The Cottage is the Thing Pt. 1

Summer for Michiganders consists of many small grievances. Mosquitoes, construction zones, humidity and firework season. But for all those hot weather annoyances there is one sweet bit of relief we can all share.  The Cottage.

Being the Great Lakes State is pretty awesome when you think about it. We’re surrounded by 3 incredible bodies of water in our country. And all along the banks of those lakes are beaches. And just beyond the sand there are cottages. Where there is beach and lake front in Michigan a cottage is not far away.

Everyone has their own little piece of ‘Up North’ (what Michiganders call anything 40 minutes north of where they live). Be it a campground they spent their childhood summers at. Or the cabin their great-grandpa built by hand. Some prefer the Michigan side, others head for the big inland lakes like Houghton and Torch. And a few brave and intrepid souls wander all the way up to Superior every summer.

Our family? We go to Huron every summer. We’re a Huron kind of family. Our beach is the pristine and uncrowded stretch in Oscoda. Our beach is the one that the entire country sees in our famous ‘Pure Michigan’ tourism commercials. It’s lovely.

I can’t even remember how many years now we’ve been coming except that my dad never came so it has to be within the past 10 years. And I never remember being there without Michael, so that narrows it further to 8. That’s a lot of memories. And so many more to come.

And it’s only gotten better and more important now that I have kids. To give them this time, in nature, out of the city, with their extended family. It’s such an important tradition to me.

This year we added to the tradition by inviting my inlaws, Jiddo John and Teta Hilda and bro-in-law André to share the Father’s Day weekend with us. And I’m so glad we did. It’s the first time both sides of our family have spent this much time together since our wedding. How lucky are we that they get along and enjoy each other’s company? Everyone had a great time.

Our lovely stretch of Pure Michigan. Isn’t it stunning?

IMG_2553

It was cold. Even cold for Up North. But Cedella could not stay away from the lake.

IMG_2542

Miss Isora discovered a natural affinity for digging. She did so for hours.

IMG_2545

Hours of digging made Biz hungry and exhausted. Breastfeeding on the beach? Win. Win. So glad I have these beautiful photos to remember our breastfeeding relationship.

IMG_2568

And…passed out. The beach is the perfect spot for a nap. Don’t mind André, he’s a beach-posing pro.

IMG_2573

Fun times around the fire circle. My Mom lives for a good camp fire. S’mores and beers and whiskey and wine and laughs and oh yea…fire. What’s not to love? I think my FIL and MIL loved the fire as much as we did. We had some really good laughs and told lots of stories. If it hadn’t have been so damn cold we could have stayed out there all night.

IMG_2524

So when it got too cold outside we packed it in and poured some drinks and started out playing a game called Apples to Apples. Which was all very fine and funny and PG-13. Clearly we needed to step it up and take it to an NC-17. Enter Cards Against Humanity. Officially it’s a game in which a question is asked (black card) and the person with the best answer wins (white cards). It’s totally arbitrary based on the person reading the black cards taste and sense of humor. Though it had the potential to totally offend the old folks they had a blast. In fact my FIL John won the first game and my MIL Hilda won another game!! We laughed so hard we cried. And we got my Mom to say “Motherfucking Sorcerer” (Thank you Kylara for masterminding that one). If you are looking for a good time and every one is over 16, get Cards Against Humanity. You won’t regret it.

IMG_3182

Cold and rainy days require lots of good things to read. And lots of folks to read them to you. Uncle André put in some time reading fairy books with Cedella.

IMG_2526

While Isora did a little light reading catching up on the goings-on in Westeros.

IMG_2529

Beers and walks on the beach. Works for us 😉

IMG_3105

The Grandmas and their wiggling silly Granddaughters.

IMG_2521

Bedtime with Jiddo.

IMG_3110

Thankfully by Sunday it was quite a bit warmer so the beach was the thing. Besides, this kid couldn’t be deterred from the water. See LOVES the lake.

IMG_2555

Jiddo John and Uncle André had a blast flying kites with the girls.

IMG_2608

Shells and tadpoles and a million little creatures captured Dad and Ella’s imaginations.

IMG_2570

Braving the icy cold waters of Lake Huron.

IMG_2580

My sisters chillin’ on the beach.

IMG_2612cropped

The Mansour guys and the Mansour little ladies. A handsome bunch, no?

IMG_2606

Father’s Day lunch was delicious. We made beef and pork kabobs, salad, asparagus and of course lots of delicious watermelon.

IMG_2627

We managed to find a Father’s Day version of the best. Card. Ever. It’s a Hamburger that sings a really obnoxious song. And it makes all of us laugh ever time we play the song. Ella found it at Target. She was so pleased with herself to give it to her Dad.

IMG_2650

The whole gang (minus a sleeping Izzie). All these people I love, that love each other, that love my babies. God, I just really love this picture.

IMG_2659

Have you taken a trip with both sides of your married family? What are your family summer vacation traditions? Are you a Michigander? Which Lake is yours?

Well that was quite a photo bomb…but guess what? There’s a LOT more. Coming up is Part II…our day trips to Dinosaur Gardens & Ocqueoc Falls and other spots in the great Up North.

 

 

 

 

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: 2012 Wrap Up

2012 was quite a year. A crazy, busy, exciting, brilliant, exasperating, joyful and crazy year. We started the year with one independent child and ended the year with an independent diva and a smiley new toddler. And we took an awful lot of pictures along the way.

Wordless/Wordful/Nearly Wordless Wednesday are a staple around these parts. Some weeks these are the only posts I do. Cause I know the pictures of my sweet babies, that’s why you’re here, right?

The hard part? Picking the pictures for this post. I have a bit of an editing problem. Especially because I love every single picture of my girls. Every. Single. One.

So this is one (or maybe two or three) picture(s) for each month of last year from one of my W Wednesday posts. Enjoy!!

JANUARY Bang the Drum. Cedella got a set of drums for her 2nd birthday. This picture captures her personality so completely. Adventurous, silly, joyous and so incredibly noisy. Just the other day my Mom asked “Does she ever shut up?”. And the answer is…nope.

FEBRUARY Social Butterflies. The month of February we were super busy. Showers and playdates. Paczkis and Valentines. I was only a couple weeks away from giving birth and was big as a mobile home. But a pregnant tired Mommy doesn’t really mean much to a busy little Monkey. Here she is, acting a fool, at my cousin’s wife’s baby shower. And bonus…me and Katie. Her daughter is only a month younger than Isora. No, really, I was HUGE.

MARCH In These Quiet Moments was written two days before Isora was born. I will never forget the sweetness of this moment with my Monk. And the before we knew it… She’s Here. Isora Rose was born on an 80 degree St. Patrick’s Day. It was glorious. Wanna read her birth story? HERE you go.

APRIL The New Girl was just sleepy and squishy enough to let me take some really pretty newborn photos. Who needs a photographer when you’ve got Pinterest for inspiration and photography tutorials? I can’t even handle how wrinkly and roll-y she is in these pictures. And the light. Swooning.

MAY We celebrated 50 years of marriage of my amazing Grandparents with a really lovely party. And we struggled with the onslaught of sibling rivalry and Cedella’s inevitable sense of displacement in My Beautiful Monster (I ridiculously love this picture of her).

JUNE For the love of the beach we spent ten days at the cottage on Lake Huron. And it was relaxing, rejuvenating and so much fun. For seven days it was just me, my girls, my sisters and my mom. All us girls. Thrifting and eating and sunbathing and playing board games. Can’t wait to go again this year.

JULY Saw our first trip to the ER and Cedella’s First Battle Scar. It was gut-wrenching and horrible but in the end a rite of passage and a truly eye-opening experience. We learned how incredibly brave and resilient our dear Ella is.

AUGUST The Olympics enraptured us for several weeks in August. Getting to share the triumphs and joys of the Fabulous 5 with my daughter was super cool. And now she’s in gymnastics class where Jordyn Wieber got her start. But it was Usain Bolt that really got us jumping out of our seats.

SEPTEMBER Where the Wild Things Are captured an awesome family trip to the zoo. Cedella became obsessed with maps (thanks Dora) and me and Izzie put on babywearing demos throughout the Detroit zoo. And we celebrated TeTe’s birthday at a super delicious restaurant. Lots of family fun…

OCTOBER This was the second year I participated in the Week in My Life challenge. And boy did we have a busy week. We started out on Monday at the pumpkin patch and by the end of the week we were trick-or-treating (with some baby smiles in between). It was a busy busy month and I barely made it to post every day (never did get Saturday and Sunday published).

NOVEMBER I didn’t publish a single WW post in November. In fact I only published one post in the entire month. Guess we were busy. But I did post our pics from Silver Balls in December even though it happened in November. Though if I was on top of things I would have had a whole post about our Thanksgiving road trip to South Carolina. But no, all I have is us at Silver Balls and the girls through the years (which I LOVE looking at)

DECEMBER We began Teaching Democracy when we protested right-to-work laws at our state Capitol and even got to meet our Mayor. And tis the season for Here Comes Santa Claus as Izzie had her first encounter with the big guy.

Wow. It was quite a year. Looking back on it, it was a really really good one. Hope you enjoyed going through these pics as much as I did.

If you haven’t checked it out yet please take a look at my Life List post from yesterday and check out all the great posts through the linky.

Happy Wordful Wednesday everyone!!

 

Week in My Life: Monday

Hello there! Welcome to Babies & Bacon and the Week in My Life meme. I’m linking up every single day this week with Melissa at Adventuroo for a snapshot into my life and family.

I really enjoyed participating last year and reading through my posts yesterday made me all at once nostalgic, happy and proud. You can read about it HERE.

I’m excited to see how this week plays out…

Today is a special day for Babies & Bacon as I launched my new blog design courtesy of Erika Zane at EZ Creative. She has worked tirelessly on the design and though we had a brief moment of panic frustration anxiety as my blog went down earlier, it all worked out and here it is! What do you think?

So this morning started out as many mornings in our house do. Panicked.

Izzie has been sick for the past five days after suffering an extreme reaction to a vaccine. For three days straight she had a fever over 101 that Tylenol couldn’t even put a dent in. She hadn’t slept for more than 45 minute stretches for three days. An exhausted baby = an exhausted family.

So when we finally got a chance to sleep for hours on end this morning? We took it. Cause who wants to get out of bed when this is your view?

After rushing to get myself and both girls dressed and ready, pack the diaper bag and shove food and coffee into our pie holes we were finally on our way to our monthly Lansing Babywearers meeting.

At 10am.

The meeting starts at 10am.

And that folks, is why I will be 10 minutes late to my own funeral.

I love going to the Babywearers meeting. Essentially it’s like a really fun playgroup with women that don’t look at me funny if I whip out a boob to feed my baby or spend a chunk of change on a very large (albeit beautiful and handmade) scarf to wrap my baby in.

Isora has finally got back into her personality after being sick for so long and played with other babies.

Cedella had a chance to play with her little friend, who she has been talking about for weeks. I think we need to plan a playdate asap.

After the meeting we headed home for lunch and naps.

Lunch was hot dogs, avocado, pears and fried rice.

Though it may seem trivial and inconsequential I love these times. Me and my girls just sitting, laughing, eating, enjoying each others company. Watching the girls interact with each other. Watching Izzie try new things. Seeing Ella becoming a little person and choosing what she wants.

After lunch I got the girls upstairs for nap time. After about 26 seconds of Mama Milk, Isora was out like a light. Poor baby needed a good nap.

I read three LONG books to Cedella and she wasn’t remotely tired. Someone has been taking naps very sporadically lately. I’m just hoping this isn’t the end of her naps. Cause Mama needs those two hours in the afternoon without a toddler speaking. Cause seriously, this girl never. Stops. Talking.

Instead of napping I insisted on quiet time. We went downstairs and she read books, played and talked to her imaginary friends while I checked email, read blogs, Facebooked and tried (in vain) to figure out something for the theme installation of the new design on here.

By the time 2pm hit we rushed around, once again, to get to the chiropractor before going to meet Michael to head for our family pumpkin picking outing.

We have this tradition. Well, had.

We usually go to the cider mill on my birthday. But Uncle John’s where we usually go was kinda lame the last time, not to mention the donuts weren’t fresh, so I complained that I didn’t want to go there and so we didn’t.

But we also didn’t go anywhere else. And I really missed the tradition and family-time of it all…

So today was an unseasonably warm October day (70 in Michigan in late October? Crazy.) so we decided to go to the Peacock Road Tree Farm for some pumpkins. And it was fantastic.

Besides pumpkins there’s a fantastic Animal Park full of barnyard animals to look at.

Cedella was in complete awe to see bunnies and llamas and goats up close. Though she immediately said that the place was ‘stinky’ and put her finger under her nose. I had to bust out the line ‘everybody poops’.

Despite the smell she persevered and actually made friends with a couple of kids.

Isora even got in on the act as she tried to claw her way out of the wrap to get at the goats.

And got honked at by some geese. Man does she love playing around with her Daddy.

Picking pumpkins is like picking Christmas trees. Just when you think you found a perfect one there’s another one that looks slightly better. Though in this case, so late in the season, everything was pretty rotten.

Thankfully Izzie was sleeping, cause Ella was being very picky. First she wanted green. Then orange. Then orange and green. In the end she settled on the one we suggested. At least she followed my advice once today.

By the time we got back to the parking lot, with our four pumpkins Isora was awake and smiling. She’s just a little pumpkin herself.

So glad that we actually went through with this idea. Now we have a new fun place to get pumpkins AND Christmas trees :)

We headed home to make a nice fall dinner, Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup. It was delicious!

And while last year Monk was so intent on being in the kitchen with me, this year, she was all about watching episodes of Dora on Netflix. Boo.

Bedtime was a blur since both girls were tired and we wanted to watch the last Presidential debate. Michael is in charge of getting Cedella down and I’m responsible for Isora.

Someone was more than a little sad that I was putting on her pajamas.

But put a nipple in her mouth and all is right with the world.

With both girls asleep it was time for the debate and some grown-up time.

I wouldn’t call it ‘quality time’ as I was on Twitter, Facebook and text throughout the debate, but the Mr and I definitely enjoyed ourselves.

I am once again incredibly thankful that when it comes to politics and raising our kids my husband and I are 100% in agreement. Otherwise things would be pretty damn difficult over here.

And that is how the Mansour family does a Monday in 2012.

How was your Monday? Do you like the new blog design? Can’t wait to see what all of you were up to today…

Thanks to Melissa for another great meme this year!! Click the button below to find other awesome ‘Week in My Life’ posts!

Adventuroo