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.