Okay, I know...I have been missing. I've been reminded by a few of you (even some who know the exact date of my last post) that I have this thing called a blog and I should write something on it. I love you for missing me and my rambling. I'd like to say I had a good excuse, but that would only be partially true. We returned this week from our family vacation, but it indeed was not as long as my blog absence so do not be fooled.
We spent 5 days (2 of them on the road) on our summer vacation to Grand Haven, Michigan. Before I say anything more, if you need a good summer vacation destination - plan a trip to Grand Haven. It is just beautiful there and there are many activities and attractions. I should know because I have been there roughly 20 times. You see my Mom grew up in Grand Haven and much of her large family still calls Grand Haven "home". Brian and I, because we are colossal chickens, have not been there since before-babies. I'll admit that the 9 hour car ride pretty much scared the living daylights outta me when I imagined it in the company of small people. One sure way to mitigate this potential problem - have Grandma ride along in the back with the kids. Problem. Solved. The girls traveled remarkably well - aside from an hour here or there where Madison very vocally announced her displeasure at being confined to a carseat.
Day 1 (Friday) found us traveling in the car. I will forever be thankful for rest stops with little playgrounds for little children. Also, Burger King is not what I remembered it to be. :P Blech. Anyway, we arrived late afternoon to Grand Haven and got many warm welcomes and hugs from aunts, uncles and my Grandma. That evening we enjoyed Fricanos Pizza (a MUST-HAVE when in Grand Haven). Then we went to settle in at my Uncle Ron and Aunt Sue's house where we were spoiled rotten to be able to stay in their deluxe 5th wheel camper parked in their driveway. It was really wonderful to have our "own space" and not have to worry about children waking at night and disturbing anyone.
Day 2 (Saturday) promised a full schedule of enjoying the Coast Guard Festival activities - starting with a parade! The weather was PERFECT and Reagan had a good time getting lots of candy. After the parade we relaxed for a while. Later Reagan and I joined my Mom, my Aunt Mary and my Uncle Bob for the fireworks on the waterfront. Madison stayed home with Brian and went to bed because she was so tired from being off-schedule. Poor Reagan fell asleep in the car on the way to the show and I had to carry her completely fast-asleep limp body several blocks. Thankfully she woke up in time to see the fireworks. And she LOVED them. It was so much fun to watch fireworks with Reagan. I had a blast just watching her.
Day 3 (Sunday) we went with my Uncle Ron and Aunt Sue (and their four kids) to their church - Covenant Life. Those of you who know me well know I love seeing how other churches do worship together. This was a joy to experience and be part of! The church is in an old factory which they have completely restored so right off the bat the industrial/modern architecture caught my fancy. They have a really neat kids program - there are classrooms for each year so Madison went to the one year old class. We didn't think Reagan would want to go but she was quite excited about it when we asked her so she went to the 3 year old class. Brian and I stared at each other for a brief moment after dropping off the kids - knowing this would be a church service we would both be able to fully enjoy together. And enjoy we did. Brian and I both thought the whole service was very engaging and uplifting. And our children were happy as clams afterward too - added bonus! After church we had lunch at Ron and Sue's house and took some naps. Then we went to see my college buddy - Laura and her husband Steve. Both Laura and I had had 2 kids since we last saw each other so we did our best to cram in 4 years of conversation into two hours. It was great to see them.
Day 4 (Monday) we woke up to rain. Which was sad. Because I had promised Reagan that we were going to the beach on Monday. It rained most of the morning so we took our time with breakfast and some downtime at Ron and Sue's. Then we went to find my Mom and Dad and Amy (who had just come up the evening before). We grabbed a quick lunch and all of us (Dad, Mom, Amy, Mary, Bob, Brian, myself and the girls) headed out to ride the Harbor Trolley (another MUST when in GH). The weather cleared up beautifully and the Trolley ride was really fun. Then we walked along the Boardwalk (again, a MUST in GH) to get some Pronto Pups (another MUST). We ate them by the waterfront and watch the boats go by. Since it had turned into such a gorgeous afternoon, we headed off to the beach. None of us had bathing suits on or in the car so we just made do with our regular clothes. The beach was a HUGE hit. Reagan and Maddie both seemed to enjoy the sand and the waves as much as the adults enjoyed watching them. I should also mention that since we were not planning on going to the beach no one had sunscreen on. And apparently I am on the sun's hitlist because I was the only one who got burned. Very burned. Oh well. All too soon it was time to pack up and get ready for the Wallish family reunion. We met for supper and fun at my Aunt Judy and Uncle Cor's farm where we saw most of the rest of the family.
Day 5 (Tuesday) we hit the road again. We made a stop at the Dutch Market by South Haven to pick up a 1/2 bushel of Red Haven peaches - the best peaches on earth. We also stopped at a Burger King for what had to be the world's worst cup of coffee. I'm not an expert on coffee or anything, but yikes. And because we are super duper planner parents we picked up some food at McDonalds and Culvers and had a picnic at a really nice rest area with a park. Reagan thought that was super cool. I thought it was super cool how my kids slept about 50% or more of the way home. Yay! We arrived home to find that much of the area was flooded - including almost all of our neighbors' basements. Evidently, some of them even waded through waist-deep water because their cars were washed off the road just a block away. We were very thankful to find everything at our house dry and undamaged!
We had such a wonderful time on our family vacation. I have to say that before we left, I really thought about not going. Things at home had been stressful for a number of reasons and there were times when I considered just staying home. But our vacation was exactly what we needed - time together having fun. There were many moments of laughter, countless smiles, hugs galore, and memories to last a lifetime. Reagan made FAST friends with my cousin, Isaac, and she was pretty devastated to leave him. We are so glad we went and are very thankful for such a fabulous extended family who made our trip so very worthwhile.