Monday, September 01, 2008

the last days of august

We've been busy the last few days, getting the most out of our holiday weekend! Here are some pictures from the end of August.

Aug. 28th, after walking Em to the bus stop, Ben and I went over to the park for about an hour. We had fun until it started raining on us!: Aug. 29th, our sedum is beginning to bloom:
Aug. 30th, on the spur of the moment, we decided to drive over to Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan! George and I used to go there several times a year, but we haven't been back since Em was a baby. I called my friend Holly (who lives about 15 minutes away from the dunes) to tell her we would be there, and she decided to join us, along with her daughter Madison. We all had a wonderful time!!

It was Ben's first time at a beach, and I think it's safe to say that he loved it! :) He started out digging in the sand and making sand castles (with a little help from Mama): Em dug out a big basin by the water: Nick and Madison found this log and pushed it all the way over to where Emmalie was:
Then all four kids dug the basin deeper, using the log to block the waves some: Here's Nick with his stick friend, Woody (don't ask, LOL):
Ben also enjoyed helping to bury Em and Madison in the sand!: Later we walked over to where a creek meets up with Lake Michigan. We walked upstream for awhile, until the sandy bottom turned to ooshy gooshy mud. Then Em and Madison painted themselves with mud, and Nick slid down the muddy bank like an otter:

Back at our spot on the beach, both Em and Madison wanted to be buried in sand again. Ben was happy to oblige!:

Nick decided he wanted to be buried, as well:
Then we decided to tackle the dunes. All four kids insisted that they wanted to get to the top of Tower Hill, the biggest dune (that's the 4 of them standing at the bottom): The bigger kids went straight up the steepest face (taking several breaks along the way!) while George, Ben, and I went up a slightly easier way (but still hard and very tiring!). Ben walked all the way to the top of this dune:
and then had a little help getting to the top of Tower Hill!:

After we rested a bit at the top, Ben decided he wanted to slide all the way down:
Yes, ALL the way down... it took forever, and made for a very sandy diaper, LOL!:
We rested again at the bottom of the dune, then had an ice cream snack....:
We went back to the beach for awhile, and Ben amused himself by throwing sand into the water for at least half an hour!: Finally it was time to say goodbye and head home. Here is Holly and me:
We didn't get home till 9:30pm... it was an exhausting but fabulous day!

Aug. 31st, we drove to Starved Rock State Park, near Utica, IL. We have never been there before, but I've always wanted to go. We stopped at the visitor's center first, then climbed the steep trails and staircases to the top of Starved Rock. From the overlooks, we could see the Illinois River and the dam:
and also Plum Island (to the right on this photo):
and then we headed back down:
Next we walked on the trail through the French Canyon:

This was a slippery trail, going right through this tiny waterfall: Ben got a kick out of jumping over this little stream:
We all thought this was such a cool place, and I'm sure it's even more impressive when the waterfall is more than a trickle:
Next we walked up some more very steep staircases, to get to the top of Wildcat Canyon, and saw this waterfall while up there:
We stopped at this bench on our way back down, for a little rest and a snack:
At the bottom of the canyon, we saw a mama muskrat and her baby swimming around in a small pool of water. (I took a picture, but it didn't turn out all that well.) Nick was very happy about that! Then we walked on this trail along the river:
We climbed more stairs to Beehive Overlook, on top of the rock in this picture:
We had planned to climb to two more overlooks, but were pretty tired by then. (I was carrying a backpack full of water bottles, snacks, diapers, wipes, etc. and much of the time, George was carrying Ben.) So, instead, we headed back down to the visitor's center:
We all really enjoyed our trip to Starved Rock and hope to go back sometime when it's less crowded. (Labor Day weekend is apparently a very popular time to go!) We'd love to return in the winter and see the bald eagles that come to Plum Island....

Today we are just having a lazy day at home. I figure we deserve it, LOL!


Blogger Katie said...

looks like a great time. glad you got to see holly.

September 01, 2008 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are great pictures! Looks like all of you were having fun - even the mud girls!


September 02, 2008 7:32 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Ohh I am so jealous you got to spend some time with Holly and Madison! Looks like a wonderful weekend!

September 02, 2008 8:25 AM  

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