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Entries in traditions (136)


Photos 193-197/365 (camping! series)

 Camping! I see people posting pictures tagged things like #happyplace and this is what I think of, the trees, the lakes, teh sand, the tiny towns that range from kitchy to classy and everything between. You'll find general areas like that eerywhere, I am sure, but my great love, my #happyplace, is right here in our own state. I've found it in the thumb area, the middle of the Upper Peninsula, the tip of the lower Penninsula, and all along our western coastline. Michigan is my #happyplace, and these are my #favoritepeople to enjoy it with. 

After three years of being kept away from our favorite camping spot by yucky weather during our reserved vacation time, we were gifted a beautiful weekend to finally enjoy it in. A little rain on the day we wanted to spend in town anyhow, and another smattering just before we needed to pack up an come home (oh joy, wet equipment), but otherwise sunny and softly warm, none of the swealtering heat that's been smothering our homelands lately. I think my favorite weather of the weekend, though, was the mist that blew in on our beach day—clear one minute, England pea soup the next, but warm and pleasant throughout none-the-less. Sunsets, cool evenings just right for tent sleeping, and fewer bugs than normal, thanks to the recent dry spells, were the cherry on top of our weekend. And because the air conditioning is broken in our van, after packing up and heading out, we spent one last full day in town shopping, golfing, and eating before hitting the road in cooler evening temps with the sun obligingly slipping behind horizon clouds to keep the car cool for our drive home. The storms were beautiful and we seemed to be driving right between them all, never actually getting wet. Unfortunately for our drought wearied yard and gardens, our home didn't get any rain either, excepting for exactly 17 drops, as we were told by our neighbor.


Photos 183-186/365 (series: Chicago!)

Another family tradition: Chicago for the Fourth of July. I guess the good news about being home only 12 hours between trips is that really you don't have to unpack very much. Actually, we folded up all our Chicago clothes and left them on the bed before we left for Stratford, so when we got home from Stratford Sunday night we emptied the suitcases into the laundry bin and just replaced them wit the Chicago clothes. Toiletries stayed packed, and we were ready to bed. 

Chicago is a slightly longer drive than Stratford for us, but both drives come with a variable that cannot be measured ahead of time. For Stratford that's the border crossing into Canada (sometimes those lines are loooooong), for Chicago it's the city traffic. Stratford won this year for ease of passage, Chicago was in rare form! 

Weather was great this year, especially on fireworks night. Fireworks for us in Chicago means going up on the rooftop, grilling delicious food and sipping delightful wine while watching the horizon just errupt with color all around us. We don't see any one display—that would mean crowds, more traffic, and less food—instead from our rooftop position we see dozens of displays all over the parts of the city. It's beautiful, and this year it was set against the backdrop of a far away but still approaching storm, and the lightning was stunning. About an hour after the sun went down, when we'd really had our fill and had a lovely time, the rain reached us and we dashed inside to enjoy the natural fireworks. 

Oh, and it's my dad's birthday. Happy birthday dad, and thanks for throwing such a wonderful party every year!


Photo 138/365

Opening night of Calvin's shows is my favorite date night of the year (sorry anniversary, birthdays, and all the other usual culprits). It's the culmination of months of work, weeks of blood, sweat, and tears, and a very emotional, very exciting moment truth. They always pull it off, it's always wonderful, but the natural nerves before the show add to the intensity of the evening. Many backstage parents love to work the opening night, to be there in the midst of the jitters it brings, but for the me the evening represents a sigh of relief; my hardest part is over, let's celebrate with a dinner for two and tickets to a show with a very special performer (our very special performer)! It feels indulgent. It feels decadent. It's my favorite date night of the year.


Summer bucket list

It's the first day of summer. We closed the books on 5th grade last week (or actually, Calvin did, I have a lot of record keeping yet to do) and kicked off our summer schedule with a week of choir day camp. Summer isn't necessarily different for homeschoolers, but summer weather in the lovely state of Michigan is a great equalizer: it only lasts while it lasts. So with the kid away all day this week I've been updating records, late-spring cleaning the house, getting a variety of appointments out of the way, and making summer plans following a "what do you want to do this year" interview with my boys that resulted in a summer that looks like this:

Rooftop fireworks in Chicago

Mini golf

The splash park

Visit our zoo

Rolling Sculptures Auto Show

Kayak the river

Finish the local bookstore reading challenge (Calvin)

History of Zelda course with game play

Watch all the Disney movies in order

Can some summer goodness

Stratford, and Jen and Larry's

More fires and S'mores with our home firepit

Take more pictures


Celebrating 11, a photo essay