CA Road Trip, Pt 4: Lake Tahoe

By Saturday morning, we were ready to leave Yosemite.  The crowds really increased by then!  We drove about 6 hours to get to Lake Tahoe, although I think there may have been a shorter route.  In fact, we had told the boys that it would be about 3.5 hours.  Here’s how you know your kiddos like road trips…they didn’t even notice that we nearly doubled the trip.  They were more concerned with whether or not we’d finish another book before we arrived. =)  So much fun!

Anyway, Lake Tahoe is gorgeous.  We absolutely loved seeing mountains and a huge lake together.  It was a good mix of the two things Mikey and I love the most in our landscapes – water and mountains.  We celebrated our 12-year anniversary here with some tasty sushi and lots of time on the water.

One day all three guys spent many hours on our stand-up paddle board.  I spent most of that time reading “The Help” – a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while now and happened to be at the airbnb where we stayed.  They LOVED it!

The following day we spent the day on a motor boat.  We saw some marked differences in the boys – Ethan likes to take it slow and steady; Micah wants to go as fast as possible.  Both boys enjoyed driving the boat, under great supervision from Mikey.  They both attempted to go tubing, but ended up in the water before even getting a ride.  We lost one Dodger hat to the water and almost lost the other one.  All in all, though, we had a super lovely day.  Ethan later decided he not only has a fear of heights, he has a fear of depths (this has a technical name: thalassophobia).  The deep water of Lake Tahoe was enough to give some bad dreams, but we all still look back on this part of the trip with a lot of fondness!  We’d LOVE to go back again sometime!

And just when we started missing home, it was time to head that way.  We took two days to drive home – stopping in Salt Lake City for the overnight.  We enjoyed seeing one of the Olympic parks the following morning and then were thrilled to get back home again.

The fabulous road trip of Summer 2018 was a great success!!

CA Roadtrip, Pt 3: Yosemite

After Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno as a staging time before we camped for 3 nights in Yosemite.  The boys enjoyed playing Legos and going shopping for some of the last minute purchases we needed to make.

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Then on Wednesday morning we headed to Yosemite.  It’s absolutely breath-taking.  It was much busier than Sequoia, but the crowds didn’t overwhelm us until we saw what the weekends were like, so by Saturday morning, we were ready to head out.  =)   The tunnel view – the first view of the valley – was stunning.

Highlights here included:

Camping and having s’mores every night,

hiking to Sentinel Dome (seriously, we highly recommend this!  It’s the second highest spot in the valley and the views are spectacular and it’s not too busy),

ice cream at Glacier Point,

biking through the valley (would highly recommend this, too, but wished we had our own bikes),

various little hikes to see beautiful spots in Yosemite,

and rafting down the river (also, have some grace, this was after 3 nights of camping and no showers…. :P).

Yosemite was lovely.  We will definitely return some day!!

CA Road Trip, Pt 2: Sequoia National Park

On Sunday afternoon, we said our goodbyes and headed to Sequoia National Park until Wednesday.  This part of the world is so beautiful and unlike any other place we’ve been. We were in awe of the huge trees and enjoyed some lovely hikes in the area.  Pictures tell more about the experience than words can, but pictures do not do it justice.

Moro Rock Trail was incredible.  Some of us went further on the hike than others of us, thus more pictures of said somebodies. =)

Here are some more shots from Sequoia, including a super lovely hike we did to a waterfall.

Before moving onward to Yosemite, we explored a bit of Kings Canyon National Park.  You really can’t grasp how large these trees are unless you walk among them.  They are so out-of-this-world.

We especially enjoyed the views, teeny hike and snack at Panoramic Point:

Up Next: After Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno to prepare for our camping adventure in Yosemite.

CA Road Trip, Pt 1: Reunion

Aunt Ticia (Grandpa Russ’ sister) organized the Cleveland Reunion and hosted us graciously for the weekend.  We stayed with Mike’s Dad and siblings (and their families) at a hotel near her home, but spent most of our days and evenings at her home for food, fellowship and lots of pool time!  It was so much fun! The boys absolutely loved getting to know their cousins (technically second cousins once removed or something?!  I can’t remember the term) and playing in the pool.  And I met some people I had never met before, too, so that was a treat!!

Some of the boys enjoyed giving performances on their various instruments.  E played a few songs on the piano and T played some on the saxophone.  It was fun to allow them all to do a little showing off for us. =)  E also was making up some songs with AJ, who plays the guitar.

And we took a few posed pictures of various groups:

We were so glad to join in on the fun this weekend.  It was great!  Thanks, Aunt Ticia, for organizing and hosting us all.  We sure loved being with you again!!

California ROAD Trip

I LOVE road trips.  I just do.  So when we learned about the Cleveland reunion happening in southern California, it’s not surprising that I suggested we drive to it.  But, of course, to drive to California is no small feat.  We decided to expand that trip into a longer vacation to see Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.  As usual, Mike did an excellent job charting out our trip.  (Honestly, if he didn’t love his job so much I’d encourage him to be a travel guide of some sort – building awesome trips for people!  He’s got serious talent!)

One of the things I love most about road trips is listening to audiobooks with the boys.  It’s an added bonus when Mike listens, too.  Thankfully, this is something the boys love, too.  In fact, every time we hopped in the car the request was made, “can we start our book now?” even throughout the trip when we would just have a 5 minute drive somewhere, they always asked. =)  I’ll include the list of books we finished when I get to the end of the trip posts – stay tuned.

Mike worked for part of the trip, mostly on the longer driving days, which worked out well because then I drive and we listen to audiobooks while he uses noise-cancelling headphones and works away…and occasionally takes a little nap.  I gave Ethan my phone to snap a couple of pictures on the road, but mostly he used his own camera to take pictures of the changing landscape.

We often make a stop at Subway along the way.  This always makes me think of my Grandpa.  We did a lot of traveling with my grandparents growing up and I was always on the lookout for Subway because it was my favorite restaurant as a kid. =)  He would joke that if there was a Subway on our route, I would surely spot it for us!

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We stayed the night in Las Vegas (that was my first…and maybe last??…time there – way too hot and way too *insert big eyes here*! I did see a Barry Manilow billboard which made me laugh right out thinking about Jennie’s a-mazing impressions of him) before finishing the drive to the LA area for the reunion.  We stopped at one of our favorite places for breakfast/lunch on the drive and then we were ready for some family time!

Next up: Cleveland family reunion!

Other Updates

Wanted to share some pictures of life before we went on our California road trip.

The boys have been plugging away at reading books and completing their various charts.  Ethan finished all 30 (I think) books to get entered into a local bookstore’s raffle for a $50 gift certificate.  They told us he was the first person to enter into the drawing, so that was pretty exciting.  We’ll find out about that at the end of August, but in the meantime, it was a nice challenge and forced us to read outside of usual categories. =)

The boys are often found looking through Lego directions for the next Lego set they might like to buy.  They also spend a whole lotta time chatting about Legos and playing with them.

We celebrated Father’s Day with lunch at our friends’ house along with another family from church.  It was lots of fun.  No pictures, sorry.  And then that evening, Mikey went to a Dispatch concert with his bestie. =)

The boys and I went on a super fun hike with some friends from church.  It was a gorgeous hike and, after climbing a bunch of stairs, offered spectacular views!

Weather around here is crazy.  One day boys are eating popsicles on the back porch, the next day we’re experiencing a massive hail storm.  We saved the hail to show Daddio when he got back from his trip, but I’m pretty sure we still have it.

And, lastly, after we cleaned the house and got all packed up for the road trip, the boys were enjoying doing some of the art things I got for the trip.  Micah is using coloring crayons for a “stained glass” picture and Ethan is doing a “paint by sticker” page (which I highly recommend for those of you who do a lot of read-aloud in your families…but I would say they are better for kids 6+).

Eagle Lake Camp

We’re going back in time by about a month now…last month Ethan participated in Eagle Lake Camp for a week in the neighborhood by our church.  It’s a Christian day camp our church sponsors with a couple other churches in that neighborhood.  Micah had no interest in attending, but E had a great time (aside from the final day of camp which he did not attend and I am “over” talking about it by now…suffice it to say that he has a whole lotta his mama in him and can be quite intimidated by new experiences and is also very stubborn)!  He did lots of activities throughout the week, but his favorite was probably playing ga-ga ball a whole bunch. =)

We walked by cousin, James, every day and said hey to him. =)  Famous!

Meanwhile, Micah and I enjoyed our week flying solo.  We had a couple playdates scheduled, but also spent some time at home playing and running errands.  He grabbed my phone and snuck a picture of his friend and also one of me and one of my friend talking while we were holding babies and it just makes my heart happy to see my life through his eyes.