Saturday, June 22, 2013

One Year Later

A year ago this weekend...
I got a great flight deal so I decided to go to Grand Haven for the weekend to visit family and friends, to enjoy one of my favorite places for a few days.
I soaked up the sun at the beach and walked along the boardwalk.
I spent time with family and friends...from great aunts and uncles to little babies .
I wandered along the beach to check out the sand castle competition.

I watched the musical fountain, ate ice cream and had a pronto pup or two.
I met with a relator in town for the first time and spent a few hours looking at houses. Some too big, some too small, some too far away,  some just too weird - but enjoyed looking and pondering more of what I was looking for or if I was even sure I wanted to buy a house in a state I didn't live in!

This weekend...
I wish I could be in Grand Haven...checking out the sand castles and
eating a few pronto pups!
I will have been the home owner of Ruth's Retreat in Grand Haven for almost 6 months - a house in a state I don't live in, but love dearly.
I will finish up details for a summer full of family's who will spend time enjoying Grand Haven and staying at Ruth's Retreat.  At this point over 30 adults and their 30+ little kids will spend some sweet summer days at Ruth's for vacation in Grand Haven.  Eating meals around the dining room table that my dad and I assembled - a table that celebrated it's first meal with dear family friends on a snowy evening back in February.  Playing in a yard that is being maintained by some of the same dear family friends - the same ones who Grandma Ruth played with and loved on over 30 years ago - just a few blocks away at her house in Grand Haven.  It has been the details I have loved seeing come together this year - down to the fact that my parents found the wind-chimes and front door decoration that Grandma had hanging at her house in Colorado and brought them out.  As the breeze blows off the lake, little sweet reminders of memories past drift by as new ones are being created.
I will marvel at how this has all come together in the last 6 months and be grateful!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fourth of July Fun!

Looking for a great way to celebrate the 4th in West Michigan?

Head to Ferrysburg to start your day and celebrate the 4th in style  - the parade starts at 10:30am at City Hall! Check out for more information!

After lunch and maybe some time at the beach, boardwalk or downtown Grand Haven head back over the bridge to Spring Lake for the 4th of July Lawn Party at the Holiday Inn. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and stake your spot on the Great Lawn for the fireworks and enjoy entertainment that includes inflatable activities for children, backyard bbq food specials, and a live band on the lawn.  The fun starts at 5pm!  Go to for details!

Want to stay on the boardwalk for the fire works instead? The Grand Haven annual 4th of July Fireworks display lights up the night sky right after the Musical Fountain at Waterfront Stadium!  Grab some ice cream and enjoy the show!

Wherever you might be have a happy 4th!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Fathers Day - a sweet day to celebrate dads, grandpas, uncles and so many more fatherly figures! To the man who saw most of our family vacations and events 1/2 in black and white and half in color as he filmed them with our big 1980's video camera, film camera slung around his other shoulder.  To the man who wouldn't let me leave the driveway without proving I could change the tire on my first car in college.  Or the man who flew or drove to his home town in Michigan several times (2x's in the dead of winter... which he hates!)over the last year to check out a house I was interested in, was going to buy and then had bought.  The man who gave me tires, tools and cameras for Christmas and picks me up at the airport every time I fly home for the last 8 years.
Cowboy boots & bare feet enjoying the Grand Haven beach!

I recently came across the quote "A father carries pictures where his money used to be.” – Anonymous
This would be my dad - 15 plus years of school pictures worn and weathered.  Or the fact that I used to love "borrowing" his sweatshirts in high school and apparently had the habit of stretching the cuffs out on the sleeves - which he now is reminded of whenever he wears most of them and tries to push the sleeves up and finds they won't stay. Opps :)  Or as I sit here writing this post wearing one of my favorite shirts, an old chambary shirt that I "borrowed" a few years ago when I was home for a wedding...and it somehow found its way back into my suitcase and back to Virginia. 

Hope you all are able to celebrate the men in your life today, or to reflect on the legacy they left behind.  For the ways they love you and make you feel special - even if it might take you a decade or two to see it.  As my uncle has always told me... "I am his favorite niece."  And as I often say back "I am your only niece!"  but I am always met with "but you are still my favorite!"

“It’s only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home. It’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love.” – Margaret Truman

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ready for Summer!

We came to work, but we also hoped to play a little...we were expecting spring, but ready for a little summer...and Grand Haven didn't disappoint for us a few weeks ago!  It was great to be back at Ruth's, only the second visit since owning the house, but it felt like home as soon as we walked in, and even more-so when we left again a few days later.  Fun moments putting finishing touches on the house as we approach summer rental weeks.  The farmers market had opened the week before and we walked away with some great local treats!
Tomatoes, asparagus, a cherry scone (breakfast!!), handmade basil & garlic pasta, a sweet smelling bouquet and a planter to welcome guests for the front door!

The local antique mall was a great find that I can't wait to go back to again, endless treasures and lots of great deals to be found!  Look for a post on this alone coming soon... but for now I will share some of favorite finds that we added to the house!

The street signs I have to give credit to dear family friend and Ruth's manager John for finding in a back corner of the antique mall.  Lafayette and Prospect are two early streets in Grand Haven.  If you are familiar with GH you might better know Prospect as Five Mile Hill, and if you are not familiar with GH, I highly suggest you check out Five Mile Hill when you visit!
The dresser was another fun find - it had been originally purchased from a local department store by the dealers wife's parents when they got married!

                                 We also spent time planting flowers in the flower boxes, a sweet and fun job that simply reminded me of the many hours I spent in the yard with Grandma Ruth growing up.  My parents had even found a couple of wind chimes that Grandma had up at her house in Colorado for years that we hung it the yard.  Now when the breeze blows off the lake it even sounds like childhood memories at Grandma Ruth's!  There were so many elements of this weekend that reminded me of Grandma.  Getting to put all the finishing touches on things gave me great joy - to imagine the guests who will walk through Ruth's this summer.  This was something I feel like I learned from Grandma.  She paid attention to the details, from the hand written note for recitals, to perfectly tied bows and ribbons on packages to little craft projects we did together.  Speaking of craft protects look for a post on the pallet wood signs I painted for the house, and an engagement party or two for friends here in Virginia - such a fun trash turned fun treasure!

Last but certainly not least, we played a little too!  The sun was shining, it was kite festival weekend at the beach and not to mention Ruth's also had their first guest joining my mom and I for the trip!  My mom's cousin Kathy from Nebraska came and worked and played with us!  So we had to introduce her some of our favorites like walks on the boardwalk, the light house and beach, pronto pups, ice cream, fish, Duncan woods, 5 mile hill and much more! Thanks to Kathy for taking vacation time to come work with us! Make sure to check out Inside Ruth's Retreat for all new pics of the house!
Let's just say she was a little confused why all these people were waiting in line for a Pronto Pup...  but she quickly understood and asked if we could stop back by again the next day!