Jess in ATL

When Mike and I were chatting about summer plans, I was feeling overwhelmed at the many trips we wanted to cram into the three months.  He brilliantly came up with the plan to combine some of the trips.  So, while Mike and Micah enjoyed their one-on-one trip, I took Ethan to Milwaukee to meet up with my parents for their trip (more on that in a separate post) and I continued onward to Atlanta to help my sister at her trade show.

Jen and I had a great time together, as usual.  And I helped with the take down of the booth, without Jennie for the first time.

I spent my evenings catching up with my friends and seeing Ashley and the boys (since they live there now)!  That was a lovely treat!   I also managed to get in a couple FaceTime visits with the boys to see how their trips were going.

It was a great trip to Atlanta for me!

Solo-parenting in January

Both Mike and I did some solo-parenting already this month.  As I already mentioned, I traveled to Atlanta to help my sister with the trade show there.  I left on Wednesday afternoon and was back on Sunday early evening.  Micah and I made some overnight oats ahead of time so that their breakfasts would be easy!  I also assigned the boys various homeschool assignments and they spent both days finishing their lists.  One day I even got a text from Mike saying that the boys finished their assignments before their snack at 10 am!  They spent much of the rest of that day building legos while listening to an audiobook.  They also had a snowstorm and a lot of food delivered to the house! LOL.  I was glad to see that the boys had all gone sledding in the snow.

Here are a few fun pictures from my time in Atlanta!

We spent Sunday evening with Ashley and Zach so that we could *finally* meet Baby Joshua.  And then soaked up some Daddio time before his trip.

The following evening, Mike traveled to Minnesota.  The boys and I had a busy week!  We started the week with CC.  Then, Ethan got his eyes and teeth checked.  I got my eyes checked and my hair cut.  Both boys had lessons in piano and drums.  We had cadets and kids club and CBS.  And we had lots of school and fun in the meantime (especially drawing pictures).

While Mikey was out of town, we hosted cousin, Meredith from Michigan.  The boys were literally jumping up and down at the prospect of having her over and have been asking every day since if she could come back. =)

While Mom is away…

…the boys get to play!  But before I get to my bi-annual trip to Atlanta to help my sister with her trade show, I wanted to show a couple pictures from our pseudo one-on-one we squeezed in between our arrival back home and my trip to ATL.  Mike and Ethan went to the dentist and then joined up with some of Mike’s friends for golf league.  E kept score and hit a few balls here and there, too.  He had a great time and we were reminded, again, how sweet our friends are and what a blessing they are to our whole family.

While they were out, Micah and I enjoyed playing Legos and played a bunch of games.

The following day, I headed to Atlanta.  It’s always such a pleasure to go there and help Jennie.  I’m super proud of her and her company and the work she does in Kenya, so it’s a “cause” I like to support.  But it’s also fun just to spend time with her and interact with her friends.  AND, I get the added bonus of seeing some of my friends, too, although this time I only was able to get together with my former neighbor and didn’t even take a picture. =/  Check out that de-licious veggie plate I ordered…it was incredible and I’m pretty sure corn is the main ingredient in fritos.  Also, there was chili on top of my fritos because AWESOME!!!

I compiled this from all of the previous trade shows I’ve attended with Jen:


Meanwhile, the boys had a lot of fun at home with Daddio.  Milestone alert: they had their first sleepover at cousins’ house!  They had a great time over there and were definitely tired when they were back home again.  It was excellent timing – super helpful for Mike to get good days of work in without disruption!  They also went to a Rockies game with Reggie and his grandson and then to the Rapids game (discounted tickets due to the reading program at the library) the following evening.  AND, they managed to get Micah a new hat (recall that his former hat is at the bottom of Lake Tahoe), a new/used bike for him (recall the bike accident that ruined his previous bike), and new/used clubs for Ethan.  Whew!  What a week!

This guy…we sure love him!!

Boys’ Weekend/Sisters’ Weekend

Last weekend I flew to Atlanta to help my sister at her trade show.  I’ve been helping at this bi-annual show since we lived in Atlanta.  It’s always a lot of work and a whole lotta fun.  I enjoy getting to know Jennie’s friends and learning more about her business.  I also enjoy the chance to see my dear friends (no pictures this year) in the evenings for dinner.  This year I saw Patricia and Katie!  It’s such a pleasure to help Jennie and her company, Venture Imports.  We’re holding her hearts that say “sister” and “friend”!  =)


While I’m away, the boys definitely play!  But first, they completed all of the tasks I assigned them for homeschool.  I’m pretty impressed with their ability to remain self-motivated and get things done.  Mike said they did a good job all Friday getting their work done so that they could play on Saturday and Monday.

Daddio is the braver parent and opted to take the boys skiing *twice* while I was gone.  They have now officially exceeded my skill level and the amount of times I’ve gone.  They had a great time skiing!

Saturday at Loveland:

Monday at Keystone (I believe!) with friends from church:

And here are some other highlights:

Milestones included Ethan going down a green and each boy winning Risk Legacy.  I imagine there are other milestones on the mountain, but I don’t know the stories well enough to re-tell them here. =)

A Weekend with Jen and J

When the NFL preseason schedule was released, the boys and I made a call to Aunt Jen to ask if she’d want to come to Denver to watch the Packers play.  It didn’t take much to convince her.  We were thrilled to have her along for the boys’ first game.  (Uncle J came out, too, but he didn’t attend the game with us.) We had a fun and delicious breakfast on Saturday morning and spent the day playing at the park and at our house.

That evening we fueled up on brats and corn on the cob before taking the light rail downtown for the game.

The boys had a great time at the game.  It was a little loud and overwhelming at first for one of us, but he quickly felt comfortable in my lap.  Jen and I wished the Broncos didn’t score so much (mostly field goals) because it was always very exciting with fireworks and fire and a bronco running across the field – we were concerned they would want the Broncos to score more than the Packers. =D We stayed to the very end of the game (Packers lost) and Micah was sleeping on my lap while everyone was dancing and singing to “Jump Around”. =)  Thanks, Auntie Jen, for making our first game such a memorable one!!

We had church on Sunday and then our church picnic up in the mountains.  It was a really sweet time and we hope to get out to Long Scraggy again sometime.

On Monday we had a chaotic day of homeschool.  I was flustered enough with the boys’ behavior to say that there was ten feet of rain in Houston…and even said that was the capital of Texas.  SO, when I later thought through how the day went and what I would have changed (as I do most days), I realized the error of my ways and made sure to correct it!  Ay ay ay!


We also had Ethan’s first piano lesson that afternoon.  He is doing joint lessons with cousin, Matthew.  We are pretty excited about this and Ethan absolutely LOVED playing piano and going to his lesson.  He is eager to get back again and learn more!  Micah had fun reading and doing sight words.  We even played a game of “Mother, May I?” with flashcards telling him “yes” or “no”.  It was more fun because we had Jen there to play, too!

Thanks, Auntie Jen and Uncle J, for coming out for a visit!  We sure loved having you!!

Feeling thankful to do life with family nearby and for family traveling to see us.  


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!

My Trip

I’ve had the privilege of helping my sister and her company, Venture Imports, at her trade show in Atlanta for a few years now.  It’s lots of fun and hopefully helpful to her. 😉  I go twice a year and love it.  It’s especially fun these days because I have the chance to spend one on one time with Jennie and also catch up with some of my friends.  Unfortunately, I’m not great about taking pictures…so they are sparse for this trip.

On the day of my flight, I soaked up some time with the boys doing target practice and making lots of food (these photos feature overnight oats):

And here are some pictures of Jennie’s booth and some of her wonderful new products.  I’m super proud of the work she does and the sacrifices she makes on a regular basis to make others’ lives better.  It’s honorable work and I’m happy to do little things to help her effort!

Jen and I didn’t end up taking our usual picture together – sigh – and I failed to take one when I was with two of the three friends with whom I had dinner.  But here’s my dear friend, Monika, and I at a tasty dinner!  SO great to see everyone!  And SO wonderful to spend time with Jennie.

And in the meantime, Mikey had a birthday!!  Woot, woot!  He and the boys had a great time, but I have only one cute picture to show for it.  Here they are having ice cream to celebrate Mikey’s birthday. =D



I had the opportunity to fly back to Atlanta (my first time being back since our move about a year ago) this past weekend.  I went to help my sister with the trade show downtown.  You’ll remember that previously I had helped her for a few days while living there.  It was great to be back there again – fun to help Jen, wonderful to see some of my friends, and nice to be working a bit and have a break from mom-ing. =D

Here are some pictures from the trade show to give you an idea of what it’s like there.  Jen and I had a great time working together!

I forgot to take pictures with each of my friends, but I did snap one with Patricia, my old neighbor (side note – living near her was incredible and such a huge, huge blessing.  Seeing her again reminded me of what a sweet situation we had sharing the cul-de-sac with her family).  I was able to see three different dear friends of mine on three different evenings.  It was absolutely wonderful to catch up with them in person!


Jen and I loved getting to watch the Packers game together on Sunday.  We had hoped to actually GO to the Packers game (if the circumstances had been different – Lions needed to beat the Seahawks to make that happen), but we had a great (albeit nerve-wracking) time at a bar walking distance from the trade show.

And this is what it looks like when the booth is all packed up:


Atlanta was lots of work, but even more fun.  Thanks, Jen, for inviting me to come!!

I am so thankful that Mikey could hold down the fort so well while I was away.  The boys are incredible and were able to entertain themselves while he worked.  Here are a couple pics from their time together:

Micah was pumped to get this “flying dragon” heart from Aunt Jen and wanted to “take a selfie” to show her.  Oh my word.