Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our annual voyage to Michigan

This year we went to Michigan a little earlier than usual (in July) and drove instead of flying. I was worried about restraining Hannah in her car seat for that long--after all, this is the kid who screams on the hour drive back to Hagerstown--but the portable DVD player made it all possible. I wish our kid weren't such a TV addict, but in this case, it worked to our advantage. We stopped off at the library first to rent some new flicks and then we hit the road. We drove halfway there on Friday (about 6 hours with all our stops) and then stayed in a hotel. After an early morning swim in the hotel pool, we drove the other 6 hours and arrived at Grannah and Granpah's Saturday afternoon.

Joel's presence was the highlight this time around since he's been sailing around the world and living in New Zealand for the past couple years and has missed the last few family get togethers. Hannah and him settled in on the floor with the toys immediately upon arriving.

The next day we woke up early and got pumped for the Fine Lake biathalon. This is an event that Eric created many moons ago. He runs the 5 or so miles around the lake and then swims the 1 mile across the lake and back. I did it with him the first year I went and participated in just the swim the second year. This year I hopped on a bike and we buckled Hannah into a trailer that we attached to the back.  (Photo credits for the next two go to Grannah.)

On the home stretch of the ride/run, I got attacked by a swarm of horseflies who bit the crap out of my back. It was terrible. Trying to swat them and hold the bike steady was impossible, and then trying to scratch the itches while steering was equally insane. I made Eric take a pic when we got back to the house so I could see if it looked as bad as it felt.

The welts went down after jumping in the lake and were pretty much gone when we had finished our swim. Joel and Granpah took out the boats (one in the fishing boat with Hannah and one in the sailboat) to keep me and Eric on track and protect us from other boats. Sadly, I have no pics of this second part of the biathalon.

Justin showed up shortly after we finished our swim. Yay All the Kellogg's together for the first time in eons!

Group snuggles are one of Hannah's favorite activities; we do it all the time. In this instance, she pulled in the brothers for a family hug.

Later that afternoon we headed over to Eric's closest friends' house for a birthday pool party for their oldest son. I snapped a pic of Hannah jumping off the diving board since it was her first time, but then I didn't pick up the camera again.

At some point (maybe the next night??), we walked the bike trailer back to the owners (Grannah's friends) and found a pond full of frogs and this sprinkler.
I think this was also the night that Eric and I headed over to St. Mary's lake to hang out with his bestest friends again (this time adults only) on their pontoon boat. Somehow I neglected to get any pics of this too...Not sure what I was thinking (or not thinking), but I'm going to blame it on being pregnant, even if I didn't know at this point.

We spent all day, every day putzing around the lake this year. It was very relaxing, especially after the long drive there. On Tuesday Hannah spent the morning catching blue gills. I think she caught 5 total. I took way too many pictures of this...

Here she is reeling the first one out of the water.


Casting out again.

Caught another!

She took a break then to swim a little and then hopped out to warm up on the dock with Uncle Justin. In the midst of all this is when I looked at the period tracker on my phone and realized that I had mixed up my days and that I was actually at day 29 of my cycle (I thought it was day 26). Since my cycle is usually 25 days, I knew what this meant, but I peed on the stick anyway. Yep. Preggo!

Back to the fishing!

Caught another one! It took us a while, but we finally managed to talk her into holding up the fish by its lip.

Granpah is quite inventive! To water the grass in the dry area, he poked holes in the bottom of a bucket and hooked the bucket handle around a hoe. He dips the bucket into the lake to fill it up and then dangles it across the patch where he's trying to grow grass. Hannah liked helping.

Hannah also really liked having a bunch of new toys to pull out and spread all over the floor.

And she loved having her uncles around to play with! (This photo is courtesy of Uncle Justin.)

 We took out the kayaks later that day. Hannah started off in Eric's and then after a little swim, ended up perched on the back of mine.

That evening (Tuesday), Grannah and Granpah had an early birthday party celebration for Hannah. Hannah helped decorate.

After some pizza and broccoli, Hannah opened presents. This first one is from Uncle Joel.

He brought back the Buzzy Bee from New Zealand where it is a very popular toy. Hannah liked it too. She pushed it around the table, pulled it around the house, and then rolled around with it and put it on the bottoms of her feet while she held them in the air so that it could "fly".

Next up was a set of magnetic dolls from Uncle Justin. 

Then came the bike from Grannah and Granpah. Her legs are still a little too short to pedal this, but she likes trying.

After dinner we headed down to the lake for a boat ride. Granpah found a turtle trying to cross the street and let the kiddos say hello before dropping it into the water.

Hannah boycotted the family photo. After a while we gave up trying to get her to take the towel off her head and just took it without her.

Granpah borrowed a pontoon boat from his neighbors so he could take everyone out onto the lake. 

Grannah had invited over her friends, the kids she babysits, for the birthday party. Hannah enjoyed having other children to play with.

We got up the next morning and drove to Uncle Justin's in Grand Haven. Ahhh, beach days! On the first day, they dug a hole to China and then a river to connect it to Lake Michigan.

Joel and Hannah spent most of the day there.

Justin has one of the awesomest playgrounds close to his house. We went there first thing the next morning, but had to hightail it to the car when the rain came down.

We came across this headless mermaid sand sculpture during a walk on the beach one afternoon. Hannah is a little small to pose behind it, and the angle I have on it is all wrong, but it's still pretty funny, huh? Sand sculpting is so amazing it me. 

Another of Justin's presents to Hannah is a round rainbow kite that spins in circles.  Hannah liked flying it and spent a lot of the afternoon doing so.

We hit the road pretty early on Saturday morning and drove more than halfway to my great aunt and uncle's house in Pennsylvania where we met my dad and a bunch of other relatives for dinner. That'll be my last July post, then I can move on to August....Maybe I will eventually be caught up!


  1. Sounds like it was a great visit and a fun time!

  2. Awesome pics! I will have to get you the video of Hannah catching her first fish!


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