It was that time of the year – very hot, very humid, the week that preschool is closed, and the week before the new school year begins. For us now, that all signifies that a trip to Ohio to visit my family is on the horizon. This year, since Dan had a business leadership training trip scheduled in Las Vegas, he did not come with us. The three kids and I are used to traveling alone, though, so it wasn’t a big deal. As in year’s past (2018, 2017), we had some mild drama with our flight to Ohio – the airline managed to lose our luggage for two days (on a DIRECT flight), but since we were staying at my Mom’s house, we weren’t without anything that we absolutely needed. I heard one woman mutter to her friend, as I ushered my three small children on to the plane, “I’m so glad that I’m not her,” but honestly, since I got to actually watch an entire movie on the flight (while flying alone with three kids!), it was one of my better cross-country flights with kids. (Unbelievably, I also got to watch another entire movie on the way home to California.) My sister and her daughter flew in, also, from Colorado and we all settled in for a week of family visits and Ohio fun.
We took the kids to one new and one old (to us) park. It was crazy hot and sticky out, but the kids still had fun running, climbing, and exploring.
Sandusky County Fair
We certainly couldn’t miss a trip to the county fair, no matter how hot it was outside. This was the fair that I grew up going to and participating in every year.
African Safari Wildlife Park
I’ve been wanting to take the kids to this drive-through and walk-through wildlife park where you get to pet and feed the animals, but since every other year that I’ve been in Ohio, I’ve had an infant who screams incessantly in the car, this wasn’t possible – until this year! The girls loved helping Nana drive the car through the park and they also loved feeding the animals who quite literally stuck their heads in our car windows. At first William was completely freaked out to have a deer’s head an inch away from him in our car, but he, too, soon found fun in the activity. The girls also got to ride a camel and all of them got to feed (or, in William’s case, chase) the budgie birds.
Beers and Babies
After our safari expedition one day, we went to a really beautiful and very kid-friendly brewery on Catawba Island.
One day when my Mom had to work, my sister and I took the kids to an indoor children’s museum at a nearly empty local mall. The weather had changed and it was cooler and drizzly outside, so it was the perfect day to play inside. The museum had great sight lines, lots of fun areas to explore, and was well equipped.
Obviously, the main reason for our trip was to visit with family, and we did that with an evening BBQ, morning brunch, pizza and beer at the local hangout, dinners, and more. We spent a lot of time with my Mom, sister, and niece; visited my Dad in the nursing home; caught up with my aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of my family; and enjoyed way too brief of a visit with my brother and his wife. The kids loved all of the family attention.
After a week in Ohio, we went back to California. My Dad is continuing to slowly heal from his heart attack, bypass surgery, complications, and toe amputations. A week after we went back to California, he was released from the nursing home. He still can’t put weight on his right foot and he still needs a lot of physical and cardiac therapy, but he’s alive and improving, and we can truly be nothing except grateful. We’re not sure when we’ll be in Ohio again, but we’re excited to see my sister and niece again very soon when they visit us in California and also super excited to see my Mom in Hawaii for Thanksgiving.
Like most people, I probably remember the most and build the most memories through photos. This trip, though, tucked a few memories into my heart that have no accompanying pictures. One really rainy evening, right before bath time, I told all three kids that they could strip down naked and play outside in the pouring rain. The girls could not believe that I was shooing them outside without any clothes on to jump in puddles, catch raindrops on their tongues, and dance under the overflowing gutters. This is something that you can only do when you’re in the country, surrounded by corn fields.