All in the Family 3/19/17

Well.  I have no idea what happened on Thursday with my blog program, but it seems two “Throw Back Thursday” blogs were published, although on my side of things I was being told nothing new was posting.  So – some of you may have gotten nothing at all, and some of you may have gotten three posts (I reposted one twice and then posted another to see if it would go through).  Hopefully, I have better luck with this one tonight!

This entire week has been all about spending time with family – Ted’s newly found birth family and our own blended family!

On Monday we dropped the pups off at Lily’s (our petsitter) and drove to Kissimmee FL to meet Ted’s Aunt Marsha and Uncle Dan (Aunt Marsha is Ted’s birth mother’s youngest sister).  Also meeting us there were Kel, Gwen, Lindie and Mike (cousins we’d already met this summer on the island).  So happy these folks all spend some time in Florida during the winter months!

Clockwise from left: Uncle Dan, Kel, Mike, Gwen, Lindie, me, Ted, and Aunt Marsha.

 

Three cousins and an aunt – Lindie, Ted, Aunt Marsha, and Kel.

Sweet Uncle Dan presented Ted and I with a beautiful wooden cross he had created by a technique called chip carving, and he also made a smaller one for me to wear as a pendant. The workmanship is so delicate I can’t even imagine how much time this took.  The larger cross is made of cherry, and the smaller one is from butternut. Such a special gift from special folks.

Throughout this whole search Ted and I both have been blown away by the warmth, welcome, and love this beautiful family has offered us.  When we thought about how many ways this all could have gone, we were certainly hoping for a good outcome, but what we’ve received has been an all-out open-arms welcome from every family member we’ve met or spoken with by phone.  For Ted, and for me also to a lesser degree, it’s a bit overwhelming at times – but only in the best and happiest possible sense.  Since Ted and I both were “only children” (we thought), we’ve gone from a very small family group (Ted has one daughter, and I have two sons) to having well over 20 cousins on one side of his birth family – plus three siblings, two uncles, and one aunt.

There are already plans being made for us to stop by and visit some of these folks on our way to Mackinac this summer.  And we’re hoping to see more of them on the island.  It just doesn’t get much better than this!

On Wednesday Jason, Jen, and Alex arrived for a 4-night stay (Alex’s Spring Break).  We were a little worried they would be bored – the weather was really cool and windy, so beach time was going to be at a minimal.  We shouldn’t have worried!

On Thursday they spent the day at the Kennedy Space Center!

They got to experience a lot of the same things that the astronauts do to prepare for a mission.

Inside the space capsule with all the instrumentation.

Ready for blast-off!

On Friday they traveled north a few miles to tour St. Augustine. Lunch outside on a patio in Old Town.

Visiting the St. Augustine Alligator Farm (there’s a wall of glass between Alex and Jen and that albino gator)!

In between all that, there was time for bonding with Bodie (don’t know what it is about Bodie’s crate that attracts kids, but they spend more time in it than he does) . . .

. . . . checking out the neighborhood on his scooter…

. . . . and even a little beach time!

There was also time for Jason and Jen to stay connected to work – because unfortunately adults don’t get Spring Breaks!

We were sad to see them leave this afternoon . . . the house is always too quiet after the busyness and excitement of visitors.  Hoping they can visit again before we head north in July (and hoping they can be persuaded to come to Mackinac again this summer)!

AND SPEAKING OF MACKINAC . . .

Warm temps melted a lot of snow this week, but here are a few pics from before that happened – and some from the little snowfall they had over the weekend.  You never know when you’re going to bike to the ferry, take it across, and return hours later to enough snow that you can’t bike home!(Photo: Greg Main)

A snowplow clears the sidewalk for foot traffic several days ago. (Photo: Greg Main)

Another from Greg – Main Street in the snow – minus all the shops’ awnings.

A week or so ago. Beautiful ice and snow along the shore. (Photo: Greg Main)

A few days later, and another side of the island.  (Photo: Greg Main)

Just after that last BIG snowfall. Island friend Meredith shot this off the back porch  of the Cedar Hill Condos. Have always loved red against snow!

This one is from Meredith also. She and her golden doodle Mason out for a stroll in the woods.

I think that covers us from here.  Wishing everyone a wonderful week, and I’ll meet you back here for a Throw Back Tuesday.  Now . . . . . let’s see if I can get this thing to publish!

God bless.

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Busy Week Everywhere! 11/20/16

We didn’t have to worry about time dragging by this week!  Ted and I (and Maddie and Bodie) were busy with work, doctor appointments, and a wonderful visit from friends.  And every time I checked on things on Mackinac, there was something else going on up there – including the first snow of winter!

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Our Oklahoma friends (who also own a condo where we were at Surrey Ridge), Buz and Patty Wierwick, visited us for three nights this week as part of their three-week driving tour of the south.  They had never been to Florida or Georgia, and I think they fell in love with both states!  Their children are “doing” Thanksgiving at other relatives this week, so Buz and Patty are going to be having Thanksgiving dinner in Mobile, AL on their way back home.  We spent a few hours touring St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, on Thursday.

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Stops included the oldest wooden school house in the U.S. . . .

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. . . . and we just had to stop in for refreshments at St. George Tavern, which claims to be “The Oldest Pub in the Oldest City.”

 

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On our way out of St. Augustine, we rode by the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S.  At over 315 years old, it’s the oldest structure in St. Augustine.  Have you noticed that every sentence about St. Augustine contains the word “old”?

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Ted finally got our boat out of storage last week, so we took our guests out for a ride on the Intercoastal on Friday – a gorgeous Florida November day!  We’re so glad we got to see these great friends for a few days during the winter, and we can’t wait to get together again on the island next summer!

WINTER ARRIVES ON MACKINAC!

The calm before the storm - near sunset. Grand Hotel and Fort Mackinac by Tom Chambers.

The calm before the storm – near sunset earlier in the week. Grand Hotel and Fort Mackinac by Tom Chambers.

Sunrise from the water on November 17 by Stephanie Fortino on her way to the island.

Sunrise from the water on Thursday – by Stephanie Fortino on her way to the island.

And a sunrise on Friday from Clark Bloswick.

A sunrise on Friday from Clark Bloswick.

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Ahead of the snow came a gale warning.   Jason St. Onge, who posted this pic of the freighter James Barker, said it was in the 60’s with calm waters earlier on Saturday.  Saturday night and Sunday’s forecast included gale warnings with gusts up to 50 mph for the Straits of Mackinac and the island.  The James Barker was setting anchor to take refuge between Mackinac Island and St. Ignace.  Peak winds were to arrive around 4 pm Saturday.

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Molly McGreevy posted this pic from a Marine Traffic App, showing the James Barker wasn’t the only vessel to take cover in the St. Ignace “parking lot”.  For those interested, the green icons from bottom to top are the freighters James Barker, Cuyahoga, Edwin H. Gott, Algoma Enterprise, and Calument.  The light blue icon are tugs.  From top down The Michigan, The Rebecca Lynn and The Anglian Lady closest to land.

 

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A Clark Bloswick photo from this morning at British Landing.

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Clark’s view of the town this morning.  He said the island got a couple of inches overnight.

POOCH NEWS

Bodie had his first official grooming last week, and I'm so happy to report it went very well. Raina, our wonderful groomer, said he was good on the table. What was even better was his trainer taught me how to load him in my car the day before our grooming appointment. With a couple of simple instructions, Bodie now jumps right into the back seat and seems content to either lay down or sit in the back and take in the scenery. Please, Lord, let this last! As much as you all know how much I loved my sweet Bear, he was a terrible traveler.

Bodie had his first official grooming last week, and I’m so happy to report it went very well. Raina, our wonderful groomer, said he was good on the table. Even better – his trainer taught me how to load him in my car the day before our grooming appointment. With a couple of simple instructions, Bodie now jumps right into the back seat and seems content to either lay down or sit in the back and take in the scenery. Please, Lord, let this last! As much as you all know how much I loved my sweet Bear, he was a terrible traveler.

How Bodie sleeps at night. Cracks me up!

How Bodie sleeps at night. Cracks me up!

We took Bodie and Madde out to Washington Oaks State Park this afternoon for a little adventure. Bodie discovered his shadow . . .

We took Bodie and Maddie out to Washington Oaks State Park this afternoon for a little adventure. Bodie discovered his shadow . . .

. . . and loved running free up and down the trails!

. . . and loved running free up and down the trails!

My sweet fur babies. . . .

My sweet fur babies. . . .

So darn cute!

So darn cute!

A FEW EXTRA

An awesome sunrise over our Flagler Beach pier by friend Linda Brendlinger.

An awesome sunrise over our Flagler Beach pier by friend Linda Brendlinger.  We lost a portion of the end of the pier to Hurricane Matthew.

Some beautiful shots of last week's super moon from blog reader Cheryl Haddon from Illinois. Wow!

Some beautiful shots of last week’s super moon from blog reader Cheryl Haddon from Illinois. Wow!

The Bodster. Gotta love that face!

How can you not smile with these two characters around!

Who let the dogs out?! We have this big holding pond in our community, and it is usually dry. It makes a really fine dog park! From the front, that's Maddie, Bodie, Ryder (an English Golden Retriever), little Joey (a MinPin), and Raschal (an Australian Shepherd). They LOVE playing together out there!

Who let the dogs out?! We have this big holding pond in our community, and it is usually dry. It makes a really fine dog park! From the front, that’s Maddie, Bodie, Ryder (an English Golden Retriever), little Joey (a MinPin), and Raschal (an Australian Shepherd). They LOVE playing together out there!

I had to end with this one. This photo from Greg Main shows a very unusual vertical cloud. If God was choosing to show us what His angels must look like, I think this cloud is a great representation.

I had to end with this one. This photo from Greg Main shows a very unusual vertical cloud. If God ever chose to show us what His angels must look like, I think this cloud is a great representation.

Personal note:  As all of you who have been readers over the years know, I usually take the month of November off from blogging.  I didn’t want to do that this year, because of course I wanted to share our first month with Bodie with you.

So, I’m going to take a little breather now until the first of January.  Per doctor’s orders, I’m starting physical therapy again on my neck, and I just need some time to recharge my jets.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us, and I know we’re all going to be extra busy.  It’s a good time to take a break from writing!

I’ll still be around on Facebook, so we can always say “hi” from there!

In advance, the Horton household wishes all of you the happiest of Thanksgivings and a very Merry Christmas.  We’ll see you back here during the first week in January, 2017.  It promises to be an exciting year for us.  We have an Alaska cruise coming up in May, three months on Mackinac again during the summer, and lots of fun with a growing Bodie and our sweet little Maddie girl.

Sending much love and hugs from our house to yours!

God bless.