Beeson Family Vaca | St. Joe Michigan

Lake Michigan was the destination for this year’s Beeson Family Vacation. It’s not a far drive from my parents house, or from where John and Angela live, so Aaron and Tracy flew up from Florida, Ryan and I drove over from Columbus and we spent a few hours at Mom and Dad’s before driving together to St. Joe, Michigan. As is typical for all Beeson Family get-togethers, the men spent quality time in the woods shooting guns. They sure started things off with a bang! (…see what I did there?)

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Once the cars were all packed with everything we would need for the week, the carpool to  the Lakeshore began! Tracy, Angela and I were so pumped that our time together had finally arrived!

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We got to our rental house in time to see the most gorgeous sunset you can imagine. 3-week-old Charlie enjoyed his first sunset with his beautiful Aunt Tracy.

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Words can’t describe how amazing it is that my parents, again, gave us the gift of time spent together as a family. They made the arrangements for us to be in a wonderful place for a whole week of quality time. I’m so thankful for their generosity, for their love for our families, and for their love for one another.

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Labor Day Weekend at Cox Cottage

IMG_3738Over Labor Day weekend we took Charlie to Cox Cottage for the first time. He probably loved it. I can’t be sure. He’s pretty chill and never told us he wasn’t enjoying himself, so I’ll assume he had a great time. IMG_3743

I spend most of my time these days protecting sweet Charlie from his ever-loving sisters. This pic pretty much sums up his life to date.IMG_3683

Ruby and Clara LOVE being at their Nana and Papa’s cottage, floating on the pontoon and swimming in the lake.IMG_3716 IMG_3634 IMG_3696 IMG_3797

Ruby was a super swimmer this summer. She was in the water every chance she got… even when it was REALLY COLD! I’m so proud of her.IMG_3632 IMG_3629

One of the extreme highlights of the weekend was when the Ice Cream Boat came by the dock. Pretty much the best idea ever! They told us they’ll be selling pulled pork sandwiches off the boat next summer. I love America.IMG_3641IMG_3642

Clara picked the biggest popsicle in the universe as her treat. So funny.

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Summer went TOOOO fast! So thankful for the time we could spend in Michigan at Cox Cottage.IMG_3799

Florida Vacation 2013

IMG_3804A few weeks ago Ryan and I returned home from an incredible vacation in Florida with Aaron and Tracy. My parents took care of our girls for the week, so I got to spend some time catching up on sleep and getting mentally prepared to be a mother of THREE kiddos in a couple more weeks. This little break was just what we needed.IMG_1689IMG_1682

I am so thankful for the close friendship I have with my brother Aaron and my sister-in-law Tracy. Ryan and I truly have so much genuine fun when we get to hang out with Aaron and Tracy.

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I’m glad to be home with my girls again. I missed their little faces and their ongoing commentary of our days. It was such a great week! IMG_1692IMG_1693

In closing, here’s a recap of our entire “Real Florida” vacation. Yay!

Cocoa Beach and Jimmy Hula’s
Kayaking at Wekiva Springs State Park
Scenic Boat Tour and The Lake House
Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park
Boating on the Intracoastal Waterway

Florida Vacation – Boating on the Intracoastal Waterway

IMG_1533 IMG_1536Tracy’s parents let us take their boat (The Mary Lou) out for a day on the Intracoastal Waterway. It was Memorial Day weekend so everyone and their brother were out on the water. It was like a high-class version of what happens on sand bars in Michigan lakes on the 4th of July. Instead of pontoon boats parked out there, they were yachts… but the people on board were just as “Michigan” as you’d see in a Kid Rock video. I loved it.IMG_1539

IMG_1542IMG_1549IMG_1552As the tide went out, Aaron anchored us at a few sand bars where we could take a swim, look for sand dollars and hermit crabs, and run around on the sand. Tracy found this little tide pool on one sand bar. Her own little private oasis.IMG_3790IMG_3793IMG_3803IMG_1543

It was a truly glorious day on to be on the water. The weather was perfect. We packed a cooler and ate our lunch aboard the S.S. Mary Lou.IMG_1544IMG_1559

After hitching up the boat to Aaron’s truck and dropping it back off at Tracy’s parents lake house we picked up some “award-winning” burger meat at Cavallari in Oveido and headed home for a grill out.

Florida Vacation – Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park

Last year when we visited Aaron and Tracy we discovered Kelly Park and decided that it needed to become a tradition with every visit. Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park is a 72 degree, spring-fed, natural lazy river you float down. Each “run” takes about 25 minutes, then you walk on a path back to the beginning of the river and jump in again.IMG_1517

Most people rent tubes from the Tube King, but this year we decided to bring some pool noodles to see how those work. Aaron and Ryan were hilarious discovering many ways to float with pool noodles.IMG_3781IMG_3785

IMG_3773We made a train.

IMG_3779IMG_3784After a few hours floating down the river and soaking in the sunshine we headed home to shower before meeting some of my cousins for dinner at the Mellow Mushroom. Josh brought his son Noah and Joel and Lizzy brought their son Luke, who told me a hilarious joke:

“knock knock”
“who’s there?”
“Jada and Ella!”   …that’s it. that’s the end. hahaha. IMG_1521

Papa Beeson

My dad is quite simply the best. I got this picture of him this morning while he was pointing out some ants on a tree while walking back from the meadow with my girls. RMB Ruby Clara 051913 1

Ruby and Clara love their Papa. I’m thankful they have grandparents who love them enough to stop along the way for teachable moments.

Here are a few more things he talked to them about as we walked:

  • he showed them a path through the meadow where the deer have worn down the grass and dirt from walking the same route so often
  • he took them all the way to the back corner of the meadow to find a honeysuckle bush blooming with sweet-smelling flowers they could pick to take back home for Grammy
  • he encouraged them as the went “up, up, up” and “down, down, down” the grassy hill.
  • he pointed out little white butterflies to chase as they flew up from underfoot
  • he answered questions about which path was the one back to Grammy and Papa’s house and which paths went other places
  • he helped Ruby stay on the path so she wouldn’t get poison ivy
  • he explained why we wear bug spray on our socks when we’re in the woods

Theres a lot to learn, and I’m so happy that my dad imparts wisdom along the way.

Weekend in Granger

Last weekend Ryan was in Phoenix for a conference so I took the girls to my parent’s house for a few days. Easter came a bit early at Grammy and Papa’s house. Clara was in love with the bunny ears.IMG_0337

My Granny and Papaw came up so they could see the girls. I love that they can still play with and enjoy their great-grandchildren. We celebrated Papaw’s 88th birthday and St. Patty’s Day with green cake and shenanigans.

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Ruby and Lydia are two peas in a pod. God made them cousins for a reason. IMG_0345

We walked in the woods and explored the meadow.Clara Amber 031513  1IMG_0307Clara Sheila  031513  1Ruby Amber  03 2013  Grammy's  1

Love this pic of Norah and Ruby looking out the window for wild turkeys. Norah is such a doll.IMG_0311

Being outside never gets old for these woodland creatures.IMG_0390

My dad is an incredible photographer.

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I mentioned at the beginning of this post that Ryan was in Phoenix for a conference. He told Ruby that Phoenix was in the desert, then she watched an episode of Bubble Guppies about the Sphinx in Egypt, which is also a desert. A week after both of these events were rolling around in her head, she told her preschool teachers that her dad was in Egypt with the Sphinx… because he was in Phoenix, which kinda sounds like Sphinx – and he brought her a scorpion paperweight from the desert, and Egypt is in the desert… I can see why she is confused. Her preschool teachers were quite amazed by Ryan’s world travels, I cleared things up and they laughed a lot.

Weekend in Kentucky

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A couple of weeks ago Ryan went skiing in Steamboat, Colorado with his dad and brother, so I drove the girls down to Kentucky so we could hang out with my Uncle Matt and Aunt Linda for a few days.IMG_9995

They were so nice to open their house to us. We explored the new Big Four walking bridge that just opened on February 7th, connecting Kentucky and Indiana over the Ohio River. It was REALLY COLD once we got up on the bridge… but Ruby and Clara were having such a great time we decided to go ahead and walk all the way to Indiana. Ryan texted me this pic while we were on the bridge… he might have been warmer than we were at this moment.IMG_0062

My girls are smarter after spending time with Aunt Linda and Uncle Matt. Uncle Matt did endless puzzles, helping the girls find the corner and edge pieces.IMG_9993

Aunt Linda spent a lot of time with Ruby in the yard learning about nuts, trees, bark and bushes. Ruby “made a collection” of holly berries that were growing near the side of the house. She decided to create a “centerpiece” which she worked on for 3 days straight. It was amazingly intricate and required special packaging for our drive back to Columbus.IMG_0028IMG_0029

My cousin Phil and his lovely wife Lauren came over on Saturday to see the girls. Clara loves Lauren, they seem to be kindred spirits.IMG_0059

IMG_0067We drew with chalk on the driveway, bounced bouncy-balls, and Phil attempted to teach Ruby how to throw a frisbee… it never got successfully thrown back to him, but he threw it to her a few times.IMG_0056

Uncle Matt washed my van for me! He won the Uncle of the Day Award.IMG_0074

As I was packing up our van and getting ready for our drive home, I remembered that there is an IKEA in Cincinnati… so I made the crazy decision to stop there with 2 children by myself. Thankfully they had a play area for kids Ruby’s height and taller (I might have used my pregnant belly and Ruby’s extensive vocabulary as negotiating tools for making Ruby tall enough to qualify). Clara and I explored IKEA and it ended up being a fun, but quick stop on our way home. The main problem with IKEA is that you realize all the things you never needed before, but now aren’t sure you can live without them. Ha.IMG_0077

So thankful for the wonderful family I have and the great relationships with Aunt and Uncles and Cousins we’ve maintained over the decades, its rare but wonderful. Thanks for letting us visit Aunt Linda and Uncle Matt! We had a great time with you and can’t wait to see you again soon!

Weekend with Chris

Ryan’s brother Chris drove down to spend last weekend with us. Friday night we went out for dinner at a new place in CBus that we’ve been wanting to check out. The owners go to our church, so we felt like we were supporting the local economy AND our friends at the same time. I got a cheeseburger (no change there) and it was delish! When we got home, Chris and Ryan prepared for their morning coffee experience. 

Saturday’s weather was rainy, cold, dreary, nastiness. So after breakfast we drove downtown to check out the Annie Liebovitz Master Set exhibition at the Wexner Center. I would not have known about this, except that Chris is a photographer and was hoping to check it out while he was in town. Once we were there I was literally stunned by how many of the images I was familiar with. It was incredible, and will be going on until December 30th for those of you in town who want to check it out. Here’s a pic of Chris, John Lennon and Ryan… who appear to be growing beards at the same rate.

Saturday before the sun went down, the weather had cleared a little bit, so we went to see Chief Leather Lips. These pics are dark and grainy because the sun was almost down, but we had fun walking around the park by the river.

And of course, the men grilled us a wing feast for dinner.

The next day it was very cold, but not as rainy, which meant we could hike! Woohoo! We considered driving down to Hocking Hills, but with the weather as nasty as it was, we opted for Highbanks instead. Lucky for me, Ryan and Chris carried the girls on their backs and I got a break. 

Clara had reached her hiking threshold by the time that last pic was taken. Such a great weekend with Uncle Chris! Thanks for making the drive Chris! we love when you come to visit!

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!