We have been planning a trip to see my brother Luke, who lives in Michigan, for a couple of months now. The kids were so psyched to see where their favorite uncle lives! We knew we would need a good plan, as it's a 6 hour drive from our house, and no plan makes for a bad plan. The plan was to leave around lunchtime on Friday so we could be there for dinner and so the kids would have time to burn off some pent-up energy before bed. I loaded up the car with movies and snacks and anything else I could think of to help them pass the time, and we were on our way!The drive wasn't TOO horrible, but we were definitely ready to be there! In fact, Barry did finally have to admit that it will be a much better idea to take the Odyssey on our beach vacation (11 hours!) than the Accord. (Seriously, what was he thinking there????? I've been telling him that although the Accord gets better gas mileage, I don't think we want to ride in it for 11 hours with the kiddos seated directly behind us, bickering and arguing the entire way...) Anyway, it appears we are now on the same page, so WHEW!!!! So glad we had this opportunity for a "test-run"!
Finally, we arrived in Hamilton, and were pleasantly surprised at how nice their "bachelor pad" was. They are out in the country, on the fringe of a HUGE wildlife preserve on one side, a sawmill on the other, and have a very large (and very outdated) house. But truly, with a little work, the house would be very nice. It has tons of space! Oh yeah, and a bidet. That's right folks...these two single guys living out in the middle of B.F.E. have a BIDET. I was cracking up! And if we were worried that Noah would have a hard time with his potty regimen, we were mistaken, because as soon as he saw the bidet, all he wanted to do was potty!! The first time he went, Barry wasn't quick enough and Noah reached over and turned it on, not knowing what it was. Barry said when the water hit his bottom, his eyes were as big as dinner plates and he jumped right up! From that point on, he wanted to use the "butt sprinkler" to "wash his butt" every 10 minutes. Yes, he calls it the "butt sprinkler", and I'm sure he'll want one before long. Too funny...and it never ceased to get a laugh out of everyone when he talked about it...
Luke and Aaron are really into grilling!They were already prepping the grill when we pulled up. Over the weekend, we had buffalo burgers, chicken, brats, hot dogs, smoked and barbequed beef and corn on the cob...I'm tellin' ya, that grill was always going! On Saturday morning, Luke went over to the mill, got the loader, and brought it over to take the kiddos for a spin. What a treat! I think Noah almost peed his pants, he was so stinkin' excited! And I think Kendall actually got to drive!
Later that afternoon, Luke and Aaron broke out their guitars and had a little jam session. They even gave Kendall one to use and after giving her a few pointers, she was more than happy to participate! Now she wants to have guitar lessons...surprise, surprise!!!
On Saturday night, we were headed out to meet up with two of my favorite bloggers, Logzie and Jenelle!!! I was so excited to meet my first blogger-buddies! Would I be everything they thought I would be? Would they be disappointed if I weren't as cool as they pictured? And more importantly, WOULD MY KIDS BEHAVE IN THE RESTAURANT????? We found the restaurant with no problems, and were actually on time! Jenelle, Andy and their cute little kiddos were waiting when we got there. I began my wonderful and well-rehearsed first impression by pulling open the big, heavy, wood doors and smacking my son right in the forehead. Nice one, Jen. Can I just excuse myself to the bathroom now??? After I kissed the owie and made sure he was fine, we got down to the introductions! I was so glad to see that Jenelle and Andy were laughing, not looking at me in horror! Jenelle informed us that it would be about an hour until our table was ready, and Logzie and Chuck were running late, so we decided to go to the park next door and let the kiddos play on the playground. On the way over, we noticed they were doing some construction around the park and had much of it roped off where it was all torn up. It seemed there was no good way around, so we just went through, carefully choosing our way. I was carrying Noah, since he was being a little shy and clingy. There was some hard-packed clay that the sod had been scraped off of, and as I went to step down on it and my full weight became supported by my left foot, it gave way and I started sinking and sliding simultaneously. OMG...there was nothing to grab onto! I was in trouble....MAYDAY, MAYDAY!!!! I was going down, no bones about it! Just trying to hold onto Noah (and not make a fool out of myself...yeah, right!), I "gracefully" fell into the mud, and kept Noah safe and clean at the same time. Oh, and it was this nice black/gray, sticky mud too. Just the perfect kind for ruining white pants. I had mud on my hands, pants, caked on my feet and flip-flops...it was funny and horrifying all at the same time. Just what I needed to make my grand entrance complete...and we weren't even at the restaurant yet! Jenelle, I hope you guys enjoyed it, and Teresa, so soorry you missed it!!! But really, after looking at the pictures and seeing where I fell, I know it could have been SO MUCH WORSE!After a moment to gain my composure, I reasoned that since we still had plenty of time to wait for our table, I would call my sis and brother to bring me some fresh clothes. We met them halfway, and I changed and washed up at a truck stop. Good times, good times. And for the record, my sister was awesome enough to go straight home and wash my pants... and she got all the stains out! Woo hoo! When we got back, there was a little time yet for the kiddos to all play and get to know each other before we ate. They all got along so well and were so cute together. Kendall and Logan hit it off immediately, of course. Kenzie and Ella are even cuter in person than you can possibly imagine them, and Ryan and Ty are cute as buttons and full of fun! The restaurant experience went well, or so WE thought. Apparently, the woman behind us did not agree. I hear she was shooting us some evil looks. Oh well. She was sitting with 3 pre-teen/teenagers. We had 7 children 7 years and under, so sue us. They did very well, considering. After dinner, we headed over to Holland beach to let the kiddos romp in the sand. It wasn't long before they were all soaked and covered in sand. You'd think we moms would have thought of that, but Noooooooo. I think we were just too excited to meet each other! Here we are at the beach...
I must tell you that if you've ever wondered what these two are like in person, they are just as wonderful, funny, warm, and down to earth as you think they will be. It was so easy and felt like we had known each other forever. I was only sad that we didn't have much time to talk...the kiddos kept us on our toes! The whole thing felt so....surreal. I didn't even feel like myself. It was such a weird feeling to "meet" people you know so much about, but have never actually "met"! Bizzarre!!! Logzie and Jenelle...did you feel the same way? Just wondering. Maybe next time we'll do a girls night so we don't have to be in Mom Mode! And yes, girls, there WILL be a next time! I'm already trying to plan a date for my next trip!
On Sunday evening, Jessie volunteered to watch the kids so Barry and I could go with Luke and Aaron to see Dark Knight. It was good...intense, but good! And it had been so long since we'd been to an actual movie theater! HA!
We got up early on Monday and headed back. The drive seemed more brutal on the way home, but we all survived somehow. Now, back to reality...
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