It is no secret that Ryan and I (and the kids) do a lot of weekend "get away" type things. We're the kind of people that, if we have extra money, we choose to spend it on experiences rather than save it or put it into a car or our house. I still haven't figured out if that's a good thing or not! :) I CAN tell you that we've seen a lot, done a lot, experienced a lot... and that- I'm thankful for :)
This past weekend, we were invited to come up to Grand Haven/Muskegan and stay with miss Suzie Kingsley (soon to be MRS. ELLER:). Ryan and I have been to the west side of the state only a handful of times. Most often, I have gone with my family to visit my cousin, Mal and her family in Grand Rapids. A few years back (when Ryan and I were engaged?) we went to Michigan Adventure. And when I was in 8th grade (pre-Ryan) my family took a long trip up north to Mackinaw. It was in September- and it was pretty, but cold. Where am I going with all this?? When Ryan and I start talking about getting away for the weekend its almost ALWAYS either SOUTH or East! :) We like the Detroit area quite a bit- not like DETROIT, DETROIT, but the areas surrounding it. We love the big malls, fancy hotels and restaurants. We also have this strange fondness for the airport... so weird. Anyways, when Suz invited us, we said "SURE!" And thus began our FIRST "westside" getaway :)
We left Friday after Ryan got out of work. The plan was to load up immediately upon his arrival home and go. HAHA- an HOUR and a half later we were on the road... and then in the McDonalds drive through. We're not prompt people anymore.
We drove to Lansing- all was great. Henry slept, Maeve played with her new "pee pee toy" (more on that later...in a different post). Ryan and I listened to G.Love, laughing at the funny lyrics and holding hands (like we were back in high school- do you remember those days? Where you HAD to hold hands with your significant other- like ALL THE TIME?) A few miles past Lansing the kids started breaking down. Henry was up and wanted to eat... like NOW. And Maeve was whining right along with him. Unfortunately, there is a stretch in between Lansing and Grand Rapids where its BOONSVILLE. The only halfway decent restaurant we could find was a Subway in a gas station.
It actually worked out fairly well. Maeve and I did a potty break- Ryan and Henry ordered food. We all sat outside in this big grassy field, letting the kids eat. Maeve ran around- got the wiggles out. Henry scooted, ate some grass, ya know... We finished our nutritious gas station meal with ding dongs and were back on the road in a jiffy.
We drove and drove (I have no clue why the drive there seemed like it was days...) and FINALLY hit mile marker 3- we were at the WEST side of the state! Somewhere I had NEVER, EVER been before. How exciting!
We met Suzie & Ben (her fiance) at this camp... I am still utterly confused about it- just ask Suzie- I had question after question about the camp and its purpose and what she did there... :) haha... but we took a walk down to the lake and I stuck my feet in LAKE MICHIGAN for the first time EVER. Yeah- pathetic... 26 years old- 20+ years in the state of Michigan and it was the first time having my feet actually stuck in Lake Michigan.
After our walk (and some ice cream:) we headed back to Suzies house. Suz, my friend, has struck gold up there in Muskegan. Her house could swallow our house whole. It looked cozy and quaint from the outside, but it was HUGE and spacious on the inside. We got the entire basement to ourselves- a kitchen, living room, PLAY ROOM (WHAT WHAT?!?!), bathroom and TWO bedrooms. Kind of insane. Anywho, we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit! My favorite part was her shower- we called it the capsule. It was really like a capsule and I loved it :)
Saturday morning, Suzie took us to this grease pit diner (my fave kind of breakfast places) and I seriously ate myself sick. Don't believe me? Ask Suzie. I was for REAL sick later on... oink oink! It was SO GOOD though. And I must be a glutton for punishment and pain because Sunday morning I wanted to go back (and we did).
After the ridiculously yummy breakfast, we headed to Maranatha (that camp) for the penny fair. I *THINK* this might have been Maeve's fave part of the trip? (this or Reggie- Suzie's dog...) Anyways, its like a mini (mini) fair type thing with little games & activities for kids. Most of the games cost a penny (some 5 or 10 pennies). Maeve had a blast holding her little cup of pennies and handing them to the workers. Her fave game was the fishing game... there was also a table where you could make tubes full of sugar. Fab. But we were on vacation so I said "go for it." Maeve sucked that sugar down in a hot second... grossssss. But again, she was loving it. We ended the penny fair with face painting. It was adorable- Maeve sat there, so patiently while the face painter gave her a kitty cat nose and whiskers. :)
After the penny fair, we did the pool and beach for a bit. My kids wear out (fairly) easily- so around noon/one it was pretty apparent a nap was in order. We headed back to Suzie's house and crashed for a few hours. Yes- I sad a FEW. Maeve slept from 2-5!!! Henry... not so much, but still, I think I got an hour of silence. That's always nice!
After naps we hung around the house and did a cook out. Maeve ate nothing. Henry ate 2 corn on the cobs. WOW!
Around 7 or so we headed to Grand Haven for the big coast guard festival. I kind of was picturing it to be something like the Jackson County fair- or the Hot Air Balloon Festival- something like that. Ummmm NO. The sheer volume of people was mind boggling. I really, REALLY don't like crowds (who does?!?) and it took a lot of strength to keep myself from hyperventilating. It was insanely crowded. We parked about a mile (guessing?!) from where we were going to watch fireworks. It seemed like an eternity until we found a spot that we could all sit down and watch. But... we did. And when the show started, it was fab! Maeve hates fireworks but these fireworks lasted so long that about 10-15 minutes into the show she was loving them. :) Henry enjoyed wriggling all over the place, trying to get his mitts on the popcorn. And I spent the ENTIRE TIME playing around with my stupid (not really stupid- I love my camera! :) camera. Suz mentioned something about playing around with the glow sticks, fireworks and aperture. I had no idea how fun and addicting it could be. I snapped about 50 pictures of random lights- and would excitedly show Ryan, Suzie, Ben- whoever- how "SWEET" the picture was.
After fireworks, we walked our long walk back to the car. The kids were zonked in a second & I felt completely drained. It was bedtime for sure!
The funny thing is, Suzie and I are pretty used to hanging out SANS kids- meaning, when Suz and I used to get together, it was without kids- we'd be up till 2 AM, enjoying some drinks... sleep in till 2 PM...chug water, etc. (you get the idea!) I have to say it was strange going there and saying "No I really can't stay up late tonight- Henry will be up at 6." Or, "No, I can't go to the beach because the kids HAVE to have a nap."
Kids certainly switch things up!
To sum it all up, it was a great weekend to catch up with an old friend... introduce her to life with children, relax (a little) eat (a lot) and get out of town. I am also fairly positive our weekend will inspire Suzie to take her birth control pill religiously. :)
No really- it was a blast- thanks Suz & Ben! If you're brave enough to have us again, we'd love to visit ANYTIME! :)
Here are a boat load of pics- not one is edited- because well.... I honestly have no time or energy to do so... STRAIGHT OUT OF THE CAMERA- RAW fun!