2021 Review in 100 Photos

A little look back at some of our highlights from 2021! Unfortunately since we can not share images of our foster children, this is the abbreviated version of the 2021 fun.

In January we went Dog Sledding in upper Michigan at Husky Haven. First we learned about the dog breed, history of dog sledding, and Kim’s experience racing the Iditarod! Then we visited all the dogs, gave them treats, and helped prep our sled team for the day with their booties. Once we were were out, we each had a turn standing and sitting in the sled as we learned the commands and enjoyed the smooth ride and peaceful scenery. Kim’s partner followed us on the snowmobile so we had some photo ops as well!

We stayed in Munising, Michigan for our Dog Sledding experience. While we were there we did some other exploring, including checking out Munising Falls.

Have you ever been to a beach in the winter? We walked along Sand Point Beach in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and it was so interesting to see the sand and snow together! We could see the ice caves on Grand Island from here too.

A little stop off at Wagner Falls near Munising.

We also did some cross country skiing at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Gorgeous trails!

Skipping ahead to May (I guess spring wasn’t very eventful!), Jason’s sister Jillian got married! We were both honored to stand up in their wedding, and it was a beautiful day!

Photo by Kristel Stephany
Photo by Kristel Stephany

In the beginning of June we took a trip to northern Wisconsin with my friend Kim whom I met in college. I had always wanted to visit Big Manitou Falls, the tallest waterfall in Wisconsin, so we started there. It’s impressive! We also stopped by nearby Little Manitou Falls.

On our drive back to our Airbnb we passed by Amnicon Falls State Park; glad we decided to stop and hike around here too!

Our second day on the trip we crossed over into Minnesota. Jason had heard about a place called Spirit Mountain in Duluth, which has an alpine coaster. It’s a little like a roller coaster, but uses gravity. You have your own car which has a brake so you can go as fast or slow as you want. As you slide down the mountain you’re breezing by trees and have an awesome overlook of Duluth & Superior. I didn’t take any photos, but check out there website for a video! We of course also did the scenic chair lift & zip line 🙂

Our third day of this trip was spent kayaking the Apostle Island Sea Caves – another bucket list item for us! First time in a wetsuit, first time in a triple kayak, and first time kayaking sea caves – it was an awesome day!

The water was so blue, and the cave formations so pretty. Yup, we had to duck as we kayaked through this next little cave!

We stayed in Bayfield, which is becoming one of my favorite places in Wisconsin – it’s such a charming little town right on the water.

On our last day we took the car ferry over to Madeline Island. I was very pleasantly surprised by Madeline Island! There was literally only 1 place to eat on the whole island, and that was deli sandwiches from the “market”, lol. But that meant it wasn’t crowded at all! And super beautiful! We spent most of our day at Big Bay State Park.

Just look at how clear that Lake Michigan water is! It was too irresistible for Jason – he dove right in. It was far too cold for Kim and I, but we sure enjoyed soaking in the sun and scenery!

Big Bay Beach!

Later in June we took a day trip down to Medieval Times in Schaumberg Illinois. While this isn’t a typical type of outing for Jason and I, we had a foster daughter living with us at the time who loved horses, so this was a fun birthday surprise for her!

In July my younger brother Justin was married in my parents yard! We stood up in their wedding as well and Jason even orchestrated a pretty cool fireworks display at the end of the night! It was another big highlight of the year.

Photo by Kristel Stephany

In August, Jason and I celebrated our 15th anniversary by taking a road trip up to Michigan. Jason has always wanted to check out the Soo Locks in Sault Saint Marie, so we spent some time there and were lucky enough to catch a barge and couple other small boats coming through the locks.

The next day we drove around the lower peninsula, seeking out views along Lake Huron. There were several cute lighthouses we stopped at and one even had remnants of a shipwreck left on the beach. This is where we discovered “Shipwreck Alley”, and added more to our bucket list – snorkeling the shipwrecks here that are in shallow water.

We were camping these first couple of nights and made sure we enjoyed swimming at sunset each night.

Our last couple of nights we spent on Mackinaw Island. This is SUCH a charming little island with no cars. We rented bikes and toured the island at our own pace, enjoying the views and the famous fudge.

On our way back home we stopped at Kitch-iti-kipi, a huge fresh water spring with crystal clear water – clear enough to see the huge fish swimming below and the water bubbling up from the surface of the earth. There is a giant raft that you can hand crank to float across the water. It was so cool!

In September we spent a fun few hours at the Oconto Fly-In – our first time here! Jason had fun checking out all the airplanes.

In October I went with my Mom, Emily & Mason to the Wisconsin Dells. We went on the duck tours, another first for me! And the next day rented kayaks to explore the rock formations along the upper Wisconsin River up close.

Mason, Becky, Emily
Mom & Emily

Later in October my friend Kim came to stay with us for a few days. We did a lot of backroad driving in the countryside, seeking out falls colors. Unfortunately it wasn’t a great year for colors, but we still had a wonderful time. We made sure to stop by Kohler Andrae State Park, just 20 minutes away and one of my favorite places nearby. It didn’t disappoint!

One of Jason’s largest accomplishments this year was designing, digging & constructing this in-ground greenhouse out of mostly reclaimed materials. This will help us lengthen our growing season and enjoy homegrown produce in the winter!

Speaking of homegrown, the grapes did great this year! We decided to hold off a year on wine making, and instead made lots of grape jelly for the pantry. This grape jelly tastes SO much better than store bought grape jelly!

And Jason harvest honey from our beehives. Unfortunately our honeybees unexpectedly left the hive towards the end of the year, but we will try again next year. The only silver lining is that we were able to harvest all the honey they had made and stored for the year (typically you leave some in the hive since that is what the bees survive on over winter).

We spent a morning with Araya and Kara at Above & Beyond Children’s museum in Sheboygan and Jason treated us to a little puppet show.

In December we made an impromptu trip to the Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes. This was a first for me, and Jason hadn’t been since he was a kid. I was blown away by the variety of plants and especially loved the desert dome.

Christmas 2021 was a little more quiet and relaxed than the year before since our foster children had gone back by then. But we enjoyed the slower pace and had a wonderful time with both of our families.

Here is to 2022! Hope you all have a healthy and happy year!

2 thoughts on “2021 Review in 100 Photos

  1. You sure had a busy year. Beautiful pictures. Hopefully dad and I will have time to join in on a couple of those bucket list items in 2022! Love you guys…mom

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