After an encouraging and fun time meeting with one of our supporting churches (Kingsley Baptist, Kingsley, MI), we decided to take advantage of our proximity... and take the gang to one of our favorite spots in Michigan: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. The car no sooner stopped in the parking lot and Rebekah, Nadia, Anna and Tori were already halfway up the huge dune that greets you there. It took Brendan (helping Jonathan) and Richelle (plodding along with Elsie Mae) a bit longer to achieve the summit of this first dune for a breathtaking view... ...of Glen Lake. Tim and I love Glen Lake and before we were married, Saturday dates would often find us in the area... at least as often as we could manage to escape from Midland. Whether we came to ski, sail, photograph lighthouses or watch the sunset while hiking along a Lake Michigan beach - you won't find a prettier place to enjoy God's marvelous creation... and time with a special person. ;-) One time, we rented a small boat and went sailing on the lake... and the wind whipped right up. Two foot waves are pretty big when your boat is only 10-12 feet long and we were so chilled afterwards that we went to the beach to sit and watch the sunset - but we stayed in the car with the heater blasting! This was also where we came for our honeymoon! Elsie Mae was quite the little trooper - and once she made it to the top of that first dune, she wanted to keep right on going, just like all the big kids. Go, Elsie Mae! Go! Action shots - as the big kids enjoyed the sun, wind, sand and gorgeous blue skies! Reluctantly, after a bit of time, I headed back down the dune to free Tim from M&M duty and allow him to climb up and chase the big kids around. Jonathan and Elsie Mae came with me... Brendan and Victoria weren't too far behind. I got to keep the camera (or Tim didn't want any extra weight as he hiked up that huge hill of sand), so we continued snapping photos at the base of the dune while we waited. Jonathan enjoyed pretending he was a baby lion hunting its prey... and trying to sneak through the grass to jump on me. I enjoyed trying to capture the vivid blue of his eyes with the camera... a smile at the same time was just the icing on the cake. And, as I was looking closely at those eyes... I noticed a "self-portrait" reflected within... As we waited for the other adventurers to descend, we had a ball playing in the sand... Mary Michelle especially. I think she must remember our giant sandbox of a yard because she knew immediately what to do with the sand. (And just take a look at that chubby little belly... so cute!) Aren't those little toes sweet? As we were leaving, we snagged a lady with a lovely British accent to snap some photos of the whole family... and then we were off to our next adventure! Well, actually, not... we sat in the parking lot for awhile while several family members visited "the facilities." The rest were either feeding the seagulls or watching a guy with a cape "sand"-boarding down a steep section of the dune! But that part of the story will have to wait for another day!