Fifth Stop: Wisconsin

After Michigan and our brief stop in Illinois, we settled down in Wisconsin again.  Here we celebrated Christmas with opening presents, ate lots of good food, played games and read books and rung in the New Year.  (We also spent time with Cass and Adam and their family, but I’ll do a separate post on that!)

Opening presents:

Working on Grandpa’s new shirt:

Playing games, putting together presents, reading books, etc:

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Lunch at Gerrit and Lauren’s home:

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New Year’s Eve (the boys made it until 11 and then fell asleep watching home videos):

Obviously, we had a fantastic time in Wisconsin with our family!  Thanks for hosting, Mom and Dad, even without a working kitchen!  =)

Third Stop: Michigan

In Michigan, we celebrated Christmas with our extended family from my Mom’s side.  This is a big, fun group of about 30 people and is such a special time for us!  We opened presents after a delicious feast at my aunt and uncle’s home.  Two big highlights for the boys: Ethan got a ukulele and Micah got a djembe!!  Thanks, Great Grandpa! =)  Other highlights included playing ping pong, going sledding, Ethan doing piano recitals and radio shows with cousin Matthew, our annual cousins movie night out at the theater (we saw the new Star Wars!), and lots of time to chat with family.

Grandkids and great-grandkids with Grandpa (aka Great Grandpa):

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Sledding:

We had a lovely time in Michigan, as always!  Such a fun group of people to spend a few days with every Christmas!

Picture Cred mostly goes to my Dad again. Thanks for capturing the fun!

Second Stop: Wisconsin

We spent Friday night through Monday morning in Wisconsin for this first visit.  We enjoyed catching up with family, playing games, worshipping together, playing piano and the ukulele, building paper airplanes, playing outside with Grandpa and cousins, and running around with walkie talkies.  I’m sure the list could go on and on.  We had a fantastic time and my parents were fabulous hosts despite not having kitchen counters or a dishwasher/sink to wash dishes.

Next up…we drove on Christmas day to Michigan!

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Photo cred goes to my dad for all of the good pics you see from Wisconsin, Illinois or Michigan. =)

Ethan’s Piano Recital

Ethan played in his first piano recital this weekend at Whole Foods.  He played two songs: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as a duet with his piano teacher and “Ode to Joy”.  He did a great job!  Matthew played right before him and did a wonderful job, too.  He’s quite talented and fun to listen to!  Ethan was incredibly nervous for his performance, but we were SO proud of him for persevering through it and doing a great job!

Here are a couple of “before” pictures from the days before the recital when he got sick with worry and I played endless games with him to keep his mind off of it! =)  He’s such a trooper.  Really, I could not be more proud of him for dealing with the stress, talking through it and having a great first recital.  He’ll have another one at Christmas and I suspect he won’t have many of the same jitters – he is usually most nervous about something when he doesn’t know what to expect.  (Yes, you may be thinking, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, it’s true)

The recital:

The video:

So proud of this guy!

And, exciting news, Micah has decided he’d like to take piano lessons now, too. =)  I give Ethan a lot of credit for that because he makes piano look fun and easy!

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!

Daily Life

Just wanted to do a quick post updating on daily life happenings…

My Dad and I worked on my new dry erase calendar and I am SO pumped about how it turned out.  We use it for school every morning to talk about months and days and what our schedule is.  It’s fabulous!  Thanks, Dad!!

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Micah cut his hair…with his swiss army knife…and now I’ve buzzed it all off. =)IMG_4288

Ethan has taken up the harmonica.  We received this from Aunt Sal and Uncle Brad, too (thanks, guys!), and he’s thrilled.  This is “Hot Cross Buns”.  We’ll hope to have some piano updates soon as he’s taking lessons starting Monday!

Ethan also recently beat me in a game of Machi Koro, one of our fav games…he beat me by rolling 2s about a hundred times.  It was an epic game because it rarely happens that someone wins the game by never rolling more than one die.

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I tried a new meal this week.  I’m not sure I can say it was a hit with everyone, but it was fun and unique.  Mike and I enjoyed it more than the boys, but they didn’t complain about it!  Farro. Kale. Blistered Tomatoes. Soft boiled eggs. Avocado.

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We still enjoy a good walk through the park after dinner.  I wish this was a daily occurrence, but we probably get out there weekly at this point. IMG_4321

Money burns a hole in these boys’ pockets.  They had saved up for a couple months and finally just had to go buy some lego sets.  We went to Target after CC and then the rest of the afternoon was very quiet for me. =) Micah did a great job building his set almost all by himself.  I sat nearby and corrected a few things here and there, but he did most of it! Ethan raced through 3 different sets (mostly smaller ones) in one sitting!

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This evening we went to a birthday party for a boy that played on Ethan’s soccer team a couple years in a row.  This was our first time at Boondocks and the boys seemed to enjoy it!  It’s a bit of a sensory overload for us, but we had fun!  Ethan did not end up doing the race track this time, but he came close!  I imagine he’d love it if he was the passenger for his first round.

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!