Tuesday, August 05, 2014


The word "stay-cation" bothers me a little. In the same way that the words "selfie" and "bestie" (really any word that is juvenilized by adding an -ie) bother me.

All that to say: we went on a stay-cation. Or rather, stayed here and engaged in a stay-cation? See why it bothers me? Sean took days off work, which constitutes a vacation in all of our books; yet, we couldn't find a destination near Lake Erie that wasn't booked. It seems all of Ohio travels to Lake Erie to celebrate the onset of August. I really wanted to see water on this little break. And sand, a shore of any sort.

No bother, we found out on Thursday that we're moving to Virginia. <sigh> That makes me happy. When Sean told me, I jumped and squealed for a sec and then immediately started crying. The whole family shrunk into a little circle and the look on Felix's face did me in. "But I don't wanna leave," he said. Moving is always so bittersweet.

On Friday, we went to the aquarium in Cincinnati. We were not impressed. We are typically pretty easy to impress, but the Newport Aquarium was not at all worth the money($83 for 2 adults+3 paying kids, with a military discount). Jude was terrified of every single fish we saw. It was hilarious. He was fine until they swam up to the glass and then he lost his mind. The area I was most interested in was the jellyfish display, but the entire room stunk so bad that we couldn't stay long enough to look at the many tanks of jellyfish. As did the turtle room and two very long tunnels of sharks that bottlenecked with people taking selfies. The penguins were also barely tolerable smell-wise, but penguins are typically smelly at all zoos and aquariums. They draw you in with their cute little flippers and then unashamedly turn and take a massive dump in the water. Penguins are disgusting little beings.

The shark tank was pretty exciting, but as you can see by Jude's grip, he was not as giddy about their presence as the rest of the crowd.

On Saturday, we made an equally dumb decision and went to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. After waiting in line for 45 minutes, and being pummeled about the face and neck, financially speaking($84 this time, also with a military discount), we proceeded to shuffle along in the stroller parade for several hours accomplishing nothing. At one point, Sean and I decided to divide and conquer. He with the bigs, me with the littles. After ten minutes of fun(in theory, not reality), we then spent the next hour searching for each other. All the while, Jude was losing his mind due to sleepiness and desire to be free. He had no intention of riding in a stroller when he could just as easily bolt for large crowds, while I pushed the stroller, dodged strangers, appeased Titus and managed the diaper bag. After four kids, you'd think I'd know that a diaper bag is never worth it. Sometimes I'm smart and roll a diaper up in my pocket and hope for the best. Other times I decide to lug not only a diaper bag, but my giant camera and imagine serene moments of all four holding still while the perfect museum lighting kisses their faces as I capture youthful joy. I think I have mini-strokes from time to time that reset my brain.

I assume the museum would be fun on a weekday. More fun that it was on a crowded Saturday anyway. In two hours, we basically rode one slide, played at a water table that held ZERO toys and dribbled a few handfuls of sand on the floor from a sand table. Titus and Jude ran through an Anne Frank and Ruby Bridges display pushing buttons, but learning nothing. We saw a child sized, Indianapolis race car from a distance, a few dinosaurs from a distance, and a taxidermied polar bear. The kids sketched a dragon skull and watched what amounted to a youtube clip on China.

To redeem the time and make driving two hours feel worth it, I looked up a local, organic restaurant and found straight up yumminess: Pure Eatery in Fountain Square. No crumb was left behind. After dinner we caught a few songs in Fountain Square and felt very young and hip and city dweller-esque. And then a homeless man started to heckle the band and we decided it was time to go.

The third day of our local adventures very much made up for the two previous lackluster trips. CONEY ISLAND. Close, affordable, small, shady, activities for all ages, totally doable. I forgot my real camera, but managed a few happy snaps with my phone. I honestly thought Jude and I would be standing around the whole day while the big kids and Man rode rides. And then I saw a crazy lady stick her tiny baby on a ride and figured, "Why not?!" Jude had a BLAST! Titus had a blast not being dragged around and getting to be the big kid. Jude typically attempts dives from his highchair multiple times a day. I thought, for sure, he'd try to get out of a ride seatbelt, but he stayed perfectly still and enjoyed every ride.

 I thought Felix would appreciate the scarier rides...I was wrong. He prefers to keep his feet firmly planted.
 The turtles wiggled back and forth. 

 They rode it many, many times.

Jude's new favorite thing is finding places to sit low enough that his feet are able to reach the ground. 

 I made these people ride the carousel twice so we could get a picture with all six of us in it. :D

 This wall made me wish I'd remembered my real camera. Perhaps another time. 
All in all, we spent six hours and only $53. Only, ha. Compared to the other two trips, this one was the winner. I found another local restaurant near Coney Island, but it wasn't as tasty as the one in Indy. After dinner, we found a small ice cream shop, grabbed some cones and walked to a park that we'd spied while parking. We watched the sun start to set over the Ohio River and then headed back to the car when two teenagers necking at a picnic table started to change the atmosphere from family friendly to family making.
Despite the money seemingly wasted on two less than ideal getaways, we had a great weekend. Time spent together is never wasted. The memories we make! Sean, having taken his last test and finishing an out rotation he was more than ready to finish, seemed much at ease. He was cracking me up all weekend long. At one point on the road, two teenage girls crossed into our lane. "They were singing, boy!" Sean reports. Then he starts swaying, steering wheel and all, singing, "Young girls...!" in his girliest voice. 

Yesterday, we decided to stick a bit closer to home. Sean was rear-ended in his meep meep car a few weeks ago($3100 damage! The thing isn't worth but maybe $5K). It was done at the repair shop and we had a rental to turn in, groceries to get, errands to run. But...we managed to sneak in a picnic at one of my very favorite parks: Carriage Hills.
 It only just occurred to me...no, he was not actually peeing in the lake. 

 He wanted to see what the flashing light was all about...

 The hugging. <sigh>
Simon caught this one. I really lucked out getting the smartest and funniest man. I don't remember what he said, but I'm sure it was inappropriate for blogging anyhow. ;)
I'm not sure how this little one can be so enchanting, even with mustard and hummus on his chin.
And now it's back to business as usual!


Corey said...

Glad I clicked over because feedly ended your post at Coney Island. It really does look like T is peeing in the lake LOL! I totally thought that until I kept reading! An aquarium in Ohio just seems wrong to me LOL! I guess because I'm from CA? Ocean=aquariums right? Wow, that made me sound like a snob. Coney Island looks like a lot of fun for littles!
Do you know where in Virginia you'll be stationed? My uncle lived in Alexandria for a long time, (US Army Col.) but that's basically DC and I didn't think you'd be overly excited about that. Am I right? I've been to Williamsburg (LOVED it there, although touristy) and Jamestown and Virginia Beach (briefly). I always thought Virginia was so pretty.

Jude said...

Coney Island... that is too funny!!
I have got to make more of an effort to take group shots... I mean, I have this camera and the remote... ugh.
Peeing in the lake, hahahaha!