Saying Goodbye to Dad

IMG_E6498

Over the weekend we gathered with family and friends to say our goodbyes to my dad, Larry Elwood Walton. While the time leading up to the memorial has been emotional and stressful I left the church with an unexpected feeling of fullness. Yes it was sad, there is no question. But it was also uplifting and seemed to give me a revived perspective about life.

I was so very touched by my family and friends that came out, many of whom did not know my dad before he the dementia set in. I received very nice cards and messages with memories of dad and condolences.  It is easy to forget what dad was like when we were growing up since he’s been sick for almost half of my life. So, having the memorial, looking back on old pictures and video brought a sense of happiness and appreciation for dad that I have not had for awhile.

Chester has been really great through it all. He took over the slideshow when it became too much for me to take on. He’s been a shoulder to cry on and also one to make me smile and laugh, as always. He is such a great dad, just as mine was. He’s always on the floor wrestling and tickling the girls. My mom told me that losing a parent is one thing because that is what is supposed to happen in life. But losing a spouse is completely different. I can’t imagine Chester being taken away from us. While we all hope that we’ll grow old and happily ever after, sometimes that doesn’t happen — so that perspective I was talking about. Life is truly fragile and beautiful. This is the only one we get on this earth and each day it is our job to make the most out of it.

Here are the thoughts and memories I shared at the service:

Larry Elwood Walton
April 21, 1943 – October 30, 2017

Now when I think about my dad I get a full flood of memories that makes it hard to breath at times. They are also some of the happiest ones that I can remember. I had such a happy childhood. My sister Miranda and I were adopted, and for me the question about my ‘real parents’ has never bothered me because I never felt like I was missing out on anything. There was never a void to fill. From the moment that we were placed into our parents’ arms at the airport, that was it. We were theirs and they were ours.

One of the earliest memories I have of my dad was when I was about Vivienne’s age and hell bent on running away. I’m not sure what the reason was but the memory stuck with me because it was so uncharacteristic of the very sweet little girl I was. I packed my suitcase, Velcroed my shoes and out I went all the way behind the mulch stack in our back yard. A few minutes later my dad came out looking for me and spotted me peaking out. As a kid, thinking I was defying my parents so badly I was expecting to see anger, instead I saw sadness and panic in his eyes. He gave me a big dad hug and said he loved me and that he never wanted me to run away from him again. As a parent now, I can imagine searching through the house for one of my kids and being scared and angry at the same time. I would hope that I could be a consoling parent instead of quickly harsh and upset. And I never did run away.

Dad didn’t just love us because he was our dad. He actually really liked us. Growing up he probably wanted to play with us more than we wanted to play with him. I truly believe that he thought his job was to make us smile and laugh every day. He was the king of dad jokes to the point where joke books and the funny paper became his greatest source of reading material for about a decade. And when he could no longer remember the jokes he found other ways with his grandkids to make them laugh. Little tickles with his beard and crazy noises that only a grandpa can make. I am so very thankful that my girls got to have those sweet moments with him. And I am also thankful that my dad got to meet and hold our youngest little Walton, even though it was just once.  

Dad watched his mom battle Alzheimer’s disease. I remember would take Grandma Olive out for ice cream and then afterward I would see the tears in his eyes when we drove away from the nursing home. At the time I didn’t realize the pain of having someone you love not recognize you and turn into just a shell of who they used to be. Dad was not himself for many years. After a hard battle with cancer where some of his physical strength was taken away and after kids were out of his life, since he retired from teaching middle schoolers and we were entering college years, dad lost a little of himself. His body and mind were failing him and mom was left picking up the pieces. Mom kept him together and at home for as long as she could. Her routine with him was so good that we all didn’t see just how much he was declining in the last 6 months. But because of that, his stay in the nursing home was brief and we only had to drive away with tears a few times before we said our last goodbyes.

Even toward the end dad never looked like a grumpy old man because he kept his greatest qualities, his smile, his humor and his optimistic view about life. I know that every time I see a runner outside I want to give them a thumbs up just as he would have done. I know I can’t wait to chase my kids around in the swimming pool just as he did with us. I know I will always be a relentless recycler like he was. And I know I will never forget what a great dad he was to me.     

I love you more than pickles dad.

A shortened version of the slideshow we put together for the service:
The Wedding Song: There is Love by Peter, Paul and Mary

One Month With Walton Is a Beautiful Blurr

What day is it? What time is it? What month is it? When I write Walton’s birthday and see the year 2017, I think to myself, how can that be right? We had a baby this year? Pregnancy seems all consuming but then the actual baby comes and the baby bump is a distant memory that is replaced by a grunting, wiggly, tiny body that can’t do anything himself. I mean can’t even hold up his own head out the gate? No wonder new parents get zero sleep … we’re literally holding up this little head so it keeps breathing until it can hold up itself.

But somehow we manage and get through it because we would spend those countless hours just looking at our baby’s little face regardless if he is awake or not. And those little snuggles and sounds that come from that sweet innocent little face are really so wonderful that it is hard to believe that it really makes it all worth while.

What We Know About Baby Walton

  • He hiccups A LOT. Way more than either of the girls that I can remember. They seem violent but seem to bother us more than him.
  • He loves to look at his sisters. They are really good about getting right in his face at eye level so he doesn’t really have a choice to be interested in their crazy faces and sounds.
  • Walton grunts all the time especially when he is working something out in his diaper. This may be all babies but he seems especially grunty.
  • He loves baths. I remember this being a screaming episode with at least Vivi for the first few, but this guy is cool as a cucumber in the tub and would stay in there as long as we let him.
  • He smells like a mix of laundry and warm milk. mmmm baby smell
  • He sleeps right now in 3 hours increments no more … but sometimes less.

I started this blog a little bit after Vivi was born and so she doesn’t have a one month update post. But I wanted to try and get some pics of the kids all at one month to remember what their little bodies looked like compared to Walton’s now.

WALTON | ONE MONTH
Smaller than Viv but probably a little bigger than Ellen. I won’t have an updated weight until his 6 week appointment.

DSC_3914

 

VIVIENNE | ONE MONTH
12 pounds 11 ounces

ELLEN | ONE MONTH
10 pounds 4 ounces

THE GIRLS ARE ALRIGHT
While its been a little chaotic with the girls starting school it has really been the best thing for them, to have another focus than being cooped up inside with the baby. They both love to hold the baby and feed the baby bottles. It is almost like a competition of who gets to love on him the most. Ellen’s attention to most things these days is short lived. She likes to be with the baby but is quick to get up to the next thing. Vivi being a little older is more invested in caring for her brother. She gets sensitive when we have to push her away. She tries to insert herself anywhere to be close to the baby.

They are both very interested in his poop and diaper changes and again treats a diaper change as a competition of who gets to be on the stool right next to me to hand me a wipe and diaper.

GOT MILK?
Oh my milk you ask? I know readers are just dying to know how the milk production is going on my end. I only add this not to add TMI but to remind myself (and the girls one day …) how much one person gives (ME) to feed one other very tiny little person. Right now I am 80% pumping. I will nurse sometimes if I feel like it, if we have time, if we’re comfy on the couch … otherwise I am pumping. I’m not sure what my supply would be like if I hadn’t been on the nursing track to start, but now I pump about 7-10 ounces each pump and have to pump about every 3-4 hours. So that means that yes I make enough milk and then some since Walton is only taking about 3-4 ounces every 3-4 hours and yes I still have a milk dud. Each pump takes me about 10-15 minutes so I am literally hooked up to a machine for no less than an hour in a full day.

batch_DSC_3932    Ellen One Month

DSC_3968-edit  Vivienne One Month  Ellen One Month

 

Week #2 With Naybie #3 | Walton Henry Nay

batch_DSC_3876batch_DSC_3873

Oh baby oh baby. When people ask you if you’re ready for your new born to arrive the real answer is NO. While you can’t wait to see what he will look like and you are so ready to not be pregnant, no one is really ready and up for all that a newborn entails. And it is true that you forget all the work, back breaking pain and amount of time it takes to get this tiny little thing through his daily life. But you smile and say “yes” or “as ready as we’ll ever be” leave and hope for the best.

I will pretense this post that I am writing coming from a third c-section. When I say that I’ve had 3 sections I wish people knew how much I did and do want to push a baby out the natural way, but I did try with baby #1 a little bit with baby #2 and by this time yes we opted for a scheduled c-section. A nurse in the hospital said that her husband was wishing for a c-section because he was so scared of a vaginal birth. There are so many things wrong with that sentence that I can’t even begin to explain. Knowing just that about the husband of hers I can only say that he is a very evil little man.

A wholly able bodied person on their best day would be completely worn down taking care of a newborn. Now take that person, cut her in half, take out an 8 lb turkey from her belly, ask her to breastfeed that turkey round the clock on top of all the other newborn care … and then you wouldn’t be surprised that this person is writing a blog post and three paragraphs in hasn’t even mentioned the name of her new blessed child.

Here are some things that I forgot that I wanted to get down for myself to remember … maybe when a 4th child itch comes rolling around. The lower back pain from the spinal block, the feeling that you are a Westworld host that you can’t shake, the idea of laughing, couching and gaging, the feeling that you will never comfortably lay down or sleep ever again, the tears that come from not being able to pee and poop, the painfulness of a rock hard breast.

BREATH ….
The section above was written in the middle of the night on probably the 2nd or 3rd day home. It was a dark rough time for this momma. Now that we are at the 2 week mark we have had a chance to breath and are lucky that we have had so much help from family and friends. This time around we have needed all the help we can get with not only keeping us fed but keeping a family of F.I.V.E. alive and 2 little girls that need constant reassurance that they are still as important to us as ever.

WALTON HENRY NAY
This name we have had in our head for a while since waiting for the gender on our first (Viv). Originally we were going to use Walton as a middle name but I was really wanting Walton to be a prominent part of our life so a bargain was struck right before our anatomy ultra sound for Vivi and Walton as a first name was born. He is just the sweetest little yellow baby. I didn’t know if he would look like a boy since I was so used to staring into the eyes of little girl babies but he is for sure our little guy and feels different than holding the girls. Maybe the mother-son bond thing has already begun. He is a good sleeper as most newborns should be for the sanity of their parents. And he is a good eater, but we did have to do two blood foot pricks to keep an eye on his bilirubin levels. Happy to report that its one the downward trend and he seems to be looking a bit less yellow everyday. Gosh for sleeping so much and not really knowing what his little personality will be like we sure are falling in love just watching him sleep, kissing his little baby lips, rubbing our cheeks on his soft baby head and taking deep smells in the nape of his wrinkly neck.

IMG_4906

MILK, MILK, MILK
THIS aspect of motherhood is so tiring. While Walton seemed to be a good eater, he was not gaining the weight we wanted at a week out and that combined with the bilirubin levels, we had to supplement with formula already. We have used formula with both the girls and I am completely fine with it but when you’re committed to breast feeding and working around the clock to keep it up, it is a little devastating to have to supplement. We had already been having latch problems which lead to the also upsetting purchase of my first nipple shield. We have only done about 24 hours of formula after nursing, but I had to get into the habit of pumping after each nursing session. And now I am producing a ton of milk and seem to need to nurse or pump every 2 hours on the dot. Or else I’m getting out a hot compress so as not to engorge myself. I could talk about nursing all day long … talking about my milk dud is what this blog was built on but I’ll stop and share a funny fact that only one of my boobs makes about 95% of my supply.

OUR VILLAGE
Being outnumbered by kids, we need all the help we can get. I often reflect and say how lucky we are to have such great family and friends but in times like these where they are actually feeding our family, watching and entertaining the girls when we can’t give them that attention they need and just being there to nod their head when I complain about nursing woes … (which is all the time if you haven’t gotten that yet) is truly the time where I am so happy that we have made these relationships a priority in our lives.

My mom, GMA watched the girls while we were in the hospital and make their time together into a short introduction to preschool since the girls were missing their first week of school in Highland. Knowing that the girls were not just looked after but that they were being enriched and educated is amazing! Also both of Chester’s moms have come up and stayed with us. All you need when your MIL’s stay is baking supplies and the rest just works itself out (that is if you have great ones like I do). Robin and Lori have been so helpful in the kitchen and keeping up with the girls while I have been literally attached to Walton about 80% of the day.

We were so happy to have some company in the hospital. Some parents don’t like to be visited. The hospital can be a venerable time for families. I mean after a c-section you’re most likely wearing mesh underwear and a hospital gown. But it was nice to have a break up in the day for us with some hospital visitors.

After the hospital we came home and the girls started school right away and Chester went right back to work. After I got over the pain hump and was able to lay down flat for a few hours of restful sleep I was in much better spirits. Though the days seem sooooooo long now, double since I live a complete full day at night doing feedings and pumping. I think that we are getting into a good little groove of the girls going to school and soon we’ll be back to the gym a few days a week just to walk and get the girls out of the house on the days they don’t have school. Speaking of school …. I am planning on getting back into things with my MAT program in October though I have no idea when I will have time to sit down for more than a few minutes yet.

Our friends in Highland have really be awesome. I can’t begin to explain how different it is to have some people who are around that we can count on. From taking the girls at literally 5 minutes notice for me to take Walton to a doctor appointment to taking them to the pool when I cannot just to get them out of the house has been amazing. We have had meals brought to us and rides home from school so I don’t have to leave twice in the morning. Seeing these ladies juggle their kids and schedules and meals and also giving us their precious time has made me look more and more at houses to buy in Highland because I don’t want to leave this feeling of community that we have made here.

 

Ready-ish for a Naybie BOY

At this moment we have said that this will probably most likely surly be the last baby that I am going to carry. I am not one that loves or really hates pregnancy; it is a long 9 month road. Don’t get me wrong it is so special and a truly amazing thing that anyone’s body can transform and grow a little human, but besides just the gestation period there is the recovery after, the breastfeeding battle (or if nothing else it is a pain and time suck, literally) oh and the next 18 years of trying to nurture and raise an upstanding or at least contributing member of society.

I did feel the need to get some last family pics of just the 4 of us. We really have not had professional photos taken since Ellen was born … I just tried to find them on the blog and looks like they never got posted. I guess that just goes to show that with a 2 month old and 17 month old there was literally no time for this blog. I am wondering if it will have to take a back seat again for this Naybie. I also wanted to remember the baby bump, since (again) this will be my last one (I promise I’m not just saying that to convince myself). Also since I have ZERO monthly chalkboards for this guy. I didn’t loose the board or anything … it is prominently hanging in our kitchen. I just never got the energy for it this time around :( poor baby. Thank you to Brook Lewis Photography for being so patient on a hot morning with a crabby 3 year old and to Widmer Floral for the special babies breath crowns for the girls. I don’t know what it is about professional photos, but they just look so much better than anything I take on my camera or iphone. The only ones of Ellen in particular smiling are because Chester is in the background being a monkey … which is why he isn’t in most of them.

N-426

N-168

N-33

THE HOUSE
Our house is somewhat ready-ish for this guy. While there really is no nursery, there is a guest room with a crib set up for him! And we have a little nook in this room that started as the master bedroom and is still that, but also a catch all room for the girl’s art table, my desk and now where most of the baby’s stuff resides. I have been trying wash all of the things we have had in storage for 3+ years and am reminded of just how much stuff these little babies require. And also how much new stuff they have come out with in the short amount of time we haven’t had a baby. A rock-n-play? A sit-me-up? Seem to be the latest must haves in baby land. Also thanks to some wonderful friends and family of ours I think we are set in the clothes department and even diapers/wipes/baby wash for now.

THE GIRLS
It has probably seemed like we have said that the baby is almost here forever to those little girls whose perception of time is so different from ours. So while we are just 13 days away at this point I don’t know if they believe me in knowing just how close we really are. They love giving kisses to my belly and the baby on a daily basis. And they love babies they see in the gym daycare or even walking around the store. Hopefully with school starting right when the baby comes will only add to their excitement and they won’t feel like they are cooped up all day long with him.

THE HUSBAND 
I have also forgotten how much Chester really loves babies. He just loves to mess with anything really and babies are no exception. In fact it is probably worse with babies since they are experiencing everything for the first time and Chester loves to see their reactions and expressions from blowing in their face and their ears. Tickling all the little crevices and rolls. It is so fun watching him with babies.

THE MOMMA
Everyone looks at how huge I am and says “you must be ready” and trust me I am ready to sleep on my back, roll on my stomach and even run and jump. BUT I am also dreading the recovery, sleepless nights, anxiety of newborn cries. Also I know that he is so safe in there. Maybe because we are saying this is the last one that I will carry, that I feel sad knowing that once he leaves that I’ll be lonely. I don’t remember feeling that sadness before with the girls. Also this guy is so animated in there already that I’ll miss the constant buddy reminding me that he is in there. And I know there will be moments where I wish I could just put him back in there … kangaroos have it figured out I think. And with my school semester wrapping up I am breathing a sigh of relief that I’ll be able to take a short break and then back to the books in October.

THE BOULLIE
Boullie is slipping down yet another rung on the totem poll in the Nay house. His anxiety seems less severe since we have moved to Highland, he displays the symptoms of shaking, hiding and panting on a much more frequent basis. I really don’t know if this baby will have a large effect on him other than another thing that will drop things for him to eat on the floor … so how can that be bad for Bou?

So I guess we are ready as we will ever be for this baby boy to shake up our lives. We are so excited to meet him!

 

 

Summer Lovin with My Girls

It seems like we were just saying hello to summer and here we are saying goodbye. It has been a really fun few months and the last ones that its just the 4 of us. I got to spend most days of the week bumming around with the girls. I am thankful most everyday that I get to stay home with them. I know that it won’t and can’t last forever, but the daily snuggles, kisses and outings are worth the emotional, financial and stressful sacrifices I struggle with.

While I have posted about some of our big summer events on the blog already like birthday parties and our beach vacation, it has been the all the little fun things that we have filled our summer with that makes it so sweet.

Here are just a few that come to mind … Family Birthdays, Fourth of July, MoBot, Miranda’s Shower, Camping, First Cardinals Game, Lake of Dreams, Woodburn Wedding, Fairing, Magic House, Backyard Bummin, Parks

Vivienne is growing to be a polite, inquisitive 4 year old girl who always wishes she was older so she can wear high heals, makeup and go to a big kid school. She is so ready for kindergarten that I would send her in a second if it were up to me. I think she gets bored at home and she wants so badly to know and to learn everything. She gets mad at herself when she does things wrong and always is looking for approval from mom and dad. I wish that I could protect her forever so that she doesn’t say “what if the kids laugh at me” that she has said on occasion, but I hope she knows that we are always on her side. Viv (who still prefers to be called Vivi or Vivienne) has the biggest belly laugh and is constantly cracking herself up. She is a vivacious eater and loves raw veggies with ranch, dipping crackers or chips in anything, anything sweet, but not too sweet. She would rather have a deli sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Viv really loves poem books by Shel Silverstein they really make her think about things in a different way. She is constantly chasing after her sister to play with her and loves it when Ellen is her baby. Vivi would always rather stay up late and sleep in. She’s usually the last one up and could become grouchy when its an early morning. Viv sometimes will surprise us and clean her room to the point where it is unbelievable she is capable of such organization. She is always helping Ellen turn on the water for washing hands, fetching outfits and even helping her with the potty.

Ellen, while still my thumb sucking baby, is growing into her own little person. She likes to do her own thing a lot of the time, but is always up for a snuggle. If you are laying down she can always make time in her day to lay next to you. Ellen makes crazy facial expressions for no reason. The best ones are the ones she does at dinner time. Ellen is my picky eater although she has been doing a lot better, but if she sees a green bean on her plate, dinner is O.V.E.R. She doesn’t like the skin on fruit, crust on bread or seeds in anything. Plain pasta with butter and cheese is her go to. Ellen hates it when cabinet doors are left open, when drawers do not open and shut for her they way they should, or when the carpet gets “ruined” from Boullie. She is quick to yell at Boullie for being on the couch but also the one that volunteers to feed him every night. Ellen is the one that I worry about being on her own at school. She tends to get quiet around people she doesn’t know and is used to always having her sister there with her to help her do things. She likes to catch your eye across the room and tell you that she loves you. She wants kisses all the time to make sure that you’re not mad at her. Ellen right now is okay when she is not apart of the group and has developed a fascination for watching the little black ants.

 

Third Pregnancy | Third Trimester

Well we made it into the final weeks (#35weeks) of what has seemed like the longest and shortest pregnancy of all time. We found out super early with this one around January 6th (thank you Magen & Nick’s wedding for that exact date) so I’ve been pregnant ALLL year. Just when it seemed like it would never become hot enough to go to the pool this summer, it was. And the summer months have flown by. Seeing school supplies and summer clearance items at the store has me realizing that our time as a family of 4 is quickly coming to and end.

In retrospect it has been an easy pregnancy. My other two were also pretty smooth sailing. Besides some hiccups with providers and hospitals it looks like we will be delivering this baby via c-section on September 5, 2017 at Missouri Baptist by the same doctor that delivered Viv and Ellen. No this was no the original plan, but when does that ever happen anyway?

HAS THIS PREGNANCY BEEN DIFFERENT?
I get this question a lot. I think maybe because I am carrying a boy this time around people expect a good answer. The only real differences I can tell is that this baby kicks harder, more and longer than the girls did in utero. Also that I seemed to have ballooned much quicker and feel like I have looked full term all summer. Just in the last week I have been getting the “when are you due” eyes and question because I look and feel uncomfortable. My hair has been pretty full and silky but my skin is struggling this time around.

THE GIRLS EXPECTING
The girls give kisses to my belly all the time. They also use it as a wall to kick off of in the pool. They have met their newest baby cousin, James a few times this month. Which is great practice! Thank you Aunt Jessica! They seemed pretty sweet and careful around their cousin. Ellen lost interest when he did not hold any of the toys that she found for him. Viv would go back and forth but I think their expectations have been slightly lowered. I believe before they were expecting a baby play thing to come out and instantly jump and run and follow them around. The baby will come right when they start school so they will have many a new things to focus their short attentions.

SPRINKLES
I love that baby sprinkles are a thing. While getting some new baby stuff is nice, the best part is connecting with friends in different ways and celebrating this baby. It makes it seem like the very special thing that it is and reminds me that even though it is our third, bringing a life into this world is still just as monumental as the first time around. It also reminds me of what a great support system that we have built with friends and family. In the beginning you can feel so isolated, but really people would love for you to ask them for some help, and this time around I will probably be asking more than before since I won’t have as much help being a stay-at-home person and Chester not getting as much time at home.

Donut Galore Sprinkle | July 30 (#33weeks)
My wonderful ex-co-workers whom have turned into life time friends threw me a surprise little sprinkle when I thought we were just meeting for a swim. Gosh I have been through so much with Magen, Angie and Bonnie since we met in my early twenties. So much changes and happens in that decade that we have witnessed some of life’s greatest moments together. I am so looking forward to celebrating Bonnie’s wedding with her in October, which will probably be this momma’s first night out post this Naybie.

IMG_0702-2 IMG_0693-2 IMG_0688-2IMG_4020

Highland Punch Sprinkle | Aug 6 (#35weeks)
This party was so special to me because we really haven’t lived in Highland that long of a time … not even 2 years. But it shows what a great community and life that we have made here, after going through the biggest and scariest move to date. These ladies, all of whom are Korte gym members (ha!) are so inspiring to me in different ways. It is amazing to me to see each one of them balance their kids, work and health everyday and do so with smiles. I call this a Highland Punch because I requested a kids free, boozy event so we could sit without running after kids and leaving half of our conversations unfinished. I could actually see Julie’s home at a time not crawling with kids of all sizes … not sure when the last time that has happened in her party house.

IMG_4167

STL Sprinkle | Aug 20 (#37weeks)
And of course our wonderful friends from St. Louis, most of which we owe thanks to Boullie that we have met, threw us a small-big party with a delicious spread and happy memories. While we don’t get to see this bunch as much as we did when we lived in the area we are always so surprised and honored that they keep us as friends, even if it means crossing a river a few times. Our St. Louis family knew us before and after kids and have stuck by us through it all. It has been wonderful watching them through marriages, kids, moves and of course Tower Grove kickball. We are ever so thankful that this bunch has our back.
DSC_3748

 THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

Love, The Nays

Beach Vacation Up North

IMG_3470

Our little vacation home on Georgia Ave. Direct access to the beach! We probably had the smallest pad on the street.

While in all responsible forms of thinking it may not have been the best idea to go on a family vacation we decided to use the rational that we won’t remember that we didn’t have the money, didn’t have the vacation days and didn’t have the time. But we do have a 3 and 4 year old for the last summer that it will be just them. Maybe this was our vacation apology to the girls that we are going to give so much attention to this little baby and pretty much ruin Ellen’s life as she knows it.

We love the beach for the girls because with a beach they need very little other entertainment. The 17 hour drive that we made the the Gulf Shores last summer did not sound appealing so we opted for Lake Michigan. We did a circle tour around the lake without kids last summer and kept thinking how much fun they would have at its beaches. So a 4.5 hour drive up to Michigan City, Indiana it was.

As long as it is somewhat warm and not raining its beach weather! While the lake water stays pretty cool it was surprisingly refreshing and bearable even though the outside temps didn’t get above about 87 degrees I’d say. Here is how our itinerary went:

Arrival Afternoon: Beach
Day 1 Morning: Washington Park Zoo
Day 1 Afternoon: Beach
Day 2 Morning: Berry Picking @ Garwood Orchards (and possibly the best donuts I have had in my life) & Lunch Out @ Shoreline Brewery
Day 2 Afternoon: Beach
Departure Morning: Beach

Besides food prep and booking the location we really did zero planning for this trip. If we had planned it a little earlier maybe we would have done it before my school program started and maybe we would have ended up in a little nicer of a place to stay but otherwise, it could not have gone better even if we had planned it.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE KIDS
The drive there is always easier than the drive back
They almost wake up earlier on vacation than at home
They don’t need time to unwind when we get home like mom and dad
They are surprisingly good and willing to take pics of mom and dad
A movie is just as exciting to them on vacation as at home
Of all the things on the beach the girls loved being buried in the sand the most
They have some sort of 6th sense for when their timed nightlight goes away

DSC_3493  DSC_3492

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT INDIANA/MICHIGAN CITY
The entire state of Indiana is dry on Sundays
All bars have to have separate dining for families or people under 21
Dennys is never a good idea on the road
No one is really up before 8am


BONUS FEATURE
Right before we left we got to meet the newest member of the Nay clan. James Blake Hatch. He is such a cutie and already so loved.