Thursday, September 2, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation...

Doesn't every schoolchild face that essay assignment near the beginning of the school year?  At least once during their school career?  I don't think I've ever assigned it to my kids though - probably because I have a pretty good idea of how they spent their summer vacation.   I'm choosing to summarize my summer, or at least the last week or so of it, in a blog entry today, and then I hope that I can find a semi-regular system of updating the blog throughout the school year.  I had started doing a Weekly Wrap-up post, but this turned out to be poor timing because the posts were "due" on Fridays, and most Fridays I was either busy (Homeschool moms Bible study met Friday mornings during the summer) or on vacation.  I think that I will have better luck with the Weekly Wrap-Up starting this week, as we are "officially" back to school now.

In the meantime, we had some fun times on vacation last week and I wanted to share a few of those pictures.  Our vacation took us first to Canton, Ohio, where DH and Harrison visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  They thought it was fantastic.  I am not a football fan - at least not NFL football - and the younger kids really don't care much about football either, so we decided to let the two football fans have their fun without the rest of us there to continually remind them how bored we were.  ;-)  So I took the kids to see Despicable Me - very funny movie, and it entertained the four of us for the same amount of time and the price of only one HOF admission. :-)  That evening we continued on to Sandusky, Ohio where we stayed for the next few days.  We visited Cedar Point on Monday and enjoyed the rides.  Less enjoyable was the price of our lunch in the park, but I think we expected that.  The weather was fairly good that day, with a couple of brief showers and one short period where most of the rides were temporarily shut down due to a thunderstorm in the area - that was when we (and pretty much everyone else in the park) took our lunch break.

This instrument of torture is called the MaxAir.  Fantastic ride!  You're spinning, you're upside down, you're swinging back and forth... truly stomach-churning.  One of my favorite rides of the day.  Unfortunately I only rode it once - we went back for Round 2 so DH could ride it and it was temporarily closed for cleaning due to a "guest illness"  That's a nice way of saying that someone hurled.  We chose not to go back even after it was cleaned.  8-/  Sure, the protein spill was cleaned off the seats but what about the queue and surrounding area?  At the rate this thing swings and spins, those tossed cookies could have been broadcast over a pretty wide area and frankly, that turns my stomach more than any extreme thrill ride and scares me more than that most terrifying of rides - the ferris wheel...

Above is the Giant Ferris Wheel, which I did not ride, as I am absolutely terrified of it.  A good ride is one in which I am strapped down so I can't move.  If a ride meets that criteria, no matter how high it goes, how fast it goes, how often it spins me/drops me/flips me upside down, I'm good to go.  In the background is one tower of something called the Wicked Twister, which is more my speed.  They strap you in and then shoot you straight up one of those towers, twisting around, and then shoot you backwards up the opposite tower.  Awesome stuff.

This is another example of a GREAT ride.  You're strapped into a coaster seat that is like a dragster, then shot off the "starting line" at about 70mph, you go straight up one side of that tower (I wanna say 185 feet? can't remember for sure, I suppose I could fact check and fix that if necessary) which offers a stunning panoramic view of the entire amusement park and Lake Erie - if you can take it in during the approximately 1.7 seconds you are at the top... - and then you come straight down the other side.  Now THAT, people, is what I call a ride.  Oh yeah!

Kennady, being only 9 years old, and not a particularly tall 9 years old, has finally reached the point where she qualifies for most of the "big" rides.  That didn't mean she considered herself ready, however.  She did consent to try a couple of the roller coasters, so we broke her in a gently as we had time for ;-)  and she wound up really enjoying the coasters.  I think she did go on every coaster the rest of did, except for the ones she was too short for.  So she is on her way to becoming a Coaster Queen!

Fair is fair - so we all had to ride the carousel, because that is still a favorite of Kennady's.  The whole family enjoyed Cedar Downs, but I only managed to snap a picture of the boys before the ride operator mentioned that all riders needed to keep cameras and cellphones in their pockets.  Apparently it's imperative that you hold on tight with both hands - I don't even want to know how many tragic injuries were caused by a rider's negligence in clinging for dear life during the blazing speed of this race.  ;-)

On Tuesday we had a more relaxing day - we slept a bit later and went out for a big brunch at Cracker Barrel and then went exploring on the Marblehead peninsula.  We found a state park with a nice beach where we spent some time -

After that, we went to the Marblehead Lighthouse State park.  We're kind of in a process of starting a family tradition of visiting lighthouses.  I say we're in the process because this is the fourth one we've visited, but only the second we've been inside.  When we arrived at the park we had a few minutes before the tour actually started, so we tried taking family pictures with the lake as a background - it did not work out.  Couldn't get all four kids to have a non-goofy expression in one shot.  So I settled for pictures in which they were not looking AT the camera and that turned out somewhat better.  Still don't have a Christmas card picture though...

Views from on top of the lighthouse:

Time to go back down those 77 stairs:

This was taken looking up between the inner (original) wall of the lighthouse, and the later outer stucco-type wall:

While at the top of the lighthouse, we somehow got into a conversation about food and restaurants with the tour guide, and I suggested to DH that we ask him where he'd recommend for good Lake Erie perch.  He mentioned a couple of places, and we decided to go to the place he named first - The Jolly Roger in Port Clinton.

You can watch them frying up the perch, and it's got a piratey name - it's got to be good, right?!  And it really was.  :-)

On Wednesday we drove to Cleveland so we could spend the day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

You may notice that these pictures are all of the outside of the building.  We did go inside, in fact we spent at least 5 or 6 hours inside, and could easily have spent more time.  But one of the first things you see when you go in the main entrance is a big sign telling you photos and videos aren't allowed.  And there were more of those signs throughout the building.  I wasn't quite sure if I could take pictures in the main lobby but not in the archive displays, which would have made sense, or if I should put away my camera as soon as I went through the door...  I did see other people take pictures in that main entrance area, but honestly there wasn't much there that I particularly wanted a picture of.  It might have been cool to take pictures of John Lennon's piano or Michael Jackson's glove or Jimi Hendrix's sofa, but not a big deal.  I didn't even find postcards, although I'm sure the huge and well-stocked museum store had them.  So I thought a lovely Osborne-esque "official" pictures of the family might make a good souvenir of our visit.  Don't we look happy?

After the Hall of Fame, we really wanted to try a Cleveland restaurant we'd seen featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (one of the few TV shows I really enjoy)  -  Melt Bar and Grilled, but found that at 7pm on a weeknight, the wait for a table would be an hour and a half.  We opted to come back the next day for lunch instead, but the wait was just about as long.  LOL  But I have to say, it was totally worth every minute we waited and every dollar we spent.  Best. Sandwich.  Ever.  Seriously.  If you like cheese, you must go.

We took the shore road from Sandusky to Cleveland on Thursday morning, and took the opportunity to stop for one last walk along the beach.

Time to head for home:


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