Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Michigan: not nearly as terrible as you think.

When I was a kid, I, like most children raised in Ohio, learned a song in which the main lyrics are "We don't give a d**n about the whole state of Michigan", so it was a bit strange to pack up for a weekend in the land of Great Hate. Oh- I mean Great Lakes. But our good friends from Cincinnati, Brian and Jillian, recently moved and bought a home in Grand Rapids, so I couldn't let a little thing like deep-seated state rivalry keep us apart. Besides, Ann Arbor is over two hours away from their new digs. Lumping them together would be like blaming Columbus for Cleveland's suckitude. In other words, completely unfair.

So we embarked on the six and a half hour road trip (somehow I seem to remember it being shorter when I signed up for the trip....). Two to three hour juants are routine at this point, but this trip tested our stamina. Ultimately, it went like most of our road trips go: Dustin drives, we argue over windows vs. AC, and I read magazines until I eventually fall asleep, leaving Dustin to suffer the miles alone. But- we had a very successful new addition this time: slurpies! This made all the difference. I was up and ready to party for the Michigan portion of the journey (which came in handy in Ann Arbor. I mean, someone had to be ready to flip 'em the bird!).
Almost as important as the real fuel.

I imagine these two were anxiously awaiting our arrival.

But all the miles were more than worth it when we were greeted by the Parsons' smiling faces (well....Megan needed a bit of convincing before she was ready to fully embrace us.) and the Riels, another couple (plus baby and a half) we were friends with back in Cincinnati.
The boys of summer.

We had a wonderful weekend. Michigan charmed me with its perfect weather (I think we witnessed the best three days of the year), and quaint yuppy towns. Friday was a quiet night at the Parsons' abode- spent catching up, wrangling children and just laughing together. The boys got to take in the sights on a late night beer run, while the ladies hung back and gossiped about our husbands (kidding...sort of!). Saturday was gorgeous day, and we took in all the joys of surburban living. (fun fact, East G.D. Rapids, as it's known, is famous "for its award-winning school system with extensive athletic championships, its affluence and its lack of ethnic diversity". That's a wiki-fact, but after a weekend there, I'd be inclined to agree.) We enjoyed a walk to the Gaslight Village, had lunch al fresco, checked out a local candy shop (that may have enduced a short megan-meltdown....my bad!) and stopped for ice cream (and pictures of course!).

Jeff and Karen....+ another baby on the way!

One of 85+ adorable Megan pictures I took. She probably
won't recognize me without a camera in front of my face.

Dustin found a delightful little lady to help him finish his cone.

After all of that fun (and sugar!) it was time for a nap for the little ones and some fun in the sun for the big kids. EGDR (as the cool kids are calling it) is one of those ideallic neighborhoods that you dream of growing up in....or at least raising kids there. Next door to Brian and Jill is a house with a zip line (yeah, you hear me) and an in-ground trampoline. It is at least as cool as it sounds. Not to be outdone though, the Parson's Palace is equipped with a pool- but in keeping with their Penguin-like tradition, they keep it at a brisk 62 degrees, so there wasn't a ton of swimming going on. Brian however, was bold as usual, and wow'ed us with his diving skills. I won't steal his blogging thunder, but let's just say there was a small incident involving a child's innertube. Stay tuned to his site for the story....

Scared of Daddy's antics? Or intrigued? Hard to say....

Sunday morning was a real treat, as we got to visit Mars Hill Church, home to preacher, writer, and all around cool guy Rob Bell. He wasn't speaking that particular week, but it was still great to check out a new church, and spend time worshiping and learning with good friends. Unfortunately the Riels had to leave shortly after, but not before Reva got a few more rides on the Pretty Pony. I swear I still have the song in my head.

Clippity clop. Clippity clop.

But the fun for us was far from over. We took a quick trip over to Holland MI, home of Kerry and Sue Boote, who are Jillian's parents as well as extraordinary boat tour guides. They took us out on Lake Macatawa (Lake Mac to the locals) and Lake Michigan (which might as well have been an ocean....where does it end?!). This may have been the highlight of the entire trip. I giggled like a five year old while we crashed over waves, Dustin and Kerry bonded over real estate prices, lake history and other guy talk, and Megan fell asleep.

See...even far from home we still rep the O-H!

We ended the weekend with a double date dinner, with talks of friends, jobs, ministry, plans, hopes and....life. It was an absolute delightful trip- the only negative was leaving. But hopefully we'll be back sooner than later, or we'll plan a Pittsburgh pit-stop, or our paths will cross in Ohio. Regardless, I'm just grateful for good friends- their honesty, generosity, and love.


  1. Does that mean you ate lunch nekked???

    You look so beautiful holding that sweet baby girl!

  2. if any pictures ever inspired me to go on a diet ... these were them. :) JK ... I am what I am.

    But the write-up was Fan-freaking-tastic. Glad you guys had a blast ... I worried about baby talk overshadowing, but I thought it went well. You guys gave me valuable info for the future and I really appreciate it your knowledge and guidance. We look forward to returning the favor with a trip to Pittsburgh some time ... let's check calendars.