Throughout the many years we have been together, I have tried quite a few times to plan surprises for Mike. I have always wanted to plan an incredible trip or great party without him knowing, but I can never pull it off. I believe this is partially due to the fact that I tell him everything and when I am excited about something, he is the one I want to share every detail with. I always ruin the surprise by spilling my plans to him prematurely because I get so excited - just like how every Christmas Eve I get so giddy about the gifts I have for him that I constantly ask, "Are you sure you don't want to open your presents tonight instead of Christmas morning?!" The other reason that pulling off a surprise is nearly impossible is because Mike has always taught and coached nearly year round and there is no way he would ever miss a day of work or willingly skip a practice or game to go on a trip.
Mike made the decision not to teach summer school or coach summer ball this year in order to be with me as much as possible. It has been the best decision he could have possibly made and it's been an absolute blessing to me. I love having him home more, and I am so grateful that he is able to attend every single doctors appointment and every round of chemo with me. I have a really hard time attempting to put into words how incredible Mike has been throughout these past 4 months. I know that will come as no surprise to those of you that know him, because that is just the core of who he is - a selfless, caring and compassionate person that would do anything for the people he loves. Everyone acknowledges how difficult this time has been for me, but what about for him? This has been a devastating and heart breaking time for him as he watches me go through this - he sees me in pain, watches me spend hours on the couch battling fatigue, and dries my tears as I worry about our future. He has been here for me every step of the way - never complaining about the impact this has had on his life too. Sure, he voices his fears and frustrations, but he never makes me feel guilty when he misses fun times with his friends to stay home with me, or when he gave up coaching his Varsity team this spring - just a few of the many sacrifices that he has made for me. He knows how to pick me up and make me smile when I am feeling sad, or when to just let me have a good cry because that is important too. He knows what I need before I even say it, or before I even realize it myself sometimes. Mike is my very best friend and there is no one else I would rather have by my side throughout this journey. Planning a short surprise getaway for him is the least I can do to thank him for everything he has done for me!
So, when my co-worker and friend, Stephanie and her husband Ray offered to let us spend some time at their place up north, I jumped at the chance to finally surprise Mike. He has commented a few times about wanting to get away for a few days and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity. Since he isn't working right now, I didn't have to worry about that or his coaching schedule. I secretly packed our bags and hid them in the trunk, and as we were pulling out of the driveway on Monday morning (headed to a fake doctor's appointment -sorry, a few white lies were told in order to pull this one off), I told Mike I forgot something in the house and I would be right back. Well, I grabbed the pup and a few last minute items and jumped back in the car to reveal that we were actually headed up north instead! Mike was so surprised and thrilled to be avoiding another doctors office and heading up north for some fresh air, sandy beaches and sunsets over the lake. There was one other passenger that might have been more excited than Mike actually was....
Aside from going on a run with his Dad, there isn't much Wrigley loves more than a long car ride. He rode this way with his head out the window for hours. :) Steph & Ray's place up at Canadian Lakes was gorgeous! It was so incredibly peaceful, quiet, and relaxing. We spent time going on walks with the pup along the woods, reading our books out on the deck, marveling at the gorgeous sunsets and enjoying the beautiful nature that surrounded us.
On Tuesday we decided to head to Ludington for the day. We have heard great things about Ludington and have always wanted to visit. It was a quick ride over from Steph & Ray's place and it was totally worth it! The clean sandy beaches were beautiful, the lighthouses were incredible, and the sand dunes were amazing. We had the perfect day there and enjoyed every minute of it.
We made the 2 mile hike to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, north of downtown Ludington. It is a beautiful and historic lighthouse that still operates today. Once we were there, we couldn't chicken out and not climb to the top. So, although I am totally terrified of heights, we climbed the narrow, winding staircase to the top! It was spectacular up there and totally worth the climb, and the 2 mile walk back. I was pretty proud of myself since that is the biggest workout I have had in awhile! ha!
A snapshot taken by a volunteer at the top of the lighthouse. She even gave me a yellow sticker saying, "I made the climb to the top", since I was a big scaredy cat. :)
Wrig had the time of his life swimming in the lake at Steph & Ray's. I don't know how he can even see the way he wraps that toy around his face. :)
My favorites ♥
We were driving down the road headed to dinner one night and I just happened to have my camera sitting on my lap, ready to shoot. This deer was beautiful and just stared at us from the side of the road. There were deer everywhere!
Quick snapshot of my boys while watching the gorgeous sunset over Canadian Lakes!
Steph & Ray - We cannot thank you enough for allowing us to spend three perfect days at your lovely home up north. It was exactly what we needed and it couldn't have been better. We had the best time and we are so grateful that you thought of us. Thank you for allowing us to have these memories together with our little family - it truly meant the world to us!
We headed to back to Chemo-Land yesterday for round #9 out of 16 total. Getting closer to that finish line! As soon as we got back into the car to head home, Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down" was playing on the radio. It just seemed so fitting and I couldn't help but belt it out as we drove - much to the dismay of Mike's ears since I have never claimed to be a decent singer. :)
Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground
...And I won't back down
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down
Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground
...And I won't back down
Have a great weekend everyone! I am hoping to mix in some time with friends as well as some relaxation this weekend. Gotta rest up for my big trip back up north next weekend with all of my Beauts - our group of 10 best buds from high school. I cannot wait!!! Hope to see some of you when I get back from that trip on Sunday, July 31 over at the spa day fundraiser!
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