Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lake Erie

Thanks to everyone who voted on my poll! I have been remiss in making a decision on what to do for my commenters who know me, but don't have a blog, but I will make changes soon.

The Detroit Zoo was a fun way to spend our last day as a family together. Located only 20 minutes or so from our house, it was an easy drive and David surprised me by buying a full year family membership. Since we don't know anyone and the weather is warm, he figured we would enjoy spending our time together there. Having a membership also entitles you to visit special exhibits and, for example, feed the giraffes. The weather was overcast and a bit cool, so it was just simply a wonderful day to see the animals. No sweating whatsoever. : )

We tried to talk Rachel into getting her face painted, but she wasn't having it. Ha!

They currently have a neat dinosaur exhibit running, but Harbor was a tad intimidated by the mechanical animals. They moved, made noise, and blinked their eyes. It was very "Jurassic Park" in there, which made me want to watch the movies again at home. We didn't go in the exhibit, but hope to next time.

After the zoo, though we were tired from all the walking we did, we headed into the Lake Erie Metropark. The Metroparks system here reminds me a bit of Central Park in New York City. In a city where yards are nonexistent (our yard is the size of a shoebox! And we're paying a pretty penny for it, sadly!), the Metroparks serve as a huge area of uninterrupted green space where wild life roam and families can gather to experience a bit of the ol' outdoors away from smog, skyscrapers, and traffic.

It was a very foggy, cloudy day and it is hard to tell where the lake begins and the sky ends, but it was breathtaking. I certainly had never seen a lake so large in my life. It felt very "oceanish" and behind us, though you cannot see it, a huge white lighthouse stands on a rock platform amidst crashing waves. The lighthouse is white washed from years of spraying water and at its top is surrounded by a bright red lookout balcony. It is so quaint and strange even to live somewhere with real working lighthouses. I guess you can take the girl out of the south, but not the south out of the girl. It is an amazing sight and David's workplace is literally a five minutes drive to the entrance of the park. We also ended up buying a year membership to the park, too.. Sigh.. I simply cannot wait to bike the trails along the shoreline.

I think this picture is just dreamy. To the left is the Lake Erie water park with a wave pool and to the right is a cafe area, but dead ahead is the Great Lake. I can envision swimming here with Harbor and enjoying that cool, misty breeze. The Metropark is enormous with museums, nature preserves, a golf course, marinas, restaurants, sugar shacks in the winter for the making of maple syrup, and hiking trails. I'm sure we will have lots to enjoy that will make our membership worth the money.

In the first few days that my parents and Rachel left to head back to Arkansas- a grueling 15 hour drive if you only stop for gas- we have managed quite well, all things considered. I've been home full time for over a week now and my days are full and happy. I am so used to a full time career in teaching that I seem to have all my chores done by afternoon with plenty of play time. We have filled those hours with trips to the local Meijers (there is only one Walmart in Detroit. Period. ), the park on the river walk, and bike rides in the neighborhood.

I've been doing a lot of baking. Blueberry muffins and cookies have been fun treats for Harbor William and I to whip up.

And I don't care to confess that I bake both just to eat the dough, blueberry dough included. Gross, I know. But I love it.

We've played in the little pool in the backyard to keep cool. It is in the 90's here, too. If it weren't for the seagulls crying overhead, I could have an "Arkansas" moment in that heat. Thankfully, in Michigan, it only lasts a few weeks.

We've built cities of block. I have been architect, engineer, and demolition crew.

We've gone on long walks to the end of our street to watch the freight trains pass and listen to their lonely whistles as they head up into the city, barreling down the tracks to Chicago.

We paint and color every day. I take a good 30 minutes each afternoon and work with him in a pre-K home school type workbook that is very straight forward and has a great emphasis on basic early literacy skills. We have been working on "left" and "right" and matching, as well as beginning letter sounds. Harbor loves the workbook and because I keep our "sessions" short, neither of us tire out.

In other news, I have continued spray painting and shopping from our basement. I love having a basement. We had a walk-out basement when we built our house in Arkansas, and having another one is so handy. I have pretty much unloaded all of my decor and when I have an area I can work on, I go down, see what is available, and "shop." It makes it nice and easy.

I bought this picture a few years ago at a thrift store with no idea whatsoever of where I would put it. And so it sat, untouched for a good three years or so. On one recent trip to our basement warehouse, however, the blues of the sky seemed to speak to me, and I knew where it belonged.

Heirloom white by Rustoleum is such a great color. Finally, a white that is not bright nor cream! It truly is a great white for indoor projects.

A little computer paper under the edge of the frame (it always works best for me!), some painter's tape and a few sprays and the frame really felt right.

It looks great above David's tallboy dresser and goes perfectly with the whites and sea blues and greens of our fabric and furniture.

And this picture is for my sweet mom who spent many days sewing drapes for me out of fabric I bought and carried here from Arkansas. Do you remember this fabric? While I originally had planned on a shower curtain, I changed my mind when I saw how the light played off the blue silk. They became our bedroom drapes. She also made another set of bedroom drapes out of the bird material for an opposite wall. Thanks, mom! Enjoy your sneak peek of the room!

Our house has been a fun challenge in terms of decorating. With so much charm and character, a 1920's home really seems to decorate itself. Its wood floors, glass knobs, solid mahogany doors and trim, curved ceilings, trim and mouldings, and spindle stair case almost beg to be left alone. It has been a challenge to make it modern, but let the house speak for itself.

Here is a snapshot of some of the trim work on the ceiling in the kitchen, beyond the range hood.
You can also see some of the paint in the dining room. The ceilings are curved in there as well, so the trim is lower to encompass the arches.

And our foyer is just brilliant in all that rich, original wood!

I'm not saying homes built in the 1910's and 20's are for everyone. The floors creak, forget cute faux wooden blinds (we still have the original leaded plantation shutters), the front door is 82 years old and we have discovered no one in Detroit can make a spare key, and the walls and ceilings are cut at odd angles, but this is home now. And I honestly love it. Pairing a 1920's home with lime green and chevron? Yes, please.


  1. Its been fun reading your posts on MI :) I'm a girl from the West side of the state and have read your blog since before Harbor was born.
    We took our kids to the Detroit Zoo over spring break and had a great day! You might want to double check if your membership applies to other zoos in MI, OH & IL.
    In regards to Meijer, it is a great grocery store in our area. The WalMart does not have the best reputation here as far as meat & produce are concerned.
    Look forward to seeing more posts on our Great Lake State!

  2. I LOVE old homes, especially that time period! Can't wait to see all your house projects. Looks like a such a fun adventure!

  3. You always seem so organized. You seem to balance well the different areas of life with playing with Harbor and teaching him, having fun with your hubby, doing projects and housework. Would you consider doing some posts on how you structure your day and Harbor's? I am a stay at home mom coming from an education setting as well. I thrive on structure and I know little ones do as well, and I am having so much trouble balancing out housework, playing with my little one, doing fun things together, having teaching times each day, and having a little time left for hobbies. Any advice you have or ideas on how you do things would be much appreciated!

  4. Looks like such a fun trip to the zoo! We love it too :) And it looks like you're filling your days with wonderful activities!

  5. The zoo was so fun! I can't wait for my next visit so I can see the polar bears again! :) LOVE the curtains! I knew they would look just right! Give HW a kiss from Rachel! Love you and miss you!

  6. Your new home is beautiful! Enjoy your time with Harbor! When Brooklynn was little I wanted nothing more than to be a full time stay at home mom (that wish didn't come true until Trail). I can't wait to hear more about your new life in Michigan!

  7. The zoo looks awesome! The curtains look amazing. You and your mom are so talented.

  8. Looks like you are settling in nicely. Your home has so much character...I bet so much fun decorating. Happy Weekending!

  9. Your house is looking good! You should check out the Columbus zoo sometime for a family roadtrip. Careful though, that's Buckeye country so David shouldn't wear his razorback gear. :) Wish we were closer.