Scavenger Hunt!

On a recent trip to Michigan I was informed an “Adventure Manny” would be minding the kids some of my visit. A what? That’s right, an Adventure Manny. You mean a babysitter? Not even close. I was introduced to Zak Dombrowski. According to his website, Zak is a professional travel nanny and adventure educator. Imagine Supernanny Jo Frost and Bear Grylls had a baby – that baby would be Zak. Zak is amazing at what he does. He has wonderful rapport with the kids and draws from a broad base of interests, knowledge, and experience. He led the kids on all …

A Taste of Syria – Dinner with the Mustafa’s

My work provides a window into the lives of many families. No two are the same, but there is more similar in most our family life experiences than not. We all yearn for the same things – joy, connection, and purpose. And we all have our struggles. As a parent, I approach documentary family sessions with great empathy. The Mustafa family is different. It is impossible for me to fully appreciate the gravity of their journey. It is clear they walk with the weight of heavy circumstance. Yet their resilience is profound – a family of 10, forced to flee …

Long Legacy of Summers at the Lake

I was aware Michigan bordered some ginormous lakes. However, my Michigan travel experience was limited to short visits in and around the motor city. I was not familiar with the beauty bestowed north-central Michigan’s smaller swimming holes. Nor the depth and richness of lake culture spun from these geological relics. Lake life up here is a big deal. Nestled among tall pines in the small village of Roscommon is one such lake. Circling the lake are groves of cottages passed down through generations. Visiting is a step back in time. Large extended families gather for full summer stays; kids roam …

Cape Cod with the Robinsons – Day 2

On Day 1, the Robinson crew effectively switched into vacation mode. Day 2 started off just right with french toast and a mild sea breeze. Followed by pencil rolls in the grass, losing that loose tooth from yesterdays errant apple bite, and wading the bayside flats. The latter being one of my favorite activities on the Cape. There is a lot of love in the Robinson household. And curiosity. And laughing. Come departure time midday-ish for yours truly, I was jealous their adventures for the week were only beginning. (want to view the images larger? click any image to open …

Cape Cod with the Robinsons – Day 1

Summer days on the Cape are always special. These couple days with the Robinson’s were no exception. The car ride in was apparently less than optimal, but what extended road trip with three little ones isn’t. Are we there yet!!?? Fortunately, there is no better cure for travel exhaustion than a few breaths of fresh ocean air. On this first late afternoon together, the suitcases were all still jammed in the car, but the Nantucket Sound beckoned. Perfect weather and everyone together got this vacation off on the right foot. (want to view the images larger? click any image to open in …