Vacation Part II: Relax. Repeat.

Monday

Monday was a stay-at-home-and-relax day. We slept in, spent lots of time outside in/on the water, played games on our little beach, took naps, read, etc. Loren and I went for a bike ride before dinner and discovered a little park with another amazing view of the clear water. After dinner with the family, we headed into town for some ice cream and  discovered that most places in Sutton’s Bay close pretty early. But we still found someone to serve us ice cream at 8:45pm! Can’t go on vacation without ice cream.

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Our house in the evening from the dock.

Tuesday

Tuesday was Jonathan’s birthday. To celebrate, we visited/raided a local cheese factory, then had a little cheese and crackers picnic before exploring a lighthouse. Since he loves to cook, Jonathan made an amazing steak and potatoes dinner for us later that evening.
(Side note: if anyone in Greenville, SC need a bbq guy, Jonathan’s your guy!)

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The cheese was amazing!!

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Grand Traverse Lighthouse

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Siblings at the lighthouse. Happy Birthday, Jonathan!

Wednesday

Wednesday was another relaxing day at home with more kayaking, floating on the tubes and raft, games, reading and everything in between. We truly had some beautiful warm days!

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Our little beach.

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Loved being able to see the water from inside the house.

Thursday

Thursday morning was cloudy and pretty chilly. Loren and I had a brunch date at the local 45th Parallel Cafe before eventually meeting up with the rest of the family at the Sleeping Bear Dunes again. The clouds were amazing and only added to the majestic intensity. These pictures certainly do not do them justice. Later that evening after dinner, we ventured out to Northport for some fun bowling (sorry, no pics).

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Beautiful early morning rainbow.

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Found a perfect little beach on our way to meet up with everyone else.

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Crazy waves and pretty blue-green water.

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The dunes were just as amazing the second time around.

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Cold, windy and quick picnic after climbing the dunes.

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“Hey, let’s climb on the car and takes some pictures.”

Friday

Friday was also spent at the house and in the water. Dad rented a jet ski for us and we all took turns zipping around the water. In the evening, we built a fire and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows for smores for our last night on the lake. 

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Mom even braved a ride.

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Aren’t they so cute?!

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Smores!

And so ended our amazing week in the great state of Michigan, thanks to mom and dad who made it all possible. Can’t wait to go back some day!

Photo credits: Dad, Jonathan, Loren and Heather. Thanks for sharing!

Vacation Part I: Sand, Sand and More Sand

Last week we went on vacation in Sutton’s Bay, Michigan with Loren’s family. For a whole week. And it was wonderful. On Saturday, we all arrived in intervals to our house on the water, played with the nieces and nephew and got settled in.
Sunday was mom’s birthday and boy, does she know how to get the most out of a day! We climbed the Sleeping Bear Dunes, had a picnic, swam in the freezing cold Lake Michigan, took a scenic drive with a few stops at spectacular overlooks of the Glen Lakes, Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan, got dinner at Cherry Republic (all the food and drinks have some form of cherries in them), then ended the day back at the house with birthday dessert on the porch. It was a beautiful sunny day and the perfect way to start off the week.

Sleeping Bear Dunes

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View from the top of the first dune.
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The hole diggers before they buried their feet.
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Look mom, no feet!
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They make the climb look so easy.
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Made it to the top!
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He makes me laugh so much.
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So glad Jeffrey was able to come. But Joanna was the happiest. 😉
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Running back down the dunes was the only way down. 😉
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Abby conquered those dunes!
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Picnic in the shade at the bottom of the dunes.

The Beach

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Finally, the beach! The water was SO blue and beautiful. And cold.
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Playing games with Uncle Jonathan.

Scenic Drive

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Sleeping Bear Dunes
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It was SO windy.
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Mom with all of her kids. Happy Birthday, mom! 🙂
It was pretty amazing to have the whole family together for two days before Emily, Steve & the kids headed home on Monday.

Happy Friday and check back soon for more pictures from the rest of the week!

Road Trip Ready: 11 Tips

If you’ve caught on by now, you know that we love taking road trips. From last minute 1 hour trips to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a picnic (when we lived in SC) to trekking from TX to IN to pick up a car, we love it all. 
Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years:
1. Make a list of everything you need to take (phone chargers, contact solution, snacks, sunglasses etc.).

2. Bring a spare car key. 

3. Bring a good diverse mixture of music, podcasts and audiobooks (Hoopla is great for this).

4. Between listening to your audio choices, play car games (interviewing each other is our favorite!).

5. Bring good snacks. Not just candy–that tends to just make one drowsy. Crunchy snacks like chips, pretzels and veggies are preferred in our car. I’m also a big fan of gum and Hot Tamales.

6. Coffee. And water. Lots of water.

7. Make your pit stops count. Fill up the car AND use the restroom AND get your meal AND coffee all at once. Side note: we try to bring our own lunches as much as possible to save money.

8. Switch off drivers every couple of hours to not get tired.

9. Make sure you have emergency necessities: blanket, jumper cables, tire changing tools, flashlight, etc.

10. Carry cash for tolls. We learned this the hard way. Twice.

11. Take pictures to remember the fun.

What are some of your road trip necessities?

Birthdays and Lakes

Guys! I’m documenting the weekend on the Monday after it happened! And another fun weekend it was. This past week was rather long, so I was really looking forward to getting off work a little early on Friday and heading over to Cincinnati to celebrate my amazing SIL Carrie’s birthday. We had a lovely family dinner on the patio then sat around the fire pit talking. 
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Sister and brother 🙂
Saturday morning as part of her birthday celebration, we rented pedal boats and spent some time on the lake at Winton Woods. It was a beautiful morning! After cleaning up, we headed downtown Cincinnati for a delicious lunch at Moerlein Lager House before exploring Smale Riverfront Park a bit.
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Lake at Winton Woods
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Blurry group picture, but we all got in!
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Lunch downtown with even more friends
We drove back home Saturday night after watching Paddington with the family. Sunday after church we took a long nap and then ran some errands. Can’t wait for vacation next week! 
How was your weekend?

Summer is Fun

Summer is fun and busy. And therefore it’s hard to focus on blog posts. But here is one. I know it’s Thursday, but it’s never too late to post pictures of some of the world’s most adorable nephews and nieces from the past weekend.
Last Friday we got to celebrate Cayden’s birthday with family. He was so excited about everything, especially his school bus cake (he’s obsessed with school buses right now). We had a lovely evening eating, watching him open his gifts, and playing Quelf around the fire pit after the boys were put to bed.
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Birthday boy!
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Jackson not too sure about all this.
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Patiently waiting to open his gifts.
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He was so interested and thrilled with each individual present.
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He got lots of bubbles, but this bubble gun was definitely a winner!
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Sweet family 🙂
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FINALLY got to his school bus cake!
Saturday, we headed to the Columbus, OH area for a quick overnight visit with Crystal and her family. After getting lunch and Whit’s Frozen Custard (seriously some of the best I’ve ever had!!), we spent the afternoon at the pool. 
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First pool time of the summer!
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Baby’s first pool experience.
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This little fish loved the water so much that he didn’t want to get out.
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Beautiful mommy and daughter. 🙂
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The view surrounding the pool was beautiful farm country. And I love this man. 🙂
Sunday after church we had a picnic at the beautiful Rising Park and Loren and I climbed to the top of Mount Pleasant, a lookout that is part of the park, for a view of Lancaster. 
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Baby smiles and squishy cheeks!
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Hiking up the short but steep path to the overlook.
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View from the top.
And there you have a tiny glimpse into our quickly disappearing summer. Not documented are all the ice cream and popsicles we have consumed, road trips, bike rides and walks we have taken, etc. because sometimes we’re just having too much fun.
How has your summer been?