Part 3: Minnesota

Mike had a meeting in Minnesota early Tuesday morning, so I opted to stay in Wisconsin for one more night and then drive solo with the boys the following day.  We had an uneventful trip and finished another book or two.

We spent under a week in Minnesota.  The main attraction was to see the wedding of Mike’s friend and co-worker on Saturday.  One day, per the boys’ request, we explored the skyways.  This included going to the library and participating in their reading challenges. We also spent some time at the pool and visiting Daddio’s work.  Another day, we had the chance to go for a bike ride around one of the beautiful lakes there.  A pending storm really ruined the atmosphere for the boys who really didn’t like the idea of being caught in the rain.

On Saturday, we spent time exploring an outdoor art museum and then went to the wedding celebration.

We really enjoy Minneapolis so much.  Short, but oh so sweet.

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!

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. =)

January Updates

This year we had one of the talented mamas in our CC community take pictures of each kiddo for our year book.  She also took class pictures.  These pictures were taken a while ago, but I just noticed them in our shared folder recently.

I also found this gem of the boys in Essentials (the afternoon part of our CC day):

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On MLK day, we went downtown to see our first hockey game.  This was a Christmas gift from Grandpa Russ – thank you, again!!

Here are some pictures from schooling at home.  It’s tough to get back into the swing of things after a long break, but we padded the month with lots of good books and plenty o’ breaks. =) Mike joined us for an art class one morning – Micah was the teacher.

We also had a few snowstorms, so that meant some recesses were spent sledding.  One of those days Mike drove by on his way somewhere and snapped a picture – that’s why you see me featured in the one. =). Also, Ethan lost another tooth on the hill!

Other happenings include enjoying Christmas gifts – puzzles and 3D puzzles – and the purchase of Micah’s new favorite hat that will be featured in many pictures from now on it appears.

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 3 Michigan

The next stop on our tour was Michigan, where we met up with the extended family (even from as far away as New Zealand!).  This was our first year staying at cabins on Lake Michigan and I think we all loved it!  It was wonderful to see everyone and spend time hiking, eating, playing games and opening gifts together.  Lots of fun memories were made, as usual.

My Dad took some lovely family portraits:

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Hiking the sand dunes by Lake Michigan:

General Michigan merriment:

Photo cred for all of the nicest shots goes to my Dad, as usual. =)

Next up: Wisconsin

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 1 Minnesota

We drove to Minnesota in two days, stopping over night in Nebraska.  You know it’s not a road trip without mentioning our audiobooks!  We enjoyed listening to “The Last Battle” all together on that drive and also finished a Magic Tree House book.  We started a fantastic series called, “The Wilderking Series” – in fact, it was probably my favorite read of the year!

The boys and I spent only a couple days there before continuing on to Wisconsin and then to Michigan on our own. Mike stayed in Minnesota for work until Friday when he met us in Michigan.  We spent our time exploring the “tubes”, coloring at Mike’s office, playing games and working out at the hotel.

Next Up: a brief layover in Wisconsin