Family Day Out at The Henry Ford Museum

On Monday, Billy surprised Wyatt and I by taking a vacation day! We considered going to Greenfield Village but it was cold and then started to rain so we switched plans and went to the museum instead. Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum are two parts of the same museum and we haven’t been to the actual museum in quite a long time. It was definitely time to go back. And they have a special exhibit right now, the Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume exhibit!

We loved it. These costumes designers are so talented, with billowing dresses, perfectly tailored suits, and all the various whimsical fairy tale touches.

Billy and I couldn’t believe how tiny these actors and actresses must be to fit these wee little outfits!

We all had favorites:

Ok so I had two favorites. The costume that Julie Andrews wore as Mary Poppins, and Keira Knightley’s Sugar Plum Fairy gown. Wyatt loved the Captain Jack Sparrow costume, and Billy loved Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent dress.

After goggling over the costumes we moved on to the rest of the museum.

One of my favorite permanent exhibits is the Your Place in Time exhibit. It takes you through the different generations and highlights the different technologies and pop culture of the day. The 80s bedroom was so me. I even listened to Depeche Mode and had a moody James Dean poster. Wyatt is such a music kid – he enjoyed listening to the music of the 50s and 60s, especially The Beatles. And while I might be a Gen Xer, I think it would be really cool to live in the hippie geodesic dome. (not to be confused with the Buckminister Fuller Dymaxion House that is there which is also super cool)

I always have to go visit the William Hopson sign too. His story is so crazy, and romantic to me. Lol. He was also a bit of a looker. He has a page on the Smithsonian site as well – he was a well known and beloved pilot in his day.

Billy and Wyatt were more excited about the trains and cars – and there are so so many. Seriously. I did take this photo of the stagecoach trailer that belonged to the Lindberghs. Anne wrote her novel The Steep Ascent in it!

And in case you have wondered where certain items from history end up, check museums. They are probably there. The Henry Ford has a sort of macabre collection of items within its walls – including the car Kennedy was in that fateful day in Dallas, and also the car Reagan was in the day he was shot as well. It is strange and eerie and sad to view the Kennedy car; I wasn’t alive at the time but I have seen the footage numerous times and can picture Jackie trying to climb out the back very clearly, and it brings that day to life for me, as learning about history should, even the sad and tragic moments. The Henry Ford also has the chair Lincoln was assassinated in, and Edison’s last breath. We didn’t do the whole museum this time but we will go back. We use our membership pretty heavily, and my favorite thing about a membership is that you don’t feel you need to get everything done in one day.

And on that note, we were ready to head home, one of us with a little souvenir.

Field Trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts

Circumstances have aligned that are going to make going places and doing things much more accessible for us. First, the wheelchair! Wyatt is working on walking but just doesn’t have the stamina or endurance to go very far, so we need the wheelchair until he gets there. And we have one now and life is easier! Second, the pandemic has reached a point where I feel comfortable taking Wyatt into places like museums again. We still wear masks but things are better for us around here. So I was super excited to take Wyatt to the museum!

We rolled up early in the morning., bright and early at 9 when they open. We are get up and go people, we are up early anyway (thanks to early bird boy) and I also like how empty a place is that early so, there we were. The only other people there seemed to be the people going to the Van Gogh exhibit (which I need to get to before it leaves) so we sort of had the rest of the museum to ourselves for quite a while. My mom went with us, as did Billy since he had the day off to go camping. (he headed out after our field trip). We had a great time.

First up were the Diego Rivera murals, the whole point to our trip. Wyatt has been learning about Diego River in art and I was really excited to be able to show him some actual, in person, works of Rivera. He could not believe how huge they were. They are pretty awe inspiring.

After we spent some time here, we moved on to the ofrendas, a special exhibit right now. I wanted all of us to see it, as this month Wyatt and I are focusing on all Hispanic artists this month and I also have some lessons about Dia de los Muertos as well coming up. My mom, Billy, and I were very moved by these personal and emotional creations. They were very elaborate and thoughtful. I was not comfortable taking photos of them for obvious reasons, but there were some parts I did feel it was ok to do so. These ofrendas were intended for public viewing to educate but also still were personal to the artist’s family, so it was tricky.

After soaking in the ofrendas, we wandered around the rest of of that floor. Wyatt was more excited about using his wheelchair than he was about the art and we had to keep him in check – I was slightly anxious my exuberant child was going to knock over a Roman bust or something.

Just a few more, I promise.

We didn’t explore the whole museum this time – I figured that this was enough for this visit and we can back and see the rest later. I also wanted to visit the gift shop before we left to look for Frida, Rivera, or Day of the Dead stuff. I could have poked around in there all day but my guys were getting restless.

The DIA offers a free educator pass to homeschool families which is pretty cool! I applied in September and received mine a few days later. I am looking forward to seeing what they offer!

Our first wheelchair field trip adventure was a success and I am looking forward to our future adventures!

Friends’ Fall Day Trip

Every year for the past seven years (minus the big pandemic years), my friends (Chrissy, Kelly, and Jill) and I go on a fall day trip. This was actually our first fall adventure after big COVID and it was so good to get back out together! We always have such a good time and this time was no exception. Although, our start was a little rough…

Our adventure started in Battle Creek. It…was not what we had been expecting. We read there were some museums and restaurants, a garden and an arboretum, and we were like ok, let’s try it. I knew the Kellog’s Factory was no longer open which was a bummer because I toured it as a kid and it was neat, but we were not prepared for everything to be pretty much closed down on a Saturday. Our first stop was the Welcome Center – which was closed. So we headed for the Leila Arboretum, and maybe since it was overcast and deserted, it was sort of creepy. We all had to use the facilities since we had actually really begun the journey at Starbucks and it had been a drive, but our only option was a portapotty by the side of the road. We were cracking up at how this day was starting off. We wandered over to the arboretum which was a bunch of carved trees. Not really what we expected, and while they obviously took some skill and time and talent, we had been expecting like a maintained garden and arboretum with many types of trees.

After checking out the trees, we drove over to the garden area, which was closed. So we headed to the museum, which I think has been closed for a very long time. We decided it was maybe time to eat since we were striking out everywhere. We went to Clara’s on the River for a quick lunch and drinks and decided over our meals that we were would drive back to Marshall, MI since things were not going as planned. The restaurant was very nice looking, the staff very accommodating, but the food was not great. And sort of expensive for what we got. I paid $17.00 for a small bowl of Kraft macaroni and cheese, y’all!

We finished up and got back in the car to make the short twenty minute drive back to Marshall. It ended up being a great decision! Marshall was hopping, with a Halloween festival and tours and people just all over, and it felt very alive and festive.

We started with a tour of the Honolulu House.

Just ten dollars to tour, and the guides did a a wonderful job! The house was build in 1860, and had a few different owners before going to ruin in the 1960s. The Historical Society scooped it up and began the restoration process, and they have done a beautiful job. It has a fascinating history; it was built by a former diplomat who had enjoyed his time stationed in Hawaii so much that he tried to recreate his life there, here. He died shortly after moving in, and the house was purchased by another family who ended up making some style changes, including adding the popular murals of their day to the walls.

Once we finished the tour we ventured outside and took a look at the porch. However, there was a tour set up there. It was a John Bellairs tour, a children’s book author who wrote The House with a Clock in its Walls. John Bellairs had lived in Marshall and the house that his book is based on is tucked away somewhere in one of the neighborhoods. We weren’t signed up so we didn’t go, but I plan to look it up to see if they are going to do it again.

We had read there was going to be a flea market nearby so we hopped in our cars and drove out of town to check it out. We must have gotten there too late since there were only 6 tables set up, and after a quick wander headed across the street to a place called Casewells Turkeyville. It was a large building chock full of stuff – an ice cream parlor, an arcade, a restaurant, a gift shop – it was huge. I could see kids having a blast there.

After this we headed back into Marshall, and into the little shops that line Michigan Avenue.

I loved that little dresser with a leaf! I couldn’t see us dragging it home though so I left it behind. It said it was a Canadian Maple dresser – so cute! However I did spend quite a bit of time in the independent bookstore! I particularly loved the banned books display. I ended up buying Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen because I loved it so much.

By the time we finished shopping it was time for dinner at Schuler’s. Schuler’s is such a beautiful restaurant inside, however we chose to sit outside this time around since Chrissy and I are not ready to sit in a restaurant yet. And here I share the big news! My brother and Chrissy are expecting a new little baby girl in March! I am so excited to be an aunt again to my newest little niece! So our family is being cautious right now with germs.

Our food however was insanely delicious. I got the English pot roast as did Jill, Kelly got the prime rib, and Chrissy got fish and chips. Everything was fantastic!

And full of good food and happy memories made, we headed back to our cars and home to our families.

We had such a wonderful day – I am so lucky to have my little crew of ladies to laugh and cry with, be silly with, and just enjoy life with.

New Additions and a Road Trip

So a few weeks ago we had to say goodbye to our fluffy family member Marlow, which was very hard. I am not planning on adopting anymore cats as my dad is super allergic and it makes it impossible for him to visit. But Wyatt and I were feeling sad, and circumstances aligned to allow us to purchase new little pictus geckos from Josh’s Frogs in Owosso, MI. My friend had given Wyatt money for his birthday for a new little critter which we hadn’t used yet, and I had a $40.00 credit. So I ordered two little new friends and instead of choosing to have them shipped, I thought it would be fun to take a road trip to pick them up.

We were out the door early Friday morning! We had to be in Owosso by 10:30 to pick up the geckos and my GPS said that the drive would take an hour and half. Kind of far, but not terrible? First though, we were picking my mom up to go with us for the ride – it was so far and I was unfamiliar so I wanted another adult with me since it was just me and Wyatt. Plus, someone needed to hold the geckos on the way home.

I didn’t take into account that the drive would be farther from my mom’s house, as she lives farther south and we were heading north. So, new directions stated the drive would now be two hours. Not great, but doable. I could drive four hours almost round trip. No problemo. So off we went!

The drive through Detroit during rush hour was horrible. I have been out of the work force for long enough that I have forgotten what a nightmare that is. People were flying, darting in and out, there was tons of construction, accidents, traffic jams. And it didn’t stop until we were well clear of the metro area even north of Detroit. I am pretty sure I only relaxed after we were through and past Troy. I let out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding and calmed down enough to realize we were at least now almost halfway there. Then we just kept going and going. We kept joking about how we felt like we were on an adventure, or heading up north for vacation. The city fell away and we were left with beautiful tall trees on either side of the highway. Eventually, my phone directions directed me off the expressway and through what seemed like miles and miles of driving on random roads and back alleys. Then finally we reached Owosso! The directions took us a strange way to our destination, through what seemed like a warehouse area with large trucks, and then boom all of a sudden we were there.

My directions from Josh’s Frogs said to park and find the orange door near the back. I was to go to that door and ring the buzzer and someone would help me. They are not allowing people in the building right now due to COVID so they are only doing curbside pickups, which is fine. I excitedly spotted the orange door and found a parking spot around the corner. My mom was dubious about this situation. She was not keen on me disappearing around the building out of her sight – I guess a mom is always a mom.

I approached the door, wondering if I was supposed to know a secret word or phrase as well. I rang the buzzer and a very pleasant not creepy woman answered. I told her my name and that I was there for a pickup, she shut the door, and a few minutes later emerged with our geckos. I had a little conversation with her for a second, as I needed to find a gas station, said goodbye, and headed back to the car, practically giddy with happiness.

The building they are located in was gorgeous. But I was glad my mom hadn’t noticed what it said.

I am now curious about the history of this building! Why so big? I meant to look it up but haven’t had a chance.

My mom looking positively thrilled with her important job.

We had hoped to stop somewhere, do something or see something, but everyone just wanted to head home. Since we were heading back to my house with the babies, the ride was at least shorter. And this time the directions routed us a much easier way.

By the time we go home, we were all happy to be there. Especially the geckos! Meet Harlow (for Marlow) who I named, and Wyatt’s gecko, Honey Hallelujah. I gave him a bunch of possible H names to avoid naming this poor gecko Toot or something else equally 7 year old boyish. He opted for two of the names. Harlow in the gecko on the log in the last picture, Honey is the one standing up.

They are super itsy bitsy teeny tiny babies!

We are all super happy about our new little friends! They are totally worth the drive, even if it makes us crazy people to drive four hours for geckos. Josh’s Frogs is a very responsible company to get reptiles and amphibians from as well. They focus on captive bred, which keeps the wild animals in the wild where they belong, and they also give money to organizations who are dedicated to preserving the wild areas that are being lost. I would always highly recommend Josh’s Frogs! My first gecko, Harry, is from PetSmart, and nothing against PetSmart but they just aren’t as vigilant about where they get their animals from. My poor Harry has many health issues that stem from poor breeding practices and requires lots of extra care, which I don’t mind doing of course but in another house he may not have survived. (Anyone remember when I took him to the vet in January for surgery?)

Since we visited Owosso so briefly, it keeps coming up in other searches for me. I was looking for a steam train to take Wyatt on next week or so if possible, and wouldn’t you know? There is one in Owosso. However, I am not up to that drive quite yet again. It did however look like a pleasant and cute little town, and I wouldn’t mind visiting again one day.

A Morning at the Fair

This whole summer, Wyatt and I have been reading and talking about farms – we have visited farms, stayed at a farm, read many books about farms (including Charlotte’s Web), and still have some farm plans ahead of us. So when the Monroe County Fair rolled around this year, I knew we had to go.

I grew up going to this fair. Every summer, the first week of August, we would meet my aunts and uncles and cousins and spend an evening eating pie from my cousin’s grandmother’s church stand, probably a pie that she had made herself, riding the rides, climbing up and sitting on the tractors, and looking at all of the animals, my favorite part. As I got older, we didn’t go as a family anymore. But I still went. As a teenager my friends and I would drive down and hang out, when Billy and I started dating I dragged him down to the fair, I met my dad and my nephew there for a few years, and when we had Wyatt, I met my cousin and his family there, along with my aunt and uncle, for the first time since we were kids.

This year, we had to go. It had been too long. Unfortunately, there was a heat advisory for our area this weekend so we thought perhaps we should stay home. We talked about it since Wyatt is not great in the heat, but after some discussion, we decided it would be fine if we went early. So, first thing Saturday morning we took off for the fair, getting there just as the gates opened at 9 am.

It was a ghost town compared to the evenings, when the midway is packed and the smell of popcorn and elephant ears drifts at you from every corner. We were pretty much the only people there who were not there to take care of their animals, and all the 4-h kids and their parents were busy cleaning and feeding and mucking out stalls. The horse competition had started an hour earlier, so that was going on as well, horses getting made all pretty before entering the ring.

It was nice to have the room to move around and view the animals so early. Wyatt was so quiet, taking it all in. I don’t think he could believe how close we were to these huge animals! We started with the cows, and immediately saw the dairy cows from the farm nearest us, that we often get milk and butter and most importantly, ice cream from – the Calder Dairy Farm.

Next we moved across the street to my favorite building of all – the bunnies and the chickens!

I stopped and talked to probably every rabbit there. I thought of the hutch rabbits in Watership Down, and wondered what Hazel and his gang would think of some of these cute floofs – or the Flemish Giant who was lounging in a place of honor. He was as big as Wyatt! The small animal auction was scheduled for 11 am, but Billy was a real stick in the mud and said there was no way we were taking home a rabbit. Hmmph. One day. It is ok, I don’t think I could have decided between them all anyway! Well, maybe that little one on top there, the first photo. So stinking cute!

From here we wandered back to the larger animals, the sheep and the goats.

One young 4-H Club member was proud to tell us about his sheep, and he should have been proud. He also was keen to share his knowledge with us, and explained that in addition to shearing the sheep so they stay cool, they also do it so the judges can see the muscle structure. I hope that kid and his sheep earned a blue ribbon!

By this point Wyatt was having his hungriest moment and we were all turning into melted puddles from the heat and humidity. So we took a quick little break at the restaurant run by the 4-H kids, and Wyatt enjoyed a huge waffle.

Once we rehydrated and Wyatt finished eating, it was time to explore the barns of exhibits. I love seeing what these kids create! I even saw a few projects that I am going to incorporate into our homeschool year, like that little paper pie!

After this, there wasn’t much more left as it was still so early. The food trucks were just getting ready for business, the rides were not open yet, so we sort of circle one area and called it a morning. I was happy to see the church booth I used to eat pie at was still there, still serving pie. And has been for 75 years! We also saw these amazing woodcarvings.

And that was that. We moseyed back to the car, feeling pretty darn good about our morning! Although, I really would have liked one of those rabbits…

Mini-Getaway!

This weekend we took a short little mini-getaway to West Michigan. I wanted a trip where we could really unwind and relax and be absolutely lazy if we wanted. We are not beach people, so a beach trip wouldn’t be that fun for us. So, I looked for something different – and found a farm.

Just a two hour drive from us, this tiny house looked adorable on Airbnb – and was even better in person! However, we did have a few stops before we got there.

Our adventure kicked off with lunch at Virtue Cider in Fennville. I love Virtue Cider, and was so excited to take an adult field trip (plus one child) to their ciderie. It was spendy but I loved it, and I have wanted to go for a long time. I ordered the Briard cider with a turkey and havarti sandwich, Billy enjoyed the ham and gruyere with a glass of Abeille, and Wyatt was happy with a grilled cheese and water. I knew I was going to buy a bottle of one that was difficult to buy at home, so I opted for the Lapinette. (You guys know I love rabbits!)

Afterward we still had some time before we could check in at the tiny house on the farm, so we stopped at a local creamery called Evergreen Lane. They make all the cheeses in their creamery, right there, from their own goats and then locally sourced milk from dairies. We ended buying the Lily Rose, and then a sampler that had Noella, Poet’s Tomme, and a cheddar. After splurging on cheese, we stopped by a field of poppies! A local blueberry farmer planted 4 acres in honor of his son, a soldier who didn’t return home. We were there a bit late in the season to see the full effect but we still were struck by the sentiment and in awe of the flowers that were still in bloom.

It was starting to get dark from an incoming rainstorm, so we hit the road again – next stop the tiny home!

We pulled in and the rain was just coming down like crazy! We raced up the garden path and up the few stairs and burst in to the shelter. And instantly fell in love with our little home for the weekend! I threw open the curtains, including those for the skylight, and we lay on the bed just listening and watching the rain come down. This for some reason had a huge impact on kiddo. He talked about it all weekend, the rain on the skylight. It is always surprising to me what kids hold on to. After an hour, the rain stopped and we had a furry visitor at the door!

What a sweet and handsome ambassador to welcome us!! Three dogs actually live on the property which is a working farm, and they were all so friendly. This dog, Skye, was our little companion much of the weekend.

We just chilled out for the rest of the night, playing games and reading, and when Wyatt fell asleep, Billy and I tiptoed outside to watch the fireflies, drink our cider, and eat our cheese. The cheese was very good, although maybe a bit stronger than we are used to. Very earthy. We both thought the Lily Rose was the best of the bunch.

It was so peaceful and beautiful, looking out at the meadow, listening to most of the world start to settle down around us, while some creatures were just getting started, like the fireflies and the trilling tree frogs.

I could have sat out there all night but eventually we had to turn in. And the bed! Seriously comfortable and it smelled so good! It was the best night of sleep any of us have had for a long time.

And that is it for day one! (Don’t worry there will only be one more, mostly photos!)

Sand Dunes, Shopping, and Petoskey Stones

Day three! Vacations sure fly by don’t they? I think our plans for day three were the ones I was most looking forward to, and the day did not disappoint.

We had another nice slow start to the morning. Even though it was Father’s Day, Billy made the whole crew of us pancakes with strawberries from our garden on top, and Chrissy scrambled up fifteen eggs. It was cute to watch them cook at the stove together, with Rosie the dog at their feet.

We started out at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – the sand dunes and the view are something to behold! We were on Sleeping Bear itself, which has a descent down to Lake Michigan, but you are warned that the climb back up is arduous and to not attempt it if you are not sure you can make it the almost two miles back up. In sand. In fact, there is a huge sign, and a fine for rescue, to the tune of $3000. While we were there we saw a group of college age kids, in peak athletic shape and fitness, coming back up and they were exhausted. I have never attempted it. For me, I would have to plan on camping it or something and taking it a few steps a day. LOL.

I always panic at the top, like people are just going to topple over the edge – mainly my son and my mom. So I guided them as far away as I possibly could get them and then stood in front of my child who wanted to slide down, because, well, he is 7 and it was a lot of sand.

After hanging around the top, and apprehensively watching a family start to head down the dune, with a toddler and I am assuming the toddler’s grandmother in tow, we left the view behind and started in to town.

Before I go further, I want to mention something. Wyatt received a free lifetime membership pass to the National Parks due to having a permanent disability. When we drove up to the gate the nice ranger asked if we had anyone in the car that was 62 or over or had a permanent disability. We had both actually, but my mom declined and so we got Wyatt all set up. He has a nice membership card with his name on it that he can use forever! I definitely recommend looking into it if this is something that will benefit you or anyone that you know.

Our next stop was actually the Visitor’s Center in Empire. Mermaid Girl had become a Jr. Park Ranger last year and was very excited for Wyatt to do it as well. Which he did! He received a certificate, three badges, and a patch! I think I am going to do a whole post on this next week so I will talk more about it then.

And then with our new Jr. Ranger we all piled back in the cars for the super short drive to Glen Arbor for some shopping! We had a few must stops on our list..

Leelanau Coffee for Iced Miel Coffees, and then my very favorite bookstore in the world.

I wish I could just move up there and work here. I love it.

I always try to buy from the local author bookshelves when I see them on vacation and this time I picked a book called Words Like Thunder by Lois Beardslee.

Then we headed over to the Cherry Republic and hung out for a bit, eating french fries and ice cream and shopping.

It was starting to get late but we still had one last stop – Rocky Beach in Glen Haven. Glen Haven is a deserted little town with my family’s favorite beach of all. My stepmom took us there for the first time years and years ago and it is one of her favorite places in the world. Then it became my brother’s, and now you can add us to the list too.

My SIL Chrissy is a huge rockhound. She finds it super relaxing to sift through rocks, looking at them, and on beaches where you are allowed to collect them, she does that too. Rocky Beach is part of the Sleeping Bear so a no collecting beach but they had fun looking. And she got to indulge for as long as she wanted the next day at a different beach, finding several petoskey stones, including a pretty darn big one, the lucky duck!

By the time we left it was getting late and we were all full of sand and sunshine, and ready for dinner. So we made the drive back to our cottage, grilled up some hot dogs and veggie dogs, and that was that. We had a fire on the beach, some adult drinks, and went to bed, after a perfect day.

A Bear, A Beer, and a Bit of a Scare

Friday morning we loaded up the car, picked up my mom, and hit the road, heading north to Bellaire, MI. We were meeting my brother, SIL, niece, and SIL’s mother there for the start of our vacation! And after four hours, we did.

But first, we saw a bear. Like a real one, just standing by the road, looking all bear like and big. I was happy to be in the car! Then, just a whole ten minutes down the road we arrived at our first stop, Grass River Nature Preserve for a hike, and I was not as happy. That bear could be there too! Or another one. Or many others. And I am sure there were! When I went into the visitor’s center I mentioned it to the woman working and she was stunned that we saw one, which did not make me feel any better. She told me that it is really unusual to see one during the summer and that it was probably heading to town to eat from a bird feeder. She did ask me to let her know if we saw it on our hike.

Our plan was to just take a short walk, about a mile, then head to Short’s Brewing for lunch before heading on to our cottage. It was a great little walk – I love the scent of pine needles and pine trees and the minute we got out of the car we enveloped in it. Our walk was quick, with the Galloping Grannies leading the group at a grueling pace (not really but it was very fast paced lol). The rest of us were moseying, looking around, spotting wonders in the underbrush. Like the mushrooms Dead Man’s Fingers! They are well named and rather creepy. My niece also entertained us with stories of glowing pink wolves and giant foxes that lived in the woods there, and overall it was a great walk through nature. We didn’t have time to explore the whole preserve but I am planning on going back to do just that!

We then drove the few minutes into Bellaire for lunch at Short’s. My brother had been there before but it was our first time. And it won’t be the last! It was absolutely delicious. I had the Someday sandwich, which was like a club sandwich, while Billy had pulled pork and Wyatt had the kids pizza bites, which he devoured. For beverages, I tried the Gitchy Gitchy, which is a Kolsch with lemon and cucumber. It was fantastic and refreshing. Billy had the Prolonged Enjoyment, which is an IPA. We went into the take out order area, and ate across the street in the lot where they have tables set up for outside dining. And promptly divided up into two camps – the full sun people and the shade people, or as my brother said, the sun people and the moon people. Lol.

Guess which camp I was in?

After a very filling lunch, conversation over a beer, and some shopping for howlers and growlers to take to our cottage (we got a howler of Sandia Loca, my brother got the Empress Catherine) we were back on the road.

We pulled up to our home away from home after about half an hour or so, and were so ready to just settle in and relax.

But we also were excited to check out the lake..some of us more than others.

Billy, Wyatt, Chrissy, and Mermaid Girl headed down the hill to the lake while the rest of us were doing I have no idea what. Probably checking out the rental. After a few minutes though, the rest of us headed outside too.

My brother, mom, and I were standing about halfway down, chatting about the lake and how pretty and all that when I heard a splash. I immediately was on the alert, and saw Wyatt being held by Billy on the dock and Chrissy patting his back. And knew that my kid had somehow fallen in. Wyatt can’t swim yet although he loves the water, and apparently he was reaching down for the water, lost his balance and fell off the dock! (Billy was sitting right next to Wyatt on the dock and was halfway in the water before Wyatt even made it to the water. He was in the water a second or two before Billy hoisted him up. I still of course had a heart attack) However, he was with two extremely fast acting adults who love him and jumped into action, with both Billy and Chrissy jumping right in after him, no hesitation. The water was shallow and clear and he was up and out in seconds. By the time I got there, he was trying to slide back in, the little otter. And since he was wet and it was shallow, we let him, but with many close eyes on him. And of course once he was in, it was game over, Mermaid Girl was in as well.

The water was warm and the kids had a blast, before we all headed up, showered the kids, and all settled in for the night.

And that was the end of day 1!

Adventure Day!

Some days, you just need an adventure day with one of your besties. So Saturday, I was out the door and on the road early with my friend Kelly, heading north to the Michigan Antiques Festival.

This festival was huge! Over 500 vendors, set up and ready to wheel and deal. I actually had no idea you could try to make a deal with the sellers, I was under the impression you had to pay the price that it was marked at. That was my first antiques buying lesson for the day.

We immediately drifted to this item. The seller saw us poking about with it and told us if we could tell him what it was, he would give us a break. We had no idea. Any guesses?

If you guessed pigeon clock timer for racing pigeons, ding ding ding you are the winner. Kelly could not leave such a unique item behind, and I encouraged her to buy it. It was really cool and neither of us had seen one before! Despite the fact that neither of us could tell him what it was, he gave Kelly a price break. While she was deciding though, I found a little horse, sitting there looking sad and lonely. I picked it up and mentioned to Kelly that it was cute – so she got the guy to throw it in for free, which cracked me up. I got a free horsey toy guys!

The weather was atrocious, thanks Michigan. However, we didn’t let that stop us from looking at every single item in every single booth. Neither of us were on the hunt for anything in particular, we were just there for the fun of it. I saw a few things that tempted me, but not enough to commit.

That desk. I almost regret not buying it. Ok, I do kind of regret it. It is really beautiful and it was $150, which is an awesome price. And that armadillo! It was way out of my price range but I LOVE the book A Prayer for Owen Meany (top ten all time favorite right there) and that armadillo immediately made me think of that book.

I ended up leaving with four old maps from the 30s and 40s, which I am going to frame and hang above Harry’s tank, and my free horse. I spent about $10.00. Kelly left with some cool stuff. Two jewelry molds, a glass jar that says cotton, that pigeon clock that weighs a million pounds and I carried to the car which was a million miles away, and an Atlas Dynamite box.

When we had explored every booth at least once, some twice, it was time to head out, onto our next destination – the Goldner Walsh Garden and Home in Pontiac. It is amazing, and if you are a plant person and find yourself in southeast Michigan, make your way there. First, the building and grounds are gorgeous.

I found another armadillo! I left this one behind too though sadly. They are also an event space, and I wish I had an event that I could hold there, because it was a really cool spot. It was all set up for a wedding when we went.

They also have super rare plants – like the royalty of the houseplant world. It was crazy to see such expensive plants – but they were beautiful. I took photos like a crazy plant fangirl. I have seen Thai Constellation monstera and Pink Princesses online, but never in person. And that Dragon Scale Alocasia is gorgeous too! I would never buy one, even if they were in the budget, because I would be too afraid to spend $300 on something that I could kill so easily!

Goldner Walsh also has something else I love – a sulcata tortoise!! They also have a few cats roaming around, and one seems to like Nelson the tortoise, but not paparazzi since it hid its little face.

I managed to buy more there than I did at the antique festival. Not a big surprise there, honestly. I picked out a maidenhair fern, a moon glow snake plant, and a frizzle stick!

I had a fantastic day with Kelly – it had been far too long since we had adventured together. Our purchases arranged neatly and safely in the back of the car, we headed home. Well, not every thing was in the back – my horse rode up front with us.

An art studio, a lighthouse, and a picnic

Mornings come early when you have a six year old, even on vacation. At least, with our six year old they do. We woke up in Honor and an hour later we were on the road again. This time, our first stop was minutes away, at a place I have always always wanted to go. And finally, I made it!

Gwen Frostic was so many things in her life – an artist, an inspiration, a Rosie, a poet. I love her art, her vision, and the fact that I graduated from the same high school that she did. So when I learned that her studio was still around, open, and operating as a store and a letter press in the very area we usually vacation in, I wanted to go. But it never happened, for one reason or another. But this time around, I made space for it.

We arrived bright and early, just as the doors were opening. We were the only customers and it was nice to have the place to ourselves. It was so quiet, we could ask questions, and I could just soak it all in. While I wandered about, Billy and Wyatt talked to the employees about the press that operates there. Apparently you can watch it run, but we were there on the wrong day for that. Another time, because I will definitely be going back.

I poked about, bought a few things. Listened to Billy talk with the employees about how not as many people send cards or letters anymore, and I think I want to do that, send letters on beautiful stationery. Anyone want a pen pal?

I bought a few cards, a new journal, and Wyatt picked out a few stickers. I have my eye on a print though for our bedroom redo, and those wine glasses.. I need one.

We got back in the car, and headed to our cabin! I was excited to get there after all the chaos. We checked in, looked around, flopped a bit, then..set out again. This time to Mission Point.

First stop was the lighthouse. We walked around a bit, then I asked Wyatt what he wanted to do next. He requested a picnic, since this kid loves them. For real. We got back in the car and found a place that sold deli sandwiches to go, the Bad Dog Deli. I had also spotted a sign for a place called Old Mission Flowers, and when I looked it up, found that it was a U-Pick Flower stand. Right up my alley, and just about the perfect setting for a picnic! We ate our lunch swinging our feet from the back of the Subaru, looking out at the wonderful color of the flowers, the hummingbirds playing, butterflies floating from flower to flower. I thanked Wyatt for suggesting this idea, we would have probably missed all of this beauty without his picnic request.

It was pretty ingenious really. There was a clean, bright shed filled with clippers and vases of different sizes and sorts. The prices were based on which vase you chose, you pick the flowers, and then either deposit money into a tube, or PayPal Old Mission Flowers. A complete honor system. I loved this part of our day. So did Wyatt. I think this was our favorite stop. Although, we only had one more left, the Secret Garden at Brys Winery. I actually didn’t go to any wineries this time around, due to Covid, but I wanted to see the lavender at the Secret Garden. This was a fast stop, I took a few photos, and we left. We were ready to chill out at the cabin for the rest of the day by this point. So that is what we did!

Which brings us to the end of day two. Another perfect day.