Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Where Have I Been?

With my beautiful family on a trip to Erie, PA (Dan's hometown), that's where! So sorry I didn't give any warning that I would be taking a blog break; at least one of you mentioned you missed "Outrageous Friday" last week (thanks, Bek!). You know how you make lists and think "these are the things I have to do (ie: pack, make snacks for trip, etc.)" and then have those extra things you would like to do if you have extra time? Well, updating my blog before we left unfortunately fell into the latter category.

We had such a good time.
Since my husband Dan has been working so hard at his new job, just having time together as a family felt like a luxury. We greatly enjoyed our car time together (it's a five hour + trip). We arrived at a cottage called "Goose Landing" that Dan's Aunt Jane rents for the entire family each year. It is situated right on Lake Erie and the first thing I do every year when we pull up is listen for the sound of the waves hitting the shore. I absolutely love that sound, and I can hear it the whole time I'm there. There is no better way to fall asleep! Here is the picture we take every year of everyone who visits:

I have been going to Erie for the 4th of July every year since Dan and I met back in 2003; this was my sixth trip! The Carney family is so loving, welcoming, and laid back (Carney extended family, I mean). Aunt Jane introduces Miyuki (Dan's brother Brian's wife) and I as her "nieces." Here is a pic of my beautiful sister-in-law and brother-in-law:

So we stayed at "Goose Landing" Thursday night through Saturday morning. We did a lot of this

And saw a few of these:

They all enjoyed Madalyn to pieces, but none quite as much as Dan's 91 year old Grandma. Maddy is her only great-grandchild. Madalyn calls her "G-G" for "Great-Grandma" and Gram couldn't take her eyes off of Madalyn. When Maddy crawled up on the couch, as shown here, to watch cartoons with her, it made Gram's entire trip:

On Saturday, we checked out of "Goose Landing" and went up the coast a little ways to a place called "Lakeview on the Lake." There Brian, Miyuki, Dan, Madalyn, and I enjoyed a BEAUTIFUL cottage called "Annie's Retreat" for our final night. The grounds of this motel/cottage business were absolutely breathtaking. They had Adirondack chairs set out in perfect view of the sunset, a great outdoor pool, volleyball nets, and a playground. Plus, plenty of wide open spaces for a toddler to run! Dan and I couldn't stop saying how perfect it was for vacationing with Maddy; far superior to being closed in at a hotel. We just enjoyed our time there so, so much.

Funny story: we ended up setting up Madalyn's pack-in-play in a large, room-like walk in closet off the master bathroom of "Annie's Retreat". It was a perfect spot where she could have her own space. However, I felt a pang of parent-guilt when Maddy pointed to a normal-sized closet in a different bathroom and said, "That's where Maddy takes a nap, Mama?" Poor child thinks sleeping in a closet is acceptable! :)
On Sunday, we visited some family of Dan's on his Mom's side, and then hit the Erie mall. We do this every year before we leave for home and here is why: Fourth-of-July sales meets no sales tax! That's right, no sales tax in PA! Thanks to all my new bargain-finding skills, I made out like a banshee. I got spa slippers at Bath & Body works for $1.50 (90% off!), a $2.50 body spray and a free lip product, Baby Gap pajamas for my nephew for $2.50 (regularly $22.00!), two shirts and a pair of leggings at Express for $9.71 (the shirts were originally $24.50 a piece and the leggings were $16.50!!), etc.! Let's just say it was a good thing we had Maddy with us or the bargain finding would have continued! Seriously, Baby Gap was offering an additional 40% off your entire purchase if you opened a card (right, my pjs would have been $1.50 instead!). But Maddy had reached her limits of shopping. So we piled in the car and headed home.
Happy. Rested. Closer. Thankful.
What a good time we had.


Rebekah said...

Okay, laughing OUT LOUD at Maddy's wit regarding the closet. Hilarious. I also noticed that in the midst of skipping rocks along the beautiful lake front, you never mentioned getting hit in the head...Am I really the ONLY one that has ever dished out such punishment?

Signed. Racked with Guilt.

Teri said...

Sounds perfectly divine!

Meeghan said...

I love the pict. of Maddy on Dan's shoulders as the sun is setting. It looks like a great time. When we were in Traverse City (in a hotel-definitely not as nice as "Annie's Retreat") Eva's bedroom was the bathroom. It was a big bathroom, with plenty of room for her pack n play. I wanted to try and separate the girls a little so if one woke up, she did not wake up the other. Whatever works...

The Four Feathers said...

I've been checking your blog daily for some time now...glad you're back! My husband is also from the Erie area...we lived there for a little while (my daughter was born in Erie) ANYWHO...we save up all our money before we take a trip so we can go to the Millcreek Mall (and the Grove City Outlets!) what's a better bargain than no tax on clothes??? Thanks for your bogs!

Brad Ruggles said...

Looks like it was an awesome time. Those are some great pictures you posted. I love the one of Brian and Miyuki. I can't wait until the next time we're up in Michigan and get to hang you with all of you guys.

Laura said...

@ Rebekah: Although I was on guard the entire time, no one skipped a rock at my head this time! :) You know I love you when I let you throw rocks at me full force and still remain your friend!