31 July 2011

MI summer visi-cation

back to MI for 6 days of visiting. less frenzied than past visits, but we still had barely any time to hang out with anyone for any length of time. ah, well. it is what it is.

the run down, in brief-ish:

day #1 (july 26):
got up early, and, despite a rude flight check-in lady, we had an easy airport/flight experience. we then landed and had an easy time getting through the airport and to the car rental pick-up. my dad met us at avis with the car seat and we went down the road to louies diner for brunch with him and my brother artie. cheap, cheap coneys and mountains of fries. yum said my tummy. this is what coming back to MI is meant to taste like.

after brunch, we drove over to my grandmas (moomoo) who lives 10 minutes from the airport, in dearborn. my aunt patty and her husband were also over there and we had a lovely visit and snacks. X got to play on the playground across the street until she ran off enough cooped-up-airplane steam that she could be trusted to come inside. she opened her belated birthday present and got to meet corduroy, the bear my mom had been given in the hospital when she was born. mom had sent it up to moomoo to take to the doll hospital in berkley to be cleaned and re-stuffed. it looked great!

(cheesy smile with moomoo)

when nap time was upon us, we got in the car and made the drive up to clarkston where daves parents live. it was great that X slept while we drove. once we arrived and settled in, we helped celebrate daves moms birthday. daves dad made fried chicken. while we waited for dinner to cook, X explored all the joys that life on a lake brings: the water, the frogs, the fish, the birds, the shade, the beauty. we had had a busy day but ending up on the lake really helped us wind down at the end of the night.

(grandma was the guest reader for bedtime stories)

day #2 (july 27):
hung around daves parents house (and lake) and then went over to daves grandmas (Xs great-grandma jeanne) apartment. she was unable to meet X last time we were in town because she had had shingles. anyway, she was in great spirits this morning and X was acting like a perfect toddler. great grandma goofed around with her and remarked on her high energy level. indeed! they had a great time hamming it up together. it was lovely to see.


headed back to the lake for lunch and a nap. after nap time we loaded into the car and drove to warren to see my friend katie and her daughter izzy. bonus visitors were fellow swimmers from my days of yore (and i mean yore. as in like ages 11-13) sarah and her 2 great kids, and jeremy. blasts from the past. we played in the backyard and had dinner. it was great to have something to occupy the kids while the adults got to chat and eat.

(iz, X, jack, and sam)

my mom and al also came over to katies place. due to a number of last minute things that forced my beautifully pre-planned MI visit schedule to be derailed a bit, this was the first time we were seeing my mom. they had driven up from florida the night before. they made a beeline for X and played with her while i caught up with katie and co.

when bedtimes for the other kiddos crept up on us, we said our goodbyes and drove to birmingham. my friend phil had recently moved into a kick ass house 2 blocks from downtown birmingham. of course we had to check the place out, and it was where we were staying for the night. my mom and al also followed us over there to get some more time with X.

after touring the house, we set out on foot for the birmingham borders that was just beginning its "going out of business" sale. books werent that great of a deal, but they are a hell of a lot cheaper in the u.s. than canada. we found some fun books for X, made our purchases, and then set our sights on downtown b'ham. phil suggested a frozen yogurt/sorbet place called sweet earth. it was ridiculously muggy outside, so a frozen treat sounded great. i liked the concept of the place (a self-serve dessert bar. you weigh your creation at the end.) and my mango sorbet was quite refreshing. X liked it too.

(X with mom and pal while crossing woodward into downtown b'ham)

on the way home, it started to rain. we said goodbye to mom and al and we prepped the guest room for bed. thinking...X has got to be worn out by now...? haha. she found backup, backup reserves that helped her stay up and hang out with us. she was a ball of energy and wasnt grumpy or whiney at all so we let her stay up until she peetered out a bit more.

day #3 (july 28):
left phils house and stopped off at new york bagel, because, no trip to michigan would be complete without it. and we headed off to ann arbor. what a hot, steamy, mug factory it was!! we met mom, al, and moomoo at a parking structure and headed toward jerusalem garden (yes, creatures of habit). they were very busy, so, to kill some time we walked toward campus.

the heat and stickiness were unpleasant for all members of the group and due to the young and older people in our party we thought it best to duck in to an air conditioned place to wait out our time. we chose...borders. yet again! the deals and selection were better at this location so we bought a few more things. this however did not make up for the fact that, while we have been in ann arbor twice now with X, she has yet to set foot on our beloved UM campus. :(

when we went back to jerusalem garden, we were able to get a table all together. we dove into mountains of hummus, falafel, lentil soup, rice, and general yumminess. this time X could join in and she loved everything. smart girl. :) when nap time was upon us we drove to my friend lilys house for an air conditioned place with a bed for X to sleep well. lily was very pregnant (as in due-any-time-now) and got us settled for a nap and ran up to the hospital for a prenatal appointment.

when X woke up we took her outside for a walk along the lovely huron river. lily lives near our old apartment on the river. dave and i used to love to walk along the trails and look at the flowers and wildlife. X seemed to like it too. she played in a little river run-off area, picked up sticks, and ran around on the trails and boardwalk. we didnt last long though because it was SO muggy out.

(nature walk near bandemer park)

when we got back to the house, lily was back from her appointment. they had said she was 3 cm dilated! how exciting! she thought she felt contractions, and we were all giddy, yet calm-ish. we offered to leave but she said that wasnt necessary. yet. her hubby, ercan, came home and we had a nice visit and grabbed some zingermans sandwiches for dinner. after eating, we left them alone to prep for a potential night of labor (little mister didnt end up actually arriving until 2 weeks later!).

(X climbed into the toy bin at lily and ercans and played by herself for like 20 minutes)

we drove to northville to unpack our bags at the eaton house. they too are expecting a baby and had just gotten back from a tour of their hospital. we visited and watched X open her belated birthday gift from them. she loved it, all stuff i had forgotten was still on our amazon wishlist (but definitely still wanted). a lovely surprise from lovely friends. :)

day #4 (july 29):
met at my grandpas in northville for lunch with my dads side of the family. dad, artie, grandpa and my grand rapids uncle, aunt and cousin linnea were all converging in one spot (thanks for driving all the way to see us guys!). oh my did we have a rocky start to lunch plans! in typical dohring fashion everything was very dramatic and apocalyptic until...the universe smiled on us and made everything okay. lunch (from aubrees) was had outside, in the shade of my grandpas backyard and everyone enjoyed their food and came away happy.

X was lucky to get lots of love and attention from my aunt and cousin. she even got to open a big package of clothes and books from them. my cousin took lots of beautiful pictures of her and X was a total ham for the whole visit. when it got too hot outside, she even poured water on herself to cool down. it was a great visit!

(view the entire photo album of pics my cousin took)

naptime occurred back at the eatons house and i ran out to trader joes while that happened. when i entered the place...i almost cried. i love this store so much. good, healthy, creative foods at great prices. why oh why cant i live in a place with a store like this? humpf!

i wasnt depressed for too long because tonight was our friend party! all my college roomies who still live in michigan came over to the eatons for a kid party and mexican buffet. most people arrived early, which was great. and the babies were hilarious. so much better to see them in person than in photos. once the carlton clan (6 kiddos!) arrived X was in heaven. big kids! she got a mega dose of awesome fun running around outside screaming and chasing them. dave was even getting in on the big kid action and im pretty sure its one of the summer parties we will never forget.

(X with miss madelyn, sarahs daughter)

i got to hang out and catch up with my friends and their babes. it was definitely a very different kind of party than ive ever had with these guys, but it was homey, and family, and special and i liked it. we left when it seemed like X was ready for bed. we were driving back to daves parents house for the night, so we assumed she would sleep in the car...no dice. thankfully she was good though, and seemed to require it as wind down time from the busy, awesome day. she did eventually sleep like a rock that night, when we finally arrived.

day #5 (july 30):
morning on the lake was enhanced with a brunch party. guests included: daves friend paul, his wife, and 2.5 year old, daves ohio cousin, wife and 2 kids, my mom and al drove up from dearborn, and mary anns friends came by. more socializing and play time for X and lots of nice visiting for everyone. the weather was great for a shady, breezy, summer brunch.

nap time came and we used it to drive out to east lansing. my cousin (moms nephew) was getting married at MSU. we had skipped the ceremony, and were just doing the reception at the MSU union. it was a buffet style dinner and i managed to flag down the manager of the food and find a few things to eat that were non-dairy. after dinner, we went outside to give X time to run around and be crazy. we took some pictures with my mom and al before they drove off to mackinaw island for the night and we were still sitting outside when 8 o'clock rolled around. the bell tower chimed out the time and X was enthralled. she stopped what she was doing (playing in the dirt...in her party dress) and went "ding dong".

then we came back inside for some socializing and dancing. X was curious about dancing and was trying out her moves. people thought it was adorable. we took a break from dancing to take her back outside a little before 9p. we caught the 9 o'clock bells and ran around catching some fireflies.

back inside, people were now quite drunk. those on the dance floor had a blast trying to dance with X. she loved it too. her energy level for all that twirling, bouncing, rocking, running, squealing seemed endless. she had more dance partner offers than she knew what to do with. we finally scraped her off the dance floor at 10:30p (i think she could have gone longer) and started the drive back to clarkston. she did fall asleep in the car this time and she was so zonked she barely moved when i transferred her to the bed.

(a shot of the weddings dance floor during what looks like thriller?)

day #6 (july 31. happy birthday ntin):
stayed in clarkston for the morning and visited. then packed up and went to the airport. X refused to nap on the car ride over. we played in the airport while dave took care of the rental car and car seat drop off and then made it through security. when we settled in at our gate to await our flight, X finally napped (at like 4p) and woke up just before we boarded. thus she was awake and wired for the whole plane ride. it was a little challenging to keep her happy, but we made it. however, she broke down while we were waiting for customs and baggage; first time we looked like "those parents" in a public place. i was too tired to care much, but it was frustrating.

her pent up energy was so powerful that we had to let her run around the parking lot at the park-n-ride before we could think about strapping her into her car seat. while being crazy and running around she pooped and seemed to calm down significantly. the kid is weird. then we headed home. on the ride i told her we had missed the natal day fireworks. she looked at me (and with no prior prompting) said "boom boom". she cracks me up. it helped lighten the exhausted mood we were all in when we finally pulled in to the driveway.

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