Weekend Away

This past weekend we enjoyed some time in the mountains with our friends.  Mike and I went to college with Nate and Libby and have remained friends ever since.  Our boys are near the same age as theirs, but they have one additional boy.  We had a fantastic time up in Breck.  Thankfully the boys all get along really well and we adults enjoy spending time together, too!

Saturday was spent on the mountain skiing.  E and M both reached a milestone – they did part of a blue run!  E later did a full blue run while the snow was falling and conditions were a little more dicey – Mike was pretty impressed!

On Sunday before heading home, we spent a good chunk of the day sledding.

We were so thankful for the timing of this trip.  The Lord orchestrated it all back in the summer, knowing that it would be a sweet reprieve for us all.

Valentine’s Day

So, Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday and we rarely do much to celebrate it.  But, in general, I am a big fan of traditions and in celebrating.  I also seem to really like themes (who knew?!) and decorations.  I didn’t do much for this one, but I changed out our normal boxes for hearts on our homeschool to-do list and we made some heart decorations for around the house.  Ethan copied down each part of the definition of love from 1 Cor. 13.  Micah made a heart paper chain.  The cool Jesus watch was from CBS (which everyone is loving btw!).  Also, I got a pretty amazing card for tutoring for CC – isn’t that so clever??  We had the pleasure of hosting Grandpa Russ and Aunt Ashley and Caleb for dinner on Valentine’s Day.  I made Grandma Cleve’s lasagna recipe – a hit with everyone, of course.  Plus – lasagna is red.  Win!

Grandpa Russ was in town only briefly on his way to Mexico for Mike’s brother’s wedding.  Mike flew out with him the day after Valentine’s Day and Ashley joined them the following day.  It sounds like everyone had a lovely time.

Meanwhile, Micah reached a milestone: he competed the whole monkey bar set at the park by our house.  I didn’t get a video of him actually completing it, but he did it a bunch of times that day.  Did I mention that the weather here that weekend was amazing?!  We had 70 degree weather on Sunday.  The next day…3 inches of snow!  We love Colorado! =)  I didn’t snap any pictures of E because he was busy playing football with neighborhood kids.

Also, we made cookies and put ice cream in them…yum!  And we watched Fantastia – the old one – and were not incredibly impressed.  It was okay, but pretty dull. =)


Boys’ Weekend/Sisters’ Weekend

Last weekend I flew to Atlanta to help my sister at her trade show.  I’ve been helping at this bi-annual show since we lived in Atlanta.  It’s always a lot of work and a whole lotta fun.  I enjoy getting to know Jennie’s friends and learning more about her business.  I also enjoy the chance to see my dear friends (no pictures this year) in the evenings for dinner.  This year I saw Patricia and Katie!  It’s such a pleasure to help Jennie and her company, Venture Imports.  We’re holding her hearts that say “sister” and “friend”!  =)


While I’m away, the boys definitely play!  But first, they completed all of the tasks I assigned them for homeschool.  I’m pretty impressed with their ability to remain self-motivated and get things done.  Mike said they did a good job all Friday getting their work done so that they could play on Saturday and Monday.

Daddio is the braver parent and opted to take the boys skiing *twice* while I was gone.  They have now officially exceeded my skill level and the amount of times I’ve gone.  They had a great time skiing!

Saturday at Loveland:

Monday at Keystone (I believe!) with friends from church:

And here are some other highlights:

Milestones included Ethan going down a green all.by.himself and each boy winning Risk Legacy.  I imagine there are other milestones on the mountain, but I don’t know the stories well enough to re-tell them here. =)

First Stop: Minnesota

We drove to Minneapolis the week before Christmas and spent a few days there.  The boys are fantastic travelers, thankfully.  They keep themselves busy with coloring, looking at books, and listening to audiobooks.  And, of course, having tic tacs or gum all day long. =)


Mike worked while we were there, of course, so the boys and I kept ourselves occupied throughout the day.  One day we spent exploring the “tubes”.  We made it all the way to Mike’s office and had some kombucha on tap there and also grabbed some lunch with our guy.

Most of the rest of the time we hung around the hotel and played a lot of billiards. =)  We also got in some “work outs”, drank hot chocolate, did some school and played some games.  In retrospect, I would have scheduled another outing (like a children’s museum or something!), but the boys had seemed so content to hang at the hotel so we did that this time around.  We also always had dinner with Mikey when he was done at the office.

The main reason we went to Minneapolis was to attend the family Christmas party.  It was pretty fun and a really unique location!  Ethan played at least 3 games of mini-golf on a cool course designed by various artists.  Micah and I played a whole lot of arcade games from the 60s, like bowling and foos ball.

We had a great time in Minneapolis, but by Friday afternoon we were headed to Wisconsin for some family time!

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.


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!


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!


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. =/

Advent Activities 11-14

Day 11: Christmas craft & Christmas cookies.  We put two together on this day because I had hopes of doing a special advent activity with Aunt Ashley the following day.  Unfortunately, their family was sick so we had to postpone.  So, my day 12 activity was kind of made up on the fly. =)  Thanks, Grandma Cleve, for the train ornaments!

Oh, also, I forgot this trick…if the boys refuse to smile or can’t handle not smiling with huge eyes…tell them to look at each other. So much cuter!

Day 12: drink hot chocolate and read “A Christmas Carol”.  We read a children’s version of the story to prep for day 14….


Day 13: This was supposed to be banket-making with Auntie Mel, but there was sickness in their house, too.  So, sadly, this was postponed, also.  It ended up being a really rough and exhausting day for me.  I had pretty much cancelled Advent Activities and reached my very own milestone – calling my mom in tears over parenting. =/  BUT, the Lord gave me a wonderful idea that night…to pour grace upon grace on them so that they would have a tangible example of God’s grace and love towards us.  I sent them to bed early because oh.my.word. the day was too long!  But before they fell asleep, I got them out of bed for a late-night drive to see Christmas lights.  The message was loud and clear: you don’t deserve this, but grace wins!  It was a great lesson for me, too…I had to ask myself, how do I respond to His grace and goodness in my life?  Do I obey willingly and thank Him?  Or do I do my own thing and forget to be still and rest in His goodness?

Day 14: Watch “A Christmas Carol” downtown!  We had excellent seats for this fairly scary performance and saw lots of our CC friends there.  Afterwards we got to chat with some of the actors/stage crew people about their roles.  It was really neat!  Also…smiling is hard for us right now. =/


Advent Activities 5-10

Day 5: No picture proof, but we went through toys and clothes to make some donations.  This would probably be more meaningful if it wasn’t already a kind of basic part of our rhythm.  But, it’s still a good practice, so we did it anyway. =)

Day 6: Secret acts of kindness day in honor of St. Nicholas.  Can’t tell you about them, they are secrets!  This is the only secret we allow in our home. =)

Day 7: Go to a different library and pick out Christmas books!  Micah was not interested in this activity, so E and I did it by ourselves.  But Micah joined in the drinking of egg nog and reading a TON of Christmas books.


Day 8: go out for dinner.  We did this up in Breckenridge, but I didn’t snap any pictures.  We had Italian food and “enjoyed” the freezing weather being in the mountains brings.

Day 9: family skiing day!  I stayed in my boots, snapped pictures, handed out snacks, did bathroom runs, and helped boys with the lift or standing back up after falling (and, let’s be honest, a whole lot of morale boosting and comforting when things were hard and frustrating).  Some of our church friends joined us for part of the day – they’ve got boys the same age as ours (and same skill level) and that added to the fun!  Milestone alert: Micah did a full run down the mountain!

Day 10: watch home videos from 2016 (this is one of my favorite advent activities!) and go see cousin Matthew in the “Madagascar” play.  Loads of fun!!  Matthew did a wonderful job!