Piano Recital, etc.

Ethan and our cousin, Matthew, take piano lessons together and have so much fun doing it!  They both played beautifully at their final recital of the year.  Ethan played a duet with Miss Viss and Hurry Scurry on his own.  Matthew played one jazzy song and also a song he had made up on his own.  Very impressive!!

After their recital, the guys played for fun together:

That weekend my Auntie hosted a Pentecost party.  For those not familiar, Pentecost is when we, as believers, celebrate when the Holy Spirit was first given to the disciples of Jesus after He returned to heaven.  The Holy Spirit was described as coming like tongues of fire on the disciples’ heads, so it only made sense to have lots of red, orange, and yellow foods and decorations.  Mostly, we were just having fun with the theme and thanking the Lord for the encouragement and direction the Holy Spirit provides in our lives on a regular basis. =)

And right before my parents headed back home, we stopped by their house to meet their new puppy: Bailey!  She’s absolutely darling.

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We sure love having family in town nearby!  And we absolutely loved having my parents in town for a visit!  Thanks for spending time with us again!

Grandpa & Grandma Here

We were thrilled to have my parents out for a visit for our first week of summer.  We timed it well in that they were able to keep us company while Daddio traveled, were able to see (and help at) Ethan’s field day, were able to watch his (and cousin Matthew’s) final piano recital of the year, and were around to celebrate Pentecost with us at Auntie Mel’s first (annual?!) Pentecost party.  Needless to say, we had a lovely week together.  There are lots of pictures to capture our time together, so I’ll let them do the talking.

We were pretty excited to host them.  Each boy wanted to make a welcome sign.  None of us quite understand why Micah’s sign says “only downstairs”, but at least there were lots of hearts on it. =)

This post will just feature time spent at and around our house.  Ethan played a lot of piano, sometimes with Grandma.  Micah learned how to ride his bike without training wheels with Grandpa.  We all played lots of games together in various pairs/groups.

We also had picnics on my new-to-us picnic table, watched whatever horse race was happening that weekend, watched Micah’s magic show and listened to Grandma read a couple of chapter books to us  (the last picture just shows them coloring in their summer reading charts).

As usual, my parents did all kinds of helpful projects around the house – things they assure me they enjoy doing when they visit.  We did a lot of gardening and backyard clean up.  My dad made me a beautiful table box.  My mom made us all new pillow covers.  And there were lots of other little projects here and there, too, like hanging our patio lights and reinforcing the stair guardrail.  I’m no doubt forgetting lots of things, but these projects are SO appreciated!!

And here are some of my Dad’s pictures from in and around the house over the week.  I always like to keep his pics separate from mine since they are so much better and deserve a little cred. =D

In the next posts, I’ll highlight some of our out-of-the-house-activities. =)

Other Happenings

The boys did a great workout with Daddio.  They don’t do this all that often, but it’s really sweet to see them all working out together.

Micah really loved his kiwico box this past month – a solar system!  He painted while we listened to The Secret Garden.  Great Granny A gave us the Focus on the Family audiobook of that story and it was a super fun way to listen to it.

We are all getting in on the piano-playing around here.  I have been loving to play a couple times each week.  E plays anytime he walks past the piano.  And Micah does a little playing here and there, too.  E is also teaching Mike a bit of piano, so that’s fun!  I caught E teaching Micah the other day and it made me smile.

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Here are some homeschooling shots from around the house.  The first is what the table looks like just before I call them up from their lego-playing to begin our school day.  It makes me smile and I wanted to post it here to remind me what this season in life looked like for Jess in later years. =)  The second is our daily board…with some additions from the boys.  Ethan added his snack and to “right” to Hana.  (Guess what word will be on his spelling test tomorrow?!) Micah changed his name to Doggie and added “winey” which means…he wanted to whine during his day.

Sometimes the board gets nice messages on it, like this one from Micah:

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Ethan still makes the best “people’s eyebrow”, but my little niece is going to give him a run for his money.  I can’t wait until I can show you her version!

Micah got his very first library card and he was beaming!  He’s not into being in pictures or videos these days so he usually tries to hide his face.  His first books?  A book about Canada, a book about castles and a Star Wars book.

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Speaking of that guy, he still loves to build with magnatiles and makes a pretty awesome castle.

And speaking of the library, the boys discovered the Lego Star Wars shows and have been watching an episode or two every few days…with the massive beanbag chair on top of them like so:

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And, lastly, we had the opportunity to watch Micah’s friend in his play “The Aristocats”.  We had a lot of fun and were so glad to get to encourage him!  I promise we had fun!

Next up…Spartan Races!

Early April

This has been a pretty fun month.  I really enjoy spring in Colorado because you never know what the weather will bring and it means we’re closing in on the last bit of school so things start relaxing around here.  It’s a lot of fun.

One weekend in early April when Mike was in Canada for work, the boys and I joined Aunt Ashley and her family at their new place for dinner.  The boys especially enjoyed seeing their dog, Gracey, and getting to play Wii (I think that’s what it was…) games with Uncle Zach.  This was Micah’s first video game ever and he was beaming with pride!  Thanks, Zach, for patiently walking them through it and keeping it fun for them!

That Sunday evening we went to a birthday party for a kiddo in Micah’s CC class.  The boys especially enjoyed trying rock climbing for the first time (milestone alert!).  I think both would enjoy it more if they had longer to try it and get the hang of it.  Ethan was especially nervous about the height, but he kept getting higher the more attempts he made.  And Micah used his arms a lot more than his legs, so he’d benefit from a little more coaching.  But, seriously, they loved it and did great!

A few nights later, I went out with my dear friend for some rock climbing at a rock climbing gym we enjoy.  It had been a good year+ since we had gone, so it was fun to get back out there again…even if I was pretty rusty/weak.  The boys asked for a picture of me reaching the top – so we made an awesome video of my whole climb up one of the easier runs.  It’s a good 2 minutes long, so I trimmed it for your benefit.  Now you can just laugh with me at my ridiculous attempts to impress the boys…by running into the wall:

While I was out rock-climbing, the guys were busy welcoming our new-to-us piano into our home.  Ethan was especially excited about this and said it was “one of the best days of his life”.  He snapped lots of pictures.  Micah attempted to snap a bunch, too, but sadly his camera ran out of batteries.  He was pretty devastated about it.

We had our final day of CC on April 5th and then had our end of year party/celebration on the 12th in the evening.  Each class does a little presentation in front of everyone (about 80 people were in attendance this evening) about something we’ve been learning. Micah’s class sang the preamble to the US Constitution – thus the patriotic theme.  Sweet Micah told me that evening when getting tucked in for bed that he accomplished one of his goals – he sang up in front of everyone without needing to have me next to him!  The Lord has done so much healing on his sweet heart and mind!  We are thankful!!!  Ethan (and my) class sang the first 12 elements in the periodic table.  Then all of the classes did an orchestra song in a round together.  We have videos of all three, but they won’t upload because they are pretty long!  We’ll be glad to share them in person or through email sometime as per your requests. =D

We also had a really lovely weekend with Daddio back in town.  We played a lot of games and just relaxed together, which was so nice!!  Milestone alert: Micah learned how to play chess!

 

The Js in town!

We were thrilled with the timing and location of the Fair Trade Conference this year – the week before Easter and in Westminster, CO.  This is a conference that Aunt Jennie often attends.  Naturally, we were pretty vocal in our desires to have her out for the conference and for the weekend afterwards.  The best part of this was when Jen and J became parents through the beautiful and arduous process of adoption just 5 weeks prior…which meant that all three of them could come out and we’d have to chance to meet Baby Girl and enjoy their company over Easter!  It was wonderful and we were SO thankful that they were brave first-time parents flying across the country with our sweet niece/cousin!

We saw them briefly for dinner on Monday night at our home before they headed north for the conference.  Then we drove up to see the fair trade expo, to help out a bit and to grab dinner with them on Wednesday evening.  And by Thursday night, they were back by us for the long weekend!

I would simply LOVE to show you Baby Girl’s darling face, but that will have to wait for a few more months… Suffice it to say, she’s beautiful and loves to be snuggled!!  Micah and I took turns snuggling her a whole bunch – I think I may have even finished a book during their visit. =)

Monday Night dinner and hang out:

Wednesday at the fair trade conference (we did the butterfly pavilion while we were up there, but I’ll save that for another post):

On Thursday night, we enjoyed merging our two sides of the family together.  Grandma Cleve was in town helping Ashley and Zach to move so we were thrilled to get to have dinner all together (sadly, minus Zach)!

Other highlights from the weekend together included some workouts in the park, walks, bike rides, making paper airplanes, playing memory/matching, reading books, going to church and out for ice cream, enjoying Easter dinner at the Jonker home, and Jen, J and Mike floating (*milestone for Jen and J) while I got the chance to babysit Baby Girl!  Oh, and I can’t forget laughing while the boys fed Aunt Jennie her Good Friday meal while holding Baby Girl!  We sure had a lot of fun hosting these guys!

Thanks for honoring us by having your first flight with Baby Girl be out to Colorado to see us!  We were so excited to have you all with us again!  Both boys expressed their desire to have you live in town after you left.  =)

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!!

A Week with Colds

When we got back from our weekend away, we battled colds while Mike traveled.  Micah got the worst of it, but even his cold only lasted about a week.  He’s still coughing now, but so much improved.  We still plunged away at school, but we took it easy.  Listening to “The Hobbit” motivated Ethan to begin a new book.  He really loves a good story and starts writing every few months.  It’s fun to see how much his stories have evolved over the last year.  He was a very helpful big brother during the worst days – he played concerts for us and snuggled Micah.  He also just spent a lot of time reading or writing to keep things extra easy for me.  I was super thankful!!

Meanwhile I started writing a book, too, with ideas and pictures from Micah!

We celebrated Pi Day with a pie from the grocery store. =)

Both boys were in my class at CC this week since Micah was still under the weather and coughing a bunch.  He gave a presentation on two of his Lego creations and E told us about JRR Tolkien.

There was a lot of Lego building…and I also got the boys haircuts!!

We ended the week babysitting cousin Caleb, the younger.  He loves listening to music, so he was having a grand ol’ time dancing to our CC songs and other music.  He wasn’t so sure about playing knights, but we gave it a go. =)  And he asked his auntie if she would start homeschooling him along with the boys. 😉