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!!

Mesa Verde

We began our school year with a really fun field trip.  My Aunt Melanie is homeschooling her youngest son and is studying Colorado history this year and she asked if we would be interested in going to Mesa Verde with them.  We jumped at the opportunity since we are studying ancient history!  And we were even more thrilled when my Mom agreed to fly out and join us!

The park wasn’t too busy or too hot, so this season was awesome for our trip.  (We also planned it around Mike’s trip to Phoenix where he saw his family and also spent time with his friends for his fantasy football draft.)  We listened to Fablehaven on the drive there and back; it received mixed reviews but we all agreed that it helped to pass the time!  We stayed at the Fair View Lodge within the park and ate all of our meals inside the park, too.  Here are some pics from the trip and at our lodge:

We spent two full days exploring the cliff dwellings, which were beautiful! It’s hard to imagine that they have stood there for over 800 years already!  Here are some pictures of the dwellings and our hikes in and around them:

On the way out, Micah and Matthew completed their Jr Ranger’s program and then we had an incredible breakfast at Absolute Bakery – highly recommend – in Mancos.  The boys each enjoyed a can of Sprite – milestone! – on the drive back to Denver.

We LOVED this opportunity to travel with family and explore our distant backyard.  Thanks to my Auntie for driving us and organizing everything.  And thanks to my Mom for making the trip out to join us!  Let’s do it again!!

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from Mikey’s trip to Phoenix.  He tells me he had a great time!  It’s a lovely gift that the draft takes place where he can also have some special time with his Mom (and grandparents, too!).

6th Annual Trip

For our 6th annual trip with the Maurer family, we spent the weekend in Kansas City.  We are nearing (if we haven’t already reached it) the point when we will need to do some repeat locations, but this year was a new spot for us again.  We all enjoy spending time together and it’s been such a special treat to watch our children grow up together.

We usually spend a fair amount of time at the hotel just talking and playing.  We also all like parks and legos, so we fit in both of those activities this year.  A hike is often on all of our lists to do, but it was way too hot to spend much time outside that weekend.  We spent Friday night grabbing dinner out and playing at the hotel, Saturday out and about and Sunday back at the hotel before going our separate ways.

Here are some shots from around the hotel, including a few selfies the kids took (as requested) from their explorations around the hotel on their own.  Favorite memories include watching various plays of Piggie and Gerald books, watching all the kids try to catch the football with their elbows, sending messages/emojis/pictures with Ellie (mostly Mike and Ellie/Adam), and how sweet those girls are to my boys who want to show them their paint-by-sticker books and Legos.  Lots and lots of laughter!

Mute the video if you don’t want to hear my crazy loud laugh:

Pics from our dinners out:

Pics from the park, Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium:

All too soon it was time to say goodbye.  The kids hugged too quickly, so we missed any cute pics of that…but I snapped a couple of Mikey saying goodbye to some of his favorite girls!  We parents left exhausted, having stayed up until midnight or WAY later both evenings we had together.  We sure enjoyed spending time with this crew again!

Quick throwback of our group from just last summer and a link to all the previous years:

 

Time with the “Grands”

We had the fun opportunity to see two of the boys’ grandparents recently.  Grandma Cleve came out for a long weekend (she split her time, as usual, between us and Ashley/Zach/Caleb’s home) and then we stayed at Grandpa Russ’ home for a few days before our annual trip with Cass and Adam’s family.  What a treat!

We made a few attempts at a picture of Grandma Cleve with all of her grandsons (one more grandson to be added around Christmas!!) after having a yummy breakfast all together.  And then we just spent time together at our home enjoying each other’s company!  Mike and Grandma Cleve stopped in to have dinner with Great Aunt Terry on their way to the airport.  We’re already looking forward to her next trip in October!

A couple days after saying goodbye to her, we got to say hello to Grandpa Russ and stay at his home for a bit.  We especially enjoy visiting him in the summer –> pool, ping pong, dogs = so much fun!  And I always take home a new idea for a crockpot meal!!  It was wonderful to see Grandpa Russ (and Duke and Calvin) again!

We sure enjoy our time with our parents/grandparents!

CA Road Trip, Pt 4: Lake Tahoe

By Saturday morning, we were ready to leave Yosemite.  The crowds really increased by then!  We drove about 6 hours to get to Lake Tahoe, although I think there may have been a shorter route.  In fact, we had told the boys that it would be about 3.5 hours.  Here’s how you know your kiddos like road trips…they didn’t even notice that we nearly doubled the trip.  They were more concerned with whether or not we’d finish another book before we arrived. =)  So much fun!

Anyway, Lake Tahoe is gorgeous.  We absolutely loved seeing mountains and a huge lake together.  It was a good mix of the two things Mikey and I love the most in our landscapes – water and mountains.  We celebrated our 12-year anniversary here with some tasty sushi and lots of time on the water.

One day all three guys spent many hours on our stand-up paddle board.  I spent most of that time reading “The Help” – a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while now and happened to be at the airbnb where we stayed.  They LOVED it!

The following day we spent the day on a motor boat.  We saw some marked differences in the boys – Ethan likes to take it slow and steady; Micah wants to go as fast as possible.  Both boys enjoyed driving the boat, under great supervision from Mikey.  They both attempted to go tubing, but ended up in the water before even getting a ride.  We lost one Dodger hat to the water and almost lost the other one.  All in all, though, we had a super lovely day.  Ethan later decided he not only has a fear of heights, he has a fear of depths (this has a technical name: thalassophobia).  The deep water of Lake Tahoe was enough to give some bad dreams, but we all still look back on this part of the trip with a lot of fondness!  We’d LOVE to go back again sometime!

And just when we started missing home, it was time to head that way.  We took two days to drive home – stopping in Salt Lake City for the overnight.  We enjoyed seeing one of the Olympic parks the following morning and then were thrilled to get back home again.

The fabulous road trip of Summer 2018 was a great success!!

CA Roadtrip, Pt 3: Yosemite

After Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno as a staging time before we camped for 3 nights in Yosemite.  The boys enjoyed playing Legos and going shopping for some of the last minute purchases we needed to make.

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Then on Wednesday morning we headed to Yosemite.  It’s absolutely breath-taking.  It was much busier than Sequoia, but the crowds didn’t overwhelm us until we saw what the weekends were like, so by Saturday morning, we were ready to head out.  =)   The tunnel view – the first view of the valley – was stunning.

Highlights here included:

Camping and having s’mores every night,

hiking to Sentinel Dome (seriously, we highly recommend this!  It’s the second highest spot in the valley and the views are spectacular and it’s not too busy),

ice cream at Glacier Point,

biking through the valley (would highly recommend this, too, but wished we had our own bikes),

various little hikes to see beautiful spots in Yosemite,

and rafting down the river (also, have some grace, this was after 3 nights of camping and no showers…. :P).

Yosemite was lovely.  We will definitely return some day!!

CA Road Trip, Pt 2: Sequoia National Park

On Sunday afternoon, we said our goodbyes and headed to Sequoia National Park until Wednesday.  This part of the world is so beautiful and unlike any other place we’ve been. We were in awe of the huge trees and enjoyed some lovely hikes in the area.  Pictures tell more about the experience than words can, but pictures do not do it justice.

Moro Rock Trail was incredible.  Some of us went further on the hike than others of us, thus more pictures of said somebodies. =)

Here are some more shots from Sequoia, including a super lovely hike we did to a waterfall.

Before moving onward to Yosemite, we explored a bit of Kings Canyon National Park.  You really can’t grasp how large these trees are unless you walk among them.  They are so out-of-this-world.

We especially enjoyed the views, teeny hike and snack at Panoramic Point:

Up Next: After Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno to prepare for our camping adventure in Yosemite.