Our Trip to the UP, PART 1

Hi again! We all got back from the Upper Peninsula just a few days ago. We had a great time. I’ve had requests to share some pictures (unfortunately there are no drawings to go along with them). We traveled up north to the Cheboygan County Fair, and then up to Escanaba in the UP. We had never been up that far before and really enjoyed the sights (and tourist traps!). This picture was taken from our show…we played around some with the settings to get the cool effect.
While we were in Cheboygan, Sam took the kids fishing one day. They each caught a few fish (we threw them back), and had a great time. The third picture is taken from the suburban of the back of the octopus truck…which Sam was driving with white knuckles the whole 5 miles across the Mackinaw Bridge. I don’t know why he was so nervous, I was the one pulling the camper.It was about a 3 hour drive to Escanaba from the bridge. The weather was wonderful, and we so wanted to join the hundreds of other cars that pulled off highway 2 to swim in Lake Michigan, but we had to get there, get the camper set up and set up the show at the fairgrounds. The fair at Escanaba was the UP State Fair, so it was huge. We had a great time there and it was a great ending to the season. Thankfully Jasmin, our babysitter, nanny, and friend, was able to join us. She worked the show so we could go on a few excursions to see the cool stuff around Escanaba. One day we went up to the Sand Point Lighthouse with the kids. That was pretty cool. This picture was taken on the stairway of the lighthouse.

Our Trip to the UP, Part 2

We had a great time in our camper, too. We found that we could use a little more space, but it will serve us fine for now. Earlier this summer we discovered a gas leak, and had that repaired during our 2 weeks at home at the end of July. Above, Jasmin is hanging out with the kids during our only campfire in Escanaba. We actually stayed at campgrounds, instead of at the fair grounds. It gave the kids a place to explore and play while we were working the show. Trust me, they did spend plenty of time at the fair, though. We picked one day at each fair and got them and Jasmin armbands so they could ride the rides. That was always a highlight of their week. Back to the campfire…we didn’t do campfires, because at night Sam and I were always at the show, and Jasmin was tucking in the kids – trying to get them to bed at a decent hour. So campfires didn’t really fit in there. But on tear down day at Escanaba, the fair closed at 6:00. We actually got to tear down in the daylight and were out of there by 7:30. So Sam and I went to eat afterwards and then headed back to camp with the truck. Since it was only like 8:30, we picked up some firewood and got out our smore stuff and had a nice campfire. It was kind of like a celebration…Escanaba will probably be the last fair for the Giant Octopus, because we are working on some new ideas for next year. On the way home, we did take the opportunity to stop and play on the beach along Highway 2. It was a lot colder, windy and the weather had been rainy in the morning, so there was hardly anyone there. We pulled off at a little roadside park that had real bathrooms (thank goodness!) and a walkway down to the beach. Jasmin was all about building a sandcastle with the boys and their new buckets from Big Boy (in Manistique – where we had stopped to eat a little earlier). Savannah told us she only wanted to wade in the water, but she ended up totally going swimming in her clothes! (Sound familiar, mom?) It was no big deal, though, because we had dry ones up in the camper. We stayed down on the beach for a while, enjoying the beautiful weather and watching the kids play in the sand and then we headed back up the hill to where we parked our car. As we were getting ready to load up, a family came over to us to ask us about the octopus show. I had seen the mom in the bathroom and had told her a little about it…anyway, Sam ended up getting Oswald out, so they could see him and he showed them all the parts and even let them touch him. It was pretty cool and they were very fascinated. It was fun to share Oswald with someone one last time. We hooked them up with some informational postcards about the Giant Pacific Octopus and then we were on our way, after washing up our hands really good. Headed back over the bridge (this time at 20 mph under a high wind advisory) and down to Indian River where we stayed a couple of days at a really cool campground. On Tuesday we left and after spending the afternoon in Grayling (fixing the radiator hose on the octopus truck) we ended up at Sam’s mom’s house to spend the night. We all slept great and the boys went to get haircuts in the morning while Penny gave me a wonderful massage that was so appreciated after spending 3 weeks sleeping on the bed in the camper! This is a picture that Jasmin took of me and Sam on the beach. It looks more to me like I am holding a giant purple ball in front of me…but really that’s my belly! Only ten more weeks to go! Can you believe it?

I haven’t been very good about keeping this updated for the summer, so I will try to do some catch up tonight. We are on our 3rd fair with our Octopus show this summer. This week we are at the Ingham County Fair. We have a great location and it’s been so far the best of the three we have been to. Sam is still working this week at his regular job, since Mason is only a half hour a way, he then drives up there to work for the evening. Jasmin has been opening the show each day and Savannah has been working with her in the afternoon. They seem to be having a good time. I keep the boys at home, and we try to get stuff done, but seriously, 97 degrees is too hot to do anything. We haven’t had our air on all summer because we have been away so much, and it’s really unbearable this week. I am just having such a hard time with it, and being 26 weeks pregnant does not help. I take like 4 cold showers a day and it’s barely helping. Today I went and spent some time in my friend’s pool. Her water temp was 85 degrees. I would consider that warm normally, but it totally felt cold because my body temp is so hot! But it did feel nice while I was in the water and it was so refreshing. If I had a pool, on days like today, I’d be in it all day! It’s 90 degrees in our house, and our freezer is even having a hard time keeping the ice cream frozen. It probably doesn’t help that I have to open it every couple of hours to get ice for my water – which I am now rationing!
We wanted to take all the kids to the fair this week sometime to ride rides, but with it so hot, we (my sister in law and I) do not feel like dragging kids around a dirty hot midway with sweat dripping from every part of our bodies and the kids complaining every few minutes about something. It’s supposed to cool down a little this weekend, so maybe friday or Saturday.
Here are some super cute pictures I wanted to share with you. Karson, our 3 year old is so enthralled with our octopus that he sometimes stands and stares in the portholes at the show for like 10 minutes. You just have to wonder what is going on in his mind. Anyway, at Muskegon, the whole family would go open up the show, and Karson wanted to help Sam put the octopus in the tank, so Sam had him help, gave him a glove and everything. (Oswald is stored in Alcohol over night in the white bucket). Karson loves to pick up the octopus’ tentacles and investigate the tiny suction cups on the tips. He watches carefully as Sam lifts it up into the tank, and then Sam has him check it to make sure he looks good in the water. Karson then throws away his glove and goes out to check the view from the window and gives Sam a thumbs up if it looks good. It’s so cute. Sam loves having him help out. He doesn’t get to this week, but maybe at our next fair.