Friday, June 21, 2013

Journey to Kalamazoo

Before we left. He knew we were up to something.

The first rest stop. Appropriately called Blue Mountain.

Malaika testing out the hotel bed.
After going to mass (Immaculate Conception, Irwin, Pennsylvania)(lovely) we stopped at various fast food places and took our food to the little patio at the hotel.

The drive was fun and surprisingly easy, thanks to the extreme generosity of my good friend, Diane, who provided the hotel, and on the way back, her home, as a waylay spot.

As soon as we arrived in Kalamazoo and took four breaths, we went to the greenhouse. Half off sale baby!

It has an adorable play area for children, that includes free popcorn! Here is Kaden, having fun in the sandbox.

Here are a few of the results of that trip

                   Kaden's garden.

 some adorable little flowers


This was not the only gardening/outdoor project by a long shot! We went to the Kalamazoo Farmer's Market twice, where Meghann is apparently a local celebrity. I brought home a potted tomato plant, and we also found this
beautiful miniature potted sunflower for a song. Sadly, Meghann texted that a giagantic woodchuck has breakfasted on it since I left.

I did manage to bring home some of the Michigan sunshine.
Besides this, also in the form of a lovely sunburn. But I had a great time getting it.

The beaches of Lake Michigan have it all over the Jersey shore, at least the bigger ones. I think Avalon and Stone Harbor are still nice. But Lake Michigan is clean and beautiful. You can swim in it until your feet go numb from cold. Of course, Malaika and I were the only ones in the water. Tourists!

This pretty much sums up happiness. 

                     Mr. Personality. Always.

Malaika and Kaden getting used to the cold water.

 Malaika stayed out longer than anybody. And I do mean anybody.

      I however, reached my limit. 

We had found two kites for a dollar, and even though only one flew, we had a great time with it! We tied the strings from both kites to one and flew it extra high!

 Kaden doing beach stuff. He does have a sand-tail, but I cut it mostly out of the picture. It was too bright to see what I was shooting!
 Malaika dug a hole till she hit water. You can't tell from the picture, but it is really deep. She was practically falling in digging it.
 It seemed like no time was right to ever put the camera down.

Kaden and his mama.

          My beautiful daughter. In all ways.

We had a great time. We got to the beach twice. As I mentioned, one of my souvenirs is itching and peeling now.

Another of our projects for the yard was to make a birdbath. Oh, the miracle that is Pinterest!

Here is our version.

 1. Get dying banana tree leaf for free from greenhouse, and hack it off with scissors before they change their mind.

2. "Borrow" enough sand from Kaden's sandbox to make a mound.

3. Position the best part of the leaf on the sand.

4. Get over fear of mixing and handling cement.

5. Find a pair of gloves to ruin.

6. Pat cement down on leaf and build up the center to make it thick and sturdy.
7. Wait.

8. Check on it.

9, Wait some more, and worry about breaking it while turning it over.

10. 48 hours later, miss the turning over ceremony while frantically searching for the camera. But get one of the result.

11. Have a very nice neighbor who happens to have a birdbath stand lying around, and wants to give it to you.

12. Have a son in law mix up more cement, and look good doing it.

13. Put ridiculously awesome birdbath on stand. Have many cooks in the kitchen while doing so.

    14. Very importantly, while at it, have a beer.
                     Do not skip this step.

15. Take loads of pictures. Try and get artistic. Hard to beat Malaika at this.

16. Optional -- Run back just before pulling out of the driveway to get one last picture of it filled and ready to go.
So easy! And gorgeous!

Here are just a few more moments of many. I was unable to upload pictures and blog as we went,  as I was filling every moment soaking in my dear ones.

 Kaden and Malaika (dubbed A-laika) were car buddies.

At bouncy-house heaven, a place called Jungle Joe's.

 Directly after our first beach day, Meghann and I went to a fun art class. You can't see how burned I am in this one. Meghann looks singed, but hers all turns tan.

 Kaden at t-ball.

A cool trellis we found at another greenhouse. Meghann has a beautiful honeysuckle to climb it.
 We went to Jeff's dad's house for a barbecue. I am not sure how Jeff manages to still look good in goofy glasses.
 Jeff's dad, Tony, giving Malaika a ride. She now wants a motorcycle. Besides wanting a horse.

Kaden, being his adorable self.

The Very Nice Neighbors also allowed us to swim in their pool.

          Malaika,  perfecting her handstand.

Love this.

And now, if you can bear the cuteness, is a short video of swimming.

As I mentioned, on our way home we stayed with my dear friend, Diane, who I only just met in person, but have known via computer correspondence for a few years. It was a delight to meet her and her lovely family.
 Malaika, as we enjoyed her beautiful deck.

   Also her kitties.
Just before I left for the last leg of the journey. Yes, I am looking a little worn out! She is cute as ever.

We got within shouting distance, 30 miles or so left on the turnpike, AND, this.

You only need to watch ten seconds to get the idea. We pulled over on the highway several times, but it was not letting up.  I got off and waited in a parking lot till it slowed down, then meandered home.

If you do watch the whole thing you will see me accidentally pull into the easy pass lane, back out, and then proceed to splash the toll worker with my wipers on warp speed.

This past several days since I have been home have included my son's graduation and a gig at a club on South Street, in which his band was selected to participate in Liberty Fest -- a bunch of gigs around the city this summer. So, needless to say -- more blog-events are on the way!
The graduation pictures are not good--some glitch with my camera abilities (I think it's called exhaustion)--but I did get a video of an awesome drum solo he did last night. So if you are in any way into the recording of my life, stay tuned! :)





  1. Yikes. I was writing a comment and was 3/4 of the way through and then my fingers accidently clicked Ctrl something and everything My fingers have the coordination of drunk. :)

    I guess I was saying great blog! I think all boys love that bouncy bounce. My son does too. Your grandson looks great. The bird bath was interesting. How cool. I can't remember what else I was writing, but it looks like you had a great time. :)

    1. Oh I have done that countless times, It is always when you write something lengthy!
      Yes, that place is one of Kaden's favorites! When he was little, we had to carry him up the bouncy-ladders and such. Ex-hausting! But good fun. :)
      I did have a wonderful time! It was nice to share it with Malaika too. I usually go by myself because I fly, and we could not afford two air fares. But I think I now love driving out -- thanks to Diane. :)

  2. It looks and reads like you had a wonderful vacation!

    The pictures are wonderful, thanks for sharing.