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.

Catching Up

Let me spend a little time catching us up to the present. Mid-January brought some cold weather which meant evenings by the fire. It also brought a little school and work by the fire one day, too.

I’m not sure I can say we enjoyed watching the Packers playoff game as it ended in a very sorrowful defeat, but we did have a nice party up until the final minutes. Micah and I made monkey bread (including making our own dough) for the occasion. The following afternoon I got out for 6 miles (that’s Cherry Creek State Park) before enjoying the Chiefs game and dinner with Reggie. That game kept folks on the edge of their seats…or standing up.

We’ve had a fair amount of snow this month, which has been fun. It usually means we have some hot chocolate while it’s coming down. Krav Maga forgot to call our family to let us know that class was cancelled due to inclement weather one day, but we showed up and our instructor was still there, so he taught the boys a private class. The boys enjoy their job of shoveling one of our neighbor’s sidewalks since they don’t live here during the winter. And they had a couple hours long spontaneous snowball fight with our dear friends one of the days.

We had so much snow this week that we opted to do piano lessons via Zoom again. Very convenient! E had just watched a really cool video of someone playing the piano wearing a fedora, so he gave it a go for his lesson.

Other highlights from the last couple of weeks include moving Micah’s desk upstairs where we can use it for school more easily and Ethan’s science fair presentation. He did an excellent job up there – we were all very proud of his poise and all of the work that went into this experiment. He also taught a little bit of Latin to our class on Monday and did SUCH a good job of it.

Final updates include some cute pics I snapped throughout the week when people were unaware, including a shot of my first homemade pizza (crust included, that is) – Mike and the boys making smoothies for breakfast before we have our weekly family meeting on Saturday mornings; Ethan playing piano while I read a book; Mike and Ethan discussing business plans one evening; Ethan watching a picture slideshow from Grandpa; Micah playing LEGO while I read-aloud or quiz him on memory work; the boys made an epic LEGO castle; and finally Micah and I visiting France to learn some French words during one of our final reading lessons in All About Reading.

Also, this month we watched a very interesting/inspiring/encouraging documentary about what a year of COVID did in terms of helping our beautiful planet. Super cool! I can’t remember the exact name or which streaming service we used to watch it, but it was something like “The Year Earth Changed”. It was delightful and I highly recommend it. Nice to see the beauty amidst all the yuck. =D

The low-key first part of Wisconsin

On Sunday night, our crew drove back to Wisconsin to stay at my folks’ home. There we spent some delightful, low-key days, primarily just with Grandpa and Grandma (although we had some extra special days with Auntie Sal, too) We had a little bit of overlap time with the whole family the first part of that week, before my siblings headed out to spend time with their in-laws — in Michigan and in Chicago — for the Christmas weekend.

We played a lot of games – Codenames, Pinochle (which my mom used to play a lot and re-learned on the computer before teaching us), and Saboteur. It was funny to see how difficult it was for the boys to ever believe anyone could be bad in that game. Such sweet, trusting guys they are!

There was a lot of artwork done. Some cooking with Grandma. And lots of reading and relaxing.

On Christmas Eve, we worshipped together. Then we enjoyed our annual shepherd’s meal celebration. We did this inside this year since it was a little rainy. I think we’ve all decided inside is lovely. =D And then Mike and I watched “Scrooge” (aka A Christmas Carol) “with” my parents. This is a Christmas tradition (that Mike was apparently unaware of, despite being married to me for 15 years…). I grew up watching this black and white movie with my fam every year since it’s my dad’s favorite. The new tradition is to watch it while they sleep in the chairs surrounding us. Very memorable for all. =D

On Christmas morning we stayed in our jammies for a long time, ate delicious apple pancakes, and eventually watched the Packers game all snuggled up together.

Next up: more time in Wisconsin with the whole fam.

Playing Catch Up

The Advent season is upon us and I have yet to post anything from most of November. So, this will be a bit of a hodgepodge post, but it will serve to catch us up to Advent and Christmas pictures.

My dad snapped a couple of pictures of the boys and me before they left back in early November (Mike was on a work trip).

We’ve been using our new deck table and chairs as much as the weather has allowed. And our neighborhood lights have been put up, so I took Micah on a night walk to go see the big tree. We’ve also enjoyed a few Packer picnics. Note the new handmade Packer napkins and the Christmas decorations (that one is from after Thanksgiving).

Micah-man got vaccinated and was given a cute polar bear we fondly named Vax.

Thanksgiving was a blast! We were fortunate to be able to travel to see Mike’s side of the family in Arizona. It was short, but oh-so-sweet. It was lovely to get to stay at Mike’s brother’s home. We enjoyed a great Thanksgiving meal out by the pool, but even better company! We also managed to sneak in an afternoon visit at a park with Mike’s sis (and her party of five), his mom and his grandma. How nice to have the chance to see all of his family in one visit!

We’ve enjoyed doing CC outdoors each week of the semester except the last two. The weather prohibited outdoor learning only once this semester, but my class opted to meet indoors for our final meeting so that we could use the table to finish Blue Book assessments. What an awesome experience that was! I am SO impressed with their knowledge. You can see pictures of them drawing the Western Hemisphere and Europe, some from memory, others using resources. That day the younger class joined us for an outdoor Christmas party as they had finished week 12 the week before. Can you tell how much Ethan loves it when I snap pics of him? =D We are now officially on break until January 3! Phew!

Krav Maga continues to be a favorite weekly activity. Both boys graduated to orange belt this month. See Ethan breaking his board here and Micah breaking his here.

Spending time playing outside with our friends is one of our favorite pastimes:

And we had our first snow in Denver!

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