Hi I’m back! And while I’m thinking of it, I’m going to just post a few pictures of the rental that I took. For posterity.
(You can skip this I won’t take it personally.)
So the rental’s official name (you know you are fancy when your summer home has a name) is The Sandbox. Which makes sense, you are legit in the middle of a sandbox. The street going down to the rental is sand, the driveway is sand, the yard is saaaaaaand. I just found some sand in my workout clothes I brought to work, like that level of sand everywhere. Totally charming and beachy, but WHOA MAN SO MUCH SAND.
(We brought home so. many. rocks.)
The forever beloved outdoor shower…
So inside, though… The house was laid out kinda weird, but it totally worked for the location. You had a nice roomy entry to dump all your sand-filled junk and pry off your sand-filled shoes, then either up the stairs or down a hall. Down the hall were the 2 bedrooms. The 2nd level was the living room, kitchen/dining, and bathroom.
Here’s Level One.
The boys’ room…
Just a side note: there was a children’s book on one of the a bookshelves here, titled “The Legend of Sleeping Bear“, and one day I pulled it down to read it to Linus, and about mid-way through he stiffened up and curled up protectively into me and that’s because the entirety of the book is a fable where two bear cubs are swimming with their mother and get lost from her and THEN THEY DROWN IN THE WATER AND THE MAMA BEAR CRIES PITIFULLY FOR THEM FOR TIME ETERNAL, and I mean: like one-third of the book is dedicated to how she cries and cries for her babies, hoping to find them, and let me just say: it’s not the best story for young kids. File that little nugget of info away.
Anywayyyy! Here’s the master bedroom. Didn’t spend a ton of time here, although I did one day get in a mid-day short nap and it was absolute heaven. Also this room reminds me of reading Sarah’s Key, which was my bedtime book, and was decidedly Okay I guess. I’ve read much better WWII novels, that’s all I’m saying.
Up to the upstairs, folks!
Here is where I parked my butt every evening to watch murder shows.
(I didn’t take any bathroom pics, it was a bathroom. You’re welcome.)
Okay still there? Good. Now it is Day 4 and we are into a good rhythm. Of hanging on the deck all morning being completely lazy.
Kiss the soda.
So Day 4, we went to the nearest, non-dune-access beach. By that point, Scott and I were dealing with those back sunburns and our legs were KILLING US from all the dune climb-age. Driving to a nearby beach and just walking to it like normal people was pretty appealing. Also the drive took a whopping 4 minutes. Getting the kids and our gear in the car took longer than the drive.
Honestly: not much beachfront here, three or four yards deep maybe. Also: PEOPLE. There were other people here (ew). But! We set up our pop-up tent, ignored all the pushy rock scavenger people, and floated on our alligator inflatable to our heart’s content. I bought an (expired film) disposable camera on Amazon before our vacation and took that sucker into the water that day. The pictures aren’t the best but have this nice Lomo-esque dreamy quality and I’m glad I had the thing.
So! Expensive Vacation purchase #2 comes in here: this is the day when Scott went swimming with his phone in his pocket. Whoops. Now: he got it out of the water quickly, and it was still working for a spell. Good, right? WRONG. By the time we got back to our rental, the thing was Dead. He ran to the store and bought a bag of rice, and we gave it a day, but nope. Still super duper dead.
And now he has a new phone. The end.
Anyway! We went home and did the usual showers/clean-up and THEN WE HAD WATERMELON ON THE DECK.
Why is watermelon so darn good.
Onto Day 5… So first off: we kept with the Vacation Tradition of having Fluffernutters at lunch. For the boys, at least.
We sat around the rental like a bunch of bums that day. As usual. The boys spent the bulk of the morning having lightsaber battles. Then I packed a lunch and we hit the beach early instead of waiting for the afternoon. #goals
Then, even though our legs were still kinda sore, we climbed the dune because no beach is as nice or secluded as Our Beach dammit. For real, we had it to ourselves most of the time.
Here’s our little pop-up sun shade – got it at ALDI for like $15 or $20. It worked great but it took us about 5 hours to figure out how to fold it back up (the first day we used it, we just lugged it back half-collapsed, then tossed it in the yard where we would periodically wrestle with it trying to fold it up. Fun.)
Thankfully there are YouTube videos for errrthang, and a quick search for “fold up ALDI sun shade” finally helped us. ANYWAY LONG STORY SHORT: that thing saved our butts, even if it’s a pain to fold back up.
Peter became a water baby on this trip. He was the kid that took FOREVER to teach how to swim, because he was afraid of the water. Welp, he’s afraid no longer. His favorite was to get as deep as possible and jump waves.
Isn’t is soo pretty there? Rugged sandy dune-y beaches are officially my jam.
Lunch in the sun shade.
Yes, Scott and I wore shirts in the water for the duration of our vacation. Back sunburn sucks.
Wave jumping pro.
Yeah we had to drag him out of there every day.
Then we went home as usual and made dinner which I cannot even remember what we made while there, it was all stuff I made ahead and lugged along in a cooler so we were doing minimal meal work. And then the boys found the bag of marshmallows/cookies right before bedtime and oh hell what the heck it’s vacation, go ahead and gorge yourselves.
And then after they went to bed I polished off the bag of cookies while watching murder shows. #oink #worthit
Day 6 y’all, our last full day. And we failed to climb the dunes to our favorite beach. Not because of sore legs but due to complete laziness. Sat around the house and sand, all day. Also we were lucky if the boys even wore underwear.
Also it was clean-out-the-pantry-and-fridge day, and we had like 14 bags of chips left. Pete was in heaven.
By the evening, we put on clothes and dragged ourselves into town, to check out the city beach.
(And Michigan: what is up with all the streetlights hanging on wires everywhere?)
First stop: ice cream. #priorities
We did not plan on swimming buuuuut… Pete and I walked the shoreline, and in the end Pete could not resist the siren song of the water.
The water was pretty choppy; pictures don’t do that justice. And it was loud; no amount of yelling could get Pete to come in and out of the water. Eventually he looked at me and I was able to reign him back in. And just in time: at that point the waves were nuts and the life guards were changing the flags to “no swimming/rip current warning”.
So we walked the pier until Pete dried off. Or actually, until we got all chicken about the waves. CHECK THE WAVES YO, good thing we got that kid out of the water when we did.
And then we went home for a late dinner of YOYO (you’re on your own, clean out that fridge; I think I had cheese spread and an avocado). Finally tried the weird soda we bought:
It wasn’t bad… Okay so a long, long time ago: I bought this Christmas candle at Pier 1. Loved the smell, it was like piney-juniper-y-but-sweet. Never actually burned it, just put it out every year at Christmas. After years of it living in my Christmas tote in the basement, everything eventually took on that smell. So to me, that smell means CHRISTMAS. And that soda there, it tasted exactly how that candle smells. So basically: it tasted like Christmas. And that wasn’t exactly bad, but not good either.
ANYWAY. Ate the things, drank the weird soda, took showers and spent the evening packing our stuff instead of watching murder shows. Sad.
(Okay fine I did squeeze in a murder show at like 1am when I was finally done with everything. YOLO.)
The next day we had to be out by 11am, but we were up kinda early (I always get up too early and don’t sleep well, worried we’re not going to be out on time, WHICH IS SUPER STUPID I MEAN WE’RE NOT GOING TO ACCIDENTALLY SLEEP UNTIL NOON), and by 9am we were just sitting in a cleaned-up rental trying not to muss anything up, so we were like: why are we waiting around. JUST CUT THE CORD. So I said my good-byes to the wrap-around deck, the dune, the couch and murder shows, and then we peaced out of there.
It was hard leaving that place, it was perfect and I hope we can rent it sometime in the future (next summer we’re Portland-bound, but some day: we’re coming back). We drove through to Indiana, then stopped to drown our sorrows in a proper White Castle breakfast.
Sliders and onion petals and french fries, oh my.
Not only did we get an early start, but we passed through a time zone as well, so we ended up having an entire day to blow so we did what we like to do best: we stopped in Chicago and made a day of it.
First stop: our forever favorite museum. Scott stood in line to get our general-admission tickets and I kept the boys occupied in the entry area, and then some random lady came up to us and handed us free tickets to the special Robot exhibit going on, she had a large group and had bought too many, so that was way cool. Sadly: because Scott wasn’t with us, she only gave us 3. I had Scott do the exhibit with the boys, while I wandered the museum on my own for 45 whole minutes. BLISS. So it all worked out in the end 😉
We have been here a million times and yet we still always find some little nook or room we’ve never seen before.
Also: new robot Mold-o-Rama from the robot exhibit. BOOM.
We museum-ed the hell out of that place, spent most of the day there, then we were hungry. So off we went to the north side to get some pizza.
And a beer.
They are never not impressed by the New Haven-style they serve here.
Closed out the day by hunting for street art before heading back to Madtown.
So heyyyyyy you made it! There’s the rest of our vacation, then I returned to work hell and Linus doing a daycare/preschool switch and it’s been a hell of a couple of weeks since, trust. TAKE ME BACK TO MICHIGAN STAT.
Okay guys I hope you are all surviving August as well and I will be updating with normal boring stuff very soon, promise. Enjoy the last of the summer.