September 30, 2015

Great Lakes Summer, Part 8: Brothers of mine

The love a sister has for her brothers is unique.

I see it with Jubilee and her three brothers, and I've known it with my own brothers for many years. No matter what happens, they have my love, my respect, and my support. I probably love them a little too much at times (like Back off sis, or Stop crying sis, it hasn't been that long since we last saw each other!)

And even though Kody is married now (to the beautiful Carrie) and living in Indiana, and Jack is busy juggling his two kiddos and his beautiful wife, Melissa, I got to see them a fair amount. They really are wonderful guys - and they really have wonderful families.

Kody showed Daniel how to jet ski. Daniel looooooved it. He said, "NOW I understand why people live on the lake."

Kody helped Jack pull the kids behind Jack's boat. The kids got a real kick out of it, until Zion and Brave flipped and the lake claimed Zion's glasses. Oops, mommy fail. Should have switched them for the prescription goggles before they headed out.

Kody and Carrie's dog, Molly the Collie, was an even bigger hit with the kids.

All this lakeside fun happened at Carrie's parents' lake house. Carrie's dad, Jay, let the kids drive the pontoon boat. Kody's got GREAT inlaws.

Uncle Jack had a birthday while we were in Michigan. We celebrated at the docks with grilled meats and a delicious cake made by Melissa. I had such fun getting to know her this summer!

This is such a cool pic, I think.

Melissa, I might add, is the world's best step-mom to Jack's kids. I love watching them together. Jack's son, our nephew Jack Jr., is all heart. He was constantly giving up his turn to, and spending his money on, his cousins.
Zion and Jack Jr. at the Dutch Village wooden shoe shop
And then there's princess Sharlet, with her dainty face and her inspiring inner strength. Love that girl!
Hard to catch these two standing still long enough for a good pic
And of course, we HAD to make a road trip down to Indiana to see where Uncle Kody and Aunt Carrie live. They are ranch hands, among many other things, and their hay-sprinkled life can only be described as charming.

This is the barn apartment where Kody and Carrie live. Carrie had wrapped presents waiting on the kids when they got there, and she had stocked her house with things I can eat (like almond milk and gluten free pancake mix). We felt right at home!

Brave REALLY took to the barn cat. He cried when he had to leave him at the end of the weekend.

Uncle Kody stood at the grill and made us THE BEST chicken for dinner.

He and Carrie gave our kids rides on Delilah the pony. Around and around they went, making our day!
Suiting up in the tack room

It is a truly enchanting place!

Where once stood two stinky boys with messy rooms and oversized egos, there now stands two family men with laugh lines and good lives. I love those brothers of mine.

September 24, 2015

Great Lakes Summer, Part 7: Liz

Yes, she gets her own post.

Daniel is my guy, and Liz is my girl.

This summer, we had the distinct privilege of watching our kids become friends. It warmed the cackles of our kindred hearts.

Our daughters became especially good friends, which is simply wonderful, since I really love Cadence Bella and couldn't have picked a better friend for my little girl.

I cherish these three women.

The really fantastic thing about this summer was Liz happened to be between finishing up her job and starting her PhD, and I happened to be in the U.S.A. The stars had aligned! In this way, we were given more precious time together than we may ever get again in as many weeks.

We went to see Dirty Dancing on the big screen outdoors in downtown Grand Rapids.

She introduced Jubilee and me to THE WORLD'S BEST tacos. I'm not kidding (and I've been to Mexico).

And yes, we got tattoos!! We've been talking about it for years, and this time we did it. We just went and did it. And now we are blood sisters.
She went first. What a woman.
Oh the pain! 
His name was Archie. He got his first tattoo at the age of 11. 
I am reminded of my freedom in Christ. She is reminded to live in this moment.
I love her.

September 22, 2015

Great Lakes Summer, Part 6: Grammy and Gramps

My parents were good parents. Actually they were very good parents, all things considered. But they are EXCEPTIONAL grandparents.

My kids were under the impression all summer that after Grammy and Gramps had finished their morning coffee and newspaper, they existed only to please them. For the most part, it was true.

He's taught them to fish, of course.
She took em pickin'.
He taught him how to grill dinner.
She taught her how to knit.
They took em camping.
In the RV, of course.

He let him drive the boat.
She let her help with the pies.

He made them laugh.
She listened to their stories.
They took em to see the sights (and connect with their Dutch roots).
He carried their stuff down the beach.
So they could watch them have a good time.
They aren't afraid to have a good time themselves.

I loooooove my parents.