With kids now at a more independent age, I assumed that the summer would entail additional blogging time. Silly me.
Older children means we are on the go more often. Play dates, sports lessons, and sport events. Let alone just the ability to just drop everything and go, which we have done a lot this year. It is amazing how fast everyone can get dressed and out of the house when a picnic and fun are on the by-the-seat-of-my-pants days events.
Throw into the mix a new puppy and a newly created school #chataps, minutes to hours later…
Today we spent the gorgeous sunny day folding laundry from a week long trip just to repack it to leave less than 30 hours later for another destination. I caught a few minutes of peace when E, the new puppy, and I flopped into the tree hammock for an afternoon siesta. Oops! There went valuable blog time!
Maybe tomorrow? No, we are leaving for a short get-away. Monday? No the #chataps questions need to be rewritten and moderated. Tuesday? Yes, maybe Tuesday.
Until then, stay patient, this parenting gig is busy. Don’t worry though my topic list is long. Then again so is my summer bucket list. sigh…
It all started 10 years ago when we purchased a travel diary to track our BK (before kids) trips. It has now become our family’s way to remember special moments, hidden gems, cool campsites, and of course favorite foodie stops.
The first entry is a New Year’s get away to Las Vegas with Scott and Missy. Both couples were battling infertility so this was a wonderful, relaxing time. My highlight was Mama Mia!
When we set off on new destinations, often I read aloud a few tidbits from previous adventures. It has become a great starting point. I love adding trip details as we traverse from locations to landmarks and again the food stops.
Sometimes we meet and connect with people; Tracy and Peter from Green Bay, WI. They were riding their sweet tandem bike and camping all over northern Michigan wine country. We shared a campfire, dinner, and an evening getting to know them. Another important tip hidden in the book is the location of the best UP pasties, Suzy’s on Highway 2. Great New Orlean’s style food? Try Pearl’s in Elk Rapids. A gem passed on to us from a few neighbor’s is Munising Tourist Park for Lake Superior camping. Beautiful sites! I’ve logged the best hole in the wall seafood outside Charleston, great family camping in Northern Michigan, and some great wine locations as well. Just ask.
To date there are 41 entries! I love our travels and more importantly cherish the moments we get to spend together no matter how small or grand the adventure!
My favorite quote:
It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. -Author Unknown
Labeled the best pasties in the UP and praised by the Shipwreck tour crew, we stopped in for a quick snack at Mudldoon’s Pasties in Munising. Our snack turned into a mini meal as E and M devoured two pasties with gravy. Being traditionalists, we devoured beef pasties (rhymes with nasty). Also available are chicken and veggie. M the family mini-foodie gave it 2 thumbs up.
This Spring Break our path took us to the bluegrass state. It is not a hopping Spring Break location, but is worthy of a trip.
Taking advantage of off season rates, we rented a cabin at Jellystone Mammoth Resort. Our cabin contained all the amenities of home in a camp experience.
To meet the youngest obsession with dinosaurs, our first stop included Dinosaur World Cave City. Each enjoyed hunting for fossils, the museum, but especially liked the meandering prehistoric walk. Through this is experience, our son discovered “long necks” were his dinosaur of choice. If you do not have a dinosaur fanatic, the price tag may not be worth it.
Next stop, Mammoth Cave National Park. Little did we know that getting there an hour early to buy tickets would be an epic failure. Apparently reserving tickets online or showing up before the gates open is the best way. We did secure tickets for the Mammoth Cave Discovery tour, a self guided tour. It turned out to be a great cave introduction for the kids and a nice leisurely walk. M, a history nut, enjoyed reading about War of 1812 and how soldiers used the cave.
I agree with many of the author’s moments! Seriously, I would love to fold laundry and have a matched set every time. Or the clean house? Who doesn’t want that?! Lobster? Yes please! Cozy in front of the fireplace? Now would work as it is currently 28 degrees! Brr.
My Jelly Belly Moments…
my daughter’s good morning hug, so sweet and full of love
having the kids do something the first time asked
being proud when we can drop everything and get our family of 5 out the door in under 20 minutes for impromptu outings and adventures
catching the light bulb moments when teaching
turning the radio on to the perfect song for the moment
my husband holding my hand
shopping at Aldi, no more coupons!
watching E twirl and sing the night away
friends that warm my heart, fill my soul with laughter, and even if it has been months since last meeting, pick up where you left off
camp fires, traveling the back roads, and everything in between
hanging out with gentle, imaginative M
small town living
a glass of wine and my husband’s company
tasty pulled pork and creamy, tangy cole slaw
family adventures whether in the back woods, along the beach, or out on the road
seeing the world through little R’s mischievous eyes
eating, cooking, grilling, and talking about food
Saturday morning family snuggles
decorating for the holidays, any holiday
So this is such a small bag of my jellies, my mind is filling with more as I type. What are some of your Jelly Belly moments?
Having been on a diet for forever, I was starved for something sweet. I admit that I used to eat a lot of “comfort food”, so finding a way I could still do this and not gain weight has been a challenge. Fortunately, I came up with secret of packing little bags of Jelly Bellies, these great little jelly beans that really taste like what they say they taste like. My favorites are licorice, cotton candy, and, (of course for anyone who KNOWS me,) buttered popcorn. I purchase only my favorite flavors, and package about 20 of them into little bags. Then, throughout the day when I need a little boost, I eat a few, and I am happy.
It has dawned on me that my life is full of little jelly belly moments, not in relation to the real jelly bean, but as a reaction to little events that…
Parenting has taught us one great lesson, flexibility. Most of the time, we live by a sliding schedule. Wake up time and out of bed time is determined by the day’s events or the alarm clock. During the school year pillow time and wide eyed time is pretty secure. But come summer, we bend with life’s moments.
While enjoying Lake Huron, we played in the sand and watched the tangerine sunset melt behind the magnificent Mackinaw Bridge. That beautiful sight, the infectious laughter of children, and us being in exactly that spot was worth the later bedtime and harder next morning. Waiting for night to fall for a romp around the yard to hunt fireflies, a childhood moment worth every minute of lost sleep. Nap or rest time everyday is needed for each of us. Somedays though, the pool calls us to linger a little longer, a lunch picnic spills over to an afternoon adventure, or perhaps a rainy day movie session.
We are a family steering this ship. Not just children determining our up and at ems or the days comings and goings. Some days one or two may not like the early rising, late nap, or adventure choice, but as a family we will go with the flow. A family friend once gave us parenting advice that children are a part of the family, not the only thing. You know what, he was right. Our lives are a little less hectic and we have enjoyed more family odysseys when we took his words to heart.
This summer at 2, 3, and 6, we are relishing in our strength and unity in flexibility. For it to work, we have to work together. Family flexibility, we learn a little more with each outing!
For 3 generations our family has made a yearly voyage to Pentwater. For one week our family has joined countless others in a week of relaxation, together, Spirit, and most importantly, family. This retreat has been at a magical circle known as United Methodist Church Camp. The Methodist flame burns brightly each wonderous week. I have attended well over 20 years of this Pentwater family time.
With the name comes a sense of unity, spiritual surroundings, and a nod to the Methodist motto, “Open Door, Open Hearts, Open Minds”. Money is funneled to the camp for financial support with daily runnings to structural assistance. People each year aid in the Winter cleanup; building tables, mending fences, etc. The camp sports both a family camp and various weekly camps for kids. Nestled in the woods on the Northern shores of West Michigan, the camp is a natural sanctuary of peacefulness and solitude. A perfect place for family rejuvenation.
This year upon driving in, all noticed the new sign and name change. Gone is the tribute to all that brought us to this place. The new name erases it all, Lake Michigan Camp. My dad often touched up paint on the old Methodist sign. I wish I could say that the name change is the end of the “improvements”. A so-called bathroom upgrade left us with barely bathroom “stalls” (term used loosely), no counters, and gross shower floors. We have all over Michigan and this bathroom would rank in my top 3 worst list, only behind two with vault toilets. But I was not paying $28 a night for those sites. Yes hot water, but the old was better than this “new”.
Another point of contention was the 3 roll a stall per day “limit”. Really? In a camp with over 100 people there 6 nights and many in tents?! The friendliness of the workers and director are also gone. Our group has always taken turns with daily restroom cleanings, but when the group is accused of taking toilet paper for other than #1 or #2, hearts were hurt. On my day 3, I used 13 squares. I felt like Elaine on Seinfeld!
I believe the men had it the worst. The shower curtain for a stall door only went up 3 feet. Any average to above average height man would unfortunately be reduced to #2 business with onlookers seeing every facial grimace to wipe. Not something most wanted to contend with.
The nostalgia factor of the camp lives on for many, but unfortunately took a blow to the spirit. Maybe next year the drive in will be met with some friendly faces, a truely upgraded bath facility, and a spark back in the Methodist flame. If not, I hope the Methodist Council looks to fund a more deserving camp.