Calen Comes to Visit

My childhood bestie *finally* came out for a visit after years of us talking about it.  She had never been to Colorado before, so I encouraged (AKA nagged) her to come out while Mikey was traveling.  We hadn’t seen each other much in the past few years, but friendships that started in infancy are likely to last forever if you’ve made it this far. =) We picked up right where we left off and the boys LOVED hearing stories about our childhood and getting to know her.

We had a great time showing her around Denver and taking her into the mountains.  It was so much fun to experience Colorado through her eyes.  Also, we naturally bought matching t-shirts since this was a theme from childhood and needed to be replicated. =)

The first day we hung closer to home, but ventured out to Red Rocks.

The next day we went to Breckenridge for a beautiful hike, had pizza at Beau Jo’s and ice cream at Little Man’s.  While we were shopping in Idaho Springs we heard Mmmbop on the radio – a song we especially loved growing up.  It was awesome. (or, epic, as the boys would say)

34 years of friendship with this lady.  Pretty special.

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:

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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!!

Retreat

My dear friend, Amy, and I snuck away for another retreat; this time we headed to Glenwood Springs.  Micah was feeling a little concerned about it, so he made me promise to take a lot of pictures.  He did not hold up his end of the bargain – these are the only three pictures I saw from the guys’ weekend:

They had a lovely weekend together and I am SO thankful that Mike gives me these weekends away.  They are a time of refreshment for me and it’s so great to know that the boys are enjoying special time with Daddio.

Meanwhile. because I told Micah I would take a lot of pictures, Amy and I took a few extra pics this retreat. =)  (Please observe with me how often we had people walking in the background…it’s cracking me up!!)  Thus, we took pictures at Whole Foods where we stopped on the way out for dinner:

We loved the location and all of the fall colors and beautiful weather.  It took a bit over 3 hours to get there, but the views and all of the fun was definitely worth it!  On Saturday, we rode our bikes (from the hotel) through Glenwood Canyon all the way to the Hanging Lake trail.  Hanging Lake was beautiful!  We loved the hike, although it was definitely a challenge for me!  It was a pretty epic day – a good 6 hours of biking, hiking, and biking again.  SO thankful that we enjoy so many of the same things!

The ride out:

Hanging Lake Trail:

Our ride back / my final picture from our trip:

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There is probably more to be said about our time, but let’s just suffice it to say that I am SO thankful for this bi-annual retreat!!

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.

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

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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.  =)

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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. =)

My Retreat

This past weekend my dear friend, Amy, and I went on our third retreat to the mountains.  We laughed a lot, prayed a lot, and hiked even more!  In total, we probably hiked a good 6+ hours throughout the weekend.  We hiked for at least 4 hours on Saturday before it was even time to eat lunch!  =)  It’s refreshing to spend time with a dear friend in a beautiful place doing some of the things I most enjoy – hiking, reading, journaling and painting!

This year, we spent our retreat at Glen Eyrie.  You’ve heard me mention this place before – Amy and I went to a tea there in January and I went to our church women’s retreat there before that!  It’s a beautiful spot and you’re almost sure to see big horn sheep, deer and wild turkeys.  From there, we even hiked into the Garden of the Gods park, but we found that being around people after hiking for hours without seeing anyone was really not for us. =)

Here are some pictures from our lovely retreat:

Meanwhile at home, Ethan gave piano lessons and the guys did a whole lotta wrestling.  I also hear they played another game of Risk Legacy and now we have mutants with which to contend.  E said, “I can’t wait to play this with Uncle Ger – he’s going to be so surprised at all of the changes in the game!”

HUGE thanks to Mikey for being so gracious.  He was supportive and encouraging of this which helped me to have a guilt-free vacation away to refresh!!

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.

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.

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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!