Thursday, September 12, 2013

More summer fun!

Our summer fun...continued!

We celebrated National Cow Day by dressing up like cows and heading to Chick-Fil-A for FREE FOOD!
In line at Chick-Fil-A, I also got the opportunity have an embarrassing moment...yeah, me!
As we all waltzed up to the counter already a little embarrassed to be dressed up, I thought it was a guy named Joey from our church in line in front of us. So, I said, "Hey Guys!  It's Mr. Czellar, Jasanna's husband from church!"  The guy looked at us like we were ginormous freaks (because we were at that moment) and said, "I'm not that guy. I don't know you."

The older kids took two weeks of swimming lessons and did FANTASTIC!

Maddox entertained himself in some interesting ways while we waited...

 We had one last week away...Family Camp!
Cody lead the music for the entire week and we all enjoyed the fun camp activities!
Maddox loved sitting on Grandpa's lap during the hayrack ride.
 Evidently Grandpa was a little more warm and snuggly that he first thought, too! Zzzz....
 We had a really nice, cool week to enjoy the lake!
We're just a tish packed in with all of items for camp!
Boys?  Boys?

Our final summer Hurrah was a special trip to Adventureland with these special ladies!
We ran all over the entire amusement park with these two!  They were so fun, and we all made some pretty special memories!

Well, until next summer!


For our next summer adventure, we left Dearborn, Michigan and headed way north to Mackinaw City, Michigan.  Time for VACATION!

The drive was beautiful!

We arrived at Mackinaw Mills Campground and met up with my mom and dad (and their RV). 
We were super excited to find that this was our view from the camper...the shores of Lake Huron!

Our first tourist destination was Mackinac Island.
We visited Mackinac Island a couple of times as a kid on family vacations, and I could.not.wait to get back and have my whole family see this beautiful island!

We took a ferry to the island where the only transportation allowed is horses or bicycles! 
(A pastor that we had met at the conference gave us free ferry tickets!)
The carriage ride was a fantastic way to see a lot of the island and learn a ton of history, too!
The carriage took us through the National Forest on the Island up to Arch Rock.
Beautiful views!

The carriage ride ended on Main Street, where they had a Starbucks (!) and where I evidently caught up with my long lost best friend...or just the friendliest lady ever who wandered into our picture and became the ultimate hugging photo bomb!  She was hilarious.
We walked along the boardwalk and just soaked in the perfect weather and beautiful island.  
We also all picked out which houses we were going to buy...someday, of course.
Then, as if this day wasn't already bucket list worthy, Cody suggested we leave the kids with Grandma and Grandpa at a park and take a quick bike ride date around the island.
Selfies on a bike are dangerous and unflattering...but oh well!  
It was an experience of a lifetime!
The road around the island was so peaceful. 

We arrived back at the island just in time to sample some fudge (yum!) and catch a ferry back to Mackinaw City.
Farewell, Mackinac Island!

The next day brought our another tourist adventure:
"Life continues much in the way it did in the 1700s. 

Watch the smoke billow from the cannon and muskets 
fired by British soldiers and help colonial women prepare 
food or tend the garden. Join French voyageurs and Native 
Americans as they demonstrate their way of life – the 
past and present blur into a fascinating and unmatched 
experience at Colonial Michilimackinac."

Our tour started off with this uncomfortable photo op.  Haha!
There were a lot of really fun demonstrations that we got to watch and participate in.
Maddox clapped along to the singing!

What boy wouldn't love holding a musket?
These were quite impressive!

We learned a lot of history about colonial life and even got to help make (and sample!) apple dumplings and a potato pie!

They have a pretty view to shoot the cannon!

Right next to the Colony we explored a beautiful beach!
We love Lake Huron!

We also took a quick trip to see the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie.
The boats come through these locks and the waters raise and lower to let them through.
There's Canada right across there, too!

The sunsets were so amazing every night on our trip!
Cody caught several awesome pictures...more to come someday!

When we left Mackinaw City, we drove around the Upper Pennisula and took some time to explore Lake Michigan.

We traveled through Green Bay and headed back north into Door County, WI.
We had a great time exploring the cute little shops, but my very favorite spot was Egg Harbor.
This is the same beach our family visited four years ago.
I love the clear, peaceful water and clean beach.
I think I really could live here!

 I love our little people!

 They are SO happy exploring and traveling and playing!

 Isn't this place beautiful?

We traveled back to Iowa and made it to Clear Lake just in time for the 4th of July.
 There's always enough room on Grandma and Grandpa's laps!
 This was a pretty fantastic way to end our vacation!

And THAT was our summer family vacation!

Our next summer adventure...

So, 24 hours after returning from camp, laundry was completed, suitcases were repacked, and we headed off to Dearborn, Michigan for a week with our church association's annual conference.

Our kids love going to their classes and meeting other PK's.  
We love getting to be with old friends!

This was a pretty fun morning!
Probably bragging, but this guy is my all-time favorite musician! ;)
 Love watching him lead and being a part of the music with him!
(even when he "lets" me play new instruments)

We took so.many.rides on the elevator.
The best part was always the JUMP!
 The next best part was passing by our friends' (the Moores) room and letting the kids knock and run!

Dearborn had some amazing restaurants!
We frequented Ollie's Lebanese Cuisine several times.
These pictures are from their facebook page, but seriously, it was a crazy amount of the most delicious food ever...hummus, falafel, and a lot of other things I couldn't pronounce but were totally amazing!  I don't think a week goes by that I don't crave this food and contemplate how I could get it to my house!

On our way out of town, we stopped by Masri Sweets.
The BEST baklava I've ever tasted!
They also had yummy cream-filled cakes that the kids really enjoyed!
It's probably a good thing we don't have a bakery like this close by!

(On a funny side note, I showed my small town roots when I was a little bit nervous with our large {white, Iowish} family piling into an Arabic bakery...lots of other people in traditional Arabic clothing {not-Iowish}...The bakery was in sort of an odd location next to some sort of lumber yard with a somewhat alley beside it.  But hey, it was a bakery, so I was going to take a risk and be normal and act cultured.  As we were getting out of the car, it began to down pour, so people were really scurrying into the bakery.  Carson yelled loudly, "IS THAT A CREEPY DARK ALLEY?  I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO SEE A CREEPY DARK ALLEY!"  Thanks, dude, for outing us as out-of-towners.  Totally feeling at ease now!)

Glad this guy conked out in the car!
We still had a week of vacation to enjoy before heading home!

Summer Fun Recap...

I'm thankful for the surge of energy Summer Vacation brings!

After VBS and Adventureland, we took off bright and early for a week at JUNIOR GIRLS CAMP!

 The bus ride to camp is always a bit like the honeymoon phase...everyone is fully rested and loves each other, big boxes of candy and other junk foods are shared freely, and everyone's ridiculous jokes and obnoxious singing are completely acceptable.  It's a lovely two hours of bliss!

 Every day we trek all over the massive campgrounds for chapel, games, activities, and team competitions.  
One day, my tracker said we'd walked 4 miles by 3:00 pm!

Minnow Mania is not for the faint-hearted!
 The girls ran to the water tank, grabbed a minnow (alive or floating) and ran it back to the team jar.  It was a game with mixed reactions!  One poor girl found a minnow dried to her shirt after the game!  EW!

While we're busy with camp activities, the boys got to spend the week with my parents who are volunteers at the camp.  Grandpa found a lot of projects for the boys to help out!
 Carson and McClain ate this digging stuff up!

We might not be a well-balanced group, but we're sure lots of fun and giggles!

For the second year, I missed being with Cody on our anniversary.
A certain little girl really put the pressure on her daddy to send flowers.
They were beautiful!
Of course, we had to sing to get them!

Paddleboats...pretty sure I was the lone power behind this boat!
 These girls are so sweet...just like their mamas!
I hope they stay lifelong friends!

Oh....dress up the counselors.  My fave.
 Our girls were super sweet and turned us into Raggedy Ann Girls.
A little embarrassed that 10 year old girls do my hair cuter than I can do it!

Some memorable things that we just couldn't capture on camera:

*prayers from the girls to be a light for Jesus at their schools

*burdens for friends and family members who don't believe in Jesus Christ

*touched hearts from hearing about Christians being persecuted and even killed for the sake of Christ

*loud singing of praises to God

*hearts softened to the understanding and belief that Jesus died for our sins

*Bible verses memorized and hidden in hearts

*hugs and smiles and giggles and teasing and jokes and so much more

Love these girls!

Can't wait until next year!