Part 3: Minnesota

Mike had a meeting in Minnesota early Tuesday morning, so I opted to stay in Wisconsin for one more night and then drive solo with the boys the following day.  We had an uneventful trip and finished another book or two.

We spent under a week in Minnesota.  The main attraction was to see the wedding of Mike’s friend and co-worker on Saturday.  One day, per the boys’ request, we explored the skyways.  This included going to the library and participating in their reading challenges. We also spent some time at the pool and visiting Daddio’s work.  Another day, we had the chance to go for a bike ride around one of the beautiful lakes there.  A pending storm really ruined the atmosphere for the boys who really didn’t like the idea of being caught in the rain.

On Saturday, we spent time exploring an outdoor art museum and then went to the wedding celebration.

We really enjoy Minneapolis so much.  Short, but oh so sweet.

Part 2: Wisconsin

We stayed in Wisconsin at my parents’ house (most of that time they were off gallivanting with my sister and her family in Europe, so you won’t see many pictures of any of them) for the next two and a half weeks.  Part of that time Mike was in Minneapolis, but most of it he was also in Wisconsin working from home.  The highlights are too many to count on this portion of the trip, but I especially loved being near my brother and his family to spend every-day-life time with them.

We’ll start with pictures from the first few days while my parents were still in town:

Jen and J gave Ethan the birthday gift of going to Hamilton in Chicago with them.  He did a little preparing for it.  And then I drove down and babysat Salina while they went to the show.  We left the following morning after a little time with the family.  Ethan had a great time and now added two songs from the show to his playlist.

Meanwhile:

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We had a lot of FUN hang out time with the cousins (time at the house, walks, zoo, baseball game, lots of games, and bike races – “Go, Bikes, Go!!!”) :

And we did a few things on our own as a family, like golfing and biking (family met us at the beach after one such ride).  Micah and I also went on a hike on our own one day.  And we visited the lighthouse where Mike’s grandpa used to live and work:

I took the boys on a couple little excursions – Jelly Belly tour and Mars Cheese Castle – and also went on a number of bike rides:

We also really enjoyed getting to see our extended family.  We spent a day at Petrifying Springs with Uncle Brad, Aunt Sal, and cousin Luke (along with my brother’s family, of course!!).  It was fabulous!  Aunt Sal also came by another day to let Micah take Eli for a walk!

Each year we plan a trip with the Maurer clan and this summer was no different, except that they had just had their third sweet baby girl, so we opted for something a little easier.  We spent two days with them at my parents’ house, just soaking up time together and catching up.  It was really fun to see the kids connecting again!  Sadly, we forgot to take a whole group shot!!

We LOVED our time in Wisconsin!  So thankful that we got to spend so much time with the people that we love!

Part 1: Michigan

We spent the majority of June on the road visiting various midwest favorites: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri.  We started by driving to Michigan for my cousins’ wedding.

We’ve found our rhythm for road trips: I drive and listen to audiobooks with the boys (finished Penderwicks in Spring and Hatchet on this portion), while Mike works (and apparently sometimes naps when his schedule allows).  He does all the directions, getting gas, and deciding on food.  It works well!

We arrived in Michigan before the rest of the family, so we enjoyed a quiet evening with my grandpa which was definitely a highlight for me.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had hours of chatting with only him like that.  Such a gift.  This was Ethan’s last night as a 9 year old, so I took some pictures of our evening.  The boys are still working towards their goal of reading aloud for ten minutes for 275 days of the year (I think that’s the goal…I should have written it down somewhere!!).

The following day we celebrated Ethan’s birthday a bit and went to the wedding.  I have a few favorite memories from that day: Eddie dancing with Ger at dinner, Abe and Ivan crushing the dance floor with their moves, and Ivan calling Aunt Dawn a princess when he saw her waiting to greet us, Salina giving kisses to Micah, all the boys teasing Uncle Brad, etc. etc. It was a fun day!

The following day we went to church and then had a picnic in the park.

After the fun, we drove to Wisconsin for the next part of our trip.  Michigan was short, but very sweet!

Before the big trip…

Just thought I’d do a quick “catch all” post from before our midwestern tour during the month of June.

Brothers hanging around the house together.

We had a random snow storm right after my Dad left, so we had to have some hot chocolate and treats since it was May and snowing! =)

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We finished another year of school and I managed to take end of year pictures to compare. Woot.

I went to my cousin’s graduation from High School (he was 10 months old, I think, when I first came out to Colorado for college!) and got some pictures of some of the brothers celebrating. =).

Family bike ride to a favorite park a couple miles away:

A couple birthday parties and a play date during which I got in some snuggle time:

Next up: travels to the midwest.

Grandpa’s Visit

Mikey had a long business trip in India back in May, so we requested to have my parents come out to help and keep us company.  My Mom was busy with a wedding shower and some family time, but my Dad was up for it!  The boys and I were SO thankful to have him.  He was a great help, but also just fun to have around!

We spent most of our time outside doing various activities (biking, scootering, playing sports, etc.).  We can thank my Dad for sparking a biking fire in Micah.  Now that he feels confident, he can’t get enough of it:

We did spend some time playing games, looking at my Dad’s pictures, and eating yummy food:

We visited the Rocky Mountain Arsenal:

Grandpa got to watch a soccer game of Ethan’s and took some great shots of that.  Those of you from my side of the family may have seen those in a dropbox email recently, so I’m just posting a few.  (Sadly, Micah’s football game was cancelled due to rain.)

We also got out for a nice hike:

Thanks, Dad, for coming out!!  We sure loved having you!  You are a gift.

Random Catch All Post

And finally, in an attempt to officially catch up to this past week when my Dad was in town, a post of random updates.

My aunt Sally was in town visiting her sister (and us) and the boys were thrilled.  They could not get enough of her!  She came over for dinner one evening and the boys were asking all.day.long “when will she get here?!?”

This was Micah making some apple dip before her visit:

On Mother’s Day we went to church and then headed over to see Matthew as Simba in The Lion King.  SO cool!  This was our favorite of his plays thus far.  He did a great job!  That evening we headed out to one of my favorite spots for a picnic, but we found that it was quite changed now that there are fences everywhere.  It was still beautiful and I was thrilled to have some pictures of me and those sweet boys of ours.

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Wrapping up the school year

We’ve had a sort of bizarre wrap up to our school year.  We still have a few things to finish before I can officially say we’re on summer break, but we’ve definitely lowered the intensity of our workload already.  We had to hit it pretty hard in April, so May has been a slower pace.  We also often do various school-related things throughout the summer, so I’m okay with a more calm ending to the school year.  But I haven’t taken any official final day of school pics. haha!

Ethan had his first standardized tests and did really well on them.  He took them with a bunch of other CC peeps at our church, so that helped to make it a good first experience for him.  Meanwhile, Micah and I went over to a nearby rec center and did school there. Afterwards they all played basketball and ate lunch together.

We had our final day at CBS and Micah “sang” with the kids at the opening.  We also had our final lunch with cousin Matthew before he starts school at DC in the fall.  They had their final piano lesson together recently, too. It’s been SO much fun being with them every week.

The boys earned two new books for their read aloud challenge – they read EVERY day of the month of April for at least ten minutes each.

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And we had our end of the year party with CC.  We celebrated all that they learned and did a little showing off by singing the timeline.  This was also the evening that my new role as the Director at CC began – pretty overwhelming and exciting all at the same time.  Mike wasn’t in town, so I only got the picture of the memory master gang (featured in a previous post) and this one of Micah’s class.

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