Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Road Trip: Part III

Welcome back! Didn't know if you'd venture to hang in there for my chronicle of our latest family road trip, but I'm glad you have. Fear not: this will be the last post about our visit with extended family.

Before I finish detailing our time in Michigan, I need to address the concerns some of you have raised: why didn't I call you when I was in town or stop by to visit? 

I promise you I wanted to. I really, really did. But, given that I hadn't seen some family members in over a year, and given that the unexpected snow storm made roads bad (even by Michigan driving standards), there just wasn't time. I promise. Pinky promise.

Onward and upward.

On Thursday of our week in Michigan, Landon, Uncle Joe, and Uncle Jeremiah came back over to play for the day. Grady Lee was mesmerized with Landon's Leapster and I have decided what his next birthday gift will be. It's a done deal - the kid was hooked.
We all headed out to the backyard to build a larger-than-life snowman. Uncle Joe and Uncle Jeremiah provided the muscle and the three little boys provided the entertainment.

"I'll squeeze snow in the cracks to make him strong."

"I'll give him arms with these sticks." (Which were actually teeny-tiny twigs that were stuck in the bottom snowball, about three inches from the ground.)

"This snowman is going to be taller than the sky! Maybe even taller than heaven! But not taller than Jesus cause he's the tallest ever!"
When Micah grew tired of packing snow, or maybe he was just distracted because he's only three, he plopped on the ground and made snow angels. Again and again. And again. For the ornery little guy that he is, this is as close to angelic behavior as it gets for him.
And here you have it: our completed snowman. At just a little over six feet tall, he is still standing tall per an update from my mom.

While I was snapping some pictures of the snowman, Landon surprised me with a snowball to the back. The cute stinker started an all out snowball fight with everyone.
Micah followed suit...
... and Grady Lee was close behind.
As if building a colossal-size snowman and engaging in snowball warfare were not enough exercise, we ventured out bowling that afternoon.

Have you seen three cuter little cousins before? I can't say enough how much I wish we lived closer so that these three buddies could grow up playing together more often.
Daddies gave tips on proper form and technique...
... sidekicks cheered and watched each ball roll to the end of the lane...
... aggressive approaches for an all-out strike were attempted...
... and celebration dances resulted regardless of now many pins were knocked down...
... and when a ball was bowled at the speed of, um, the speed of paint drying...
... we all got comfy to watch and wait (and hold our breath) for the ball to make it to the end...
... and when one of the Cool Guys got a strike we all took notice.
Bowling is the classic bring-everyone-together-to-laugh-and-play-and-talk kind of a game. It doesn't matter how good you are or how old you are because everyone can do it and everyone can have fun.
After bowling we enjoyed a big family dinner with some early presents for March and April birthdays. Given that we were all together my Mom decided early was better than not at all - and I'm not complaining because she made a killer chocolate cake for the early birthday party.

And remember the Leapster? Grady Lee even got Uncle Joe to teach him a trick or two. I'm telling you, this gift idea is sign/sealed/delivered - he's going to love it!
Here's the four rascally munchkins. The picture says it all. Micah can't keep his mouth closed and stop talking. Annalyse is arching her back ready to burst out in crying wails. Landon is smiling sweetly. And Grady Lee is providing the world's largest fake smile. Gosh I love all four of these kids!
A busy day of playing hard at Grandpa and Grandma's, means a wonderful night of sleeping hard!
On our last day together we spent some time sledding. Not a huge hill, but enough to give my boys a cheap thrill.

Grandma and the boys had fun racing down the hill...
... until Grandma's sled took a sharp turn and headed for a pine tree.
I took a few turns going down with the boys, too. Here we are ready to go...
... here we are racing down...
... and here we are, well, just watch and see!
Whew! After that almost-wet-your-pants-from-shock-and-then-intense-laughter kind of moment, we headed home. Enough sledding for all of us.

By the end of the week, Annalyse's spirit seemed to improve and she offered more smiles and seemed more like her regular self.
I think she was so overtired and overstimulated that she was ready to sleep anytime and anywhere. Bless her heart.
On our last night together, Grandpa made a fire and brought out peanuts to crack. This is Grady Lee's all-time favorite snack and has become a special tradition he does whenever he's with his Grandpa.
Micah doesn't like to eat peanuts but has a grand ole time cracking the shells open. Then, when his peanut is almost powdered because he's maimed it in an attempt to get it out of the shell, he'll wander and offer it to whomever will accept. Generous, yes. Tasty, not so much.
Our road trip to Michigan was long overdue. A year and a half is a long time to go without seeing special family members.

Saying goodbye is always hard. Really hard. I think it's hard mostly because so much happens in between visits. With young kids, they grown and learn and change each day and I hate that my parents miss out on so much. Skype is great, emails are fun, and blogging is sort of helpful, but it's not the same as being together.

That's why I can say, without thinking twice, that our time together is precious and important and memorable!
There you have it! The end of my Chronicles of Our Road Trip.

Unless you care to hear about our drive home - which was 14 hours, which was done in one day, which almost robbed me of my sanity. But that's neither here nor there. We're back safe and sound. We're back into the groove of life as usual. And we're back to missing Grandpa and Grandma and counting the days till our next visit.


  1. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for these posts!!! I loved seeing Landon and his cousins playing! I seriously was laughing out loud at work at the snowball fight...started by MY child...he would! So nice to see you, Landon loves his cousing and told me (HONEST TO GOODNESS) that Aunt Sarah is "sooo pretty Mama, don't you think she's really really pretty??" I said "Aunt Sarah is beautiful!" Thanks again! Hope to see you all as soon as possible :)

  2. Aw, that last photo is completely & totally precious! SO glad that your trip was wonderful & filled with so much fun family time!