After Michigan and our brief stop in Illinois, we settled down in Wisconsin again. Here we celebrated Christmas with opening presents, ate lots of good food, played games and read books and rung in the New Year. (We also spent time with Cass and Adam and their family, but I’ll do a separate post on that!)
Working on Grandpa’s new shirt:
Playing games, putting together presents, reading books, etc:
Lunch at Gerrit and Lauren’s home:
New Year’s Eve (the boys made it until 11 and then fell asleep watching home videos):
Obviously, we had a fantastic time in Wisconsin with our family! Thanks for hosting, Mom and Dad, even without a working kitchen! =)
On our way back to Wisconsin, we made our annual stop in Illinois. We stop there for dinner most years and to celebrate Lauren’s birthday!! Jennie had just moved her warehouse to a location closer to her home, so we all wanted to stop in and see that before heading to their home for pizza and dessert.
Thanks for hosting another fun evening at your home, Jen and J!
We spent Friday night through Monday morning in Wisconsin for this first visit. We enjoyed catching up with family, playing games, worshipping together, playing piano and the ukulele, building paper airplanes, playing outside with Grandpa and cousins, and running around with walkie talkies. I’m sure the list could go on and on. We had a fantastic time and my parents were fabulous hosts despite not having kitchen counters or a dishwasher/sink to wash dishes.
Next up…we drove on Christmas day to Michigan!
Photo cred goes to my dad for all of the good pics you see from Wisconsin, Illinois or Michigan. =)
We drove to Minneapolis the week before Christmas and spent a few days there. The boys are fantastic travelers, thankfully. They keep themselves busy with coloring, looking at books, and listening to audiobooks. And, of course, having tic tacs or gum all day long. =)
Mike worked while we were there, of course, so the boys and I kept ourselves occupied throughout the day. One day we spent exploring the “tubes”. We made it all the way to Mike’s office and had some kombucha on tap there and also grabbed some lunch with our guy.
Most of the rest of the time we hung around the hotel and played a lot of billiards. =) We also got in some “work outs”, drank hot chocolate, did some school and played some games. In retrospect, I would have scheduled another outing (like a children’s museum or something!), but the boys had seemed so content to hang at the hotel so we did that this time around. We also always had dinner with Mikey when he was done at the office.
The main reason we went to Minneapolis was to attend the family Christmas party. It was pretty fun and a really unique location! Ethan played at least 3 games of mini-golf on a cool course designed by various artists. Micah and I played a whole lot of arcade games from the 60s, like bowling and foos ball.
We had a great time in Minneapolis, but by Friday afternoon we were headed to Wisconsin for some family time!
Feel like you haven’t seen Mr. Cleve in a while? Me too! 😉 He’s been traveling – both for work and for pleasure – quite a bit lately. And he’s been having a lot of fun doing it. We are really thankful for his job and the flexibility it provides and also the challenge and excitement of doing something important and enjoyable. It’s been a big blessing in our life and we are thankful.
Two notable destinations –
San Diego for his annual guys’ trip…
…and the top of another 14er: Mount Huron.
Love this hard-working guy!
Side note – this girl wants to get in another 14er, too! =D
And finally, here are a few pictures from our trip back to the States:
We arrived on the evening of August 7. The following night Caleb came to help babysit the boys so Mom and Dad could go see and hear from our missionary friends serving in Germany (you’ll remember them from our trip there two years ago). Thanks for being available, Ace! Ethan also had the opportunity to go tubing behind Uncle Joel’s boat – he put together some Legos to demonstrate. Thanks for taking him out, Uncle! And, naturally, the boys are back to their usual archery.
The final days of our trip were spent on the island of Lokholmen, which was about a two-hour ferry ride outside of Stockholm. This was a very neat experience for us! The island was a fairly secluded spot and we absolutely loved the rustic, adventurous experience. Our friends planned a really fun evening for us – a crayfish party! (Check this out to get an idea of what we were going for: https://www.thelocal.se/20140807/swedish-crayfish-party) It was a blast! We also enjoyed the saunas and jumping into the Baltic Sea. We loved getting the privilege to have such unique and fun experiences. It was a true blessing to us to have these guys host us so well.
The following day was our final day and my birthday! I had the longest birthday ever, since it started in Sweden and ended in Denver…it lasted extra long! Mike and I had a breakfast date that morning (boys went to our friends’ house) and then we all enjoyed time at the park, my birthday cake (thanks, E, for making it for us!) before saying goodbyes and heading to the airport. Such a fun way to celebrate my birthday! Thanks, friends, for making it such a memorable one!!
We really enjoyed our time on the Scandinavian peninsula. Seeing our friends made it extra special for us and we were so thankful for that opportunity! Mike did a fantastic job planning it from start to finish and I am SO thankful for him!