Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island (MAK-in-aw) sits in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Most of the island is covered with trails, woods, and in them, you will find the limestone Arch Rock formation. Fort Mackinac was built in 1780 on a bluff overlooking the lake and was the site of 2 major battles in the war of 1812. In the 1950’s tourism took over but much of the island has undergone historical preservation including the village and Grand Hotel. The 8.3-mile island is accessible only by plane or boat and bans almost all vehicles with the exception of ambulance and fire. Transportation on the island is primarily by horse and carriage or bicycle.

In August we set off on a little family vacation with the first destination being Mackinac Island. We spent the night by the lake and took a ferry over in the morning. Our ferry crossed under the Mackinac Bridge on the 20-minute ride to the island. We were on the top deck of the ferry and of course that was much loved by Dakota.

The island is beautiful and well worth your time to visit! We all loved our day spent there and would have gladly gone back for the 2nd day of exploring.
There was something intriguing about all the shops, bikes, horses, and carriages in the little village.

If you didn’t want to walk, you could rent a carriage or a bike to get around.

The fort overlooking the village.
All the houses are quaint and beautifully cared for. Most of the houses in the village were for tourist lodging and the locals live up on top of the island.

The Grand Hotel.
We took a ride on one of these to get to the top of the island to do some exploring.

Our trusty guide always knew where to go and what to do next.

Probably the most beautiful spot on the island was all the way through the woods at the Arch Rock. The rock was so unique but the view over the water was amazing.

We spent some time at the fort and learned a lot of new things, most of which I have already forgotten, unlike my husband and children.

From the fort looking down over the village.

We had a small cooler along with snacks and water bottles so we took a little siesta on the lawn. Of course, the 2 that had previously been tired of walking were suddenly filled with energy and wanted to go for a walk around the lawn. I could have sat for a long time and just watched everything happening.

One of our drivers said there are 17 fudge shops on the island. There is only one doctor and he specializes in fudge overdoses. The driver also said if you would rather not buy the overpriced fudge, just stop at each one and have a sample.

We rented bikes to ride around the island. Due to all the horses, there were always road apples and piddles to dodge. We were warned not to step in any “water” because it had not rained for a while and therefore it was a piddle, not a puddle.

It was a beautiful 8.3-mile ride around the island and took us approximately 1.5 hours, probably because I made them stop all the time for another picture. Eventually, I got the hang of using my camera while biking, but I was better off not being close to anyone when I tried that.

The lake was clear and warm. The kids wanted to swim so very badly.

Everywhere you looked, every time you turned around, there was something beautiful.

Hours later we were happy and tired but not quite ready to leave.
Pack up your family and go for a visit to the island sometime.
You will love it.

Quote of the day: “We didn’t really waste (spend) much money today. We just rode the ferry, the carriages, the bikes and walked around.”

Lo, How A Summer Doth Fly

And so it was in the eighth month of the year of our Lord,
in the midst of days of running to and fro,
that summer did wax hot and the days long.
But although the days were long,
the months were short and soon it was to be
that school was almost upon us.

And the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan
did as Lot’s wife, and looked back.
With wistful thinking, she pondered,
“Why is it that so many things remain undone?”
What of my plans for teaching new skills,
of guiding and prompting the tribe along in wisdom?
What of the days of sitting upon the river bank
and the dangling of feet with not a care?
Behold, were there not picnics planned which happened not,
also days of relaxation by the water with castles of sand,
and surely, all manner of things most splendid
of which little was accomplished.
It would seem as though we did blink,
and lo, the summer was past and gone.

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And so it was that the mother of the tribe
continued to look back and ponder
all her hopes, dreams, and plans for the summer,
for she once had a great many.
What became of the days she wished to spend
teaching, training and instructing her daughters
to further their culinary skills,
so as to work herself out of a job?
For lo, time was running out, school was approaching
and it would seem she had gotten nowhere, swiftly.

Madison bakes

There were a great and many other things left untaught,
such as sewing of dresses, canning of foods,
and the proper sorting of laundry and such deeds.
Yet it would seem the interest of her daughters
did not lie in such things, but rather
they fell prey to things such as the baking of all things sweet
and of painting, brushing, etching and sketching.
“Have I failed them again, these few short months?”

Reagan's art

And as the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan
stepped back to survey the past summer,
she did moan and groan in her spirit
and was grieved to find that her son
was no more of a proper gentleman then he had been
when summer commenced in the fifth month.
Behold, the burping, farting, and jumping
seemed only to increase in strength and might
as quickly as did he through the summer months.
His love of teasing and tormenting did far exceed
his love of all things proper and mannerly.

And so it was for days without end,
that the “Battle of Siblings” was fought in full fury.
And though they wearied, yet the skirmish ended not,
for lo, there was not one among them who would
give in, give up, forget, or forgive.
And fraught with weariness of mind and body,
the mother of the tribe thought to call
the father of them all and beg and plead of him,
“Come hitherto, and hold up these arms of mine,
for they are weary from the separating of your children,
for surely I am rescuing them from the death of one another.”
And behold, a fine word from the father of the tribe
ended the never-ending battle, for such as time as this,
because he did take his son along to work the next day.
But the Mother knew in her heart of hearts
that as sure as the dawn breaks the darkness,
so it would begin again shortly and she pondered,
“Have I not taught, have they not heard,
have they not retained any such things of which I speak?”

D&R

And as her mind was tossed to and fro,
she looked back to conversations of yore
and was once again reminded by the wisdom of the aged.
For it was said of them over and over again,
“Make haste and enjoy the day at hand,
for surely there will come a day when all the children
of men will be departed from your tents
and all the apron strings will be torn asunder.
And lo, it shall be in that day that you will sigh unto yourself
and looking back, wistfully pine for these days.”
And she puzzled in disbelief as to how it would ever be so.

Wise words of old she knoweth not,
yet one thing she doth know for sure,
“Lo, how a summer doth fly!”
And so she purposed in her heart
to forget the work that waiteth at daybreak
and to take delight in the short days remaining
until the time of school was at hand.
And behold, she girded up her skirts,
waded into the fray and listening
to the sounds of the tribe
she wondered if maybe one day
she really would miss it.

And A Little of June

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June, in all its glory, is a blissful month for many reasons. Warmth, sunshine, greenery, no school, water time, family time, birthdays, longest days of the year, no snow, fresh veggies, strawberries, raspberries, ball games, and a million blades of grass to mow. I won’t list all mine, make your own list of loveliness.

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Amazingly, they have become friends. He is more gentle with her than any of us. Not amazing at all is the fact that my relationship with him is still a little rocky. Days when he plays with the kids and they love it, I’m all cool with having him outside my door. Other days when I find half of the front porch chewed up in the driveway, I am not cool at all.

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As far as weddings go, this one was fun. I’ll now suggest a fun golf course with carts to any bride, so long as the men leave the clubs at home.

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We have formed our own little biker gang and we all ride together. Grandma’s lawn usually receives top-notch care until we get started, after that it just kind of looks like a race track. There are a few rules to the riding and so far everyone has stayed safe. The biggest casualty is running out of gas and having to walk back to the house.

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This is the spot where memories are made. There were sleepovers, fires, marshmallows, hotdogs, bike rides, stories, more stories, and lots of laughter and fun. Years from now I hope this little gang will look back and say, “Remember one time at the cabin when…”
My siblings and I grew up with a cabin and pond farther back in the field and we have lots of good memories playing there.  Although Tristan never lived to see this cabin, he is very much a part of us when we are there. Invariably when the kids all pile in for a sleepover and I am trying to get them to settle down, one will say, “Tell us stories, stories about Tris.” and so I do. We take walks down memory’s lane and recall all the things we did when I was a kid. My memories come alive for them and he lives on in them through me. Tell your children your stories, keep the memories alive.

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I do believe she wouldn’t mind having more than one birthday a year so she could dream up and create another cake. She spent the entire day doing what she loves, stirring around in the kitchen.

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Only go camping on the hottest weekend of the year if you have a huge fan!

There are times in a person’s life when events unfold that directly affect them, yet it is not their story to tell. Such is the case in my life right now. I have not told you, simply because it was not my story to tell.

Since Tristan’s death, you have followed along with my life and the journey of grief I have been on. What you are not partial to is the rest of my family and their journey, their story is not my story to share.

In 2015 our family lost a member, this year we gained a new one. It was a bittersweet day in June when Lisa married Laverne. The mixture of emotions is something that you cannot explain. There were tears for the past and what all we have been through, yet there were also smiles and joy for the present and the future. We are happy for them and we welcome Laverne into our family.

Our grieving is not over just because of these changes. Grieving changes along with you and hangs around for the rest of your life. In some ways the weekend was hard, we missed Tris so very much, yet we can also say the weekend was good.

Through all this, all my mind continually went back to a song I heard about God writing my story. “Is there room in my heart for God to write His story?” Am I willing to allow Him to orchestrate my life in a way so my story will bring Him glory?

Life may not turn out exactly as I had planned, but if I allow God to be the author of my story, life will turn out exactly as He has planned.

Of August

August, the month when we imagine everything will be hot and sticky.
Not so this year, the windows have been open most of the month.

August, the month when moms of all shapes and sizes flip flop back and forth in their brains on any given day, at any given moment.
They go from, “I can.not believe school is starting soon. I don’t want the schedule. I will miss my children!” All the while secretly thinking, “And who will help me work?”
Or at any other given moment, you might find them scrawling notes to the teacher saying, “Thank you thank you thank you for rescuing this child from my hands!!”

August is when you squeeze in one last day of swimming, one last trip to the park and think of all the things you were going to do but didn’t get done.

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August is when all the moms of toddlers think,
“It will be years before my kids are old enough for school.”
(insert loud buzzing noise here) 
Wrong. It will be tomorrow.

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In the photo above, Bryce is holding his ears because I believe in reading a book the way a book should be read. With all the noise and enthusiasm that is portrayed in a book.  He did not care for Bear’s loudness in the library!

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August is when you chop and dice everything in your garden, throw it in the pot and call it good. Tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, plus a whole lot more from the store!
It’s so pretty I actually wish I liked it.

August is for so many cherry tomatoes that in a fit of rage, you actually rip the plant out and toss it, much to your children’s horror. Hey, there are three more plants too many!

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August is for peaches. Combine angel food cake, a pudding mixture, a peach mixture and you have an amazing combo. Much better than the previous photo.

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August is for squeezing one last vacation in before school starts.

In the name of keeping all things honest and upright here,
no my children do not always appreciate having their photo taken.
Especially the little one.

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When August is as cool and cool can be, you sit by the fire and catch up.

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And when August pulls off a stunning solar eclipse, you tell the kids they will not miss this, they will go outside and take turns watching. And lo and behold, it turns out to be a whole lot more interesting than they thought it might be.
Or maybe it was just cool to use the welding helmet.

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And of course, the number one thing August is known for, school!
All three were ready to go back whether they admit it or not. One may have been slightly more excited than the others and one was very sad to be left behind.
But she and I, we are really doing great.
That thing called silence is just ringing in my ears!

Miss You Tris

August brings back memories,
the last time I saw Tris,
the last time I waved goodbye
and watched him walk away.
If only I had known…

Quote of the day:
“Did you know my Bible said Jesus undied himself?”

And for that, I am very grateful.

Summertime Goodness

It’s a cool summery morning. Plenty of birds chirping a song to go with my coffee back in these woods. I sat on the porch for awhile and then opened all the doors to the house. My children don’t appreciate that and crawl under blankets as if it were wintertime.

I love summertime. I like a cool morning but I also like a nice warm day. I know, if I worked outside for 8 hours I might change my mind, but being at home means the option of AC on those nice warm days so I still want them.
I’m also waiting for a summer that is not crazy busy. Maybe one that lasts for at least 6 months and has about 2 days a week with nothing to do but stick my feet in the pool. How long do you think I’ll need to keep waiting?

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This is some of the finest food ever.
Sweet and simple! Summertime at it’s best!

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We went camping once. I’m good with that but my children think otherwise.
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It felt like a 10-day camping trip but actually only covered parts of 5 days. It was full of relaxing, good conversations, floating down the river, campfires at night, some rain, and of course cookies and hot chocolate early in the morning as you can see!

I was expecting to go home with Mt Rushmore of laundry but it wasn’t too bad. It probably helped that Dakota wore his swimming trunks all day long and then would carefully lay them out at night so he could put them on again the next morning.

The perfect s’more consists of a chocolate covered shortbread cookie, peanut butter, and a marshmallow. Try it if you haven’t ever.

~~~
No sooner than camping was over, my sister and her family came to visit and we had a busy weekend with them. Cooking, eating, beaching, bubbles, taking care of kids, settling fightings, talking, cooking, eating and having a good time.

Let’s just say after this trip….
kids & the beach
Yes! Pretty much sums it up! 🙂

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When I was a kid we spent hours riding around on something, bikes, dirt-bikes, 3-wheelers or whatever had wheels… our kids are starting out right.

~~~

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If you know of anyone who likes to play ball, my girls would probably even pay to have you drop them off to play with this kid!

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We pretended to be a tourist the other day.

Now they want goats!

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And then on Sunday, we were at the neighbor’s for lunch and after a trip outside they decided they want goats AND sheep! Their Mother is not cooperating so very well! Running to the neighbor’s for a visit sounds like a good deal to her!

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After not getting her way in the game little one says,
“I wish we had never buyed this game!”

~~~

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So, tell me what else is on your to-do list for this summer?

~~~

This morning I read,
“So be careful how you live…
make the most of every opportunity.”
Make today count.