This is a Fun Time!

We’re back from our up-North Traverse City vacation, and, while it was far from relaxing, we certainly enjoyed our time. We drove up late Wednesday night and took off again late Thursday morning to spend our first day in downtown Traverse.

After searching hopelessly for a (free) parking space, we settled in at the library and enjoyed a packed lunch on the Boardman River. Abby watched us eat for a while, then got down to roll around in the grass.

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Then we loaded the girls into their strollers and began the long trek down town.

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Dan and I had forgotten about the relatively new water playground put in along our walk. When we got there we schemed together for a while before asking Lydia, “Would you like to play?” She was hesitant at first, but once she got a little wet she started running around squealing and laughing and having a great time.

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What happened next was rather epic. Lydia stood under the “waterfall” with water pouring down all around her. She held out her arms and yelled to no one in particular, “THIS IS A FUN TIME!”.

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By now she was dripping and shivering, so we brought an end to the water playground fun and continued our walk out to the pier to enjoy the beautiful blue water and to watch some boats.

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Then we walked a little more and came to a small stretch of beach. All of us, including Abby, felt the sand between out toes. Only Lydia ventured into the water, but we had to hold her back so she could continue to dry off. Silly parents that we were, we didn’t think to bring her a swimsuit, towel, or change of clothes.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon walking through stores downtown, then headed back to Dan’s parents’ house for some dinner and some much needed rest.

Friday we packed into the car once more and drove all the way out to the peninsula after a somewhat spontaneous decision to pick cherries. (Some of you remember our cherry-picking adventure last year. This was far less adventurous but equally fun).

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We spent a little more time downtown and visited some of my family with an adorable new baby. Then we met up with my family for dinner on the beach. This time I brought extra clothes for Lydia and assured her I would come in the water with her and swim as deep as she wanted to go. The water was cold, so no one joined us, and afterward both girls had to be bundled up to fight the shivers.

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We spent the rest of the evening at my parents’ house chatting, while Lydia and Nana colored and played. We stayed out far too late, but everyone enjoyed their time and even slept through the night that night. 🙂

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Saturday was our Dexter family reunion, but that deserves its own post.

We’re Going to the Mountains

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A couple of weeks ago we took a trip to the mountains. It was inspired by a book of Lydia’s and by her incessant chanting of “We’re going to the mountains!”. We don’t always do everything our almost-three-year-old tells us to do, but in this case, we did.

We packed our bags. They included: a toy camera, sunflower seeds and raisins (trail-mix, of course), hats, scarves, and a baseball glove and ball. We loaded up the car and headed out.

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Little brother and Abigail had a few arguments during the drive and there were a few “Are we there yet?”s, but it wasn’t too bad in all. We listened to music, read a picture book, took turns driving, and avoided taking a single bathroom break. Abby slept almost the whole time and we managed to make it all the way to the Grand Himalayan Alps in what really felt like just a few minutes.

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Since Abby was still sleeping, we decided to just leave her in the car. Please don’t judge our parenting decisions. The parking lot was practically empty anyway.

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Then we headed out to climb the biggest mountain we could find. We took a break about halfway up on a nice grassy plateou, where Lydia took a short nap. Then we resumed our climbing.

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Near the top we had a close encounter with a bear. By ringing a bell and shouting at it, we managed to scare him away. Then we ascended the very highest peak. We stopped to munch on trail mix and enjoy the view.

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No one felt like playing ball just then, so I guess it was good that we had left our bag in the car with Abigail. Lydia didn’t take any pictures either, but I brought my camera along so that turned out ok too. After soaking in all the beauty surrounding us from that height, we made our way back down the mountain and back to the car. Abby was safe and sound and still sleeping. The drive home felt longer but was actually shorter. lydia made good time.

It was a great trip. I know not everyone has the time and resources to drop everything and drive to the Alps, but, for those who do, I highly recommend it.

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…To Grandmother’s House We Go!

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Thursday morning we all got up early, packed our bags, and headed North. I wasn’t very faithful in my picture taking throughout the trip (completely missed Aunt Christina and the cousins, Uncle Nate and Aunt Steph, and Lydia’s great grandparents on my mom’s side), but here’s a glimpse into the good time we had.

A long drive, a fussy baby, some delicious burritos, a visit with Aunt Christina and her boys, and more driving brought us FINALLY to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Lydia loved a special toy from Grandma: an old purse stuffed with sunglasses and a broken cell phone.

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There was a lot of reading.

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And it should be noted that a significant portion of this trip was spent trying to keep Abby from staring at bright lights. You’ll notice in the picture above that she was succeeding.

Lydia gorged herself on homemade guacamole.

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During the Carlson Christmas celebration, Uncle Tim serenaded Abigail with his guitar.

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Lydia got a piano and played us some tunes. The poor piano didn’t fit in our car so we’re waiting for the next visit to bring it home.

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Then Lydia tried her hand at Uncle Tim’s guitar.

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Nana and Papa got in some seriously needed snuggle time with Abby.

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And Nana read more Lydia more books.

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Lydia gorged herself on blueberries too.

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And the great grandparents finally got to meet Abigail.

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It was so good to finally, finally make it up to see everybody and let them see (and read to, play with, and snuggle) the girls. Now we’re all home again, safe and sound. There was a lot of laundry to catch up on and we all needed some good long naps. Traveling with kiddos is no easy task, but the memories will last a lifetime.

2013 Carlson Family Reunion

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This weekend, we had our first ever Carlson family reunion at my sister and brother-in-law, Christina and Matthew’s, house. Everyone arrived Friday night for hotdogs, s’mores, and reminiscing around the campfire. Most spent the night in tents in the back yard, but Dan, Lydia, and I slept inside (pregnancy privilege!).

Dad started a fire, Dan oversaw with the hatchet, the ladies chatted and watched the kiddos, and soon everyone had eaten a hotdog or two (or three, in the case of Lydia).

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Lydia went to bed earlier than everyone else, but before she did, she had a chance to play with her cousin, Colten. They played in the sandbox, shared a toy truck, and threw the football back and forth with Dan.

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The next morning we all got up and went for a short walk to McDonald’s for some breakfast. On the way back to the house, we ran into Matthew, who had been given the morning off from working on the farm.

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Once we had all made it back to the house, and the kiddos and pregnant mommy took our potty breaks, we loaded up the cars to go to a nearby park and ball field. Dad, Matthew, Dan, and Tim spent the rest of the morning and into the afternoon playing some baseball, much to Dan’s delight. Steph and Nate’s dog, Alice, joined in on the fun. And Christina, Colten, and Lydia took their turns as well.

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Meanwhile, my mom, Steph, and I were hanging out over on the playground with Baby Coby and Colten and Lydia, when they weren’t off playing ball. Lydia developed a game that involved picking up dirt and pouring it on everyone’s feet, and kept herself entertained for quite a while.

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As the ballgame wound down a little, some of us headed over to a nearby farmer’s market. My mom bought a jar of pickles to go with lunch, and Christina and I shared some incredibly juicy and delicious peaches.

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Then it was back to the house where the ladies prepared meat and veggie packets and Tim grilled them to perfection.

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As Lydia took a nap, the rest of us spent the hottest part of the day swimming in Matthew and Christina’s pool. I’ve been wanting to go swimming for ages, so this was my favorite part of the reunion! When everyone had cooled down sufficiently, we moved back into the shade for a few rounds of Catch Phrase.

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The cousins played some more with Colten’s toys. Colten couldn’t understand what we were all doing just sitting in a circle when there was a bat and ball to play with.

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Lydia grabbed the Boppy and wanted to know why she couldn’t hold Coby.

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And Coby just sat and looked cute.

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Soon it was time to pack up and head home. We made it home, tired and happy, just in time for a late supper. Overall, I’d say the 2013 Carlson Family Reunion was a great success. We’re hoping to make it an annual tradition.

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