Happy Friday! I hope you all had a fabulous Independence Day celebration yesterday. We sure did!
This morning, we had to say goodbye to our friend, Megan, who came into town for a few days of Michigan fun for the holiday. Two days seemed to fly by within the blink of an eye, but it was so good to have her visit and spend some time with us in our new hometown.
Before yesterday, we had yet to visit one of the many lakes surrounding us up here. Since our move last October, our friends from here have been reassuring us that the “Michigan summers” would make up for the frigid winter we have experienced the majority of our time here.
Yesterday, we finally got a glimpse of what they are talking about!
Scott and I were invited to hang with a friend’s family at their cottage on the lake for the holiday, and that sounded pretty wonderful.
Ashley is a dancer with me on the Pistons, and her boyfriend, Bub, is on the dunk team with Scott. The two teams have formed somewhat of a Pistons family, and it is nice to have them around for holidays with our Florida and Arkansas/Missouri families being so far away.
(Please note Bub’s festive patriotic vest for the occasion. It’s magical.)
We always have great time together!
I was excited to be surrounded by friends both new and old for the 4th. For the past few years in Orlando, Megan has spent the holiday with us, so it was great to keep the tradition alive up here.
With dancer auditions coming up in just two short weeks, I made the excuse of the holiday as my last hurrah of splurging before it is time to get serious and eat extremely clean. (I plan to do a post on how I train and eat to prepare for an audition, then a photoshoot later this month!)
Clearly, the re fried bean, salsa, and cheese dip I helped put together fit into that category.
Everyone here talks about going “up north” for the summers. The cottage we were at was not part of the “UP” (or Upper Peninsula), or even up state, but sure seemed like something to rave about.
Whacko Island is a relatively new area for people and families to summer off of Elk Lake. Scott and I couldn’t get over how everyone knows everyone, and how welcoming the community is.
With just a short boat ride, a group of us went across the lake to play beach volleyball in a friend’s backyard Bub’s family met through cruising down the water one day.
When we pulled ashore, the owner of the house was inside and we got to know his holiday guests instead. I played volleyball with the group for a game, and then spent the next one practicing my skills with Ashley and this little cutie named Jacob.
About an hour later, our boat ride returned to take us home. As we made our way across the river, the guys on the boat made a joke about stopping to do tricks and flips off of the dock.
Word to the wise: Don’t ever joke about dares with Scott. You WILL be partaking in them!
For a good five minutes, we became quite entertained by the guys trying to one-up each other on different styles of flips and jumps into the lake. There just so happened to be music and a man on a microphone behind them emceeing the whole thing, which was hilarious. Fun community right?
We were greeted on land with a stack of hula hoops, which, of course, turned into another competition.
Does is surprise you to find out Scott and I went neck and neck for the win? My husband has the most random tricks up his sleeves, folks.
Back at the family’s backyard, we had to say goodbye to Bub and Ashley since they already had plans to spend the rest of the day with her family. We were ready to up and leave with them until Bub’s family insisted on us staying for dinner and fireworks. *Twist our arms*
Scott went to work on the grill while we helped get the rest of the sides ready inside. For being a holiday, I was very happy with the healthy barbecue options that ended up on my plate.
it can be tricky to stay on track with a healthy diet when you are a guest at someone’s house. With a few simple health conscious choices (like skipping the bun and slice of cheese on the burger), I loaded my plate with all the goods, and tried to drain the pasta and broccoli salads as much as possible. Everything was fantastic!
My complete splurge of the day? This homemade double chocolate raspberry cake. I almost had to stop myself from licking the plate, it was so good.
They sure know what they are doing in the kitchen here!
Lakeside Fun + Fireworks
Towards the end of dinner, everyone wondered where Bub’s brother, Mike, went… until we saw him out on the water paddleboarding.
I have wanted to try paddle boarding (or stand up paddle surfing) for a while! Knowing I would probably fall and get wet, I was hesitant to try, but got talked into doing it anyways.
I started out fine, but kept my body frozen as much as possible. I am one hundred percent sure I looked like an idiot, but my goal was to make a complete circle and stay dry doing it.
It was a success!
Later on, we took their neighbor’s paddle boat out for a spin while the guys used the paddle boards. Even though I made it to the shore safely, I somehow got talked into going back out and sitting on the front of Scott’s paddle board. That ride, however, (as you can imagine) did not result in me staying dry. I am still a little bitter about it. 😉
Before we knew it, the sun was setting and we were getting ready to go back out on the boat for fireworks! This has to be the prettiest sunset I have seen since moving up to Michigan.
While living in Orlando, Scott and I rented a condo on the eighth floor of a high rise that overlooked Turkey Lake and Universal Studios. This was the first time I have seen anything even remotely close to that view since we left.
It was absolutely breathtaking!
When the sun set and the sky darkened, we headed out to the middle of the lake to watch the fireworks show. Come to find out, the show is put on by one of the residents who sets everything up himself!
We were really impressed, and later found out that he receives donations from the community every year to put on the show only because his neighbor asks for it. That is just the type of community that lives here!
We spent the remainder of the night at a neighbor’s bonfire and it was the first time I felt like I was enjoying a real ” Michigan summer” up here. I look forward to hopefully spending many more days and nights lakeside before the fall.
Now it’s time to get ready to pack up for Columbus, Ohio! Scott and I are running in the Drenched 5K, then plan to stay the weekend in the state by meeting up with some friends a few hours away at Cedar Point. Can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Question of the Day
• What do you and your family do for the 4th? Any cool stories or traditions?