Annual August Ohio Pilgrimage

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.

Park Play
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.

Maumee River at Farnsworth Metropark

Sliding Cousins at Helena Village Park

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.

Lillian Loved Petting the Fair Animals

Fair Rides

The Highlight of My Dad’s Summer – The Fair with All of His Grandkids

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.

Girls’ First Camel Ride

Feeding 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.

Beer Snuggles

Brewery Baby in a Box

Children’s Museum
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.

Driving Miss A

Fun at the Children’s Museum

Covered in Babies at the Museum

Family Time
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.

Damschroder Pizza Night

Sweet Second Cousins

William’s First ATV Ride with Papa

Evening Visits with Catch Me (He’s Kind of Like Family!)

Goodbye Ohio!
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.

Loaded Up to Fly Home

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.

Ohio: Summer 2019

About Carrie

I'm a Midwest transplant in SoCal...spending my time exploring, questioning, reading, writing, baking, skiing, and running.
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2 Responses to Annual August Ohio Pilgrimage

  1. Diane Chambers says:

    My, you certainly show your kids a great time… park, County Fair, a LIVE ANIMAL safari, children’s museum. My head is spinning and in awe of all those adventures with them. I think I might be startled by a deer head just inches from my face so if William got brave and enjoyed it I am very impressed. Cavorting naked in the rain sounds like a delightful activity the kids will long remember. Good thing you get rain seldomly back in CA otherwise they might be tempted to repeat the fun in your common cobblestone area just beyond your garage. I am glad your dad is doing well. I looked at his nursing home and it is beautiful, not rundown, and seems like it will provide, food, care, company, comfort, and fun. I reminds me of the place my sister found to place my dad. The staff were very dedicated and I suspect your family will experience the same thing for your dad. Sorry he had to travel such a rough road to get there but it seems all is good. Glad your trip was such a hoot! Sorry about the delayed luggage part. If only that muttering woman on the plane could see what she missed.

    • Carrie says:

      Thanks for your comment. I wouldn’t say that “all is good” with Dad, but, like I said, he is alive and sloooowly getting better. He had a bit of a setback this week and will now need to have another toe amputated, so that will take him back a month or more in this long recovery process (back to the hospital, back to the nursing home, delayed therapy and healing, etc.). But, again, he is alive, which is honestly a complete miracle.

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