Another summer vacation to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan has come and gone.
We're not sure if we'll be able to make the annual tradition happen next year, so we made sure to savor every moment we had on our favorite beach.
In my mind, there is no better place to play than on the beach. The boys are entertained for hours and hours in the fresh air. All they need are some shovels and buckets and sunscreen. I love to see the creative structures they come up with and I love even more that no technology is involved.
And then there's the added bonus of relaxation. The sound of waves lapping up against the shore, the sight of freighters, ferries and sailboats coming into the channel, the softest sand I've ever felt between our toes, and the cool gentle breeze that August in Michigan is sure to guarantee.
We hardly did any traveling around the state like we usually do, which left us lots and lots of beach days in the two weeks we were there. It got to the point when the boys asked what we were doing each day and we replied, "Going to the beach," they'd sigh, "Again?"
But once we were sufficiently covered in sand each day, we had to drag them away.
Crew was only three months old when we visited Michigan last summer, so this was really his first experience playing with sand and water. He dove right in with his brothers day after day.
Sand was consumed just as much as it was played with.
Some days we woke up to crystal clear water without a soul in sight on the beach.
Did I mention the sand?
Exploring the paths in the grassy sand dunes was one of their favorite activities.
The boys claimed their very own secret hideout.
It was tucked away behind the catamarans and had cool, shaded sand.
Blake and Nash brought their collection of rocks and twigs there day after day.
Plenty of creativity happened right along the shore as well. Holes and tunnels were dug and waterfalls were created with a collection of buckets.
Nash was entertained for hours with an inflatable ninja he could punch and kick to his heart's delight.
He quickly shifted from fighting mode to quiet, serene mode every day. We often found him lying flat in the sand with a collection of toys, lining them up and acting out scenarios.
No greater structure was built than the traditional Nash family sandcastle. Or maybe "palace" is a better fitting description.
Blake was in charge of building the breaker wall to protect the structure from being destroyed by oncoming waves.
He took that job very seriously and had a few meltdowns when parts of the wall were washed away.
But in the end, the palace survived.
Another equally impressive palace was constructed a few days later.
Blake and his uncle Jo sure were a good match for each other when it came to building on the beach.
Troy joined us during the second week of our stay. He brought a few days of rain with him as per tradition, but it didn't stop us from going to the beach anyway. My 34 week baby bump plus three boys in tow sure got a lot of conversations going with fellow beach goers.
It's always sad to leave one of our favorite places in the world, not knowing how often we'll be able to return in the future. I'm so grateful that Lake Michigan is forming a special place in our boys' hearts.