Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Silver Lake Recap

**Warning...this post got extremely long. I tried to break it up with pictures, but it is what it is. While I hope to entertain my readers I also use this blog for my own personal journal (and often refer back to it for my scrapbook layouts). As noted below, you can go here for the complete and edited photo album of our trip. It is worth checking out:)

Eric's parents have been trying to get Eric, the kiddos, and myself up to Silver Lake for a few years now. They go every summer and Eric has been there in the past as well. Honestly, I will admit I have always been hesitant to go (questioning what in the world do you do on sand dunes for endless hours when you are Add to the equation that neither Eric nor myself have been thrilled about driving 5+ hours with the kiddos and we have put the issue on the back burner. Finally, earlier this year we said "okay, why not...let's go". We opted to book a hotel versus staying at a local campground as Eric's parents do (largely in part due to this experience).

Last Thursday (with Eric running on a mere 3 hours of sleep as he worked the night before) we headed out. We left around 1:30 in the afternoon anticipating the kiddos would nap in the car. Thirty minutes into our trip Parker proclaimed he was starving (already...we just had lunch), Garrett had to pee (didn't you just go before we left), and Ryder was screaming his head off (this was expected). We pulled into Burger King's parking lot and I quickly ran in and grabbed the kiddos something to eat. I returned to the Jeep and Eric hopped out where he proceeded to run into Taco Bell for the two of us (did I mention we were also pulling a trailer loaded with bikes, luggage, Eric's dirt bike, coolers, etc). The remainder of our drive went something like this...Garrett fell asleep, Ryder pulled his hair, Garrett woke up, Ryder screamed, Ryder screamed, Ryder fell asleep (thank you, dear Lord!), we hit some nasty rain, I learned of Michael Jackson's death (still somewhat shocked over this one), Ryder woke up, quick stop at a rest area, Ryder puked, Garrett let us know Ryder "stinks like baby puke", stop at Meijer's for groceries and to change "stinky" Ryder, and the kiddos all fell asleep five minutes before we arrived.

We pulled into the parking lot of our hotel around 9:00pm where Eric's parents met us to help unload (thank you!). The kiddos spent some time (okay, a lot of time) jumping on the beds. Finally, at 11:30pm we were all asleep...only to all be up by 5:30 Friday morning

With only six hours of sleep little dude was ready for a nap by 7:30am. I stayed back at the hotel with him while Eric and the older two boys headed out on the dunes in our Jeep. A few hours later they discovered Ryder and I walking alongside the road (hey, we needed to explore as well). Together, the five of us headed over to the campground to meet up with Eric's family. The campground sits on the edge of Silver Lake and the boys were anxious to get into the water. At the time I did not have their swim trunks and such with us; however, that did not prevent the kiddos from getting in the water. They happily ran around on the beach, splashed in the water, and enjoyed themselves.

Then, the itching began! Literally, two minutes after stepping foot out of the lake Parker began to itch. All over. Then he began to wail. And whine. We left Garrett and Ryder with Eric's parents while we took Parker back to the hotel to shower. Upon returning to the campsite we discovered Garrett was now itching, too. What in the world?! We quickly ate lunch with two itchy and wailing kiddos. With that the kiddos needed a nap (and the older two boys some Benedryl). I tended to the overtired, itchy, and wailing kiddos while Eric left with his dirt bike to ride on the dunes. In time all of the boys napped and everyone woke up happy (and no longer itching).

Eric returned from the sand dunes with a broken dirt bike (ooops!). Together, we all headed out on the sand dunes in the Jeep. The older two boys were super excited to show Ryder and I the dunes as they had been there earlier in the day. I truly was not expecting the sand dunes to be so vast, so beautiful, and...wait for it. FUN! Ryder's eyes were glued to the front window as he took in his surroundings. The older two boys squealed in delight from their seats. We parked the Jeep and got out to swim in Lake Michigan (this time with swim trunks!). It was warmer than expected and Parker loved the waves. However, Garrett (typically our water lover) was not a fan of the waves. Again, little dude continued to look around and was content to be involved in the action.

Saturday was a special day as it was Eric's 31st birthday. We joined my in-laws for a fabulous breakfast buffet. After breakfast, a stranger made by day (okay, trip) by offering to take a picture of the five of us. I like to think of my camera as my fourth baby; therefore, I do not hand it over to others easily. I am also finding that many people are intimidated by my camera and would rather not touch it LOL. As it would turn out our fellow tourist owns the same camera as I do. WooHoo!!! Enter glorious family photo...

That afternoon, Eric's parents treated us to a ride on a Pontoon Boat. The boys were giddy with excitement as we loaded the boat (with three kiddos we travel with an excessive amount of stuff). Garrett's loot of toys got dropped into the water (including his much adored Yuppy Puppy), but the staff was quick to retrieve his precious belongings. Ryder was less than thrilled to sport a life jacket; however, all three boys took delight in helping Grandpa Scott drive the boat.

We "docked" the boat so to speak on the dunes and ventured off the boat...there were dunes to be climbed by some and swimming by all. The photos truly do not do the dunes justice. Immediately, Parker and Garrett set off to climb them. Parker was lightening quick as he climbed up. Garrett made it up about halfway and then got frustrated. Ryder surveyed the scene from below and you could just tell he wanted up, too.

Yes, even I climbed up as well. I attempted to somewhat drag Garrett up with me (as I also toted along my camera), but was unsuccessful. Here is a view from the top...

After a quick slide down the dune we did some swimming. Garrett was happy with the lack of waves. Eric and I are loving that all three boys seem to share a love for the water. Little dude got cold after awhile and took to throwing various objects overboard while others fetched them for him. Repeat over and over.

We then headed back to return the boat and off for some much needed naps. That afternoon all five of us happily napped together in one room (a family first). Later that evening we joined Grandpa Scott and Grandma Sheila for dinner followed by a campfire and smores.

Sunday morning we packed up as we had to check out of the hotel by 11:00am. Much to our surprise (and awesome teamwork) we were all loaded up again by 10:00am. Eric suggested the boys have custom t-shirts created and off we went...

Shortly, after that Uncle David and Cousin Kyra arrived for their stay as well. The older kiddos embarked on a walk/bike ride while Ryder took a super short nap in the camper.

With that the kiddos were eager to take a ride on the Go-Karts and Bumper Cars they had seen earlier. Both Parker and Garrett agreed they enjoyed the Go-Karts more than the Bumper Cars (siting they were rough).

Finally, we ended our trip with an AWESOME adventure on Mac Wood's Dune Ride. This year marked 79 years of their business and it is family ride. I was doubtful if little dude would get to ride; however, he sat on Eric's lap, held on tight, and laughed. The view was incredible, the tour guide entertaining, and it was a fun way to end our trip.

All in all we had a great time (minus the itching scare). I found the atmosphere to be very family oriented and friendly. Every sales associate, waitstaff personal, and hotel staff we came into contact with was beyond helpful and pleasant. I have been asked if I would consider going back. Yes, in a heartbeat. I will bite my tongue and apologize for wondering what in the world I would find so entertaining about sand dunes. The kiddos have loved sharing with others their Silver Lake stories and pictures.

Truly, I believe this trip gave us the confidence to travel as a family of five. Considering the crazy schedule (or lack of schedule) the kiddos had they did amazingly well. Yes, traveling with young kiddos provides the opportunity for many bumps in the road. It is a road worth traveling, though.

For more photos of our trip go here. Upon returning home I discovered I had taken 656 photos while we were gone. Yes, 656 photos. I managed to edit 100 photos into a nice album that best represents our trip. No, my OCD self did not plan for exactly 100 photos. It just happened to work out that way;)

1 comment:

jenney said...

Ok, I'll admit I didnt' read all this (sorry, my attention span stinks these days) but it looks like a wonderful trip!!!


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