Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the newest one

These pictures are so much better in person, but here are a few of our newest little one.

The day before Paul and I left for our vacation, we had our 20-week ultrasound (even though I was technically, according to their records, 19 weeks and 6 days along). The kids were napping during our appointment, so my mom got to go with us. It was a super special time.

And yes, she's a girl. She has all 10 fingers and all 10 toes. We could count them all, although I'm sure when she's out I'll be recounting them, multiple times, just to make sure.

The 3-D images still amaze me. By the end, this was her expression. She was done with us taking her picture - modest already.

Oh little girl - we're already beyond excited to meet you! But just keep growing well in there. You've got the rest of your life to be out and about. And I'm sure you will be, with 2 older siblings to follow around. We love you already, and your sweet Polk nose. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

a true vacation

Paul and I went on an actual (kid-free) vacation last week. We've been home a week, but it feels like a year - lots of "grandparent detoxing" going on these days. But still, I'd go back to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore almost any day (except maybe in the winter).

Paul took all these pictures. He didn't want to carry a camera, so these are all taken on his iPhone (yes, he has an iPhone now - watch out!). We had 4G internet the whole time, even on the islands. He was pretty pumped. Sorry the videos are blurry, they're perfectly clear on our computer. :(

On our way around Lake Michigan we stopped at Gary, Indiana's Great Lakes Cafe. Wow! This place was a gem. The food is great, the owner is awesome (yes, Paul got a picture with her), and you couldn't beat the feel. We had only been in the car about an hour and a half or so, but we were already having the time of our lives.

Our first two nights we camped on the mainland. After dinner the first night we walked out to the lakefront to watch the sun set.

The belly is in full swing these days, and I got a lot of "you're crazy!" looks from fellow campers. Honestly, I hadn't felt as good as I did since before I was pregnant. Most, if not all, of that was thanks to Paul's insistence on hydration and eating well. We had the best back country meals I've ever had and was stuffed after every one.

On Saturday we day-tripped to South Manitou Island. We hiked 8 miles in 4 and a half hours, even with a 45-60 minute break for lunch (I didn't have a pack this day). This picture was in the giant old growth cedar forest. It was beautiful.

On Sunday, we took the ferry over to North Manitou Island. We hiked 7 miles around the south side and found an amazing camp site. The video does not do it justice. That is me at the end, sitting under our tarp in the next small field over, through a path between the trees.
video

This was the view from under the tarp. The picture's a bit deceiving in that you had to go down a sand dune to get to the lakefront, but it was not bad at all to get back up. You can see South Manitou Island on the horizon.

Sunset our first night...I could've stayed there a long time.

We took Monday "off." Meaning I went down to the beach. Paul went on his own adventure to find one of the lakes on the island. I was happy to stay back, especially when he got back and told me about his day (he ended up hiking about 10 miles, found the lake, but not by the map of "trails" he had). As far as I could see in both directions, I had the beach to myself. It was beautiful. It felt like the Caribbean. I took the day to do yoga, stretch, intentionally breath, read, journal, and simply be. It was just perfect.

We had a deer visit our campsite. The first evening she just walked through, but the second evening she hung out for about 2 and a half hours - walking around, eating, meandering through the huge field on the other side of the trees, going down the dunes to the lakefront for a drink, then back up through our campsite... It was amazing. We named her Rebecca.
video

On Tuesday we hiked another 7 miles back, through the center, to the east side of the island so we could catch the ferry back to the mainland on Wednesday.  Our campsite wasn't nearly as gorgeous, but we were thankful to not have a major hike the next morning.

My parents came out and watched the kids so Paul and I could get away. My goodness, we were so incredibly thankful. When they got home we were texting back and forth and they mentioned something about making this an annual event. We'd be happy to oblige!