Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nana's Dunes...rather Indiana Dunes

Sunset on Lake Michigan
Last hike at sunset

view as you come up over the stairs on the hike

"Are we going to Nana's Dunes?" Brennan kept asking as we began our hike up the dunes. All he could hear was the "iana" part of the Indiana and well it became nana's dunes for him. They were such great hikers for their age. The hike was up steep sandy dunes and flights of stairs then down the dunes. As we came up over the first part of the dunes you could see over the tree lines, down to the coast of Lake Michigan; it was very beautiful. The evening we arrived and did this first hike, it was sunset and the air was nice and chilly. We then came to the downward slide of the dune and it was a wonderful time. The boys, Scott (with Satchemo on his back), and I ran down those dunes laughing the whole way. I have never had so much fun. Then to see Lake Michigan bathed in the fading sunlight was breathtaking.

Brennan coasting on his bike

Samuel riding like a big boy, no training wheels

We camped and had a great time. The boys also loved riding their bicycles around the campground. As we were riding in the van from doing some laundry, Brennan says, "I love Samuel he's my bro...he is strong and big and he takes care of me when we ride our bikes." Playing at the beach and letting the boys roam the dunes was the best part. All three of them just enjoyed climbing these sandy hills and discovering new and wonderful things. They loved running down them. The last evening we were there, we went to see the sunset again over the Lake, especially so my mom could experience the beauty. Samuel requested that we make the hike one last time. So, mom took the baby in the van and Scott and I hiked with the other two. This time running down the last dune, Brennan ran the whole way by himself. Scott and I never laughed so hard. His feet were flying and he had a pure look of terror mixed with excitement on his face. We thought for sure he was going to bite the "sand," but he stayed upright the whole way! At the end, he was very proud of himself, with a huge grin on his face.

top of the hike

Samuel loved the water...even though it was so cold, he wanted to go out in it, all the way out to the sand bar. At one point Brennan, Samuel, Scott and I were all out on the sandbar. Satchemo was constantly on the go...his favorite spot at the campsite was the water fountain. Brennan had showed him how to turn on the lower spicket and well needless to say, that is were you could usually find him.

The big surprise of the trip was that Scott had bought tickets for the show "Peter Pan" in Chicago. So, mom stayed with the baby and the rest of us went to Chicago. It was a great show! The theatre was set up in a parking lot and the stage was circular. All around the top was a screen that was 360. As the scenes changed, so did the screen and it was virtual so it felt real. As the characters flew the scenes moved along with their flying. It was a unique spin on the original play, but nonetheless it was very well done. One interesting aspect of the show was they used puppets (or more like marinates). The puppeteer was on the stage and it was as if he and the puppets were one in the same. He would act along side the "nanna" the dog was a puppet and the crocodile was a "puppet" of sorts. One man operated the mouth and front legs were his and the back legs were part of second man. Scott and I thought that the pirates and crocodile would scare Brennan, but he said the crocodile was his favorite part. He loved that the teeth were made from clothes pins. During intermission, Samuel was trying to fly by placing his belly on the chairs. The only negative aspects were there was some cussing, and captain hook kills some of his mates, also Tiger Lily's dance was a little too seductive for "peter pan," but most of this went over the boys' heads. It was so much fun! Scott was so sweet to plan it all; he knew how much I wanted to see it and how much I wanted the older boys to see it also. Brennan is now going around the house jumping and twirling, being Peter pan!

There was also some nighttime excitement to our camping adventures. We had visitors almost every night. These little masked bandits were after food and not afraid of us humans. I think Scott and our young neighbors next door sort of liked the sport of trying to chase off the raccoons. One night Scott managed to chase one up a tree. Mema was also brave...she chased one off finally after it raised up on it's hind legs appearing not to be too afraid of her. It was great having mom along for the last couple of nights. She helped with the boys and enjoyed seeing them play at the beach. The last night Mema was sitting by the campfire eating s'mores and sharing stories with the boys; it is something I hope never to forget.

My prayer is that our boys will not remember how many toys they had, how clean our house was or wasn't, or what kind of clothes they wore...rather I pray they remember running down sand dunes, getting so dirty and sandy then sleeping wonderfully with the sound of whip-or-wills in the background, stories with mema around the campfire, and beautiful hikes in God's creation with mom and tati. These are the legacies we leave our children...memories, wonderful memories.

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