Posts tagged vacation

Well, im baaaaaack!


Ok, so I’ve really been sucking the past few weeks when it comes to updating my blog. I’ve let the little things get in the way and before I knew it, days turned into weeks in between my posts. I have so much to write about. Its been a whirlwind of activity and I need to do some catching up!

So a little update: My business is doing well, Nathan’s been going to physical therapy (without the rude student we encountered the first time), and I went on a trip to Michigan to visit my family! Our washing machine randomly bit the dust, so we had to get a new one, Nathan is talking more and more and is as precious as he can be (when he’s not being all stubborn and strong-willed, that is), and I am in the process of finding a new gym to attend. I promise I’ll catch y’all up on everything that’s been going on- I just wanted to put a quick post in to let everyone know we are doing a-ok here. Very busy, but things couldnt be going any better.

In other news, Nathan says the cutest things. When I returned home from my Michigan trip, Nathan told me I looked cute and that he was proud of me (for what, I’m not exactly sure). Then he enveloped me in a huge bear-hug, patted my back, and asked me if I had fun swimming with the fish in Lake Michigan. (I was gone for 5 days and periodically sent Nathan videos of me telling him I love him and when I would be home. One of those videos was of me at a beach on Lake Michigan while I was with my cousins. Paul told me that was Nathan’s favorite video and that he watched it so many times that he had it memorized!)

Something else? Paul said that while I was gone, Nathan kept asking where I went, and Paul would tell him I went to Michigan. Then one day, Nathan put his sandals on and said he was going to Michigan to see me. What can I say? That kid has goals.

I can’t believe little man is already nearly three-and-a-half. I really love this age- all the personality, the sweetness, the amazing ball of fun that he is. We’re so blessed to have him for a son.


Our trip to Michigan!


So a couple months ago (in July… I know, I know, I am Queen of Procrastination when it comes to getting up a ton of pictures. I am so sorry guys! I will definitely work harder at not taking so long next time!) we went up to Michigan to visit with my grandparents (my dad’s parents) and to celebrate their wedding anniversary. My Grandma isn’t doing too well. She’s in her eighties and her health is rapidly declining, so everyone on my dad’s side who was able to make the trip went up there to see her before she gets worse.

My dad’s side of the family is spread all across the United States. They’re in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Washington State, Tennessee… so you can imagine how hard it is for us to all get together. The last time we saw each other was in 1987. Yes, you read that correctly… it had been TWENTY FOUR years since I had seen most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Although I took a lot of pictures of me and my family, for privacy reasons, I only posted pictures of me, my husband, and my son.

Here we are leaving Tennessee. My mom and dad rented a minivan and although I must say I borderline LOATHE minivans, this one was pretty bad ass. I packed tons of stuff for Nathan to play with, including his favorite thing in the whole wide world- books. He did remarkably well, considering this is his first long road trip ever. We had to stop a number of times for food and diaper changes, but it wasn’t a problem. Nathan did get a little fussy at times (who can blame the poor kid?) and we’d just simply find a restaurant or gas station and let him walk around with us to work off some energy. Traveling with Nathan wasn’t bad at all.

My dad, wearing his aviators. And you see mine in the first picture? They match. That’s because my dad knew I have been dying to have a pair of REAL aviators (not those knockoffs you get at the local store) so he went to the PX and picked me up a pair… the exact same kind he’s been wearing ever since he flew in the army.

Happy once we got out of the car

Keeping a watchful eye on Nathan... we both kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn't have to wait long for the food!

Since my husband, brother, and my cousin P flew up, we stayed near the airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The day after we arrived, we made the 45-minute drive from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven, Michigan. Since Cousin P was pretty familiar with that area and armed with maps and directions, we all decided we would follow her to Grand Haven. Only she missed one of her turns, and instead of ending up at our destination, we ended up in South Haven, which is approximately an hour or so south of Grand Haven. Adding a VERY hungry and tired Nathan to the mix made for a rather stressful adventure, but once we found a little pizzeria in South Haven and got some food into his little belly, it was all good.

Once we ate our fill of delicious pizza, we made the trek to Grand Haven, where we sought out the beach. That’s right, we totally went swimming in Lake Michigan! If you don’t know anything about Lake Michigan, it is COLD. I mean… coooooooooooooooold. That was the coldest water I have EVER been in. In fact, the day we were there, the temperature read a whopping 55 degrees.

Nathan didn’t let the frigid water stop him, though. That kid loves, loves, loves the water. He played in it, splashed around, and enjoyed watching the boats whizz past.

He was completely oblivious to the cold water. Well for him, it doesn’t matter. Water is water, and water is fun to play in, regardless of the temperature. This kid is seriously a total water bug!

He loved walking in the sand, and that odd sensation you get as you stand on the sand and a wave laps at your feet. He walked up and down the beach, smiling and clapping his little hands. It was a rather hot day… Michigan had a heat wave while we were up there. And even then, notice how there is NO ONE in the water.

My Cousin P, me, and my brother braving the frigid waters of Lake Michigan. It was so cold that it felt like needles were piercing my skin as we walked. Cousin P dared us to go out as far as we could stand. Our goal? To get up to our necks. Mission: failed. We were, however, able to quickly dunk ourselves up to our necks though. And see my brother on the right? He is a brave, brave soul. He kept himself mostly immersed, even though he was shivering.

Paul and Nathan’s footprints in the sand. I can’t believe that one day my little boy’s feet will quite possibly the the size of his daddy’s…

Nathan and Daddy walking along the beach. Watching Nathan pretty much REQUIRES a lot of walking around. That child does not stay in one place for long!

A lovely picture of the sun over the lake. And see that pier in the background? Grand Haven has it’s very own pier. We didn’t actually go there (Nathan would have balked had we taken him out of the water too soon) but it was beautiful to look at.

A random stranger at the beach said Nathan could use a sand shovel she had. And let me tell you, Nathan thought he had hit a gold mine! He had so much fun scooping sand and flinging it everywhere.

Of course, whenever you have your children anywhere near water, you must remain vigilant at all times, especially when that kid loves to be around water. So there I am, keeping an ever-watchful eye on my little water bug.

Another shot of the pier. Beautiful, isn’t it?

That’s my dad, Nathan’s Grandpa (or as Nathan calls him, Papa), helping Nathan dig more proficiently. See how my dad is even guiding Nathan’s arm? I think it’s so precious.

Running around near the water, looking for more digging ground. He is holding onto that shovel for dear life… he totally loved it. (And believe me, wringing it out of his tightly-clenched little fists when it was time to give it back and go home was a feat in and of itself.)

That’s me wiping some sand of Nathan’s cheek. I was sooooooooo cold that my already pale skin had this icy blue-purple tinge to it! Totally worth it, though. I would go back in a heartbeat.

I think Nathan was looking at a seagull here… or maybe it was some of the other kids who were building a sandcastle nearby. Whichever it was, Nathan was completely enamored with everything about the beach and tried to soak up everything he saw.

It was hard to get him to stand still long enough to get a smiling picture of him, but at long last, SUCCESS!

Leaving the lake. It may have been the COLDEST water I have EVER been it, and my whole body may have turned purple from the freezing temperatures, but it was the most fun I think I’ve ever had at a lake. It was such a great experience, and now I can say that I SURVIVED LAKE MICHIGAN!

So the next day was the actual celebration of my grandparents’ wedding anniversary. I won’t say exactly how long they’ve been married, but it’s more than SIXTY YEARS… and counting! My grandfather is doing a stellar job helping my Grandma out since she can’t do the same things she used to be able to do. It was so good to see them. See, they live in Michigan… and before my Grandma became ill, they used to drive down to Florida for the winters. And every time they came through Tennessee, they would go out of their way to stop and spend a night with my mom and dad. So twice a year, I was able to see them. The last time they did that, however, was about four years ago. Since then, my Grandmother has become unable to travel… and it’s almost impossible for us to get up to Michigan to see them. Oh it was so good to see her. I miss her so much.

Nathan happily playing with a toy at my Aunt D’s house. Everyone, naturally, was completely in love with Nathan. This was the first time anyone on my dad’s side has met my husband and my son. My grandparents met Paul when we were first dating, though. I can’t even tell you how good it felt to give everyone a great big hug and see my family face-to-face for the first time in 24 years.

There’s Paul, helping Nathan open a gift. Aunt D had gotten all the kids little gag gifts, and of course, Nathan thoroughly enjoyed ripping off the wrapping paper. And Paul was amazing… the whole time we were at my aunt’s house, he watched Nathan for me so that I could socialize and hang out with my family. And you know how I mentioned earlier that whenever you watch Nathan, there will be plenty of walking around involved? Well, Paul walked around after Nathan so much that he developed a blister on his toe! THANK YOU, HONEY! It really means the world to me that I was able to spend time with my family.

Taken the day we were leaving Michigan. We ate a delicious lunch in Grand Rapids before my husband had to catch his flight home. Nathan and I rode back with my parents.

The looooooong ride home. (Well, long when you have a two-year-old with you!) See Nathan holding an orange? Yeah, I totally bribe my kid with fruit. Well, it works! Nathan loves fruit, and he loves to play with it as well. We also had some Blue’s Clue’s and Sesame Street DVDs for him to watch during the drive, and he totally loved it. Our trip to Michigan was super awesome and fun, and it was so good to see my family. I hope that another 24 years does not pass us by before we are all able to get together again.


A trip to Michigan


Well, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted last. So much has been happening! We went on a trip to Michigan to see my grandparents (Dad’s parents). It was an amazing trip… I was able to reconnect with aunts, uncles, and cousins that I had not seen since 1987. That’s 24 years, y’all. Twenty-four years is TOO LONG. See, we live all over the United States… Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington State, Arizona, Colorado… so it’s incredibly hard to schedule get-togethers. Then, before ya know it, TWENTY FOUR years has passed since the last time you’ve seen your family.

The trip went by way too fast. We went up last week (I had pre-written a few posts and scheduled them to go up while I was away so that it wouldn’t be too awfully long with no a posts) and we got back earlier this week. I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off (gross imagery, right?) trying to clean, unpack, and get Nathan settled back into his routine.

We’re almost back to normal now.

So that means that soon, I will write more about my lovely trip and post some PICTURES! Lots of fun, good memories, and DELICIOUS food. And, most importantly, I GOT TO SEE MY GRANDMA!! I haven’t seen her in about four years or so. They live in Michigan and used to travel down to Florida in the winter, so twice a year, they would make a detour by my parents’ house to see us. Then, my grandmother was diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s and became unable to travel, so that’s why I haven’t seen her in so long.

It was GOOD to hug her again.

I miss my family so much already.


Tons of camping pictures!


Finally! I got them done! All before my 80th birthday! Yeah, I didn’t anticipate it taking quite so long to do this post… it took forever to edit all the pictures and videos. But at any rate, here they are, hope you enjoy them!

We went camping in the beginning of June at the Indian Boundary in Tellico Plains, TN. When we first got there, it was obscenely hot and so humid that we might as well have put on thick, damp wool coats and done jumping jacks. As soon as we stepped out of the cozy, air-conditioned car, we were drenched with sweat. I’m not even exaggerating. I had time to say, “Whoooo heee! Boy, it’s HOT out!” (yeah I can totally say that because I am SOUTHERN) and then little droplets of sweat started to bead on my forehead. Less than 30 seconds later, my pants were stuck to me like a stiff second skin and the sweat was not longer just beading on my face… the droplets had coalesced into RIVERS cascading down my temples and cheeks. The last time I sweated that much was when I was a kid and I thought about shoplifting a pair of socks. (I never actually stole them… I was convinced my sweaty face gave away my intended plot.) Well, that and sitting in a steam bath. (By the way, how can people breathe in those things? I always feel like I’m about to suffocate.) I digress. So anyway, Nathan’s face turned beet red from the heat, so I took his shirt off and let him play in some water to cool him down. Oh the misery of being roasted!

And oh yeah. You know the thing about boys playing in the dirt? Well, it’s true. I think they ALL like dirt. I could not for the life of me get my kid to stop playing in the dirt and gravel. And there was nothing I could do about it. The dirt/gravel was EVERYWHERE. I had to really force myself to calm down… all I could think about was previous campers walking in the bathroom, stepping in poop, and tracking it back to the campsite. I thought about all the rednecks that like to spit, and I thought about Nathan’s little hands swirling around in gravel with dried spit all over them. But I practiced deep breathing and told myself that the worst that would happen is that he would get sick (which he did… probably because he kept EATING the dirt).


Yeah, did I mention I couldn’t stop him from flinging the little gravel bits? He liked to fill up a plastic bowl with dirt and gravel bits and them fling them everywhere. I was worried sick that he would fling it right into his eye and blind himself, but his grandma (Paul’s mom, who you can hear in the video) was able to get Nathan to be a little more careful.

Nathan was totally digging the whole being-outside-constantly thing. Paul’s mom and dad brought Bucky, a little plastic horse that Paul used to love riding on when he was Nathan’s age (although I don’t think Nathan’s Bucky is the exact same one that Paul rode… I remember Paul’s mom saying something about how Paul’s mysteriously disappeared so she got another one.)

Paul’s mom, Nathan, and I walked down to the little campground store (which, by the way, this kid LOVES to go walking. I can’t tell you how many times he would grab someone’s hand and say “Walk? Go walk?” and got Nathan some crayons and a coloring book. Nathan LOVES to color. Maybe he’ll be an artist one day like his mommy!

Nathan tried to color a different way this time. He piled all his crayons onto the coloring page and then colored AROUND them. Kids come up with the funniest ideas sometimes.

See? Look at him. Coloring AROUND the crayons. The kid has skillz, let me tell you. Because I couldn’t color around other crayons. No siree… I would have just flung them off the table and out of my way!

He even likes eating outside. I see many picnics in our future! His favorite foods are ANY fruit and vegetable. Here, he’s indulging on a tangelo… which he insisted was a ball. Paul’s mom let him play with a tangelo, and Nathan carried that thing around like some sort of prized possession, rolling it around and licking it (I still shudder at the thought.)

Delicious! I’ve worked very hard to get this kid to love healthy foods rather than that processed crap that leads to heart disease and diabetes. We’ve always had problems with getting this kid to eat… but now all we need to do is tell him if he eats what we give him, he can have fruit when he’s done!

While we were at the campground store, we fell in love with the cutest hat I think I’ve ever seen in my life! It has pictures of fishing lures and little bugs and such on it. Even Nathan loves it and- get this- he will actually wear it without yanking it off!

And he totally loves having his picture taken. Especially when he’s being bribed with something, like crayons or a book!

Nathan even posed with me for a few pictures. And there I am, hair a mess and no make up. But hey, it’s hot and we were camping, so who cares? It was so hot that I ditched my heat-trapping pants for a pair of Paul’s grandmother’s (Nathan’s great-grandmother’s) shorts.  Good thing she had a pair to fit me. I think I would have just disintegrated into a pile of ashes had she not.

Plus it helps that I was wearing my aviators my dad got me. That makes anyone look cool. Even when you’re hot and sweaty with frizzy, untamed hair.

To take our pictures, I flipped my camera’s LCD screen around so I could see ourselves as I was snapping the photos. Nathan thought that feature was really neat. He kept reaching for the screen, saying “Mommy! Mommy!” because, of course, he could see the two of us in the display.

The kid loves wagon rides. He was constantly trying to clamor into the wagon. After filling it with gravel and dirt, of course.

He had a total blast filling up his dump truck with dirt and gravel and then emptying it. If you have a little boy, you’ve gotta get them a dump truck. It’s well worth it, simply for the entertainment you yourself will get out of watching your kid play with it!

Even with all the fun, there were many times Nathan got into trouble. For whatever reason, he was REALLY testing his boundaries while we were camping. I knew it would be a little rough bringing a two-year-old on a three-day camping trip, but I had no idea it would be EXHAUSTING. I had to stay on him, watching him carefully, making sure he didn’t play with any electrical cords or eat anything worse than dirt.  So there was more than one occasion where he had to be told “No.” And the above picture is his standard reaction when he gets into trouble.

But that pitiful face can be turned into a smile simply by letting him wear my sunglasses. Future aviator, perhaps?

And what’s up with kids and their fascination with picking their nose? Unfortunately, this is pretty standard for Nathan. The funny thing is that he’s not digging around for those juicy morsels that make my stomach quiver with revulsion. No, he just likes to stick his finger in his nose and hold it there. As if that’s how he recharges himself… just plugs his finger into his nose.

Yes, that is a pink sippy cup you see there. But my kid is like the honey badger… he don’t give a shit. He just drinks that juice right out of a pink sippy cup. Oh, and can you read his shirt? It says “Who are you calling short?” A gift from Paul’s grandmother. I love it because hey, I have one really TALL kid. Like his daddy!

So the bumber of Paul’s parents’ camper was reflective and mirror-like, and Nathan was completely enchanted with it. The funny thing is that he would toddle over to it, see himself in the reflection, and say “No, no, no, no, no, no, no!” Over and over again. While putting rocks and gravel on the bumper.

This kid loves his apple juice. I don’t give him much… 1/4 juice mixed with 3/4 water. And this kid will drink the ENTIRE thing in one sitting.

Bath time was a little difficult. I wasn’t about to let him shower in the bathrooms (can anyone say GERMS!?) so we filled up a little plastic tub with water and ran a little more water through the coffee maker (without coffee in it, of course) so he could at least have a tepid, rather than freezing, bath. 

Getting him to sit down in the cool water was a bit of challenge, so we bribed him with a couple toys and… a tangelo! Hey, it worked. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

And the next day, our last day camping, we went swimming. And oh, Nathan LOVED it! His beautiful little face completely lit up when we took him into the water. He was wearing the same life-jacket Paul wore when he was Nathan’s age. Don’t worry, it’s in excellent condition. Besides, we never let go of Nathan… the life-jacket was simply to help us hold him.  (I wouldn’t dare take him into the water without one… it’s not worth the risk.) And the beach at the lake was simply breathtaking. It’s situated in a valley with beautiful mountains in the background. I could just about sit out there all day and drink in the beauty of it all.


 I really think I could have stared at this scene forever.

Nathan loves swimming with his daddy. The first day I took him, before Paul arrived at the campsite, the look on Nathan’s face was priceless. He beamed from ear to ear, his sweet smile completely lit up his face. He loves to go swimming, absolutely loves it. And see that guy on the left? I can’t help but giggle… the water only comes up to Paul’s waist but that guy looks like can’t touch.

Paul is REALLY GOOD at throwing Nathan up into the air and catching him. (I, on the other hand, don’t have the same strength Paul does, so I dare not try it!) Unfortunately, I didn’t get the look on Nathan’s face… his head is not in the picture! 


But I DID get an awesome video of Paul throwing Nathan into the air!

Taking a little breather after all that fun. Nathan is talking to his Daddy and playing with Paul’s shirt (which he wore to avoid sunburn.)

Pretending something. Swamp monsters, maybe?

I love this picture of the two of them. Paul is bringing Nathan to me so I can have fun playing with him while Paul takes some pictures.

My turn to play with the little guy! I know I can’t possibly be as fun as Daddy because I don’t have the same strength he does (although who knows? Maybe I will soon… if I keep working out like a beast the way I have been!) but Nathan doesn’t seem to mind. He likes the girlie jumps and splashes.

And I certainly can’t throw Nathan into the air. But I can still pretend like he’s flying… and Nathan loves it! Look at his legs… he doesn’t care that I’m too scared to let him go. I’m sure I’m not the only one, right? I mean, I hear that dads love to throw the kids up in the air… but us moms? Nah, we’re too chicken and (usually) rightfully so!

It was a perfect day to go swimming. It was hot outside, and the lake was mostly warm with a few refreshing cold spots. I wonder if Nathan thought it was like a giant bathtub? Because he was totally loving it. He loved when I held him, swung him around in a circle, and splashed with him. I was a water-bug when I was little so I’m thinking my child will be the same way. We need to get him into swimming lessons soon!

Lots and lots of splashing around!

When it was time to get out of the lake, however, Nathan turned into a Grumpy Gus. He did not want to leave, and it was even hard to get him to smile. He loved one of the games he and I played. See, on one of his episodes of Blue’s Clues, there’s a part where they’re teaching this dance. It goes “Slide, slide, pirouette… JUMP!” and so Nathan and I were doing that in the water. Listen to him saying it in the video…



And there it is, a beautiful smile!

The campsite has no cellphone signal, so in order to call someone or check your messages, you have to drive up the mountain to one of the overlooks. Signal was still spotty, but the breathtaking view totally makes up for it. See the large body of water? That’s the lake by the campsite. If you look closely, you can see the beach that we went to. A beautiful picture to conclude this really, REALLY long post!

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