A Michigan 4th

We are back from our week in Michigan for the 4th of July and are warmed by the summer weather we had there and the many memories that we made. It was a week that felt both long and short somehow and packed a punch.

We left for Michigan Tuesday morning, the 28th. Our flight was early but not too early and although the girls both kind of lost their minds with about an hour left in the flight, we landed on time just after 5 pm local time and found my parents and our bags and were all able to fit in their new ride and headed to East Lansing. Tuesday night featured a lovely takeout dinner from Aladdin’s for my middleeastern fix and even an impromptu play date for Reese with my parent’s neighbor’s little girl who has a trampoline, climbing ropes, and big wheel to play with. And this was the one and only night we struggled to get Reese to bed without much fanfare.

Wednesday morning was a beautiful sunny day and my dad had to work for part of it but my mom was able to stay home with us. We spent the first part of the day playing at home and then headed out for a walk to Pinecrest Elementary School (my old stomping grounds) to play at their playground. We made it on the local 10 news somehow which was quite a riot to see the next morning. Reese found a few playmates but by about 5 pm we were all super hot and headed back to the house to break out the splash pad and had a lovely dinner of Dad’s salmon grilled on planks at home. We proceeded with the rest of the week with no naps for Reese which helped soooo much for a reduced bedtime each night.

On Thursday my mom had to work while my dad got to stay home. Bryan and I each took turns going for a run before the true heat of the day set in. This was also the warmest day of the trip so after playing at home in the morning and picking up subs from Jersey Giant for lunch, the five of us headed to Court One to go swimming. The water was chilly but refreshing and after swimming for a little over an hour we drove back home to play one more time at the neighbors and meet up with mom after her day in the office. We had another lovely dinner at home of grilled pork chops with a peach and arugula salad and had a mini dance party outdoors on the lawn.

Friday was our last full day in East Lansing and we started it off with a long walk to Patriarch Park to play at their large playground. On our walk back we picked up an iced coffee to cool us off and then had some Lou and Harry’s for lunch. Friday afternoon we headed over to Jennette and Terry’s house to visit and have dinner since they were not going to make it up to the cottage for the weekend and I hadn’t been to their house in over 10 years (and Bryan never has). It was a lovely evening spent at their house enjoying their wrap around porch and Detroit style pizza and salad from Jet’s Pizza. After leaving there we helped get Brooke to sleep and Bryan and I set out on foot to downtown East Lansing to get some alone time in. We went to the new Graduate Bar at the top of the Graduate Hotel and just caught the tail-end of daylight with a few drinks at the bar. We had great conversation and really enjoyed each other’s company. We left pretty tipsy after closing out the bar and were grateful to be on foot as we made our way home from the bar.

The remaining portion of the trip was spent with the entire family at the cottage and was truly the main reason we came to Michigan when we did. I think my summers aren’t complete without a trip to the cottage, especially over the biggest holiday weekend of the summer. We managed to get the car and kids ready to go fairly early in the morning and hit the road at just after 11 am. Our car left first and we ran into zero traffic and made great time, pulling into the cottage just after 1 pm. Mom and dad were shortly after us. Chad and John got there a few hours later. And Jerry, Mary, and the surprise visit of Allie all the way from Berlin got there around 5 pm. Grandma and Grandpa were there to greet us all as we all settled into for the three nights ahead.

The first order of business was to test out the new boat. My parents just purchased a brand new speed boat for the lake and it was quite a fun ride. It seats 12 and I think the most we got on the boat at one time was 10 adults with the two kids. We went for a couple joy rides on Saturday and Reese was all for the speed shouting “Faster Grammy!” often but she also enjoyed sitting on the bow with me or daddy when we were going at a slower speed. The boat has a platform with ladder on the front and back, plenty of power, and plays the radio or can be connected with bluetooth. It definitely amped up the weekend. No one skied on Saturday but we skied Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Bryan got up on two on his first try and looked so great but made several valid (and close) attempts the last two days to get up on one ski. My mom skied twice even though Reese told her at first that she was too old. Reese changed her tune half way around the lake. And even Uncle Chad tried twice to get up and did he just wasn’t able to stay up all the way around the lake. I think Bryan and Chad will have it nailed next summer. Reese and I and then Daddy and Reese even went around the lake in an inner tube. We then decided we need to buy a new tube for boating.

Aside from the water sports the group swam, rafted, kayaked a bunch, built many fires, played some euchre, walked around the lake, played in the sand and kiddie pool, and watched some baseball and tennis. We also ate of course and all of the trademark meals and snacks made their appearance; burgers, onion rings and potato salad on night one, Mom’s shrimp boil on night two, and foil dinners on night three. Farmer’s market brats before leaving on day four, lots of chips and dip, watermelon, carrot cake to celebrate John’s birthday, smores on the campfire, ice cream cones with Hudsonville chocolate fudge ice cream, and vodka tonics daily whenever someone deemed it appropriate to start.

The cottage felt so familiar and so fun and seeing it through the girls eyes made it even better. And I think it’s only going to get better (and easier) from this year on out. It required a lot of attention and holding of Brooke and her separation anxiety from me right now is at it’s highest and Reese was able to be pretty independent but she still doesn’t do so much independent play. Even still, we all had a wonderful time and a relaxing time and reminisced on that as we drove back to East Lansing on Tuesday night. We spent one last night at my parent’s house, they made a “birthday dinner” for Bryan with grilled T-bones, caprese salad, a green salad and french bread and we finished the night off with one last bowl of Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream.

Our trip back to Seattle was as easy as it could have been. Wednesday morning was a surprisingly rainy morning but both Bryan and I got out for runs on the River Trail while my parents worked the morning. We played with the girls inside and then after lunch my parents took Reese back to the big green slide that she loves and she found a playmate there that worked its magic to get her energy out before the trip back. We said goodbyes to my dad and then mom drove us back to DTW with both girls taking short naps. We got there with plenty of time to spare, said our goodbyes to mom, got through security easily, and then walked some of the wiggles out before boarding in First Class thanks to all three of us being upgraded. This was my first time flying first class and Brooke sat with me with Reese next to me and Bryan across the aisle and the girls were so well behaved the whole trip. The food was nothing to write home about but broke the time up and kept Brooke happy and two glasses of wine and two coffees with irish creme had me feeling alright! We were back home by 9 pm Seattle time and it was good to be back in our own beds.

We have the rest of the summer ahead of us and I’m ready for it all!

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