The kids just love it there. They have the freedom to run around outside, play and explore. After every trip we see such growth and maturity in the children that it makes the whole experience that much more memorable. A favorite of the kids is the park by Lake Michigan. It really is a great design and is huge so they have a fun time there. The favorite is the "bumpy slide" (rolling tubes filled with beads to make noise).
Cole loved these little circles - he pretended he was Buzz Lightyear on the beginning of Toy Story 2
The park has beautiful statues all over. Cole decided to join one of exhibits.
So then Lyla had to do it too, of course. (Our little model.Oh, yes, and Lyla has a definite favorite color - PURPLE. So you will be seeing a lot of it from here until she desides otherwise.)
Grandma helped Cole recognize some letters in the signs. He enjoyed showing off his skills and making Grandma and Papa proud.
And little Lyla had to try her hand at it too.
Upon arrival, the first thing the kids did was dig into all the sand around the cabins and got very, VERY dirty. But boy was it fun! This was a daily ritual of course.
We would swim and dig in the sand right outside the cabins on the shore of Lake Hamlin. Papa would drive his boat really close and make waves for the kids.
Cole was second captain on the boat of course. He LOVED to drive the boat and was very safe too. He wouldn't go on the boat without a vest and got upset when Lyla wouldn't put hers on. He is my safety scout. It is one way to get him in his car seat at home too, threaten to leave without him strapped in and he gets very upset and rushes to his seat. :-) Wonder how long that will last?
It's tradition to drive down the lake to where the large sand dunes are to swim and enjoy all the beautiful sand. Cole loves the water, but he ADORES the sand. He practically swims in it.
Sand castles were a favorite for Lyla. And she loves sunglasses - almost as much as she loves goggles.
Seriously, these sand dunes are so beautiful. HARD to climb up but so pretty. I can't believe Cole did it over and over and OVER again. He was definitely tired after all that climbing (and rolling down too of course)!
There was even a mini-sand dune right down from the cabins Cole discovered.
It was nice as parents to have so much family around to entertain the kids as well and have time to relax. Rick was able to run every day and I actually was able to water ski quite successfully! Uncle Russ has the footage to prove it. As soon as I get it I'll post some highlights. Lyla was very disturbed by my wanting to ski and would yell at me to get off the boat and that I would fall and not to ski. It was touching to see her so worried about her mommy.
I mostly enjoyed seeing the kids explore the great outdoors and socialize with adults. Cole couldn't wait to wake up in the morning and run across to papa's cabin. When we first arrived a cabin was occupied by a family we did not know, so Cole determined to go over there and introduce himself...and that is exactly what he did! Rick and I were shocked. Our shy and timid Cole? Where was this coming from? Well, I have since learned that Cole loves to make and meet new friends as long as it is in a setting in which he feels secure and this was one of them. Some of the others are church and Chick-fil-a.
After Michigan we headed to Ohio. We actually flew into Ohio and drove to Michigan. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the kids did. We had the trip broken up into only a couple hours driving at a time so that helped too.
So after the cabins we stayed with Papa Poling for a few days. It was so nice to see more family and have the kids spend time at his house. Since we had a couple of days, Rick and I took a drive just 40 minutes away to Kirtland. Rick had not seen any of the sights and was unprepared for all the things he would want to see. So we rushed through Whitney store and the temple. We would love to go back soon.
While we were in Kirtland, Papa took Cole to the Police Station to show off the cars and his work.
We also spent some time with the Solotes side of the family. (I didn't get a group picture of everyone. I hope Rick did...if so I'll post one as soon as I upload his pictures to my computer.)We hadn't been able to see them since our wedding really. The kids LOVED the horses and all the land to play and run around in. Cole and Lyla love to be outside but really want the freedom to go anywhere. Hence they prefer to play in the front yard rather than a fenced in backyard. AND the cooler temperatures helped tremendously.