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+).

Random Happenings

You know this family is all about the book reading by now, right?  This summer we are doing a few reading challenges.  Each boy is working on reading/listening to about 30 books for their at-home challenge.  For this one, they are coloring the posters I made for them.  Ethan is also working through a challenge given by a local bookstore.  Originally he was just going to do 5 books for that to fill out this bingo sheet, but he decided to try for every book to *hopefully* win a $50 gift card to the store.  This one is causing him to read some different books than he would normally pick out.  Also, both boys are doing a reading challenge put on by our library.  It’s basically reading at least 8 books and doing a few activities (i.e. making a creation, playing a new game).

Side note: I also included a mini picture of my goodreads goal for the year.  I had set it for 40 books (knowing that a lot would be kids novels), but I reached the goal in June.  So, I’ve made my new goal 75 by the end of the year! =)  This should make my parents feel really good since they have been hoping I would like to read one day… 😉

Mike and I are hoping that if we start doing lots of ridiculous dab moves, the boys will find it super weird and stop doing it.  It’s not working…

We had the opportunity to meet my friend’s new baby, Zion.  He’s absolutely darling and Micah LOVES to hold him.  Fun side note – my parents got to meet him a good week before we did because Gina stayed in their condo in Florida during the adoption process…waiting to be allowed back in Colorado. =)

I stained my table box and I love it.  Thanks again, Dad!

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Ethan got his staples removed on Sunday.  He was nervous, but it didn’t end up hurting too badly!

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And Micah circled all of our ages…and that’s whenI realized Mike is turning 35 this year!!

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Last, but not least, we have baby bunnies running around the neighborhood and I want one for my pet.  One got a little confused when we were outside watching it and it actually ran across my foot.  I restrained myself from grabbing it and taking it inside with us.

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Micah and Mom Weekend

Micah and I had the opportunity to spend a whole weekend together and let me tell you, he had some plans for us!  We decided to make a list of the things we’d like to do one the weekend while the other guys were camping with a church group.  We crossed everything off our list by the end of the weekend!

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There is one draw back to making a list with my guy.  He didn’t want to do anything unless it was written on the list, so we really had to tread carefully all weekend to be sure we were only doing things listed.  And, after something was off the list, but we still had time to spare, we were in a bit of a predicament.

Here are some pictures from our weekend around the house:

And here are a few from our 4 mile bike ride.   The bike ride was quite exciting and I know some of you have already heard about it.  Let’s suffice it to say that he had a few falls (always jumping right back up again) and one of them ended poorly with a very, very flat tire.

Loved spending time with this guy for our weekend solo!  We were both glad to have the other guys back again, but I sure enjoy Micah’s company!

Ethan turns 9!

They say the days are long, but the years are short.  That’s exactly how this season of my life has been.  Feels like Ethan was born only days ago, but the lego Micah put on his ice cream cake says he’s 9!  Because he left on his birthday for his first cadet campout, we celebrated a bit the day before and a bit the morning of his special day.  He requested Greek-style turkey burgers for dinner, ham and cheese buns for lunch, and pancakes for breakfast.  He also wanted an ice cream cake.

He loved all of his awesome birthday gifts, videos, and cards.  He was pretty thrilled by everything, as you can see:

Micah gets VERY excited to give gifts to people.  He was the one asking if it was time for Ethan to open a present every other day.  E preferred to wait until his birthday, but Micah could hardly contain his excitement about giving his gifts: lego sets (one that had previously been a share set, and now he wanted to give it to just Ethan; one that we bought at the store for him); pictures and gum.

We’re super proud of the young man Ethan is becoming.  He’s kind, smart and super hard-working.  We appreciate the leader he is around the house and what a good big brother he is.  And I especially love to play games with him!  Love this guy so much!  =D

Grandpa & Grandma Here

We were thrilled to have my parents out for a visit for our first week of summer.  We timed it well in that they were able to keep us company while Daddio traveled, were able to see (and help at) Ethan’s field day, were able to watch his (and cousin Matthew’s) final piano recital of the year, and were around to celebrate Pentecost with us at Auntie Mel’s first (annual?!) Pentecost party.  Needless to say, we had a lovely week together.  There are lots of pictures to capture our time together, so I’ll let them do the talking.

We were pretty excited to host them.  Each boy wanted to make a welcome sign.  None of us quite understand why Micah’s sign says “only downstairs”, but at least there were lots of hearts on it. =)

This post will just feature time spent at and around our house.  Ethan played a lot of piano, sometimes with Grandma.  Micah learned how to ride his bike without training wheels with Grandpa.  We all played lots of games together in various pairs/groups.

We also had picnics on my new-to-us picnic table, watched whatever horse race was happening that weekend, watched Micah’s magic show and listened to Grandma read a couple of chapter books to us  (the last picture just shows them coloring in their summer reading charts).

As usual, my parents did all kinds of helpful projects around the house – things they assure me they enjoy doing when they visit.  We did a lot of gardening and backyard clean up.  My dad made me a beautiful table box.  My mom made us all new pillow covers.  And there were lots of other little projects here and there, too, like hanging our patio lights and reinforcing the stair guardrail.  I’m no doubt forgetting lots of things, but these projects are SO appreciated!!

And here are some of my Dad’s pictures from in and around the house over the week.  I always like to keep his pics separate from mine since they are so much better and deserve a little cred. =D

In the next posts, I’ll highlight some of our out-of-the-house-activities. =)

Last week of school

Our final week of Kindergarten and 2nd grade was May 7-11.  It ended up being rather anticlimactic because I was originally planning for the 18th to be our final day, but then I realized we could hustle and get done with a few things before my parents even arrived and just relax when they got here…so we went with that!

We finished strong with some time outside, completing math books, and getting our reading posters ready for the summer.  I drew them for the boys and then had them outline them with black marker.  We went a little smaller this year so that we could actually finish the posters by the time school starts again next fall!

And we went out for lunch with Daddio to celebrate our last day of school:

I’ll do another post with final pictures / comparison to the start of the year. =)