This means “random” and is what my little nephew always says when he plays a random card while playing games. This post is going to be a quick random one since I forgot to post this earlier.

We spent some time on Chatfield Reservoir with friends recently. Such a good time. Mike and Micah continue to do some workouts together. I do mine solo. And Ethan occasionally does his own thing, too, but less frequently. E and I worked together to build his desk for the upcoming school year. We are pretty proud of ourselves. Auntie Mel brought over some watermelon juice for us to make sorbet. We enjoyed it during one of our family meetings. Ethan on a birding outing with me. Micah making snacks for others to enjoy and then playing with a whole bunch of board game pieces all together.

The boys also attended piano camp with their piano teacher and some friends who used to do CC at our community. They absolutely loved it. Watch their video here from their last day at camp.

The other special aspects of the weekend

Grandma also came out for a visit for this weekend. Micah and I enjoyed having her all to ourselves for the evening the other guys were in the mountains. We invited Auntie Mel over for dinner that night, too. We played some games and did some artwork. Micah wasn’t quite feeling himself for the weekend, but we still had a good time. His sweet friend brought over homemade soup for him after he heard about Micah’s injury.

We spent the rest of the weekend all together. Ethan played the keyboard in church again. We got busy talking about hosting in our home and how a change might be needed. Couches were moved around to give us a feel for what it would be like to have seating upstairs for a change. =)

We have since made some purchases and donations to switch up our seating at home, but these pictures show the process as we thought about things throughout the weekend. (Pictures to come in future posts)

We loved having this quick visit with my folks. Super thankful for the time together!

Grandpa and Grandma in town

The following day, my parents drove into town to spend the next *almost* two weeks with us. Mike traveled to Minnesota twice during that time, but we all got to spend some time together over their trip. Additionally, Micah went on his 10-year-old-adventure-trip while they were here (more on that in the next post). They experienced some typical Colorado weather – we had 82 degrees on one day and then got about 6 inches of snow. We enjoyed spending time together, E and Grandpa (primarily – although I think Micah may have ventured out once and I did as well) did a lot of birding, and we did various projects around the house (including planting a tree from my neighbor, painting the laundry room, my dining room table again, and the front door!) We ate lots of yummy food, including having Mel and Joel over for dinner once and my parents making us fish reubens.

Pictures below feature getting a tree from our neighbor, art time, reading, and playing LEGO.

Most days included some amount of computer time to edit pictures:

We played a few games, enjoyed tasty meals (indoors and outdoors), and got out for walks:

We experienced a big snow storm which took down lots of branches. Some people enjoyed this more than others. And the following day required quite a bit of clean up.

We also had a little phData fashion show. Mikey brought home many shirts for us, including one sweater which would be promptly returned.

I got hives after my retreat and dealt with them while my folks were here. I’m thinking they were a result of lots of hiking in tighter clothes in the sunshine and heat, but it’s hard to say anything for sure. They were miserable, but I was thankful to have the distraction of my parents around so I wouldn’t dwell on them too much. This meant I preferred to keep things pretty low key. We were able to do the boys’ final piano lesson online (followed by playing with Grandma – Ethan was getting ready for playing at Long Scraggy – our church camp in the mountains – and Micah enjoyed learning Heart and Soul – see video here) and had Krav Maga in the park that week.

Coming up next: Micah goes on a castle adventure in Colorado with his grandparents to celebrate being 10!

Mama Retreat / Guys Weekend at Home

My dear friend, Amy, and I have been going on weekend getaways for the past 6 years now. Usually we sneak away twice a year. It’s a time of refreshment and lots of hiking, praying, and reflecting on the year past and the year to come. It’s also a time of much laughter. We cherish this time together. We held off during the height of COVID and finally got away this month for our typical retreat (you may recall that we did an all day hiking trip once in there, too, and nearly got killed by a rattlesnake). Amy drove us down to Glen Eyrie where we spent a lovely weekend away together. We discovered a new hike on Saturday night – yes, it got a little late and nerve-wracking – which we completed the following morning. Gorgeous!

Meanwhile, closer to home, the guys had a fun weekend together. The boys had their end of the year recital in the backyard. Sweet Auntie Mel went in my stead and Mike captured it on video. But be warned, these videos should not be watched if you need to go to the bathroom. =D Ethan was very excited to get to go first when another kiddo didn’t show up. He wanted to be done with the pressure as soon as possible. Here’s his video. =) Micah was happy to play his two songs right after him. I love that Ms. Leila picked up on Micah’s vocabulary, because it definitely IS one of his strengths. Micah’s first and second song. Based on Mike’s pictures, it appears they also did a workout together and had some yummy food. After church on Sunday I heard that Ethan had a jam session with friends/adults at our church while the two Ms headed to a Farmers Market up the street from church (or maybe they got special drinks…I’m not sure which actually happened).

SO thankful for a hubby who prioritizes my time away and makes the experience fun and carefree for everyone. It’s a gift. =)

Our life has been very full in the recent weeks. I wouldn’t qualify it as busy. I’m not a fan of busyness. But it has felt joyfully full lately.

I’ll start this post with a couple pictures taken by E during our weekend in Aspen.

Next I’ll share a few pics demonstrating the craziness of March in Colorado, including snuggling by the fire, heading off to their job to shovel at our neighbors’ home, enjoying homemade bread (thanks, Amy!!) and hot cocoa, and a comparison shot 18 hours apart.

And I’ll give you a few snapshots into homeschool and music life, including a lot of uke-playing, FaceTime concert for Grandma Cleve’s birthday, hosting Challlenge A at our home on Pi day, and the many locations that Micah does he work:

And I manage to get prep work done in various locations throughout the week.

Purple belt testing for Ethan was a 3-hour affair on Saturday. The intent was to wear the kids out with a whole lot of cardio work and then test their reactions to various weapons and attacks by other members in the class, including the instructor. It was very impressive and very intense. Click here to see a video. Afterward the coach took some pics of each kid.

Lest you think E’s the only stud, be warned that Micah is so disciplined he does a workout on his own most days. And he often joins his dad in a workout, too.

He’s also our veggie lover. He will nearly always opt to eat extra veggies with every meal and if he’s got the time to make lunches for us, he will fill them with veggies. He also sometimes wears noise-cancelling headphones so as to block out the sound of Ethan’s nearly constant uke-playing. =D

And, lastly, we had the pleasure of hosting Grandpa Russ for a few days on his drive back home. This was a lovely and unexpected treat for all of us! I didn’t get very many pictures of anything all that fun, but thankfully I snapped a few of life around the house and on our drive to the mountains.

Life Lately

Our more astute followers noted from my last post that Ethan’s hair was recently chopped off. I was trying to keep it inconspicuous until he had the chance to show some folks the cut, but some of you are just too observant. =D We all love the new style. Anyway, here’s a shot of his hair before and after:

And here are some pics of the various places we do our schooling (inside, outside, watching birds by the window, whittling soap at CC, etc.):

We’ve been enjoying watching the Olympics all together many nights. One such evening we opted for homemade popcorn.

Other happenings include playing games all the time (including at Krav Maga):

Also, E likes to rock this hat when he plays “Despacito” on the piano. I finally finished my puzzle. It only took me a month…or more…. Yikes. And Micah colored pictures to hand out for Valentine’s Day.

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

Since we’ve been home…

We had a very quiet first week home from Wisconsin. We were under the weather (just the same colds we saw hit most of the fam on our trip) so we laid low. It was actually quite a delightful way to return. We did some schooling, but didn’t have CC until the following week. Teaching Micah is a whole different animal than teaching Ethan. E likes to check things off his list and has no need to do extra work on the side. Micah loves to do extra work (writing extra words, drawing connections in spelling, making his digital clocks look like real clocks, etc.) We also had piano lessons on Zoom (they did some work together on rhythm at the start).