Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sleeping Bear

The conclusion to a weekend in Traverse City was spent visiting The Sleeping Bear Dunes.
 Jason and Isaiah Krohn were able to join us for the trip. 
The dunes are part of The National Lakeshore, which means they are owned and operated by the government. In 2011, it was named the most beautiful place in America-by the ABC's network morning show "Good Morning America."

On the way to the dunes is a little town called Glen Haven. We spotted this Herbie car in the parking lot. What else can you do if you have a white VW bug, but paint it like Herbie?

Skipping rocks and looking for Petoskey stones.
We found a few.
This is what a Petoskey stone looks like. We didn't find any this big.

The water was freezing. Lake Michigan doesn't warm up too much this far north.

I love Elliot's face here as it perfectly captures the shock of the cold.
 The kids were offered .25c if they went completely under, all three took up the challenge. 

This man was doing some blacksmithing. He explained some techniques and tidbits about life in the village  from when it was thriving.

A boat museum is housed in what used to be a cannery.  

The Sleeping Bear is a Chippewa Indian legend.
Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tired and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear.

A test of strength and stamina is to climb back up.  Signs are posted warning that if rescuers are needed to assist you back up the dune, a fee will be charged. We would consider doing the fun run down and the arduous climb up, when the kids are older.
Hopefully by then we won't be too old to do it ourselves.
A scenic drive allows easy access to this viewing point from the dune.
Elliot and Isaiah trying to find some good jumping points. 

At the top of the dune.  
The view is marvelous and a reminder of just how beautiful the Great Lake State can be. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Don't mess with Texas.

Texas can be checked off our list. The dream to visit all fifty States has begun with a visit to the second largest State in the Union.  This was a first for me and the kids. Nathan did his basic training for the Air Force in San Antonio, so technically he has been to the State, although this was his first time getting to explore.
We sincerely hope, it will be the first of many return visits.
Uncle Graham with his daughter Kara and grand-son Ashton and Uncle Grant.  
Someone forgot to smile in this picture can you guess who?

We stayed in the home of Uncle Grant and Aunt Gloria. They have two grown kids Sean and Kenny.  We were spoiled by great company and the best cooking. The kids got to swim in a pool and play with a dog.  We really didn't want to leave.

Chance, the dog was a hit with the kids who desperately want a pet.
I was really impressed at how little he barked and how easy going he was with the kids.

Uncle Grant and Aunt Gloria have a community pool shared by their subdivision.
My kids would spend their life in the water and were thrilled at visiting the pool every day.
Jane's first visit to American Girl Store.  No doll was purchased at this visit.

Cosmic Jump was the name of this place that has a bunch of trampolines set up. You could slam dunk a basketball or bounce off walls. The kids liked this dodge ball area.


We even saw a Rhinoceros Hornbill!
A favorite bird we would often see at the Aviary in Kowloon Park.


The ASTROS and RANGERS are both Texas teams.
They compete over this trophy.
Rangers won that day. 

Across the way is the Dallas Cowboy Stadium

It was a hot first inning. We weren't sure if we were going to make it.
The clouds came out in the second and we were able to sit and enjoy the game.

Boo Cruz! He had recently got a lot of runs off the Tigers, we were keeping our loyalties.

Cousin Sean took pity on how hot it was and bought the kids lemon ice.

There was a stadium wide wave  going on during the game.
 "Deep in the heart of Texas" was played during the 7th inning stretch. 

A visit to Uncle Graham's house. He has a pond, golf cart, woods for a backyard, and neighbors who own donkeys. He got the kids to make donkey calls, something he often does with Ashton to get the donkeys closer and feed them.

Jane and dad hanging on in the back.


The Longhorns

They added a challenge, requiring you to spell the word maze by getting a card punched at letter stations.
It was super hot and although they had water spraying out from above, it didn't quite bring relief. I stayed out while dad and kids went through.
This maze was featured on the Amazing Race show.

Jane riding the bull. She stayed on a lot longer than eight seconds.  

Three of the six flags.

Kenny was taught  how to play Monopoly Deal, on our last night.
When he was about Elliot's age, he memorized the Monopoly board and it was his favorite game. We thought he would like this abbreviated version played with cards.
Thank You Sweeneys for the great time in Texas!