Well, howdy there. It’s so nice to see you! I’m back from my month off, and let me tell you, I feel like a whole new person! You know you love your job when at the end of your vacation, you are really excited to get back to work. And man, I am so happy to be back doing the stuff I love to do! I missed you guys!
Just like I mentioned before I left, I really took it easy over the past few weeks. I went on a lot of hikes with my family. I did a lot of grilling (and let’s be honest, margarita drinking). I did some chores around the house that I’d been putting off (like painting our kitchen cabinets—phew). I did a lot of yoga. I watched a bunch of movies. All of that was awesome and relaxing, but the best part of my time off was ten glorious days spent on the shores of Lake Michigan with the fam.
I come from a big family (I’m the youngest of four kids and we’re all married and have kids ourselves), and we’ve been trying for YEARS to coordinate a family vacation. This year, we were finally able to make it work!
It was a bit last minute—I honestly think we nabbed the last vacation house within driving distance—so the whole family couldn’t make it work (maybe next year!), but a good chunk of us filled a house on Lake Michigan last week, and oh my gosh, it was amazing. I mean, traveling with a two-year-old always has it’s stressful parts—gone are the days where I could just spend 10 hours parked in a beach chair with a book—but it was still wonderful. The weather was great! It didn’t rain once during our trip. The beach and lake were perfect. And it was SO nice to hang out with my family and let Juni play with her cousins.
I’ve talked about before how I feel a really special connection to the Great Lakes, and getting to spend over a week drinking my coffee while soaking in these views of Lake Michigan was so rejuvenating for me. (Although, my sister brought her espresso machine, and it TOTALLY RUINED ME for regular coffee—so obsessed now). I have dreams of someday owning my own place on a Great Lake (although, I worry the novelty will wear off and it won’t feel so special), but for now, I’ll just get my lake fix in small doses each year.
One of my favorite things about Indiana is that everyone outside of Indiana thinks it’s just 36,000 square miles of corn fields, but we really have the best of all worlds here. Where we live in Southern Indiana, we have the most beautiful rolling hills (which makes for some awesome, strenuous hikes).
And up in Northern Indiana, we have the BEST beaches on the Great Lakes. I’ve been to a lot of beaches on the Great Lakes, and let me tell you, none of them are nearly as amazing as the Indiana Dunes. The first time my husband (who grew up on Lake Superior in Ontario) walked on the Indiana beaches of Lake Michigan, he said to me, “why would we ever go to the ocean when this is only a few hours away?” And it’s true. Other than the water temp—it was only about 75°—you’d have no idea this wasn’t Florida. Perfect. We even had awesome boogie-boarding waves. No sharks? No jellyfish? And only four hours from my house? SOLD.
The vast majority of our vacation was spent sitting on the beach, watching the kids play in the sand, sipping cocktails, and coloring. Yes, coloring. Totally normal, right? Costco gel pens and adult coloring books, for the win.
Of course, because my family is full of people pretty much exactly like me, we did a lot of really, really good eating. We’re not really the kind of folks who go out to eat on vacation (we did go out to lunch once—to Three Floyds brewery—because when you’re within a half hour of one of the best breweries in the nation, you go). We much prefer to stick close to the house and cook together. We ate a lot of Mango Guacamole (a lot). A ton of veggies (we all brought baskets of veggies from our respective gardens at home). And we made dinner “at home” each night. I was in charge of the Low Country Boil night, and man, it was a blast. Nothing like dumping a 10 gallon pot of seafood onto a bunch of newspapers. We all ate ourselves silly.
Of course, not everything went perfectly smoothly (dude, I loathe it when people write about their vacations and make it sound like it’s all sunshine and rainbows—something ALWAYS goes wrong on vacations). The rental house wasn’t perfect—it didn’t have A/C and there were a few days in the mid-90s. The beach right in front of the house had washed away, so even though we were “lakefront,” we had to walk about a 1/4 mile down the road to access the beach. And there were a couple of days where the beaches were closed because of e. coli warnings (which is actually a normal occurrence in big bodies of water). And then there was the aforementioned toddler off her routine, but hey, we made the best of it all. There were lots of laughs, smiles, and a few family sing alongs. Especially when it was so hot we were all delirious. And now that we are looking for next year’s house, we are TRIPLE CHECKING that the house has A/C. Never again.
But every night, we had maybe the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life. And my kid giggled every time her toes touched the sand. And my sister and I went through a handle of tequila in like three days. And I got to hang out with my oldest niece for a full week before she heads off to college tomorrow (tomorrow!). And I didn’t wear makeup or brush my hair or wear shoes. And my husband turned into a kid on the boogie board. And my parents couldn’t stop smiling. And, overall, it was a very, very happymaking trip. We’re all excited to go back and do it again next year (in a different house, obvi).
I love my job, I really do, but I also love my life. I feel like it’s so important to just stop making a living sometimes (even if it’s just for a few minutes) and focus on making a life. And now that I’ve made some great memories with my family, I’m ready to get back to that making a living part! I’m so happy to be back with you guys, and I’m so grateful every day that you let me have this amazing job. *grouphug*