Our fifth stop was Bloomington, Indiana. We realized we were just a few hours from Aunt Lisa and Uncle Jeff’s house and decided to head out of Kentucky and up that way. We arrived earlier than planned and found a nice park right outside Indiana University in Bloomington. We went on a walk and collected leaves from all the different trees we found (close to 10, impressive!), the girls got some wiggles out and we enjoyed not having an agenda.
Finally, we wound down the long gravel road to their house amongst trees as tall as small mountains...a place that held a familiar nostalgia for me. We pulled into the driveway greeted by their dog, Blue, we walked in and saw a sign, “Welcome Wiatreks” with beautiful pink flowers, pitchers of iced tea and lemonade, dinner was started and of course huge hugs from our family. The girls were in Heaven with cousin Callie Jo there to play with them. We spent the evening eating, catching up and being cozy in their perfect country house.
The next day the girls had a blast with cousins, running around outside, saw the bunny, jumped on the trampoline, visited the garden, played with Uncle Jeff, cuddled the kitties and threw the ball to Blue. Sitting with my cup of coffee on the covered porch watching my girls, my heart was pretty happy. We did some laundry, gathered up our things and found a campsite nearby to help bide time before heading up to Michigan.
We set up camp and went into town to get groceries, we swam in the lake, built a fire that night and hung out as a family. The girls loved going on nature walks and exploring new bugs, birds, wildlife…the campsite had a kid’s learning table about feath
ers… we saw turkey feathers, duck feathers, etc and then Halen had a chance to make a feather pencil like they used in the old days.
It was much hotter than we thought it would be in Indiana, we went into Brown County and visited Nashville, an adorable small town with shops on every corner. We went to the Nashville House to relive my memories as a kid going there and ordering the fried biscuits with fresh apple butter (holy nom nom). Halen thought they were donuts, every bite led me back to those days when I romped around Indiana and Michigan with my cousins. Then we walked around the town, probably better fit for a girl’s trip or couples trip, but we made the best of it. One day we just had to get out of the heat of sitting around a campground, so we went on a drive. The girls fell asleep and Evan found a local brewery. Being 5% guilty, 95% thrilled we left the car with A/C blowing, walked 100 feet inside to order some beers, went back to the roasting patio and sat enjoying ice cold IPA for Evan and a crisp Tail of Two Tarts seasonal for me.... now 25 feet from our sleeping babies. It was magical. Oh the little moments of joy of marriage that get you through when you are with your little ducklings 24/7... it was the perfect pick me up to help us forge ahead.
After 3 nights of camping, 7 days total we were just about over it and craved a place we could unpack, stretch, relax and just be. We went to Callie Jo’s dance recital and then that night Henley just did not want to sleep…she kept singing “Yes Jesus loves me,” “This little light of mine,” and saying “My pillow not working…” so funny but I was getting mighty frustrated…it was hot, sticky, late and Henley kept purposefully falling between the edge of the blow up mattress and the tent, which I felt was not a safe spot for a toddler, but it was apparently hilarious to her. That was a rough night, but we finally all fell asleep, woke up to a full campground of RVs, tents, buzzing sounds, fires, campers all around ready for a weekend by the lake. We couldn’t be more ready to pack up and get outta dodge.
Our sixth stop was in Oakland, Michigan. We stopped to visit with our family friends outside Detroit, my mom's best friend from diapers daughter, who I had known all my life, more like a cousin to me. As we pulled into their new neighborhood, we were very impressed with the homes and yards. We pulled in and greeted Linsey, Jimmy and their twin girls: Callie & Addison. We sat in their backyard with the lush Northern grass, the girls played in the spacious yard, we played badminton and had burgers while catching up on life. It was nice to relax and not worry about setting up camp for the night. We had some good laughs and I was thrilled to visit with Linsey’s mom, Toni, who was my mom’s best friend. Jackie also stopped by, Linsey’s baby sister, this family was like another family to me growing up. We always referred to each other as cousins. I watched Linsey and was so happy for her family and loved seeing her so engaged as a mom. Some moms complain about the multitasks of a mom, not Linsey… even with the demands of twins she went about her life juggling as a mom with ease and gratefulness... with not one but two babies, one on each hip.
The evening winded down and we got the girls to bed, Evan and I were incredibly thankful for an actual bed, with A/C and a fluffy duvet to bury ourselves in to slumber. We fell asleep easily and woke with the early morning light and Halen’s cuddles, realizing it was Father’s Day we snuggled daddy close. We woke before everyone else and made coffee and cozied on the couch with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the TV. Soon enough Linsey woke and we got started on making scrambled eggs and pancakes with sausage and bacon. The girls played while we continued to catch up and then we got dressed, packed up and said our many thank yous for such a nice stop.
Next stop was our much awaited...Charlevoix, the beautiful!