It was a wonderful six days and there was not one moment of boredom. Not one moment of wondering what to do next. Many times our plans changed along the way and each time that change meant we did something we enjoyed even more! Between Sandy and me, we took over 600 pictures and a ton of video. There would have been more but my camera was acting up — I was not amused!
I went at the perfect time of year. We had wonderful mild weather and the leaves were just starting to change colors. Each day I could see more reds and oranges. Michigan always surprises me with all the green, the trees, the little rivers and lakes; so different from southern California with our ocean, freeways, sidewalks and palm trees. I just love the home that Sandy and Mark have built in the middle of all those trees. They built it from scratch and the details are so beautiful and the feeling there is so peaceful. I should mention that not only do I have a wonderful sister but a great brother-in-law, too! They sure went out of their way to make me feel at home.
They had created the most spectacular room for me! My awesome little sister had printed photos of Grampy, Amara, Jenna and Justin and placed them in frames on the dresser and on the nightstand so I wouldn’t miss them so much! There were tears! She had also made these amazing pictures of the Northern Lights and hung them over the bed. The room just looked wonderful.
First up on our itinerary was shopping! We had a wedding to attend and we all needed something to wear. We had planned this shopping trip together weeks ago. It was so great to spend a day shopping with my sister and our Mom. I spend lots of time shopping with Jenna and Amara and I kept wishing that they could have been there shopping with us. We had lunch later at a quaint and wonderful little restaurant – just us three girls. I will never forget that day!
The wedding was wonderful and I was able to see many relatives and to make some new friends. The Grandmother of the bride is one of my favorite aunts. She is one of two people that I actually write letters to as at 92 she doesn’t have a computer. (Mom is the other one.) I had mailed her a copy of the blog post I did about the Summer of the Pumpkin. She had written me and told me about the bride when she was about six and grew pumpkins. She found that picture and brought it to me at the wedding so I could share it with Amara! I got so many wonderful hugs that night.
There was so much more!
One of the best parts was meeting some of Sandy and Mark’s friends, the friends they ride Harleys with and who own their favorite restaurant. We even got a chance to have pizza with them one night. Plus I got to meet Sandy’s other sister, one she had picked out for herself. It is good to know my sister has someone so great to take care of her when I can’t be there.
One morning we took one of the cats to the vets. On our way home, we stopped and bought live catnip. They had never given it to their cats and I knew how much mine love it. Those cats had a blast! We spent hours watching them play with the laser pointer machine. And I finally got to see Sandy vacuum Ozzie, her beautiful deaf white cat. Something you just have to experience! I sure missed my cats but having theirs to play with did make it easier. I am sure Twiggy, Twursula and Shebee need one of those laser pointer machines!
We went out and visited the house that our parents had built about 35 years ago and cried like babies. The new owner was so nice and gave us a wonderful tour. It was good to see that someone who really loved the place owned it. We had been headed to the County Fair that afternoon but stayed out at the house for hours instead. Neither of us was unhappy with our change in plan!
Sunday Sandy showed me how to do an amazing craft. It was what she had used to create the Northern Lights canvases that she had hung in my room. I can’t wait to try it with Amara.
We had dinner as a family that afternoon. Sandy made a tasty casserole with fresh cabbage Mom had grown and she made the most gorgeous and yummy lemon meringue pie. Mom brought homemade peach! We had a feast. We looked at pictures, cried, and laughed. It was a wonderful afternoon.
That evening we watched the full Harvest Moon come up over this beautiful lake. We got there while it was still light out and got some beautiful pictures of the trees reflecting on the stillness of that lake.
This was when my camera REALLY decided to act up but Sandy got lots of great shots and the images are burned into my brain. We saw deer trying to cross the road as we left the lake. What an evening. AND we stopped for ice cream cones (mint soft serve – yum!) on the way home. This trip really was magical.
It was fun to drive around the little town I had grown up in and the slightly larger one where we had lived when Jenna was a little girl. Most things haven’t changed much in all those years. We went to the gift shop that used to be the one room schoolhouse that my Dad had attended many years ago. They have completely restored the exterior and it was fun to be in there and know that it was where my Dad had gone to school and where he had gotten in trouble at least once for chasing the girls!
Monday afternoon I drove out and spent an afternoon catching up with another one of my favorite aunts and cousins. I was so glad we could get together. It was a beautiful drive in the country to get there and I was amazed by the huge fields of pumpkins still on the vines. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful drive.
Tuesday was my going home day. I had so hoped that the deer would show up in the backyard and that morning they did. Four of them! They were so beautiful to watch. Of course, the camera acted up then so I just put it down and enjoyed the moments for all they were worth instead of stressing over a camera.
We left for the airport early and were going to stop by a little winery along the way. This was another old converted one-room schoolhouse. Sadly, they didn’t open for an hour when we got there so we just went on. We decided to stop at Michigan International Speedway and take some pictures. I was amazed by how huge that track looked! As we were leaving, my most awesome brother-in-law saw a friend of his. They are both retired police officers and have known each other for years AND his friend is now head of Security at MIS. He offered to take us for a ride on the track! I can’t even tell you how much fun this was! I am not a racecar fan but I was having the time of my life! We went speeding around the track and through the pits. He knew so much history of the track and kept us so entertained! He even stopped so that we could hike up one of the curves. It had an 18° incline and climbing it was much harder than it looked! Coming down Sandy and I both felt the symptoms of motion sickness but it was worth a few minutes of discomfort. We stopped to take more pictures on the track. What a way to end my trip; standing on the start/finish line with my baby sister.
My flights were uneventful and it was so wonderful to walk down the concourse and see Grampy waiting for me! It was an easy drive home but the freeway and all of the lights were sure different from the one-lane roads of much of Michigan. As I put down my suitcase and went searching for my cats the kids pulled in the driveway! They had hoped to be waiting for me on the couch but my plane got in a bit early. They had planned to surprise me with the wonderful new kitty condo that Jenna had designed and Justin had constructed under the watchful eye of Amara. What a wonderful gift that the cats are treating in appropriate cat fashion – they are ignoring it!
I had a wonderful time and it was very hard to leave everyone behind but it is equally wonderful to be home!