Over my birthday (33 — how did that happen?!?) weekend, we went to the Indiana Dunes with the Bonds and the Haskells. We left on Thursday and were able to go for a quick swim at the hotel before the Bonds and Haskells arrived and we went in search of dinner. There were six adults and seven kids (that twin thing… ;)) and the kids were sooo excited to all be together.
The hotel we were at was on a lake (or a swamp… it wasn’t the nicest lake, but still, it was a lake… kinda…) and we were able to sit outside of our rooms while the kids chased and fed the geese, skipped rocks, and entertained each other. It was actually surprisingly peaceful.
On Friday, the 4th, we were up early for breakfast and loaded up for the beach. We were only about 5 minutes from the Indiana Dunes State Park area with the nice public beach — and we arrived just in time. It was packed! We had a great spot though — close to the water and where we could watch the kids. I think we were all happy. The kids loved splashing in the water, running up the dune, playing ball, building sand castles, etc. The guys played ball for a long time and Jamie, Jocelyn, and I just enjoyed sitting and chatting quite a bit. The weather was absolutely beautiful. Not too hot with a nice breeze, yet just warm enough that it was okay to get in the water. We had a picnic on the beach and packed up around 1:30 to head back to the hotel.
I played the “Birthday card” and Jamie, Jocelyn, and I snuck away to the outlet mall in Michigan City for a bit while the guys took the kids swimming at the hotel and they rested a bit. We weren’t gone for long but we did manage to find a few deals. There was basically nothing open for dinner so we ended up at Applebees. The kids were significantly more docile at dinner after a day at the beach, swimming, etc. After dinner, we drove to a nearby town to watch the fireworks. We couldn’t have planned it better — we had a great view. The kids were all tired (and so was I!) by this point — but it was still nice. It just isn’t the 4th without fireworks!
On Saturday, we headed out and explored the New Buffalo, Michigan area a bit. We went to Captain Mike’s and played mini-golf and then went to the park/splash pad area to let the kids play and have a picnic. We tossed around some other ideas but finally settled on just going back to the hotel, swimming, and sitting by the swamp. The kids were just happy to be together — and so were the grown-ups really… Jamie commented (and I thought as well) that she had relaxed more in those few days than she had in months. It was really quite nice!
On Saturday evening, we went out for Mexican for dinner (my fav!) and ordered a pitcher of strawberry margaritas. Let’s just say I stopped just in time! At one point during dinner (Bo was sitting next to me) he asked, “Does Mexican food make you feel young again?” I laughed so hard I cried.
After dinner, we took the kids out for ice cream and retreated back to the swamp. As it started to get dark we were lucky enough to have a front-row (as in within feet of our hotel rooms) fireworks show for a wedding that was taking place across the swamp. It was really neat — and very loud!
We all headed home on Sunday morning after breakfast. I felt like we had been gone much longer than just a few days. It’s amazing that such a beautiful beach is so close to our home. I’m already plotting and planning ways to get back there next year for the 4th. I’ve had a lot of wonderful birthdays (my FB was filled with memories from Birthdays past — thanks Mandy and ML :)) and this one had many elements I appreciate — my family, great friends, sand, water, Mexican food, and relaxing.