bye bye, winter

The thing is, lovelies, I really love winter. And this has been an epic one. This is the one we’ll be talking about for years. Well, we’re still talking about it because we’re still buried deep in snow and were blessed with a few fresh inches last night. Although I’ll be happy to see the snow pants, mittens and boots go away and the ease of life that flip-flop weather brings, I’m truly sad to see this winter go. It has been a real northern Michigan winter with its record-low temperatures, consistent snow cover, perfectly groomed ski trails, ice cover and quiet, beautiful blanket of white. And more than two weeks of total school days were missed to “snow days” for the school kids! Crazy.

As we welcome spring into our lives with its mud, muck and the hopeful planting of peas, I’ll share a few pics from our winter. The year we “survived the polar vortex!” The year we really did not see the ground between Thanksgiving and well, I’m guessing early April given how snowy it still is. You gave us one helluva good time, winter. Cheers!

A few highlights…

We ice skated with family.

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We visited the northern Michigan ice caves. Full account of our day here.

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Wren made the most of the Winter Fest by playing three rounds of frozen putt-putt golf.

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Phoebe ate her weight in snow. The kid loves to eat snow. It must be how she stays so slim.

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I skate skiied the 27K VASA race. Absolutely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

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Phoebe learned to play in the snow for more than three minutes at a time.

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Our nest got buried. And Chris kept on shoveling.

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And shoveling.

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Wren learned to downhill ski. She’s beginning to make some good turns.

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Our indoor snowman kept us happy because we still have yet to make a real outdoor snowman. It’s been too cold! The snow is tough to pack. Maybe this week!

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I ran a race with a fun group of ladies. This was a VERY cold day.

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A few snowballs were formed.

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Our snow bunny.

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I participated in SheSkis this year – a great group of female skiiers. I got 4th place in our paintball biathlon! The week before I got to try out a fat bike on the ski trails. So fun!

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The week after, Chris got to ride a fat bike out and around Power Island! He said it was like riding on the moon.

1920086_859729233675_1469025296_nDaily scene in our nest…

photo 2This snow bunny is ready for spring. I told her it was spring today and she made sure to wear her rain coat.

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I took the girls skating on West Bay this week. It was incredible!

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Although we didn’t go, we had fun watching the ice boats on West Bay last weekend. Incredible stuff.

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I’m getting a bit teary just reviewing these photos from our incredible winter. And I’m also left thinking, “we didn’t ski enough!” and “We didn’t sled enough!” and “We didn’t skate enough!” There’s always April.

Happy spring, lovelies.

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northern Michigan ice caves

Northern Michigan has been buzzing recently with talk of the infamous “ice caves” that have formed between Leland and Northport along the Lake Michigan shoreline. We decided to venture out to see just how amazing they really were.

Skeptic/snob alert: usually when a lot of people say something is “so amazing “and “so awesome,” I have a tendency to tune out. Just like the books that are at the top of the best seller lists; usually when a lot of people read something, it makes me think that it’s not very well-written and I avoid it. So. Northern Michigan ice caves… hmm.

You guys.

They ARE amazing. Awesome. Once we slid over the ice, hoisted each other over the top of the caves, scrambled a bit and got down to them… I turned around, gasped a bit and teared up. I was stunned. Kids were playing around, sliding and yelling, “this is awesome!” The late afternoon light was incredible. The ice formations at this scale? I had never seen anything quite like it and I wondered if we would again.

Photo alert: there are a lot.

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What an impactful experience for all of us, but especially for the children. Nature is amazing. God is amazing. We live in an incredible place.

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It was one of those rare experiences in nature when I felt deep and wide in my heart that there is an incredible force that’s greater than all of us, within all of us, hugging all of us tight.

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The scale.IMG_7072

My ice birdies.IMG_7070

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And with the warm-up this week, these are sure to become hazardous. It truly felt like a once-in-a-lifetime gift. And it was worth every minute of the slippery hike down and the long walk back with cold, hungry, whiny birdies.IMG_7056

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Thank you, ice caves. Thank you, Mother Nature. Thank you, God. We are refreshed and renewed.