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    Meeting Baby Kenley!

    Our best friends Vicki and Rusty had their baby! We couldn’t be more thrilled for them! Their daughter arrived early Wednesday morning and they named her Kenley Elizabeth Harris. We got to meet her yesterday. She is absolutely beautiful:




    She is so tiny! We met her when she was just two days old. It’s been a while since I held a newborn. I was nervous I was going to break her. David, on the other hand, was a natural:


    David holding Kenley


    Leah holding Kenley


    I designed birth stats for Kenley with the same owl themed graphics I used for Vicki’s shower invitations:


    Owl themed baby birth stats


    Baby, mom, and dad are doing great. Such a beautiful family!


    The Harris Family


    Vicki and Rusty did a fantastic job with her nursery. Vicki went with gray, coral, and owls for the theme. I got to help with a few things!


    Gray and coral nursery


    I designed two prints of prayers. One was a prayer Vicki’s dad said with her at night. The other she found on Pinterest. Again, these were based on the same graphics as the shower invitation:


    Nursery wall with prayers


    Here’s a close up of one of them:


    Prayer design in nursery


    We’re so glad she arrived before we head back to Turkey. Congrats, Rusty and Vicki! Kenley is the luckiest little girl in the world to have you two as her parents! We are so excited to watch her grow.



    Eating in Gladwin, Michigan: The Corner House

    Another up north tradition is visiting The Corner House Ice Cream Parlor. Mom, David, and I stayed an extra day at the cottage and the moms sent us on an ice cream run. Corner House serves Hudsonville Ice Cream, a creamery in Michigan. They carry a ton of flavors – their Facebook says 75! Corner House is only open during the summer months and is a must-stop if you’re up north.


    Corner House


    Corner House Ice Cream Parlor


    One of the first things you notice when you walk in are the Pigs Platter signs. The Corner House has an eating competition to get your name on the wall. You have to eat 5 flavors of ice cream, 2 bananas, 5 toppings, with  optional whipped cream and nuts.


    Current season pig platter winners


    Their Hall of Fame lists winners all the way back from 1996. There’s a handful of winners that ate 3 Pig Platters in one day! It was cool to look through the winners and where they were from.


    Pigs Platter wall


    Their ice cream and waffle cones are delicious!


    David eating ice cream


    Life is Better at the Lake

    My aunt and uncle own a lake cottage and invited us up north last weekend. (Up north is a very Michigan term… it usually refers to the top of the mitten.) Oh, the memories we’ve made at the cottage! My family has visited the cottage during summers and Christmases for as long as I can remember. There’s 10 cousins on that side of the family and the girls are all stair step in age to each other.

    We had lots of fun playing with my cousin’s daughter, Cammy! She’s 2 and a half and absolutely precious. She loves to swim, build castles, play with Yo-Zoe (Zoey the dog), and blow bubbles:


    Blowing bubbles with Cammy


    We laughed and laughed that she had named her doll Lois. Here’s Aunt Lois and Baby Doll Lois:


    Aunt Lois and doll Lois


    It’s tradition at the cottage to write your name on a cup and reuse it during your stay. We had two Davids this weekend, so my David got a little creative with his cup:


    Weekend cups


    David purchased a fishing license and woke up early to go fishing with Uncle Marv.


    Sunrise while fishing


    They caught 4 or 5 fish the first morning:


    David holding a fish


    We had large mouth bass for dinner and they were delicious. David learned how to fillet them!


    Uncle Marv holding a fish




    The weather was perfect and we enjoyed swimming, boat rides, and tubing. My arms are still store from hanging on so tight:


    Wiping out while tubing


    It was the first time my cousin Kendra’s boyfriend had gone tubing:


    Kendra and David tubing


    Cammy loved, loved, loved her watermelon. She had 3 big slices one meal. “I need more watermelon, Yee-ah!”


    Cammy loves watermelon!


    We had so much fun catching up with everyone, playing games like Four on a Couch and Loaded Questions, sharing meals together, and getting some sun. We couldn’t have asked for better weather or company!


    The family at the cottage



    Our Fourth of July

    We attended the 32nd Annual Fourth of July at Charlton Park this year with David’s family. Charlton Park is in Hastings, Michigan and has the cutest little village museum.  Historic buildings were moved onto the park property including a blacksmith shop, school house, town hall, barber shop, hardware store, and several others.


    Historic Charlton Park


    Carpenter shop at Charlton Park


    I was excited to see the print shop museum! {PS. The awesome shirt is from!}


    At the print shop in Charlton Park


    Be still my heart:


    Typeset drawer


    We arrived in time for the old-timey contests. There were 3 age divisions for most of the games. Ben, Sam, and David all participated in the watermelon eating contest – no hands allowed!


    Ben at the watermelon eating contest


    Watermelon eating


    David water melon eating contest


    David, Ben, and Mom entered the freckle contest. The Benedicts have a long history of winning the freckle contest. Lorraine took first place the past several years.


    Freckle contest


    There was hay bale throwing:


    Hay bale throwing


    And pie eating:


    Ben pie eating contest


    Ben was super proud of his two second place ribbons – for the freckle contest and pie eating:


    Second place Ben


    Sam placed in the watermelon eating contest and hay bale throwing contest:


    Sam with ribbons


    There was lots to do and see and eat! It was super family friendly and everything was free.


    Uncle Sam texting


    Later that evening we drove to Battle Creek to watch fireworks. Since Mom works at the base, we had great seats for the show.


    Colonel mom


    We watched with Mom, Mary, and her fiancé Patrick:


    Waiting for fireworks


    Waiting for fireworks


    The fireworks were from the Battle Creek Balloon Festival:


    Battle Creek fireworks



    A Morning in Grand Rapids, Michigan

    My mom had a meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan and invited David and me to come along. Grand Rapids is less than an hour and a half from where we live. While she was in her meeting, we killed some time around the downtown area. We had breakfast at Bagel Beanery, which had delicious bagels, cream cheese, and coffee.

    After figuring out how to get to it, we stopped at La Grande Vitesse. It’s a beautiful steel sculpture by American artist Alexander Calder located in front of Grand Rapids City Hall.


    Grand Rapids, Michigan City Hall


    La Grande Vitesse


    La Grande Vitesse


    La Grande Vitesse


    La Grande Vitesse


    La Grande Vitesse


    After that, we walked through the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Ford was from Grand Rapids and was the 38th president of the United States. He was appointed after Nixon resigned. I learned a lot about the Watergate scandal from walking through the museum.


    Gerald Ford Museum


    They had fun memorabilia from the 1970’s.  Pet rock, anyone?


    Pet Rock in Gerald Ford Museum


    I thought these invitations were funny. They were for Gerald Ford’s wedding brunch. The options for “unable to come” are:

      • My wife is pregnant
      • I am in jail
      • I am a Democrat
      • The bank foreclosed
      • I am going hunting
      • Never could stand Ford
      • I am reading the Kinsey Report


    Gerald Ford Brunch Invitation


    It’s kind of fun being a tourist in your home state!


    Presidential Seal - Gerald Ford Museum



    First Few Days of Summer

    The last couple weeks of the school year were a whirlwind! We said goodbye to our students, packed up our classrooms, packed our bags for home, and moved everything else into our new apartment. Our travel back to the States went smoothly and we only had a slight delay on our connection to Detroit. We landed in Michigan on Thursday, hit the ground running, and have been on the go ever since!

    Here’s a look at our first few days of summer…


    Sam up to bat at a baseball tournament


    Grilling pork steaks


    At a Lansing Lugnuts baseball game


    Tractors on the Benedict farm


    Meeting our nephew


    Meeting Jonah


    Family day at the guard base


    My colonel mom at her desk


    My kitty Blue


    How Mom decorated our bed at her house


    Father's Day