Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lake Missaukee

This summer Rob and I decided to take Ava to one of our favorite places for a low key but relaxing vacation. This favorite spot of ours is Lake Missaukee located in Lake City. We rented a cottage from August 21st to August 28th on the south side of the lake for some relaxation and family fun. Our little getaway was just what we needed to make some wonderful and unforgettable family memories.

Here is a little Lake Missaukee history to explain why this is one of our favorite places. For starters it is the lake that Rob grew up on. His family had a cottage about twenty cottages away from where our rental was for the week. There is nothing better than stepping back in time to one of your favorite childhood fun spots. This lake is filled with wonderful childhood memories for him. Rob first introduced me to Lake Missaukee while we were dating. He rented a cottage for two straight winters on the north side of the lake to have a place where we could enjoy ice fishing and snowmobiling together. This was before he had "the cabin." For me, Lake Missaukee represents a time when Rob and I were so newly in love and back to a time where real responsibilities didn't exist. We were both free to do what ever we wanted when ever we pleased for the most part. What I wouldn't give to step back in time and enjoy a weekend of being carefree and feeling like I had the world by the tail! Back to a time when life seemed so simple and easy.

As a family this was our first real vacation together which is huge all in itself! Now don't get me wrong we have taken long weekends to "the cabin" and I have taken Ava to Nichols Lake but never a full week together at a planned out vacation spot. It was a big deal to me and something I have waited a long time to enjoy.

I happened to have a full ten days off of work starting the Friday before we left. Thank goodness for it because I was a busy bee doing our laundry, paying bills, banking, and packing up all of the necessities. All on top of bringing Ava to my Moms so I could have my eyes examined in the morning for the first time in fifteen plus years and watching my nephew and niece for a few hours in the late afternoon. It was a very busy day to say the least.

Here is a little photo to capture how much stuff you need these days just to bring your baby on vacation. Yow-za's... This seems like everything but the kitchen sink! Our dining room table was covered with everything from diapers, clothes, shoes, pjs, bathing suits, towels, and sun hats. To bathroom goodies, a baby monitor, peepers, stain cleaner, cups and dishes, bibs, toys, books, and a few Einstein and baby sign language movies!


Let's not forget the pack-n-play, highchair, fan, and tote... We knew the bathroom only had a shower so I decided to pack all of Ava's gear in a large tote which would double as her vacation bathtub. Not a bad idea I must add if you are ever in a pinch!


In the mean time of all of my doings Rob was also very busy packing. He was on top of cleaning the Avalanche, hooking up the boat we borrowed from his friend, Grant, gathering up our lounge chairs and life jackets, Ava's beach toys and starfish floaty, along with stopping at Bob's Meat Market and packing a small cooler. I wish I had a picture of the whole truck and boat all loaded down but in the hustle of it all I missed the moment. Next time.... Next time...

We hit the road at exactly noon and were ready to let the good times roll. It seemed like it would be all down hill from here. "Ahhhhhhhh" we said... The vacation we have been waiting for all summer is finally here and the weather looked very promising which can really make or break your cottage trip. Ava took her nap in the car and two hours later we were finally there.

Here is a picture of the outside of our cottage. It may not look like much in the land of cottage rentals but it was more than perfect for our vacation needs!



Our plan was to arrive two hours before check in just to see if we could get in early and start our vacation. But if we couldn't we were going to grocery shop at Fosters in town for our weeks menu. When we arrived a couple was there cleaning the inside from its last guests. Rob said hello and told them no rush since we knew we were early. The gentleman told Rob his wife was almost finished so we decided to get out and stretch our legs for a few minutes. Rob ended up having a nice conversation with this guy and gave him an invitation to stop back and fish. (Which he actually did later in the week for a few hours!) Then without too much of a wait our cottage was clean and we were in at two thirty! Yahooooo...

Here are the rest of the outside pictures of our cottage haven. It was so nice to have such a quaint cottage, nice deck, and great view of the water.





We decided to unpack and unhook the boat before going into town for groceries giving Ava some time to run around and to check out the cottage interior. Here are some inside cozy cottage shots.















After getting our groceries we were all settled in and ready for nothing but relaxing. Rob and I started sleep training with Ava just ten day prior to our vacation (which is a whole separate topic in and of itself for a later entry) so it was important to keep her on her routine and not undo all of our hard work. We were a little nervous that being in a strange place and having to sleep in a pack-n-play would throw a monkey wrench in the sleep department. So we did our best to make bedtime just like at home with dinner followed by a tub, pjs, books, babies, prayers, poems, and a song leading to her bedtime. Surprisingly, she was out like a light with no fussing and it was almost to good to be true. Within no time Rob and I had a night cap and snuggled in to a movie of our own before heading to bed ourselves.

Ava slept through the night and we all woke up refreshed and ready for our first day of family fun. The weather was a little cool so we had breakfast and enjoyed a morning of leisure, books, and babies before heading to the beach in the afternoon when the sun was at its peek.

Here are some pictures of lake time.

  

Rob and Ava at the dock.


Ava dipping her toes in the water.



Later we put the boat in the lake and took a boat ride where Ava was both the Co-Captain and passenger!


Ava and I enjoying the boat ride together.



She was so relaxed she took a little Tweeter nap!



She woke up refreshed and was very goofy! This ends up being one of my favorite cottage pictures... I just love her little crooked smile

On August 23rd Ava woke up with a fever of 102.5F. Not fun for vacation. But what can you do other than make the best of it and treat the symptoms. She seemed to have a little runny nose and the last points of her first molars were breaking through her gums. Ava seemed to be either "momma" clingy, tired, or in good spirits. So we made the best of it!

 

I heard a lot of, "Momma, Momma, Momma... Up?"


Here's Ava sawing logs with all of her pals, "ZZZZZZZZ."

The weather was sunny and in the mid 70's so we did enjoy some time on the deck, playing at the beach, boating, and more relaxing. I also spent some time today reading (I'll tell you about my read later.). Ava did still have a fever but with medicine on board she seemed to be in okay spirits all things considered. 

Here are some pictures of our good times.


Rob enjoyed some time fishing in the Ranger.

 

Ava found this ball outside and was very delighted by it. She loves balls and playing catch or kicking them around. To be honest she's pretty good at throwing them too!


Lake Missaukee Beach Beauty!


Rob showing Ava some of his Bluegills. She looked at them and said, "Nice."


Ava and Momma!


One of the few times she was in the water...


Cheers!



I was really impressed with Rob's charcoal chimney and decided it was worthy of a picture since its use resulted in some good meals!


By the end of the day Ava was tuckered out with her fever in full force. She enjoyed some snuggle time with Hoots, Stella, and Camille. Rob and I were hopeful she would turn the corner in the morning and would be on the mend for my birthday.

August 24th I turned 32. Being on vacation is a nice way to spend your birthday!!! We had another day of relaxing and cottage fun. Ava slept pretty much all day minus four hours. She was pretty pitiful. Rob and I were starting to think she had more going on than just a cold and cutting molars. We continued to chase her fever with Tylenol and Ibuprofen. We took a nice drive around the lake and looked at cottages and dreamed about what cottages we would love to buy someday. This one was my favorite cottage on the south side of the lake. It wasn't for sale but I loved it enough to take photos of it to fuel my dreams anyways.




I could easily get used to spending summers living here. It's so perfect and pretty... Don't you think? If you are thinking, "yeah right.... good luck on your income..." I say, "It doesn't hurt or cost anything to dream!"

Dreaming aside, we did take a boat ride to the little town of Lake City's boat dock for some Dairy Queen to celebrate my birthday. Rob and I really do love a little DQ every now and again!


Rob tied off the boat at the dock.


Ava and I sharing a Birthday Hot Fudge Sunday!


Rob and his Dairy Queen!

We made it back to the cottage after a fast boat ride home. Ava did seem to really like going fast much to my surprise. However, her fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy had us concerned. She wasn't getting better. She seemed to be getting sicker by the day. By bedtime she was a mess to say the least.


Can't get any sadder than this face. Poor Baby!


Here's Ava checking her own temperature using our ear thermometer. We were checking it so often she decided to give it a whirl!


She just wasn't her usual playful self. Where was our good time girl?

This was it. We decided that if she didn't feel better by morning we had to take her to Mercy Hospital in Cadillac.  And with the way our vacation was going we were guessing we would be heading there by 9am.



Sure enough we were right. Ava woke up burning up with fever and we were waiting in Mercy's ER by 9:30am. We were prepared for the long haul guessing we would not be lucky enough to be seen right away. But to our surprise we were admitted and had a spot in the ER within thirty minutes of arriving. Ava looked so sickly in their hospital gown. I wanted to take her picture but Rob said NO. I wish I took one anyways just to show you how sad it really was. Next time (not that I'm hoping for a next time) I'm just going to do it! The ER's P.A. assessed Ava and beyond her fever and a few crackles in her lungs he found nothing significant. He decided to be cautious and get a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia before sending us on our way. Rob and I had to carry her to Radiology and gown up with lead aprons to hold her in front of the x-ray flat plate. We also had to hold an infant lead skirt around her girl bits. She cried and cried being held still for the three X-rays they ended up taking. When the techs were done we headed back to the ER and got Ava dressed while we waited for the Radiologist to read her films. Withing a few minutes the P.A. came back and said she did indeed have pneumonia in her right lung. They called Ava's pediatrician here in town and made sure Dr. Hoogstra was okay with their plan of care before treating Ava. Dr. Hoogstra was fine with the treatment suggested by the E.R. so with that Ava received a shot of Rocefin in her thigh and they gave her a prescription for Zithromax. Lots of antibiotics on board and we were on our way back to the cottage in three hours. Not bad at all. Finally, we knew she would be feeling better within 24 to 48 hours giving us hope for one healthy day of vacation with her. Gezzzzz.

We took our sick girl back to the cottage and snuggled her in for the day and waited for the antibiotics to take effect.


Momma and her sleeping Tweets.


Rob snuggling Ava and Hoots.

After a full day of laying around, napping, reading, watching movies, and nursing our girl back to health we closed our day out with smores on the grill.


Rob's a full order cook!


Feeling a tiny bit better, Ava decided she needed to inspect the treats.

We called it a short night for Ava and put her to bed early. Rob watched some TV and I spent the rest of the evening reading my book.

I guess this is the best spot in this entry to tell you about the book I have been reading. It was a book my Dad gave me to read a year before he past away. It's by the author, Harold S. Kushner and is called The Lord Is My Shepherd. The book is about the healing wisdom of the Twenty-Third Psalm. It's a fairly deep book and having read his first book, Bad Things Happen to Good People, (also given to me by my Dad to read) I knew I needed to have a block of time to sit and read it in its entity. I tried a few times over the past year to read it but each time I tried I was never was able to finish it. I kept starting over reading the first few chapters on several different attempts to read it in full.

Long story short, my Dad was planning on joining us for a few days of our vacation with my Mom. He had big plans of playing with Ava, fishing with Rob, and just being a part of the good time we had planned. So I decided that I would take his book which I am very sentimental over now knowing it is a book he held, read, and loved enough to pass along to me. It was just the book I needed to help my healing process along. It was very good and I enjoyed several concepts. I will just share one with you that I really took to heart. It was the opening chapter called, First Words. A phrase that stands out reads as such," God's promise was that, when we had to confront the unfairness of life, we would not have to do it alone for He would be with us." Wow, that line really speaks to me. There are so many things in my life that are unfair. Namely, the loss of Elise and now my Dad at such a young age. How comforting to think that God weeps with me and is here to comfort me, restore my soul, lead me through the valley of the shadow of death, and in time my heart will rejoice again. It is beautiful and amazing that one short Psalm has the power to comfort and calm millions of people around the world including me! This book was really healing and I am thankful my Dad gave it to me. I am thankful I never had the chance until now to read this book. God works in mysterious ways don't you think? It was almost as if I spent a little time with my Dad as I imagined what some of his thoughts must have been reading these very words. I will continue to use the words in this book to make some sense in a world that makes no sense at all! If you ever need a book for healing I would give this one a great review.

When Ava woke up in the morning she finally seemed to be feeling better. She was smiling and showing off her baby sign language skills over breakfast. She even felt well enough to eat something of substance, which she hadn't done in four days. Yum Pancakes!


Ava signing "STARS."

Here are our final vacation photos of our last day on Lake Missaukee.


Rob coming in from fishing in the morning.


Ava playing in the sand and getting some sun.


Looks like Ava's thinking, "Till next time Lake Missaukee... I'll be waiting for more good times." Maybe next year Rob and I will have to rent a place on this lake for two weeks to increase our odds for more healthy, warm, and sunfilled days!