28 September 2016

Michigan Beach Days

Most of our Michigan days blur together because the routine was the same. Beach, beach and more beach. I was worried that the beach wouldn't have as much draw now that we live near the ocean, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Aside from a few days spent with friends and family, we spent every waking moment in the sand. I hosed down the boys multiple times a day, only to have them covered in more sand by bedtime.

It doesn't matter whether they are boogie boarding in the salty ocean waves or building sandcastles by the freshwater pier. Everyone is happiest at the beach.
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Sand, water and sticks provided hours of entertainment.
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Blake spent an entire day placing washed up logs into thoughtful structures.
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We watched the catamarans sail in from their regatta race.
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But soon enough, it was back to business.
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Blake built a boat for his brothers.
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Crew was all over steering that thing.
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Nash found the perfect sand consistency for castle building.
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Blake added a few more towers.
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Crew refilled and dumped buckets of water over and over and over.
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Finn had a knack for stealing my beach chair that was comfortably tucked under a shady umbrella. He was happy as long as he had his thumb and his nie-night.
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We walked down the little path that led to the water every single day.
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Sometimes the boys rolled the inner tube to the beach.
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One day we rented a paddle board and I gave turns rowing the boys out to the lighthouse.
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Blake maneuvered the paddle board around as well.
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We watched sailboats, ferries and freighters drift in and out of the channel. The most anticipated time each day was 4pm, when the Lake Express auto ferry arrived from Wisconsin. It produced the best waves.
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The lighthouse opened for tours every few days so one morning we took advantage.
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We walked up two floors of spiral staircases for a gorgeous view.
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We climbed up one more narrow ladder to catch a glimpse of the flashing light and vantage point from the top.
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Usually we can expect several rainy days during our stay but the first two weeks in August were impeccable this year. It made it that much easier to appreciate the sound of waves rolling up to the shore, the sight of sailboats drifting along the coast and the feeling of the softest sand between our toes.

I love that the most frequented place of my childhood is becoming cemented in my boys' hearts as well.


22 September 2016

Mackinac in Motion

One last recap in my attempt to freeze our blissful time on Mackinac Island.


21 September 2016

Shore Construction, Statues, Sprinklers and Serendipity: Mackinac Island

On our third and final day on Mackinac Island, I set out to capture as much of the charm as I could and I still feel like I only covered 1%.
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The attention to detail in every yard and garden is truly astounding.
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Our first item on the agenda was to build "Abner." We missed out on trips to the island the last three years, so we had to get caught up to speed on this tradition. We had no idea what Abner meant.
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In Hebrew, Abner means father of light. But in this case, it was just a name for a funny little creature made of rocks.
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While my dad was constructing Abner, we added to some more rock cairns.
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And took a dip in the lake, surprise surprise. We finally got smart and just had the boys wear swimsuits at all times.
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I taught Blake and Nash how to play the card game Scum at some of our Prime Perchin' Spots. 
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We had to get some more of that delicious Mackinac Island Moose Tracks ice cream before we departed.
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We headed down to the harbor before our final bike ride.
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Nash cracked us up with his impersonation of the Statue of Liberty. And his stripes on stripes (we had limited options left after all of the lake jumping).
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We biked up to the horse stables, where the sprinkler turned out to be more entertaining than the horses.
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We made our way to the cemetery, where my parents have plots of land reserved as their final resting place.
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I loved this saying on one of the stones.
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Blake was intrigued to find his name on a tombstone.
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Our final stop was the East Bluff, which is quite possibly my favorite vantage point.
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Blake wiggled a tooth out right then and there, overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. 
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We couldn't go a whole three days without Nash building some Lego creations. He snuck Legos into his pockets and into my bike basket because his little fingers always have to be building.
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We boarded the 6pm ferry with teary eyes as we said goodbye to Mackinac Island.
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But we were in for a surprise. I've taken the ferry back and forth hundreds of times, so I was slightly concerned when we strayed from the main route. The ferry inched closer and closer to the bridge until we were directly underneath. It was incredible. We weaved in and out under the towers before getting back on track. 
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We were in pure amazement that we happened to be on the right ferry at the right time for that rare serendipitous event.
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I talked a mile a minute to Troy that night as we drove back to West Michigan, recounting every detail and every highlight. 

The boys didn't sleep one wink during the long drive. They were still buzzing with excitement and gratitude. They both agreed that Mackinac Island was their favorite part of Michigan. Sometimes I feel like they get held back, always having to work around their younger brothers' needs and schedules. Having just the two of them to myself for a few days was a dream; an opportunity for which all three of us will always be grateful. And Blake and Nash will be the best tour guides for their little brothers when they're older.

You know how usually there is the part of a trip where things were stressful or didn't meet your expectations? The part that you don't necessarily share with the world wide web? I honestly feel like this trip really was as good as I described.

I keep wondering if I'm over-romanticizing our days on Mackinac, especially now that we're in the thick of school and schedules and homework. But it felt just as magical when we were living it as it does re-living it in pictures.

Our time on Mackinac Island was near perfect. And I needed it. The last few years have taught me to worry. But during those three days, I didn’t worry about a thing. That is why we get away. Why we go to places that make us feel whole again. To remember who we really are, even when life has made us forget. On the calm Mackinac Island shoreline, I remembered.