What I Learned in Michigan

Last week we vacationed in Michigan! I’ve been trying to decide how best to post about the trip without getting overly wordy or going on a total photo overload. I think I’ll attempt the condensed version by just letting you all know what I learned while I was there.
Peanut butter sandwich picnics are cheap, easy, and a perfectly acceptable thing to eat once every day of your vacation. It’s the picnic part that’s key!
Playgrounds and parks need to be worked into the daily schedule of events. Sometimes even two or three times a day when your kids are really young and not interested in much else.
Even if everyone thinks you’re crazy, it’s still important (and fun!) to try and take creative photos of your whole family when you’re on a trip. Even if they don’t turn out the way you had hoped you’ll still appreciate the efforts.
The beach at Ludington Park in Escanaba is really nice and the water is actually warm. It is also extremely windy by any large body of water.
Foot washing stations are about the most exciting thing any three and one year old could ever hope to play in.
Seagulls are fun to chase because they just keep coming back to do it again. They are also purely evil when you’re trying to have a breakfast picnic on the beach.
It is always a lot of fun to take pictures of the food you eat at every meal. As usual, by the end of the trip I had given up on it and now I regret it. The last restaurant we ate at had some good food and unique seating, but I didn’t even have my camera with me at that point.
Kids LOVE hotel beds.
I need to spend more quality time with Caden. He’s a pretty special boy and sometimes in the midst of everything I tend to forget that. We had a lot of good bonding time on the trip.
Palms Book State Park is an awesome place to stop for an hour. The clear water spring and the open bottomed raft to go across it was amazing. One of the best parts of the whole trip.
The weather never cooperates when we go on vacation. You just have to make the most of it. Picnics in the car are kind of fun, anyway!
You need to have an infinite number of new and exciting activities to keep kids busy in the car. 
My baby is growing up way too fast. Shepard decided to quit breastfeeding cold turkey at the end of this trip and I’m having a hard time dealing with the sudden break of that bond. But more on that in a future post.
If you take the earliest ferry to Mackinac Island you’ll have it all to yourself. But when you get to the island you’ll realize that nobody comes that early because nothing is open for another two hours.
There’s a hotel on the island that has amazing sixty cent freshly made donuts. It was the best breakfast ever.
Mackinac Island is much bigger than I had anticipated.
Mackinac Island is not an easy place to get around when you’re pushing a stroller with two kids.
Mackinac Island is a much better couples’ destination than family vacation spot.
Do not go to Mackinac Island when it’s going to rain. There is nothing to do and nowhere to escape when it happens.
Even when you’re like me and want to do and see tons of things on every vacation, sometimes it’s okay to just sit and relax for a few minutes with your kids. 
Throwing rocks in water is an endlessly entertaining activity for little boys and husbands alike.
Mackinac Bridge feels long and terrifying in a storm. It’s pretty neat in the sun.
Caden no longer has any aversion to sand. Shepard seemed to skip that phase entirely.
It’s incredible watching your children learn to interact together on their own. Caden definitely sees Shepard as more of an equal now and they have a lot of fun playing together.
When you’re only an hour from the border you should really go into Canada. Especially if you’ve lived in bordering states your entire life and have never stepped foot in it until now.
Shepard thinks climbing on people when they’re lounging or laying down is one of the best forms of fun there is.
Watching your children sleep is a beautiful thing. I had no idea Shepard slept cuddled with a stuffed animal all night until this trip.
Sunrises on the beach by yourself are a peaceful and wonderful way to start the day.
Traverse City has a building filled with legos that you can just go in and play with. Perfect for dads and kids when moms want to shop!
The Blue Tractor Cook Shop in Traverse City has some delicious food. I loved my fried pickles!
Moomer’s ice cream – the best in America – isn’t really that great. At least not the peanut butter oreo.
Ice cream restaurants with giant playgrounds are the perfect way to end the night.
The Dune Climb at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park is kind of pointless. At least for me. There isn’t much to see when you get to the top.
If you find yourself in Leland, go to Historic Fishtown and get a sandwich at the Cheese Shack on a pretzel bun. Best thing I ate all week. Yum.
Driving to the tip of Old Mission Peninsula was well worth all the whining we heard in the van. I vote this as prettiest spot we saw the whole trip.
Forced full time family time can be a little overwhelming. But you learn a lot more about each other in the process.
It is definitely not too cold to vacation in Michigan in June. We had temperatures in the 80’s all week.
Greg and I have a lot of different expectations from a vacation. But we found some common ground in places like this.
My children want to be a part of every single thing we do. No matter how mundane or how exciting, they are there wanting to do it too.
Caden is growing up too quickly too. I can’t believe he’ll be four in a couple of months.
While I’m not sure what we would have cut out, a full week was probably a little too long for Shepard. He was worn out and getting pretty cranky by the last two days – something that is very unusual for him. 
Overall – a great trip! Like any vacation it had a lot of ups and downs, but I can honestly say I really enjoyed it. Vacations are a lot of work, but they’re well worth it in the end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *