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Kladder Update: Mini Family Getaways & 4th of July Celebrations

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Celebrating America’s birthday is one of my favorite events of the entire year. It’s right up there with Christmas Eve at my parents house, a fine glass of red wine on the porch and golfing nine with Jeff on a Sunday afternoon. Forth of July at the lake includes boating, sunshine, beverages, over the top meals, awesome fireworks and this year was no exception. Natalie never left the water. Thomas truly discovered his deep love of the speed boat this year. I greatly appreciated getting to spend quality time with the women in my family over coffee and cocktails and Jeff, along with the other gents, got some serious practice time in on Birdie Ball. It’s weekends like these (full of love, fun and happiness) that I’m proud to be American.

A peak back at June, this seemed to be the month of mini family vacations including our first overnight trip to Canton, Michigan to spend time with Jeff’s brother Matt, his wife Sandy and their two girls Zoe and Rylan. Matt and his family moved to the East side of the state a few years back after changing jobs from GRR to DTW where he’s an air traffic controller. Fun fact about Matt, he’s also a pilot and while we were in town he treated Jeff and I to a surprise plane ride overtop downtown Detroit. I was mostly excited about getting to wear microphone-headphones because I’m a nerd, but gosh it was cool to see Matt at work in the cockpit. And the view was pretty cool too!

Natalie and Thomas got to play one on one with their cousins who we wish they could see more than we are able due to the distance. Sandy got a babysitter for the kids at night while we grabbed dinner and drinks in downtown Plymouth - which is super cute by the way. We ate our body weight in nachos at Barrio (one of Matt and Sandy’s favs). We highly recommend it if you’re ever in town. They have fantastic margaritas and a really nice outdoor patio.

The following weekend we packed up the kids and headed to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a Visit Fort Wayne family media tour. Fort Wayne was never on our travel radar but now that we’ve checked it out we cannot deny that they out shine Grand Rapids in 3 areas: their children’s zoo is incredible, the location of their baseball stadium (it’s right downtown!)is ideal, and their expanding use of their riverfront is something we wish we had more of here. We had a fun time and you can read more about our visit here.

These past few weeks we’ve gotten some solid use out of our backyard and patio while hosting friends for BBQs. Jeff recently completed some honey-do list items including some paint touch ups, patio grout and some rooftop power washing which has fulfilled all of my wildest dreams. Guys… POWER WASHING!

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Speaking of BBQ, last month we also joined friends at the annual Rib Party at the Scholten residence, a tradition that’s still going strong with just as many kids as adults this year. I’m a sucker for traditions and this one dates back to before my time with the group that I affectionately still refer to as the ‘Dutch Mafia.’ I joke every year since my first that we’ll soon have more juice boxes in the coolers than Coronas. But seriously, at some point the group has got to stop procreating and our numbers will level out!

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The kids went strawberry picking with Grandma Kladder at Versluis Orchards and had a blast. We’re pretty lucky we’ve got parents who are not only available but also excited about spending time with their grandkids. Whether it’s lunch at Roses after church or attending field trips at school, they’re pretty awesome. Shout out to all of them!

The rest of our July downtime you can find us porch drinking as much as possible (stop on over!), accepting all the friend pool invitations and hitting the golf course when our schedules allow. Happy July everyone!

ON DECK - So much music in our near future!!!

  • Amos Lee is playing at Meijer Gardens on Monday, July 15th and we’re looking forward to a fun summer night with friends there. The event is SOLD OUT so hopefully you also got your tickets!

  • If not, now worries, there’s another Tuesday Evening Music Club concert the next day on July 16th. Local favorites Matt Gabriel and Kari Lynch Band are playing. Concerts are free for members or included with general park admission.

  • I’m headed with neighbor gals to my first ever Picnic Pops next week. It’s a tribute to the Beatles titled: Here Comes the Sun and I’m pretty excited!

  • And continuing with the music theme, there’s a community concert at John Collins Park in East Grand Rapids on Monday, July 22nd. It’s FREE! See you here.

POSTSCRIPT - Honorable mentions and such.

  • The Dailey Method is running a deal right now for Unlimited Bingo Classes during the month of July for $110!!! You have to sign up before tomorrow (July 10th) so hurry if you’re interested.

  • I tried out the new Friesian Gastro Pub with some girl friends last month and posted the review on Yelp if you’re interested. They seem to still be working out a few kinks but overall the food was good.

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