14 July 2013

The Great Lake State

For the Fourth of July weekend we all piled into the car and drove to Michigan to visit some other Joneses, who just moved there. In the weeks leading up to our trip people kept asking us how long the drive would be (8ish hours) and telling us how long that was. But it wasn’t bad, actually, thanks to our rock star, road tripping kids. We are so excited to have some family within driving distance!

(This is where Charles rides if it’s not convenient to hold him.)


Our first full day there was the Fourth and we celebrated by playing at a really cool playground. It had been awhile since I’d been on a teeter totter, but I quickly remembered that you shouldn’t be too enthusiastic while tottering, or you might smack your bum on the ground.





We spent the afternoon riffling through our old memorabilia that had made it’s way across the country when Kristopher and Brittney moved, then enjoyed a delicious meal before heading out to watch some fireworks in a nearby town. I picked up some sparklers for the kids, but managed to forget a lighter. Jonathan had to take quite the hike to track one down, but he managed to persevere and the kids loved it.





The following day we left on a short trip to see some other parts of Michigan. First, we drove a few hours to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo. It is a super clean, well maintained airplane museum with rides inside! The kids loved it. We loved it.



These planes were a little bit of a tight squeeze for grown-ups.



After the Air Zoo we drove a little while longer to our hotel for the evening. This hotel had the best hotel pool ever. There was a kiddie pool with slides, a whirlpool, a hot tub, and a full sized water slide. It was awesome.

Lincoln really, really wanted to go down the big slide. But it said you had to be 48 inches tall and he’s not that tall yet and they wouldn’t allow “double riders.” Jonathan went down the slide, though, and when he reached the bottom he said he thought the lifeguard would allow it. Lincoln loved it. He went down twice and was so excited about it. He had to be caught at the bottom, but he was fine on his own going down.


Look at this happy face!


The following day we went to the town of Muskegon and rented a surrey bike, or a quadracycle as Jonathan liked to call it.


The scenery was lovely, as was the company.


We stopped for lunch at a little hot dog restaurant along our route.


And at a little beach for some photo ops.


The kids did such a great job riding for several hours.


We were sad to go, but the next morning it was time to head home. The kids did a great job in the car again, but there was a lot of traffic on our way home, so it took an extra long time.


08 July 2013


We spent a ridiculously hot day last weekend observing a reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg. We had been looking forward to this for weeks but we’d never been to a Civil War reenactment before and we weren’t really sure what to expect.

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When we first arrived the battle was pretty far away from the spectators, so it was hard to see what was going on. We watched and baked in the sun for a while before we decided to go check out the “town.”

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Conan wore both his and Lincoln’s hats for a while but it is nearly impossible to get a picture of him these days. He is always on the move.

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What really amazed me about this experience is the number of people who have such a high level of passion for the Civil War. Not only are there thousands of men “fighting” on the battlefield in wool uniforms, there are people who come in period attire to sell their wares, play in bands, take care of horses, or just to watch. And  many of them stayed to do it again the next weekend. Amazing.

Lincoln loved trying on some hats in various tents. He really liked looking at the various wooden guns in many of the tents and kept asking to go back to look at them.

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We enjoyed some refreshing period soda (complete with a cork!) from one of the tents.

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We were able to get our picture taken with some Confederate soldiers who were hanging around. One of them called Lincoln Johnny and I said, “Hahaha, his name is… Lincoln… oh sorry.”


Before we left we decided to see what was going on with the battle and I’m so glad we did. Things had really heated up and the action was much closer to the spectators. There were cannons going off constantly and smoke everywhere.


We were able to grab a photo with a Union soldier who had recently been killed and was headed off the battlefield.



I asked Lincoln to take a picture of me and Jonathan with the battle in the background (which is a pretty common occurrence) and a nice lady came up and offered to take a picture of all of us. Conan had about had it by this time, but at least we have some documentation that we were all there. Go Union!


01 July 2013

Winkler Botanical Preserve

We had so much fun on our hike the day before that we decided to go on another, although this one was much closer to home. The Winkler Botanical preserve is maybe 10 minutes from our house, but it feels like the middle of nowhere. They were hosting a summer camp near the entrance, but after we walked a short distance down the path we couldn’t even hear the campers. The path crossed a shallow stream and we decided to dip our feet in since it was another extremely hot day.

Lincoln knows that I like it when he puts his arm around Conan for pictures, unfortunately Conan is not always on board.


This stream was the perfect little playground for my boys and we stayed there for the majority of our time in the botanical preserve. Mostly because I couldn’t tear Lincoln away.


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We finally did move on, but Lincoln soon lost interest in the actual hiking and it was almost lunch time so we decided to head home. I am excited to know that this little oasis exists, though, especially because it’s so close to home. We’ll be back.

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