Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Doings In Between

I only had a few days between our trip to Michigan, and my trip to Utah.   In the midst of all that Fun fell Father's Day.   So you can Imagine the Fun we had this weekend.

We returned Friday night, so that we could make it to Swim Classes at the Y on time.  That ended up working out Perfectly!

Both boys were showing improvements.  After just a day at the beach, they were happy to get back in the warm waters of our Y.   

Jacob even willingly jumped in and got wet.  

Chris and Sam got swim noodles and swam around.
They did a great job! 

I needed to solve the age-old question?
Which seafoam/fluff/honeycomb is better, the milk chocolate or the dark chocolate.
Eric and I both took surveys with goodies I brought back from Kilwin's.
Both are Fantabulous, but the dark chocolate won by a slim margin.

This candy won't last long.  

As a bit of a Father's Day surprise, and a chance to do something Familial while we're all home together for the weekend, I wanted to go see Finding Dory.  Going to the Drive In was on our Summer Wish List.  So seeing Finding Dory at the Tibb's Drive In theater seemed like the perfect choice.   This drive in is great, huge, and the only one left in town.  That's sad.

The kids had a great time.  We were one of the earliest cars in, so we got a great parking spot, and they hit the playground.  If you look closely, they are on what came to be known as the "swirling vortex of terror".  It wasn't so bad a toy when it was just them, but then a lot of bigger kids came around, and they didn't take into consideration how strongly some kids (like Sam or Chris) could hold on while spinning at supersonic speeds.  Chris got thrown.  Sam really got thrown, lost his shoes, and trampled.  Luckily, I had oils and wipes.  It was therafter I wouldn't let them play on it if there were any other kids... and there were.  That's about when it earned the name "swirling vortex of terror".

On a date with my honey bunny booboo sweetie.  
Isn't he dreamy?

So many kids took over the playground, it became dangerous, so I put the boys in the car, and turned on Finding Nemo.  Honestly, that was a Brilliant idea.  They got to watch it all the way to the end, with about 10 minutes to spare before the movie started.  

The second movie in our Drive In experience was Through the Looking Glass, the second movie in the Alice series, remade by Disney starting Johnny Depp.  But the people around us made so much noise, and our kids were toast.  We tried watching it for about 10 minutes.  But it strayed from the story, and was all about Jonny Depp.  Whatever.  I like him fine, but don't dress him up, and use another story just to star him.  It was bad.  We left.  This was like the second movie I've ever left the theater after paying full time prices before it was over.  (The other one was Robin Hood: Men In Tights) It was That Bad.  

We still didn't get home until 1 am.  I hate time change, it makes drive in movies not start until 10, Ugh.  

Happy Father's Day! 

This day was a good one for Starbucks coffee.  We let Daddy sleep in.  The boys didn't wake until 9. 
It was a bit of a treat for Mommy too. ;) 
Jacob was puttering around the house going, "Just Keep Swimming". <3

When we asked Daddy what he wanted to do.  
He wanted to go to the Y for a Family Swim. 
The boys are really improving, willing going into the water, and getting faces wet. 
It was actually a really good trip.  

After our swim at the Y, we went down to visit my Daddy for Father's Day.  Christopher had a great time helping his Opa and Oma train their 7 month old Yellow Lab pups.  The girls sit and the boys try to distract them.   Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't.  Chris did so well, they let him take the leash and practice 'heal'.  It worked pretty well too.  He's actually got quite a knack for handling dogs.  Another one of his gifts.

This was as close as I got at all three boys playing sweetly together.  

My favorite Daddies!  

Aww, aren't we sweet.  
I think I take most after my Dad, and I mean that in the best possible way.  
I've always been Daddy's Girl.  
I remember trying to mow the lawn with my shirt off back when I was Christopher's age.  
Yeah, that didn't go over so well...

Sunday evening Lisa got back from Michigan.  And she had custody of all the goodies that we had left behind.   Chris had very little patience of Lisa having his DS, so I asked if we could get together.  The girls had started a summer camp in Zionsville, so she met us at Strawberry Fields for a drop.  
It was good to see her.  What had it been, only two days?   
But we'd slept in our own beds since then, and that makes everything better.  

This wasn't Jacob's first trip to Mulberry Fields splash pad, but it was the first where he could really play and I could sit in the shade and watch.  

He liked the sprinklers. I love this pic of him paddling through the worm, though the water wasn't on full blast there.  

Sam was having some fun with it too.  He didn't stop moving.  

Nothing says Indiana like Corn.  
Sure, there's more than Corn in Indiana, there's corn shaped sprinklers! 

All three playing like maniacs.  

The boys were hysterical playing in the water as it splashed up.  

Karate chopping the water.  

Seriously, they were Karate Chopping the Water!  
Silly geese! 

My photo of the day was called Water.  So this was the one I submitted.  I like how my phone captured the droplets.  Not too bad for a phone camera.  

Hard to capture a moving target.  

All of them getting water in the face.  

Before we left, I made them stop moving for a picture.  
They barely stopped moving.  And it was a rare few seconds when no other kids were playing in the sprinkler play area either.  A rare moment.  They were being pretty sweet too.  

Cuteness Therapy

Tuesday was my Last Day before I left them to go to the YL Convention in Utah, I wanted to get a selfie with the four of them.  They didn't want to play on Tuesday, so we just hung out at home.  My photo theme that day was Looking Up.  I left Tuesday evening so I could crash at  their Grandma's, because my Father In Law was taking us to the airport at dark thirty, but that is a story for another time, and another blog.  


Monday, June 27, 2016

Vacation, Day 5 Michigan, On Our Way Home

Friday was our Last Day.  :( 
I got up and started loading the car, packing to come home was easier than unpacking.  
I had Lisa help manage all the kitchen stuff, and that was a big burden lifted.  

Meanwhile, all the kids played together outside, there was chalk and bubbles, and moving targets.  
And fun had by all. 
At least they got to play with their cousins a bit before we headed out.  
I wanted to get on the road by 9, it was closer to 9:30.  

I wish Objects in the Mirror were closer than they appear.  
That was my Mom and Seestor as they headed back indoors after waving us off. 

As we pulled out, I noticed there were no cars at the beach, so I pulled in for one last photo.  
The water was still, and the beach was quiet.  

The only noise came from us.  
But I got one last kind of decent picture of the boys before we headed out. 
And, most importantly, no one got sandy.  

I experimented with my phone.  This was my first phone panoramic shot. 
It didn't turn out too bad, there's a skip in the middle that I'd like to fix, I just have no idea how. 
I'd fix it on my own computer, but as that died too during the Great Power Surge of 2016,  but I can't.  So I'll just suffer through an iffy shot.  
Even an iffy shot of a beautiful day at the beach is still kind of pretty. 

Dwarf lilacs at the entrance to the beach were still blooming.  

And they smelled so good. 

I love the smell of fresh lilacs.  I'm gonna miss it.  

And off we went, about a half hour later than I wanted.  Once we got south of Petoskey, Christopher realized he left his Nintendo DS on the charger in the living room in the corner on a charger.  Doh!  I wasn't going to turn around to get it.  I told the story of me losing my blanket that I'd had since birth while on Vacation with my parents, and not realizing until we were half a state away.  This was back before hotels were nice and sometimes would mail stuff like that.   Well, I called Lisa, she found the DS, and a couple other things, like our beach towels that hadn't dried overnight so I'd thrown them in the dryer.  Double Doh.  We'd see her next week.  He melted down.  He melted the hell down!  Not going back meant we had 1 DS (Sam's) and the DVD player, which Chris killed his screen on the way up.  Good Lord, what did we do before traveling with screens?!  Oh yeah, that's right, we unbuckled, laid down on the seat, played cards and games, and tickled each other until we passed out from the inability to breathe.  In exchange for keeping them alive in a seat belt and carseat, they can't Do Anything.  So I pulled over, put Sam in the way back with his DS, and Chris by Jacob to be distributor, and watch movies.  That made for a MUCH easier ride home, and I still didn't turn around.  

I tell you what I did do, I plotted a visit with a friend who lives about halfway between Grand Rapids and Lansing.  She staked out a McD's with a Playplace, and we met for lunch. We've known our friends Dawn and Tim since 1994 when they were just two young whippersnappers in the Marching Band at Butler.  And I'm ashamed to say we hadn't seen them since about 2004 when they moved north.  I hadn't met 2 of their 4 kids, and they hadn't met any of mine.  Still, through the Blessings of the internet, and facebook, I feel like I know them, and know what's going on in their lives.   I got to meet their 3rd sweetgirl, who is 11 and petitely built just like our boys, and she kept a great eye on all my yahoos in the Playplace, so that I got to catch up with Dawn for like an hour and a half.  Tim works at a school nearby, and it has his last day (teacher day) of school, so he snuck away for lunch with us!   Can you imagine, still being in school?!  We've done like half our summer fun.  So Michigan is strange, but they aren't going back in July either, ugh.  Still, it was Awesome to see them.  It's funny how you can go years without seeing someone, and all the old reasons that you were friends were there.   I wish I'd gotten to see them more often.  I'm so glad I buzzed to see if we could swing something.  These drive by huggings really fill me up!  It makes a long road trip not so boring. 

We made it home safe and sound about 7 pm, a 9ish hour drive, but with our long lunch, that was good timing.  Daddy even had a dinner all made for us when we pulled up, he had grilled up some fish.  I think he missed us.  We had missed him too.   Even though we brought him some Father's Day Fudge.  He decided Next Time he's coming with us.   

This is Jacob's shitty kitty face.  He did not appreciate something.  It was either a. that we were home, or b. that vacation was over, or c. he couldn't have all the fudge he wanted in the world.  

Meanwhile, while we were gone, Daddy did Productive Things. 
He finally got the shower door up in the downstairs bathroom.  Technically, the water works, but the door needs to be caulked into place, which is another project.  Almost there.  

We got shelves!  
Eric put shelving up in the Linen Closet upstairs.  I didn't know we had so many sheet sets, because they've been living in a huge pile in the bottom of that closet for so long.  

My favorite:  The IKEA canvas wave.  
Eric hung this picture up.  It never occurred to us that it would be too big for the space above my bed.   But it still looks really good there.   

I fell asleep that night just staring at it, laying upside down in my bed.  
It's good to be home. 

Vacation, Day 4 Michigan, The Beach

My Happy Place.  
On our last full day, it was cloudy and a little rainy early in the morning, but stopped raining by 9.  We hung out at home, working on the puzzle, and had lunch of Leftovers a little on the early side and then we decided we were going to Play before naps.

After Naps, we decided to head into town.  As we were headed out, the clouds parted, so we postponed our visit Just long enough to dip our tootsies in the water.  It was chilly, but gorgeous.

Our post-lunch Dessert Destination!  
Just listen to the words:  Free Chocolate Tours.  

Here's what Jacob and I think of the concept of free chocolate.
We love it. 

All 5 of the kids watching Chocolates being made.  
It's not a big operation, basically two large rooms, but we watched them through the window as they dipped and created some champagne truffles, and prepared some almond toffee. 

The rainbow crew as we get ready to actually go into the prep room. 
We didn't plan the rainbow theme, the boys and I had dressed in Superhero shirts, we'd just happened to get everyone all sat down and dressed to get booties and hats on when our tour guide offered to take our picture.  There were a couple other folks in our group tour, but mostly, we were it.  And truly, our kids in hairnets and booties was the most hysterical thing ever.  Chris and Jacob were trying to skate across the floor.  Didn't work too well for Jake, if I hadn't held his wrist for dear life, he'd have been falling all over the place.  

Tuttles (they don't call them turtles) ready to be cut and boxed up.  

The Toffee. 
Duuude. Check that out.
So yummy! 

Dipped marshmallows.

The best part of the Chocolate Tour - free samples at the end! 

They gave us samples of nutty fudge things, and we had to sit down to let the kids eat it.  This was one of two places to sit in the whole shop, and it was still within view of the factory.  

In other news, during morning, lunch, naptime and after, we Finally finished the Lip Balm puzzle.

Pickle Lip Balm, what will they think of next?!

After naps, we decided to go to the Beach.  The rain had dried off, the sun was shining, and it was downright gorgeous outside, finally good enough weather to go to the water.  75 is great, downright balmy for up here! 

Three sweetboys take off with pool noodles to the beach. 

Frankly, I was enchanted by the way Jacob took off after his brothers.  I knew he wouldn't go too deep into the water, and even if he tried, it was going to be chilly.  

Near our spot on the beach, a bunch of seagulls had staked out.  
To make the boys laugh, I began to tiptoe toward them. 

Nothing like taking revenge against a pack of seagulls.  

Jacob got down to business playing in the sand with his cousin Charlie.  
Charlie was sporting the mermaid swimsuit we picked out for her for her birthday.   
I love how she loved it! 

Sam rushes into the water. 
Surprise!  It's cold! 

Christopher was very upset by how cold the water was.  
He'd had visions of playing in it, and swimming underwater is his favorite.  Chris is also very sensitive to cold.  Ice cream is generally not his favorite, until it achieves a certain level of soupiness, which is often to my benefit.   But he doesn't do well in extreme hot or cold, because of his sensitivities.  I had to talk him down, he went from this to full meltdown when he realized it was too cold to swim.  I was like, Babe, it was 57 two days ago.  This lake Freezes in winter.  It takes a while to recover from that, and even longer for it to warm up.  And this is a lake people can swim in, no one can swim in Lake Superior. 

We opted to explore instead, and found this cool deer hoofprint. 

I had brought new pool noodles for all the kids, as a treat, for the trip. 

All 5 of them on the beach armed with pool noodles was a pretty awesome sight.

  So our adventure became, pool noodle time on the beach, instead of swimming.  

I like exploring the area around the beach too. 
My Mom loves birch trees, or maybe they are aspens, I'm not sure.  Probably aspens. 
But she has a few paintings of them in her home, and now I find my eyes catching on them every time I see them.  That white bark stands out.  Michigan is full of them.  It's probably a Quaking Aspen, it did look particularly beautiful in the breeze. 

On little Traverse Bay, there is a creek.  We used to play in it when I was there, younger, about 15 years ago.  There's a spring that also feeds into this area, causing sinkholes in that creek, where all three meet the Little Traverse Bay.  The sinkholes would suck our legs in up to our knees.  I remember walking along here with Aunt Debbie, and she dared to step in, got sucked in down her thigh.  Then we all had to try it.  Pants were wet, tears of laughter were falling.  It was Awesome.  Oh it was So Funny.  I still smile thinking of it.  But I didn't let my kids go any deeper than an ankle.  

I got a closeup of the sand in the creek as the crystal clear water was running over. 
My that water was cold, coming up from an underground spring. 

On the bridge.  
I have a picture around here somewhere, of Eric and I on the bridge, from way back before we had kids, when my sis was working on a Black and White photography project for summer school.  She took a lot of great photos that trip.  They're around here somewhere.   These were just with my phone.  

My camera gave out while we were at the beach, a combo of errors.  On Mackinac the batter died, I had the replacement at the condo.  This time, it was a small photo card. I still was able to get a few good pics of our beach and creek time before the card filled up.    

These boys are enchanting! 

This was taken with my new cell phone though, and I was able to play around with filters on it.  

This ending up being my Favorite of the whole bridge series.   

Meanwhile back on the beach, the girls talked Aunt Lisa into the water.  
They had found something in another creek that fed into the bay.

Annie and Charlie found tadpoles!  
They found they could catch them in seashells. 

Aunt Lisa looked so pretty helping her girls find tadpoles.  
Another favorite.  

Fudge Break! 

Her hat cracks me up.  Turns out it was one of the girls, from their day camp that happened to be in the car when she came north.   Looks kind of perfect for us old ladies, fuddy duddies sitting by the lakeshore eating fudge. That's a good way to go. 

Next thing we know, all 5 kids are hunting tadpoles in the creek.  
This creek's water was significantly warmer than the bay or the sinkhole creek.   A little mossy, but we didn't care, the kids were happy, and not drowning.  

Meanwhile, a hummingbird moth came around to entertain us.  

The sun was shining, and it was a good day.  

Jacob was an entirely different kind of entertainment.  

That's my baby.  He got a Rock.  

Then of course, he had to share his rock with his brothers and cousins. 
He went charging down to the creek, yelling "TABO!"  for tadpole, going on a hunt just like the big kids.  He thinks he is one of the big kids. 

At last, it was time to head out.  The kids got a big kick out of the foot washing station.  I wish we'd had one of these at our condo, like we did at the lake in Wisconsin.  Next time, if there is a next time, I'm bringing a foot bucket for the door to the condo!  

Before we knew it, a few of us were starting to get hungry for dinner.  Being that it was our last night, I wanted some good fish.  Lisa had seen a sign for a Mediterranean place, that served Fresh Fried Lake Perch on Thursday nights.  Blammo!  However, by the time we got there, just before 8, when you'd think the dinner rush would be over, there were no seats to be found.  So, the two cars loaded back up with food, with literally a little of everything, and headed back to the condo, and ate on the deck outside.  Turns out that was the best plan, because the kids ate, then went and played, allowing us to finish our food nice and quietly outdoors.  Oy.  

And back we go for a bedtime show.