The bulk of our time with family was spent in the mountains. We ended up having pretty cold, rainy weather there, but we made the most of it. We played a lot of games, spent a lot of time in the hot tub, and went for some beautiful hikes. We definitely made some great memories!
Oh, and while we were there…Ethan got his birthday gift!
Thanks, again, for the making the trip! We LOVED having you!
My brother and his family came for a visit this summer. It was such a treat for all! We sandwiched our time in WinterPark with time at our home. We started by showing them a class at Krav Maga and ended with a trip to do some bouldering at our favorite gym. Highlights seemed to include a lot of music-making (including some created pieces), game-playing, and walks/work-outs. It was fun to see the various pairings and how well everyone got along.
I have some fun videos of various music performances and some bouldering feats. I may get to those some other day. =)
We drove our rental car back to Wisconsin to celebrate the rest of the holiday season there, with the exception of a one-night getaway to downtown Chicago as a foursome.
I’ll start with Chicago time, although it came a few days into our time back in Wisconsin. We gave a gift of experience to the boys – The Lion King! It was such a neat show. We would highly recommend it! We also enjoyed a lovely dinner out and took the long drive home along Lakeshore Drive. Garrett’s popcorn and Giordano’s pizza were also must-dos. We intended to stay for two nights, but we learned that E is not a fan of cities and there was a HUGE storm blowing in with very icy temps. We opted to get back to Racine!
Our time in Wisconsin was a sweet mix of quiet down time and busy fun with the rest of the family. My sister’s in-laws are in the city, too, so they spend a good chunk of time celebrating with them. My brother’s in-laws are in Michigan, so they spend a good chunk of time celebrating there with them. This means we have my folks to ourselves for a bit and then we cram in a bunch of fun when everyone is back together again.
We spent our time reading books, cooking, baking, playing games, worshipping at church (E and Grandma played a prelude together), and enjoying our annual Shepherd’s meal on Christmas Eve. I also took E to Wind Point Lighthouse for some birding.
And we had a lot of fun with everyone altogether, too. We got to watch Abe and Ivan in their school Christmas program. We did some decorating of cookies and gingerbread houses. We played loads of games, read books, ate lots of good food (including out at Sticky Rice for Christmas dinner) and opened gifts. We celebrated Auntie Lauren’s birthday over at Jen and Jason’s home. Jen took three boys out for a run and stopped at a museum along the way.
One of our highlights was racing around Racine doing a scavenger hunt. Aunt Lauren was the mastermind behind all of this fun and was the judge and receiver of many selfies from around town. Grandma, Mike and Ivan were the winners this year. Lots of fun!
Here’s a group pic of all of us. I suspect I’ll do another post when the fam does more of our picture-sharing. =)
A couple days (or maybe 24 hours?) after we got home from Brainard (enough time to do a little laundry and put away sleeping bags…), we boarded a plane (along with cousins, auntie, and uncle) to Pittsburgh for my cousin, Isaac’s, wedding. Isaac was a baby when I first moved out to Colorado to go to college. I guess some time has passed…
Anyway, the wedding fell over Ivan’s birthday and my own, so we got to do some celebrating with family for both. We spent the day before the wedding exploring Pittsburgh – going to a children’s museum, lunch, parks, doing the incline, having delicious milkshakes and then enjoying the Point State Park.
Saturday was filled with the wedding (a beautiful morning wedding):
My favorite part was probably hearing cousin Matthew sing while Mel and Isaac danced the mother-son dance. That kid is so talented.
And that evening there was an after-party of pizza and games at a hotel lobby for all of those who had traveled from afar to be there:
Sunday was my birthday and the day everyone headed home. We opted to have brunch at a famous Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives diner (HUGE thank you to Lauren for saving our place in line in the heat!) and then went our separate ways. We spent some time at the aviary and at the botanic gardens and then enjoyed a delicious taco dinner before heading to the airport. Much drama ensued at the airport, but we did eventually get home sometime after midnight.
We were only in Valdez for a quick evening before getting on the ferry to Seward. Our crew ate at “The Fat Mermaid” and loved watching bald eagles and baby bunnies all evening. I’m hopeful I can show some of Ethan’s pictures from that spot because they were pretty remarkable.
On Ethan’s special outing, he enjoyed another boat ride. He, Mike and Grandpa enjoyed birding from this boat for seven hours on Father’s Day.
We spent most of this trip out and about, but I did snap a few pictures at various homes we stayed in.
Other highlights included walking part of the first mile of the Iditarod trail, checking out the salmon run, exploring the wildlife sanctuary (and finally seeing bear!), playing at parks, going for a few different hikes, and (on our final day) taking a trolley ride. Our crew also especially liked breakfast out at a place we heard about from Diners, Dives and Drive-ins.