Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Date - Doing what we Love Best.

If you are visiting from Jenna's Journey Comment Challenge - Welcome!

I've mentioned on a few posts that my kids have been gone - they are actually returning today after being with Papa and Nana since Friday.  Here's my advice - if you have someone who can take your kids for overnight or for a week, do it :-)  It's so refreshing to get that break and it is good for the kids too!

When we planned this kid get-away, we planned it purposefully around a weekend that my husband had off so that we could spend some time just the two of us and actually get some stuff done. 

To begin with, my mom so graciously came over on Friday and stayed all day even though she was taking the boys home.  Why?  Because I had already been planning to go scrapbooking all day when we made these plans so she was going to watch the boys and the munchkin for me, like she usually does.  She stuck around all day and headed home once Darryl got home from work :-)  I enjoyed a fantastic day with friends and got through Easter 2012 (If you remember, I'm working to stay current so being caught up through Easter is a big deal!!)  Darryl got to enjoy a quiet night at home. Alone.  No kids, no wife.  That is a true rare deal for him and I think he enjoyed it :-)

We decided that we would take Saturday out to just get away and that is what we did.  One of the things we did pre-kids was take off for the day and just drive - stopping along the way to do fun things and always (or so it seemed) ending up at Lake Michigan for the sunset. 
 The very first thing we wanted to do was . . .clean the truck :-)  We washed it and vacuumed it out so that we weren't driving around with 3 month old cheerios rolling around at our feet HA! 

From there, we headed to lunch at a place called Grand Woods Lounge in downtown Grand Rapids.  Darryl had heard some great things about it and really wanted to try it out.  Now, recently, we have gone several places looking for the perfect burger and have been highly disappointed.  We both ordered burgers (each a different one) and let me tell you - when we want burgers THIS is where we will go!  Thankfully it was a beautiful day because they have a huge outdoor area (that is covered) that we really enjoyed - the indoor area is very "lounge/bar" like so it isn't some place we would go when it was super busy but for an early lunch it was perfect. 

 If you know my husband at all, you know that he loves Grand Rapids history AND Coffee.  We killed two birds with one stone :-)  First, we drove around as we headed towards Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters as he was looking for the path of the old Street Cars.  He has done tones of research and knew where the bridges were and the basic path that he wanted to follow.  He loved it (I loved just riding around with the sunroof open HA).  We ended up at this awesome coffee place which on the 5th floor of an old furniture warehouse.  The Business is open to the public on Saturdays from 10-3 for free coffee tasting and you can get a coffee roasting lesson to boot!  If you so choose, you can even have him roast beans for you right then and there while you wait.  Darryl loved it.  I got a bonus while there because, you see, I'm not a fan of just "coffee" so I was wandering around when I noticed this guy taking some cool photos so I asked him about a technique he was using.  Come to find out this guy is a professional photographer and used to do the late night scene chasing after celebrities and the such.  He got burnt out on that lifestyle and now does nature photos - specifically lightning.  In 20 minutes he gave me about 3000 tips and ideas  - no joke, I wish I could have spent a day with him because he was such a good teacher and his speciality is low lighting/night time stuff . .plus he even gave us some cute ideas to try with the kids.  He gave me his e-mail and said to contact him with any questions or if I want some ideas on some fun shots. 

 Once we left the Coffee place we drove back roads to the cemetery.  One of the things that we feel is important with our kids is to start teaching them about their heritage which includes family members who have passed on.  Obviously, we didn't have kids with us but we wanted to stop and visit Darryl's brothers grave site.  In the future we will take the boys - Nathan carries Darryl's brothers name as his middle name (Adam) - Darryl and Adam were 16 months apart and best friends all through their life.  It means alot to have two boys of our own so close together who are already best friends.  Ironically, my parents took my boys to visit my grandmas spot - which is something that we wanted them to do to.  We want them to know grandma too :-)  We also found Darryl's grandparents spot as well while visiting the cemetery. 
 When we left the cemetery we drove out on  one of our favorite roads (funny how you have favorites, huh?) and come upon the old Poor Farm in Ottawa County.  Again, my husband loves historical things like this and always tries to find old Poor Farms.  This one has been turned into a County Park just within the last few years and it is just a cool place to stop.  We didn't walk on any trails or anything - just read the signage they had posted this spring about the history of the place (which is really awesome) 

After leaving the park, we drove on towards the lake shore and had to decide where to eat.  Now originally we were going to go to a free Selah concert but we decided we really didn't want to be tied into that time frame and instead headed into North Muskegon to Bernie O's Pizza.  Several years ago when we camped - it rained the entire 2 1/2 days so we ended up finding this pizza place to eat dinner at and fell in love with it.  We were not disappointed when we ate there on Saturday - it was fantastic (and busy!!!).  Such good food :-) 

Naturally, from there, we drove to our favorite, secret beach (notice I'm not telling you were it is!!), got out our beach chairs and sat by the water for well over an hour.  The sand and the sound of the waves - there is nothing like it, anywhere.  I wish it hadn't been cloudy so we could have seen the sunset but it was still beautiful.  No trip to the beach is complete without a drive along the lake shore and, of course, stopping for ice cream. 

It was a great day - very relaxing and just a break from every day life at home and at work. 

We did work on Sunday, don't you worry :-)  We spent 3 hours cleaning out the garage and re-organizing it as we do once a year.  We also cleaned off all of the outdoor toys and rearranged a few things before being done for the day! We then treated our selves to some incredible smoothies from a local ice cream shop before relaxing for the rest of the day.  That night we enjoyed a HOT dinner (something we don't always get to do) of Steak on the grill, sweet potatoes (cooked in the crock pot!), asparagus and garlic bread. 

Nothing better than making great memories with the one you love!