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

My folks always ask about what kinds of things we might like them to do for the house, so we knocked out a few of those projects! Yay! The two most exciting things done were our laundry room and new address numbers for outside. They did other things, too, but these were big undertakings and I was so thankful to have them completed. The boys, especially Ethan, loved working on the laundry room. We decided this was a different kind of homeschooling. =)

We each did some sewing projects with my Mom. Ethan and Micah both made camera bean bags (not sure how else to describe them) and Micah made two decorative pillow covers. Turns out, Micah LOVES to sew and is looking for new projects. =) My Mom sewed us some Packer napkins and I finally finished my rice heating pad.

We enjoyed having Mel and Joel over for lunch over the weekend. We had our inaugural meal on our new deck table with them.

Much music was made throughout the week. My mom has recently begun learning to play the cello (one of the many things I admire about my folks is their belief that they are never too old to try something new), so she had a couple of Zoom lessons while here and showed the boys how to play a bit. She and Ethan worked on a little piano-cello duet. And Micah played a lot of piano duets with Grandma.

Other highlights that don’t fit as neatly into a photo gallery include baking together, Grandpa and Micah biking, visiting the Audubon Center all together, Krav Maga, reading books, playing games, editing pictures and doing *some* schooling, playing football in the park, having a picnic with some members of our Zoom book club (they also happen to be dear friends from CC), attending cousin Matthew’s awesome play, and having a Packer picnic.

Our time together was delightful. The boys both said afterwards, “I wish they lived with us or at least by us.” What a gift!

Our 7th year…

of homeschooling is underway. It’s probably the smoothest transition we’ve had from summer to school to date! (except maybe in those first years when everything we did was fun and no one had anything to complain about. =P) We seem to enjoy the structure and we are all rising to new challenges this year.

E and I started Challenge a week before Micah began Foundations/Essentials. But we all have at least a week under our belts now. Our community opted to meet outdoors again this year, but it’s expanded in size and is now meeting outside of our usual church (as opposed to in our backyard). I can’t tell you how much fun it is to do this outside! What a gift!

Our community is also doing monthly field trips this year. August brought us to Bluff Lake Nature Center and a little outdoor ice cream treat at the end! Here are a bunch of the guys checking out birds together.

Here are some pictures I snapped throughout the past couple of weeks around the house:

E is learning how to play our song version of Proverbs 25 on the ukulele. He picked it up very quickly and also already has all of that Proverb memorized (I still have 12 weeks to memorize it, so I’ll catch up…). Mike plans to teach the boys subjects of their choice on Wednesday afternoons for a bit. I suspect they will be learning about finances, stocks, etc. from him. Also, we switched Math for both boys (E switched to Saxon already last year) and it’s been SO much better for us.

Here’s a look at Ethan’s first day of CC back in 2015. In the middle picture Micah was only old enough to go to nursery. When he started CC, he started midyear and I can’t seem to find his official first day picture. (Sorry, buddy. It’s got to be out there somewhere!) But I did find a picture of him giving his presentation to Ethan’s class when he used to get too nervous to stay in his own classroom for the whole day. =D

We are thankful for the opportunity to do this and can hardly believe this is our 7th official year homeschooling with CC. Time is flying by!

Utah’s National Parks

The idea to visit each of Utah’s National Parks with my parents and Grandpa was born a few years ago now. At the time, the drive to Utah would have been treacherous with the potential of a lot of snow. In fact, one of the roads may have been closed for the season or something. The details are fuzzy. At any rate, this trip has been a long time coming and I was exceptionally thrilled to get to do this with my Grandpa, who I used to travel with as a kid. The idea that my 94-year-old Grandpa could make a trip like this with our kids was just too good to be true! We all had a delightful time together.

Little caveat to this trip – I can’t remember which day goes with which picture anymore. Yikes! So, take my journal entries with a grain of salt. The main idea is this: we had an amazing time every day. =D

Here’s a cute little shot of Ethan and his Great-Grandpa shooting the breeze at a rest stop on the way:

We started with Arches National Park. Visiting the parks in the late afternoon is definitely the way to see the most with the fewest other visitors nearby. Plus, the weather is much cooler and more enjoyable in the evening hours!

Here’s a fun comparison from the last time our family was in Arches:

The following day Mike and my Dad went for an early morning hike to see Delicate Arch. Later that morning, we were unable to get back into Arches, so we headed over to Canyonlands.

We spent two nights in Moab and then drove over to Bryce. This may have been my favorite of the four National Parks we visited.

I especially enjoyed the 3-mile hike through the canyons with my dad and the three Cleve Crew boys. Gorgeous.

Lastly, we spent time at Capitol Reef.

These pictures are from various stops/houses along the way. It was very nice to spend the evenings all together at whichever home we had rented for the night.

Pictures can never do this trip justice. It was incredible. So thankful we were able to make it happen!

*I may do another post with a few of Ethan’s pictures since he captured some fun ones and I didn’t grab them, yet.

Early July

Mikey and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on the first of this month. When we took a selfie at the top of the mountain we climbed as a family that day, it reminded us both of the selfie we took on one of our 14ers that we used on our wedding day for people to sign. We’ve been climbing mountains and having other fun adventures together for 18 years already!

We hiked Chief Mountain – a 3 mile hike with spectacular views about 45 minutes from our house I think. It was absolutely fabulous – enough work that felt good, but not exhausting. =)