Thursday, September 10, 2009

Michigan and Grandparents' 60th Anniversary Celebration

My Grandma Lou and Grandpa Phil celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year. They decided to hold a belated family celebration up in Northern Michigan at the end of August. I wanted to go up a couple of days earlier and take my family to some of my favorite spots from when I grew up and visited up there. Our first stop was Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is located where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron. There are no cars allowed on the island and the only way to get there is via boat, helicopter, or in the winter, snowmobile.

The two girls are ready to go on the ferry to Mackinac Island.

Vanessa checks out the water from the upper deck.

Once the boat got going, it was pretty windy. You can see the Mackinac Bridge in the background.

Vanessa insisted on trying ice cream in a cone for the first time. It worked out alright.

One of the best ways to get around the island is by bike. Elizabeth gets strapped in for her first bike ride.

Daddy and Vanessa take the lead to go around the island.

Sarah wanted more of an action shot this time.

Elizabeth enjoyed the bike ride as long as she stayed warm. Luckily the trip around the island is only 8 miles and there was a restroom halfway through.

We stayed at the Boyne Mountain Resort which is about 10 miles south of Petoskey, MI. In the winter it's a huge ski resort. Attached to it is a giant indoor water park called Avalanche Bay. Vanessa decides to show Daddy her b-ball skills.

After swimming, we decided to use our free tokens. Vanessa finished in 13th place.

Not one to let her sister do something that she can do, Elizabeth goes for a spin.

The resort had some acrobats outside so they could tether guests and do some swinging. Vanessa gets some good ideas for her next trick to show us.

This is about as close as we'll get right now to all of us looking at the camera and smiling with open eyes.

We got a kite from the local toy store and showed Vanessa and Elizabeth how it works.

As I said in the last post, Elizabeth loves to play peek-a-boo.

Vanessa like having her own queen size bed. The sides were a bit rough because it was a sofa bed, but she like the game of only getting out of the bed at the base of the bed.

Grandma Lou and Grandpa Phil had a timeshare at the resort. We all got together for lunch on Saturday. Here Nana shows her great nephew Donovan how to play bowling on the Wii. I don't think he liked losing to his great aunt.

All my second cousins flocked to Sarah. I think the school teacher in her came out as they all read Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom. Here she reads to Vanessa, Clare, McKenna, and Elizabeth in the clockwise order.

Clare shows Sarah she knows her alphabet song really well.

Time for lunch!

After lunch it was time to play the Hokey Pokey.

The adults watch the Hokey Pokey continue.

Elizabeth sat this one out.

I'm not sure what they were doing here.

My cousins Laurie and Cynthia lead Clare, Donovan, and McKenna in a game of showing new tricks.

Elizabeth decided it was time for a snack after waking up.

My Great Aunt Jean shows her great great niece how to draw with an electronic game.

Now it was time to play Sarah's modified version of musical chairs. They play Gloria Estefan's Conga and move when its just music and sit down when she sings. It actually works pretty well.

Here everyone is scrambling for their "seat" in modified musical chairs.

McKenna was nice enough to let Vanessa color in some of her coloring books. I think both girls were excited to meet more cousins they hadn't met before.

Before the big party, we decided to feed the kids at Big Boy since they turn in to Gremlins if you don't feed them by 5:00. There was an indoor mini-golf course so we figured we'd kill some time. Elizabeth shows us how to put the balls in the hole and take them out.

Of course Vanessa had a blue ball with a blue club. She actually made this putt with that form. Nana will have to work on that with her.

We finally got to the restaurant for the celebration of my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. It was held in the town of Petoskey where my grandparents lived for many years before retiring to Florida. There were many family members and old friends in attendance. In this picture, Elizabeth loved meeting her second cousin Laurie.

My cousins Matthew and Cynthia play pass the Elizabeth.

I'm not sure exactly who Sarah was hiding from here.

My cousin Laurie entertained Vanessa during part of the festivities.

Aunt Kathy made a nice cake for their party.

Still together after 60 years. Very rare to see nowadays. Congrats Grandma and Grandpa!

Cutting the cake. Didn't they do this 60 years ago?

Not sure about the use of a knife as a serving tool, but whatever works.

Elizabeth had enough excitement for awhile and found a nice place to sleep in Bumpa's lap.

Grandma Lou couldn't quite follow the directions to the game of see which spouse knows the other better. She kept saying her answers aloud instead of writing them down.
This is the first wave of photos with Grandpa Phil and Grandma Lou and their great grandkids. From left to right, Sarah, Elizabeth, Great Uncle Horace, Grandpa Phil, Vanessa, Clare, McKenna, Grandma Lou, and Donovan.

The next wave of my first cousins. From left to right, Darren, Cynthia, Grandpa Phil, Melanie, Grandma Lou, Matthew, Sarah, Elizabeth, and myself.

Here's the wiser crew. From left to right, my Aunt Kathy, Grandpa Phil, Grandma Lou, Uncle Kevin, Aunt Dee, my Dad (Bumpa), and my Mom (Nana).

After leaving Petoskey, we decided to stop at the Sleeping Bear Dunes near Lake Michigan. This was always a fun stop when I was a kid. Most of the fun is climbing up the first hill and running or rolling back down. We decided to go easy on the girls and just go as far as they wanted. It was cooler up there so we left the jackets on.

You can start to see the scale of the dunes here. One of these days we'll have to make the full hike up and down to Lake Michigan.
Elizabeth loved playing in the sand.
Elizabeth loved helping Mommy build in the sand.

Vanessa still wasn't sure about this cool sand and getting our feet dirty. I showed her how you can write cool things in the sand, like her name.

I'd say Elizabeth really enjoyed this stop.

Once she got more comfortable, Vanessa showed Daddy the right way to lay in the sand.

Another great view of the dunes.

We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City the night before we flew back. They had a ton of kids things to do. Here Vanessa has her PJs on and is ready for the story hour.

Vanessa seemed to enjoy the story hour well enough, though I think she liked cuddling with Daddy as much as listening to the story.
That's probably it for tonight. I'll try to post birthday pictures tomorrow before we head out to Disney World on Sunday.

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