This is the year.
It’s finally time to go on a family vacation.
I know that other families with young children go on vacations all the time, whether it’s a road trip to Disney or a plane trip to a Sandals resort. That wasn’t the right choice for us, though — that wasn’t how we thought of vacations. We were used to exploring, letting fate guide our experiences — things like finding our way back to our hotel in Tokyo via the subway system, or walking 45 minutes (one way) from Waikiki to an anime/toy store on Waialae (granted, that was a poor idea), or going snorkeling or parasailing for the first time.
We weren’t sure how exactly our Dayton trip was going to pan out, since Grandma was recovering from open-heart surgery and Grandpa had a minor procedure scheduled at the beginning of August, but it finally came together. We’d all meet for lunch on Friday — me and Connor, my Mom and her fiancé Jim, and Grandpa and Grandma — visit in the afternoon, check into the hotel and have some swim time, then go out to dinner. We’d reconvene the next morning to visit some more, then Mom and Jim would head back and Connor and I would head up to see our friend Amy.
Even when I got a last-minute call from Mom the morning of the trip, letting me know that Grandpa and Grandma had already paid for a luncheon for that day, so we’d all be doing lunch separately and meeting at Grandpa and Grandma’s house at 1pm, Connor and I rolled with it. I hit up Yelp to see what restaurants were in Grandpa’s neck of the woods, and I found a Bolivian joint. Score!
When we left our house, I asked Yelp for directions to Nelly’s, and off we went.
The drive itself was uneventful — only one potty stop along the way, and typical summer construction here and there. We arrived at Nelly’s ready to try some new cuisine.
Connor and I took a long weekend to visit his great-grandparents in Dayton. He grew bored with “visiting” on the sun porch, of course, being almost six years old, so he spent his time either playing piano in the basement, drawing dinosaurs at the kitchen table, playing his Nintendo DS, or running in the back yard.
Aaron, Connor, and I drove about 90 minutes east to attend Cousin Megan’s wedding back in October. We stayed much later than we’d originally planned, but we all had a great time — especially Connor, who thanked Megan for making his dream come true of having a dance party.
Now that the film photos are developed, here are my favorite photos from the evening.
August 6, 2016: Connor’s first county fair. We’d missed our own county’s fair, so we took Connor to the fair in the next county south, in the town where Aaron and I had both attended college.
We arrived and parked in the field across the street. The afternoon started out rocky when I realized that I’d applied sunscreen to Connor’s neck at home, then put the sunscreen back down on the counter instead of in my purse. We also had only a certain amount of cash on hand, hoping that would be enough.
Connor had some preconceived ideas about what a fair was all about: some animals, but mostly rides and balloons and snacks. When we stepped out onto the midway, he was clearly overwhelmed. We managed to get him to walk through one of the barns and look at the cows, but he really only had eyes for the Ferris wheel.
We purchased enough tickets to get him a few rides, then he picked Daddy to ride with him on the Ferris wheel.
As my mother repeatedly pointed out, Connor had a lot of “firsts” during our trip to Dayton last month, not the least of which was his first overnight stay in a hotel.
Mom arrived at my house around 9am on Thursday — it takes her just about as long to get to my place from hers as it does to get to Grandpa and Grandma Cook’s house from mine. We packed up the Sportage (which Aaron had thoughtfully gassed up the night before), loaded up all our drinks and snacks and road entertainment, and headed out for an uneventful drive to Dayton.
Connor, of course, needed to potty about an hour into the trip, so First #1 was his first truck stop. His quotable upon entering: “It’s a store, too?!”
We arrived at Grandpa and Grandma Cook’s house at noon on the dot. (First #2: First visit to Grandpa and Grandma’s house.)
[Taken 24 October 2015]
Finally got last Fall’s four rolls of film developed! I took the Blackbird,fly out on our October date afternoon to Ann Arbor; I’d originally planned to take my Lomo LC-A, but the Lomo wasn’t recognizing fresh batteries that day, so the Blackbird filled in as pinch-hitter.