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.

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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See You Laters

Mike’s sister and her family moved to Georgia at the beginning of this month, so much of April was spent trying to soak up some time with them.  We had a few dinners together and they were able to come watch one of Ethan’s soccer games.  We also had Caleb sleep over so that Ashley could get a bunch of cleaning done more easily around their place.  We loved all the time with them!

It was a pleasure to have a few years living in the same city and we were really bummed to see them go.  But we’re hopeful and prayerful that they will really enjoy Atlanta and the adventures that await them there.

Guess what I don’t like.  Coming up with titles for every post I write.  I just don’t have any clever way of saying, “here’s what we have been doing lately”.  So maybe I’ll just quit having titles. =)

Here are some every day shots from around the house:

A couple weekends ago, I was able to get away on my bi-annual retreat with my dear friend, Amy.  Time with her is time well-spent and I don’t get much of it, so we really treasure these get aways.  We spent the weekend in Glen Eyrie again and were glad we chose to do so because there was another big storm that weekend and traveling into the mountains would not have been much fun.  We spent some time hiking and a lot of time sitting by the fire chatting and reading good books.  We both went home feeling thankful and refreshed!

The night before I left on my retreat I hosted the tutors from CC for our final tutor training session.  The boys went out for dinner with Daddio and were discovered snuggled up when I went to check on them after my friends had left.

Ethan and Mike spent a morning together this past weekend.  They had breakfast together and then met our friends’ new baby boy after getting cleats for soccer.

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We also soaked up some family time (sadly missing Zach due to a cold) this weekend.  Love having these guys in town…even if it is only for a couple more months.

Other recent happenings include (1) Ethan starting his soccer season.  We are trying a new league and he’s playing with a bunch of kids who go to the same school and have played together before.  We were thrilled to discover another guy who is also homeschooled (AND in CC at a different community) joined the team this season, too.  They didn’t even know about their connection until after the practice was done when we mamas shared the news to them. And (2) Micah had a play date with a friend from CC and he was thrilled when she arrived.

As you know, Denver experiences extremes in weather.  We had beautiful weather for time at the park playing soccer, tennis, playing at the playground and having a chilly picnic.

And not long after, we had a winter storm!  The boys and I spent hours outside building forts.  I fed them their lunch and hot chocolate in their forts.  They also listened to our read-aloud from their forts.  Lots of fun!

Also, we celebrated Pi day. =)