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!

More Attempts to Catch Up

Other happenings from the past months include our very first opportunity to provide respite care.  I can’t give details here or show any pictures of our sweetie pie’s face, but suffice it to say, we had a wonderful time.  I’m including some pictures from what we did that weekend (we had him with us for four days), as a reminder to myself.  As soon as he left our home, Micah commented on how much he missed him and how our home didn’t feel normal anymore.  Having three boys was lovely and we were thankful for the opportunity and looking forward to more to come in the future!

Here are some other pictures from various adventures over the months of April and May.  My friend and I were discussing diagramming sentences after church and Mike thought it was hilarious.  The boys are VERY into all things related to coins these days.  We’ve been intentional to make sure the boys have quality time with Daddio during his time at home, so we had an adventure at Top Golf and also have been going for walks and playing at the park.

Attempts to Catch Up

I have apparently lagged WAY behind in my posting.  I’ll have to do a broad sweep of a few post updates so that we can get caught up again!

Kiwi Crates (I’m getting to the point of being over these, but every time they arrive the boys are thrilled!  I just want to enjoy them for a month and then not have boxes lying around the house…sigh):

We had our dear missionary friends over for dinner while they were in town.  You’ll recognize them as friends we stayed with when we were in Germany.  It was SO good to catch up with them again and to hear how the Lord is on the move in their lives.  It was also lots of fun to recall funny memories from our early days of dating and marriage as they were mentors of ours from the beginning of our dating lives. =)

Here are some shots from every day life around here.  They include quite a few pictures of boys reading out loud (still doing their Read Aloud Challenge every month this year) to various people.

And a few from homeschooling, including pictures of Ethan working on his big Faces and Places presentation about Alexander the Great.  He had to read his 5 paragraph essay in front of the community and he did a great job!  You’ll also see some pictures of the boys either reading or listening to books because we’ve started a new habit of reading for 20 minutes any day that Daddio is out of town.  It gives me a little break and shows them that reading is an important and fun part of all of our days. =)

More to come in this whirlwind update of the past two months.

Pacific Coast Highway, Part 2

Day 4: We spent most of this day driving the beautiful coastline and making various stops to gawk and take pictures.

Day 5: We needed a day at the park and at the beach after our day of driving.  Ethan tried hollandaise sauce for the first time and I committed to trying to make some this year!

Day 6:  We spent this day doing a little more driving and then visiting my cousin, Caleb, at college.  Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures.  Oops.  We were engaged in good conversation and sight seeing at Biola.  So much fun to see him there!

Thankful for the gift of vacations with this crew, even when attitudes don’t match the beautiful scenery all the time. 😉

Pacific Coast Highway, Part 1

Over our Spring Break we opted for a 5 day trip to drive the Pacific Coast Highway – starting in Santa Cruz and ending in LA.  I had no idea what to expect as Mike is our trip advisor, planner, and researcher and I do very little prep for these excursions other than to pack everyone. =). Anyway,  he did a wonderful job organizing another fun trip for us.  We will want to do more of this drive someday – the sights were unreal!

Day One: early morning flight, a stop at Apple (where Micah lost another tooth) and Google and then a late night swim with Daddio

Day Two: we took a walk to the beach in Santa Cruz and explored that pier and saw seals before heading onward to Monterey where we played at the beach and then had the very best clam chowder ever for dinner.  We also saw otters at dinner!

Day Three: Monterey Aquarium, 17 Mile Drive and Pebble Beach

I’ll do the final two days in a separate post.  There are a lot of beautiful pictures of this coastline. =)

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. =)