Lake Michigan Summer Vacation

Earlier this spring we received a call from one of our brother in laws asking us if we wanted to vacation with them this summer to Lake Michigan.  A chance to escape the Houston heat in July?? We quickly said yes and I'm so thankful for that decision as it was one of the best trips we've had in awhile.  They had never been to Michigan but had heard great things about the area and their only requirement when looking for a vacation rental was on the water.  They ended up finding a house in Manistee, MI and it did not disappoint.  The house was a little outdated on the inside but the outside more than made up for the the small shower and crummy beds.

I have to admit I was very anxious about traveling with two little ones and all the "gear" that we required but surprisingly, it wasn't that bad.  We had two huge suitcases, two car seats, two strollers, two carry on bags and golf clubs.  We could have taken one less stroller since Henry decided he was too big for that and wanted to walk everywhere.  Lesson learned.

I was also pretty anxious on how the flight would go and the plan was for Charlie and I to sit in the single seat and Ryan and Henry to be across the aisle from us.  Our plans changed slightly when they had to move us due to the number of breathing masks above each seat so I ended up with both boys and Ryan got off the hook.  Thankfully both boys were great!  Charlie quickly fell asleep as soon as we took off and Henry was pretty content watching the movie Planes on the iPad.

Henry did get a little restless after a while but eventually fell asleep as well :)
We flew into Grand Rapids, MI and had another two hour drive to Manistee.  Both boys did pretty well again except for the last 20 minutes.  I think we were all a little restless and eager to get there after a long day of traveling. The rest of the crew was waiting outside when we pulled up and we immediately went out back and down the stairs to the beach.  This was Henry's first time in the sand and he seemed to love it.

The view from our backyard was spectacular and one of my favorite memories from the trip was watching this beautiful sunset the first night we were there.  All of the kids were running around in the backyard, the temperature was perfect, we had music on and a cold drink in our hands.  It was definitely a good start to the week :) 

Henry was a little shy when we first arrived but quickly warmed up to this crew.  It didn't take long until he was right in the mix and hanging with the older boys. 

A perfect spot to watch the sunset...

Having a blast with cousins!

We woke up Saturday morning and headed to the local Farmer's Market.  We picked up blueberries and cherries among other things for the week.  

After the market we walked around town and picked up hats for the kids.  It was 3 for $10 dollars so they each picked a classy neon trucker hat :)  

That afternoon we loaded up a few bags full of towels, sunscreen, hats, snacks and a few beers and headed down to the water.    

We had the BEST afternoon playing in the sand, in the water and lounging in our chairs. The water was a frigid 62 degrees and while the kids didn't seem to mind getting in, I barely got in past my knees. 

One of my favorite pictures from the trip.  Henry was smiling ear to ear and having the best time.  

Charlie even got in on the trucker hat action :) 

Nothing better than an afternoon nap on the beach while listening to the waves. 

The next day we drove up to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and did a driving tour in the park and made a few stops.  While the driving tour was a little touristy, the views were pretty amazing. We managed to get a photo op with this crazy crew.  

We also snapped this picture while at the Dunes.  I can't say it's the best picture we have taken but I still love it.  It sums up the stage of life we are in right now.  Henry was a mess and was more interested in touching Ryan with his candy cane and Charlie wouldn't get his fingers out of his mouth.  I'm also pretty sure I didn't even shower that morning but it didn't matter.  We were having a good time and enjoying the time all together.  

Ryan and Chris played golf that afternoon and Robyn and I drove all 6 kids back home from the Dunes.  It was a memorable drive (think babies crying, boys fighting and us pulling over to mediate the argument) but we made it back and opened up a cold one and took the crew down the beach to burn off some energy.  With the two of us and 6 kids in/near the water we weren't able to take our eyes off them and take many pictures but I did manage to snap this one of sweet Charlie enjoying the waves. 

We enjoyed an easy hot dog dinner and let the kids ride bikes and play golf before going to bed.  It doesn't get any better than playing golf in the backyard without a shirt while watching this sunset, right?? 

The next morning we lounged around the house and then went to a nearby park.  It was an awesome wooden park that was great for all ages.

Charlie woke up for a bit and enjoyed some time on the swing :)

We picked up a few kites at the dollar store and went out to the beach for the afternoon.  It was another beautiful day with perfect temps.

After a few hours both Henry and Charlie took naps on the beach :)

I attempted to get a picture of both boys on the beach looking at the camera but I should have known that wouldn't happen.  I had to settle for some action pics which I think are pretty cute anyways.

Charlie was at least up for smiling at the camera!

Our attempt at a group shot of all the cousins.  Henry was not happy that we made him stop playing with his dump truck and take a picture.  I do love this picture though as everyone looks so happy... minus Henry :)

That evening we made a campfire on the beach which was another favorite memory of mine.  It was so beautiful to watch the sunset that night as we cooked smores.

I'm also in love with the next two pictures of Charlie.  It doesn't get much better than this :)

The next day was our last full day and the big boys played 9 holes with Ryan and Chris.  I wasn't so sure how Henry would do but he loved it.  He claimed it as "the best day ever!"

We thought it was going to rain that afternoon but it held off.  We went down to the beach for a little bit but it was really windy and even chilly.  I was hoping to get another picture of our boys but once again, Henry was not cooperating.  Charlie is always up for a smile though.

All in all, it was a fabulous vacation and I'm so thankful we were able to go.  Yes, at times it got a little crazy but for the most part it was relaxing and just what we needed.  I'm hoping we can continue this tradition and head back that way next summer!


Charlie at Eight Months

Charles Davis... you are eight months old!
I know I say how great every month is but seriously this month has been a blast.  I forgot how much fun it gets when you are sitting up, crawling and even babbling.  I love watching your personality come out and I can never get enough of that sweet smile.  We took your eight month pictures in a romper that your dad's Aunt Marilynn made for Henry.  The outfit was made out of your Grandpa's work shirt and I love that you both have been able to wear this as babies.
You are officially crawling and boy are you fast!!  I was so worried you would start crawling before our trip and thankfully you held off. You were able to scoot around but nothing like what you are doing today.  As soon as you spot something you want you are determined to get it.  You are crawling about 6 weeks earlier than Henry was which makes me think you'll be walking much earlier too.  Henry was an army crawler at first and you skipped that and went straight to crawling.  You are also so strong and can even pull up on furniture.  I imagine by next month you'll be cruising along the couch.
You weigh 18 pounds and are 27 1/2 inches long.  About 40th percentile for both height and weight.  You are wearing size 6-12 month clothes and 9 months but I think we're about to be in 12 months here soon.
You went on your first vacation this month and we traveled to Manistee, Michigan to meet your cousins for 5 nights. You were such a great traveler and did great on the plane.  We had so much fun playing at the beach on Lake Michigan and hanging out with everyone.
You seriously were so happy and content on the trip which was such a relief to me.  I was worried how you would adjust to the change of scenery and you were great.  We did have issues with you going to sleep at night since it didn't get dark until almost 10 pm but other than that we had no major complaints.
Speaking of sleep, I wish I could report that you are sleeping through the night but that's not the case yet.  You had a few good nights but then being on vacation messed you up again.  You slept in a pack 'n play while we were there and then normally ended up in our bed which we never do at home.  Of course you were all off when we got home so we're working on this again.
The other struggle we've had this month is eating.  You continue to take 5-6 bottles a day of about 6 ounces.  We also give you baby food twice a day but that's about it.  You are picky about what you want and you are pretty good with fruits but not so thrilled about veggies and meats. You also do not take puffs or any type of solid food well. You end up gagging and then throwing up which is pretty awesome.  Your doctor doesn't seem too concerned as it takes some babies longer to learn how to eat but it sure is a pain as it seems you are gagging and then projectile vomiting at least once a day.  We've learned to move close to a sink when we start seeing the warning signs!
You've always been a mamma's boy and it's really showing this past month.  You are not OK with being on the floor and me walking by without picking you up.  Your dad typically drops you off at daycare in the mornings and one day I did this.  You were not OK with me leaving which made me so sad.  It's so hard being away from you boys all day and it breaks my heart when you cry when I leave you!
You are such a handsome little boy and have the best grin.  Have I mentioned that before?!? ;) You love to play with your brother's toys (against his wishes) and he was not a fan of you riding in his truck.  I can only imagine the two of you driving around in a truck when you're older!
You are drooling quite a bit but still no teeth.  Henry was closer to 10 months when his first tooth popped through so you may be close to that.  There are days where I think you are teething since you seem fussy but no teeth so who knows.
Benny is also your best friend and I love seeing you try to play with him.  He loves to give you big kisses and thankfully you don't mind.  I'm also thankful he is so good with you and tolerates you pulling on his ears and playing with his feet.
You are just like your brother and love to be outside.  You've started crying when I open the door to let Benny out yet we don't go out.  It's been so hot lately so I'm looking forward to this fall when we can spend more time taking walks and playing outside.  
Charlie Boy, this has been the best month yet and we are absolutely loving your personality.  You are such a happy and easy-going baby (despite the not great sleep and throwing up...) and we are loving life with you.  It's hard for me to believe you are 8 months old but as always, I'm looking forward to what's to come!