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After Boise and San Francisco we headed back to Chicago for the final leg of our tour. Our first night Nate went off to a champion's league soccer game at Soldier Field ... a belated bday present that he loved. We spent two weeks living with the Snooks in their gorgeous house again. They were gracious and kind but it's always hard for me to have kids in a kid-less house. We also felt so badly as the wife's father was deathly ill (and ultimately ended up dying the night we left.) We enjoyed celeb...

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We had such a great time on Day 4 and a good mix of activities. Nate, Eric, and I (the early risers) picked up donuts at a place in The Mission District and brought them back to the house. After our donut experiences I have to say San Francisco doesn't hold a candle to Chicago specialty donuts. We hopped in our "wreck" and headed over to The Painted Ladies, a row of houses with Landmark status. From there it was off for a quick stop at The Full House house, with coordinating iphone theme music t...

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Day 3 was dedicated to Napa. On the drive out from the city we stopped off in Oakland, the working man's town, for breakfast from Donut Savant. From there we headed to Berkeley to get a feel for the city that Parenthood was filmed in. The girls stopped off at a Thrift Store, where I inadvertently bought a useless pair of converse for Canaan with one shoe being a size 9 and the other a 10. (I'm a terrible thrifter). The guys toured Cal-Berkeley and then we got serious about getting to Napa. The l...

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The guys started the day early in order to take public transit to pick up a Rent-a-Wreck. That ride just the three of them ended up a favorite for all three though we don't know why. The choice to rent that car ended up a favorite of all of us. It gave us fantastic mobility, was much cheaper than a regular rental and was in great shape. Bill was an amazing driver, never getting stressed about wrong turns, steep hills or back seat drivers and always willing to circle for parking. While the guys w...

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We started dreaming about this trip two years ago when we did our first kid-free vacation to Cancun. Before it was over we knew this was a tradition that needed to continue. Five days without high-pitched voices carrying over the adult conversation, without bedtimes to worry about or little hands to lose in a crowd. The idea of San Francisco was thrown out because we wanted to tour a city instead of sit on a beach. As Nate and I planned our summer HMA we kept throwing San Francisco into the equa...

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Our time in Idaho came when we most needed it. After weeks of breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner dates, late nights for the kids, and hours in the car it was nice to settle into quieter routines. It was actually vacation! And the idea of spending 3 weeks in the same bed was relished by all. Canaan particularly enjoyed having his own bedroom above the garage.   The kids fell in love with their grandparents all over again during this time. How could they not? She greeted us with homemade Italia...

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Father's Day 2015 was a tough one! I realized long before it hit that it wouldn't be ideal to celebrate on the actual day as we would be in Columbus, IN speaking at Nate's dad's church and then traveling to Oklahoma. So I purposely set aside a day to surprise-celebrate Nate early. Well that plan was foiled when the day set aside to celebrate was spent evacuating a flooded basement and finding new digs. (Let's just say Mother's/Father's Day 2015 wasn't our best yet!) Father's Day also fell on our...

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We decided to break up the drive from Indiana to Oklahoma and with St. Louis being the halfway point, it was a no-brainer to stop off at Emily and Adriel's. They were super gracious and offered to host us for the night. The trip to St. Louis was full of rain and creeping at 30 mph but spirits were high and the time passed quickly. There were moments this summer where road trips were the first time it had been just the four of us and so even trapped in a car we enjoyed the time. We loved having a...

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Our first big car trip of the summer took us to Indiana. We ended up going a day early after the basement flooding and were happy to have an extra day with Nate's parents. We hit terrible traffic due to an enormous pothole and I ended up having to hop out of the car in traffic, in pouring down rain to let Eden go potty on the side of the freeway but other than that it was uneventful.    In Columbus Abuela was well prepared with a room full of goodies. She didn't let the kids have a min...

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From Florida we flew to Chicago, where our friend Erin greeted us with her three daughters. It was a full car ride back to the city where we checked out their new house and moved ourselves into their basement suite. It was a simple set up but it was all we needed with lots of dinners out planned. We dropped by Nate's sisters house for a few minutes and then spent our first night catching up with the Runyans over Chicken Enchiladas. I was so touched with how open Edie and Ella were to accepting o...

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