While Mike worked in India…

we played in Colorado with Grandpa and Grandma. My folks drove out for their fall visit to overlap with the two weeks Mike would be working in India. We had a little bit of time all together at the start of their visit, but most of the time he was in India. My mom ended up flying back home for some meetings in Wisconsin, but my dad stuck around until the Saturday Mike flew in. So we ended up only having about twelve hours of time on our own. What a sweet, sweet gift this was to us!

We spent the second day they drove out finishing up some school (this is Micah watching the Introductory Logic videos with Ethan) and tracking their whereabouts on our map.

Here are a couple of pictures from while Mike was still in town. This included the first of two Packer picnics.

They arrived on my mom’s birthday, but we didn’t do the official celebrating until Sunday afternoon at the Melting Pot.

We were able to connect with Mike at some point during most of his days in India. It’s never easy, but it was nice to have little touch points at random times throughout his visit there.

One of the lovely things about my parents’ visits is that we can just experience daily life together. We kept up with school the whole time they were here, and my dad got a few pictures of us doing that together. We also did a lot of just regular life around the house. And my dad and Ethan went birding most mornings. Micah joined at least once, but he was pretty content to stay back at home.

They also joined us for CC and my dad got some pictures of regular rhythms there.

We also always get some projects done around the house while they are here. My mom made us curtains and a new pillow cover for downstairs. My dad put up the curtain rod for Micah’s *eventual* sheet to separate school from Lego. He also helped each boy to do some framing and matting of pictures to decorate their desk areas. Micah also worked with my dad to build a bug hotel for our backyard.

My mom spent some time working on crafts with each of the boys. E learned how to weave (Auntie Mel helped with this, too) and Micah learned some of the first steps to knitting.

Other highlights included Packer picnics, chess with Uncle Joel and a visit to Boulder to see my Dad’s sister and her family. I hadn’t seen my cousin since a couple months after Mikey and I got married.

We also had the pleasure of celebrating my Dad’s birthday with hime before he left for the solo drive back home. I think this was the first time since before college that I was able to be in person with both of my parents on their birthdays. That was very special for me.

The following morning we snapped a few pictures before saying goodbye until Christmas! We were all so very thankful to have this time with them.

The second part of our vacation in Wisconsin

After my siblings and their families came back in town, we spent most days and nights together. Mike went over to Jen and J’s new house to work a couple of the days. And I hear they had great Mexican food one of those days. One of the evenings we enjoyed a tasty meal over at Ger and Lauren’s home and another afternoon we celebrated Lauren’s birthday at Jen and Jason’s. Other highlights included opening presents, lots of football/soccer outside for cousins, tons of game-playing, some decorating of cookies, lots of music-making (including a concert for all), and celebrating New Years Eve together. Scattered throughout our time together were little bouts of sicknesses and some covid tests (just to be sure – all negative), but nothing could damper our time together. It was just so much fun!

Decorating cookies:

Making music:

Eating and laughing at Ger and Lauren’s. The best was teaching Salina knock, knock jokes and Eddie’s not-quite-interrupting interrupting cow jokes:

Celebrating Aunt Lauren’s birthday:

Playing games:

Opening presents (including handmade blankets for each grandchild):

Celebrating the New Year (We made crepes and then enjoyed lots of musical numbers – uke, trombone and cello; piano duets; piano solos; and marble works trumpet-playing. E stayed up and played a game with his uncles and Dad until we all toasted the New Year at midnight):

Various pictures from the week together that don’t fit nicely in a category: Salina worked on her part of the Christmas jammy shirt for Grandpa. Ethan was able to help at Aunt Jen’s warehouse when a shipment came in. I understand he worked hard and did a nice job. He was pretty excited about the whole thing! Lots of block-building, reading together, marble run-making, and puzzles. And I often found E and Grandpa discussing birds, photography or (in this case) plants for the backyard to attract more birds and get better pictures. =D And the picture of Eddie and Mike reminds me of Eddie telling Uncle Mike that he was going to order three things from the restaurant – one of which was beer. That kid knows how to make people laugh.

Enjoying a little extra time together on the first day of the new year when our flight was cancelled:

And, finally, I will conclude with a few of my favorite posed (or silly or we-just-have-to-check-out-that-picture-we-just-took) pictures from the week. Sadly, the one day we caught Grandpa in his new shirt Salina was not at the house with her jammies. So, we snapped some pics with Grandpa and all of his grandsons this time. Thankfully we did get some pics of all the grandkids together a different day.

Hopefully these pics capture the joy of being together over the holiday season. We sure had a great time!

Grandpa and Grandma in Colorado

We were thrilled to host my parents for almost two weeks at the end of October/beginning of November. We had a great mix of just living normal life and doing some projects around the house.

Each morning Ethan and my Dad went out birding. Micah joined for one morning, but he decided it was more enjoyable (and warm) playing piano or reading with Grandma at the house. Also, while my parents were here, this memory popped up on my phone from 9 years ago when I remember thinking, “wow, my Dad as Grandpa is different than my Dad as Dad.” What on earth is that little pipsqueak doing holding a big expensive camera?! =D

My folks always ask about what kinds of things we might like them to do for the house, so we knocked out a few of those projects! Yay! The two most exciting things done were our laundry room and new address numbers for outside. They did other things, too, but these were big undertakings and I was so thankful to have them completed. The boys, especially Ethan, loved working on the laundry room. We decided this was a different kind of homeschooling. =)

We each did some sewing projects with my Mom. Ethan and Micah both made camera bean bags (not sure how else to describe them) and Micah made two decorative pillow covers. Turns out, Micah LOVES to sew and is looking for new projects. =) My Mom sewed us some Packer napkins and I finally finished my rice heating pad.

We enjoyed having Mel and Joel over for lunch over the weekend. We had our inaugural meal on our new deck table with them.

Much music was made throughout the week. My mom has recently begun learning to play the cello (one of the many things I admire about my folks is their belief that they are never too old to try something new), so she had a couple of Zoom lessons while here and showed the boys how to play a bit. She and Ethan worked on a little piano-cello duet. And Micah played a lot of piano duets with Grandma.