Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cleveland Anniversary Weekend

Tim and I celebrated our 13th anniversary last month and to celebrate we decided to go spend a weekend in Cleveland.  In spite of the fact Tim was from the suburbs of Cleveland he really had not done all of the things downtown he wanted to try (or at least in a while) and I certainly had never done them so it was a nice weekend getaway for us.  We got an AMAZING hotel room (Tim called ahead and told them it was our anniversary) they put free Champaign and chocolate covered strawberries in our room and we had an amazing corner suite with double entry doors and three  rooms PLUS two bathrooms!  It was probably the largest hotel room I have ever been in and certainly had the largest bathroom I had ever seen hotel or otherwise.  Made me, for a minute, wish we had the kids with us.  :-)

We had a really nice cruise around the city on the Goodtime III.  We both learned a lot of interesting history and had a nice time in perfect weather.

This bridge (below) was cut into four pieces and this was the last day for people to see it before it was demolished.  We could even see the explosives hanging down from the bridge! 

Cleveland Aquarium is just a tiny little place but full of so much history!  And had these guys which I LOVED watching.  Turtles may be slow but when the high school volunteer accidently leaves their cage open when he is cleaning they can sure move!!!  :-)  LOL

West Side Market . . . this was my first time at anything like this and WOW!!!  Fresh meat, herbs, baked goods, fish, seafood of all kinds, pork heads .  .  . you name it, it was there!  Overwhelming to say the least!  Got some amazing pepperoni rolls, sourdough bread and sweet, fresh popcorn for the kids.

The newest landmark in downtown Cleveland.  This chandelier right over the street in the theater district.  Quite a sight all lit up at night

While we were in Cleveland we heard, along with the rest of the city, that LeBron James had decided to return to Cleveland to play basketball.  For my Cavs fan husband, this was a really fun experience to be downtown and see and hear all the cheers, see the signs appearing everywhere and the TV crews all around the city getting feedback from the people.  Didn't mean much to me, but I was happy for him that he was downtown for all that hype and experience.  Capped it all off with a trip to the largest Candy Warehouse in the US and an Indians game!

A trip to Melt on the way home for the best Monte Cristo I have ever eaten was the icing on the cake.  Thanks to my parents for watching the kids for a weekend so we could go.  Although our legs were exhausted from all the walking around the city, we were absolutely refreshed!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Staycation Part 2

 Staycation . . . . continued . . . again in no particular order

St. Marys Pool-My old pool where I worked at has made some dramatic improvements and is now an amazing little waterpark.  We seem to always pick a great day to go too when the crowds are not bad.  This was no exception.  A fantastic day with all of us at the pool.

 Praise God for his protection of fearless Little Lady when she decided to go down the big slide without a lifejacket.  Scared her and us pretty good.  This is her going down earlier WITH the lifejacket.
MEGA Slip and Slide My brother in law brought a huge tarp from work for the kids and it made a HUGE slip and slide!  So fun!  Also, since Daniel got Swimmers Ear and couldn't swim. . . this way he could still be a part of the water fun the second half of the week.


Aunt Joanna School-I'm a mean aunt and made the boys have Aunt Joanna school some of the days we were there.  Andrew had to do it every day (we are doing a summer skills workbook) but I wasn't there to do it with the other boys every day.  :-)  Truthfully I think they all enjoyed it a little.  :-)
Legos- Legos were actually (surprisingly) not a big part of staycation this year but I had to post this sweet picture of Cherith and Andrew playing Legos together.  Truthfully, the kids are easier handled as units (boys, girls, babies . . . ) so it's not real often that you find just one boy playing with one girl that isn't a sister so this was a sweet moment for them.  The other 5 older kids had gone fishing and these two got left behind.  (considering that the boat broke down mid-river with the other occupants this was a good choice on behalf of these two)  :-)  Andrew might just have a kindred spirit in Cherith . . . they both made quite the creations.

Megan's Birthday-With 9 kids it seems all our family gatherings can include someone's birthday and this one was a great time to celebrate Megans 4th Birthday.  She is the oldest of the girls and seems to be the most easy going of the girls for sure.  God has been gracious to this little one this year and her finger is completely healed and barely noticeable that a horrible trauma happened just a few short months ago.


Pool-I didn't get many pictures in my parents pool for some reason but I caught a funny one of Tyler showing off some "funny jumps" for me.  This pool has been a fantastic place to cool off for our family all summer but it was great fun to have all of us around it during staycation.

Outdoor Movie/Camping- I didn't get any pictures of Tim and Andrew camping out in the backyard.  Shame on me.  I also didn't get any pictures of the adult movie night.  Put all the kiddos to bed and we stayed up to watch a movie under the stars.  The kids were rather jealous so the next night we set up the system on the darkest side of the house we could and started a dusk Lego movie for them. (thanks for covering your face without being asked Little Lady--I can post this one .  .  . :-)
Food-As always, the food is excellent at Staycation.  We each take a breakfast, lunch, and dinner and make food for the entire group.  Great to only have to cook one of each meal and eat all week.  I didn't take pictures of all our meals or eating arrangements but I did have to share this one of Andrew with his favorite dessert (compliments of Grandma and Grandpa) Ice Cream Sundae Bar!!

Once again thanks to my parents for hosting us all.  It's a TON of work to get a house ready for 18 houseguests and clean up after we all leave.  Not to mention all the work dad did on the pool, yard, and outdoor space to make it perfect for the kids.  They work weeks preparing for this and we are so thankful!  God was good to us this year with a couple close calls in the pool, some bee stings and a major allergic reaction leading to anaphylactic shock in my brother in law we were certainly aware of how quickly accidents happen.  Praise God we all were spared from major harm. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Staycation--Part 1

Every year my parents try to get us all together for a week long vacation as a family.  Sometimes we go to the beach and stay in a big house but this year we decided to do a "staycation" at my parents house.  This is both great and not great for us.  We live only about a half hour from them so on the one hand we can come and go as we need to and maintain schedules (like Andrew could attend his swim meets) but on the other hand, we don't spend the night every night and therefore miss out on night swims and other evening activities we would otherwise enjoy.  My parents have a trampoline, pool, bikes, volleyball, croquet . . . and this year thanks to Zach . . .a HUGE slip and slide that went down the entire hill.  It really is a mini resort so not much (besides a beach) that we were missing.  With 9 children 6 and under and 9 adults it was an even match this year!  :-)

I made a "schedule" of events this year and my family all embraced my ideas so we knocked a lot of our "bucket" list of things off this week too.  Some of the fun .  .  . in no particular order

bowling-Although Andrew and Tyler were neck and neck for the lead until the 8th frame Daniel got two (or three) strikes in a row and took a solid lead at the last minute over them.  Learning to lose . . . so hard (yet necessary) for little boys.   Sorry buddy.  We got there during cosmic bowling time so it was a great "first" bowling experience for some of the kids with the glowing lights. 

swimming lessons-We signed the oldest 4 up for swimming lessons so each morning they had lessons to go to.  Here is Megans class and Andrews class.

Fusion Restaurant-This is always one of Tim (and my sister Stephanie)'s favorite places to go.  We usually only eat out once or twice during vacation/staycation week so it's fun when we can make it a more "expensive" place that we wouldn't normally go to.  What we WERE surprised at though were the fact that Little Lady LOVED it .  . and Andrew tried (and LOVED) shrimp!  :-)  Evidently we will have to save up and go a little more often.  :-)  Took two chefs and grills to cover all of us!

Lasertag- One of my favorite activities of staycation.  We don't have a nice laser tag place around here, but we do have a small one that was perfect for the three oldest boys.  They were so serious about their mission and those of us that went with the boys had a great time.  Maybe made more perfect by the fact that I got the high score--not real accurate but high none the less.  :-)

Robotics Demonstration-I took the older boys to a Robot Story Hour where they learned about robots and got to build their own.  They seemed to really enjoy making their own creations to take home!  So neat to hear their own little personalities come through their creations.