Great Grandma Cox

I few weeks ago we drove to Grand Rapids to spend a weekend with Ryan’s Grandma Cox who was visiting from Nevada. She is delightful, full of life, and is a wonderful conversationalist. I love hearing her tell stories from her life, of her sweet friends, of her adventures in casino’s in Vegas, and I especially love seeing her eyes light up around her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.IMG_3265 IMG_3267

This was the first time Charlie met Grandma GG, so I took a lot of pictures  :o)IMG_3203 IMG_3151 IMG_3172

Here’s Charlie relaxing on the cool countertop, totally fulfilling all low maintenance, easy-going, third-child requirements.

IMG_3199Ryan’s parents were kind enough to watch our kids while Ryan and I went out for a nice dinner. After dinner we walked by Reed’s Lake, it’s lovely.IMG_3274

We also got to take a bike ride all around East Grand Rapids with Chris one afternoon while all the kids were napping. I love riding bikes with Ryan. Before we had kids we used to bike together all the time… does anyone want to come over everyday between 6-8 so I can go on a bike ride with Ryan? Thanks.IMG_3178

IMG_3184One day Kyle and Sarah came over for a grill out at Ryan’s parent’s house and our kids got to meet their twin girls Abbie and Ellen for the first time. They are precious.IMG_3231

Here are a few more pics from the weekend.IMG_3314 IMG_3286 IMG_3220

Love you Grandma Cox! So fun spending a few days with you. I’m so thankful for the way you love on my little family. xo

Papa Beeson’s Photography Hobby

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My dad likes to take pictures. He drove back and forth from Columbus to Granger too many times to count in the last few weeks. I’m so thankful for these moments he captured while he was here. First of all, here are a few more pictures from the hospital when Charlie was born.Clara Charlie 070213  11 Sheila Ruby n Charlie 070213  2

Charlie with Nana and Papa Cox:

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Charlie with Grammy and Papa Beeson:

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One morning my dad took these ridiculously awesome pics of all three kids. Who needs Olan Mills when Mark Beeson is your dad! ha!Siblings 071113 Kids 3Siblings 071113 Kids 2 Siblings 071113 Kids 4

And here’s Charlie Boy, looking like a little old man. I love this first photo because it looks like Charlie is pounding his fist on the table at a business meeting or something. ha!Charile 071113 Portrait  2Charile 071113 Portrait  3 Charile 071113 Portrait  1

This is one of my all time favorite pics of my beautiful mom. I love how happy she is.Sheila Charlie 070413 Home 1

We also went to the splash park one afternoon and he got these shots as well! Nice work daddy! Thanks for lugging your camera around everywhere you go!ABER ABER_2 ABER_4

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Thanksmas 2012

We got to spend Thanksgiving Break with the Beeson Family this year. The older I get, the more I appreciate the relationships we have as family. I’m truly thankful – more this year than ever.

Ryan and I arrived with the girls on Wednesday night. Thursday was gorgeous, so we spent time walking around my parents woods, playing in the meadow, and Ruby was loving all the piles of leaves Uncle Aaron had created with the leaf blower. “Look mom! I can’t see my boots!”

Ruby loves her cousin Lydia so much. They had non-stop fun together. This picture my dad took in the meadow is too cute. Speaking of pictures, all the Instagram pics are mine (if you don’t have an iPhone you can see all my Instagrams in real-time HERE), all the good pics are from my dad’s awesome camera.

Ryan, Tracy, Aaron and I played a few rounds of Euchre – it was an epic battle. I won’t say who won.

And of course, what would a Beeson Family get-together be if shooting guns wasn’t involved? Here’s Tracy shooting the glock, the guys shooting the 44 Magnum and my dad shooting pictures with his camera.  🙂

We also took a trip to Granger Commons to pay at the Early Learning Center Natural Playground. It was really awesome and the girls had a blast exploring, climbing, jumping, and having Grammy pull them around in the wagon.

A couple of evenings, after all the children were sleeping, we played a game called “Salad Bowl” that was absolutely hilarious. It’s a mixture of taboo, charades, and password… so funny. My favorite part was when Ryan had to act out the word “FOSSIL” and he acted like an elephant then fell on the floor. I was crying laughing. It was awesome.

My dad took the “Grand Daughters in their Christmas Dresses” picture – which I’ll save for a Christmas post. Clara thought it was more fun to stand right by her Papa’s camera than over by the tree. Here’s last year’s pics… I can’t believe how much they’ve grown in one year!

It really was a wonderful time together. So thankful for family! In closing, here’s Ryan and his beard after a morning hunting with my dad, Aaron and John. His girls were happy to have him home again.

Clara’s Dedication and a few more pics from the Beeson Family Staycation

At the end of our Beeson Family Vacation in Granger, we got to dedicate our Clara girl to the Lord. Basically, as her parents we wanted to publicly stand up and say that we are committed to teach her about Jesus to the best of our ability and do everything we can to help her become the woman God created her to be until she is old enough to make the decision to follow Jesus for herself.

Ryan’s parents drove down from Grand Rapids to be at Granger Community Church with us on Saturday – it was such a wonderful celebration and so special to have all of Clara’s Grandparents there.

And now, in closing, here are a few final pics from our week together. First of all, my dad and my brother Aaron stand the same and walk the same… which I never really realized until I got these father/son pictures of them while they were checking out the target.

Here’s a picture that summarizes the dichotomy of our marriage. Ryan returned from his bike ride as we were sighting in some guns. ‘Merica!

And here is Ruby with her pretty Aunt Tracy.

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!

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.

First Trip to Hocking Hills

 

I say “first” trip to Hocking Hills because we are for sure going back a hundred more times. Hocking Hills is such an amazing place to hike and it’s much closer than we realized (a little over an hour away)! Next time we don’t need to stay in a hotel that smells like poo… we can just drive down in the morning! Don’t tell Ruby – she really loves hotel swimming pools.

Old Man’s Cave is one of the most popular hikes, and it was only a few miles from our hotel so we figured that would be a great place to begin our day. It was BEAUTIFUL to be down in the gorge, walking through the old forest and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of nature.

After hiking the Old Man’s Cave trail we were heading back to the parking lot when my right shoelace got caught in the shoelace hook on my left boot sending me crashing to the ground with Clara in the carrier on my back. In a clumsy effort to not let Clara hit the ground I skidded across the trail on my knees then rolled sideways with a thud. Wiping out while carrying 30 extra pounds on your back is not pleasant… I do not recommend it.

Here’s a picture of my knees and shins covered in a schmear of neosporin during our lunch break. Clara was fine… I’ll recover. Most unfortunately I might have to add leggings to my typical fall wardrobe of boots and skirts. Other than that, our picnic lunch was great! 

After lunch we hiked the Cedar Falls trail, then hiked Ash Cave. We saw all the waterfall places, but no water was flowing in any of the streams because the drought has been so bad. We loved seeing the cavernous rock walls and walking into the caves, but we are kinda excited to go back again when we can see the waterfalls.

 

There was a wedding happening in Ash Cave when we hiked through. If you know these people, tell them I have a great picture of their wedding to send to them.

The girls were happy riding along in the backpacks… who knows how long that will last! Ruby loves to be “the walking girl” if we give her the opportunity. For now, she’s still little enough to fit in the backpack. Clara cooed, squealed, blew raspberries all over my hair, and hummed many tunes as she rode. Ruby had a lot to say about everything and happily greeted everyone we passed. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and are so thankful Ryan had the weekend off so we could explore this fun new place together. Is next weekend too soon to go back?

Lauren and Taylor’s Wedding Weekend

My cousin Lauren is just the best. She is brilliant, thoughtful, gorgeous, witty, athletic, graceful and all the things everyone wishes they could be. We got to celebrate her wedding a couple of weekends ago. It was lovely. Lauren and Taylor are a prefect match.

The Wedding Weekend was the first time Ryan and I had seen our girls since our vacation in Florida, so our first night at the hotel was spent hanging out as a family and taking Ruby swimming at the pool. She LOVED getting to swim, and the pool was really warm, which exponentially increased the enjoyment factor. Ruby went swimming in the pool 3-4 times  over the weekend. Clara “swam” in the sink.

We strategically sat in the back of the chapel so we could sneak out if either of our lovely children decided to have a not-so-lovely moment during the wedding. Ruby had a perfect view of Lauren when the doors opened and she began her walk down the aisle. Ruby (not so quietly) said, “Ooooh, you look so gooorgeous in your dress!” I couldn’t have agreed more!

At the reception Ruby never left the dance floor. I think at one point she tried to cut in on a dance between the bride and groom. Whew! She was keeping me on my toes that night! On the way home she was so tired, but even through the exhaustion she kept saying “I just have to dance, Oh what am I going to do if I can’t dance?”

We loved seeing Uncle Matt and Aunt Linda, Aunt Becky and Uncle Hunter and of course, my mom and dad. When those 6 people are in the same room there is seriously too much hilarity to comprehend. Talk about a laugh fest! Whew! My cousin Phil was there with his incrediwife Lauren (she is incredible… and a wife…) John, Angela, Lydia and Norah were there for the festivities too! I love my family. I love when we get to spend time together.

Congratulations Lauren and Taylor!! So excited for you guys!

Here’s one more pic of my dad and Clara on the day we drove home. Clara loves her Papa Beeson. 

Hiking at Alum Creek

Typically in January we’d be posting pictures of cross-country skiing like last year… but today felt more like April than January. It was sunny and in the 40’s so we decided to go for a hike at Alum Creek State Park.

This was the first time Ruby has hiked the whole time instead of one of us carrying her. She is destined to be a great little hiker.

She climbed over fallen trees, stomped through mud, picked up a lot of pine cones, sticks, leaves and nuts along the way. “These are my very treasures” she would say. She even found some shells in the creek bed.

There’s nothing better than family time in the great outdoors. I’m thankful Ryan is home this weekend! He is our favorite.

Ginger Dog

I don’t ever want my blog to be a huge downer, but to top off a difficult season, our childhood dog passed away today. Ginger was the best. We got her before I could drive and she lived to be 105 in dog years.

Ginger made it into the Beeson Family Christmas Card picture, which is the last picture I have of her little face. Little Ging loved the Beeson family well for a very long time. She will be terribly missed.