Well we are now in the upper peninsula of Michigan, or the UP as the locals call it, with my parents, my sister and her family, and my brother. We are here for a week in celebration of my father’s retirement. Last June my dad celebrated his second retirement. His first retirement came after serving in the U.S. Army for two decades and then he went on to teach high school science for Pittsburgh schools. Last June we celebrated the end of that journey. We wanted to do something special to honor the years of service and hard work my father dedicated to supporting his family so we rented a cabin in the UP for a week. This is our first week-long vacation together since we were children. My dad was touched by the gift and we have all been eagerly anticipating this week for the past year.
On Friday morning we packed up the car after Toby went to work for a few hours to wrap up the job he was working on before he left on vacation. He was home by nine and after strapping down our four rubbermaid containers of food on the back and the fishing poles on top we were ready to leave. Before we left I gave the kids their travel bags. I decided that traveling 10 hours might be easier on Tyler and more fun for the kids if they had a bag of treats and activities to keep them occupied. It was a good plan. All the kids were thrilled and it made traveling for hours in the confines of a very tightly packed car more enjoyable.
After seven hours of driving we made it to our first pit stop..Aunt Kelly’s house in northern Michigan. We arrived around 6:00 pm and the kids were all glad to get out of the car and run and play with cousins. My parents were already there with my brother who flew to their home from Texas and drove up with them. A pizza party was waiting for us. After rounding up some very excited kids we sat down and ate and then had a birthday party for our three August birthday kids. Tyler, Lydia and Noah all have birthdays within 3 days of each other so we took advantage of our opportunity to celebrate together and had gifts, cupcakes and rootbeer floats. Tyler was thrilled to receive a badminton set, a sling shot and a bag of gags and jokes. The gifts couldn’t have been more perfect for Tyler!
The next morning we had a big breakfast and the kids spent the morning playing while the adults dropped of Kelly’s dogs at the kennel, purchased fishing licenses, picked up the house and repacked cars…oh, and rescued a bird. Our busy morning was interrupted by a bird getting caught in my sister’s garage. Despite all our attempts to guide it out the huge, open garage door, it wouldn’t go. We worried that if we left it in there when we left for the UP we would come home to a very dead Tweety so with the aid of Toby and two nets we continued our rescue mission and eventually caught it and released it back outside.
We were soon loaded up and were off again for another 3 hours in the car to get to our rental home on Boot Lake. The drive was beautiful..although crossing Mackinaw bridge was a bit unnerving as the wind blew the cars around as if they were fallen leaves.. BUT we made it and we were thrilled to find our home for the week even better than we expected!
The home is three stories tall and roomy enough for our entire crew. My parents were given the beautiful master bedroom that has its own balcony overlooking Boot Lake. There is also a room perfect for the kids. It is painted with Winnie the Pooh murals and is full of bunk beds so all the cousins can sleep together. It is a charming place and it reminds us all of the cabin we would visit as kids that belonged to my Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Howard. Like their home, it sits in the woods surrounded by tall pine trees. There is a deck that wraps around the house and leads to a set of stairs that takes you down to your own private dock. It is very beautiful.
It was wonderful to get the cars unloaded, the food put away and get everything settled for the week so that the fun could begin.
“And now,” cried Max, “Let the wild rumpus begin!”