Alaska Adventures, Pt. 1

Our family vacation to Alaska was delayed for a couple of years (can you guess why?) and when the week of the adventure came around, our crew had to delay for a little longer yet as a couple of us were sick.

Day 1: When we finally met up with the rest of the family (my parents, siblings and their families), we were given a very warm welcome: flowers, a card, and balloons! We stayed at a hotel downtown that first night to give extra space and, after playing at a park (or going birding), we ate take-out at a park near where seaplanes were (in theory) landing.

Day 2: We spent some time at a park near a beautiful lake and then did a fun little hike to see a waterfall. We also visited a very unique cemetery that we had visited when the original clan took a trip here back when I was about 7.

Each boy picked one special activity to do while there. Micah’s happened on day 2: an air taxi ride to see Denali. He did this with his Daddio, Grandma and Auntie Jen. Absolutely stunning!

Grandpa, Ethan and I watched them take off and return home again. I also sat reading on a fence post while my dad and E did some birding while we all waited to take them back to the hotel.

The Cleve Crew did our best to do most things outdoors and had to keep our crew separate as much as possible for the first half of the trip. Micah also ended up needing a lot of sleep one day early on in this trip, but bounced back quickly. Even despite these unexpected challenges, we had a delightful time. Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful. The drive from Anchorage to Valdez, for instance, was one of the prettiest drives Mike and I have ever taken! Although traveling with a group of fourteen, ranging vastly in age, we managed to find much with which to amuse ourselves on this beautiful trip – hikes, parks, delicious food, and stunning drives.

I think I will not try to put pictures in their exact day order anymore as they seem to have gotten a bit mixed up with all of our sharing. I’ll just do a bunch of pictures now and then do one more post with some final pics from the last part of the trip.

Before hitting the road

…we had a final piano lesson for the boys (during which I went for a nice long walk), a dentist appointment for Ethan (and he sat in the front seat because he’s old and heavy enough for that), a final walk to the pond (where I saw a coyote), and our last krav maga class (before taking two weeks off for our trip).

…we had a birthday to celebrate! This guy brings so much joy to our lives. Every one of us likes to sit and chat with him and give him lots of hugs. We each drew him cards to celebrate him. I’ll bet you can guess who drew which card.

The following day we hit the road for our two weeks in Wisconsin. We stopped in Des Moines on the way and had incredible pizza (thanks, Mel and Joel, for the recommendation years ago that still remains a delightful treat!) and took a nice long walk. Micah requested that we take those four pictures of the two of us. Ethan did not. =P

Next up…Wisconsin!

Turks and Caicos

The long-awaited birthday trip to celebrate Grandma Cleve finally took place at the end of June. It was cancelled and rebooked at least twice, so you can imagine the thrill of *finally* getting to take this trip together! Grandma Cleve flew to Atlanta and traveled with Ashley’s family and then we all met in Turks and Caicos for a week of relaxation and gorgeous sites!

Pictures won’t do this island justice. So many of these shots look like we photoshopped ourselves into them. Unreal. I’ll start with some pictures of time at our home-away-from-home on the beach.

We enjoyed playing Bocce at the house…

Working hard to open up some coconuts…

And going snorkeling at the beach:

We ate lots of fantastic food (including the best crepes of my life!!), some all together and some on our own.