Monday, August 27, 2007

Family Vacation :: Stories and Photo's

Our first destination on our summer vacation was Niles, Michigan, where Alan's Mom, (Grandma Elva) and Step Father (Grandpa Miles) live. In order to get to Niles, we flew into Chicago, rented a car and started what was suppose to be an hour and a half road trip to Niles. As we got out of Chicago, and got on the turnpike we saw a sign for Fireworks, and pulled off, because according to Alan, you can't purchase bottle rockets in Michigan, and what a great thing that would be to have at our little cottage on the lake. We found out that the store was closed, but looked up ahead and found a White Castle. Sliders and Fry's, yes we got em, ate them down, and loved them... Funny to say it was one of the most satisfying meals I had the whole trip. Strange because I never eat fast food, and have not had White Castle for at least 10 years or so. Must have been the two plane flights, in which we only ate sun chips, waiting for luggage that didn't arrive and trying to find the rental car place, that contributed to such hunger and satisfaction. Of course Chloe and Blake loved the idea of mini hamburgers !

After filling our belly's we headed down side roads trying to get back onto the turnpike, and ended up driving through parts of Gary, Indiana. Eventually we made it back onto the turnpike and just after passing South Bend, we ended up in Niles.

By the time we made it to Niles we had been officially traveling for 13 hours... man were we tired... luckily we had a few days to rest and enjoy the river that Grandma Elva and Grandpa Miles live on, and off course their hospitality. I loved those sloppy joe's and fresh corn Elva !!

We got to ride on the Pontoon boat, the kids got to go fishing for the first time...unfortunately the only thing biting was sea weed, either way it was still loads of fun. Grandma Elva, also has an amazingly beautiful garden. She was the president of the Niles Garden Club at one time, and it shows in her landscape. I really didn't get enough pictures of her house and her yard, but we did get a few of the back which leads down to the river. Take a peek below...

Captain Chloe....

Skipper Blake...

Just waiting for the Big One !!

How Sweet, Grandpa Miles teaching Blake how to fish...

Beautiful Rock Waterfall, Miles and Elva built...

The lush green pathway down to the River...

Mom and Son enjoying a morning at the Niles Playground...

Lots of Love for Grandma and Grandpa....we miss them already !

Next Post...our Rustic Cottage Stay

Saturday, August 25, 2007


We're Back Home, as of late last night. The trip was just wonderful. Now we need to unpack, clean, and get back to normal life... I can't tell you how great it was to escape, and be with such great friends, and family, in such beautiful surroundings. The photo Gods were barely with me this trip. Our camera went on the fritz just a few days into our cottage stay. Fortunately Alan had his new I-phone, (See photo below, the first day he purchased it) and we were able to get some pictures from friends and family, of course not as many as I would have liked. I will be sharing them throughout the week, it will be a nice way to get back to blogging...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Well, Our bags are packed and we are Ready to go on our 2 week trip to the Great Lakes State of Michigan. Why Michigan you ask ? Well, for those of you who don't know,that's where both Alan and I spent the first 30 something years of our life. Our family's are still there, and it has been 3 years since our last visit.

This trip is especially important as we are going to be celebrating my Parents 50th Wedding Anniversary. As I look back on my Parents life together, I wonder, how many of my generations couple's will be married to the same person for 50 years ?? I know, myself, I will be 86 years old when Our 50th Anniversary comes around. Somehow, I just can't imagine myself being 86, Chloe being 50, and Blake being 48, and Alan..well, we won't tell his age since he's not writing this post. I am not even sure I did the math right.. One thing I do know, is I certainly don't plan on being married to anyone else but Alan...and I would love to see us in our Golden Years together..with Grandchildren and all...but I better just stay right here, right now, and enjoy the moments, because I know they will be gone before I know it.

Here is a Picture of my Parents on their Wedding Day, I just love it. Circa 1957

I have a total of 4 Brothers, 3 amazingly wonderful Sister-In-Laws, and 6 beautiful nieces and nephew, and this will be the first time in years...years...I am telling you, that we will all be together in one room, celebrating. It should be eventful! There are also my Cousin's and their children, that I can't wait to reconnect with. I've spent almost every Holiday, Birthdays, & Weddings with them, until Alan and I packed up and moved out here to start a new life 8 years ago. I always thought I would travel back at least once a year for Holidays, but that has not happened, partly because of Children, and partly because of Finances, not to mention how sick we all seem to get when we travel back. Bitter sweet is how I explain living in California, a place I truly love and feel at home at, and being so far away from my Parents, Family, and Good Friends.

We have also decided to make a bit of a Rustic Vacation out of this trip. We are going to be renting a Cottage in the Northern Part of Michigan, Glen Arbor and The Sleeping Bear Dunes. You can check it out here, and here. (Scroll down and you will see photo's of the cottage). I spent many summers as a child in Northern Michigan, it is one of the most beautiful places in the country. The best part about our Glen Arbor stay is we will be sharing our Cottage with a dear friend of mine, Elizabeth, her Husband Karl, and their two great children, Estelle, and Adam. Lovely friends for all of us !! On top of that, my Brother Greg, his wife DJ and my two sweet nieces Payton and Luca will be staying in a cottage near by, along with my Brother Andrew..who's Birthday we will be celebrating. A family affair all the way around !!

There are other friends and family that I will be catching up with, and for those of you reading this..I am going to do my usual pitch on how wonderful San Diego is, and how you should get yourselves on a plane to come visit us... So, get ready, I have been know to be a good sales person...slow, but otherwise, genuinely convincing.

As for the Blog...I am going to do my best to post pictures for all to see..but I can't promise that..I may not be able to "Bare to Blog". But, when I get back, I promise a full report !!

I will leave you with this song from John Denver... It keeps spinning in my mind as I pack all of our things, and it reminds me of my childhood...Of course...I am not going to West Virgina, and there will be no mountains...only Sand dunes, and Lakes.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

All Boxed Up

How is it, that a simple cardboard box can provide hours upon hours of entertainment and creative play for a 5 and 3 year old ?

One of the beauty's of summer...lots of time to just play.

Happy Feet !!