28 February 2019

Back to School

Back to school was a little chaotic after dumping all of our furniture and boxes in our new house and then spending the two weeks before school started in Michigan. We had two days after we flew home to dig through boxes to find school supplies and purchase whatever else the boys needed. Mattresses were on the ground and clothes were scattered around dresser-less bedrooms. We didn't have our annual back to school dinner and we made peace with that. Even the traditional back to school photos happened several weeks after the official start of school, but I couldn't let that one slip through the cracks altogether. 

The end of our new cul-de-sac made the perfect backdrop for our new fourth grader, second grader and two preschoolers.
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27 February 2019

Pier Blooper

Getting four boys to cooperate simultaneously is not an easy task. I mostly capture candids for everyone's sake, but occasionally I ask the boys to all line up and participate. I should know better than to have expectations, because there's always at least one child that is less than cooperative. Here's an accurate recount of my mom and I trying to get the boys to look and smile.



26 February 2019

Michigan | 2017 Edition

It wouldn't be a trip to Michigan without the annual beach video.

My brother started this tradition years ago when Blake and Nash were little. He captured moments  on the beach and combined them into beautiful video compilations.

I loved this tradition so much that I took filming and video editing into my own hands when my brother started his own family and our time spent in Michigan hasn't necessarily lined up. 

Now there are two more boys added to the mix and each year shows how much everyone has grown. But even though the boys have changed drastically since that first annual video, the location and activities enjoyed remain the same. 

Video has a way of capturing the movement and sounds that still shots miss. I cannot watch our annual beach videos without being immensely grateful for the opportunity to weave a piece of my childhood into our boys' childhood.



20 February 2019

Michigan Wrap-Up

In addition to our Mackinac trip, beach days and beach nights, there were a few more things that made our time in Michigan complete.

I tackled the flights with four boys solo, knowing that a few hours onboard would be worth it for two weeks in Michigan. The trip came at the perfect time since we spent the entire previous week moving and the months leading up to our trip house hunting and packing. It was a much needed escape from the chaos of moving.
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One of the pilots invited the boys into the cockpit to check out all of the buttons and they were over the moon about that.
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I'm always blown away by the spacious, green farmland in Michigan. We just don't see acres upon acres of land or hills that aren't dead and brown in Orange County.
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One of the best parts about local farms is the roadside corn-on-the-cob stands. My dad and his siblings are produce connoisseurs and have found all the best places over the years.
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One owner was nice enough to bring us back to his barn to show us his three day old baby goats.
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Nature in Michigan does not disappoint.
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A huge part of our trips to Michigan are spending time with extended family. We had several backyard BBQ's and trips to Fricano's (our favorite pizza place) with cousins and aunts and uncles on my mom's side of the family.
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We also gathered for an afternoon picnic with a small fraction of my dad's side of the family. Nash family gatherings wouldn't be complete without the traditional "flamingo salute."
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Another evening, we gathered in the backyard with the Nash family for an annual "Nut Roast," where members of the family were roasted for silly things like their golf swing or driving big rigs.
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As is tradition, my dad hosted the event in costume. This year's character was Sheriff Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit.
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My brother astounded us all as usual with his video presentation. The best part was a game of Whose Line is it Anyway? that he put together using home video clips. He poured hours and hours into the preparation of this annual event. 
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My uncle set up the backdrop with a whole lot of random decor and the boys were pretty excited to participate in the presentation.
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Such a fun night.
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One of my favorite parts of being in Michigan is spending time with my college besties. We gathered our twelve collective children for a day of swimming and talking, talking, talking. Our kids put on an America's Got Talent show for us to judge that was pretty hilarious.
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Finn fell asleep in my lap while we were chatting poolside and that just doesn't happen enough so it had to be documented.
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We also spent a day with my bestie from high school, Abby. She lives on a fun lake that my boys love to visit. Too bad I only got one measly photo.
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We took a day trip up north to go river rafting on the Pere Marquette river. It was a cold day but no one fell into the water so I call that a success.
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My extended family used to hold their reunions at a lodge on the river so it's always nostalgic going back. My brother built a fort out of sticks way up in the woods years and years ago and we couldn't believe it was intact.
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Here's a short snippet from the day.

We spent another day on a pontoon boat on Spring Lake, which feeds into Lake Michigan.
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We love looking at the houses on Spring Lake.
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Oh look! My brother took my camera for a minute so there's proof that I was on the trip.
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We watched the Grand Haven Musical Fountain one evening.
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What would a trip be without an Urgent Care visit? Crew crushed his big toe under a door on our first day there and despite our efforts to keep it clean in the constant water and sand, it got infected.
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We added daily cleansing foot baths into our routine and flew home with lots of wrapping gauze, a foot bathtub and an antibiotic.
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It's always a little sad arriving back at the airport after packing our days in Michigan full to the brim with our favorite people, activities and traditions. We're so grateful each time we have the opportunity to go.
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Ready or not, we headed back home to a house full of boxes and three days until the new school year started.