We got back from Michigan this evening after two very long days of driving. We had a lot of fun seeing family but WOW is it nice to be home.
I didn't think we would be able to do the trip home in only two days, honestly. We'd planned on spending 3 days to get home, so that the baby wouldn't be overwhelmed in the car. Todd, however, had different ideas. He informed me a day or two before we needed to leave that he thought we should try to do it in two. I didn't think it was a very good idea, but he assures me that I've blocked from my memory the horrors of the 3rd day of travel. Long story short, we made it in two days and no one had to die.
After "the cottage," we went to the Shauver grandparents' house on Lake Superior. The Snort immediately came down with a cold, and refused to eat unless it was "Momma Chow," which ended any sleep progress we'd made. We had a couple of days to hang out and play in the lake before more cousins arrived. My sister and her husband came with their 4 children, ages 3 and under (7 month old twins). I have to tell you that 7 children in the house was a lot! A lot of chaos, a lot of noise, and a lot of FUN.
We got to go blueberry picking, play in the lake, take the boat to the "secret island" (a bay on Grand Island off Munising Bay on Lake Superior, part of the Pictured Rocks National Park), and play with cousins. The girlies went fishing with my folks on a small lake (Deer Lake) where they catch lots of small fish - Emma caught a 12-13" small mouth bass on her little Barbie pole! - and they stayed at the camp (the cabin we all bought) with my two older nieces. We also saw a VERY COOL concert by a group called Song of the Lakes - they were commissioned to write music to Paddle to the Sea! It was wonderful. They are going to make a CD of the music, this fall I think.
We did see something amazing: a bald eagle fishing in the bay in front of my parents' house! I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but here they are. He would get right down into the water, and we thought there was something wrong at first, but he was just fishing:
I have never seen an eagle fish before!
He did finally catch something:
And then he flew away. Pretty cool, eh?
The nice thing about going to the U.P. in August is that Lake Superior is as warm as it's going to get. One day, there were big waves in the bay, so I convinced my family that we should go swimming. Emma said, "I'm risking my life to do this!" as we went down and got in the water. Silly girl. I have a lot of good feelings about being up north, but one of my specific memories is going out and playing in the waves like this. The air was cold, but the water felt warm (after a minute or two) and it was SO much fun. The girls really enjoyed themselves, and Emma stayed in the water with Todd for a long time after Abbie and I decided we were cold and went in.
Isaac liked Lake Superior, too. It was interesting - when I tried to hold him and walk into the lake, and maybe dip his toes, he cried and did not like it at all. My dad took him down, though, and put his feet down on the sand, and let Isaac decide to walk into the lake on his own power, and he thought that was fabulous. He waded right in, pretty deep in the water for a little guy:
And even sat down to play in the sand and water with Grandma:
He also learned to climb stairs while we were there, and he thinks he's hot stuff now. He also discovered that he can walk if only someone will hold his fingers. If you let him get ahold of yours, be prepared to get up and go, because he does NOT take "no" for an answer! I remember doing this with the girlies. My back hurt a lot for a very long time. I am so grateful to have the girls, who are at much better heights than I am, to walk him around. And around. And around and around and around...
The girlies really enjoyed playing with their cousins. Here is Emma sitting with Faithy and Norah Jane, watching tv:
And both girlies hanging out with the twins:
And, of course, all the grandparents, great and regular versions, were glad to have the kids there. We managed to get them all in a photo:
That's one for the record books, folks. It was pretty amazing to get everyone looking in almost the same direction at once for that picture.
I always feel a little homesick for Michigan when we get back. That will probably hit later. For now, it's nice to be back in my own bed and have the Snort in his own bed. One can only hope he will go back to sleeping now that we're home.