pack and move

ever since we moved up to michigan for my job we had been living with my parents where space is at a premium- especially with all five of us living there!  diana's mom and david have been gracious enough to allow us to keep our stuff in the attic of their garage this whole time.  but, now that we have our own place, its time to pull it out of storage and start using it again!
as soon as we signed the lease for the new place we made plans to go down and get all our stuff.  we rented a u-haul, got barbara to help us out, and started picking though our stuff decided what we needed and what we didnt.  diana, of course, wanted to throw everything out and start fresh- or at least with the bare minimum, but i wanted to keep and take it all!  i am definitely a pack rat by nature and diana is the opposite, so we have a hard time seeing eye to eye with this kind of thing!  we settled somewhere in the middle and packed it all up for the move.  we drove up to allegan and started filling our house up and began to turn it into a home.

kids kingdom

we moved to allegan without much knowledge of the place, so we have recently been exploring the town and getting a good look around.  one of the places that we found that is really cool is a place called kid kingdom, its an awesome park that has a huge area just for kids!  the name fits because its not just a slide or wooden structure, its a whole fenced in kingdom filled with different fun things for kids to play on!  ledger was blown away by how amazing it is.  and to top it off, its actually within walking distance of the house!  i know where we're spending a lot of time this summer...
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time to move

the time has come.  we had been living with my parents for the past 8 months and though it has been great, its time for us to get our own place.  when we first moved up to michigan for my job, my parents offered to let us live with them until we could find a place of our own.  its been awesome to be able to tuck away a few extra dollars to prepare for the move, but now its time to strike out on our own again!  for reasons we aren't quite sure of, we decided to move out to allegan michigan and start the next chapter of our lives there.  jon hooked us up with someone who owned a few places he rents out.  we stopped and checked one of them out.  its is a beautiful old house that diana immediately fell in love with.  the place is huge!  we took a tour of it and thought it was great.  we signed a lease- and now we live in allegan!

pines visit

diana, ledger, and i have enjoyed having the house to ourselves these past couple months, but we still love to go out to sandy pines!  ledger especially loves the chance to see his his cousins- and take cart rides!  we don't get out there as often as we might like, but its good to go out when we can, the season isn't very long and we miss it all winter!

gatecon fun

ah, another successful gatecon in the bag!  we got to see a bunch of different speakers, including parker lewis!  we got to wander around rosemont and get some pizza that totally wrecked all of our stomachs, i got some great stargate merch, and we had a blast!  its unfortunate that this will most likely be our last time attending one of these.  they are having one more next year but i think this is going to be the end of the line for us.  i guess stargate will have to live on in our hearts... and earlobes...

gatecon loot

the guest speakers are a big part of the convention, but the other fun part is going and checking out the stargate merchandise!  each year it seems like there is less and less to choose from.  this might be because the show has been off the air for 9 years, but i'm not sure...  this year though, was an exception!  there was a new booth in the merch room and they had some really rad stuff!  usually when i come to the convention i don't have much money to waste on merch, but i actually planned ahead really well for this year and had almost a hundred dollars extra to squander on stargate stuff!  i got all kinds of awesome stuff- a few new books, a cool wall mirror, and a couple stargate lego sets (ok, they are lego knockoffs, but they are still pretty rad!).  jon got a few things too, so we were having a blast in the ol' merch room!
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gatecon cant loose!

there were a lot of fun guests this year, we went to the con on sunday, so the main people we saw were...  oh, who am i kidding?  corin nemic was there!  that's right, parker lewis was at the convention!!!  i guess i hadn't really looked very closely at the schedule, because i had no idea he was going to be there until we got there.  i totally loved the old show 'parker lewis can't lose' back when it was on, and i also really loved his character jonas from the season where daniel jackson was gone from the show.  i'm pretty sure i'm in the minority on that one, but i thought his character was awesome!  jon strongly disagrees, but what does he know?  he's only been to four gatecons, its not like he's an expert on stargate or anything!
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gate con begins!

its my favorite time of year- its time for the annual stargate convention!  this is my fifth year of going to the con and i'm usually able to round up a friend or two to join me.  this year jon joined me for the 4th time, and jeffry lee tagged along for the second time.
granted, the show has been off the air for a long time now, but that hasn't lessened our passion!  there were a bunch of guests who came to speak, i spent way too much money at the booths, and we had an awesome time!

good to fair

at work we have a 'member appreciation day', which means we have a special grill out meal and free entry into the holland state fair.  we took advantage of the free fun and headed out!
i tell you what, i haven't been to a fair in years- and ledger never has!  we went in the special picnic area and chowed down.  got our free passes and free ride bracelets and headed over the check it all out.
there were tons of fun rides, games, and even a petting zoo!  ledger had a blast, and so did we.
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snakes for the gift!

my birthday has never been much of a big deal to me, at least as an adult.  so when it came around i wasn't too worried about doing anything special or different.
we were visiting in south bend at the time, so diana's mom and david treated us to a lovely lunch.  that was just right to me, a little something special but that was enough.
what did make my birthday extra special though was the amazing birthday card from my boy! (i think he wrote it himself, but diana may have helped a little...)  and also the special gift he gave me: a play-doh snake!  probably the best birthday gift ever!


seriously.  i'm the luckiest guy in the world- just look at her!

anyway, back to your regularly scheduled blog posts...

light up the night

as summer sets in ledger has been staying up later.  the sun is out so long that we cant reasonably expect ledge to go to bed at 7pm and have it still be as light as noon!  he's been a-ok with us delaying his bedtime!  some times we have even had special events or plans that have kept him up extra late.  recently he was up late enough to see his new favorite animal in the whole world: lightning bugs!  he was so thrilled with seeing them for real- he had thought they were just imaginary like the other characters on tv!  he ran around in the backyard trying to chase after them.  whenever they would light up his eyes would light up even brighter!  we certainly have a nature lover on our hands with this guy!

new car!

ever since our black car died we have been a one car family.  its been a bit of a struggle, but staying with my parents for a little while has allowed diana to use their cars if needed so we have been able to manage.  during that time we have been saving and saving in order to get a new car, and now we have enough stored away that we are able to actually pay cash for a second vehicle!  we really want to be debt free, so we made the decision to wait until we could pay for it without more debt.  diana had been looking online for a new vehicle for a couple months now, and she finally came across this beauty- a chrysler pacifica.  we went to go check it out, were impressed, and drove home with it!  oh, don't worry, we brought it to a car place to give it the ol' once over before we signed the dotted line, but it passed and we were all set- we got ourselves a new car!

a cold treat

with the summer weather getting so hot, we thought we would let ledge try a summer treat: his first popsicle! he was very confused by it at first, trying to just take a bite out of it, but realizing how cold it was he knew right away that was a bad idea...  once he got the hand of the licking thing he was thrilled about the whole thing!  after he was done we just about needed to wash him down with a hose because he was so sticky, but it was totally worth it to see the thrill in his eyes!

a night of knights

what has now become an annual event, i got together with a few old classmates from the old junior high days!  my friend adam went to a different high school than most of my junior high class but he always wanted to stay in touch with everyone, so a couple years ago he spearheaded a class reunion of sorts with our 8th grade class!  it was a lot of fun and we have gathered together every summer ever since.  the gathering isn't always very large, but its always a great time.  its funny to see everyone and where life has taken us since we were 14!  we had a couple people stop by this year that hadn't attended in years past, so it was nice to catch up with them as well.

fun at the library

since i'm working 2nd shift, that means i get to spend a lot of mornings with my boy.  what better way to spend the day than at the library?  the kent county library is really cool, the built a new one a few years ago, so we were able to take full advantage of the beautiful facilities and full schedule they have for kids.  this summer the theme was superheroes, and they even had a fun cut-out that the kids could get their picture taken in.  ledge loved having his face with the big 'strong guy' body!  through out the month we came to check out the fun things they had planned- a magician, a petting zoo, and even tractors and a fire truck!  he was always super excited when i told him we were going to the library.  we would come for the events as well as the weekly story time for kids.  we always left with a few books too!
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back home to ledger

it was a long trip and lots of fun, but we were so thrilled to be back to our little boy!  we got home and he was so excited he could hardly handle himself!  he was thrilled to have us back- and of course we came bearing gifts.  his favorite though, was mama's big bucket of rocks she had collected.  we went to visit grandpa allen and he took the whole time inspecting each rock and having fun looking at them dry and then see how the color changed when they got wet.  he was certainly in his glory- back with mama and daddy.  all was well, once again, in ledger's life- and all was well once again in ours!

up walk

it was our last night in grand marais, so we figured we go out for one last walk.  sure, it was 11 at night, but that didn't stop us!  it was a really cool walk- apparently the house we stayed at had a cemetary not far behind it...  so we went for a nice creepy late night walk through the graveyard and ended up at the edge of lake superior!  don't worry, aaron had brought his rc car along and it had lights, so that lightened the mood- and lightened the path!
the next morning we were sorry to go, but so thankful we had such a good time resting and relaxing up there with friends!
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up falls

while we were up there it was miranda and levi's anniversary, so to celebrate we wanted to go to a nice place for dinner.  knowing there is a cool brewery restaurant over by tequamenon falls, we headed over to check it out.  the place was lovely and the food was great.  i was especially excited because they had a penny cruncher machine!
after dinner we discussed if we should go check out the falls.  after all, we had driven all the way over, we should probably take a look, right?  the humidity was so thick, and the cloud of mosquitoes thicker, but some of us chanced it anyway!  this view is as far as we got- we were being eaten alive!  we ran back to the air conditioned safety of the vehicles and headed back to the house.
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up boat trip

ah, this is what the whole week had been building to: a day out on a rented boat at painted rock national park!  we did this last year too and was the reason we were all so eager to return.  last year we ended up spending more time on the boat than we had actually paid for (oops), so this year we rented it for 4 extra hours!  we drove over to munising together, all the while enjoying (and mocking) the local radio station there.  we got on the boat with all our stuff, and were on our way!  the weather was a little colder than last year, but we didn't let that stop us from enjoying the day.  the place was absolutely beautiful- probably one of the most beautiful places i've ever been on earth- just gorgeous!  we pulled into one of the beaches so the girls could check out the cool rocks, do some exploring, and have a picnic together.  it was just perfect and so much fun!
everything was going smoothly, right up until we started to head back for the day to the dock...  we clearly did not know and had not been warned about the weather that was coming in.   apparently there was a hurricane scheduled for that afternoon and no one bothered to tell us...  as we started our ride back the clouds came rolling in, and a fierce rain storm along with them!  the waves picked up and the wind did too.  the cold water of lake superior crashing over the front of the pontoon boat was ice cold- and so was the rain pounding down on us!  i know that the picture above doesn't look like there would be any bad weather coming, which is why we were so surprised by it!  we hunkered down and just tried to survive!  the girls crowded together on the bench, huddling together for warmth.  i stood in the back, holding the rails as tight as i could, trying not to fall out each time we hit a huge wave.  none of us were quite ready for the onslaught, so we were all in shorts and bare feet!  the frigid water pouring over the boat would careen down the floor, drenching our feet as the rain drenched everything else.  as the hour long return trip got longer and longer, i was pretty sure my bare feet were going to freeze over.  trying to cope, i played over the reality that i may loose my feet to frostbite...  'well, i guess i'll learn how to get around in a wheel chair...'.  everyone else was just as miserable as i was, everyone except barbara!  she was miserable, but decided she was going to be our moral booster- she stayed at the front of the boat dancing, yes, dancing!  she was freezing and wet the the bone, but that didn't stop her from shaking her booty for laughs!  i don't know how she did it, being silly and getting laughs while i was contemplating if it would be easier to just jump off and end it all or last another 45 minutes in this brutal storm...
somehow, thanks to levi's eagle scout training and steel determination, he got us back to the dock and safe to shore!  we haphazardly gathered up our stuff and ran to the car, thankful for a haven from the bitter cold of the water and rain.  we drove the rest of the way back to the house like survivors of a great national disaster, thankful to just be alive!  immediately after we got back home i crawled up to our bed and passed out for the rest of the night.
unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of the rain storm or chaos of that return to the dock, but that's because we figured if we even tried to pull out our phones they would be doused with water and get ruined.  so you will just have to trust me on this one...
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