Florida

Mike needed to spend a week in India, so we scheduled his trip to coincide with our Spring Break from CC so that the boys and I could fly to Florida.  Obviously, much changed since the day we made our plans.  Mike flew to London (without any wi-fi on his flight) and found out when he arrived that India had closed its borders and he would need to fly back to Denver.  Meanwhile, the boys and I had already landed in Florida to spend time with my parents.

Our week there started much like we had hoped, with various plans in place, but we slowly took more activities off our agenda when it became apparent that we needed to practice social distancing.

We had a wonderful time there.  It had been years since our last trip to Florida and we hadn’t seen their condo, yet.  Micah was struck by how much Florida was like a jungle/rain forest.  Ethan was enamored with the opportunities to take lots of pictures with his Grandpa.

Some condo highlights included lots of time reading, scootering, and playing in the pool, as well as piano-playing, game-playing (milestone alert – Ethan and I played our first games of scrabble), worksheet-making, and picture-editing.

Some outside of the condo highlights included the rodeo, the beach, a boys’ only kayak trip, my Dad’s band concert, and lots of walks to see wildlife.  The boys took a bunch of great pictures, which we will hopefully eventually do a post about on here.  My dad taught them how to edit them, which was a fun new skill for them.

Obviously, time with our family (and the fun overlap with Mr. Rick!) are the things we cherished the most.  Thanks for hosting us so graciously during a strange and uncertain time!!

Christmas in Wisconsin

The last bit of our trip was spent at my parents’ house with my siblings, their spouses, and their kiddos.  We had a great time!

Over those days and nights together, we cooked and ate a lot of yummy food, went out for dinner, and celebrated Lauren’s birthday with some cake:

Opened a few presents and played with legos:

Played a lot of games:

Read a lot of books:

Had general fun all together, including art projects, playing in the snow, learning about heaven with Grandma, watching the Packers game, playing piano, and taking little cat naps:

And, of course, took some group shots, including the annual picture of cousins.  This year they were all wearing shirts based on books.

It was wonderful. =D

 

 

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!

Mike & Micah’s One-on-One Trip

Not long after we returned home, it was time for each of us to head in different directions.  Ethan went on his 10-year-old-trip-with-grandpa-and-grandma to Philadelphia.  I traveled to Atlanta to help my sister at her trade show and got to see family and friends there, too.  Meanwhile, Mike and Micah had their one-on-one trip for the year.

They had one day at home before heading out:

They first flew down to Phoenix so that Micah could spend a day with Grandma Cleve.  Since Ethan and I were gone for such a long time, Mike wanted to make sure Micah had some extra fun, even though a one-on-one trip with him is typically only a long weekend.  Micah had developed an awful rash prior to the trip, but it sadly grew worse over time.  Apparently, though, he was not one to complain about it even though it looked pretty miserable.  He loved his special day with Grandma Cleve, particularly going mini-golfing in the dark!

The following morning, the guys grabbed breakfast with Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A and then were off on their adventure to San Diego.

Day 1 – traveling to San Diego and enjoying the hotel, cool car, and the beach:

Day 2 – Sea World

These two had a wonderful time together.  It was remarkable to me to see how much growth Micah experienced when comparing this trip to the one he took last year with Mike.  Such a difference a year can make!