Christmas Week in Wisconsin

After our long weekend in Michigan (Monday), we headed back to Wisconsin for a quieter week with my parents. (By Friday, the whole family spent the remainder of our time together – that will be in a separate post)

On Monday night, we all decorated cookies.

We celebrated Christmas Eve with another Shepherd’s Meal outside by the fire.

On Christmas morning, Ethan played the prelude at church with Grandma and then played the postlude solo.  Then we had a yummy lunch with Brad and Sal.  The Misner crew surprised us with an earlier arrival that day, so we were excited to spend the day with them, too!  We decorated even more cookies with Aunt Sal.  These ones were very tasty.  =)

Other activities from that week included playing games, playing with Uncle Ger’s game pieces, and practicing piano.

^ Uncle David sent some awesome Legos to my parents house for Christmas, which also kept the boys very busy all week! ^

Christmas in Michigan

We flew to Wisconsin, rather than driving, this year.  The boys and I weren’t thrilled about it, as we cherish road trips, audiobooks, and we especially love getting to stop in to see Grandpa Russ on our way home.  On the day of our flight, my mom asked if we had left for the airport yet and this was my response from our uber:

Micah was my seat partner on the plane.  We spent some time listening to our separate audiobooks, but mostly talked and looked out the window.

We landed just in time to get to see Ivan’s Christmas program!  SO thankful we were there in time.  It was precious!

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The following day (well, it ended up being night due to drama with our rental car), we drove to Michigan to spend the weekend with our extended family.

Michigan was filled with enjoying time with our family at the retreat cabins.  It’s such a fun spot and allows for games, sports, hikes, good conversations and lots of yummy food.  I count on my Dad to capture our time together, so I didn’t take a lot of pictures.  But here’s what I took:

That picture of a bunch of people was from a hike I went on and we were laughing so hard about the “views”.  Let’s just say this hike was done for the company, not the views.  More pictures to come from my Dad’s camera.  Those will be much better. =D

Advent Activities

We enjoyed another fun and reflective Advent season.  This year we read “Ishtar’s Odyssey” which is a fictionalized story of what the magi may have experienced on their quest to find the newborn king.

Some of our favorite activities/activities that I took pictures of included:

  • Drinking hot cocoa while reading the Christmas story from the Bible
  • Family sleepover and Christmas movie
  • Christmas art class
  • Christmas lights drive
  • Picnic by the tree
  • Red and green meal
  • Darkest night meal by candlelight
  • White winter breakfast
  • Put up snowflakes
  • Sing in nursing home
  • Ice cream sundaes on Sunday
  • Decorate Christmas cookies
  • Shepherds Meal

For unto YOU a child is born!

Mama Retreats

My dear friend and I got to sneak away yet again for our refreshing semi-annual retreat. This is something we both cherish oh-so-much and is encouraging for our souls.  We retreated to Lake Dillon this time and enjoyed lots of time chatting and hiking and eating good food.  One of the biggest highlights for me was having delicious tea and watching the sunset behind the mountains and chatting the whole time.  As you know we don’t take a lot of pictures, but here’s what I got:

Meanwhile at home, Mike knows how to spoil these boys:

Ethan in Philadelphia

When each of their grandchildren turn ten, my parents hope to take them on a solo trip of their dreams.  Ethan is the first grandchild to get this privilege and he had a wonderful time!  He didn’t have to think for long about where he’d like to go with them; he opted for Philadelphia as soon as he learned about the trip.  He wanted to see the Liberty Bell, the Mint, Gettysburg, and Falling Waters.  He did all of that and more!  He and Grandpa kept journals for the trip, but pictures will tell the stories best on the blog.  He had a blast! =)

Here are some pictures from our brief morning in Wisconsin before heading back to home.

We are SO thankful that the boys have opportunities to see the world with people they adore.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking Ethan on this trip of a lifetime!  He will cherish these memories always.

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!