Monday, May 28, 2012

Oh, Mackinac

My sweet, sweet, Mackinac Island. We have been going up for Memorial Day weekend as a family for at least 14 years now to attend a large and fancy convention, and this was our last year. It was sad to think that we may never have the chance to stay at the Grand Hotel ever again, but we have been lucky enough to stay at that swanky palace of "gracious living" for ten years now, and appreciate the opportunity so much it is impossible to put into words. Also, we know we will return to Mackinac Island as much as possible in the future. And having the chance to take our little girl there? Priceless. 

This year was a particularly fantastic year, although I'm sure the parent of any toddler will agree that it is a TAD exhausting to wrangle a little free spirit, especially when there are planned events at which to be present, fun things you want to accomplish in between, and a schedule to keep so your child doesn't turn into an insane monster and ruin everyone else's time. In spite of that, J did a pretty fantastic job, and there were only a few times the schedule was flaunted and a very few meltdowns. She acted shy with a few relatives who were excited to see her, and that broke my heart a little, but we were around hundreds and hundreds of people, many of whom knew her and were talking to her and trying to hold her, so you can only expect so much from an almost-two-year-old.

Can you smell a photo dump coming? Guess what? I'm not even going to apologize. Memories. Like a deck of card, memories ... (that's one the lines, right? I'm not gonna google it to check. I'll apologize for that one.)


I Instagrammed (user name vmdimick) the first few moments of our trip. Heading out on the open road:
I did tweet our whereabouts, but warned would-be buttheads that we had a housesitter. A GOOD one.

And then Josie hit her I've-been-in-the-car-for-more-than-two-hours-make-it-stop crank:

Then we got to the ferry! Early! And Josephine spent twenty minutes leaning over the railing (much to the chagrin of the old lady in line behind us), shouting "Water! Rock! Water! Rock!" over and over.

She refused to even turn away for pictures.

And just like last year, she loved the ferry.
Last year:

Jeremy took her to the top level and she LOVED it. I had to force them both to come back down below.

We had some settling in and napping to do, then we got fancified for dinner, and Josie proved just how classy our family was.

After the Bean went to bed, Jeremy and I hung out with my little sister and her dude, my little brother and his lady, and my older sister and her husband and kids in the four-bedroom cottage behind the Grand Hotel, where we were lucky enough to be put up. How many cottages have you been in that have THIS in the living room?


The convention officially begins. 

After heading down to breakfast and sitting in her favorite chair in the lobby, we headed down to what I was certain would be a big hit: the fountain.

I could not have been more right.

Then, Josephine spotted a butterfly from a million miles away. How she did it, I'll never know.

Except ... it was TWO butterflies. 

My niece shouted, "The one on top is hurting the one on the bottom!" I said, "No, I think they're just talking." And then I shot my very first butterfly p0rn.

After all that excitement, we strapped our kid in a screen-in cart (seriously, who thought of that, because I think it is both amazing and seriously strange) and rode the eight miles around the Island. 

It was beautiful, as usual. We made a few stops. First, Devil's Kitchen (spooky) (not really).

Next, the British Landing (hence the fake cannon).

Josephine was not content to just look at the water, and demanded her toes be dipped. 

Jeremy obliged, and my niece and nephew frolicked.

Finally, one of my favorites, Arch Rock.

And we even had time to do some "rock climbing" and pebble sorting.

When we got back, everyone was stoked for lunch. Pretty much everyone who saw her thought Josephine was pretty funny scarfing down her cottage cheese. Let's just say she ate a LOT of it.

After a restorative nap, we discovered dominoes in our cottage AND that Josephine has the ability to stand them up. That kid amazes me (and my sister's boyfriend, apparently). 

We headed off to mass after that.

And, I've gotta say, for a kid who doesn't get practice sitting through church (*ahem*) I was pleased that Josephine made it about 2/3 through before her conversation with her magna doodle got too loud and she had to be removed. Until then, she was entertained quietly by my nephew. We all love that kid.

More hanging with the fam after lights out for the Bean. The other members of the group may have enjoyed some beverages that a pregnant lady cannot, seeing as alcohol was free for our group all weekend. Not that I'm jealous or anything.


Breakfast included a rousing staring contest and Josephine expressing her love for Mackinac Island.

We went for a little walk after breakfast (We didn't wander too far, because my knees were pretty shot after our bike ride -- I forgot about those loosening ligaments of pregnancy. Boo!).

We mourned the fact that the pool wasn't full yet.

And Josephine consoled herself by lounging in the sun and then running up and down a hill ten thousand times.

While Josie took her nap that day, Jeremy and I took a little sun nap in the private yard behind the cottage (I know). I did not know that Jeremy took a picture of me sleeping, but there you go.

We all needed the rest, because we were headed to a fancy-schmancy banquet for the rest of the evening. Before it began we got lots of formal pictures taken. Josie was super excited about that first one.

Siblings! (can you tell my brother lives in Florida?)

Thankfully my dad stood by the camera and fake sneezed for this one to get a smile out of my punk kid (she got a little overwhelmed by all the people and the jazz band and whatnot).

And then we all hung out at the cocktail reception (again, not that I'm jealous) until my dad's big banquet began.

Luckily there was a lot of clapping going on, so Josephine stayed seated and entertained until her bedtime.

My dad did official things. 

After, I went straight to the hospitality room hosted by Italians (I'm nobody's fool), loaded up on cheese and olives, then headed back to the cottage to put up my swollen ankles. More family fun time late into the night.

DAY FOUR: (only one more day after this, I swear) 

We spent more time at the fountain, because OF COURSE.

Then we moved on to our traditional game of bocce. 

Josephine was not pleased that she was not included, and was bound and determined to be part of the game.

She finally settled on throwing the ball a foot in front of her while my sister took her picture. Then  she moved on to mastering croquet.

We had lunch at one of the hotel's restaurants, The Jockey Club.

Later that night, we headed out to another of the hotel's restaurants, The Woods, which requires a lovely 15-minute carriage ride deep into the woods. I swear, Josephine was totally geeked.

She didn't stop talking about the "sie-sies" pulling the carriage the whole time (Before the trip she called horses "horsies," but as soon as we stepped onto the Island -- there are no cars allowed on the Island -- she started calling them "sie-sies." Whatever, right?)

Sometime during the trip she learned the word "knuckles" and started asking for people for a fist bump by saying "knuckles," but when my brother-in-law started saying "BOOM!" while doing so, she about lost her mind. Over and over, she would say "knuckles," he would pound her first and say "BOOM," she would crack up, put her fist directly in her mouth, choke out a little "boom!" through her laughter, then start all over again. 

On the way home we got a beautiful view from the West Bluff (one of my and Jeremy's favorite places on the Island).

Can you tell it was past bedtime? :)

More hanging out with family, eating, drinking, and laughing until much too late.


After an early breakfast, we headed out into the rain, wind, and cold (that thankfully waited until our last day!) and headed back to the ferry.

The ferry was a bit more "exciting" this time around.

And then Josephine and I collapsed and Jeremy drove us home. That guy.

I know that was a lot of pictures, but this has basically been the most important event of the year for us after Christmas and Josephine's birthday for many a year. I will cherish these memories forever. A big thanks to my parents and the Knights of Columbus for making it happen, and a big thanks to my family for making it great.

P.S. I didn't forget about the giveaway. I announced it over here.


  1. That chandelier. I must have it. Also, please stop being such a cute pregnant lady. I am getting the baby fever hardcore.

    1. Ha! If you hung out with me in real life, you probably would never have described me that way! ;)

  2. Wow, I love this post. I had no idea where Mackinac Island was and the only time I'm ever reminded of it is during the summer fair when I see the booth for "Mackinac Island Fudge".

    I think this post is great bc 1) it's great for photo memories, and 2) it gives people some information about a place they may have never been before. Boyfriend and I have talked about visiting another state, but we never know where to start or what to research. But now I want to go to Mackinac Island!

    1. Yes, you would definitely love Mackinac Island! Northern Michigan is beautiful, but Mackinac Island is old-timey and magical.


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