Monday, July 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home

There and back again!
No, this isn't the family cottage in Michigan. It happens to be one of my favorite houses near where we live here in The Netherlands. Daughter Amy says coming home is always the best part of going away. She's right. But there's more...which is what my post is about today at Vision and Verb.

In the meantime, here's a bit of a visual from the Michigan cottage, a total of 1750 miles driving to and fro. My disclaimer is that I took only my 100mm macro lens with me and had no intention of documenting the family time. Therefore, it shouldn't surprise you, let alone me, that I took no pics of my own kids! (What was I thinking???) But in the end, they wanted to see what I did take.

In the early hours of Friday when the rest of the family had not yet arrived,
the few of us there found ways to use our time.

That's the fun of vacation time. You get to play, few or many!

And then everyone arrives and more fun happens.

Our family cottage is on Horseshoe Lake, big enough for speedboats
but small enough and more cozy for pontoon and fishing boats.

All our fishing, however, is off the dock.
You should have seen the bass that got away! Don't you love how the kids are part of it.

Inside the cottage has its own joys and thrills, of course.
Like Asher watching Aunt Susan (my sister) making her deviled eggs...a family tradition.

Or Eli helping Dad out with breakfast.

Of course, there's lots of sitting-around time, watching and listening...

...Dad time around the laptop...

...and G'ma time with Wilma, the Mother of all Grandmas!
They were all on or next to her much of the time.

Uncle Jeff joined the family on May 14 when he married Katy,
the daughter of my sister's daughter...yup, 3 generations. Is that possible?

Let's just say he's a big hit....and a match for Aden.

There's always at least one children's movie.
Don't you love how the boys and girls (the cousins) 'segregate' themselves!

Saving the best for 5 sibs of 7 who were there: Nelson, Susan, Nancy, Jim and Ruth. In chronological age, I follow Susan. Bennett, who follows Nancy, walks around the Universe somewhere. John, who follows Jim, was not present. (Lest you be confused, I have two pictures of each except for Susan.) The spread from top to bottom is 14 years. Nelson is the one who turns 70 in January...after which the rest of us follow suit. Sigh.

I told you I took my macro lens, right?
Next time I'll also take my tripod. It's much trickier than I thought!

So, we drove back to Atlanta, my kids and I, after a delightful 3 days reunioning with the family. During my stint of night driving, an adult deer crossed over the interstate so close in front of me I couldn't see its legs. My heart stopped. The kids woke up. A second later, it would have been a sobering story. It's when we once again thanked the Universe for protecting us all along the way.

Once back in Atlanta for a few days, I had a chance to make phone calls to friends as well as to meet up with Bob and his partner Marc for lunch.

Bob reminded me we have known each other for 19 years!
He even joined me on my MARTA ride to the airport and bid me adieu.
And do you recognize grandson Nicholas?? He turns 11 tomorrow and is ready to start 6th grade.
When did that happen???

You can imagine the joy we felt, Astrid and I both, when we rendezvoused at the Amsterdam airport Friday morning. Talk about Home Sweet Home. For supper that evening, Astrid made her macaroni specialty dish and a small appeltaart, to celebrate.

Coming home really IS the best part of going away. Home Sweet Home. (And another reminder of my Vision and Verb post today.)

One last thing: Remember the Shutterfly book I was working on before I left for Atlanta? It arrived while I was there. Here it is (click on Full Screen to see it better):


  1. I was great to see you in Atlanta last week. You look fantastic - love has a way of doing that.
    My best to you and Astrid.
    - Marc

  2. It was great...not I was great :) Oy vey.
    - Marc

  3. I know you had a wonderful time with your family and it is great to see your extended family, next time I will join you and meet them all.
    The pictures of you and Bob are great, it must have been a wonderful meeting again, Nicholas also looks so tal already.
    The book is pure delight, all our memories are in that 'treasure-book', you worked so hard to get it finished in time, it looks wonderful.
    MLS, it was my pleasure to bake the appeltaart and to make the macaroni-dish.
    Glad you are home again... home sweet home indeed.

  4. Marc: As I say to Astrid all the time, I know your English. :D And also, flattery will get you everywhere. Too bad we didn't take any pictures of YOU. What happened with that? Nicholas could have taken a pic of all 3 of us. Next time. I love that you stop by here and comment. THANK YOU.

    Astrid: Next time you'll be with me, for sure! I can hardly wait for my family to get to know the real you...the you I have grown to love. Can you believe Nicholas? He's not a little boy anymore. I still can't believe we can look at the book online. How fun is that!

  5. oh what a joy for you to be able to join the family at the farm. i think that's a wonderful tradition. i hope the next generation of your family continues that.

    omg, i love the book. i've been thinking about doing that myself. now i think i would definitely do that.

  6. It is amazing that you didn't take photos of your kids, but you did not forget little Nicholas who isn't so little!

    Loved all of the pics as usual. I think you will notice your progression in practice for photography is getting better and better! 10,000 hrs is the magic number...

    And the book, love the black on black background. So many memories, but all so amazing!!!!

    :) I must do one for Cammie, the year!

  7. ps loved that you CAN look at the book online for everyone to enjoy also!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. PC: Joining the family at the cottage lake is something I hope we can do at least once a year, Maria, going forward. I would like that! And yes, I am tickled pink Shutterfly gives us the embedding HTML so anyone can view their books. YAAAY.

    ET: Thanks for your vote of confidence, Jen. You should definitely do a book for Cammie, year after year. It's so user-friendly and such a keepsake.

  9. With a big family, there's always a lot of things that tie it all together and sometimes even a few knots can tangle it up, but it truly sounds like you had a pleasant week and kept your home firmly within your heart.

  10. Ginnie, What a joy to see how full and abundant your trip was with all those connections. And Lordy, the train ride was never soooo quick! We were so focused on conversation, the only scenery I remember is having arrived at the airport. Your book is such a beautiful piece. Why don't you consider commercializing it?
    Next time, over there or over here, Astrid will in the circle of love, friendship and fun. And Astrid....your Ginnie's face and eyes glow when she talks about you. :-)

  11. Mad: I really like the way you said that! Thank you. I am increasingly seeing the breakthrough was in ME!

    Bob: You are always so gracious and complimentary, dear friend. Thank you. I would love to think that one day some of my Dutch images might be commercial, but I'm not really holding my breath. :) It's enough that Astrid and I can enjoy them. But thanks for your vote of confidence.

    Yes, next time Astrid will join me/us!

  12. As I told you elsewhere, I really love the way the photos turned out, because the macro lens forced you to fit less in the frame, and so you focused on these marvelous faces! (including mine, ha! ;) I should have shot a few of you, wish I'd thought of it. This is one of our best family albums ever.

    I still can't get over Nicholas. I knew I would be surprised, but I wasn't prepared for his smashing new hairdo. He is so charming!

    I love your shutterfly book! And I really love the little gadget here!!!!

    Just think, next time we're together at the cottage, there will be two 'newcomers.' Astrid, and Poppy Seed!!! :D

  13. Ruth: Ohhhh, thank you, Sweetie. I don't know if this was one of the best albums ever but it sure was the most challenging with that lens. I think that's why I missed so many people. I didn't even try! But thanks for the compliment.

    And yes, Nicholas is really growing up! We all chipped in to give him a laptop this year. He told us on Skype that he cried when he saw it. So sweet.

    Thanks for the Shutterfly book compliment. And thanks for the excitement about our next time at the cottage. It will be a thrill for me to introduce Astrid to the well as to meet Poppy Seed. :)

  14. You are so lucky to be able to join your extended family for that marvellous time at the family cottage. I really enjoyed seeing all the happy faces, and so many children.... the next generation, mervellous! I must admit to a teeny pang of envy too, as I'd love to be part of a big family like yours.
    Your Holland book is amazing.... I am assuming it comes as a printed book too? How lovely to be able to see the whole thing via the internet.
    I'll be announcing some really good news very soon on my blog, so stay tuned!! hehe ehe

  15. Sham: The funny thing is that we grew up with a large family (8 kids) but no extended family anywhere near us. So in that regard, we were small. After all these years, however, we are now a large extended family. I must say it is invigorating. :)

    And yes, the Shutterfly book is a real hard copy, which I brought back with me to Holland. I had no clue I would be able to embed a link to show others. What a cool feature! It's like a back-up copy.

    You can be sure that I'll stay tuned to your really good news. I'm already starting to speculate. :)

  16. Looks like you had a great time with family! And Nicholas is definitely growing up! How does time fly so quick?!

  17. Tim: Indeed! I'm waiting for the day when his voice starts changing! :)

  18. Just enjoying your pleasure, Ginnie. The universe is unfolding as it should.

  19. Deborah: I totally agree! Thanks. :)

  20. Ontario and Michigan are very similar in their geography, and I was at a cottage by a lake recently too. Your family must have a big place to accommodate so many. How wonderful that (almost) everyone can get together like that.

  21. Karen: We do feel very lucky to be able to get together in one space. The cottage sleeps 31 in beds and then another 4 on couches! :) Ususally someone is outside in a tent, too. So it works well.

  22. Hi Ginnie! You have a beautiful family and also what a wonderful locale! So lovely!

  23. Charles: Thank you! That's such a sweet thing to say.

  24. I looked at each page of your photo book. That was some work to put it together. I recognized some of the pictures from your blog. I love the last picture of the windmill. What fun you all had on the lake – nice to have so many kids around.

  25. Vagabonde: That was very sweet of you to go through the book. Thanks you. I had so much gratification doing it. And yes, we feel very blessed as a growing family!

  26. Portraits with a macro lens, family shots and images of game playing... they are all WONDERFUL! Once again, you've given me a different way to view things because, as you know, I rarely use my macro lens for anything other than macros of bugs in flowers, flowers, and/or bugs!

    I just LOVE seeing your Michigan visit through your eyes/lens. The collage of Asher watching your sister making deviled eggs is particularly wonderful... for the concentration and interest you captured on this face and for the inclusion of the finished product (one of my FAVORITE things) at the end.

    The light on the faces of the many family members is quite perfect in so many of the images. I'm very impressed! The collage of the children watching the movie... oh my... we do separate ourselves so early on, don't we?!

    I am going next to view the Shutterfly book... when I commented on your previous post I had no idea that would be possible when I finally made it to this post!

    As for shooting macros with a tripod... that is quite tricky because it is so hard to fine tune! Send me an email to victoriaporter (with the last part of the email the same as the address you already have) and I'll reply with a few things I've learned by trial and error about shooting macros. (the longer form of my email address is the one I've had for MANY years and I'm afraid that sending a message to you from that address might send it straight to SPAM as unrecognized)

  27. Victoria: OMG, Woman. You sure know how to make my day! That macro lens just about gave me fits but by the time I left, I started appreciating its value quite apart from macro shots. It's now that I'm back home that I'm trying to figure out the macro part, with a tripod. But I'll still want your trial-and error tidbits, which I will cherish. No sense in recreating the wheel, right?!

    THANK YOU. I love your comments, which always inspire me and build me up. Thanl you.