Other Updates

The weekend before our first day back in community at CC we went to Long Scraggy for our first overnight. We really enjoy spending time there for church activities, but had never stayed the night with church before. It was sparsely attended this year, but we sure had a good time! I took an amazing nap in the hammock – totally a highlight for me. We also did some hiking and enjoyed our annual worship service in the mountains.

Other photos from the last several weeks: 1) the boys and I enjoyed dinner at friends’ house before they moved away, 2) cleaning up the house next to church, 3) piano lessons started again!, 4) we all participated in our friends’ annual 5k run -this one was taken because folks were commenting on how much taller E is than me these days, 5) our first Packer picnic of the season (woohoo!!) and 6) on Labor Day, we went for a decent hike and then played disc golf. It was pretty hot for these activities, but we enjoyed spending time together.

And, lastly, we just got back from a trip to Minneapolis for Mike’s company picnic. It’s been a long time since we were there and it was nice to get back and to see how much the company has grown! Their office space is SO cool – it used to be the trading floor for grain. It’s simply gorgeous. The boys enjoyed getting to hear their Dad give a brief talk on leadership – mostly he was introducing their principles and introducing other people to talk about them. He did a great job!

And Micah was sweet to go do a little re-do of a picture we snapped while exploring in the tunnels back in 2018 (I think).

Canada through Ethan’s Lens

This post is all pictures taken with Ethan’s camera. Clearly there are a few that I took in his stead below. =)

Pictures taken by me with his camera:

And, speaking of E, he was recently sent an email from Audubon:

We’d like to inform you that your photo, selected for the final review of the Female Bird gallery in the 2023 Audubon Photography Awards, did make it to the final round.

You can see the selected images here

We wish you the best of luck in your bird photography and hope you’ll consider entering our contest again in 2024.

Pretty fun! =)

Alberta, Canada!

We spent a week traveling within Alberta, Canada (just north of us here) and saw some of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen. The trip was lovely, other than some sickness that I so generously (frustratingly) shared during it. It consisted of three main parts: Jasper, Banff, and Canmore.

We flew into Calgary, where we stayed for a night. The stampede was going on while we were there, so we walked to the grounds and enjoyed seeing lots of cowboys and girls on the streets.

We took our time making the 4-hour drive up to Jasper. This meant making a few stops along the way. It’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world and I think it would have been, but there was a lot of haze from the nearby forest fires. Thankfully we got to enjoy the views more on our drive back through to Banff and Canmore.

We had a very relaxing stay in Jasper. We loved our accommodations here and enjoyed walking the grounds, going around the lake, and the guys all played on the water a bit, too. We also took an amazing boat tour to Spirit Islands and I can say that this was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. It was stunning.

On our way back down to Banff, we stopped at another gorgeous lake. This was Mike’s 40th birthday so he lovingly accommodated my desire to have him in a special birthday year shirt all day. Banff was lovely, but much busier than Jasper (we expected this). We enjoyed staying right downtown and walking everywhere. We went to see Lake Louise (bucket list item for me!) and also enjoyed a nice hike and a couple quicker walks.

The last place we stayed was Canmore. This city was gorgeous – seeing mountains over the buildings was unreal. We had our best meal of the trip, thanks to a recommendation from our friends from church. We did a hike with my dad up to the most beautiful turquoise lake there.

I’ll do another post (or two) with pictures from my Dad and also from Ethan, but I won’t say more about the trip. Suffice it to say, this was a great trip!

Spring Break, Part 2

The boys and I spent the remainder of our break in Naples staying with my parents and also spending a good amount of time with Aunt Sal and Uncle Brad (and Creed).

E and Grandpa went birding every morning, except Sunday, I think. (I’ll share ten of his pictures in the next post.)

Micah and I made sure to get in the pool every day. E joined us a couple of times. We also played pickle-ball with Grandpa and E most days in various combinations. (When Mike joined us for the final two days there, he also played a bunch of pickle-ball with us and enjoyed late afternoon swims.) No pictures to capture all of that fun.

One morning we enjoyed a cattle drive, explored Robert’s Ranch, and then toured Ave Maria afterwards.

We had a lot of really delicious food, including a fun dinner that Sal, Mom and I made for the guys for dinner-and-a-movie-night and homemade pizza at Brad and Sal’s.

We also did a lot of normal life, like playing Wordle, uploading and editing pictures, doing puzzles and going to the library. Uncle Brad brought over his electric bike for Ethan to try a couple times. He loved it. And because we were there over the span of two different weeks, we also had to keep up with some schooling and piano lessons.

We had a great visit. It was especially fun to remember back to the last time we had gone to Florida – the pandemic had just started and we didn’t know quite how/if we could get back home again once we got there. Such a different trip this one was! =) Thank you, again, for hosting us!

Spring Break, Part 1

Our crew headed down to Florida to visit family over our Spring Break. This worked out nicely as Mike needed to head to Uruguay for work and could fly from Miami after spending a day there with us and my folks. They met us in Miami, spent the night there, and then drove back with the boys and me while Mike continued onward to Uruguay. We made the most of our whirlwind stay in Miami and had a lot of fun.

We stayed at a hotel walking distance from the beach. We ate at a ceviche spot just up the street and later enjoyed pie in the outside courtyard there for pi day. Here Mike and Micah played some chess and Grandpa and E played a few games of corn hole. Prior to dessert and games, Mike and Micah swam in the pool on top of the building, while Grandpa and E went birding by the beach.

The following morning we woke in time for the sunrise at the beach. It was pretty cloudy, so it wasn’t as beautiful as we were anticipating, but it was still fun! We ate breakfast at the hotel before heading out to Bill Baggs State Park, a delicious Cuban restaurant, Little Havana, Domino park (where E played chess with a guy a little older than himself outside of the park since you have to be at least 55 to play inside), and then Wynwood. Next Mike headed to the airport and we drove to Naples for the rest of the week.

Wisconsin Christmas

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.