Tag Archives: Lake Huron

Schmidt Family Reunion 2015

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This month Kelly and I celebrated our phenomenal family at our family reunion in Reading, Michigan. It’s the first reunion Kelly has ever attended and the first one in twenty years for her mother (a horrible example of family togetherness on my part). We had the BEST time of our lives!

I caught up with my cousins who enriched my life as a kid and Kelly found out there are a ton of people she is attached to at a deeper level than any other person on this earth besides her immediate family. And imagine this… they care for her just as much. She has longed to know her extended family and they are every bit as hilarious and crazy and fun and caring as she hoped.

We roomed with these wonderful, wacky people…
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These are the Frank Schmidt’s. My dad was one of eight kids and these are a good sampling of his prodigy.
I hope to God we didn’t shame him. (Highly unlikely). Dad helped institute a new family tradition with his two brothers, Tom and Gerry. It is now continued by Jamie Schmidt and Billy Caverly…. The Martini Club.

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I was too soused to get a really good photo document of this momentous event, but believe me when I tell you we honored our heroes valiantly with some damn good gin and recounting of the best memories. Love you Dad.

We were honored by the presence of the three remaining matriarchs of our family. The vibrant and vivacious Mary Schmidt, Emmy Caverly and Pat Smith.

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These ladies are incredible.

The camp we were at offered loads of fun activities. One of them was a giant rope swing. Easy peasy for Kelly.

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And here she is on the high ropes. This looks easy, but she is 40 feet off the ground. It is freaking scary!

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And hard as heck.

We enjoyed the company of some incredible people. I hope to post more detailed pictures. Heck, I took about 800 shots through out the weekend.

After the reunion we spent a few days in East Tawas. We couldn’t stay without capturing a few special pictures of my girl on the lake.

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We hung out with my mom and my sister (no good pics of Liz… sorry) and my nephew Sean. He and Kelly had a blast.

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Can’t believe how incredible the time we had and how much we enjoyed every moment, every person, every experience.

Happy Summer you all!!

Love
Jeannene

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Our Last Day … Loads of Fun

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This was our last day. Four hours of it disappeared on the “fetch the rental car” expedition. A really nice drive to Bay City, but all the same, used up time. Kelly was stir crazy waiting on us and my poor mom was in her chair. We ran her ragged this week. Movie watching was all she had the energy for.

We gathered up Cooper, put on our walking shoes and talked Dad into driving us to the beach-bay-lake. It was time for a walk and Cooper was part of it, though the early morning ride in the car made his day already.

The walk through the city park, a beach side venue, started very nicely. That was until I hit a patch of shade. Yikes! Cold!! The temperature had barely warmed from the day before. The sun was out, but a brisk breeze still kissed our fannies with every step we took.

Shivering through every shady spot we passed we finally made it to the marina/pier.

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Cooper was all frisky and perky still.

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Because his favorite thing to do is scratch and scratch and scratch his back and head on the wonderfully rough texture of ever-loving, marvelously simple concrete.

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Even here he was pulling at the leash. Kelly kept wanting to carry him, thinking his little legs had worn out already.

That was until we took a good look at the trek back. This is a loong pier. You don’t realize how far you’ve walked until you look back down to the return trip.

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I think Cooper felt the same way… his legs gave out before the end of the pier. We can tell because his tongue starts hanging out and he starts lagging behind.

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By the time we reached the last 100 ft of the walk way he was totally wiped. What a wuss. Short legs just aren’t conducive to long walks. See his tongue hanging out? Notice his limp little body? Pooped out.

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And then Kelly took a liking to this craft. It’s half the size of the ones we walked past, but every bit as nice.

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Then, because this was our last day and we hadn’t had enough of the lake or the water, cold as it was, we decided to do something exciting and reckless and dangerous. Did I mention reckless. It was scary to me.

We rented a skidoo thingy and ran the waves on Lake Huron. Geared up …

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… and hit the water. Did I forget to say I have to drive since I’m over 18 yrs? Yep, that’s me in the front. I wasn’t thrilled. I’m the girl who watches her kids as THEY ride the roller coaster. I live vicariously, I tell you. I don’t require first hand thrills. But here I am about to live the thrill. Bob watched Cooper and I had to drive. *shivers*

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Very tame here, on idle as we exit the marina.

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Then it was …. did I mention scary? The water was the deepest navy blue I’ve ever seen directly below me. I gunned it gradually. Then Kelly MADE me gun it again. We went 35mph easy over the surface of that fathomless bay, water spraying in our faces, the wind whipping around us. We traveled at least three or four miles along the shore… off in the deep area. Then we doubled back, skirting the shallower edge so I wouldn’t freak out over the dark, dark blue waters. Water sprayed us and we dried off in the brisk air as we sailed over the waves. I almost got comfortable. Almost.

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Then I glanced at the watch they gave me. We were only ten minutes into our hour.

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Twenty more minutes was all I could stomach. Not to mention my throttle fingers kept falling asleep. Not a desirable attribute for a skidoo operator.

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I couldn’t wait to idle us back into the marina.

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Does that look like a stupid grin on my face? Why, hell yes it is! There are no words to describe the relief pulsing through me as I made my way slowly to the dock. I think I’m getting too old for this kind of excitement. But… this will keep me young.

For the most part, this was an exhilarating day. It was still pretty chilly out there, but the way the skin on my face tingled from wind burn and the sun made me feel alive. And that is always worth the buzz it gives.

Bless you for enduring the updates of my vacation. I hoped to impart some my joy. Thank you for sharing in my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

A Truly Blustery Day Four In Michigan

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Thursday dawned warmer, slightly, and full of sunshine. We didn’t waste a minute more than needed for breakfast before taking our bikes out for another ride. It was so invigorating the day before, Kelly and I weren’t going to pass it by again. My poor mom. We dragged her out everywhere. This time we stopped at another coffee shop on our way to the Walmart. We needed a couple necessity’s. Ice cream for Hot Tin Roofs, for one. And very few other things, being we were on bikes with tragically little carry space.

By the time we got back to the house, hubby had closed the windows I pre-emptively opened. The sunshine fooled me into thinking the day would be warm, but really it was so chilly even my husband ran from the too-cool breeze. I wasn’t wasting this light, though. Kelly threw on some clothes, we packed Cooper into Mom’s van (along with the cat) and we made for the beach for some more pictures. We found ourselves at the Oscoda public beach. Stunning. Beautiful. Clean. Void of people.

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The wind blew around us like nothing I’ve experienced in the summer. If not for the sun, we would’ve given up for warmer places.

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White caps, the wind-blown look, secretly shivering beneath that thin little blouse and the water lapping at her bare feet. Brrrrrr.

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But the lighting was pretty great.

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Not sure which day we’ll pick, but I like taking pictures of my little girl.

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Naturally we had to include Cooper-duper into our outing. The pier was safe and secure. But the wind blew even harder out here. Thank goodness I didn’t give that pooch a trim before we left Arkansas. He would be shivering, in need of a sweater!

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Last one… take in the color of the water, the way the light winks off the waves or ripples. Imagine gusts of wind chilling you at least another fifteen degrees.

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One last look… just admiring my handiwork.

All that wind and sunshine gave us an appetite. Mom found a little German restaurant down the road. It housed a bakery and only served food until 2pm. Walking into the place, it was old fashioned and in need of an update. Old tables, collector plates lining a ledge on three sides of the room, blankets hanging on the walls. Nothing too fancy. We were hungry and not discriminatory. When the food arrived I was flabbergasted.

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A reuben sandwich on toasted rye, REAL batter dipped onion rings and fresh coleslaw. It was soooo delicious. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Later that night we chowed down on a huge bowl of Hot Tin Roofs…. scrumdilly-icious.

Thanks for spending a moment with me in my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Day Three in a Michigan Breeze

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Wednesday started out cool… cold by Arkansas standards, and down right cool by Michigan standards. A brisk breeze blew off the bay, but the sun peeped in and out of fluffs of clouds. In the forecast, rain for the afternoon. No time waste for the day.

We took off for a bike ride first thing in the morning. A ride along the beach path was inviting, having never done it before. Kelly and I straddled those bikes like we did it every day and took off with Mom to the lake. It was a great ride.

We made sure we wore the appropriate clothing.

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The bay was quiet and calm. Quite a sight for a country girl unaccustomed to large expanses of water.

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We stopped into the local coffee shop/java hut and had a real cuppa in a real mug (mine was mocha, of course). Very gemutlich.

We had the sun on our side and still enough time to beat the weather. Then we dressed and packed up and made for the beach. Today was senior picture shoot day. I took a boat load of pictures. A few turned out really great. Here are a smattering.

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The wind blew and the sun winked at us from between and behind the clouds. I knelt in the wet sand and the cold water sloshed over my bare feet as I snapped a LOT of pics. But as you can see, the subject was exceptional. Then Cooper barked at us incessantly.

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We took more pics along the cold beach in the biting wind.

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And Cooper kept up his notes of displeasure. More barking and barking.

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We called it a day. It time to find shelter from the afternoon rains. Thank goodness for diligence. It really rained a lot this afternoon.

Thanks for sharing my little piece of heaven today. It really was a piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Second Day – Just as Great as the First

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We woke up to the steady drizzle of rain this morning. After yesterday’s glorious warmth, today was quite a contrast. But we didn’t let it deter us in any way. We ate a long breakfast and pulled on our going out to shop clothes and slipped on the extended walking shoes and girded ourselves for some serious browsing.

First stop is a nice “little bit of everything” store. Nothing appealing to a trio of cheapskates.

The next place, though, is a jewelry shop of modest expense. We scour every glass case and every piece, if only to ogle them in appreciation of their beauty. A variety of pieces capture our attention until Kelly and I decide to pay closer attention to the charm bracelets and charms. She had decided to do a charm bracelet instead of a class ring, the bracelet having so much more practicality than a dated class ring. We find two starter charms and a perfect silver rope bracelet, all on sale. We are so miserly.

Next stop the chocolatier. Need I say more?

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My sack had sooo much more than this in it originally.

A bookstore, more clothes, some beef jerky. I ended up with a tourist tee-shirt sporting “Tawas Bay”

The next place was the best of them all. I found miracle soap I can’t wait to use on stains it promises to extricate from fabrics.

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And my favorite thing…. wine. Local wines… Wonderful light, and semi-sweet, fruity.

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Later this afternoon we make a visit to the light house that used to guard the bay decades ago.

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Very picturesque. Very turn of the century and historic. Especially against the dark, cloudy sky.

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The wind is blowing like a son of gun off the point this afternoon. We are wearing jackets in the middle of July.

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Love taking pictures of the lake with the sky and my favorite person. Great day all in all.

Thanks for sharing another day of my little slice of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Summer In Michigan

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We finally made it to East Tawas.

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Kelly’s first time to be this far north and lay eyes on one of this country’s Great lakes. Lake Huron.

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Our first full day is glorious and warm and sun-shiny. Michigan revealed all her natural charms as Mom took us on a little tour of the area. First stop, of course, is the bay. Specifically the public pier. Dozens of boats are moored here behind a break wall. Even Cooper didn’t mind the giant expanse of water around him.

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He took the outing as an adventure. Well, this whole trip is his adventure. It’s Cooper’s first vacation.

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Mom took us to see the Lumberman’s Monument here. This area had a huge lumber industry at the turn of the century. My great-grandfather was a lumberman, as a matter of fact. Sadly, this writer didn’t even snap a picture of the monument itself. I was taken by the scenery ….

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… and the opportunity to take a trip down this large hill via a few hundred steps of stairs…

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The park overlooks the Ausable River. Lumber was harvested from the surrounding forests, pine and deciduous trees growing in huge numbers here. The logs were brought to the edges of the river, off the towering edges of the woods along the river, and dumped down long drops into the river to float down to the lumber mills.

Kelly and don’t hesitate a second when that wooden staircases invites us to the river’s edge a few hundred few below us. We take off, with Cooper, of course. He is always up for an adventure.

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Having such short legs does keep him from traveling at human pace. We carry him most of the way.

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At the river’s edge we find a barge replica the loggers lived off of. They cooked and ate on it as they floated down the river. I love history. Especially rustic and manly morsels. I won’t bore you with it all. Then we climb back up the stairs, a considerable more challenging feat than the descent. Very invigorating!

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We found a local fresh fish market and bought fresh caught lake perch and white fish. We fried t up for lunch and ate like kings. As my grandfather used to say, often mind you,”I wonder what the poor people are doing today.” We are rich and blessed. Outstanding flavors of the area. Great idea Dad!

The day wasn’t over yet. A warm afternoon drew us to the beach. Too pretty, my little girl. I love taking pictures of her. I know, I’m shameless.

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Crisp breezes, sparkling water, the pleasant burn of the sun on our skin finds us on the beach with most of the other tourists. Kelly tries to acclimate Cooper to the water, but he isn’t having any of it.

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He may look all right, but in real time his little feet are paddling to keep him out of the water.
Dad and my mom found the most pleasant spot under the trees, a breeze blowing through, to watch. Cooper found it as a safe haven.

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After a late afternoon nap, and I mean all of us, Kelly included, and dinner we finished our day by listening to the community band concert in the park. The constant breeze kept bugs at bay. We had a great day.

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We pack a boat load of stuff into this day because we aren’t sure how often the sun is going to shine this week. Rain has been a constant this summer. Needless to say, we are pooped by the end of the day. Best day ever!!

Thanks for sharing this little slice of my heaven.

Love,
Jeannene