Monday, October 9, 2017

Lake Superior loop trip

Or as Doug titled our itinerary: "Epic Lake Superior Road Trip- One Man, One Woman, One Sweet Baby August". We took our last 2017 vacation by taking a family road trip around Lake Superior. It was actually really great, altho like most of our vacations, too much packed into each day!
Skipped the first official part of the loop by Munising and the Pictured Rocks as we had both been there and had limited time. We started our loop by driving up to Marquette and then heading West around the lake.
nursing break at a park somewhere in the UP
sunset at Presque Isle Park outside Marquette
August trying on Halloween costumes at the Walmart as I realized I had packed too much summer stuff and not enough warm stuff for him. Off to the store for some long-sleeved onesies.
Da Yoopers souvineer shop. Funny story, we stopped in there it was a real cute shop with quirky little souvineers and stuff. The front of the store was a separate rock store. So we head in there and the store owner sees August and says "oh look at the little butt munch." Me: *pause*, "nope, no butt munches here". And I didn't hear him respond as frankly I was kind of irritated by that comment, but Doug says he said, "I guess I'm the only butt munch here" as he walked back to his office area. Haha! We laughed for a long time about that later. Yup, you sir are a true butt munch whatever that might mean, but please don't call my son one!
hiking at Canyon Falls Wayside Park in MI
Bought jam and bakery goodies at the Jampot a bakery ran by monks. This is a waterfall near there.
Brockway Mountain Highway and Lookout
some old mine we found while exploring the Keweenaw peninsula in Copper Harbor. We never did make it to the bay of the peninsula, there was a backroad and SO many huge water filled potholes and then one of our tires showed a warning it was losing pressure, so we gave up and headed back into town. I did not want a repeat of our honeymoon being on back roads with no cell service and being trapped!
After an awesome dinner at Mariner's North, where Doug had this super tasty homemade bean and rice burger, we drove back out to the Brockway Mountain Lookout to see the sunset
A chilly sunrise the next morning over Copper Harbor. Then we headed back to Houghton-Hancock and on our way to the Porcupine Mountains and on to Ashland, Wisconsin.
hiking thru the Porkies
family picture at Lake of the Clouds
Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains
The next day we took a cruise around the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin
The next day was kinda rainy. We did a hike, can't remember wherebouts, it wasn't super fun because I was on high bear alert.
It was really pretty by the beach
As soon as we entered Canada the search for Red River began. The first grocery store was like a Canadian version of Aldi so they didn't have it, but we found it at Safeway and stocked up. And I enjoyed some for breakfast today :)
Touristy stuff in Wawa, Ontario
High Falls outside of Wawa, Ontario
We then saw the Pictographs at Lake Superior Provencial Park
you can see those 2 orange smears on the rock of 2 canoes done by Native American Indians of old
That walk was super beautiful with the sun streaming in through the leaves
The next day we took the Agawa Canyon train leaving from Sault Sainte Marie, Canada. It goes 155 miles through the canyon and back. It was a beautiful journey. It was an all day thing which made me a little nervous about traveling with August, but he spent some time napping in his carseat, and then we made "grandparent" train friends who were happy to hold him and Doug and I got a little free time to talk which was great.
After that we had dinner in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario and then drove into Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan to stay in our hotel. We enjoyed the wonderful continental breakfast with those delicious make your own hot waffle stations. I had wanted to see the Soo Locks operating, but apparently there's a number you can call to see when the boats are going to go through, and none were until the afternoon, so we headed down to the lower peninsula.
We drove through the "tunnel of trees" in Petosky, and then had lunch with my cousin in Charlevoix who is a priest and he showed us the church where he works, and my dad (re)built the organ.
We had dinner with a couple of Doug's friends in Traverse City, then headed over to my aunt and uncle's where my Grandparents now live. We visited with them into the night, and then had breakfast and lunch with them, and my cousin Sam came over to see us too.
August and Great-Grandpa Ken
August and Great-Grandpa Marie.
These are the only "greats" he has left. My grandma has dementia so she doesn't really know him. To me she actually seemed a tad better, once I heard her say "baby" and then she was watching him and said "lookit" and was trying to get my aunt's attention to look at him. It was nice to see them.
After lunch we headed home, and arrived safe and sound. It was a great trip!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

landscaping fun

This my friends is what $85 of hydrangeas looks like. Yes, those shriveling up, browning hydrangeas were still full price. That's what happens when you buy at the end of the season and the cheaper places like Lowes are sold out and you have to go to the expensive nursery Bordine's.
I have wanted those gorgeous big white snowball hydrangeas for 3 years now. When mom and I did the landscaping last year I bought 2 "Annabelle" hydrangeas and planted them out front. The first year I didn't get any blooms. This year they bloomed like a queen Anne's lace and just a few petals, I didn't understand. I sent a picture to one of mom's gardening friends and she said it was a "lacecap" hydrangea.
So Bordine's had not one, but 2 plants mis-labeled the year before. I called them to complain and they were going to not do anything since I didn't have my receipt (a year later). Anyway, they finally said I could dig them up and bring them back. But then Doug was too embarressed to do that. So we decided to dig them up and relocate them to the other side of the house and get 2 new ones. So yesterday mom came over and that is what we did.
Before views:
The North side of the house. The big plant is a rhodedendron that gets beautiful pink flowers for 2 weeks a year, otherwise looks like this crazy bush. And those are my precious peony plants on either side of it. That spot isn't great for peonies because it doesn't get full sun.
The front of the house. So there we have the 2 lacecap hydrangeas with a large butterfly bush in the middle.
The backyard view and the fence in front of the kayak rack.
After working all day, with a stop for lunch, we were done.
The after views:
So now I have 2 "little lime" hydrangeas flanking the butterfly bush. They will have light green big blooms that will fade to this kind of dusky pink in the fall. It's not exactly the big white blooms I wanted, but I think they will still be nice. And my hydrangea research showed the little lime was a lot hardier and easier to grow than the Annabelle. They should be about 5 feet tall too so should be a good fit for that space.
Moved the lacecaps to flank the rhododendron, and there's one small empty spot where next year I'll probably get another hosta to balance it out on the right side.
And finally the peonies will enjoy full morning and afternoon sun in front of the kayak rack and hopefully be full of blooms next year.
So, I think I'm done with the landscaping. We used barrier cloth to help block weeds, and I'll have to re-mulch every year, but hopefully the very hard parts and high maintenance parts are done.
Today will be a fun day of trying to cram the cat into her carrier for a trip to the vet. This morning I caught her peeing in the laundry tub and then into August's carseat (twice) EWWWW. So we're getting her checked for a UTI or to see if this is just behavioral. I like this cat, but I absolutely will not spend my days searching for and cleaning up cat pee. So who knows.

Friday, September 15, 2017

book club girls getaway and life lately

Last weekend the bookclub girls had our 2nd annual little getaway, and it was wonderful. We went to St. Joseph right on Lake Michigan. We got a hotel, walked on the beach and by the pier, ate delicious food, window shopped, and most importantly had some kid-free time and time talking about our lives (which of course included lots of talking about our kids and husbands) haha. I am so blessed to have these friendships. We've had our bookclub about 9 years now, and faithfully get together once a month for rotating dinner at each others houses, we always choose a book, but don't always all read it and talk about it a couple minutes, but it has just turned into a group of friends meeting, eating, talking, and sharing life together. What a blessing. We've been through so much together, marriages, my divorce, movings, the birth of 11 kids and 2 more still on the way, and the death of a spouse. It's been a true blessing to share life with these wonderful, encouraging Christian women.
Doug and August dropped me off so we could all carpool
The girls, minus Courtney, she couldn't make it this year (or last year! :( ) and we met Kathryn, who has since moved to Chicago, there.
Beautiful Lake Michigan
We are daydreaming about bigger trips, "bookclub girls do Prince Edward Island" or Europe. Those are pretty far off in the future though as some of us are still having and nursing babies. But maybe someday.
Doug did a great job of manning the fort at home. And I think August was a good sleeper for him.
He's been all over the map lately. Either sleeping all night or getting up anywhere up to 10x. It's crazy. The night before last was one of the worst. He went to sleep 9, up at 12:30, wouldn't fall asleep till 2am, I picked him up no less than 6 times from the crib to hold him, rock, sing, hush, nurse, you name it. Nothing. Finally laid him on our bed till he fell asleep, then transferred. He still woke up another 3x because his binky fell out. Then up at 7. The next day was one of the worst days for me yet. All day he was fussy. He would cry if I was ever out of sight, and even when I was close he just seemed to cry on and off all day. The only cry-free time was our stroller walk in the park. I was exhausted. I literally screamed at him twice. Screamed. Loud. Which of course scared him and he screamed more. It was a real low in my mothering life. Two times I called Doug at work crying and sobbing. I felt horrible. I was in the bathroom looking at my Colossians Bible verse and begging God to give me patience, compassion, and kindness and then I went straight over to him and screamed at him to shut up. And then burst into tears. I felt like a monster. My poor sweet baby being screamed at by the one who is supposed to love and comfort him.
Finally Doug came home and like the flip of a switch he was fine. We went to our friend's who made us a delicious Indian feast and we met their new baby. Then came home, put August to bed. He laid down and didn't even cry one time. He slept all the way until 3am when I woke HIM because my breasts were painfully full and they woke me up. So nursed him, put him back to sleep and not even a peep even though he was awake, and he slept till 8am. What the heck. But seriously I'll take it.
So I don't know what is going on. I think I need to come up with some strategies for the next time. I know he likes walks, he likes being in the backpack, it might just mean sitting with him and doing nothing. Maybe going for a drive. But I don't ever want to do that to him again. So I continue to pray for patience and that God would increase my love and care for him. I wonder if I might finally be getting my period back and some of that could be related to PMS? But anyway, it was a true low.