Monthly Archives: July 2013

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monday’s list


A lovely low-key weekend around here. My original plan for the weekend was to take the family camping up north, but that didn’t work out this time. Instead we …

• went for a family bike ride
• watched movies
• made slushies
• ate lots of yummy fruit
• played games on our devices
• did our nails (well, Chloe and I did)
• watched TV
• talked
• relaxed

I had one of those moments of contentment this weekend. Just being with my family, hanging out, talking to the kids, being there for them. I felt very happy and very blessed. <3

Chloe takes the coolest “selfies”, by the way! Two examples above on the right of the header photo.

looking down


While taking pictures at the park the other day, Chloe told me to look down from the bridge at the weeds and I snapped this quick shot. They were really cool looking and she made me get them in the background of a photo of her. Looking at it on my computer later, it looked sort of like a painting, especially along the edges and in the upper right corner. Made me think of Monet’s Water Lilies and took me back to Paris with Julie in the 90’s, standing in the museum surrounded by those paintings. Funny how some weeds in the river could remind me of a time so long ago. Can’t wait to go back someday!

childhood friendship


What I want for Chloe is to have good childhood friends. Friends who are honest and kind and laid back. Girls who are happy to have fun and be themselves, happy to be the kids they are instead of trying to grow up too quickly and create unnecessary drama. Life is just too short for all of that. Over the past month, Chloe has gotten closer with Mackenzie, one of her friends from her class last year. She has been over here a couple times this month for sleepovers. I spent some time with the girls this week riding bikes and doing photos for them at the park. She is just the sweetest. I’m happy that Chloe found such a nice friend.




Monkeys! :)



silver lake birthday


I loved spending my birthday with these three. Just the four of us on a little adventure at the dunes.

Chloe got a little too close for comfort to the edge of the dunes. We thought she might just slide right on down the side. She played it up for the camera, of course.

At Little Sable Lighthouse. The picture on the right is SO them. Poke. Poke. Poke. He just won’t leave her alone.

Zach requested this one of himself in front of the lighthouse using the panorama setting and panning up. :)

Wading in Lake Michigan. And (right) like mother like daughter.

Chloe wrote this. <3

My birthday lunch. Yummy pulled pork. Jake had wings and got a little bit of sauce on his hands. LOL!

Had to have some ice cream for dessert!


It was a wonderful first day as a 40 year old!

monday’s list | 40 edition


MY BIRTHDAY was on Saturday and I turned the BIG 4-0!

• Drove to Silver Lake for the day with Jake and the kids.
• Rode Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. A few years ago, Jen and I did that while camping at Silver Lake and I knew someday I’d go back with my family. They loved it!
• Visited the Little Sable Lighthouse and waded in Lake Michigan for a bit. I love Michigan!
• Had lunch at a little chicken shack. Pulled pork sandwich was a yummy birthday lunch. Mmmmm!
• Stopped for ice cream at the Whippy Dip! before heading home.
• Took an evening bike ride. I got to ride my new bike for the first time and it was awesome. I haven’t had my own bicycle since I was in high school. I love it. And it’s so purty!
• Jumped in the pool to end our day!
• Birthday lunch at my parents’ house on Sunday! Burgers and dogs on the grill. Cake and ice cream.
• Yard games! Ladder ball (Rick and I won! Yeah!) and badminton. It was hot in the sun, so Zach was “misting” us with the hose (more like spraying us directly when we asked him not to).
• Chloe taught me and Tim “The Cup Song” from Pitch Perfect. That was fun. And loud when we all did it at the same time.
• Went for a run when we got home. Chloe and I only ran about a 1/2 mile, though. My legs were very weak from our bike ride the night before. It has been way too hot for running the past week (heat index in the 100’s), so this week is looking very good for that. Comfy 70’s and 80’s. Low humidity.

It was a wonderful birthday weekend. I had no sadness or anxieties over turning 40. It’s just a number. (Although, today Zach said that when he and Chloe tell me I’m old, I can no longer say “Hey! I’m not old. I’m still in my 30’s.” Silly kid … but true.)

I think 40 will be great. Life is good. God is good. I feel very blessed.

the smartest husband

My husband is smart. I returned from my weekend of camping to a mowed lawn, pool cleaned, laundry done, dishes done, stove and counters clean. He knows how to make me happy. A part of me dreaded coming home to the piles of dishes and laundry. I was so relieved when I walked in the door to all that clean. The stress just floated away.

Yesterday evening, Jake asked me to come outside with him so he could check something on his van. He needed assistance, he said. He had me stand toward the rear of the van and look forward at the side and said, “Do you see that?” I was confused and didn’t really know what I was looking for. He said, “Ok, well, why don’t you stand over here instead,” as he pointed behind me. I turned around and just inside the garage sat the beautiful bike you see here.

The kids were standing on either side with big grins on their faces. I was so surprised. It has been many years since I had a bike of my own, so this was a wonderful early birthday present. I feel like I need a little white basket on the front. ;)

Thank you, babe! You are the best husband in the whole wide world. Love you!

camping in traverse city


This past weekend was my annual camping trip with my dear friend Jen. This was our 9th year doing this and we love it and look forward to our next adventure every year. Many of our trips in recent years have been to the U.P., which we love so very much, but this year we chose to stay a little closer to home and try out the state park campground at Traverse City. I have been to TC several times, but this was Jen’s first trip to the area. We drove out the peninsula on our first night to check out the Old Mission lighthouse, stopped along the way to buy cherries at a roadside stand, ooh’d and ahh’d over the beautiful vineyard landscapes overlooking the bay. It’s beautiful out there.


Here are some favorite pictures I took. I shared a bunch of these already on my instagram, too. It was fun to have the iPhone this year and be able to share throughout the weekend.

We spent pretty much all afternoon on Saturday at the beach. It was absolutely the most perfect weather EVER for a camping trip. Not a drop of rain. Gorgeous sunshine and blue skies. Perfect. Most years we’ve had at least some rain and several years we’ve had to pack up the camping gear in the rain, so this was a huge blessing for us.

After our day at the beach, we drove just outside of town to Moomer’s, a delicious ice cream place that my friend Cherish, who lives in the area, introduced me to years ago. And on Sunday, after packing up, we went downtown, walked around, and checked out some of the cute shops there. Traverse City has such a nice downtown area.

Our experience at Traverse City State Park was pretty good. The bathroom facilities there seemed newer and were one of the nicer ones we’ve encountered. The campground was nice. The only real negative was turning left out of the park onto Hwy 31, which is busy pretty much all the time because it’s the main road that leads along the shoreline. Because it’s such a busy road, there is a pedestrian bridge from the campground to the state park beach, which I thought was absolutely necessary. Way too dangerous to cross the street there.

On our way home, we stopped to visit with Cherish and her hubby Seth and their kids. Got to meet their sweet baby Avery for the first time (finally!). She is so cute and smiley. I was so happy it worked out for us to stop by. We chatted for a couple hours before heading home.

The biggest bummer on our trip home was that my air conditioner died the week before, so we had to drive home on a very hot 90 degree day with no air, just the open windows. We were thankful that we chose a location closer to home this year.

It was another wonderful trip. It’s always so nice to get away with a good friend and talk and laugh and relax. It’s one of the highlights of my year, for sure.

girls days 2013

Our annual Girls Days trip was wonderful. My aunt and uncle have a little house in Port Clinton on Lake Erie and that’s where we stayed this year. We arrived on Thursday the 4th and spent the next four days thoroughly enjoying our time together. So much talking and laughing and catching up. Loved it! We did a lot of shopping and eating (a little too much eating). Went to Aurora Farms outlet mall on Friday. It was rainy, so a perfect day for that. By the time we were done for the day, it was done raining, so we broke in their brand new fire pit in the backyard. Roasted some marshmallows and tried not to get eaten alive by the mosquitos.

On Saturday morning, we took the ferry over to Kelley’s Island and explored. First, we went to see the glacial grooves. Pretty cool to think about the size of the glacier that made these.


So many awesome houses on the island, especially along the water. One we visited (right) was a cute little shop. Lots of the homes we saw inland reminded me of houses you’d see in Anne of Green Gables. If I hadn’t been driving, I would have taken some pictures of those, too. Very quaint.

I was most looking forward to swinging over to the northeast corner of the island to drive by Camp Patmos, where I spent a week every summer when I was in high school. My cousin Brian went with us a couple summers, so it was fun to be able to show Aunt Pat where her son spent those weeks. The camp looks beautiful. Lots of improvements since I was last there … more than 20 years ago. eek!


(clockwise) the lighthouse. girls cabins. chapel from front. chapel side view. the “square” where everyone congregated for meals, mail call, just hanging out.

Here’s a picture of a bunch of us from my youth group in front of the Patmos lighthouse circa 1990. Some of the best memories of my life!

(Yes, that’s me with the very bright green jacket on and my lovely 90’s bangs! haha!)

After departing the camp, we drove past the old quarry and I used the panorama feature on my phone for probably the first time ever.

The rest of our Saturday was spent checking out some little shops in Marblehead, getting ice cream, relaxing and playing games (Mancala, Nutsy, Blokus). On Sunday, we drove to Sandusky and went to Pat Catan’s (kind of like a Hobby Lobby) and then had a nice lunch together at Cracker Barrel before heading home.

It was a perfect little getaway! I think we figured out that this was our thirteenth year of these little trips. Something big may have to be planned for our 15th trip! Yeah!

it’s alive


Oh my goodness! You have no idea how wonderful it is to sit down at my desk and type on MY COMPUTER again. My brother is awesome! He replaced the power supply and got it up and running for me. I got all my photos from the past few weeks loaded and backed up on hard drive and Carbonite. Caught up on sorting all my emails and such. Now I am just praying that it lasts a little while longer for me.

I’m very excited to get working on my book again! Yes! And to share lots of photos from the past few weeks.

Thanks for being patient and encouraging! You guys are the best!

monday’s list | the 4th


What a great 4th of July weekend!

It was our annual Girls Days trip with Mom, Aunt Pat and Tonya. We went to stay at Aunt Pat’s house on Lake Erie, enjoyed our 4th, saw a few fireworks (from a distance), shopped, ate, talked, laughed, played lots of Nutsy! (our favorite card game), did more shopping, roasted marshmallows by the fire, took the ferry to Kelley’s Island for the day. Loved every minute of it! I will share some more pictures later this week.

Jake and the kids went to Michigan’s Adventure with the entire family on his dad’s side, except for me and our nephew Alex. It was so awesome that everyone could get together and do something like that. What a special and fun time for them all. Hoping I’ll be able to join next time! :)

I hope you all had as wonderful an Independence Day as we did!

AJAXed with AWP