I got into tennis clinic on Monday. That's a hot commodity these days. We walked in the park in the afternoon collecting spanish moss, my newest obsession. I'm using it as mulch in my flower beds. I love it. We had a quick PTSA zoom meeting to approve the budget. Phew! Lauren hosted an awesome book club that night for the Run, Rose Run book. It wasn't very good, but everyone loved talking about Dolly and Lauren's dinner spread was delish with some Nashville hot chicken! Sam and I played well on Tuesday, winning easily and having lunch after on the balcony. We split 2-2, knocking us down to 6th place. My parents flew up to Atlanta for a quick trip to visit Aunt Susan. I'm impressed with their travel luck at this stage of life. Kind strangers used their Lyft accounts to help them get around. Spot and I had a nice backyard lunch while our house was cleaned. The weather has been mostly nice (still hot on the tennis court) but a breath of cool air. I feel like I'm playing a lot of Whack a Mole with my children- constantly trying to keep them in line; grades, eating healthy, attitude, fighting, exercise, it's constant. I savor my glass(es) of wine while reading (The Personal Librarian) after they are all in bed (and dance uber has ceased). It's a lot! I took Voss to the pediatrician thinking he had thrush, but after a urine analysis, glucose test and strep test he is all good...just a scratchy throat that makes him super picky while eating. Kerri and I won on line 2 together on Thursday. It was quick and easy and gave us plenty of time to watch. Garage Gary saved us with a broken garage door (popped spring), yes it is always something. Friday I went to adoration and lunch with my parents and heard all about their trip. I did a zoom training on applying for DCPS grants. Not sure I'll get anything but I tried. Marly had her first ballroom dancing, manners class. She and Addy got ready together. Ellie helped Abby get ready for she and Voss' first school dance- a glow party. Voss finally changed last minute. Ellie babysat the Sasssers. Phil and I went to Keith and Chris' for happy hour. All the kids reconvened after all their activities. We all met the Hogans and Barnetts at Lillians. We stayed out too late so there were some crabs on Saturday. The girls and I hit the Nutcracker scene- dollar store and puppies. I played Allison in singles and ALMOST won! She beat me 6-2 then I beat her 6-1 then she won the tie breaker 11-9. I was so close! Marly spent the night with Langley. We met the Nixons and Freemans for dinner at TCC. Saturday morning we were a bit late to 8:30 mass. Abby and I worked on her science project. Phil helped her with match. Marly and I worked on her science past assignments that she's been struggling with. Trying to get these girls back on task. Ugh! Voss won the play date lottery and got to go to Shrimp baseball game with his school friend, Abbie. We went to the Nixons to watch a bit of the Jags game, then headed over to celebrate my dad's 75th Birthday! My mom put together a sweet party with about 30 of their friends and neighbors. Christine catered. John played the guitar. It was a wonderful night celebrating my dad. Here are the pics of the week.
All this rain brought slightly cooler weather. You can breathe. I guess this is fall? Voss was awarded student of the month for the character trait of respect at flag raising on Monday. It's super cool to get student of the month right off the bat. I think it means he's top in his class. I got in for clinic on Monday. Then, met Cassie at the bank to deposit checks and maybe get organized for the middle school PTSA. We finally got the audit signed and submitted on Wednesday. It was quite the feat! On Tuesday, I hosted a table of amazing Catholic women for the Rise Up breakfast. I was able to make it to the tennis match in time to cheer on some friends and turn in the scores. We made freezer meals at MOPS on Thursday then Laurie hosted us (with this amazing pistachio crusted salmon) to celebrate Stephanie's Birthday. The older girls auditioned for company and made it so that'll be fun. I played Sally in singles for the singles tournament. I won the first set 6-3 then she won the second 3-6 and then I barely won the tie breaker 11-9! Just, wow! Way too close for me. She was on fire. It was a great match! I spent the afternoon with my parents at lunch and adoration. It was frustrating with my dad's dementia and my mom's denial. But very nice to spend the time with them. Voss had a baseball game Friday night and won. He had two great hits. We celebrated at Lillians after. Saturday morning we did Nutcracker again. Starbucks and puppies! My friend, Hilary was in town and came by for a visit. It was so nice to catch up with her. I tried to go to the gym, but it closed after 20 min on the eliptical. Marly and AM hung in the pool. Phil and I had a dinner date at TCC with some awesome live music. We ended up with an after party in the farms at the Cochrans. We were late to mass this morning. Everything went wrong- we woke up late, my van tire had a nail, Marly's dress broke! Geeze! Ellie and Abby altar served. Phil took my van for a new tire. We had CCD and discussed seeing Jesus in every day things. Another rainy Sunday. Abby directed a dance play. Phil and I are going to the McArthur's house warming party. Abby is going to a junior youth group. Happy Sunday! Here are the pics from the week.
I'm busy with projects and things- captaining the C1 Tuesday team. Making line ups and hearing all about it. Absolutely my come-upins. We are still working on the PTSA audit. We got an extension and will hopefully have it in soon. I did an online president training this week. I think our motto is, 'we are doing better!" I'm listening to Run, Rose Run and working on the summer video. We had a project planning meeting with the middle school principal and helped vote on teacher of the year. I went with Phil to Daniel Davis announcement party. Phil went on his first (in a very long time) tennis and golf weekend. While the cat's away...I had coffee with April, adoration and lunch with my dad then dinner with Tracy and drinks with Rachael. Saturday was the first Nutcracker rehearsal day. Ellie was so excited to do another audition and is now a big rat- a fun role! Lots of dollar store bribes and snuggles with puppies to make waiting on siblings a fun morning. I went with my neighbors to my neighbor, Al Miner's funeral. What an event! The older girls had sleepover fun. Tracy came over for a nightcap. This morning we slept in a bit then went to religion class. I had a huge group with Phil's class, too. We talked about spiritual relationships and spent time working on our relationships with God. It was a good class. Suzanne had the great idea to pick up subs to surprise my parents for grandparents day. We watched a bit of the Jags game with them. Ellie is babysitting. Abby went to a Birthday party. The girls are all altar serving at mass tonight. It's a rainy afternoon fall Sunday. Here are our pics of the week.
The days are so hot and thick with humidity that the sky hits its threshold and falls apart every afternoon. You can count on it. I love the rainy evenings (perfect for reading and wine). But the ground is like walking on a wet sponge and both the boys (Spot and Voss) are going nuts without baseball and park time. I finished Florence Adler Swims Forever in time to go to April's for book club. She did an awesome bagel bar for dinner. We had our first C1 tennis match all the way in St. Augustine on Tuesday. I drove the swagger wagon. Playing with Sam is fabulous. We won line won and the third line won their match so we tied. We all had lunch at TCC after then a race for the evening. It was the first week of dance classes. We walked together on Monday, I worked on getting a carpool together for the middle of the week. Poor Abby was left behind on Tuesday. My mom saved the day since Phil and I were at the JW open house that night. I picked up Mojos for the teachers and Marly ran that dinner party while I ran the first general PTSA meeting. It was an awesome turn out and so great to finally have an in person meeting. Then, Marly took me through her schedule and I met her teachers. Phil ran through Ellie's before picking her up at dance. I was wiped out by the time I made it home. Wednesday morning Rachael spanked me in singles. I brought Jarvis dinner, dropped off PTSA checks. Phil and I had lunch then I raced to get all the kids in time for early release then we went to Whits for a school spirit treat. Thursday was our first MOPS meeting. I spent most of the time walking crying babies through the parking lot. My job as mentor mom! That evening was the Stockton open house. It was much more swanky and organized than our middle school gig. It was nice to have a warm, comfy place for the younger two. Friday I got spanked in singles by Julie. The first set was closer. I went to adoration and lunch with my parents. We are talking about getting someone in the house to hang with my dad and give my mom a break. It turned out to be an odd night in that the younger two went to sleepovers. Voss with Zachary and Abby with Tabby for her Birthday sleepover. The older two went to youth group. Phil and I went to a MOPS play date at the Cummer for first Friday. I loved the live music, wine and fun with friends! The older two got a ride and met up with us then we went to dinner at TCC. The next morning we went to Maple Street as a family of 4 then picked up Abby. Marly and I went to the gym. It was a lazy afternoon. Marly had Addy over. Voss had Luka over. I went out on a girls night to celebrate Lauren's Birthday at a new restaurant in San Marco. We finished with dancing at Grape & Grain. On Sunday morning, the middle two altar served. Ellie and I read. Ellie went boating with the Bentons. Marly had a bike riding date with Owen. Phil spanked me in singles (a lot of that this week!) We ended up watching the FSU VS LSU game at the Grove. What a win to kick off the season! Monday was Labor Day. I played a fun match to prep for our C1 match the next day. We had fun at the pool after then went to dinner at my parents. Mom and I are reading and preparing for the book summit later this month. I listened to Cover Your Tracks over the weekend. A fun Labor Day weekend listen! That's it for the summer of 2022! Working on the video so hope to have it posted soon. In the meantime, here are our photos of the week.
We're jumping back into the swing of things. It was my week to drive the carpool for middle school. So, I spent a lot of time there. SAC meeting and a meeting to spruce up the teachers lounge. That also meant the younger two rode bikes to school all week. I tried to be Suzy homemaker and have warm cookies ready for the kids after school. Margaret took me to lunch on Monday to discuss the patrols. I worked in a few fun tennis matches. We had our MOPS open house. I thought I was going to be the cool mom with Friday donuts on the way to school, but then I was stuck by a train for a full hour! We went to dinner with the Freemans on Friday to catch up. Ellie babysat. Saturday was Nutcracker auditions all day. It should have been less stressful than last year because they double casted, but it wasn't. I think I have a few new gray hairs. They had us come back at 5pm for a formal role reveal. Abby is a mouse. Marly and Ellie are soldiers. We'll see if things get spiced up at the first rehearsal after Labor Day. We went to Moon River pizza with a bunch of Nutcracker friends for an after party. At all the masses on Sunday I gave a MOPS pulpit talk, to get ready for the first meeting. Phil took Ellie to a meeting preparing for Confirmation. I took Voss to one on Tuesday for his First Communion. It'll be a busy spring for sure! Despite the humidity, it's fall ya'll! Check out our pics from the week.
And they are back! Phil took the middle schoolers to the Bentons for the carpool pick up. I took the elementary school kids and walked them in and got them situated. I worked on a few school supplies issues then went to tennis clinic. I got my butt kicked. It was hot! I spent the afternoon unpacking and getting life back in order. I had a dentist appointment to get my teeth cleaned. All of a sudden it was time to pick everyone up. Lots of COVID cases have popped up after the wedding weekend. Luckily symptoms aren't too awful and it forces everyone to take a breather. But, I've been trying to check in on my parents a lot all week with ramen and grocery shopping. I finished listening to The Girl With Seven Names. Tuesday was a day of meetings. I met Onie for coffee and spiritual chat. I had a lunch meeting to talk about book summit planning. And then a MOPS leadership dinner meeting. Wednesday we played a round robin tennis match with Robin, Julie and Sam. August in Florida is no joke! We are getting into the swing of it with the school routine. Making lunches and going to sleep early. Homework isn't too intense yet. I finally put all the dance classes in my phone. Voss had fall baseball assessment and will find out his team next week. Thursday I drove to Ponte Vedra for the tennis captains meeting. I got to sit with the TCC ladies, which was nice and saw my ole pal, Anna. I met Stephanie for lunch to catch up. After school we had Nutcracker prep class at Village Dance. Tracy and I walked in the rain while the kids played. It felt great to get back out there again. Friday I snuck out and went to my friend, Lauren's 40th Birthday weekend. She rented a house in Amelia Island next to the Omni hotel. It was like an old school MOPS reunion along with friends of hers who flied in from all over. I'm listening to a great new book for the drive out and back called The Last Original Wife. I came home in time to sign a PTA audit, pick up middle schoolers late from the bus stop then meet Phil to go to my friend, April's 50th Birthday happy hour. She had a wine tasting with wineries opened in 1972. Cute! And so much fun, ending with an after party with 5 Star! Saturday morning was a lazy day with pulling weeds, grocery shopping and checking on my parents. We had some swim team friends over for a river play date. Other than the kids breaking my neighbor's lift and the heat, it was perfect. This morning we got up for mass then Phil and I taught our CCD classes. He moved up to 8th with Ellie, I moved up to 6th with Marly. I took the kids to the church and talked about how to pray. It was a good one. We met up with the Hershorins, Hollands and Freemans for breakfast then had a lazy afternoon. Abby went on a play date with Addie. We cooked the rest of our Steinhatchee scallops for dinner then did a family rosary. Early bedtime and ready for week two of school. Here are our photos from the week.
Monday and Tuesday was a mad dash of last minute school prep. Ellie, Marly and I got up early and put on a breakfast for the teachers at JWJ kicking off their first week of pre-planning. The vision in my head was much prettier than what we put together, but it was much appreciated and I got an inside peek on the new teachers. Abby and Voss got their COVID boosters. Ellie and Marly got an assessment from the Peterson former teachers to get them ready for a successful school year. Tuesday night was the kick off tennis party. Sally and I had speaking rolls then stayed for drinks. Wednesday morning I finished my packing then my parents and I ubered to the airport to fly to Chicago for #ErikandKelsWeddingBells ! We got checked into our hotel rooms then ubered to Wrigley Field to surprise the siblings who flew in earlier for the Cubs game. It was tricky to get in (had to ask the right people at the right box office) but we bought the cheapest tickets and walked in for the last inning of the game. It was a great surprise! The Cubs won and Erik and Kelley made it on the Jumbotron! We stayed after the game and had drinks at a local pub then ubered back to the hotel. My parents, Matt and I ventured back out for an evening stroll and to find a neat dinner spot, Purple Pig. The tapas were so amazing, well worth the walk! The next morning, Suzanne, the boys, Matt and I found coffee and walked to the Navy Pier. Matt and I took a refreshing dip in Lake Michigan. Then, went to try on his suit for the wedding. We met my parents for lunch at the corner pub then we all went to the Art Institute of Chicago. After a few hours they all went back to the hotel while I kept going. So nice to walk and enjoy the art alone. That evening we ubered to a rooftop lounge for a welcome party hosted by the Losiks (Erik's in-laws). We had local Chicago favorites and enjoyed an awesome Lake Michigan view with a full moon. It was a great way to kick off the wedding weekend and meet the family. Kelley took us to one of her fav dive bars. We ended up closing out a club. What a night! The next morning I had breakfast with my parents then we all walked down to the Navy Pier for the city architectural tour. Andrew, our tour guide was a high school history teacher. He was witty and informative. It was a good one! Erik ubered back to the hotel with M&D while the rest of us walked. I rode with Kelley's Aunt Kathy to help with wedding decor. I got to stand in for Steve at the rehearsal (their flight was delayed) then we headed to Gibson's steak house for the rehearsal dinner. Erik gave a nice speech thanking my parents. I got to sit with the Losiks and Sillanpaa cousins. The dinner was so delicious. The seafood tour, steak and dessert was out of this world. I even tried the sea bass and chicken entrees. All so good! Back to the hotel for a nightcap then off the bed. The next morning I got my nephew, Henry to hang with over coffee and snuggle time. Then I got to hold baby Conrad while Katie got ready. Katie, her boys and SIL, Liane and I all walked to the Sears (Willis) tower. We went to the top and checked out the views. I had this great idea to do a handstand against the glass. I totally busted and created a scene. So embarrassing and almost caused myself a concussion. I did a headstand to recover. Laine captured it all! I rode to the Lacuna Loft, wedding site with Aunt Kathy and cousin Laura to prep the wedding decor. We got dressed there. SQ and Katie helped with my hair and makeup. It was a perfect afternoon to get married. The ceremony was so emotional. So much crying and heartfelt words, just wow. They really did such a great job! There was a cocktail hour then we moved into the reception. My brother, Matt gave the most amazing best man speech. We were all balling. Then, lots of dancing. What an awesome night! There was an after party at the pub then another after party in Aunt Kathy's suite. We just had the best time meeting the new family and catching up with everyone. Just, wow! We got up and flew out the next afternoon. Phil picked us up at the airport in Jax. Meanwhile at home, Phil had an intense work week with personnel. Abby and Voss had a meet the teachers. Ellie had orientation and a friend's Birthday sleepover. Marly had a 6th grade pool party mixer. All last hurrahs before the start of school! We had Pizza for dinner then ready for the first week of school! Here are the pics from the week.
Summer is winding down but we still have another week. This week there was a lot of action at the schools getting things ready. Monday, Marly had bootcamp at the middle school. It was a fun day where she learned about the expectations, how to's and even took a field trip to the Ritz theater to learn the legacy of the school's namesake, James Weldon Johnson (how cool is that?!) While she was bootcamping, Ellie and I cleaned out the PTSA closet. Actually it was two closets worth of random junk. We threw a lot of it away, donated and consolidated. I had book club that night at Anne Marie's to discuss Intimacies, more like lack of. She did a wonderful job hosting. It was a gorgeous night with excellent conversation. I played a lot of <HOT> tennis. We had our bootcamp on Wednesday and Friday, plus a fun match on Tuesday and then a summer ladder league match (ending in a win with two tie breakers) on Thursday. Whew! Phil and I did some work on our marriage with a meeting with our ole pal, Al and a sushi dinner date. He's decided not to go to Erik's wedding, which has us in a funky spot. One day at a time. I'm working on choosing to be life giving. Marly has been play date and sleepover hopping. I think she's been at our house for one night this whole week. Her friend, Langley had a chicken limo Birthday party. That girl is living her best life! On Thursday afternoon we went to the elementary school to sort school supplies and deliver them to the classrooms. Lots of work but the kids helped along with my pals, Liz and Jenny. We celebrated with ice cream after. I took Abby and her friend, Marlee to the Cummer for a play date on Friday afternoon. Then back to the pool because it's just too hot to do anything else. Saturday morning the older girls and I got up early to hit up Walmart for mulch and flowers then met a team of volunteers at the middle school for Trojan Beautifcation Day. It was a lot of work but we have a great team of people. Phil took the younger two to the elementary school for a much easier spruce up day. We met for lunch at Firehouse. We met the Nixons at FYC for a gorgeous dinner on the river last night. I stayed up too late talking to west coast siblings and making TikToks so I was tired this morning. We went to mass this morning for the blessing of the backpacks then brunch at TCC. Ellie and I went to WD to prep for the welcome back teachers breakfast in the morning. Free balloons, too! I'm embroidering backpacks and working on logistics for the week. Here are our pics from the week.
We made it home from the Michigan road trip. After Benton Harbor, we got up and drove to Kentucky the following day. It was about a 5 hour drive to the Holland's hunting cabin in the middle of the woods. We chilled that afternoon, I drank a cold beer on top of a shady hill hiding from my kids. We got up early the next morning and went to Mammoth Cave National Park. It was fairly anticlimatic. We paid for a self guided tour, which only allowed us entrance to one, small cave. Not nearly as impressive as Carlsbad last summer. I made the kids do a quick hike to work off some 'tude and then we got back in the car. It was less than an hour to Nashville. We met the Skwaras for ice cream and caught up with them and planned another vacation in the meantime. Then we drove another 5 hours to Marietta, GA and stayed with the Thompsons. PT, Jean and I caught up over a bottle of wine while the kids took over the basement. The next morning we visited Aunt Susan in the assisted living facility. We took her out to McDonalds for an early lunch. The visit broke my heart. Long gone is my cool, stylish, supportive, fun Aunt Susan. She's a shell of who she used to be. I wish I could be closer to her to take care of her. The 5 hour drive home was full of traffic and accidents that we were luckily not a part of. I made major headway on the Count of Monte Cristo. We got home Wednesday afternoon and had pizza for dinner. Phil was very happy to have us all together again. I made the kids go to swim practice (the last one) on Thursday morning. I walked with Emma and caught up (and tried to get Spot back on a routine). We spent the next two days doing laundry, unpacking, play dates, grocery shopping and then re-packing. The Michiganders came to Florida. We had dinner with Adi at the Nixons on Friday night. Saturday morning we got up early for the city championship swim meet. Abby and Voss were able to compete. Ellie and Marly's was later that afternoon so they helped as assistant coaches keeping the swimmers on track. It was SO HOT! We found a hiding spot of shade behind the bleachers. We had a quick lunch then headed to Steinhatchee for a few days in old Florida. We met the VanWie's at the Serendipity house at Steinhatchee Landing. The Michiganders were all staying in the same neighborhood. We went from house to house and even had a nightcap at the Park's house. The next morning we were on the boat and ready to go. We had to wait a bit for the Michigander boat to get movin' but we eventually met up and headed out for some scalloping. The kids were all scalloping champs. They would jump in as scouts to see if it was a good spot. My rule was for everyone to get their age in scallops. The kids killed it. I got 50 the first day and right at 42 the next day. We saw stingrays, all sorts of fish and crabs even a horseshoe crab. It was awesome. We helped the Michiganders get acquainted. The Gilbos picked it up quick. The guys grilled burgers for dinner. We went house touring again. The next morning, we were out on the water early. The morning went well...but then the rain came. There was drama about what to do. Against my choice, we drove into the storm back to the channel and stopped at the Steinhatchee Marina. It was a grueling ride back. The Gilbos bought everyone a few rounds of tequila shots to celebrate our safe return. The Marina gave away free dry long sleeve shirts. We did a TikTok and then I convinced Phil and the VanWies to go back out to keep scalloping. The Michiganders had enough and went back to the house. We had a great afternoon. I convinced Sea Hag to let us have the boat an extra hour. We used a scallop bag as a live box and brought in a whole bunch, enough to make me happy. Anne Marie made a delicious scallop pasta dish with our freshly caught scallops. Yay! The next morning, the Michiganders went back out and we checked out and headed back to Jacksonville. We had a post trip lunch at Firehouse. Wednesday morning, I got right back in the tennis game with a match with Keri. A win felt great for morale. The older girls had their annual check up at the pediatrician. We had talks about healthy eating and exercise. Marly got a meningitis vaccine, both girls got a COVID booster. I went to Burrito Gallery for happy hour and had a productive meeting with the JWJ PTSA board. I've got a list of items to kick off the year. Working on finding sponsors for meals and mulch! Thursday I did a day of fasting to get myself in gear after all the yummy eating and drinking (and kill some Alzheimer cells hopefully). Liz helped me sort school supplies for the school fundraiser. I forgot I had committed to tennis so I scrambled to get there in time. I took Voss to the dentist to get his cavity filled. The Michiganders and VanWies came over for Abby's play. She'd been working on it for days. Being a director was more pressure and work than she thought but she's already working on the next play! I went to the tennis captains meeting with the new tennis director. It's going to be a great season! More tennis Friday morning. Ellie babysat the Agresti kids at our house since their air conditioning was broken. Marly had a play date and sleepover with Addy. The rest of us drove out to Phil's office to bring him lunch. Ellie opened her first bank account! We turned in Phil's suit measurements for Erik's wedding. Ellie babysat the Gilbo's son, Jack while all the adults went to happy hour at O'rSay. Saturday was a very lazy day (finally). Phil and I walked Spot and visited my parents. Voss had a play date with Walker. I took the girls to Target to get Birthday gifts. Ellie went to Imani's Birthday party at the movie theater. Later, we sat in the pool at TCC and had dinner. It was a nice, relaxing day. This morning we slept in. Phil and I did a round robin with the Wilhelms, Risdons and Gibbs. Now it's a lazy afternoon of homework packets, laundry and going through emails. I finished reading my book club book. We're getting geared up for the start of school. Here are our pics from the last 2 weeks.
We are currently spending our last night of the road trip in the great state of Michigan! When I last wrote we were on our way to Port Sanilac to see our next Great Lake, Huron. The Nixon’s besties, the Gilbos were so welcoming at their “cottage” on the lake. We had two days and two nights enjoying Great Lake life. It was cold but felt awesome. We drank, laughed, swam and ate. I even went night swimming on the last night. Gilbo was kind to drive Phil and Mark to the airport. I scooted out by 9am and the rest of the crew stayed to help with clean up. The kids and I headed to Mackinac City to check into our real cottage on Huron. We took the ferry to Mackinaw Island. We are fudge and rode bikes around the perimeter of the island. Ellie says this was her favorite thing. Then, we hiked to the top of the island and then met up with the Nixons and gal pals for dinner. The kids and I ferried back, saw the sunset and fireworks. The next day we drove over the bridge to the upper peninsula. Not much cell service and it was cold. We checked into Uncle Ducky’s paddlers village. It took me a bit to get used to it. I failed at packing for this part of the trip. We had no blankets, sleeping bags or pillows. We used towels and wore all our clothes to stay warm that first night. Epic fail. We all got back in the car at 6am that first morning to warm up. I drove up the road to a Holiday Inn and sent Marly and Abby in for hot chocolate and coffee. They saved the day! Once warmed up we went back to camp. The kids took naps and I read The Alchemist. I’m so glad I booked the noon session of kayaking. The sun was out and the day warmed up. Kayaking Pictured Rock and exploring Lake Superior was my favorite part. It was surreal. Clear, cold and colorful. We stopped by the National Park office for stamps and to see the Muinising water fall. We had dinner at the Duck Pond (blackened whitefish right out of the lake!) and then went on a pontoon boat tour of Grand Island. The boat captain was so kind to let us borrow blankets. That nights sleep was much better. We learned all about body heat! We checked out and drove back down south. We stopped for lunch at Legs Inn in Cross Village then continued down the coast of Lake Michigan through all these cute towns. We met back up with the Michiganders in Traverse City and hung out with them at their hotel bay beach. The next morning we drove up to check out Fishtown and then Sleeping Bears Dunes National Lakeshore. The kids got their Junior Ranger badges and we explored the scenic tour of the dunes and the towns around. We rented tubes and floated down Platte River which empties into Lake Michigan. It was a very slow float. We now have an appreciation for Ichetucknee not allowing food or drinks. We stopped for pizza then drove down to Ludington. We watched the sunset on the beach then headed to bed at a cute lakeside inn. This morning we went to mass at a cute chapel in a neighboring town called Pentwater. We explored Snug Harbor and stopped to see Silver Lake. We went to a cherry farm then took the long route along the shore of Lake Michigan to Benton Harbor. Ellie and I are loving listening to Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus! This hotel is more off the coast close to the interstate. We checked in then went to Silver Beach. The rain cleared everyone away so we had the place to ourselves. It was a nice, low key night. Here are the pics from the week. https://photos.app.goo.gl/nC2pbvPrKMV9jv7c7