Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ohio Ho!

During the summer, we were able to fly to Ohio and visit Gramps and Nana Lana a.k.a Terry and Lana, Aaron's dad and step-mom.  What a great vacation!  Seriously, I cannot believe how much stuff we did.  They live in a beautiful area of Columbus -- so many trees! Lana was saying it wasn't very green compared to normal, but it looked pretty green to me!

They met us at the airport waving happy meal bags out of the window for the kids.  Needless to say, the kids had a wonderful time.

Had a waterfight right after arriving.  Perfect way for the kids to wind down after a day of travel!  Kate loved watering (drowning?) all of Gramp's plants while we were there all week long.

Love this shot -- what cool grandparents my kids have!  
Our second night there, Lana sent Aaron and I on a date. We went out to dinner and saw a movie.  It was so fun to be out together alone in a new city!  In our absence, Kate got to have an ice cream party with Lana and Terry took Finn fishing.  He sent us a text just after we sat down in the theatre with a picture of Finn and his first catch. SO GREAT. 

Sunday was Father's Day and the kids gave Aaron and Gramps matching ties.  Kate also made a felt tie for Aaron in nursery.  We ate delicious steaks for dinner which were great...until they made Lana sick through the night and the next day :( While Lana was recovering Aaron and I took the kids to the local pool which they loved.  That night Finn wanted to go fishing again so we took the whole fam.  The fishing pond was so picturesque, I'm sad I didn't get any snapshots or video there.  It was straight out of a feel-good 1950's movie: little hidden valley with a fishing pond, boardwalk surround, playground, lots of green, setting sun, train passing by on a trestle bridge...the cast from Sandlot would have fit right in.

Tuesday it was time for the Columbus Zoo!  Saw a lot of active animals, especially the gorillas which were Kate's favorite.  Got a train ride, boat ride, carousel ride, and left before we got grumpy...who could ask for anything more?
Finn LOVES maps.  It was so cute to see him stop to consult his map over and over again at the zoo.

Gramps and Kate on the boat ride.

Sea turlte came right up to the glass! 

Our old friends the Despains from student-ward days are living in Columbus right now.  We met up with them at the downtown splash pad for a pic-nic dinner and a great visit. (Finn looks grumpy here but he really has a playful smirk on his's a phase)
 The next day, Terry and Lana stayed with the kids and sent Aaron and I off on our own to Kirtland! Once again, they are awesome.  It was a couple hour drive and I was feeling grumpy for some reason or another but that was quickly remedied when Aaron strategically pulled into a gas station with a Tim Horton's.  Oh he knows me so well.  (Yummy donut shop found everywhere in Canada...didn't even know they had them in the States!) One Boston Cream and a chocolate milk later and it was the best road trip ever. 

We went over to Johnson Farm first, which is actually out of the way but SO WORTH IT.  I was not prepared for the spirit I would feel there.
Johnson Farm outside of Hiram, Ohio.  Joseph Smith preached from these very steps!

Kirtland Temple
 We were gone most of the day and saw many sights around Kirtland.  On our way there, we stopped for lunch and were about to eat at the "Quaker Steak and Lube" (which had a corvette on a rotating pedestal out front, among other things) but went for the safer Chipotle across the street.  It is one of my greater regrets in life.  Don't get me wrong, Chipotle was delish, but what adventures awaited us in the Quaker Steak and Lube we will never know.

Thursday we took the kids to a splash pad for lunch...which actually wasn't splashing at the time...but it was still fun.  The rest of the day was filled with more back-yard water fights and playing in the kid-paradise basement.  Then we capped off the day at the local ice cream parlor.
Papa Smurf Icecream! In the end, Finn buckled under the pressure and stuck with his standby -- chocolate.  Didn't stop him from happily posing with Papa and Kate in this picture though ;)  Oh yeah, he got a black eye ealier this day from a little something we like to call the "my-mom-wouldn't-let-me-do-this-if-she-were-here" playground incident.

This picture makes me smile -- isn't it moments like these that you just wish you could hang on to forever?  That night when we got home there were fireflies in the backyard.  We never get those at the home and the kids LOVED it.  Terry and Lana helped them catch a couple to put in jars and take to bed as 'night lights'.
 The next morning, Aaron and I got yet another getaway -- kayaking!  Terry was kind enough to chauffeur us and let us use his kayaks.  It only took a few minutes to get to this river in Delaware.  We saw tons of wildlife including herons, fish and a turtle that we whacked with our oars a few times...gently of course.
The morning was overcast and the perfect temperature. Great exercise and great fun!

Couldn't resist this picture taken right where we loaded up the kayaks.  The sign says "Please help us keep the Parks clean, thank you." Ha!
 Later that day Aaron, Terry and I took off for a loooooong scenic drive.  We drove around Mojave National Park, then up through Amish country and back home.
Loved this covered bridge!

In case you can't tell, they're related.  Besides their looks, they have SOOO much in common which is really interesting to me since Aaron lived with his mom most of his childhood. Both just really great guys.

Genu-ine Amish man workin' the land! 

Sampled HUNDREDS of cheeses here.  Loved it at the beginning, and even the middle, but not at the end so much.  Whoa, that was a lot of cheese.  I made Terry take us back for a picture after we'd already left because I thought the building was so cool.  We also stopped at a few other gifts shops and drove around the Amish neighborhoods before heading back to Columbus.

Lana was so nice to give Kate a little birthday celebration that night.  She got some polly pockets and a care bear and was in heaven. Finn even got some Pokemon cards.  Did I mention these grandparents rule?
The next morning it was time to pack up and head home.  We were so sad to leave but so happy to have made so many great memories.
This encapsulates Rex's demeanor the entire trip. He was so happy on the plane, super easy-going and even napped/slept well in the pac-n-play which is historically a struggle for my kids.  Terry and Lana were both amazed at how much he ate!  Look at that smile -- he's just so easy to love.
  Kate and Finn also LOVED the plane rides and were great little travellers. "Whoa, we're higher than the cars, we're higher than the trees, we're higher than the CLOUDS!" They also LAUGHED right from their guts every time we hit turbulance. It was awesome

SUCH a great vacation! It seriously could not have been any better. We are so thankful we got to visit these great people and see their beautiful home!


tparks said...

I tried to send you some of my pictures and videos that I took with my phone including the one with Finn holding his first fish, but apparently I don't have your correct email addresses in my phone. If you text me your addresses I will try to send them again.

We had such a great time with all of you. I hope you can do it again sometime perhamps during the fall when the trees change colors.

Rob and Marseille said...

what a fun trip! cool you saw the despains. I"m jealous of all your awesome kid-free activities!

Mama H said...

Just caught up with your blog - Your Ohio trip sounds like so much fun! Thanks for posting all the pictures and stories - it was just like a visit with you!