Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer Vacation, Part 4: Friends and Family

The main reason for our travels was to see our friends and families. While Carter was happy to see grandparents and aunts on both sides of the family (and uncles on Erik's side), he was especially keen on visiting with his cousins (all of them are pictured above). He had a grand time playing games, painting pictures, and attending the Manchester Fair's opening parade.

Carter goofing off with his cousins.

Eagerly awaiting candy at the parade.

Our quick trip did not allow us to reconnect with all of our friends, but we were able to see a few. Carter especially enjoyed playing with Taso, the son of one of Erik's school friends with whom he recently reconnected. Carter adores Taso, and the two pretended that they were lions in the tall grass, chased butterflies, and romped in the sprinkler.

Smelling wildflowers.

Carter lion in the tall grass.

A short break before chasing butterflies.

Summer Vacation, Part 3: Fireworks

No Fourth of July holiday is complete without some fireworks. Erik's brother Jordan and his family served as hosts for the Manchester, Michigan celebration. We have attended Manchester's display in the past, and the community puts on an impressive show that is far larger and more diverse than one would expect given its size. Below are a couple of other successful snapshots, and one of Erik and Carter enjoying the show.

Summer Vacation, Part 2: The Best Hot Dog Ever

After our visit to Quincy, we headed off to Chelsea, Michigan to see Erik's family. We also planned some side trips to see close friends. One road trip took us north, to Erik's hometown of Flint. Erik's grandmother passed away earlier this year, and he was unable to attend the funeral. We visited her grave, and the grave of his grandfather, in a cemetery outside of the city limits.

Erik promised Carter that we would have lunch at Angelo's Coney Island, a Flint institution and a favorite when Erik lived in Flint. He told Carter that it served the best hot dogs ever, and Carter agreed. In the photo above, Carter sits below an old article from the Flint Journal featuring a quote from his grandfather about Angelo's ("Good fast service. Crossroads of Flint."). In the photo below, Carter requested that Erik take a snapshop of the last bite of the best hot dog before he consumed it.

We were also fortunate that a dear family friend was available for a visit. Erik has known Anne since he was very young - she was a fellow administrator in the Flint Community Schools along with his father - and chatting with her always lifts his spirits.

Summer Vacation, Part 1: One Mississippi

Our annual trek to visit relatives began in Quincy, Illinois to see Lea's parents and sister. As Carter has grown and matured, he has shown greater patience for exploring. While we have visited Quincy on several occasions, we have never spent time along the Mississippi River. Quincy is in Mark Twain country - Hannibal, Missouri is nearby - so we enjoyed a lazy morning watching people fish, chatting with locals (and fellow travelers), witnessing a barge go through a lock, and wandering a bit in the main cemetery.

A heron perched along the river.

Storm damage in the cemetery.

Carter and Erik watching a barge move through the lock.

After celebrating Lea's mother's birthday, we packed up the car and headed to our next destination.