'Magical Michigan Christmas 2013

Gratefully, we made it through the ice storm this past weekend with no car accidents, no lost electricity [many were without for days in neighboring towns] and lots of great time spent with Jack's sister [Becky] and his Dad. 

I find ice that latches onto tree branches and berries 
and twigs quite magical. 
It's sparkly and intricate and breath-taking. 
Jack HATES winter and yet I did hear him once 
utter the word "stunning" 
as he looked back and saw the forest lit up with silver.

This Christmas will go down in history for Jackson as the Year of Legos. 
The kid is a whiz at those things.
[The instructions alone want me to curl up in a fetal position
and start rocking back and forth all the while groaning in agony.]
1400+ pieces for ages 8-14 and 
he snapped those things in place with little-to-no effort at all. 
Okay, I lie. 
He had to try, 
but he got it and did remarkably well. 
The kid focused for HOURS on building.
A few meltdowns to be sure, 
but overall, 
super proud of his abilities.
Coco Jo saying hello.

Maddie's at that age where she doesn't really want photos of herself taken. 
Bummed because she's so darn cute. 
But did sneak in a few. 
She was thrilled with her gifts too.
Hot-to-trot bright lipstick from Aunt Bec. How does Maddie know about the pouty lip thing? She's only eleven for Pete's sake.

Sunday morning, in an effort to find a place to eat breakfast after church, 
we did what we'd like to call a very special virtual breakfast tour. 
The tour started at Parkview, 
our first restaurant of choice 
[only because Frona's is closed until January 1st darn it]
 where the line was out the door with several large parties ahead of our party of six. 

We thought we was all smart-like so we loaded up the vehicles 
and made our way over thick icy roads to Hickory Corners. 
[Don't you love small-town America? Hickory Corners. Love
the name of that town.]
Rats. Hickory Timber Inn was closed due to no power. 

So we thought we was all smart-like again and took non-plowed back country roads 
with downed trees and very icy roads
[and stunning scenery] 
to Blackhawk. And that was closed. No power. 
And Mission Pointe was closed after that.
And we REFUSED to go to McDonald's, which WAS open.
But we put our feet down on that one.

SOOOOO,
we ended up back at the original restaurant, 
walked right in, sat down and ordered because an hour had 
passed and everyone had eaten and gone home.

Alls well that ends well. 
[Below, some of the sites from our tour.]


  The kids tell the Christmas story using props 
and 
whatever else Maddie cooks up each year,
carrying on the tradition of Becky and Jack's childhood years.

Monday afternoon we squeezed in a walk through the forest,
which was perhaps my Michigan highlight. 

Every forest ought to have a covered wooden bridge, yes?
Always a ham.
Coco came with, needing to be held by Aunt Becky a good portion of the way.  She's cute, but whimpy.

Overall, a fantastic long weekend where we cherish moments with family.
With Jack's dad's relatively recent heart attack and significant heart issues, 
we are grateful for every visit to the lake.  
He's wise and fun and generous and loving.

As always, 
time slips away quickly 
and before we know it we're waving good-bye, 
heading north to Canada. 
My home and native land. 

I guess you could say there really is no place like home for the holidays.

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