We flew up on a Wednesday (our 11-year anniversary - no better way to celebrate it than to spend it on an airplane with small children ;) ). First up was the Children's Parade on Thursday, which was the kids' first in-person parade. They were mildly perplexed at first, but then got more into it, with Audra dancing around to the bands and Josie helping to watch for my elementary schools' entries.
We then stopped at Meijer, like we always do, both so I can visit my first workplace and so the kids could ride Sandy the pony. Audra fell asleep in the car, though, and since we try not to wake her on the rare occasion that she does actually sleep, she missed out this time...
[Desperately trying to hold the kids still long enough to get a non-blurry picture]
On Saturday, we spent entirely more time than Ryan was cool with wandering around the zoo in Grand Rapids. At least based on the few pictures I took there, Josie seemed perplexed yet again, and Audra made friends with some good-sized lizards.
The girls then got to spend time with their cousin Alex, which involved several laps running around my dad and stepmom's house, lots of roaring like deranged lions, and miscellaneous other shenanigans.
[They were pretty much a blur in real life too]
Clearly when kids are already wound up, it's a good idea to give them ice cream directly before bed, so that's what we did. Audra was basically asleep by time we got there, but perked up just enough to eat some ice cream.
The next day was Mother's Day, so clearly it was time to go to another bar with small children. This time we went to Hop Cat in Grand Rapids, which had a bunch of local beers on tap... and at least we were also not the only ones who thought to go to a bar for Mother's Day brunch ;)
I think this meal was also notable because it was one of the only times one - or both - of the kids did NOT fall off their chairs for a meal on this vacation (although Audra did slide off under the table once). It was really weird just how much more often they seemed to fall off their chairs in Michigan. Is the gravity different there? Is the ground sloped in a way that makes chairs less stable? I don't know, but in one restaurant, they both fell off their chairs within minutes of each other, and in another, I at least managed to catch Audra by the arm so she was left dangling with her face inches from the floor. Very odd.
Anyway, after brunch, we walked over to the Grand Rapids Children's Museum, which I think the kids would have been happy staying at for much longer than we did. There were all sorts of different stations set up to play with bubbles, make magnetic sculptures, play musical instruments, etc., and then downstairs was a little kid version of a grocery store... complete with a Sandy! So Audra got to ride the pony after all and was quite pleased by that.
[Ryan got in on the fun too]
The next day, Monday, was our last full day in Michigan. We went to Tunnel Park so that the kids could see (and climb) a sand dune for the first time. We made it up to the top, where I took some quality pictures of the kids with Lake Michigan as the backdrop, and then immediately climbed back down again so that Josie could run up and down a few more times on her own.
[Audra chose to stay in the lower altitudes and instead industriously moved sand back and forth]
On our last day there, Audra decided to accessorize with multiple headbands (as usual), and spent some quality time doing stickers with Grandpa. Meanwhile, Josie spent every moment possible doing a coloring app on my dad's tablet, so one of her masterpieces is visible in the foreground of the second picture below.