Category Archives: Sister

So Long Summer


Since the last time we’ve talked…the entire summer has flown by and I did not once update this blog! Shame on me. So here it goes, a summer recap. Just a few of the highlights that happened to be photographically documented. Hopefully now we can return to our regularly scheduled programing.

First things first, one of the major things I’ve done since I last checked in was take a trip to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to visit my sister who lives and works there semi-permanently. There’s too much to tell and it was 4 months ago, so I’ll spare you the details. You can read a little more about it and check out the pictures over on my sister’s blog if you’re interested. This picture was taken on one of our walks through an area called The Ravine, where Erin helps provide food and medical care to the community. These children were shouting “Blanc! Blanc!” at us as we passed by on the other side.
The Ravine PAP Haiti

After Haiti I promptly returned home and back to work. Beginning in June, our quiet little coastal town turns into tourist central.  Running a business in our area means work, work, and more work during the short summer season.  So we try to make the most of  what little time that we have off.  Even if that means making ordinary things extraordinary just to entertain ourselves.  It makes us feel better about ourselves if we can believe we have some semblance of a life. HA!

So in July, I found out that one of my favorite bands was going to be playing a small show in Owosso, Mi. This is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from my house, so I talked Erin into going along for the ride.  Of course, as all things go, we got tied up with something at the shop and ended up making it for just about the last 2 songs. Still worth it. If you know us at all, you know the expanse of our love for Chipotle. We decided since we were already so far down state we might as well drive 45 minutes further south to get ourselves a little bit of tex-mex heaven rolled up in burrito form. This is when #sistersofspontaneity was born. Listener Owosso, MiIMG_2990Also in July, I got to see one of my favorite people ever. Thee Stella Malone. She was on Warped Tour promoting (for lack of a better word) her ministry SKAD. Stella is one of the coolest people I know and I had such a great time hanging out with her on her tour bus and hearing stories from the summer. Such a blessing to get to see her face. I love this picture of her in front of the bus. The license plate says it all.Stella Malone SKAD

Then there was that one time when we thought “Singing Baristas” would be a great idea. Oh Geez. This is embarrassing, but I’m gonna put it out there anyway. I know, I know… it’s hard to believe that I’m making this song up as I go. Real. Raw. Talent. Now please forget you ever watched this.

Don’t think I was alone in this. These ladies were in on the action as well. Maybe a Singing Barista Trio in the future? I wouldn’t count on it:).

singing barista trio

It seems our favorite summer past time was kayaking this year! That’s right, I bought a kayak! We made several lake to lake trips in the evenings. There’s something unexplainable about getting outdoors and being in nature. While paddling down the river we saw a bunch of ducks, a few deer, a couple Osprey, and one busy beaver. We tried to follow him home down an eery waterway through tall weeds and stagnant water. We’re just a touch crazy.kayak collageerin kayak lake huron

You’d think with all the fun it seems I’ve had this summer I’d have no problem being in a consistently good mood. However, with all the working that took place, I often had to remind myself not to be in a perpetual state of grumpy.  It’s real easy for me to put one leg after the other into my grouchy pants first thing in the morning. This usually results in a negative attitude for the remainder of the day.  So I took this picture to remind myself, “I HAVE NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT!” It’s so true. I’m blessed beyond what I deserve, I have no reason to be a grump. Smile. Choose happiness. Every day I have to remind myself to choose the joy of the Lord.

I have nothing to complain about

And for goodness sake, I live on one of the Great Lakes!!tawas point state park

We were able to make a few trips out to the Tawas Point Lighthouse with some out of town visitors at the end of July and also in August. tawas point lighthousetawas point lighthouseWhile we’re hitting the highlights of the summer, I can’t leave out The Moffatt wedding! Daniel got married to a girl who’s just perfect for him in a beautiful ceremony.  It was such a fun celebration, congratulations Daniel and Katelynn!IMG_3507Also in August we rooted for the Great Lakes Loons. My mom, my sister, the neighbor boy and another friend of ours spent the evening catching a minor league baseball game. We had $1 hotdogs, chips, cokes and ice scream sandwiches! The neighbor caught a fly ball, we caught a glimpse of ourselves on the jumbo-tron and The Loons won! I’d say it turned out to be a great night. great lakes loonserin adam loonsErin and I went spent an evening enjoying some blues at the annual Blues on the Bay Festival. From behind the fence that is. We’re cheap so we didn’t purchase tickets, but it all sounds the same whether you’re inside or outside the fence. We ordered a pizza and sat on the grass. It was some great people watching and we even learned a few dance moves.blues fest erin

pizza blues festIn keeping with Fairbanks tradition, we finished off the summer up north at our family cabin. The whole family came this year, minus my brother (insert sad face). We had a good ole’ time camping out in my tent, shooting guns, playing football, eating, sitting around a bon-fire, playing round after round of Skip-Bo, and of course passing around the newest family member. There’s something about our humble little cabin in the woods, it’s so peaceful and rejuvenating. I’m hoping to make a few more trips up there this fall before we close it up for the winter.  labor day campingIMG_2668trail tunnel

This summer was quite a whirlwind! I’m so looking forward to fall, it is after all my FAVORITE time of year.

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Railroad trestles and a Chicken Pot Pie

So, truth is…there’s not a whole lot to do around here. Sometimes you’ve got to find entertainment in the simple things. Usually around here the every day things are all you’ve got.  Like a trip to the grocery store for example. You’ve got to take something like getting those groceries and turn it into something that feels more like an experience. Not too long ago, my sister and I did just that.  We went to the grocery store. We decided to put our legs to work and make the trip on foot. We got our groceries and then on the way home decided to take a different route crossing over the railroad trestle. We proceeded to take some dorky pictures just for fun. Then once again mother nature had her way with us and began pelting us with a nice ice/snow mixture. Once we made it home, a delicious modified version of this chicken pot pie was in order.Erin WalkingBoots on RailroadErinRailroad trackscrazy facesRailroad tracksRailroad tracksbeginning snowerin snow poseMelissa snow pose

I saw this recipe in the February issue of Bon Appetit magazine and decided it needed to be “what’s for dinner.” The great thing about this recipe is that it’s just a starting point. You can change it up however you’d like. I modified it quite a bit with vegetables that I had on hand and a few others that we picked up at the store.  I added chopped carrots, celery, parsnips, green beans, chick peas, mushrooms and zucchini in addition to the onions, garlic and kale it called for. I also substituted red potatoes for the butternut squash.

veggies

I decided to add some cream cheese to the mix which takes away from it’s healthy factor, but adds to it’s delicious creaminess factor. I like to think the addition of kale balances it out some, right? No skillet? No problem, I put mine in a casserole dish. I’m telling you, so easy.  Pretty much anything goes!chicken pot pie

We didn’t have much time so a hand made crust was out of the picture and I’m always trying to find ways to skimp on cash, so I decided to grab a tube of crescent rolls in place of the puff pastry crust it called for. Puff pastry is almost $6 around here, yikes! 
chicken pot pie
chicken pot pieGo ahead, make an adventure out of the mundane. Then cozy up with some warm, creamy and comforting chicken pot pie. I promise it’ll help a little as we ride out the rest of winter. Dig in.

Get the recipe here (mine actually looks nothing like theirs at all, but thats ok. make it however you’d like it.)

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Erin’s Golden Birthday

So my sister was complaining that I didn’t include even one picture of her in my last post, 2012-Year In Review. I told her it was because I had only seen her for one week this past year until mid-late December. Sad face. She insisted that we had some good photos together from this year. I’ve got this one…I think it’s a great photo:). Hipster stache

Well, I decided I’d dedicate this whole post to her instead and tell you all about her Surprise Not-So Surprise Golden Birthday Party.

My sister, Erin, celebrated the big three-zero birthday last week. It really seems impossible that we can be this old. Her and I are only 15 months apart, so that’s always a little reassuring that I don’t have to get old all by myself. But geez…30?!! It really does seem just like yesterday that we were riding our bikes up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. Stopping at all of the power lines, pretending they were actual stoplights. It seems just like yesterday we were driving down the road singing along with N’sync and Plus One at the top of our lungs (oh wait…that wasn’t me, just Erin. Let’s be clear here). Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were cramming as many friends as we could possibly squeeze into my little green Malibu, opting to spend hours studying and hanging out at Starbucks when they kicked us out of the dorms for church? I feel like it was just yesterday that we spent 10 months barely an arms length away from each other when we traveled the country working for Camfel Productions. Yesterday I tell ya! Yesterday! I guess that’s what happens when you grow up, the old folks warn you about it all your life. It’s finally sinking in. Life really does just fly by, I’m ready for it sllloooowww down.

Well, I didn’t come here to get all sentimental and freak out about being old again, really I came here to share with you the 30th birthday celebration that we had for Erin’s golden birthday. What’s a golden birthday you might ask? I hadn’t ever heard of it myself until my friend Natalie turned 27. A golden birthday is when you turn the age of the day of your birth. Make sense? My birthday is September 10th, so my golden birthday would have been when I turned 10 years old. Erin was born on December 30th and she turned 30 this year. You’ve got it now.

In my opinion your 30th birthday isn’t something to mess around about. It’s kinda like 16, or 21….you’re 30! So we wanted to do it up, we decided to just go with the whole golden theme for her party. We asked the guests to wear something gold or sparkly. The blingy-er the better! We also tried to keep it a surprise, but that proved really hard to do. My mom runs a coffee shop/cafe here in Michigan so we decided to have the party at the coffee shop in order to accommodate enough people and to keep it on the down low. We picked up some 50% off Christmas decorations to help with the decor. We bought a few tubs of gold and sparkly bulbs, strung them on fishing wire and hung them like garland across the ceiling. Above each table we hung a gold balloon.bulbs erins bday

For the tables themselves, we glittered and then spray painted some mason jars gold and put a battery operated tea light in each.  Then placed them on top of a little piece of gold tulle and sprinkled the table with rolos and Hershey’s Kisses with Almonds.

Around the windows and on the fireplace mantel we hung gold tinsel  (also on sale in the Christmas decorations) and pinned old pictures of Erin at different stages in life. picture garlandpicture garland 2picture garland 3

One of my favorite ideas was my Mom’s. She suggested that we pull all the shelves out of the display case and fill it with the gold balloons that we bought. I only got light headed a few times…totally worth it. We did come up a little short on balloons, but I think it was close enough.balloons

Now that we’ve got the decorations out of the way, let’s talk about  food. We were looking for something that would feed around 35 people without a lot of work. We decided on a grilled cheese bar since it was December in northern Michigan and all you want to eat is warm and comforting food. We set up the bar with 4 different choices of bread, several different kinds of cheeses and a plethora of grilled cheese toppings. At the end of the bar we had a flattop griddle and one of our friends was kind enough to also grill sandwiches on the coffee shop’s panini grill. You can’t have grilled cheese without tomato soup right? So we also served up some tomato soup and white chicken chili. Goldfish crackers worked well as both an appetizer and crackers for the soup. Other sides included Crunch and Munch, pretzel rods, Golden Teddy Grahams and chips and salsa.

//I’ve yet to host a party where I’ve had time to take pictures of the set up before the guests actually arrived. Maybe someday I’ll get there, but in the mean time you’ll have to excuse the less than perfect pictures of the half eaten food//grilled cheese bargrilled cheese menuIMG_3651

goldfishIMG_3843

We served Boston Coolers for the drinks. It’s one of my sister’s favorite treats and it also happens to be gold! I didn’t get a decent picture of them, because I was too busy drinking them. Oops.

When each guest arrived we had them take a craft stick with a photocopied picture of Erin’s face from one of her childhood pictures. I think this was one of my favorite things. Erin’s…not so much:).IMG_8956

No birthday party is complete without a few games right? I found this 1982 trivia game online and printed one out for each guest. We put them on the tables so they could fill in the blanks while others were arriving and also while they were waiting to get in line for the food.

This is also the only picture you can see the gold centerpieces in at all

This is also the only picture you can see the gold centerpieces in at all


We also played a game of True or False. We complied a list of statements about Erin, some true some false. When we read the statement each person had to hold up a piece of paper that said either “True” or “False.” Surprisingly Grandma didn’t win.truefalse gameI know what you’re thinking…where’s the cake?!? We served chocolate cupcakes with golden, peanut butter frosting and gold sprinkles topped with a Reese’s minis. These cupcakes were delicious if I do say so myself!

IMG_3738IMG_3865And last but not least, the highlight of the evening was the photo booth that we set up in the corner. I know, I know, photo booths are SO last year (although this was last year, does that count?) BUT you can’t deny their ability to be quite entertaining. With some good props and the right people photo booths can actually be lots of fun. We found a cream colored fabric that had little gold specks in it in the fabric center at Walmart. The wreath was a clearance Christmas find as well and then I just cut out and painted the sign that says “cheese” and the number 30 out of poster board. Here are just a few of the many pictures from the night.IMG_3677IMG_3707IMG_3719IMG_3747IMG_3801IMG_3866

We've affectionately given my sister the nickname Louiseezy, or just weezy for short. That's what the "Weezy Gang" sign is about.

We’ve affectionately given my sister the nickname Louiseezy, or just Weezy for short. That’s what the “Weezy Gang” sign is about.

IMG_3899IMG_3936

Okay, I got a little carried away there. Here’s just one more picture though of a group of us that have been friends for somewhere around 20+ years now. Crazy! I don’t remember the last time we got a group picture, our lives span from Illinois to Texas and all the way to China. I feel so lucky that most everyone happened to be in town this year to help us celebrate!IMG_3916

Happy Birthday Erin! 30 years later I’m still proud to call you my sister. I hope you have the best year yet.

//In case you’re wondering where I got my awesome sweater…I found it the day before the party at a thrift store up here in the middle of nowhere. Be jealous.//

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Trip to Michigan Part 1

I know, it’s been just shy of a month since I took this little trip to Michigan for my Grandma’s 80th birthday. I should have gotten these pictures up sooner, but things don’t always happen like they should. I came back to Texas just in time to put all of my time and attention on our annual fall Art and Music Festival which happened on the Saturday that I returned. So here we are talking about this trip now. I’ll try to keep it short, but I’ve broken it into two parts, because that’s how the trip seemed to go. I flew in on Monday night, spent Tuesday with my parents since they both already had the day off because Monday was their anniversary and they were supposed to be out of town. That rarely happens, so it was nice to be able to spend time with them simultaneously. At 6am on Wednesday morning my sister and I loaded up her 98 Dodge Neon and hit the road heading to Kentucky. “The Friends” had a 2.5 week old baby that I was dying to see in the real.

We did not make it to Kentucky without a few major hiccups! My sister insisted that her car would make it just fine on the 8 hour drive. I had serious doubts. Needless to say it didn’t make it just fine, we broke down in Cincinnati where a supposedly good samaritan/mechanic pulled over to help. He did help, he gave us a ride to Auto Zone (just for the record, it is not a good idea to get in a car with a stranger in a strange city, I do not recommend it), we bought new spark plugs and he installed them for us. Then I like to say he “hustled” us. Pretty much he told us we needed to give him $80 for his services. We were not about to give him $80 especially since he didn’t mention that up front and we were scrapping by as it was. We ended up giving him $50 and getting the heck out of Cincinnati. We made it about 30 more miles and broke down again. Whomp whomp. This time we called our friend to come rescue us and we hid out on top of a hill on the side of the road so not to be pitied by any other “Good Samaritans.” Good news is we got to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and the scenery wasn’t so bad either.

 

We did finally make it to our destination, I got to hold that baby in my arms and spend a great 24 hours with my best friends. Even with all of the car troubles I don’t regret it a bit. We spent a majority of the day in Louisville, which is actually a really cool city. Naturally we had coffee at two different establishments, took a walk on the river walk trail, and had lunch inside a classic car.

We went to pick up a rental car and of course that didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked it either, but we did end up with a car so that’s all that matters. We high tailed it back to Michigan to make it home in time to return the rental car and then head north with the ladies in our family to celebrate my Grandma’s 80th birthday!

To be continued…….

 

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Skype Date

As some of you may or may not know, my sister Erin has been working in Port-Au-Prince Haiti since February. She’s been filling the role of school nurse, as well as making weekly medical visits to the area called the Ravine. She helps with a feeding program that is established there in that area. That’s just a vague description of what she does, she does so much more than just those two things, but you’ll have to check out her blog for more info on the happenings in her life in Haiti. She’ll be there until May this time around. Even though when she is not in Haiti, she lives in Michigan and I live in Texas, it still seems like I miss her more while she’s there. Luckily we’ve got technology this day in age and we’ve had the chance to keep in touch. We had a little siblings Skype date the other day and here are some screen shots:). We do actually talk sometimes, but it appears that most of the time we just like to make faces at each other. Haha. She makes a sister proud.

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The Grand (part 2)

You’re not going to want to miss breakfast at the Grand either. It’s your choice of either a 5 course affair, or the largest breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen. We just went with ordering our courses off the menu. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Grand Hotel is really the one who coined the phrase…”breakfast of champions,” because that is exactly how you feel while eating it, like a champion. Thinking about it makes me really hungry for breakfast right now and unfortunately all I have are eggs in my refrigerator. Boo.

After breakfast we headed out to the world’s longest front porch (over two football fields in length) to check out the view.

This is part of the view from the porch

We decided to walk into town to wait for our mom to join us, she was supposedly coming in on the 12:00 ferry. It’s evident where we get the tendency to be running late. She barely made it to lunch with us by 2:00. If you haven’t noticed a pattern, when visitng the Grand Hotel really all you’re going to do is eat! It felt like we had just gorged ourselves at breakfast and poof, time for the Grand Luncheon Buffet. This isn’t your regular every day style lunch. Tickets to this luncheon are $45 a piece! The buffet is huge and filled with all kinds of cheeses, fruits, veggies, hors d’oeuvres, salads, pasta, oysters, shrimp, mussels, chicken, fish, along with a man carving some kind of red meat. It wasn’t till we were about to leave that we discovered the dessert buffet table filled with cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, cakes, eclairs, etc… Trouble. Big trouble.

We were just about the only ones left in the dining room so we had a friendly chat with our lunch waiter and our dinner waiter from the night before who are both from Jamaica. They told me that with my style I’d be more than welcome in Jamaica. Ha! Then I realized I was wearing a reverse Tye dyed shirt and dreadlocks with a chunky headband. Of course I’d be welcomed in Jamaica:)

After lunch we went and rented some bikes to work off all of that food! We rode the perimeter of the island

We shopped, took a little nap in the park, then headed back to the hotel for a little R&R on the balcony of our room.

My sister made a deal with me, that no matter what we were doing for my birthday, that we would be sure to watch “the sunset on my 20’s.” We caught the sunset both nights, it was spectacular.

Then guess what time it is?! You’re right, time once again for dinner…(look at my mom looking all young and beautiful)

We demolished another Grand Pecan Ball, did some more sight seeing in the hotel and then headed out for a little excursion up the middle of the island to check out the part of the island that typically goes unseen. The homes of the locals.

Here’s a look at the bridge lit up

Main Street without any people on it is a rare sight

The next morning we had another round of breakfast and then hiked up to the West Bluff.

We spent a little more time around the island, grabbed a Mackinaw Island Fudge ice cream cone and jumped back on the Arnold Line to head home. This was one of those once in a lifetime experiences. It was all made possible by my very generous Aunt Jacquie who gave us her hotel vouchers as a gift to celebrate my birthday. I am so thankful for such an amazing family! If you ever get the chance to visit Mackinaw Island whether you stay at the Grand Hotel or not, you definitely should.  It’s a magical place:). Here’s a link if you happened to be interested in some of the random facts about the island, like that they don’t allow any motorized vehicles on the island, or how many gallons of water it takes to fill the swimming pool…

I guess this concludes my birthday week, I suppose turning 30 wasn’t so bad after all.

(This is the Grand Hotel Taxi…very swanky)

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The Grand.

Swanky is not a word commonly used in my vocabulary. I just don’t usually have a reason to pull it off of my vocabulary shelf and throw it into normal life conversation.  Get ready, I’m about to dust that bad boy off and use it in a sentence! Watch this. The Grand Hotel is swanky. Actually Swankified (if you don’t mind me making up my own word), would be how I’d like to describe it.  Ok never mind, I just checked and swankified already exists in the urban dictionary. Dang you urban dictionary, stealing my thunder like that. Anyway for the final installment of my birthday celebration that took place one month ago now, we move on to Mackinac Island. (Just gonna warn you, this post might get a little heavy on the visuals).

Erin and I headed up to the Island on Thursday night. Bags packed, headed north, taking the Arnold Line.

We tend to run late, it’s just what we do.  No one in their right mind staying at the Grand Hotel would even consider missing dinner and we weren’t about to, so as soon as our feet hit the ground we hiked the mile or so up the hill, luggage and all to the hotel. Remember how I said “swanky” is rarely used in my vocabulary? Well, if you know me at all then you know that I tend to dress a bit on the casual side.  This day was no different and for some reason I decided I should look extra homeless for the occasion. Did I mention the Grand Hotel has a dress code to even walk around inside after 6pm? Right, so I’m already feeling a little out of place in my thrifted trucker shirt, hoodie, utility style jacket and crazy hair. My sister has turned into somewhat of an anxious person lately I guess, so as we’re checking in she’s asking every question she’s thought of since she last called the hotel clerk 20 minutes ago and I’m just trying to be invisible (Sorry Erin, love you! Someone’s gotta ask them). We get the key, which is an actual key.  Like on a key chain with a tassel.  Fancy. We head up to our room, open the door and are immediately overtaken by floor to ceiling mint green candy striped walls, bright yellow floral print curtains and emerald green furniture. Now whether the decor in our room is swanky or hideous is totally debatable. Here’s a peek, you be the judge.

However what our room lacked in modern decor, it made up for in the view of the lake and the Mackinaw Bridge from our balcony.

So after getting a little carried away taking pictures of our room and the view, we hurried and quick changed into our dinner attire.  We got our meal tickets and headed to the main dining room. I’ve got two words for you…UNDER DRESSED.  In my little commoner brain, I was thinking lets kill two birds with one stone. Pack a sundress, or something I can wear during the day around the island and be comfortable in and then wallah, head to dinner in my dress code attire. Makes sense right?? I don’t know why on earth I didn’t think that dinner at the Grand Hotel might be a big deal? Like a sit down, 5 course, full on tuxedoed waiters serving menu items that I can’t even pronounce. Yes, UNDER DRESSED. I had on what I like to call my “Little House on the Prairie” dress with brown leather booties. This outfit is anything but swanky. I’m not sure how, but I missed the memo that I should wear my evening gown. You know what you do in an awkward situation like that?? You own it. You walk with a purpose (famous wise words of my mother), with your head held high, like you belong. We didn’t belong, but the wait staff seemed to like us. We even got an extra dessert out of our waiter. My sister and I decided that they were just excited to see normal people among the hundreds of people dripping money.  Who knows, but what I do know is that dessert at the Grand Hotel is something to be serious about. We ordered the Grand Pecan Ball, a carrot cheesecake and then an apple/pear strudel with vanilla ice cream. Hands down no mistaking, my favorite of course was the Grand Pecan Ball. Mackinaw Island is famous for it’s fudge, so it only makes sense that this heavenly ball of vanilla ice cream rolled in pecans, drenched in hot fudge and served on a chilled metal plate would be out of this world delicious. Oh yeah. We also found some interesting facts…the hotel has been serving it’s most popular dessert, The Grand Pecan Ball, since 1947. They serve around 60,000 of them a season and in the 2010 season they used 6,000lbs of pecans!

As if my clothing choices didn’t give it away, the picture taking during dinner definitely did, but how can you resist photographing such beauty on a plate:)? Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the glorious dessert. Probably because it was gone to quickly.

Here’s a little tour of the place…

Down the hall with my model sister…she got the memo

Into the Parlor where you can be entertained by live piano playing or maybe a little orchestra.

No fancy hotel would be complete without strange canine art would it? There was actually an entire gallery dedicated to dog art. Weird.

Then there’s this one…who doesn’t love dogs playing poker?

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger, it does…cat head on woman body.

And it’s companion picture, dog head on man body. In a suit coat no less.

We found the ballroom where there were only two brave souls on the dance floor

There were even old fashioned telephone booths equipped with real life landlines (yes, this is my $12 Target clearance dress that for some reason I thought would be appropriate for dinner)

We found gaudy furniture

And an art gallery

These are just a few of the many stops in the Grand Hotel, there’s also a movie theater, a bar with a gorgeous view, a convenience store, a tea store, a wine bar, an Aveda salon, a clothing store, an arcade room, and the list goes on. After a little exploring, we decided to head back to our room to put our street clothes on and hit the town to hang out with the locals.

TO BE CONTINUED……

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Best Week Ever (Part 2)

Yes, it’s true.  Someone had the “Best Week Ever,” in case you forgot, it was ME! The weekend didn’t end when we nearly burnt down the bible camp, there’s more.  Sunday started with a breakfast feast of chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes (not together, that’s weird, but I’d be up for it), Brian’s bacon (my Dad’s favorite bacon hands down), eggs, sausage, fruit salad. Turns out my fam had another surprise for me, dun dun dun…river rafting. We drove to Indian River, rented some rubber rafting boats and hit the fastest flowing river in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Sounds exhilarating doesn’t it? Turns out Michigan’s fastest flowing river in the Lower Peninsula is pret-ty lazy. Don’t get me wrong we had a great time and what the river lacked in adventure it made up for in beauty. We got to soak up some sun rays and spend some quality time with mother nature, all while being entertained by the antics of Chad and Daniel. This is the only picture I have of the rafting, because we were afraid to take our cameras or phones on the river with us for fear they’d get soaked, makes me laugh now. Although you can never be too careful when it comes to cell phones and water…especially when there are boys around.

The crew minus my dad, who's taking the picture

No family gathering at the cabin is complete without an hour or two at the shooting range. So after a quick lunch, we headed over to test or sharp shooting skills at cut-out “30” signs and Happy Birthday posters.

yeah, that's my target...sharp shooter, watch out.

Chad with bullets in his ears for hearing protection. So hardcore.

Giving a lesson on the 22

Ever heard of the Michigan Militia?

I’m currently listening to the new Ryan Adams, ‘Ashes and Fire.’

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Best Week Ever.

So I wrote this last week, just go with it. I’m not still on Mackinaw Island, no matter how hard I wish I was.

Looks like someone is having the BEST WEEK EVER. Yep, that someone is me.  I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment with where to even begin.  I have sooo much to tell you about my milestone birthday. I’m currently sitting outside of the “Lucky Bean Coffeehouse” on Mackinac Island, Mi enjoying a nice fat cappuccino in the 52 degree weather. Yeah, sorry to rub it in but I don’t care, I’ve had to suffer for so long. So here it goes, the low down on my dirty thirty birthday, this I’m sure will be the last time you hear me admit that ever again:).  Let me explain to you how I’ve had “The Best Week Ever…” I’m just gonna skip ahead to Saturday.  Due to a chain of events including the annual 3D Triathlon and the woman’s softball tournament both being in town on my birthday weekend, we had to reschedule our Grand Hotel stay to the following weekend. At first I was a a bit disappointed because spending the weekend around town while everyone was working was exactly what I didn’t want to do for my birthday. Of course I should have known that my family would be up to something. Chad was flying in on Saturday morning, so my Dad and I drove to flint to pick him up at 12:30. My sister had suggested that we  all head up to our family trailer in Gaylord after they got out of work. So I packed up my overnight bag and figured this would at least be a nice relaxing evening and we could head over to Petosky on Sunday for brunch. Surprise, surprise, I was packed and ready to go on time! All of sudden there’s obnoxious honking in the drive-way. Who could it be? The Moffatts of course…well just Chelsey and Daniel actually. Anyway, they had a scavenger hunt planned for me full of old embarrassing photos and stops along memory lane. Some of the places include…

        St. Vinnie’s, our favorite thrift store

Looking for records produced in 1981

The high school, to paint my birthday on the spirit rock

Painting the Spirit Rock

The church to perform a rendition of an old, really cheesy song that we actually used to sing in church

Woot, Woot, here we go...here we go!

A photo op with my old softball coach

Spent a lot of years with this guy...Saturday mornings since 6th grade and all 4 years of high school!

My grandma’s house to recite a tongue twister and receive my traditional gift of Bessinger pickles (best freaking pickles on the planet).

I can not even express to you how much I loved pickles! Well, I think you can see it in my eyes in this photo:)

There were other stops along the way, but you get the idea. With every stop there was a clue to the next place as well as a letter that in the end spelled out “Big Buck.” For those of you scratching your head, Big Buck is a brewery in Gaylord Michigan, so all five of us packed into Chelsey’s car for the last time (coincidentally she was selling it in Gaylord that same weekend) and drove the two hours north on I-75.

Beef jerky, chocolate milk, bluegrass radio...

My cousin Christina met us there and then they proceeded in hosting a “Roast,” me of course being the Roastee. Here are a few of my favorites….

There were plenty more...

Afterward, we made our way to the camp where my parents and Aunt and Uncle had set up a little party complete with decorations all along the path around the lake. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and then indulged in some yummy S’mores cupcakes.

Delicious cupcakes+sparkler candles because I love fire.

We had round two of the Roast, because of course my parents were curious:). We ended the evening with a bonfire and guitar/bango sing-along.

No, not a jug of urine.

Then just about burnt the forest down lighting and sending off a Japanese lantern. Bad idea. Well, great idea (I’ve always wanted to do one of those things) just bad idea to do it surrounded by forest! We had a little scare for a few minutes when the flaming lantern got caught in the top of a tree for a minute. Yikes. Won’t do that again.

There were 3, one was enough to about give us all heart attacks!

I  really wanted to go to Hawaii for my birthday. That sounded like a great plan. Some day I’ll go to Hawaii, but seriously Hawaii’s got nothin’ on us. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday!  Getting to spend a great day with some of the best friends and family that I could ask for is something that I won’t forget. I feel really blessed. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if ALL of my friends and family could have been there.  Maybe next time. Well…never mind, because I’m done having birthdays.

So stay tuned for more of “The Best Week Ever.”

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Eight.

Eight days. Ocho. Oh-8. Eight and feeling great. Sure, whatever you say. It’s true though, I am getting excited for my birthday. Not for the whole getting older part (if you hadn’t figured that out already right?), but for the part where I get to go on vacation! In 4 days, I’m catching a plane to a land dripping with fresh air and mild temperatures. I’m dreaming of wearing denim on my legs and knitwear on my arms. It has been ruthlessly hot here in Texas this summer, dang. The weather has not shown us an ounce of mercy, nope not one.  No pity either. I think it enjoys kicking us when we’re down, day after every single day. The duo that is Listener, has a lyric in one of their songs (ironically titled “I don’t want to live forever”) that says, “There’s a crazy old lady in the sun, she’s angry can’t you feel it?” I like to add “and she hates Dallas” at the end of it, I feel it’s totally appropriate.  Anyway, Michigan…home sweet home, looking forward to it and getting a chance to see my family, feels way overdue. Just for the record I wasn’t planning on writing this post about the weather, that just kinda happened. So for the real reason I’m updating tonight, the list….

6. Road Trip– In January, I was able to cross road trip off my list! I got to take a really fun trip with a special group of ladies to Nashville Tennessee. The story goes, that back in November, some of my friends from church put on a conference for girls in the area. I was given the opportunity to hang out and be a group leader for the weekend.  Also at said conference was Stella, the founder of SKAD, along with Ashley and Bethany two lovely ladies who are involved with the organization as well.  Little did I know that night, that 2 months later I’d be crammed in the backseat of Ashley’s car “Bella” up to my knees in snacks, driving through the night on our way to Nashville to spend the weekend with strangers. We didn’t really go with a plan, luckily we got hooked up with an old Ryfo house through some random Cornerstone contacts and it actually turned out to be a really great bonding trip. If you know me at all, you may know that spontaneous road tripping is right up my alley, but with three girls I barely know?? Yikes! That’s like pulling teeth from my introverted mouth.  Despite my (non-official) anti-social disorder, I am really so glad we made it happen and thankful for the new friendships that have transpired because of it.

Nashville with new friends

7. Plant something- Well, well, well…I have and have not planted something. Being the nerd that I am, I did take a gardening class this summer (got a deal on Groupon, oh yeah). So technically I did plant somethings, I planted sweet potatoes and tomatoes. I just didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of my labor seeing that they were planted in my teacher’s garden. I do have some plans for a fall square foot garden under my stairs, but we’ll see about that, fingers crossed. I did transplant some house plants into pots, does that count??

8. Finish a knitting project– Woohoo! I did it! I actually finished a knitting project. I can hardly believe it myself. I like to knit, I really do. I’m just not very good at it. I knit when I’m supposed to purl and I purl when I’m supposed to knit, and don’t even ask me what row I’m on, because I lost count about 18 rows back, I’m just totally guessing. And really, is gauging your project actually necessary? Who does that anyway? Here’s a picture of my humble headband.  Not perfect by any means, but totally done!

9. Read 5 books- Which brings us to number 9, a number that I can not get so excited about. Read 5 books. A person should totally be able to read at least 5 books in one year! Officially, I’ve read one whole book. I hesitate even telling you guys that, because it’s actually rather embarrassing. What kind of person doesn’t read? I will say the one book that I did read was really good and I’ve been tempted to read it again.  However, I told myself it wouldn’t count as a second book so I haven’t. Now don’t think this is me giving up, I have several (and when I say several I mean it) books in the waiting room. Yep, books just hanging out waiting for me to pick them up and read them. I’ve been reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains” for going on two years now, but I can’t just give up on it. I’m also half way finished with “Living With Less” and someone just gave me the book “The Help.” So I’m still hoping there’s a slight possibility that I could accomplish this goal sometime in the near future. My friend Crystal volunteered me to read the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You Will Go” aloud at the graduation banquet we had.  She says I can totally count that book, so I totally am…Sam I am. I’ll update you on any further progress involving this task.

10. Get a tattoo- Ahhhh! I still can’t decide if I really want to go through with this one or not. My brother even offered to pay for it for my birthday. I know what you’re thinking, but come on people it’s forever…that’s a huge decision! I’m just thankful I never went through with it the other times I really really wanted a tattoo. I have a feeling I wouldn’t be digging that Sisqó inspired sun tattoo so much at this point in my life.

Thinking about sister feather tattoos with some script...feathers are kinda trendy right now though, so I don't know maybe overdone?

So that’s enough for tonight, I can feel age setting in as I type this.  It’s 1:15am and I can hardly keep my eyes open. Geez…pretty soon I’ll be wearing flannel night gowns and braiding my hair before I “hit the hay” at dusk.

Goodnight John Boy.

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