Smiles and Visitations

I realize, especially when I peruse through all my photos, that it has been a bit over a month since my last post.  To say we’ve been a tad busy would be an understatement.  A very brief recap of our friends and family visits: July 21 – 28: Jim, Jess and Jackson; July 31 – August 5: Corey, Kristy, Chace and Addi; August 7 – 13: Mom, Dad, Jeff and Jody.  Everything was very hectic, but we are truly grateful to have so many people want (and get!) to come stay with us.  In short, if it wasn’t worth having everyone here and showing them – or at the very least attempting to show them – a beautiful, good time, we wouldn’t so happily open our home to them.  Or maybe we’d start charging for the bed and breakfast we’ve been running 😉  (Side note: If I ever have a bakery, I’m calling it the Bread and Breakfast.  That’s what my mouth is inclined to call a B&B anyway, and it makes sense.  How many bakeries don’t also offer breakfast?)

So what do we do for a beautiful, good time?

We played in the water:

Cannonball!

She's like a shark...if it looks like food, it's going in. Really, Corey fought to keep her face out of the water 🙂

We taught pretty much everyone how to kayak.  Jim, Jess, Corey, Kristy, Mom, Dad, Jeff and Jody all took kayak trips.

Jim kayaking in the Elk River

Jess kayaking above the Torch Lake cribs

Kristy returning from a trip on Torch...successful despite a cut-open toe!

Corey among the lilypads in the Elk River stump field. Not to worry: Corey isn't all smudgy...those are water drops on the camera's drybag.

Jeff and Jody headed out from Haserot Beach

Mom returning to the beach. She isn't usually this fuzzy.

Dad...also returning. Word on the street (in the kayak?) is that he needed a pit stop, and that's why I couldn't get them in a picture together...

Jackson also took a brief spin in my kayak, but I figured I had enough pictures of people in our little boats.  We’ll move on.

We also got many people to brave the open waters with snorkel and fins.  We were really impressed with people’s bravery.  Unless you’ve ventured into open water that either you’ve stirred up so badly that you can’t see or you can’t hope to stand up in, you don’t know how hard it can be to stick your face in the water, and relax and breathe!  Anyway, for your amusement:

Corey checking out the Albatross

Super Jody to the rescue!

Jeff's second outing. You'll have to talk to Tony about that angle. It makes an interesting picture, though.

Corey and Chace at the beach in Elk Rapids. Of course Chace was like a little fish! I think most kids are...

I should add here that Jim and Jess and Dad and Mom also ventured forth into the waters.  I have a picture of Jess outfitted in her wetsuit, but I value her friendship, so you don’t get to see that one.  Jim earns the award for most progress.  I am truly impressed and inspired by his continued conquering spirit.  Dad was easily the most relaxed while out, until some nefarious water sneaked into his mask and he inhaled it.  Scary!  And Mom, thanks to a surprising similarity to Tony’s prescription, was actually able to see some of the underwater beauty I’ve been gushing about.

When Jim and Jess were here, we took a cloudy day to explore Castle Farms in Charlevoix (Shar-le-voy, just in case…).  I thought the gardens were beautiful, and so recommended the biggest (is that more or less polite than “oldest”?) adults to go as well.  If you know Mom, then you know she agreed.  Dad was more concerned that the restoration process was definitively not up to his standards.  No surprise there either, if you know him!

A view of the castle

Jackson in a chair in a garden. I love the juxtaposition!

Stained glass in a museum room at the farms

Sand is as integral to life in northern Michigan as it is in southern Florida.  In fact, the soil here is “Kalkaska Sand.”  When I sweep the floor, it looks like we’ve brought small bits of the beach in with us.  When I get back from a run around our block, I have to shake the sand out of my shoes.  We are surrounded by it.  So it is only to be expected that we also always make trips to the huge sand dunes on the west coast.  We climbed the dunes with Jim, Jess, Corey and Kristy.  We climbed the dunes when Mom, Steph and the boys were here.  We have climbed, and climbed, and…well, you get the idea.  So when my parents came, I sent them with directions.  I think they just took pictures!

Tony and Jim...climbing

When Corey and Kristy were here, we decided to celebrate Addi’s one year birthday.  She wasn’t officially one until August 18 (a matter of some debate), but we had cake anyway.  Since it was food, she enjoyed it:

Yum! You can see, and probably guess why, we are on the deck.

When Mom and Dad and Jeff and Jody were here, we charted a boat and went fishing on East Bay.  It’s a beautiful place to fish and watch the sun set.  I’m not a fishing expert, but I’d say we had fun.  Dad and Jeff aren’t fishing experts either, but they’d say it was boring.  I’m sending them with nets next time they snorkel.  I suspect that boredom will not ensue.

This picture is cheating a bit. My arms were shaking after reeling this in. I was afraid I'd drop it, so Craig - the First Mate - held it for me...and allowed it to wipe its scales off on my shirt 🙂

A full-on smile! And Tony looks pretty happy, too...

It sure LOOKS like he's having a good time!

Don't know that I can say the same for Jeff...

But Jody? She's elated...and victorious!

You see, we’ve been busy.  And we’ve even managed to squeeze in some adventures of our own, but as this blog is already quite long, I’ll leave those for another day.  Before I go though, no trip to Michigan is complete without a lakeside sunset.

First, the bold:

Cute, right?

Driving, er...floating off into the sunset.

And now the beautiful:

...over Lake Michigan

...the same sunset, up close, and a few minutes later

Not actually black and white. Lake Michigan

...over Torch Lake

...over the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay

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2 thoughts on “Smiles and Visitations

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Sistah…I give all the credit for my progress to your’s and Tony’s persistence, which I fully appreciate. Most importantly, thanks to the both of you for hosting what probably was the best vacation and definitely some of the best experiences that Jess and I have had. Horns up!

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