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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Life Lately - Our Northern Michigan Ski Trip - 2022

A couple of weekends ago we went on a ski trip up to Boyne Highlands in northern Michigan.  We went on our first trip to Boyne last year around the same time and the kids had taken their first ski lessons.  They did fantastic and we knew we'd want to come back again this year for a second year of lessons and in hopes that we'd be able to get Jane out on the slopes, as well.

We headed up north on a Thursday after the kids had a half day of school only to be met by snowy roads as we approached our final hour.  It never fails up there.

After a quick stop at Qdoba for dinner and another hour of cautious driving, we had finally arrived.  Our lessons were to begin bright and early the next morning and we were to arrive 15 minutes early, meaning that we would all have to have our ski boots on, our skis ready to go, dressed in all of our snow gear and outside by 8:45.  Based off of our trip from last year we remembered how long it can take to make all of this happen so we opted to rent our gear the night before and boy, that worked out beautifully!

Henry and Eliza knew the drill.  The fitting of the boots for Jane was kind of the hit or miss of probably the entire weekend.  If she didn't like the feel of the boots from first go then I knew she wasn't even going to give skiing a chance.  Luckily, she sat and was fitted like a boss.  So much so that she thought we were going skiing then and there and was upset when we took the boots off.

Her little skis were ridiculously adorable and Henry and Eliza made it that much more exciting for her.

After a great night's sleep in our cozy room we were all able to get out the door.  It was bitter cold outside, I'm talking -12 degree windchill.  We had on layers upon layers of clothes and the hat/ski masks that I purchased from Amazon were absolutely worth every single penny.  Jon had also purchased ski socks from Amazon... I had no idea ski socks were a thing, but upon further research I had discovered that cotton socks have no wicking properties - this was all new information to me - all these years of wearing cotton socks to play out in the snow!  I was honestly super surprised that most of our toes stayed nice and warm.  Henry was the only one complaining about his feet, but next time I'll have him use toe warmers, along with his ski socks.

Anyhoo, I digress...

Jane watching as the chair lift tickets appeared.  Oh the magic!

Here's Jane all ready to go!

The kids headed off to lessons.  Last year we signed them up for group lessons, but they were the only ones in their group.  So ultimately they received two hours of lessons as basically a private lesson.  Jon and I enjoyed that one-on-one attention, so this year we signed them up for private lessons.  However, the private lessons only last an hour, so as they were away we knew it was our opportunity to get Jane out on the bunny hill.

Girlfriend was so excited!

I was so worried about her little checks, lips and nose the entire time.  It was just freeeeezing.  I heard several employees talk about how cold it was and if they were complaining, I knew it was colder than cold!


Jane happily clicked into her skis and we were ready to go!

Jon and I took her up her bunny hill lift.

We didn't wear our skis so that we could help her out.  We later got in trouble for not having them on.  Oops.

Some little frozen boogies...poor thing just wouldn't wear her ski mask.

I somehow managed to get her off the "lift" without falling.  I have a history of not being the most graceful when it comes to exiting any of the belts/lifts.

Jane was slowly shuffling and she eventually just went for it and started skiing.  We were so proud!  Who knows if we were helping/teaching her correctly or not...  we've already decided that she'll be going in lessons next year for sure.  

At one point Jane had a full on tantrum...in the snow and in all of her snow gear.  She was thrashing, rolling, screaming, tears and boogies everywhere.  She had had enough.  I only mention it because I didn't take a picture due to it being so epic (and bitter cold for my hands to even grab my phone) and almost ridiculously hilarious that Jon and I just stood there and let her have her moment.  I'm sure other guests didn't appreciate it, BUT, I think she needed the moment...to let it all out.  She was doing big things and those big things seemed to have come with a lot of emotion.  Within moments she was much happier.  It was definitely something we never want to forget.

Jon took Jane inside for a rest and Henry and Eliza had finished their lesson for the day.

The took me up "Camelot" a few times.  It was nice to spend some quality time with them.  Although, I'm mostly terrified the entire time I'm riding a lift or skiing down a hill...so I wouldn't call it "relaxed quality time" by any means.  I'm so slow and cautious...and scared.  Skiing is not my thing, but I go to be that mom who says I went.

I reminded the kids over and over that I wasn't there to win any medals or to get any better or to go faster.  LOL!


Jon and I had purchased lunch food for our trip, but as we quickly learned, it was just easier to keep all of our gear on and eat in the dining area.

The kids told us to take a picture like this.  Hahaha!

Jane's little face in the corner cracks me up!

After a little bit more skiing we headed to one of the three pools.  We originally didn't think our building had a pool, but we were surprised to learn that it did!  Nothing like skiing in negative degree temps and then heading to a heated indoor/outdoor pool.

This was so cool!  Jon said that my little hairs on my head had icicles on them!

After swimming we went back to the room and the kids blow dried their hair to ensure their heads would stay warm because we were about to head over to the main lobby for the daily free hot cocoa and cookies at 4:00!  The walk was so short, but it was soooo cold outside that we still donned our snow pants, boots and coats.

Jane was thrilled and she did her funny eye thing that she does.  So silly!

This hot cocoa was perfect!

Our little loves.

I almost declined this photo after somebody had asked if we wanted our picture taken, but oh my gosh, I'm so happy I said yes!

Everyone was happy and we were warm...and relaxed.  Love it so much!

We headed over to grab pizza for dinner.  The pizza location was so funny because it's in a beautiful conference room/small ballroom.  There were tables and chairs everywhere but nobody was sitting in this space.  I'm guessing everyone just takes food to their rooms?  We had space to do the same, but I loved the idea of having more than enough space and the place to ourselves.  It was perfect.  Eliza insisted that she sit in this chair and called herself, the President.  

I'm not sure what's happening in this picture, but after dinner Jane and I went back to the room while Jon and the old two went out for some night skiing.  Jane and I stayed back to keep her on her bedtime routine.

The next day was about the same - lessons for Henry and Eliza and some more of the bunny hill for Jane.  She was quite tired the next day so she didn't do as much skiing.

Jon and I took turns all morning with the kids.  We ate lunch and then Jon headed off with the big kids and I stayed back in the dining area with Jane for an hour and a half.  I knew that if we went back to the room then we'd both be done skiing for the week/weekend.  I people watched, turned cartoons on my phone and Jane at snacks as we waited.

Once Jon was back, he took Jane down some hills before letting her be done for the day.  He then took her back to the room to sit and relax and then this happened...

This girl naps, buy NEVER like this.  She's doesn't even sleep on car rides...never has, so this was telling of how exhausted she was...

I went off with the kids and they took me down some hills that I hadn't been on and a lift that was really long.  Henry spoke of how relaxing and beautiful it was.

Earlier in the weekend we rode a lift with another dad and he told us that on one side of the mountain the Mackinaw Bridge can be seen (this bridge is what connects Michigan's peninsulas together).  He told a story of when he was a little boy his dad told him to look for the bridge as he was approaching the top of the hill but then missed his exit and had to ride down half way before somehow "jumping off."  Anyhow, as we got off the lift I realized where we were and remembered his story and wouldn't you know it - we could see the bridge on that clear and beautiful morning!

(On one of the other hills we could see Lake Michigan - such a cool vantage point!)

Also, this is the hill that I fell on.  It was such a pretty hill.  Lots of condos and houses to look at on the way down.  Some people were having a fire as skiers skied by.  I must've been distracted when I looked down and noticed my skis cross in front of each other and then I proceeded to fall in slow motion.  LOL!  Henry and Eliza were so sweet in trying to help me back up, which was comical, by the way.  

After the same routine of pool, hot cocoa and cookies and pizza, the kids and Jon went out for more night skiing!

Jon took some great pictures and videos!  They took him down a hill that he hadn't been down.  At this point they were pretty darn confident.  Basically their instructor the day before said they were going down a blue square and she said, and I quote, "Follow me!"  Eliza said it didn't give them enough time to be scared, so they just went for it!  WHAT!?

Jon mentioned the hill being questionable for even himself, but the kids were all about it...

So cute!

Then Jon had Henry take a picture of this Arnold pose!  LOL!!!!  Nothing says skiing like Arnold poses!  Bahahaha!

Lastly, and completely out of order, Henry flexing like his Dad in the pool...

Love those guys! 

We had the best time...tantrums and all!  Everyone is excited to go again next year...and well, I'll tolerate it!  ;). 

Thanks for following along!

Marie :)

Friday, January 21, 2022

Friday Favorites

It's Friday Favorites time!

I'm joining in on the Friday fun with Andrea at Momfessionals and Erika over at A Little Bit of Everything.


We went on a ski trip last weekend up in northern Michigan and we had the best time together!  I'm hoping to get a post up of our adventures sometime next week.  I posted quite a bit over on IG, but it didn't happen if it's not blogged about.  ;)

Jane did great this year!  She actually skied, as opposed to last year.  Scroll down...

Poor thing.  She was not having it.

This year was great even with negative temps reaching -12 and -7 degrees.  Yikes!  These kids bundled up and did great.  I can't wait to share more.


Speaking of trips!  We're heading to Disney soooo soon!  We're under 40 days to go and I have so much to do!  We've gone twice before, once in 2016 and again in 2018.  We had plans to go again in early 2020 but Jane hadn't received the measles vaccine and there had been a random measles outbreak.  If only we had known what was around the corner about a month or so later...I soooo wish we had taken that trip.

Anyone else going this year?!  Have any of you gone since the pandemic began?  I'd love to hear about your experience.  


This cookbook for kids has been so much fun.  Eliza's loving it.  She's made monkey bread twice, little mozzarella cheese and tomato appetizers and homemade brownies.  I highly recommend it!



Anyone else have this playing on repeat?!  I love it more and more every day!


Some screenshots from the week...

The kids know I mean business when I get to Jeez Louise!


This is so true for Michiganders.  Haha!  I'm one for "Actual Up North," since I grew up near the thumb.

This.  This is me.

Love this.  What a beautiful reminder.

Thanks for following along!

Marie :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Life Lately - A Christmas Recap

Welp, we're 19 days into the new year and here I am finally posting my Christmas recap.  I'm going to stay positive here and say that's a win!

We started the holiday fun with the obligatory baking of all the things.  I believe in my last blog post I mentioned how much Jane loved this and how she sat for hours helping us bake and decorate.  It was definitely the first time Jane sat and enjoyed the process and the mess that comes along with it!

The older two know the drill and loved decorating just as much as they did as when they were little.

Ignore the messes in the background. 


We headed to Grandpa George and Grandma Terri's house for Christmas.

Lots of snuggles.

The kids were extremely patient when it came to waiting to open gifts.

Love this sweet picture I was able to capture. 

The best we could do...  LOL!

Again...being extremely patient while awaiting the big fun!

The girls respectively awaiting their turns...

Henry and his Christmas hats.  He's always been my jolly little elf.

Jane taking in the magic.

We awoke to Elmer and Violet in jars!

We headed over to my parents' house to help my mom prepare for her Christmas Eve with my aunt and cousin.  My sister and her kids met up with us over there, too.  We made plans to get together on my side of the family the Thursday following Christmas so that we could all be together.  My mom needed a little help due to her being my Dad's primary caregiver.  I haven't talked about this much, but he received the diagnosis of vascular dementia last year around this time and then has been fighting the lasting effects of Covid, as well.  My heart aches for them and my living two hours away doesn't help either, so I hope to swing by anytime I'm around.

My mom's Christmas village is the epitome of nostalgia and it brings back happy memories of good health.

Eliza in one of her many sleeping pictures I've taken throughout the years.  Girlfriend was exhausted.

Happy dreams sweet boy...

The elves and one of their last tricks...

Christmas Eve cleaning!  Yes, son, yes!

Girlfriend cooking up eggs!  Oh the independence!  Time is flying.

On Christmas Eve I woke up and decided we needed more cookies...

My little elves...

Elmer and Violet somehow wrote out a message that the kids could hold them until 4 p.m.!  

Naturally the kids watched a movie with their favorite little elf friends...

Jane woke up from her nap and was thrilled!

Our "fancy" Christmas dinner.  Eliza decorated and set the table...

The pajama elves came.  This is a tradition that has been upheld ever since I was a little girl.

Eliza looks happy here, but immediately started crying because she didn't think the pajamas would fit.

Looks good to me! 


Setting out milk and cookies...

Watching a Christmas movie...

Reindeer food...

Reading The Night Before Christmas.  Jane and her silliness...

Santa came!

Christmas morning!

Jane received her "Anna Go Castle!"

...and the kids received lots of goodies that made them smile...

His face!  Bahahaha!

The aftermath...

Eliza received a Magic Mixies Magical Misting Cauldron and she loved it!  It was so fun to watch!

Basically all the Christmas gifts for me...in total.  Both sets of parents give to all the grandkids and nobody else does a gift exchange anymore, so I was extremely grateful to have a few presents to open!  Totally not bitter, it's just the way it is!  It makes me TRULY appreciate the thoughtfulness from Jon - I received some good ones.  A North Face jacket, Hunter booties and a pair of Lululemon leggings!

We had a friend over for a sleep over the Sunday after Christmas!  We love this girly to pieces!  

We decorated cupcakes and had so much fun!

They did each other's makeup and decided Jane needed a makeover, as well.  Oh to be the little sister.

On Monday morning, the 27th, I had to wake up bright and early to get my Disney Dining Reservations, with my Disney Princess cup that I've had since I was in my teens.  My alarm was set and I hardly slept a wink!  I was nervous with sweaty palms and everything.  My phone and computer were ready to go, but it was my phone that rescued me after attempting to book reservations on my laptop just wouldn't work.  Luckily, I got a bunch of reservations on my "want" list!  I was exhausted for the rest of the day!

I took the kids to a bounce house event in town.  I thought they'd be more excited, but Henry stayed up late after spending the night at a friend's house and Jane was intimidated by all the people and overwhelming bounce houses, poor thing is a Pandemic toddler/baby, so these types of things really get to her.

It was a great event, but we didn't stay long.  Once home, Henry went to his bedroom and fell asleep for hours!

On the Thursday following Christmas we headed to my sister's house to finally celebrate my side of the family's Christmas.

My sister, me, my brother Mike (and his son, Michael), my mom and my dad.  My brother, Paul, is currently fighting his own health battles.  He fell in 2018 and has a TBI and has been in a home and on a ventilator every since.  My heart breaks looking at this picture.  My dad's health and my brother not being able to ever come to these events ever again.  I only mention it now to remember it all.  I am, however, extremely grateful for this picture.  My dad is still here.  We had a Christmas AND I was finally able to see my older brother just before Christmas, as well as twice more since then.  Oh my heart aches.

My brother Paul's daughter, Aurora, to the far right.  

All the grandkids.  My dad...oh dad...I'm so, so very sorry...

It's not fair.

Lastly, a New Year's party with all the kids and our neighbor bestie, Amy!  She snuck in for this picture and I love it!  She kept me going during all the virtual learning and the stress that came with it and she continues to be there for me during these difficult times.  She's an amazing best friend and I love her!

There you have it.  Hopefully it wasn't too sad, but it's real and I want to remember these moments - the real moments.

Happy New Year to you all.  Stay healthy.  Stay kind.

Marie :)