Beach, Weekend and Birthday Things


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Last weekend, the boys and I took a day trip out to Lake Michigan, ending up at a beach of which I’m not even sure of its name. That probably sounds funny, but it’s true. What happened is, we drove over an hour, expecting to go to the beach we visit every year about this time for my birthday (a relatively new tradition that started with a trip to Illinois Beach State Park every year and then ended up shifting to an annual trip to Fort Sheridan Beach instead).

I guess I should back up. Last Sunday, when we ventured out to the beach, it wasn’t my birthday… not even my birthday weekend. But because we were planning to go camping over the weekend and had to cancel, we switched my later-in-the-month birthday plans with our camping plans in hopes that camping on a different weekend would work out better than it would have last weekend (which called for rain where we were planning to camp).

So, as I said, we traveled all the way to Fort Sheridan to make it an early birthday trip weekend.

I had already been wrestling with the disappointment of not being able to go on our camping trip… something I’d really been looking forward to. So imagine how I felt when we got to the beach we’d intended to spend our day at and found out it was closed down for construction. I was just plain bummed.

But we made the best of it when some military reservists were walking down the path we stood stunned in the middle of and told us that there was another beach nearby. It’s Lake Mongo Michigan, so I can’t say I’m surprised there would be another beach nearby. But we were unfamiliar with the area, so we would not have known where to go to get there in a timely manner. The thoughtful reservists told us we could follow them in their van, and they would lead us to the beaches entrance.

Once we arrived, as I walked down the hundred+ steps to get to the beach, I found myself feeling happy once again. The vast blue scape up ahead was enough to melt away any stress we’d felt those minutes before.

It didn’t matter where… I was just glad to be on Lake Michigan on such a beautiful feels-like-summer, looks-like-fall day. Of course, I was judging the beach as my eyes scanned it top to bottom and side to side, inspecting every part… thinking to myself, it’s no Fort Sheridan. But then I let go of my judgements and told myself to enjoy this new beach, exactly as it was.

And “as it was” was beautiful.

Because I so rarely have my good camera with me anymore (this time of year near birthday and wedding anniversary outings seems to be the only time I get out to take pictures these last several years), I tend to go a little overboard with pictures when we make my Lake Michigan birthday trip. As I’m shooting, it doesn’t seem like I’m taking very many at all. But then I get home and see how much I’ve filled up my camera card, realizing I took so many. And then I can’t bring myself to delete many of the shots I get.

That’s why it’s taken me a whole week to get these posted! To save at least a little space, I made animated GIF files out of many of the photos (toward the bottom). Still, there are a lot!

So, enough chit-chat. Photos below…




Neither Izzy or Mr. B are the kind of fans of the beach that I am. I was so appreciative that they would give up their day for my birthday outing and let me spend it the way I wanted to. Although, I have to say… both told me, when we arrived home later, that they enjoyed themselves there quite a bit. As is evident throughout many of the photos below, Izzy had a blast climbing around the big rocks and collecting interesting small rocks. And Mr. B… well, he said that he enjoyed the day because he could see how much both of us were enjoying the day. Coming from a non-beach person, that meant so much to me. ❤️




One of the coolest things on this beach was this driftwood-like, uprooted tree reaching across the sand all the way to the water’s edge. It seemed to have been there forever and was lovely with texture and weathered nooks and crannies. The gnarly roots at the end were my favorite part! I’ve included several photos of it throughout below.


I happened to be allergic to this yellow autumn weed called Goldenrod. But I love it, and there was no point in staying away from it, as it’s just as prevalent all over where I live and work. It’s not rash- or illness-causing. It just messes with my sinuses, but nothing I can’t deal with, especially if I can get some vibrant yellow-on-blue photos of it in the process!









Even this beach seemed to be under some construction, with areas taped off to restrict access. But at least it was open for beachcombers like us! Thank you, no-name beach!


















One of the best parts of my day was when Izzy walked a long way from one end of the beach, where he was hanging out with Dada and had found a wildflower stem, over to where I was (in a rocky area taking pictures of a beautiful tree I’d discovered). I didn’t see the start of his journey, but Mr. B did, so he was able to tell me just how far he’d traveled to bring me this sweet flower. The beach is rather rocky and pebbly… and long. So, it took him a while to walk, all the while unbeknownst to me as I was shooting the nature surrounding me… and it wasn’t a leisurely walk, but rather tiring. When he finally got close enough for me to notice he was approaching, I found him this way… with something hidden under his shirt because I was not meant to see it until he could sweetly present it to me…



It’s gifts like these that I wish I could save forever… in the condition they were given. It has dried out by now, but that’s okay, because I was sure to get a photo to remember the sweet moment by.

As long as he came all that way, he was going to take advantage of the new terrain, so he got right in to that unseasonably warm (especially for Lake Michigan) water, and made his way to the surrounding rocks to climb, too! (And I was going to take advantage, too… and get some photos of his adventures and shenanigans!)

See how unusually clear the lake was? You could see the rocks so clearly… even rather far out into the water.






Dada eventually made his way to where we were, too. They had a good time looking for interesting rocks, and then inspecting the rocks they found for each other.







Below is that tree I was taking pictures of before they joined me…




















These next several photos are special to me. As I watched Izzy climb around in the rocky thicket, I couldn’t help but picture a shepherd and a lamb that had wandered into an area deemed somewhat dangerous or tricky. It made me think of God… how he never takes his eye off his sheep, even when we’ve wandered into areas where we might get stuck or injured. He’s watching, and I understood that sort of love God has for us better than I ever had before. I wanted to give Izzy the opportunity to learn and grow and figure out this less-than-easy terrain, but I also wanted to keep my eye on him should he get stuck, or worse, fall. It was also somewhat metaphorical for this whole parenting thing… causing me to think about the future and how I won’t always be able to keep him safe, but I can watch from afar and coach/guide from afar as he learns to climb through the trickiest places along life’s journey.

That aside, I simply loved the way these photos turned out. He’s just so sweet…


















Last, but not least, I took the opportunity to get some family photos of us before summer’s end… with less than a week of summer to go. I should have brought a tripod so that I could get a picture of all three of us together. But I forgot to bring it. So these would have to do. And that they do! I love them all. ❤️