Monday, August 30, 2010

Visiting My Family in Jackson

Most of us headed over to Jackson to see my family today.  Nathan has been sick, so he stayed home.  I have an insanely large family, so to get us all together is a big task.  We did pretty good this time.  I was so touched that everyone scrambled at the last minute to come and see us.  My sister Traci and my Mom cooked us all a great steak dinner and we got to chat some.  And we even got a group picture!  Not all of us are in it, but we at least were able to get a group shot of some of us.
I wish I'd have grabbed more pictures while there, but it was pretty hectic and the time flew by way too fast as it was.  I'm grateful to have days like this since I don't get to see my family very often anymore.

We left Ashleigh and Elijah in Jackson.  The RV will be extra quiet without them.  We really enjoyed our visit with Ashleigh so much.  I am especially grateful for the time with her this past week.  I didn't know exactly how it would go, because we don't really have company stay with us in the RV very often.  And we haven't been around Ashleigh day in/day out for a few years.  On top of that, we've had some hard years that were painful for both us as parents, and for Ashleigh who was going through hard things.  As the oldest child, she has had to forgive us as parents far more than the other ones.  She's been vocal at times about that fact.  Within ten minutes of her being around, it was just like she'd never left.  Which was really cool to me.

It was so moving to me to see the person she is growing into and that she is still Ashleigh, with a huge heart, even after going through rough things.  Just a more mature version of Ashleigh!  We love you so much, Ash, and you still crack us up.  Get your RV so you can join us on the road! 

Living the life in Michigan!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gaylord Michigan to St. Clair Michigan

Today we headed south to St. Clair Michigan.  We had Ashleigh and Elijah with us, so it made it a bit harder than normal because it was crowded and we were all tired.  Overall, it was a very smooth day though. 

We are at the Thousand Trails in St. Clair.  This is our first visit here and we think we'll like it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Today Ashleigh, Nathan, Austin, Elijah and the dogs headed to Sleeping Bear Dunes.  I will get Nathan to write something up so he can remember the day.  All pictures and words will be his.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mackinac Island~The Island

Today we drove up to visit Mackinac Island.  I have wanted to visit here for years so I was very excited to be finally doing this trip!  The weather was just perfect and the island was just gorgeous.  This is definitely one of my favorite things we have done so far!  We had a great day and lots of fun together.

Mackinac Island is an island covering 3.8 square miles in land area, part of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located in Lake Huron, at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac, between the state's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The island was home to a Native American settlement before European exploration began in the 17th century. It served a strategic position amidst the commerce of the Great Lakes fur trade. This led to the establishment of Fort Mackinac on the island by the British during the American Revolutionary War. It was the scene of two battles during the War of 1812.

In the late 19th century, Mackinac Island became a popular tourist attraction and summer colony. Much of the island has undergone extensive historical preservation and restoration; as a result, the entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It is well known for its numerous cultural events; its wide variety of architectural styles, including the famous Victorian Grand Hotel; its fudge; and its ban on almost all motor vehicles. More than 80 percent of the island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park.

Fort Mackinac

Fort Mackinac was a military outpost garrisoned from the late 18th century to the late 19th century on Mackinac Island in the U.S. state of Michigan. Built by the British during the American Revolutionary War to control the strategic Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron (and by extension the fur trade on the Great Lakes), it was not relinquished by the British until fifteen years after American independence. It later became the scene of two strategic battles for control of the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. During most of the 19th century, it served as an outpost of the United States Army. Closed in 1895, the fort is now a museum on the grounds of Mackinac Island State Park and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Mackinac Island~The Ferry Ride

In order to get to the island, you have to ride a ferry boat.  Elijah really loved this part!

Mackinac Bridge

The Mackinac Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac to connect the non-contiguous Upper and Lower peninsulas of the U.S. state of Michigan. Envisioned since the 1880s, the bridge was completed in 1957 only after many decades of struggles to begin construction. Designed by engineer David B. Steinman, the bridge (familiarly known as "Big Mac" and "Mighty Mac") connects the city of St. Ignace on the north end with the village of Mackinaw City on the south. It is the third longest in total suspension in the world and the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western hemisphere. The Mackinac Bridge carries Interstate 75 across the straits.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Exploring Downtown Gaylord

Today we went to explore the downtown area of Gaylord.  The whole town is done in a Swiss/Alpine theme and it is so cute!  Our first stop was an ice cream shop that was giving out cones for a $1 donation to the Boys/Girls Clubs.
Then we wandered around just looking at the buildings and bears and monuments.

Beaver Creek Resort in Gaylord, Michigan

We really like this park, so I grabbed a few pictures to help us remember it in case we are back this way again sometime.  The staff is top notch and the facilities are great.  The internet in the lodge is the best we've encountered so far.

Even More Water Slide Fun

The face says it all!
 It's so nice to have fun that is great for the big kids and the small ones!  We are having a great time here.

Living the life in Michigan!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eye to Eye With Nature

As I was editing more pictures of us feeding the elk, I noticed how often we were making eye contact with the animals.  I thought to myself that this is probably part of why it touched us so much to interact with them.  There is just something so profound about looking animals in the eye and having them return the favor.

Water Slide Fun

Today we hit the water slide here at the park.  There is just not much that is better for summer fun than this!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Boy Meets Elk

While doing research for this area, I saw that they had elk here.  We haven't seen elk since we were out west, so I was really excited at the thought of seeing them again.  And we have Elijah with us, so I thought it would be especially cool if he could see them.

We asked at the resort office where the best place was to see them, and then headed out.  We drive to this place and get out and off in the woods we see two huge elk.  And because we are so easy, we were freaking out at how cool it was and stood there for the longest time looking at them from a distance.
I'm not embarrassed in the least that we were so geeky excited over it, because it is cool.  Really, really cool to be this close to elk.  We're asking Elijah what he thinks and making a big deal about it.  He's not real impressed.  Then we realize that he can't see from way down there.  He was a little more excited when I put him on my shoulders.
 Then Ashleigh and I noticed that way on the other end of this place there appeared to be a group of people doing something with a group of animals.  We say that maybe the elk are closer to the fence down there and people are getting to feed them or something.  Because Nathan can be a know it all, he says nah...those are deer.  We squint and look again and say...uh...I don't think those are deer.  If they are, those are some monster deer or something because they are big.  And the guy at the office said we could feed them crackers sometimes and we can't do that from here.  But we might be able to do it from there.  Because I can be pushy, I say...let's go!

So we headed out, with a pit stop at K-Mart for crackers, and went to find the spot where maybe we could feed the elk.
I'm so glad we did because this is what happened there.
In all of about 5 seconds flat Elijah transformed from boy to warrior/man-child/great and mighty hunter.  Or something like that.  I half expected him to start making Tim Allen noises or something.  It was awesome!

Nathan was trying to help him and he did the teen hand wave that means Pfffttt...I got this one.  I am boy, hear me roar!  Were the elk large you might ask?
Yeah, you could say that!  Dude rocks is all I have to say!

More tomorrow because there are more pictures that I want to share and I'm not used to daily blogging now so my hand is tired already.

Living the life in Michigan!