Thursday, October 27, 2011

My little writer

We had parent-teacher conferences this week, and Logan's teacher had nothing but good things to say about him. She is so impressed with his reading and writing, which she said is so far ahead of his grade level, she believes he's the smartest child she has ever taught.


Anyway, letters, reading and writing have always been Logan's "thing." From a very, very early age, he was sounding out words and using his chalk to leave graffiti around my kitchen. I used to laugh at finding his name written under the table when he was only two. He was full-on reading at age three. Now, as a first-grader, he can read just about anything, and he LOVES to write stories and books.

Each week, the students in his class are required to do an at-home writing project. It can be just about anything. Logan has written anything from a paragraph about friends to a chapter book about his girlfriends' pets.

This week, in the spirit of Halloween, he decided to write a spooky story. I was laughing so hard I was crying last night as I read this story. I absolutely love it, and I'm going to try to get him to rewrite it in book form with illustrations, so I can cherish it forever. I am dying to see what a "squinty warlock" looks like!

I decided to share his story here. A couple notes... Yes, my child uses ampersands. I don't even know any adults that use them, but Logan has used them since he was four.

Second, I thought it was a riot that he included pronunciation keys for the names he made up for the ghosts.

Third, I have to add a little picture because it's too funny not to share: When he writes a weird name, he draws little squiggles under it, because that's what Word does when he's typing his stories on the computer! Seriously!!!

I typed it up exactly as he wrote it, misspellings and all. I especially liked "Grain Repar" instead of "Grim Reaper." I practically wet my pants when I read it.

I had no idea what this story was going to be about until I read it. The only hint I had was when he asked, "Mom, is a boy witch a warthog?" and I had to tell him it was actually warlock.

So, enjoy!

Ten little ghosts in the haunted house
by Logan Johns

Ten little ghost in the haunted house. Suenly (SOO-ENN-LEE) saw a Vampire Bat & ran out to the woods.

Nine little ghosts in the haunted house. Ellyen (ELL-EE-ENN) saw a wild cat & ran out to the woods.

eight little ghosts in the haunted house. Seilanax (SEE-LANN-ECKS) saw a one eyed freak & ran out to the woods.

Seven little ghosts in the haunted house. Fialiianixxian (FEE-UH-LEE-AN-ICKS-EE-AN) saw Frankenstein & ran out to the woods.

Six little ghosts in the haunted house. Zillialian (ZILL-EE-UH-LEE-ANN) saw a Evil Witch & ran out to the woods.

Five little ghosts in the haunted house. Retreever (RETT-REE-VERR) saw a scelaton & ran out to the woods.

Four little ghosts in the haunted house. Cimpminisan (CHIMP-MINN-UH-SIN) saw a Ghoul & ran out to the woods.

Three little ghosts in a haunted house. Zelonix (ZEE-LON-ICKS) saw the Grain Repar & ran out to the woods.

two little ghost in the haunted house. Riely (RIE-LEE) saw a massive Wizard & ran out to the woods.

One little ghost in the haunted house. Zimix (ZIMM-ICKS) saw a squinty Warlock & ran out to the woods.

Ten little ghosts safe in the woods.

Well done, Logan! I'm proud of you, my son!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mission Point Resort

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated a big anniversary: Ten years married (and 20 together!)

We always said we were going to get back to Maine, where we honeymooned, to celebrate our tenth, but life got in the way and we just weren't able to do it this year. We still wanted to do something special together, though. After some thought, we decided Mackinac Island was a good choice. My parents live in the U.P. so it would be relatively easy for them to meet us at the bridge and take the kids for a weekend, so that's just what we did.

When a lot of people think of staying on Mackinac, they think of the Grand Hotel. We had always wanted to try out the Mission Point Resort, though. A few years ago when we ran the 8-mile Mackinac Island race, we started and finished at the resort, and we took the opportunity to walk through the lobby. It appealed to us and we decided we'd love to stay there sometime.

So, as our tenth approached, I contacted the hotel and asked if they had any special rates available. They hooked us up with a lake-view room with a king-size bed at a good rate and even arranged for ferry tickets for us.

The weekend before we went to Mackinac, the weather was glorious. Warm, sunny, fall colors everywhere. Then the forecast came for our weekend and it was just plain AWFUL! They were calling for rain, rain, rain and CHILLY temps. I started to get discouraged. That's the danger of a mid-October anniversary, though. The weather can be amazing or not-so-great.

Finally it was time to go, so we headed to the island on a chilly, breezy, drizzly day. Right off the boat, we headed to a pub for a pint. NO KIDS! That meant we actually got to sit at the bar! Then we headed to the resort to check in. Our luggage was already there, having been valeted from the boat docks. We got our room keys (REAL keys, not cards!) and headed to our room in the main lodge.

This is a view of the resort from the road along the bluff up above.

The lobby, as I mentioned before, is really cool. My dark photo doesn't do it justice.

According to the Resort website, "The Main Lobby is one of the most distinctive architectural structures on the Island. Nine-ton majestic trusses, converging at a height of 36 feet, resemble a 16-sided tepee. This structure fulfills the Indian prophecy that 'Someday, on the east end of the Island, a great tepee will be erected. All nations will come there and learn about peace.'"

There are a couple sitting areas set up in the lobby, too. We enjoyed a rest by the fire when we came in after a chilly post-dinner walk.

When we first walked into the room, it wasn't really what I expected. Smaller, I guess. However, after some thought, I realized that it was exactly what it should be on Mackinac. It's an island resort, casual for those who don't want to HAVE to dress up, and it's cozy. It was built in the 50s and has that lodgy feel, down to the decor in our room: plaids, photos of elk, a duck painted on the headboard, etc.

Our room had a great view of the lake.

We had a break in the clouds on Saturday, just long enough for a rainbow to peek through, right outside our window. That rainbow was out there for a while, too. Luckily, we had just come back to the room for a short rest before dinner, after a day of hiking, so we were able to see and enjoy the rainbow.

On Sunday morning, the day we were to go home, I woke up early as usual and popped a K-cup into the Keurig coffee machine. It was my first time using one of those things and it was pretty neat (and easy)! I took my cup, put on my coat and hat, and headed outside to watch the sunrise.

The purple pre-dawn light in the courtyard outside our window was amazing. It was soooo peaceful out there without all the daytime touristy hustle and bustle of the island.

These are the stairs down from our courtyard to the main lawn and lakeshore.

I headed to the shoreline and walked along the path, taking in the scenery and the fresh breeze. It was a pretty spectacular morning.

I walked back around to the resort and paused to finish my coffee and admire the beautiful landscaping. Even though summer was gone, the flowers were still blooming. Pardon my tired face!

I walked across the outside of the resort and snapped this photo of the sunrise reflected in the windows of the in-house restaurant, Chianti.

Here's Chianti from the inside. We didn't end up eating there because we were out and about, exploring in town. It's got a great view though, and that same lodgy appeal as the lobby and the rest of the resort, yet it's still elegant.

Despite the rain, we had an absolutely fabulous time celebrating 10 years of marriage at the Mission Point Resort and look forward to heading back there for another stay in the future.

Who knows? Maybe it will be our annual anniversary destination! After all, we didn't have the chance to enjoy a number of the resort's offerings, such as the restaurant, the 18-hole putting course, the bicycle rental, the outdoor pool, the spa and the theater. In addition, there's a lot to do on the island, including tours, hiking trails, biking, watching freighters pass through the Straits of Mackinac, restaurants and bars. The scenery is fantastic, even on rainy days.

Next time you're looking for a Pure Michigan experience, check out the Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Monday, October 3, 2011

While he was out...

My husband just returned from 2 weeks in Germany and Hungary for work. Two weeks is a LONG time to be without Hubby/Daddy!!!

But, I kept busy.

On top of motherhood, school for Logan, Cub Scouts, soccer and play dates, I decided to take on a "While You Were Out" kind of project.

We have lived in this nice big house for a year now, but our bedroom was kind of blah. I called it "vanilla." I have been waiting all my life to have a nice big bedroom and I really wanted to do something nice with it.

In the old house, our room was so tiny that, with our queen bed pushed up against two walls, we could barely squeeze the dressers in there. We couldn't open the drawers all the way. It was tiny.

See the cramped room at the old house?

So, I've wanted to re-do our bedroom for a while, make it OURS, make it pretty, because it's a nice big room with a large east-facing window and a cathedral ceiling. I love the room, but it just had cream walls, cream carpet, cream curtains and the quilt my mom made us ten years ago for a wedding gift. I wanted something new, and I wanted to get rid of the green. Even though it's my favorite color, I've had green in my bedroom since I was in high school.

Anyway, I started browsing at bedspreads and I decided I wanted to do a light purple and brown. At first I thought I was going to keep some green in there but I decided not to.

I found a bedspread I liked. Actually, I went out and bought it pretty much the second Hubby left. I chose a paint color that night too. Then, I decided I wanted a big, ornate mirror over the headboard and I looked around on craigslist and stumbled across an antique mirror that I thought sounded neat. It once hung in the State Theatre in Detroit, and I looooove local and Michigan history. It also wasn't all that far from my house, so I contacted the owner and went to take a look. As soon as I saw it, I wanted it. The frame is carved wood and it has LOVEBIRDS on top of it! Perfect for my bedroom!

I had our neighbor, who has worked as a professional painter, come over to help out with the painting and also hanging the mirror.

I enlarged three photos I took while Hubby and I were hiking on North Manitou and made them sepia toned, then put them in some frames I bought last year because I saw them on clearance and liked them. They've just been collecting dust in our basement but they worked well in the new bedroom!

These are the photos that are in the frames:

I finished it off with a really tall purple vase I found on super clearance, in which I put some twisty twig things I had leftover from doing our mantel arrangements in the living room. I got a new lamp at Target and some purple doily things to go under the lamp and vase. I found some curtains that matched really well and even got purple sheers. Because everything else was new, I splurged on some high thread-count purple sheets too. Ahhhh luxury!

and... VOILA! A much warmer, prettier room!



Once it was done, I loved it but got a little scared because my husband isn't exactly big on surprises... or purple! Logan looked at it and proclaimed it "girly" and said he didn't think Daddy would like it.

Oh dear, what had I done?

The room project took a week from beginning to end, so I had a week to wait until he got home to see it. I was soooo tempted to e-mail him photos but I managed to hold back.

Well, when he got home and walked in, he said it looked "super" and he even complimented the color choices. He said I did a great job and said "I actually like walking into this room now!"

Woo hoo!

So, it turned out well. I can't believe I pulled this off!