6th Annual Trip

For our 6th annual trip with the Maurer family, we spent the weekend in Kansas City.  We are nearing (if we haven’t already reached it) the point when we will need to do some repeat locations, but this year was a new spot for us again.  We all enjoy spending time together and it’s been such a special treat to watch our children grow up together.

We usually spend a fair amount of time at the hotel just talking and playing.  We also all like parks and legos, so we fit in both of those activities this year.  A hike is often on all of our lists to do, but it was way too hot to spend much time outside that weekend.  We spent Friday night grabbing dinner out and playing at the hotel, Saturday out and about and Sunday back at the hotel before going our separate ways.

Here are some shots from around the hotel, including a few selfies the kids took (as requested) from their explorations around the hotel on their own.  Favorite memories include watching various plays of Piggie and Gerald books, watching all the kids try to catch the football with their elbows, sending messages/emojis/pictures with Ellie (mostly Mike and Ellie/Adam), and how sweet those girls are to my boys who want to show them their paint-by-sticker books and Legos.  Lots and lots of laughter!

Mute the video if you don’t want to hear my crazy loud laugh:

Pics from our dinners out:

Pics from the park, Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium:

All too soon it was time to say goodbye.  The kids hugged too quickly, so we missed any cute pics of that…but I snapped a couple of Mikey saying goodbye to some of his favorite girls!  We parents left exhausted, having stayed up until midnight or WAY later both evenings we had together.  We sure enjoyed spending time with this crew again!

Quick throwback of our group from just last summer and a link to all the previous years:

 

Summer Updates

I’m going to lump a bunch of summer pictures/stories into this post in an effort to catch up to present day updates quickly.

The boys each ended up getting much-needed (in my opinion, as Micah likes to remind me often) hair cuts.  Ethan went first and then after a day of seeing how great he looked, Micah was ready to cut his, too. =)

The day Micah got his haircut was a pretty big day for him.  He also had his front tooth pulled out and sealants put on two other teeth (that part was the least comfortable for him).  I had it in my head that he was going to be unconscious for all of this, which scared him plenty, but then it turned out that he just had the laughing gas and was perfectly wide awake and aware the whole time.  He was incredibly brave and held my hand the whole time (except apparently when I gave my phone to Ethan to take a picture), with little tears running down his cheeks for part of it.

We love spending time at our park.  The sprinklers are loads of fun to run through, the hills are fun to scooter, and it’s fascinating to see how much the big storms transform the whole park.

We’ve had some fun playdates – most don’t have pictures.

We’ve been reading lots of books and finishing lots of paint-by-stickers.

We attended the annual CC Practicum.  Micah went to one day of his Geo Draw class, but then opted to pay me back for the other day of classes, rather than attending any more. Sigh.  Last year, you may recall, he didn’t attend any days…so I guess that’s progress. 😉  Thankfully, he sits quietly for hours and hours while I attend the trainings so I really can’t complain.  Ethan participated in his first Latin camp with the older class and seemed to have lots of fun!  We saw him for lunch, but he sat with friends and played sports with them the whole break!  It was fun to watch him running around with the guys.

We built a Lego display bookshelf for the boys’ room:

Ethan had a summer piano lesson and Micah and I enjoyed exploring in a creek nearby:

And the boys “built” a table outside for snacks and “poison-making”.

The Rockstar Band

Because Mike was out of town for his big 35th birthday, we sent him a birthday song video (see below) and that began a beautiful, although short-lived, thing in our home: The Rockstar Band.

The boys decided to form a band and play concerts for people over the next week.  We did an online concert, we invited some friends over for a couple, and we had two neighbor families over for an afternoon concert, too.  Their concert for our neighbors was the best, in my opinion, as they had to invite them over on their own and then they did an excellent job thanking them for coming, giving out treats and introducing each song.  They both had a lot of fun and showed great poise.  Fun to see!

Hopefully now that Micah will be starting drum lessons in the fall, this was just the first few of many concerts to come!!

While Mom is away…

…the boys get to play!  But before I get to my bi-annual trip to Atlanta to help my sister with her trade show, I wanted to show a couple pictures from our pseudo one-on-one we squeezed in between our arrival back home and my trip to ATL.  Mike and Ethan went to the dentist and then joined up with some of Mike’s friends for golf league.  E kept score and hit a few balls here and there, too.  He had a great time and we were reminded, again, how sweet our friends are and what a blessing they are to our whole family.

While they were out, Micah and I enjoyed playing Legos and played a bunch of games.

The following day, I headed to Atlanta.  It’s always such a pleasure to go there and help Jennie.  I’m super proud of her and her company and the work she does in Kenya, so it’s a “cause” I like to support.  But it’s also fun just to spend time with her and interact with her friends.  AND, I get the added bonus of seeing some of my friends, too, although this time I only was able to get together with my former neighbor and didn’t even take a picture. =/  Check out that de-licious veggie plate I ordered…it was incredible and I’m pretty sure corn is the main ingredient in fritos.  Also, there was chili on top of my fritos because AWESOME!!!

I compiled this from all of the previous trade shows I’ve attended with Jen:

5C8A4EDF-4B36-47EE-83EB-6261E53070CE

Meanwhile, the boys had a lot of fun at home with Daddio.  Milestone alert: they had their first sleepover at cousins’ house!  They had a great time over there and were definitely tired when they were back home again.  It was excellent timing – super helpful for Mike to get good days of work in without disruption!  They also went to a Rockies game with Reggie and his grandson and then to the Rapids game (discounted tickets due to the reading program at the library) the following evening.  AND, they managed to get Micah a new hat (recall that his former hat is at the bottom of Lake Tahoe), a new/used bike for him (recall the bike accident that ruined his previous bike), and new/used clubs for Ethan.  Whew!  What a week!

This guy…we sure love him!!

Home, Sweet Home

We had a fantastic road trip, but we were all definitely glad to be home again.  I especially loved updating our various charts and changing our calendars.  Simple pleasures.  It doesn’t take much over here. =)

We listened to 8 audiobooks on the trip.  I’ve included a list here with some thoughts since I know some of you like that. =)

  1. Penderwicks (LOVE this book! It’s sweet and probably more geared towards girls, but it’s lots of fun)
  2. Stuart Little
  3. Alvin Ho Book 1 (the audiobooks are extra funny)
  4. Alvin Ho Book 2
  5. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (Book 2: The Hidden Gallery) (LOVE this series, but it’s best to do the audiobook…I think the boys would like it even more in a few years, but they are really laughing hard throughout it and the mystery is lots of fun)
  6. The Horse and His Boy (CS Lewis – can’t go wrong!  It’s a good stand alone book)
  7. The Secret School
  8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

We also added our miles from the bike ride through Yosemite:

IMG_3019

We really got into doing paint-by-stickers, something I had heard about at CC and also in the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, on our trip.  The boys LOVE doing them, especially when I read to them or they are listening to a book.  I am buying as many of these books as possible.  I would say that Micah started these with SO much frustration that he almost gave up, but now he can’t get enough of them.  So maybe start them at age 6 or 7…

We’ve caught up with some of our buddies – I don’t always get pictures, but I did snap a couple during some of the more recent ones.

Aunt Ashley and I started date night swaps, finally!  I had the pleasure of watching Caleb at their place  and she watched the boys here another night.  This is such a gift to all of us!!

And we were able to go to another concert for cousin, Matthew.  It rained at this one, so I didn’t end up taking any pics while we were there…but I did get this one of us walking  to it.  It was lots of fun to hear his band playing at a beautiful park.

IMG_3025

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.

IMG_2803

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!!