Saturday, July 25, 2009

Trip within a trip: we travel to Milwaukee (via Chicago)

First person to tell me who has a song named "Via Chicago" wins a prize!


On Thursday July 16th we loaded up my mom's trusty van and headed out on a road trip to Milwaukee to visit family and friends. It was a loooong drive, but we had plenty to keep us entertained. Like the GPS breaking somewhere near Gary, IN, the horrid traffic in Chicago and taking a wrong turn that led us through O'Hare airport. But no, it was fun. We stopped on the way through Chicago to visit a friend of mine and her two little boys. It was a brief, but lovely, chat and playtime. I had only known this mama online through a very close-knit message board I am on, so it was nice to meet her in person!

We finally made it to Milwaukee in time to briefly stop at my sister's and pick up my brother-in-law and their two boys before heading out again to dinner. Our favorite greasy spoon Mexican joint in Milwaukee is called Conejitos and we have to eat there at least once every time we go back. This time it was the four of us, the four in my sister's family and four friends who joined us. So much fun!

On Friday we woke up to a bit of an air mattress debacle. The one we brought suffered a puncture wound and the patch didn't really hold-- Iris was on the floor by morning. The funny part is, she didn't even notice!

My sister and I also attempted to take our two youngest children on some errands. That didn't work out quite as planned since the kids both fell asleep in the car. Oops.

The rest of that day? Well, I'll let the pictures explain:

Matt is 6'7" so this gives a good idea of how high these kids were swinging!

On Friday night Eloise was running down the sidewalk outside of Conejitos and tripped and smashed her forehead in to the cement. THEN on Saturday her sister accidentally whacked her in the head with a shovel from the sandbox. Oh, the poor kid. Not fun.

Milwaukee trip is to be continued . . .

Vacation: July 14th and 15th

Both of these days were, again, very low-key. On the 14th we again met my friend and her two kids at a park for a playdate. This time we met at a park very near to my parent's house. I can't remember how to spell the name, so the picture will have to suffice! I was in constant amazement of how nice and new the parks were that we visited in MI. The city my parents live in, Grand Haven, is something of a tourist town and seems to work hard at keeping up appearances.
After the playdate we all went to Culvers for ice cream. My friend, who lives in MI, had NEVER been to a Culvers. Can you even wrap your brain around how crazy that is? Seriously. She only dipped her foot in to the Culvers kool-aid (so to speak) but hopefully she'll be back. I used to plan out entire vacations when my parents lived in WI about what Culvers would have what flavor of frozen custard each day.

On the 15th we had wanted to hit another of our favorite beaches but we woke up to chilly weather and a thunderstorm that had just blown through. Instead, Matt, the girls and I relaxed at my parent's house before heading downtown to see some sights. We walked a bit on the boardwalk, had some gyros for lunch and spent some time at a cool toy store. As soon as my mom got off of work she and I left to do some (adult) girls-only shopping. It was so luxurious to be able to leisurely browse through shops--even ones that sell breakable objects!-- without children screaming at my feet. Ahhh.

I didn't get any pictures from the 15th, but here's a few of the park playdate:

I wasn't quite following what the game was on this particular piece of equipment, but I think it had something to do with an airplane, emergencies, people who needed to go to jail, and Eloise as a cat, who Iris was adamant about not wanting as a part of the game. Because Eloise is Eloise, she barged right in, anyways.

My friend's daughter and Eloise doing some sort of complicated communication with Iris, who was the captain of the plane, I believe.
The cranky pants who was trying to run the show that day.
Oooo, tunnels are always fun for pictures!

Vacation: July 13th

On Monday we were the very first people to show up on the beach at Kirk Park, on Lake Michigan. Oh, wait. Scratch that. We weren't the first. The dudes from the county jail were also on the beach picking up litter. Yep, just us and the convicts. And no one watching them. Yep.

Of course, they just did their thing and left the beach and then we really were the only ones there. It didn't take long for the beach to start filling up, though. Even on a Monday!
Lots of digging to be done on a beach.
Matt and Iris wading pretty far out. It's not clear in this picture, but there were some decent rolling waves that day. Iris and I later had a blast jumping over them!
Eloise put her dress back on pretty quickly, but as you can see, the fun was just beginning.

My husband and his trademark scowl.

A small view of the beach, facing north. The woman sunbathing to the right in this photo had us cracking up. She was laying on one of those aluminum foil thingies that help people tan more, I guess. AND she was smoking. You wouldn't believe how many people in MI smoked and sunbathed. I got a closer look at her as we were leaving, as she, her daughter and grandson all left at the same time and Eloise and the grandson were little buddies during the walk. Anyways, this woman was scary raisin-faced. Ew.

Anyways, while I was inspecting the view of the beach, this is what was going on with Iris and Eloise. Filling up her dress with sand, which was found to be heeeelarious!

And here begins a handful of the great pictures I got of Iris this day on the beach:

My sister bought Iris this dress from a thrift store a few summers ago, long before Iris fit in to it. My sister was thrilled to see Iris wearing it!

July 11th and 12th

Not much to report about Saturday the 11th other than that was the day Matt finally arrived to join us on the vacation! Actually, that was pretty exciting for all of us. We had a fairly low-key day besides that. In the morning the girls, my dad and I went grocery shopping at Meijer, a store which I LOVE. The girls particularily enjoyed the mechanical horse at the store that only cost a penny to ride.

One Sunday the 12th my dad took Matt and I sailing on his boat. He keeps the boat on White Lake, which is the same lake we vacationed on two years ago with my parents, my sister and my brother's families. We motored out through the lake and then sailed on Lake Michigan. It was a perfect day. Sunny but not too hot and just enough breeze for a little sail.

Here is my dad's boat. Her name is Kestrel.

Here is my husband, the trusty captain of this fine boat.
Raising the sail!

Okay, we weren't actually sailing yet, just getting the sail ready. Here we are motoring out through the channel in to Lake Michigan.

Hey look! Here I am! I really was on vacation, I have the pictures to prove it! I didn't enjoy captaining the boat (is that a real word? captaining?) because all I could do was stare at the compass to make sure I was going the right way. And then most of the time, I wasn't anyways.

Portrait of my handsome dad and I. He will be 62 this year (or is already 62. Shit. I can't remember). Can you believe that handsome devil is a senior citizen?

A lovely light house on the way back through the channel. Actually, it is a maritime museum now.

Oooo, here I am again! On vacation! Hiiiii!!!!!!!!

Here I am AGAIN! This is just craziness.
My toes enjoyed the sail, too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 8th-10th

On Wednesday July 8th we met our friends from Muskegon at a wonderful playground for a playdate. We were there for a really, really long time and the kids raced around playing non-stop. We could only drag them away with the promise of ice cream!

Check out Eloise's curls! Her hair has been crazy curly during our time in Michigan.
This is my friend's little guy. I love this picture.

Iris and my friend's son going down the slide together.

My friend's daughter, in her dashing pink hat!
There were a bunch of families at the park that day and several of us decided to climb with the kids up a huge sandy path that stopped at the top of a ridge.

The top of the path provided an amazing view of Lake Michigan. I got one good picture of the girls . . .

. . . then this happened.

And then this.

We headed back down, which was alot more fun than going up!

The three girls sitting nicely for their photo to be taken.
Here is my family and my friend's family. Her little guy was not too interested in getting his picture taken so there were some hilarious outtakes!

Getting ready to leave for ice cream! Ice cream is always more delicious when you're on vacation. Check out my little monkey in the purple pants!
On Thursday the 9th our same friends invited us along to see a steel drum band play at the Spring Lake library. A band in a library? We were there! At one point they laid out a bunch of hula hoops and the girls all took turns trying it out. Iris was surprisingly good at it!
Then the limbo bar came out. The girls had a blast doing this, too, though they couldn't quite figure out how to actually limbo.

On Friday the 10th we had a low-key day. Iris decided she wanted her Grandma to cut her hair for her!

And the finished product!