Two weeks is a long time to be gone with 2 kids in tow.  I’ll be happy to sleep in my own bed tomorrow, but I’ve had a great time.  Traveling always has many adventures especially with children.

Here’s just a few of our travel related experiences during this trip.  It’s not always rosy, but we make a lot of memories along the way.

Sally got sick in the car on our trip from Ohio to Baltimore.  It’s hard to believe that was 13 days ago.  As a result, I learned how to take the new car seat apart, wash it and put it back together.  For the last 4.5 years, that has always been Stephen’s job, but he was still in Ohio.  I won’t be sad if I never had to do that again.  The next day, I found a car detail shop that would come to my sister’s house and detail the car while it was in the driveway.  It was the easier way to get the odor out of the car.  I’m probably the only one to have the inside of a car detailed the week before a beach trip, but it was necessary.  I think that a good vacuum to remove some sand, and it will still look great.

As a result of the car detail, one or more of the lights were left on in the car.  It was very hot and sunny and we didn’t notice.  My sister went to move the car so she could go to work the next day and it was dead.  We’re talking the car needed to be unlocked manually it was so dead.  So, I called AAA and they came out to jump the car.  Long story straight, they had to borrow some juice from their truck to even test the battery.  So, my newly detailed car received a new battery.

When we left Baltimore to drive to Dover, it was 100 degrees outside.  Our newly charged air conditioning didn’t work very well.  We had a hot and grumpy ride.  We bought frozen drinks as we entered Dover, even though were were only 5 minutes away from our destination.  I joked with my father in law that if their air conditioning went out in the house, we were going to a hotel.  After a few minutes playing in the air conditioning at the house, we were all fine again.

Later that night, Nick got sick.  That resulted in immediate needs for laundry that included my mother in law’s brand new bathroom rug.  A little medicine and he was all better by morning.  It’s a good thing that my mother in law had kids.  She took it all in stride and the rug was good as new after it’s cycle in the wash.

Today, our 4 hour and 20 minute drive from Dover to our half-way-home hotel, took us almost 8 hours.  We stopped for gas on our way out of town.  The first station had system problems and after Stephen waited in line a few minutes, he found out that they couldn’t sell us any gas.  So, we headed to another station.  Not too long after that, we hit some traffic.  In between, we still have air conditioning issues and it’s 90+ degrees outside.  We took a couple of more breaks than normal to keep us hydrated and happy.  It’s much easier to travel with kids if you aren’t in any hurry.  Around Allentown PA, we hit traffic again.  We decided to eat dinner at a service plaza in hopes that the traffic would clear while we stopped.  It did and we were glad.  A bit later, Nick announced that he had to go to the bathroom, just seconds after we passed a rest area.  Luckily, there was a McDonald’s at the next exit, just two miles down the highway.  Stephen was putting the kids back in the car and I was getting a drink.  When I came back outside, this weird guy came over to the car and told us we were in the wrong state.  He walked around to my side of the car and then walked away.  It was very creepy.  I had seem him inside and all I can think is that maybe he was looking for a hookup until he saw that I was with my family.  After 50 or 60 “how much longer to the hotel” pleas from Nick, we finally arrived and got settled.

Life isn’t perfect and vacations won’t be either.  No one was hurt, we had power the whole trip, and we didn’t have any storm damage.  We had a few inconveniences sprinkled among lots of fun and family time.  I can’t wait to share our adventures with you over the next couple of weeks.

 Posted by at 10:27 PM

While I was in Baltimore over Memorial Day weekend, we decided to go to Patapsco Valley State Park.  It was early on Monday morning.  We thought it was be a nice place to let the kids play.  Apparently, lots of other people had the same idea since there was a line of cars at the entrance.  We were expecting to pay a per vehicle charge, but it turned out to be a per person charge for the holiday.  The kids were still free, so it was ok.


It was getting hot quickly, but the kids still enjoyed some playground time.  We watch car after car unload for day long picnics.  We could tell that many of them were planning on grilling lunch and dinner.


Turns out the playground was really close to the river, so I took a short walk down to check it out.


We drove down the road a bit and ended up taking a short hike across this suspension bridge.  It was pretty cool.  There used to be a mill across the river and workers walked across this bridge to get to work.


I talked my niece and nephew into a photo before we headed back to the car.


We had a great morning and enjoyed our outside time.  But, soon it was time to hang at the pool so we headed home.

 Posted by at 9:00 PM

Last week, we were almost out of oatmeal.  We had tried it from the End of the Commons General Store a few months back and decided to stock up.  It’s not local (and I do have a lead on a bulk local quanity), but the timing was right for Sally and I to make a trip while Nick was in camp last week.

This is what a 50 pound bag of oats looks like.  It was $26.00.


2 or 3 of us eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday.  We also use it in some of our muffin recipes.  I’m not exactly sure how long this will last, but I don’t suspect to need oats for a while.

We bought a couple of containers from Dean’s Supply and bagged the rest.  I’m hoping it stores well in Nick’s closest where the humidity isn’t too bad.



 Posted by at 9:55 PM

Saturday, we attended a graduation party for my cousin Jake.  Shortly after we arrived and had dinner, the kids enjoyed making snow cones.  It was very exciting.  It was perfect for the hot day!


Shortly after eating and socializing with family, it was time for the main event.  The stage was set for The Blue Ribbon Bluegrass Band.


We have some talent in our family.  My uncle plays the Banjo, my cousin plays the Mandolin and my brother plays the Fiddle.  We enjoyed the music.


My cousin is the official photographer.  I made sure to snap a few photos since she’s not usually in the photos.  Sally sure enjoyed all of the attention.


The adults listened.  The kids danced, and danced, and danced.  Nick and Sally were nonstop during almost the whole set.


Soon Sally was so tired, she just laid on the grass.  We left during the break between sets because we didn’t want the kids to throw a tantrum leaving during the music.


Nick was still sad to leave.  I told him it was already late and he needed energy for Sunday.  He said he had 100 energies and could keep dancing.

Neither of them slept a wink on the way home and at 6AM Sunday, they were up!

It was a great party.  We were so glad to share it with our family.


On Friday, I took an early flight to Baltimore.  I was excited to spend some time with my sister and Erin (AKA the Bride to Be).


My sister Holly was one of the attendants for the wedding. Here’s a great photo of her with the Bride to Be.


I think every bride should be pampered a bit before the big day.  I also think that other attendants and friends should make sure the bride isn’t lonely.

There was a little excitement in the air!


Holly decided on colors.  I’m just relaxing in the massage chair.


We all got “Gelish” manicures after our standard pedicures.  With Gelish, the color is in a opaque white bottle, so our color choices were painted on these sticks.  I had Holly pick out my color – High Voltage.  It’s a glittery reddish pinkish color.  I really like the gel nails since they don’t chip and look really good until your nails start to grow out.


I don’t get my nails done very often.  This was sure a fun treat!

We had a great time at the salon and finished our time with Erin with a lunch at COSI.  It was delicious.  We said our goodbyes to the bride and set out to tackle our to do list.

 Posted by at 9:04 PM

Nick and Sally are enjoying a Daddy weekend and I’m enjoying a weekend away at my sister’s.

  • 4 AM Depart from home
  • 7:10 AM Greeted by sister and niece and nephew in Baltimore
  • Dry cleaners
  • Montessori school tour
  • Pedicure, manicure, and lunch with the bride-to-be
  • Target
  • Haircut
  • Dinner with family
  • Ikea
  • 10 PM Time for bed

P.S. Thanks to Stephen for taking dictation for tonight’s post.

 Posted by at 10:35 PM

After our trip to the Farmers’ Market and hiking on Saturday, we picked up lunch and visited with my parents.  Once lunch was over, we headed over to my grandma’s house.  Nick and Sally were very excited to see Angel (the dog).  Grandma spent a few weeks in Florida and this was our first visit since her return.

It was a beautiful day, so we played outside.


The balls needed air, Stephen was happy to help.  It’s so fun that Nick and Sally really know their Great-Grandma.


It’s also fun that she’s willing and able to toss a ball with them and play.


There were smiles all around.



Uncle Frank stopped by too.  Here’s a great photo of Nick and Sally with him.


I also snapped this shot of my brother with Grandma.


It was such a great visit!

 Posted by at 9:36 PM

April 20 – Flat Stanely went to see the Green Dream at Beachwood Community Center.  First, he stopped by the welcome table for a photo.  He enjoyed a smoothie sample at one of the booths.


He shared an orange creamsicle cupcake from The Mobile Cupcakery.  He stopped by the Junion Achievement booth.  They gave him a nice clear bag with handles.


He spun the wheel at the Chick-fil-A booth.  He won a free chicken sandwich.


April 21 – He went to a Caring Cubs event at Whole Foods.  He learned about eating the colors of the rainbow.  He also played a matching game about the food groups.


He really liked the cheese station. He got to make his very own cheese person out of pretzels and cheese.


He painted flowers using celery to make designs.  He finished up learning about healthy plates and then drew his own.


April 22 – He went to Earth Fest at the Cleveland Zoo to celebrate Earth Day.  He really liked dancing to the accordion music.  He stopped by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad booth and found out about their bike and ride options.


He loved the model of the rocket ship at the NASA booth.  It was cold and dreary, but Nick and Sally still had fun taking him climbing rocks.


He especially liked trying a green smoothie at the Vitamix booth.  He bought me a Vitamix before he left town.


May 2 – With all of the photos printed and put into a book, it was time to pack Flat Stanley in his travel box.


We dropped him off at the post office.  He should be visiting my nephew’s classroom by Friday or Monday.


We had a great time having Flat Stanley visit.  It was kind of like being on vacation.  So, now we’re getting back to reality.

 Posted by at 12:54 PM

If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

April 18 – Flat Stanley visited the Mayfield Heights library.  He hung out in the display shelf with some friends.  He was super excited to find a book all about himself.  He checked it out to share with Nick and Sally.


After the library visit, he went to Heinen’s.  He picked out more delicious fruit.  He really liked riding in the shopping carts.


He also stocked up on carrots and broccoli.


Later that day, he went to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  He was excited to meet Miss Amanda.  He ate dinner with us in the break room and played with Sally.


He enjoyed the archeological dig display in the Smead Discovery room.  He decided it would be fun to get buried.


April 19 – He went back to the JCC for a kettlebell workout and he did a strength training workout with Jen the trainer.


After nap time, he returned to the JCC for his swim lesson.  His favorite skill was the back float.  He also loved testing out his plastic bag swim suit.


He was cold when he got out of the water and was happy to wrap up in a dry towel.


After dinner, he headed to Sprit of Clay for some glass work.  He made a great glass bead pattern to have fired into a dish.


He checked out the display of utensils and thought about signing up for a class, but it wasn’t going to be offered while he was going to be in town.


Stay tuned for part 3 tomorrow.

 Posted by at 1:29 PM