I’m Still Here (Get a Cupa. This is a LONG One)!

11 06 2008

OK.  I know you’ve all (well, Cristy anyway) missed me so much and are anxiously sitting on the edge of your seat for my next installment of wit and wisdom.  I didn’t fall off the planet, I’ve just returned from a vacation with my family.  Yes, a real, honest-to-goodness-entire-family-in-one-car-driving-LOTS-of-(expensive) miles-vacation!

We left right around O’ dark hundred (that’s the military equivalent of WAY before anyone should be up and expected to function) on Memorial Day and headed to Ohio.  We stopped in Indiana (sorry I didn’t call Cristy!) the first night where Country Inn and Suites were quite happy to lend us two rooms for the night.  Two rooms not only allows us to each have an actual (not fold away) sleeping space, it means that not all of us are subjected to the “jet noise” that is present any (and EVERY) time my husband has his eyes closed.  Since I am the one that shares a bed with him, I did remember to pack the extra heavy duty ear plugs however.  After partaking of their included breakfast of waffles, cereal, and juice the following morning, we finished our journey to Sandusky, OH; official home of Cedar Point Amusement Park.  I was able to take the girls there last year with my best friend and her kids and we had a blast.  This is a place that my husband has wanted to go all his life.  Growing up in Michigan as he did meant this was pretty close, but not close enough for a family of 10 to travel to on one income and many hungry mouths to feed.

So, since the Air Force decided not to have Scott spend his summer at the “beach” on the coast of Qatar, we decided that we’d take what could possibly be our last “whole family” vacation.  Alex (our oldest and only son) graduated from high school this year and will soon be heading for mission fields abroad.

We had purchased a package plan which included our hotel, full day tickets to the theme park and the (outdoor) water park and evening tickets to the theme park as well.  After we checked into our rooms and unloaded the van, the kids and I opted for the much warmer indoor water park, while my husband opted to get our much used van checked out before the rest of our trip.

Now, let me remind you (for those who may not be daily visitors here) that I had foot surgery 5 weeks ago (3 weeks at the beginning of this trip) and I was sporting a very fashionable fracture boot and a cane (I’d graduated from the crutches the day before our trip).  So when I say that I opted for the water park, what I really mean is that I opted to watch the kids and read a book at the water park.  I got to experience all of this fun for the same low, low price as actual admission to the “water” part of the water park.  It did look like great fun though and I still got to smell the chlorine and the kids did manage to drip all over me when they stopped long enough to tell me how great everything was.

After a very tasty dinner at TGI Friday’s, my hubby and three of the four kids headed out to use the evening admission tickets to the theme park.  Being the “extreme adventurists” they are, they figured they’d need that extra evening to truly experience all the roller coasters available.  My “less adventuous” child (loves fast, spinning things, but not things on tracks that could possibly go upside down or rattle her skinny body to death) and I opted for a cozy evening of TV and snacking.

Soon after our arrival and check-in, it soon became very apparent that we forgot something essential to the success of our SUMMER vacation; jackets!  Being from North Dakota you’d think that temperatures in the high 40’s and low 50’s would be just fine with us.  Normally, it would.  However, by late May, we’ve already changed our blood from the winterized version to the much thinner summer version and we weren’t prepared for this shock to our temperature control systems.  The vacation package did not include winter apparel so we headed to the local Meijers (l heart that store BTW!) for some long sleeve stuff.  Temperatures being what they were, winter clothing should’ve been easy to find, but it seems that those in Ohio had recently changed their blood to the summer version too, so we didn’t have much to choose from.

Mary (our youngest and the absolute best at getting anything she wants from her daddy), got an “official” Cedar Point hoodie to keep her warm, but the rest of us needed something.  I happened upon a great micro fleece jacket for our soon-to-be 12 year old for $5 that was her school colors!  Very cool indeed.  Next we headed to the men’s department so we could find something for Alex.  He saw a red jacket and picked it up.  Only $8 on clearance.  Upon seeing said jacket though, I screamed and told him to drop it immediately and run to the nearest hand sanitizer dispenser and scrub hard; very hard.  You see, he’d picked up something terrifying.  I can scarcely manage to mention it here for fear young children may read this.  Yes, he actually held in his tender little hands, a jacket from (YIKES!) Ohio State!  (We tried to make it to Michigan when I went into labor with him, but he was really born in Illinois).  I gently, but firmly explained to him that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES would ANYTHING Ohio State EVER grace our Michigan bodies.  It would be sacrelige to say the least!  We eventually managed to find something suitable and non-threatening to our Michigan heritage, and headed to the park.

The weather being what it was, we also didn’t think about sunscreen.  This would prove to be a very painful ommission for our oldest daughter, Kelly.  She is known in our family as the “pasty white English girl.”  Merely muttering the word “sun” has been known to cause her to turn pink.  You see, fashion being the upmost to most American 15 year old girls, she opted to freeze rather than wear the sweatshirt she’d remembered to actually pack (no wonder she had her own suitcase!).  This left her with a mere two shirts on; both of the “tank” variety.  That sun was tricky though.  Hiding behind the wind and the clouds allowed it to sneak up on Kelly, totally unawares.  She was VERY aware later that night however.  Ever seen a Maine lobster after it comes out of the steamer?  That’s pretty much what she looked like after a day at the “Point.”  She managed to utter “Solarcaine” between cries of pain so we headed off to Meijers again in search of pain relief.

Back up a minute.  To the part after the jacket search, but before the sunburn.  Since I was relatively confident in knowing that I’d not make it more than 30 feet into the park under my own power, I opted for the much more comfortable option; a motorized scooter.  My aforementioned “less adventuous” daughter and I headed off to the spinning very fast, but not upside down, rides, while the others headed to the roller coasters again.  My husband is quite a roller coaster fan too so of course he decided it would be his fatherly duty to “supervise” the other children on these rides.  Normally, I would have fought him for this privelige, but since I couldn’t figure out how to get the scooter strapped safely into the coaster seat, I decided to forego them this trip.  I will say though that I had an absolutely terrific time watching my less-adventurous daughter ride everything she wanted to, multiple times and experience the sheer joy she held on her face.  It was great to spend a day with her.  The very close second place joy-providing-experience would undoubtedly be lunch at Chik-Fil-A.  Diet Lemonade AND chicken nuggets!  Pure heaven (almost)!

Following all the roller coaster fun (yes, Kelly and Scott rode the “Dragster”), we headed to Michigan to see family.  We made a brief stop in Lowell just to make sure our newest niece hadn’t grown too much since we’d seen her at Christmas.  She’s grown some, but was still at the very acceptable, cuddly, cheek-pinching stage.  Onward to Traverse City and the folks.  Grammy made beef barbeques for dinner.  Macknezie (the skinny, picky, never likes anything kid) only ate three!  Grammy makes THE BEST everything according to her.  I’ll gladly take second to this woman in any category.  She is awesome indeed.  This best meal was followed up by another week of awesome meals and even awesomer desserts.  I LOVE this woman!

We have a piece of land in Michigan that we bought years ago in hopes of retiring there someday.  It’s beautiful and almost completely covered in trees.  This is great except that it’s hard to build a house on it (unless you’re the Robinson family) until some of the trees are cleared.  This necessary clearing meant that my hubby and son spent a few days playing with power tools (can you say FUN?).  Chain saws were sharpened and oiled and off they went.  Many trips and a few blisters later, the folks have plenty of wood for the winter and we have room for a house amongst (not in ) the trees.  And because the oldest sister of my hubby got word that baby brother was bringing the chain saws (and the big, willing to work for food, son) home for a visit, she decided that it would be an opportune time to have a very big and very house-foundation-invading tree from her lot as well.  We set off again to their home for the big tree trimming.  We don’t need much (if any) of an excuse to get together for a party involving food, so of course this event more than qualified.  Since none of our family was able to travel to ND for graduation, we brought the graduate to them!  We had a small, but very important party to commemorate this momentous occasion for Alex.  He was surprised to say the least and even more surprised that the topper on the cake was the same one that was on his dad’s cake when he graduated in 1983.  Yes, it’s still around.

After a week of Grammy’s cooking (and a trip to Meijer’s again for larger clothing), we headed to the U.P. for our final vacation stop.  Aunt KKay and Uncle Matt’s house.  This is my kids FAVORITE stop on any vacation.  It could be because they have a very cool creek that runs behind their house; perfect for swimming, spashing, and boating in.  It could be due to the woods that are perfect for fort building and “wild animal” hunting.  It may also be due to the readily available frogs in the pond, just waiting to be caught (again and again!).  I personally think it’s because Aunt KKay is also a wonderful cook (learned from Grammy of course) and it’s the only time they all get to camp out on the living room floor with all their cousins!  Maria (my 6 year old niece) thinks the very best seat in the house is right in cousin Alex’s lap.  Ben (my 4 year old nephew) also thinks that Alex plays table hockey and Uno better than anyone else in the world.  Jake (my 10 year old nephew) is thrilled that he BEAT Alex at table top hockey.  Maria and Mary (often just shortened to MariaMary) played dress up for hours and spent more time taking “tubbies” than any kid should be allowed.  These were “just for fun tubbies” as opposed to the “take a bath to get clean” tubbies; so they were happy to spend hours in the tub bathing every doll in the house.

Upon completion of a long weekend at the coolest Aunt and Uncle’s house, we headed home once again.  I had a lot of fun on this trip because I didn’t have to drive.  I got to sit in the passenger seat with my mp3 player loaded with lots of Shaun Groves, Leeland, Phil Wickham and the soundtrack to The Phantom of the Opera, my “Mater” pillow and a HUGE caffiene free diet coke (I know, full of adventure, that’s me!).   The kids had books, dvds and card games to play.  My husband had his quart of diet Dew.  Who could have anything BUT a great vacation?  I did some great reading on this trip too and will post about this next.  This post is already a record breaker and besides, I’m sure Cristy has to “go” by now anyway.

Thanks for going on vacation with us.  I hope you had as much fun!



6 responses

12 06 2008

WOW! What a post! Where did you stop in Indiana? I would have loved to come greet you!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time, and I’m glad you had a safe trip! Thank you for detailing it, I enjoyed going on vacation with you. ; )

12 06 2008

WOW! That sounds like great vacation.


12 06 2008
Beth Waldeck

Cristy and Thomas,
I can’t remember exactly where we stopped in IN. Yes, I’m getting old! We did have a great vacation, but it’s always good to get home again too.


30 07 2008
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