Tuesday, August 21, 2012

we camped

Yes, on top of our galavanting around Michigan for a few weeks, we also found a little time to do some camping.  Upon returning from our Michigan vacation, we spent 6 days taking in the comforts of our home before we left for Lake Red Rock for a weekend camping adventure.

We were lucky enough to get a campsite right next to the playground.  So the kids could play whenever they wanted to!

Friday night, we spent some time chattin' around the fire.

On Saturday morning, Chad made us some yummy french toast and eggs.

Did I mention yet how hot it was while we were camping?  Pretty sure it was hovering close to 100 degrees! So we hung out in the air conditioning for awhile and played Sorry. 

 That afternoon, my parents came up to spend the rest of the weekend with us.  We escaped the heat by visiting the Lake Red Rock Visitor's Center.

There were lots of cool critters to see.

That night, my parents took us out to eat at The Pizza Ranch to celebrate my birthday.  That little Addie can eat fried chicken like no one I've ever seen.  I think it was around drumstick #6 that we quit counting.

Dad and Chad played bocce ball with the girls that night.  It was a pretty cut-throat competition.

Then we went for a little walk over to the bridge.

Tate liked looking at all the fishies in the water.

So did Odie.

After the kiddos went to bed, us adults hung out around the campfire.  Looks like Dad was telling a pretty serious story.  Either that or getting ready to backhand me.

Sunday was my BIRTHDAY!  After this many years I've sorta lost count of how old I am, but I think it's somewhere around 26 or so... ;)

Mom made my favorite cake - Angel food!  And the kids did a fabulous job decorating it.

Please pay no attention to my greasy face...  Did I mention it was hot?  ;)

We had a great time!

Such a good time, in fact, that we went home for another 6 days, and left again to camp for a week!  Chad's parents came down from Michigan with their camper and spent that Sunday through Saturday with us at Lake Red Rock again.  

Unfortunately, I didn't get very many pictures since I knew Chad's mom was taking a lot.  So, once I get those from her, I may just have to post those on here!  But here are some that I did get:

We had super hot weather again, but we still managed to get some bike riding in.  
Chad pulled these little cuties behind him.

Addie stopped along the way to take some pictures of the ducks.

In front of me:

Behind me:

The view from my bike basket.

We also did some fishing.

Once again, as in Michigan, the kids caught enough fish to provide us with another fish fry!

Wish I had taken more pics! We had such a great time, despite the heat!

After our week of camping, we relaxed at home for a few days before Chad had to be back at school.  And shortly after (last Wednesday), the girls started school too.  :(  But we'll save that for another post...

Friday, August 10, 2012

michigan: week 2!

So, you thought my vacation posts were done, did you?  Surprise!  Remember, my husband's a teacher, so we spend much of our summer away from home.  In fact, between June 17 and July 14, Chad wasn't home AT ALL, and I was only home less than 4 days!  Ca-razy! Which means the summer passes by all too quickly.  And which also means lots of pictures.  So brace yourselves for week #2 of our Michigan adventure!

Recap: After Chad's 2-week training at the University of Iowa, the kids and I picked him up on our way to Michigan.  The first week we spent with our friends in Sutton's Bay, and the second week we spent with Chad's family in Cadillac.

On Saturday evening, Chad's brother Scott came down to spend the night and Grandpa and Grandma Brooks came and had dinner with us.  It was so nice to be with everyone again! 
The kids sure do love their Great Grandma and Great Grandpa!

The kids love riding with Nana on the riding lawn mower around their lawn and through the woods.  Addie even got to drive it!

We spent Sunday with Nana and Papa and both of Chad's brothers, Mark and Scott, tubing down the river.  Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures since we couldn't bring our camera on the river.  But the kids had a blast playing with their uncles.  And we had fun soaking in the rays and floating along.

On Monday, we went down by a river where the kids got a close-up look at some crawdads (also known as crayfish).

Chad always did want to get his ear pierced...
He does look pretty hot with an earring, if I do say so myself.

Addie thought that if Daddy could do it, she could too.  She's been begging to get her ears pierced...
She is so brave! I couldn't believe she actually did it.  And she even did it several times before we got a good picture of it!  That girl's got more guts than her mommy!

Digging around for more crawdads.

After our river adventure, we went to a nearby lake and did some fishing.

Tate's first fish!  Doesn't he look happy?  ;)
We caught lots of little fish like this, but had to throw them back.

But then Millie reeled this whopper out of the lake...
Pretty big fish for a little girl, huh?

And then Addie reeled this guy in all by herself...
Like her Pope hat?  The wind caught her bandana just right to turn her into a cone head.

Uncle Mark and Chad didn't do quite so well... They got the award for catching the smallest fish.  Nice try, guys...  ;)

Fortunately, we caught enough big fish to have a fish fry that night!  It was soooo yummy!  Millie couldn't get enough!

Later that night, we had the pleasure of a visit from a few of Chad's aunts and his cousin, Betsy.  Betsy and I go way back - all the way back to our first Mardi Gras together.  Here's a little flashback for ya.  I think this picture dates back to 2003.  Give or take a year.

Now Betsy lives in France (I know, some girls have all the luck, huh?) and was back in Michigan for awhile so we were lucky enough to get to see her again.

On Tuesday morning, Uncle Mark had to leave. :(  Wish he could've stayed longer, but I guess some people have real jobs.  The kids sure had a lot of fun with him!

We had a special visit from Grandpa and Grandma Porter that morning!

Then we headed over to the beautiful white sandy beach in Manistee, where Chad lived for many of his childhood years. (in Manistee... not the beach)  ;)
It was super windy, so we had some really big waves!

And we were lucky enough to run into Betsy and Aunt Angie there too!  That was a fun surprise!

The kids had fun playing with Aunt Angie in the water.

Nana and Millie had fun playing in the sand.

Between Aunt Angie and Nana, the kids were really tuckered out!

After a fun day at the beach, we all went out to dinner at Big Al's Pizza, Chad's favorite restaurant growing up.  It was soooo good!  Definitely one of the best pizzas I've ever tasted!

On Wednesday, we headed up to Traverse City for the Kids' Town that was going on during the Cherry Festival.  There were lots of free kids' activities.  Geoffrey from Toy's R Us was there!

The girls had fun doing a few crafts.

We were glad they had the free antique firetruck ride around Traverse City again.

Addie made a rocket and Chad and Tate helped her launch it.

On Thursday afternoon, Chad and I headed up by ourselves (yes - a date!) to Traverse City.  We used this time to celebrate our upcoming 12 year anniversary (July 29!) since we knew we were going to be too busy on the actual day to celebrate together.  We spent the afternoon lounging on the beach and then headed up to the tip of Old Mission Peninsula.  This is where Chad first told me he loved me, on my 20th birthday way back in 1999.  And supposedly, 13 years later, he still does.  But I love him even more.  ;)  Awwww.... 
I hate this picture of me, but I had to include it since it was the only one we had at the lighthouse.  So please try not to look at me.  Seriously, stop it.

That night we had dinner at Peninsula Grill.  I totally recommend this place if you're ever up in Traverse City.  Great food, and not many tourists seem to know about it since there was no wait at all!  A couple of the other places we had called had long waits.  Not sure why this place didn't... the food and service both were excellent!

We had to stop on the way back to capture the beautiful view.  From this spot on the peninsula, you can see Lake Michigan from both sides.


That Saturday, we headed back home. Although we had LOTS of great fun on vacation, it felt good to be home!  If only for a few more days... ;)