Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Vacay 2011

***Warning: There is an obnoxious amount of pictures/text below!

Near the end of July we took our family of six on our first real, week long, vacation! (And, we survived!!!) We went to Traverse City (northern lower Michigan). Jason and I had traveled there often before we had kids – but, what a completely different experience with kids! We loved {almost} every minute of it – although I was disappointed that we never even set foot in downtown TC. We did however manage our own mini wine tour during ‘nap’ time :)

The first half of the week we stayed at Grand Traverse Resort – in a ONE room (regular) hotel room. We were squished, but I was so happy it was the first half of the trip - the kids didn’t know anything different. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! Talk about ‘fun in the sun’! We spent the first three days making trips to local beaches. The kids loved the sand. They didn’t venture far into the water, but it was just fine with me.

Traverse City 2011 067 (2)Traverse City 2011 016 (2)Traverse City 2011 031 (2)Traverse City 2011 062 (2)Traverse City 2011 038 (2)Traverse City 2011 047 (2)Traverse City 2011 072 (2)Traverse City_2 2011 070 (2)

We were smooshed into one itty bitty room (I chalked it up to some fabulous family bonding!) Quin didn’t seem to care either – her favorite part of the trip was the fact that she slept in a ‘huge’ bed, all by herself. No lie! The babes each slept in a ‘pack and play’. Traverse City_2 2011 068 (2)

Some of my favorite comments (and we heard MORE than our fair share of them) were about the kiddos backpacks. They each were responsible for carrying their own beach towels when we were going to swim, or their blankets when we were switching hotels. Traverse City 2011 081 (2)Traverse City 2011 084 (2)

In order to save money I brought food for breakfast (cereal, milk, yogurt, granola bars…) and we ate in our room. I also brought lunch food (sandwiches, fresh fruit and veggies, crackers, applesauce…). I packed our lunch each day in the cooler and we ate at the beach. We splurged on dinner out each night – and let’s face it, my sanity can only handle one ‘out to eat’ meal each day :) We laughed because every single place we went to, we were put in a distant corner. It was perfectly fine with me, less pressure to keep the kiddos quiet!

Traverse City_2 2011 054Traverse City_2 2011 049

My kids love ranch, and were in hog heaven – the servers always brought more than enough ‘dip’ to keep them happy! Easton became accustom to drinking it by the end of each dinner – ewwww!Traverse City_2 2011 055

And, my personal belief is that, no vacation is complete unless you eat ice cream at least once a day! We found a new ice cream place each day. We were in ice cream withdrawal after we came home. Traverse City_2 2011 115 (2)Traverse City_2 2011 116 (2)Traverse City_2 2011 117 (2)

We spent two days at an awesome park:Traverse City_2 2011 163 (2)

It had a great beach, huge playground, clean bathrooms and was right next to a marina. We spent one day there playing at the beach, but it was also the perfect place for us to kill a few hours when we switched hotels. If you are in that area with kids, it is worth checking out!Traverse City_2 2011 131 (2)Traverse City_2 2011 141 (2)

We spent the second half of our vacation at Great Wolf Lodge/Waterpark. We had a large suite, so it was a much more comfy stay! It had a large eat in area, and a separate bedroom for the kids.

Traverse City 2011 090 (2)Traverse City 2011 092 (2)

Well, we didn’t fair much better at this waterpark than the last. Jason and I both laughed that we spent a lot of money for them to stand ankle deep in water – so that they could people watch the same people who were watching us! Quin and Gianna did venture down the inside water slide a few times, but didn’t love that it ended in water (crazy kiddos!). They just aren’t water kid. I need to get them into private swimming classes – anyone know of someone local who does this? (I am serious!)

Traverse City 2011 124 (2)Traverse City 2011 144 (2)Traverse City 2011 134 (2)Traverse City 2011 164 (2)Traverse City 2011 166 (2) The second day we were there, they opened up the outside pool and we had much better luck out there! They had a slide that had water trickling down, and the triplets loved it! They also had a fountain/splash pad area which was perfect for all four kids. The outside pool was also ideal for Quin because the shallow end was just under 3 feet deep, so she could stand. Alleluia – vacation saved!!!

I do appreciate that once you get there, you really don’t have to leave! The first night we ordered pizza to our suite. The second night we had a great dinner in their restaurant – and the kids earned their ‘wolf ears’.Traverse City_2 2011 175 (2)

We loved the clock show/story time that they have in the main lobby each night – what a great way to cap off your day! Traverse City 2011 103 (2)Traverse City 2011 099 (2)Traverse City 2011 102 (2)

We took the long way home, and drove over to Sleeping Bears Dunes National Park. Jason had never been, and I thought the kids would love the dunes. Well… I didn’t totally think through the fact that it was over 90 degrees outside, which means that the sand was close to boiling! We had a good go at climbing them though! Jason took off first and I could hear him complaining the whole way up. By the time I caught up with him, Easton and Gianna’s feet were so red! We knew they wouldn’t make it much farther. Quin also decided that it wasn’t worth it. So the four of them turned back quickly. Ellery though – I love this girl! – she is one determined cookie. She didn’t care that her feet were the color of her red shirt! She wanted to get to the top. Traverse City 2011 199 (2)Traverse City 2011 202 (2)She and I made it about 3/4 of the way up, until my feet felt like they were going to burn up. I knew if my feet hurt, hers had to have been ten times worse. She was sooo mad. Screaming fit right there on the sand! I had to carry her, kicking and screaming, back down the dune under my arm.Traverse City 2011 201 (2)

Can you tell that I was the only one into the climb?!?!? Oh well!Traverse City 2011 206 (2)

I am so glad that we took the chance to go on our own! We had a blast – so many wonderful memories. Jason and I just have to laugh at all of the comments we got. If we had a dime for every time someone told us that we ‘had our hands full’, or asked if ‘they were all ours’ or told me that I ‘must have popped those kids out back to back’ – we could have had our whole trip paid for Smile {In all fairness, for every rude comment we got, we got ten more sweet/kind comments!} A big thank you to Jason for being such a team player – I couldn’t do it without him!

Monday, August 1, 2011

4th of July Decoration

Better late than never, right?!?!?
{Sure seems like I start a lot of entries on the note!}

I thought I would post these so that I could add them to the right side of our blog, maybe for next year...
Here is the view from the outside of our front window during the month of July:
The sun's glare was awful, and I totally forgot to go out later that night. So, here is a view from inside:

I took the same 'pattern' from the snowflakes that I made for the triplet's first birthday party, but changed it up with blue gingham and red/white striped papers. There are a ton of tutorials on how to make the snowflakes on YouTube!

And of course, I couldn't resist making handprint flags. Since we made a large flag with all of their handprints last year, I thought we would make individual flags.

I painted their hands blue and red, and then added the white star with a chalkboard marker after the blue dried. :)