Category Archives: Vacation

Cedar Point 2019

Last week we made our now annual trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. This was a favorite place for Mike and me when we were kids, and it makes us pretty happy to be able to share the magic with our kids. The odd thing is that they each love it for different reasons. Luke loves all the thrill rides, and Natalie loves the petting zoo. So while the boys run around riding rides, the girls mosey and shop and make friends with camels and tortoises.

You can see in the first picture below that we had to get a photo to show where we were while the boys were waiting in line for the Steel Vengeance. We were happily exploring the museum, NOT riding the Steel Vengeance. When we got a closer look at the model of the ride (you can see it behind us) and the 90 degree drop it makes, we knew we had made the right decision.

We have always been able to buy our tickets ahead of time and get two for the price of one, but this year Mike found us an even better deal that included drink passes. We all got bracelets that allowed us to get free fountain drinks all day long. This turned out to be a really great thing because they have refreshment stations all over the park, and they don’t just serve soda. They had fruit juices and teas as well. I’m not a soda drinker, but I do love my sweet tea, so this made me very happy. Also, it completely wiped out the begging that’s gone on in the past when the kids are thirsty (as they should be, walking around in 80 degree weather) and Mom doesn’t want to spend $10 on enormous fountain drinks they will likely not be able to finish drinking. With the unlimited drink plan they gave you small cups, so you only got what you needed at the time and by the time you finished it, you were close enough to the next station so you could just get another.

ALL that to say, we never felt dehydrated the entire day! So hurray for that.

Also, isn’t my husband cute with his Coca-Cola logo looking Guns & Ammo shirt? I tried to get a nice photo of us but our goofy daughter photo bombed us. That picture on the right was taken at the end of the day and Natalie was trying not to smile. Her dad always manages to cheer her up when she’s trying so hard to be in a bad mood.

We finished the day with a night ride on the carousel, which was both beautiful and terrifying. I’m not crazy about being up so high in the air and this was the first year I went on it without the benefit of Zoloft. That’s another blog post altogether, but let’s just say I came really close to a panic attack at the top of the carousel. Thankfully Mike could see I was not okay and he held my hand and reassured me we would be okay. I survived, obviously, and will now be working up the courage for next year’s carousel ride. Because tradition trumps anxiety, and also I’m a smidge sentimental.

My legs held up really well all day. Towards the end my knee was hurting a little so I put my knee brace on and that helped some. My balance was suffering and my left foot felt like it was dropping so Mike held my hand at that point in order to give me some stability. I walked a record 21,693 steps that day and nobody had to carry me to the truck, so I call that a win. Everyone had their brand of fun and it was a great and memorable day. I look forward to going again next year!

Advertisements

2019 Selleck Reunion

I’m feeling a bit out of sorts but we’ll try a blog post. Sure, why not?

So we had a big family reunion last week. This we have been planning for almost a year and it came and went just like that. This is my dad’s side of the family. His two brothers and their wives and kids, and the kids’ kids. My brothers and one of my sisters and all their children. Even our cousin from England was able to make it! There were around 40 of us and we managed to find a place we could all stay at for 5 days and not kill each other! Though I think most of us agreed that fifth day was unnecessary and next time we’ll probably shorten it a bit.

We played a lot of games, we swam, boated, ate tacos, drank coffee. It was wonderfully relaxing and the weather was absolutely gorgeous, with the exception of a bit of storming on the last day. But rather than bore you with details of a trip you didn’t have the privilege of joining us on, I’m going to risk being too sentimental and just talk about what this trip meant to me.

You see, this family of aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins is pretty darn special. My cousins and I talk fairly regularly. We wish each other happy birthdays, we check in randomly just to be sure we all have our morning coffee. We did not grow up near each other, as all our fathers (three brothers) are retired Methodist pastors and we all did a lot of moving around the state (one brother moved the family to Georgia and stayed there). But every year our grandma and grandpa would get us all together for a week in the summer, and then in later years we would join all the families for Christmas breaks. We cousins formed an incredible bond, and when Grandma passed away from breast cancer while most of us were still in high school, we kept that bond strong. Sure, we’ve drifted in and out of each other’s lives as we built careers and started families, but we’ve always come back together. We still genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

So while we are able to stay in touch with the help of phones and internet, there’s just no substitute for in person interaction. To hear the laughs, make the goofy faces, to really let loose and have zero risk of being judged. I can completely be myself with my Selleck family knowing that they will never think less of me, that they will always love me and have my back. That, my friends, is an enormous gift that I will never take for granted. If you have family like this, or friends who have become like family (we have some of those too!) then tell them today how much you love them. Don’t wait.

Seriously. Did you tell them? Go tell them now. I’ll wait…

Ok, I’m back. That was all, really. Unless you want to hear about our last night at the hotel. On the last night at the hotel, many of the family members had already headed home but we were hanging on. One last night away from home and I was sleeping great until someone started shaking me. It was 3:30 am and everyone was up and out of bed. I saw my daughter leaving the room. My husband was pointing at the smoke alarm on the ceiling. So the smoke alarm was going off, but I couldn’t hear it. Nor could I smell any smoke, because there wasn’t any! It was just a malfunction in the alarm. Mike managed to turn it off and we all settled back into bed (my daughter had come back from checking to see if any other alarms were blaring). A few minutes later it went off again. Three times this happened and we were able to call the owner (this was an independently owned establishment) and she sent her husband over to retrieve the malfunctioning alarm. Thankfully we hadn’t just thrown it in the lake. Needless to say, we were very happy to be home the next day and sleeping in our own beds.

The End.

20th Anniversary Trip

Today is our official anniversary! I woke up this morning and Mike said to me “you know what today is?” And I kid you not, I said “uuum, Wednesday?” Because I legitimately drew a blank when it came to the day. We celebrated last weekend so in my mind, I had already moved on.

So just a little about our trip. We went to Traverse City because that’s where we honeymooned. Twenty years ago we stayed in what was then my grandpa’s future retirement home on Old Mission Peninsula. He and my grandma built the house intending to retire there some day, but my grandma passed away from breast cancer before they could realize their dream. Grandpa since sold the property, and the new owners tore down the house and built something bigger and more extravagant. (They kept the garage though!) We were able to snap a selfie with the house in the background, but we didn’t dare step too far onto the property for fear they would see us and think we were a couple of creepers. (I don’t know what a creeper is, I’m just making that a term.)

Revisiting the site of our honeymoon, 20 years later.

I mentioned that my grandma passed away from breast cancer. She was someone very special to all of us, and I miss her dearly. We had a special connection, but I feel like she had a bit of a special connection with all of us in the family. She had a magical way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the room. She truly loved her family, and gave her heart and soul to each of us, every second she had the opportunity. I was in high school when she passed away and I always wished she could have met Mike. I feel like they would have gotten along well. He would have loved her spunk. Anyway, so I was able to visit her grave stone, and kind of say a little hello and let her know I still miss her. It’s kind of sad but kind of sweet that she and grandpa will be together again – “retired” – on the peninsula. Sort of like they planned, but not really. 

The entire weekend was very relaxing. We are a no frills kind of couple. Not much for romance. We just enjoy each other’s company and I suppose that’s how we’ve lasted this long. It was extremely refreshing to be able to have an entire weekend together, just the two of us. We ate good food, we saw beautiful sights, we took seriously solid naps, and we caught a beautiful sunrise over the West Bay. It was better than I could have hoped for, and I hope we don’t wait another 20 years to take another trip together.

Just goofing off at the playground like a couple of kids

Mike, I love you. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me stronger. These last 20 years have been quite a ride, but I wouldn’t have wanted to spend them with anyone else. You are my perfect partner in life, and I look forward to the next 20 years.

Sunrise over the West Bay. Traverse City, MI

Drop me in the river

My daughter and I went camping last weekend. We left on Wednesday and came back Sunday so it was a little more than a weekend. My kids (and sometimes me too) have camped with the church my dad was pastoring for the past four or five years. He is no longer pastoring the church because he is retired, but the people really bonded with us and invited us back this year. I’m so glad we went, and I hope to join them in future years, but the whole time I was there I was dreaming that we could do similar trips with our own church family back home. Someday. We’re still growing. Right now we do a camp thing but it’s just one night and it’s held on one of the family’s properties. Also, my family has not yet been able to go. Conflicting schedules and all that.

Anyhoo. The camping trip for me consisted of a lot of relaxing on the porch of our cabin, crocheting and reading. The occasional walk around the campground to chat with people. I did not see much of my daughter because she was off riding her bike and playing with the other girls. One of the girls had brought about a dozen headbands with mermaid sequin cat ears, so they each wore a headband for the duration of camp. They dubbed themselves the “kitty cat club” and I can’t even tell you how that warms my heart. That all these young girls so quickly bonded. All of the mothers and grandmothers were touched to see their bond and we hope to keep them all in touch by good old fashioned snail mail. Perhaps they can remain friends throughout school, and make appearances at each other’s graduation parties. The last night of camp they all sat around and cried because they were sad that camp was ending and they wouldn’t see each other again for a very long time, if ever.

The first full day we were there we went for a canoe ride on the river. It was so wonderful and peaceful. Until the very end. Just at the end where everyone docks we hit a large rock or log and the current of the river yanked us over. Y’all, I was so freaking scared. I saw Natalie and her friend floating away towards the dock, and then I saw my AquaMic, my waterproof case for my cochlear implant, floating away. It had come off my head and life vest in the fall, and I was struggling to catch it before it was lost forever. It took a couple grabs but I was able to secure it and get back to shore. That’s when I saw my shoe floating away. Gah! Just a shoe, I know, but still. One of the older boys at the shore, or the gentleman who had been steering our canoe, I’m not sure, was able to get to where the shoe was and grab it for me. I did not want to have to walk around camp the rest of the weekend in flip flops. But really, I was mainly happy to be on dry land and could see that Natalie and her friend had made it safely to shore as well. When I walked over to her, she was almost in tears. She said she thought she was going to lose me. That’s when I realized that I must have put on quite a spectacle of fear when I was trying not to lose my precious cochlear implant. I felt really bad but she got over it pretty quickly once we went and got ice cream, so it was fine.

20180809_142739.jpg

Oh, I almost forgot about my phone. I was wearing my running belt to hold money for ice cream and my phone in a Ziploc bag. I took it out at the ice cream shop to check it and realized right away that it was not doing well. Those Ziploc bags are not airtight, I guess. Or I hadn’t closed it tight enough. I freaked out a ton because my phone is my connection to the world, as I’m sure it is for most people, but my nextdoor cabin neighbor had rice that I was able to leave the phone in for the remainder of camp. It didn’t fix it completely, as I still can’t use my “back” button unless I use the phone’s stylus, but it’s otherwise fine. Answers calls, sends texts, my books are all still there. It even charges normally. So it’s only minorly disabled. Kinda like me, you could say.

The day after that canoe event we had a tug of war between the guys and gals. The tricky thing is that they do tug of war in the river. It’s shallow at the shore but it’s quite rocky and the rocks are sharp and slippery. I tripped/slipped on a fairly large rock and bruised my shin pretty well, and then went on to assist the girls in winning a match. When they made us switch sides it was a different story because that’s where all the rocks were so it was almost impossible to gain a good footing. They tried to get me to join them the following day for a rematch but I told them no. That river and me were broke up and I had no interest in going back for more abuse.

I was pretty wrecked by Saturday afternoon, and kind of ready to go home. My legs weren’t moving right, I had bruises and pulled muscles all over the place, and I missed my shower. So I’m very happy to be home, but my body is telling me it’s still not recovered from all the activity, so I’ve dubbed this entire week a Week of Recovery. I’ll be resting as much as possible, with the hope that I’ll be back to working conditions by Monday.

 

It’s always good to be home

The kids and I went camping last week with my dad’s church family. It’s something the kids have been doing every summer for the past four or five years. This was my dad’s last year to be able to go, because he is retiring next June. So there was a lot of bittersweet floating around. However, I and the kids have been invited back for future years, since they have especially bonded with a lot of the kids there. We had a lot of fun. The kids swam, rode bikes, played gaga ball (??), went kayaking (my favorite part, may write a separate post about that), and played tug of war in the river. Lots of great memories.

My legs are in shambles. Good, old fashioned muscle pain from all the walking, I suppose. I walked constantly for the whole trip and I came back home to find I had gained 5 pounds. Seriously. I guess I forgot to mention there was a lot of eating as well!

I also woke up this morning with considerable nerve pain in my feet, which is unusual for the morning. It usually only comes around in the evening. I guess my body is just paying the toll for all the fun we had. I am more than okay with that. Just gonna keep moving forward anyway, with small breaks in between. No need to rush.

Speaking of waking up this morning… my husband woke me up to let me know that the refrigerator wasn’t working, and that he needed me to move the food to the fridge in the basement. He was on his way out the door to work but he is hoping to come back at some point to fix it. We’ll see. I’m just really grateful that we have a second fridge for these sorts of occasions. So that was my first task of the day, and I’m definitely going to take advantage of an empty fridge to get it all wiped out. There are lots of sticky spots and who knows what’s in those nooks and crannies.

The kids are happy to be home. The dog is happy we’re home. Hubby is really happy we’re home. Waking up on a Monday in our own beds is surely something to be thankful for, no matter what the day has in store for us. And coffee, of course.

 

Oklahoma in July

The kids and I flew to Oklahoma to visit Grandma Deb and Grandpa Dave (my mom and stepdad) for a whole week! EEK!! The last time any of us had been on a plane, Luke was 2 and Natalie was in utero. So it was pretty much like their first time flying. I was a nervous wreck through all of it, but the kids did great.  And once we were at Grandma’s, we settled in quite nicely. Pictured below on Natalie’s head is their green cheek conure, Riley. I learned very quickly that I have a new fear of birds flying near my head, mainly because when he flew toward me I could feel the wind from his wings before I could see where he was. Thankfully, he was pretty harmless, and by the end of the week we were getting along just fine.

We had so many activities in store! Our first full day there we went hiking near some natural springs. I took a lot of really blurry photos of that, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was really cool and the kids enjoyed themselves.

The next day Grandma took us to the salt plains to dig for selenite crystals. I was happy to stand around and take pictures while they got dirty. Luke found the first crystal, which led us to the mother load of crystals. It was pretty exciting. (Oh, and I got to drive a car! Since it was wide open space and no one was around. Don’t tell anyone though lol)

Another day we visited the children’s science museum in town. This was similar to the one we have back home, but with a different mix of things to see. The kids had a blast here too, and it was a good way to stay out of the 100 degree weather.

I’m sure I’m getting the order of events mixed up, but at some point towards the end of the week we visited what we were calling the rock museum. The museum was a house, made entirely out of rocks, that belonged to a couple that did a bunch of stuff, and kept pretty much everything they owned. So now they keep it on display and let people come and look at it. Which is funny to me, because it’s just some people’s old things, preserved for no apparent reason. I still thought it was pretty cool to see all these items from an entirely different era, and the kids were great sports about it. Grandma even bought them some geode stones to take home and smash open.

Let’s see… we also did some put-put golfing, because my poor deprived children had never been, can you believe it!? I beat everybody, both times we went, but the kids scored a couple holes in one, so they were strong opponents, for sure. We celebrated the second day by taking them out for ice cream, as you can see below.

There was also grilling, eating out, a bit of swimming in the blow up pool to cool off, jewelry making with Grandma, and of course lots of playing with Riley, the bird. I’m sure I’m leaving out details. Yes, flying was stressful for me, having to rely on the kids to see and hear things for me, but it was really nice to get where we were going so quickly. For all the fun we had and getting some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa, it was totally worth it. It was a fantastic, full week of fun and I am so glad we went. We hope to do it again next year.

 

Spring break smiles

image

It’s Friday, the last day off from school for the “spring” break. It’s been snowing off and on since Saturday, which really put a damper on things. But we made our own fun. My sister and her kids (and dog) were here for five days, which was both crazy and awesome. Today the kids and I took the Spec-Tran to the nearby roller rink. I don’t skate because I don’t care for pain, but my kids love it. Only Natalie wore some low cut socks and quickly developed a painful blister. She’s pictured above, soaking her feet in a warm Epsom salt bath. And of course that’s her brother Luke photo bombing with the bunny ears. He thinks he’s funny, and sometimes he’s right. I guess.

That is all I’ve got for now. Happy Friday folks!