Sunday, July 23, 2017

Back to School Shopping

Meg and Cam slept in this morning.  When they got up they were greeted by Winston.  Hannah-Marie had brought him over for them to visit with.  He was just as sleepy as they were, but once he woke up he was ready to play.  Meg left after lunch to visit with Grandma Jane.  She wanted to share her camp stories with her.  Her mock rock this year was on the camp video.  She can't wait to show them "Titanic on a Budget."  It was clever.

Doug took Cam to a golf tournament at Blackthorn in South Bend.  Meg and I also headed to South Bend this afternoon.  She wanted to go back to school shopping and we thought this would be a great time to get it done.  We made a large dent in her list and even had time to stop at Noodles & Company.  We arrived at Blackthorn just as Cam was coming down the ninth hole.  He didn't have his best round, but was happy with his new irons and chipped well.  Doug said that it played long and with the heat it was pretty challenging.

Once we got back to Syracuse Cam and Meg then went to Mom's to eat noodles and catch up on their day.  Cal was there too.  He had played golf against Dad earlier in the day and then worked at Tippy.  Doug and I went to dinner at Huntington's.  It was a great four days.  Sad to see him go back to work tomorrow, but glad to have Meg and Cam home.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Glad to Be Home & Ready to Go Back

We picked up both Meg and Cam this morning at Camp Crosley.  They were excited to be home and had so many stories to share.  They each had a fantastic time and made a lot of new friends.  Cam said that this was the first year that he thought all of his counselors were fun.  One even brought board games for the boys to play during down time.  Meg had just as much fun as an LIT this week as last.  She was assigned a cabin and enjoyed helping the girls.  Both were glad to be home and ready for some rest, but would definitely go back in a heartbeat.

They did get some rest this afternoon while I worked on the laundry.  There was quite a bit of it, but I made a pretty good dent in it by the end of the day.  Meg's soccer coach had contacted her earlier in the week to see if she would play in their scrimmage today against Elkhart Christian.  We knew she would be tired, but thought it was important to be a part of it as she had missed two weeks of practice to be at camp.  Doug and I went to watch her.  She did well for as tired as she was.  Conditioning starts next week and she should be able to make it to all of those.

Cameron went golfing while we were at soccer.  We stopped by the course on our way back.  He and my Dad were on 11.  Cam said he was ready to quit.  He had played well, but was just to hot.  He really liked his new irons.  The four of us went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner once we changed.  It was fun listening to all of their camp adventures.  Cam said that this was the best year ever.  After dinner Aaron and Preston came over as did one of Meg's friends from camp.  They then went to Gabby's to crash her theater party.  They even went tubbing with her.  Cam went to Mom's to go swimming.  He then stayed to play cards.  So happy to have them home.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Shawshank Redemption Trail

One of my favorite movies of all time was The Shawshank Redemption.  It was based on a Stephen King novel and was set in a prison.  I still remember the first time I saw it.  We were at the dollar theater in Naperville.  I didn't know what to expect at the time, but as it was a Morgan Freeman movie I definitely was interested when Doug mentioned going.  It was fantastic the first time I saw it and has been watched on the Heinisch television dozens of time since.  Cal and I even read the novela and enjoyed it just as much.

Thus, when I read that the Ohio State Reformatory was the setting for the movie and was open for tours I was highly interested.  The more I researched the sites from the movie the more I found to visit in central Ohio.  Doug was game for going and this morning we were the first ones in line for the 11 a.m. tour of the prison.  We were amazed at the enormity of the prison.  It was built at the turn of the century and was designed to look like a European castle.  It was impressive to say the least.

While there we were able to tour the rooms used during the movie including the warden's office and the staircase that was featured in several scenes.  One of the warden's personal rooms was transformed into the boarding house that Brooks and Red both stayed in when they were paroled.  Movie props were left for us to look through including the tunnel that Andy crawled to freedom through.  The only part missing was the courtyard and the back buildings which featured a lot of the outside scenes.  I have never visited a Hollywood set before and this was an amazing one to start with.

Along with the rooms used in the movie we were also able to visit the cells the prisoner lived in and several other parts of the reformatory.  It was pretty worn from years of use and lack of upkeep since it was closed in 1990.  Even though, it was extremely interesting to learn the history of the prison and walk its halls.  Later in the evening was to be a ghost tour and there were a lot of stories on the audio wand describing the sightings that had been claimed over the years.  Doug and I weren't as interested in the ghost stories, but we were impressed by all of the tourists that were already in attendance for the night festivities.

After our tour of the Ohio State Reformatory we headed for home.  Along the way we stopped at two more Shawshank movie sites.  Both were in the same town about 15 miles from the prison.  The first was the courthouse the Andy was convicted in and the second was the prisoners workshop.  We also found two different wineries along the way to stop at.  Doug enjoyed both of them and it was a nice break from driving.  Once we were backing Indiana we decided to stop at the Jefferson Pointe Mall.  We did some window shopping and I bought a few Yankee Candles.  Our last wine bar of the trips was Doug's favorite - Chop's.  It was fantastic way to end a fun few days.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two Days in Ohio

Our first stop of the morning was the home of Rutherford B. Hayes.  We had been there before with The Heinisch children, and I've always wanted to go back.  The Hayes family had possession of the home until the 1960's and all of the items on display were from their families.  President Hayes' and his family had a lot of money for the 1870s and it showedin their home.  He was also the only Present to have a life-size painting completed while he was in office.  It was quite impressive.  A nephew of his had taken pictures of all of the rooms when President Hayes was still alive, so the restoration of the rooms to the 1880s was authentic and fascinating.  I loved hearing the story behind Lucy's White House china.  We had seen it at the Smithsonian on our last trip to D.C. and found it intriguing.  All of the pieces had a nature them and for lack of a better work they were gaudy.  I loved the dishes as did Meg, but it sounded as though others did not.  Thus, her's was seldom used at White House gatherings.

After the guided tour of the mansion Doug and I walked through the museum and library.  President Hayes' was the first President to have a Presidential Library.  It was built in 1917 and his grandson still lived at the home when it first opened.  We left the museum and walked to the tomb of both Rutherford and Lucy.  They owned a gorgeous piece of land and we had several squirrels visit us along the way.

We left Fremont for Mansfield close to 11:30 a.m.  When we decided to come to Ohio to see the Ohio State Reformatory and the Hayes home, I looked for information on the Ohio wine trials.  Doug really likes trying different wines and beers from other areas, so I knew he would enjoy this part of the trip quite a bit.  Our first stop was for lunch.  We had read wonderful reviews about The Vault.  It was an old state bank that was transformed into a wine bar.  We were impressed.  The wine was delicious and the food was excellent.  We truly enjoyed our first visit of the day.

Once lunch was over we drove to Mansfield to see The Ohio Bird Sanctuary.  They rescue and care for injured or abandoned birds.  I loved seeing all of the birds and walking through the aviary.  I found out that one of the favorite meals of the predatory birds was muskrat.  I also learned that having owls would probably solve my squirrel problem, but I am not ready to try that yet.  While there we also walked through the wooded trails and were met by many different animals.  My favorite was the deer who jumped through the meadow.  We spent about an hour there before checking into our hotel in Ontario.

The rest of the evening was filled with visits to different wine bars and breweries.  In-between eateries we also found three of The Shawshank Redemption stops along the way.  We visited the hotel where Brooks stayed after he was paroled.  We also saw the window that Red was looking through when he was searching for a compass.  The best of the evening was the bench that Brooks sat at feeding the pigeon's hoping that his beloved crow Jake would return.  Although not a conventional vacation, day one of our tour of Ohio was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On to Ohio

For the past ten days or more the weathermen had been predicting hot and humid weather for this week.  They definitely got it right.  It was well into the 90s without the heat index.  I decided that I would take a break from walking today and for the first time all summer I spent the majority of the day inside.  I didn't mind as I had a lot to do to get ready for our trip to Ohio.  

I did find time to stop by Aunt Vicky's today.  I had to take the guinea pigs to Mom's and thought that the boys would like seeing them.  Maddox was the most interested and held them for awhile.  When I got back home Cal and Hannah-Marie were at there.  Today was their two year anniversary and they were debating where to go for dinner to celebrate.  Cal was sure that the local restaurant at our bowling alley was appropriate.  HM agreed with me that there had to be a better place.  I left them money so that they could hopefully try somewhere else even though Cal told me as I left that there was "no better restaurant than Chubbie's."

Doug and I departed for Bowling Green close to 5 p.m.   We stayed at the same Hampton Inn that we were at with the Heinisch children years before.  We found a dinner place to try called The Sunset Bistro.  It was ranked the #1 restaurant in the area and we really liked it.  Doug had the salmon flatbread and I chose a club sandwich.  We ended the night at Buffalo Wild Wings as it was in the same parking lot as  our hotel.  There were more soccer games on their televisions than I had ever seen, which we both enjoyed.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Home Base

Doug asked me if I enjoy having Cam and Meg both gone as they are seldom out of the house at the same time.  Although I have been using the time to complete some projects and am looking forward to going to Ohio with Doug later in the week, I actually do not enjoy having them gone.  Mrs. Meek saw me in CVS yesterday and asked how Cam and Meg were doing.  She was glad that they were having a great time, but understood how I felt.  She loved having her own children at home even if it was just as their home base.  I would agree with that completely.  In saying that, however, I wouldn't wish them to miss out on fun activities in life like Camp Crosley.

The nice part of them being gone was that I got to spend the day with Cal.  He offered to dog sit for Winston since Hannah-Marie was in Chicago.  We both enjoyed that.  We were also able to clear out a couple of boxes from his room that he had wanted to go through.  We got our fill of Gameshow Network and even fixed his computer.  I have enjoyed having him home for the summer.  I realize that soon he may not make us his home base, so I will cherish the moments for now.

Monday, July 17, 2017

So Many Wonderful Memories

My Uncle Bob's children arrived in Nappanee last Thursday in order to attend the Guard Family reunion and bring some of his ashes to Union cemetery to spend eternity with their mother.  I hadn't been able to visit with them until yesterday at the reunion, but really enjoyed talking to them.  Mom said that she and Dad were going to see them again this afternoon, so I decided to tag along.  They had planned on staying at my Uncle Larry's bed and breakfast - The Old Buffalo Inn - but it had recently been sold and their reservations were cancelled.  They were disappointed, but found another quant place closer to town and rented out all of the rooms.  It was nice and had a great porch for visiting.  In true Amish fashion the women visited on one side and the men on the other.

I had a wonderful time visiting with them.  They all were such an important part of my Grandma and Grandpa's lives when they lived in Florida.  I loved listening to their stories and recollections of their time with them and from our frequent visits to Arcadia.  They brought back so many memories that I could have listened to them talk all day.  The talk of the river, the animals, the bonfires, the people were all so real.  I felt like I had stepped back into my childhood.

Just like yesterday I cried when we parted.  I miss my Grandparents and all of the fun that I had with them, especially CrapPa.  There hasn't been a day go by since they left this Earth that I did not wish they were still here, but I don't dwell on it.  For so many years after they died my mind just thought that they were back in Florida, enjoying fishing and visiting and feeding oranges to the cows.  I hadn't actually thought of them being dead in quite some time until I saw my Mom's cousins.  The more I listened to Bud talk about Grandpa and my annual Purdue/IU football bet (a whopping 50 cents) and Bobbie's memories of her Aunt Ceil, the more I wanted to see my grandparents.  They would have loved listening to the stories as well and seeing everyone together.  It'll take me a little while, but soon I'll go back to thinking of them in Florida - helping with commodities, drinking Grandma's special tea, and bickering over who lived where when they lived in Nappanee.

Thank you to those who made the journey from Florida for the Guard reunion.  The trip down memory lane was fantastic.  It was appreciated more than words could say.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

And Off They Go!


Today we took both Meg and Cam to camp.  It was their seventh summer of going together.  Both were excited, but they didn't have long to be together.  As soon as Meg got there her counselor told her to change into her LIT shirt, so that she could help with registration.  She was excited to help and glad to see her friends again, but I did stop her to get a quick picture with Cam before she left.  We also got to see her again after we checked Cameron in as she was stationed on the porch directing campers where to go to find their cabins.  We didn't need her help as Cam was in the same cabin as last year - Munsee, but we were glad to say goodbye one more time.

We headed back to the van to get all of Cam's luggage.  He packs pretty light, so we were easily able to get everything to his home for the week in one trip.  He was the first camper to arrive at Munsee.  We met his counselors and found that one was from Brazil.  We helped him make his bed and get his items set up. By the time we left another camper had arrived.  Cam said that Sunday can be kind of boring at times as they wait for the others to arrive and then have a swim test.  I saw him later in the opening campfire ceremony and he looked like he was having a lot of fun.  Can't wait to hear his stories when he returns.  

After camp drop off we stopped by Brian Guard's to see everyone at the Guard family reunion.  There were a lot of family members there and many that I hadn't seen in years.  It was fun catching up with everyone, even thought it was pretty hot.  We left there by 4 to go to South Bend.  Doug's boss had given him a gift certificate to Ruth Chris Steak House that we wanted to use and we wanted to do some shopping as well.  The dinner was delicious and we topped it off with a fabulous dessert.  Cal had just gotten home when we pulled in.  We brought him leftovers for tomorrow's breakfast.  Glad that he will be home this week, otherwise it would be really quiet in the Heinisch Home.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Quick Night at Home

We picked Meg and Gabby up this morning from their first week at camp.  They had had a great time and had many stories to share.  Meg had lost her voice again and they were both exhausted, but they wouldn't trade their time with their new friends for anything.  They both had to help with the day campers this week and seemed to like that.  Meg felt that it was exhausting entertaining children.  I was pretty sure that I knew that before she left.

Meg spent the afternoon resting and catching up with her friends.  She also texted the LIT's that stayed at camp several times.  Part of her wished she would have stayed, but the rest of her was glad for a shower and rest.  I got all of her laundry done and she started the process of repacking.  Once Cam got home from the golf course, we headed to Goshen.  We needed to buy Meg more snacks for school and Cam had a few items that he needed as well.  Doug ran to J.C. Penney's for me while we were at Target.  I ordered the boys Nike socks and they had just come in.  It has been great using them for online ordering.  After shopping we stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Meg wasn't overly hungry, but she wanted to go out.  Aaron was in our driveway when we got home so that they could catch up on all of the week's activities.  Doug, Cam and I had a bonfire and enjoyed the outside as the weather has just been wonderful and our flowers are beautiful.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Chance to Catch Up

Cam played golf with my Mom this morning.  Once he got home we started on the packing for Camp Crosley.  He was excited to get his supplies around and to talk about the activities he would like to try.  This year he thought that he would sign up for canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding as he hasn't tried those before.  It is supposed to be hot, so a water activity sounded great to me.

Once Doug got home, they headed to the golf course.  I had plans to meet up with my friend Jen, so I didn't join them this time.  The course was packed, so they only got in seven holes before they had to quit.  Cam wanted to catch Despicable Me 3 with my Dad at 7.  We had talked about it for weeks, but hadn't come up with a time to see it yet.  I was glad that they got to go tonight.

I had a great visit with Jen.  She's been very busy with her daughter Grace's graduation, so we hadn't been able to connect.  We both decided that we would sit out our 30th class reunion later this month.  I'm glad that a lot of people want to get together, but it just wasn't for me.  We do plan to have some type of get together with our friends this fall.  Grace is going to IU, so she will have some weekends free after mid-August.  I met up with Doug after Grace headed home.  We went out for a late bite to eat before we picked up Cam.  It was a beautiful day and I was glad to catch up on so many items on my summer to do list.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Two Visitors

Evan spent the night last night and was late to wake up.  Cam was up bright and early, however, as he knew he was going to have another visitor.  Hannah-Marie brought her new dog, Winston, over for Cal to dog sit while she was at volleyball.  He was a cutie and at eight weeks old he slept a lot.  I helped Cal as well with the dog sitting, but in all honesty, it was pretty easy.  Winston did make it outside for awhile.  He liked the sticks in our yard and roamed around for awhile.  Mom and Dad came up to see him.  Cal was sure they would want one of his siblings.  He even offered to pay for part of it.  Not sure he talked them into it, but we'll see.  I would definitely take a dog, but working would make it hard.

Once Winston and Evan went home Cam and I watched The Chase.  He then had soccer tonight.  This time they practiced with the boys team.  Cam liked it. He felt that he had gotten faster than last fall and his stamina had increased.   I walked while he was there and caught up with Brett.  Freedom works would like to keep him as an intern.  They want to hire him full-time, but don't have money in the budget to do so.  They said that he was the best policy intern that they have ever had.  It was a great compliment, but intern pay just doesn't cut it in D.C.  Thus, Brett has decided to come back to Bloomington and work on his masters.  If something changes at Freedom Works, he would definitely be interested in moving back.  He has had a great year and half of working, meeting people and gaining experience.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Visitor

Cam was up early this morning to play golf.  He wanted to get in a round before Evan got here.  He was home in plenty of time to get ready for his visitor.  Mary had an appointment this afternoon and we had been wanting to have Evan over, so it worked out perfectly.  They first went outside to play a baseball, frisbee, basketball combination game.  Next they moved on to the Wii for some Mario Kart and Mario Party.

While they were busy I used the time to work on Meg and Cam's binders from this past school year.  Last summer I didn't have time to work on them and had to finish them once school started.  I was able to get Meg's done before the boys wanted to go swimming at Mom's.  They had a lot of fun getting out all of the rafts and water guns.  I was glad that the rain held out.  It had looked threatening all day.

Doug got home while they were swimming, so he decided to go jogging.  It was humid today, but nothing like yesterday.  He said it was a lot easier tonight.  When he was done we took the boys to the Spider-man movie in Goshen.  They had wanted to see it.  Doug and I went to Kelly Jae's  for dinner while they were there.  The boys said that the movie was good and couldn't decide if it was better than Wonder Woman or not.  Either way we all had fun and it was a great way to spend the evening.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Golf & Soccer

Today was the first match play of the Raccoon Run junior league.  Cameron did well winning with two holes to go.  He stayed on to play a couple more holes, but didn't get in a full second nine.  It was extremely humid and he was ready for a break.  I took advantage of the time he was gone to clean Meg and Cal's room upstairs.  After that I walked for close to an hour.  Unfortunately my leg was in a lot of pain afterward, but I am happy to say that I got in my 10,000 steps.  I think I will rest it tomorrow to see if that helps.

Cam and I went to Pete's Fish after golf.  We hadn't been there all summer.  It was ayce fish and shrimp which Cam enjoyed.  I had their salad bar and talked golf with Cam.  He took a break in the afternoon so that he would be ready for soccer practice at 6 p.m.  Doug met us there and went jogging while he played.  I ran to the grocery store since no one was home.  I hadn't been in awhile.  Doug and Cam were home by 8.  There were only four players at practice, but it went well.  I finally texted Cal at 9:45 to see where he was.  He was just leaving work and on his way to HM's to see their new puppy.  He put in over twelve hours today which made up of the cancellation yesterday.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Rain Out

Cam had planned on playing golf this morning with my Mom and then again tonight with Doug and I.  Unfortunately, the rain had other plans and by 10 a.m. the courses were closed.  Cal was the only one happy about that as he had to work an outing and there are no tips involved in those.  Cam did finally make it out of the house around 2.  He and Grandpa Cutes went to North Webster to hit balls.  Cam has grown quite a bit in the last year, so they were thinking about having his irons extended.  This would last him until the Spring when it will probably be time to look at new ones.

Since Cal couldn't work, HM came over after basketball.  Cal impressed everyone with his giant pizza/quesadilla making skills.  Hannah-Marie found out that she might be getting a new puppy.  Cal's still sure that he needs one.  Although I think dogs are great pets, I have no desire to take on the workload of one.  They went over to her house in the afternoon.  Cal spent the rest of the evening reading his Stephen King book once he got back.

I took advantage of the time between storms to take a walk.  I was able to make it an hour which gave me over 6000 steps.  I also spent time organizing Brett's items that he brought home form D.C.  I believe that I even figured out how to keep Meg's Snapchat streaks alive.  We'll see when she gets back if it worked.  Her friends may think that she has gone crazy as the picture I shared was of a squirrel eating on our corn feeder.

Doug made dinner after he went jogging.  We finally turned on the air conditioning.  The humidity was intense today and our thermostat read 83 when I finally hit the cool switch.  After we ate we finished Witness for the Prosecution.  It has so many twists in it, that I have never been able to remember them all.  I enjoyed watching it again especially since we just walked through the Marlene Dietrich exhibit in D.C.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Nine Years - From Mini Camp to LITs



Meg spent the morning packing for Camp Crosley.  She had the majority of her items ready, but wanted to review with me what she still needed.  It was nice that she could do this pretty much by herself.  It made it so much easier.  It used to take me hours to get everyone ready for camp.  She knew what she wanted and needed.  Thus, it made sense for her to take over this job.  We left for camp later than she wanted.  Check in wasn't until 2 and we left at 1:30.  There was a line already when we got there, but they didn't let anyone in beforehand, so it worked out just fine.

Once we dropped off her paperwork and medications with the nurse we went to Meg's cabin.  One of the counselor's remembered Meg from last year.  I thought that was awesome!  Gabby had already picked out bunks for the girls and Meg put her pillows on the bunks under them for their friends from last year.  Their cabin was very nice.  It used to be the nurses quarters, but they had remodeled it for the LITs.  They even had their own bathrooms.  Once we helped Meg make her bed and take pictures we left.  The girls were so excited to be there.  This was their ninth year at camp together, so they definitely didn't need us hanging around.

Cam and Doug played tennis once we got home.  I took a walk and worked on some more laundry.  My parents played in the alternate shot and when they were done, Dad took Cam golfing.  Cal had to work the range tonight, but was home early.  The medications he started for allergies have been working and his cough was a lot better.  Doug and I went to dinner tonight and had a bonfire before watching Witness for the Prosecution.  Cam played cards with my parents before coming home.  Everyone went to bed early tonight as the week wore us out.  Tired or not it sure was a wonderful one.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Unpacked to Repack

I slept in this morning as did Cam and Meg.  Cal had to work, so he was up at 5:30 a.m.  Doug agreed to make sure he made it which I appreciated.  Once I got up and got going I started in on the laundry. Meg brought her clothes to me so that we could talk about what she needed for Camp Crosley.  The biggest dilemma was the comforter that she would take.  We finally came up with one that was soft enough yet would still keep her warm.

After lunch Aaron, Graham and Preston came over.  Meg wanted to get together with them before she left for two weeks.  They played kickball at our house and then headed over to Grandma Jane's to go swimming.  They loved fighting over the floats and jumping off of the boathouse.  The second one made me nervous, but it was very deep there.  Cam had a busy afternoon as well.  He went to a birthday party at Kaden Paul's in Goshen.  He was excited to see his friends and to hangout with them for awhile.

Doug had to lector tonight and Meg stepped in to serve for Cam since he had his party.  When mass was over we picked Cam up and took him to the Concord Mall.  He had ordered pink shorts to match his flamingo shorts and they came in while we were gone.  While I picked those up Meg took Cam and Doug to the shoe store.  He wanted to get a pair of sandals like Meg's for camp.  He found a pair of black ones that he really liked.  He was impressed that his shoe size had now reached a size nine.

We stopped for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was pretty sparse, so we got in right away.  By the time we got home Cal was just heading out.  Work went well, but he was tired and his allergies were really bothering him.  I talked him into trying Flonase and with that and some rest, he was better.  Doug built a bonfire which he, Cam and I enjoyed.  Meg wanted to finish her packing and check in with Aaron before the night was over.  She cannot wait for tomorrow.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame

We were up early this morning and on the road by 8 a.m.  Brett had to work today and we decided that we wanted to stop in Cleveland on the way home if possible.  It was tricky getting out of D.C. and it rained in Pennsylvania for a little while, but other than that it was an easy trip.   We had given Cal, Meg, Cam and HM options of where to stop today and they all chose The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. We were glad to have arrived there by 2 p.m. as that gave us time to explore the Hall before it closed at 5:30.

I had bought tickets online, so getting in was quick.  We hadn't stopped for lunch so we tried their cafe.  It was delicious and once we refueled we headed downstairs for the main exhibits featuring the early influence of rock and roll.  Cal knew a lot of the artists from his music class at IU and Cam said that it was one of his favorite parts of the Hall.  Meg remembered the Elvis exhibit and couldn't wait to find it.  HM was able to spend time at the Beatles display and Doug enjoyed the Rolling Stones.  The 2017 inductees included one of Doug's favorites - Pearl Jam and one of Meg's - Journey.  With all there was to see I believe that Doug and I found the John Mellencamp area to be the most interesting.  He was huge when we were at IU and being from Seymour his ties to Bloomington have always been strong.

After several hours at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame we were all ready to head home.  It had been a great trip, but we knew it was time to get back on the road.  We still had four hours to travel and were hoping to make it to Syracuse before nine.  Traffic was heavy at first, but once we got about five miles out of Cleveland we were good to go.  Cam put in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on the dvd player which kept us entertained for the majority of the trip, and we actually made it home by 8:30.  Once we unpacked Meg and Cam had time to get Joe's and visit Graham and Gabby.  Cal went to Grandma's after HM left and Doug and I enjoyed a quiet dinner with a lot of time for reflection.  We felt incredibly blessed to spend a week with our children.  We made memories the will last a lifetime.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

007 in D.C.

When we talked with Hannah-Marie and the Heinisch children about what they wanted to do when we were in D.C. everyone gave us ideas of exhibits, memorials and museums that they had visited before and liked.  HM suggested one, however, that none of us had been to - The International Spy Museum.  We didn't know what to expect, but were excited to try something new.  It opened at 10 a.m. this morning and we were there with the early morning crowd.

We started on the top floor with our secret identity and traveled through exhibits learning all that we needed to know to become a spy.  There was a lot of history intertwined with the exhibits of spy necessities - fake pens, false bottoms in suitcases, etc.  This year additions were made to include memorabilia from the James Bond movies.  Those have always been favorites of Doug and the boys.  Thus, we really enjoyed the cars, the posters, the weapons, the outfits and discussing our favorite villains and Bond girls.

Right across the street from the Spy Museum was the National Portrait Museum.  This was new to us as well and we decided to walk through it.  I loved it as they had portraits of each President.  We had fun asking Brett about his favorite Presidents and his least favorite ones.  There was a lot of debate after that.  We were close to the gift shop near Ford's Theater and the Hard Rock Cafe, so we made those our next stops.  Everyone found a souvenir or two and Cal even purchased a Donald Trump chocolate bar.  We had to wait for a table at Hard Rock.  That was ok with us as it gave us time to sit down or walk around and enjoy the displays.  The food was delicious and filling.

Our next stop was the American History Smithsonian.  We had just been there in April, but I could walk through the exhibit showcasing the First Lady's dresses and china every month.  It was fun picking out the ones that we would love to have and the ones that didn't quite fit our style.  We made sure to see The Start Spangled Banner and the Bert and Ernie puppets before we left.  There was supposed to be a Smithsonian Festival today, but it was rained out.  That was ok with us as we walked to the White House instead and had plenty of time to walk all the way around it.  While we were there we took pictures on both sides of it and we also enjoyed looking at the Dwight D. Eisenhower building.  We hadn't seen it on our last trip and it was impressive.

We made it back to the hotel for the evening reception.  The snacks and drinks were different than Wednesday night, but just as good.  Brett was ready to go back to his apartment after that.  He had packed everything that he had in D.C. that he would not need for the next month.  Doug drove him home so that he could pick all of it up.  Brett will now be able to fly home and not worry about shipping everything home.  Once Doug got back, he, Meg, Cam and I walked to get ice cream.  The closet place was in China Town.  The ice cream was good, but I didn't particularly care for China Town.  Brett said that I am not alone in feeling that way.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Honoring the Fallen



We started today at the Holocaust Museum.  They had a survivor talk scheduled for when we first arrived that we were able to listen to.  The speaker was 91 years old and had spent time in a concentration camp building an airplane hanger.  There were two parts from her stories that resonated with me.  The first was that she lived in Hungary under Communist control, but still had no idea that the Jews from Europe were being exterminated.  Even when they got to Auschwitz she did not realize that they were being separated for work camps and the gas chamber.  The second part that stuck with me after she finished was that her family of nine became a family of three after the war.

Once the talk was over we headed to our tour of the museum.  We each picked up a passport with our identity as a Holocaust victim.  The pictures and information that we read were sad.  It was not meant to be uplifting, but a time to remember.  We spent almost two hours going through the exhibits.  Meg remarked that the leather shoes of the victims exhibit was extremely sad.  I thought the three story wall of pictures of a town wiped out by Nazis was equally depressing.  The most eye opening part of the tour  for me was the fact that Germany's population of Jews in 1933 when Hitler came to power was only 1%.  Thus, he blamed an extremely small percentage of his country for all of Germany's problems.  I thought of life today and the outcry during the election against the 1% in the United States holding the majority of the countries wealth.  Just like today it does not make sense to me that any political party would blame a small portion of the country for the majority's problems.  Hitler obviously took it further than anyone today, but knowing that others called President Trump Hitler because of his stance on immigration became even more offensive to me after walking through the Holocaust Museum.  I also believe that it lessens the memory of the six million extermination by the Nazi's during World War II.

We took a break after The Holocaust Museum for lunch outside of the Pentagon Mall.  It was a nice place to reflect and get everyone's perspective on the museum and speaker that we saw today.  We each reported back on how our identity fared during the Holocaust.  Brett, Meg, Cam, Hannah-Marie and I were all happy to report that we survived.  Doug and Cal, unfortunately, were not so lucky.  After we ate we spent some time shopping.  Brett and Cam found some new games at Game Stop.  Meg and I headed to the Lego store and Forever 21.  HM and Cal spent part of their time looking for Vans and Doug made phone alls for work.

After the mall we stopped at Arlington Cemetery.  We saw many of the same sights as last time - Taft's grave, the JFK's eternal flame, Arlington House and the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  I spent a lot of time reading other tombstones as well as I walked a lot slower tonight than I did last night and was alright with others going on ahead.  Brett and I even found Oliver Wendell Holmes on this journey.  It started to rain as we left the cemetery, but we were still able to visit the Air Force Memorial, the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial.  All were impressive.

We were ready for dinner after the memorials and found a place near Brett's apartment building called the Union Bar.  The food was delicious and we appreciated sitting down for awhile.  We dropped Brett off after dinner so he could take the suitcase we brought for him home.  Once we got back to the hotel Cal, HM, Meg and Cameron all went to the hot tub.  Doug and I tried the bar in the lobby.  It was a completely different scene than the one from breakfast this morning.  There were a lot less people and for the most part a nice place to unwind.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Birthday Doug!

Today we celebrated Doug's 47th birthday at Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington.  It was a hot, crowded day to visit, but we really enjoyed all of the 4th of July activities. I had bought our tickets online Sunday and we were glad that we did as it was crazy getting into the home.  It took us over 20 minutes just to get through the line to park.  While we were there we were able to walk the grounds, visit the grave sites and tour the mansion.  With the holiday there were bands playing patriotic music, revolutionary war reenactments, and a fireworks show over the Potomac hosted by George and Martha.  Brett and I remarked several times how amazing it was that last year we were at the home of Calvin Coolidge on the 4th - the only President born on the 4th of July - and this year we were at the home of our nation's first President.

From Mount Vernon we drove to We the Pizza in Arlington.  Everyone really liked the food and it was easy to get in and out of.  After lunch we headed to our hotel in D.C.  We decided to try an Embassy Suites that was close to the White House.  It definitely was nice and we rested for awhile before trying their evening reception.  There were some good snacks and once we were refueled we thought we would tour the monuments.

It wasn't too far to the National Mall.  We went to the Washington Monument first.  It was fenced off and the only way in was through a security tent.  We realized at that point that all of the monuments were that way in anticipated of the fireworks later in the evening.  As we could see Washington's Monument from all spots on the Mall we decided to walk on to the World War II memorial.  We couldn't access it because of the festival, but we could see it without any problem.  We then walked to  the Lincoln Memorial, which was absolutely packed.  We were able to make our way up the stairs to see Lincoln.  That part was not crowded and we got some great pictures.

The Korean War Memorial as well as the Vietnam Wall were close to Lincoln so we stopped at those next.  The realization from these two was the fact that the death toll from the two wars were relatively the same, but the Vietnam War tends to get more historical attention.  The fences for the festival detoured us through the baseball fields for our next two stops - the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the FDR.  Both were impressive and I have to say that I believe that the FDR one was my favorite of the night tour this trip.  Our last memorial stop was the Thomas Jefferson.  It was packed as well but we were able to navigate the crowds fairly well to get inside to see the man himself.

Our goal was to make it back to the Washington Monument area before the fireworks started.  The fences caused us to have to detour though and the fireworks started 20 minutes early otherwise we would have been there at the start.  All that said we only missed the first three minutes and once we got to our prime viewing spot they were spectacular.   After the fireworks were over Brett split off from us.  It was close to 10 and he was ready to head home.  We had talked about going to dinner, but everyone was exhausted.  Instead we went back to the hotel and ordered pizza from room service.  That worked out well.  We had walked 12 miles today.  Resting was exactly what my feet were asking for.  Even though it was a lot of walking, it was definitely worth it to spend the 4th of July in our nation's capital.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Off We Go!

We spent the morning cleaning and finishing the packing for D.C.  Cal didn't get home until late last night, so we didn't have his clothes in the suitcase yet.  Doug has been notorious for setting a time to leave and then arriving early.  This time we anticipated him and had everything ready before 3 p.m.  That worked perfectly as he originally said we'd leave at 4 and showed up at 3 on the dot.  All he had to do was change in we were off.

The trip was an easy one.  Meg, Cam, Cal and HM kept busy with their phones, reading and watching Star Wars and Dodgeball.  Traffic was light all of the way.  Doug wondered if it was because of the holiday and maybe everyone had already arrived at their destination.  We hadn't decided for sure where we were going to stop for the night, but as we drove on we realized that we could probably make it to Alexandria, Virginia if we tried.  Thus, we reset our goal and with only one stop we were at our hotel in Virginia by 12:30 a.m.

The hotel had a problem with our room, but after changing once we finally were able to figure out the sleeping arrangements.  Doug was ok with the floor and everyone was in bed by 1:15.  The metro station was right across the street from our hotel, so Brett will be able to meet us for breakfast before our trip to Mount Vernon tomorrow.  Thankful for a safe, quick trip.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Day of Rest

As we went to mass last night and Meg got home late, we decided to sleep in this morning.  I have noticed that sleeping in for Doug and I means 8 a.m.  Strange how that changes over time.  Cal "slept" in as well as he didn't have to be to work until 9 a.m. today.  Last night he had gone out with HM on the boat to watch the fireworks on Lake Wawasee but was home before midnight.  Meg was the one who took advantage of sleeping in. She said that she set her alarm for 11 a.m. as she felt that would be late enough.  When it went off she still wasn't ready to get up.

We spent the day getting ready for our trip to Washington D.C.  Doug didn't feel the best, so he took a nap this afternoon.  That was extremely rare.  He said he felt a lot better afterward.  Once I finished some laundry and finalized my photo album on Shutterfly we decided to go out to the winery.  It was a beautiful afternoon and they had live music.  Meg went along with us and shared more stories from her trip to Vincennes.  It was nice catching up with her.

Cam spent the afternoon golfing with my parents.  He almost broke 40 on the front which he was happy about.  Cal had to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but texted to let us know that he would be late.  Their range picker broke down, so they had to pick all the golf balls up by hand.  It was also very busy today on the course.  Cal was happy to announce when he got home that he had made $200 for the day and would get in 20 hours this week even though we would be on vacation for five days.

Doug cooked steaks tonight and we celebrated his birthday early.  The food was delicious and he enjoyed his gifts and cards.  Cam got out the ladder ball set glad that we were finally able to get the one set he through in the tree down.  It took some physics from Doug to figure it out, but we have the full set again.  Preston and Aaron came over to visit with Meg.  They hadn't seen her in awhile and wanted to talk to her before she left again.  They drove down to Joe's for ice cream and to bother Graham.  Doug and I took a walk and got home just as the rain started.  The good news was that I made my 10,000 steps daily goal and didn't have to water.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Home Sweet Home

My parents had been in Las Vegas since Tuesday.  We had heard from them several times during the week.  They were enjoying the shows immensely and Mom had even won some money.  Their flight out was scheduled for yesterday morning.  It was delayed getting out, but not like last week's fiasco when they had to cancel altogether because of the delays.  Once we saw that they took off, we stopped checking.  They were supposed to stop in Charlotte, North Caroline and then catch a connecting flight to Fort Wayne.  Unfortunately, we heard from them a little bit after take off that there was a medical emergency and they had to make an unscheduled stop in Wichita, Kansas.  Getting the woman off of the plane didn't take long, it was waiting for an American crew to arrive to inspect the plane before they could take off again that took forever.  By the time they landed in North Carolina it was after midnight.  They had missed their connecting flight and spent 14 hours on the plane.

Once my Mom explained to the American representatives what had happened they put them up in a hotel, bought them breakfast and lunch.  That was nice, but the next available flight out was 8 p.m. tonight.  Thankfully, they found someone else in the morning that was able to put them as priority passengers on a 1 p.m. flight.  Once we saw that took off on the earlier flight we all felt relieved.  Cam's first question was, "So, do they want to go golfing once they get here?"  Fortunately, that was their plan and they were able to make it to our house before Doug and I left for mass.

Meg also made it home from her trip tonight as well.  She got in late, but thankfully, there were no delays.  Meg was thrilled to be home, but told us over and over how much fun she had.  She met a lot of girls and got to play a ton of basketball.  At one point she had played 11 games in 24 hours.  That was challenging as she hadn't played competitively in 2 years, but by the end her nervousness was gone and she even hit a couple of threes.  The best part for Doug and I, however, was listening to her stories about her teammates and all that they did together.  Bean Boozled was the activity that her coach chose for team bonding.  Meg choked down dead fish, moldy cheese, and canned dog food.  Meg found that she had a lot in common with the girls and enjoyed getting to know her coaches better.  We were impressed that they were interested in her well being and glad to have her be part of the team.  Between basketball, soccer and tennis this summer she definitely has had chance to meet a lot of her classmates.