Some of our dear friends came to visit us and we had a blast!
We spent a wonderful weekend with a couple of my friends from University and their family. All of the kids got on brilliantly and it was fun to teach their boys a thing or two about America - our neighbour lent them baseball bats, balls and hats and even gave them a 30 minute lesson on how to throw and bat. We then took them to the baseball pitch behind the house and they had great fun putting it into practice!
We had a lot of laughs in a short space of time and I even got a bonus running buddy on Saturday morning.
My personal highlight was the huge water fight in the 'back yard' - good friends are ones you can blast in the face with a hose pipe!!
We missed our other University friend and raised a glass or two in her honour. Miss you and your family lots and cannot wait to visit you soon!
They left on Monday and it was a quick turnaround before our next visitors arrived on Friday... Jeremy's friends from England with their family and the next day, his friend from Australia.
It blows your mind to think that friends and family would travel such a long way to come and see us. We felt very honoured and excited to share a bit of our experience here with them.
We went to Ribfest in downtown Kalamazoo (think huge BBQ with ribs and pulled pork washed down with fruit smoothies and beer), swimming in the lake at our local beach here in Portage, St Joseph (to swim in Lake Michigan and run through the fountains), Binder Park Zoo, Air museum (more fun than it sounds... they have a load of fairground style rides for kids), Jungle Joes (a building full of huge inflatable slides and bouncy things - I did the sensible thing and stayed home to cook the dinner. Jeremy came back with friction burns on both elbows and I am pretty sure Si broke his glasses - for the fifth time!!) and a trip to the Kalamazoo Speedway which everyone loved (especially Charlotte - my little petrol head!).
That was just the first week!
The second week we headed 'up north' and finally got to see what everyone has been raving about for the last year.
'Up North'. North Michigan. Gaylord (pronounced Gaylerd), Traverse City (with a long 'a'), Petoskey, Charlevoix, Sleeping Bear Dunes and Otsego Lake.
Sandy beaches, blue water lakes perfect for swimming in (no salt is a definite bonus!), huge sand dunes (perfect for climbing and running down), Petoskey stones (fossilised coral which I found on the beach - apparently quite a hard thing to do!), tree lined roads, alpine style buildings, beach towns that remind me of the English seaside, beautiful lakes with amazing sunsets (perfect for evening pedalo or canoe rides), lazy days on the beach, chilled out evenings (well once the kids went to bed around 10pm!) with a glass of wine and friends.
Perfect! And all within a few hours drive of here.
When we have visitors, we live life like we are on holiday too. Far too many ice creams but days filled with trips out or fun round here. A house full of laughter, kids playing and giggling together. I love it!
Seeing Kalamazoo and Michigan through visitors' eyes, reminds you what is good about life here in Michigan.
It is just a shame they have to go. Saying goodbye makes me homesick but we will be back on English soil for a visit soon.
In case you don't follow my facebook feed - here are some of the highlights:
Poor Steve! Note every single one of us was dressed but ended up soaked!:
Baseball in the park:
Our local beach at Ramona Park:
The fountains at St Joe:
Our lake 'Up North':
And finally, Sleeping Bear Dunes: