Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mackinac Island/Chx Venetian Trip Part VII

Monday, July 28 - our last day in Charlevoix!

That morning, Nana surprised Will with a new beach chair. 

Pleased as punch
Brian's mom is incredible. I don't know anyone who works so hard or gives herself so fully for the people she loves. When you walk into her kitchen, she sits you down and serves you up a wonderful meal. She makes you feel like you deserve a break, even though you know she's been working herself to the bone, but she really makes you feel like she is DELIGHTED to serve you. She makes you feel like NO one and nothing is more important to her than you.

When we visit, she's got a kitchen filled to the brim with food, a freshly made up bedroom for us and the kids, a cheerful smile and all the latest news, and usually, presents for the boys.

(In fact, when Will sees a picture of a present, he says, "Nana,")

I tell Brian this a lot: I hope to one day be like his mom, but until then - I'm just not. So we need to just appreciate her for all she is - just a one-in-a-million person.

I'm really bummed I don't have ANY pictures of her with the kids from this trip. She was bummed that she had to work so much that weekend, but she held and hung out with the kids as much as she could.

After lunchtime, we swung by the library to say goodbye to Nana, then stopped by Michigan Beach one more time for Bo and Will to stretch their legs.

Daddy and Will played in the sand for a while again. The weather was a bit warmer today.
Daddy and Will on the enormous slide!
Will wasn't keen on going alone. Thankfully, he's got a fun dad.
Lake, on the other hand, is fearless!
I don't remember much of the ride home, except that I thought Will had to poop but he really didn't. Barrett cried a lot of the way, but he'll grow out of it.

The next morning, as I was unpacking (see mess below), Will began playing his xylophone in a brand new way. The glockenspiels in the parade!  He was remembering the marching bands, when I pointed out the different instruments to him. He was so proud of his new skill. 

This was our first year at Venetian, and I LOVED it. I told Brian that I want to come back every year. He said, Okay! 

Mackinac Island/Chx Venetian Trip Part VI

Naptime was over and we were trying to squeeze as much into the day as we could. The lake was freezing cold and the weather was too cool to want to swim anyway, but Brian convinced me that it would be fun to visit the beach even for a little while.
Boy walking to join his daddy
Will was excited to see "beach!"
Will tried to skip the rocks like Brian. He needed to summon the courage to go a bit nearer the water, though.
Will and Daddy, July 26, 2014
Michigan Beach, Charlevoix
He did it! It made it in!
Bo had a wonderful time, of COURSE!
The highlight for Will was all the "san". What a dream come true!
We weren't at the beach for more than an hour. We had to get back to Nana's for dinner, and we had a big night ahead! Saturday night was night #2 of the Venetian fireworks. That night, the fireworks were set off from a barge right by the harbor, so we just sat on Papa's docked boat instead of driving out into the lake.

There's a big discussion in Brian's family (and I'm sure most of the people who attend Venetian) about which night is better. They explained to me why there are two nights of fireworks displays, but I don't remember the reason, now. Most of them prefer night #2, where the fireworks are more stadium-style and right on top of you, and come right after a boat parade. I think I preferred night #1, actually. It might have been because Brian's sisters couldn't come with us for night #2, and I really love hanging out with them (Kelly had to work and Christie was keeping the baby at home), but I also liked the peaceful setting of being anchored in the middle of the lake as well as the taller fireworks display. 

But whichever night you prefer, they are both fantastic. I'd never seen a boat parade before, and I wasn't sure how it would work in the dark. The boats were totally lit up - they were gorgeous. They circled around the fireworks barge before the fireworks began.

While we waited for the show, the kids played up in the area where the captain (Papa) sits with the steering wheel and controls (I should know boat terminology by now, but I don't). Lake and Lucas, who are both at least a year older than Will, pretended to drive us to Mackinac Island, while little Will, sitting on the edge of the bench, threw in phrases that he thought would interest them ("Papa's boat splashin' in water!"). Devastatingly cute, all of it.

The boat parade was lovely, but it seemed to still be in progress when the fireworks began. Brian and the others murmured, "I don't think the parade's supposed to be over yet." I think part of the reason that I didn't enjoy night #2 as much as the night before was because the whole time I was wondering if there was a mistake happening with the display. The very first set of fireworks were something I'd never seen, fireworks that are shot into the water. They're SUPPOSED to look that way, only I had no idea. I thought something had gone terribly wrong - I thought that not only had the display had started too soon, but also that the fireworks were directly shooting AT the boat parade. The fireworks continued as usual, up into the air, and the boats in the parade slowly backed away at the show went on. Only later did I find out that the situation wasn't nearly as dire as I was suspecting. I think the fireworks might have started a bit too soon, but that was all.

Will, once more, loved the fireworks. He sat on my lap at the top of Papa's ladder, wearing the hearing protection muffs Brian's had bought for him that day. I love being able to sit and hold my little boys. It was another late night for Will, but as I'm learning - the occasional missed nap or late bedtime is all good, if it's the name of fun.

On Sunday, Brian subbed for his dad's first mate on a fishing charter, so he was up pretty early to get out on the boat. Back at Nana and Papa's, we just relaxed. Nana had the day off, and she was busy cooking up a storm for everyone to come over that night. Kelly and Lake came by to play for a while, and Will and Barrett and I visited the Ditch Witch again when they left.

Late in the afternoon, we swung by to visit Brian's sister Christie and her family. The boys played with toys and I admired her precious new baby. Christie had me look through enormous boxes of hand-me-downs from Lucas and I left with bags of clothes and shoes for the boys. What a huge blessing.

I decided to visit Great Grandma Ward before dinner. She was very happy to see the boys. (And me, too, I guess!)
Grandma Ward and Barrett, with Will eating popcorn at the table.
Barrett loves everyone, and GG Ward was no exception.
Will, GG Ward, and Barrett

Will was so cute with GG Ward. He would see something interesting and cry, "GG Ward, yookit dat [thing]!" I am not sure she gathered that he was saying her name or that he wanted to impress her so badly. I noticed, Will! And Barrett, thanks for chilling out on Grandma's lap for so long. She ate it up.

Mackinac Island/Chx Venetian Trip Part V

After the parade was over, we took a chance and blew through naptime to take the kids on a little excursion on the Whaler (Ward Bros. boat). We puttered around Round Lake and Old Island. It was a short trip but a lot of fun! Will still talks about it almost two months later.

Driving around Old Island
Tired boy, eating a bagel
Still, having a good time
On the open seas again!
Baby selfie! Doesn't get old.
Excited to be on "daddy's boat!"
Sleepy boy with his blanket.
Barrett's tongue!
THEN, Brian let William... drive the boat. Oh, the sheer joy!

The smiles!