Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Midwest vacation, part the second

Lots of fun times on our recent vacation. Here are a few more:

Riding bikes with Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad have been riding their bikes a lot. We take some credit for inspiring them, but the work is all theirs. They showed us Warsaw and Winona Lake's new bike paths. We rode into town and took the wood-plank path across some wetlands.

Then we rode the paved path through the woods, an out and back from Winona Lake. We ate lunch at the Boathouse restaurant, overlooking the lake.

Family reunion

In northern Michigan, we joined my Mom's side of the family for an afternoon of yummy food (including Grandma's pies!), playing games and hanging out on Uncle Mike and Aunt Jerie's front porch.
Jeanine, Baby Emma, Lupita, Aunt Jo, Grandma, and Mom.

Grandma and the grand- and great-grand-kids get organized for a photo.

Matt, Ricky and Brennan take squirt gun wars seriously.

Our 7th Anniversary
As it happened, we were at my home church in Indiana, where we got married, on the occasion of our 7th anniversary.

Amateur Theater
Chad and Mom and I had started watching a BBC mystery while the others were out and about one night. In order to catch Matt and Lupita and Dad up on the story, Chad and Mom did a re-enactment. Everyone agreed that Chad and Mom's was the more entertaining version.
Above, the Duke accuses Captain Dennis of cheating at cards (!)

Dunes at Lake Michigan

Ricky loved the agua. I built a sand castle.

Grandma and Grandpa's 60th

Grandma and Grandpa's 60th anniversary party was an ice cream social. I think they enjoyed it. I know that the grandkids had a great time serving up sundaes and root beer floats.

Chad and Matt fulfilled lifelong dreams of being "soda jerks." Audra, who has real world ice cream shop experience, was nevertheless patient with the rest of us.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Midwest vacation: part one

We spent the last week and a half spreading our summer cheers in the grand states of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Since I'm a cheapskate, we drove there and back. An additional reason was that we could take our bikes with us (airlines are charging large fees to bring bikes -- no charge for skis and golf clubs. What's the deal?). The drive is a long one, taking us about 22 or so hours to do. Highlights of the drive: there's a leaning water tower just off I-40 in TX just east of the largest cross in the western hemisphere, possibly the world's worst paved road (I-40 just west of OK City). Only two hightlights in 44 hours. Hmmm, I guess not the greatest experience ever.

The rest of the trip was really wonderful as we were able to see almost all of Jill's relations (those that we missed now need to visit us in ABQ -- only fair). Nephew Ricky was somehow not that impressed with us, but given that he's only 1, we'll cut him some slack this time. Uncle Chad and Aunt Jill are popular in other circles.

If you ever find yourself in this part of the country, I heartily recommend visiting the sand dunes near Lake Michigan. The lake looks like the ocean with small waves but there's minimal salt in the water. Don't drink the water though, many large factories are within view.

We visited our Ohio friends (met during the grad school days in Urbana, IL) the K's that will soon live in Bowling Green. Here's a funny law in Ohio: a buyer can't move into their house until 30 days after closing. The motivation for the law was to help sellers in case the buyers backed out at the last minute. The Ohioans purchased two weeks before we arrived, so they could only show us the outside and pix from their initial visits. It looks good from these, but we look forward to seeing the whole thing in person.

Perhaps the biggest story about the Ohio visit was that we rode there on the bikes. Had the K's lived in Bowling Green our ride would have been 20 miles shorter. Since they don't we got to ride about 150 miles there, which seemed doable in a day since the wind usually blows westerly. Perhaps some day I'll write a more detailed report about the trip, but this distance was taxing. It was hot. About 120 miles into it, Jill had stomach problems. We had a marital strife. But we arrived at the K's in Perrysburg, OH at 8:45 in the evening after leaving Warsaw, IN at 7 am. A new Chad and Jill distance record for a day.

Lots of fun was had by all. Like most good things, it was over really quickly, but we're glad to be back home now.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Great Spray

I've found a new favorite place: The Sprayground. What do you do at the Sprayground? You play follow the leader. I've never seen a better place to play follow the leader! Then you dry out a while on the warm concrete. Then you play follow the leader again. And if you're really brave or really unheedful, you get a bucket of water dumped on your head. Good fun and good company.