Since then…

Some school pictures from last week:

The boys are getting more interested in running these days.  They each did a run during the day – Ethan 1 mile and Micah .5 miles.  It was really sweet to see them riding alongside each other on their bikes shouting words of encouragement.

We take quite a few walks as a family in the evenings.  If you know Mike well, you’ll know that they always include a ball.

We went out to Conifer for a hike over the weekend.  It was a beautiful hike and required us to dig deep and push ourselves. =D

The weeks before school started…

We really tried to soak up some family time before the rush of the school year began.  Here are some pictures from around the house/neighborhood.

We also did a timed mile run at the park.  Micah and Mike ran a half mile together and then Mike finished his mile while Micah rested.  Micah ran without stopping, which impressed us all.  Then Ethan and I headed out for our mile run and he beat me by a good minute – such a stud!

We took the boys to Red Rocks for their first concert.  We got to see Chris Tomlin, which was a fun treat.

We attended our second Practicum.  As the Director for our CC community, I needed to attend trainings on both Foundations tutoring and Essentials tutoring.  Micah absolutely loved this – he wore matching shirts with some guys in his little gang for most, if not all, of the days.  One of my dearest friends joined our CC community this year, so we attended Practicum together!

We went on a family bike ride out towards Mel and Joel’s house.  The hope is that we will do it again and make it all the way there.  As it turns out, biking with my family is one of my very favorite things to do.  The boys knocked off quite a few more miles towards their summer biking goal that day.

Also, I celebrated my 35th birthday!  My hope had been to ride 35 miles that day, so I started the day with a long ride with the boys around the Cherry Creek Reservoir.  Both boys reached their 100 mile for the summer goal on this ride. Then later that evening I went out alone and raced the sun and rain, losing my battle and requiring a pick up by Mike and Micah.

We celebrated a friend’s birthday at a cool Ninja gym:

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Mike and the boys played golf one of the weekends and I walked along.

The boys got bank accounts, played a lot of legos, took some more bike rides, and brought in their Bookies summer reading contest.  Micah wrote me a sweet encouraging note when I was having a rough day, so I had to include that in here.

Meagen graduated with her Masters in engineering (or something like that) and invited me to her graduation.  SO proud of her!!!

Mike and I snuck away for a date to see Mumford and Sons at Fiddlers Green again.

And, finally, I had an idea to put some rewards in a jar that I could use throughout the year whenever I needed to motivate the boys.  We are all pretty jazzed about it. =)

Next up: the school year begins!

Home again, home again

We loved all of the traveling and seeing people, but it’s always good to get back home.  On our drive back I saw this sign in a gas station and it sums up our feelings about travel so well:

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We soaked up time together for the next two weeks or so before we were all back to traveling.  In this time, the boys did a lot of playing with legos, Mike and I celebrated our 13 year anniversary, we did some biking and charting of our miles from the previous month, and the boys read books outside.

We also celebrated the 4th of July with our longest family bike ride yet.  We rode on the Cherry Creek Trail and I was so full of joy!  Dream come true right there.  There was a lot of hail that evening, so we didn’t see too many fireworks.

Finally, we had the privilege of providing respite care for two sweet little guys.  Can’t show you any pictures here, but suffice it to say we had a busy weekend with them!

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. =)