Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Exploring the Michigan Coast

We are East Coast babies in our house.  I hate to admit that sometimes, because folks from the Midwest are truly so much nicer than we are - and we'd be lucky to be Midwesterners, but we're just not.  Our real problem has always stemmed from a bit of snobbery surrounding access to an ocean.  You know: Saltwater. Seafood. Undertow.

The Runner is not only a snobby East Coaster, he's also a stuck up New Englander. (Sorry, babe!)  I don't mean that he is rude - quite the contrary.  What I mean is that he likes certain things to be a certain way. Roads, for example. They should be windy and have trees that could be growing into your lane. Sugaring sap should run in most of them, too. There is no Spring where he is from, just Mud Season. I, too, have my moments. Mine typically center on access to fresh seafood and not being "land locked."  Ridiculous, I am aware.  But still.  When we first moved to Chicagoland I went to 4 different grocery stores before I could find a tin of Old Bay. (The pride of Maryland!)  I was extremely agitated by this - what kind of place were we living in now?  Clearly we were no where near the Bay, and I wouldn't be organizing large crab feasts in our backyard with tons of newspaper and paper towels and melted butter.  I mean, honestly, Dwyer. What were you expecting?!

Much of this changed, however, over the Fourth of July weekend.  On a whim that was characteristic of our lives before homeownership, we skipped town with zero plan on Saturday morning, just knowing that we were headed to the Michigan Coast to check things out.

WOW.  There were windy roads and farm stands and trees threatening to shove us into oncoming traffic. There was a big sandy beach with Mattituck-like waves. There were even signs alerting swimmers to the dangers of an undertow. An undertow!  In Lake Michigan! (I didn't need to read it, though. I could recite that warning in my sleep.)  The sand was so hot it burned The Runner's feet!  I did miss the salt and seafood, though.  But the perk of no salt is that you don't feel desperate for a shower immediately after leaving the beach.

We started in Holland and had a yummy lunch at the New Holland Brewing Company. Several of The Runner's friends had recommended it (for the beer), but the food was quite good on its own, especially the homemade hummus.  Then we hit Holland State Park where we burned our feet, read the riptide warning, swam, and threw some sand at other small children.  Oh, wait, that was The Talker.

On the 4th we drove into Saugatuck, an artsy little town with a rockin' Fourth of July parade. The Talker scored more candy than he did as a rootin-tootin' cowboy on Halloween.  Rosie cried when the fire trucks came through.  I aquired a coffee table book from the a group fighting to preserve the Saugatuck Dunes. It was a very generous parade. We drove home by way of South Haven, mainly because I needed some ice cream.

The whole coastline was gorgeous.  And everyone we've talked to since said it just gets more pristine and lovely as you drive north. Who knows?  Maybe our next adventure will take us up to Traverse City?  If you can't beat 'em (or organize a crab feast), join 'em.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Our smiley flower turns ONE today!  This year has simply flown by.  Between the exhaustion of a new (and refluxy) baby and a regular school schedule for the Talker, the time just whizzed on past.  I feel a bit sad about that.  She is changing fast - developing a formidable personality to compete with the other three attention grabbers in our house.  Yes, I've included the Runner and myself.  I'm honest, at least.

Here's a little photo retrospective of Rosie's first year!  Enjoy!

So, it's been a while.

WOW.  Two months of no blogging!  That's just too long.  I don't really have many excuses to give for my laziness, though we have been going through a few family adjustments since May.  But seriously, when are we not?!

Since I last wrote I've completed the Naperville Women's Triathlon, we've enjoyed our local swim and tennis club (still enjoying!), witnessed my father being ordained a Roman Catholic deacon (SO AWESOME.), and explored part of the Michigan coastline (gorgeous, sans salt).  It's been a busy two months.  We've got lots and lots of pictures to come - with stories to compliment them.  Or captions at least. 

And I'd been writing for the Chicago Moms Blog for the last several months, but their organization suddenly decided to close shop, so I've been avoiding blogging while I try to figure out whether or not I want to join up with a new Chicago mommy blogging community.  I'm still on the fence.  The thing is, I don't consider myself much of a self-marketer trying to "create my brand."  Frankly, I'm not sure if that's even real.  I'm interested in writing, of course, but I was running out of clever things to say to all of Chicago's moms on "the big blog."  For now I think I'm going to play it close to the vest and just write here for a while. And while I can't promise an all-kids-all-the-time theme, it does seem to be the one I like best.