Monday, April 06, 2015

Vacations all I've ever wanted ... Vacation, have to get away - name that tune!

1st the photos - then the run down....

at the bean! (Yes, I think Jimmy grew on this trip - again)

Jan Jet and Charlie
 Serious fast slide

The major award

He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny


Kay unpacking her major award

 Heaven on earth for some

The gang


Trying on stuff
 Football! we were inspired
even got some servicemen into the game

Billy getting a strike

Science museum - they may have accidently learned something too

The motion simulator, shocked no one threw up
Wind tunnel up to 78mph

 The hunt is on
A big blue egg for Jimmy

Coordinating eggs for Billy and Kay

Now the back story.......

Yes, we loaded up the family truckster, channeled the Griswolds and headed out for Spring Break – road trip style!!   We called it “Sailing the C’s” (Chicago, Cleveland, Canton and Columbus) and we had a great time!

Ok, why a roadtrip to Ohio and ‘C’ cities vs a relaxing beach vacation?!  Well, we just had an incredible beach vacation with Tracy’s family over Christmas (check out the blog) and just knew we couldn’t top that. Add on …Jimmy’s been dying to see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ( Cleveland) and Football Hall of Fame (Canton) as well as our good friends Jan, Jet (age 12) and Charlie (age 11) also had the week off for break and were able to join us (picked them up in Chicago). Columbus was a referral from Brian (of Michael and Brian dog sitting fame) and it was worth the trip.

 (As context, Jet and Charlie were part of the daycare my kids were in in MPLS. They are also adopted from Korea and consider themselves our Chicago cousinsJ)

Here’s a day by day, play by play breakdown. (Warning, while we had a TON of fun, it was a trip, not a vacation. It was fun, busy, crazy, educational, memorable, but it WAS NOT relaxing. In fact, the blog itself might wear you outJ)

Friday – grabbed the kids from school and blasted to Chicago for a late night dinner of pizza, beer, soda, ice cream cake to celebrate Charlies 11th birthday – Yeah Charlie!!  The airsoft guns came out and it was all time kid war…  Not to be undone by BASKETBALL BASKETBALL BASKETBALL – Jimmy and Chris were in heaven talking teams, players strategy – fun to watch the games with people that are into it.

 Saturday – headed downtown Chicago to be tourists and see “the bean” – it was a crisp but sunny day and super fun to wander around, take pictures etc. But…even better than the bean…. Maggie Daily park. Newly opened an extreme park in every sense of the word.  14ft straight down slides, tight ropes, tire swings, etc…all on the lakeshore. The kids ran themselves silly, make themselves sick and generally just loved it. HIGHLY recommend it!! We tried some traditional Korean in Korea town and then headed back to Jan’s house for a tasty meal of Mexican pork, hearts of palm salad, green beans, chips, soda, beer and Chris was even able to join us (super fun since he was leaving for Japan the next day).  And… BASKETBALL BASKETBALL BASKETBALL – Jimmy and Chris were in heaven talking teams, players strategy – fun to watch the games with people that are into it. The rest of the kids built the worlds biggest fort to sleep in. Very creative.

Sunday – up and at ‘em early … headed off to Cleveland with Tracy/Jan, Billy, Jet, Charlie and Audrey (12 neighbor girl that was invited along, to add to the craziness) in 1 car and Tom, Jimmy and Kay in the other car. Needless to say – Tracy/Jan’s car was decimal levels above the other car. We watched 3 movies on the way (or I should say, Jan and I listened to 3 movies on the way). We were on a power drive, goal?  The Christmas Story house before it closed. We made it on time and not sure what to say … its really great for diehard fans but everyone else might think it’s a bit silly (it is).  Then, off to the hotel, swimming, dinner, Disney channel movies on TV (Bad Hair Day, don’t even get me started), hair and makeup (Kay & Audrey) and video games (Billy and Charlie) – lights out!!        
Monday – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, here we come!! Everyone was amp’ed up and it was another sunny but crisp day. Needless to say – this was NOT the highlight of our trip.  You could spend a full week here and still not see everything but…its very based in reading and listening (aka absorbing the information) vs participating. The kids were too amp’ed up to fully appreciate and Jan took them for a walk around the lake shore (and get them treats). This activity also included rolling down the steep grassy hill until everyone was covered in mud.  We found a cool retrospective movie about all the inductees, by year  and watched that with Jimmy for almost an hour.  Super interesting stuff.  We then headed to the famous Cleveland indoor market, bought more treats (crazy fruit, beef jerky, chocolate covered pretzels, etc) before it was back to the hotel and more swimming, hair/make up, video games and Disney channel movies (some teenagey thing with the girl on Jessie).     


Tuesday – a quick drive down to Canton and the highlight of the trip – the Football Hall of Fame! We had pretty low expectations, Jan has been and said it was more cerebral and for adults and given the experience at the R&R Hall of Fame, we were skeptical. BUT…it was SO COOL! All the kids loved it (even the girls) and it was so interactive! They’ve really added to it and made it a very cool place to go.  We spent a ton of time wandering around, trying on equipment, calling plays, watching old video, etc… in the gift shop Charlie bought a mini football and the kids headed out to play football on the 60 yard field. They were joined by some servicemen (who were also touring that day) and the servicemen choose sides. The kids had a blast in their touch football game and didn’t want to leave! The weather started to turn (cloudy, high winds) so we found a bowling alley, had lunch and bowled for a few hours. Of course there was a competition and Jimmy won, followed by Jet and Kay. They each got a ‘prize’, picking either lunch, dinner or an event in the coming days.  There was the funniest grandpa bowling in a league that kept coming over and doing magic tricks for the kids, riddles, puzzles.  Really cute and fun. We headed to the hotel and much to our disappointment, while it had a pool, it was an outdoor pool (WAY too cold in March) so the game of touch football resumed on the front lawn.  We then discovered that there was a Golden Corral (our favorite tourist buffet restaurant) and we managed to get Jet & Charlie hooked.   This was Jimmys best day (Football Hall of Fame) and Kay’s best thing about vacation (Golden Corral). Then, yep…you guessed it, back to the hotel for video games, hair/make up and Disney channel TV (Liv & Maddie).

 Wednesday – a few hour drive south/west to Columbus. The goal for the day? One group to the zoo/aquarium, the other to Ohio State. Guess who went where? J It was a GORGEOUS day (low 60’s sunny, no wind) and the real 1st day the zoo was open for the season. They were NOT prepared but the kids didn’t care. They loved it!!  We took Jimmy to Ohio State and wandered around for hours. We snuck into the stadium (Jimmy was so nervous, I’m glad he’s a rule follower!), hit the bookstore, saw the track/field, checked out the women’s hockey arena, walked the oval and even caught a band practice in the music hall with a visiting professor. Very very cool and Jimmy hasn’t taken his Ohio State hat off yet (sorry Dad and Jeff) but…good news, he’s still more interested in Madison, Mich State and Clemson -  Whew! Dinner was Jimmy’s choice (see above competition) and we hit Max & Erma’s. Awesome choice! Think Ruby Tuesdays with really good food and free/warm chocolate chip cookies. Yum! Then, can you guess what was next?! Swimming, hair/make up, video games and…a turn in the parents direction – Modern Family and Blackish.

 Thursday – woke to a gloomy, rainy and cold day and thought – oh well, no worries, we were headed to the Science Museum/Planetarium in any case!  (The COSI is really really cool) NOT an original idea !!! We stood in line to get in for 40 min’s. Crazy! But, we were able to do everything we wanted and were there for 6 hours. The kids learned how to be spies, saw the spring skies, saw the human body in action, learned about mega storms on other planets and basically ran themselves silly (maybe even learned a thing or two?)  This was Billy’s favorite day, by far!  Thanks Brian for the suggestion! We were majorly wearing down and getting ready to head home so brought the kids back for 3+hours of swimming, take out dinner and packing up for the trip back to Chicago. The take out was amazing! Turns out Ohio has Tim Hortons – woo hoo! Jimmy ate 2 crispy spicy chicken sandwiches and Kay got an ice cap.   Small world, only on vacation in Ohio could we get Timmies (a major thing we miss from Toronto) and only in Toronto did we find REAL south indian food (outside of Bangalore that is and what we really miss from India)  

 Observation on Ohio – while very diverse there were NOT many (any?) Asians. The kids TOTALLY noticed it.  VERY limited Asian food in the grocery store and Billy even commented on it at the science museum. Interesting conversations with the kids around diversity, ethnicity, adoption, etc. Car rides are good for those sorts of  things….                                                                                                                                                                                   

Friday – busted back to Chicago through rain, wind, gloom and the kids were great! Our kids read, Jan’s watched movies, no one fought and we were back in Chicago for fort making, air guns, Korean Garden (Jan’s favorite and the kids loved it! Totally reminded us of Mirror of Korea and Ms Choi).  Tom went grocery shopping and made a splendid dinner of steak, potatoes, Brussel sprouts and salad for the adults. Jan was nice enough to let us invite over Carl (best man in our wedding) and Jackie (his wife) and their son Charlie (age 14 and Jimmy and he are 2 peas in a pod!). While we were having a nice dinner the kids were busy tying each other up like hogs with duct tape (seriously).

 Saturday – the long goodbye and drive home. Our goal was to get home by 5pm to watch more basketball and so that Jimmy could have his friends over. Mission accomplished! We got home in time, the kids did the homework and we did all the usual (laundry, grocery, bills, etc) and were able to really enjoy the Badger game. Kay picked out dinner (fondue) and it was a really great way to relax.  I think all the neighbors heard us cheering and the house was “on fire” when they won. Cant wait for the game tonight!!

 Sunday – Kay was dead set on “the hunt” (a big time Easter egg hunt) so we had written out clues and a scavenger hunt before we left for vacation. Tracy got up early and under the premise of walking the dog, set up the whole hunt.  We had to force Jimmy out of bed for the hunt but he did participate (he also did go back to bed).    The kids loved their candy/surprises and we had Jennifer, Doug, James, Sam and Sean over for Easter dinner (ham, beans, scalloped potatoes, Oreo dessert made by Kay –you know, the usualJ)  Tracy even managed to sneak out and buy herself a  new bike for the MS150 (A 2015 Giant Defy) and her 1st new bike in 25 years!! Assuming the ride this year will be MUCH easierJ  

 Nikki spent the week at Michael/Brians with Dharma and Luca. She looks like she had a more relaxing vacation than we didJ Oh…a dogs life….


Happy Easter & Spring Break to everyone !!!! Now…I need a vacationJ