The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 5 Missouri

The boys and I drove to Missouri on New Year’s day.  We met Mike at his dad’s house as he had flown to Minnesota for a wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Again, our travels were smooth and we enjoyed some audiobooks (Matilda and the second book in the Wilderking Series that we loved so much).  We loved spending time with Grandpa Russ (and his two dogs) for a few days before heading home.  Some highlights included shooting BB guns for the first time, taking the dogs on recons with Grandpa Russ and playing lots of games.  The boys also started their January challenge of reading out loud every day for 10 minutes – it’s been a huge success and lots of fun!

We loved our annual tour of the Midwest.  It was wonderful to spend time with our family and friends.  What a gift to vacation/mostly-vacation for 20 days over the holidays!  Hopefully it’s not something we take for granted!!  Thanks for celebrating with us, all you Midwesterners. =)

The Great Midwestern Tour, Pt 4 continued

We had lots of fun in Wisconsin.  One day we painted pottery all together.  Another day was spent mostly opening gifts and playing games.  I think the pictures tell the tale better than I ever can, so I’ll just go with those:

There was a whole lotta books and pajamas happening:

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And a lot of snuggling/reading:

And also a lot of gaming/puzzling:

And eating:

And general merriment:

Next up: Missouri!

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 4 Wisconsin (the second time)

We were back in Wisconsin for Christmas Eve.  That night we pretended to be shepherds on the night that the angels came to tell them about the birth of Jesus.  We had a bonfire, roasted hotdogs/brats and ate meats, cheeses and figs.  Then we made s’mores! =).  It was so much fun to imagine what that night might have been like.

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The rest of that week was quite relaxing.  At first it was just the Cleve Crew and my parents, but by the following weekend, my siblings and their families were back in town.  We enjoyed “Narnia” at their church, ate lots of yummy food, and played lots of games.

Mike and I snuck away for our annual date with Cass and Adam, but we didn’t get a picture that evening.  The following day we got everyone together at the botanical gardens (that might not be the right name…) in Milwaukee.  Between the two of us, we snagged way too many cute pictures of Ethan and Hana together.  Their friendship is especially sweet!  It was great to be with them again!

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I’m going to have to split this post into two.  There are just too many cute pictures.  Next up – my siblings and their families are back in town!

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 3 Michigan

The next stop on our tour was Michigan, where we met up with the extended family (even from as far away as New Zealand!).  This was our first year staying at cabins on Lake Michigan and I think we all loved it!  It was wonderful to see everyone and spend time hiking, eating, playing games and opening gifts together.  Lots of fun memories were made, as usual.

My Dad took some lovely family portraits:

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Hiking the sand dunes by Lake Michigan:

General Michigan merriment:

Photo cred for all of the nicest shots goes to my Dad, as usual. =)

Next up: Wisconsin

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 2 Wisconsin (the first time)

The boys and I spent a couple days in Wisconsin before heading to the next destination of Michigan for the extended family gathering.  We enjoyed lots of time with family – baking, building block creations, teaching drawing lessons, building creations out of wood, bird-watching, reading books, playing piano…and probably plenty of other things that we didn’t capture in pictures. =)

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Also, Micah really enjoyed feeding Salina her bottle and did so at most opportunities.  They have a special connection.  After we left, Jennie told me that Salina was looking at her book with family pictures in it and she saw Micah’s picture and kissed it!

Among the very top of our highlights was  meeting Eddie for the first time!

Next up: Michigan!

The Great Midwestern Tour: Pt 1 Minnesota

We drove to Minnesota in two days, stopping over night in Nebraska.  You know it’s not a road trip without mentioning our audiobooks!  We enjoyed listening to “The Last Battle” all together on that drive and also finished a Magic Tree House book.  We started a fantastic series called, “The Wilderking Series” – in fact, it was probably my favorite read of the year!

The boys and I spent only a couple days there before continuing on to Wisconsin and then to Michigan on our own. Mike stayed in Minnesota for work until Friday when he met us in Michigan.  We spent our time exploring the “tubes”, coloring at Mike’s office, playing games and working out at the hotel.

Next Up: a brief layover in Wisconsin

One-on-One Weekend, Part 1

Not long ago, Ethan and Mike went on their first weekend trip away for some special bonding.  (Micah has been invited to go on a trip with his Daddio in November and thus far seems super excited for it, too!)  They opted for San Diego and spent Friday-Sunday together.  From all the stories, it sounds like it was an excellent trip!  Highlights included touring the USS Midway, playing on the beach, seeing seals, riding around in a convertible, and playing a piano in public.  They also apparently had “the best burgers ever” while there.  I love all of the pictures Mike captured over the weekend!!

USS Midway:

Time at the beach (they built sand castles and spent a lot of time catching clams):

Other trip pics:

Playing the piano:

I’m so thankful that Mike takes the opportunity to have special time with the boys and to spoil them a bit.  This will not soon be forgotten!!