Settling In – Again 8/19/16

Yeah!!!  The Horton ship has landed for the final time this season (we hope, we hope)!

We are into the newly built Carriage Inn Condos and have slowly unpacked and stored our gear for the remainder of our Mackinac trip.  Good thing too!  We have four great friends arriving this weekend from Georgia.  The Harters are flying up on Saturday and staying with us, and the Phelps are arriving by car on Sunday (with their four-legged baby Tessa) and staying downtown.  Ted and I are promising to be the best tour guides we can possibly be during their stay.  Watch out Mackinac . . . four fudgies are hitting the island for five days!

Thanks so much to downtown friends who took us in when we were homeless for a few days.

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My favorite spot was on their deck, where we had a full view of boats coming and going . . .

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. . . and a full moon rising a few nights ago.

The new place has a pretty nice view also . . .

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From the family room and front porch we can easily see over the Jewel Golf Course to Lake Huron.  That’s part of Grand Hotel on the right.

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On the side we usually have two gorgeous Grand Hotel Hackneys for neighbors, and we can see up the hill to Grand Hotel stables.

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From the kitchen window.

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Landscaping out back gives us a large commons area with coming picnic tables and a barbeque grill.  The front isn’t landscaped yet, but it will be soon.

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Condos from the back.

I’ll give you the inside tour a little later after pictures are hung and window treatments are up, but here’s a little peek . . . .

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Love the family room/kitchen combination.  All sparkly and new and beautifully decorated by the owner.

It’s so different up here than being downtown, and we knew it would be.  We’re close to where our former condo was at Surrey Ridge.and that is bringing back wonderful memories of those days.  I can’t wait to go around visiting neighbors and start traipsing around on the wood trails.  We’re also enjoying meeting our new neighbors – a great group – and so far almost everyone has a fur baby (or two).  Ted and I are feeling right at home!

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We wandered up to Surrey Hill (our old stomping grounds) with Maddie this afternoon and discovered this newly opened shop – the Paddock – near the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly House.  Had a great time checking this cute little place out!

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Found a beautiful butterfly resting among the foliage outside Wings of Mackinac.  The Grand Hotel stable is in the background.

We’re excited to be settled in again and awaiting friends.  We can’t believe we’ve been here almost five weeks now.  Time is flying by – but then it always does when you’re enjoying what you’re doing!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back soon!

God bless.

49757 Postcard – #8 8/13/16

Dear Friends,

There’s so much news this week, this will be more like a letter than a postcard!

I guess I’ll just go in order of importance, so here we go . . .

MORE FAMILY!

Ted has gone from being an only child to discovering he has two half-sisters, Sheryl and Deb, and a half-brother, Ross.  He had another half-sister, Rhonda, who passed away in 2011.  He also has an Aunt Marcia, an Uncle Paul –  and an Uncle Ken, who is 93 and lives in Arizona.  Because of some health issues in their families, we haven’t had a chance to meet the half-siblings yet, but something tells me that might happen before the summer is over and we return to Florida. We sure are hoping so!

Today, another first cousin, Kel Bennink and his wife Gwen, arrived on Mackinac for a day trip.  Throughout this process of learning more about Ted’s birth family, we’ve been told over and over how Ted looks like the “men in the family”.  Today we saw how true that is!

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Kel and Gwen arrive this morning on Shepler’s.  Kel says Ted is a carbon copy of his brother Marv, but Ted and Kel look a lot alike also.  At least that’s what Gwen and I thought.

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Standing side by side on the Grand Hotel porch, the resemblance is even more pronounced.

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We had a great few hours with the Benninks, showing them a little of the island and having lunch together at the Chippewa.

We are loving meeting all these new relatives – what a wonderful new family Ted (and I) can now claim!  Happy Birthday on Sunday, Gwen!

WHERE TO NEXT?

Sunday night will be our last night in the condo in the Mission, and boy are we going to miss this beautiful place!  Being able to sit out on the deck and people watch, with freighters passing in the background, has been just about a perfect arrangement.  We are going to be “homeless on Mackinac” for one night (not really, we’re bunking in with friends), and then we’ll move up the hill into the new condo on Tuesday.  We’ve hiked up there a few times already to check everything out.  It’s two hills short of where our old condo was, but the Grand Hill hasn’t gotten one bit less steep.  But, for the first time since we moved into our new house in Florida, we’re going to be in a one-level residence.  I’m going to enjoy that.  As soon as we’re settled, I’ll be showing you around the new place!

PHOTOS FROM AROUND MISSION POINT

Since we’re leaving this area and won’t be down here nearly as much, I wanted to give you one more night of photos from this end of the island.  Mission Point is so beautiful this year.  The Ware family, who bought the resort a year or so ago, is really doing a phenomenal job with renovations, new shops and cafes, and gorgeous landscaping!

I mean really, could it get anymore relaxing than this? Two Adirondack chairs, under the trees, and by the water. Sigh.

I mean really, could it get anymore relaxing than this? Two Adirondack chairs – under the trees, and by the water. Sigh.

A freighter passes as we walk Maddie this afternoon along the lakeshore trail.

A freighter passes as we walked Maddie along the lakeshore trail this afternoon.

Masses of flowers are scattered everywhere around the Mission Point Executive Putting Green.

Masses of flowers are scattered everywhere around the Mission Point Executive Putting Green.

Small Point Inn - across a field of wildflowers. (Thought of you, Irene!).

Small Point Inn – across a field of wildflowers. (Thought of you, Irene!).

The Mission Point gazebo - scene of nearly a wedding a day since we arrived four weeks ago.

The Mission Point gazebo – scene of nearly a wedding a day since we arrived four weeks ago.

Who knows what these are? They grow along the path that runs in front of the resort. At first I thought, "Cherry Tomatoes"?

Who knows what these are? They grow along the path that runs in front of the resort. At first I thought, “Cherry Tomatoes”?

Sound of Gong! Nope, they're a species of Rose. Someone help me out here!

Nope, they’re a species of Rose (at least that’s what someone told us). Can anyone help me out here!

A COUPLE OF EXTRAS

Robert McGreevy, great shot of the US Brig Niagara which stayed overnight

Robert McGreevy’s great shot of the US Brig Niagara which docked overnight a few days ago.  The wooden-hulled brig is a teplica of the ship that served as the relief flagship for Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.  It is one of the last remaining ships from the War of 1812. 

Thanks to Cousin Kel for this shot of Ted and I today in front of Little Stone Church.

Thanks to Cousin Kel for this shot of Ted and I today in front of Little Stone Church.

That’s it for tonight, I think.  I’ll be back when we’ve made the move up the hill, and we’ve gotten our luggage unpacked – again!

God bless.

Family Ties 8/10/16

I don’t know how to put into words what a fun, strange, wacky, emotional and unbelievable 48 hours these have been – especially for Ted, but for me also.

A few months ago, when all the research and DNA testing came together and Ted realized he really did have living blood relatives beside Julie, Jordan and Matthew, those relatives all existed in a hazy, almost other-worldly place “out there” somewhere.  We knew Ted’s birth mother’s family on paper and then from phone visits, emails and texts, and finally from packages that began to arrive in the mail with photos and family records.

On Monday, that hazy other-worldly place turned into flesh and blood in the form of Linda and Mike – two very real, warm, laughing, chatting, and filled-with-stories first cousins (one by blood, one by marriage).  We’ve talked into the nights, laughed, and shed a few tears.  We’ve been amazed at similarities between Ted and Linda (and between Ted and other cousins – according to Linda).  In photographs we’ve seen of some of the Lachmann men (cousins and uncles), it’s like looking at photos of Ted – the resemblance is striking.

Besides talking about family histories, we also tried to show Linda and Mike some of “our” Mackinac.  They’d both been to the island before, but only on day trips.  We quickly learned they’d spent most of their island time downtown, so we set out to acquaint them with a little broader look at Mackinac.

While we were waiting to catch a carriage tour, we discovered that one of Linda and Mike's passions is geo-caching. They had loaded the coordinates of several caches before making the trip, and they found one just outside the Market Street Inn.

While we were waiting to catch a carriage tour, we discovered that one of Linda and Mike’s passions is geo-caching. They had loaded the coordinates of several caches into their phones before making the trip, and they found one just outside the Market Street Inn.

Mike and Linda writing in their geo-caching names before returning the papers back where they found them.

Mike and Linda writing in their geo-caching names before returning the papers back where they found them.

Cousins with Fort Mackinac in the background.

Cousins – with Fort Mackinac in the background.

We had a great private carriage tour set up by Joe Plaza (special thanks to Blake, our tour guide and driver). The tour included many special spots on Mackinac - like Fort Holmes . . .

We had a great private carriage tour set up by Joe Plaza (special thanks to Blake, our tour guide and driver). The tour included many special spots on Mackinac – like Fort Holmes . . .

. . . Lookout Point . . .

. . . Lookout Point (overlooking Sugar Loaf) . . .

the Village, the cemetaries, Skull Cave, and the East and West Bluffs.

the Village, the cemeteries, Skull Cave, and the East and West Bluffs.

We ended our tour at Grand Hotel for lunch, and for a little rest in the rocking chairs on their famous front porch!

We ended our tour at Grand Hotel for lunch, and for a little rest in the rocking chairs on their famous front porch!

Heading back to town for a much-needed nap!

Heading back to town and the condo for a little down time!

Wednesday morning came way too soon, and we were back at Shepler's . . . .

Wednesday morning came way too soon, and we were back at Shepler’s . . . .

. . . and waving goodbye.

. . . and waving goodbye.

We have more of this newly found family coming on a daytrip on Saturday and two more cousins coming for a visit in September.  Mike and Linda (and other family members) winter in Florida (on the west coast), so I’m sure there are going to be other family visits when we return home.

A very special and loving thank you, Linda and Mike, for your warm welcome of Ted and me into the Lachmann clan.  We can’t wait to spend more time with you (and other family members) in the future. Love and hugs coming your way!

God bless.

 

 

 

Completing the Circle 8/8/16

In 1947 a teenage girl made the most heartbreaking and the most courageous decision a mother can make – she gave her child up for adoption.  She loved the child with all her heart, but knew – in those times and in those circumstances – it was the right decision.

The child was adopted into a loving family and grew into the amazing man I am proud to call my husband.

After Christmas this year, through ancestry.com and DNA testing, Ted found his birth mother’s family and has begun to hear the stories about his mother (who passed away several years ago) and the wonderful family he is now so excited to claim as his.

Today we welcomed Ted’s  first cousin Linda Lachmann Haney and her husband Mike to Mackinac. And, for the first time in his life, except for daughter Julie and grandchildren Jordan and Matthew, Ted wrapped his arms around someone whose blood flows ithrough his veins.

It was a moment words would only diminish . . . .

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Sometime in the future Ted will sit down and tell the remarkable story about finding his family.  But, for today and a couple of days to come, we’re going to spend our time just enjoying the process of getting to know this beautiful couple.  In the weeks ahead we hope to meet more of the family (most of whom live in Michigan).  It’s a very, very special summer for Ted.

Ted and Linda going over several family history albums Linda brought with her.

Ted and Linda going over several family history albums Linda brought with her.

God bless.

Catch-Up Sunday 8/7/16

Tomorrow begins our fourth week on the island, and Ted and I are having a hard time wrapping our heads around that.  Every evening we laughingly ask ourselves, “Where did THIS day go?”  On the flip side of that thought is the wonderful truth that it will be ten more weeks before we leave.  That makes us laugh also!

I was looking through the hundreds of photographs I’ve taken since arriving and came across a few that didn’t fit a particular blog, but still might be fun to see.  So tonight – it’s “Catch-Up Sunday”!

On our very first weekend we went out on an Arnold Line Sip 'n Sail Sunset Tour. Although the weather didn't cooperate, and we missed the sunset, we had an awesome view of the Mackinac Bridge - from UNDERNEATH!

On our very first weekend we went out on an Arnold Line Sip ‘n Sail Sunset Tour. Although the weather didn’t cooperate, and we missed the sunset due to clouds, we had an awesome view of the Mackinac Bridge – from UNDERNEATH!

Coming back across the Straits at night is always a beautiful experience - with the island

Coming back across the Straits at night is always a beautiful experience – with the island off the port side, and Grand Hotel illuminating the West Bluff.

Even approaching dock at night is an adventure

Approaching the dock at night is very different than during the day, when the entire area is teeming with passengers arriving and departing, luggage being transported off and on the ferries, and dock porters somehow making it all work seamlessly.

From the deck - a wedding carriage on the way to pick up a bride and groom.

From the deck – a wedding carriage on the way to pick up a bride and groom.

I love riding the ferry and picking out first time visitors to the island. They always sit in the front rows (especially if there are children). I remember doing exactly the same thing about the first 20 times I rode the ferry, but that first time can't be beat for excitement.

I love riding the ferry and picking out first time visitors to the island. They always sit in the front rows (especially if there are children). I remember doing exactly the same thing about the first 20 times I rode the ferry, but that first time can’t be beat for excitement.

Jan and Don Weir dropped by the condo to say hello one afternoon. They are blog readers who had come over on a day trip from Harbor Springs (their summer home) They spend their winters in Indianapolis.

Jan and Don Weir, blog readers who came over for a day trip, dropped by the condo to say hello one afternoon. Harbor Springs is their summer home, and they spend their winters in Indianapolis.

Leqving the Chippewa after dinner with Jordan and Matthew (at the end of the yacht races).

Leaving the Chippewa after dinner with Jordan and Matthew (on the last day of the yacht races).

Little Maddie - thinking about getting her feet wet (she didn't).

Little Maddie – thinking about getting her feet wet (she didn’t).

Downtown Mackinac in the evening is so peaceful compared to a busy summer day.

Downtown Mackinac in the evening is so peaceful compared to a busy summer day.

View through the back slats of an Adirondack chair on the Mission Point Resort lakeshore.

Lake view through the back slats of an Adirondack chair – on the Mission Point Resort lakeshore.

A close-up of Queen Anne's Lace (one of the few flowers I can always remember the name of)!

A close-up of Queen Anne’s Lace (one of the few flowers I can always remember the name of)!

On their last morning on the island, just after breakfast at the Chuck Wagon and before turning in the bikes, we all stopped by the Arnold dock to check out the Victory I, a Great Lakes cruise ship that had come in during the night. The ship holds 202 passengers and will begin cruises to Cuba in the Fall.

On Jordan and Matthew’s last morning on the island, just after breakfast at the Chuck Wagon and before turning in their bikes, we all stopped by the Arnold dock to check out the Victory I, a Great Lakes cruise ship that came in during the night. The ship holds 202 passengers and will begin cruises to Cuba in the Fall.

View from the top end of Franks Avenue in MIssion Point.

View from the top end of Franks Avenue in Mission Point.

Because the afternoon was really warm, we decided to walk Maddie up behind Mission House, which is where the majority of the State Park employees live during the summer.

Because the afternoon was really warm, we decided to walk Maddie up behind Mission House, which is where the majority of the State Park employees live during the summer. It was built in 1825 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Curving past Mission House and turning back down the hill you pass the Mackinac Island Center for the Arts, located in the former Mission Point Theater building.

Curving past Mission House and turning back down the hill you pass the Mackinac Island Center for the Arts, located in the former Mission Point Theater building.

On the way back from town and another "ice cream after dinner" run, we stopped for a moment to enjoy a few moments of a Music in the Park concert. The summer concert series takes place most Thursday evenings during the season.

On the way back from town and another “ice cream after dinner” run, we stopped for a moment to enjoy a Music in the Park concert. The summer concert series takes place most Thursday evenings throughout the season.

From the deck Friday evening.

From the deck Friday evening.

A beautiful sunrise over Lake Huron. (Photo by Ted, who is the only one up early enough to catch these in Michigan as well as in Florida).

A beautiful sunrise over Lake Huron. (Photo by Ted, who – just like in Florida – is the only one up early enough to catch moments like these).

Company’s coming Monday to spend a couple of nights!  Can’t wait!

God bless. 

49757 Postcard – #7 (8/4/16)

Dear Friends,

On our regular late afternoon outing with Maddie today, we chose to walk the lakeshore trail that winds between the Mission Point Resort Executive Putting Green and Lake Huron.  I know I usually show the gorgeous flowers along that trail, but it occurred to me today that I never show the “wild” areas.  You see, not everything on Mackinac is manicured and formal.  In fact, the vast majority of the island is in its wild and primitive state.  I love getting past Main and Market Streets and into the Mackinac woods.  Even though I dearly love all the lush and incredible flower gardens, it’s the wild part of the island that draws me back year after year.

Being where we are in the Mission right now, I haven’t gotten up into the interior of Mackinac at all except for that buggy ride out to the Woods Sunday evening.  When we move “up the hill” in a couple of weeks, you’ll be seeing a lot more “wildness” in my photos.

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The path turns off Main Street just as you reach the Mission Point Resort putt-putt course.  Where the path makes that first left turn, there is a big beaver lodge just beyond the shore.  I haven’t managed to be there at the right time to get a photo, but there’s been a whole beaver family living and working in that spot for almost two years now.

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Between the path and the lake, everything is natural.  See that little circle of water that looks like a small pond.  It’s a great swimming hole for island kids and visitors.  Don’t be fooled by its smallness though.  Matthew went swimming there and said it was way over his head.

 

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Probably the largest Weeping Willow tree I’ve ever seen. With the wind blowing this afternoon, it was beautiful to see the branches dipping and swirling like a group of green-clad dancers.

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You can see in this pic how the wind was kicking up.  All the trees are leaning sideways!

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I love this pathway!  Water as far as you can see, and wildflowers galore!

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Remember me mentioning the beavers.  They are busily cutting down several trees along the shoreline.  Some are small . . .

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. . . . and some are fairly large!

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The pathway deadends into the road around the island, so we turned back toward town.  This sign warns against climbing up this steep cliff.

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Standing at Small Point Inn and shooting back toward the lake.  You can see cyclists on the path where we were just walking.

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Almost to the condo we spotted this unbelievably gorgeous 8-month-old Golden Retriever puppy and her owners.  Yes, I went all blubbery over her.  Maddie, on the other hand, didn’t care for her at all and tried to pick a fight.  Have I ever mentioned that Maddie does NOT like other female dogs?  Our little DIVA. And yes – I got the name of her breeder here in Michigan.

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One last pic from tonight.  As we were leaving the condo to ride downtown for ice cream after dinner, we were treated to a wedding carriage!   Happy bride and groom – just married at Mission Point.

Today was the warmest we’ve had since we arrived.  Close to 85 on the island, and for Mackinac, that’s a heat wave.  Supposed to cool off tomorrow though.  All is good.

Wish you were here!

God bless.

It Sure Is Quiet Tonight 8/2/16

When you’re senior citizens (like us), and your children have been off, gone, and busy with their own lives as long as ours have, it’s hard to remember how full your house can seem having teenagers around.  Laughter-filled, chatter-filled, always-in-motion-filled, siblings-good-naturedly-fighting-filled . . . . . just FILLED. 

And then they leave. 

I’m typing this around 6:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.  Jordan and Matthew are somewhere in the air between Detroit and Atlanta.  From Atlanta they’ll fly into Daytona Beach after dark.  The house is quiet.  I can once again hear bike tires and lawn mowers and ferry horns.

I miss them already.

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It’s a pretty special day when your grandchildren invite you to dinner at the Woods Restaurant  . . . . THEIR treat!  That’s what happened Sunday.  We took the Woods shuttle from downtown.  Actually GETTING to the Woods is part of the delight of eating there.  The trip up Cadotte . . .

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. . . then out through the Annex, on roads lined with rail fences and hardwood trees, makes for a beautiful appetizer . . . even before you arrive at the restaurant..  From town it takes about 30 minutes (depending on how many folks you pick up at the Grand), and it’s worth every minute!  And then you get to dine at one of the greatest restaurants on the island.  It was a very special evening! 

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On Monday we rode our bikes around the island, stopping to peek at the progress at Silver Birches.

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Late afternoon on Monday we took Maddie on a long walk along the shoreline at Mission Point.

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It had been such a beautiful day we didn’t want it to end.

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Had to snap a pic of this flower.  I think it’s a weed (someone correct me if I’m wrong), but it sure was a beautiful weed!

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Jordan, Maddie, and Ted – walking back to the condo.

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. . . while Matthew practiced his putting just across the street.

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A daylily in a Mission Point garden.

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The island grapevine went crazy over the weekend when this yacht, owned by Jimmy Johns, pulled into the bay.  The rumor on the streets was that Kid Rock was aboard.

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And, sure enough, later that evening he was spotted in the Pink Pony. (Photo: Pink Pony)

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Monday night ice cream at the No Name Café.  We’d say we’re probably part-owners in Moomers Ice Cream now!

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Ted and I were sad when we realized this morning would be the last time we had four bikes in the racks at this condo.  We rode them into town . . .

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. . . had breakfast at the Chuck Wagon, then turned in Jordan and Matthew’s bikes to Mackinac on Wheels.

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Too soon we were on Shepler’s (Matthew and I rode up top) and heading for the airport.  We got a close-up look at the American Integrity as we turned out of the harbor.

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Last glance going through security (Ted saw them onto the plane with a special pass) . .

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And then they were away.

It’s sad when we look back and think Jordan and Matthew are 16 and 14, and this is the first time they’ve spent this long with us without their parents.  Many of their “growing-up” years were spent in Arkansas, and we only saw them once or twice a year.  One of the big reasons we moved to Florida was to get to know our grandchildren (and have them get to know us) before they were “off and away” –  just like our children are now.  It was a good move.

Jordan and Matthew, when your mom  and dad asked where you’d like to spend a week’s vacation, we thank you for both saying “with BeBe and G-Daddy on Mackinac!”

Our hearts are full tonight.  We love you, and we miss you.  You are both awesome beyond words, and you make us so, so proud every single day.

Hold things together in Florida until we get back.

God bless.