Making Memories in Michigan


“Cousins are connected heart to heart. Distance and time can’t break them apart.”

How grateful I am for the sweet relationship my children have with their cousins. My children’s only first cousins are the offspring of my sister, Kelly, and her husband. This is due to the fact that my brother is not married and Toby is an only child.

Their five cousins live in Northern Michigan so they don’t get to see them as often as they would like (only a couple times a year) but it never ceases to amaze me at how seamless it is for them to simply pick up where they left off when they do get together again.

This weekend we drove to Michigan to spend Memorial Day weekend with my sister and her family. The meshing of our two families is easy and effortless. I love getting “sister time” with my little sister, Toby and Tom enjoy similar hobbies and get along well, and our 10 children, although ranging from almost 2 years old to 18 years old, always have a fun time together. It makes our time together stress free and enjoyable.

Although Kelly has been down to visit us a few times in the last two years we have not been up to visit her since before Ozzie moved in with us. He had never been to Aunt Kelly’s house and couldn’t wait to see where she lives and experience the beauty and fun of Michigan.

Michigan is a beautiful state, especially in the area where the Kirks have made their home. The area around Gaylord, Michigan is surrounded by lakes and wilderness. Toby loves to get in some fishing time with Tom whenever we visit. The kids love Kelly’s backyard with its tall trees and trails to explore.

We spent much of our holiday weekend exploring lakes in the area, but first here is a look at some of the fun the cousins had just staying home, catching up,  and playing together at “Camp Kirk” :

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Sammy and Rusty. Photo credit: Miss Lydia

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Nate and Ozzie having fun on Nate’s motorized car.

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The kids loved all the room to run and play out in the yard.

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Star Wars was the prevailing theme of the weekend with many light saber battles and lots of imaginative play. (That is Nate in the green body suit)  🙂

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TWINS!! With only three girl cousins (in a gaggle of little boys) Lydia had fun getting in some girl time with Grace and Molly.


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Tyler LOVED that baby Charlie followed him around the house. Tyler loves little kids and I love seeing the gentler, nurturing side of him that is revealed when he is around babies and toddlers.

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For Nate’s birthday we bought him an “Eww Gross!” science experiment kit. He and Rusty had fun doing science experiments together.

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Even the most mundane household chores become fun when doing them with my sister. Vacation time still requires three meals a day, dishes and clean-up, but those tasks are so much more entertaining when Kelly and I are doing them together while visiting and laughing. Here the kids wait for another meal. I am amazed we could fit everyone around the table.

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Another meal! This time outside on the porch Toby built for them a few years ago…

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Playing school was another activity the kids had fun playing all together. I love seeing how they all enjoy each other despite the 16 year age gap between oldest and youngest.

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Tyler embracing the role of “student” with dress-up glasses. 🙂

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Even the rain was fun. The two littlest had fun playing in rain while we watched from the covered porch.

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Puddles are a two-year-old’s idea of heaven!

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Then they discovered the downspout…

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Noah and Charlie

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Enjoying s’mores and stories around the campfire. The kids loved hearing stories of Kelly and I as kids. 🙂

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One day we went into town to see the elk herd. The older three have fond memories of going to see the elk on our first visit to Michigan so we wanted to share the experience with Tyler and Ozzie.

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One of the big boys coming to say, “hello.”

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The elk are all shedding their winter coats.

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It was a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. We fit A LOT of fun into our three days in Northern Michigan. Stay tuned for some of our lake adventures!

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