camping at Holland State Park

We always try and plan a car camping trip with the boys every summer. This was it this year. We’d probably go more, but it’s a huge hassle with little kids (namely, Ray). We had to bring the pack-n-play because he only crawls, so we couldn’t let him just crawl around in the dirt. And then we had to bring the easy up for the beach, the walker for Ray, two tents so that Ray could have his own area in one tent to sleep in …. needy kid. Anyway, it was fun. We really had a good time. Even though all the campsites around southern Michigan are basically RV parks, it was nice and quiet and the best part was that the campsite was about 50 yards from a little beach on Lake Macatawa, which connects to Lake Michigan via a channel. And on that little beach, was a place to rent kayaks and paddle boards, so both Daniel and I (separately because Ray can’t go in a kayak) paddled out to Lake Michigan with the boys. It was cool.

The lake was pretty and the beach had soft sand and was clean, so it was awesome! I couldn’t help but be a little embarrassed while hauling down to the beach: the easy up, pack-n-play, cooler, food bin, large polka-dotted beach bag, diaper bag, toys and camera bag. But at least it was fun and we camped out there on the beach the whole day on Friday.

After camping Thursday night and spending all day on Friday on the beach and  kayaking, we headed out to a Marriott hotel about an hour away. Honestly, we weren’t sure Ray would be able to handle life after two days with probably interrupted or truncated naps, so we had the hotel reservation in case we wanted to cancel that day and just head home on Friday, but Ray was holding it together, so off we went with showers and eating out dancing in our heads.

I have to say, the hotel was one of the best ways to make a stop off before home while doing a camping trip and here’s why: we destroyed that hotel room. There was sand everywhere. Along with dirty foot prints, smelly clothes, food remnants …. it looked crazy that night. Truthfully, I was soooooo glad I didn’t have to clean that tub once we were done with it. Best Marriott points usage ever. We stopped off, cleaned up and showered up. It was wonderful. I had time to clean up the car a little and organize the mound of dirty laundry and we got to eat out, so that was awesome too. Usually when we get home from a camping trip it’s a smelly, dirty event. The front room is usually piled with dirty camping gear, a cooler full of old, half rotten food, dirty, stinky boys that decimate my bathroom, and black footprints everywhere. This hotel stop off fixed all that. I feel sorry for the poor cleaning ladies that followed us. I’m so sorry. But so glad it wasn’t mine at the same time :)

Ray, however, was NOT doing well after days of irregular and nonexistent napping, so by Friday night he was a sobbing mess. Daniel went out with the boys for food and I tried to get Ray to sleep. Major fail. He cried for half an hour, then I got him out of his pack-n-play and watched golf and food network with him to try and get him to fall asleep …. no go. So then I put him pack in his pack-n-play and hid behind a bed, so he thought he was alone and could fall asleep. I sat there on the floor next to the bed texting and checking email on my phone for about 25 minutes before I was starving and frustrated. Ray seemed happy, but not sleepy. I gave up, Daniel came back with Chipotle and donuts (I don’t know if I’ve loved a man more than when I saw him walk in with Chipotle and donuts in hand for me) and we all hung out, ate and then every one of us went to bed at 8:30 pm. It was awesome. I was so tired.

We got up Saturday morning (today) ate the free breakfast and swam in the hotel pool and hung out in the hot tub – which was Ray’s first pool experience, he did great! It was wonderful and refreshing and we were ready for the 3 hour long ride home.

Good times. Here are all the pictures:







We tried putting Ray down by the water, but he just screamed. We let him scream and ruin everyone’s beach experience for a few minutes, then gave up when he never calmed down. He was terrified. It was a terrified scream. So sad. So we set him up right here on the towel with puffs to cram in his face. And that’s how Ray enjoyed the beach … the whole trip. He didn’t seem wild about the sand, or the water … yeah, so that’s really what the beach is, so I guess he doesn’t like the beach. He must not be my kid. I don’t get it.

Oh man, how would you like THAT hunk of a man walking towards you out of the water??!!! Huh?!! ….. sooooo hot.

My boys. Ray above and Noah and Liam below. Just beautiful little souls.


Oh man, Ray’s face in the one above is hilarious, right?

OK, so this always happens to me. I take a LOT of pictures of Daniel and the boys. And I work hard, taking several, to make sure I get good shots of each of them, because I want to remember them at this age and have sweet picture memories. But I am very rarely photographed. Not because I’m afraid of the camera or something, but because nobody thinks to take the camera from me and take a shot of me. So I have gotten in the habit lately, of telling Daniel that nobody has taken my picture and I hand hi the camera. So this happened. But evidently, Daniel does not want to remember me at this age or have sweet picture memories or get a good shot of me, because he took pictures like this one:

ummmmm, I don’t even know where to begin. This is possibly the worst picture of me ever. I never want to remember this. And also, I’m not even looking at the camera. He didn’t tell me to look or say cheese, or suck in that nasty mommy middle of yours as best as you can, cuz you’re not gonna want to remember that!

I’m sneering, looking at what must be a bug or something on my hand and I’m slouched over, sticking my tummy out …. oh my gosh. It’s a good thing I have no shame and can show this picture, just to prove a point. And who in the blazes is that weird dude in the background?? Sheesh. So here’s one of the 50 pictures I took of Daniel:

Beautiful, right? Nice background, sweet smile, good lighting …. this is what I was hoping for. Instead I get about 5 random, unflattering shots of me.

This one isn’t terrible, but I’m not looking and he didn’t even give me a chance to suck I that hideous middle of mine that I haven’t been able to shake since Ray was born. Whatever. There’s me. In all of my unaware glory.

Liam lives too much of his life upset and dissatisfied, like he is in this picture. So funny that Daniel caught it on camera.

It wouldn’t be camping without s’mores :)

Liam has a bit of an obsession with law enforcement dudes lately. He thinks they’re pretty cool. So when a Ranger walked by our campsite, Liam lit up and said, “Mommy, look! A officer!” I told him he was a ranger and he was all excited. I’m sure the guy heard him. He wanted to go say hi to the ranger after he passed, but was too scared to go by himself. This was a picture of Noah going with him for moral support, to say hi.

Then there was kayaking:

And that’s camping!




2 thoughts on “camping at Holland State Park

  1. Hey, I loved EVERY picture and all the great descriptions. It looks like a beautiful location. You did, however, forget to take a picture of the hotel mess – that needs to be documented, right? So glad you had fun.

  2. Haha! I loved this whole post. That picture of Ray from behind is still making me laugh out loud every time I think about it. Classic. The boys are so grown up and it makes me sad. It’s good to see their pictures. I also loved the photos of you! I can truly appreciate it because Kris does the same thing to me. I will forever be branded in history with these gosh awful, unflattering pictures. What ever happened to the angelic pictures of moms and their sweet babies laughing and cuddling and adoring them. I have none of those shots with my kids. You still look fantastic even in the bad shots. Love you!

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