06 October 2016

Final Pier Walk

It has become tradition to take one final walk to the pier on our last night in Michigan. We did the same thing two years ago, just four weeks before Finn joined our family. It's hard to believe there were only three back then and how much they've all grown.
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Grandma Julie had to shake around like a crazy lady next to me to produce genuine smiles.
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Let's back up a minute and look at the bloopers; the reality of photographing four boys.
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Finally nailed it.
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And with that, we flew home with sand in our suitcases and beautiful memories of another unforgettable summer.


05 October 2016

iPhoneography: Michiganders

Someone recently asked me the question,"If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be?"

I'm sure there are many exotic locations I could have listed, but on the spot, the first place that popped into my mind was Michigan.

The beauty of Michigan in the summer is unparalleled, but what draws me the most are the people. As much as I love where I live, I sure miss my fellow Michiganders.

I was lucky enough during this trip to see best friends from each stage of my life. First up was my attached-at-the-hip high school friend, Abby.
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Her kids showed the boys the ropes of life on their lake. The waterpad was a hit.
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Nash attempted some meditation and had no idea he was about to get annihilated.
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Can you guess who was thrilled and who was apprehensive about the turtle they found?
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We had to tear them away from the lake and each other.
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Next up was a day with my best friends from college, Steph and Katie. A lot has changed since our late night cram sessions at the library, but there still will never be enough hours together.
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We spent the entire day poolside and our collective 11 children wasted no time getting reunited. They played "olympics" and cracked us up with their relay races.
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The best part of the day was when they decided to put on a pretend wedding. They took the preparations very seriously. Costumes were gathered, practices were held and there was even a pre-wedding proposal.
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How we wish thousands of miles didn't separate these dear friends.
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One of my best friends from Utah happened to move to Michigan a couple of months before our trip. Julee and I raised our babies together and I can't say enough about how much she supported me during some difficult pregnancies. Out of all the places her family could have moved, I'm so glad it ended up being Michigan. 
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In addition to spending time with dear friends, we enjoyed many meals with extended family as well.
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The boys reacquainted themselves with their 2nd cousins from both sides of the family. There's nothing like fresh corn on the cob from a roadside stand, eaten on the back porch during a Michigan summer evening. 
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There wasn't necessarily a lot of things for the kids to do while visiting with relatives, but I loved that they were easy entertained by two kayaks sitting on dry land.
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The ice cream cones helped too.
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Nash succeeded in another round of relaxation overlooking an inlet of Spring Lake.
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A small fraction of the Nash extended family gathered for a picnic at the park overlooking Muskegon Lake.
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Nash family gatherings are always accompanied by the flamingo salute. I'm not sure if I even know the full story on how the flamingo salute came to be, but it's been a tradition for as long as I can remember.
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Another day, we rode bikes around Muskegon Lake with the Nash family.
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We always meet up with my mom's siblings at Fricano's pizza, the best thin crust pizza that ever existed. The boys loved running through the old railroad tracks outside the restaurant almost as much as devouring the pizza.
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Our final day in Michigan was our only rainy day, so we boarded the trolley and took one last stroll around the lake that we gathered so often with friends and family. 
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It had been two years since our last trip to Michigan; too long to not see so many familiar faces. We were grateful to visit with so many of our favorites in one place within such a short span of time.


04 October 2016

Michigan Beach Nights

I go back and forth on whether I like beach days or beach nights better. I love both, but I have a special place in my heart for the golden hour in Michigan.
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Especially when it involves piers, lighthouses, soft sand and pretty light.
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Ditching the shoes is usually step one.
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Unless, of course, you are biking to your next location.
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Usually we camp out at a small cove beach next to the channel during the day, but in the evenings we like to walk to the "big beach" on the other side of the lighthouse.
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The sand feels silky smooth and cool on our feet as the sun sinks into the horizon.
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Crew tried his hardest to utilize the drinking fountain.
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Blake stepped in to assist him.
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But the task still required one more brother. One to lift, one to push the button and one to drink.
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What would they do without each other?
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We came back for more a few nights later.
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Yes, I think summer beach nights might top beach days. And on this particular trip, we had the added bonus of staying up late to watch the Olympics each night. We never fully adjusted to the three hour time difference, so Blake and Nash got just as hooked on swim races and gymnastics finals as I did. Throwing any sort of schedule out the window for a couple of weeks was just what we all needed before diving back into school.