Grandpa and Grandma here (part 1)

My parents have been coming out to Colorado in the fall every year since before I went to college.  In fact, it was probably those trips in high school that gave me a taste for Denver and prompted me to move out here for college.  Anyway, this year was no different except that they scheduled their trip to coincide with a trip Mike and I took for his work so that they could watch the boys.  AND, my grandpa made the trek as well!  We are SO grateful for time with our family!

We hit the ground running the moment they arrived.  My mom whisked off with Micah and I to his drum lesson, while Ethan and my dad and grandpa stayed back at the house.

IMG_4551

The boys’ kiwi crates arrived that night so there was much creating to be done that evening and the next morning.  Doing those projects also often makes Micah interested in other science experiments so he told a Bible story and shared how the Midianites (aka the pepper) ran away from the Israelites (aka the soap) in the story about Gideon.

One of my silly favorite parts of having my parents in town is listening to my Mom read the boys stories.  They love it, too!  We were on a big “George and Martha” kick that week – those are some of my favorite children’s stories of all time.

The next morning we snuck in some school work, puzzles, concerts and a tour to Celestial Seasonings (followed by a dessert my Dad brought home and baked with Ethan).

Next up – I join Mike in Phoenix and my parents take over watching the boys.

**Photo cred for all of the sharp pictures in this and future posts goes to my Dad.  Thanks for always capturing the fun!!**

Every Day Life

When we returned home from Breckenridge and our fun family trip, the heat wasn’t working in our house.  It had gotten pretty cold by then, so what better to do than make s’mores in the oven?! =)  Thankfully, we had the heat fixed before too long.

That week we went on a field trip with our dear friends to pick veggies at Miller Farm.  It was a chilly day, but we sure had a fun time!

The boys (mostly Micah) have started sending letters and pictures with our sweet cousins in Wisconsin.  Ethan is also writing letters with a friend from CC.  So much fun!

IMG_4461

Micah finished his favorite writing workbook.  He has requested that I buy it all over again because he thought it was so much fun.

IMG_4462

Ethan is our primary lawn-caretaker.  We had a massive amount of mushrooms in the front yard recently, so he took care of them (along with his Daddio!).

IMG_4505

Here are some pictures of our community day at CC.  Ethan’s doing a great job in the afternoon essentials program – the one I was so nervous about earlier. =)  We also took a nature walk one week and Ethan brought us a class pet.  Lastly, I was so pleased to see the high schoolers playing with all of the younger classes during the lunch break recently!  So much fun for everyone.

I was down for the count with a cold recently while Mike was out of town.  Mamas don’t really get days off.  But the boys did an awesome job doing school while I laid low on the nook.

Ethan recently decided to participate in a research study.  It’s a study of the brains of young people with autism and those who don’t have it.  E was pretty nervous about getting the MRI done and almost quit a couple times, but he persevered and then was really pleased he had done it.  I was so proud of him!  He earned himself $20 and got a picture of his brain scan.

Weekends are cherished times around here.  We love biking and playing tennis and just spending time as a family.

And, last update for now, is from when the boys and I babysat Caleb recently.  We sure love spending time with that sweetie and he’s starting to play alongside them.

Grandma Cleve / Breckenridge

Grandma Cleve came for another visit at the beginning of this month.  She had never stayed in the mountains before, so we wanted to spoil her with some family time in Breckenridge.  She spent the night and morning with us before heading west where we met up with Ashley, Zach and Caleb!  Highlights of our time with her in Denver included teaching Ethan how to play sudoku and eating identical breakfast/lunch at the French Press.  Micah and I slipped out for a matching walk around the park before loading up the car.

We rented a lovely mountain house for the whole family to enjoy.  We had a great mix of time inside with snowy views, time outside with beautiful weather and lots of time just being together.

Highlights included the playhouse and playground in the backyard:

S’mores at the fire pit:

Playing pool:

Time in the hot tub:

And dozens of games played, books read, and lots of yummy food to eat:

IMG_0134

Before we went our separate ways, we enjoyed breakfast in Breckenridge and snapped a couple group shots!

Loved spending time with our family in the mountains!!

Life

We are really excited about fall around here.  We made pumpkin muffins and brought out all of our fall decorations!  And I finally got to wear jeans again!  My fav.

Fall also means football season has begun!  Mike and Reggie went to see the Chiefs beat the Broncos recently.

IMG_3756

And with fall comes the beginning of other activities.  I am teaching our Kids Club at church (which Micah attends with me) while Ethan participates in Cadets.

Other things not related to fall…Micah wanted to send some letters and chose to keep his hat on for his correspondence-writing.  He also chose to sleep in it.  Speaking of sleep, his is often riddled with fear.  Things vary from night to night, but that particular night he fell asleep on the floor so that he could be near me.  More often, though, I wake up to evidence that he slept on my floor during the night.  He tells me he wakes up at about 4 in the morning and camps out on my floor until morning.  He’s very stealthy.  This is what he brings with him every time. =D

Milestone alert – Micah read the Bible story for us after dinner for the first time!!

IMG_4201

Here are some drum pictures from his lessons.  I wish I could show you pictures of Ethan’s lessons, too.  He is LOVING piano and really enjoys taking lessons with our cousin.

It wouldn’t be an every day life post if I didn’t include pictures of us playing games and listening to audiobooks.  We are minutes away from finishing Redwall – it’s been loved by all of us!

One-on-One Weekend, Part 2

Meanwhile, Micah and I enjoyed a long weekend at home.  We spent most of our time playing at the house together, but we ran a few errands, enjoyed some special treats, and had a very special date out on Saturday night.  We went to the Denver Center of Performing Arts to see Hanson play with the Colorado Symphony!  This was a birthday gift from my parents and my grandpa and it was so much fun!

Here are a few pictures I took from our time doing school at the park and playing at the house.  I wasn’t even going to do school on Friday with Ethan being gone, but Micah was pretty motivated and wanted to do lots of writing and reading while we were at the park!

The only other pictures/videos I took of our weekend together was on our date.  Micah was pretty nervous about the whole thing so I was holding to the idea of staying for the whole concert very, very loosely in my mind.  We tried to go to the Cheesecake Factory before the concert, but the wait was too long.  Micah was pretty pumped to get grilled cheese and Sprite at a burger pace next door instead.

We arrived plenty early and ended up staying until the very end!!  We even got to see them perform for the standing ovation the crowd gave them.  I was so pleased!!  It was really a unique concert and lots of fun.  Micah knew a few of the songs, but I would say they played a good 50% of totally new songs they wrote for this tour.  He took most of our videos, particularly if he knew the song. =)  Micah called them the “boon dot kids” (aka mmmbop kids) all night, which had me laughing so hard.

We had to get a video of “boondot” and also “Tragic Symphony” (which he had listened to on repeat for weeks now…):

Micah took a brief “nap” during intermission (aka halftime) and was excited to hear one of our favorite songs, “I was born”.

We made it to the very end and he was clearly not tired at all. =)

Love this guy!!  It was so special to get to enjoy a weekend with just him!!

Playing a little catch up

We’ve got plenty of updates to make to the site since it’s been about a month since my last entry, but I’m thinking I’ll just split them up into one random post, one about the school year thus far, and one about a recent one-on-one weekend we had (Mike and E in San Diego, Micah and Mom in Colorado).

This one will be all the random pictures I have from the past month that don’t fit into nice, neat categories.  =)

Here are a few pictures from the final day we had with my Mom in town.  She was here for our Mesa Verde field trip and we so enjoyed having her!  We had lunch at Mel and Joel’s after church – we brought homemade cream puffs.  Yum!   We had to snap a final group picture of those of us who traveled to Mesa Verde together, but then we noticed a lot of fun coordinating pictures that were necessary, too. =D

We’ve been having some really lovely weekends together as a family lately.  One weekend we spent a good amount of time at Cherry Creek Reservoir.  I went for a run while the guys spent time on the water.  We have also been playing some tennis all together (and Mikey and I played some the other night on our date, but we didn’t snap any pics) and did so on that particular weekend, as well.  That same weekend I was able to go hiking with my auntie for a while after church.

We also spent some time working on our front yard as a family – trying to plant seeds for grass.  That evening we had a hail storm, so sadly, I’m not sure how much good all of that work was.  As of right now, there’s not a whole lotta growth happening, but we will wait and see.

IMG_3929

The boys made Mikey some breakfast one morning all by themselves:

IMG_3357

While I was out at book club, the boys enjoyed a new-to-us hot dog place in the area.  I believe these are hotdogs wrapped in bacon and cheese.  =)

IMG_3372

This past weekend we enjoyed a nice hike in the mountains (Conifer area).  Hiking with these guys is one of my favorite things in the world!

And, finally, we got a flat tire after church and I am feeling just so thankful that it was while Mike was in town and that we were able to get off the highway and all the way to a place where they could fix it before it was dangerous for us.  The Lord was kind to us and we are so thankful.  I didn’t want to forget His beautiful provision for us in all those sweet ways, so I snapped pictures of both boys looking cute while we waited for the car to be ready. =)

Mesa Verde

We began our school year with a really fun field trip.  My Aunt Melanie is homeschooling her youngest son and is studying Colorado history this year and she asked if we would be interested in going to Mesa Verde with them.  We jumped at the opportunity since we are studying ancient history!  And we were even more thrilled when my Mom agreed to fly out and join us!

The park wasn’t too busy or too hot, so this season was awesome for our trip.  (We also planned it around Mike’s trip to Phoenix where he saw his family and also spent time with his friends for his fantasy football draft.)  We listened to Fablehaven on the drive there and back; it received mixed reviews but we all agreed that it helped to pass the time!  We stayed at the Fair View Lodge within the park and ate all of our meals inside the park, too.  Here are some pics from the trip and at our lodge:

We spent two full days exploring the cliff dwellings, which were beautiful! It’s hard to imagine that they have stood there for over 800 years already!  Here are some pictures of the dwellings and our hikes in and around them:

On the way out, Micah and Matthew completed their Jr Ranger’s program and then we had an incredible breakfast at Absolute Bakery – highly recommend – in Mancos.  The boys each enjoyed a can of Sprite – milestone! – on the drive back to Denver.

We LOVED this opportunity to travel with family and explore our distant backyard.  Thanks to my Auntie for driving us and organizing everything.  And thanks to my Mom for making the trip out to join us!  Let’s do it again!!

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from Mikey’s trip to Phoenix.  He tells me he had a great time!  It’s a lovely gift that the draft takes place where he can also have some special time with his Mom (and grandparents, too!).