Way back before school let out, Emily made herself a summer bucket list. At the top - "Go to the beach at Lake Michigan".
Because of our tight budget this year, we could not go all out for a long vacation. Truthfully, we could not even go for a very short vacation. So, we did the only thing we could do - take a day trip. Lake Michigan is about 3 hours west of where we live. Not exactly a short drive - but it's better than staying at home and not going at all, right?
So, we left somewhat early in the morning. We had stayed up late watching the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, so getting up at 6am was not happening. And because it was just a day trip, packing was pretty easy. Just food, sand toys, bathing suits, towels and of course, the camera. Easy. This day trip thing is kind of awesome.
When we got to the beach, it wasn't all that crowded. And it took all of one second for the girls to run and fling themselves into the water. Of course, they had to be called back to have the requisite sunscreen applied. And then they were off again.
I think I have said this before - I LOVE LAKE MICHIGAN. I know the ocean is great, and I still love the ocean - but Lake Michigan is my hands down favorite. It's like going to the ocean, with much smaller waves. Smaller waves equals a lot less worrying about your kids getting knocked over. Sharks? Nope, not in Lake Michigan. That sticky feeling you get from swimming in the ocean...nope, not in the lake. You can swim, swim, swim, get out, towel off, and the sand that is on your wet feet, falls off after you are dry. And the sand - so white, so fine. The water - so clear. The ridiculous amount of sand bars....I LOVE IT. If you look in the picture below - you can see Emily and Eric out on a sand bar WAY out there. They are in the middle right. Can you see them?
This one - she said later in the day that she didn't have any fun, but I swear she did. At many points during the day, she was DANCING on the sand, playing and splashing in the water, making sand angels and begging me to take her out to the far sand bar. If that is no fun in her book, I am good with that.
After a couple hours, it did get a bit more crowded. At one point we counted 13 people para-sailing. (see first picture) That was fun to watch. We stood out on the sand bar and watched them take off. Some of them flew about 8 feet above the water. That was pretty cool.
Eric was there too. He forgot to rub in the spray sunscreen - so he had quite the interesting sunburn the next day.....
I am so glad that we decided to not let the fact that we could not take a proper vacation to the west side stop us from going to the beach - even if it was just for the day, it was still fun.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
So, TODAY, Paige turns FIVE. A whole hand.
her family (of course), stuffed animals (kitties are her favorite), playing with friends, dresses, actually - clothes in general, pizza, quiche, dressing up like a princess, princess movies, Katy Perry, dancing, flip-flops, lollipops, playing in sand, giggling, being silly, making messes, cheeseburgers, chick-peas, deviled eggs, singing, Target, making art and waking up early.
She is not a fan of: going to bed early, watching her sister play softball (she loves to play softball however), pasta, tacos, swimming in deep pools, posing for pictures, wearing ANYTHING her mom picks out, doing schoolwork instead of playing, and talking about stuff that bothers her because crying/throwing a temper tantrum about it is SO MUCH EASIER. :)
Even though you drive me CRAZY some days, I love you and the person that you are becoming. I am super excited to see your grown-up self in a few years. You are going to do amazing things. You are going to FLY!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Emily's last softball game is today. Technically they have at least one more game, but that's the playoffs, and we have no idea when that will be, or how many games they will be playing. So, today, it's just about over.
This season was a BIG change for her. She moved from 8 and under to 10 and under. And she had to change teams. This meant all new coaches and teammates. If it were my 9 year old self, I would have probably crumbled. I probably would have just not played softball this season. But Emily, is like a new and improved me - full of just enough confidence to get her where she needs to go.
At the beginning of the season, she fell back into her old ways of kicking dirt, swinging some CRAZY swing she picked up from I have no idea where, and just plain not trying all that hard. I had a long talk with her about commitments, and told her that no matter what, she would be finishing out this season. But come next year, please don't even bother asking me to sign her up - i have far better things to spend my $100 on.
I knew this would get to her. I KNEW she LOVED playing. And that very day, she tried a lot harder. And has been ever since. She's been listening to me, her Dad and her coaches. And OHMYGOODNESS, if it hasn't made her a much better player. She doesn't complain too much anymore about practicing. Actually, I haven't heard her complain at all. Even a couple weeks ago when she played a game in 100 degree heat. When I asked her how the game went for her, she simply said, "It was fun."
This past weekend, we had a little BP in our backyard - that's batting practice for all you non-baseball folk - and I could not believe how far she was hitting the ball. Of course, I am going to take a little bit of credit here - I told her that she was giving up on her swing the minute she made contact with the ball, and that's why she was hitting so many shallow grounders. After that, wow! The improvement was instant.
We could not be more pleased and proud with her progress. And truly, I am so HAPPY that she loves playing. I gave up on softball when I was her age, and I have regretted it ever since. I am pleased to see that gene is not being passed down.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Is there another day of the year that you give your young children the ability to play with fire? I love American traditions!
This July fourth, was BY FAR, the LOUDEST that I have ever experienced. I am pretty sure that it had a lot to do with the fact that fireworks are now legal to sell and set off here in the great state of Michigan. I mean, in the past, there have been plenty of lawbreakers around here on the fourth, but this year, almost EVERYONE got in on the amateur pyromaniac craze. And that includes our neighbor from across the street who, at many points during the evening, I seriously thought may not only burn himself, but his house, and mine as well. Luckily, and it was serious luck going on there, everyone and everything survived.
It's very hard not to get excited and think about maybe buying some big girl/boy fireworks for next year - but I think we will, AGAIN, be leaving that craziness up to everyone else. We'll just stick with the small stuff.
Hope your fourth was just as SPARKLING!