To relive some of my favorite memories as a child through my daughter is quite the experience. I’ve told Bryan before that the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. That probably sounds absolutely absurd to most but it’s not the holiday itself I enjoy the most, it’s everything wrapped up with it. I love summer and growing up I loved spending nights with my whole family at a place that is solely special to us. I loved the food, activity, relationships, laughs, jokes, games, fireworks, and tranquility that was my cottage during this summer holiday. The spirit and fun of the holiday is also something that I still enjoy to this day. I would pick my 4th of July burger, eaten on the cottage deck, overlooking our lake, with my family sitting at the picnic table, over a fancy Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve dinner any day. This is why it is my favorite holiday.
We were lucky enough to spend a beautiful five nights at my family’s cottage and one night with just my parents back in East Lansing. We arrived on the 3rd and all travel went smoothly, all weather was perfection, and we all survived with merely a few scratches and mosquito bites and maybe a few extra LBs. Reese did fantastic again on both flights and pretty great for all car rides. We tried to split up the travel as best we could and that did help. In East Lansing, we enjoyed my now-favorite Middle Eastern take-out of Zeytoon’s, played in the grass, and stretched our legs before heading up to the cottage to be greeted by my grandparents. Like usual, my family was the first to arrive. My aunt and uncle from Indiana and my brother from Cincinatti were next, arriving on the 4th and my aunt and uncle from Lansing arrived on the 5th. Then we really had a full house! Plus three dogs. I love it when we have the whole fam damily together.
Activities at the cottage were nothing short of varied. Since my grandpa sold the speed boat a few years ago, my mom decided to rent a speed boat for three/four days. It was a very nice boat with a sound system that Chad enjoyed and enough power for my mom, Bryan and I to water ski behind. We did a lot of laps around the lake, just enjoying cruising around in it, and Reese loved it! Occasionally she would yell out or do her head-bopping dance to the tunes Chad was playing. One day the boys went to play frisbee golf and got soaked in a quick (and the only) downpour. One morning we actually woke up early to go play tennis. We went for a few short runs around the lake and a family walk around the lake. We played some cards, had some fires, and watched some movies and the US women’s soccer team win the World Cup. Reese tried to spend as much time as humanly possible in water. She would go from the small kiddie pool on the deck to the lake and back, multiple times a day. She generally didn’t take her swimsuit or swim diaper off and when she did that didn’t stop her from still swimming. One time when she was nudey butt in the kiddie pool she decided to send out some floaties, which was pretty hilarious.
And we ate well on this trip. Like I described earlier, we had grilled burgers on the deck with Grandma’s famous potato salad and bean salad. We had mom’s amazing boil with more shrimp than I’ve eaten in a long, long time. We made foil dinners in the campfire. We celebrated Reese’s 10-month birthday with Terry and Dad’s crisp and airy waffles. We enjoyed trying Jennette and Terry’s favorite cherry brats. We had loads of snacks to tide us over and Grandma’s vodka tonics or old fashioneds every day. Carrot cake, magic bars, and sugar cookies rounded out the eats and even one night out to Mr. Pibb’s for some amazing Michigan ice cream cones.
Reese LOVED the cottage! We really think she thought we moved there and wasn’t keen upon leaving. She was a happy kiddo the entire time but also having some bouts of separation anxiety when I would leave her side. Besides the pool and the lake, the boat, the fire pit and the dogs, she loved sitting in her camp chair that used to be mine (this surprised me that she liked sitting in it), she also loved walking around the grass, deck and up and down the stairs to the lake. This girl is still not stable on her own two feet but wants to be on them as much as possible. We all took turns holding her hands while she walked around exploring and going up and down any stairs she could find.
When we returned for a day and night to East Lansing, she continued her exploration by foot. She enjoyed visiting a nearby park and swinging twice in one day and she got to meet my friend Nisa one more time when she stopped by for a visit. We spent most of the day relaxing outside because the weather was perfect and we enjoyed grilling steaks and veggies outside, after enjoying Nisa’s egg rolls as a very good pre-dinner snack.
It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait for the next time we make it back to the cottage. Reese will be that much more playful and that much more excited to go back I’m sure.