CA Road Trip, Pt 1: Reunion

Aunt Ticia (Grandpa Russ’ sister) organized the Cleveland Reunion and hosted us graciously for the weekend.  We stayed with Mike’s Dad and siblings (and their families) at a hotel near her home, but spent most of our days and evenings at her home for food, fellowship and lots of pool time!  It was so much fun! The boys absolutely loved getting to know their cousins (technically second cousins once removed or something?!  I can’t remember the term) and playing in the pool.  And I met some people I had never met before, too, so that was a treat!!

Some of the boys enjoyed giving performances on their various instruments.  E played a few songs on the piano and T played some on the saxophone.  It was fun to allow them all to do a little showing off for us. =)  E also was making up some songs with AJ, who plays the guitar.

And we took a few posed pictures of various groups:

We were so glad to join in on the fun this weekend.  It was great!  Thanks, Aunt Ticia, for organizing and hosting us all.  We sure loved being with you again!!

Eagle Lake Camp

We’re going back in time by about a month now…last month Ethan participated in Eagle Lake Camp for a week in the neighborhood by our church.  It’s a Christian day camp our church sponsors with a couple other churches in that neighborhood.  Micah had no interest in attending, but E had a great time (aside from the final day of camp which he did not attend and I am “over” talking about it by now…suffice it to say that he has a whole lotta his mama in him and can be quite intimidated by new experiences and is also very stubborn)!  He did lots of activities throughout the week, but his favorite was probably playing ga-ga ball a whole bunch. =)

We walked by cousin, James, every day and said hey to him. =)  Famous!

Meanwhile, Micah and I enjoyed our week flying solo.  We had a couple playdates scheduled, but also spent some time at home playing and running errands.  He grabbed my phone and snuck a picture of his friend and also one of me and one of my friend talking while we were holding babies and it just makes my heart happy to see my life through his eyes.

We love Minnesota…

You betcha, folks, we love this state.  The boys and I had the opportunity to travel with Mikey for one of his work trips to Minnesota and we had a great time.  (We planned it in conjunction with our 5th annual trip with the Maurer crew, but more on that in another post.)  We traveled out on Monday night and then the boys and I enjoyed various adventures during the week while Daddio worked.  We even met up with him a couple times during the work day for lunches and quick hellos.

Travel pics


  • breakfast at the hotel and time at the library
  • lunch in the park with Daddio and his co-worker (and his fam)
  • exploring the city (Guthrie Theatre)
  • time at the hotel pool (the boys’ reaction to getting to go swimming is priceless, isn’t it??)
  • dinner with another co-worker (and his son) with ice cream to follow



  • Science Museum of St. Paul (highly recommend it!!!) and dinner with more co-workers and their families (no pics of that one)


  • time with my dear friend, a former roommate from college


  • delicious dinner and walk by Lake Calhoun


  • tunnel exploration from our hotel to the US Bank Stadium

…that afternoon we met up with the Maurer crew.  More on that in the next post.

We really had a lot of fun exploring this new city.  I imagine we’ll be back again; it was so much fun!!  And hopefully I’ll snag some of Ethan’s pictures so you can see the vacation from his eyes. =D

Father’s Day!

We love our Daddio and enjoy finding little ways to spoil him.  On his special day, he woke up to cinnamon buns and coffee.  We enjoyed a lovely service at church (there’s a picture of Micah with his buddy afterwards) and then went out for sushi with cousin Caleb.  He was flying solo at church since his fam was camping that weekend and he had to work, so we were pumped to have him join us!  Afterwards, we spent some time at a pool nearby with some friends from church.  It was a great day!

We’re super thankful for this guy.  =D  Happy Father’s Day!

A Weekend with Grandma Cleve

Now that we’re just a quick flight away from Grandma Cleve again and Ashley and Zach live here, we’ve gotten to see her more often!  She came out this past weekend to celebrate Mike’s birthday and to see everyone.  We had a short, but very sweet visit with her!

We went out for breakfast at Whole Foods on Saturday morning and then went to Mount Falcon for a little hike with Ashley.  We stopped at their apartment for a little swim and to show Grandma Cleve their new home.  That evening we had Reggie over for dinner to celebrate Mikey.  We cherish any time we get with that man!

On Sunday, we went to church and then met up with Ace and Zach for a birthday lunch in the Highlands.  The food was delicious and it had a pretty fun vibe!  We walked around a bit downtown afterwards and then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening at our house talking and playing games.  It was a lovely way to spend Mikey’s birthday!


Thanks for making another trip out to see all of us!  See you soon!


Our (4th) annual trip with Cass and her family was scheduled to be in Omaha this year.  For whatever reason, we didn’t really realize how close that was to Grandpa Russ.  Anyway, when we figured it out it seemed like such a shame to miss out on the opportunity to see him.  We discussed extending our trip and seeing him on the back end of the trip, but we had VBS scheduled for that week and I didn’t want the boys to miss out on the first few days.  SO, that very night we packed up and headed his direction.  We made it a few hours that night, stopped at a hotel, and then I drove the rest of the way the following morning so that Mike could work a full day.  We aren’t always quite that spontaneous, but we are so very glad we were this time!  Thanks, Grandpa Russ, for hosting us so last minute!!  We had a great time!

Roadtrip time:

The boys loved playing in the pool…

…and were absolutely enamored with his dogs, Duke and Calvin.

Thank you, again, for hosting us at the very last minute!  We are so glad we could spend some time with you, even if it was brief!


Our time in Flagstaff was lovely.  We were able to spend time with lots of our family, visit a bunch of cool sites (including more National Parks/Monuments), and celebrate Ashley’s graduation!  We could not have asked for better weather and I don’t think we could have squeezed any more fun into those few days!

Friday: We went to Walnut Canyon in the morning with Grandma Cleve and Ashley.  The path we had intended to hike was closed for the month, but we still were able to do a short little hike and see the views.  We read a sign that mentioned mountain lions and coyotes and whatnot so we took the opportunity to quiz the boys about what they should do if they ever ran across one.  We agreed that throwing rocks and being big and loud was a good idea, so Micah proceeded to stuff rocks in his pockets for the remainder of the hike and told us that he would protect those of us who did not have rocks. His shorts were nearly on the ground by the time we finished. =D

Mikey and I decided to take pictures like we were jumping off the canyon.  One of us has more physical ability than the other…we could not stop laughing at my “jump”.

That afternoon, we headed to NAU for Ashley’s pinning ceremony.  We had never been to one of those before and it was neat to see!  The boys did a nice job sitting still.  Micah enjoyed being dressed, “sharp!”  He now loves to tell me that I’m looking sharp today…he even told me that the other day when I hadn’t showered and was still in my pjs, so I’m not sure he fully understands the compliment. =D

After the ceremony, a group of us headed to Sunset Crater Volcano.  One car headed home after checking it out to get dinner ready and we continued on to Wupatki National Park (another checkmark in our book! woot!) with Grandpa Russ.

Saturday: A group of us headed out to play disc golf that morning.  We had a great time and beautiful weather again.  Micah played most of the course all the way through, which is definitely a first for him!  When we got back, we had another delicious lunch (thanks to Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A for all of their preparation!).  Everyone headed to the graduation that afternoon, except our family and Grandpa Russ and Great Granny A.  We got ready for the party that evening. =)

Mikey made this awesome video of Micah playing disc golf:

Our hotel worked out wonderfully, but I didn’t take a lot of pictures of our time there.  Here are the only pics I took there:

We absolutely loved our trip to Arizona to be with our family!  I’ll do another separate post about our adventures driving home. =)