Dude you have no idea. They're boys too so each of them is like twice as much work as our daughter (who is now 5) was at that age. The first year we were in complete, utter survival mode.
I'm actually west of Lansing; Portland/Mulliken area. I do, however, work in Lansing.
I'm totally with you on the benefits of our location over SE Michigan. For us being a bit over on the west, the Detroit hills are a bit more of a hike for me than you, but I could probably make it to Mt Holly in an hour 20 mins. But I can get to Bittersweet in a little less than that and Caberfae in about 2 hours. Plus, my wife and I are originally from the Manistee area and we have a lot of family (read babysitters, lol) up there which is why we usually hit Caberfae and Crystal, each of which are only about 40-minute drives from where we stay up there.
So for weekend riding, I'm set pretty nice. Being down in Detroit might be nice to hit those places for night skiing on weekdays, but I don't have the fucking time for that anyways right now.
ah yeah, a lot of people in my office live in Portland and drive downtown every day. I think a few of them carpool.
I split custody of my girl with the ex, we each have her 50/50 so I always have Thursday nights free if I want to ride the SE hills after work. Hawk Island here in the city was good for Wednesdays (ex picks up my girl at 6) and I was just getting into a good groove with a lot of riding when I had my accident. I may have hit 40 days this season.
With you being in Portland, Cannonsburg is the better park choice over Hawk Island if you're into that. Especially if you're snagging a ski free deal with a bud.
My first two seasons riding I basically only went to Cab with the rare trip to other places. It was perfect being so close (2 hours like you) and still being a decent size hill.