Fun on Whitmore Lake

After a day with the Moores, we spent a day with the van Kampens. Casey’s dad lives on Whitmore Lake, so we met them there for lots of fun – swimming, boating, tubing, croquet, and bocce ball. Luuk and Sylvia are nearly the same age as Spencer and Meg, and they got along swimmingly. Thanks for having us!

Tour of Ann Arbor

While in Michigan last week, we spent some time giving the kids a bit of a tour of Ann Arbor, including some of our favorite places. We stopped by our old house on 1st St., which is still there, and mostly the same. There appear to be some upgrades, like central air conditioning, which we did not have while we lived there. We also visited Cafe Verde, where we had our first date, and the Kuenzel Room in the Michigan Union, where we got married. The kids whined for awhile, but we pushed through. It was fun to reminisce.

Swimming and boating on Horseshoe Lake

We spent quite a lot of time last week swimming and boating on Horseshoe Lake. The water was quite warm. Meg spent much of the time pretending to be Chloe Daisy. I was Jimmy Johnson, and Spencer was Antonio Brown. Chloe and Jimmy got married several times, mostly in the lake, or on the dock. She has such a great imagination!

Horseshoe Lake

We really enjoyed the beauty of Horseshoe Lake last week, especially the sunsets

Silly faces

I got a new lens today the Canon 75-300mm USM. I mostly got it so I could take pictures of Spencer’s football games. I actually got the 50-250mm STM, but I think I like this one better. I think I will wait on an STM until I upgrade my body. The t3i doesn’t support the video benefits that the STM lenses offer, and I am not really doing much video at the moment.
Meg helped me test out the new lens by making funny faces. These are directly as they were from the camera – no editing.

Happy birthday Meg and Spencer!

Spencer turned 7 on the 21st and Meg turned 5 on the 27th. We celebrated on the 27th at JumpStreet (it was actually supposed to be a different indoor trampoline place, but the closed after we had booked our party – fortunately we were able to get into a different place at the same time).
Spencer and many of the boys played football for almost the entire party, in spite of being surrounded by all sorts of trampolines and what not. It was nearly 70 degrees, so we could have had the party outdoors, but you can’t really count on that in February. Meg had an Inside Out themed party; Meg dressed up like Joy, and Clare dressed up like Sadness. Spencer wore his favorite football jersey – Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Noshing nieces and nephews in New York

After we had some great fun in Philadelphia we headed up to Clinton, New York to visit the Dibbles. We had a really nice time. Highlights included visiting the Rich Dibble farm, meeting the newest addition Rosemary, hiking around Hamilton college, some great New York pizza, incredible food for Thanksgiving dinner, and a very relaxed, mostly unplugged time. Keep reading for about 80 magnificent pictures.
p.s. The above group picture was the only one which didn’t have a kid sticking out their tongue! It looks like Spencer is giving us the bird, but I think that is unintentional. Unfortunately Abe had to leave to tend to a cow before we took the picture.

Family reunion day 5

On the last day of the reunion, several of us went on a 2-3 mile hike right from the cabin. That was nice because we didn’t have to worry about parking or shuttles in the park. After lunch, we headed back to the gokart place for some repeat gokart rides, batting cages, and bumper boats. Then we headed over to the mini-golf place to use up my free token. We got back to the cabin around 4 to make fajitas for dinner. Spencer passed out for several hours; we tried to rouse him to eat dinner, but we were unsuccessful.

With the exception of it being difficult to get the kids to go to sleep, it was a very fun reunion. Here’s hoping we can do it again in 5 years.

Family reunion day 4

On the fourth day of the reunion, Spencer and I joined Dave, Ellen, Jackie, Grant, Jean Ann, James and Cecilia to tour an historic ranch in Estes Park. Spencer had a great time finding all the things in the little treasure hunt they had for kids. It was also neat to see lots of old farm machinery. The main thing I kept thinking was that it would be hard to concentrate on ranching, with such beautiful views as a distraction.

After lunch I took Meg into town. We got some tomatoes and kettle corn from the farmer’s market, then Meg got a manicure and pedicure.

We finished up the day with a trip to the cheap mini-golf place. I got a hole in one on the 19th hole, so we got a free game voucher!

Family reunion day 3

For the third day of the family reunion, we woke up early and started our trek toward the Alpine Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is at almost 12,000 feet. We decided to go up the one-way dirt road on Old Fall River road, which was really beautiful. Getting a change to stop at Chasm falls was worth it. We took a guided nature walk with a park ranger, who told us all about the delicate ecosystem of the tundra, including fun facts like how it can take some plants up to 5 years to produce blossoms, and that some plants are furry, to help protect them from the harsh wind. It was pretty cold up there, and the kids were ready to go after about an hour, which was okay.

After the nature walk, we headed west a bit, and found a nice place to have a little picnic, by Lake Irene. We took a short walk, then started heading back down to Estes Park. We missed out on actually seeing Beaver Lake on Monday due to whiny children, so we decided to stop their on the way back. The kids actually fell asleep just before we got there, so Clare and I took turns admiring the view.

After we got back to the cabin, we took some family photos, and enjoyed some fun activities like football, horseshoes, and making s’mores.