Butterfly Pavilion

As promised, here are some pictures from our field trip to the Butterfly Pavilion.  We stopped in there before heading to the fair trade conference to see Jen and J.  Both boys held Rosie, the tarantula.  Micah had done so once before, but this was Ethan’s first time. We learned a new fact – no one has ever died because of a tarantula, but there have been 3 known deaths from hamsters.  =D

Micah took most of the pictures (or requested them) this day.  He likes to find beautiful things to capture which makes me smile.

Micah had a beautiful butterfly land on his head!  So fun!

And, lastly, we’re pointing to the fair trade conference from where we were at the Butterfly Pavilion:

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My Retreat

This past weekend my dear friend, Amy, and I went on our third retreat to the mountains.  We laughed a lot, prayed a lot, and hiked even more!  In total, we probably hiked a good 6+ hours throughout the weekend.  We hiked for at least 4 hours on Saturday before it was even time to eat lunch!  =)  It’s refreshing to spend time with a dear friend in a beautiful place doing some of the things I most enjoy – hiking, reading, journaling and painting!

This year, we spent our retreat at Glen Eyrie.  You’ve heard me mention this place before – Amy and I went to a tea there in January and I went to our church women’s retreat there before that!  It’s a beautiful spot and you’re almost sure to see big horn sheep, deer and wild turkeys.  From there, we even hiked into the Garden of the Gods park, but we found that being around people after hiking for hours without seeing anyone was really not for us. =)

Here are some pictures from our lovely retreat:

Meanwhile at home, Ethan gave piano lessons and the guys did a whole lotta wrestling.  I also hear they played another game of Risk Legacy and now we have mutants with which to contend.  E said, “I can’t wait to play this with Uncle Ger – he’s going to be so surprised at all of the changes in the game!”

HUGE thanks to Mikey for being so gracious.  He was supportive and encouraging of this which helped me to have a guilt-free vacation away to refresh!!

Grandma Cleve’s Visit, Part 2

We spent the afternoon/evening on Wednesday with Ashley and Caleb.  We got our usual picture of GC and the grandkids.  It’s such a fun tradition!  We’ve got at least 3 now. =)

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On Thursday, GC joined us at Classical Conversations.  It was such a treat for us to have her with us!  She sat in on both of the classes for a bit.  Unfortunately with all the moving around between classrooms, she didn’t end up seeing either presentation.  I believe Micah presented on the first line of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the tin whistle and Ethan did a presentation on various coins / money.

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We spent the afternoon playing Dominos, among other things.  Thanks for bringing this new game out to us and teaching us!

Grandma Cleve joined us at PE+ on Friday.  The boys played football afterwards again.  Ethan began learning division with remainders – a difficult task!  And that evening I had the pleasure of going to see Jen Hatmaker and Nichole Nordeman at their Moxie Matters tour.  It was absolutely lovely!  She’s such a treat to hear speak and she had so many important insights to make.  I was so thankful for the opportunity.

Saturday was our final day with GC.  We spent it opening an early birthday present for Micah (yay!) and driving through the mountains.  We had lunch in Boulder and walked through a cool bookstore there.  We stopped in Nederland to show GC where Mike proposed and took a quick sand-in-the-mouth-from-the-crazy-wind picture and then headed back in the car for more exploring.  We also took her to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal where we saw a lot of deer and some buffalo far in the distance.  It got too dark, too quickly for pictures, but it was nice to show her (and Mike) the arsenal since they had never been.

Thanks for making the trip again, Grandma Cleve!  We sure enjoyed having you!!

Grandma Cleve’s Visit, Part 1

Grandma Cleve came for another visit last week – splitting her time at Ashley and Zach’s and our house!  We had her for a day and a half at the beginning of her trip and then she finished her time at our house, too.

On Saturday, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion.  We had never been before and she spoiled us with a membership so we’ll be going there a few more times before the year is done. =D  Micah was our brave guy who held Rosie, the tarantula!  It was lots of fun to see all of the butterflies, to dig for worms and to look at their little aquarium.  It’s a really neat place and we’re excited to go back again!  Grandma Cleve almost became a part of the exhibit there when a gorgeous butterfly landed on her leg and stayed with her for the next 10+ minutes! =)

That afternoon we went to Ikea to start a super big project…switch the boys’s room and the school room.  We got the boys bunk beds and Grandma Cleve and Mike worked on that for much of the rest of Saturday.  Thankful that GC is so helpful with assembling Ikea furniture.  She’s helped us with quite a few projects like this one over the years.  Such an exciting time!  Although, I would be lying if I said I never shed any tears over this.  How did the boys get so big?!

After church on Sunday, we had a relaxing afternoon at our house and then headed over to Ashley and Zach’s to celebrate Caleb’s first birthday!  SO much fun!

Can’t believe he’s already one!  It feels like just yesterday that we were celebrating our own little boys’ first birthdays… The days are long, but the years are SHORT.

Grandma Cleve stayed with Caleb and his parents until Wednesday afternoon when she came back to stay with us until Saturday night.  I’ll do a separate post for that and for the things we did in the meantime. =)

Daily Life

Just wanted to post about some of the regular occurrences around our home.

You can find the boys writing letters to cousins (and others) or working on codes together often.  Mike and I received lots of such letters, including some money for “being such great parents”.  Ike and Matthew are also common recipients of their notes.

Ethan is obsessed with playing the piano.  He cannot get enough of it.  He asks to play “Piano Maestro” every single day and plays through his various songs randomly throughout the day.  He can even be found teaching Micah how to play “Hot Cross Buns” on occasion, a sight that warms my heart!  Micah has pretty good rhythm and has requested a bongo or other type drum for his birthday this year.  We’re thinking this could be a fun instrument to add to our house full of music, so he just might get this wish. =)

You can also find the boys doing various “opportunities” around the house.  Some weeks they are all about this.  Others, not so much.  Micah is pretty good at unloading the dishwasher for me in the mornings. =)

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You’ll find us enjoying the great outdoors often around here.  We moved back to Colorado in part due to the incredible weather.  I absolutely LOVE that we can have snow one day and then 76 degree temperatures the same week!  We take our homeschooling outside as often as we can – reading outside or going for bike rides.  I went for a Packers victory walk and snapped some pictures of the green and gold on Sunday…and on Monday we had inches of snow on the ground and a bunch of tree branches falling down around the neighborhood.

Naturally we had hot chocolate after the boys played in the snow.  We enjoyed a special Indian treat Mike had brought home from his work trip – delicious!

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We’ve got loads of books we are reading and want to be reading in the future!  We are listening to a super fun audiobook, “By the Great Horn Spoon” (about the Gold Rush) and reading the Imagination Station 3-part series on the Revolutionary War.  I’m personally reading “The Scarlet Letter” and “Of Mess and Moxie” and enjoying both immensely.

We discovered a new series we’d like to try: Dear America Books.  The library only has a couple of them, so they might be fun Christmas gifts (for those of you who ask about ideas – they are on thriftbooks.com and we are particularly interested in the Underground Railroad books).  I mention it on here also because a lot of us share book recommendations and this seemed to be an easy place to record it.  =)

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And here are a couple pictures from CC this week.  Ethan did his presentation on the “Living History” field trip we did.  Micah was in his own classroom for his presentation, but he brought with him the things he made with Grandpa – the blowgun and the boat.  I hear he did a very nice job talking about both.

Summer Fun!

Summer has only just begun around here, but we’ve been having a blast.  Summer means lots of bike riding, playing at the park, homemade popsicles, play dates, gardening (thanks for the seeds to plant, Grandpa Russ!) and walks as a family.  Here’s a glimpse at our fun thus far:

Summer also means fun indoors with legos (sans shirts more often than not) and movie nights.  We absolutely LOVED listening to the audiobook of “The Tale of Despereaux” and enjoyed watching the movie of it afterwards.  Again, book is better than movie.  (Disclaimer: book is a bit dark, but beautifully written and with a good overall message)

Our boys have formed a band called, “Cleveland Brothers” and they sing hits like, “When I was in Indonesia” and “Dancing in the bathroom” and “Pants in the Playroom”.  For their sakes, I will only include a couple pictures of their cute concert:

We also got to celebrate a very special graduate, cousin Caleb!  We love this guy so much!

Memorial Day pics to come…

Grandpa and Grandma’s Visit

About a month ago, Micah called Grandpa and Grandma and asked them to “please come to our home as soon as you get back from Florida!”  They were all too happy to oblige and scheduled a visit soon thereafter.  We were excited to host them again!

Grandma made the boys new royal capes.  I still haven’t snapped a picture of Ethan in his, but here’s Micah in his!  Thanks, Grandma!

We had typical Colorado weather – 80s one day, snowstorm the next.  Unfortunately that meant the soccer games were rescheduled and we had a couple of mostly indoors days.  That didn’t stop the fun, though!  We read books, played games, built creations and played computer games.  And my Dad did various projects around the house – such a blessing!

We spent one day at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge with some of our cousins.  We loved it!

It was a lovely day and we saw lots of animals – various birds, bison, coyote, deer, prairie dogs and a bull snake.  Pictures of said animals are clearly taken by my Dad (as are all of the extremely well focused, sharp pics in this post)!

We spent a whole lot of time outside doing yard work.  My parents definitely did the brunt of it and made such huge improvements in the space!  We are so thankful for all of the work they did and for making it so much fun!!

Among other things that I am forgetting to mention, we went to our cousins’ musical, “Fiddler on the Roof”.  They were great and we had second row seats to all the action!

We loved having Grandpa and Grandma here to visit.  Thanks for all of the help, the fun, and the company!  Already looking forward to August. =D