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!

Life Lately

Time for me to catch you up on our life lately.

Micah is working on learning how to read, a task that is more fun this year than last year…but is still a long way coming.  He is getting pretty good with recognizing his sight words and enjoys listening to books a lot more these days.  He’s also working on addition problems.  He loves to cook and asks occasionally if he can do some cooking for school, so I try to add that into our curriculum here and there.  Ethan is loving multiplication and division.  He learned how last year, but he’s getting more practice this year and he keeps telling me he thinks it’s fun.  He’s also studying 1 and 2 Timothy with me in CBS.  Both boys enjoy their weekly CBS classes now.  Both boys are also learning all of the states and capitals and a lot of American history.  They LOVE listening to their CC history songs and do so on their CD player every.single.day.

Here are some videos of some recent memory work:

Last weekend we were joined by Ashley and Caleb on a family hike to Lair o’ the Bear.  It’s a neat spot and we’d love to hike there more in the future!

Mike and Ethan had a birthday part to attend, so Micah and I had a date at Chipotle.  His highlight was that he accidentally put some lemonade in his cup (it is shared with the water spout) and they didn’t make us pay for it!  He got to enjoy watered down lemonade and it was the best and he’d like to have lemonade from Chipotle for his birthday now.  And milk.  What!?

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Ethan is loving piano, as you know.  He’s got quite a few songs in his repertoire now.  His latest fav is “Ode to Joy” and he is going to be playing it in his first recital next weekend.  While Ethan (and Matthew) are at piano practice, Micah and I go to a super nice library in the area.  Micah loves the little door.

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CC update – Ethan’s presentation was on how to make a “snub-nose paper airplane” and Micah gave his third presentation on his Millennium Falcon.  He went to his own class again this week, thanks to our awesome community who willingly moved his room to the same floor as my class!  He apparently asked them to keep the door open and then he felt perfectly comfortable.  He stopped in to get a quick hug twice and then joined my class for review at the end.  A wonderful improvement to say the least!!  He loved learning the tin whistle in his class and likes to bashfully show it off when skyping with people. =)

The boys officially have onesies now…a desire they have had ever since seeing Matthew in his Eeyore onesie.  So, they will both be wookiees this year for Halloween.

We may need to do some work on spelling/sounding words out… =)

We also had a visit from Ms. Samantha and Mr. Steven this weekend and had such a nice time with them!  Samantha and I went to high school together and she was easily one of my closest friends at the time.  She’s kind, funny, and intentional.  Naturally, she’s got my loyalty and I was thrilled to get to see her and her sweet hubby.  The boys LOVED having them in town.  We went hiking first and then they came over for chili and fun for the rest of the evening.  Samantha and Micah and I made bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese and almonds…and they were incredible.  Thanks, Jen Hatmaker, for the recipe in your book! =D  Steven and Ethan played a 2+ hour game of chess.  Steven eventually came out victorious, but he was very complimentary of Ethan’s game, saying he hasn’t had such a worthy opponent in decades.  We also had a pretty intense dart wars battle after which a few of us had some lasting marks!  After the boys went to sleep, I enjoyed a few more hours of chatting and laughing with these guys.  Such a gift!

Where in the World…?

Feel like you haven’t seen Mr. Cleve in a while?  Me too! 😉  He’s been traveling – both for work and for pleasure – quite a bit lately.  And he’s been having a lot of fun doing it.  We are really thankful for his job and the flexibility it provides and also the challenge and excitement of doing something important and enjoyable.  It’s been a big blessing in our life and we are thankful.

Two notable destinations –

San Diego for his annual guys’ trip…

…and the top of another 14er: Mount Huron.

Love this hard-working guy!

Side note – this girl wants to get in another 14er, too! =D

Breckenridge

A couple days after our return, we had a Fennema family reunion in Breckenridge.  We have gathered together every summer (at least most of them) for years and often it’s been in Michigan or somewhere in the midwest.  This year, the family came out to Colorado and we were thrilled!  We had a pretty wonderful turnout of 25 people, I believe, although we failed to get a complete group picture!

Pictures always tell the story much better than my words do, but suffice it to say, we had a great time!  We did a variety of activities – hike, frisbee, 14er, ukulele playing, hot tub, sitting in the freezing cold creek, games, etc.  We always enjoy the evening meal together as a group.  It was wonderful!

I spent much of the first morning sleeping – jet lag is no joke! – but a bunch of folks went to play frisbee golf nearby.

That afternoon I took Micah for a hike – I had thought it was a short one, but it ended up taking much of that afternoon – and met up with other members of the family who had left a little earlier than we had.  It was beautiful and Micah-the-hike-ah was a treat – no complaints, even when it rained on us!

The second day a big group hiked Mt. Quandary, the 14er nearby.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get much sleep that night, so I had to forego it.  But I am happy to say that the hikers all had a wonderful time.  Also, my dad and uncle summited – how cool are they??

That same day, some others of us went for a different hike.  It was beautiful!

The final day we all enjoyed some “trail mix” – such a clever idea!  The music was beautiful and it was especially fun to hike a little ways before enjoying it. =)

And sometimes our pictures just don’t fit into a nice, neat category:

Thanks, Grandpa, for a fantastic weekend!  It was a blast!

11 year anniversary

Mikey and I have never been much of anniversary/special day/birthday celebrators.  It just hasn’t been our style, but we do want the boys to see us celebrating our love and commitment to each other even if we just do little things to acknowledge the event.  This year we went for a family hike in the Golden area – a beautiful, easy hike (others may want to try it when they are out here).  We ended up walking more than 3 miles along the creek and in town a bit.  It was lovely!  We all had a great time.  I was probably beaming the entire time – hiking with my family is one of my all-time favorite activities!

That evening we ordered some sushi take out – an anniversary gift from Grandma Cleve! Thank you!!  Yum!!

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So thankful for 11 years with my bestie.  He and marriage just get better with time.  =D

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