Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spring Travels 2012

Well, I guess there is an explanation to be made on this long delay.  A rather long explanation for the long delay.  It has been a very long time since our last post- so long in fact that our dear friend Earline called to make sure that we were all okay - we are - (Thank you Earline, that phone call meant a lot to me!).  To say we've been a bit distracted is probably an understatement. A big understatement.   And then as things settled into something looking a bit like routine (I faintly remember that...) I just was rather lazy.  For these last days it seemed that just reading the paper, practicing the piano a bit and cooking dinner for Don and then usually ending the day watching the Cincinnati Reds play baseball was all the energy I could muster. I on the other now have a job, not a full time time, but it is a 60% of full time job doing the kind of work I love to do, helping a company build their technology base by finding new opportunities for the company and then negotiating access for that technology.  So I haven't been just sitting around all summer.

 But I am returning to my old resolve- we actually had friends over for dinner Saturday (you'll have to watch for the recipes on "In the Kitchen with Don").  But before rambling anymore I need to get to the point.  We spent much of the spring traveling (or packing and unpacking for the travels).  I think I made monthly trips to Florida and we also made it to New Orleans, Tulsa and Chicago.  And then came summer.  I know you're thinking well certainly things settled down then.  Well in addition to absolutely unbearable heat and drought (we know- you suffered that as well), we were covered up with grandchildren.  Now don't get me wrong- I love, love, absolutely love the time I get to spend with the grandchildren.  But to put it mildly THEY EXHAUST ME!  Was that mild enough? 

 Brandy and Mikayla arrived the first of June and stayed until July because there were many delays getting into their new home in Rochester Hills, Michigan (which is absolutely, I mean absolutely gorgeous!).  Clarification of exactly why Brandy and Will were moving north provided a bit later in this blog.  Marianne and Reeder and Hayes and Weiler (we're not counting Baby #4 quite yet though Don has named him/her "Cuatro") arrived in mid May after Clint departed for his vacation in Afghanistan.  We didn't notice quite so much because they were staying over at the Simmons until the Simmons had to vacate their condo because it was sold out from under them, and they had to move into a significantly smaller place. Marianne and the kids then came to our house but left shortly after their arrival for a vacation in Florida- as if Cincinnati isn't all the vacation haven that anyone needs!  Well eventually Marianne got back to Cincinnati and stayed until mid September (with another long vacation to Florida again!).  More in a later blog about the Kappel Kids and this summer. 

So, what can I say- I've been distracted.  But I think I'm returning to normal- or at least my normal.  And I do want you to see how beautiful everyone is- and how wonderful it is to spend time with them.  So I thought I'd start with the SPRING TRAVELS.  And then with a renewed boost of energy  in the next blog  I'll tackle the hundreds of pictures from the summer (it is absolutely unbelievable how many pictures I have from this past summer)!

So first to Florida and Brandy and Will and Mikayla.  Will was given a promotion- and a relocation- and then about the same time he was tapped to manage a BIG JOB in Arlington, VA.!  And this involved mucho travel.  So now that I'm retired I started making monthly trips to Florida to keep Brandy and Mikayla company when Will was out of town.  Actually Don made all but one of the trips with me.  What fun we had!  But I must confess the Florida pictures are all mixed up- so some might be from March- or then maybe May- or was it April.  So I'm just going to call it one long, long visit to Florida that occurred episodically over 3 months.

There was the trip to the strawberry patch!

Florida strawberries come in a lot earlier that we get them up here in Ohio, although this year I think our Spring was warm enough to plant in February.  If you like Strawberries, then picking them just before you eat them is quite a treat.  Not sure where the pictures are, but the strawberry field also had a small "restaurant" that served strawberry shortcake.  And, yes we did sample some that too. 

And of course many trips to the park!

And then of course there were trips to the beach!

The pictures aren't posted here, but Max did liberally apply sun block to Mikayla, as well as her own arm, shoulders, and legs.  Unfortunately, she forgot the tops of her own toes.  I have never seen such sun burn blisters as she had on, between and around her toes. I feel certain you're glad we skipped that picture!

And then there was time just to hang around- at the house or maybe an ice cream shop or maybe a diner.  Just hanging out...

Mikayla did have plenty of time to play with her babies.  She had sick babies that needed care, babies with wet pants, babies that were hungry and babies that needed their hair done.  That girl does take care of her babies.

And I almost forgot (in fact I did forget but Don remembered- and has the pictures to prove it!).  Mikayla and Brandy were here in Cincinnati in March.  Mikayla stayed a bit longer than Brandy as Brandy drove up to Michigan to house hunt with Will for their new home.  We did visit the zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens do put forth a spectacular Spring flower show.  Of course the zoo does have a Merry-go-round.

Now I know you're thinking that all we did during the spring was travel to Florida but we also stopped at New Orleans...  There was a good reason to go to Florida because I do need a good reason to visit that city.  Max and I are trying to visit all of the States in the U.S.  And by visit I mean actually spend the night in the State, not just drive through it.  We had both been to Louisiana, but never together.  And since Will and Brandy would soon be relocating to Michigan, we decided to extend our last trip and check off Louisiana.  On the other hand we did drive through Mississippi without stopping the car.  We decided to just avoid ever going to that state given its political and social atmosphere.  In Now Orleans we stayed in the French Quarter for two nights, which was enough for me.  I just have never enjoyed that town, especially with the heat, the humidity, and the depravity.  We did enjoy the jazz musicians that played on the street, had some good food, and of course visited the Cafe du Monde a couple of times.

We also did a walking tour of the Garden District and walked through one of the old cemeteries.  If you have never been there you may not know that people who are 'buried" in New Orleans are all "buried" above ground in crypts  Most of New Orleans sits below the water table, and thus when you dig a hole, it usually fills with water.  That obviously has serious consequences when a big hurricane blows through. 

And then we stopped off in Tulsa to see Dad and Fay and Bub and Nancy...  Tulsa is almost straight north and a little west of New Orleans so it is only a good days drive, especially if you avoid Mississippi.

And then of course our wonderful trip to Chicago to see Amber and Evan...  Why not just keep heading north since Chicago is just a little north of Tulsa.  Okay, it is a little west of Chicago too, but if you are doing the big circle you head north from St. Louis instead of northeast.

We did have a great time in Chicago.  Our best day was spent taking a walking tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Oak Park.  Those were the Prairie Homes that Wright built and we toured his personal home and walked and saw about 14 others.
We also spent some great time with Amber and Evan including a wonder dinner in their apartment.

Thanks Amber and Evan for always showing us such a wonderful time in Chicago!