Friday, July 22, 2011

Going home to Grand Haven, Michigan

On our boating journey we pretty much cruised at 8-9 mph on water. Now near our hometown with support from our family and accessible cars, we find ourselves traveling 60-70 mph on land.  From Boyne City we took my parents car back to Grand Rapids for a visit.
 It's good to be with our family and friends again.  Gathering for great conversation, meals and hugs, you can always feel the love when you're close to them. 
 The cousins were so happy to be together again and it was a constant celebration!  On left is my nephew Alexander who is almost 12 and my niece Emily who is 9.  
 While we were away there was a new addition to the family, GIZMO!!  He's a playful puppy and the kids had a riot chasing him around. 
 This is Craig's big sister, Dee Dee and one of my very closest friends. We've missed her so much as we weren't able to connect during our entire boat trip.
 It didn't take long for the cousins to get back into the swing of things together and on land.  Alexander is riding my old bike when I was his age.  Notice the long banana seat...haha, it was my favorite bike!
 We had another addition to the family, my niece Annabelle was born!!  She's absolutely adorable and I could barely put her down.  On left is my other niece Dalilah who has changed so much as well.  Their parents are Stephanie (Craig's step sister) and Kurt (oops no photo).
 Grandpa Rich and Annabelle as we ate brunch in their lovely home (that Craig built)! 
 Grandma Debbie made a delicious meal and we were all so happy to be together again. 
 Grandma Yvonne played with the kids nonstop and I liked this action shot of the ball in mid air.  You can see my Dad is a big license plate collector and in his shop they cover all four walls and then some!
 My parents took the girls to see Shrek the Musical, a play in downtown Grand Rapids at the auditorium.  We heard later it was a fabulous time!
 Sleepover for everyone when we are living 4 hours away from the family!  My parents, Craig's parents and Dee's family all live within a three mile distance. 
 My goddaughter, Lily, and her new little baby kittens at my cousin Kelli's home.  I have a good excuse now why we can't take any home because of living on the boat - haha!
My sister Michelle could tell that I needed some time to regroup and insisted on taking the kids for FOUR days.  We hadn't had a babysitter since my family came around the New Year holiday.  She lives in 5,000 square foot beautiful home and the kids were so excited to get spoiled by her!  My niece, Elizabeth, is 11 and now stands 5'2" and wears a size 9 shoe.  She's growing up so very quickly. 
 My nephew, Derek, is 7 and is Jaxon's best friend.  Once they're together you can't separate them at all! 
Our last 175 mile stretch of the Great Loop journey got us officially to cross our wake in Grand Haven, Michigan.  Craig and I enjoyed this time of reflecting about our lives and path ahead.  With calm seas it made for a great time to play Scrabble too.   
 Nothing like the great depths of the great lakes. You can see here we are in 588 feet!  On the course of our trip, depth seemed to play a factor in many areas.....the great lakes not being one of them. 
 Our first night anchorage was at the South Manitou Island.  It was a calm beautiful night.
 We traveled all day long the following day and ended up watching the sunset and pulling into the port of Grand Haven at 12:00 midnight exactly!  We are very happy with our decision to come home as we once contemplated moving to the northern Michigan region at one time.  Once we made our decision to head south we were two hours underway and Craig received a call for an awesome job opportunity.  In the end, we will enjoy being close to our family and friends and it'll be nice to settle down in what has always felt like home in Grand Haven! 
Next post coming soon!  More fun times in Grand Haven and re-entry into the real world on land!