For our 6th annual trip with the Maurer family, we spent the weekend in Kansas City. We are nearing (if we haven’t already reached it) the point when we will need to do some repeat locations, but this year was a new spot for us again. We all enjoy spending time together and it’s been such a special treat to watch our children grow up together.
We usually spend a fair amount of time at the hotel just talking and playing. We also all like parks and legos, so we fit in both of those activities this year. A hike is often on all of our lists to do, but it was way too hot to spend much time outside that weekend. We spent Friday night grabbing dinner out and playing at the hotel, Saturday out and about and Sunday back at the hotel before going our separate ways.
Here are some shots from around the hotel, including a few selfies the kids took (as requested) from their explorations around the hotel on their own. Favorite memories include watching various plays of Piggie and Gerald books, watching all the kids try to catch the football with their elbows, sending messages/emojis/pictures with Ellie (mostly Mike and Ellie/Adam), and how sweet those girls are to my boys who want to show them their paint-by-sticker books and Legos. Lots and lots of laughter!
Mute the video if you don’t want to hear my crazy loud laugh:
Pics from our dinners out:
Pics from the park, Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium:
All too soon it was time to say goodbye. The kids hugged too quickly, so we missed any cute pics of that…but I snapped a couple of Mikey saying goodbye to some of his favorite girls! We parents left exhausted, having stayed up until midnight or WAY later both evenings we had together. We sure enjoyed spending time with this crew again!
Quick throwback of our group from just last summer and a link to all the previous years:
…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!
Our dear friends from Georgia took an RV trip across the country and we were bound and determined to see them! We were supposed to join them camping, but we had to bail on that plan when Ethan got the staples in his head. So, instead, we drove to the Fort Collins area for an afternoon (after the staples were removed) to spend time with them. Both Ethan and C were apparently “nervous” about seeing each other again, but they hit it off like usual. It was so sweet to see!!
The boys hadn’t seen each other, I don’t think…since we moved back in January of 2016. I see Katie every time I go to Atlanta to help my sister at the trade shows.
Also, nice to see that the big boys are still a lot alike even after a few years…
This guy officially finished his Vex robotic thing:
And both boys reached their reading goals for January! This meant personal pan pizzas for everyone! I failed to fill out the forms this year…so we didn’t get to use the awesome free bookit program. I’ll figure this homeschooling thing out one of these days. =)
Below are some pics from our homeschooling life. As you can see, it involves a lot of reading. Sometimes the boys just sit and listen, but other times they color, do puzzles or paint. One day I even had them draw comics to the story I was reading. Micah started using a new handwriting book and seems to enjoy it. Ethan has started tracking his Magic Tree House books on the website again. He’s read all of the books and enjoys re-reading them in the mornings before he’s allowed to start playing. I warned him that he’ll need to start reading more challenging books soon, but for now I love that he enjoys a good story! =)
The boys have a lot of fun using their headphones. Sometimes they listen to their CC memory work music; sometimes they are listening to picture books being read to them. I love to see them enjoying the headphones!
As promised, here’s a video of Ethan singing part of our Latin song for memorizing John 1. We also are learning it in English. It’s a super fun song, so that helps!
We ended up watching the Super Bowl at home this year. We made sure to eat some fun snacks and had a really nice afternoon/evening. It helped that the team we *all* wanted desperately to win won! Oh my word, these two were cracking me up! =)
Also, throwback to 5 years ago…I took this picture of the boys and put the caption, “The boys just found out the Packers aren’t in the Super Bowl”. =)
Speaking of long ago…we took out a game I made for the boys years ago for the first time in a long time again tonight. We enjoyed playing the game of “Action” together. It involves things like push ups and squats and running up and down stairs. =)
Grandma Cleve came for another visit last week – splitting her time at Ashley and Zach’s and our house! We had her for a day and a half at the beginning of her trip and then she finished her time at our house, too.
On Saturday, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion. We had never been before and she spoiled us with a membership so we’ll be going there a few more times before the year is done. =D Micah was our brave guy who held Rosie, the tarantula! It was lots of fun to see all of the butterflies, to dig for worms and to look at their little aquarium. It’s a really neat place and we’re excited to go back again! Grandma Cleve almost became a part of the exhibit there when a gorgeous butterfly landed on her leg and stayed with her for the next 10+ minutes! =)
That afternoon we went to Ikea to start a super big project…switch the boys’s room and the school room. We got the boys bunk beds and Grandma Cleve and Mike worked on that for much of the rest of Saturday. Thankful that GC is so helpful with assembling Ikea furniture. She’s helped us with quite a few projects like this one over the years. Such an exciting time! Although, I would be lying if I said I never shed any tears over this. How did the boys get so big?!
After church on Sunday, we had a relaxing afternoon at our house and then headed over to Ashley and Zach’s to celebrate Caleb’s first birthday! SO much fun!
Can’t believe he’s already one! It feels like just yesterday that we were celebrating our own little boys’ first birthdays… The days are long, but the years are SHORT.
Grandma Cleve stayed with Caleb and his parents until Wednesday afternoon when she came back to stay with us until Saturday night. I’ll do a separate post for that and for the things we did in the meantime. =)
I’d like to give you a little Cleve Crew yard update. As you know, we love doing yard work and fixing super out-of-control backyard spaces. It’s our thing. Wait, you don’t know that?! That’s because we don’t actually love it, but we’ve done it twice now…. Please take a moment to recall with me our yard in Georgia at it’s worst and best in this throwback post.
Now, let me take you to the present home and the process we’ve been undergoing here over the past *almost* two years.
This is what the backyard looked like in January 2015 when we moved here:
This is what it looked like that summer:
You might recall that Mike and I spent a day chopping things down that summer:
It was a long ways from good after that…but it was an improvement to us.
This past week we had a crew out to take down some more trees, bushes, and to do some stump grinding. So the boys and I went out and snapped a few pictures before they arrived. And then snuck pictures from the house while they were here.
We still need a plan for back there, but we’re pleased to say most of the junkie looking stuff is officially removed at this point. =)
Before and after shots thus far:
We’re a work in progress around here, but we’re liking the improvements! =)