Working in the midst of summer was both refreshing and challenging. There was so much going on and so much to do that I found it hard at times to focus on any one thing. The house seemed to be a little messier than usual, I took longer to respond to emails, and my desire to spend time with my family took the lead over everything else there was to do. The weather was interesting as well. Not the typically hot summer days I’m used to, but I have to admit, I think it was pretty perfect. Not so hot that the butter melts into a pool on the kitchen counter, but warm enough to want to spend time outside enjoying the sunshine. This may go down as my favorite summer yet. Yes, I think it will.
I wanted to look back just a bit to tell a little more about the summer adventure in Michigan. The part where the boys and I traveled to their cousins houses for some “one-on-one” time with each family. Matt is the second of five siblings. All are married and soon, all will have at least one child.
The first stop was the Reoch’s. This is Matt’s older brother Scott, his wife Susan and their four, yes four children. Elizabeth who is a year older than Mason, Natalie who underwent three heart surgeries before the age of 3, Edward who is just about the toughest and softest boy I’ve ever met and Katie who is just over one and a spitfire.
They live in a beautiful home in Grand Rapids, MI not too far from the airport. They have a huge front yard with two lawns and a long flat driveway, perfect for riding bikes, scooters and playing ball. Their backyard is even bigger with a large sloping lawn which bottoms into a play area for the kids to swing and climb. A perfect place to be for a few days.
Susan and I have always had a strong connection. Maybe it’s because we’re two girls who came from similar backgrounds that married into this incredible family. Maybe it’s our passion for nutrition and eating healthy. Maybe it’s just that we seem to “get” each other. Whatever the reason, I loved spending time with her and the family and having three days to just hang out, was awesome.
I tried to do one special thing with each family. Our highlight here was our visit to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Not only was it an incredible place to walk around with sculptures throughout the grounds but the visiting artist was Chuhuli the glass blower. I missed the exhibit when it was here in SF so I was excited to be able to see it in Michigan. His glasswork is amazing and the pieces were incredible. The large sculptures were breathtaking. It was incredibly hot that day and the kids were melting as we walked around the grounds so we ended the trip at the children’s area where they had some water features that the kids could play in. We let them get completely soaked in their clothes. I don’t think my boys knew what to do. Mommy had NEVER let them get wet without their bathing suits!
Overall our stay with the Reoch’s was great. The boys saw their Uncle Scott first hand try to shoot an animal. (don’t get me started, I’m just going to write that and move on.) The cousins had a blast playing with each other, I loved talking with Susan about life and it was sad when it was time to go. We packed up the car, waved goodbye and headed to the next family on the adventure, the Boyer’s. Matt’s youngest sister’s family.
One more additional note I want to add is that Susan has been knee deep in exploring her children’s health and nutrition over the years as have I. It’s been a true gift to be able to talk with her about it and to share experiences with gluten and the lack of it in our diets as well as NAET, the new approach we’re both taking to try to heal our children and ourselves. I promise to write more about that at another time!
Susan, Scott and family, thank you so much for your hospitality. For feeding us and playing with us and sharing your home with us. We love you guys and will never forget our time with you! Here are some photo’s from our time with you.