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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Celebrating Micah

Micah turned 8 in early December and loved every minute of all that attention. =D We celebrated early with a Skype call with Grandma Cleve to open his present and then just kept right on celebrating.  We had waffles in the morning for breakfast, opened presents (he’s a total ham and appreciated all of the cards, gifts, and videos he received throughout the day), had a friend over for cake and playing and then finished the night with dinner out at the Melting Pot.  He was pretty jazzed all.day.long.

Here was the final picture we took of Micah as a 7 year old!  How is this happening so fast?!

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Rounding Out November

This will be the remaining pictures I have for November, excluding Thanksgiving as that will have its own post!

Here are some pictures from life at CC:

And some pictures from a field trip to the orchestra:

Life around our house:

Side note about the above pic of Ethan doing math – GRAPH PAPER CHANGED OUR LIFE. =)

Enjoying the snow on “our” hill.  We invited friends to join us for one afternoon, too.

Micah loves to try new fruit.  And he prefers to be the one to cut it for us, too. Eek.

Also, Ethan got injured while wrestling at our friends’ house.  We had the neat experience of Ethan getting stitches at our own home because our friends’ dad is a doctor!  I’m also happy to report that I didn’t pass out, despite being the only parent home!  Thanking the Lord for this whole experience!

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Next up: Thanksgiving!

First days of school

We started our school year on August 19th this year, starting with a full day at CC.  Both of the boys had new tutors this year and I am the Director for our community for the first time.  Ethan has most of the same kids he was in class with last year, but has a couple new ones.  Micah has mostly new kids in his class.  And I’m feeling a good mix of emotions about my new role, but mostly I’m feeling thankful for the opportunity to serve these families. We’ll be studying about the medieval period during CC this year and reading a lot of good books set in that timeframe.  Here are some CC pictures from day 1:

And on Tuesday we had a more laid back start to the school year.  We began with French toast, went for a bike ride, and ended the day with ice cream.  Don’t worry, there was some learning in there, too. =)  Ethan is in 4th grade; Micah is in 2nd.

We also took bi-yearly measurements for both boys:  Ethan is now 4’10” (and has almost the same size feet and hands as me).  Micah is 4’3″.

Micah also had his first soccer practice after CC.  (Ethan started the week after.)

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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.

Meagen graduated with her Masters in engineering (or something like that) and invited me to her graduation.  SO proud of her!!!

Mike and I snuck away for a date to see Mumford and Sons at Fiddlers Green again.

And, finally, I had an idea to put some rewards in a jar that I could use throughout the year whenever I needed to motivate the boys.  We are all pretty jazzed about it. =)

Next up: the school year begins!

Grandma Cleve’s Visit!

Soon thereafter, we had the pleasure of hosting Grandma Cleve for about a week.  We timed her trip with my Lasik eye surgery, so she was a huge help to me while I recuperated.  This means, though, that I didn’t take as many pictures as I usually would from our adventures. =/ Adventures included visiting Bookies (a bookstore we love!), Chipotle and a concert in the park, a trip to the big coin store, visiting with family that live here (Great Aunt Terri and cousin Lindsey), celebrating Christmas in July and also Mike’s birthday.

Oh, and I had surgery:

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Thanks for coming out again, Grandma Cleve!!  We sure loved having you!

Ethan in Philadelphia

When each of their grandchildren turn ten, my parents hope to take them on a solo trip of their dreams.  Ethan is the first grandchild to get this privilege and he had a wonderful time!  He didn’t have to think for long about where he’d like to go with them; he opted for Philadelphia as soon as he learned about the trip.  He wanted to see the Liberty Bell, the Mint, Gettysburg, and Falling Waters.  He did all of that and more!  He and Grandpa kept journals for the trip, but pictures will tell the stories best on the blog.  He had a blast! =)

Here are some pictures from our brief morning in Wisconsin before heading back to home.

We are SO thankful that the boys have opportunities to see the world with people they adore.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking Ethan on this trip of a lifetime!  He will cherish these memories always.