Monday, July 28, 2014

When She Grows Up


If I had to guess what Charley might be when she grows up based on how she is at age 2.75, these would be my best guesses. It might be fun to come back and revise this list periodically as she grows up.

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One of Charley's favorite things to play is "birthday party". She knows where I store all of the party supplies and often takes out the crepe paper, balloons and paper straws to set up for a birthday party. Crepe paper is wrapped around shelves and decor and sometimes she'll request a piece of tape to hold it all together, balloons are blown up and tossed around, and there are paper straws filling every vase and container in her reach in the house. She's definitely going to be a party planner one day.

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(I told this story on Facebook so ignore it if you have already heard it.) Charley and I are getting ready to go out to meet a friend of mine for dinner. We are in my closet and Charley asks if I'd wear something different than what I had on. To humor her (and to maybe get a chuckle over what she chooses instead) I tell her okay, what should I wear instead? She chooses a black sundress and since I had no reason to not wear it I put it on at her request. After I had it on Charley told me that it was "perfectly classic" and I have absolutely no idea where she got that. She's definitely going to be a fashion designer one day.

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Charley walks around on her tip toes a lot. The pediatrician told us to keep an eye on it to make sure it's not ALL of the time, and it's not, so mainly she does it when she's feeling dainty and prancey. She's for sure going to be a ballerina.
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We go for golf cart rides (go fast!), I push her on the swing (push me faster!), or we ride in the car (catch that car up there Mama!). She's definitely going to be a race car driver some day.

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Every single day as we leave my sister's house, Charley picks me a handful of flowers from a plant that my sister is soon getting rid of anyways and therefore allows the flowers to be picked. She bundles them up nicely and hands them to me every day. It's likely just a stall tactic to keep from being buckled up in the car, but she may have a deep rooted love of plants and flowers just like her Gaga. She's got it in her to be a florist one day.
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Upside down. She often wants to be carried upside down, wants to hang upside down, goes down slides head first and hangs off the couch upside down. I'm really thinking she may be a bat or a possum when she grows up.

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Things she probably won't be when she grows up:

  • Hairdresser - girlfriend doesn't care if hair is hanging in her face or all tangled up. 
  • Dentist or Dental Hygienist - She doesn't care to care for her teeth so why would she want to take care of other's?
  • A Librarian - Although she loves books, being quiet isn't really her thing.
  • A model - one actually has to be still and look at the camera to be one of those. 

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Things I want her to be when she grows up:
  • Happy.
  • Healthy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lunch

Almost three full years ago I took one of my last 'official' lunches while working at my old job. It was just prior to Charley being born because after she was born I gave up taking my lunch hour at work in lieu of leaving an hour earlier to get back to my Charley girl sooner. It was a must with my old commute and I continued working through lunch and eating at my desk until I left the company last month.

At the new job I am working regular hours again which means I get a lunch hour again. The first two weeks of working at the new job I was running off every single day to get lunch, yes, but to also run errands! Shop a bit at Target! Pick up some fresh bread at the bakery that closes at 5 and therefore we could never make it there before! Drop off things at Goodwill! Make any phone calls that need to be made! Stop by the post office! My errand list was endless and I treasured every single minute of that hour. I never realized how much I had needed that time to get things done without a certain munchkin in tow.


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One day during lunch I stopped in Goodwill and found these boxes from Target. Originally $24.99, Target clearanced to $17 something, then now at Goodwill for some odd reason for $5.99 which the cashier only rang up for $4.99. Whoop whoop!

And then, one day I ventured home for lunch and my excitement only grew. I did the dishes! I paid some bills! I touched up my make-up! Used my own bathroom! Played on Facebook or blogged without making it blatantly obvious that "it's ok! I'm on lunch!" You know how awesome it is to be in your own home alone? Totally awesome.

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I can have a dessert after lunch from my very own pantry. No need to scrummage through my purse for change for the ol' vending machine. And yes, this is 2 mini bags of each a Valentine's and Easter M&Ms.

Basically, I've spent my lunch hours very productively over the last month or so that I've been working at the new job. I've enjoyed it so much and am so thankful to have found a place close to home that I can do this at without losing too much time from Charley. I am actually getting to her a tad bit later in the afternoons by leaving at 5 instead of 4, but I feel so much more accomplished these days.

Today for lunch I ventured over to Marshall's because I really need a few home decor items to fill some shelving and things at home. A HomeGoods is opening up in the next month or so in the same shopping center, so maybe I would have had more luck at a store like that but, you guys. I STRUGGLED so much shopping for home decor. I picked things up, I put them down. (please read that last sentence in the muscle man's voice from the commercial.) I checked and double checked prices. I strolled the clearance aisle a few times. But in the end I bought nothing. I left feeling really defeated and realized that I don't think I've EVER set out to shop for home decor like that. 95% of what I have came from garage sales or resale type shops. The other 5% I've picked up while shopping for something else if that makes sense. I feel like I am a decent home decorator and felt so defeated that I left there with NOTHING and couldn't figure out a use for anything in the store. I guess I just prefer to shop at garage sales where my selection is way more limited, the stuff is so cheap that it won't matter if I never find a home for it and end up donating, and I don't have as many choices. Choices make me anxious apparently.

As I was walking out of the door empty handed I got a text message on my phone. It was from one of my credit card companies and said that I needed to call this number immediately to discuss a possible fraudulent charge. Since I was on lunch, by myself and had the time, I chose to call back immediately. The phone number given was linked in the text message so I was able to click on the number and make the call.

The person answers and after the usual mumbo jumbo welcome says "credit card number please?" I'm no genius but isn't giving out your full credit card number over the phone, to a number I dialed through a text message link exactly what you should be warning me NOT to do, especially if you are the FRAUD DEPARTMENT? I laugh at this obvious phishing scheme that I almost got caught up in (heh...calling a number from the text message that was just randomly sent to me. You almost got me, buddy!) and tell him absolutely not, I would NOT give him my credit card number. He is obviously confused and says okkkkkkk, and I basically hang up on him, laughing, knowing I am way smarter than him.

So then I get out said credit card and dial the number on the back of the card to report this obvious phishing scheme and upon only entering my last four digits of my card number, which matched up to the phone number from which I was dialing I was immediately transferred to the fraud department where yes, I did in fact have a fraudulent charge that tried to come through that they blocked and he verified that yes, that text message was legit. Whoops, sorry first dude!

But am I just crazy or is that nuts? With so many other ways to verify me (which the second guy did) is it ever really necessary to give out my whole credit card number over the phone EVEN IF IT IS TO THE SO CALLED FRAUD DEPARTMENT? I suggest a rewriting of some of your fraud prevention techniques, gentleman. Step 1) Advise customers never to give out their full credit card number over the phone. And so on.

And after I made that phone call I had time to sit and reflect and laugh about it to myself. Time. I can't believe all this time.

Lunches are awesome, y'all.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Toy Storage

Way back when (pre-baby) I wrote a post about how I was concerned about my home would look with toys and baby gear strewn about. I know it comes with the territory for the most part but that didn't keep me from constantly reorganizing and thinking of ways to disguise the kid factor in my decor. I came back when Charley was 10 months old and showed pictures of my baby-fied house, although even looking back at them I don't think it was ever really that bad. Shew!

As Charley has gotten older, the amount of gear and large items decreases and her ability to play independently increases, which is good news for my kid stuff disguises. I know if we ever have another kid I'll have to revise all of this but for now this is the state of the toy storage in our home. (And spoiler: I'm very happy with it at the moment, which I why I want to share it. A, so I can remember it and B, so I can get or give suggestions from/to anyone else!)

Let's start with the main living area - the area that I want MOST disguised.

In the living room we have our big shelving unit that we built that naturally has lots of built in storage/disguises. The baskets on the bottom left of the shelving unit are designated for toys. Any/all toys that Charley was playing with and got left in any room that is not her room or her playroom winds up in these baskets each night.

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There are no rules about what belongs in these baskets. They are just a way to clean up any toys that were left out after she's gone to bed. If they start to get too full, we take them to her room and empty them and put the toys where they actually belong. They are also good for having Charley help clean up since there are no rules about what goes where. I can have her clean up her toys in the living room and she knows to just put them all in these baskets. This is all of the toy storage in any of the main living areas. Sometimes we'll have Charley's Anywhere Chair out in the living room which obviously doesn't bother me, but all other big gear belongs in her room or her playroom. Let me live in my dreamland this way until if/when we have another kid. 

Next up is Charley's room. For the most part, all of the toys belong in her closet in her room. Things that are left out are larger items like her shopping cart, baby strollers, baby cradle, etc. There are some things that are stored under her bed so she can get to them easily like a bin of blocks and a couple of her favorite games. (Hungry, Hungry, Hippos for one - she is obsessed with hippos!) Everything else is in the closet.

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The Expedit cube thing from IKEA works really well for now because it's not permanent. Once this closet set-up no longer works for Charley we can take it out and add more space for hanging clothes or whatever her needs may be. For now though, it works great!

In those top flowered baskets are any clothes or shoes that Charley hasn't grown into, organized by size. So there is a 4T basket, size 5, etc, and then a shoe one also.

Obviously all of her books go in those top 4 cubes. On top of the Expedit is an owl basket containing dress up stuff that she can get to herself, piggy banks, a couple of Melissa and Doug things that she plays with pretty often and a couple other baskets for whatever we need them for at the moment.

In the pink cubes is the majority of her toys.

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In the left two cubes is roughly pretend toys, with a couple other things thrown in too. All of these toys she can play with by herself and get to by herself. That's kind of my only requirement about what gets put here versus on higher shelving.

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In the right two cubes are music toys and then puzzles. Again, toys she can play with by herself and get to by herself.

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On the left side of her closet is just more toy storage, but things she either doesn't play with as much or things I'd rather her play with while supervised. Stuffed animals are all stuffed in the bottom so she can get to them.

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On the right side is more of the same (except dolls on the bottom instead) and it includes some bigger items.

In those pink/white striped boxes I keep a lot of like things together. One box is labeled 'junk' which I'll get to in a second, and the other is 'baby doll items' which stores all extra clothes, bottles, bibs, shoes, or whatever came with the baby doll that I don't want lost somewhere.

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 The junk box was an idea stolen from my Mama. We had junk bags as kids which housed all of the junky toys that really don't belong anywhere else but you just weren't ready to part with. This includes kid's meal toys, gumball machine toys, and random party favors. The idea is to only have enough junk to fill one bag or box at any time. So if the box becomes too full, it's time to toss a few things. And, since there are just so many little toys that a child acquires like this, getting the box down and letting Charley go through them all and play with them is always fun for her and takes up a good chunk of time. It's a win/win.

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Finally, the play room/3rd bedroom. Obviously the future of this room is the most up in the air so for the meantime, this is the room I just let Charley's favorite toys stay out in. In here I keep her Little People stuff set up, her Littlest Pet Shop stuff out, that giant tub is ALL Lincoln Logs which we like to play with her and any of the bigger stuff that doesn't have a good home elsewhere stays in here too. IF this room's future ever needs to be something else, then I think I would do a combo of moving the toys back into her closet in her room or moving some of the bigger things down into the basement to keep things as organized as possible.

Am I naive to think that toy storage can still be managed with multiple children? Gah I hope not. I'm really kind of liking our current set-up! Any suggestions to make things even better? I'll take 'em! What toy storage ideas have worked for you?

Monday, July 7, 2014

A quick trip recap

I had big plans of things I wanted to talk about from our trip that was a full three weeks ago now, but if I want to get this documented I just need to do it now no matter how disorganized my thoughts are because my memory isn't all that reliable. So. Anyways, besides the crazy dune hike I told you about, this was the rest of the trip.

We started out way underestimating the time we needed at the airport on a Saturday morning and got in the longest line of our lives to check our bags. We knew at this point there was no way we were making our 8 a.m. flight. (Ironically, later I learned that one of the benefits to our US Air Mastercard was first class check-in, which would have saved us about 45 minutes of waiting in line. Doh!) After we finally got our bags checked and got through security, it was 5 or 10 minutes later than our scheduled departure time. So we headed straight to the customer service desk to see about getting placed on a later flight.

We are there for about 2 minutes when they realize our flight is still there and had been delayed about 25 minutes. If we ran we could possibly make it. So we did. And we just barely made it. They had already checked in standby passengers so some of our seats were taken so Charley and I sat away from the rest of the family but that was okay - somehow we actually made it on our flight! Whew! On to Chicago...

We packed all of this into 4 days in Chicago:

Whew. It was a very fast paced four days. But we saw almost all that we wanted to see. (John would have liked to squeeze in a visit to Wrigley Field even though they weren't in town while we were there but we never made it.) We didn't love it all (Adler Planetarium wasn't really our thing nor was Field Museum, and we weren't that impressed with Lincoln Park Zoo either) but we had a great time anyways! 

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I do want to mention that Charley did so great just rolling with the punches. Her naps each day were unplanned and just occurred whenever she couldn't hold her eyes open any longer, whether we were at lunch, on a bus, at the zoo or while waiting in line for security at the White Sox Game. She was such a good traveler! (But she IS 2, so don't get me wrong - there were definitely some tantrums and sassiness thrown in there - just not as much as I expected!)

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We relied 100% on public transportation and had no issues at all, minus a couple of bus rides that we would have preferred be a bit shorter - but there's no way to fix that! The "L" trains were definitely dated looking along with some of the stations but seemed to be in great working order. We couldn't believe how rusted and old some of the stations looked though.

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We all FIVE shared one room at the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront and we really could not have been any happier with that room. It was so much bigger than most hotel rooms which left plenty of room for Charley's bed we brought along (seriously - that was such a great decision to bring!) and had sitting areas other than on the beds which we really liked. The hotel was downtown, on the water and in the middle of everything. I booked on Hotwire and can't remember if it was a name your own price deal or what, but ended up getting that room for only $125/night! 

After Chicago, we rented a car and made our way to Traverse City, Michigan. I was really looking forward to this next hotel because it was set up like a condo and had two separate bedrooms on two different floors and a mini kitchen and all. I knew that would work much better for the five of us, even though we'd had no issues thus far with sharing a room.

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We really should have rented a bigger car - ha!

But, as soon as we walked in the door we were overcome by the smell. At first we thought it was just really old and musty. It was SO awful, truly. The place had a pool though so we spent a good bit of time there, and if we weren't there then we were eating at some of the delicious restaurants in town. We ate at North Peak Brewing Company and Folgarelli's Market and were so impressed with both. And then the next morning we went to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as you already know

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When we got back to the room that afternoon we soon realized that it wasn't just an older musty place, but that it was dog we were smelling. We didn't want to complain if ALL of the rooms smelt this bad so when we asked our neighbor if theirs also smelt and they not only said no, but mentioned that the people there before us had two giant dogs. This was when I made the realization that I'm not really interested in staying in any pet friendly places from now on. It was terrible. We classed it up like true southerners and drug the chairs from the kitchen table outside to sit in to avoid sitting in the room. At this point we realized how ridiculous this was and John went to talk to the manager. We were only staying there one additional night, but he offered to refund us the second night and half of the first night because he felt bad about our stay. We took him up on the offer and made our way to our next destination, Petoskey, Michigan, one day early. (I don't want to give the hotel bad press since they did make it right with us and it seems we just had bad luck with our room, so I'm not going to mention the name of the hotel here.) 

Once we got to Petoskey we didn't really have many plans (except the wedding of course) so we just chose things based on location and Trip Advisor reviews. Over the course of 3 days, we visited a Fish Hatchery which was free and informative, a ski resort for chairlift rides and an adorable working farm that had an awesome restaurant as well. All of those things were either free or close to free. We also drove the supposed tunnel of trees but were really unimpressed. You would think a tunnel would mean the trees create a nice arch over the road, but not so much. There were trees on both sides of the road so if that's something you aren't used to then maybe you'd find it more impressive than we did, but it just looked like anywhere else to us.

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The wedding was Saturday evening and was so beautiful overlooking Lake Michigan. I Rented the Runway for the first time ever and LOVED my experience doing that. The dress was perfect and fit well and was so easy to return. Will definitely be doing that for any future events.

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On our way back to Chicago we stopped over in Michigan City, Indiana for one evening to sort of cut the drive a bit shorter. The town was, um, sketchy. It looked pretty touristy and like many people vacation there, but we really weren't impressed with the visit to Washington Park, and it's the number one rated thing to do here! Our hotel was nice and clean and in a safe area it seemed, so no complaints there but glad we didn't stay there any longer than one evening. 

The next day we made our way back to the airport where we got held up on the runway for at least an hour. That sucked especially since we were all ready to be home after being gone for 10 days but thankfully we made it home safely (and quietly! Charley slept the entire flight!) and didn't kill each other after being in such close quarters the entire time. We really like each other I suppose!

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there are a few random things I wanted to share too about this trip:

  1. That packing light thing is for the birds. I ran out of clothes and didn't think through all of my outfits. (Didn't pack enough light undies for a couple of white/light shorts I brought). However, we had to do the ol' suitcase switcheroo at check-in because a few bags were overweight. So fun to rearrange undies in front of a really long line of impatient people! So taking more clothes wouldn't even have been an option anyways unless we checked another bag (that inevitably wouldn't have fit in the rental car.)
  2. We tried to grocery shop on our first day there to save ourselves from eating out every single meal for 10 days. I think that saved us for all of two meals. It's no fun to eat in a room with no table/silverware/dishes/etc.
  3. My kid lived on the iPad and my iPhone all week. 
  4. Seriously - no more pet friendly hotels.
  5. That was really long. Are you still with me?
  6. Did you know it's light until like 9:30 or so up there? It was so strange and I had never realized that.
Thanks again for those of you that gave me awesome suggestions for our trip! 

How ridiculous that I titled this post 'A Quick Trip Recap'. There was nothing quick about that recap. But I'm leaving it because I just need this to be done already.

Done.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cleaning

The current state of our house is 10 times better than it was Saturday morning, but is still pretty horrific. It's especially messy right now because of how our trip ended last week and we have been running ever since. We got back from Chicago at 6:30 p.m. Monday evening. I started a new job the very next morning and John went back to work as well. So I spent the evening doing the laundry essentials that HAD to be done lest one of us be without undergarments or another of us be without clean(ish) loveys and picked out my first day outfit, ironed, etc. Then Tuesday morning we were off to the races.

We worked all week and most evenings one or both of us had something going on. So when Saturday morning rolled around you would have thought that we would be up early and productive. But no. We were exhausted. John did get outside to do some of the work he wanted to do in the yard, and I did do laundry but it wasn't a very productive day. We were still just too tired. We then went out with friends that night and had Charley stay at my parent's.

So SUNDAY morning rolled around and John was feeling the effects of the night before. Thankfully I wasn't and after a late waking at 10:00 (!!!) I was feeling really productive. But not just clean-up productive, but reorganize, redecorate, re-functionalize productive on top of clean-up productive. So I may have spent way too much time in one room by doing all of those things instead of just cleaning, but the end result is so much more rewarding this way.

I started in the kitchen because every single square inch of the counters was covered in something. Once I got that done I moved on to the office where I found myself wanting to restyle the bookshelves to make them more functional. They serve as a big piece of storage as well as a big piece of the aesthetics in there so it's always a balance of looks versus functionality. I know I have to give up aesthetics more than I'd like for storage and that's okay with me.

I was pretty pleased with my end results. The desks were cleaned off, the floor was picked up and the bookshelves were just a tad refreshed and way more functional. Yay!


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Charley was playing SO well by herself all day too and it was just a great day all around. After I left the clean, organized office I walked from room to room to determine where I wanted to spend my efforts next.
I then saw the results of Charley playing so well by herself that day...

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Good grief child! I was JUST in there playing with her maybe a half hour prior to this. HOW does this happen? I'm not ready to move into the stage where my child has a messy room yet! No! 

So yeah. The state of this house while Charley is home is definitely a one step forward, one step back situation. You stay at home moms are nodding your head in agreement with me right now I know. Sheesh. Kids are messy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

That time we accidentally hiked almost 4 miles. With no water. Uphill. Both ways. In the sand....

...barefoot. With a two year old and my parents who are in their sixties. Where one of those said parents has a bum foot. That was last week on our Midwestern Adventure vacation. You weren't a part of that, no? Oh. Let me catch you up.

So last week we did a little Midwestern tour vacation type thing. John and I were invited to a friend's wedding in Petoskey, Michigan and when I'm given an excuse to go to a part of the world I haven't been to before I usually take it and run with it. Like we did here back in 2012. So instead of flying up for the weekend, we made a 10 day vacation out of it. I'll do a vacation recap of some sort soon (or maybe just a few posts about different topics relating to it instead of a flat-out recap) but this part I need to share before I forget all of the ridiculous details.

So. Traverse City, Michigan was one of our stops. I mentioned we were headed there on my blog before and sweet Jess gave me the BEST advice on restaurants and things to do. Honestly, we only ate at restaurants she suggested and they were all so delicious. Anyways, the whole reason I picked Traverse City as a pitstop of our vacation was because of it's proximity to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which my friend recommended (coincidentally the same friend who was getting married!).

For trips in the past, I had the benefit of time on my side. For the Europe trip in 2007, Alaska trip in 2008, etc, I had done so much research that the trip was planned (and at the same time not over-planned) months in advance. I hate hate hate getting to a place and trying to figure out what to do/eat/see while you are there. It's always a huge waste of time as no one can make a decision and we spend precious time Googling reviews and things to do, etc. So I don't necessarily like to plan out all of the minutes of the day, I just like to have restaurant options in a list and things to do in a list so that it is easy to just pick something from the list and GO with no time wasted. I didn't get to spend the same amount of time on this trip as those. Something tells me it has something to do with this crazy thing:


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Anyways, where were we? Okay. So for this Sleeping Bear Dunes place, I hadn't done a lot of research ok? I knew that in the summer the kiddos in the area liked to climb these big sand dunes and run down them into the water of Lake Michigan. I'd seen this picture of them doing just that. That was about all I knew but I felt like that was enough to visit the place. Personal recommendations rate REALLY high in my book.

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There's not even water in the picture. I guess I was just assuming.
   

So we get there. At the park entrance is a booth to pay your park entrance fee. My dad happened to notice something on the sign about getting a free lifetime membership to national parks if you are disabled. He is disabled with a bum foot and was able to provide the paperwork to prove it so we got in free. Awesome. They gave us a magazine type brochure that we didn't bother looking at. We'll get to that later.

We park in the parking lot and sort of just follow the crowds. There is a huge sand dune behind us so we start to head that way. It is really overcast and cloudy and cool, but I'm no dummy when it comes to the sun - I know he can still bite ya even on cloudy days so I get out the sunscreen and take care of me and Charley's skin and then we set off. My dad mentions something to us like he's really not sure if he can make it up this dune and we tell him not to worry about it - if he can't do it we'll all just come back down.

We notice everyone around us is carrying their shoes and walking up barefoot so we do the same (except my dad - shoes are important to stabilize his foot so he kept his boots on.) We start up the sand dune excited for what we'd see when we got to the top.

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You see that guy up in the upper right of that picture? That's my dad. He obviously had no problem getting up the dune and he did it way quicker than any of us. 

Once at the top it was confusing. There was yet another dune. Fine, we were all still good, no problem. We climbed that one too anxious for the view from the top of that one. 

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From the top, yet again, just another sand dune. It didn't really feel like we were going up, down, up, down, so at some point I make the comment that coming back should be easy because it would all be downhill. It seemed like all we were doing was climbing.

Okay, so at this point we are getting a little confused. It honestly truly felt like the beach would be just over the next dune and then it wasn't. But then we'd think we were so close that we weren't turning around then...surely we were almost there! I'm sure the views are going to be worth it just when we get over this next dune.

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I for sure yelled out to him "CAN YOU SEE THE WATER YET?" as I huffed my way up behind him.

Okay maybe the next one.

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Next one?

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NINE dunes later (with my dad with his bum foot, John who carried Charley for a lot of it leading the way and my mom and I bringing up the rear with a lot of huffing and puffing) we get to the beach. My mom and I are exhausted and SO THIRSTY but so thankful to have made it, but at the same time are really wondering about the hike back to the car. We spend some time at the beach which was a rocky beach where everyone seemed to sign their names on the rounded stones along the beach. The water was fah-reezing cold so no refresher there.

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After taking some pictures and resting a bit, we started to head back. Luckily, I say, it's mostly downhill this time.

Ha.

HA!

HAHAHAHAHA.

It wasn't. It was just as much uphill as the first time. I don't know how I wasn't realizing we were going up, down, up, down but I didn't. I was in some sort of sand induced haze I think. The walk back was just as bad. Some man took pity on us and gave us a bottle of water - I think we just looked THAT BAD. What kind of idiot hikers walk all this way with NOTHING? We do. We are those idiots.

Charley was starting to fall asleep while riding on John's shoulders on the hike back so he decided to then carry her. And jog. He JOGGED back up and down sand dunes carrying 30 pounds of limp noodle. He makes me sick - in a loving way, of course.

But we made it. Isn't that great? We didn't die. That's the positive. And sure, we are all a little proud of ourselves for making the journey.

When we got back in the car I decided to pick up that brochure to see what exactly it said about the hike we had just taken.

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#7. Dunes Hiking Trail. 3.5 miles. STRENUOUS. Hilly, all sand, and no shade. [....] Plan ahead. Take water, sunscreen, hat, shoes and a snack. 

Whoops!

Oh, and remember the part about making sure I sunscreened myself and Charley pre-hike? Well I forgot my back. This picture was from a few days later at the wedding. The wedding where I never took off my cardigan because, well, because I looked like this! 
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Ridiculous.

So. I think the Sleepy Bear Dune place really is a nice place to visit and see the beach, especially later in the summer where the water wouldn't be quite so cold. But maybe read the brochure first. I bet there was a spot elsewhere in the park where it didn't require 3.5 hilly, sandy, miles to get to the beach. And I bet that spot was justttttttt lovely.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

11 Things

All the cool kids did this weeks ago. I'm not, nor have I ever been, a cool kid. But Jess tagged me in this and I'm doing it, darn it. I'm just not going to tag anyone else because I don't wanna. But I'd love to read yours if you choose to do it and haven't done it yourself yet! I'll just be sitting in the non-cool kids corner waiting for you. The warm corner, if you will. Please join me in the warm corner.

1. What is your favorite type of cheese? 

Any/all? I am not a cheese connoisseur and do not know my way around the fancy cheese section of my grocery store. But rarely have I tried a cheese that I wouldn't eat again. For the most part though, plain ol' cheddar is what I prefer.

2. What are you excited about? 

I got a new job! I'm starting there in a few weeks, and before that happens I'm going on a vacation to Chicago and parts of Michigan. I've never been to that part of the country and I've also never taken a bigger trip with my child in tow so I'm excited slash nervous to see how that will go. Lots of exciting things coming up for me!

3. How did you celebrate your last birthday? 

That was only a month and a half ago and I honestly don't really know.

Oh wait! I was at the beach for my birthday! My birthday happened to fall on Spring Break this year and we were in Daytona, so I think we spent the day going out to eat breakfast and just doing our favorite usual things in Daytona. And then went out to dinner had brownie sundaes back at the beach house. I'm thinking that was a pretty great birthday!

4. What is on your bedside table? 

A lamp with a lampshade that looks horrible on it because I haven't found the right one yet. A tray I won a while back which holds my Kindle, my medical tape for my poor broken toe, and a few pairs of earrings. Also a really old alarm clock - at least 15 years old - but it still works so why would I replace?!

5. What do you order from the movie theater concession stand? 

Since I very, very rarely go to the movies I always go all out at the concession stand. If we didn't have dinner beforehand I'm getting one of the awesome theater hot dogs (or sometimes nachos instead), then of course a large popcorn, large drink which could double as a swimming pool in case I get warm during the movie, and candy. Although honestly most of the time I sneak the candy in in my purse because um yeah.

6. Do you have a garden? What’s growing? 

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Flower gardens, yes. And John and a friend planted a vegetable garden too that you can see behind Charley in that picture. They got a late start to it this year so it's looking rather, um, puny at the moment but I'm surrrre vegetables will be popping up any day now. They planted tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, and a ton of other stuff that I don't eat. 

7. Any summer plans?

Just the Chicago/Michigan trip I mentioned (also people - I need recommendations for restaurants and stuff to do for this!) (it's Traverse City and Petoskey, Michigan by the way) and then we have another camping trip reserved for Labor Day weekend at a place near us called Dan Nicholas. I'm hoping to squeeze at least one if not two more camping weekends in there too. But that's it! No plans at the moment to got back to the beach and that makes me sad!

8. Which TV couple(s) are you rooting for? 

Ross and Rachel? I am not really a big TV watcher you know.

9. What’s the last thing you bought? 

Ugh. Tires for John's truck. We knew the expense was coming up really soon but we weren't quite ready for it today. One started going flat on his way to work and there was no point in patching it to delay the purchase just a few weeks. Bah. What a boring large purchase.

10. What’s one thing you are passionate about? 

Sunscreen usage. Embrace the pastiness, people!

11. What are you grateful for this week? 

Family, as always. My family is so intertwined to help each other out that it's unfathomable that any of us could function on our own. I mean, we could, but you know. It's just amazing how much we're all there for each other.