The next stop on our tour was Michigan, where we met up with the extended family (even from as far away as New Zealand!). This was our first year staying at cabins on Lake Michigan and I think we all loved it! It was wonderful to see everyone and spend time hiking, eating, playing games and opening gifts together. Lots of fun memories were made, as usual.
My Dad took some lovely family portraits:
Hiking the sand dunes by Lake Michigan:
General Michigan merriment:
Photo cred for all of the nicest shots goes to my Dad, as usual. =)
The boys and I spent a couple days in Wisconsin before heading to the next destination of Michigan for the extended family gathering. We enjoyed lots of time with family – baking, building block creations, teaching drawing lessons, building creations out of wood, bird-watching, reading books, playing piano…and probably plenty of other things that we didn’t capture in pictures. =)
Also, Micah really enjoyed feeding Salina her bottle and did so at most opportunities. They have a special connection. After we left, Jennie told me that Salina was looking at her book with family pictures in it and she saw Micah’s picture and kissed it!
Among the very top of our highlights was meeting Eddie for the first time!
Great Granny A suffered a stroke the week of Thanksgiving and has been in our prayers. We were able to talk to her on Skype on Thanksgiving day – technology is such a gift! We are feeling thankful that she is alive and healing!
Thanksgiving Day was my Grandpa’s birthday. I appreciated getting pictures of him enjoying his special day with the family in Michigan:
The following day our newest member of the family was born in Wisconsin: Edwin (Eddie) Richard! He’s darling and I can hardly wait to meet him. It was really fun to get to see pictures from everyone meeting him for the first time – so I thought I’d share some of my favorite shots!
That sweet little girl making everyone laugh finally needs a proper intro on the site, too. That’s our niece, Salina Jean, and she is just a bundle of joy! Thought I’d post my three current favs of her and also a few pictures from when we met her back at 6 weeks old now that I can show off that darling face!
Micah is anxious to hold his baby cousin, Eddie, at Christmas and the newest baby boy, Joshua (Ashley’s due on Christmas day!), when he comes, too! He recently told me that our house is too boring and we either need a pet or a baby. *insert big eye smiley face here *
Side note: this may be one of my all-time favorite pictures:
It reminded me of these pictures from Florida back in 2012 when Ethan was about 2.5 years old.
So, cousin Abe had his 2nd birthday on Sunday. We sent him a little video to wish him a very happy birthday. Lauren sent this video back of the boys enjoying it! Apparently they really got a kick out of the video. Ivan, as you can tell, thought it was a video chat and kept trying to show the boys his super cool snake. And Abe clearly wanted to watch it over and over. So funny!!
Try this link to see my favorite video. I’m not sure if that one will work since it was a shared video, but I thought I’d try!
After Michigan and our brief stop in Illinois, we settled down in Wisconsin again. Here we celebrated Christmas with opening presents, ate lots of good food, played games and read books and rung in the New Year. (We also spent time with Cass and Adam and their family, but I’ll do a separate post on that!)
Working on Grandpa’s new shirt:
Playing games, putting together presents, reading books, etc:
Lunch at Gerrit and Lauren’s home:
New Year’s Eve (the boys made it until 11 and then fell asleep watching home videos):
Obviously, we had a fantastic time in Wisconsin with our family! Thanks for hosting, Mom and Dad, even without a working kitchen! =)
On our way back to Wisconsin, we made our annual stop in Illinois. We stop there for dinner most years and to celebrate Lauren’s birthday!! Jennie had just moved her warehouse to a location closer to her home, so we all wanted to stop in and see that before heading to their home for pizza and dessert.
Thanks for hosting another fun evening at your home, Jen and J!
In Michigan, we celebrated Christmas with our extended family from my Mom’s side. This is a big, fun group of about 30 people and is such a special time for us! We opened presents after a delicious feast at my aunt and uncle’s home. Two big highlights for the boys: Ethan got a ukulele and Micah got a djembe!! Thanks, Great Grandpa! =) Other highlights included playing ping pong, going sledding, Ethan doing piano recitals and radio shows with cousin Matthew, our annual cousins movie night out at the theater (we saw the new Star Wars!), and lots of time to chat with family.
Grandkids and great-grandkids with Grandpa (aka Great Grandpa):
We had a lovely time in Michigan, as always! Such a fun group of people to spend a few days with every Christmas!
Picture Cred mostly goes to my Dad again. Thanks for capturing the fun!