We’ve been back in the States for about two and half weeks for our summer break. Here’s a peek at some of what we’ve been up to…
Eating fresh berries from Sam’s patch:
Spending time with two of our favorite people:
Meeting our niece Claire:
Hanging out with her brother Jonah and family:
We drove to Tennessee for my sister’s wedding (more photos from that soon):
Seeing my mom’s new property in Arkansas and the progress on her house:
Enjoying the lake near my mom’s:
Meeting up with dear friends from college:
Enjoying a Michigan summer at its finest:
Seeing David’s brother play ball:
What are your summer plams?
We had a wonderful Christmas break!
We especially had a lot of fun playing with our nephew Ethan. He’s about 15 months old now, babbles away in his own language, and loves running and kicking a ball. He reaches for everything and likes to look through his board books. Such a cutie!
Christmas Eve was the annual Benedict caroling and fondue party:
Our families live less than a hour apart, and we were able to see them both on Christmas Day. (This was the last year for that, though! My mom is retiring and heading south as soon as she can!)
We spent Near Years Eve with our dear friends and their sweet little one. (David was annoyed though – everyone fell asleep before midnight. He had to wake us up to watch the ball drop!)
We also spend some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa. We love them so much!
We even got in one of Sam’s basketball games:
It was so great to catch up with family and friends. We were also glad to visit with our church family. And we attended the wedding of one of our friends!
We made it out of Michigan just before the polar vortex. And even though our travels didn’t go completely as planned, we made it back safely and for the most part on time. There was a short week of school last week and we’re slowly getting back into sleep patterns and a routine. As much as we love our time at home in Michigan, it also feels good to be back home in Turkey!
We had a white and icy Christmas in Michigan this year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ice stay on the trees this long. The ice has weighted down the trees. Branches have taken down a lot of power lines in the area. There are some people who have been without power for almost a week. David’s family lost power for 3 days, but fortunately it was restored on Christmas Eve Day.
The ice is beautiful and terrifying. Especially when the sun comes out, it’s as though the road is lined with crystal chandeliers. You can hear the ice and branches falling, especially out on the farm. It’s a chorus of shattering glass.
Many trees are so heavy, they’ve bowed over the road:
This poor tree by one of the barns lost half of its branches. David said they will probably cut the rest down once it’s warmer. We’re fortunate that branches have not fallen on the house or our cars. We haven’t seen the damage inside of the maple woods yet, but we know it’s brought down some of the tap lines.
On our way to break, David’s aunt called us and told us to check out a bald eagle in someone’s yard. It was so cool to see it sitting on the icy branches:
David took the Gator out to the edge of the woods and ran into some deer. A couple of these were trophy bucks. He purchased his hunting license last night, so hopefully he’ll get some venison before the end of break.
What a blessing this summer has been! Our time at home always flies by too fast.
As we finish up the last 30 some hours of our break, here are a few bits and pieces and other favorites…
Sam shot this buck last year and got it shoulder mounted. This guy hung out in the living room for a while:
We celebrated our second anniversary in June. It was my turn to schedule the surprise trip. (Last year David planned a surprise trip to Dollywood.) We stayed at Kara’s Kottages in Kalamazoo and had dinner at Food Dance. We loved it!
Us with our nephew Jonah at Mooville:
King Kitty in all his glory:
Four generations! (David’s maternal grandparents, parents, brother Joe and his wife Brittany, and baby Jonah.)
Honey bee and Mom’s cone flowers:
Mom made blackberry cobbler in her mom’s pie dish:
My grandma’s cross stitch work on a pillow in my mom’s bedroom:
David reading to our other nephew Ethan:
John and Ethan:
A beautiful, sunny day and reflections in the pond:
Fried fish caught from the pond with homemade tarter sauce:
My mom found another typeset drawer when she was cleaning out the basement. More for my collection!
This is us. Get it?
While we were camping in South Haven, we stopped at DeGrandchamp Farms to pick blueberries! DeGrandchamp had a great you-pick area. They charged $1.75 a pound. After we got our buckets, we headed to the blueberry bushes. I think this was my first time picking blueberries – at least that I can remember!
Aren’t these berries just beautiful?
DeGrandchamp also has a cute country store with lots of blueberry and cranberry products.
We picked about 20 pounds of blueberries! We enjoyed snacking on them and made blueberry pancakes the next morning. Yum!
We spent 5 days camping last week in Van Buren State Park in South Haven, Michigan with David’s family. South Haven is on the coast of Lake Michigan.
David’s family used their fifth wheel camper, but we had our own private camping suite. The Christmas after we got married, David’s parents gave us camping supplies including a huge 8-person Coleman tent. They also gave us a queen air mattress that takes up about half of the tent. It’s a great set up!
The first day was really overcast. When we went to check out the water, it was hard to find the horizon! We had some rain the next two days, but it made for good sleeping weather in the morning.
We spent our days biking, looking at shops in the downtown area, and swimming at the beach. David’s dad had to work during the day, but joined us in the evenings. After we made campfire and RVQ dinners, we’d head into town for ice cream. We ate twice at Captain Nemo’s for their delicious Sherman’s Finest ice cream! (We weren’t as impressed with Kilwins… it was good, but really overpriced.)
One evening we walked down the South Haven pier to catch the sunset.
We are so spoiled by Michigan beaches! Unsalted and so beautiful!
We watched the sailboats come into the dock for the night:
Oh, haaaaay. Well, not actually hay. In the past it was hay, but this year it was straw. (Hay is from alfalfa and straw is from wheat… the things I’ve learned since marrying David!)
There’s a field on the farm the Benedicts bales every year. After a combine separated the grain, the stalks were left for baling. A tractor pulled the baler, which picked up the straw, compressed it, tied it, then spit it out the back onto the trailer for stacking. I think Grandpa said the baler was 50 years old.
David loves working on the farm. I love seeing him in his element:
I was not a baler, but I hung around for moral support. I rode in the Gator with Grandpa to drop off some twine:
It was dusty, dusty work!
All ready for auction: