The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 4 Wisconsin (the second time)

We were back in Wisconsin for Christmas Eve.  That night we pretended to be shepherds on the night that the angels came to tell them about the birth of Jesus.  We had a bonfire, roasted hotdogs/brats and ate meats, cheeses and figs.  Then we made s’mores! =).  It was so much fun to imagine what that night might have been like.

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The rest of that week was quite relaxing.  At first it was just the Cleve Crew and my parents, but by the following weekend, my siblings and their families were back in town.  We enjoyed “Narnia” at their church, ate lots of yummy food, and played lots of games.

Mike and I snuck away for our annual date with Cass and Adam, but we didn’t get a picture that evening.  The following day we got everyone together at the botanical gardens (that might not be the right name…) in Milwaukee.  Between the two of us, we snagged way too many cute pictures of Ethan and Hana together.  Their friendship is especially sweet!  It was great to be with them again!

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I’m going to have to split this post into two.  There are just too many cute pictures.  Next up – my siblings and their families are back in town!

One-on-One Weekend

Mike had high hopes of taking Micah away to San Fransisco for his one-on-one weekend, but he ended up needing to fly to Minnesota the day before their trip and Micah ended up feeling more comfortable staying in the state.  SO, after hours of flight delays, Mike arrived home after ten pm and the trip was postponed until the following morning.  Mike took Micah south about an hour to Great Wolf Lodge for the remainder of the weekend.  We were pretty sure this would be just the thing for Micah.  Sadly, Micah ended up not feeling well for much of their time and even threw up a few times.  Regardless, Micah would tell you that he had a great time!

Here are some pictures from their special time together on the first day:

The following day Micah was feeling much better, but he was still not quite up to his usual cheerful self.

Needless to say, they are going to need a re-do on this whole trip sometime when schedules allow again. =)

Meanwhile…back at home…We had pretty cold all weekend, but I tried to be excited about all of the outdoor activities Ethan had in mind.  Ethan and I biked to the tennis courts two days in a row to play some tennis.  We played football for a long time, too!  We also kept ourselves busy playing lots of games, playing the piano and looking for birds!

We were definitely glad to be together as a family after all of that.  Micah requested that only people dressed as wolves/animals play with play dough.  =)  Quick side note – the play dough was a prize from Sunday School, which I am incredibly happy to report, Micah was SO sad to miss while on his weekend away.  Previously, he didn’t even want to go to Sunday School and now he was feeling really bummed to miss even one week of it! Such an answer to prayer.

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Life

We are really excited about fall around here.  We made pumpkin muffins and brought out all of our fall decorations!  And I finally got to wear jeans again!  My fav.

Fall also means football season has begun!  Mike and Reggie went to see the Chiefs beat the Broncos recently.

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And with fall comes the beginning of other activities.  I am teaching our Kids Club at church (which Micah attends with me) while Ethan participates in Cadets.

Other things not related to fall…Micah wanted to send some letters and chose to keep his hat on for his correspondence-writing.  He also chose to sleep in it.  Speaking of sleep, his is often riddled with fear.  Things vary from night to night, but that particular night he fell asleep on the floor so that he could be near me.  More often, though, I wake up to evidence that he slept on my floor during the night.  He tells me he wakes up at about 4 in the morning and camps out on my floor until morning.  He’s very stealthy.  This is what he brings with him every time. =D

Milestone alert – Micah read the Bible story for us after dinner for the first time!!

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Here are some drum pictures from his lessons.  I wish I could show you pictures of Ethan’s lessons, too.  He is LOVING piano and really enjoys taking lessons with our cousin.

It wouldn’t be an every day life post if I didn’t include pictures of us playing games and listening to audiobooks.  We are minutes away from finishing Redwall – it’s been loved by all of us!

Playing a little catch up

We’ve got plenty of updates to make to the site since it’s been about a month since my last entry, but I’m thinking I’ll just split them up into one random post, one about the school year thus far, and one about a recent one-on-one weekend we had (Mike and E in San Diego, Micah and Mom in Colorado).

This one will be all the random pictures I have from the past month that don’t fit into nice, neat categories.  =)

Here are a few pictures from the final day we had with my Mom in town.  She was here for our Mesa Verde field trip and we so enjoyed having her!  We had lunch at Mel and Joel’s after church – we brought homemade cream puffs.  Yum!   We had to snap a final group picture of those of us who traveled to Mesa Verde together, but then we noticed a lot of fun coordinating pictures that were necessary, too. =D

We’ve been having some really lovely weekends together as a family lately.  One weekend we spent a good amount of time at Cherry Creek Reservoir.  I went for a run while the guys spent time on the water.  We have also been playing some tennis all together (and Mikey and I played some the other night on our date, but we didn’t snap any pics) and did so on that particular weekend, as well.  That same weekend I was able to go hiking with my auntie for a while after church.

We also spent some time working on our front yard as a family – trying to plant seeds for grass.  That evening we had a hail storm, so sadly, I’m not sure how much good all of that work was.  As of right now, there’s not a whole lotta growth happening, but we will wait and see.

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The boys made Mikey some breakfast one morning all by themselves:

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While I was out at book club, the boys enjoyed a new-to-us hot dog place in the area.  I believe these are hotdogs wrapped in bacon and cheese.  =)

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This past weekend we enjoyed a nice hike in the mountains (Conifer area).  Hiking with these guys is one of my favorite things in the world!

And, finally, we got a flat tire after church and I am feeling just so thankful that it was while Mike was in town and that we were able to get off the highway and all the way to a place where they could fix it before it was dangerous for us.  The Lord was kind to us and we are so thankful.  I didn’t want to forget His beautiful provision for us in all those sweet ways, so I snapped pictures of both boys looking cute while we waited for the car to be ready. =)

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:

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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!!

Field Day

Ethan participated in his first Field Day while my parents were in town.  It was a huge group of kiddos from various PE+ groups throughout the city.  I would guess there were 150 kids participating, but I am not great with number estimates.  I have lots of thoughts about this day, but most of them are not necessary.  So, let’s just suffice it to say that Ethan had a great time and I was really glad my parents were there to help and to capture all of the fun!

Photo cred goes to my dad, of course, for pretty much all of these pictures.

Spartan Races, Continued

The boys finished their races in the early afternoon on Saturday, so after washing up and eating we still had a good bit of time to enjoy the Springs.  We decided to tour the Olympic Training Center.  It was a great way to spend the rest of our day!

We spent the night in the Springs so that we could be close for Mike’s Spartan Sprint at 9 am the next morning.  He and his buddy competed together.  This is the same good friend that is in his weekly Bible study and who does CrossFit (and the Festivus) with Mike regularly.  He’s a great guy and it was fun to get to cheer on the two of them together!  It was the first Spartan Race either participated in and both said that it won’t be the last. =)

Look at how clean they look!

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I hung with these two crazies during the ~1.5 hours it took them to complete the 4.5+ mile/20+ obstacles race.  We had a good time even though we probably only saw them do about 5 of the obstacles.  Side note – I’m trying to shift the dab to something more fun like the Aaron Rodgers championship belt move.  It’s not very successful.

Here are some pics from the race itself taken by yours truly.  As usual Mike and Steve did a nice job of high-fiving and chatting with us in between obstacles / whenever we saw them.

And here are some fun ones the Spartan folks captured:

And here’s what they looked like at the end:

Lots of fun to watch them compete together.  Super proud of our guy. =)

Weekend Away

This past weekend we enjoyed some time in the mountains with our friends.  Mike and I went to college with Nate and Libby and have remained friends ever since.  Our boys are near the same age as theirs, but they have one additional boy.  We had a fantastic time up in Breck.  Thankfully the boys all get along really well and we adults enjoy spending time together, too!

Saturday was spent on the mountain skiing.  E and M both reached a milestone – they did part of a blue run!  E later did a full blue run while the snow was falling and conditions were a little more dicey – Mike was pretty impressed!

On Sunday before heading home, we spent a good chunk of the day sledding.

We were so thankful for the timing of this trip.  The Lord orchestrated it all back in the summer, knowing that it would be a sweet reprieve for us all.

Winter Wonderland

After a sunny and warm weekend, the weather turned cold and snowy.  I think I heard that there was a temperature shift of 60 degrees in 24 hours.  I spent much of the day vacillating between my comfy spot on the nook – with tea and good books (my favorite place in our home) – and the table where much of the homeschooling takes place.

BUT, in between it all, I took the boys sledding for recess.  It was pretty fun! =)

And Micah is crazy…

And then Daddio had hot chocolate ready for us upon our return.  The boys are no longer impressed with my “sneaky” picture taking.  We’re reading “The Prairie Thief” right now and it’s a pretty fun story!

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The days that make up our life…

Each week holds some of the same things: homeschool at the house, piano lesson, CBS, Classical Conversations, and PE+.

Here’s a little glimpse of Classical Conversations this past session.  We were studying famous artists and trying to copy their work for art.  This is my favorite part of the year each year – it’s really neat to see their creativity and to learn about each artist.

E finally got to give his presentation on his Vex creation.  I can’t quite remember now what Micah chose to present on, but he’s been doing a nice job in his class, apparently.

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And this past week we stayed after our morning of Foundations in order to see what the Essentials program will be like.  Ethan will be in Essentials next year and we’re both a little intimidated by it!  There is a bigger focus on writing well, grammar, and learning a lot of vocabulary words.  I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but that’s the big focus as far as we can tell so far.  E was very tentative at first, but ended up really liking it and is already looking forward to starting it next year!  In fact, he had some tears at the beginning because everything seemed like a different language (they were diagramming sentences and labeling them with direct object, object of the preposition, etc.!), but everyone was so kind and encouraging to him.  And he was even able to play the review games along with them.  Also, Micah amazes me – he can sit for hours very quietly without interrupting or doing anything disruptive.  It’s kind of remarkable.

Homeschool pics:

On Fridays we head to PE+ where Ethan takes a gym class with other homeschoolers from around the city.  He absolutely loves it.  Micah will start next year; he currently just hangs with me and reads books or draws.

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And Ethan has piano lessons (with cousin Matthew) every week.  He LOVES playing piano and plays songs scattered throughout every single day.  He has already surpassed my playing ability, I think, and I took lessons for a couple years. =)  Here is the video he sent to his piano teacher this week, as per her request:

Sometimes we “play school” and Micah is the teacher.  He gives spelling tests…like this one:

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In case you are wondering, a peeologist is a person who studies pee.  Obviously.  Sometimes I have to embrace the grossness that comes with raising boys. 😉

We’ve been enjoying the Olympics, too.  The boys even did their own version of figure skating at the house the other night.  We awarded red, green, or yellow (which eventually turns to red or green upon further review) squares for their scores.  And sometimes we threw Pooh bear out on the rink.

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And I’ll leave you with a funny story… The boys are planning to live in Canada when they are older and would like to live in a camper, or maybe two.  (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…this was very similar to my plan as a child!)  When asked if they’d like to get married, they both respond, “NO!  If we get married we might have to deal with babies and their drool and stuff.”  I said, “well, just because you are married doesn’t mean you have to have children.”  Their response, “Yeah, but you never really know.  If you get married, you might have a kid.  We just don’t want to risk it.  There’s no way of knowing if you’ll have one or not.” Hmm…