Sunday, October 5, 2014

July trip to Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan

July took me to visit my Hanks cousins in Chicago. Happy 4th of July to me!
 We spent the fourth hanging out with friends of Naomi and Kevin's for a bbq lunch. Then we all went over to a nearby park for fireworks that night. We had lots of fun entertaining ourselves while waiting for it to be dark that night :)
 The next week Naomi and I took the girls on a long road trip (Kevin sadly had to work and couldn't come). We started out in the Wisconsin Dells area. It's known for its waterparks, but we managed to find some pretty cool nature to explore as well.
 The girls did a great job hiking and loved finding new flowers, rocks, and bugs to play with.
 It was a great day for hiking since we managed to finish just before the rain started :)
 The next day we took the girls to a water park in the morning, and then that afternoon we got to ride a duck boat- a first for all of us. Lily and Brooklyn loved it and said it was the best day ever. Win!
 Our campsite was on a beautiful rise overlooking the river. It was perfectly lovely, though a little wet our first night :P
 The view of the sunset from our campsite the second night. So peaceful! I wanted to stay there forever!
 The next day we continued our drive around the great lakes up to Lake Superior in upper peninsula Michigan. I'd never been there before and it was fun to see the lake that looks like an ocean. The only downside was that we were literally attacked by a million mosquitoes! We escaped to the shore from the hiking path and that helped a lot. Along the shore we saw a lighthouse and even a ship wreck. We told Lily it was a pirate ship so that she would get close enough to the water to touch it. Who knows, it might have been :)
 Our last stop the next day was Mackinaw Island just off the coast between upper and lower Michigan. We took a ferry to the island, which has no motorized transportation. So we took a horse and carriage ride to see the sites-that was a major happy moment for the girls. We got to see the Grand Hotel, a butterfly house-a butterfly even landed on my knee!-, and we ate lots of yummy fudge. Epic and wonderful vacation!
After we got back, I got to spend a few more days with my Hanks family. So glad I was able to play with them in Chicago for awhile. Love them so so much!!!

April, May and June 2014

The spring was a busy time of travel and adventure. The end of April took me to Manti, UT for my roommate, Andrea's, wedding. It was a beautiful, if freezing cold, day and I was so glad I was able to be there.
 Me and the beautiful bride at her reception :)
 I visited some good friends while I was in UT. I was bad about taking pics as always, but I did get this one of Fan and her cute boy!
 And this one of Lisa, Laura, and Maren :P
 I got to spend lots of time with Krista, Eliza, and Rambo too, once I made it back to MD.
 I finally made it to Arlington Cemetery. That was an amazing experience!
 I was also able to hike Harper's Ferry again-probably my favorite hike back east.
 In May I took a trip down to Charleston, SC for the first time. Gorgeous city and it was so fun to spend some time there with Uncle David.
 I also got to walk a SC beach. The water was so warm and I saw dolphins! Awesome!
 Uncle David went with me to visit Fort Sumter. I've always wanted to go there.
 While I was in the Carolinas, I took the opportunity to visit Eric, Kayla, and Lexi in Hickory. Such a cute girl :)
 There were lots of visits to Eliza and Krista this summer :)
 I decided to day trip it out to Assateague Beach. The wild horses come all the way down to the water!
 So amazing to see one of my favorite animals in one of my favorite settings. 
I was able to have so many fun experiences these months and I feel so blessed to have been able to see and do so much. Love my ability to travel and experience new places!