Monday, November 23, 2009

A very sweet trip to Seattle and Victoria
Jack and I made a quick trip to Seattle and then to Victoria to see a special friend who I met on my mission. It was a very short trip but very worth the long airplane ride. Actually, Jack did really well on the airplane ride. Sleeping was a whole other story.... I was very worried that we would not be able to see my friend because the weather was quite bad and the day I was suppose to go to Victoria all the ferries were shut down due to weather. Luckily the next day the weather cleared up and Jack and I were able to go to Victoria for the day. It was a very special tender trip that I will always remember. My friends are both incredible people that I really look up too. My friends were so good with Jack. Jack seriously loved them! He was loving all the attention. I was a little worried that he would be fussy and needy due to lack of sleep but he was such a trooper.

While we were in Seattle we stayed with my aunt and uncle. My cousin Lilly was so good with Jack. Every time Lilly would walk out of the room Jack would start crying. I wanted to bring Lilly back with me because she was such a great helper. We also saw Shawn's family and one of my friends. It made me really miss Seattle and our family and friends. I was horrible at taking pictures so I only have a couple and I took them with my phone so not the best quality.

It was pretty cold while we were there. Here is Jack all bundled up.
Jack and Lilly. As you can see Lilly had a lot of fun playing with Jack.
Jack loved all the attention he got from my friends.

The weather has shockingly been so nice here in Ann Arbor. So I try to take Jack to the park every day. He loves to swing and will seriously sit in it for over an hour. He will swing and watch other kids play. Every time I take him out of the swing he throws a small temper tantrum. Poor Jack won't be happy when we are cooped up inside for the winter.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


We had a fun filled week. On Wednesday we went to an apple cider mill with a pumpkin patch and hay rides. The hay ride was well worth the $4. The horses went almost full speed and it was quite fun! We trotted in and out of the forest, through the pumpkin patch, along the road accompanied by flying mud from the horses trotting so fast. We were all holding on for dear life. It was pretty fun. On Friday we went to story time downtown where they go all out for halloween. You could also trick or treat on Main St. Then Jack and I went to our apartment complex halloween party and then today our friends had a fun halloween party. The boys bobbed for apples and they were all soaked and the girls had a donut contest. Everyone brought a fun halloween dessert and we all dressed up. What a fun weekend!

The Cider Mill (by the way they had the best homemade donuts, yum, yum!)

Hay ride

Halloween Party
All the cute MBA kids minus Jude. Sorry Jude I guess we took pics before you got there--all the kids were starting to have melt downs.....

Our costume. As you can see we ran out of time to put together an outfit so Shawn found this idea on the internet. I thought we could get away with it while the kids are young. I know slightly inappropriate but hey we are fully clothed:)

The Food. I made the gross fingers. I think they turned out pretty gross (I was pretty proud..) but tasted good.

Donut contest, as you can see I lost:(

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mackinac Island and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

My mom came in for the weekend to explore Michigan. She has always wanted to go to Mackinac Island to see the Grand Hotel as it is featured in several old movies that she loves. For those of you who have never heard of this island it is an island about 4 1/2 hours north of us and is really neat. It has a long history and was founded by Europeans around the 17th century. They do not allow any cars on the island. The main forms of transportation are walking, biking and horse carriage taxes. You kind of feel like you are going back in time. The air feels so healthy to breathe and the water is so clear as there are limited boats that are allowed to enter as well. Last weekend (October 24) was the last weekend open to the public. Our horse driver told us there are about 500 people who stay on the island during the winter season. Because it was the last weekend they celebrated Halloween on Saturday. The main reason we went there was to run a race.

Here is our adventure up north (Shawn was at an interview and was not able to make it, we partied while he worked hard...... We missed him but we love him for all that he does for us!):

The Starline Ferry over to the island:
This was an adventure never to be forgotten! So we left a little late from Ann Arbor (not surprising...). We were driving pretty fast to make sure we made the last ferry because we had reservations for a hotel on the island that we could not cancel. The weather was aweful. It was raining really hard and the wind was so forceful. We went over Mackinac Bridge which is the third-longest suspension bridge in the USA and the 12 longest world wide. It is longer than 5 miles. It was a little scary. Cars were going really slow because the wind was so bad. We finally made it to the ferry and because they had canceled all other ferries except for this one due to weather, it was packed. It was 8pm and we were standing in a long line outside in the freezing cold, with wind and rain (poor Jack was crying because he was not dressed properly and our luggage had already been loaded). A guy told me not to put on Jack's snow suit because he would not be out in the cold. I learned a good lesson: ALWAYS follow your mother instinct. Because we were outside a lot and Jack was freezing. Anyway, back to the story...). There were so many people that they could not fit on us the ferry. So they had to do a second ferry around 9:30pm. So we had to wait for the ferry to arrive back. We loaded onto the ferry and they started handing out throw up bags because it was such bumpy crazy ride. The guy who was driving the ferry told us to hold on tight, and we would try to get us there as fast as possible. He was not lying! There were people throwing up left and right and we all felt like we were on a roller coaster ride. I felt my stomach drop at least 10 times. The drunk people ahead of us were all holding their arms up in the air like they were on a ride (it was kind of funny). Jack just sat mesmerized not sure what was going on.

We finally got to the island around 10:15pm. Because the island usually does not get ferries in that late, they were not prepared for us and no horse carriages were there to pick us up. We had to walk 20mins in the freezing rain and wind with several of our bags to get to our hotel. We were so worried about poor Jack but he was a trooper! We got to our hotel cold, soaked and exhausted. It took another hour or so to get the rest of our luggage. The bell man told us this was a "night from he**" and we could not agree more! A waitress told us that she had lived in St.Ignace (where the ferry left from) her whole live and she would have never got on that water. A little scary but thankfully we got there safely and no one got sick.

Jack on the ferry before it started.
Jack during the end of the ferry ride. Even he is looking a little sea sick!

The race was a lot of fun. They had more people turn up than they have ever had before. I was planning on running the half marathon but my knees started to give me problems so I just ran the 5.7 mile race. I love the energy of races. It was a beautiful race. The trail went up through some hiking trails and then along the water. Three of my friends ran the half marathon and they did amazing! My stats were: total time 58:34 seconds and I came in 18th place out of 59 people in my age group. I did not have any goals that I set for myself and really had no idea how fast I was going. Once I finished I realized that I could have easily pushed myself a little harder and could have made a better time. Next race! My knees did hurt a little, I have to figure out how to solve that problem because I do like this whole running thing. Some people at the race were amazing!

Before the race

During the race on the trail
Near the water
Finishing the race
After the race
Jack chillin' with Uncle Steve during the race.

The hotel that we stayed at celebrated halloween while we were there. It was really fun! The guest brought bags of candy and the kids trick or treated from room to room. There was also Wanda the Witch that did a magic show that the kids loved--even Jack was loving it. Jack was a turtle which is fitting considering he is still an army crawler. He was so cute. Carter was an adorable monkey and Jude was the cutest lion. It was so fun to see the kids so excited.

Exploring the Island
On Sunday we spent the day exploring the island. My poor brother is allergic to horses and this island is the worst place to go to if you are allergic to horses. He had to stay near the water and out of the horses way. Because it was the end of the season not that much was open but we still got to see most of the island. We went to the Grand Hotel which was beautiful. It was voted one of the top 25 hotels in the world. Several movies have been filmed at this hotel. The island is famous for their fudge so of course we tried it. Overall the island was beautiful, peaceful and very quaint. Like I said before you feel like you are going back in time. All of the houses are wooden and painted so nicely. There are horse carriages everywhere which is fun and several lighthouses. I would recommend anyone to go there and check it out. We stayed at Mission Point Resort which is a very big but old resort. I think all the hotels on the island are old. The race started and ended at our resort.

Mackinac Bridge
The longest front porch (I believe...) at the Grand Hotel
The view from the front of the Hotel

Everyone at the Grand sits on the front chairs and rocks while they drink their tea or read their newspaper.
The ferry taking people to and from the island.
Our taxi to the hotel
A quaint street
View of the light house

Fudge store
Cute church
Best Buddies
Fort Mackinac

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel is for the rich and famous. You have to dress up every night for dinner and they even have a Jockey Club.
The Upper Peninsula
We also visited the U.P. which was pretty amazing. The colors of the trees (although most of the leaves had fallen off) where beautiful. We visited Tahquamenon Falls which is the second largest falls west of the Mississippi second to Niagara Falls. The water from the falls is a brown color from the tannins leached from the cedar swamps which the river drains. This is why the locals name for the falls is "Root Beer Falls." It was beautiful to see. On the drive we were able to see glimpses of Lake Superior and there were the most amazing vibrant yellow trees that looked like pine trees. We also stopped in Sault St. Marie which is on the Canadian border next to Sault St. Marie, Ontario. Sault St. Marie is the second most populous city in the UP. It was founded as a mission in 1668 by Father Jacques Marquette and is the oldest European settlement in the Midwest. People come from all around the world to view the ships passing through the locks in Sault St. Marie and the International 500 Snowmobile Race.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls
Lower Tehquamenon Falls

Jack all bundled up to see the falls.
Jack swimming at the pool