Home to Michigan

I flew home to Michigan last Thursday for a few days.  My mom likes when I call Michigan home but I have a theory, that as an adult, home becomes where you raise your kids which makes New York home.  Nonetheless, I do always enjoy going back to where I grew up, to the state a part of me will always love.  Because that state happens to have a lot of people that I adore and this little guy is the newest one.

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God bless my sister Leslie.  She has added a tenth baby to her family and basically just picked up and carried on like nothing much changed.  Also, God bless her sweet little babies who come running when she has a big double chocolate muffin to share.

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One of the reasons I love visiting my family is to see the awesome dynamics of kids growing up in a big family.  It’s really cool to watch them help each other, not as though they were doing something special, but just because it’s what they do.

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Another one of the main reasons that I love to visit is because my nieces and nephews are amazing and I love them all so much.

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This is the oldest grandson in my family and he was gracious enough to take time to cook for me while I was visiting.  He’s a hunter, like his Dad and made me the most delicious venison I’ve ever had.

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It was a very quick visit, so we did our best to cram everything into the two days that I was there.  On Friday, we gathered our whole family together to eat at one of my favorite Michigan restaurants.

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You might think it would be a little nutty, to go out to eat with fifteen kids, ages fifteen and under.  But honestly, my sisters and their husbands have done so well with their kids and all of them were really well behaved.

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It was really nice to spend the time all together and FYI locals, Russ’ has a kids menu for 10 and under where all the meals are only $2.99.

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We did have a really nice time all together and that was probably my favorite part.  Just being with my family.  I love my parents and both of my sisters and their families so much.  I’m proud to say that Friday night, I cooked dinner for Leslie and Sarah’s families which all together was 20 people.  Considering that I normally cook for 4, this was quite the feat.  I’m proud to share they enjoyed the food I made (a lot of BBQ Polish Kielbasa, two huge trays of an assortment of Roasted Veggies and some Mac and Cheese to top it off).

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On Saturday, we took time to celebrate the beautiful life of my amazing Grandma Ann.  My favorite part was hearing some of the great grandkids sing her favorite song, “In the Garden.”  Pastor Rumley also shared the Gospel which would have made her so happy because she loved Jesus so very much and wanted her family and friends to know and love him too.

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I brought my camera, but didn’t take a lot of pictures.  Now that I’m thinking of it, funerals are maybe one of the only main life events that you don’t usually take a lot of pictures at.  I did get this picture of my mom and her siblings though.  I know it was a good, but hard day for them because they loved my Grandma so very much.

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And that sums up the majority of my short trip home to Michigan last weekend.  We did get together at my sister Sarah’s house later that evening, but time was spent talking and eating and trying to fit in a few fun moments with my nieces and nephews while I could. I flew home Sunday morning and basically just jumped back into my normal busy life here.  I’m so glad I was able to be with my family last weekend and all in all, we had a really good time remembering my Grandma and being all together.

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Michigan Memories 2018

What follows are memories from our family trip out to Michigan.  It was a fun and full week of time with family and we loved every minute.  It would be impossible to share everything that happened that week, so bear with me as this is my best effort.

  1. First off, God bless my nephew Jonathan and his ability to waterski right through a bunch of ducks who didn’t seem to mind at all.  It’s a talent few would have.

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2.  Sheridan Drive Baptist Church is where I grew up and learned all about loving Jesus.  It’s always been a joy to go back and visit and always fun to get to participate in their monthly evening service, out at my sister’s lake.

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3.  It was an absolute delight to get to see our sweet niece Lydia be baptized on Sunday night.  She shared her testimony and it was so sweet to see her love for Jesus and her willingness to share it with others.

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4.  I grew up playing volleyball with the youth in our church, so you can imagine my delight seeing our son get to play it just like we always did.

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5.  Family friends are the best kinds of friends and I always love catching up with mine when we are home in Michigan.

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6.  Bringing Ryke’s Bakery donuts for all of the nieces and nephews is one of my favorite summer traditions.  Whereas I am sad that we don’t have such a wonderful bakery near us, it’s probably a good thing because I would be there every day.

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7.  Fun Aunt Leslie had the idea to take some of the kids to an Air Trampoline place.  I’m proud to report that everyone had fun and no one broke any bones.

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8.  Also, kudos to Ellee, who discovered she could do this.

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9.  Jeremy’s brother Corey and his family are also in Michigan and we loved getting to go and visit with them as well.  It’s amazing how quickly time is flying by and also amazing how quickly these boys are growing (well, at least the two middle ones).

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10.  It’s always a good night, when your fisherman nephew serves you a feast of fish he’s caught over the past week.  These kids jumped in to help batter enough fish to feed our extended family of 24 and there were even fish to spare.

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11.  Ah, Wesco Slushies…  Our family drinks about a billion of them over the week, since it’s a once a year occurrence.

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12.  Aunt Leslie has 9 kids… so an occasional baby foot while she’s figuring out food for them doesn’t even phase her.  She lives out a pretty admirable life, mothering them all in a quite extraordinary way.  She’s patient and loving and is probably the definition of #bestmomgoals.

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13.  Aunt Sarah is equally awesome, and in her own ways.  She was the only fun Aunt to swim with all the kids and I love her dearly.  She keeps busy with her tribe of five and her immaculately clean home and sets her own amazing standards quite high as well.

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14.  Also, my parents have cool friends that for some reason thought it would be super fun to have a ton of kids come and swim in their pool… and for the record, it was.

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15.  Grandpa made his famous french toast and those grandkids who slept over that night were richly blessed by it in the morning.

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16.  Another highlight was getting to be there for our nephew Josiah’s birthday party.  Usually this is just something we see on Facebook, so were so glad to get to be a part of it this year.

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17.  My beautiful Grandma who turned 100 years old this past May was there and we loved getting to see and visit with her.

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18.  Also, this is what your party looks like when there are many cousins around to help you open your presents.

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19.  My beautiful Mama and her handsome grandsons.

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20.  We might have made Grandma take pictures with us, because we love her.

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21.  It’s amazing to think that this started as our little family of five.  Getting to spend the week with them is always, always a treat.  And I’m so thankful to know that all of my family loves Jesus and that this has trickled down from my Grandma and Grandpa and their love for Jesus that started so long ago.

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22.  Sisters are forever.

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23.  And that about sums up a few of our favorite Michigan Memories from this year.  We had an incredible time with our family and we are so thankful.  Poor Ellee cried much of the entire 13 hour drive home because she was so heartbroken as leaving her Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and especially Cousins.  But I reminded her as best as I could that every visit is a gift to be enjoyed and that we would look forward to seeing them again next year.

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When you take eight kids to Sam’s Club…

  Today, I learned that when you take eight kids to Sam’s Club, it can make for a pretty interesting and fun trip.

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My previous experience would be taking our two kids to Costco.  Which is a small comparison.  Because right away, the first thing I noticed, was that it’s a lot different, stopping your car and having your two kids jump out, in comparison to stopping and getting eight kids out and ready to go.  The older ones were good about helping with the younger ones, which I’m sure their mom appreciated.  And sweet baby Matthew slept soundly through the transition, bless his little two month heart.

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While in Sam’s Club, I saw that my sister is a warehouse shopping pro (which is probably something that I already knew).  She strolled up and down those aisles with eight kids in tow, grabbing this or that and seemed to be un-phased as her large brood of children followed closely behind.  I also noticed that when you have a big family, chances are, at least one might not be the happiest, but as I watched my sister, she just rolled with it.

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And soon enough, everyone was good to go again.

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Of course the highlight of the trip was stopping at all of the sample tables.  Most of the kids weren’t fans of the seafood and calamari rice, but the Icee popsicles and barbecued salmon were big hits

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The littlest of the eight slept soundly the entire trip.  Which was kind of amazing, if you ask me.  Leslie’s trained him well.

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Checkout was quick and relatively easy.  One couple commented on Leslie’s large family, which again didn’t phase her.  I’m sure she gets it a lot.  It’s probably a fine mix of curiosity and wonder at how one mom manages so many children so well.

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And when the time came to load up the groceries and kids, again, there were many helping hands and soon enough, we were good to go.

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I spent the evening at Leslie’s home and enjoyed a wonderful meal with her wonderful family.  Afterwards, we headed outdoors to take a few family pictures.  It was easier than I expected and I was so happy to be able to capture some shots of her incredible family.

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My favorite one of the night was taken in front of the beautiful vehicle that transports her family of ten.  And as I reflect back on today, it was fun to see that when you take eight kids to Sam’s Club, if you’re my sister, it’s just your way of life.  Your family works together, your kids work things out, and you get to be a testimony Of a necessary form of teamwork and helping each other out.

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Great Times, Great Lakes

To sum up the past few days…

Playtime

We’re home visiting my thirteen nieces and nephews and with that many children under the age of 11, (fourteen, including Ellee) playing is always a priority.  A few days ago, my mom and I took ten of those sweet kids to play at a local park.  We had a blast, and it was so much fun.

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Slurpees For All

After our playground playdate, Grandma thought it would be a fun idea to take all ten grandkids to Wesco for slurpees.  And it was.

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Jump Around

Today, we went to visit Lewis Farm in New Era.  We took all fourteen kids and every one had a blast.  My favorite part was the jumping pillows.  Because apparently, I’m a big kid and just like to jump around on things.

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Cousin Pics

Sorry kids.  I’ll never get tired of them.  Seeing Ellee spend the week with her Michigan cousins has made my heart so happy.  She is loving every minute and soaking it all in while she can.

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Barrel Train

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ’round.  The one with the prettiest view.

It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers.  It’s got sights to give you shivers but it sure would be prettier with you. 

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Sisters are Forever

Sisters are forever, and I’m so happy to be spending the week with mine.

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Making the Most

“Aunt Laura, Why do you live in New York?” is the question that I often hear from my little Michigan nieces and nephews.  And I try to explain to them that that is where God has brought me and Uncle Jeremy, but they are just a little sad because I miss all of their birthday parties.  And I suppose, if I thought about it too much, I’d be a little sad too.  So I don’t think about it too much and instead, I just try to make the most of the time I have with them.  I fit in hugs and kisses when I can and do my best to tell them many times throughout the day how much I love them.  And I hope that they will always know that, because it couldn’t be more true.

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Kind Lady

A Kind Lady at Lewis’ farm offered to take this picture for us.  And I suppose that it’s not the most perfect picture, but in a family of this size, I think you take what you can get.  Thanks, Kind Lady.

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Delighted

This about sums up how happy I am to spend time with my family.  Photo credit to my nephews who keep wanting to take pictures for me.  I think one of them may grow up to be a photographer someday.

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Other People’s Babies

I’ll be honest.  I used to never be a fan of holding other people’s babies.  But these days, I can’t get enough of it, especially when the babies belong to my sisters.  Don’t worry.  I’m still totally content with just having our two now much bigger babies.  But I am loving, loving on Leslie and Sarah’s little ones.

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Faf-few

His two year old brother calls him, “Faf-few.”  So sometimes I do too.  And in case you were wondering, his sweet little name is Matthew and he is just past two months.  He’s the youngest grandchild and quite sweet as well.

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Great Times

And finally.  Those were just a few pictures of the many great times that we’ve had for the past few days.  I love visiting Michigan and seeing my family.  It brings back so many great memories of my childhood growing up years as well.  We are looking forward to spending the next few days making more memories before we head back home.  Thanks so much for stopping in and have a great day!

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