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!  =)

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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!!

As you wish

The Princess Bride has long been my favorite movie.  I first saw it when I was about 6 years old at my friend’s house and I have loved it ever since.  “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”  It’s got it all.  I’ve got most of it memorized, had a poster of it in my room growing up, even did a presentation for my Religion class in high school using the scene from Buttercup and Humperdinck’s wedding.  I probably should own a shirt that says, “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”  It’s classic.  So anyway, when we were invited to an 80s Halloween party, I double checked my date (it was came out in ’87! Phew!) and got to work.  There were a couple other ideas thrown around, but I quickly settled on my favs.  (Unfortunately, Micah didn’t want to join in the fun or we would have had the whole family in The Princess Bride costumes!)

Mike got to play the part of my true love, Westley.  And I, as you might have guessed, was Buttercup.  We listened, briefly, to our love song so that we could really get into character on our way to the party. 😉

Party time:

Micah, AKA Chewie, really enjoyed playing darts.  Ethan spent most of his time running around with some of the other kiddos there.

“This is true love – you think that happens every day?”

Dream come true. =)  So much fun.

I’ll leave you with one of the best lines of the movie: “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.”

Life Lately

Wanted to spend a minute to upload some pics from recent weeks.  I’ll start with some homeschool shots:

Some explanations: Micah bought that huge pencil with his own money when we were in Norway.  We listen to Story of the World at least once a week and draw pictures of whatever we are learning about that day.  Any folks interested in history, I highly recommend these audiobooks, but I do so with a word of caution: listen with your kids because some things may need some explaining (i.e. when they talk about other religions or ways of viewing the world – these are great times to explain your family’s beliefs and explain differences, otherwise, they may walk away thinking that everything described in there is truth).  Ethan loves working on his cursive and asks daily if he can use the iPad to do some piano lesson practice.  He loves it!

I live only 10 minutes away from one of my dear friends, but see her only every couple of months. =/  We walked to dinner this night and she snapped a pic.  I’ve known her since college days (picture #1) and now we both have two children!

Ethan started the Cadets program at our church this past week.  I didn’t get a picture of him that evening, but I ran across this picture of Mikey and me from when I was a GEMS leader (the girls version of the cadets program) at our church.  We went to a father-daughter barn dance together. =)  (Side note: one of the girls I used to teach is now engaged and working as a pediatric nurse at children’s hospital.  What?!)  I just wanted to include this as a milestone marker for the week that Ethan began Cadets.  He liked it a lot the first week. =)

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Our family spent some time at the reservoir on Labor Day kayaking and renting a stand up paddle board.  We had a blast and it has renewed our passion for getting out there more often!

The boys and I have officially begun Community Bible Study (aka CBS)!  We are doing this Bible study during the day with friends from various places (church, CC, and my dear friend, Amy) and so far it’s been great.  Micah met his sweet teacher the weekend before so that she could help him feel more comfortable with the transition.  He had a super hard time still, but she’s wonderful and makes the struggle worth it!

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Speaking of CC, here’s what the boys and I learned this week:

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The picture of all the kiddos features our upside down drawings we made of the Mayflower.  I was so impressed with their tenacity – it was a really hard art project!  Ethan presented his bottle cap collection; Micah sort of presented on our most recent field trip (more on that in the next blog).

Thankful for the phenomenal people the Lord has put in my life.