Photos by Chris Cox | Photographer


Chris Cox (photographer extraordinaire) took some pics of Ruby and Clara when he visited in the fall. Picking my favorites to share with you here. You can see more of Chris’ work at or stop by Gaspard Gallery | 235 South Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, MICLARA-RUBY-SMALL-009 CLARA-RUBY-SMALL-010 CLARA-RUBY-SMALL-011 CLARA-RUBY-SMALL-016 CLARA-RUBY-SMALL-017

CLARA-RUBY-SMALL-018Chris! Thanks so much for capturing your nieces so well! We love love love the pics and will treasure them forever.


Girls Weekend in Columbus

Ryan had a conference in Salt Lake City, UT for 5 days learning about all sorts of interesting pediatric gastroenterological things. Here’s a pic Ryan’s co-fellow Patrice took of him living it up in Utah. They had a morning to take a gondola up to the top of Snowbird then hike down the mountain. Pretty awesome if you ask me!

Since Ryan was gone, I figured it was the perfect time for a girls weekend! My Mom, my sister Angela, and my neices Lydia and Norah arrived Friday night. Ruby waited patiently out on the porch for a good 12 minutes. She was so excited to see her cousins.

Saturday morning we took everyone to our zoo. Ruby showed Lydia all our favorite animals, the polar bears, flamingos, brown bears, elephants, gorillas, monkeys, lions, and even the baby tigers (who are now big enough to be out in the exhibit instead of in the glass viewing room!)

The girls went to the farm and pet some sheep and goats. Lydia was determined to get her hands on each and every one of those sheep. She ran from sheep to sheep greeting and petting each one. It was so great. “Look out sheep! Here come Lydia and Ruby!”

We packed  a picnic lunch and stayed right up to the point when all 4 girls had reached the point of seriously needing their naps. That night, after approximately 15 tries, I managed to get a fairly good pic of all the girls together. 

The next day was sunny and beautiful at the Homestead Park! Ruby and Lydia loved the tether ball courts and exploring the path around the pond and over the bridge. These might be the last of the perfectly vibrant fall leaf colors since it’s been so windy and rainy. We sure did enjoy Fall while it lasted!

Loved loved loved our weekend together mom and Ang. I’m so thankful you took the time to drive all the way to Columbus for a visit. Can’t wait to see you guys again at Thanksgiving!

So, what’s the verdict? Is 26 pictures too many for one post? Ha!

Building Memories at The Dunes

My mom and dad talked about “Building Memories” thousands of times throughout my childhood. If something unexpected happened, we were “building memories” when times were good, we were “building memories” when everything wasn’t working out as planned, we were “building memories”. I find myself saying the same line to my children now – and on our recent family daytrip to the Dunes we were certainly building memories!

All week long we had been planning our trip to the Dunes on Lake Michigan! Tracy had never been to Lake Michigan (except for seeing it from the Chicago side the first time I met her when she was running a marathon), so we knew this fall vacation was the perfect time for her to experience the amazing Pure Michigan lakeshore. 

Unfortunately, a cold front moved in overnight and we ended up being there when it wasn’t quite 45 degrees and was super windy. BRRRrrrrrr. Needless to say, we all (including the Floridians) braved the frigid conditions and began the climb to the top of Tower Hill. We were building memories, right?

Amazingly, Ruby and Lydia both climbed all the way to the top! An incredible feat for any 3 year-old. Ryan climbed to the top with Clara on his back. He is like a super-human. A really handsome, smart, funny, super-human.

After checking out the view from the top, we made our way back down. Ruby wanted to run, so I held her hand and she squealed and giggled the whole way to the bottom. Uncle Aaron was there to catch her (and toss her in the air) at the bottom.

We walked town to the lake and put our feet in the water (which was warmer than the air). I don’t think Tracy will ever forget her first time in Lake Michigan!

Aaron buried his nieces in the sand, which they thought was hilarious. Norah and Clara seemed to be warm and happy snuggled in their cozy coats and blankets, Ruby and Lydia inherited beach combing genes from their Great Aunt Becky and collected a lot of rocks on the shoreline, then we piled into the cars and drove to Redamaks in New Buffalo for lunch. DELISH!! 

Posting these pictures kinda takes me back to that “cold to my bones” feeling. I’m going to find a blanket to wrap up in right away! Brrrrrrr…  Next time we go to the dunes, maybe the weather will be more like it was when our family spent a day at Sleeping Bear Dunes during the Beeson Family Vacation in 2008. Woohoo for building memories!

I Love My Siblings


It’s a really special thing that my brother, sister and I are as close as we are. Now that we are all married, it’s even more special that we all truly like and enjoy being around one another’s spouses. I love my brother Aaron’s wife Tracy. I love my sister Angela’s hubby John. Knowing that my brother and sister love my Ryan brings joy to my heart everyday.

One afternoon during the Beeson Family Staycation, my parents offered to care for all the children while we went for a hike. We laughed and told stories as we walked along the trails through the woods. 

Tracy is from Florida… she was loving the fact that we were hiking around the perimeter of a cornfield at one point. Ha! She kept saying, “LOOK AT ALL THIS CORN!” Love her.

Family Hike at Dr. Lawless Park

Doesn’t this picture make you want to frolic down that trail of crunchy fallen leaves? Me too! My dad took this picture, which is one of the many reasons it is so wonderfully inviting.


I love hiking with my family! Ryan, Aaron and John carried babies on their backs and the whole fam hit the trail at Dr. Lawless Park on one beautiful fall day.

Ruby found a walking stick.


Beeson Family Staycation 2012 – InstaLife

This year the Beeson Family gathered for a week together at my parents house. Hooray for STAYCATION! We hiked, built fires, went to the pumpkin patch, enjoyed the fall weather, spent a day on the Dunes at Lake Michigan, took walks to the meadow, chopped wood, shot guns, and just had a great time being together without much of an agenda. I’m excited to post pictures this week – for today I’ll give you the Instagram version of our week together.

Here’s a look back at the last 5 years of Beeson Family Vacations.

Ft. Meyer’s Beach, FL – 2007
Glen Lake, MI – 2008
Aaron and Tracy’s Wedding, FL – 2009
Lake Tahoe, CA – 2010
Smoky Mountains, TN – 2011

Robinette’s Apple Orchard

Before we left Grand Rapids we went to Robinette’s Orchard with Chris and Ryan’s parents to enjoy some cider and donuts. Ryan loves apple cider, as I mentioned here back in 2008 when he polished off a 1/2 gallon. (Quick sidenote – I love that my blog is so old I am able to refer back to things we did in the early years of our life together. Blogging is my favorite hobby. Hopefully a few of you enjoy reading it at least half as much as I enjoy writing it.) Ok, back to Robinette’s! Take a look at these dapper fellows drinking their cider.

It was literally the most gorgeous weekend of the fall… sunny, warm enough for light jackets and shorts, cool breezes, fresh air, colorful leaves – just spectacular.

Ruby was enamored by the horses pulling the wagon around the orchard. She was also amazed that the exoskeleton of a locust will stick to your jacket. Ha! Good times with science!

Apple Picking at Cherry Hawk Farm

Sunday afternoon we hurried home from church, ate lunch really fast then drove up to Cherry Hawk Farm to kick off the Fall season with some apple picking. 

This was our first trip to an orchard this year – and I know I’ve mentioned the weather in a lot of posts lately, but seriously, the weather is unbelievable crisp and sunny and perfect. I think November-March weather could learn a lot from September.

Clara was chomping apples like it was her job. 

Ruby loved that there were apples “just my size mommy!” which I thought meant she liked that they were small, but discovered that she really meant they were down at her height. Either way, she had a great time twisting and pulling them off their branches.

This was not a cider and donuts, general store, petting zoo, hayrides, entertainment apple picking experience… this place is just good old-fashioned U-Pick with rows of apple trees. We had a great time and will be incorporating apples into most meals for weeks to come.

Just for fun, here’s a flashback pic and blog post from the time Ryan and I went apple picking the year after we got married. Eight years haven’t changed us a bit, eh? har har har.