Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Our Very First Family Vacation

Last week we went on our very first family vacation to the Cleveland area.  I have no idea why we waited so long to go on vacation but we did.  I suppose life just got in the way.  We went out to visit our daughter Hannah's boyfriend's family.  This was a year in the making. 

DAY 1...

We left home around 11:00 am and got into Cleveland around 3:00 pm.  We were surprised at how easy of a drive it was.  There was a lot of joking and laughing in the car on the way out, which was just what our family needed. 

Hannah and her boyfriend were so excited to see each other.  I snapped so many pictures of them this weekend.  The smile on their faces says it all.  Brandon's family is one of the sweetest families we have ever met.  They were so welcoming!  You know the kind of people you meet for the first time and feel like you have known them for years? Yes that is Brandon's family.  I loved all of the conversations I had with his mom.  After all of the introductions we headed off to explore the area.

Brandon's mom took us to a beach to watch the sunset.  Little did I know but my husband Matt had never been to a beach before!  This was a vacation of firsts for our family.  Matt and Andrew decided to toss the football around.  Before they knew it there were kids flocking to them asking to play.

So after tossing the ball around we noticed these really big chairs behind us.  These were built by a couple of eagle scouts as a project.

We could not stop laughing at each other while sitting in these chairs.  Its just one of those things that cracked us up.

The chairs just seem to swallow up the person sitting in them. 

Finally a chair that fits my husband just fine.  Ok maybe its a little big!  I laugh every time I look at this picture.  I had such a difficult time snapping a picture because I was laughing so hard.

Now that is what vacation looks like!!  We absolutely loved the beach.  I wish beaches around us were this nice.  They really take pride in the beach there.

I felt bad for these two kids.  They followed us around asking us to play ball with them and take their picture so we would remember them.  They were so excited about getting their picture taken.  The mom was busy on the phone and completely ignored them when they tried to tell her.  Broke my heart. 

Nice view of a nuclear power plant.  Kind of reminded us of home.  {smile} 

Andrew was right at home on the beach.  The rest of the trip he kept asking to go back to the beach.  Unfortunately we never made it back.  Next time for sure!

Hannah and Brandon just sat and smiled at each other.  It was so heartwarming to see them together. 

What an amazing end to our first day of vacation.  The sunset was gorgeous!!  We packed everyone up and headed out to grab some ice cream. 

DAY 2...

Today we headed into Cleveland.  I was not really sure what to expect.  But as soon as we got there I knew I loved this city! 

Brandon and family took us to the Science Museum where we watched a few IMax movies.  One was called "The Unseen World" that was all about things too small to see with the naked eye.  The second one was called "D-Day".  We loved that one.  We learned a lot of new things about D-day we had not known before.  The final one was "Pandas".  That one was very cute.

The science museum was right next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We skipped it this time around.  I didn't think the kids would be very interested in it.

In between the movies we ventured outside to enjoy the sunshine.  The kids had a great time feeding the fish in the water.

Some of the fish were huge!  After the science museum we were invited back to Brandon's house to celebrate Hannah's birthday. 

Boy did Brandon's mom go all out for Hannah.  Like I said before they are an amazing family!  The house was all decorated for her birthday.

I know Hannah was so beyond happy to have them celebrate her birthday like they did.  I cannot thank them enough!

The candles on the cake were so cool!  After they were lit the flame was the color of the candle.

I have never seen anything like it.  So cool looking.

Make a wish Hannah!  At which she looks at me and said "All my wishes have come true".  Be still my heart!

Next came the gifts!  She even got something from Brandon's grandparents!  Just look at the joy on my Hannah Bear's face! 

She got a gift bag full of goodies from Brandon, his sister, mom, step-dad, and brothers.  Aside from our immediate family we have never felt so welcomed into another family. 

A pink water bottle all her own, flavored packets for the water, a stuffed dog, balloon, necklace, candy...

A season of her favorite show Glee!  That is one of the things that brought her and Brandon together so it is very special to both of them.

A beautiful shirt, a bracelet and a wind spinner (you hang it up in your window and the wind spins it around).  She also got a rubber ducky with a flashlight in it.  Brandon certainly spoiled my girl. 

DAY 3...

Our final day in Cleveland.  We are sad to have it come to an end.  Today we took a tour of a local fire station not far from our hotel.  We also made our first visit to Chick-fil-a. 

This was what Andrew had been waiting to do on vacation!  He loves to visit other departments and compare the two.

The firefighters were more than happy to give us a tour of the station.  I became distracted by talking that I forgot to take pictures. 

Andrew could have stayed there all day hearing all about how a city fire station operates.  There was a lot that was the same. 

Our tour guide was absolutely great!  We could really tell he loved his job.  We talked about the ins and outs of being a fire fighter.  We also talked about the differences between paid and volunteer. 

A piece of steel from the New York City twin towers.  Very sobering to see it.

Thank you to the City of Willoughby for the great tour of your fire station.  From the fire station we met up with Brandon's dad.  He took us into Cleveland to an observation tower.  Where we could walk around 360 degrees to view all of Cleveland.  This was a lot of fun!!

Simply breathtaking! There is something very peaceful about being up there just taking in the view.

The building on an angle is the science museum we went to yesterday. 

This is where the Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Cavaliers play.  If you look really closely you can see the Indians warming up.

I kept walking back around to look at this old church.  So gorgeous!  I loved all of the character of the old buildings in this city.

Looking out over Lake Erie. 

Right at the bottom almost center of this picture is a Cleveland fire station.  They have a fire boat instead of trucks. 

After leaving the tower we headed over to The Christmas Story house!  I have always been a big fan of the movie.  My uncle took my sister and I to see the movie in the theater in 1983.  So this was one thing we had to see on our visit.

"I can't put my arms down!" and "You'll shoot your eye out!"  And who can forget the leg lamp?

"Its a major award!!" The notorious leg lamp that Ralphie could not keep his hands off of.

The Red Rider BB Gun with a compass in its stock.  Everything in the house was visitor friendly.  We were encouraged to pick them up and touch them.

The Christmas Tree with packages all wrapped for Christmas morning.  The only thing missing was the zeppelin that Randy got for a gift.
Randy and Ralpie's room.
The bathroom where Ralphie ran into so he could figure out the secret code from Little Orphan Annie.
Lifebuoy soap that Ralphie had to put in his mouth after cussing.
Telephone that the mother called Flick's mother to tell her about the cuss word.

"Mommy's little piggy"
I have so many more pictures, but I feel like I may have bored you.  We had such a blessed time on our vacation.  We are really looking forward to our next one.


Christine said...

What a blessing to see them so happy together and to meet his lovely family, Jen! You took some great pictures. Thank you for sharing and I absolutely was not bored. :)

Carrie B. said...

Such great photos Jen! Looks like it was a wonderful trip & now you know you need to take more of them! ;)

What a lovely family & so sweet with the party for Hannah.

And I'm so jealous you got to go to the Christmas Story house - so cool!!

Thx for sharing. Xoxo