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.

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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!!

California ROAD Trip

I LOVE road trips.  I just do.  So when we learned about the Cleveland reunion happening in southern California, it’s not surprising that I suggested we drive to it.  But, of course, to drive to California is no small feat.  We decided to expand that trip into a longer vacation to see Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.  As usual, Mike did an excellent job charting out our trip.  (Honestly, if he didn’t love his job so much I’d encourage him to be a travel guide of some sort – building awesome trips for people!  He’s got serious talent!)

One of the things I love most about road trips is listening to audiobooks with the boys.  It’s an added bonus when Mike listens, too.  Thankfully, this is something the boys love, too.  In fact, every time we hopped in the car the request was made, “can we start our book now?” even throughout the trip when we would just have a 5 minute drive somewhere, they always asked. =)  I’ll include the list of books we finished when I get to the end of the trip posts – stay tuned.

Mike worked for part of the trip, mostly on the longer driving days, which worked out well because then I drive and we listen to audiobooks while he uses noise-cancelling headphones and works away…and occasionally takes a little nap.  I gave Ethan my phone to snap a couple of pictures on the road, but mostly he used his own camera to take pictures of the changing landscape.

We often make a stop at Subway along the way.  This always makes me think of my Grandpa.  We did a lot of traveling with my grandparents growing up and I was always on the lookout for Subway because it was my favorite restaurant as a kid. =)  He would joke that if there was a Subway on our route, I would surely spot it for us!

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We stayed the night in Las Vegas (that was my first…and maybe last??…time there – way too hot and way too *insert big eyes here*! I did see a Barry Manilow billboard which made me laugh right out thinking about Jennie’s a-mazing impressions of him) before finishing the drive to the LA area for the reunion.  We stopped at one of our favorite places for breakfast/lunch on the drive and then we were ready for some family time!

Next up: Cleveland family reunion!

Other Updates

Wanted to share some pictures of life before we went on our California road trip.

The boys have been plugging away at reading books and completing their various charts.  Ethan finished all 30 (I think) books to get entered into a local bookstore’s raffle for a $50 gift certificate.  They told us he was the first person to enter into the drawing, so that was pretty exciting.  We’ll find out about that at the end of August, but in the meantime, it was a nice challenge and forced us to read outside of usual categories. =)

The boys are often found looking through Lego directions for the next Lego set they might like to buy.  They also spend a whole lotta time chatting about Legos and playing with them.

We celebrated Father’s Day with lunch at our friends’ house along with another family from church.  It was lots of fun.  No pictures, sorry.  And then that evening, Mikey went to a Dispatch concert with his bestie. =)

The boys and I went on a super fun hike with some friends from church.  It was a gorgeous hike and, after climbing a bunch of stairs, offered spectacular views!

Weather around here is crazy.  One day boys are eating popsicles on the back porch, the next day we’re experiencing a massive hail storm.  We saved the hail to show Daddio when he got back from his trip, but I’m pretty sure we still have it.

And, lastly, after we cleaned the house and got all packed up for the road trip, the boys were enjoying doing some of the art things I got for the trip.  Micah is using coloring crayons for a “stained glass” picture and Ethan is doing a “paint by sticker” page (which I highly recommend for those of you who do a lot of read-aloud in your families…but I would say they are better for kids 6+).

Grandpa & Grandma Here

We were thrilled to have my parents out for a visit for our first week of summer.  We timed it well in that they were able to keep us company while Daddio traveled, were able to see (and help at) Ethan’s field day, were able to watch his (and cousin Matthew’s) final piano recital of the year, and were around to celebrate Pentecost with us at Auntie Mel’s first (annual?!) Pentecost party.  Needless to say, we had a lovely week together.  There are lots of pictures to capture our time together, so I’ll let them do the talking.

We were pretty excited to host them.  Each boy wanted to make a welcome sign.  None of us quite understand why Micah’s sign says “only downstairs”, but at least there were lots of hearts on it. =)

This post will just feature time spent at and around our house.  Ethan played a lot of piano, sometimes with Grandma.  Micah learned how to ride his bike without training wheels with Grandpa.  We all played lots of games together in various pairs/groups.

We also had picnics on my new-to-us picnic table, watched whatever horse race was happening that weekend, watched Micah’s magic show and listened to Grandma read a couple of chapter books to us  (the last picture just shows them coloring in their summer reading charts).

As usual, my parents did all kinds of helpful projects around the house – things they assure me they enjoy doing when they visit.  We did a lot of gardening and backyard clean up.  My dad made me a beautiful table box.  My mom made us all new pillow covers.  And there were lots of other little projects here and there, too, like hanging our patio lights and reinforcing the stair guardrail.  I’m no doubt forgetting lots of things, but these projects are SO appreciated!!

And here are some of my Dad’s pictures from in and around the house over the week.  I always like to keep his pics separate from mine since they are so much better and deserve a little cred. =D

In the next posts, I’ll highlight some of our out-of-the-house-activities. =)

Field Trips

You know we are nearing the end of the school year when you see lots of field trips popping up!  We actually completed our state requirements a couple weeks ago already, but I have a few things we want to finish before the end of our school year next week.  So these field trips have just been chances to get together with other families or to see/do things that seemed like fun. =)

We went with a bunch of CC families to see the Dead Sea Scrolls a couple weeks ago.  I think I got the most out of this one, but I took a very casual approach to this day – allowing them to explore the things that most interested them and not forcing too much reading.  It’s a cool exhibit, for sure, but it’s a lot of reading and that’s not very attention-grabbing for our boys right now. 😉

Over the weekend, Daddio joined us at Living History.  We had done this with my parents at the beginning of the year, too, but this time the boys got to build their own muskets.  They were pretty thrilled about doing that.

The next week, we celebrated reaching our reading goals for the month with cheese-in-the-crust pizza at the library.  We love stopping at pizza hut before heading over for a library visit and just eating outside.  And I told the boys about how I remember when cheese-in-the-crust commercials started and how they always showed the kids eating from the crust first.  So we took some pictures to recreate that. =D

We also went to the Celestial Seasonings tour in Boulder with some CC friends.  Sadly, they were in the middle of inventory, so we didn’t get to see the machines working on the tour, but it was still really interesting!  The boys mostly enjoyed seeing friends and drinking lots of tea.

 

The Js in town!

We were thrilled with the timing and location of the Fair Trade Conference this year – the week before Easter and in Westminster, CO.  This is a conference that Aunt Jennie often attends.  Naturally, we were pretty vocal in our desires to have her out for the conference and for the weekend afterwards.  The best part of this was when Jen and J became parents through the beautiful and arduous process of adoption just 5 weeks prior…which meant that all three of them could come out and we’d have to chance to meet Baby Girl and enjoy their company over Easter!  It was wonderful and we were SO thankful that they were brave first-time parents flying across the country with our sweet niece/cousin!

We saw them briefly for dinner on Monday night at our home before they headed north for the conference.  Then we drove up to see the fair trade expo, to help out a bit and to grab dinner with them on Wednesday evening.  And by Thursday night, they were back by us for the long weekend!

I would simply LOVE to show you Baby Girl’s darling face, but that will have to wait for a few more months… Suffice it to say, she’s beautiful and loves to be snuggled!!  Micah and I took turns snuggling her a whole bunch – I think I may have even finished a book during their visit. =)

Monday Night dinner and hang out:

Wednesday at the fair trade conference (we did the butterfly pavilion while we were up there, but I’ll save that for another post):

On Thursday night, we enjoyed merging our two sides of the family together.  Grandma Cleve was in town helping Ashley and Zach to move so we were thrilled to get to have dinner all together (sadly, minus Zach)!

Other highlights from the weekend together included some workouts in the park, walks, bike rides, making paper airplanes, playing memory/matching, reading books, going to church and out for ice cream, enjoying Easter dinner at the Jonker home, and Jen, J and Mike floating (*milestone for Jen and J) while I got the chance to babysit Baby Girl!  Oh, and I can’t forget laughing while the boys fed Aunt Jennie her Good Friday meal while holding Baby Girl!  We sure had a lot of fun hosting these guys!

Thanks for honoring us by having your first flight with Baby Girl be out to Colorado to see us!  We were so excited to have you all with us again!  Both boys expressed their desire to have you live in town after you left.  =)