Saturday, January 02, 2016


Post Christmas and we are off to Michigan to hang with Tracy's sister Tammy and her family. The kids were super excited to hang with their cousins and our parents were VERY generous and gave each family a bit of funny money for Christmas and we used it well!

Its a 10 hour drive but we managed to avoid any traffic or weather so it was pretty smooth sailing. We convinced the kids to get up and out the door by 7am so we'd be there in time for dinner. Mission accomplished!  We spent the night catching up, eating pizza and making plans for the week. General craziness ensued and Jeff had to put the kids on lock down around 1:30am when they couldnt settle down.

1st up?   Football!1 The Vikings won, the Packers lost and we forced the kids into an hour outside of mandatory fun = around the world basketball game.  We grilled out and Tracy took a walk on the beach with Nikki. Forgot how peaceful it is to walk on a beach with the waves and a dog running free.  We saw a bald eagle dive into Lake Michigan, catch a perch and then flew directly over our heads. you could literally see the fish wiggling in the claws of the eagle. Super cool.  (They live in a really cute, quaint and fun small town no the eastern side of Lake Michigan.) Tammy taught Kay/Billy how to play dominos and they were at it for HOURS.  We also hit the arboretum in Grand Haven. They have a Christmas tree display of trees from around the world and cool outdoor walks through different kinds of gardens. I could have stayed much longer than the attention span the kids had that day....

Next pelt storm.  It was really odd, it wasn't snow and wasn't hail, more like tiny frozen ice pelts that accumulated like snow but felt like frozen sand.  The storm wiped out power in 1/2 the town but that didn't stop us ... we had ticket to Star Wars and we were going, hell or high water (or ice pelt storm) It was amazing, a definite must see although I'm not sure the people sitting next to Billy, Herbie and Joey appreciated the constant stream of chatter from 2 11 yr old and 1 8 yr old boy. We also played basketball at the Y, Kay/Herbie got in an hour of gymnastics open gym time and we started our daily ritual of highly competitive card games - today's was Trash Can.  The Gophers won in Detroit and the Wild beat the Red Wings. All was right in the world...

Tuesday, now we are in for some serious activity ... The boys went to open gym basketball, we all worked out in the fitness center (Kay/Billy running the track, using the rowing machine and jumping rope) Billy, Joey and Kay swam in the family pool (think mini-indoor water park) and the adults got some good sweat on as well. We needed it in prep for Tom's pork verde dinner - Tracy's favorite and too good. We also discovered a dice game (Left Right Center) and the kids were literally on their feet, shouting and laughing the whole game. It was super fun and now we need to buy it for ourselves.  Did I mention this is a competitive crew?  It was basically high impact, full combat dice.

Since we hadn't gotten enough activity (right....) on Wednesday we headed to bowling and Skyzone (Trampoline park)  Kay won both bowling matches and while her form is awkward, she's consistent and straight down the middle.  Jimmy has a power throw but is easily frustrated and bowled the 2nd frames trying to spin the ball the whole way down. Joey is  a great sport and was encouraging everyone on every turn.  Skyline was crazy sweaty time of dodgeball, dunking baskets and flips.  The kids were worn out after an hour and so we were off to dinner at Kirbys. The restaurant has a nice set up with an arcade and pool table upstairs and dining downstairs so we were able to have a nice adult conversation while the kids played and won prizes in The Claw.  Then, home again for more L,R,C

We were up at the crack of dawn again for the drive home. Goal was to get home before the start of the Clemson game at 3pm.  We started the day with Tim Hortons breakfast ( a real treat) which included 2 made to order Chicken Sandwiches - Jimmys favorite. Well fed, we were off and ... We made it!!  It was a record drive,  2 short stops, 9 hours and happy kids.  Once home, the kids reconnected with their neighborhood friends, we unpacked, started wash and then hung out with the neighbors to ring in the new year. Very chill. Oh, and Clemson won:)

New Years Day was more football, friends and chores. We managed to get caught up on household needs and spent a fun night of ribs and The Princess Bride with the Orvedahls.  This also included a 1/2 hearted attempt to watch the Rose Bowl, which really wasn't a very engaging game.

Now, its the weekend and we have a Bat Mitzvah, dinner with the Millers, gymnastics, TKD and Jim/Tom have tickets to the Viking/Packer game - go Pack!!

Seriously fun vacation. Awesome to be with family, be active, play games and have down time before the start of school and the work routine again.

We are so blessed!  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for the funny money, we used it well:)

bonus photo of the murphy