Monday, July 30, 2012

Michigan Family Vacation 2012

We just got back from a week away in Grand Haven, MI!  We LOVE LOVE LOVE summers in Michigan!  It seriously is WAY better to me than Florida!   Why you may ask ...

- Only 4 1/2 hours away
- Super soft, sandy beach with NO SHELLS
- Clean water
- No jelly fish
- No sharks
- Family-friendly
- Awesome weather that isn't scorching hot
- Very economical (grocery stores close, minimal gas, great housing prices)

My parents and Nate, Sophia, Jackson, and I headed up last Saturday morning!  We arrived at our beautiful rental house!

Sunset on Second

It was 3 story's ... 4 bedroom, 4 bath .. tons of space!!  We settled in, unpacked, and then went for a really long walk along the boardwalk, finished up with some yummy supper at home!


Sophia's bedroom

Living room!  Already settled in 
Each morning we went to the beach, hung out usually till 1:30ish, then headed back in for the kids naps, then showered, cooked dinner, and usually took an evening walk!  We played some games, shared laughs, and many memories!!  One evening Nate and I were able to get away on a date night.  We walked the beach at sunset hand in hand (ooooh, ahhhh, gush ...), watched the full sunset and then finished the night off at a local microbrewery!   Since I am more of a WINE kind of girl, I had some home brewed Root Beer!  Nate enjoyed his beer though!


Microbrewery 2 blocks from our house!
My parents were able to have a date night out as well.  They enjoyed dinner out and walked the downtown Grand Haven strip!

Jax on the WOW towel!

First beach day!!

Dad and I

Mom and I

Brad buried Sophia and Matthew in the sand!

Daddy's little helper flying a kite!

I can do it all by myself!

Mama and her two kiddos!

Fun in the sun!

Imagination Station playground in Grand Haven!  

Music in the Park 

All smiles .. check out my top two new teeth

Super super windy!!
Sunday evenings in Grand Haven they have WOW (Worship on the Waterfront).  Each Sunday a different person/band leads worship.  It was AMAZING to have church out on the waterfront.  Rick Hopkins played and he was AMAZING!  We totally rocked out and praised God!!

Rick Hopkins and Band
Sunday, my dear dear friend Abby and her family visited us on the beach!  They came over from Grand Rapids.  Abby and I have been close friends since we studying pharmacy together at Butler!  We continue to see each other every year during our summer MI trips.  It was actually Abby and her husband Brad that introduced us to the WONDERFUL WORLD OF MI SUMMERS on the west coast of MI!  We are so thankful for their knowledge.  We owe them so much for helping to shape the next MANY years worth of summer vacations!  My parents now share the same love for MI that we do thanks to Abby and Brad's advice, suggestions, and wisdom!  Thanks Sturms!

Abby, Anna, Jax, and I ... our babies are 6 weeks apart!

Wednesday evening, Nate's sister Naomi and her family arrived and we had a WONDERFUL taco dinner together!  Tons of laughs and great food!  We finished the night with a boardwalk and sunset walk to the pier/lighthouse!  It was BEAUTIFUL!!

Thursday morning we said goodbye to my parents, and we awaited the arrival of Nate's parents as well as his other sister Rhoda.  We packed our beach bags and headed to the beach for 3-4 hours!  It was so much fun!   Friday we spend the full morning at the beach, followed by another yummy home-cooked dinner, and a sunset beach walk!

Tyler could ALWAYS make Jax smile!!

Sophia was always right next to Tyler ... his little shadow

Aunt Naomi and Jax!

Family picture minus Nate

Papi and Mimi and their babies!!

Playing football with Lexi

Love her cousin Tyler

Our Family!!

Whitney (sun-kissed) and Delores at Sunset on the pier

Grandma and Sophia building a castle

Brother and sister!

Two peas in a pod!  I can only pray Jax grows up to be young man like Tyler! 

We buried Tyler in the sand!  Sophia's idea!

Rhoda swimming with Sophia!  I promise the water wasn't really this green!! 

Happy 71st Birthday Whitney!

The FAB 5!

We said goodbye and headed home on Saturday!  We stopped at DUTCH Farm Market on the way home as it is our annual tradition to buy a 10lb box of Michigan blueberries to last us for a few months! :)  Time to make my famous blueberry buckle recipe (from Abby!)!!  My mouth is drooling just thinking about it!

We only ate out 1 time and that was for lunch on the way up to MI.  The rest of the time we cooked all our meals at home!  I always feel terrible eating out all the time on vacation and my stomach is always hurting.  It felt good to share healthy, nutritious meals together at home!  Plus, that gave us the freedom to enjoy some ICE CREAM at the local Dairy Treat!!  We also found a health food store and were able to stock up on some of our favorite healthy treats ... kombucha anyone??  This stuff is amazing!!!  Plus some fresh dates and apricots!

Our favorite ice cream stop!

Do you have a favorite summer vacation spot?  What do you like to do on the beach?  We played in the sand, water, flew some kites, and enjoyed many long beach walks!  Jackson LOVED walking on the beach!

Lake Cumberland ... Adult Adventure

This summer we had the WONDERFUL opportunity to head to Lake Cumberland with some of our friends!  We stayed in their parents houseboat and had THE.BEST.TIME!!  We laughed and laughed!  It seriously felt like we were newlyweds again ... no kids ... no whining ... no naps ... no schedules .. no diapers ... The only thing we worried about when/if it was going to rain and spoil our "water playtime!"  We were really recharged to get away from all of our children and enjoy some adult conversation!  We stayed up most nights playing games, laughing, and talking!  We spent the days on the Jet Ski, Ski Boat (tubing and also trying to learn to ski, wake board, and knee board!)  I was never able to get up on the ski's, but made it up on the knee board the first time I tried!  I had A BLAST!  Every single muscle in my arms were sore for the next two days! Ha!!   The 6 of us hope to make it a summer tradition to get away without the kiddos!!

Megan, Libby, and Chad!

Our fearless captain: JUSTIN!  He was THE BEST SKI BOAT driver EVER!  

Libby and I on the tube!

Chad rockin' the tube solo

Umm ... Chad .. you are on top of Libby! Way to protect your bride!

Swimming out in our cove near the houseboat!

The back of the houseboat!

Our view in our own cove!

What a stud!

Knee Boarding ... this TOTALLY rocked!

Driving the boat back into the dock!

Our WONDERFUL hosts: Meg and Justin

Our Alabama friends .. Chad and Libby

3 handsome dudes!

sweet friend, I miss you!!!

Meg, me, Lib 

All of us minus Nate the photographer!


The houseboat at the dock!!  
We are so thankful to Justin's parents for allowing us to use their houseboat!  We made memories that will last a lifetime!!  Thanks again!