003.  Such little babies we were! =D

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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!

Since then…

Some school pictures from last week:

The boys are getting more interested in running these days.  They each did a run during the day – Ethan 1 mile and Micah .5 miles.  It was really sweet to see them riding alongside each other on their bikes shouting words of encouragement.

We take quite a few walks as a family in the evenings.  If you know Mike well, you’ll know that they always include a ball.

We went out to Conifer for a hike over the weekend.  It was a beautiful hike and required us to dig deep and push ourselves. =D

The weeks before school started…

We really tried to soak up some family time before the rush of the school year began.  Here are some pictures from around the house/neighborhood.

We also did a timed mile run at the park.  Micah and Mike ran a half mile together and then Mike finished his mile while Micah rested.  Micah ran without stopping, which impressed us all.  Then Ethan and I headed out for our mile run and he beat me by a good minute – such a stud!

We took the boys to Red Rocks for their first concert.  We got to see Chris Tomlin, which was a fun treat.

We attended our second Practicum.  As the Director for our CC community, I needed to attend trainings on both Foundations tutoring and Essentials tutoring.  Micah absolutely loved this – he wore matching shirts with some guys in his little gang for most, if not all, of the days.  One of my dearest friends joined our CC community this year, so we attended Practicum together!

We went on a family bike ride out towards Mel and Joel’s house.  The hope is that we will do it again and make it all the way there.  As it turns out, biking with my family is one of my very favorite things to do.  The boys knocked off quite a few more miles towards their summer biking goal that day.

Also, I celebrated my 35th birthday!  My hope had been to ride 35 miles that day, so I started the day with a long ride with the boys around the Cherry Creek Reservoir.  Both boys reached their 100 mile for the summer goal on this ride. Then later that evening I went out alone and raced the sun and rain, losing my battle and requiring a pick up by Mike and Micah.

We celebrated a friend’s birthday at a cool Ninja gym:

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Mike and the boys played golf one of the weekends and I walked along.

The boys got bank accounts, played a lot of legos, took some more bike rides, and brought in their Bookies summer reading contest.  Micah wrote me a sweet encouraging note when I was having a rough day, so I had to include that in here.