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... ;)

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