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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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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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The weekend before we left for 3 months in the US I snuck away for about 36 hours of beach time with girlfriends. A big shout out to my friend Christine because she was more determined than I to make it happen and when I likely would have bowed out, feeling guilty about money and time away from the kids as travel plans got more difficult, she persevered through and got us both on that plane! I'm so glad she did because it was 36 hours of rest for the soul and deep connecting with friends. The ot...

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Part of the idea of camping was to already be up on the mountain at El Refugio so that we could continue our tradition of an Easter Sunrise Service at the cross at El Refugio. I really enjoyed this year, with our kids being old enough to sit quietly and enjoy the worship music with us. I appreciate the tranquility up there and the ability to ponder the Resurrection while in nature and with a small community of people. I appreciate the simplicity of no microphones or amps, just a guitar and our v...

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The same day as Canaan's birthday party we quickly cleaned up and then headed out for an Easter weekend camping trip with the Passmores. It was a great way to spend the break, despite being a bit hectic to plan for the party, packing for camping, and Easter food and supplies. For me, camping is made fun by the people I'm with. It's not naturally fun to me to pack up half my house and then be dirty and work hard to make the simplest of meals only to immediately start over on the next meal shortly...

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I have wanted to do a mud run for over a year now and was thrilled when I learned El Refugio, a branch of Youth World was gearing up to do their first ever mud run. Initially I'd hoped to do the full course mud run with Nate and Christine and then do the short course with the kids but with Nate's soccer schedule it got too hard to predict his availability. So Christine and I decided to do the full course together. It was a BLAST! It was definitely muddy, soggy and all the rest. We ran with mud a...

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For Carnaval this year we decided to go away with the Passmores and Enderles. We wanted to get out of the city but no one wanted to travel far so we started our Air B&B research. We ended up picking a place with a Mickey Mouse pool in Ibarra that seemed to have lots of space, bedrooms and enough to do on the property. It turned out to be a great house, great town to visit, and great time with friends. We enjoyed eating all of our meals together family-style with each couple taking a days' wo...

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