The week bookended by GC

Just wanted to fill in the gaps from my previous post.  While Grandma Cleve was with the Bertilson family, we had a busy week at home.  Mike was in Minnesota, enjoying a balmy -48 degrees or something.  It was pretty crazy.  I saw a meme that indicated it was colder in Minneapolis than Antarctica that day!  Meanwhile, we enjoyed a snow day on Monday.  And my cousin, Meredith, came over to play in the snow.  It was a HUGE treat to all of us!

Check out how awesome she is:

Tuesday was a rough day.  But no one wants to hear the woes of homeschool life.  Micah did have the chance to take Bailey on a walk in the snow that afternoon – he’s getting ready for his potential job this summer of walking neighborhood dogs.

On Wednesday we had our usual day, except that cousin Matthew invited Ethan over after piano lessons.  So Micah and I had the afternoon to ourselves until we picked him up before drum lessons.  It was pretty fun.  I snapped this picture of my red bush tea because I bought it on Amazon to drink while I listen to the audiobooks of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency…and then I found out that one of my favorite “celebrity-ish” people did the same thing!!  (Sarah McKenzie from the Read Aloud Revival podcast, if you must know =D) Great minds…

On Thursday and Friday evenings we were able to celebrate the boys’ reading out loud accomplishments for January.  They both read 25+ days out loud for 10 minutes!  Their self-selected rewards were a movie night with special snacks (Micah) and game night with special snacks (Ethan).  Lots of fun!  I guess we only took a picture of the movie night – we watched Prince Caspian.

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Solo-parenting in January

Both Mike and I did some solo-parenting already this month.  As I already mentioned, I traveled to Atlanta to help my sister with the trade show there.  I left on Wednesday afternoon and was back on Sunday early evening.  Micah and I made some overnight oats ahead of time so that their breakfasts would be easy!  I also assigned the boys various homeschool assignments and they spent both days finishing their lists.  One day I even got a text from Mike saying that the boys finished their assignments before their snack at 10 am!  They spent much of the rest of that day building legos while listening to an audiobook.  They also had a snowstorm and a lot of food delivered to the house! LOL.  I was glad to see that the boys had all gone sledding in the snow.

Here are a few fun pictures from my time in Atlanta!

We spent Sunday evening with Ashley and Zach so that we could *finally* meet Baby Joshua.  And then soaked up some Daddio time before his trip.

The following evening, Mike traveled to Minnesota.  The boys and I had a busy week!  We started the week with CC.  Then, Ethan got his eyes and teeth checked.  I got my eyes checked and my hair cut.  Both boys had lessons in piano and drums.  We had cadets and kids club and CBS.  And we had lots of school and fun in the meantime (especially drawing pictures).

While Mikey was out of town, we hosted cousin, Meredith from Michigan.  The boys were literally jumping up and down at the prospect of having her over and have been asking every day since if she could come back. =)

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 5 Missouri

The boys and I drove to Missouri on New Year’s day.  We met Mike at his dad’s house as he had flown to Minnesota for a wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Again, our travels were smooth and we enjoyed some audiobooks (Matilda and the second book in the Wilderking Series that we loved so much).  We loved spending time with Grandpa Russ (and his two dogs) for a few days before heading home.  Some highlights included shooting BB guns for the first time, taking the dogs on recons with Grandpa Russ and playing lots of games.  The boys also started their January challenge of reading out loud every day for 10 minutes – it’s been a huge success and lots of fun!

We loved our annual tour of the Midwest.  It was wonderful to spend time with our family and friends.  What a gift to vacation/mostly-vacation for 20 days over the holidays!  Hopefully it’s not something we take for granted!!  Thanks for celebrating with us, all you Midwesterners. =)

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 2 Wisconsin (the first time)

The boys and I spent a couple days in Wisconsin before heading to the next destination of Michigan for the extended family gathering.  We enjoyed lots of time with family – baking, building block creations, teaching drawing lessons, building creations out of wood, bird-watching, reading books, playing piano…and probably plenty of other things that we didn’t capture in pictures. =)

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Also, Micah really enjoyed feeding Salina her bottle and did so at most opportunities.  They have a special connection.  After we left, Jennie told me that Salina was looking at her book with family pictures in it and she saw Micah’s picture and kissed it!

Among the very top of our highlights was  meeting Eddie for the first time!

Next up: Michigan!

Giving Gifts

We did our family gift exchange a night or two before heading out on our Midwestern tour.  And, honestly, the giving was so much better than the receiving for our crew this year.  It was lovely to see the generosity of the boys – they both made and bought gifts for everyone in the family with mostly their own money.  I had always heard about others doing this and that the kids enjoyed watching people open their gifts, but this was the first year it felt really, really true for our own family.  They enjoyed opening their gifts, but I think they were more excited about watching each person open the gift they had purchased and picked.

Ethan bought me a necklace and charm (from my sister’s company), a Colorado shirt for Mike (from the Global Bazaar) and a heart for Micah (from my sister’s company).

Micah got me soap (from the Global Bazaar), a couple used books and coupons for Mike, and various crafts/pictures for Ethan.

We got the boys each a game, a yo-yo, and some art supplies.  Later, we gave them each a book and book pajamas (more on that in another post).

That evening we also had some time to Skype with Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A.  The boys gave them a little show, too! =)

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Thanksgiving

Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year.  We love this tradition and enjoy having him with us so much.  The boys especially enjoy spending time outside with him, looking at and sorting through coins, and eating ice cream!  We went out for breakfast at the Original Pancake House one of the mornings he was here, too!  Here are some pictures from our time with him around our house:

Before he even arrived, we started our lists of things we for which we give thanks.  Micah’s first item was drum lessons.  Ethan’s was piano lessons.  They also did an acrostic and came up with another nice list.  Ethan worked on his first and then Micah joined in later…and when Micah got to “G” he shouted GOD!  Next thing I see, Ethan’s crossing off whatever he had written in the “G” and wrote God, too.  Ha!  Very cute to see him copying his younger brother for once. =)

We spent Thanksgiving day at Ashley and Zach’s place.  It was fun to spend the day all together.  We split the food up between the two of us and had a pretty fantastic feast, although some were heard “grumbling” about having ham instead of turkey this year.  Lots of sibling banter ensued.  The boys helped me with various parts of our half of the meal: cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and green bean casseroles.

That evening, E and I went for a walk around the park in the dark.  We got to talk to my Grandpa for his birthday and I snapped a few pictures of the lights.  I’ve been walking with this guy to see Christmas lights since he was 6 months old. =)

They came over to our place on Saturday for lasagna and more time together.  Our boys put on a very silly play for everyone.  It was lots of fun being together again before Grandpa Russ headed home the following morning.

Thanks for coming out, Grandpa Russ!  We sure loved having you!

Random November Updates

Two quick pictures of family to begin the month – 1) we sent our beloved Packers helmet onward and got a picture of Abe enjoying it! and 2) we celebrated Caleb’s 2nd birthday!

Mike was in India for work for a good chunk of November.  He had a great trip and really enjoyed being there.  We were so thankful that, while he came back feeling exhausted, he did not get sick!  He and one of the founders of phData had a layover in Paris for a day while waiting for their Visas to come through, so they enjoyed walking the city a bit!  Also, Mike bowled really well at their team-building activity and everyone was pretty proud of him for getting on the leader board for the month. =)

Meanwhile, at home…I did get sick for a couple days while he was gone.  The boys handled things incredibly well.  We had a little church service at home and even had Chipotle delivered to the house for the boys.  Ha!  Ethan still was able to go to see cousin Matthew’s play that day, but Micah wanted to stay home to make sure I’d be okay.

Thankfully whatever that sickness was didn’t last long!  We had a play date, went out for dinner with Reggie, and I did some painting.  We also re-instituted rest time for weeks when Mike is out of town and that really saved my sanity.  I just need little breaks so that I can be patient and joyful and not irritable and annoyed.  The boys have been rocking these rest times with paint by stickers, listening to story of the world, doing sudoku, etc..

Other updates for the month include both boys still enjoying their instruments:

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Sometimes the boys want to “play school” and I always find it very humorous.  Micah loves to be the teacher and Ethan absolutely LOVES spelling tests and asks for lots of words.

Hanson’s new CD came out and it’s great.  😉 And we continue to enjoy family night at church – Ethan does Cadets and I teach the kids club for the younger kiddos.  Micah has opted to stay in there with me and is my little helper.  And the guys love doing battles.

When Daddio comes back home from a trip, we often put pictures from our weeks up on the TV and tell stories to each other.

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