a short summer trip

The past few days felt very full, but, unlike normal, it was a very happy fullness. We turned last-minute plans into two days of fun where everyone – everyone – stayed cheerful and got a lot from the trip. We left during little O’s first nap, and made it to Hamilton County’s Pirate Cove, a wonderful outdoor splash park. (Thanks Kara!) If this park was any indicator, they have a lot of fabulous parks in and near Cincinnati. From there we headed to Ikea, where we managed to spend a couple hundred dollars, although we went in with very few needs. Ikea showed us what we needed! It turns out, I found my best new peach cutting knife and a pitcher that actually pours. Yes, pours without excess dribble and drips. Plus, many, many toys and furnishings for the little crew. I just love what Ikea has to offer. Even shopping with two boys turned out to be very pleasant. As long we were on top of sleep or hunger needs, the day moved smoothly on.


While a hotel stay with children is not always fun and sharing the same room means little sleep is had by all, we still had a good time. My highlight of the trip was spending over an hour watching little O in the middle of the night, after feeding him. He was in his pack-n-play, standing, exploring every surface and nook around him. He stroked the textured wall paper, pulled on the ironing board cover repeatedly (propped to block a view of me in bed!), and poked his fingers through the metal diamonds, and he tested each corner of his bed, cruising between sides. It was great to see him explore without a need to call out for me and just drop to sleep when he was satisfied. (And then I could drop to sleep too)

 The next morning was the Newport Aquarium and then lunch nearby. The visit was great with everyone finding some delightful things to explore or watch. Big E loved the shark exhibit they had and the divers cleaning the tanks. Little O loved the giant frogs with their buttons to make them croak.

Because we were so close to my husband and my college, Miami University, we just had to make a trip to our favorite places. We hit Jungle Jim’s and bought lots of little delights: teriyaki seaweed, mini coconuts, really long beans, sugar cane, Australian cheese with Merlot confit, cigars, and so much more, more than might easily cram in the car. Not exactly local purchases, but great teaching tools for big E about foods from other places in the world. Our next stop was fossil hunting at Pfeiffer Park in Oxford, Ohio. We stomped down the river and found new treasures. To satisfy our dinner hungers, we headed to Bagel and Deli for a Sportsfest. Okay, truthfully, between the many stops at Dunkin Donuts and the snacks from Jungle Jim’s we were not hungry. But one cannot leave Oxford without a steamed bagel sandwich. A feast in the park was had by all and off we went for a country drive home. To wind down the day, we barged in on friends for a last-minute play session. We ended day 2 home in our own cozy beds.

 When reflecting on why I was so happy this trip it was a combination of a few things. My husband and I kept our cool, even when we were stressed. And because I quickly figured out at the start of the trip when we had to stop for eating or had to drive for napping (which both boys do great in the car), we had perfectly spaced intervals which resulted in happy children most every stop. I was amazed at how absolutely perfect that seemed to work out. Big E did his part. If I suggested it was a good time to try a nap, he obliged, closing his eyes and falling to sleep within a minute, setting a great example for little O. Because everything fell into place so well, we got to do so much each day and feel good at the end of the day.

 We realized something else at the end of the trip – the lack of pictures. I think some trips are so good we are quick to remember to take pictures to remember it all by. And some trips are so good, we are busy enjoying ourselves we are lost in the moment and forget about documenting it. I am glad this was one of those trips. I hope my mental pictures can do it justice.




  1. Amanda said,

    August 6, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    That sounds so nice!! I’m glad you guys had such a good time. If only every day and every outing worked out so seamlessly right? 🙂

  2. Noelle said,

    August 7, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Those experiences are so restorative, aren’t they? The gals and I had a smaller version of your trip at IHOP last month, it went smoothly and peacefully, and afterwards I felt so happy and proud and hopeful. And reading your post brought those feelings flooding back…..plus I’m delighted that you guys had such a lovely time.

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