Hey, I have some great news for you all - this entry isn't going to be a laundry list of money miletones and sewing accomplishments! Yay!
My parents came to visit in June. I have been meaning to make this entry for a while. We spent a few days working in my garden, but I'm going to save that for another post.
We also drove to Niagara Falls (only about 4 hours from my house in MI if you take the shortcut through Canada) and spent a few days enjoying the tourist traps there, eating and wandering around. None of us had ever been before and it was a good time, though I'm not sure I'd recommend it to others. The most interesting part to me was comparing the Canadian side to the US side. The Canadian side had a lot of clean nice hotels, beautiful waterfront, nice restaurants, beautiful landscaping, helpful people, great transportation system, etc. The US side was a dirty aging National Park with sullen teenagers working the ticket stands and planters full of weeds. It was kind of shocking to be confronted with US vs. Canada that starkly. Very interesting to have such a natural wonder of the world on a country border like that.
There was a 'free appetizers reception' at our hotel, which was really just pickles and pretzels. I probably had 15 pickles a day >_> I LOVE PICKLES.
Look, a picture of Jason and me that isn't from our wedding. Amazing.
The whole gang. Look how good my dad looks! He had a flushed red face for 20+ years that we recently learned was a result of carcinoid syndrome from his neuroendocrine cancer (very slow-growing; they think he had it for 25 years.) After they removed most of the growth, the redness went away.
On the Canadian side of attractions, we have the Hornblower Cruise, which is a little ship full of tourists in ponchos that navigates right up to the falls, to the point that you are being pelted with mist, water, and wind. It was a pretty intense experience, better than i expected! My mom just laughed the entire time about the absurdity of it; the little ship crawling with red-ponchoed tourists, venturing into this violent, cataclysmic storm of wind and rain.
More from the Hornblower, though of course pictures never do it justice. We were all getting pelted with water, the air was a thick, choking mist, and it was a struggle to keep one's balance in the force of the wind.
Out of nowhere, a pretty shaded garden. There were lots of little touristy things like this, though I dont' have many pictures of those. An Elvis singing in the middle of a pavilion, magic shows everywhere, arcades, laser tag, etc. The waterfall isn't really enough to fill a weekend, so there are a lot of little hokey things to do. I really wanted to see the 'flower clock' which is apparently a giant clock made of flowers, though we didn't make it that far. This little garden will have to do.
On the US side, they have a walk called 'Cave of the Winds' where you walk under the waterfall; the cave actually collapsed in 1920 but they haven't re-named the attraction. Present day, it's basically a boardwalk right near the waterfall. You can get totally soaked up on the 'Hurricane Deck' or stay mostly dry and observational from the lower decks. It was pretty ridiculous and fun!
I like this picture because it looks like some sort of nature documentary. "Right behind me, you can see the raging power of Niagara!" lol.
Dad's nature documentary continues. This isn't even the hurricane deck, yet! We didn't take any pictures there because there was too much water and wind.
What it's like to play boardgames at my house. Baked Potato always wins. (Castles of Mad King Ludwig is the pictured game, one of my favorites! Not great to play on my map tablecloth, though, oops. Everything blended together.)
That's about it; I didn't take many pictures. (I didn't take any, actually, these are all Jason's or my parents.)
Hopefully I'll make a big post about the garden, soon, though I'm missing 'before' pictures so it's hard to give you an idea of how much we really accomplished. Some exciting things are happening, not just 'coming soon' but actually happening, whoo! I need to catch up on these little vacation posts so I can get back to that.
I can't even tell you how nice it is to have something to post about other than money and tears. Thanks so much for hanging in there with me during those tough couple of years. Barring some new disaster we are pretty much out of the woods. Strawberry salads, garden plants, fun fabrics, very small weekend trips, and steam games are all back in the budget, and life is much more fulfilling as a result. <3