Friday, December 29, 2017

travels downstate (Michigan)

After our TOO SHORT time in Alpena, we traveled downstate to Kalamazoo for my cousin's wedding.  I wanted to stop at some locations from my childhood -- my hometowns and also MSU.  Being farthest north, MSU was first!

On the banks of the Red Cedar... feeding
the ducks near the stadium
My boys had the worst of the Norovirus
at this time...they couldn't even walk 100 yards.
The able-bodied were rewarded with a trip
to the dairy store! 

Celeste was fading fast -- too much activity
Next stop was Leslie, Michigan.  I lived in this house from about age 2 to 4th grade.  It's got to be over 150 years old by now. (Wait, no, it's not that I'M that old! The house was already over 100 when I was there!)  It was a beautiful old farmhouse in the country, but now it's looking a little worse for the wear.  :o(  It's so sad to see the house like that.  I remember the landscaping, and picking flowers from a little bush when Erica was born, and I remember galavanting all around the property.

Walker Road house
This house is just down the road, and we lived there until I was a junior in high school.  The old barn in the background was where we kept our dog, Pepsi.  This was an older house, too, but it was completely remodeled so it seemed very large and luxurious.  There was once a huge weeping willow up front, to the left.

Baseline Road house
On the road again, to Albion next.
 I didn't spend a lot of time in Albion--senior year of high school, and all 4 years of college...and for each of those years I went to school away from home.  But Marcus and I did get married there!
The church where we got married
(decommissioned now -- part of Albion College)

 It was a long trip but I am very glad we were able to visit all these places and that the kids were able to see some of my history.  :o) 

We arrived in Kalamazoo by dinnertime and got settled in our Residence Inn suite.  We were all doing "OK" and we thought we were on the mend, until Gemma finally got sick:

Friday, December 22, 2017

Fun times in Alpena, Michigan

So after our weekend in South Bend, we drove up Michigan to spend time in Alpena with grandma and grandpa and the CCs (my sister Mary and her family)!!  This is always so much fun to be in this wonderful little town in such a beautiful area of the state.  My parents have a great little house that somehow fits all of us PERFECTLY! be honest...our time in Alpena was pretty much a blur to me.  Because...we all got the stomach flu!  Actually, we think it was Norovirus.  Whatever you call it, it was not fun.  Bunny started feeling bad the second night, then by the next day more of us got it.  Hence, I didn't really take a ton of photos and I don't remember a lot of what happened!!  But if there ever was a good time to all be sick, it was then.  My parents could keep the healthy kids entertained and fed, which was SO NICE not to worry about that!!

Next visit, we'll try really hard not to get sick.  Alpena is usually a really fun place.  :o)

Hazel and Celeste -- cousin fun
Lots of dog-walking
Rockport (my rock-hounds LOVED this)
Lake Huron
dinner at the brewery
"Coffee's House"
typical for Northern Michigan....


The kids had fun in the lake.  I skipped one lake trip, and I
just slept on the beach for the second.  :oP
Walking in a park (Rotary Park? all a blur....)

We all love Beau!!
Somehow we were healthy enough to eat
ice cream.  (Celeste had rainbow sherbet.
We can tell you that it looks the same
coming back out....)  :oP :oP
**we called it "unicorn barf" **  :oP
Auntie Mary and Uncle Justin helped put up
this mural!!
We love our cousins!!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

More of our Midwest trip (September 2017

After a day of fun at Notre Dame, then Sunday morning as well, we had a free afternoon to spend with our hosts, Bob and Linda.  We all had a good time, especially the kids since Bob and Linda LOVE to spoil them!!!  Here's what we did:

letting Sedric pick out all the marshmallows
from the Lucky Charms ;o)
We went to an awesome children's museum...I think it was in St. Joseph, Michigan?

(Gemma LOVES pandas)
We spent some time on a beautiful beach (Lake Michigan):

delicious pizza
The next morning, we were headed upstate to grandma and grandpa's house!!  Bob make pancakes for all of us to give us fuel for the 5+ hour trip.  :o)

Thank you, Bob and Linda, for being so wonderful to us!!!  :o)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

More Notre Dame

A few shots of our trip--traveling with 6 kids, our wonderful hosts, and Sunday on campus:

Did you know a single person cannot buy 8
airline tickets at once...?????
Marcus (who is unfortunately our resident travel expert given the amount of miles he logs for work) arranged all our transportation.  Since we needed 8 plane tickets, and the airlines only allow purchases of 7 or less, we needed to split up the purchase which was a little worrisome...what if one of the two transactions had problems?  etc.  But it all worked out ok.  

Chicago O'Hare
Flying with 6 kids...but no BABY...was so easy!!!  Each person had a backpack and a pull-behind, even Celeste.  With inflight entertainment (movies) and lots of special snacks, everyone was happy.  Marcus knew how to navigate O'Hare and get us to the car rental, and we had an amazing Ford Transit van (15-passenger, but with the back bench removed for luggage).  Easy peasy!!!

Bob and Linda's home in South Bend
We stayed with Bob and Linda, family friends (Marcus' mom went to nursing school in South Bend with Linda).  They are SOOOOO generous!  I think I gained 5 pounds in this one weekend.  :o)

We all slept in their spacious basement
We arrived Friday night, then of course spent Saturday on campus.  On Sunday we went back to campus for Mass at the Basilica and for a trip to the bookstore.

world-famous organ

Walking on South Quad (Rockne Building in back center)

Main Building

This ended our time at Notre Dame, but our midwest adventures were only beginning....